Books, Life, Self-publishing

Round-up of the week 24 March 2019

World:

Brutal attack on a village in central Mali.

Brutal attack on a village in central Mali on Saturday by armed men, wearing traditional Dogon hunter’s clothing, killing more than 130 people.
Gunmen surrounded the village at dawn before attacking, with guns and machetes, members of the Fulani ethnic community who are accused of having ties to jihadists.
Witnesses also say that nearly all the huts in the village were burned down in what is being described as a massacre.
My thoughts:
I can’t comprehend this world we live in where such atrocities take place. Is it really so impossible to live in peace? Thoughts and prayers, as always to the victims and their families.

London:

Stabbing near Syon Park, west London


A group of men chased a teenage boy through the streets of west London on Friday night, after getting out of a vehicle near Syon Park, Isleworth. When they caught up with the 17-year-old they stabbed him and he later died at the scene despite police giving first aid at the scene.
My thoughts:
This is a couple of miles away from where I live. This is getting scarily closer all the time. It seems that our police need to get a grip back on the streets before its too late. In which case the police need more resources and greater powers. My prayers go out to the victim’s family and I hope they catch those bastards soon.

My World:

I’ve now completed six weeks at my new job, I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by. The workload is intense, non-stop but I haven’t been so happy in years. After four horrendous jobs, of not sleeping, and feeling on edge all the time I am now sleeping eight hours at a time and so relaxed and happy that it is having a positive affect on all areas of my life.
On the way home from work on Friday on my motorbike a scumbag on a scooter swerved towards me with his foot out, in an attempt to kick me off. I was able to swerve and got away unscathed.
Payday, meant I could splurge on getting my, long overdue, hair highlighted. Looking good!
A lovely weekend, including, mum and dad time, me time, writing oh and the necessary evil of housework!

My Writing:

Still working on the edits of book five in the Children from the Streets series. It’s rather scary how easily I’ve jumped inside the head of a psychopath. A tiny taster from when Paolo was eight years old, he was walking to the shops with his friend:

My foot inched out and caught the front of his, sending him flying. He landed face down in the dried, baked earth which hadn’t seen water for a while. I rushed to his side, apologised, you know all the things a friend would do and he blamed himself for his clumsiness. I accepted this version readily. A stone had grazed his face, leaving a gouge mark, his hands were scratched and his clothing torn but despite my solicitous attentions and insistence that we head back to the house, the greedy little boy wanted sweets and a taste of his destiny which wouldn’t be so sweet.

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Round-up of the week

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World

Gary Martin, 45 from Illinois who was being fired from his job of 15 years, shot dead five people and injured several others at his workplace. He was then killed during an exchange of fire with police officers. Five officers were shot and wounded.

My thoughts: “How sad that someone who has worked all those years for a company is pushed to such terrible and tragic actions. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of his victims and his own. We can never know what hell a person is going through, even someone we know well. Be kind to each other. ” Maria

London

The police were called to Tesco’s in Osterley, West London on Sunday at midnight after reports of forced entry into the store. Brazen thieves carried out a ram raid on the store, making off with the safe from the bureau de change. Police are still looking for the culprits who left disarray in their wake.

My thoughts: “This is a little close to home for me, being less than four miles from my home and the place where my parents shop each week.” Maria

My week

I started a new job this week after being out of work for 6 weeks. It’s early days yet but my first impressions are favourable. The training schedule is better than any other role I’ve been in and the team has been warm and welcoming, making me feel as though I’ve been there for ages as I’m so comfortable. The role is varied and will take a lot to learn but it has captured my imagination and I’m excited at the prospect.

Watch this space!

Saturday was spent riding about on my motorbike and catching up on chores & Sunday writing and family meal.

I’ve also been extremely fortunate to be allowed to beta read for one of my favourite authors Sherri A Wingler for her new book which will be released soon.

My writing

So, I’m working on book 5 of a 6 book series. Children from the Streets has tugged at many a heart string for both books 1 & 2 which have been published and the feedback on books 3 & 4 from editor and beta reader is that they will cause the same reaction. However, for book 5 I’ve had to take a detour and get my evil on, which I’ve found myself enjoying immensely.

I’ve set myself some tight deadlines so I have held books 3 & 4 back and will finish the edits on them at a later stage to enable me to do a rapid release on the rest of the series.

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Round-up​ of the Week

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News from around the world

Something a bit lighter today.

North and South Korea joined together to compete under the same flag as the women’s ice hockey team competed against the Swedish team. The Swedish team beat them 3-1.


