Saturday, 20 December 2014

Peace on Earth… it’s in our hands, isn’t it?




Let’s be perfectly frank and honest here… this week has shown the worst of the world. No one, NOT ONE HUMAN BEING, can EVER justify the killing of an innocent child - or adult for that matter. My broken heart genuinely goes out to everyone affected by the atrocities in Australia and Pakistan. If any good can come out of these horrific events, it should be we all spend time with our children showing them how to become tolerant, dignified, decent human beings. There is too much hatred in this world.

What is wrong with everything? Is peace just too much to expect or wish for?

I don’t know about you but my general feeling of the world at this moment in time is, there are a lot of angry, selfish, nasty people about. You know the ones, they come in different degrees of nastiness and vindictiveness yet seem to be the ones that are too cowardly to actually stand up and be counted in a positive way. Acts of terrorism and sheer brutality grab the media attention but when Wes asked me this week what was wrong with people , after witnessing girls being horrible at his school, it highlighted that it is not just me that is getting really fed up of the degree of hatred and nastiness out there.

Another example was in an author’s forum this week which was discussing bad reviews and one in particular had upset an author, not because their work was criticised per se but the manner in which it was done. Constructive criticism is accepted from anyone who puts themselves out there. Unfortunately there is an alarming and current trend of terrible, abusive and quite frankly unacceptable comments that the keyboard coward (not warrior – warriors are courageous and fight for what they believe in) feels justified in writing online but undoubtedly would not say to the recipient’s face. I find it repulsive as I do when I read comments like ‘I pay for my season ticket, so that entitles me to say what I like to the players.’ OH NO IT DOESN’T! There is no excuse or justification for abuse, online or otherwise.

I know I keep harping back to this but it is about dignity, integrity and common decency. You can be honest without being abusive – may be this is a lesson that has skipped a few generations. The power of the word is even more potent now. Used constructively it is a gift. Used abusively, it is a dagger much more deadly than any made with steel! If I don’t like something that I know someone has put their heart and soul in, I would rather not leave a comment than leave something that would rock their confidence. I have received so much criticism and been labelled a ‘sociopath’ because I believe in giving out praise and positive comments. I guess that’s just me. I have compassion and decency for anyone who is willing to have a go.

Abusers are uneducated and unfulfilled. It is so easy to sit in judgement of anyone that is having a go at forging a life for themselves. A word of warning though – YOUR WORDS won’t stop them succeeding. You may wound them but the hurt recedes. Success comes from being driven, determined and persistent.

I have spent the first forty (plus) years of my life wanting validation, wanting people to love me and accepting ‘false’ love from people I should never have let into my life. Now, I have found my inner peace. I don’t need anyone to accept me for who I am. I don’t need anyone to validate what I am doing and what I am trying to achieve. I look at the boys and how they are all round, grounded individuals and how they are more clued up than most adults and that is my validation of being on this earth! I am happier than now I have ever been and I really don’t get upset anymore at someone else’s opinions – as I wrote last week we all have our own perceptions on life. 

This world would be a much better place if everyone was taught how to tolerate each other’s differences and I live in hope we can achieve that, if we ALL want it badly enough but we have to stand up and be counted. Imagine what we could all achieve if all of us good hearted, warm, talented, tolerant people joined forces and stopped evil from being dominant!

On a more individual level, just remember – it is not what you say, it is how you say it. If we all make that extra special effort to be nice rather than mean and cutting, we can start to make a real difference to the world.

For me, if you don’t like what I am doing, move on.  You are not being forced to read any of my work, my blog or my social media timeline. Leave me in peace and instead of being wound up by my achievements, get yourself out there and make a positive difference. 

To all my fellow human beings trying to make a difference – keep doing what you are doing. You are all forging your own life in your own way and hopefully improving yours and other people’s lives in the process. Maybe, we can all contribute to eradicate the world of misery and evil and bring PEACE.

As I approach maturity (don’t laugh!) I realise what this time of year has become and I don’t like what I see. Christmas as a child is so innocent and magical. As soon as you become an adult, it’s about shopping, presents, food, expense and it is NOT pretty and SO stressful. Christmas has had a total revamp in this household. I sat down with the boys and explained how I felt about the commercial side and the pressure put on us for one day. To my surprise (or maybe not) the boys agreed. So we restricted what we spent, what we bought and what food we have in the house. None of us will be over indulging. Our Christmas this year will be enjoying each other’s company and relaxing. There will be lots of pyjama days and lots of games – playing cards, board games and Xbox games – although I am rubbish at the latter! That is my inner peace. Knowing we have each other and we enjoy being a family.

