Sunday 29 December 2013

A woman of letters...... and a Missy Christmas

Good morning friends!

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas?

I have to tell you, one of my presents confirmed that I'm a woman of letters now :)

This is it - a wonderful box frame, with scrabble letters, that spell out all my interests - plus the Series name of my novels - 'The Leaves Series'
All in the Leaves is the first and on sale, now. HERE

Missy had a lovely Christmas too. She had quite a few presents to open - but some of the photos ended up blurry - as you can imagine, when trying to photograph an eager jack russell!

So I'll simply post these few, to give you a flavour ...

Thanks to all who sent our darling girl presents and good wishes.
A happy New Year to you all .

Tuesday 10 December 2013

When I met a policeman... purely for research!

It has been a fascinating week on the research front.
You all know that 'All in the Leaves' is part of a series, it being the first book.
The second is 'Leaves for Chloe', with the third and final being 'The House in the Leaves'.
They can all be read independently, so no waiting for the third to actually reach a conclusion!

So, the research.... I was planning an accident in one of the books - so I had a lunch date with a policeman and a coroner's officer to find out what would happen if there were such an accident.

I now know more about accidents and Inquests than I ever knew before. From road tyre marking measurements, to taking of statements, how and when you need to be interviewed in the Police Station; to the fact that Coroner's Inquests are always opened and immediately adjourned. That allows for the release of the body for burial. The Inquest hearing may be another further six months to a year down the line, especially if there is a fatality, which would need a jury trial!

There were so many interesting factors involved, I can see me writing more books, that include all I learned from this most fascinating pair. Only I'll have to change genres. Which I wouldn't mind doing. A meaty murder mystery, perhaps, or maybe even a horror!

This is an interesting road I'm travelling!

Sunday 1 December 2013

My birthday book launch party

We had a lovely time at my birthday book launch party.

We had afternoon tea - and cake. Lots of cake!
Thanks to Tracy for my book cover cake, and thanks to Debra for the Victoria Sponge (cookie shaped!) and the lemon drizzle cake. They were all delicious! 

Thanks also to Sparkling Jewellery, who gave us some gorgeous goody bags to celebrate the event. You're a star and I'm proud to call you friend.

We had about 50 people turn up, staggered through the hours of 12 until 4pm.
Many had already bought my novel 'All in the Leaves' and some downloaded it on the day. If you would like to buy it, the links are HERE

I was so busy socialising and making tea, that I totally forgot to take pictures during the party, and so did my second delegate. In one way, I'm pleased, because it means we were all enjoying ourselves. I'm sorry for the fact there are no pictorial memories of the people here, which I could have included in a scrapbook.

However, I have some fabulous presents to remind myself of the wonderful people who were here!

These lovely flowers - and vase - were sent  from Scotland, by my good friends the McLagans - who couldn't make it on the day, but sent their best wishes.

My darling Missy was present throughout the party - and she was fussed by many. For the love of Battersea Dogs Home, who kept her safe for two years, while she waited for us -- we had a little raffle/loose change donation .....

and that made enough to sponsor a kennel in Battersea for the whole year - and to buy three Christmas dinners too.

Thanks to everyone who came,  to everyone who made this party such a wonderful event. I love you all -and I hope you enjoy my book - All in the Leaves.

Monday 25 November 2013

Writing decisions, celebrating the achievement - and planning my e-book launch party.

Throughout all of my book writing experience, I have had to make decisions.
Taking creative writing classes, researching people whose critiques I would respect. Sending off the chapters for critique and implementing the changes advised - leaving my own ego at the door.

When my novel, 'All in the Leaves' was finished, the choices then were submit to agents or self publish. The honest answer as to why self publishing swung it for me, was found on one of my searches into the question, traditional publishing or self publishing? In one of the posts I read, one man had chosen the traditional route. He received an advance, his book was published and within months was pulped because it didn't sell enough copies. He has lost his dream. I couldn't bear that, so decided to remain in control of my dream.

When you traditionally publish, if you're lucky, you get to have a publisher backed launch party. Champagne and nibbles, you know the thing.
So what do you do for an e-book launch party? Should you even have one?

Actually, yes, you should! It's a huge achievement to finish a book, to get it polished, edited, proofread and to source a wonderful cover. A huge achievement. There is so much work involved, until you do it, you never realise. So, celebrate what you've done. Here now, is how I planned my launch party for my published book.

Firstly I had to consider a venue.
Because my book was due for release mid to late November, I decided to hold the party at my home. The end of November is my birthday also, you see.

The next question to consider was what type of party. Given that 'All in the Leaves' centres around a tea leaf reading, I decided an afternoon 'tea and cake' party was the way to go.

