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Author Spotlight – Aneza Lee

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Dear Reader,

this week’s author spotlight for the Goodreads Paranormal, Dystopia, Fantasy and Romance Readers, Writes and Reviewers Group is none other than me! Do check out my work and please be so kind as to share it with friends, family and colleagues.

Please help me to reach my goal of 1,000,000 downloads for each of my titles by sharing this post, downloading a title and being so kind as to leave a review if you enjoyed my work. You will be helping me to make a life-long dream come true. This is me following my bliss:)

My fantasy and poetry book titles are available as e-books on Smashwords. (The Harpy Chronicles – The Namari Book I is free to download). You can find my titles in paperback on Amazon. Alternatively, they are also available for Kindle.

Thanks so much for your support and have a great week. Remember to stay inspired and to follow your bliss!

Thank you, as always, for reading,

Aneza Lee

Confessions of a Gluten Junkie

Bread group

Once upon a time in a world that now seems far, far away lived a little girl who… no, that’s a story for another time.

Today I’d like to write about, and possibly shake my first at the heavens, over a dreaded thing called food allergies. This post is probably a bit out of left field for me but anyone who has ever discovered themselves to be allergic to (insert food item here) knows what I am talking about. I spent the better part of my formative years nom-nomming my school sarmies on a daily basis Monday to Friday like every other kid. I ate mom’s macaroni cheese, enjoyed the occasional pizza treat and absolutely adored pepper steak pies, all things that are strict no-no’s for the gluten sensitive.

I never could figure out why I always felt incredibly tired and foggy brained, why I’d be forgetful at times, why I suffered from allergies and always had itchy eyes, insanely itchy ear canals and why I had stomach pain almost all the time. I would wake up in the mornings so nauseous I wanted to die and I would feel that way ’til about 11:30, just in time for my lunch break sandwich, as a matter of fact. I remember asking my mom once why my stomach was so bloated and I suffered weird aches in my joints which everyone put down to growing pains.

As an adult I developed an ever present dry cough, an itchy scalp and I developed cystic acne on my face and back in my late 20’s, with a particularly itchy spot right between my shoulder blades that drove me to near insanity. I piled on the pounds and just wasn’t enjoying life much. It was during a conversation with my late aunt that she regaled me with the symptoms of her gluten allergy and it was a real a-ha moment for me. Really? But that’s how I feel… oh no, really? But I have that too and other similar exclamations. I resolved to undertake a 30-day trial of gluten abstinence to see if it made any difference.

Ta-da, challenge accepted. Of course no one tells you that gluten is basically present in every processed food ever invented and that it stalks the ingredient lists of the supermarket under pseudonyms like hydrolysed vegetable protein. I also once went round to the folks for spaghetti bolognaise completely forgetting that duh, spaghetti is made from wheat, which contains gluten, silly. These little slip ups aside, I arrived at the end of my 30-day trial feeling fantastic. Hurrah, I’d figured out why I always felt so crappy most of my life. Ah, but then doubt and denial creep in and like any good addict you begin to talk yourself out of it, or into it, whatever applies.

Oh, one little pie won’t hurt, just a slice of pizza, come on, you can’t not eat a hamburger in your life ever again, it’s not that bad, I can quit whenever I want to. There is also the bargaining: I’ll enjoy this now, guilt free, and I’ll suffer later but then for the rest of the month I won’t have any gluten. And don’t forget deluding yourself: I deserve this treat because I’ve been working really hard. The social factor will get you every time. If you go to a party or for dinner in a restaurant there will be a multitude of wheaty gluteny food choices on offer and the “one little bite won’t hurt” reasoning applies. Often people are unsympathetic and think you are being difficult, or you don’t want to inconvenience your host and so you eat what is on offer to suffer the consequences later.

