Author

Dear Anxiety

Dear Anxiety, 
I know people say that you don’t truly hate something, but I hate you.

It’s been nearly 10 years since you wheedled your way into my life, and I’ve felt you every day since.

You wake me in the middle of the night with your stupid pointless worries.

You stop me falling asleep in the first place, making me remember that one time I shook someone’s hand wrong or waved at the wrong person.

You take my breath away, not in the good way.

You took away the man who took my breath away in the best way ever.

You stop me making friends.

You stop me making decisions.

You’re everywhere ago, in everything I think.

You’re the scourge of my life.

You’re the stigma.

You don’t define me, you are simply an imbalance of chemicals.

I am strong, I am smart, I am important.

I am more than you.

Today I started the job of my dreams and I fought you, I felt you constricting my throat this morning. Whispering ‘what if’ in my ear, pointing and laughing. I held my head high and I completed my first day with you and grief and heartbreak tugging at me, pushing me toward the shadow of doubt. I stayed in the light.

Today marks the first day of Mental Health Awareness week, I am unashamed that my brain chemicals are imbalanced, that Anxiety has plagued me for almost a decade.

I have survived and I will survive.

I am more than my Anxiety.

Author

‘You’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it’

So in one way or another, I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself lately. This week in particular it’s been a bout of flu or cold or something akin to bubonic plague that’s knocked me off my feet. It’s made me weak and weary, I’m coughing and sneezing and walking is a chore. But it’s getting better, it’s temporary and soon enough I’ll be back to my semi miserable best. Today though, my heart is heavy because one of my childhood idols lost his battle with depression and took his own life. I woke to call in sick and saw the news on my facebook feed. It has saddened me greatly because Robin Williams was the cause of so much joy in my life, he brought so many smiles and giggles to me over the years. I remember Mork and Peter Panning, Patch Adams and Mrs Doubtfire. I can still sing along to Friend Like Me from Aladdin (and attempted to this afternoon with my best croak) and Birdcage has had me in stitches so many times I couldn’t tell you.

What’s sad, is that for all the laughter and smiles Robin Williams has brought to my and millions of others lives, it’s a shame we weren’t able to do the same for him. If we his fans, the people whose lives he benefited over the years, could have given a percent of effort each that he gave to us, could we have helped him.

I strongly believe not. I believe that each persons depression is their own demon, it’s untouchable by others. It’s the monster under your bed that only you can ever fully perceive. For me, it’s never being good enough, it’s feeling like a failure constantly and paranoid-ly assuming that everyone is thinking the worst. So every night before I go to bed, I take a tablet and it helps me get through the next day without anxiety so strong that my imagination takes me the very dark places. On the outside, depression or anxiety isn’t necessarily visible, you can be perceived to have everything. For me, that’s a good job, (that’s temporary and I’m paranoid I’ll get sacked every day) a nice new car (what if I can’t afford it in a year?) great friends and family (I’m positive several members of my family wouldn’t notice if I disappeared) and hey, I’m kinda a published author (barely sold any books, had to give them away and nobody likes them anyway)

So you see, there’s a flip side. You might not know the person who cracks the jokes and keeps you laughing is tearing themselves up inside. In fact they won’t want you to know and it isn’t your fault if ultimately they can’t take it and step away like RW did yesterday. For me, that’s not going to happen. I loved him as an idol, I’m sad for his death but no mistake, it’s a selfish hurtful act to take yourself away from your family. I’m not judging, that’s the last thing I’d ever do. It isn’t for me to paint your monster any colour than the one you see yourself.

Sadness is curable, but I fear depression is not. It’s manageable but it’s a bastard of a beast and if you’re lucky enough never to have truly experienced it, keep your eyes open for the friend who has and does, because there will be one and you might be the one to help them through it.

‘No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world’ Robin Williams

IMG_0964.JPG

Author

A Kind of Mad Courage

Image

When I heard there was another Anthology book in the works, I was more than happy to be accepted as a contributor.  And when I say more than happy, I mean as ecstatically delighted as a small child in a sweet shop with an endless supply of money and no chance of becoming diabetic.  So then came the challenge, write something that is connected to motherhood, be it about a mother, or about a relationship with a mother etcetera.

 Well then, I am not a mother, more’s the pity, but I know a girl who is… Ok, so she doesn’t exist, not in the true sense of the word at least.  Fallon is the heroine (I hate that word, she hasn’t saved people from burning buildings and hasn’t a super power beyond an ability to consume vast quantities of caffeine) of my series and so it felt natural to me, to write about when she first became a mother.  It hadn’t made it into the first book, nor the second, nonetheless, I had written it.  So I sat down and I wrote it some more and ultimately, I am happy that I chose that. 

