I am a perfectly imperfect author, Mum to two fabulous boys & Meniere's slave. Changing the world in my own way to make it a better place for everyone.
These are MY opinions. Don't worry if you don't agree. You choose how you interpret the words. Just remember "at the end of a storm, there's a golden sky..." YNWA. Be kind, caring and compassionate.
Shortlisted 2 consecutive years for a UK Blog Award
This blog comes with a warning …. These are my observations
of life. I do not and will never prescribe to the notion that there is a right
way of bringing up a child or a right way of living your life. I won’t judge or
ridicule you for your choices. I have my principles and I have learned over the
years that people can pretend to be one thing and clearly are something else.
But that’s okay, they have to live with that. The biggest aspect of life is
getting to grips with the fact that life experience makes us ALL DIFFERENT. No one has the right to tell you how to live
your life especially not an elected government or the media but they do every day!
We are all born the same, YES the same with no pre-conceived
ideas of what is expected of us and what we can expect from life. This is the
basic principle I apply to my parenting. Every child is a blank canvas.
The Thatcher years had a profound effect on my life and the
way I live my life now. I saw hard working folk lose their livelihoods, I saw
whole communities torn apart, I saw police being used against communities and I
saw the injustice of people being allowed to die by the very people that were
there to protect and serve. I witnessed the media used by the State to instil
fear into the heart of our communities. We have all seen the horrific sex abuse
scandals now coming to light. FEAR is a form of control used by terrorists, oppressors
and by governments and public figures who do not want an educated electorate
who ask intelligent and probing questions, exactly what we have a duty to do in
a democracy. If any of these acts by the State had occurred in other countries,
the UK and UN would have stood against that State but why did we let it happen
History always repeats itself and it is happening all over
again. FEAR is at the heart of control again but this time it is not the miners,
the workers but terrorism, illegal immigrants, the benefits cheats and parents.
They are our modern day scapegoats. The ones being blamed for the failings of
our society but the real issues are never challenged. The ivory tower squatters
look down with indignation.
Parents are blamed for poor attendance in schools, for
youths hanging out outside shops, for the lack of results in examinations and let’s
face it the list is endless. GUILT is another form of control. Let’s face it we
are made to feel guilty from the moment we have children. We are told what we
should be doing, how we should be doing but never why we should be doing it
that way. The hypocrisy of it all it not wasted on me. For example, on one hand
we are told we don’t spend enough ‘quality’ time with our children then school
term time holidays are made illegal and we are fined even for hard working
parents who work in professions where holidays can only be taken during school
term time. CONTROL.
Once you start to question why, you open up a whole new
world. Once you start to challenge what society expects of you, you start to
learn that fear and guilt can be overcome through freedom of choice and
knowledge. That is the crux of my parenting. I challenge my children to
challenge me in a non-aggressive, constructive way. It helps them to understand
the importance of making the right decisions, the reasoning behind those
decisions and democracy. In addition, they help me grow. Just because I am an
adult and their Mum, it doesn’t mean I make all the right decisions. I get it
wrong and I admit that to them and apologise when I do.
I believe all children are not immune from suffering
neglect. Neglect is a strong word and usually associated with lack of money but
for me the worst type of neglect is lack of time and even worse than that,
replacing lack of time with material objects.TIME is the most precious gift you can give a child. Time to listen, to
play, to understand them and to educate them. If you don’t invest time in bringing up your own
children, then how do you expect them to understand morals, hard work,
integrity, what is right and democracy? So next time your child asks you a
question. Stop whatever you are doing and LISTEN, listen to understand not to reply.
I speak to people who have lost their children and they tell me their biggest
loss is not having more time with them.
My priority is my children. I want them to grow up
understanding what contribution they can make to society, not just for themselves.
I want to TEACH them to be better human beings, to participate in the debate
and not allow others to instil FEAR, GUILT and therefore CONTROL in their
lives. It is extremely tough fighting against the tide but it is a fight I will
continue until I have no breath left in my body because to me, it is important.
I won’t say ‘yes’ if I disagree, I won’t accept if it is wrong and I won’t let
others bully me into their ways but that does not make me arrogant or
sociopath. It saddens me to see people too scared to have their own opinion. I choose to make my own decisions – to live
without control, to be free.
