Monday, 10 November 2014

A magical book sales figure...


I never had a burning desire to be an author...never felt that I had 'that book inside me'...however a while back I saw a publisher (Moon Books) asking on facebook for book suggestions for a Pagan Portal series they were running so I replied to the facebook post with the words "what about Kitchen Witchcraft"... to receive the reply "good idea, send us a proposal"...um...

So I fell into book writing totally by accident.

My first book Pagan Portals Kitchen Witchcraft was published on 22nd February 2013 and since then several others have followed:
Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch published on 28th June 2013
Pagan Portals Hoodoo published 30th August 2013
Pagan Portals Moon Magic published 31st January 2014
A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Plants & Herbs published 31st October 2014
(and I am currently writing A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Food to be published in 2015)

There is a reason for this blog post and it is one that to be quite honest baffles me, humbles me and overwhelms me all at the same time.

Twenty months on from my first book publishing I have hit a magical book sales figure...I don't know why it is magical, it just seems like it is.

In October 2014 I hit and surpassed 10,000 book sales...10,770 to be correct.  

That includes paperbacks and ebacks, not bad over twenty months!

Now don't all get excited, I don't want to be tapped up for loans or free beers, because seriously I am not anywhere near becoming a millionaire...I haven't even earnt enough to clear my credit card bill or my overdraft - unless you are an author of status such as Rowling you ain't gonna be giving up the real job anytime soon. (See previous blog post on writing books and not making any money).  But it's not about the money, it has been about sharing the knowledge and experiences I have gained along my own journey within the Craft with others.

And I have to say it is actually hard work...when you write a book the only way to get it noticed and to encourage people to purchase it...is to totally pimp it and yourself.  Each and every day I work at marketing and selling my soul to the internet, it is constant in getting your book noticed to magazines, vendors, the public and anyone else that can help, but it needs to be done - what's the point of writing a book if no one ever finds out about it?

Add to that the hours and hours and days and days it takes to plan out, research and write a book, then the nerves as you wonder if it will be accepted and a contract will be forthcoming and then the overall worry (that never goes away) about whether anyone will actually like it or not!

So I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that has purchased copies of my books, you guys totally rock and without you the magical number would be but a dream.

I also have to thank my hubby for all his graphic work on the posters and adverts that I plaster all around the internet.

There is no big celebration or party hats and streamers...just a very nice proud feeling and warm fuzziness from me to all you guys for your support...although I may have cake...♥

Friday, 7 November 2014

Ho..ho...ho...

I admit it...I know it is only early November but I have been struck by the Yule fairy...well and truly.

I LOVE the festive season...I revert to being a total child at this time of the year, in fact I don't think I have ever lost that sense of awe.

I was laid up for the first half of this week with a horrible head cold lurgy thing so I retired to the sofa with a blanket and watched the Xmas24 channel...and although I did actually fall asleep through some of them (hey I was poorly, cut a girl some slack) I have a lot of the films set to record now right through November...

I have to put my hands up and say - we have done most of our Yuletide shopping but only because I hate being in the shops in December, waaaay too many people.

November I start to watch the films and yes I already have festive songs on the CD in my car.

Yule cards will be written in the next couple of weeks but mainly because some have to be posted early overseas (who am I kidding? I would be writing them now anyway).

I am already skimming through cook books to plan what festive cookies and munchies to make and bake, although on 25th December we spend the day at my parents and get the whole 'shebang' done for us which is fab.

On the winter solstice I have my own small celebration as I am the only pagan in my family but I am totally supported with what I do, I still keep trying to persuade them I can open my presents on that day but I haven't won that argument yet...

Decorations go up on 1st December - although they will go up a couple of days earlier this year as we are hosting a Yule crafting workshop at our house on 29th November and I want it to be really festive for everyone attending - any excuse really...

However decorations usually come down on 26th/27th December because it all seems to be done and dusted by then and I want to clear up, clean up and get sorted.

I have decided that I am totally in the wrong job though...on reflection I am very well suited for another career...