Crazy as it sounds it took about five years to really embrace being gluten free, but in those first few years knowing that I shouldn’t eat wheat or gluten because it made me feel unwell made every elicit morsel more attractive than ever. Oh woe is me, to never eat a slice of cake again? Or to enjoy a morning muffin hot out of the oven, or home baked bread, I was like an addict, I swear, trying to wean myself off my drug of choice, aka gluten and the more I knew I shouldn’t eat it the more I craved it. I bounced between the two extremes and when my non gluten allergic family members saw me reaching for a slice of french loaf they’d chide me and I’d grumble about it. Amusingly we realised that my late mother was also sensitive to gluten. Wow,  count myself lucky I figured it out at 30, but mom had suffered for almost all of her 59 years and I recall my late grandmother often patting her bloated stomach after eating a wholewheat sandwich, her favourite, and saying she was sure she had cancer. Gran died never knowing what the cause of her discomfort was because in those days no one in the backwater that was Bellville in those days had heard of gluten, never mind an intolerance to it. Mom, of course, was in full denial, point ended.

I, however, have finally admitted defeat, or perhaps it’s just acceptance of the fact that how I feel when I eat gluten is just not worth the pain. If I do accidentally consume gluten, or have a rare moment when I let it pass my lips I am rewarded for my indiscretion by the familiar dry cough first thing next morning and complaints from my bleary eyed fiancé that I snored the roof off the house the night before – how embarrassing. Ladies aren’t supposed to snore!

As a consequence of torturing my villi with constant gluten assaults for over 30 years I am also sensitive to sugar and I am now susceptible to candida when I consume it too regularly. My curiosity about the effect of food on our bodies also led me to discover the Primal Blueprint and on cutting out further irritants in my diet I must say that I feel so, so much better in general. I no longer eat rice, corn, legumes or processed foods in general. I’ve gone back to basics and gone are the mysterious aches and pains, the gastrointestinal discomfort, the fog brained insanity that would often have my fiancé jokingly accusing me of having “Old Timer’s” (Altzheimers )…

I feel better than I have in years and my symptoms have almost all disappeared, no more acne, allergies, bloating, weight gain, gastrointestinal pain, et cetera. Although, since I’m in a confessional mood,  I haven’t entirely given up dark chocolate and I also have to admit that I am mortal and that once in a great long while I’m probably going to indulge in a slice of chocolate cake… the gluteny kind. Sure, I am well aware of the vast array of gluten free products on the market and I enjoy many of them , sometimes though, sh*t happens. Just as long as I only err extremely occasionally, that is. Honestly, I now find the aroma of freshly baked bread slightly off putting and yeasty and I haven’t eaten bread in years. Take out is a big avoid for me and public events are always a trial as you’re only likely to find fare like burgers and boerie rolls on offer.

I’ve also come to realise that like any junkie, you have to make the decision to go gluten free. People can talk to you ’til they’re blue in the face, but it won’t make one iota of difference unless you are willing and wanting to commit to a gluten free lifestyle. If you have food allergies and suffer the consequences of the ill effects of your food choices, you have my sympathies. It’s not easy with so many alluring products on the shelf whenever you enter a store. Food items containing gluten are freely available so it can be so difficult to avoid. I guess like the Nike slogan says, just do it. Make a decision to change your life and take it from there. Occasionally you might slip up, sure, but the point is to keep at it and you’ll see the rewards for your efforts in the long run. That is the sucky think about being gluten sensitive… abstinence doesn’t render immediate results. It can take weeks to recover from the effects of that hamburger pie or that take out pizza. It can suck the joy out of your existence and dramatic as it sounds, it did for me for a long time. I had no energy to be creative even, but now those fires are reigniting.

I’ve started crafting again and I am currently working on a creative project in polymer clay, an intricate family crest that I can’t wait to complete so that I can show you what I’ve been up to. I am also working on my writing projects in between, so I am thrilled about that. They are long overdue for completion. Guilty as charged.

On that note, I shall leave you to the rest of your week. May you follow your bliss and ignore your food cravings and until next time, dear reader, thank you as always for reading.

Aneza Lee

Busy as a bee

April has arrived and with it gentle relief from the crushing heat of a harsh drought stricken summer. Usually I adore summer, but this one was a trial even for me. The wheel turns and winter is on the way, so for those of you who lament the cold, I feel your pain. It’s about the only time of the year I drink sherry on a chilly evening -trust me, it’s about the only thing that combats frozen fingers syndrome.

It’s been a busy time work-wise but I am pleased to report that I am making progress on my latest polymer clay project, which, when it is complete, will be a family coat of arms with a red fox, silver and red mantling, a silver and gold helm and a golden crown. This is quite a technically challenging one for me, but I am thoroughly enjoying the experience. A recent visit to Mineral World in Simonstown, which turned out to be far too short really, had me bring home a collection of beautiful gems that I can’t wait to incorporate into future polymer clay works of art.

