Tag Archive: 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.

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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.

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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.

Power of the Creative

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A couple of days ago I woke to a social media feed filled with messages about what Stan Lee had meant to people from all over. I too added my voice to this. The worlds and characters he gave us spoke to so many and allowed many to realise they aren’t alone, that they can dream and achieve and that they should never let the naysayers have the last say.

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Stan is not the only person to speak to the heart of people. I have just spent another fortnight volunteering at a pop culture convention and it seems to me that society needs its creatives for it is they who can speak to the heart of matters more freely than others can bring themselves to. It is the creatives who nuture hope and dreams in those of us who feel we don’t quite fit in with what  society says is acceptable.

Yes I am fortunate that I have met many actors whose work I admire but ultimately that is not the reason I do the conventions. My reason is family. Not blood family but family none the less.

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My vollie family and regular con attendees have given me a place I feel welcome. I know this is not a feeling that solely belongs to me. Often those of us who feel we don’t quite fit, function just fine in ‘normal life’, we go to work we get on with our lives but at home we hide in worlds that come from other people’s minds. 

Characters show things we go through and this tells us we can’t be the only person struggling or experiencing something. Characters told me it was alright for girls to be smart, to be heard, to fight, to not be limited by what others say is acceptable behaviour, and that it is okay to break the mold. They let me know that perfect is a crock and life is messy but to be embraced in a manner that is true to self.

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I sometimes wonder at the reactions of people when they meet the actors who play their favourite characters because I think surely it is the characters they love not the actors. I’ve never had the same visceral reactions that some fans have. (However I did have a total ‘ OMG that just happened moment’ when I was kissed by the gentleman who voices Optimus Prime – and it was more to do with the gentleman himself rather than me being a fan of the Transformers.) Even though I wonder I sort of understand, because when someone shows you that something is okay for you to feel or be, it is a powerful thing.

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Personally my attachment is to characters rather than anyone who portrays that character. My attachments are a visceral thing; I swear at them, cry and laugh with them or because of them, I draw back into their worlds when I need to comfort myself, I become thoroughly invested in their lives. My goal as a writer is to create characters that other people like, or even better love. When I write it feels as though my characters talk to me. I don’t plan when I write, my characters tell me where they want to go. They are my friends. It seems natural to me that characters have life, they need life to speak to others. I only hope that in the course of putting words to paper that I do them justice.

I hope you’ll buy my books (Becoming and Steps to Destiny) at Amazon, {the links are Au but you can buy they from any region} if you haven’t already, but even if you don’t, do yourself a favour and buy someone’s book, go meet a new character today, you might be surprised at the outcome.

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Wow

It is difficult to fathom two things. One that it’s been so long since I posted, I mean November was the last time, really, that seems wrong somehow. Two that we are already into April of 2018.

Let me see how much I can remember to catch you up on.

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I went on a mini cruise in January with my family. It’s the first time I’ve been on a cruise and I loved it. It was what my munchkins referred to as an ‘old people’s cruise’, and they weren’t wrong. It was a small boat but still it was good. I had nothing to do, no responsibility and it was great. I didn’t have to clean or cook. I thoroughly not having to do anything except read and write and spend some time with said munchkins, but I didn’t have to do that because they had their cousin to play with. Awesome.

Long and the short of it is, I really want to go on another cruise, just a bit of a bigger boat this time.

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Then there is work, lots of work, but I’ve got to pay the bills somehow.

So onto the writing side of things.

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I thought I was in really good position to publish book two of the Oparna Legacy for April then something happened. I don’t talk about my faith very often but its there, it underlies much of what I do. I don’t advertise it because I have issues with organised religion and I really don’t like being shoved into claustrophobic boxes. Anyway the long and the short of it is the big man up stairs gave me a task. This task was research heavy and became something like an obsession. Every waking moment it seemed, was taken up with working on it. It was something I’ve never tackled before and something somewhat out of my comfort zone. However it is now done, or at least the bit I can do at the moment is. And no I’m not going to be more specific because I really can’t, there is nothing more I can say until the next stage happens, if there is a next stage.

Oh and I also wrote two short stories that I have now submitted for competitions, both of which were more of the literary fiction type, nothing spec fiction about them at all. It is such a challenge to write in different genres, it may not be something I want to dabble in for a full length project but it is still worth dabbling it in.

Moving on.

