About the Author

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Since I’m relaunching this blog after a long hiatus it seemed like a good time to introduce myself and put a face to the words. It’s also my birthday today so it seems fitting to make it all about me!

OK, just kidding, although it really is my birthday.

I’m Bethany Smith, an aspiring writer currently on the fourth round of edits on my first completed novel and around a quarter of the way through writing book 2. The series will be titled The Cauldron Born (hence the blog title) and it follows the misadventures of witch and reluctant heroine Cardinal Carrow. I write Urban Fantasy fiction, set in a parallel universe where magic and supernatural beings exist out in the open, alongside the regular human world. But more on that later.

As of today I’m 25 years old. I consider myself a typical Aquarius, I like to embrace my originality and unique, quirky side, I’m very independent and I have a strong dislike of injustice. I’m also a witch, gradually inching my toes out of the broom closet.

I’ve always loved to write and dreamed of being an author throughout my teenage years. Unfortunately, teenage me was a lot better at starting projects than finishing them so I have a desktop folder full of random scraps of stories but, up until finishing The Cauldron Born much later on, hadn’t actually managed to finish anything. Once I’d started college my interested in writing drifted away and moved onto film. But upon moving out in my early twenties and finally having my own space to get stuck into creative projects, my writing muse piped up and made herself known again and The Cauldron Born was…err….born. And so, two years later, here we are with a finished book. Exciting, huh?

I’m a major bookworm and love nothing more than getting lost in a good story. My favourite genre is fantasy, particularly urban fantasy but I’ll read pretty much anything. I’ll try to post the odd review on here. I’m doing the Goodreads challenge again this year and I’m hoping to keep up with last years goal of reading 50 books this year. Progress so far: 7 down, 43 to go!

I’m a garden nerd and get unreasonably excited about growing my own flowers, fruit and vegetables. This also fuels my love of cooking and, more importantly, eating! I’m researching and learning a little about herbalism at the moment and beginning to experiment with herbal medicine. One of my garden goals this year is to grow more medicinal plants to use at home. Watch this space to see how that goes!

For my day job, I work as a studio camera operator for our local BBC news station and freelance as a production assistant on a variety of projects, from documentary to short film and corporate video. I live with my boyfriend of 6 years in Nottingham, England, home of Robin Hood.

I can most often be found at my writing desk, drinking coffee, hunched over my tarot cards or, in fair weather, covered in mud out in the garden.

Please feel free to introduce yourself in the comments as I’d love to connect with fellow writers and bloggers.

Blessed be! x

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New Moon in Gemini

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It’s been quite a gap since my last post again, mostly because I’ve been deep in my writing cave editing “The Cauldron Born” and making a start on writing book two (!). So my head has been buried in my book world to the point that my poor partner has been saying a “I miss you” even when I’ve been in the room the whole time. It’s a tough life being the romantic partner of a creative person sometimes but  we’re worth it ;). I’m sure it’s something all writers have to contend with sometimes, when the muse grips you tight and all you want to do is write but there are still jobs to go to, meals to cook, houses to clean, plants to water, friends to see etc. I suppose ultimately it’s all about balance and sometimes having to accept that other aspects of your life may have to suffer in order to get where you want to be, creatively. Nothing worth having ever came without sacrifice.

That said, the last week and a half of intensive writing/editing all day then going to work in the evening has taken it out of me and I’ve decided to step back for at least today and take a break. Instead I’ve been turning my attention to planning for the next month and trying to get my scattered, chaotic thoughts in order ready for the New Moon in Gemini. I have a very busy brain sometimes and it really helps just to sit for a while and write things down and organise my thoughts on paper. So that’s what I’ve been doing today.

 

There is quite a lot going on but I do feel a little better for being able to see everything in black and white. I wanted to clear up some of my mental clutter in order to have a better idea of what I’m manifesting in this upcoming lunar cycle since of course today is the New Moon in Gemini!

June’s New Moon is a great opportunity to organise your thoughts, plan for the summer and reassess your goals in advance of next weeks Summer Solstice. Gemini is an air sign so it’s all about harnessing your mental powers in order to make your dreams a reality. New Moon in Gemini augurs the beginning of some great creative energies so it’s a good time to start a project. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be wanting to pull out those planners and journals and set out what comes next.  But remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Gemini is a bubbly, sociable and fun sign so make sure you leave time for making plans with friends and enjoying yourself in amongst all those goals. Summer is finally upon us and it’s time get out of the house and enjoy the good weather.

