I Made it Home!

41C9fKLVtzL._UY250_

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been busy running my novel, Making it Home, through the Kindle Create program in order to give you, the reader, a better ebook reading experience. There should be no formatting problems in the Kindle edition now.

Plus, I have tidied up things like punctuation, a couple of spelling mistakes and given the book a general health check, and it’s ready to greet the day with a smile, face washed, teeth cleaned. Yay! Feeling fresh and good.

During this health check, I was willing to make any adjustments that seemed necessary, no matter how small or how large. Much to my joy, I found I still love the story and I’m still happy with how I wrote it – in fact, sorry to sound immodest, but I enjoyed my own novel tremendously.

Making it Home has had some lovely reviews over the years and it would be great if this new, spruced up version gained some more. If you haven’t read it already, there are a whole bunch of readers who could assure you you’d enjoy it, so why not give it a read?

It’s Women’s Contemporary Fiction, has a generous touch of romance, a good helping of friendship, a soupçon of intrigue, a pinch of humour, and a shake of mystery.

41C9fKLVtzL._UY250_

Kate had a home, but her heart wasn’t in it – or in her marriage. So she left them both.

Phyllis had a home. Her heart was in it, but she was lonely. So she shopped.

Naomi had no home and her heart was in cold storage, frozen by grief and fear. So she shopped.

They found one another in a department store, shopping. There’s a problem with retail therapy – you can overdose.

As friendship grows between these three women, they help one another face up to their problems, realising along the way, that every heart needs a home and it takes more than a house to make one.

A contemporary novel about three women who want more.

At some point in the future, I hope to give the paperback version the same health check, though the formatting has not been a problem there. Meanwhile, you can be assured the story is unchanged and reads as happily in either version, paperback or ebook, and is available on Amazon. The paperback is also available in WaterstonesBarnes and Noble, or can be ordered in any good bookstore.

To find out about all my books:  Amazon Author Page

 

Gold Plated

PHOTO-2018-05-31-18-44-36

http://mybook.to/GoldPlated

We were walking on the beach in Embo in the North of Scotland, September 2016.

Often, walking together is a great time to chat, sharing thoughts and dreams, decisions and schemes, but today we were silent. There was a heavy mist on the North Sea and the horizon was hiding, taking our words with it. There was something about the haar: it silenced birds, the wind, the whisper of long grass as well as our words – but it couldn’t silence the continuous rolling waves as they broke onto the beach – and it couldn’t silence our thoughts.

Often, thoughts would tumble out of our silence and we would share them. There was no reason not to today – yet we didn’t. We were enjoying a world shrouded in a soft, white veil, from which rays of sunshine struggled to break free while the sea, ruthless, relentless, ripped through to crash on the shore.

I didn’t ask what my lovely hubby was thinking, but concentrated on the story that was forming in my mind.

We were here on vacation with our family and there, set like a pearl in the middle of the two weeks, was our anniversary. Forty-nine years of married bliss.

But that’s never true, is it?

No-one is perfect, so no two imperfect people can forge a perfect marriage – not even us. We’d had ups and downs – never ins and outs – and some years were better than others – but we’d never not wanted to be married to one another.

Our children asked how we wanted to celebrate our 50 years of marriage next year, our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

I got to thinking about it. What did we want? What would we do? What were the children plotting? We told them, ‘Nothing much. Nothing expensive, no silly gold ornaments that we don’t need, golden gifts that we’ll never use. It would be nice just to be together.’

The conversation still swirled in my mind as my husband and I walked in our misty, magical silence. 

Then, in a sudden rush of gold, the sun won the struggle to light the world, compelling us to pause to take a few photographs.

I stood at the water’s edge.

IMG_2131

Wave after wave of water rolling in, breaking with cold white froth over the landscape of the beach – year after year of life rolling in, breaking with warm love over the landscape of our marriage.

But what if?

What if it had been different?

So I wrote a story about a love that spanned more than fifty years.

Or did it?

