Monday, 18 May 2015

National Service is NOT required

National Service is not required to instill respect, honest and integrity in young people. Parents need to learn to TEACH their children from the moment they give birth. I blame the 1960s and the 'free spirit' attitude. All children are blank canvasses and bloody gorgeous ones at that. It is up to us as parents to turn them into works of art.

From the day I wanted to be a parent, I knew and understood it was MY responsibility to teach my children - not teachers, not society and certainly not the armed forces. It is a FULL TIME job - 24/7, 365 days per year.  It really saddens me to see children turning to crime and their parents defending their action as its not their fault for not being given the opportunities - NO! It's the parents fault for not creating the opportunities or teaching the children how to create their own opportunities. As a child I didn't get life. I was naive and believed everything people told me. I believed I was no good, wouldn't possibly be able to progress to where I wanted to go. What did I do? Believed them. Now I see it differently and I have made damn sure my boys are not dissuaded from pursuing their dreams.

What can I say? Lucas has declared he wants to be Prime Minister. Well, after he made sure someone else would be doing all the paperwork! Eight years old and he is already a political analyst. Mums and animals will be treated like royalty - GUARANTEED. He definitely has my blood and I'm immensely proud both boys have been so engaged in the general election - result aside, of course! I've spent their entire life instilling into them the importance of NOT having an 'I'm alright Jack' attitude. Sadly it appears we are in the minority but as far as we are concerned that is fine by us.

Lucas has decided he wants to help out in the next election campaign. Lucas-George - PM in the making!


This weekend I had an epiphany! Well actually it was more of an endorsement. An endorsement of my parenting skills. Although Wes' team narrowly missed out on a win, I was incredibly proud of his performance. It was a 'Rocky' moment. You know the one - young pretender gives his absolute all to try and inspire a win against the odds. He left absolutely nothing in the tank and was deservedly praised for it. Whilst his performance was admirable, it was his attitude that I was, and am, most proud of. He is one of the youngest in the group yet has the maturity to listen to advice and the confidence to speak out, in what could be a very intimidating environment. Most of all, I love his honesty. He owns his mistakes, learns from them and moves on. Lots of adults could certainly learn from his integrity.

Words cannot truly express my pride in both of them and in myself because in spite of people telling me I was wrong in bringing the boys up the way I have, I was right in sticking to my guns and not compromising my own beliefs. Children need to be respected, nurtured and helped along into adulthood.


Menieres


So, medication is supposed to make you feel better, right? WRONG! Since agreeing to try medication, I have felt so much worse. Some days I have been so bad that I have not been able to string a sentence together or even had enough energy to get dressed. It has been ridiculously hard to keep focus and keep going but I have,just. One thing I have learned this time is not to give myself such a hard time and expect to be able to go at 100 mph when my body can only manage 20 mph. I am going to try no medication this week and see how I feel by Friday.


The hardest part of Menieres is how much it knocks my confidence. Some days the floor moves like a ship and I am unsteady on my feet. Other days I can't hear what people are saying to me or even worse, I can honestly say I can't hear what is coming out of my mouth. It truly is a horrendous illness to cope with. Getting people to understand invisible illnesses is the biggest challenge in life.


Beyond the Past





Have you had the chance to read it yet? Would you like to review it for me?

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website






Available from:

Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US

Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0 


Beyond the Lies


So I've decided to re-write it. I love my debut novel but it is just that. My first book. Like my boys, I like to learn from experiences and I have grown as a writer in such a short space of time. Instinctively I was not 100% happy with the first draft. It was only a DRAFT. Now the work begins again and I love what I have written so far. I will definitely be investing in a an editor - you live and learn.

Well, I am glad you are still with me. You have no idea how much your support means to me. I hope you have a wonderful week. This week we are in Sheffield four times but it is SOOO worth it.

Have fun...








Tuesday, 5 May 2015

May the force... be with us all



Last week was the first week I have not blogged since I started this blog. Every time I sat down to write the blog, something happened and I was called away to do something else. It is frustrating but you know, that’s life. I get to the end of the week and have no idea where my time has gone! Yet, I know exactly where it goes – divided between school runs, making fresh meals, running back and forth to Sheffield, attending rugby league and football matches and somewhere in between working on a PhD proposal and writing books and screenplays. I need to stop beating myself up and accepting I am not super human!!
Two weekends ago, I travelled to Gloucester to watch the Hallam Eagles win by 54 10, playing some outstanding rugby league and scoring some great tries. On the Sunday we
were up early to attend the Knaresborough Celtic football gala with Lucas. I have to say it was probably the best run gala I have ever been to. I know how exhausting they are to organise, but the weather was kind, which is always a bonus in the UK.

If hard work alone paid off, I’d be a blooming millionaire, still there are more important things in life than money.

