Monday, 30 March 2015

It just shows to go you!

Role Models


So because you earn £100,000s a week, it makes you a role model? So because you are a sports, movie or TV personality you MUST be a good role model, right?

At times, it's a very warped world we live in. We see examples of it every day and its one epidemic that needs reversing. Our own Prime Minister chooses to defend a man suspended (now sacked) from his job for physically assaulting a colleague on the same day a retired police officer admits he has lied for over a quarter of a decade. Where is the sense of perspective now? Surely a senior officer should be regarded as a role model? Clearly not.

In fact, in my own little world these are just examples of human beings, being well … human or inhumane in some cases. Role models should begin at home - US PARENTS. It is our responsibility to create the sense of perspective and lead by example. I have no expectations of any sports, movie or television personality being perfect or being perfect role models. They are only human! Plain and simple. HUMAN. They make mistakes, some apologise, too few in my opinion. Others make money from their notoriety but essentially they are like us – well, maybe not because I would never dream of punching, stamping, biting or intentionally lying. However, the media rarely pick report on the fabulous stories of kindness and thoughtfulness like yesterday's All Stars Match at Anfield. They are only humans and we all do bad and good, mainly good things. When things do go wrong, they are lessons to teach the children how not to behave.

I choose to teach my boys about humanity:
  • Know no one is perfect
  • Know everyone makes mistakes
  • It is okay to make mistakes
  • Own your mistakes
  • Live by your OWN standards and don't compromise them 
  • Apologise or accept any apology
  • Forgive but don’t forget what it taught you.

Rugby League


I always start out on a game day thinking I have tons of time to kill between the drop offs, travel and the game. Loads of time to write, edit and research. It never works out that way so part of this blog is written in Nottingham and the rest in Leeds!

I love being a part of this great sport in spite of the few that try to ruin it. We do have a fabulous rugby league family. Every game day reminds of this from Wes going through his game day ritual to the drop off at the club or the pickup point for the away games. At home games, I write before the kick off. For away games, I usually travel alone which means I can play my ‘old’ music and sing along as loud as I want without moans from the boys and calls of ‘wartime music’ being played. They are very cheeky! This week it was a 1980s reunion CD so plenty of Queen, Kim Wilde, Human League, Madness, etc.

Going to Nottingham was a trip down happy memory lane.

Memories of Nottingham

So many happy times in so many cities – the British Rally Championship at Clumber Park in the snow; showing, or trying to show the boys how to fire bow and arrows in Sherwood Forest; the D H Lawrence Museum; Lucas’ first trip to the WWE at the Notts Arena;

I love Nottingham and even more so now the boys had a great win.

Setting Goals


There were three goals when I was diagnosed with Menieres and lost my job. These were:

1.       1st Class Honours degree – CHECK
2.       Becoming a writer and having a book published – CHECK
3.       Gain a PhD – ongoing

This week I am in discussions to achieve my third goal and I have a supervisor in place and ready to work with me. Subject to funding, I should be pursuing my third goal very shortly. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Not bad for a working class single mother with Menieres!! 

I am working on my next three goals – well actually I know what they are but will wait until I have my PhD to publish them.


Beyond the Past






Beyond the Past is selling well. You can read the 1st three chapters FREE here. Links to buy the book are:

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


The edit is in full swing and I am really excited about the outcome. Watch this space…

Scriptwriting

I never know whether to call it scriptwriting or screenwriting. I am currently studying and writing a script at the same time. It is really interesting how learning a new art puts a very different perspective on films and dramas. I am loving this new challenge.






When I look back at the work I have managed over the last week I am really satisfied, but exhausted!! The To Do list is growing though!!  I truly am living my dreams and it is only going to get better.

Have a fabulous week everyone. The schools break up this Thursday for Easter so no school runs for two and a half weeks. That makes me HAPPY too.

 
Just a mention : Congratulations to my lifelong team Ferrari for the magical win yesterday. I had goosebumps when the combination of the German and Italian national anthems were played. A new era has begun. #KeepingfightingMichael.



I always welcome your feedback and comments. Have a fabulous week. You can follow my news and events on my website.





Monday, 23 March 2015

WRITER, EDITOR, MARKETING EXECUTIVE, BLOGGER & SUPER MUM

I’m a happy, peaceful, hardworking writer, super Mum and generally a good human being but always looking to improve.

Oh, I am such a space geek! Friday’s eclipse was so incredibly exciting for me. Stargazing Live has been enthralling too but let’s face it Dr Brian Cox could make party manifestos sound interesting, right?

Friday set the tone for the weekend. This week it felt like the planets had finally aligned too. Peace has descended on my gorgeous family. Honestly, you have no idea what pressure we have been under recently, from multiple directions. However, we feel we can see the light at last.


