The Purge!

Right, here we are then, I’ve been flitting about for around five months and the updates I’ve made have been pertaining to the very sad nature of what is happening in my family and a very brave little boy.

I haven’t really written anything to do with writing, to be honest I’ve been off the scene more or less completely. I’ve been, for lack of a better word, purging.

I’ve also been training for this:

Now that is out of the way and life is kind of getting back on an even and less crazy path, I feel I should explain the purge.

Fifteen years ago I wrote a book that took me four years to write. I then sent this book out to publisher, after publisher after publisher. Then agent after agent after agent. I wrote scripts, I wrote stories, I wrote poetry, and I received rejections, rejections and more rejections and I lost sight of what it was I wanted to do.

I put my stories in a box and I went back to university deciding if I wasn’t go to make it as a writer then I wanted to do something other than stack supermarket shelves for the rest of my life. (there’s nothing wrong with that, I just didn’t want to do it!)

Four years ago I left university, got a job and started writing again. I wrote Judged by Your Peers. I got one swift rejection and on the hype of E.L.James success and to be fair, not a lot of research, I thought what the hell? And pressed the self publish button.

Then a month later I got out that story I had written so long ago, reformatted it and what do you know, pressed that button again!

Then…I started doing some research, got totally trashed reviews and realised the research really should’ve come first. Being a First Class Science Graduate, you think I’d have got that right from the off, but eagerness overtook common sense and I spent the last two and half years trying to keep up and figure out what I’m doing.

Then of course life got in the way. I got a new job which is great but busy and I’m back in the scientific world which requires not just work, but CPD (Continued Professional Development) as well. After Christmas when we received the news about my cousin I kind of shut down a little, personally and in the writing world.

I took down most of my website for reconstruction…then didn’t actually go back and reconstruct it. I’ve barely blogged at all. I basically walked away from it all and purged.

Did I do anything?

Yes.

I finally got Wedding in Paradise finished, edited, proof read, Cover designed and out to a few reviewers. (all positive, yay!!!!)

I also wrote a short story for an upcoming anthology Summer Bigger Than Others, from BeatenTrack Publishing. It’s called Offline! Can you guess where that inspiration came form?

I’ve been reading for some research about a pre-war love story I want to write.

Other than that. I’ve been spending time with my family, I’ve been reading, watching telly curled up on the couch on a Saturday night. I’ve been seeing friends, playing games and spending time with real people.

I’ve been trying to keep fit, train for crazy obstacle courses and I also climbed a mountain!

Me at the summit of Mount Snowdon

Me at the summit of Mount Snowdon

(oh and yes I voted too)

Now I’m back, cautiously and carefully. I’m purging every blog I subscribed to with advice about how to get rich quick in publishing. I’m leaving almost every group I joined on Goodreads. I’m cancelling memberships to society’s I’ve been paying a fortune to be a member of and quite frankly getting nothing out of.

I’m starting again!

I am now officially reconstructing the website, it should be up and running within the month, if it’s not, then someone shout at me.

So while that’s happening, where better to start than here?

What can I offer here on this blog?

I can’t offer you advice on how to succeed in self publisihing or the best places to go and blogs to read, because quite frankly, I failed!

I can however offer advice on what not to do!

So that is what I will offer: How not to Succeed!

I will also offer snip bits and blurbs and samples of my writing.

I am also, going to start almost from scratch on the networking side of things, looking to make friends and contacts who can offer advice, instruction and of course friendship.

Blank page, here I am!

No Words

There is so much you could say, but there are no words that seem like they actually mean anything at the moment. What words could you possibly come up with for something so heart-breaking. Heart-breaking seems like a mild understatement of a description, it’s more than devastating.

I’ve been sat wondering what to write for ages and still I’ve come up blank.

Yesterday we heard the news that the treatment hasn’t worked and little Aaron Junior is losing his battle with cancer.

The next few weeks are about making him comfortable and spending time with his mum and dad and his brothers and family.

Still no words really come to me.

A Beautiful little boy

A Beautiful little boy

A While ago I said I was going to put together a book of poetry to raise money for Great Ormond Street, and I still intend on doing that. That is what I am working on now.