For some of us, this New Moon may leave us feeling like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things we want to and there is just too much floating around in our heads. The onslaught of mental activity can leave us feeling a little anxious and overwhelmed. We may struggle to sort through all the threads our busy brains are weaving. In these moments, take a few deep breaths and centre yourself. Remember we don’t have to do everything all at once. There is time, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Go back to those journals, get your thoughts in order and prioritise what’s most important to you right now. If you focus on your true hearts calling, everything else will find a way to fall into place. Be kind to yourself, steer your thoughts to positive and remember the universe has your back!

Meanwhile, I’ll be over here trying to take my own and advice and remember to breathe! As you can probably tell, I’m feeling those New Moon mental energies hard! It’s all good and positive stuff but sometimes there just isn’t room for it all. Right, back to those to-do lists, where’s my highlighter?! 😉

Happy New Moon ! xo

Writing Update – Finished First Draft?!

Today I typed those two immortal words: The End. Wow. How scary is that? Of course it’s only the first draft and I still have a long editing process ahead of me, not to mention trying to figure out what the F to do with it then.But since this is literally the first piece of writing I have ever properly finished then it’s still a quite a major milestone.

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A little bit of back story here on me and my writing journey so far. Like a lot of people I have been a major bookworm for as long as I can remember. Largely encouraged by my dad, I always had, and still always have, a book on the go. We were by no means spoiled kids and weren’t really allowed toys and many new things except for birthdays and Christmas’s (where we usually had A LOT of presents) but one thing we were always allowed was books. I can also always remember having a big imagination. I can’t recall a time when I didn’t have whole worlds and characters living in my head. I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s as a kid with my older brother and two closest cousins and I’d always be the one making up stories for them before bed. And all the adults around me would often comment that I was bound to become an author when I grew up.

When I reached my early teens I started to write “properly”, helped along a lot when I got my very first laptop, though I do remember spending long hours and days hand writing on lined paper then typing it up on the family computer. I had a few different “books” and scripts and story ideas that I worked on over the years but the main one was an ambitious century-spanning vampire tale (this was around the time of Twilight so of course vampires where THE THING at the time, although I’d always been a fan. One of my first stories that I would tell my sibling and cousins was The Peanut Butter Vampire, but that, my friends, is quite literally another story.) I had some crazy, pages long outline for an eight book saga with about a million characters and time jumps and lord knows what. For some bizarre reason I was attempting to write all eight books at the same time, jumping between them as and when the mood struck.  So after years of this monumental endeavour I had mountains upon mountains of bits of writing from various disparate bits of the story but nothing anywhere close to completion. I don’t remember exactly at what point I gave up on it. Possibly when I finished school and started college and began to see the whole thing as childish and unachievable. I pretty much dismissed all those years of work as crap and abandoned it. Having re-read some of it years later I think this assessment was overly self-critical and a bit unfair. While it is undoubtedly juvenile and down right cringey in places I do feel like there was definite potential in there, some of it was almost good, in fact. But I didn’t see it that way at the time. I just got bogged down in the over-ambitiousness of it all. My juggernaut of a story had grown too big and smothered me under it’s weight.

Over my college years I noodled about with other bits of writing, starting various different books, stories and scripts and finishing nothing except a mediocre horror short that I wrote for my film studies course work. At this point writing got pretty much side-lined by the second love of my life: film. I had decided that instead of an author I would now be a film maker. So I stopped writing all together and got my first job as an intern at a film production company and a short film festival. I won’t go into all the in’s and out’s of that as that would be a total tangent but the point is years went by (I think roughly 3 or 4 years if you’re a stickler for detail) where I didn’t write at all. This lasted right up until I moved out of my mum’s house and into my first home with my boyfriend. I can’t remember exactly where or when the idea for “The Cauldron Born” began but at some point without my really being aware of it, the stories had returned to my head. All I can recall is that somewhere down the line this bad ass red-haired young witch started hanging out in my imagination. And she was funny and wild and flawed and I started to wonder, what does this girl get up to? What happens to her, how does she change, how does she grow? And so it began.

Now, fast forward almost a year and a half later and we’re back to those two immortal words: THE END. But it’s not the end, really. It’s only the beginning. It’s the begining of a whole new adventure and it’s exciting and terrifying in nearly equal measure. But whatever happens next, one thing is now true that wasn’t true yesterday: I wrote a book. A whole entire book of over three-hundred pages. And of that I am immensely proud.

The End.