I am also pleased to report that The Harpy Chronicles – The Namari Book I has finally cracked over 1200 downloads. It’s free, so do check it out if you or anyone you know enjoys a fantasy adventure. The Harpy Chronicles – The Namari Book II and Musings of a Bard, Prose Poetry Vol I are tied at just under 100. I have so many projects to complete, not least of which is The Harpy Chronicles Book III, People of the Crow. You’ll have to watch this space folks! I hope you’ve all found some magical inspiration in your day and that your own creative projects are progressing in leaps and bounds.

I wish you all a happy April and hope the Fool didn’t have too much fun at your expense on the 1st!

Thanks as always for reading,

‘Til next time,

Aneza Lee

Malleable Magic

Malleable Magic Etsy Banner Plain FBDragon Orchid Diary 1

The witch woman
Sees fortunes bold
Hidden thoughts
Visions old.
Shame and truth
Before devil’s eyes
Every woman is a witch
Every witch is wise

I read this once, a lifetime ago it seems now, in the back of a tarot book instruction guide that I purchased when the world, to me,  seemed more magical, more mysterious. Now I think that every woman is indeed wise, some of us just do not heed our own wisdom and therein lies the root cause of all our problems. We don’t listen to our own intuition, that wearisome voice that whispers to us, occasionally forlornly – or at least I’d imagine I’d feel forlorn if I offered sound advise repeatedly to someone who never took it. We are all guilty of this affront to ourselves at one time or another. This old poem inspired me to review my “hidden thoughts” and my “visions old.”

Once upon a time I studied to become a herbalist, working with magical intent to create healing remedies. Crystals glinted in the moonlight in my garden and I could feel the energies of the living things growing around me. I painted, I drew, I wrote poetry, I CREATED. I was happy. Somehow I strayed from the path of my creativity and looked up one day to find myself in a perpetual state of stress. That old word… I would stress about not having enough work, stress about having too much work to do by x deadline, stress about finances, stress about not making time to take my daily walks, stress about (oh just insert something here, you get the idea).

I felt a growing sense of something being amiss. What was it? My creativity had been blocked for ages! My crystals were covered in dust, my easel stood in a forgotten corner, my brushes were in a sorry state, the characters in my novels scratched weakly at the edges of my imagination, trying to flit onto the pages of my unfinished manuscript. My magic lay dormant, lulled into a stupor by the daily stresses of life. I felt frustrated, because I have no one to blame but me for my lack of creativity. I command my time, as does everyone else. I choose to do or not to do. I needed to make something, anything. I was inspired by an image I saw on my Pinterest page and so I purchased some clay and I made a journal cover, first with my fiancé and then one on my own. It was wonderful to create again, so much so that I decided then and there to open an Etsy store to share my creations with the world. Malleable Magic was born!

I’d like to invite you to check out my Etsy store – Malleable Magic. Granted, there are only two items available at present, but handcrafted art takes time. I am currently working on a coat of arms project in polymer clay and I am so excited to complete the task. I hope that this blog might inspire you to pick up an old hobby or a new craft so that you may bring your own brand of creativity into the world – we could all use a little more beauty and magic in our lives.

So ’til next time, thank you as always for reading my rambles and may your week be filled with joy.

Aneza Lee

A Clockwork Queen

A clockwork queen

A Clockwork Queen*

A prose poem by Aneza Lee

“Something a little dark with a medieval feel.”

A Clockwork Queen

Such dreams of treasure in dark places of shadow and silence, where the glint of gold begs but for a scrap of light. Embroidered hope extends delicate fingers, to press against my beating breast. A breath, like the first, slow, deep, explosive in exhalation. A rebirth, a tenuous dream, a dark eye gazing about a grand hall of dancing shadows.

The feel of velvet, embroidered lace, a moment’s reflection before light blazes forth, and the banners unfurl in this place where history is carved into the stones of the world. I must speak the words and from my lips, I unleash the doom of men. To war! To war, by flame and boiling sea, are delivered the deaths of the many, by sword and tortures of the flesh, my throne claims the treasures of the dead.

