Tuesday, 31 January 2012

SO I put my money where my mouth is.

I said a picture could speak a thousand words so that's just what I did on my lunch break.

She came running out of the woods and stopped. There in front of her was a tea party. A bit like you’d imagine a mad hatters tea party. There were books hanging from trees. Really posh candlesticks with fresh candles haphazardly pushed into the holders. The table was laid out but something wasn’t right? Something about it looked bare! There were flowers a plenty – freshly cut and smelling divine…..but where was the food? And where for that matter were the guests?

She wondered if she’d arrived too soon, and the surprise party for whoever hadn’t actually taken place yet.

Why were there books hanging from the trees. She tip toed over and took at peak in the first book she came too. She wondered if there was any correlation to where the book had been tied – was it acting like a book mark? She peered into each one slowly reading. They all seemed random. Nothing stood out to her. But then she didn’t know who had laid out this foodless feast, how could she expect to be able to find meaning in their work? Maybe that’s what it was? Maybe it was just a piece of art?

No, that didn’t seem right. She looked again at the table and noticed some chairs had been pulled out or maybe not quite fully pushed back in. Someone had been here. Maybe many!

She searched the plates for signs of food but found nothing. This was definitely a party that hadn’t quite got under way.

Each plate had a little favour on it. Something woodlandy like it had been made from things that had been found, someone had gathered up leaves and twigs and acorns and made little table settings. It really was quite lovely.

She sat down and picked up a glass, she sniffed inside but couldn’t smell anything. She let her tongue slowly stick out; finding its way to the glass, she gave it a quick lick. Nothing.

She picked up the teapot. Now this was full, she poured a little into the glass but it just appeared to be water. She set the teapot down with a bang. Disappointed. What was this and who was it for? She thought she heard a twig snap and spun around in her seat to see who was there. She peered and stared towards the trees, she peered so long she couldn’t be sure if she could see someone moving about or if it was her eye sight playing tricks on her.

She looked back down at the table. It was then she noticed the table cloth was actually made up of pages of a book, scattered around but somehow staying together. She looked up again at the books. Staring for ages, hoping something would jump out at her. Eventually she got up and started to look through the books again – it was then she noticed that they were all written by the same author – someone she had never heard of before. She flicked to the front of the book and then to the back but there was no authors note, there was nothing about the writer inside, she turned a few pages to look at the dedications but they were just in the first name – it didn’t give anything away, I mean how many Kate’s and Luke’s were there……..

Walking slowly around the table letting her hands reach out and touch, or move anything they felt like. She pretended to look absorbed in what she was doing but every now and then she would look up to see if anyone was around. Part of her wanting to get caught and the other part of her ready to spring into action and run away the moment anyone came near.

She sighed loudly, threw herself back down into a chair. She reached out for the glass that contained the clear liquid and took a sip, she grimaced, it was sweet, but very, very strong, almost syrupy, some form of schnapps. She placed the glass back down and picked up the next pot to see if there was anything in there. Inside were lovely little pastel shapes, sugared almonds, she didn’t care for them but thought they looked pretty, in fact, she couldn’t think of anyone she knew that actually ate them.
She leant back in her seat again and picked up the book nearest to her and began to read….

‘He knew he loved her but how was he going to tell her that it was over? How could he tell her that his parents had said that it was her or the rest of his life? They wouldn’t be paying for him to go to music school and would stop the rent on the flat that he had, his only bit of independence but it was still bought for by his parents…..’ she flicked on a few more pages, ‘he watched the tear fall slowly from her eye, gently snaking towards her lips, it sprang into a pool as it reached them, he reached out and wiped it away. He’d given up everything for her and here she was telling him it was over…after all this time….after all they’d been through and she’d met someone else. Of course she hadn’t told him that but he knew…..in his heart he knew…….he looked at her tear on his finger….’ She gasped as something caught her eye….she ran as fast as she could not daring to look at who or what it was behind her.

Two people jumped down from the tree laughing, they’d been watching her for ages trying not to laugh. They’d come out to the woods to celebrate their signing up to an agent. They’d been writing books together for years but had only just had the courage to put the work out there. They sat down to carry on the celebration.

The girl arrived home out of breath, book still in hand, she curled straight up on the doorstep and began to read.


Another place I want to live.

The sky is so moody and the water so dark it could be menacing but there is something so warm and welcoming about the house - I think I'd love it to be my place to write!

Pictures can speak a thousand words....

I love this picture - there is something fun and innocent about it.  It makes me want to write a story just so I can use it as a cover.  It sets my imagination free.  If a picture can speak a thousand words - I might challenge myself to do just that......

Book art

There is so much book art out there these days - I hate to see a book destroyed but some of the carvings and pictures taht are being made are lovely - and here is one that is one of the best - looks beautiful to me!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Remember to look up....