  • I love the festive season
  • I love mince pies
  • I love to bake cookies
  • I love elves
  • I love the cold, wintery weather
  • I love reindeer
  • (can you see where this is heading?)
  • I love cheesy festive decorations
  • I love Yule trees
  • I love wrapping presents
  • I love writing cards
  • I own a fabulous festive jumper
  • I have a belly that wobbles like a bowl of jelly when I laugh...oh no wait a minute that's the other guy..


I should totally be Mrs Claus...

Monday, 3 November 2014

It's a blessing...and a curse

Well it is back to reality this morning after having a week's holiday...

Hubby and I spent a couple of days in the beautiful city of Bath (via a fried breakfast in Salisbury), such a wonderful place and the weather was silly hot for October, we sat outside cafes drinking latte and eating cake, people watching, mooching and shopping and eating way too much lovely food.

Then we spent a couple of days at home with our children, watching TV, catching up on chores and decorating the house for Halloween.  Finishing up with two lovely Samhain rituals yesterday, one in the woods in the dark by candle light with the Genesis Grove and then an online webinair one with the Kitchen Witch students.

Friday...Halloween/Samhain was my birthday so we started the day with a birthday breakfast in the local cafe.  Then Halloween and trick or treating hit.   The rest of the day was spent getting ready for the trick or treaters and the children getting dressed up and face painted.

When I was a child and even right up to probably 15 or so years ago trick or treating was not really done in England but it seems to have slowly crept across the pond and now the shops are full of Halloween decorations and sweets and we have loads of trick or treaters.

This year the weather was unseasonably warm so we actually sat outside with bowls of sweets to greet the various witches, ghosts, zombies, vampires and a clown...in fact the clown was the scariest one of all...

So for the past few years my birthday kind of gets over taken by Halloween, I would imagine it is similar for someone with a birthday on 25th December.  Not that I am complaining really, it just takes a bit of flexibility...I ended up with a birthday week really rather than one day!

I had an AMAZING amount of birthday wishes on facebook, a huge thank you to everyone.  I read them all as I get an email each time someone posts on my timeline unfortunately when I went to my page to thank each person individually facebook decided to only show me some of the messages, so apologies to those that I couldn't get to.

I did have lots of people commenting along the lines of "oh how fantastic to have your birthday on Samhain/Halloween", "oh I am totally jealous, what a wonderful day to have a birthday"...well it is a blessing...and a curse...

But however you look at it...forty six years have now passed and having my birthday on 31st October was most probably fate...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Time...

This past weekend has made me think a lot about time...and how quickly it seems to pass.

Our youngest turned nine and it seems like no time at all since he was a teeny baby - where did all those years go to?  Our eldest is now a teenager...the births of both our children seem like they only happened yesterday...

But the real 'time turner' for me was photographs.  Part of being an author and being one that is contracted to a smaller publisher and not being of the JK Rowling ilk is that you are required to do a lot of marketing and sales yourself...well you don't have to but if you don't...you don't sell any books and what is the point of writing a book and then not selling any?  It is a hard part of being an author and is really a bit like pimping yourself...

However having a hubby who works with graphic design helps...

So...this weekend we took some promotional photographs (NO...not that sort!!) to use to update my website.

Our neighbours must think we are total loonies as I pranced about our back garden in various outfits (including a bowler hat) whilst hubby did his David Bailey thing...

We ended up with over 200 photos...which then involved us sitting and looking through them all on the laptop...thank goodness for digital cameras.

The scene that followed went something like this:

Hubby: "I like that one and that one and that one, ooh that's a good one, oh that one is sexy,  nope that one is over exposed and that one is blurry"
Me: "I don't like that one my bum looks big, I don't like that one I am all squinty, I don't like that one I look grumpy, I don't like that one you can see huge bags under my eyes, I don't like that one my face is all saggy, I don't like that one...I look old..."

Out of 218 photos I only approved 5 of them...

And that was the crux of it...OLD...

