Books, Life, Self-publishing

Round-up of the week 26th May 2019

World:

Rescued hiker: ‘It came down to life and death and I had to choose’

A hiker found alive more than two weeks after she went missing on Maui, Hawaii, has spoken from her hospital bed. Amanda Eller said she faced a choice between “life and death”.

Ms Eller, 35, was last seen on 8 May. Family and friends had launched an intense search effort and offered a cash reward for her safe return.

London:

World War Two bomb found near Kingston University
A controlled explosion has been carried out on a World War Two bomb found near Kingston University, the Metropolitan Police said.
The unexploded device was found on a building site on Thursday morning.
Nearly 1,500 homes were also evacuated and the Met warned some may be without gas and electricity while surveyors carried out checks.
Police cordons in the Kingston area will remain in place while the site is assessed, the Met added
The controlled explosion was carried out by the armed forces’ specialist Explosive Ordinance Disposal team.
On Thursday, Kingston Council confirmed two polling stations being used for the European elections had to be shut while the bomb was being dealt with.
Students and staff from Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road and Knights Park campuses, as well as the University’s nursery and some student halls, have been affected by the cordon.

My World:

Three and a half months at my ‘new’ job and had my probation review and I’m pleased to say I’m still there. LOL
The WWII bomb that was found in Kingston was just down the road from where I work in Surbiton and many of the roads around me were closed off. I went out to do a property visit on Thursday but was stopped by a police cordon and the policeman explained that an unexploded bomb had been found, the road I wanted to go to was being evacuated at the time. My colleagues heard the controlled explosion on Friday, although I must be hard of hearing because despite being right next to them I heard nothing.
Still decorating, the wallpaper is almost halfway up and I’m going stir crazy, want my home back to normal.
A lovely day spent with my mum, dad, sister and niece Sophie who turned twenty on Wednesday.

My Word:
Started the final edit on book three and hope to have that released very soon. Watch this space!

Have a lovely week.

Books, Life, Self-publishing

Round-up of the week 21st April 2019

World news:

Map showing locations of explosions
Attacks in Sri Lanka

Eight blasts have been reported in Sri Lanka targeting churches and hotels, killing at least 207 and 450 are thought to have been hurt.
Three of the explosions were in churches during Easter Sunday services.

A national curfew has been put in place “until further notice” and social media networks have been temporarily blocked.
A foreign ministry official has said at least 27 foreign nationals are among the dead.

My cousin and her family are in Colombo at the moment, keep safe Brenda, Gary and family.

London News:

Jason Isaacs
Man convicted of murder of teenager, Jason Isaacs shown above.

Jason Isaacs, 18, was walking with friends in Northolt in November 2017 when he was targeted by four people of two mopeds. They chased him, he became separated from his friends before he was caught by this gang who proceeded to stab him several times. Jason collapsed in a garden and died three days later in hospital.

Joel Amade, also 18, of Greenford, was found guilty of Mr Isaacs’ murder in a trial at the Old Bailey and will be sentenced in May.

The family of the victim will never get Jason back but I hope the courts dole out a sentence that is fitting for the heinous crime.


My World:

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it.

Ten weeks in my not-so-new job and still loving every minute of it. Something happened this week as a result of an inspection report which has made a slight difference to how someone will live and it made all the hours of hard work feel worthwhile.

Had a lovely weekend as my son Mark came home for Easter and had a lovely family day today around at my mum and dad’s house.

My Writing:

Truth & Retribution is now in the hands of my lovely editor, hoping she doesn’t hate me after reading it! I have started reading back through A Boy from the Streets to make a few minor changes and edit any mistakes that were previously missed. I have also decided to change the front and back matter and want to get it right in book 1 before moving on to book 2 and the final edits on books 3 & 4.

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Round-up of the week 14th April 2019

Thought I would keep it light-hearted today with the news, I’ll leave all the sinister stuff to my finished book.

World News:

A North Atlantic right whale off the US east coast
Baby boom for one of the world’s most endangered whale species. Three North Atlantic whale mother and calf pairs have been seen in Cape Cod bay.
Only about 459 of the species are thought to remain.

