Monday, 23 June 2014

Are we programmed to fail?

Let's get the negativity out of the way 1st - England are out of the world cup. It's not the end of the world especially to all the people around the world suffering in silence at the moment.

The one thing I love about the World Cup is the weird and wonderful stories that appear - the seizure of Uruguay's caramel spread, the family with six fingers and toes keeping them all crossed for Brazil. Whether they are true or not remains to be seen but you do have to laugh at them. For me the best part of Brazil holding the World Cup is the highlighting of the plight of young people in Brazil. That may sound strange but had Brazil not being hosting the World Cup, the world would have remained ignorant to the plight of the young. It makes SoccerAid and the work of Unicef even more important. Never, ever underestimate the power of sport and if you are in a position to be able to make that difference then you should.

Today I have been involved in a debate about players having the desire to put an England shirt on. My stance is very clear - Why would anyone want to play for England just to get abuse from the fans if results don't go our way. Pride in the shirt win, lose or draw has to work throughout the country not just on the shoulders of those selected to play. Players need to play with confidence and confidence comes with knowing you have the support of your whole country. The England players were severely (yes severely) abused by the media and English fans BEFORE they had even boarded the plane let alone kicked a ball. You can read the full banter here. As a Mum of children who aspire to one day play for their country in their chosen fields, I can honestly say I would think twice about encouraging them to wear the red and white unless the country's attitude dramatically changes.

I also think that we are programming our children for failure if reaching a major world tournament provides severe criticism to individuals who are not sat in their armchairs drinking beer, throwing abuse at the television, but getting up in the early hours of the day to train hard and sacrificing and dedicating their life to the sport they love. It is time all these armchair managers and so called overpaid pundits stopped bashing our players and gave them the support. I listen to parents on the touchlines week in, week out shouting abuse and directions to children yet these are the same people that say they are too busy to get involved in sport. Probably the same people that spend most of their time running backwards and forwards to the bar, all in the name of exercise I'm sure.

One final thought - the players are not responsible for the lack of investment in the community game and those major clubs shirking their responsibility to encourage the development of eligible players. After putting these arguments across I was told to get back in the kitchen - I think that is 1 nil to us women, don't you?

Come one everyone start sending positive vibes and comments to our England players and our rising stars.  


Drafting & Re-Drafting

 

This weekend I have spent drafting Beyond the Lies. I had written the first thirteen chapters but some of it just didn't sit right. I have written the full back conspiracy now and it is looking good especially as I have inadvertently put some twists in Beyond the Past that can now come to fruition - I say inadvertently but I'm sure my inner psyche told me to put them there - LOL.

I have re-written the first five chapters and I am really happy with the outcome. There is real momentum now in the writing and the storyline and I am genuinely excited to sit and write. I just need to learn to sleep when I am tired instead of running  through the plot line at four o'clock in the morning. Even with the early starts I think the deadline of the 30th June may have been a little over ambitious but we shall see. 15,000 words were added in less than 24 hours but I don't think my little hands can keep that up everyday.

Events

 

Things Literary

Next Monday 30th June 2014 I will be speaking at the Things Literary Festival at Wetherby High School. My first talk is to Year 8 pupils and later a talk to members of the local community. The event is £5 entrance with light refreshments. Tickets are available from the school office or if you leave a comment, you can pay at the door. The details of the event are available here. I would love to see you there.


Book Signings

I am in the process of organising a book signing in late September in Wetherby which I am super excited about. I will of course post details once I they have been finalised.





Wetherby was chosen as the setting of the book for its natural beauty and a place where I spent a lot of time writing Beyond the Past. We are still connected to the sports with Lucas playing football and support as many local events as we can. I have received such a warm reception from the people and local businesses in the town that it seems only right I have a book signing there. Watch this space...


Author Talks



If you can't make the day time event at Wetherby High School I am talking at the Wetherby Library on the 14th October 2014 between 6pm and 7pm. I will, of course remind you all nearer the time.


 

 

 

Authors Database



I am now on the authors database and received this tweet this weekend 





That's pretty cool!!




A quick thank you to all my twitter followers on both the book (@BeyondthePast1) and my account (@CharlespR2D2) – pop over and say hello.



You can purchase the book from 
Pegasus Publishers  
Amazon UK  
Amazon US

OR ORDER FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP.


