Tag Archives: #MondayBlogs

Book Baby 5…. want a little sneaky peek?

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In reality, Book Baby 5 looks like this…..

But, it also looks a  bit like this too……

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For those who missed the big title reveal back in May, it also has a name….

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It also has a front cover but I’m keeping that under wraps for just a little bit longer 😉

(Current thinking is to reveal it when I’ve set the publication date….but don’t tell anyone just yet!)

So where does this next instalment of the Silver Lake series take us?…..

Want a little taste of words yet to come?…..

Shh….don’t tell anyone….this is just between you and me 😉

Golden rays of dawn shimmered in the ripples of the still ocean. They danced a slow waltz as the gentle waves glided towards the beach. Gradually the pale golds turned to orange then to red as the sun rose over the horizon. Apart from the soft sounds of the waves lapping against the shore, the world was silent. Not even the tiny seabirds who usually danced with the waves were to be seen or heard.

Running his hand through his long blonde hair, Jake sighed. It felt good to taste salt in the air. It felt good to feel sand under his feet. It felt good to be home. His fingers tangled in the strands of his hair, knotted after a sleepless night on the band’s delayed flight out of LAX. Looking down, he realised that his hair was almost to his waist. Another indication that he’d been away from home too long. Mentally, he made a note to take a trip into town later to get his mane trimmed.

With his arms wrapped around his knees, Jake sat watching the sun make its way over the horizon, basking in its golden light. He was bone tired and couldn’t remember when he had last slept for more than a couple of hours at a time. The band’s flight had been scheduled to reach Philadelphia at ten o’clock the night before but a four-hour delay meant they hadn’t landed until almost two o’clock in the morning. There had been the usual carnage in the baggage hall but, by some miracle, all of their suitcases and guitar cases had made it safely across the country. Tired and grumpy, the sleep deprived musicians had piled into the waiting SUVs for the hundred mile drive down the Coastal Highway. After so long in each other’s company, each of them was keen to get back to JJL to collect their cars and trucks and say their “good nights”. With little more than a grunt of farewell, Jake had loaded his gear into the back of his truck. Praying that it would start at the first time of asking, he had hauled himself into the cab for the final leg of the journey home.

He’d pulled into the driveway at the beach house just after five, reached to retrieve his house keys from his battered leather book bag and found them missing. Leaving his gear in the truck, he’d crept round to the back of the house to try the back door, hoping that Lori had left it unlocked. No luck. Both the screen door and the back door were locked. Knowing it was too early to waken his sleeping family, he’d headed across the sun deck to try the patio doors. They too were locked.

Muttering to himself, he’d hauled off his ripped Converse hi-tops and socks, leaving them scattered on the deck and wandered down to the beach to watch the sun rise.

As the sky lit up before him, Jake reflected on the last few months. When he’d left Rehoboth in January, the beach had been covered in eight inches of snow. Now, in the third week in June, it looked as though it was going to be a beautiful summer’s day. This was the longest period of time that he’d spent away from home and, for the past ten weeks of the tour, his heart had been yearning for the sights and sounds of the ocean and the beach house.

Life over the past five years had become more and more demanding as Silver Lake had gone from strength to strength and Weigh Station had enjoyed a successful revival. Juggling musical commitments, recording sessions and tours for two of the planet’s biggest bands had been a logistical nightmare. He’d long since lost count of the number of shows he’d played, finding it harder and harder to remember where he was and who he was with. If it wasn’t for the journal he kept, Jake would have lost track of time and place entirely.

On the flight home, he’d been sitting between Grey and Jethro, having lost the coin toss to see who would take the middle seat. As Grey had slept soundly at the window, Jake had confided in the band’s manager that he didn’t want to even think about music until at least the fall. Understanding completely, the older man had nodded his silent agreement, noting how raw and hoarse Silver Lake’s vocalist’s voice was sounding.

Now, as he sat watching the sun rise, Jake was wondering if he would be able to sing again by fall even if he wanted to. Ghosts of a past duet with Tori from Molton were tormenting him. The last three shows had really put a strain on him and, by the end of Flyin’ High in Los Angeles, his voice was gone. A sign to take a much-needed rest perhaps he thought.

Lost in his thoughts, he sat enjoying the view and the tranquillity of the beach.

 

The familiar screech of the patio door to the sun room opening startled him back to the present. He listened closely wondering who was about to approach him.

“Daddy!”

To be continued…….

 

If you’ve missed the start of the Silver Lake series, there’s plenty of time to catch up. All three books are available worldwide, Here’s the links:

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

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7 Days of Motivation…. well, some weeks you need it more than others

1- MondayHappy Tuesday, everyone! Start your day with these tuesday funny quotes3- Wednesday4 Thursday5 Friday6 Saturday7 Sunday

 

and breathe ….. whatever it is that you are going through –

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(Images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

A Literary Companion….