Children have to be allowed to be children yet we have to
teach them how to survive in, let’s face it, a cruel world. The key to life is
balance (which is pretty ironic for a Menieres sufferer). Don’t feel guilty
about the choices you make but make your choices for the right reasons and take
responsibility for your choices and their consequences.
This probably makes our home life sound like a permanent
classroom but it is far from it. We talk, a lot but it is in the context of the
life around us, particularly injustice because it happens to us on a regular
basis. Adults behaving badly help me to reinforce our family values. However, injustice teaches us lessons and makes us strive harder to
achieve our goals and I am so proud the boys have grasped that. If I had to sum
us up in one word it would be resilient. People fail to understand this family
has developed a resilience to turn adversity into positivity. We laugh, we cry,
we kick, we scream but in the end we know who we want to be.
As adults we should lead by example and that includes every
single one of us including, no especially, those who have been trusted with
representing us in local and central government. I admit I have nothing but
contempt for career politicians and people who abuse their public position for
their own personal gain. It is my right to challenge them without fear of
reprisal. Just think how many vulnerable people would have been saved from a
life of torment if we had all challenged and not turned a blind eye!
I believe political correctness was invented by people who
wanted to hide the real issues of society. Issues like prejudice, bullying and
radicalisation only exist because as a society we have not been allowed to
discuss them – FEAR+GUILT=CONTROL. One sided views lead to radicalisation and
prejudice, the very thing the media relies upon in this country. FREEDOM and
KNOWLEDGE are only feared by those who want to control us through fear and
guilt. Stand up, take charge and change lives. I am, and I am confident my
children will too. All of you that sit there and say ‘I want to inspire,’ ‘I
want to change the world’, ‘I want a better life’. Change ‘I want’ to ‘I can’
and then back it up with ACTION. I challenge you to do that TODAY.
I know there will be lots of people that read this that have
experienced the same 1980s that I did but then there will be others that
vehemently disagree. That is okay. That is what democracy should be about. We
should be able to have these conversations without fear of rebuke, without
being made to feel guilty and without fear of being bullied. That is democracy
and that is living the dream.
I am very proud of my children and proud of myself for being
a parent that will inspire my children to challenge and change the world.
I was hoping to announce I had finished the first draft of
my second novel but the truth is I have been busy sorting out the house
finances and looking after a poorly Lucas. In between that though I have been
writing and the draft will be finished this week, definitely!!
I also have another idea for a novel, which I planned out
this week and can’t wait to start this project too! Right now time is not my
friend – haha. Anyone who watched Marco Pierre White (originally from a place
about three miles from me) on Masterchef Australia will understand this.
Well I am off to do some more writing now and I am thankful
for the extra hour today. I hope you all have a great week and MAKE THAT
HARD WORK, PERSISTENCE AND MOTIVATION ARE IN ABUNDANCE HERE
The first three chapters of Beyond the Past are posted on my website to give
you a taster
Apologies for the blogs being hit and miss recently but I am
in full writing mode and so close, I mean agonisingly close to finishing the
first draft of Beyond the Lies. I put myself under so much pressure when I
really don’t need to. I have no publishing deadline for this second novel
although there are quite a few people eagerly awaiting the next instalment, if
only life didn’t get in the way! It has taken me twice as long to write this
book with valid reasons. I have had to combine writing this with the marketing
of Beyond the Past which was my very first, full length novel. When I wrote
Beyond the Past the only plan I had was the main character would be Annie and
the book would feature rugby league. In fact, it didn’t even start out as a
crime, it started as a romance but quickly turned into a crime thriller.
This new book is purposely different. I have planned this
one. Although the plan detail has grown organically during writing, the planned
timeline has remained consistent throughout. This is a conspiracy crime so
continuity is vital. The timeline incorporates all the characters, all the
timelines had to match and be realistic. In addition, I don’t know about you
but I expect a sequel to be better than the first. Serves me right really!!
Now, I have to put into practise what I have complained about for years! I am
confident, however this sequel is a knockout.