London News:

Seals returning to the Thames.

The rising seal population in the Thames is considered a sign that water quality is improving.


My news:

Not much new to tell, working all week as usual, nine weeks in to the job and still love it. Fingers crossed that this is the one. Although, the life, work balance is still skewered heavily on the side of work.
Weekend was filled with the excitement of housework, food shopping etc…
Saw my mum, dad, brother, niece and nephew which is always lovely. Very proud of my sister and her youngest daughter who rang a half marathon and 10km respectively today.
I’ve got a banana bread baking in the oven as I type this, using coconut flour – can’t wait to taste. I dropped the banana bread coming out of the oven and it looks a mess, tastes good though.

Writing:

I’ve only gone and finished my edits of book five from the Children of the Streets series. Truth & Retribution is winging its way to my editor. This is such a change of direction for me as the character took control and lead me down the paths of evil.



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 17.03.2019

World:

Flash floods in eastern Indonesian province of Papua have killed at least 58 people, rescue workers are still looking but are struggling to reach the remote areas as roads are blocked by landslides and fallen trees, so the number of dead may rise.

More than 4,000 people have had to leave their homes. Torrential rains began on Saturday evening and continued into the night, triggering mudslides and flash floods.

My thoughts:
What a horrible tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

London:

A 29-year-old man was stabbed to death in a fight in Fulham in the early hours of Saturday on the junction of Gowan Avenue and Munster Road, dying at the scene.

My thoughts:
I used to work around the corner from where this took place. It’s so scary that these awful acts of violence are closing in all around us and becoming commonplace. My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the victim.

My World:

I’m not sure why I have this slot in my blog, lol, because I don’t do a hell of a lot on a weekly basis. Week 5 of the new job done, still great. Every day is different and interesting.
Went to see an old work colleague from when I worked at the motorbike training school on Thursday night after work, I haven’t seen Stacy in a few years. We’ve been doing the “we must meet soon dance” for ages and finally got around to pinning down a date.
Weekend was taken up with writing, housework and a visit to my family.

My Writing:
I finally hit “The End” on the first draft of book 5 from The Children on the Streets series. Now the edits begin. Fun times.




Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Round-up of the week 10 March 2019

World:

An Ethiopian Airlines jet with 149 passengers and eight crew members onboard a flight from the Ethiopian capital and bound fro Nairobi in Kenya, has crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on board.


It is reported that 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, eight Americans and seven Brits were among the passengers. The crash happened six minutes after the Boeing 737 Max-8 took off.

An eyewitness at the scene reported an intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground. “The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn’t get near it,” he said. “Everything is burnt down.”

The cause of the crash is not yet clear, however, the pilot had advised of difficulties and requested a return.

My thoughts:

What a terrible tragedy, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
We never know when our time is up and should make the most of what we have in the here and now.

London:
A woman jailed for four-and-a-half years for fraud after posing as a Grenfell Tower fire survivor lost a challenge against her conviction.
The 48 year old watched via a video link from prison as three Court of Appeal judges in London threw her case out.
The woman claimed to have escaped from the horrific fire in west London in 2017, where her husband and sister-in-law had died. But she was in fact, single and living miles away in Sutton, south London.
Msokeri claimed about £19,000 in cash donations, goods and hotel costs.

My thoughts:

I still remember the cold that seeped into my body as I watched the horror of Grenfell Tower unfold, the horrendous loss of life, a community scarred for life and to think that an unscrupulous individual would try to take advantage of this tragedy for personal gains is beyond comprehension. Personally, I think her sentence was too light. If she can be so heartless as to wish to benefit from the loss of others what else is she capable of?

My World:

I can’t believe that I’ve now been in my new job for a month, each day is different, interesting and with scope for many challenges. I’m loving it!
This weekend has been another one where I’ve had quality family time, a meal at the local Nepalese restaurant with my sister, nineteen-year-old niece and long-term friend on Saturday night.
Sunday we took Mum and Dad out for a meal to celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary.

