Sunday, 15 June 2014

Swimming against the tide…

So it is Sunday afternoon and that time of the week again when I sit down and write my blog. So much has happened this week but first, here in the UK it is Father’s Day. In our house this brings very mixed feelings. As a single Mum it’s a day when I want to celebrate all that is special about my Dad yet I know that it’s not really a special day for my eldest. His father decided he wasn’t going to see him anymore at four and a half years old. Contrary to popular belief us single Mums are not tyrants and don’t use our children as weapons. He was my childhood sweetheart and I loved him dearly – for me it was for life but for him, I was just one in a long line of women some of which were my so called friends. He wore me down without me even knowing it. 

When I finally plucked up the courage to go it alone, it was the hardest decision I had ever made. I went down all the correct channels, solicitors and access arrangements. I learnt a very important lesson in life during this period – that no matter how much you do things the right way for the right reasons, you can’t make another person do the same. In less than three months of the divorce my ex didn’t turn up one day to collect my son and that was the last time we heard from him. I have been totally honest with my son and told him that, at any time he is ready to look for him, I will help him but he has no interest. It is such a great shame because he is missing out on seeing such a fine child turn in to a wonderful young man who keeps reminding me every day that our past is what makes us into the strong people we are today. All the years of fretting over Father’s Day and there was no need. My sons have some great role models in their lives and none more so, than my Dad. Spare a thought today for all those who have lost their Dads, especially in the Armed Forces.
Happy Father’s Day Dad & Grandpa.

I was reading some of the social media storm caused by Kirsty Allsopp’s comments. It infuriates me that something is taken totally out of context and misquoted but that’s the curse of the British media. The only way it will ever stop is for people to stop buying and believing the rubbish they print. The media run this country and sadly people are fooled by it. I will never forgive the Sun newspaper for the lies they wrote about Hillsborough, the miners, local communities and everything that was non Tory in the 1980s. It would appear they have carte blanche to write what they like without retribution and justice. There would have been a time when I wouldn’t have written about this in fear of upsetting some people but you know what, I am proud to stand up for my beliefs and proud to stand up with people who have had enough of lies and bad behaviour. It is time for JUSTICE. All this of, it was thirty years ago – get over it. Well actually is not about the longevity, it’s about what is right. Clearly the media have learnt nothing in the last 30 years.

The greatest worry I have as a parent is whether I am doing the right thing. All the time as parents we are berated for not setting an example, for not living up to our responsibilities, for not working hard enough, for not being at home and at work at the same time to do both jobs well, for not educating our children enough, for not contributing to the country enough!! I think you get my point. US parents are always in the wrong – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I decided about ten years ago that I was going to do it MY WAY (erm cue Frank Sinatra).  LISTEN TO ME there is no wrong or right way of doing it. Every one of us is born with NOTHING – no preconceived idea of life, no cynical outlook and no right to a privileged life. Every child is nurtured, taught and moulded into the person they become and then as an adult we all have the capacity to grow and change if we really want to. I decided I wanted my children to understand the importance of struggle, of community, of what is right and wrong and most of all about respect. Most days I am swimming against the tide but nevertheless I still swim. I still swim because I would like my boys to be strong individual men that respect themselves and have respect for all others.  I hope their greatest attributes will be respect, honesty, integrity, justice, decent morals and tolerance. Just imagine what sort of a world we would have then. If you don’t invest the time in children, how on earth can you expect them to turn out into decent human beings? I can’t be doing too bad a job when my son is giving my advice out and asking if I would help his friends if they need it!!

It is my job - not the teachers, politicians or community - but my job to guide my children to be the best they can be. For me, my new career is starting now but my priority will always be the boys and I refuse to be driven into a guilt trip over that. I do want it all – a successful career, my own individual status and successful children –and I know I can achieve it single handedly, BUT in time. I’ve stopped beating myself up about not being able to do it all NOW, right at this moment. I’ve stopped beating myself up that I don’t have a PROPER job because I work incredibly hard in the job I chose to do now, even if there is little or in my case, no money in it at the moment.  When I feel frustration is taking over I take a step back and remind myself how lucky I am. I personally think being a parent is the hardest yet most rewarding job of all and if I was Prime Minister I would be rewarding parents for taking time out to help raise the future generation of our country.

This week, Lucas and I worked on his Viking project. It was tough going as he has a tendency to disappear with the fairies quite a lot. I can just see him now as a character in a book flitting in and out of different worlds, a bit like Mr Ben!! The result was we managed to finish it, just in time for the first World Cup match. Now, rightly or wrongly, the next three weeks is all about the world stage and football. He is seven so this is the first world cup he has been super excited about and we have had lots of discussions about the location of different countries, their languages, their religions and their foods. I LOVE IT – the football, obviously but I also love teaching the boys new things and the bonus, THEY don’t even know they are learning!

Beyond the Past

It has been a really busy week this week with lots of 5am starts! For any of you that have not read the book yet, the story is based on a twenty year conspiracy against a former rugby league player, Mark Smith. Now, I am sure this will make ardent, experienced writers cringe when I admit this. When I wrote Beyond the Past I had not written the conspiracy theory! In fact, when I started writing Beyond the Past the only facts I was certain of, was the main female character would be Annie and it would feature rugby league. That was it!!

So now the book is selling and I am working on Beyond the Lies, the sequel, of which the first thirteen chapters have been written, I thought I had better start writing the background story to the conspiracy. Talk about doing things back to front but do you know? It worked. I am super excited about the underlying plot of the two books. It may be unorthodox but there are some cracking twists, even if I do say so myself! Now it’s time to crack on and finish the book, before my sister gets angry and you wouldn’t like to see her angry, trust me!! (Joke Lisa – love ya).

I know I’ve mentioned it before but, whilst social media has its pitfalls, it is a wonderful invention and brilliant for new artists like me. This week the blog surpassed 5500 views and google plus viewings reached a staggering 32,000 viewings. My twitter accounts have been busy too with followers in over 20 countries!! That is UNBELIEVABLE and from the comfort of my home! Thank you for all your support and please keep it coming – it’s great to hear from people.


I am working hard to organise some book signings because people keep asking me when I am doing them. As a debut author it is very hard to get bookshops interested but I will keep plugging away. If there are any independent bookshops out there that would like to help a well-trained, happy new author (cream cakes will be provided) please get in touch.

On the 30 June 2014 I am speaking at the inaugural Things Literary! Festival held by the Education Trust of Wetherby. Full details can be found here.  Tickets are just £5 and include light refreshments. It would be great to see you there – please don’t make me talk to myself. I do enough of it at home and may get arrested if I do it in public!

A quick thank you to all my twitter followers on both the book (@BeyondthePast1) and my account (@CharlespR2D2 – pop over and say hello.

Enjoy your week and I will see you here this time next week - feel free to contact me before then.

You can purchase the book from 
Pegasus Publishers  
Amazon UK  
Amazon US




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