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Review reviews

Hiya

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I hope that everyone had a great summer/winter depending on where you are in the world. If your brain is misbehaving I sympathise and just keep going even when you really don’t want to/see the point. Keep walking towards sunrise. It’s beautiful when you reach it, promise.

First a brilliant quote I read from Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat:

Depression is no more curable by saying it’s “all in the head” than cancer is by saying it’s “all in the cells.”

That lady talks sense…and writes great books!

I, unsurprisingly spent a lot of my time writing. I know, anyone would think I was a writer…oh yeah, I am! Lots of freelance work and regular work…happy, happy, on anti-depressants-happy! And grateful.

Also writing the next book:-)

Occasionally I look at reviews for my books on Amazon and Goodreads , not too often though because it can be a teeny weeny bit scary seeing what people think of your writing.

Guess what? There is no definitive rule about taste and reviews. For the same book I have had a 1* and 3* and a 5* so for any writers out there who get disheartened by reviews just remember that a review is someone’s opinion. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be respected but you can agree to disagree with someone’s opinion.

It’s very easy to read a review of your book that showers with praise and very tempting to kick the furniture when you see a less friendly one. A 1 star makes you want to shout “I put blood, sweat and tears in to this and you gave it a 1????” A 5 star lets you puff out your chest proudly in the knowledge that “someone appreciates talent/dedication/late nights and rewrites.”

 

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My 5* counsellor led me to devise a system where when I read reviews, good, bad or indifferent, that I spend no more than 30 seconds reviewing the review. I assess whether there are useful points which would enhance the book or if I should agree to disagree. Then I move on. This means my emotional state doesn’t fluctuate with the reviews. I can be objective. Just think if mood was dependent on reviews, it’d be like being attached to an internal unpredictable bungee rope!

Happily, my brain is still healing and the progress is promising. I just have to remember not to make myself too busy, too under pressure and too focused on work. Relaxation and rest are important too! Who knew?

I have also enjoyed more reading time lately, currently reading Sabine Durrant’s new book Lie With Me and it’s very good so if you fancy a psychological thriller you shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.

Of course, being the history buff that I am I have been looking at a book by Anita Leslie on her great aunt Jennie Churchill, Winston’s mum.  Interesting, inside view of the family.

Happy rest of September and as the seasons change try to find the poetry in the moment.

Jo

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PS: If you’re giving a review please remember that there is normally a hard working person behind the book/piece so please be constructive, think helpful!

 

 

 

2016 is here already – Don’t worry

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I hope you have had a fabulous holiday time and I wish you a happy, peaceful, healthy, joyful new year!! (To those who overindulged, I hope your hangover has gone by now!)

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Our Christmas decorations are coming down today:-( and the holidays seem to have passed by in the blink of an enjoyable eye – but here we are already on day 2 of 2016 with the rest of the year like a huge blank page ready to be written on.

My aims for this year, apart from – spreading joy, love, positivity and hopefully a bit of helpful wisdom while appreciating my blessings – are to build on the progress that I made last year, both in my writing career – thanks to anyone who’s bought/read any of my books – I officially LOVE YOU! and also with my OCD/PTSD/anxiety which has improved miraculously over the last couple of years. In fact, talk about Christmas miracles and I can tell you that an OCD habit (or ritual as it’s known) that I wasn’t able to shake off on several attempts just magically disappeared on Christmas morning, I simply wasn’t doing it. See, miracles do happen. THANK GOD!!!!:-)

As I couldn’t stop myself from writing completely over the Christmas holidays I have got about 9000 words of a book about the Hanoverians written. Call me crazy but if I don’t write for a couple of days (which is rare) I get what I call itchy fingers – in other words I need to write, my hands are ready to spill what’s jumping up and down creatively in my brain on to my laptop and they can’t wait!

I have also indulged in a bit of poetry – I hope you like this one, it’s a reminder to me but will work for all!

 

Don’t Worry

This today will soon be yesterday

Let’s make it the best we’ve ever written

For each tomorrow is a chapter away

We often forsake our now for it, bitten or smitten

 

Try to live in the moment, savour each one

That’s a hard lesson to learn and maintain

But your mind wants to be in the present, having fun

Smell the roses, see sunsets, feel gentle rain

 

It’s not easy to be in the here and now

There are many invitations to fret, false clues

Tomorrow is a mystery, a tremor or still, for now

It will explain itself soon but it isn’t motivated by the blues

 

Tomorrow’s blank page betrays invisible ink what if’s and when’s

Willed for answers won’t always be found in our today

Questions unanswered, we take up our mental pens

Where we normally write a far too dramatic play

 

For when the dreaded tomorrow morphs in to today

Our fears quite often are found to never have in truth lain

Yet for hours, our eyes off course, they’ll have led us astray

A new merry dance for us to review on memory lane

 

Plus, being human, we flick back to see our faults

Liberally douse our life tomes in inner critic stress

Instead try to live in the moment without thunderbolts

Read each word you write and enjoy the ink blots, they’re heaven blessed.