But as well as that, My wife, my Brother and I are running the rat race Dirty Weekend in May for Children with Cancer UK. They help fund research for childhood cancers, but they also support projects such as the family care at great Ormond Street which has been of great help to AJ and his mum and dad. They fund projects for hospices for support and treats for terminally ill children to make cherished memories.

It’s such an amazing charity and does so much amazing work for children fighting the hardest battles.

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20 miles and 200 obstacles? pah, that’s nothing in comparison!

If you have a little bit leftover at the end of the day, just a few pence or spare change, consider sponsoring us just a little, so that other little boys and girls like AJ can recieve the same great care that he has and maybe have a chance at beating it.

https://www.justgiving.com/Dirty-WeekendMustbecrackers/

Thank you

Your guiding hand. Katie Hughes.

Your guiding hand.
Katie Hughes.

Review: Long Way Home, by Eva Dolan

Another book I discovered at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, one I bought after I watched the New Writers panel and saw Eva Dolan hold herself very well, bring her tale to the audience and give us a harsh, realistic taste of what she was writing about. Inspired by real life conversations she’d heard between nasty men who enjoyed exploiting those in need.

Long Way Home

Long Way Home begins with a dead body, as any good crime novel does, and with the help of detectives Ferreira and Zigic leads us into the dark world of, racism, hate crimes and modern day slavery. Our detectives head up the hate crimes department of Peterborough’s local constabulary and find they are swamped with work due to the migrant influx and the locals really not being happy about it.

The body found burned to death at the beginning leads us through the darkest places that the migrants workers are forced to go, to push through and to simply live with to survive. Many finding that England is not the golden land of employment and prosperity they have been led to believe. The others have been led, and held, against their will to perform back breaking, self demeaning and shameful work, as they are ordered to do.

This is a pretty brutal, and rather vivid tale. Thanks to actual real reports of such things taken place it is very much seen that this is not plucked from imagination, Dolan has done her research and shows us the very real, dark side of human nature. It’s a great detective novel and keeps you hooked right to the end with some fantastic twists.

I did really enjoy this story, however I’ll still give it four instead of five stars. This is because I felt there were some very unnecessary parts and some that seemed to be placed to simply drag out was already a rather long novel. We see many parts of the story from several different peoples perspectives with which you have to keep up with who we’re with now and where and why. On top of that memories and flashbacks of  our heroes are thrown, most of which seem pointless and apart from maybe showing a little of why one is angry and one is worn down, they don’t really contribute to the story. It’s always nice to give the characters dimensionality, and show them from every angle, but if you’re going to do that, then maybe lay off all the other characters. After a while I found myself getting confused and jumbled up and wondering who was in the frame now.

This is really the only complaint I have though.

The Long Way home is a great detective novel that is very raw and hard hitting and gets to the heart of an issue that is being brought to our attentions more and more. Eva Dolan has created two strong detectives which are each others ying and yang and I think have the potential to work through a long running series of cases for us to read.

I’m looking forward to the next read from Dolan.

Review: Broadchurch (Spoilers are in this if you haven’t watched it!)

Or should that be Boredchurch? That was the twitter hashtag that was trending apparently.

I loved the first series, it was a brilliant whodunnit that had me on the edge of my seat. At the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival last year I was eager to get a seat near the front and listen to the panel in anticipation of the new series, I even got myself a signed copy of the book.

My copy of the Novel

My copy of the Novel

Lovingly signed by Erin Kelly and Chris Chinbnall

Lovingly signed by Erin Kelly and Chris Chinbnall

So season two started and we tuned in… and we stuck through it, as many left the viewing behind, spurred on by the brilliant first series last year, we persevered. That is eight weeks of viewing I’ll never get back!

Disappointing more than anything else, the only thing that lent any credence to this series was Olivia Colemans fantastic acting and brilliant comebacks, just the way she tells DI Hardy to ‘F’ off is brilliant! Jodie Whitaker was great as an actress in an emotional role and I appreciate her character was grieving the death of her son, but there were times I wanted to shout, “oh bloody cheer up, you just had a new baby girl!”

The plot?

Joe Miller Not Guilty? Even after they managed to get the confession thrown out, never would I, sitting on a Jury, have found him not guilty. The defence case was as preposterous as most soap story lines, especially as the evidence for the financial information was obtained by means of sexual manipulation which I’m pretty sure the prosecution could’ve had thrown out on basis of entrapment or solicitation!