...just never with your mouth open if birds are around!!!

In London especially it's easy to get lost in the whirl of that sheep like, robotic commute to work - always in a hurry to get nowhere fast, walk along with your elbows out and grunt and snarl at anyone that looks your way. Your head down and your London march at the ready and hurry hurry hurry until you get to your chosen location.

I hate how people end up so impolite and lost in their own world that they have no spacial awareness of anything at all and worst of all - especially in London when it's such a pretty city - they forget to look up!

Always remember to look up!!!

I live my life just like her.

Inside a bubble!!!!

Failure's not flattering

This makes me think of how I always say live with no regrets.  We are human and we will mess up and we will sometimes make choices that we look back on and we wonder what the hell was wrong with us.  But you can't change those things so why waste precious time worrying about it.  You have only failed if you do not learn anything from it.  Treat it all as a learning curve and sometimes the lesson is a litlte harder than others but learn something from it all the same, then no opportunity that you have taken will be a wasted opportunity.  Some things don't make sense straight away - but just let it be.  As I say we all make mistakes - it's what you do about it that determines whether you have failed or not.  And don't they say it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  You could live a very safe life where you won't get hurt but your life will be as dull as dishwater.  So take a gamble and give something a go - if it doesn't work out the way you hoped you might find it works out even better - or at least it's better to have tried a something and not have had it go the way you wished than to never try and regret that for the rest of you life!  Think about when you are old - wouldn't it be better to talk about the times you messed up where you can laugh about it and tell your grandchildren all the tales of the things you did or you could sit there regretting all the missed opportunities.  Life is for living - so you really should live it....and live it with no regrets!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Did you even know what you really wanted in the first place?

It's true isn't it? Human nature can be amazing but also so, so dumb.

Take house hunting for example - you can tell someone exactly what you want but end up buying a property that is nothing like the spec' you gave out.

It's the same with relationships isn't it.

Even if we don't mean to we can end up with this ideal in our head. And yet seem amazed when the real world doesn't deliver.

A friend of mine has been single for the past few years and feels that each relationship should be like the best romance story ever, that is should bowl you off your feet.

I hate to be the one to tell her that 'Happy ever after' only exists in fairytales. Stories. That wonderful magical place called 'Make Believe.'

It doesn't matter who much you wish for your prince charming or how much you think you deserve it there really is no such thing as the 'perfect' man or woman.

We all have flaws, that is what makes us human, it is also what makes us unique, so it doesn't have to be seen as a bad thing.

A friend almost broke up with her long term partner and everyone was gob smacked. We all decided that no matter how perfect something seems on the surface you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Suddenly my friend did a u-turn. Thankfully she'd never expressed her thoughts of calling time on her relationship to her boyfriend. One day she'd woken up and realised it wasn't him that was the problem, it was her. All her life, well since she could remember being interested in the opposite sex anyway, she had this list of the perfect man. All she could focus on was the things on the list her boyfriend did not have. But she was forgetting about all the things on the list he did have. She readjusted her thinking and realised that her boyfriend was as close to her perfect man as she was probably ever going to get and she suddenly started to notice all the things he did for her, all the things she loved about him. She realised she had to start focusing on what she had, rather than what she hadn't.

That's a great view for life in general. There will always be someone who appears better off than you.
But it's also true that money doesn't buy happiness - we think it buys peace of mind but have you seen those (w)bankers pacing the streets in their lunch breaks with two phones on the go and chain smoking furiously - there is nothing peaceful about it.

Sometimes the more money you have the more debt you have because you have these ridiculous standards you feel you have to live up to - that certain things are expected of you - that you must be this that or the other - suddenly you start to feel good about not being in that position - because you feel more free.

I agree a little more money would always come in handy.....but happiness is found in the weirdest of places. Just like love.

If you force it - it either won't happen or what you get will not really be what you wanted but you can fool yourself for years.

Mr or Mrs Perfect does not exist but the right person for you does.

You might already have met them and not know it. You might be blissfully aware that you have it. You might still be looking.

I think the secret is not to obsess on the things you don't have in this life and just be really grateful for the things that you do. If your house is small and ramshackle - it is still a roof over your head. If your bank balance is always looking more red than black realise that at least you are not starving. If you have one amazing friend but spend much time alone - be grateful for that one amazing friend you have - some people that seem so popular have no one when it really counts. Don't judge by others standards - we are all born different for a reason.

Live life with a smile where possible, with your eyes wide open and a little grace in your heart. Focus on what you have and not on what you haven't.

It changed my friends life - she's blissfully happy with the man she's been with for years. All that changed was her focus.

Snow is falling...all around....

Well Ok not quite....yet but I hear it will on Monday and I am stupidly excited about this.
Last year we had a white christmas and you can't really get more magical than that!

This year it's not been so cold which is a bonus but that does mean it's been more rainy which is a bit meh - it just makes you not want to go out or do anything.

