Friday 19 December 2014

Christmas wishes, reader enjoyment and the new beginning.

Good morning, my blogging friends.
We're in the final few days before Christmas and I've no doubt that you're all busy, but wanted to take the time to wish you all a wonderful Christmas.

This is where we'll be eating our Christmas lunch

yes, that's the dining room at my house!
Wherever you have your Christmas meal, I hope the atmosphere is filled with love and kindness.

I had a couple of people write to me about my latest book 'Leaves for Chloe' which adds to the feel good vibe at this time of year.
Indulge me, while I replicate them here.

I wanted to tell you, I just finished reading 'Chloe'.......couldn't put it down! Thoroughly satisfying read! Can't wait for the next one to find out how my new 'friends' are doing in their new venture! :D 

 It was fabulous Pat. You are sooooooooooooooo clever and can tell a good tale Roll on #3 

On sale now in Amazon and Kobo

And the new beginning?
I have started the third of the series. It will be called, 'The House in the Leaves.'
The cover will once again be made by the very talented Teresa Palomar Lois.

Hubby continues to improve and is settled back at work now.
I am finally beginning to relax about it all. I'm hoping 2015 will be a good year for us. I hope it's a good one for you too

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Here comes novel number two! Leaves for Chloe.

The news is Chloe is now on sale !

Click HERE for a list of suppliers.

Thank you for your support.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

A desperate year, pain and grief, then some rays of sunshine.

I've not been wholly present on either of my blogs. I have posted to keep them up, but I've not really interacted much this year.

It's been a desperate year, filled with pain and grief, but now, there's some sun breaking through.

At the beginning of the year, my husband was signed off sick from work with work related stress. His clinical depression came back full force. We had a matter of months to get him better before his salary would be cut by half, a few more months before it would be stopped altogether.

Everything I learned as a therapist was called into play. Every last bit of research - and all the help that research provided - got put into place. It was a very dark period, desperately trying everything to get him better, quickly.
Sadly the place of work were as helpful as a parasol in a hurricane. In fact, dealing with them was just as nasty as dealing with the depression. Human resources does not mean humane.
At one point, I stood in the garden and gave voice to an old Irish curse, which kind of involves giving certain souls to the Devil. There was a problem with this; it presumed the Devil didn't know his own! I can laugh about it now, because now I'm pretty sure he knows his own, precisely. I have every confidence he will claim them.

In all the darkness, we had some bright light.
The medical profession were fantastic; true rays of sunshine and respite. From the General Practitioner who was both appalled at work and so supportive of OH; to the Occupational Health Dr., who said that our GP hadn't gone far enough in supporting OH; he recommended the work did more and he sent that report to them.

He also said that 18 months to 2 years is the usual recovery time from such a deep depression - and he said to me, that I was the reason that OH was recovering so quickly. He said he'd never seen such a level of support and effort, from CBT to Reflexology, to diet and exercise therapy. To his mind, it was a shame that work hadn't matched it. With his intervention, he hoped they would.

Then, as OH was recovering, we lost our darling Missy. That on top of the six months of hell, nearly broke me. The pain and grief was immeasurable. I succumbed to a massive infection and had to be treated with umpteen rounds of antibiotics. What did I do at this point? The only thing which I think my darling Missy would have wanted. We went back to Battersea and adopted another in need of a home. At first, I wasn't bonding to Paddy, because I was still grieving. I consoled myself with the fact at least he had a home, where he would know nothing but kindness. After a few months, as I trained him, as he rested on my lap and snuggled next to me for comfort, I came to love him. It's simply the best tribute to Missy, that I wanted to give another what she had. We held a fundraising tea party for Battersea - and were overwhelmed at the support we received, that translated into over £500 in aid for the Home which cared so well for Missy and Paddy. Pure sunshine.

Paddy became a ray of sunshine and is greatly loved.
The other rays of sunshine included one of my neighbours, who, knowing what I was going through, used a bake a cake of soda bread for me, regularly, knowing that in the link to my Irish side, I would find some comfort.
The quiet support from people in his workplace. You know who you are and how you've helped. I thank God for you.
The people at Painting Friends, who allowed me a private space to rant and offered their virtual shoulders. You're priceless.
My reflexology friends, who never failed to cheer. Thank you.
My friends in far flung places, who wrote emails to me daily. Pure sunshine.

My book blogging friends, who kindly read and reviewed All in the Leaves. They hadn't a clue exactly what I was going through, but their kindness to a self published author touched me greatly. All rays of sunshine.

Writing Leaves for Chloe was a spell in the sunshine amidst the murk. Writing took me away from this reality, into one where I had total control. I loved it - and I hope when you get to read it, you will too.

I couldn't talk publicly about the ins and outs, I still can't. I simply wanted to say, it's been a desperate year, but we're coming out of it, with help from our friends.
Christmas is nearly here, the time of miracles. My favourite time of year. I thank God we've got through this year, and are now standing in the sunshine. That's a miracle, all to itself.

Thank you, for reading this. For your support. You too are rays of sunshine and priceless. Don't ever forget it. Cheers!

Monday 24 November 2014

Leaves for Chloe update, some beautiful wood - and Paddy!

Good morning friends!

'Leaves for Chloe' has gone to the publisher!
With a fair wind behind us, it should be out for sale before Christmas.

The moment it is, I will let you know.