A dark queen upon an ageless throne, my gaze upon lands unconquered. New worlds like sunken treasures to be unearthed by my bannermen. My brave warriors, clad in steel and blood and glory, go forth, and return unto me with the wealth of new realms. This dark hall has gazed upon grand designs so vast that within them, even I am but a clockwork queen.

Beneath starred crown, behind shadowed lids that glitter gold and black, beneath this alluring mantle of magnificence, I am woman, not stone, nor fire, nor element. I am a cog within a wheel within a great machine whose purpose I cannot define. Enslaved queen to the hunger of a baying beast, unbidden it may devour me yet, this dark hall my tomb. Aeons hence some may recall the queen who led her baying nation beyond the wall.

*Unfortunately I cannot credit the artist of the image as I know not from whence it came, but I would be happy to do so.

Origins

Life is born in darkness, whether for the seed beneath the soil or for the infant who begins life in the darkness of the womb. So begins our struggle to find the light. Our lives are a metaphor for that struggle, don’t you think? The spark of life is struck in darkness, and we grow to escape the airless womb to draw our first breath in the light of the world. No matter the path we take from that moment we all end in the tomb. Whether consumed by flames like the Vikings of old or laid to rest in the peaceful earth, we all begin and end on an equal footing. We arrive naked and we take nothing with us when we depart this realm, save the collective sum of our experiences and our deeds.

Why do we do it? Why do our souls come into being in these magnificent flesh bodies that allow us to interact with the magical construct that is life? Our lives can at times seem humdrum, boring even, yet only we forget to see the wonder in our very existence. We lose the childlike wonder of our early years and we forget that our earthly lives are infused with the magic that brought us into being. We can create or we can destroy but the choice lies solely within us. No matter our circumstances, we can rise above them or we can choose to succumb to them.

At the beginning of a new year I find my thoughts turn to new beginnings, no surprise there. Also, I dwell on endings. With the closing of one door another opens and so it is with the beginning of a new year as we are presented with myriad new opportunities to change our lives, to mold them to be what we desire. Some things are written before we are born, or so I believe.

For me it is so with love. I knew from a young age that somewhere in the world was a man for me, someone incredibly special who sought me as I sought him. I can recall entering countless rooms and sweeping my eyes across the faces I’d find there and my inner voice would say, “He’s not here,” with a pang of disappointment. I can recall with perfect clarity that this little voice would sound in my head even when I was in a committed relationship and very much in love with my partner at the time… which caused me no end of annoyance. I believed my inner voice to be mistaken, why was I still looking when I was happy with so-and-so? We are all fools in love. Many years later I found myself single and one day I commented to a friend that I was content with my life and that I felt complete, even in my solitude.

Naturally the universe heard my words and the powers that be gave each other a knowing glance and an almost imperceptible nod. I had stopped looking, they knew, and I contented myself with the single life. I even told my friend that perhaps I was not destined to meet my significant other… I had been so certain in my younger days but well into my 30’s and with no sign of him I found myself in bed one night and the thought hit me that perhaps he was not walking the Earth as I was or as I’d always felt, always believed. I felt physically ill at the possibility, because I’d determined at a young age that I would be one of the lucky ones that would find true love, lasting love.

One day not long after this seemingly fateful conversation I turned a corner and there he was. Our eyes met and it was as if electricity struck. I was bodily drawn by an invisible force and in that moment I knew that I’d found him. “Where have you been?” I wanted to ask. “I’ve been looking for you all this time.” I had to fight the almost overpowering urge to throw my arms around him like I’d known him all my life and we’d been but lately parted. It might sound Hollywood movie unreal, but I swear it is the absolute truth. Four years later we are still as in love as ever. It was written long ago, before I was born, I know that as I know myself.

Yet not all is written. In this new year, you can begin anew, change your life to be whatever you want it to be. You can make a dream come true or at least strive towards it. I wish that for you after the New Year’s resolutions have faded and you are neck deep in the stresses of day to day life. Pick one thing you’d like to realise this year and bring it into being, and make it something good! I’ll cross my fingers for you and wish for you to take a little of the magic of life to realise your dream, no matter how big or small. Happy 2016 and remember, your origins do not define your limits, only you can do that.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

Until next time stay inspired,

Aneza Lee

 

Strange Magic

Dear reader,

here we are again and the silly season is upon us. It casts a strange magic indeed, don’t you agree? People start listening to the craziest old tunes ever created… and suddenly it’s perfectly acceptable to spend an entire month’s salary on a one-day event that at any other time of the year would get disapproving looks from your financial advisor.