When it rains I still have to go to work - so I get to listen to the world and its dog have fun outside - but I don't get too bitter - I just get up early and I run around putting my fresh foot prints in the snow - then I go to work and let the world take over. All around you instead of angry shouts and car horns, you can hear families out, playing, laughing - it's rather delightful to be so frightfully British for one moment.

Everywhere sparkles and glistens - like a giant glitter pot has been spilt all over. Little snowman, big snowmen...slightly deformed snowmen pop up everywhere. Icicles point their fingers down and sometimes they caputre a rose bud inside or make little alien faces and hands.

Everywhere becomes truely magical.

But then I want it gone - no one likes slush and mean drivers who go too fast into it to get you dirty and wet.

So come on snow fall - then go - just leave me like a bad date!!!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Sometimes when life gets you down.....

All you need to do is look at baby animals to smile again ;o)

For Lord and Lady Bagshot with love.

Today I had some horrible news.

One of the nicest, kindest people I know that is one half of the sweetest couple ever………is in hospital right now having had a tumour removed from his spine.

He’s been to the doctors and sought other medical advice and all this has been missed and he’s been bed bound wondering why he was not getting better.

Well, the tumour has been removed and thank god the surgery did not cause him to lose the use of his legs or any of those high risk things. Now they have a long and lonely wait to find out if the tumour is cancerous or not. I don’t normally pray but I will be tonight!

All too often – for reasons I am not sure about – patients are being dismissed from the doctors. It’s about time that it was taken into note that if someone rarely goes to the doctors it’s got to be pretty darn serious when they do. If doctors time is too pressed then something needs to be done.

There is room for a huge rant about all things connected with people being taken seriously but it’s almost by the by.

I get so disillusioned by this world sometimes. By life! It doesn’t really play ball very well does it? I mean, so many nice people get a world of shite thrown at them and then you can see some right little scuz buckets walking around with everything seemingly going right for them. It just doesn’t add up to me. I’m not wishing anyone bad, but sometimes I don’t get the ratios that life plays with.

All I can think is that things happen for a reason and it might just take a while to realise why things have happened and to hope that all works out for the best. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people all the time – I don’t get it but I am trying to learn.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

I'll catch you somewhere at the end of the rainbow!

Some days, most days, ok, nearly every night, I have trouble sleeping.

I don’t try to worry or stress or anything like that but my head just won’t stop it’s natter.
Ok please be aware I do not have voices like that I just mean my head kicks in. I enter this awake but not quite fully state where I write entire songs, lyrics, drums, guitar everything…it’s all there in my head but pooof it’s gone when I wake up…no time to find a pen or Dictaphone. The same happens with stories, I am always writing stories in my head – whilst I am out walking, trying to sleep……..it’s relentless….but in a really fun creative way – I just wish I could be as good when I am awake.
The only thing with this is that sometimes you can have the most vivid dreams – so real you are not sure if they happened. Did that person really say that to you? Did you really just win a ride on a unicorn? Is your house really now up in the clouds?

Waking up can sometimes end up disappointing as I go to reach for the lovely new dresses I think I have but alas they are not there. I reach for a mirror to check out my lovely clear sparkling skin and glossy hair but alas just little old me looks back, complete with bed head. I go outside thinking that ok maybe the unicorn won’t be there, but surely the pumpkin coach will be, I can’t have dreamt up both, can I! Or can I?

But imagine waking up in this bed every day – you couldn’t be sad could you!

(OK there is a slim chance you will dream about being eaten alive but at least it’s a rainbow doing the damage!)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Oh it could be so perfect

Just tell me this isn't the best form of transport...ever!

And this is surely the best curtain to have ever been made.

This is fast becoming my favorite chair - hasn't quite stollen the place of the revolving circular one but this is pretty special.

And the best kitchen....even I might cook in there!

These are wonderful - although they do bring in me a desire to pick one up and let it go to see what happens!

This is the sort of lounge I have dreamed about my whole life.

And what a bedroom. *sigh*.  I wonder if I smile REALLY sweetly at my boyfriend, I wonder if he'll sort out this dream for me?

Rookie Mag

I know Rookie Mag is an online mag for teenage girls but let's be honest here - how many of us feel like a fully fledged adult - like ever? And the issues that effected you as a teen or pre-teen still rear their head every now and then - well far more often than we like. You then beat yourself up for not being more together, and being a strong confident woman. Well being a strong confident woman is a bit about being a strong confident woman, a bit about knowing your demons and not to be afraid to keep addressing those demons until they become more friendly and it's also a little about faking it. The most confident person in the world will still have moments where they feel a wreck and don't you believe the media when they try to tell you otherwise. In fact, whilst we are on that subject - maybe don't believe the media on most things!!!