A Kind of Mad Courage was released last week, as the maker of many promo images, I had the blurbs for the 18 stories I didn’t write a little while before.  What can I say, there’s zombies and missing people, there are fractured maternal relationships and women dealing with becoming mothers.  You guys are in for a serious treat, 18 incredible authors and little old me have written stories for every facet of maternal relationships.  So in honour of mothers and in aid of charity, please pick up a copy and if you like it, let everyone know.  Post a review, recommend it to friends and enjoy the warm and fuzzies that doing something to help someone you don’t even know brings.

Here are the links!

Amazon UK (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kind-Mad-Courage-Stories-Mothers-ebook/dp/B00K1U7CTQ/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1399462108&sr=8-1&keywords=a+kind+of+mad+courage

Amazon UK (Paperback) – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kind-Mad-Courage-Stories-Mothers/dp/0990358011/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399462108&sr=8-1&keywords=a+kind+of+mad+courage

Amazon US (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Kind-Mad-Courage-Stories-Mothers-ebook/dp/B00K1U7CTQ/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1399462235&sr=8-1&keywords=a+kind+of+mad+courage

Amazon US (Paperback) – http://www.amazon.com/Kind-Mad-Courage-Stories-Mothers/dp/0990358011/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399462235&sr=8-1&keywords=a+kind+of+mad+courage

Please also take a moment to read about the wonderful work they are doing over at The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation and if you buy this book, make sure you have tissues for both Victoria Jacksons foreword and Francine LaSala’s heartfelt dedication to her mother.

http://www.guthyjacksonfoundation.org/

Author

Why I unpublished my books…

A little while ago, I was involved in a discussion on Facebook (within a group of who I thought were like minded authors)  The discussion was about Self Publishing and of course, as someone who had taken those steps myself, I was very much interested in joining in.  What started as a conversation very quickly segued into an attack on authors such as myself.  I don’t claim to be a great talent, although I would love that to be the case, but I wrote books that at least a few thousand people purchased.  To me, that was an achievement.  In my eyes, Amazon allowing you to put your work out there for a small price, so that people might enjoy it, was the main goal.  Sure, I want to be successful and I want to make money from it, but in reality that wasn’t the case.   I will hold my hands up, my books were naively written, ‘formatted’ and shoved onto Amazon with the expectation of never really doing much and I was ok with that.  That is until others made me think.

I don’t know about you, but I live in a world where finances can be tight, I’m better off than many, but there’s no yachts in my future (I hate fish, so yachting wouldn’t be my choice anyway) I did everything myself, I made my covers, I edited (although clearly not well enough) and I put my work out there.  The reviews ranged from fantastic five stars to mediocre mid stars and even that didn’t dissuade me.  One of the people who claims to be a fan of mine, is actually an incredibly successful author themselves.  So I must be doing ok right? 

Wrong.  I am dragging the industry down, littering it with rubbish works that are ruining the very core of literature and I am just one of a number of selfish naive fools who are doing so…

I won’t name names, but I was completely devastated to have such a conversation with people I thought were my ‘colleagues’ other writers who had worked hard to do the best they could and get their work out there into an industry flooded with lookalike covers and stories that are blatant rip offs.  I wouldn’t ever dissuade someone from following their dream of self publishing and if ten people like your work, that’s better than it sitting on a laptop somewhere gathering electronic dust.  Other people disagree, their self deemed success was as a result of simply having funds to pay for everything but the writing to be done for them and hey, I wish I was so lucky. 

It didn’t just put me off writing, but it put me off people I’d thought were my friends and a group that until that point, I had praised in my daily life as being a font of knowledge and circle of support.  These were the same women who kept in touch with me while I was in Ireland having lost my grandfather last year, the ones who we could bounce ideas off and in turn offer to read and listen for them also.  Now I barely look into that Facebook group, I find it a place where people are so absorbed by their own wonderous capabilities that they no longer have time to offer those friendly words and help.

My books were taken down, because what is the point? I was told we self publishers are all by definition and ring fencing, ruining the quality of writing that’s out there.  Except then I had a conversation with that good friend of mine last week and she told me she was a fan and was sad my books were gone.  I was crying my eyes out as we chatted, so sad that I had failed in the one thing I had always had so much pride in.

So you know what? I’m going to put them back out there and if you don’t like the book you paid 99p for, return it.  If you do like it, leave a review.  It is that simple.

Everybody isn’t going to love everything you do. As long as you love it, that’s all that matters.