In between the two matches and travelling, I write and edit. That is how I manage to get my work done and the 5am starts! In fact, the busier I am the more I get done. Do you find that too?

Menieres


Just after Christmas, I was referred to a Specialist because my symptoms were worsening and the periods of incapacity were getting longer. As usual by the time I got to see the Specialist the symptoms had subsided. I have never met such an arrogant man in all my life and trust me I have met a few over the years! He didn’t listen, he wasn’t remotely interested and decided it was not Menieres and I had migraine!! His diagnosis sent me in a spin (sorry, couldn’t resist it!).

Bearing in mind I lost my job because of Menieres and have spent seven years depriving myself of certain foods and drink, I was totally floored at first then angry. I had thousands of questions but went through a period of thinking I must have imagined all the pain and suffering. Anyway, I went to see my GP and he apologised profusely and referred me to another Specialist. After extensive tests, and not just one quick test like the first Specialist, it has been confirmed that I have bilateral Menieres and after seven years of resisting, I now have medication and am going for tinnitus therapy – the name conjures up all sorts of witty comments! I am so glad of our NHS and the brilliant doctors. There’s always ONE!

Tour De Yorkshire



This weekend the Tour De Yorkshire passed through, right by our house. I was SO excited. For about twenty years the Tour De France has been on my bucket list and I was so excited when we had the Grand Depart last year. The only trouble was I was in Cumbria for the rugby league when it happened. Sod’s bloody law!! Anyway I got to witness the Tour De Yorkshire this weekend and it was fabulous.
Lucas was a little taken aback at the speed of the riders but he was super happy when we managed to get a photograph of Sir Bradley Wiggins – Lucas has kept his sideburns since 2012 in homage of Sir Bradley!











PhD


This is such an important development for me and I received great feedback for the first draft proposal. Now I am working on the amendments. The funding, however, could take some time! Story of my life!

Writing


I have decided the best time to write for me is at 5am! The first two hours before the chaos of school commences is definitely the most productive. The clear skies and sunshine has been a boost too (although where has it gone?)

I have lots of projects on the go at the moment and in next week’s blog I am going to give you little teasers… I know I’m good that way!

Beyond the Past


Have you had the chance to read it yet? Would you like to review it for me?

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website






Available from:

Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US

Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0

Election 2015


As the UK election is two days away I can’t go without adding my two penneth worth. People constantly chastise me for talking about politics and how I feel about my own country. Why shouldn’t we talk about it? That is so English! Or in my world … ye olde English! I want to debate issues. Too many people sit and moan yet do nothing. For me, not voting is a SIN, a criminal act. As far as I am concerned there is a clear choice – have a government that ensures the few succeed or one that encourages working people from all backgrounds to succeed and support those who are unfortunate enough to have lost their livelihood for whatever reason. I am super proud of our National Health Service and people seem to forget that it is in the forefront of research and development in the world in so many areas of health. 

I know who I am and what I believe in. Sneer, look down on me, call it ‘class envy’ or what you like. I am proud to fight for those less fortunate and still try to better myself. I believe that the problems with ‘benefits’, ‘tax avoidance’, ‘bank bonuses’, ‘look after number one philosophy’ all stem from Thatcher’s idiotic policies of the 1980s. Cameron is just finishing what she started – when few benefit at the cost of the many, it is not a democracy!!! Why should the individual business leaders cream off millions when their staff are interns, working for nothing or on zero hour contracts? You can still succeed with an ethical outlook. So shame on you all! The government is there to protect and serve ALL - it certainly does not feel that way!

It is time we talked about POLITICS – it’s time we teach our children the values of the NHS, education and a society that has the common decency to look after EVERYONE not the privileged few. 

Food banks in a modern society are scandalous especially for WORKING families. It’s real, it’s happening in my beloved country whilst MPs spend obscene amounts of money on CHAMPAGNE. Why is that right? The right wing press are despicable and Sky News has been switched off in our house otherwise I find myself shouting at the television.
Anyway, I’m off my soap box now.

May the 4th saw Lucas start to watch the Complete Saga for the first time. I was so excited as it is my favourite collection of films EVER. When they finally released the story behind Darth Vader, I booked tickets for Wes and I. In great anticipation, we sat there. At the moment which ALL was revealed, Wes was desperate for the toilet – yep, I missed it!!! So glad it came out on DVD.

Well, that’s me and if you are still reading, thank you… you are a superstar. May the force be with you…


Have a great week everyone








SO proud of the RL Family

It was incredibly tragic on Sunday to hear of the death of a young rugby player.  RIP Danny and my sincerest condolences to his wife, his 5 month old twins and his family and friends.