But here's a great article about How to not care what other people think of you - it's mostly aimed at teenagers but I bet you can still find something you relate to in it.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Linda Gillard Interview about the switch to Kindle and writing her award winning books

I stumbled across Linda by accident, I found a book called Star Gazing and decided to take a gamble.  Linda's writing style draws you into the books so quickly, if ice cracks, you can feel it, when she describes food cooking, it's as though you can smell it.  The world of publishing is changing hugely and Linda herself, has recently switched to self publication on the Amazon Kindle.  Read on for Linda's thoughts and reasons about this and to find out more about what inspires her to write.



How did you feel about ebooks when they first came out? If you didn't like them, what changed your mind about them?

As a reader, I wasn’t all that interested. I was running out of shelf space for books, but I thought I’d hate reading on a screen (especially as I spend my working life reading words on a screen.) But once I’d decided to publish an ebook I bought a Kindle because I thought I ought to understand how they worked. Much to my surprise, I found I not only enjoyed reading on a Kindle (it’s not back-lit, so it’s not like reading on a screen), I read faster. (I think that’s because larger fonts are kinder to my eyes.)

The other thing I loved was being able to download samples. That facility has made me more selective about what I buy, but more adventurous in what I try. I’ve stepped outside my genre comfort zone because ebooks are so cheap and you can sample them at your leisure.

Briefly describe the process of self publishing?

My publisher dropped me after my third novel, STAR GAZING. I wasn’t alone. Publishers reacted to the recession by dropping their mid-list authors to focus on big earners and first time novelists (whose books are easier to promote.) My agent tried to sell my next two books to other publishers, but she had no success. Editors liked them, but said they’d be hard to market because they belonged to no clear genre. (Which was true.)

But I had a substantial following and fans kept emailing me, asking when the next novel would be out. It was heart-breaking! So as my agent had given up trying to sell it, I decided to indie-publish one of my rejected novels on Kindle.

I e-published HOUSE OF SILENCE for my fans, but it quickly took off and became a Kindle bestseller. It’s sold 16,000 downloads in nine months and was chosen by Amazon as one of their Top Ten “Best of 2011” in the Indie Author category. So I’ve found a whole new readership and now have a guaranteed market for anything I e-publish.

What are the pros and cons in your opinion?

The pros… I love having complete artistic control (and the success of HOUSE OF SILENCE suggests I know what I’m doing.) I don’t have to sign up for a 2- or 3-book contract and there are no deadlines. I can now write what I want, when I want, how I want, without being told to dumb the book down or change a character’s behaviour. I can also choose a cover I like. (Two of my three paperbacks were saddled with unappealing covers.)

I’m making much more money with ebooks. Even though I’m only charging £1.80 for my most expensive ebook, I’m making more per download than I did out of the sale of a full-price paperback. (Most of the cover price of a tree book goes to the retailer and publisher. The author’s share is tiny.)

My ebooks won’t go out of print after a couple of years and will continue to earn for the foreseeable future. This is one of the reasons some successful authors are going indie. With traditional publishing most books have a shelf-life of a few years at most. Ebooks earn for ever.

The cons… Obviously the main disadvantage to indie e-publishing is you don’t have a hard copy of your book, which means you don’t get to do author events in book shops or libraries, so there are fewer opportunities to meet readers. A lot of people don’t have an e-reader, so they can’t read your books unless they’re prepared to read on a PC, phone or other device. So I’ve lost some of my readers and had a few disgruntled emails, complaining that my new novels are only available as ebooks. I’ve had to explain it’s the only cost-effective way I can make them available.

You have to do all your own publicity, but my experience is, even when you have a publisher, you’re still expected to promote your books and organize publicity for them. (Most authors moan that their publishers do very little to market their books once the launch is over.) Publishers have to market books to retailers (which increasingly means supermarkets), but I can market directly to readers and I know what they like. So although I now have sole responsibility for publicity, it’s easier. I’m not trying to persuade minor book festivals to give me a slot; I’m trying to persuade readers to take a chance on a new author for less than £1.

Until recently I would have said one disadvantage is that, as an indie author, you’re unlikely to sell translation rights to your ebooks (a significant source of income), but my agent has just sold two of my indie ebooks to Turkey, so that’s another barrier down!

How do you self promote?

I’ve spent a lot of time promoting my books – time I’d obviously rather spend writing. You have to find a balance.

I have an extensive website and I’ve also found my Facebook author page really useful. It leads to interaction with readers, which gets people talking. I can’t be bothered to Tweet and I don’t have a blog, but I guest on other people’s blogs all the time and I’ve joined in discussions on many book forums. Participating in those takes time, but it’s fun and good for building up a following. Readers who are active on one book forum tend to be active on several and the best way to sell a book is not a recommendation from the author, but an enthusiastic recommendation from a reader.