News from London

Serial sex attacker John Worboys is believed to have been moved back to HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire prison having been moved from HMP Belmarsh in south-east London.

Worboys was jailed for a minimum term of eight years in 2009, convicted of 19 offences. Police believe that he may have committed over 100 rapes and sexual assaults. The parole board announced last month that Worboys would be released from prison. Sir Brian Leveson and Mr Justice Garnham will consider whether to allow the mayor of London and two of the victims’ to apply for a judicial review.

I’m a believer that when someone has served their sentence they should be allowed to re-enter society, however 9 years for 19 confirmed assaults, really? Crimes of this magnitude, on this scale, should not allow the perpetrator to see the light of day ever again. That equates to about half a year per victim – or at least all those he was convicted of. When the victims get to live with the effects of the abuse forever then so should the perpetrator.


My News

It’s been another busy working week which has taken up most of my energy and concentration, so much so that I forgot to take my disk lock off my motorbike when I left work on Monday. Needless to say, I ended up lying on the floor in the carpark and my bike suffered a broken mirror. We were both ok though despite the “lovely” gentleman who pulled up in front of us, looked at me and then drove off without even ascertaining whether I was alright.

Managed to get a gym session in, need to step these sessions up though in order to start my training for the half marathon.

I have started redecorating my living room, this is going to be a slow process with so little available time, I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed doing this.

I’m currently reading, and enjoying, “Banker’s Town.” by Joel Hames.


Writing News

This week hasn’t seen too much writing but I have added a little bit more to Illicit Love and I’m getting very excited about where it’s going. If you want to find out a bit more about this series.

Click here to pick up a copy of Is this Love?

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Fear

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Fear is something each and every one of us has experienced at some point in our lives whether it be a rational fear which is an appropriate response to a real situation or a perceived threat or an irrational fear or phobia.

What triggers fear?

Rational fear can be a natural response to a situation which threatens danger or a response to a horrible experience. The basis of an irrational fear is a lot harder to pinpoint but it could be a learnt behaviour seen by a parent or someone else, it can be a response to a bad dream which has carried over into real life.

What symptoms are produced through fear?

Increased breathing rate or hyperventilation

Muscle tension

Goosebumps

Sweating or dry palms

Nausea or knot in the base of your stomach

What do  I fear?

I fear losing those people who are closest to me, my loved ones. I fear for the future of some people I love who fate hasn’t dealt a fair hand to. These fears are all manageable and only affect me when I dwell too much on them.


I regularly feel fear when I ride my motorbike especially in my area where the road users have no idea of road craft and many assume a motorcyclist should ride next to the pavement as a cyclist does. Not a brainy bunch around here! Many road users deem themselves to have more skills than they actually possess or more frighteningly consider my life inconsequential, either way they put me in danger and a number of times it has only been my own forward planning and quick reactions that have saved my life. The fear that comes from that situation is immense. There are particular roads that now cause a reaction of extreme caution in me now because of regular occurrences so fear is adapting the way I tackle certain areas on the road.

Phobia’s, oh yes I have them too. Spiders, cockroaches, rodents and heights – or at least heights where I don’t feel secure. For example I love flying, even loved being in a helicopter looking down but if I’m anywhere where I feel I could fall then the major fear kicks in. Where did they come from? I honestly don’t know!

What made me choose fear as the topic for this blog?

I am about to start writing a new book based on a boy called Carlos who featured in my last book, “A Boy from the Streets”. Carlos wasn’t a main character but he seems to have got into my head and is demanding I write his story now. I’m not going to say too much as I don’t want to give anything away.
Carlos is a young boy who ended up living on the streets after his parents died and his maternal uncle decided he didn’t want another mouth to feed. While Carlos is on the streets something happens to him and Carlos is now stalked by fear. This is a real fear of something happening which has its roots firmly in the incident from his past. Can he get past his fear to enable him to live a full life?

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Excerpt taken from: A Boy from the Streets.

myBook.to/BoyfromStreets

Fear can be debilitating and not easy to overcome, so remember to be kind to your fellow humans, you don’t know what they’re dealing with or what scars they carry.

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Goodbye 2016 – Hello 2017

2016 has been on the whole a great year for me, there have been ups and downs but I can honestly say that it has been more positive than negative.

I started the year in one job where I wasn’t happy and in November got a new job which is in walking distance (three minutes door to door). Although I am still learning the ropes in this new field my stress levels are so much lower. I’m sleeping at night instead of waking up at ridiculous o’clock worrying what the next day will bring. My health had started to be affected by my job and now I feel as though I am getting back to where I was before. We spend so much time at work that its important that we enjoy it, when you realise that you are dreading it you know the time is ripe to move on.