Well done to Steve Ball of the RFL for setting up a justgiving page. I don't know why everyone is so surprised at the response from the rugby league family. I'm not. We take our sport for granted and the people within it. Yes there are things that drive us to distraction BUT when it comes down to standing together, ignoring club colours, we do it so magnificently.

If anyone can please donate at Justgiving 

Thank you

xx




Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Keeping your eye on the prize…




Hello again. How has your week been so far? I don’t mind sharing that this week I am struggling. Struggling to balance life, struggling to sleep, struggling financially and struggling to keep the boys balanced and healthy.

Parenting


We don’t do diets in this house, we do healthy eating plans. Wes and I have low carbs, high protein diets and my youngest has a balanced diet even more so since he has had these mystery symptoms that are even baffling the professionals. Honestly, he has had nose bleeds, pins and needles, serious bouts of exhaustion and loss of concentration. My instincts have always led me to believe it was not medical but to do with lifestyle. However, he is active, not overweight and generally happy and very bright. 

Every other weekend and once a week he goes to his Dad’s house. Obviously I’d discussed the health issues with him and explained the new healthy eating and regular exercise. I thought we were on the same page. Monday evening I went to the doctors to discuss results. Everything is fine apart from the nose bleeds and pins and needles that had reappeared on Sunday evening in spite of a couple of weeks, nearly a month symptom free!

Monday evening I asked for a list of what he had eaten over the weekend. What I was advised totally shocked and actually devastated me. I had spent more than six months worrying about my little boy and had spent time at the doctors and the specialists at the LGI, who, incidentally, were fantastic. After analysing the food he had eaten, these were the results. Bearing in mind I have done the estimations very conservatively.


Fat
Sugar
Salt
Recommended
35
12.6
2
Friday (1 meal only)
110.5
86.5
3.99
Saturday
77.4
103.2
3.666
Sunday
50.7
93.6
0.2328

I admit I cried from anger, frustration, disgust and fear. Talk about feeling like a bad mother!!

So the first part of this week and not for the first time, I have educated my son on the importance of healthy eating, not dieting! Some people don’t understand the difference apparently.  Ten years ago I would have vehemently opposed any discussion about lifestyle with a child and it certainly is not the responsibility of an eight year old to ensure he is eating properly but when you’re hitting your head against a brick wall, you eventually have to try a new direction.

I highlight this only to demonstrate the risks children face and in spite of me watching what he eats and how he lives his life, his health was at risk.  I feel like the Gestapo!  I am not popular at the moment but it has to be done to prevent serious illness. I guess the biggest lesson is don’t give up on your instincts. Apparently I am a nag – guess what? This nag is not stopping!! Let’s hope this is the end the bouts of illness but it won’t be the end of the worrying - that lasts a lifetime. The other lesson is – giving life lessons to children does not let up. It’s been an uncomfortable start to the week but some issues can’t be ignored. Days like this I know I am very much on my own, swimming against the tide or in my case... a blooming tsunami!
Obviously this has distracted me from work but if it saves him from long term illness, it is worth it.

Rugby League


On a lighter note, we had a mammoth journey to Valley Cougars on Saturday to watch Wes play for Hallam Eagles. Wow, what a journey! Not helped by the M50 being closed all day which forced a detour south to the Severn bridge then back up to Treharris.

Still, I think it was worth the journey. Thirteen young, rising stars competed, and I mean competed, against seventeen GROWN men, sixteen after one of the men decided he would stamp on Wes. Although they narrowly lost 14-16 to last year’s league winners, they all worked hard and did the club and themselves really proud. This weekend we travel to Gloucester after spending Tuesday night watching the reserves at the Dewsbury Rams. That is Saturday taken care of and Sunday Lucas has a football tournament. 

It looks like 5am starts for me for the foreseeable future just to fit everything in. It is a good job I can work anytime, anywhere – is it too early for Martini?? (if you was not alive in the 1980s you may not get this!)

Writing


What has made this week even more frustrating, is the list of projects I need time to sort out. Time is the rarest commodity in our house, money being the second!

I am editing my next book, have started another but the biggest work has been on the PhD proposal revisions and scriptwriting. The latter is something I have wanted to try for a while and two of my current stories are developing more for the screen than a book but I wouldn’t rule out the latter!! The way I roll, I suppose!

I am looking forward to the day when I am earning some money from writing so I can employ someone to help me. For now though, I have accepted that writing and following my new career path is my second priority behind my children. I put myself under so much pressure to do everything I need to do. I won’t give up in spite of the lack of support from people. It is not being deluded or stubborn, it is being a human being who refuses to accept the ‘norm’ and give up on what is right for my little family.

Introducing you to Beyond the Past



The book is set in Yorkshire featuring local cities and towns - Leeds, Harrogate, York and Wetherby and centres around rugby league.
 