The Flower Moon

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Happy full moon Witches! May’s full moon is known as the Flower Moon. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac this is because May “marked a time of increasing fertility, with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.” Exciting times, huh? Of course, the Flower Moon is about more than just a pretty name. It’s a time of blossoming, both inward and outward. Unless you walk around with your eyes closed (very ill advised) you’ve probably noticed nature is putting on a whole beautiful display for us at the moment. The flowers are in bloom, the trees are verdant and everything just looks that little bit more vibrant with the sunlight shining on it. Since we too are a part of nature you should notice a little inner blossoming going on too. We are in tune with nature and our minds, bodies and souls should reflect at least a little of what is going on outside. Whether it’s just the warmth and the longer days, that extra boost of vitamin D, or the joy of seeing so many beautiful flowers around, many of us feel generally happier, healthier and more energised around this time of year. We are fast approaching the mid-point of the year (I know, it’s scaring me too!) which means the literal and figurative seeds we have planted earlier in the year are beginning to bear fruits. Now is a great time to reassess your progress so far, celebrate how far you’ve come and sharpen your focus on what happens next. For some of us, we might realise we have wandered off the path a bit, or that a goal or project hasn’t turned out the way we imagined it would. That’s OK too! There’s still plenty of time to get back where we want to be or even start fresh if we have to. Use the blooming energy of the Flower Moon to manifest your dreams, however great or small. ‘Tis the season for hope and excitement. We have the whole summer ahead of us for fun, holidays and adventures. And speaking of adventures, this years Flower Moon is in Sagittarius so there’s even more excuse to take a leap, try something new and reach for your goals. Sagittarius is all about adventure, travel and the great outdoors so combined with the vibrant creative energy of the flower moon it should be a fun and exciting time for projects and playtime alike. For me personally I will be channelling this full moon energy into getting back to writing “The Cauldron Born” and hopefully bringing that to completion. I only have one small section to finish before I have a completed first draft so that’s super exciting. Hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Flower Moon!

Garden Update

As mentioned in my previous post I’ve been spending a lot of time outside working in the garden today. Things are really starting to take shape out there and although the late spring has left us a little behind I think we are well on the way to catching up. It’s only our second year growing our own veg so we’ve still got lots to learn but I’m really loving it. There’s just something special about watching a plant you’ve grown from seed sprouting, blossoming and hopefully bearing fruit. Plus, home grown just tastes so much better. So I’ve been busy out there today re-potting, watering and feeding the plants. I thought it’d be nice to take a few photos so I can share where we’re at with everything so here’s a little photographic garden update.

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Courgettes are one my favourite things to grow (and eat!) They seem to do really well in our hit and miss UK climate. They do take up a lot of space which can be a bit of a problem if, like us, you have to grow everything in pots! We had great success with these last year though, so I’m hoping for the same again.

 

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Tomatoes are of course another gardener’s favourite. These ones are aptly named “Gardener’s Delight” but we’re also growing Moneymakers. I’ve been saving my egg shells and grinding them up to scatter around the base of the tomatoes as apparently the additional calcium is really good for them.

 

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This is my first attempt at growing beetroot and it’s been a bit of a mixed bag so far.  When I first planted them out a pesky squirrel dug a load of them up and buried them and unfortunately some of them were beyond saving. I managed to salvage two pots of them though and they seem to be doing well, if a bit damaged on the leaves!

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In our cold frame we’ve got more tomatoes, chillies and peppers and aubergines. It’s my first attempt growing peppers but they’re looking good so far. The two aubergine plants were given to me by a friend so it’ll be great if they bear fruit. We’ve got two varieties of chillies on the go, cayenne and fairy light, the latter of which was also a gift.

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Possibly my favourite plant in the garden is my lavender plant. We bought it from the garden centre last year and it has ballooned since we re-potted it. I’ve been gathering the dried flowers and using them in spells and remedies. Lavender is one for my favourite herbs for witchcraft, plus it spells divine!

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Nasturtiums have also been a victim of the squirrel attacks but fortunately I had a few extra so they hopefully these ones will fare OK! They have beautiful orange and yellow flowers that are lovely in salads.

 

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Our olive tree has a tonne of new growth on it. Last year it surprised us by growing three olives. Hopefully we’ll get even more this year.

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Our raspberry canes were also doing really well but now they seem to have developed raspberry rust which is a type of fungus that apparently can’t be cured. We were pretty devastated when we discovered it but we’re hoping it’ll still have plenty of fruit.

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Things seem to be going a bit better with the strawberry plants. They’ve got some beautiful flowers on them, can’t wait for the fruit!

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And finally, my very first attempt at growing sage from seed. It’s another of my favourite witchcraft herbs and is brilliant in various healing remedies so I’m really looking forward to using my very own homegrown!

Phew, there was even more stuff to post about than I thought. I’m sure there’s probably other stuff that I’ve missed out but I’ll leave it there for now. If there’s any other green fingered gardeners out there I’d love to know what you’re growing and you’re getting on. Happy Growing!