In all of that I actually did get book two finished, given a solid second edit, got it to the beta reader and did the read aloud edit with my hubby (who doesn’t read but is a very happy listener who points out good things and bad). As a side note, I find reading aloud a very useful editing tool, because it forces you to go over every word in a way you sometimes don’t when you a a fast reader as I am, and know what you think you wrote, which sometimes you totally didn’t.

I now just need to find the time to catch up with my beat reader, do all those changes and a final edit before I send it to an actual editor.

Then just for fun I have also finished the first run through of book three, and I’m working on two other full length novels, one of which looks like the start of a series that will be longer than three books. So plenty of writing left to go in my very active mind.

Now you are up to date.

I’m on leave and it’s almost Nova time again. Here’s hoping I stay organised enough to update you on a way more regular basis.

 

I Haven’t Left

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Not really, though with the time that has lapsed between posts it probably seems like it. There is a reason though. I think it’s pretty good but I’m not sure if others will.
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June was my SupaNova month. Mid year con time and I just love it. Sometimes the experience you get from a con is so very different to what you think it might me. Some of the guests will be everything you expect, other far more and some, not at all. It all goes together to make one awesome melting pot of experience. I always love my time at con, I love my con family. For me it is a world so removed from my everyday job they should allow it be a tax deduction under stress relief.
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However that is only part of why I’ve been so absent from this page. I informed my munchkins that due to their materialism Christmas presents were going to be made this year. Sounds great in theory but in practice that means I have to make stuff. Argghhh! That’s not because I can’t but because it is another time consuming thing I’ve added to my list of time consuming activities. Still I have made progress on that front I’m already well into gift three and I’ve found it not a bad counterpoint to my work day. Also I can do it whilst I’m binge watching shows so all good, two birds one stone and all that.

However that is still only part of the story. The biggest part of the story is… I’ve just signed my very first publishing contract!!!! You have no idea how much I’d like to type that in all caps, but then I’d be shouting at you, ah to hell with it…I SIGNED MY FIRST PUBLISHING CONTRACT!!!!
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You have no idea how happy that makes me. Or maybe you do. I know there are plenty of dreamers out there with the same dream as me. What kept me busy though was I went back on the finished manuscript to check a few details and, as always with something you’ve put away for a while I saw things I could tweak. So I tweaked the whole 100 000+ words. Then sent it off and joy of joys got a contract back to sign.

The problem is I know that is just another step on a long road but others think that means the book will be out in a couple of months, so I’ve had to explain that no it will take a bit longer than that. Still not even that takes the shine off my news. So now I’m motoring along through book two so it will be in a really good spot by the time book one is set for release. So all in all my writing journey is progressing well and I hope to make it back here more often from now on.

The Creative

So I am still writing. In fact the writing is going pretty well for the most part. Ideas are coming together, the big picture is falling into place and I really love some of my characters.
But I’m still waiting and it is hard.
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I have however roped in a couple of friends to mock me up book covers. Why you may ask. The answer is simple, visualisation. I want to be able to visualise what my own book may look like. Sure it may look nothing like what they come up with for me but still it gives me something to hold onto.
Also I want to use them as props for a photo shoot I have coming up.
Things at the moment though are busy. There is work, the thing I have to do to pay the bills, whilst I dream of the day that writing will at least help with some of that and I can stop doing OT.
I still network because I believe the day will come when that will really pay off. Of course everyone that knows me will have to buy a book, I’ve told them I don’t even care if they read it, as far as I care once they’ve bought it they can use it to prop up a table if they want.
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On other writing news I’ve been invited into a world and asked to collaborate. That in itself is all sorts of exciting and a little daunting. When writing for yourself you only have to please yourself with the story. When entering someone else’s world and collaborating you also have to please them. Arggghhhh! What if they don’t like the idea that seemed so very cool to me?
Self doubt, such a bitch. I’m sure most authors experience it to varying degrees. Though I can really only speak for myself.
Then, yesterday, my little miss hands me the start of a story she had just spent the last hour typing on a typewriter (yes you read that right – she has in her room an old typewriter I salvaged from when my dad died). The thing is, it was… well I know I’m her mother but it was good, really good and so far above what I’d expect a 7 year old to come up with. She handed it to me and all I could see was potential. And the need to find out what the heck happened next. Yeah the hook was that good. So now, I am determined to find the time to help her develop this as far as she wants.
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There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.
The problem with being so busy is finding down time.
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Or more specifically when I do, when I’m flaked on the couch in front of the tv binge watching some series, I feel guilty for wasting time. The thing is though it’s not wasting time. Not really. It is easy to think it is but truthfully we all need to find time away from our projects to decompress. To just step away because if you don’t know it yet, stepping away from your own work can bring a clarity to it. You can see what has been holding you back, what isn’t working, or how to get past that thing that has helps you up for a week. Investing time in the work of other creatives can have the very effect of reinvigorating your own juices.
The other thing I like to do is walk. Running often just clears my mind, sometimes it does more but often walking gives me the chance to clear and pick at story ideas.
Sometimes you just need to do something very different, go and play a game with your kids, have coffee with friends, connect with family.
Writing can be a time demanding mistress but it does us well to remember that sometimes the best use of our time is to walk away.
Keep writing, keep believing.