I want to wish everyone a very special Christmas and a wonderfully exciting 2015. If you are thinking of starting something new – STOP THINKING, GO FOR IT. New Year, new opportunities.

For me, 2015 means writing my third book and learning how to use Final Draft so I can write screenplays and continuing to support the boys in their dreams. I am living MY dream. Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year. Let’s hope we can all find peace in 2015.

The first three chapters of Beyond the Past are posted on my website to give you a taster 

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

You can’t please everyone all of the time…




Do you know why I love books so much? Because each one of us can read the same book and come out the end of it with a very different perception, opinion and experience. And why do you think that is? I think it is because of our own perception of life, our experience and our outlook on life itself. That’s my own personal opinion. Let me know what you think.

It is like life really and I have written about this a few times now – how our experiences in life can give us a ‘slant’, opinion or perception of life issues. I absolutely know I am a different person than I was twelve months ago. I am much tougher now and I think I understand life more. I am totally amazed how many adults do not understand the difference between being truthful and being abusive. I suppose it comes down to the contents of my blog a couple of weeks ago – integrity, dignity and common decency. You can throw poor education into the mix too. 

It’s great to see that Twitter have improved their blocking service this week, giving us all peace of mind whilst we are online.Caio #Twittertrolls

Menieres - #TreeSelfie


This week has been a bit of a nightmare because of the pressure the stormy weather puts on my ears. Challenging! I always know when I am about to have an episode. My head becomes really fuzzy and even the simple tasks become difficult. I forget what I am doing and find it hard to concentrate. This usually lasts a day but this week I had three days of it. After the fuzziness, comes the dizziness. I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I have only ever fallen over once and that was pre diagnosis. I take extra care during this period but it is very unnerving. My confidence slips to an all time low and then I get really frustrated with myself, start wondering why I am even bothering! But I do because I don't want to give in to IT and I want the boys to see that, even in adversity, you can be strong enough to overcome anything.  Luckily the 'dizzy day' was yesterday (Saturday) so I stayed in with the boys. All in all I have done pretty well this week, only physically losing two hours because I had to lay down. The rest of the time I have muddled through and managed to get some work done. 

I know my condition is getting worse. I am waiting for another hearing test. Whatever the prognosis, I could be in a lot worse a position. 

The Menieres Society’s facebook page has kept me entertained during this time. Reading other peoples’ experiences and life stories has helped. In addition, the society has launched an awareness campaign, the #TreeSelfie:



This is my #TreeSelfie – I hate selfies. I blame the short arms !! (That’s my excuse anyway).





Your support would be amazing. If you also tag me on social media and will share and RT your posts.




 

Writing


I was asked this week if I have made any mistakes in writing.  The answer is categorically YES.  BUT isn’t it better to make mistakes than not try at all? I certainly think it is. I also know that, thanks to lots of fellow authors and lots of other inspiring people, I am developing as an author each time I lift up my pen. Like with any new profession, you are going to make mistakes but you learn from them. Looking back, I would have done things differently but I didn’t know then what I know now. That’s life, isn’t it? 

The best decision I have made is to connect with other authors through social media and other Menieres sufferers too. Both sets of people have really helped me to develop and understand my new career path and my life. Very often you feel alone and when people are permanently beating you with a proverbial stick, you start to doubt yourself. It is only natural. However, it is much easier to continue on your chosen path if you know there are other people going through exactly the same process as yourself. Their words of wisdom and encouragement are priceless. They have taught me that you will receive criticism, some justified, some not so but don’t let it stop you from achieving your dreams. You will know which criticism is given for the right reasons and which has ulterior motives. I have learned to turn negativity into positive energy - to be better, bolder and braver. I’m really proud the boys have caught onto this too and it will help them through their lives. Don’t shy away from criticism, embrace it. 

I have decided to give myself a break this year. I will be doing some writing but from the 19th December until the New Year I am going to spend time relaxing with the boys. We have been through so much this year and literally haven’t stopped. It’s a good time to chill and recharge my batteries ready for the onslaught of 2015. 