Then of course the Sandbrook murders, urgh, predictable by the end, I guessed they all did it and to be fair completely unnecessarily. There was no need to kill the little girl at all! The whole case just became a bit boring; it would have been more interesting if Lisa had been alive in France and Lee had nothing to with any of it, if they had actually shown that sometimes coppers can get so obsessed with one person that they completely get it wrong. I’d have preferred it if he was totally innocent. It would’ve made a good twist.

Then the weird relationships surrounding Jocelyn, the obsession of her former protege to beat her, no explanation about what her son actually did and why that made her such a vindictive cow. The lost love from years ago turned out to Maggie, which apparently blew the minds of the Daily Mail readers, however whether it was a lesbian love or straight, it just didn’t seem to fit in the story. It seemed like a very unnecessary extra not related to anything that was going on.

Most of the relationships seemed a bit weird and bodged up to be honest, so much so that with half the cast being former Doctor Who or Torchwood stars I was half expecting John Barrowman to show up and sort it all out!

I only really watched it till the end just to put it to bed, to finish it, I wasn’t really that bothered by the outcome at all and very quickly turned it off and nodded off to sleep.

Maybe if it had been its own story it might have held up against the Monday night drama’s, but the first series was so good we were holding it up to a really high expectation and it just didn’t deliver. Shame really.

At the end it declared it would return… to be honest I’m not sure I’ll be a returning viewer, think I’ll curl up with a good crime novel instead!

Review: How I Lost You

I received this book last year at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime festival. It was tucked in a stack of books I’ve been meaning to get to and seems to be getting bigger. I picked this one out because the tagline grabbed me stronger than the others, it was something different: They told her she killed her baby, She served her time, What if they lied?
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I was intrigued to say the least. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. Fast paced, suspenseful, some great twists and turns through out and not the villain you expect at all.
Recognising many of the places featured as areas I grew up in and around was an added bonus, but by means the only reason to enjoy the story. Near the end of the book I insistently informed my wife that I wouldn’t be going to the gym that evening; I had to finish this book!

The subject matter is a woman who has spent 4 years serving time for killing her baby Dylan in a Post-Natal Depressive state, but she has no memory of it whatsoever. The doctors, the psychiatrists, police even her husband, convinces her she suffocated her son, but on her release she receives a photo of a little boy of 4, and it says it’s Dylan. More secret deliveries and a helpful reported set her on the path to find out the truth of what happened that fateful afternoon. While shadows and conspiracies seem to be trying to keep her believing she is insane, she’s starting to wonder whether she ever was, and if she didn’t kill her son, is he still alive and where is he?

This is Jenny Blackhursts Debut novel and she has hit the ground running!
This is a great story, well written and keeps you hooked and in suspense right from the word go. I look forward to many more to come from Jenny.

Perspective

So at the beginning of January I wrote how nothing had gone to plan and that I wasn’t really making any plans other than to keep on writing and try and focus on projects still ongoing. I made the point about spending time with family and friends and how sometimes other things have to take a back seat, but it didn’t mean at all that I was quitting.

I took down my website and put up a ‘under construction’ sign as I prepare the overhaul and redesign and I meant with whole heartedness to redesign the blog. I still have this intention. Wedding in Paradise is now in Editing and I’m hoping to be released in the spring.

I’m going to be doing a series of blogs on this as well as reaching out to the wider blogging community, something I should’ve already started really.

I have 7 scripts to complete (to be fair 6 are the same story as I go for a mini series) and two novels, not to mention a new short story for a Summer anthology after the  great success of Boughs of Evergreen over Christmas.

I also have my fantasy novel, which I am going to be doing on WattPad and I even have my awesome new book for the notes and maps etc:

wpid-wp-1422387880217.jpeg

I wanted to start all this, I had the greatest of intentions and more than that I was excited by it. Then three weeks ago we got news that threw all that into chaos and brought home some serious perspective. My cousins son, only five years old, was rushed to Great Ormond Street, what started off as the belief of a simple blockage in his bowel has turned out to be 16 cm tumour that has spread to his kidney and a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Well…what do you say to that? After crying, and praying and crying and praying some more, we rallied as best we could; we have been pooling funds, rallying round, hunting the net for cheap b&b’s, shared commuting routes, anything and everything so his mum and dad can stay with him while he’s so very poorly.