My Writing:
This weekend I’ve seriously hit the writing as I’ve realised that I have so much to write and so little time as it’s booked in with the editor for April 15th and I’m still on the first draft. The plot thickens as the story takes another twist that I hadn’t expected. I’m really loving getting into the head of this narcissistic character.

Books, Life, Self-publishing

Round-up of the week 24/2/2019

Round up of the week

World

A forty-seven-year-old woman who was told her tissue was too similar to her husband’s had to be made allergic to his sperm in order to have a successful pregnancy.

Kathryn, a laboratory manager from Derbyshire who’d had four miscarriages turned to the help of her colleagues when normal channels came up blank. The couple was found to be tissue type matched which meant her body wasn’t seeing the sperm part of the embryo as foreign so as a result the pregnancies weren’t being nurtured.

After injecting her with her partner’s white blood cells, her body was able to recognise it as a foreign body. The couple now have a beautiful baby girl

My thoughts: After looking at many depressing news stories this week, I found this and thought I would spread this beautiful story of hope.

London

There was chaos on the streets of Hounslow on Thursday 21 February after a what is described as a severe accident closed off the A4 westbound road from Sutton Lane to Vicarage farm road.

My thoughts: I was told about this by a friend who’d sat in this traffic and said that everyone was executing crazy and dangerous manoeuvres in an attempt to access other routes. This kind of thing can be very frustrating for us having to deal with in our daily lives but I tried to consider how much worse it could be, there but for the grace of God and all that.

Me

Week 2 successfully completed in my new job and still really enjoying it. To complement the fantastic training I went to the office I’ll be mainly based at and was able to start helping my new manager. The team is so supportive and I feel like—fingers crossed, touch wood and all that—I have found the place I want to be.

I woke up Saturday morning with a stinking cold/sinus infection like I didn’t have enough of those last year to last a lifetime!!!!

Every year my friend Jules and I make each other Christmas presents which could be something simple which hasn’t taken long or a long and complicated craft project—this year I’ve plumped for the complicated one and this is going to take me a long time. The supplies I needed arrived this week so I will be starting today. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about it as she might read this blog!

I got up early (ish) Sunday morning so that I could take my slot in the online book event “Our books are not free” which is the second of its kind. It’s a great event aimed at promoting the value of paying for books which as an author is something I am very passionate about. Check it out. A whole bunch of awesome authors who are not giving away the products that they’ve laboured hard on and paid much for.

https://www.facebook.com/events/565616523906689/

Writing

I have to admit I haven’t reached my writing targets this week. Need to crack on my April deadline is fast approaching to get this book to the editor.

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Round-up of the week

Chuckles-3

 

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

Work/Life balance

Work_Life Balance.png

 

Does it exist? It would seem to me that the scales tip firmly on the side of work – so where is the balance?

Work takes up the majority of our working hours but it seems that employers are taking up more of our leisure time as working hours and stress levels increase. Where does that leave downtime? I can tell you that is doesn’t. We’re so caught up on this endless treadmill of trying to earn a living to put a roof over our heads, pay the bills, support a family etc… that we end up spending so much time at work to pay for it all. When you get home, chores, eating and head to bed so that you can face the next day. Weekends are the time you catch up on chores and can maybe indulge a little in whatever passes for leisure for you. Then on a Monday morning, barely refreshed we step back onto that treadmill of life again.

Many years ago my brother said, “You either work to live or live to work. ” this has always resonated with me. I don’t live to work. Don’t get me wrong, I have to work and I want to enjoy what I do. I have a strong work ethic and believe in giving my all to work, but all that results in is burn out. Over the last few years, I’ve experienced and heard more and more about horrendous work conditions. Now bearing in mind that maybe 50% of the population (this is a guess – see the maybe!) work to live then how have we allowed ourselves to end up in places that tear at our sanity, rob us of our sleep and make us dread going to work? Now I’m not suggesting that everyone experiences this, for all those people who love/like/enjoy going to work, I’m very pleased for you – that is how it should be.

