Festival, knock-backs and pick-ups …

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It’s been a weird month for me but a better month! It’s taken me a while to get my focus back with everything going on, but happily, it’s coming back slowly but surely. And let me tell you, I couldn’t be more happy with things changing for the better again!

Most of you know I had been signed off with stress after being battered with various happenings in my life. My brother, Michael, is now out of hospital after his 3 major surgeries and is getting back to normal. And I’m back to work, on phased return at present but it still feels good to get back in the saddle.

On recommendation from, well pretty much everyone actually, I still attended Harrogate Crime Festival from 17-20 July, and I am so glad I did. Last year was fab as I got to meet lots of new people and attend lots of panels etc. If anything this year was even better. I battled through the couple of panic moments, made new firm friends with several people who I only knew previously through facebook, and met up with old friends for a good natter. My highlight panel for the festival was attended Linda La Plante’s on the friday morning. She is an absolutely hilarious and well-achieved woman, such an amazing sense of humour – she had the audience in stitches from start to finish. I came away with multiple books courtesy of the festival and also via promotions such as Dead Good books. I can’t describe the atmosphere at this event – it’s the perfect venue for writers and also readers as everyone is so friendly and approachable. It was definitely worth the panicky moments and was lovely to meet everyone. It also gave fantastic opportunities as I managed to pitch to an agent who asked to see my work, and also to a great publisher, Caffeine Nights, so fingers crossed that one or both of them love my work!

Aren’t cars just pure money pits? Mine has been hammered this year with 4 trips to Scotland, my usual day to day usage and various travel days out for research purposes but I still didn’t expect a repair bill of over £500!! Still, I need the car and I haven’t really paid for a great deal since I got it a few years ago – and it is the most reliable car I’ve ever had. So repair bills aside, it’s worth it.

On the writing front, I had been suffering from what can only be described as writer’s block, though I hadn’t actually had time to sit down and write over the last couple of months so perhaps it was just life in general. This however, has also started to rectify thank goodness! Don’t know about other writers, but for me writing is therapeutic, and not being able to do so has no doubt increased my stresses. Last week though, I hand-wrote a few hundred words, granted it was a scene for book 4 as opposed to book 3 which I’m working on but any writing is good writing! Then this week, I reread my third novel from the start to refresh my memory and last night managed to write another thousand words whilst on my lunch break at work! Need to get this novel finished as the characters for the next one are already screaming in my head!

I’m a big believer in people being stronger than they think they are, and also a believer that when things are going badly then they can only get better. It feels really good to be getting back into believing this whole heartedly. Yes we might be skint (after the car repairs) but at least we have enough to pay the bills, and yes there have been moments of panic, moments I have doubted my strength to cope with everything but I have managed to cope regardless, and it’s with the support of all of my friends and family who have been fantastic. Someone paid me a compliment the other day, the person said that I was genuinely nice and kind, and after I blushed, it made me realise that we don’t take compliments very well, and it’s possibly because we don’t receive them very often. I decided to embark on a facebook assault and give compliments to people from my friends list – something which I have done every day since. Sometimes, it’s worth realising that we are the ones who can give support or let other people smile. So now, as well as focussing on doing the things that make me happy, I intend to do more of the same for others wherever I can.

Anyway, keep fingers crossed that good things come of my latest submissions, I know mine are firmly crossed! Smile at that stranger in the street, help the little old lady across the road, and most of all, keep your chin up and see the sky not the floor 🙂 Keep smiling folks, til next time.


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