Hubby has been busy, turning wood.
He made this recently, as a wedding present.

and darling Paddy has been learning some hands free massage techniques!

My latest paintings are over on my gallery site HERE

I hope that you have a good week - I'm off to write some more to the third novel  - 'The House in the Leaves.'

Friday 14 November 2014

The kindness of friends.

I wanted to share some photographs with you, that show the kindness of friends.

My book, All in the Leaves, was published as an e-book (here) 
One of my friends, who makes gorgeous creations in clay, decided that she would make me a physical copy of my very first novel.

This is it - and what a wonderful gift it is.

All in the Leaves - a copy I can pick up, courtesy of Sara Mandel.

Thank you, Sara, for such a beautiful, thoughtful gift.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Reading books, reviewing books and a little break!

I love to read and do so frequently. So far this year I've read over 90 books.
Mostly they are read on my Kobo e-reader.
Because of this, and because I know how important reviews are to authors, I used to post my review of a book onto Goodreads. Kobo don't have that facility, or I've never found it.
Recently, I stopped doing so - after having had a few people contact me, demanding I read and review their book.

Hello! I am not a book blogger! Simply a girl who loves to read. So from now on, no more reviews, just a simple star rating.
In one way, that's done me a favour, because reviewing takes time.

Now, onto our little break.
We went up the country again, this time to Great Saling.
The weather was beautiful - sunny days at the tail end of October, simply fabulous.
Out by the picnic area I painted plein aire - and very soon had another join me, who was learning watercolour. We spent a good four hours with the brushes, me - in my own little way - teaching him some watercolour basics. It was great fun.

Here are some photos from the area. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Two Jack Russell Terriers, a tea party and a very special Home.

We had a tea party yesterday!

Food, fun and laughter shared with many friends.

You saw the little flags, yes? That logo gives you the clue why we held this tea party.

Both my darling Missy

and the delightful Paddy

 came from a very special Home. That home is Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

They took great care of both of our dogs, taking them both in after their owners had passed away and the relatives couldn't cope.
In Missy's case, they kept her safe for two years, until we came along to adopt her.
In Paddy's case, he was there for two months, before he came home with us.

Without Battersea's love of dogs, we would never have known and loved the darling Missy - nor have the opportunity to know and love the darling Paddy.

So this tea party was a thank you, a fundraising thank you - and the £470 raised on the day will help Battersea to care for more dogs, with as much love as they showed my two.

If you'd like to read about Battersea Dogs - and Cats - Home, please click HERE

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Paddy and The Mighty Cheese, a love story.

When we adopted Paddy we were told that he was a little insecure in some areas.
So we're trying to make life fun for him - and not so scary.

The grooming/vet table is one thing he was a little scared of, so out came The Mighty Cheese, various other tasty treats and a voice that said 'fun, fun, fun!'

Here in photos, is the story of Paddy and The Mighty Cheese

That scary table has eaten my cheese, leaving the duck and nibbles.

I need to take a closer look. Will it swallow me up too?

I'll eat a nibble first and see what happens.

I'm so brave! All four paws on the table and making my way to the darling cheese!

 I swallowed the Cheese. It's safe in my tum.

That was so scrummy and I'm so brave! I love Cheese.

I'm sitting here waiting for more lovely Cheese

I'll wait forever for my darling Cheese. Just chillin' til the next time.
and there, is how Paddy loved The Mighty Cheese more than he was scared of the table. We let him get up there in his own time - and it took about ten minutes. The second time he got up, it was SECONDS!

Monday 13 October 2014

Creative wood, a tea party and the handsome Paddy

A little while ago, I showed you some bowls that hubby had made in wood.

This weekend he made some more wooden items... a couple of yin-yang candle holders and another foot roller.

These are going to be sold off at a tea party we are going to host, in order to raise funds for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Battersea Dogs home is where we adopted our darling Missy from, and after she passed, we returned to adopt the handsome Paddy.

So, because of their great care for dogs, we decided to partake in the Ruff'n'Ready Tea Party, to raise some much needed funds. They are currently building new state-of-the-art kennel blocks, for the dogs' comfort.

Have you been to an afternoon tea party recently?
I wish that you were all close by, so you could come to ours! 

Monday 6 October 2014

A good deed - a happy experience and a support network.

Yesterday one of our neighbours moved out from our road.
They didn't want to leave, but the landlord had sold the house and given them notice. They had decided to self move and had hired a pantechnicon!
On the day, there were just two loading the van, so hubby and I went over to help.

In one of the coffee breaks we took, we were talking about what we might be doing if we weren't loading vans. I mentioned writing and painting - and then my neighbour announced he'd taken up writing for the last four weeks!
His friend who was helping, said he wrote too - and also created computer generated art. 

So we discussed grammar, punctuation, ideas, courses and websites!
We exchanged email addresses and will be sharing art and writing experiences.

So one good deed has led to an unexpected network of support, for all three of us.

If you had predicted that would happen on Sunday morning, I would have laughed. There we are, though, it actually happened. One of life's happy experiences.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Creativity in wood... I'm bowled over!

Today I wanted to show off my husband's creativity.

He takes blocks of wood - and turns them into something beautiful.

Here are two bowls he made.

They are both spalted beech. This means there is a fungus which has attacked the wood. Oh but when it's turned on a lathe - the beauty of those lines!

Bowl One

and here is Bowl two:

Aren't they something?
I'm in awe of his skill in creating beautiful art in wood.