I look forward to getting to know more about my new job in 2017 and feeling like I know what I’m doing. My previous role was in the motorcycle industry and I am moving into investment and acquisitions predominantly dealing with property and construction. I think this will keep me interested for a while to come.

In 2016 I was lucky enough to get some motorbike training on a 600cc motorbike from one of the instructors, Tony, who has also moved on to another company. In 2017 I hope to do some more training and hopefully take my full licence.

I was lucky enough to go on two fabulous holidays this year, in May I went to Portugal and in November the Dominican Republic. For anyone who knows me they will know that holidays are my main priority, foregoing many other things in order to get my fix of holidays. Each holiday gives me the chance to relax and unwind. I love to explore new areas and spend time reading and writing in the most beautiful of settings. I was very fortunate with the Dominican Republic holiday being upgraded from a 3* to 5* hotel with premium service. The room was bigger than my ground floor at home. I had a hot tub on the balcony which looked out over the sea which was lucky as they had unusual weather with 5 out of 10 days being solid rain. Needless to say I spend a lot time writing. During my time there I went on an adventure excursion which included a zip wire, this was quite a challenge for me as I hate heights but loved it so much that they allowed me a second turn.

I published another novelette this year, which I wrote for an anthology for the first UK Indie Lit Festival but decided to publish when I received such positive feedback on it. The festival was a blast and was a chance to meet up with the fantastic authors that I have been talking to online. We have now forged strong bonds and the support network is phenomenal in particular my friendship with Su Echo Falls S’ari (aka Rose English). We have formed a partnership for book signings and online parties, Roses & Dreams which goes from strength to strength.

In 2017 I have signed up for The West Midlands Book signing which is being held on 4th February and the UK Indie Lit Festival later on in the year, date to be confirmed.

My new book (novel) A Boy from the Streets is with my editor now and will be published as soon as is humanely possible. I am very excited about this book and can’t wait to share it with everyone.

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A few little teasers:

 

I have two more novels lining up for 2017 as well as about thirty other ideas in various different stages.

‘Is this Love?’ and the sequel ‘Illicit Love.’

Last but not least I have spent quality time with my family who are as always amazing, the biggest blessing in my life. I am proud of each and every one of them and look forward to spending time with them next year.

I look forward to seeing where 2017 will take me in all areas of my life.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

 

Life, Self-publishing

Life throws a curve ball – watch this arc

It started with a lump, well maybe it didn’t quite start there. The roots probably go further back, but I am starting this life journey at the lump.

This year I fulfilled a lifetime’s dream of publishing my writing. I bit the bullet and self-published. I have two short stories out there, one soon to be in print and at least 8GB of brain memory filled with new ideas.

I started writing as a child, one who read voraciously. Enid Blyton was my hero, followed by J.R.R Tolkien a few years later. A whole host of amazing authors have made their mark on my brain, and my favourite author as an adult is Sharon Penman.

I have spent -gasp- 13 years working on a novel. Life got in the way, and when I thought it was finished, I discovered that it was a long way off, by about 70,000 words. In that time though I have worked on many other projects and have a list of WIP that rival the normal person’s TBR list.

Last year I met a man who has become a friend, a man who inspired me and woke me up from merely existing. I followed his advice (not to the letter) and in January I published ‘As Dreams Are Made On’ followed by ‘A Lifetime or a Season’ in February. I have learned so much in that time, made changes, paid for a professional to design my covers. (A Lifetime will be receiving an overhaul imminently) I have been able to take this experience though and put it into the changes that I need to make with the novel.

How did I meet this guy? He turned up to do a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training Course) for Motorbikes at the place I work. I also met another man there who came to do his full bike licence with us and after chatting he gave me the details of a friend of his who is also an author. She gave me some great advice when I started out, and it is through her that I came to employ the services of the amazing woman who provides me with the most beautiful book covers.

So, I can hear you asking “Where does the lump come into this?”

I woke up one morning some years ago, stretched -as you do. As I lifted my arm up above my head, I discovered a lump under my arm. This wasn’t a little limp that you had to use a magnifying glass to see. This was a lump of epic proportions. I eventually had it nicknamed my ‘third boob’. I’m sure you can all imagine the fear I experienced, the C word reverberated around my head. Imagine my fear when the Consultant ran across the hospital to see if he could get me booked in for an emergency scan. Mmm yes, I haven’t seen many doctors running outside of A&E.