Have a great week everyone. I am looking forward to the schools breaking up on Friday and the church service Friday morning. Stay safe everyone x

The first three chapters of Beyond the Past are posted on my website to give you a taster 

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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Life is certainly what you make it…




I suppose settling for a life you don’t love would be the safest, most sensible and ‘grown up’ thing to do, or so we are led to believe. LIFE IS FOR LIVING. Opportunities don’t just present themselves, you need to make them appear. Day to day life is so incredibly hectic right now – training three times a week in Sheffield, writing, promoting books, writing websites, blogging and Christmas preparations and not to mention cooking, cleaning, bills, running the house – you see what I mean! It’s funny but the more I have to do, the more I am inclined to knuckle down and work hard. Less jobs means I postpone them. I never knew how important time managements skills would be but time is the most precious commodity. 
 
In fact, this is the clock from my living room.It is wearing the Cat in the Hat, hat from Dr Zeuss and every time I look at it, it reminds me of the Grinch - mean, taking time away from me! (Yes this is how my mind really works!). Time is definitely not my friend at the moment but I do make the most of every minute I have, which is probably why by Friday evening I am on my knees!!  

The beauty of writing is it can be done anywhere and I do it, ANYWHERE! People often ask me how on earth I can write in noisy places such as the cafĂ© at Sheffield University Sports Ground or crowded pubs. In truth, I switch off. If you talk to me when I am writing and I don’t respond, it is more than likely because I have zoned out. I do it all the time. For goodness sake, the boys play rugby in the house around me so I’m used to noise and dodging flying rugby balls!

This week I started writing my third book – THIRD. Can you believe it? It has a working title, ‘You Can’t Have It all’ but it will change, I know it will, because I’m not struck on it! Another crime thriller. It is DCI Fisher and DS Davies’ first case after uncovering the truth behind Mark Smith’s tormented life. DCI Fisher is awaiting a decision on yet another promotion and it is putting a strain on his and Phillipa’s personal and professional relationship. It will be set in Wetherby, the police station is based there but will feature lots of Yorkshire places. There will be a few surprises too!

Being on my own raising the boys and keeping us afloat single-handedly while trying to establish myself as a writer means I don’t get the opportunity to sit down and reflect on how far we have come in the last twelve months. It’s only when I am asked to sit and talk about it that I realise what we have achieved this year. On Friday I was a guest on Tempo FM’s Women’s Hour. Leading up to the event I had my usual nerves but honestly, I don’t know why I worried. I had a ball. Bairbre McKendrick was brilliant and made me feel so at ease that I quite literally forgot we were on air. I normally don’t like talking about myself, much prefer to talk about the boys but it was easy to discuss things thanks to Bairbre’s flawless interviewing techniques. I had an absolute ball. It was my first experience in a radio studio and I do hope it will not be the last.

Driving home, I had the opportunity to reflect on this year. It was only eleven months ago when Beyond the Past was released into the world. ONLY ELEVEN MONTHS! In that time, Wes turned sixteen, passed his GCSE’s, earned his place in Sheffield Eagles academy and has started his A levels with one eye on a University place. Lucas has turned eight, loves his football and scored a hat trick two weeks ago (which we are all so proud of, no more so than himself), surpassed all expectations in reading and Maths and started writing his own book. I have had my FIRST ever book published, designed and launched a website, had an official book signed (courtesy of Sant Angelos in Wetherby), had articles in local papers, appeared on local radio and launched an award nominated blog. I hardly recognise my timeline on all my social media sites. It’s packed full of authors, inspirational women, fabulous like-minded people as well as true friends who have supported my mad quest to follow my own path. Who said I wouldn’t make it?

I know I am really hard on myself but that drives me to keep going. I know I am a better writer now than when I started three years ago. I am super proud of the last eleven months. How we have all kept going when people did their best to knock us off course. I am super proud of my job as a Mum and of myself for overcoming some pretty high obstacles. Most of all I am super proud of how the boys have embraced our new life and how they have risen to the challenge of making the most of their own talents. 

I am not perfect and I know I have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn but I keep developing. That is what I want for the three us – to keep developing as a family and as individuals.  We’ve all made mistakes – some HUGE ones. We can’t change that but we can learn from them and grow as a result of them. That is what life is about!

My message to you all this week is :

Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to try, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and it is OKAY to get things wrong. HAVE A GO! Please, don’t sit there wishing. You WILL regret it, I’m sure.




BLOG AWARDS


Thank you to everyone who voted for my blog. The decision is now with the judges. I will let you know how we get on but I am truly humbled by your support.


  Have a fabulous week -

Be awesome




If you are lucky enough to have a Christmas party, please enjoy it but keep yourself safe.


The first three chapters of Beyond the Past are posted on my website to give you a taster 

FOLLOW ME:

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Lots of love