The Waiting Game

The waiting game sucks, that is all.
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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.
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Life is an Awfully Big Adventure

Well it is if you want it to be I suppose.
And I want it to be.
I love my family. I love my wacked out, crazy and at times surreal life. Of all things that could happen one of the things I would hate to become is boring.
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Don’t get me wrong, some parts of my life are incredibly boring.
A writers life can be, at times, very solitary, even when you have a family and a full time job. I’m simply not much of one for going out and partying. I would much rather stay home and curl up with my hubby watching something, with my head stuck in a good book, or with a pen in hand and a notebook in front of me. I like it like this but others would find it boring.
Of course for me writing is anything but. Writing gives me the chance to escape into some amazing and fantastical places and situations. I also like to practically choreograph my fight sequences and I am blessed with a hubby who is more than happy to work on that stuff with me. On any random night we could be working out some unarmed combat, a knife fight or a sword fight. So I suppose it’s not always boring.
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Life though continues to be fun though. It can be exhausting and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I work in a high stress job and I play in the land of celebrity and pop culture.
Volunteering at SupaNova is an amazing thing for me. I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful actors and voice actors. I have some fun stories to tell. I have also been blessed to see fans meeting their favourite performers, it can be an incredibly touching thing. I would dare anyone to meet Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime and Eeyore), watch him with his fans and not become one yourself. I even now have a favourite dwarf. I have seen people cry and scream with delight. Say what you will about fan boys and girls but indulging in their fandom is an adventure for them and they will get the chance to say they have had moments of great joy.
It is also through this that I have made some incredible friends. In fact for me they have become very much another family to me. They get me, well bits of me that other people may not understand. That could be the key.
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In some ways many of us strive to be understood. We may say we want to be accepted but acceptance comes from understanding. Work people in my life understand parts of me, they allow me to be freer in regards to some parts of my personality than other work environments have. Let’s face it I do rather like the word ‘no’, and many jobs don’t like you using that word. Theatre people and Nova people understand the dramatic, and sometimes fangirly side of me. Of course people from both those sides accept the other side of me and it is that acceptance that really allows me to be free to enjoy the adventure in my life.
On nights like this I realise just how lucky I am. I wouldn’t say I have a lot of close friends but the ones I have are special. For those who have come into my life and who have opened their arms and accepted me, for all my quirks, moods and eccentricities, I thank you. As this year draws to an end and a new one begins, with the promise of some awesome new adventures, I look forward to sharing these with them.
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And Time Flies

So, I have been flat out busy. Work, SupaNova and writing. It is awesome and I am now on leave, which means more writing can get done. That is awesome. I am really looking forward to it. Quality time with my family and plenty of time to sink into a fantasy world or three. I have three story ideas to play with and loads of reading to catch up on.
Then of course there is Christmas.
I will of course write a proper post or four while I’m not juggling work along with everything else. So stay tuned.

Decisions

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.

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I’ve been really busy of late, mostly at work. 

Unfortunately life goes on and things intrude on the best laid plans. In my case; family, death, sickness and friendship. There are times the muse must be put aside and life must be seen to.

For a bit after my time off I managed to write quite consistently, but this last week and a bit it’s not gone according to plan so much.

Life though feeds us in a different way. If we are honest, even those of us who write fantasy are inspired by reality. It can sometimes be the little things that trigger amazing spurts of creativity.

Whilst I haven’t had much chance to work on my fantasy double I have had another idea that has been sitting in the melting pot that is my brain for quite a while.

It’s one of the things I love about being creative. You can’t always know where an idea will come from or where the seed will end up blooming. For me, a couple of very basic ideas have now gelled together and I have a concept for a whole other book.

Now if only I had time to get everything in my head out onto the page.