It turned out to be a Lipoma (a benign tumour of fatty tissue). I was given the opportunity to have it removed straight away, or I could leave my third boob in place ( Rival Anne Boleyn’s finger count!). Of course I wanted it removed, sunbathing with three boobs was just weird. It tucked in rather nicely under my arm until I lifted it up and then the thing sat bold as brass. The Doctor was straight with me and said it is only cosmetic but because of the placement of it I could risk losing the use of my left arm if the surgery went wrong. I made the only sensible decision: so my third boob stayed.They told me to monitor it and if things got worse it would be removed.

A few years later, the tumour spread. I got to the point where I was in pain and couldn’t really move my neck easily. I returned to my local hospital where I was patronised by a different Consultant and had to wait ages to get an appointment for the removal. I went to my GP and was then referred to The Royal Marsden one of the best cancer hospitals in the world. The treatment I received was second to none though I felt slightly fraudulent when I saw the patients with ‘real cancer’. The operation was a success, but I had to take two weeks off work and wasn’t allowed to ride my scooter or lift anything heavy for three months.

In that time, my CBT bike licence expired as did my insurance, so my brother wheeled it into my back garden to wait my return. When the three months was up, and I knew my arm was strong enough, I booked myself in for a CBT. If my insurance and CBT hadn’t expired, I would have taken my bike to the training centre. Instead, I took my helmet, jacket, gloves and trousers. (Gear that other people have worn stinks to high heaven!) My instructor’s name was called Lewis. I was one of those students who pipes up with all the answer and an array of anecdotes and jokes (probably very annoying!). It transpired that Lewis’ mum lived locally to me, so I cheekily said “Give us a lift home.” He did. We chatted a while, and he told me that he and a friend Terry were setting up their own business. I knew of Terry, he also lived around the corner from me.

A week or so later I bumped into Terry, and we also talked about this new business venture. I was ready for a new challenge, so said if they were looking for admin then let me know.

It was about a year later that Terry turned up on my doorstep asking “Are you still looking for a job?”

I said “Potentially, come on in.”

So that is how the lump that scared me, that had me envisioning all sorts of dire ends brought me to a new job and meeting two men who in their own ways helped me in my self-publishing journey.

So maybe the moral of this particular story is that even when life is as bleak as it can get, it might just be a stepping stone to the life you are destined for. I look forward to continuing to pursue my dreams. At the moment I’m not living the life I love but I am on the path.

Uncategorized

Biking- the dangers for a new rider

I wrote a post a few months ago, through the eyes of a biker. At that time, I was a scooter rider with fantasies of being a “proper” biker. On Monday, I bought a Motorbike and the only thing I am missing is the leathers.

I clocked up about 15,000 miles over four and a half years, riding my scooter became as natural to be as breathing which was as well because it gave me ample opportunity to watch out for the idiots on the road. The less I had to concentrate on what I was doing the more I could concentrate on everything around me.

A scooter has three control, the throttle that you twist and go; it controls your speed and a front and back brake like on a bicycle. Simple.

The motorcycle is a completely different animal. You have a clutch, throttle and a front brake controlled by your hands. Then you have a back brake and gears operated by your feet. You need to learn to listen to your bike, it screams at you if you need to change gears. It is a finely tuned operation. And scariest still you can stall it… and I have done on numerous occasions. If you stall your car and the person behind you isn’t paying much attention or maybe illegally on their phone you’ll get shunted along, maybe a dent on your bumper. If I stall it, I may get a car or van sending me flying through the air…two cars came perilously close yesterday.

I know that give it a week or two and my riding will be really smooth, a month’s time and I won’t even remember what it was like to ride a scooter but at the moment I am shaky, I may stall it, I may take off a tad too slowly at the lights as my natural scooter instinct screams throttle but the bike screams clutch at me and feed it out gently to avoid the kangaroo jumps. It may take me a tiny bit longer to process that I need to change up a gear to match the road speed.

Other road users if you open your eyes you will see us, you will see that we are not as confident, that we are still learning, be patient…your need to get to where you are going could cost us our lives. Today I had a Land Rover following me at an indecently close distance and as I turned into another road he tried to overtake me on a bend. I won’t put into print what I think of him.

None of us like being behind learners but to bully them… really… is that what you’re about? A learner is less likely to be able to respond to situations so if your driving places them in a vulnerable position you could be responsible for it all going wrong.

The road belongs to us all. Slow down and think about what you are doing before you have to explain to someone’s mum, dad, husband, wife, child, friend why you getting to your destination two minutes earlier was more important than their loved one’s life.