Now, this really isn’t just a post about personal experience, this is something I’ve been hearing from people around me. Some very capable people, who work hard are being undermined, bosses, managers are chipping away at people’s self-confidence. I hear you say, well why do you stay? Good point. Except when they leave they find themselves in a similar situation in another company.

Why are things so dire? Have they always been that bad? Or as we get older do we struggle to deal with it? Are we worn out by it all?

I’m 44 years old and I know that I can’t take another 20 years of this but I have a plan for an exit strategy, which is a few years down the line but maybe not quite 20. My intention is to eventually be able to give up full-time work and live off what I earn from my writing. A long way off as I might have already mentioned. But with this in mind I have to spend a lot of my spare time writing, this is no hardship as I love writing, which brings me back to my earlier point of having fewer leisure hours in which to do it. Now let’s add into the mix, lack of sleep, messed up mind and inability to switch off from a demanding job and you can see what a challenge I have set myself.

“Take Care Of Your Employees And They’ll Take Care Of Your Business,” Says Richard Branson, Founder Of The Virgin Group.

Check this out 

ACAS: “Look after your staff and they’ll take care of the rest”

Check this out

ACAS has even published a guide on how to get the right balance to look after staff.

It isn’t just me saying it: when the leading employment law specialists and a man as successful as Richard Branson are recognising the importance of a good workforce and looking after them, why is it so hard for employers to do it?

If you compare yourself to a rechargeable battery for a moment (go with me) and you keep running that battery to empty and then put it on change for the bare minimum of time, you’ll only get the bare minimum back. If, however, you keep that battery topped up you get the best from it. (You see where I went with that?) Workplace empowerment creates a good environment where staff want to strive to be the best. Constant pressure and micromanagement create a stressed workforce who try to do their best under trying circumstances but invariably they burn out. We spend the best parts of our days at work, we should be able to feel safe there.

If you are a manager/boss and you’re reading this, think about this truth: People rarely leave their job, they leave their boss. Empower your staff don’t drain them.

Leaving you with one small thought: If 15,000 people picked up a copy of one of my novels, I could give up working for a year.

If 30,000 people did – I’d have two years grace.

If that were to happen I could leave my stressful work environment behind and write full-time.

Let’s get this trending #helpMariagiveupwork 😉

If you’re tempted in the US:

If you’re tempted in the UK:

 

I’d love to hear back from you on the following.

Do you live to work or work to live?

What are your experiences in the workplace, good or bad? Feel free to share experiences.

 

 

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Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Round-up of the week:

Chuckles-3

 

globe-1290378_640News from around the world

A couple in Kuwait was sentenced to death for killing a Filipina maid. A Lebanese man and his Syrian wife were convicted in absentia. The body of the maid was dumped in a freezer in their abandoned apartment and it was discovered over a year after the murder.


London.jpgNews from London

A paralysed man is hoping to become the first paraplegic male to walk the London Marathon. Simon Kindleysides, 34, from Norwich, was diagnosed with a brain rumour which left him paralysed from the waist down. It will take Simon, 37 hours to complete the course wearing an exoskeleton suit.

What an inspirational man.


Me.1.jpgMy News

Work has been busy and has seen me at two different sites with two different sets of challenges.

My son came home for Easter on Good Friday and will be going home Easter Monday. We went out for a meal with my parents and my sister and niece on Saturday and on Sunday went to Mum and Dad’s for dinner, spending some time with my brother and nephew.

It has been a lovely chilled out weekend.

My sister and I have finally signed up for the half-marathon that we’ve been talking about for the last couple of months. Training to start in earnest now. It won’t be until September, so enough time to do this sensibly.

I’ve been working at challenging a particular fear of mine this week. I have a fear of going around the Hammersmith Roundabout and this week I did it, twice. I won’t say I’m not scared still but I did feel an amazement sense of achievement and if I continue to do it this will be one fear I can say goodbye to.


Me.2Writing News

Sent out March’s newsletter with a sneak preview of my new cover for Sins of the Father which everyone else can see shortly.

I’ve spent my free time working on the edits on Sins, I have reached 68/122.


 

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