 

Have a wonderful 2016 and remember to treat yourself well and kindly – everyone should feel special!

thR35961T8

Joanne

 

 

 

Quick Plug!


Hi

I hope everyone is enjoying December, so far it’s been writing busy, fulfilling and with lovely surprises for me so that’s all good. Great start to the day, a Christmas story of mine will be used on Bedtime FM soon – thanks and Yay!

And this lovely tome went on sale on Amazon in paperback and Kindle this morning too. Another Yay and a Thank God! Some people have already bought it!!! It can be borrowed too – shameless plug moment!!

CJ

Here’s a little present from me to you…a senryu poem! I wrote this last Christmas time but it’s just as, if not more so, needed this year…

dove

“Wrote to Santa Claus

Asked for wars and hate to cease

A gift of world peace.”

Have a great, safe and full of love and peace week,  Joanne

Bonus flippant Yay…I’m a Celebrity is OVER!!!! not a lover of it, as you can tell.

 

 

Work, rest, play

Hiya

Happy weekend! penguin

I’ve been a busy bee again this week (love it! Thank you God!!) so I’ve been tuned out of the world and tuned in to freelance work. A biproduct is that my trivia loving brain gets to learn lots of trivia that I didn’t know that I needed or wanted to ever know. I am going to be a “not quite expert” on lots of diverse subjects one day soon:-)

I’ve also been working on a new royal history quiz book. The ones I brought out last year went well so, as I haven’t done one this year yet, I’m doing one now in between the freelancing. It’ll make a fab Christmas present me thinks.

Yesterday my brain/body decided that it wanted to rest, it sent me back to sleep for an indecently long lie in – 10a.m. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, just like I was “stuck” to my lovely warm cozy comfy duvet.

So, having written an article and now this blog, I’m off to work on some more quiz book questions before I officially switch mode to quiet chillax – Order me chicken jalfrezi, fab movies, a great book, yep, that’ll be me today just after 4pm.  Ahhh bliss!

Have a fab weekend.

Joanne

 

 

 

 

 

I love researching!

Hi

1818

I’ve been having fun researching for the book that I’m working on – The Royal Race of 1818.

I was so pleased to find books and information online BUT I practically did a jig of joy when I came across newspaper articles from 1818 that gave me contemporary reports of two royal weddings, who attended, what they wore, where they went on honeymoon…it was a real step back in to history and it was fabulous.

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I found political records too and pages of wordy condolences from the various councils in Britain after the death of the Prince Regent’s daughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales.

All of these articles are obviously approaching two hundred years old but I could feel the reverence and duty, the sadness and uncertainty of the nation’s future.

I am still researching so who knows how many more historical gems I’ll find and marvel at.

Have a great rest of the day. If anyone wants me I’ll be in 1818 Regency Britain!

Joanne

Chillax, Read, Walk, Rest…Repeat

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I have been doing something in the last few days that I don’t normally do…NO WRITING!!!

As I finished one project I realised that to leap straight in to another one would not give my brain and creativity a break so I’ve been strict with myself. No writing anything – on purpose for four days – I bravely jumped off the industrious treadmill.

(OK, I’ll admit to writing a poem on Sunday! Guilty as charged.)

I get so busy working that I sometimes forget to remember that my brain might just like a rest, a change of scene, a something out of the ordinary…and that’s what I’ve been giving it. Time off.

I have to remind myself as I recover from the OCD/PTSD that my mental strength is a work in progress and that although THANK GOD I’m nowhere near as fragile as I was I still have to be mindful – excuse the pun – that overworking the brain does me no favours short or long term.

Same for people who have their mental health in what they think is A1 condition, if you don’t take time off sometimes and remove the strains then there is a probability that your brain will go ping. You need to take time to reconnect with you.

So, I’ve walked in the sun, shopped in the rain, had my hair done, read some fab fiction and just tried to relax without lingering too long on thoughts of the next book, the chapter content, the research etc.

The nagging OCD voice wants me to work but it isn’t blaring as it once used to, so I can relax more these days…when I remember to!

Right now, I am typing this, earlier I wrote a children’s story and tomorrow I’ll start my book and will probably get so immersed in the project that it’ll be another month before I take a whole day off.

This afternoon is a half day off.

The plan reads: Chillax to the max.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m not ridiculously keen to get back to my beloved writing!

Take care peeps.