Main Characters


Annie Swift - Elegant, funny and very strong. Mum of two rising stars in rugby league.
Mark Smith - Ex professional rugby league player, now a pundit on television and radio.
Matt Swift - Annie's eldest son, plays rugby league professionally for Leeds.
Ed Swift-Brown - Just breaking into professional rugby league, Ed is on loan to London then signs for Leeds to realise his ultimate ambition of playing alongside his big brother.
Garry Pearce - Mark's best friend. Played rugby league together from amateur under 8s to professionally for Wigan and Great Britain.
Louisa Smith -Mark's ex wife and mother to their only child Sophie.
DCI Harry Fisher -Senior Investigating Officer in the case.
DS Phillipa Davies -Mother of two children, Phillipa is very bright. Harry specifically asks for her to be assigned to the case not just for professional reasons.
Andrea Collins - Annie's Mum and confidante.
Charles Collins -Annie's father and Matt and Ed's hero. 

Opening pages


Just past the Halifax junction on the M62, Mark Smith noticed a car tailing him. It had been there for about three miles. After recent events, he changed lanes a few times, the car followed. Annie sensed his anxiety and watched him cautiously looking through his mirror. Suddenly the car overtook them and lingered at their side. Mark looked across to see the driver but the tinted windows prevented any identification. He slowed down, the car slowed down. The cat and mouse antics went on for a couple of miles.

"Annie! Ed! Keep your wits about you. Annie ring Harry and let him know. When I slow down see if one of you can get the registration number," Mark instructed.

Annie's heart was pounding but she was more concerned she had one of her precious boys with them. Ed wasn't at all fazed. He was watching Mark intensely. Mark braked suddenly and the car skidded to the left. It was enough for Ed to take a note of the registration number. However, the car slowed down and pulled in front of them. Mark was forced to brake hard to avoid a collision.

Annie Swift's life flashed before her eyes. She'd not had an easy life; her first marriage was violent and the only good thing to come out of it all was her eldest son, Matt. Oh God! Matt she thought. He was on the verge of re-signing a contract to play Rugby League for his home town, the club she had supported as a child with her grandpa. She didn't want her life to end now! Her mum and dad needed her, her boys needed her and most of all she'd finally met someone she could grow old with, who loved her unconditionally and made her happy at last. Life had been cruel but it was worth the heartache to have such beautiful boys and now a new partner. She had come through so much and was finally in a good place in her life. It was inconceivable it could end now. 

"Shit!" Mark shouted as he swerved out to the middle lane. As he tried to overtake the car, it too increased its speed. Then, without warning the pursuer swerved into the middle lane, again Mark's defensive driving avoided contact but this was getting really scary. Annie was shouting down the phone to DCI Harry Fisher. 

Ed turned to Mark. "Mark keep calm you are doing great. I think we should try and get off the motorway at the next exit."

Annie interrupted, "Harry suggested that too. I am going to put the phone on loudspeaker so we can tell him what's happening."

Just as she said this, Mark managed to manoeuvre past the car. He was an ex professional rugby player, not a racing driver' He put his foot down and was doing ninety-five mph when the car came right up behind him. There was no getting away from it. Mark was shaking but was trying his best to get them out of trouble. 

"The next junction, junction twenty-four, is coming up. I'm going to let him pass us and then slip off the motorway."

DCI Fisher's voice bellowed, "Mark, listen to me, do not do anything stupid! Stay within the law, we will be there shortly. The motorway police are three minutes away and the helicopter five. Stay calm but do not, I repeat do not speed." 

Mark realised it was stupid trying to outrun the car. The shaking subsided a little as he reduced his speed to seventy. The car overtook him again but this time re-joined his lane and slammed on again in front of him. Annie and Ed screamed and Annie lifted her hands to her face. Mark swerved again and braked but it was not enough. The passenger side front wing clipped the rear of the car in front. It spun the BMW out of control and into the central reservation. The airbags activated. 

For what seemed an eternity the three of them said nothing. Annie could hear the faint sirens of the emergency vehicles. The searing pain from her leg was unbearable.

"Mum!, Mum you okay?" She recognised Ed's voice.

She tried to speak but the words wouldn't come out. She nodded but wasn't sure if her head actually moved. The pain was taking over, it was so, so intense. She could hear Ed and Mark's voice and a strange distant voice calling her name, she recognised it was Harry but couldn't understand why he was there. She passed out.

Ed and Mark walked out of the mangled mess and sat in an ambulance close by. Both shocked, 
Ed had a small cut on his left cheek and on his hand where a splinter of glass had hit him. It seemed a very strange situation to him. He was sitting calmly in an ambulance whilst the scene outside was pandemonium. None of it seemed real. It resembled a scene from a Bruce Willis blockbuster.

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website

Available from:

Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US

Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0 



Have a great week everyone