Invitations were sent to my writing friends, my early reader supporters, clients from my reflexology practise, my painting friends, colleagues from OH's work and finally to my neighbours. Sixty invitations went out, with the majority being accepted in advance. 
It was important to me to invite more than just writing friends, because I wanted to reach people who might possibly read my novel!

Now, as those of you with children will understand, no party is complete without a goody bag to take home. So I decided to plan a goody bag, themed around 'tea' .
Then, one of those wonderful things happened which gives you a warm glow inside. I had invited a friend who owns Sparkling Jewellery - and when I told her that there would be a little goody bag too, she very kindly offered to provide some goodies!

 Here you can see the kind of things that I included in the bag, to make it a little treasure for those who were invited.

Firstly a thank you note:

You'll see that I mention that the invitees will get a free limited edition print of one of my paintings. I've actually chosen six paintings to print, each person will have one print (limited edition of 10) in their bag:

and a discount off a reflexology treatment booked with me.
The reason I've done this is to create a 'feel good' factor.
Everything about my book was done with enjoyment in mind; we paced ourselves to have no stress in the production - and I wanted this 'feel good' to continue into the party. Positive vibes are important to me.

I also included this folding leaflet, which describes the book. The cover on the outside, the blurb on the inside and a place for me to sign! I can't sign a kindle, iPad or Kobo, so this is the next best thing. (I know you can add an electronic signature, but this felt nicer.) The back outer shows where to buy the book.

Last, but not least, are the items within the little gauze bag: tea, chocolates, biscuits, a piece of jewellery and a jewellery discount voucher.

The timing for the tea party was set over a four hour period, in keeping with enjoyment and being casual, people were told to drop in and drop out as they fancy.

I hope if any of my writer friends read this, that it inspires you to mark your achievement, whether you choose a book launch party or not, do something to say : YES! I did it!

I did. My next post will show some pics of the party. A fun time. Just like the whole book experience. If you buy and read my book, thank you. If you haven't yet - here's the link to where you can find it. All in the Leaves

Friday 15 November 2013

All in the Leaves is OUT for sale!

Here we are, All in the Leaves is out for sale.

The first store to list it is Apple's iTunes! Well done Apple :)

and this is the link!


as soon as it appears in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Waterstones - I will let you know!

STOP PRESS! Now on Amazon UK and Amazon US .. direct links on my website
The live links will be added there, so please, keep checking!

 All in the Leaves
A tea-leaf reading.
A prediction of a fabulous life to come.
Can your future really be told in a cup?

Anna is feeling down in the dumps. She's nearly thirty, painfully shy and has no boyfriend. She's still living at home and has a boring job. Can this really be all there is?

A chance bout of tears leads to a tea leaf reading which predicts a wonderful future for her.
A future which promises a new career, a new home and a husband. All by the following Christmas.

Join Anna as opportunities arise, calamity strikes and the battle for happiness begins.

All in the Leaves Launch Party

My novel 'All in the Leaves' has been distributed to all the ebook stores, by the fabulous ebook partnership. Now it is a matter of waiting for catalogues to be updated and show the book for sale!

I've been told that this can take anywhere up to 4 weeks.
Some places are quicker than others. As soon as I see it in an online store, I will post the links here. If you see it before I do, please send me a note!

To celebrate the fact that 'All in the Leaves' will soon be out, I decided to have a book launch party.
Because the book deals with a tea leaf reading, it will be an afternoon tea party.
With cake. Lots of cake. Biscuits and crisps too.

I'm truly blessed that a good friend at Sparkling Jewellery has given me some goody bags for all attendees. There will be a piece of jewellery, discount vouchers and more!
She's also donated a two coin necklace to help raise some funds for Battersea Dogs Home on the day .

When I know more about the book, it'll be on here - and when we have the party at the end of November, I'll take some pictures to share.

  All in the Leaves

A tea-leaf reading.
A prediction of a fabulous life to come.
Can your future really be told in a cup?

Anna is feeling down in the dumps. She's nearly thirty, painfully shy and has no boyfriend. She's still living at home and has a boring job. Can this really be all there is?

A chance bout of tears leads to a tea leaf reading which predicts a wonderful future for her.
A future which promises a new career, a new home and a husband. All by the following Christmas.

Join Anna as opportunities arise, calamity strikes and the battle for happiness begins.

Friday 8 November 2013

Moving the Goalposts

Back at Easter time, I sprained my ankle.
I went to the hospital, and had it x-rayed. Tendons and ligaments were torn, so I followed all the physio's advice on exercising, painkillers and walking.
Ankles are important, you see. They enable us to twist, turn, walk on uneven pavements. I wanted to make sure that I got it back to as near normal as it could be.

Firstly, I was told four weeks to mend. When I wasn't totally better, I went to see my doctor. Oh no, he said - Eight weeks to mend. Carry on with what you're doing. The goalposts moved.