Author · Uncategorized

Chick Lit Love – Fun Flirty Fellas

Day Three of #ChickLitLove Week and today I am joined by two of the ‘heroes’ from my books Fallen and Forever. Joe Davis and Abner Hagarth-Smythe.  We are going to get some fun and flirty facts from these boys. Albeit they’re supposed to be bachelors, but are quite happily tied down. Isn’t that right boys?

 

JD: Oh yes, very happily restrained.

 

AHS: Definitely, couldn’t be tied to a better woman.

 

NM: Glad to hear it, I had Fallon here on Monday and we had a nice chat about your quite adorable relationship Abner.

 

AHS: All good things I hope?

 

NM: Mostly, yes

 

AHS: Hmm, I will be checking.

 

JD: He’s whipped and he knows it, adorable. It’s a hilarious relationship in which one man, lost his balls.

 

NM: Language. Right, so first up. Which celebrity have you been told you look like?

 

JD: The guy from Mamma Mia, um, I cant remember his name

 

AHS: Dominic Cooper, that’s who he is

 

JD: Oh yeah, Fallon says it all the time. It’s cool, he’s a handsome chap and no mistake. I don’t mind that, it could be worse.

 

AHS: Fallon thinks I look like Robert Pattinson

 

NM: She mentioned that on Monday actually. I do see the resemblance.

 

JD: Yep, its mostly when he wears the body glitter though.

 

AHS: Hey, look, I don’t agree. But the guy is like some sex symbol, who am I to argue if my lady thinks I’m as sexy as a big fancy  movie star?

 

JD: She thinks you look like him, I don’t remember hearing the word sexy mentioned.

 

AHS: Shut up.

 

NM: Right, we’ll move swifly on before there’s any fisticuffs.  What is the naughty food you like to indulge in?

 

JD: Like naughty?

 

NM: Yes, naughty.

 

JD: Oh god, I don’t know. Ice cream, yes I do quite like using ice cream, but Eva has me on a diet. In reality, she’d want to use celery or something.

 

AHS: Nutella, I really like Nutella and ice cream too of course.

 

JD: I don’t need to hear this…hang on, is that why you always have both? Oh I am never eating another chocolate spread sandwich in your house again. Not now I know where the damn jar has been…

 

NM: I feel like a therapist here, but why does that bother you?

 

JD: For all intents and purposes, his other half is my sister…

 

AHS: He likes to think she hasn’t ever had sex, never mind something a bit naughtier…should I elaborate.

 

NM: Nope, that’s plenty or Joe might pass out. He does look a bit pale.

 

AHS: Lol

 

NM: You do that too huh? The lol thing, I noticed Fallon thinks it’s a word too

 

AHS: Ah she rubs off on you, you know?

 

NM: Believe me, I know…So boys, what do you wear to bed?

 

JD: Pajamas, I have several nice pairs. Lots with the Avengers or Star Wars on.

 

AHS: Mate, you missed the point there…It depends on what I’m going to bed to do, usually, boxers, but I do like to sleep au natural. Marilyn Monroe said Chanel No 5 didn’t she? So maybe a bit of Cool Waters…

 

JD: Lalalala….(his fingers are in his ears while Abner chuckles his response)

 

NM: So what is your favourite part of the opposite sexes body?

 

JD: Bottoms, I love a nice backside. Ava is half Spanish and it shows.  She’s a beautiful curvaceous lady, her backside is amazing.

 

AHS: I also appreciate a nice rump, not just in steaks…but personally, I love eyes and also boobs. Or should I say breasts?

 

NM: Either is appropriate

 

AHS: Yeah, then boobs. I like them average sized, not huge and plastic, but I think they add so much to a womans shape.

 

NM: So how many people have you said “I Love You” to?

 

JD: Quite a few, I was a bit of a slut back in the day, but I am a reformed man now.  I slept around quite a bit before I met Eva.

 

AHS: Um one…I don’t even think I actually said it to Marcia, the woman I was once engaged to. Nope, I don’t think I did, so yeah. Just Fallon.

 

NM: Aww that is really sweet.

 

JD: Is there a bucket? Before everyone thinks he’s adorable, he was a slut too. He just didn’t tell them he loved them.

 

NM: Isn’t that better though?

 

JD: I think you can tell someone you love them and mean it at the time, even if that love is more of a fondness. Abe and Fallon like to make everything seem like a Disney movie though.

 

AHS: He’s just jealous cos that makes him her sidekick which is usually an animal of some sort.

 

JD: Shut up.

 

NM: Right, first kisses, how old and did you instigate it?

 

JD: I was thirteen I think, and it was sort of my idea, I said lets play spin the bottle and then I had my first kiss. I’m so ashamed, it was at a sleepover and I don’t even know her name now. I probably didn’t even fancy her at the time, such is the luck of the game. Or not as the case may be.