This month I will turn 46 years of age.

Just recently it has hit me that I am no longer twenty...and you know what?  Initially the thought is that it totally sucks.

I have been through the 'my hair is going grey...actually it's going white' scenario and decided that I am not ready to be au natreul yet.

I have accepted that my figure is no longer a size 10 (actually I wouldn't want it to be) and I am learning to embrace my curves.

But the face...that is the real teller of time.

Yes I have wrinkles around my eyes and yes my face is somehow much lower than it was twenty years ago (how does that happen??) And yes I know...it happens to us all...but accepting it and being comfortable with it is a whole other kettle of fish.

I could not and would not ever have plastic surgery, that's my choice and I wouldn't do it (apart from the fact that I couldn't afford it!).

So I am left with the challenge of accepting that my face is ageing along with my body, but it's hard.

I do make an effort, I always have.  You won't often find me without any makeup, I don't wear a full face of slap every day but I always wear a little.  I always do my hair, keep it washed and tidy.  I always make an effort with my clothes even if I am just around the house.  Twenty two years of being with my husband and I still make sure I look nice for when he comes home from work and I always make an extra effort if we are going out anywhere.

But that doesn't stop the ravages of time...

So it's all about mind set, maybe it is the worry of not looking attractive anymore?  I am not sure... I have to accept that it is happening and learn to live with it.  Is there a magic wand to wave to make that happen? Nope, not that I know of.  I have to learn to live with the fact that my body and face are now entering the Matriarch phase and my head needs to accept it, learn to live with it and in fact not only that but to embrace it and celebrate it.  I am not there yet, my head is still lamenting the lost looks of youth (possibly not the 1980s makeup though...) but I will get there...

The photo is me...circa 1987...


Friday, 17 October 2014

Reflections...

It is about this time of the year that I sit down and mull over the past year, part of Samhain for me is to look back at what I have achieved, what didn't work and what did and how life has been over the past few months and then to focus on what I want to do over the cold winter months and what plans I have that I want to put in motion.

This month my fifth book A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Plants & Herbs is published and it has already sold out on Amazon before it is even released which is totally amazing and I feel extremely humbled, along with the usual worries of "but what if no one likes it when they actually come to read it...".

This month I also received notification that my three Pagan Portals books have been taken up by an Italian publisher and will be translated into Italian...!

This month has also seen some changes within the Kitchen Witch School - revamp of the homework tasks and a trial run with Webinair which is very exciting.

We also have a little bit of a surprise to launch hopefully at the Wandering Witches fair in November...

This month Tracey and I have also both started studying again, two different courses.  We are now training on the first spiral to become Priestesses of Andraste and are working with the Wheel of Britannia, it is quite a full on, in depth course that will also require us to visit Norfolk next year on two weekend retreats and we have also just received the first pack for the Singing in the Bones course that focuses on the sabbats over a year - lots of work, but should be extremely interesting.

Seven weeks ago we launched our first online course - an eight week course working with the Celtic Goddesses and I have to say we have been totally bowled over by not only the response to sign up for the course but the amount of interaction and feedback that we have had - it has inspired us and we will be running four more online courses next year (Herbal Pathways, Celtic Gods, Dark Goddesses and Sun Gods & Moon Goddesses).

We have had some amazing experiences with the workshops that we have run this year - Celtic Goddesses, Hoodoo, Divination, Tarot, Totem Animals and Faeries & Elementals - we have met some wonderful, wonderful people and had huge amounts of fun...and cake...plenty of cake.
However we made the decision not to run any workshops next year (but never say never...) they are brilliant to do but a huge amount of time, effort and work goes into them and there are now a lot of other people running workshops as well in the area, we don't want to get caught in a battle for people!  It will also allow Tracey and I to have a little extra time to work with our own studies and focus on the Kitchen Witch School a bit more.