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower,

Extract its sweetness

but do not damage it”

John Muir

 

Do kindles count?

 

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Watch him for yourself : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2nolCjARQQ

 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the book being read is “The People In The Trees” by Hanya Yanagihara (available on Amazon)

 

 

My Autobiography vol 1 circa 1982….

Asking a twelve year old to write their autobiography in hindsight seems a slightly bizarre project for an English class.

Stumbling across said autobiography some thirty-seven years later was equally bizarre!

Boy Child was tidying up the large walk-in cupboard in his room recently and found some of my old schoolwork. No idea how it got in there but can only presume my mother has evicted it from her house at some point and sent it home with me.

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As I re-read those handwritten pages (my handwriting was SO much neater in 1982!) I do actually recall writing some of it.

My English teacher during my first year in high school was a gentleman named Richard Coton. He was in fact the teacher who gave me the best piece of creative writing advice I’ve ever had and it’s stuck with me for all these years. He advised me to write about places I loved and knew well and topics that I was passionate about.

His words came back to me when I started writing the story that evolved into the Silver Lake series of books.

So, how much have I changed since my twelve year old self wrote the first volume of my autobiography?

(Don’t panic – I’ll spare you all of the details!)

There were ten parts to this autobiographical assignment.

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Let’s explore a few……

Babyhood – ok, please don’t laugh too much at the photo – and having read that section, one thing hasn’t improved over the years. I still don’t sleep great at night!

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Playing Cafes – I still clearly remember the game that inspired that section. In reality there were more “meals” served to my long-suffering cousin that night. To this day I’ve no idea how we avoided actually poisoning the poor boy! Happy memories of the summer of 1977…EEK!

The Kind Of Person I Am – well, I’ve grown a whole three inches since I wrote that! Ha Ha. I’m still an avid reader. The model horse collection still lives in the same old shoe box as it did in 1982 only now it resides on a shelf in my parents’ attic. One quote from this “chapter” stuck out.

So far you might have got the impression I’m out spoken. Well, in a way I am but at the same time I am a very nervous person. My mum says I worry about trivial things.”

Absolutely nothing has changed about that facet of my character. I over think my over thinking! (Blame the INFJ personality type)

The professional ambitions changed slightly. I remember wanting to say that the dream was to become an author but, as a class, we were advised to keep the piece factual/real. The two options I listed were lawyer or physiotherapist. Six years after I wrote that chapter, I went to college to start my physiotherapy degree but it wasn’t to be. Anatomy and Physiology and I have a very poor working relationship and I failed my first year. Maybe I should have written about chasing the dream – I have managed to achieve that!

There’s a map in the autobiography of where I lived at the time. That “slightly” inaccurate road map made me smile.

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In Years To Come – the final part of the assignment was to forecast the future. So how accurate were my predictions? In fact there are a few profound observations in there. One of them being

“One thing I’m certain of is that I will not be very far away from home.”

Currently, I live about 100m away from where home was in that map from 1982. In fact, the land my current home is built on was the field I played in as a little girl. Roughly on the red dot

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I ended the last section by saying

“Well, I plan on a busy life. On the whole, I don’t think I will change too much over the next five or six years.”

Life is busy and I don’t think I’ve really changed that much over the past thirty-seven years.

So, how did I do on this homework assignment?

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Maybe some day I’ll write a second volume ………

 

 

Poetry or Art or a Bit of Both……

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What goes around comes around…… a proverb that you are more than likely familiar with.

Sometimes poetry also goes around. I’ve experimented with “mandala” poems on and off for a number of years.

“Mandala” is the Sanskrit word for circle. It can be defined in two ways:

Externally, it can be a visual representation of the world or universe.

Internally, it can act as a meditation guide.

Mandalas, often extremely ornate mandalas, are objects of devotion in Tantric Hindu and in Tantric Buddhism. They remain popular in countries like Nepal and Tibet.

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(ignore the ghostly hand in the photo- that mandala may be beautiful but it is  a nightmare to try to photograph!)

Carl Jung, the renowned Swiss analytical psychologist re-introduced mandalas to the West from a different perspective:

“I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing…which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time…only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is….. the Self, the wholeness of personality which if all goes well is harmonious.”                                Carl Jung, Memories Dreams Reflections

Jung recognised that the desire to create mandalas  occurs during moments of personal growth or reflection.

Creating mandalas is also a fun,  highly visual way to introduce poetry to both younger and older children.

Sometimes, even as an adult, you need to channel that inner poetic child.

 

 

And the bee comes…..

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The variety of wildflowers that I admire on my meanderings never ceases to amaze me.

and eventually the bee does come 😉

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Mental Health Awareness Week – it was only a few strands of hair… well,quite a few….