Like with any new profession, you only get better the more
you do it (Probably what Annie and Mark think too!!!). I already feel my
writing is improving and my confidence is growing (at long last!). Nobody is
perfect at anything and we can all strive to be better.
One thing that did spring to mind this week – in all the
years of reading, I can honestly say I never thought about how the authors struggled
in their writing careers until now. At the moment I am literally working for
nothing so I am hoping my hard work pays off before I am too old to enjoy it. I
also read books in a different light wondering what the author’s motivation was
to write a specific novel – hazards of the job I suppose! I have also read lots
of authors’ blogs this week and don’t feel as isolated or as much of a lunatic
anymore (ha ha) especially when I read this - it really made me smile.
On Tuesday I had the pleasure of talking to a lovely
audience of book enthusiasts at Wetherby Library. Wetherby is the local town that
features the police station DCI Fisher and DS Davies are based at. My only
previous talk as an author was at Wetherby High School when I discussed
inspiration and motivation. The presentation slides for that talk are available
on my website.
Anyway, I spent most of Tuesday feeling really nervous and
worried it would be a flop or no one would turn up. Of course, neither happened
and it was a delightful evening which actually went too quickly! I hope
everyone that attended enjoyed the evening as much as I did and thank you to
all the staff at the library.
Now I have my first author talk under my belt, there is no
stopping me! If you would like to book an author talk, please contact me via my
Congratulations to Tracey (from Arizona, USA) and Wendy
(Ontario, Canada) who both won copies of Beyond the Past. The books are on the
way to you. I look forward to receiving your constructive feedback
shortly.Come over to goodreads and join
Before I go, I just want to tell you this. At the 6th
form this week, Wes was set a task, along with his peers to find out how
stressed out they were. A number of questions were given rankings from 0 to 10
and then the totals were added up at the end. If you scored less than 50 you
was under stressed and over 50, over stressed. Because Wes scored under 50, his
tutor told him he runs the risk of not being motivated and being a lazy adult,
this is to a child who trains three times a week, does all his homework,
exceeded expectations on his exam results, is flying through his A level work
and plays football when he can. Apparently, he reached this score because I don’t
put any pressure on him at home. Why should I pressure him? As far as I am
concerned, parents should NEVER EVER need or want to put pressure on their
children. Encourage them and support them but never push them to the brink of
being over stressed! What a ridiculous notion. Let’s face it I can’t be doing
too bad a job with the success both boys are having. I can’t get my head round
why stress, or lack of it, is a measurement of motivation and success. The
simple fact is I have taught both my boys to manage stress through being able
to talk to me and I also know when the boys are stressed and deal with it with
them. Pressure my boys, my eye! (I don’t like to swear on here otherwise I
What concerns me more than the exercise being carried out in
the first place, is the fact that once they identified the stress levels, no
counselling or support was offered to the students that were over stressed. Yes
they were given childline’s number but really?!? Now that is worrying.
Next week I will definitely finish the first draft of Beyond
the Lies. Once this is done, I then start the task of a full plot and evidence
review. Then the joys of editing. In the middle of this I will be back on
social media pestering you all. Have a fabulous week everyone.
HARD WORK, PERSISTENCE AND MOTIVATION ARE IN ABUNDANCE HERE
The first three chapters of Beyond the Past are posted on my website to give
you a taster
I live with pain every day. Some days it’s a dull ache other
days it feels like my ears are going to explode. The buzzing drives me to
distraction especially when trying to listen to people in crowded places. BUT
the worst part of this unpredictable illness is the frustration of not being
able to do the things you want or need to do.
Monday started off with me writing over 10,000 words in one
day. I was so pleased with myself. I had a plan for the week after spending the
weekend nursing Lucas through yet another stomach bug caught at school. The
amount of letters I get home from school telling me I’ not allowed to send my
child to school until at least 48 hours after any sickness yet someone must be
sending their child in because my cops for it every time! Anyway I should know
by now that planning a week is futile. Monday night I started to feel ill and
by Tuesday morning the floors were moving. Thankfully Tuesday was a training
day but instead of completing tasks, I spent the whole day laid up. The
sensation of everything moving around me is truly unnerving. I can’t do anything
until this phase passes. It is really depressing - the noises, the ground
moving and the sickness! I have no choice but to succumb to it which is even
more depressing because I’m a fighter and don’t like losing. I did try and do
the ironing and managed the school uniform, just. I worry about the boys on the
bad days but I needn’t do. They are so understanding and considerate. They do like being at home doing their own
thing which is probably just as well.