Saturday was an incredibly busy but proud day. In the morning, Lucas played football and in the afternoon Wes made his debut for Sheffield Hallam Eagles. I spent most of Saturday freezing to death on the Siberian touchlines – okay it was Wetherby and Sheffield but boy it felt like Siberia! Words could not do any justice to the pride that overflowed from my heart.

I admit, when I saw the opposition at the rugby league game, they literally cast a shadow over me like the Dementors in Harry Potter or the eclipse. I was petrified my cute little boy was playing against these giants. Actually, I don’t know when it happened but my little, cheeky boy has turned into a stropping, young man who did not look out of place or miniature at all. In fact, he held his own magnificently and just to give me that usual heart stopping moment, his first involvement was to tackle the biggest MAN on the pitch. This boy, now man has NO fear.

It’s the start of a fabulous, hopefully long journey and I feel so privileged to be a part of it. The boys inspire me to follow my dreams.

If, no when, I become a successful writer, I would love to set up a fund that helps finance scholarships for young people who would otherwise be deprived of the opportunity to follow their dreams. You certainly can’t put an economic price on striving for your dreams.

WRITING – LEARNING ON THE JOB

 

I can’t wait for the day when I can pay someone to edit my work. My publisher edits it but I like to edit it and re-edit until I am happy to submit it. In all honesty I would probably edit my work before I let an editor see it anyway. So it does beg the question, do I need an editor? Of course I do, I’m not perfect and no one can 100% edit their own work.

I have learned new editing techniques and requirements since publishing my first novel, Beyond the Past. When you are learning on the job you have to accept you will make mistakes BUT mistakes are okay. That is how we develop as human beings. You will ALWAYS get people who jump on other peoples’ mistakes, ALWAYS. However, they are likely to be the ones that will never leave their comfort zone and obviously believe they are super human and immune from making mistakes. Let them get on with it! Concentrate on learning from your mistakes and you will develop.

FIRST DRAFT

 

Unless you are super talented, and I never profess to be, the first draft will never be your final product. I hand write my books so that I can further edit when I type my work. Even after this first edit, I still consider this my first, rough draft.
When I wrote Beyond the Past, I wanted it right first time, with everything in place and perfect. I was so naïve and put myself under so much pressure. Not now, in fact I laugh at myself so much. Thankfully, I learn very quickly.


Beyond the Past is selling well. You can read the 1st three chapters FREE here. Links to buy the book are:

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

 

When I drafted Beyond the Lies, I knew it was not the finished product. This has actually made editing much more interesting. I know the ending of the book now so I can beef up the story and suspense throughout. That is very exciting.

The edits the book will go through BEFORE anyone in the business sees it include:



  1. First, rough draft scribbled on paper then typed
  2. Spelling, grammar checks
  3. Search and delete unnecessary, words like ‘very’. It’s interesting to find over 300+ ‘very’ in your work and be upset with yourself that you’ve used it that many times in 170,000 words only to find that the majority of them are actually part of other words like everyone, everybody, etc. I am such a dork sometimes.
  4. Print and dissect the draft. I mean crucify it!! Every piece of it is scrutinised.
  5. I have totally re-written some chapters of Beyond the Lies. I am so happy with the re-write. If I’m not happy with it, it won’t go out. A lesson learned the hard way.
  6. Once all the amendments are done, and I’m only a third of the way through Beyond the Lies at present, I go back and repeat steps 1 to 4.
  7. Final read through and my reader edits too.
  8. Then I may send it to the publisher.
Step 8 will only happen when I am 100% satisfied – I am my harshest critic and I like it that way.

SCRIPTWRITING

 

On top of all the editing work, I have my other projects I am working on, two of which involve scriptwriting. I want to add this to my skills, have another string to my bow and another option to pursue when the boys don’t need me anymore (Haha).

Out of the Depths of Despair has been retitled Charity. One word encompasses so many aspects of this work. Intrigued? Good x

This week I don’t have enough hours to cover the work I want to do but I will keep plugging away. I will be successful, I WILL! I’m working hard for our future, hopefully being a great Mum and role model along with way.

I really do believe that everything I have done in my past lives, have led to where I am today and I am NOW in the right place, doing the right thing. Being an author isn’t just about writing. You need so many more skills. What I have learned is to adapt my previous experience to my new career and this includes:

  1. Writing
  2. Editing 
  3.  Proofreading
  4. Marketing
  5. Legal/contract work
  6. Customer services
  7. Planning and preparation
  8. Public speaking
  9. Resilience
  10. Time management
  11. Sheer hard work and determination
  12. Web design
  13. Social media management
  14. Blogging
  15. Chief negotiator, diplomat, fixer
  16. PA, receptionist, tea maker (most important job of all!)

I’m not special, I just don’t give up but boy do I really do all this ? No wonder I'm exhausted ��

I always welcome your feedback and comments. Have a fabulous week. You can follow my news and events on my website.