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May is Mental Health Awareness month and this week is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK.

The focus of this year’s campaign is body image.

I personally feel this is a very emotive topic and one to be approached with caution and a healthy dose of respect.

Body image isn’t just about who’s too fat or too thin. It covers a huge range of things that can cause people to be self-conscious about themselves. Body image issues can relate to height, to hair colour, to freckles, to wearing glasses, to having scars, to …. to absolutely anything about physical appearance. The list is almost endless.

Sadly, the media puts so much pressure on people, both male and female, particularly young people, to look “perfect.”

No one is perfect but we are all unique. However, if you are experiencing a period of anxiety it was very easy for that to manifest itself in fears about your image. You can swiftly become overly self-conscious about the smallest of things.

My own personal brush with this topic could easily be argued as being more than a little vain. I accept that. I’ve shared my own tale in the past of reaching a point in my life, about seven years ago now, that triggered a few physical signs of stress/anxiety so I won’t repeat myself.

I also appreciate in relation to some of the more serious aspects of the mental health connections to body image issues that my tale is trivial.

However, at the time, it was a huge issue for me. A huge issue I kept silent about for a very long time.

I’ll back track a bit here if you’ll allow me the indulgence. I’ve written before about being bullied as a child. Again, I’m not about to repeat that tale either. When that started all of those long years ago, one of the things that adversely impacted my self-esteem was my haircut and my horrendous blue NHS 1970’s specs! I grew the awful “pudding bowl” haircut out, developing a lifelong fear of hairdressers along the way. As a teenager, I was able to hide behind my long hair, using it as a shield to protect me. (The NHS specs were eventually replaced with a more modern pair when I was sixteen but not before I’d damaged my sight by not wearing them in school. The glasses were eventually replaced by a contact lens – yes, one.)

Since then, my hair has always been long. I’ve never been fortunate enough to be blessed with thick or wavy hair. It’s always been silky fine and poker straight.

When my stress levels went through the roof a few years ago, one of the physical signs associated with the anaemia that I experienced was hair loss. Gradually, over a period of a few months, I lost between a half and a third of the volume of my hair. I was fortunate in a sense that it thinned rather than fell out in clumps leaving bald patches. The hair loss was the main factor that led to me going to the doctor to get checked out.

The anaemia was resolved with a lengthy course of iron pills but the hair’s condition remained. I became incredibly self-conscious about it. It was ridiculous! Here I was in my mid-40’s stressing about my hair. Worrying myself silly about what folk were thinking.

In all honesty, I was and still am scared of going bald. I accept that it’s a trivial point in the grand scheme of things but for quite some time I became extremely self-conscious about it.

I stopped tying my long hair back – my ponytail looked like a long skinny rat’s tail to my biased eyes. If I tied it up, as I had done for years, my bun looked like a crumb! There was so little volume to my waist length hair that 4 kirby grips/bobby pins held it all securely in place.

I researched shampoos and vitamin supplements to encourage hair growth. After a period of time, and a lot of expense, I gave up on the fancy shampoos but, to this day, still take the supplements.

About four years ago, I noticed one particularly thin/bare patch emerging. My blood ran cold. Fear and panic swept in. The area at the front of my hair, where my parting and fringe met looked to be separating like the Red Sea. In reality, yes, it was thin, very thin, but what other people saw wasn’t what I saw in the mirror every morning. I saw bare scalp! My fragile self-esteem began to plummet.

Once I calmed myself down, I realised that there was an easy-ish solution. The fringe had to go! I had to grow it back out and add the hair volume of my fringe back into the rest. This was something I hadn’t done since I was thirteen years old! It took over two years but finally the fringe was gone- the thin/balding patch was hidden/disguised/gone.

Gradually the fear of going bald subsided… for now.

The self-esteem repaired itself again.

New hair, mainly grey strands, began to grow in. Going grey doesn’t phase me in the slightest but that in itself can be another body image trigger for people. I view these strands of grey as strands of glitter and I’ll expose them proudly. Each new grey one represents new hair, more volume and boosts the self-esteem a little.

Friends and colleagues laugh when I say that I don’t mind gradually going grey. I’m not, in general, vain about my appearance. (At least I don’t think I am!) I acknowledge that at times I can be very self-conscious almost to the point of paranoia.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that it can be the little things that trigger body image concerns that can quickly escalate into more serious issues as well as the big things.

However, even if to you, a person’s fears and concerns seem trivial, don’t belittle them. These can be huge fears to them. Show a little empathy and understanding. Encourage them to be proud of who they are as they are. Encourage their self-belief and self-love.

A little supportive understanding goes a very long way.

 

For more information on MHAW please check out the link below:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

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