But over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that 90% of what you do as self-promotion is a waste of time: sending out press releases no one reads, doing library talks or bookshop signings attended by a handful of people. But about 10% of what you do is really valuable, you just don’t know which 10%! For example, I got chatting (as an author) with someone on the Read It, Swap It forum and she turned out to be a moderator for the Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) Book Club forum and she invited me to join in as a participating author in their Book of the Month discussion. One thing often leads to another, but you just can’t predict it.

What would your advice be for a total novice thinking about self publishing on Kindle?

It isn’t difficult to e-publish but if you’re a new author or not confident with social networking, it will be harder to make a success of it.

Developing a following and creating a buzz are essential. My healthy ebook sales were the culmination of six years’ interaction with readers on the internet. When it came to publication day for HOUSE OF SILENCE, we had an impromptu launch party on Facebook. My lovely, loyal readers bought the ebook, Tweeted, and blogged, so it was selling in a matter of hours.

But the vast majority of self-published ebooks don’t sell. A striking cover will give you an advantage and it must work as a thumbnail. It must also give an indication of genre and look professional. I paid a professional to design all of mine and consider it money well spent.

Price is crucial. Remember, you’re competing with a lot of free books, so look at what’s selling in your genre and note the price of the competition. There’s no point in charging more – you just won’t sell. You can always put your price up if you start to sell in quantity. That looks better than taking it down! Three of my e-books are less than 90p. I don’t know how an unknown thinks s/he can put a book on at £2.99 and expect it to sell.

You need an enticing synopsis on your product page and it mustn’t be too long. When I e-published, I knew an odd mix of genres didn’t mean my novel was uncommercial, simply tricky to market, so I went with the genre mix and created tag lines for my ebooks that told readers what they were getting. This seems to have worked! Many people told me they clicked on HOUSE OF SILENCE because I described it as “Rebecca meets Cold Comfort Farm” – two very popular books. I describe UNTYING THE KNOT as “Four Weddings and a Funeral meets The Hurt Locker” which gives you an idea of the roller coaster read it is.

Do you think you will ever go back to the more traditional methods of publishing?

Well, I’m open to offers! But author advances have been cut and publishers are struggling to survive. They can’t afford to be generous, nor do they have the publicity budget to promote relative unknowns. (For some reason publicity budgets are mostly spent on authors who already sell, not new or mid-list authors.)

It would be nice to have a hard copy of my ebooks, but I’m not desperate to get books out there with my name on. Been there, done that. Getting the stories out to as many readers as possible is what I want to achieve now and I think ebooks are the best way to do it. I can be fairly sure that a new ebook will sell thousands in a year. No publisher could guarantee that, so it’s hard to see what they could offer me now.

You have written quite a number of books now, how do you get your inspiration?

My ideas for books always start with a character – usually people who have questions attached to them…

Why did a woman run away from her old life to live alone on a bleak Hebridean island? (EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY)

What sort of man chooses bomb disposal as a career? And what sort of boy becomes that man? (UNTYING THE KNOT)

What would it be like to be blind? And how do you date? (STAR GAZING)

HOUSE OF SILENCE began with a story my mother told me about my grandmother. It lodged in my brain for years until eventually I decided to explore it and work out an alternative scenario.

I hate synopses and I don’t write them unless an editor insists. I think they’re counter-creative. Usually when I start, I don’t know how a book will end. (I didn’t know until quite late on which guy the girl would end up with in HOUSE OF SILENCE.)

I just start with a situation and I write to find out what happens! I think if I knew the story in any great detail, I probably wouldn’t bother to write it. I’d get bored.

Briefly describe your writing process?

It depends what stage I’m at with the book. In the early stages I might just sit and scrawl 5-10 pages of very rough draft. (I draft in pencil on lined A4. I can write straight onto the screen but I think I write better – or perhaps I mean think better – in longhand.) Then I’ll feel a bit tired and do something else, but I’ll still be thinking about the book. Later I’ll spend hours typing that up, printing it out, editing it, then printing it out again, then editing again… and so on. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a word of my original draft left!

By the time I’m two-thirds of the way through a novel, I’ll be putting in very long days at my desk because I need to enter the world of the book and stay there.

If I feel as if I don’t want to write a particular scene, I just don’t. (If I don’t want to write it, no one’s going to want to read it.) You don’t have to tell the entire story. I think books that tell you everything, in sequence, are like watching paint dry. I try to follow Elmore Leonard’s advice to writers: “Leave out the boring bits.”

Any last advice for any budding writers out there?

Writing professionally is hard work, emotionally, mentally and physically and the financial rewards are generally pitiful. Being constantly rejected is depressing. You put on weight sitting at a PC all day and in winter you get cold, regardless of the number of layers you wear. Novelist Robertson Davies said, “There is no point in sitting down to write a book unless you feel that you must write that book, or else go mad, or die.” That’s the only reason to do it. Because you have to.