So eight weeks passed and still my ankle isn't right. I went for a run and had to rest it for two days afterwards as the pain returned.
It swells after I walk for a mile or more. Not madly, just enough to know that it's painful and needs to be elevated.
I checked that too. Some ankle injuries take a year to totally rectify - and get this, some never do. Goalposts seem to have a mind of their own!

I'm not sure what's worse, being told a false expectation in the hope I won't take long to mend - or finding out that actually, it can take quite a while and my experience isn't unusual.

It seems that ankle injuries need massage as part of their rehab, too.
Well now, I can do that. The one thing I won't do though, is tell myself a time limit!

Friday 1 November 2013

Dreams can come true!

Good morning friends.

Yesterday I saw my book cover on the website of the Ebook Partnership.
If you'd like to see it click HERE and watch the scrolling pictures.
I was so excited to see it up there, this dream of publishing a novel is coming true!

I was going out yesterday to meet up with some writer friends, which I did, after viewing the website. We had a hot drink and some nibbles and we talked - and talked!

We've decided to form a little writer's club. We'll meet once a month at mine, until we get too big for my house!
More dreams coming true and much excitement. We even discussed if I should have a book launch party  - a real one and a virtual one. The virtual one they thought could consist of me sitting here, live comments and me answering you back. It seems like a lovely idea - what do you think?

Friday 25 October 2013

Relax, refresh... and find equilibrium.

'How do you relax?' is a question I'm often asked. 'After all, you can't do reflexology on yourself!'
Actually, yes I can - and I do. I am reasonably flexible, so I can cross one leg over the other and reach my soles. Reflexology is brilliant for refreshing one's sole - and other parts too!

However, it's not the only way I relax. I paint in watercolour,  write fiction and also meditate. All three take me away from the stresses of this world, which yes, of course, I encounter. These practices help me deal with them.

Meditation teaches me to take a step back, to watch my own thoughts and realise that they are indeed just that, thoughts. Be they good or bad, they will pass -  and thoughts do not define the real me. By taking a step back, I do get to see the wood for the trees - and that helps me to plan a strategy for coping with life's little surprises. Finding a way through the wood, past the trees, if you will.
Is there a way through? You betcha!

Painting allows me to create a world of my own.  I like to paint things which attract me, they are usually things that make me smile, and some are filled with light.
Delicious! I can taste it all over again.
Crystal glass, so enchanting. Chocolate and fruit too. It's all good!

In my fiction, again I create a world. It has twists and turns and the odd 'misguided' character; but on the whole, my world faces the sun, being bathed in light.

My own created world.

However, in all these things that I love, you'll notice that there is no balance. Everything I love is sedentary. Back in May, I wrote about finding the balance. So now there is activity. I walk my dog, and now that she is older and not able to do the long walks, I speed walk a minimum of a mile a day. (That's fast walking to me, not the type where you throw your hips out and walk heel to toe.) It is surprising how well that clears the cobwebs from your mind, especially when you do not allow any one type of thought sway. I've stopped and seen some beauty in my surroundings while this was happening.

You walk, I'll snooze!

Just waiting for me to discover

These are my way of relaxing, refreshing and restoring my own equilibrium. They are not the only way. You'll find ones specific to you. I'd love to hear all about them! 

Time - or more correctly, lack of time - is the reason I hear for most people not doing similar. The accountant in me says audit your time. Write down what you want to do, where your time goes and see where you can find the time to relax and refresh. Most of all, find the balance. Otherwise you may find yourself visiting me in a professional capacity. Which is quite a journey, for some of you!
That brings me to my last point: laughter. Humour. It neutralises a lot of angst. Make use of that fact. Laugh frequently.

Laugh. Got it!

Friday 18 October 2013

Latest news on Sanctuary's Gate and All in the Leaves

Good morning friends,

I'm pleased to say that after a brief spell of being 'not currently available' in the Kobo bookstore, 'At Sanctuary's Gate' is now back on sale! (here)

All self published books had been removed by Kobo, after it came to light that there were some very unsavoury books that would have displayed on an innocent, everyday search term, such as 'daddy'. Until each book was checked for content, all self pubbed books were removed.
Mine carries no such content, so is now back on sale!

In other news, All in the Leaves went off to the ebook partnership earlier this week; now they will work their magic in converting and distributing it. All in the Leaves will be available across all reading devices. I'll let you know when it's out there! You can all come to my virtual launch party :)

Friday 11 October 2013

Presenting.... the cover of my book.

Good morning Friends,

I'd like to present to you.... the cover of my book!

It was designed and illustrated by the wonderful Teresa Palomar Lois - whose website is HERE

Do you like it? If you saw it in an online catalogue, would you click on it to read more? Please leave a comment and tell me your thoughts....