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul. What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

PHOTO-2018-05-31-18-44-36

Gold Plated is with the publisher now so the paperback should be launched soon. Meantime, it’s already available on Amazon Kindle.

The Number 1 Reason You Flub up Your Exercise Program

Are you a person who hates to exercise. Find out the number 1 reason you flub up your exercise program. Review of “No Sweat” by Michelle Segar Ph.D

via The Number 1 Reason You Flub up Your Exercise Program.

Getting the Most from your Writers’ Retreat

You’ve gathered a few writing buddies together and you’ve booked a cottage in the country, you’re all set to try your hand at creating a Writers’ Retreat. So, how are you going to get the maximum benefit from it while putting the minimum time into planning it? Because, let’s face it, we’re writers.

We want to write.

Not spend hours and hours organising ourselves to write.

Do have a meeting or a virtual meeting before you go, to decide the main things in advance.

My friends and I have tried different approaches and each time we have gone away for a week, we have structured it a little differently so perhaps the most helpful thing for me to do would be to tell you some of the things that work well, not necessarily the things we have done.

One of the things to remember is, although you are going to your retreat to write, you will also need to eat, so planning a rough menu beforehand is worth considering. Shopping for that menu can be done in advance if you have room in the car for the shopping. Failing that, perhaps locate the nearest supermarket to you cottage and, after you unload the car, you can go back out for a shopping trip.

This is where the planning meeting is useful. You can decide things like:

Will you share the cooking, perhaps on a daily rota? Or will everyone fend for themselves?

Will you share the shopping or will one of you volunteer to bring the supplies to the cottage and everyone chip in with their share of the cost?

Your meals need not be elaborate affairs. As long as there are plenty of basic things like bread and cheese, salad and fruit, wine and coffee, everyone is usually happy to see to themselves for breakfast and lunch, with one or two being responsible for producing a simple evening meal.

Simplicity is the key.

No-one wants to spend the best part of the day in the kitchen — unless cooking is their passion, of course. In which case, enjoy!

image

Something else you might want to discuss beforehand is whether you want to use the retreat as a quiet place, conducive to writing, where you can each get on quietly with your WIP uninterrupted, or would you like to also have some structured writing time.

Starting the day with a little light physical exercise, like a short walk or such, followed by a timed writing exercise or two can be useful to wake up the body and the writing muscles. Similarly, it is important to incorporate short breaks in the day to stretch out the muscles, get some fresh air and refresh yourselves.

After eating the evening meal, it can be pleasant to spend time relaxing together for a while, perhaps watching a film, playing music, or just sitting chatting over a glass of wine.

This might also be a time you would enjoy reading out some of your day’s writing to one another and getting some feedback.

Set goals.

At the planning stage, it is good to discuss together what each member of the party hopes to achieve. Whether some of you want to set yourselves a daily word count, or a weekly one, whether the aim is to edit a certain number of pages, poems or chapters, the best way to achieve the maximum benefit from your retreat is to set clear goals and encourage one another to work towards them.

Respect one another’s space.

Respect the silence.

Respect each other’s writing.

At the end of your week or weekend together, celebrate!

Discuss what worked and what didn’t, what helped and what hindered, and plan your next retreat.

~~~

What about turning your annual vacation into a personal writer’s retreat?

If your friend or your spouse likes fishing, skiing, white water rafting and you don’t, why not book a log cabin where he or she can do their thing and you can write, sharing a meal together in the evening, a glass of wine by the fire or in the evening sun, sharing the stories of the day.

My husband and I do this from time to time, where he pursues his interests during the day while I enjoy some quiet writing time and we share the evenings together. It works.

~~~

I would love to hear your suggestions.

What have you tried?