If you’re determined to write, decide what you’re going to give up to make time to write. I gave up housework and watching TV. (Am I the only person in the UK who’s never seen BIG BROTHER or STRICTLY?...)You could get up an hour earlier. That’s how many people get a book written.

You must write for writing’s sake. Don’t expect publication or financial reward. Statistically speaking, you’re unlikely to get either. When you feel angry about your unsolicited manuscript being rejected, just remember, nobody asked you to submit it.

Don’t think of becoming a professional writer unless you actually like the idea of spending part of your working day promoting your work in a decidedly un-British way. That’s what authors have to do now, so park your modesty at the door, believe in your product and sell it.

Good luck!
Kindle bestseller & Editor's Pick for Kindle's Best of 2011

New on Kindle
STAR GAZING (Piatkus paperback & Kindle e-book)
Shortlisted in 2009 for Romantic Novel of the Year & the Robin Jenkins Literary Award
Winner of Favourite Romantic Novel 1960-2010

The links below will take you directly to the amazon kindle store for each book where you can read the rave reviews that each book has been given.






Thank you to Linda for a really insightful interview and long may her success as an author continue. I for one cannot wait to read her next offering.

Eciting news for authors, writers and book lovers!

So...all you book lovers and budding authors out there please watch this space.....amazing interview with the award winning author Linda Gillard due to be published on my blog this week....it's definitely worth the read.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Feeling inspired

I don't make new years resolutions as I don't think anyone sticks to them.  And if I want to do something, I want to do it! I also don't want to have to wait until the start of the year to always do something.  It's daft anyway as realistically who has much energy in January!?!

I think 5 years of being very inactive due to my health has given me all the motivation I need to get up and out there and to start living life and doing things that I want to do and not be concerned about what others think or whether it makes me look cool.  It's about whether it makes me happy.  This in turn will fill my life with lovely things and aleviate stress as a by product - or at least that is the plan.

Today I had my first piano lesson.  On a baby grand - which I was a little too excited about.  I have a little musical ability as used to play the flute but this is going to be a big challenge for me and I hope I make it, without annoying the neighbours too much!

I have also, finally, set up a book club.  It's called the Bookish Club and we will be having our first meeting soon and I am pretty excited about this.  There are a lot of book clubs out there that can be a bit too rigid and I want this one to be a nice chilled out environment where we can discuss books and life. It's for local people so I can do my little bit in helping to build something of a mini community in London - as it's something that is seriously lacking here.  London has so much but community - not so much!

My sewing machine is also out of the cupboard and rarring to go - I have a giant bag of fabric and I hope to create me some lovely dresses.  I am very much a beginner but I've already had a dress in a shop window....oh OK I confess I gave some to the charity shop to see if they would sell! I also had a costume designer mistake one dress I made as a Biba dress - talk about flattered, I know this was more about my choice of fabric than my skill with the needle but hey you gotta start somewhere.

I have one book completed 'Wish You Well' and another on the go  it's exciting.  I don't know why I waited so long to write but I am loving it so much.  If only there were more hours in the day.  I am a complete novice to this and have no clue where to go next but seeing as I am having fun I think that is the main priority dealt with.

In between all this I have started to walk wherever I can.  (nothing to do with how much I ate over christmas you understand.....)  It's a great way to feel at one with nature - which I know sounds totally hippyish but it's so nice to notice all the lovely little things around you that you wouldn't normally even see let alone pay attention to.  This also helps me partake in another of my favorite past times - photography.  I once dreamt about having my own darkroom - but with the very sad demise of Kodak I think it's going to be digital all the way for me now.

What time I have left I like to read, have long bubble baths and spend time with my loved ones.

Isn't it amazing how much you can get done in 24 hours when you manage your time.  I work full time and stil have time to day dream and sit around doing sweet FA.  I am trying to make more food from scratch and will even be attempting some more baking soon.

I once thought just going to work then out to a club was taxing on my time.  I always seemed to be busy and didn't have the time to do so many of the things I wanted to do yet with a bit of careful planning - look how much more I am cramming in to my 24 hours.

This is not a blog to gloat - as I have a loooooooong way to go in life - but this is a blog to inspire (I hope) and show you that all you need is a the will to want to do something and a dream.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

All words and no pictures!