 

AHS: So I went to an all boys school…I think I had a drunken snog with a stranger when I was about 16 or so and never looked back.

JD: He lost his virginity to a teacher…

 

AHS: I didn’t know she was my teacher at the time, not until I got back to school. She also didn’t know how young I was…so yeah, first kiss is a bit unmemorable.  I remember my first kiss with Fallon…both times. When we were eight and she pecked me on the cheek and when we got together as grown ups.

 

JD: Seriously, why didn’t you put a bucket down in front of us?

 

NM: Ha, you two are funny together. Ok, so relationship deal breaker?

 

AHS: Dishonesty, I can’t abide liars.  It’s the thing that you cant allow, if someone isn’t honest, then you cant trust them.

 

JD: Yeah, I am there with you mate. I don’t like liars at all.

 

NM: Do either of you have any tattoos or piercings?

 

JD: Nope, none of them. I wanted to pierce my ears as a kid but Fallon said no.

 

AHS: I have a tattoo on my chest, over my heart. Just important initials and it’s not really ever on public show. Maybe on holiday I guess. I couldn’t do piercings, I don’t think they look good on blokes. Fallon was right to stop you Joe.

 

JD: I agree now, I didn’t back when I was 16 and thought my future was to be a rockstar.

 

NM: Favourite alcoholic drink?

 

JD: JD, I remember it well, what with the initials haha

 

AHS: I have grown to appreciate wine, but I just love a bottle of Budweiser or a glass of a nice whiskey. I’m with Joe on the JD too actually

JD: He also likes a strawberry daquiri now and again

AHS: That’s true, they’re yummy

NM: So, the last question is upon us, describe your dream girl?

JD: Looks wise, I like dark hair, eyes the lot. I love curves, I think that’s the most beautiful way for a female body to be. Personality, it has to be fun, caring and maybe a little dangerous too. I found it too, so that’s excellent.

AHS: I never used to have a type, generally they were always tall and slim and pretty often blondes. Now I’m with a woman a foot shorter than me, her hair is the most beautiful shade of copper and her eyes are both blue and brown. She’s slim, but like Joe, I adore that she has curves. The curve of her hips and breasts are my favourite. She’s smart, hilarious, would do anything for anyone and often does and she’s also completely unaware of her qualities. She’s my idea of a dream and I’m quite often found pinching myself to check if it’s all real.

JD: Seriously Nikki, next time, I’m gonna need a bucket.

AHS: Be careful, she’s your best friend and you think she’s perfect too.

JD: Yeah, as a sister and friend. I’ve never looked at her curves, she might as well be a bloke.

NM: I’m sure she’d love to hear that, that’s just what a girl likes to hear.

JD: Honestly, it’s Fally, she truly would be glad.

AHS: True.

NM: Well, thanks for joining me today boys. It’s been entertaining to say the least. No doubt, I’ll be hearing from you both again soon.

AHS: Undoubtedly, thanks for having us. We should get going, the leashes aren’t that long. Don’t include that…

JD: Yes, please make us come off well. They’ll be reading, our lives are hard enough as it is. Thanks for having us. It’s been fun.

So there you go, they’re the two boys in Fallon’s life and they both clearly adore her and each other. Lucky girls to have them, that’s for sure.

Again, thanks for stopping by! Keep tabs on #chicklitlove week over on twitter!

20140212-174154.jpg

20140212-174200.jpg

Author

Merry Chick Lit, not just Celebrating the Season, but Supporting Sufferers of Cancer

MCL-FINAL

So, Monday marks the release of Merry Chick Lit, Celebrate the Season with Six Sassy Shorts.  When we first banded together to write this anthology, we were just going to put it out as a free e-book and see what happened. One of the girls, shamefully I cant remember which, suggested pricing it at $0.99 and donating the proceeds to a charity.  When Rocking The Road to a Cure was suggested as an option, we all agreed it was a very worthy one.  Nobody can truly say they haven’t known someone suffering from Cancer of a type, whether it’s a relative, a friend or friend of a friend, we have all had our lives touched. Maybe it was that you were a big Kylie Minogue or Jennifer Saunders fan and followed their experiences through the media. But the majority of people would agree. Cancer is Abhorrent. I blogged previously about my own experience, as someone who has lost loved ones and even had their own scare, but this post is something different.  I found a website, http://www.worldwidebreastcancer.com/learn/breast-cancer-statistics-worldwide/ and copied the following information from it.  It isn’t my work, I simply scribble stories, but it is important that I highlight that our intention is to make at least one persons life more bearable, or enjoyable for even ten seconds.  So read through these statistics and then decide if you are able to spare $0.99 (I think in the UK it’ll be less than that) and know the money could add up to helping someone.