Sunday, 15 March 2015

Great Mums make the perfect role models





The greatest VOLUNTARY (in most cases) job in the world. The most influential job in the world. The most rewarding job in the world!! Never, ever underestimate what YOU can achieve as a Mum – the ultimate role model! Happy Mother’s Day to you all, everywhere in the world. Being a Mum (or Mom) is the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!





 Junior Sport


Someone said to me this week that a bad volunteer is better than having no volunteer. Really what planet do we live on? You wouldn’t ask King Herod to babysit would you????


Is a bad volunteer better than NO volunteer?  Where junior sport is concerned NO NO NO! It is a question of standards and safety and maintaining those high standards. DBS checks (the replacement for CRB checks) do not assess the suitability of a person to volunteer around young people. These are some examples of what I have witnessed over the years of being involved in junior sport:

  1. Parents assaulting players when the players are children
  2. Verbal abuse of referees by parents
  3. A coach being called a paedophile by an opposition player
  4. Two coaches physically fighting on the pitch.
  5. Mass brawl including players and parents
  6. A coach telling under 8s they were a disgrace and he was ashamed of them just because they didn’t win a game.
  7. Parent threatening to kick an opposition players (a child) head in because he tackled their son
  8. Coaches teaching under 10s to sledge the opposition.
  9. Players biting other players
  10. Police called following a parent attacking a child
  11. The amount of parents that complain that they are having to suffer standing on the touchlines when they could be doing other things!! Really?? There’s nothing I love more than watching my boys having fun.

These are ACTUAL events I have witnessed over ten years of being involved in junior sport. The shocking thing is the majority of the incidents have not actually involved the children playing the sport. The majority of the incidents have been coaches, touchline managers, club officials all of which are also PARENTS. How about leading by example? 


My son has been racially abused and targeted by teams on so many occasions. Whilst its heart breaking to go through I have always trusted the disciplinary processes to deal with the matters. Sadly, for whatever reason some people are allowed to continue with their abuse without action being taken against them. I think I have a theory for this. Volunteers are needed for sport so anything practically goes. THAT IS NOT RIGHT.


We all sign up to the Respect campaign – we have players, parents and officials codes of conduct yet very little is done when things go wrong. It is time we weeded out the trouble causers and say ‘thank you but goodbye’. That is when you truly get a terrific junior sport environment. We should have a zero tolerance approach to any kind of bullying but especially from adults on children. We should be checking if people are suitable to be role models for children. I see so many adults absolutely knocking children’s confidence and not building them up. There are so many terrific volunteers who work tirelessly, selflessly to provide a safe, happy and nurturing environment but that is undermined by those who refuse to follow the rules or put the children first. Many terrific volunteers walk away because they won't get involved in the loutish behaviour.


It is fabulously rewarding to be a volunteer and the majority of people who get involved work tirelessly and really do put the CHILDREN first. However, there is a small minority that spoil junior sport and prevent children from flourishing in what should be THEIR environment.


As the new rugby league season starts, I ask, NO I beg that people just behave themselves. These two images appeared on Facebook this week and they perfectly sum up how I feel about junior sport.

LET THEM PLAY AND HAVE FUN!



I also ask junior clubs, the league management and the governing bodies to remember not everyone is cut out to be a suitable role model for children OR even work around children. A zero tolerance approach will push the sport forward and make it available to every child.



If you would like to volunteer, please ask yourself if you can follow the guidelines set down by the sport, if you have the right attitude to work with young people, if can you inspire young people to flourish AND more important of all, can you ensure children HAVE FUN!


We had our launch night for the Academy on Friday and the presentation reminded me of why I love rugby league and why the rugby league family is so important to me. The sport has given me so many memorable moments in my life. Wes begged me to let him play the sport and I did. Look where it has led to. Sheffield Eagles is a wonderfully, family orientated club with the right ethos that fits us as a family. The sport isn’t just about what happens on the pitch, it’s how my young boy becomes a respectful, fully grounded and considerate human being. That is why I want my boys to be in the sport and why I have fought tooth and nail to ensure the sport is not blighted by bad behaviour from adults that should, quite frankly know better. Be the one that your child is proud to have on the touchline. Be the one that sets the example for fair play and sporting behaviour. 

I'll put the soap box away now



Mid-week, I had a great chat with someone who doesn’t really know my life story and how I became a writer. It was great because, without them knowing, they inspired me to keep going just by their own enthusiasm and encouragement. 

It’s tough being a single parent especially when it was not by choice. You constantly question whether you are doing the right thing. Speaking to this person and sitting in the Academy meeting on Friday, gave me such reassurance that I am absolutely doing the right thing. Then, yesterday came the ultimate affirmation. Lucas gave me a cuddle and said thank you. I asked him what the thank you was for and he said it was for being a great Mum, a best friend and someone that listens to him and stands up for him. He said, "you lifted the weight off my shoulders." He always knows how to reduce me to a quivering wreck. He also made me a video clip of his favourite moments together. Truly inspiring. NO MORE DOUBTS.


Writing



I’ve done so much this week, focusing on editing Beyond the Lies. I’ve also decided to have a go at writing a screenplay rather than a book. I have a manual and some free software. I’ll let you know how I get on.


I’ve also found a Masters course at the local university. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Beyond the Past is selling well. You can read the 1st three chapters FREE here. Links to buy the book are:

Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US

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


Lots of work to do this week and a plan for once! Wonder if the plan will be followed, I doubt it!


Have a great week and enjoy every moment of your life. If you are lucky enough to be a Mum (Mom), give yourself a huge pat on the back and have a great day. You are simply the best role models your children could ask for.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

International Women's Day ... we can all do IT



I don’t even know where to start with this week’s blog. My mid-week blog was the most personal one I have done, yet is was by far the most popular. So how do I top it?

Well, first of all a huge big thank you for all your support for the boys and me. I wrote it to get the truth out there and stop all the lies. I love rugby league and the rugby league community. It is an amazing family to be part of but like all families there are always the few jealous, vindictive members that want to spoil it for everyone else. These are the people that should be ashamed of themselves, bringing the fabulous game into disrepute. Children in junior sport should ALWAYS come first and some adults should only be allowed in that environment in the hope that they learn from the ethics of the sport. 

Wes is lucky enough to be playing for a truly professional, family orientated rugby league club. If he makes a successful career out of it, then it will be a bonus but not the end of the world if he doesn’t. He has, with my guidance, put himself in a very strong position not just in the sport, but in his academic success too. He is in the driving seat and from where I am sitting, in pole position.

International Women’s Day

Hopefully, one day we won’t need this day. Equality is about being equal, not superior.  This weekend I watched the BBC film, Pride. The film is set during the 1980s miner’s strike, a subject very close to my heart. It follows the story of the support, financial and physical, given to the miners from the Lesbian and Gay community. It is an incredibly powerful and moving film for me for many reasons. Firstly, it brought back very strong, deep rooted feelings of injustice and wrongdoing by the government on ordinary, hardworking communities. Secondly, it showed the blatant bigotry, prejudice, injustice and inequality of our society. Sadly, my gut feeling is we have gone backwards in the last five years fuelled by biased media and phobia driven by and under the excuse of austerity. It saddens me that I feel I am living in 1980s Britain again.

We shouldn’t need to fight for equality, for the right to earn a living for a decent, equal pay but we still do have to. Keep fighting!

I despise any person, man or woman that puts people down due to their own life choices. It says far more about the aggressor’s inability to accept and embrace diversity and equality. After all, we are all just human beings renting a space for a short time on this planet. This is how I see all of us…



I celebrate International Women’s Day because I’m proud to stand up for equality and being a fair human being.

Life Goals


Now I have found my voice and my life, I want to pursue all of MY ambitions. My next goal is to achieve a PhD then go on to hopefully become an academic at university. I love research, books, knowledge and learning new things. I’ve always looked up to academic staff in awe but never felt I was good enough to be up there with them, even though I reached the last nine for funding on my first attempt in 2011. The time is now right for me to have another go. NEVER GIVE UP!

Writing


It’s funny but the busier I am, the more I get done. This is what I’ve been up to this week, in between hospital appointments, rugby training, home management and all the other things us single parents do.

SHORT STORY

This is for a competition. It is written, edited and ready for submission this week. You have to be in it to win it.

OUT OF THE DEPTHS OF DESPAIR

This is a new draft I am working on. I don’t want to give too much away other than to say this is a mystery/romance and I have fallen in love with the main characters. Very strong feeling about this one.

FROM BEHIND THE PAINTED SMILE

This is the next crime novel including DCI Fisher, following on from Beyond the Lies. It is set in Wetherby. Four unexplained deaths lead to an unexpected psychopathic killer. Watch this space!

BEYOND THE LIES

As you know this is the sequel to Beyond the Past. I honestly think I have put myself under too much pressure with this sequel. I’ve spent too much time worrying about it. There was something missing AND I’ve found it, STARING me in the face! Well actually, it woke me up in the middle of the night. Now I can now change the draft, well after the PhD proposal, short story, Mummy duties – I think you get the idea!

I finally, truly believe I have my life and more importantly, myself now. I’m ready to kick on and even, hopefully meet my soul mate. It’s taken forty plus years, two failed relationships and listening to people telling me ‘not a chance’, ‘you can’t’, ‘you won’t’, ‘you’re an idiot’, ‘know your place’, for me to realise ‘I can, I will, just watch me…’

The balance of power has shifted and I did that! You can too…