So – all around me I hear about people struggling to make ends meet. Companies/businesses that have been going for years, that know their customers and are sometimes the only point of human contact for some of the elderly or just plain lonely….well these companies are dying or have gone. People are taking out loans hoping for things to get better but each time they hope the news reports more economic trouble.
It’s being reported that people are having to cut back on food and fuel.
This will lead to an increase of people getting ill and people dying in their cold homes.
When the government has to use public money to issue those over 65 with £100 in the winter to help heat their homes when the energy companies are making millions and billions in profit, well, you start to see just how corrupt this whole system is. Rather than the Government tackle these big companies, they are going to use public money or see elderly people die in their homes as they are too scared to turn their fire on.
Disgusting is the only word that is springing to mind here.
If you take out a loan or borrow money as a human being you expect and will be made to not just pay it back but to pay it back with interest and it would seem the more desperate and skint you are the more you have to pay back.
So why when the banks were in a desperate situation and needed to, HAD to borrow public money they do not even have to pay it back? Let alone with a huge interest attached?
Then to just add salt to the already quite horrible wound – they give themselves bonuses?
Isn’t a bonus an added extra – awarded for doing well?
If you’ve had to have a massive state bale out you really have not done well. Far from it.
When the protests against the bankers happened in London – the public were criticised but the bankers were let off for waving wads of money at the protestors below. It was their fault and that was how sorry they were!!!
It shows a really distorted, childish mentality and they are the people that are technically running the country.
The media choses to put whatever angle and slant on things that they want – keeping the nation in fear because a fearful nation is easy to control.
Poor people are richer in so many ways as it’s been true for centuries that those with little understand the need to share and look out for your fellow man but those that are rich are slightly removed from it all and less willing to dip in their pockets.
Oops was that gross generalisation – well you know what I mean and I think deep down you know that it’s true.
How does David Cameron have a single clue what it’s like for me? He lives in the Cotswolds – a beautiful part of the world and very near to where I grew up. He lives in a place where no one but the super rich and famous can afford to move to anymore. The only other way to get a house there is if you have a relative that has died…or win the lottery – again putting you into the super rich category.
He thinks he understands what it’s like to work full time, to spend 50% of my wages on putting a roof over my head…..then of course we have the soaring costs of transport, something I try not to use now, I am in a situation where I am walking wherever I can so I have some spare cash for other things. Does he ever know what it’s like to see the cupboards bare of food and knowing it’s still 6 days til pay day?
To live in a house that is costing 50% of your salary – that has a hole in the roof, that has a faulty central heating system but I can’t move because I can’t afford anywhere else due to the crazy increases in the rental market. And to buy a tiny flat – well you need a deposit of about £60K and need to have a joint income of £60 – 80K. How the hell is anyone meant to do that in this day and age?
Cameron tells us it’s our fault the economy is failing because we are not going out there and spending. That would be because we all have less money and not only that things are costing more so what little money we have isn’t going as far.
Why not ask the banks to pay back the money they owe? If they feel they can’t afford it – we’ll accept their bonuses as payment – that’s quite ok!
When you hear about a Romanian lady that was turned down for benefits in this country but was then advised to sell the big issue as she would then be eligible for £28K and housing benefit……..making her way richer than me!?!?! All I can say to that is ‘What the fuck!’
When people are squatting in properties owned by people – even lived in by other people and the law says it’s a civil matter and cannot get involved – again all I can say to that is ‘What the fuck!’ how is that not totally illegal?
When a friend had building gear stolen from their front lawn but were told an offence hadn’t been committed because they didn’t class the front lawn of their own property as being secure, that someone coming up to their front door and robbing their belongings is not a violation um sorry but you guessed it, ‘What the fuck!’
Kids are running around so disillusioned by life they are killing each other as though it means nothing. That’s our future.
And people wonder why I am seriously considering not having children. What a ‘gift’ I’d be giving them!
When public money is used the management of it is so outrageously and shockingly bad that I cannot believe my eyes and ears have the time.
When you see in the papers that it cost a hospital almost £500 to have a light fitting done you know that there is again a serious corrupt network at play here. If a business that runs on company money makes a saving then they are awarded less money the following year as they are deemed to not need it. Hardly a reward or encouragement for doing well – so it becomes in their interest to totally fritter money.
This is the major situation causing all our public funded businesses and services to be up shit creak. The management is shocking because the incentives are just not there and not enough is being done to sort it out. Time and time again the general public are asked to step in – well not asked – are made to pay more and get less. Not really a great deal and the feeling of discontent gets stronger as you realise how badly the money is being managed.
Take the situation with the tube – the company responsible for the upgrades ran out of money (mismanagement?) and demanded not just a little more but millions more. They were given it yet still didn’t finish the work and lost the contract leaving the repairs undone and the upgrades updone and never paid back a penny so where did all that money go? Wasn’t that a wise investment.
That is just one example – this happens time and time again when it is public money.
If I performed so badly in my job I wouldn’t have a job and rightly bloody so.
So why is it that this is allowed to keep on happening and has been happening for years?
I suggest Government looks at that and chews it over for a while.
That’s where the answers lie.
But seeing as they are some of the most guilty of this I don’t expect things to change any time soon.
Again – people wonder why I am contemplating not having children and why I feel more and more Grrr these days.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A hippy moment.........