JoanneTTC_TTTDay1

Words, words, words

Hi

girl-308360_640Just to keep you up to date – because I know that you wouldn’t be able to sleep without knowing ha ha – I am in the final stages of editing my book on Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb.

Out on Amazon Kindle 31st May.

I am reading a detective novel AND a biography on the Hollywood and dance legend Fred Astaire (it would have been his birthday last Sunday) AND I’m researching my next book The Royal Race of 1818. Out on 31st July 2015. Think reading in rotation.

smiles

Anyone got any brain cells and eyes to spare?! I have a lot of words in front of me, rough count a zillion.

Can you tell that I never ever ever get bored? (Well I did once, it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t like being bored so decided not to be again.)

Um, why am I asking questions? Dunno.

BTW I’ve nailed a few more O.C.D. rituals too so whahoooo!

Have a fab day and weekend, treat yourself to a gift, be nice to yourself and take time to smile.

penguin

Joanne

 

Snow joke!

Hi

I’m British, that means I’m genetically disposed to discuss the weather…apparently!

 

 

 

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Anyway, here I am in southern England, the sun’s shining timidly and it’s a lovely spring day MEANWHILE my sister has woken up in Canada to a dusting of snow. I know where I’d rather be.

I think I’d:

a. cry

b. retreat to the duvet

c. both of the above, whilst eating a ton of chocolate

 

if I woke up to snow on the 11th May…it’s nearly the longest day of the year…there shouldn’t be snowflakes with the cornflakes!

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Anyway, I’ve had a fab editing my latest book day.

I’ve also decided what my next book will be about and I might just go for a springy stroll later unlike my sister who’ll be snowgliding to work. LOL.

Have a fab day, whatever the weather.

Joanne


 

 

Crikey – that was today then!

Hi

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Well, I’m not a fan of politics (read: normally would rather pull my eyelashes out one by one) but this General Election in the U.K. has been a bit of an eye opener.

The “experts” thought that Cameron vs. Miliband would be a close run race and that a coalition government was almost a certainty.

Experts scmexperts! Cameron’s in for another term and the other leaders have resigned SO whatever people wanted from their vote the political landscape will inevitably change with new bods running three of the main parties. BUT the way I see it, if you don’t vote you can’t really spend the next five years of the whoever-it-is government moaning about them…you should have voted.

 

It’s the V.E. Day celebration/commemoration this weekend. War is such a waste of life and what might have been, we should never forget the sacrifices made so that we can have such freedom today.

Let’s hope that there’s never another war…yes, a gargantuan miracle.

I was inspired to write this tanka earlier…

 

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Politics often

A showstopping farce, it pales

At a cenotaph 

Comrades of seventy years  

Real heroes, victors to hail

 

Meanwhile, back at my desk, I’m still editing Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb and I aim to finish reading a book about Queen Mary this weekend and then I will pootle over to a fiction book, probably a detective story set at the turn of the century. That is unless another tempting book lures me away!

 

My therapist saw me for the first time in 3 months yesterday (she was in Asia) and she seems happy enough…after the well done’s the inevitable “what next?” followed. As if I didn’t know it was coming ha ha so I have set several “overcome the O.C.D.” goals this month…

“Look out OCD gremlins…I’m coming to get yaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”


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Have fun!

Joanne

Two sides of the same coin

Hi

This last week has been a tale of two halves, I finished editing my book on Marie Antoinette, uploaded it to go on sale on 1st May and then I started to plan my next writing project. All good.

I realised that I haven’t done a lot of reading lately while I’ve been writing like a ninja and I felt that I had missed the lovely process of reading and being absorbed in another world with characters that you can learn to love or loathe as the pages pass by.

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You know what? I set aside the writing and dedicated myself to reading, in the last few days I have happily devoured a book on creative writing – OK, that’s a bit workish, half of a historical biography on Queen Mary, wife of King George V and I tried to read Glenarvon by Lady Caroline Lamb, one time love of Lord Byron the notorious poet.

I say tried because her writing style suggested that her mind was on fire, it was so overwritten that it made simple melodrama look dull! Glenarvon was the novel she wrote about their affair so perhaps there was a lot of emotion to fire from her pen.

I may return to it on a day when I have energy to spare, it’s not a relaxing read. One day, perhaps.

Tomorrow, I start my next writing project, today you’ll find me luxuriating in a book. I love to do both and I often miss one when I do the other exclusively.

It’s true, they’re two sides of the same coin. One can’t thrive without the other.

The London Marathon was held today – big respect and congratulations to anyone who even contemplates running 26 miles – I quickly penned this tanka this morning…

I confess I’m pooped

In my sleep I’ve somehow run 

The great marathon 

Tortured for twenty six miles

Finished first, collapsed in style.

 

 

Have a great week.

Joanne:-)X