We have also had some fun and occasionally very soggy open rituals at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park and were overwhelmed to have had some of our lovely students ask to be initiated into the Kitchen Witch Coven (some online and some offline) which made us extremely proud.  The rituals will continue next year, we have eight dates booked with the themes - Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Love, Prosperity, Protection and Healing.

We have also attended some great fairs - the Wandering Witches which is always fun, fairy fairs and mind body spirit ones - next February we will be attending the Enchanted Market and hopefully the Wandering Witches ones again.

February we stayed in an amazing B&B in Glastonbury - the Covenstead, we can highly recommend it - fabulous decor, huge breakfast and the most amazing host - we stayed because we attended the Mystical Arts fayre where we had a stall and I did a talk - how nervous was I talking to a crown of people in Glastonbury?  Off the scale!  I was on the billing with some very big names in paganism and I felt incredibly small...however when it came to my talk there were so many people we had to go and get more chairs and my lovely Kitchen Witch lot mostly sat on the floor!  Huge thank you for all the support ♥

Three more tattoos were added this year - a moon goddess on one arm, a Celtic warrior design on the other arm and a beautiful top hatted lady on my shoulder - I have nearly run out of space now...nearly...

We also launched a set of Celtic Goddess Oracle cards which seem to have been very well received, we are very pleased with them and a huge thank you to my hubby for all his artwork, not just on the cards but with all the graphics he does for us and on a personal level for just being there and knowing exactly how to deal with me...it's not an easy job.  This year we celebrated 22 years together ♥

This year also saw me contribute to three collaboration books - Paganism 101, Witchcraft Today and Naming the Goddess, all fascinating books and I was very honoured to be included in the esteemed list of authors.

We spent an amazing day in February birthing our own drums...I cannot begin to fully describe what an emotional and wonderful day it was and I am now the proud owner of a stag hide drum that I made entirely myself, I can highly recommend The Hero Soul not only for drum birthing but also for shamanic practices.

My fourth book Pagan Portals Moon Magic was published at the end of January and has done extremely well - sales figures are just under 2000 copies as of end September.  October should see my book sales hit quite a special figure...more about that next month...

I have had the absolute pleasure of doing several talks for various local groups which are always fun and at each one I have received wonderful friendly welcomes.

I continue to write regular articles for several magazines - The Mystik Way, The Magical Times and The Pagan Dawn all of which are a pleasure to do.

I want to also thank Tracey Roberts...our journey with Kitchen Witch has been a bit of a bumpy ride at times with personnel changes and big decisions but it has ended up with the two of us working side by side and I think we work dang well together, not only that but this year has also allowed us to find a very strong friendship too, I feel extremely blessed.

And a huge thank you to all of our lovely Kitchen Witch students, you are all amazing and to those that attended our workshops and to everyone that regularly comes to our open rituals - we have met and made some very wonderful friends and continually feel blessed, overwhelmed and amazed at your support, thank you so much.

I am currently working on book six - A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Food...manuscript is due in to the publisher at the end of this month ... eep! For publication in 2015.

It has in general been an extremely positive and productive year but of course there have been a few hiccups too but nothing overly major.  I have stuck my head well and truly above the parapet this year and in doing so you get shot at occasionally but I am a big girl with sparkly big girl panties so it is something I am learning to deal with - you can never please all of the people all of the time.

On a personal note my spiritual journey continued to twist and turn, I am a witch, always will be but I have delved into shamanic practices this year again as well as learning about Hinduism and taken what works for me from them.  The focus now seems to be on goddess work so I will go with the flow and follow where it takes me.

One of the most important lessons for me this year has been learning to say 'no'.  I always want to help everyone and do what I can but sometimes that comes at a cost to myself, my own focus and my family.  I learnt a very big lesson from that this year and have been saying no quite often ever since, it feels very good to do so - sometimes you have to focus on you, otherwise people can seriously take advantage of your good nature, your time and your efforts.

I continue to learn more about myself and how I am as a person, becoming ever closer to 'the person I really am and the person I really want to be' - one and the same...it's all a learning curve and I look foward to the next year with anticipation.