I was feeling really down yesterday.
I have up and down moments.  I think we all do.
I've had a week at home, ill, with just my own thoughts.....it leads to some happy moments but inevitably, being my own worst enemy, I also put myself on one heck of a downer.

My friend Cathy lifted me without even realising it.  She said how she felt so blessed as she was in the perfect location to watch the daily ritual the sun has of setting....or something like that, but I am sure you get the idea.  I know some of you will think hippy nonsense, but it's true.

Sometimes silence is golden.  (As a child if this was ever said I knew I had to run otherwise my older brother would try to fart on my head).  Anyway, sometimes silence is golden.  Sometimes, i'ts scary, like so loud.  The silence can sometimes be deafening. 
I guess it's because you can truely hear your own thoughts and worries.  We've all bought into this materialistic lifestyle so much taht we don't seem to notice all the hidden free gifts that come with each purchase.

Those little free gifts making us feel like we're not good enough, like we still need more, that we must upgrade, upgrade, upgrade!  It doesn't really enrich us, it just makes us feel inadequate, as nothing we have is good enough, there is always something newer to be had.
True beauty and true happiness get lost.  We spend our time hcasing this unobtainable dream, which is really a nightmare.  If we'd stop being stupid we'd realise true happiness is right there in front of us, right in front of our noses, and you want to know what the best thing is....it's all free......

Story time with Moi

This might become a bigger story, I am not sure.  I was sleeping and woke up, thinking I heard something and wrote this.

I jumped awake.  Sitting bolt up right in bed, hitting my elbow on the cabinet.  Wincing in pain, eyes alert, I scanned the room.  Every shadow seemed right.  Didn't it?  The more I stared and peered into the darkness, the more the shapes seemed to jump and more.  I could feel a chill spreading quickly across my skin.  I shivered.  Was this from the breeze trickling through the ill fitting windows?  My duvet covered skin now exposed to the night air? Or was it something else? I gulped, barely allowing myself the next sentence.  Or was it someone else?  I started to hum, loudly and out of tune.  I realised the sound I was trying to block out was my own internal voice.  But external noise was the only way I could attempt to shut myself up.  It had failed for the last 26 years of my life.  Chances were it would fail me again now.
I screamed.  A loud, blood curdling, not just wake the household, but wake the whole neighbourhood too, type of scream.  Not that there were many to wake in our lovely exclusive neighbourhood.
I took deep breaths, helping my heart rate slow down.  It had only been the lacey voile at the window, rippling in the draft.
My childlike imagination, the only kind available in the night, saw a white, sheet like movement and thought of only one thing.
The theme to Ghostbusters started running through my head, temporarily silencing my voices.  'Temporarily' was the best I could hope for wasn't it? I mean, that's all anything is isn't it? Temporary.
As though spurred on by the word, I reached out my hand, gently caressing the sheet across the other side of the bed.  The empty air embraced me back.  Temporary.  That's all life is isn't it? That's all anything is.......then a hand reached out and covered my mouth........................

Why do we make relationships so complicated?

I don't believe there is such a thing as a perfect relationship.
It's human nature to get pissed off sometimes.
To feel wound up.
To do the winding up.
There's also a weird irony that the things you found cute at the start, will grate on your nevers as the years go by. 
As people you wil grow and change...or at least I really hope that you will......this is a good thing.
With a dose of luck and a big dollop of trying and effort with a side order of communication, you will grow together enough to still have enough in common.
To work together in your own version of harmony.
One major point to remember is to not believe all the hype around ou.  By that I mean what you hear and see of other peoples relationships.  You never know the full story.  The most perfect relationships can be so flawed behind closed doors and sometimes the most unlikely couples can be a match made in heaven behind closed doors.
The major sticking point as to waht will make or break a relationship is communication, as we all know, but respect, for one self and for your better half is absolutely the not spoken about enough ingredient to every successful relationship out there.
Sometimes this is mistaken for grand gestures but honestly, it's the little things in life that speak volumes.  The little things can make or break a relationship.  Remember that song 'Nothing.'
'Nothing can cause a great big fight.'
Take note people.  If someone says nothing is wrong, 98% of the time it means something is majorly wrong. 
Compromise is something that exists in every relationship.

The other person should never feel compromised though.
If you say you're going to call......call.
If you say you are going to be 20 minutes, be 20 minutes or call to say you will be later.
If someone is ill, ask them how they are feeling.
If you see someone doing housework and you're just sat there......get off your ass and help.
If someone's had a tough day run them a bath, pay them a compliment, give them a hug.
Do little things for the person you love.

Never ever take them for granted because one day you will be so shocked to find the cupboards empty and them and all their things have gone.
Little things.
We humans seem to overcomplicate everything.

Simple, easy rules, yet for some reason so many of us get it wrong.  4 things to remember but it's amazing how easily so many of us forget.