Friday 4 October 2013

Reflexology .... or something else entirely?

This morning on Twitter, a question was asked about reflexology.
Given that it has been around for so long and developed so much, should we change the name?

My personal opinion was that some people are barely aware of reflexology as it is - so I would prefer to see widespread recognition before a name change.
Of course, me being me, I did suggest an alternative based on Latin - pesalus.
Meaning: foot and health/well-being.

Why am I putting this in a blog post?
Because I'd like some opinions - have you heard of reflexology?
What does it mean to you, if you have heard of it?
I'm looking forward to reading your replies.

Friday 27 September 2013

Open House weekend and meeting a fabulous Sculptor

I recently went to visit Fairkytes Arts Centre, who were taking part in the Open House Weekend - and holding an art fair on the same day.
The history behind Fairkytes goes back a long way; Joseph, the son of the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry lived there. Prior to its use as an Arts Centre, it used to be a library.
It's also the place where I go to art every week - so I can say from experience how wonderful, how helpful the staff are.

Having had a look around the building, I proceeded into the marquees, both out front and in the back garden.

I had a wonderful surprise awaiting me in the back garden - the work of a sculptor which was awe inspiring! His name was Otis, he put together all of these sculptures, using nuts, bolts, washers and spanners.

I was privileged to have a talk with Otis. We sat at a table and talked about his art, while a jazz band played in the background. Otis told me he'd trained as an electrician, but he had this incredible creative streak. Incredible is my word, because seeing these sculptures up close was an experience like no other. They called to me and my senses delighted in them. Otis kindly showed me some photos on his phone of a full size American Quarter Horse he is currently making. Those pictures were awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing it in real life. The saxophonist from the jazz band came over to look at Otis' sax - and he was very complimentary, saying it must have been modelled on a treble sax - I didn't even know there were alto and tenor saxophones!
If you'd like to see more of Otis' work, take a look at his website: HERE

Thursday 19 September 2013

ART, and what it means to me.

So, when I say ART, I guess you all think of my paintings?

For me, ART has two meanings - and yes, painting is one of them.
The other one is Advanced Reflexology Training.
I first qualified in Advanced techniques, over ten years ago. I've found them incredibly useful, time and time again. I was fortunate enough to have been trained by the originator of the techniques, Tony Porter.
He has a website HERE .

So when I think of ART, I think of these wonderful reflexology techniques - and I also think of painting.

Both of these great loves of mine come together in this painting:
The Art of Reflexology

My free hour is coming to an end and I must away, to work.
If you get the chance, try a session of reflexology. If you want to try an advanced trained reflexologist, there's a register on Tony's site.

Friday 13 September 2013

I am writing.

Good morning friends!

The summer weather seems to have disappeared and we are left with cooler temps, wind and rain.
Missy and I go for walks, talk to the neighbours and when we return, I am writing, while Missy has a snooze. She's never far from me, as you can see.

That's my netbook in the photo, upon which I write my stories. It's very portable, quite small, but just the right size for my dainty little hands!

In story news, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who's bought 'At Sanctuary's Gate (Seven Short Stories)'  I hope you all enjoyed it.

'All in the Leaves' my first novel is with the editor, soon to be passed on to the company who'll be sending it all around the world. We're still on track for a 31st October publish date.

My second novel 'Leaves for Chloe' is just over half way written!
When I've finished this blog post, I'll be dreaming up more adventures and tapping them into my trusty netbook.

I don't know if any of my readers are dyslexic, but if you are, I recently found a free font called Open Dyslexic. My dyslexic hubby downloaded it and he has found it so useful. It has made reading a pleasure for him - which is no bad thing!
Have a wonderful weekend, whatever you do.

Thursday 5 September 2013

A Day at the Tate

While on holiday, I took a trip into London to meet up with a couple of friends.
We decided to go the the Tate Modern.

While waiting for my friends to arrive, I took a stroll through the silver birch planting  and down to the River Thames.

This photo shows the Millennium Bridge over to St Paul's Cathedral

We wandered through the galleries at the Tate Modern, then we decided to take a River Bus down to Tate Britain and view their artworks. The first is the outward trip, the second the return journey and a view of the London Eye from the boat.

Waiting for the boats on the floating platoons was great fun - your sea legs got some practice! The Thames has quite a current, as we found out!

At Tate Britain, they allowed us to take pictures as long as we used no flash. So here are my few pics... 

Once we disembarked from the return boat, we decided to walk over Millennium Bridge, take a circuit of St. Paul's, then go for a coffee and shortbread. One the way to the bridge we passed the Globe Theatre.

and finally, St. Paul's Cathedral 

do you know, I'd painted this view, previously? 
Here it is, called 'En Route'

Hope you've enjoyed coming along with me, on my trip to London.