Symptoms, signs and smiles…

It’s been a funny old month this last one. One filled with massive highs for a start – like With Deadly Intent getting to no 137 in the Kindle paid chart when it was on promo at 99p for a few days – thanks to Caffeine Nights. 

And the release of my new novel, I’ve Been Watching You, through Bloodhound Books which is doing fantastically well in its first few days! Right now it stands at rank 419 in the kindle paid chart and it’s only been out 3 days! 

I’ve done signings, interviews and generally been kept busy on certain days with writerly things. This gives me a feeling of happiness. it makes me smile knowing people are enjoying my writing – and the reviews I’ve been getting show this even more. Reviews are so important to writers – more so than I can express here in a few words. They help the book rise in the charts thus increasing sales, but it also gives the author a sense that the writing isn’t half as bad as the writer might think – and trust me, I don’t know a writer who believes firmly that their writing is good. There’s always self doubt when it’s finished – worry that it won’t be well received. So it’s fab that readers take the time to review – even if it’s just a sentence it’s so appreciated and I for one read all of my reviews! 

The other side to the month is related to my autoimmune disease. Most of you know I have this – I perhaps don’t go into a lot of details about it or mention my symptoms though. This last month has been really tough – I was only diagnosed a year ago and started medication in November last year which has been gradually increased to the maximum dose which I’m now on. It helps slow the disease progression – unfortunately there is no cure so it’s a case of managing rather than getting rid. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I have something that impacts on my daily life so greatly. Some days aren’t so bad – you get up, struggle downstairs (I’m really stiff on a morning), move my hands around to try and loosen the swelling and crack on, albeit at a generally slower pace than you’re used to. Other days are much worse – with the disease comes a massive amount of fatigue – now I’m not just talking feeling tired – this is something I struggle putting into words. It’s almost like the week after you’ve had flu where you’re completely wiped out and can’t even get up to make a cuppa. This I have most days. I’ve been struggling to drop some hours at work for months – and finally I’ve been able to! In just 10 days I start on new shifts which I hope will help me manage the fatigue side better. It’s hard explaining to people that you have a disease when you don’t look sick. My friends and family understand and have been my rocks – Peter helps me dress if I need it, does the house work, helps me with the things I struggle with like lifting heavy pans etc. And my lovely mum walks slower at my pace, and makes sure it’s not getting me down too much. 

You can imagine that dealing with that has been hard – and I’ll be honest and say my writing has been affected. Luckily – when I’d finished book 1 I just kept writing which meant I had books waiting to be published. Over the last year I’ve written a lot less – it’s easy focussing my attention on promoting and social media – I use my phone for that – my phone’s with me all the time. I’m hoping that when I get used to my new hours, and get additional medication in the coming months that I’ll improve again and be back to it quick smart. 

Until then I want to let you know the things that make me smile: 

Readers – you brighten my days so much when you send me a message or tell me how much you’re enjoying something. And I love reading the reviews and interacting with you all! 

Writers – seeing how well all my writing friends are doing and chatting about the different ways and means of writing. It’s amazing how much we have in common and I’m so looking forward to Harrogate this year. To meet more of the lovely writers and readers! 

Family and friends – always one that makes me smile – I love how supportive everyone is re my writing and life in general. You guys rock. 

Tala – our new pup is a little treasure. We’d both been feeling the hole left by koda, and having a dog in the house is just brill. 

And onto signs – I think signs come in all different forms – they can be destinies way of saying ‘you’re on the right path’ or occasionally the wrong one. In the age we live in, it’s often hard to see the signs the universe gives us – and even harder to believe them. I’ve had a few signs lately that indicate I’m doing the right things with my writing and with work – it feels good to know that. 

I reckon the coming months will be filled with good things – I feel more focussed – and I know my illness is being dealt with. I hope you’re all ok, and I’ll look forward to more chats with you all. Take care – and as always, keep smiling. Xx