Have you enjoyed the luxury of a Writers’ Retreat?

~~~

Sleeping with my Sister

For most of my life, I have had sleep problems, including delaying going to bed, snapping wide awake as my head hits the pillow no matter how tired I am, and wakening frequently throughout the night in a state of alarm.

I have examined this problem many times, tried various remedies and suggestions, gone to bed early, gone to bed late, eaten black cherries, nuts and oats, drowned in Camomile tea. Tried silence, tried music. Light on, light off. You name it, I’ve tried it.

Then, last week, I was watching a few of the excellent short videos Carol Tuttle produces as part of her Dressing Your Truth series. It was an attempt to lull myself to sleep. To help me relax, ready for zzzzeds.

It wasn’t any one thing, but a few things she and her daughter chatted about that resonated with me and got me thinking. Perhaps it was time to revisit my childhood, something usually painful, so usually avoided.

This time I went there, and I remembered….

Sleeping with my Sister

Sometimes the blood-curdling scream, sometimes the kick in the gut
Always sudden, always brutal.
Jackknifed forward by the gut pain, to meet the fingers, curled like talons,
Slashing out to rip the eyes out.
Afraid to open lids in case they’re gone, sockets gaping.
Tasting blood on lips, feel it trickle down from forehead.
This is no way to be awakened in the dark night.

Sometimes shrill, shrieking screams, sometimes guttural, gasping growls
Curses raining down like blows.
Starting up to reach the light switch, meeting headbutts, bites and punches
Vicious kicks and frantic lashings.
Calling out now, fear a mirror of terror crouching on the pillow.
Light revealing wide, gaping mouth, jaw breaking with the tension,
Eyes wild and vacant seeing something that was not there.

Sitting shivering on the floor, feet tucked under little nightdress
Heart beating hard and fast now
Tears held in knots of pain between shaking shoulders
While mother lies beside my sister, soothing coo-ing, stroking better
Nightmare gone, I was a part of, forgotten now as sleep resumes unbroken.
My heart reaches out to hold her close now, that little girl
Who was me at five or six or seven.

Sitting waiting, cast out of cosy, teeth a-chattering, heart a-hurting.
I hold her now, as I would have then, had she been my child.
Having soothed the dreamer, turned to the injured.
Instead, sent back to bed with naught but frustration
What did you do? What did you say?
Get back to bed, she’s sure to sleep now.
Don’t you disturb her, just go to sleep.

Go to sleep! You must be joking! Hormones of flight run amok
Afraid to sleep, awaiting repeat of pattern.
The light switched off, in dark of night, still able to see that frightful sight
A nightmare’s terror in face and body, a sleeping child
Who sees me, but as a monster.
Hold me now, please hold me now.
Honour my pain as well as hers.
And for pity’s sake buy me a bed.

~~~

The Bubble

More and more people seem to be suffering these days from chronic illnesses, many of which go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for years, many of which are not well understood. This video really gets across just how isolated sufferers of these illnesses can feel sometimes. It articulates some of those feelings that are hard to express. Whether you contend with a chronic illness yourself or you live or work with someone who does, I hope you find the video as helpful as I did.

Pow Productions

Turning Back the Clock – Chapter Four – Your Immune System is one of the keys to a younger body and mind.

Making health a priority through boosting your immune system. Makes sense. A well explained article about how to achieve that and why we should try.

How To Be Happy

Are you a happy person? Can anyone actually be happy all the time?

I think of myself as a happy person, but I know sometimes I can be desperately unhappy too.

When I came across this on my Facebook page, I realised there is a difference between being a happy person and knowing how to be happy, and I reckon I know how to be happy. This list sums up my philosophy so there is clearly someone out there with whom I am in sync. Now there’s a thought.

Putting these twelve things into practice works.

If you are someone who makes New Year resolutions, you could do worse than making this your list.

1538840_597846180270592_1855084457_n

Express Gratitude

*When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.

Cultivate optimism

*People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times 

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison

*The only person you should compare to is yourself before now.

Practise acts of kindness

*Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside

Nurture social relationships

*The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. 

Develop strategies for coping.

Learn to forgive

*Harbouring feelings of hatred and bitterness is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Increase flow experiences

*Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.

*When you are so focused on what you’re doing that you have become one with the task.

Savour life’s joys

Commit to your goals 

Practice spirituality

*Recognise life is bigger than us. 

Take care of your body

Follow cicampbellblog on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: