Category: Family

A Wonderful Woman

I saw a meme the other day that said ‘ask a man in your life to name a woman they admire and why’.  Well tonight I realised something about a very special woman in my life.

And no it isn’t my mother. Don’t get me wrong she was an amazing lady and I miss her so very much. In fact there are still days I sit and cry as I think on all the things she has missed out on, that my girls missed out on. Oh and as my husband reminded me, it had to be someone you’re not related to.


But I digress.

Yesterday I had a very, incredibly average day at work. I was involved in something and me being me, I couldn’t stop overthinking about it.

When I finally got home, I still felt very unsettled and, if I’m to be honest – a little sick to my stomach.

See I find myself in a transition state where I am stepping into not only a new location but a new role, and everyone is telling me I’ve got this.

I’ve figured out something about myself, and that is I don’t really know how to back myself.

Again though I digress.

A woman whom I admire and why.

See I think it is important not just for men to acknowledge women they admire, but also for other women to lift up the women who mean something to us.

So here it is. Barbara Richardson – as she was when I met her.

She is amazing.


What is my connection to her? She was my boss. But my husband pointed out tonight that I now consider her, in some way family.

I met Barbara when I was at a total quandary in my life. I had gone to the UK on a one way ticket, only to find the job I had, ripped away from me. Long story short, this wonderful lady ended up becoming my boss. I became her au pair. That is fancy speak for saying I was her nanny amongst other things.

This lady amazed me in more ways than I can say, and though I signed no confidentiality agreement, you really don’t need to know the details. Suffice to say there was something about her.

For no apparent reason that I really understand, this wonderful woman always encouraged and supported me. For example whilst other au pairs were run off their feet, she allowed me to follow my theatrical passion amongst other things. She also never, for reasons that even when I look back on our relationship make little sense, treated me as anything less than equal.

To the point then.

Last night, after this less than average day at work, I come home to find a comment on a FB post I had made. I had written about getting used to people looking at me as if I know the answer. Her response was, “Of course you know the answer! Why change the habit of a lifetime?”

For some reason that broke me, but not in a bad way. It was such unconditional support of who I am, that it floored me. I was her nanny for crying out loud, yet she has never been anything but super supportive.

In her life she had been incredibly successful in her chosen field, as well as a wonderful single mother. Somewhere in there she found the space to support and encourage a young woman in ways that still befuddle me.

It is many years later and her lovely son is grown, but we have stayed in touch.

However, I love her, she will always have a special place in my heart and I really felt that she should be acknowledged for the incredible lady she is.

And mostly I just wanted to thank her publicly for being one of the best people to ever have in your corner. The fact she is in mine is just amazing.

Thank you Barbara.

The Waiting Game

The waiting game sucks, that is all.
Book two is well underway and there are a few other ideas stirring around in the back of my mind, some are even making it to paper.
Life has been very full. Sometimes the juggling game is a little tricky but the truth is I’m happy with where I am at the moment. Work is good, family are mostly happy (when the preteen isn’t moody) and writing keeps me busy and sane (or insane as the case may be).
So onward I go into the realms of my own invention.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for the day I can say I have a publication date.


UnknownThis week I had to make a decision. I have been working so much, so many days. The problem with that is I just get so tired and brain numbed that it can be hard to write. If I only have one day off at a time or maybe even two then it can be hard to get more than a few hundred words down at any one time.
So this week, when a bunch of things came to a head I decided to take my name off the OT list. My dad isn’t well so I need to make sure I put some extra effort into that relationship. A friend went into hospital for an emergency C-Section and their baby has to stay in hospital for a while longer, now there isn’t much I can do for them except make sure we’re available if they need. My kids had a day off school so if I stayed home it would be an extra day with them. And an extra day makes a huge difference to the amount of words I get down.
In the end it wasn’t much of a decision a bit extra cash or quality time with family/friends and past times I love.
When you are a writer who actually has to work at a day job to pay the bills it can sometimes be hard to let go of a little extra money, even though you know your frustration levels, at lack of productivity, will probably rise.
It turns out it wasn’t such a hard choice to make.

Merry Christmas

I will be back next year with more writing news and chaos without doubt. In the mean time though should you read this then know I am wishing you a very merry, joyous and safe Christmas. Stay safe and enjoy the time with your friends and family.

Book Stores

I have been doing a whole lot of thinking about book stores and my job recently. It’s no secret that for the most part I loved my old job. I love kids books and books in general and I loved the people I worked with. In all my working life I have never worked with a bunch of people who I got along so well with. In some ways we were like family. Now though I am struggling and all that’s changed is the store I work in. Oh and of course the size. But that single change in actuality is a huge thing. The atmosphere is so different. It is stifling and so very conservative. Everything from the attitude to customers and the business to the damn muszak that is played repeatedly everyday.

This combined with losing out on another job have given me cause to think about a few things.

One thing I know is that I still love books, that is never likely to change. I really am starting to believe that bookstores need to change. I know so many people who don’t buy their books from bookstores for various reasons. For me though part of what I think the problem is, is that book stores seem to be stuck in the past. They seem determined to not to embrace the present and the future. Specialty stores work well because they have a hook, but stores that have a ‘shhh we’re a book store, be careful, be quite and move on’ attitude are really going to have to think it through.

The other thing is as a specialist my work is happy to take advantage of the huge number of hours I put in building up my product knowledge and I’m happy to share my knowledge with the customers but I have to admit, a bit selfishly I’m sure, that I object to them expecting me to provide for them answers to a large number of customer questions for when I’m not there. I don’t get paid for my extra hours and I don’t get paid for training up the other staff. When I made a comment about it I was told it wasn’t about me but the business. Hmmm.

For me it is about me and looking after my family. There is no way I am going to put someone else’s business above my family.

I love books but unless the industry is willing to make some drastic changes…


Refocus and New Start

This week has been really tough. My baby went in for surgery, and I had opening night for a play I was really having trouble finding the character I was supposed to be playing. I knew why I was having trouble but I couldn’t seem to find my way around it, until last night. Thankfully opening night hit and though I was tired and just wasn’t sure how it would work I hit it and hit it hard. I found her and the director was very happy with my portrayal. Cue big sigh of relief.

My baby is doing pretty well post op, just thought I should add that.

Now onto my topic for today – refocus.

I know what I want to do, I’m just not sure how I’m going to quite get there. Before I start refocusing on my writing I think I probably need to start somewhere completely different. I need to clean up my office, that really is to say I need to do all my folding. I’ve got weeks worth of clean clothes to put away. Sometimes this housework thing really gets on top of me. I try but I find it so difficult to keep up with it. It is really ridiculous.

Once I’ve done that I’m hoping to feel a bit more something; organised or focused or even just that I’m capable of doing something. Then I can get my teeth stuck into some writing. I have my YA project to finish and I’m setting myself a totally unreasonable deadline in order to focus myself on it. Let’s face it though last time I set myself what I thought was a pretty difficult target I hit it and did it quite well. Also there is a couple of short story ideas floating around in the back of my head. I may put my headphones on at the theatre tonight and try an get some writing done. Of course if that fails all is not lost because there is always plenty of reading to do, I’m half way through a few books that I really must get done. The reviews wont wait forever.

So now I have a plan, all I need to do it avoid the playstation and stop procrastinating about the laundry.

End Of Holidays

This has been a great two weeks off. It was wonderful to spend time like I have with my girls and be a little more involved in their school lives. I’ve really enjoyed it. Of course I have a really good idea (don’t we all think that about our own ideas) but so far no-one has got back to me in a positive way about it. I think after so much success with the book blog this little problem is really bothering me more than it should. I always knew it was a long shot but I’m not going to give up on it. If I don’t act on it someone else will.

The other thing is my writing. I submitted my fantasy novel to Angry Robot this week. A good thing, re-reading over it got me all fired up to work on the sequel.

My YA project is still happening, but it’s a bit of work at the moment. I think it’s hard because part of me doesn’t want to spend too much time in my main character’s head space, I’ve been there, done that, it can be a hard place to be. I’m still very passionate about this project, still really believe that it needs to be written, but putting myself back onto the darkness of my past is sometimes a difficult place to go.

I’m not sure it is helped by the fact I am going back to work this week coming. There is a part of me that just longs for the time I really truly can put all my time into my passions. Don’t get me wrong, I still really love selling books, I just love books but working from home feels so much more satisfying to me.

Hopefully one day. Till then perseverance prevails.

Busy Weekend

Okay so I know I’m terrible, I was planning to finish my writer’s festival blogs and haven’t. Thursday night I ended up going to the theatre and last night I actually put in time with hubby. Today we bought and assembled a loft bed for Miss ‘about to be’ 8 – it took us 4 hrs. On the upside it has a bed, bookshelves, drawers, a desk and a wooden ladder. It is very cool.

So the long and short of it is I haven’t finished piecing together the last of the festival stuff. However I will briefly talk about the Feast of Words, which is where I was this time last week.

When I got there I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I was feeling out of place and shaky in my conviction of being a writer. When I got to my seat it was to discover I had no little gift like everyone else had, no-one sitting opposite me, no menu and no butter knife. I asked for some of these things to be fixed only to be told, ‘sorry we have run out’. What? How can you run out of things for a function where people are paying over $100 a ticket (I was glad it was work’s money not mine).

The night was salvaged by the lovely, fun young woman sitting diagonally opposite from me. She was a real joy to share a meal with. (Not to mention she found some empty settings and stole me a one of the setting gifts). There also turned out to be an advantage to having no-one sitting opposite me – entre and dessert came out on platters which meant with only 3 of us to share it we got a little extra each.

I didn’t know what I was eating, it looked fancy and tasted pretty good. The authors (Armistead Maupin, Joanne Harris, Adam Ross and Simon Armitage) were all eloquent and it was a pleasant experience being read to between courses. I’d have to say it wasn’t a bad evening all in all, and it’s not very often I get to eat food like that.

And to kept the fractured nature of this entry going I will let you know I have been working madly on reviews for books in the hope that I would get the new site up and happening this weekend. I guess we’ll have to see how that goes. I’ll keep you informed.