Wednesday was better. I thought great the ground is still so
I cracked on and got lots of work done. I’d managed to get to page 402 of the
sequel, promote Beyond the Past, unblock the sink, finish the ironing and do
the washing. That is me taking it easy! I am so grateful the boys completely
understand the illness, regrettably some adults are totally ignorant to it. I
do thank my lucky stars that it could be much worse.
Today is Thursday and it’s not a good day. I have the mother
of all hangovers (without drinking) and the words are jumping around the page
but I don’t want to spend another day doing nothing. I want to crack on and
finish the sequel. I have readers waiting for it and I want to finish it so I
can start on my next project.
All I can say is thank goodness for writing because without
it I really don’t know what I could do. The illness is bad enough but each time
I have an episode it erodes away by self-confidence and self-esteem. It makes
me feel inadequate and weak. I get so cross with myself because I can’t go at
one hundred mile an hour and do everything. It’s also bloody tough to keep going but I won’t
let it beat me. I don't want your pity, sympathy or understanding, just your awareness of a disease that affects people worldwide. I was disappointed to receive some unwanted advice telling me I shouldn't discuss my illness as it would put people off and lessen my chance of finding a partner. It astonishes and saddens me that this sort of bigotry and prejudice exists. Guess what it is advice I will choose to ignore thank you.
Writing has been such a liberating experience. It’s let me work
when I can’t move, it has helped me come to terms with my past and it has given
me the opportunity to meet some truly fabulous people. Do I want my life to be
different? NO. I’ll live with the illness if it means I can do something that I
One thing that cheers me is up is hearing the boys saying
thank you for all that I do for them and both show their gratitude almost every
day. Lucas is especially vocal and thanks me for being here for him – like I’d
be anywhere else! It is so important for children to feel loved and supported.
They need to know they live in a safe and happy environment. I believe a child
is likely to be more independent if they know they have a safety net and I am
theirs. I don’t believe in the sink or swim attitude of some parents – lazy
parenting! It makes me laugh when they moan that youngsters are paying too much
attention to the X Factor, pop stars and overpaid footballers but are unprepared
or unwilling to become effective role models to their own children.
Lucas and I
watched the Pride of Britain awards and we discussed all sorts during the
programme. We discussed the bravery and selfless acts but we also discussed
politics – yes politics with an eight year old! He wanted to know who Ed
Miliband was which then started a full discussion of the parties and their
ideals AND where the Queen fits into the whole process. He was brilliant and
asked some very clever questions. I love spending time debating issues and
discussing life with both the boys. I can see a few screwed up faces reading
this BUT knowledge is power and education is not just about what is taught in
the classroom. It is my responsibility to discuss life with them and ANY topic
is available for discussion. It keeps me busy researching if I don’t know the
Tuesday 14th October 2014 6 -7 pm I will be
giving a talk at Wetherby Library, discussing my journey as an author so far.
You are all very welcome to attend this free event.
The first three chapters are posted on my website to give
you a taster
Last week I spent some time reading other author blogs. I
realise how fortunate I am to have had my very first novel published in a
relatively a short space of time from completing it (just two years!). There’s
lots of examples of authors writing lots of novels for decades before they even
get that glimmer of hope of being published. I don’t underestimate my
achievement one bit nor do I take it for granted. I am within a whisker of finishing the
first draft of Beyond the Lies and I’m so happy with how it is shaping up. As a
huge fan of books one thing I hate is reading a sequel that does not deliver
the same punch as the first so I have taken my time in writing this one – sorry
to those waiting for it but I promise you it is worth the wait x
After finishing the sequel I need to decide on my next
project. Another great storyline came to me last week and I quickly scribbled
the outline of it. I just can’t work fast enough at the moment. Lucas and I are
still working on his first book and I have to say it is very enchanting. He is
Have a great week, what's left of it. Make the most of what you have and go get what you would like... YOU CAN DO IT! Enjoy your weekend x