Twitter
Facebook
www.pamcharles.com
LinkedIn

Let's hope the whole country get behind England tomorrow night. Spread a little love and happiness. Have a great week and enjoy Wimbledon, I know I will be x






Friday, 20 June 2014

YES....we survived...EXAMS!!!!

We survived... the EXAMS!!! Hope you all did too. Give them a big massive hug and give yourselves a huge pat on the back.We shall see how much the government manipulates the results in August.

I don't know about you but I am sick of education going round in circles in the UK. In my humble opinion we don't compete with the rest of the world because of the yoyo politics of this country. As always the first thing to be hit by the MPs is education and who do they blame for the failures - the teachers, the parents and even the children rather than themselves. Ofsted is being used as a political whip to beat teachers into submission. Give them a break!! I can't imagine having to motivate 30 children all at once, can you? It takes all my energy to keep two motivated especially towards the end of term.

What I would like to see is an independent panel comprising of academics, teachers and industry bosses that look at the overall demand for the workforce and what skills are required now and in the future and the curriculum should be tailored around that, not around 'British' values - and I have yet to get anyone to define what they are!! How about 'community' values and tolerance, that's what we should be teaching. Just a little side issue, isn't it a bit strange that UKIP do well in the polls and suddenly Ofsted put some schools in special measures that they were warned about two years prior. Just saying!!

MPs should only be allowed to set the education budget because let's face it they are not qualified to tell people who have worked hard through university and actually know what they are doing, how to do their jobs. If I hear one more time, "it never did me any harm." Well, quite clearly it did because you have no idea about the real issues affecting real people! This morning, after twenty years of advising schools not to make sport competitive, we are being told competitive sport IS a good thing. I feel for us parents and teachers but I feel the children even more. They deserve every possible chance to compete in the future workplace and we, as a country - I MEAN YOU PARLIAMENT - are letting them down. I work tirelessly to make sure my boys are grounded, understand the importance of hard work, lead by example with a solid work ethic and teach them tolerance and self respect. GOVE I do my bit, now you do yours!

I feel so much better for getting that off my chest.

Talking of opportunities, Sheffield Eagles have formed a unique partnership with Championship Football team Sheffield Wednesday to provide young people with a qualification to lead to higher education or employment. 
The open training session for the course will take place at the Hillsborough Arena Sports Association (HASA), on Monday 23rd June 6pm-8pm.
Check out the details. 

The Dreaded 'F' Word.


I mean Football, of course.  World cup fever has taken over our house and I couldn't be happier. We have lots of banter and analysis in fact I am considering nominating my seven year to provide alternative commentary to Adrian Chiles!! Are you with me?

We all have our favourites outside England. Obviously Suarez is a mega star in our house but we do love Mario Ballotelli and it is truly disgraceful how he is being treated by some fans in Italy. I don't think most people get it. Is he conceited? No he is taking the mickey and that's what I like about him and about Joey Barton and Jose Mourinho - they don't take themselves seriously, they leave that to the British Press! Hopefully Mario can help us out and I hope he does get his kiss, on the cheek from the Queen. For me it is not hard to support Italy at all. I have a love affair with Italy that stems from my teenage years - the food, the wine, the people & the cars - Ferrari have and always will be MY team.

Germany and Holland, both starting the tournament well have taken me back to those dark years of England under Taylor et al. Scary nightmares but then I think of our new rising stars and the smile returns. For us LFC fans, it is no surprise that Raheem is taking the world by storm. He is incredibly talented and with Brendan's help he is without doubt a star in the making. I do cringe though when I think if he keeps up his stunning performances LFC are going to have to fend off ridiculously outrageous offers from clubs worldwide - great for Raheem not so great for us LFC fans!!

To all those critical fans and media that had a go at the players and coaching staff moaning before a ball was even kicked and complained about the formation against Italy - be careful what you wish for!! 

It was great to read Louis Tomlinson of One Direction invested in Doncaster Rovers. What a great idea - a famous celebrity giving back to the community that he grew up - now there's an idea people!!


Writing



Most of this week's work has been on planning and preparation for the final push of the sequel to Beyond the Past. The twenty year conspiracy comes to a head in Beyond the Lies and I have really enjoyed creating the intricate details that will bear all the truths behind the lies. Will Mark and Annie ever be at peace? You'll have to wait to find out.

The sequel has made me laugh and cry whilst writing it... but I'm going to stop there so I don't give anything away - Mums the word!!

You can read the first three chapters of Beyond the Past on my website FREE, yes FREE!! Being a Yorkshire Lass I do like 'owt for nowt. My website is www.pamcharles.com.

This week I joined the Authors Database and I'm still learning how to use it so bear with me and I am on Goodreads - pop over and say hello.

Once I've published this blog I am off to write more of the sequel this afternoon but this weekend I am preparing presentations for two talks on the 30th June at Wetherby High School. To be honest, I am really looking forward to them but also a little scared of the first one at least - to school children, in my opinion the harshest critics of all!

The event is part of a Things Literary festival run by the school's Trust and I am so privileged to be a part of it. For more details see the school website. In the afternoon I will be speaking to members of the community - you are very welcome to join us. Tickets are available at the school office



A quick thank you to all my twitter followers on both the book (@BeyondthePast1) and my account (@CharlespR2D2 – pop over and say hello.



You can purchase the book from 
Pegasus Publishers  
Amazon UK  
Amazon US

OR ORDER FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP.


Twitter

Facebook
www.pamcharles.com
LinkedIn

I can't finish without mentioning the fabulous news that Michael Schumacher is rehabilitating. Quite frankly, the news made my week! - #keepfightingmichael.

Two final thoughts - enjoy your weekend and come on Italy!!!















Sunday, 15 June 2014

Swimming against the tide…




So it is Sunday afternoon and that time of the week again when I sit down and write my blog. So much has happened this week but first, here in the UK it is Father’s Day. In our house this brings very mixed feelings. As a single Mum it’s a day when I want to celebrate all that is special about my Dad yet I know that it’s not really a special day for my eldest. His father decided he wasn’t going to see him anymore at four and a half years old. Contrary to popular belief us single Mums are not tyrants and don’t use our children as weapons. He was my childhood sweetheart and I loved him dearly – for me it was for life but for him, I was just one in a long line of women some of which were my so called friends. He wore me down without me even knowing it. 

When I finally plucked up the courage to go it alone, it was the hardest decision I had ever made. I went down all the correct channels, solicitors and access arrangements. I learnt a very important lesson in life during this period – that no matter how much you do things the right way for the right reasons, you can’t make another person do the same. In less than three months of the divorce my ex didn’t turn up one day to collect my son and that was the last time we heard from him. I have been totally honest with my son and told him that, at any time he is ready to look for him, I will help him but he has no interest. It is such a great shame because he is missing out on seeing such a fine child turn in to a wonderful young man who keeps reminding me every day that our past is what makes us into the strong people we are today. All the years of fretting over Father’s Day and there was no need. My sons have some great role models in their lives and none more so, than my Dad. Spare a thought today for all those who have lost their Dads, especially in the Armed Forces.
Happy Father’s Day Dad & Grandpa.

I was reading some of the social media storm caused by Kirsty Allsopp’s comments. It infuriates me that something is taken totally out of context and misquoted but that’s the curse of the British media. The only way it will ever stop is for people to stop buying and believing the rubbish they print. The media run this country and sadly people are fooled by it. I will never forgive the Sun newspaper for the lies they wrote about Hillsborough, the miners, local communities and everything that was non Tory in the 1980s. It would appear they have carte blanche to write what they like without retribution and justice. There would have been a time when I wouldn’t have written about this in fear of upsetting some people but you know what, I am proud to stand up for my beliefs and proud to stand up with people who have had enough of lies and bad behaviour. It is time for JUSTICE. All this of, it was thirty years ago – get over it. Well actually is not about the longevity, it’s about what is right. Clearly the media have learnt nothing in the last 30 years.

The greatest worry I have as a parent is whether I am doing the right thing. All the time as parents we are berated for not setting an example, for not living up to our responsibilities, for not working hard enough, for not being at home and at work at the same time to do both jobs well, for not educating our children enough, for not contributing to the country enough!! I think you get my point. US parents are always in the wrong – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I decided about ten years ago that I was going to do it MY WAY (erm cue Frank Sinatra).  LISTEN TO ME there is no wrong or right way of doing it. Every one of us is born with NOTHING – no preconceived idea of life, no cynical outlook and no right to a privileged life. Every child is nurtured, taught and moulded into the person they become and then as an adult we all have the capacity to grow and change if we really want to. I decided I wanted my children to understand the importance of struggle, of community, of what is right and wrong and most of all about respect. Most days I am swimming against the tide but nevertheless I still swim. I still swim because I would like my boys to be strong individual men that respect themselves and have respect for all others.  I hope their greatest attributes will be respect, honesty, integrity, justice, decent morals and tolerance. Just imagine what sort of a world we would have then. If you don’t invest the time in children, how on earth can you expect them to turn out into decent human beings? I can’t be doing too bad a job when my son is giving my advice out and asking if I would help his friends if they need it!!

It is my job - not the teachers, politicians or community - but my job to guide my children to be the best they can be. For me, my new career is starting now but my priority will always be the boys and I refuse to be driven into a guilt trip over that. I do want it all – a successful career, my own individual status and successful children –and I know I can achieve it single handedly, BUT in time. I’ve stopped beating myself up about not being able to do it all NOW, right at this moment. I’ve stopped beating myself up that I don’t have a PROPER job because I work incredibly hard in the job I chose to do now, even if there is little or in my case, no money in it at the moment.  When I feel frustration is taking over I take a step back and remind myself how lucky I am. I personally think being a parent is the hardest yet most rewarding job of all and if I was Prime Minister I would be rewarding parents for taking time out to help raise the future generation of our country.



This week, Lucas and I worked on his Viking project. It was tough going as he has a tendency to disappear with the fairies quite a lot. I can just see him now as a character in a book flitting in and out of different worlds, a bit like Mr Ben!! The result was we managed to finish it, just in time for the first World Cup match. Now, rightly or wrongly, the next three weeks is all about the world stage and football. He is seven so this is the first world cup he has been super excited about and we have had lots of discussions about the location of different countries, their languages, their religions and their foods. I LOVE IT – the football, obviously but I also love teaching the boys new things and the bonus, THEY don’t even know they are learning!

Beyond the Past

It has been a really busy week this week with lots of 5am starts! For any of you that have not read the book yet, the story is based on a twenty year conspiracy against a former rugby league player, Mark Smith. Now, I am sure this will make ardent, experienced writers cringe when I admit this. When I wrote Beyond the Past I had not written the conspiracy theory! In fact, when I started writing Beyond the Past the only facts I was certain of, was the main female character would be Annie and it would feature rugby league. That was it!!

So now the book is selling and I am working on Beyond the Lies, the sequel, of which the first thirteen chapters have been written, I thought I had better start writing the background story to the conspiracy. Talk about doing things back to front but do you know? It worked. I am super excited about the underlying plot of the two books. It may be unorthodox but there are some cracking twists, even if I do say so myself! Now it’s time to crack on and finish the book, before my sister gets angry and you wouldn’t like to see her angry, trust me!! (Joke Lisa – love ya).

I know I’ve mentioned it before but, whilst social media has its pitfalls, it is a wonderful invention and brilliant for new artists like me. This week the blog surpassed 5500 views and google plus viewings reached a staggering 32,000 viewings. My twitter accounts have been busy too with followers in over 20 countries!! That is UNBELIEVABLE and from the comfort of my home! Thank you for all your support and please keep it coming – it’s great to hear from people.

Events

I am working hard to organise some book signings because people keep asking me when I am doing them. As a debut author it is very hard to get bookshops interested but I will keep plugging away. If there are any independent bookshops out there that would like to help a well-trained, happy new author (cream cakes will be provided) please get in touch.

On the 30 June 2014 I am speaking at the inaugural Things Literary! Festival held by the Education Trust of Wetherby. Full details can be found here.  Tickets are just £5 and include light refreshments. It would be great to see you there – please don’t make me talk to myself. I do enough of it at home and may get arrested if I do it in public!

A quick thank you to all my twitter followers on both the book (@BeyondthePast1) and my account (@CharlespR2D2 – pop over and say hello.

Enjoy your week and I will see you here this time next week - feel free to contact me before then.



You can purchase the book from 
Pegasus Publishers  
Amazon UK  
Amazon US

OR ORDER FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP.


Twitter

Facebook
www.pamcharles.com
LinkedIn