How do you react to something like this? Little children shouldn’t have to deal with something so horrible.

It does however provide you with one hell of a reality slap round the face and major perspective check.

What can I possibly do?

 

It’s not much in the grand scheme of things really, but anyone who has read this blog regularaly in anyway shape or form will know I write poetry, I have done ever since I was a little girl. I thought I might collect together ones from when I was younger, maybe up to the age of sixteen and put together a little eBook or book and donate the proceeds to Great Ormond Street Childrens hospital. They do so much amazing work and what they are doing for this little boy is amazing. We are also raising money for his families accommodation and travel so they can stay with him as much as possible:

http://www.gofundme.com/Aaronjunior?fb_action_ids=775904539154432&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_ref=fb_g_my_t

 

I ‘ll keep you all updated how this project is going and hopefully the book will be available quickly.

 

Other than this, may I ask all and any of you, whomever you put your faith in. Please pray for a very poorly little boy. In fact, please pray for all the poorly little children, they have the most incredible courage.

Quote: Unknown Author...but so very true!

Quote: Unknown Author…but so very true!

 

The Best Laid Plans

Happy New Year!
Yes it’s been a week since that event and so much longer since my last post.

I am aware that especially towards the end of last year I became  very lax in my posting and blogging, and to an extent, writing. This time last year I had a long list of all the resolutions, plans, ideals and goals I was setting myself for 2014. I accomplished quite frankly…none!
Why?
I made plans!

I have this issue, I think it’s ingrained in me, that as soon as I actually plan and set a goal for myself, it becomes ultimately unachievable. I don’t know why. Maybe I just don’t like being told what to do, even by myself.
However the fact is last year was chaos, I had so much going on in my personal life and my ‘day job’ I was run off my feet and when I did get sat down to write, I found myself falling asleep at the keyboard I was so exhausted. I moved to another city, I started a new job, I trained for two crazy events

Rat Race Dirty Weekend

Rat Race Dirty Weekend

Proof I did it!

Proof I did it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to research and retrain in many things, and then of course I had my personal life. We had an amazing honeymoon in Hawaii. We basically enjoyed our first year as a married couple, which was lovely.
I have read a few resolutions over this week by friends and family; how they need to spend more time with loved ones and concentrate on their families more. One friend, who is leaving the military and starting his own business, so clearly a very busy man, just yesterday declared his apologies at how neglectful he had been to people. His open promise to pay more attention and spend time with the people that matter.
This is why I don’t feel too guilty. I have spent the last six months or so, doing that, and I’ve loved it. I’ve spent time with my beautiful wife and our little dog. We’ve been camping and having days out, we’ve been to visit friends and family all over the country and we’ve had times just the two of us to spend together. We’ve done two crazy fitness events, for which we haven’t just participated together but trained together as well and we loved it. We love spending time together, we love being silly together, we love being crazy together and of course all the serious stuff too.
I’ve fit the writing in around it all instead of making it my prime focus.
Don’t get me wrong,  writing for me is a joy, it’s a pleasure and it’s something I do because I like it, I enjoy it; there’s a thousand worlds in my head and I love getting them down on paper. At the moment, it’s not a full blown career, I would love that, but currently science is my career, and honestly I love that too.
2013 I did neglect people around me, constantly at the computer trying to get into the social networking, trying to boost everything and get ahead, writing blog after blog, trying to juggle work, writing, networking, publishing and Life and it was so exhausting!

2014 I spent writing when I could focus on it and give it the right time, getting back into the science I love and spending time with those people who matter the most to me. I look back on 2014 with a lot more smiles than 2013 (to be fair my dad died in 2013, although we also got married so it was a whirlwind year of emotions.).

This years plans??
I’ll see how it goes. I have some ideas and I have some ambitions. Immediately is my next book, written and going through proof reading stages; Wedding in Paradise. Then I’m working on a book and screenplay of the same story I began last year. I have a hundred other ideas including a fantasy story I already half wrote 7 years ago so there’s a lot to come from me yet. I will not definitely commit to any of it though, that way when the wind changes I can change with it and not stress how things are not going to plan.