It’s a time of family and friends and overindulgence and gift giving. For others it is a time of great sadness and emotional pain and many don’t enjoy the festive season. Some go all out and really get into it and others treat it as another day and don’t make a big deal at all. However you spend it, for me it’s always been a day for family, and I do dearly love my family. This year  has been a crazy ride but all in all it’s been a good year for me and mine.

However you are spending the 25th of December this year, I hope it’s your best one yet. Wishing you the best day and also a stellar year ahead in which all your dreams come true.

Without further ado I bid you adieu and happy tidings… and feel free to have an extra helping of dessert, you deserve it!

Thank you as always for reading and warmest wishes,

Aneza Lee

 

 

 

Random Ramble

Do you ever look up from weeding the rose bed or feeding the cat or some other routine task and marvel for just a moment as the realisation sinks in… jeepers creepers, I’m a responsible adult, when in the hell did that happen? You survey your little kingdom and note how glossy the cat’s coat is and how you nursed that cute little bugger from a helpless kitten to confident adulthood, you coo over… yes, you heard right, Aneza the plant whisperer… ahem, you coo over your green peppers. You marvel at your phantom watermelon that turned out to really be an exotic variety of butternut that mysteriously started growing in the garden. Max, my darling fiancé was right and I was wrong… darn those stripes, I was convinced. You’re getting shit done and it feels good. It’s empowering, these little triumphs in our day to day in the campaign of life.

You suddenly realise that you created all of this, attracted it into your life… I’m still in two minds about the cat, wahaha… especially when he wakes me at 4am. Still, none of the things in your life are there by accident, they’re there by design, yours specifically whether you realise it or not. My courtyard was a barren grey brick wasteland boxed in by high cement walls when I moved in and now I have a delightful little garden with a shade giving tree and vegetables, herbs and flowers all around. My fiancé and I worked hard to make it flourish and continue to do so with other aspects of our lives.

So just remember, you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, you can change anything you want to, all you need is to have that intention first. The rest will come. In our current early summer heatwave it’s a bit hard to stay energised but I hope that wherever you are you are facing your obstacles with aplomb and enthusiasm.

Stay inspired!

Aneza Lee

 

 

Beep beep boop… testing

I have been unable to post for quite some time, so no I’m not dead under mysterious circumstances rendering my novels worth a small fortune to the relatives I leave behind… and who will obviously tearfully mourn my loss… nope, still alive and kicking and not quite famous yet. Boo hoo, life continues.

It seems my WordPress page had a technical error and numerous posts simply would not be saved or published under any circumstances… and a simple logging out and logging back in fixed it… after some frustration and colourful language.

What is news in Anezaville? What indeed? Some dimensional shifts and new ways of looking at the world, a profound sense of gratitude for all my many blessings and a very sharp focus on work. I am also campaigning violently against the weed invasion in my rose beds and seem to be making noticeable progress. I am learning all about the Primal Blueprint and I have taken up my beloved morning walks again now that the weather is threatening summer, if rather fitfully.

I’m afraid this furious flurry of fervent activity has left little time for writing… forsooth, for shame, it’s awful and I plan to remedy it soon, but simply not having time to put fingers to keyboard does not mean that I’m not dreaming up tales in my over-active imagination.

I trust that you all have found more time to be creative than I, who have too many projects and seem to make too little time for them. I feel that in retrospect I’ve made some personal progress within myself this last year and I am quite proud of some of my recent work accomplishments. I am achieving personal goals and it’s a great feeling. I am looking forward to the energy shift that 2016 will bring and I can’t shake the feeling that something big is on the way.

I wish you, dear reader, every happiness for the coming weeks and hope that somewhere in your day you’ll be able to perform a random act of kindness for someone. It’s amazing how a kind word or a silly joke received on your WhatsApp can make your day, or something as simple as making your partner an unasked for cup of tea. Such little thoughtful gestures can be so appreciated.

Until next I visit, stay inspired.

Aneza Lee