 In 2010, nearly 1.5 million people were told “you have breast cancer”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. It is also the principle cause of death from cancer among women globally. Despite the high incidence rates, in Western countries, 89% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive 5 years after their diagnosis, which is due to detection and treatment (Parkin, 2008).

The UK and USA have one of the highest incidence rates worldwide (together with the rest of North America and Australia/New Zealand), making these countries a priority for breast cancer awareness.

Dramatically, one-third of these cancer deaths could be decreased if detected and treated early. In a worldwide context, this means nearly 400,000 lives could be saved every year.

Your Lifetime Risk, is it really 1 in 8?

The most common breast cancer statistic you have probably heard is that “1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.” What it should really read is “If everyone lived beyond the age of 70, 1 in 8 of those women would get or have had breast cancer.” This statistic is based on everyone in the population living beyond the age of 70. Since your breast cancer risk increases as you age, your lifetime risk changes depending on your age:

Age 20-29: 1 in 2,000
Age 30-39: 1 in 229
Age 40-49: 1 in 68
Age 50-59: 1 in 37
Age 60-69: 1 in 26
Ever: 1 in 8
Source: American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figures, 2005-2006.

 So there you go. We don’t expect to make millions, maybe not even thousands, but surely Hundreds is a reasonable expectation and you could help…

Follow the Hashtag #MerryChickLit for updates by all six of us contributing authors.

And thanks in advance if you do decide to purchase…

 

Author · Uncategorized

Merry ChickLit – Supporting lives touched by Breast Cancer

So I told you all about the short story book Merry Chicklit right?  Did I tell you that all proceeds are going to Rocking the Road for a Cure? Yes, I think I did. Now let me tell you why it is so important to me.

 

My life has been touched by cancer from my first memories, my Granny had lung cancer, which meant at three years of age, I saw her with a hole in her throat and a machine pressed to it so she could speak to me.  Granny Maureen, that’s what I called her, and we lost her when I was four years of age. At seventeen years old I found out my other Granny had Pancreatic Cancer.  Because I was a teenager, I decided that I could handle it and I went home to Dublin and spent a week with her in her hospice.  I think now when I look back, that week killed part of me, I spent my days with her and my nights with my head buried In a book. Pretending everything was ok and a hospice was a place you went to get better. My Granny had been my best friend you see and I had to see her as a frail lady, not old, she never once looked old to me. But she wasn’t the glamorous woman I can summon a million images of in my head.  I always thought she was like Doris Day.  I said goodbye on the Wednesday, travelled back to England and by Sunday morning, we were heading home again. This time, because goodbye had really been the end.

 

Over my life, I can think of many people who have been touched by cancer.  My great grandmother, who I simply knew as Lou, had Breast Cancer and in 2009 I found a lump.  I’ll say now, that it was fine, I didn’t have it, but to hear the doctor say that at my age it was strange but not unheard of, well that was a fright.  I had a month between appointments, she wanted to wait and see if it grew or moved and told me there was time to wait.  So I suppose I should have known I was fine then, but I didn’t.  I spent hours googling things, by the end of the first week, I was going to freeze eggs so I could still have babies, I had picked a wig and decided on which treatment I thought was best.  Now it’s all a dim and distant blur, but for four weeks, I walked around absolutely convinced that I had cancer.  All the other women in my family had died from it, so I was clearly next and at 26, it wasn’t unheard of either, especially with my history.

 

Rocking The Road for A Cure, is educational, had I known about them back in 2009, I may not have had the screaming fits I did and I might have felt more educated than I was by Google and Wikipedia. They help Women and Men, suffering from this disgusting disease that steals our loved ones and breaks our hearts.

 

If we make them $1000, then that will help people, but surely you can imagine how much more valuable $2000 would be, and then multiply it.

 

If you pre-order our book now, all of your $0.99 goes to the charity, if you wait until it’s on Amazon, then they’ll get $0.35 per book and Amazon will take the rest.  None of the authors will profit from this book directly, sure, people might then read our other books, but not a penny from these proceeds will line our pockets.  All the editing and proofreading time has been donated, Carolyn has kept us all organised (and thank heavens for that, I am a flibbertigibbet and no mistake) and I played in Photoshop and made our cover. As a result of Merry ChickLit, I have connected and made friends with new authors and can feel proud that my scribbling on notepads my entire life, might just help people.

My Story for the book is dedicated to those whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Specifically Peggy Magee, Maureen Quinn, Lucille Mahood and Margaret Magee, but definitely not limited to.