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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!

 

 

 

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Reading and writing

Hi

I’ve been kept very busy recently with freelance work so thanks everyone, I think I’m becoming not quite expert in an expanding number of areas, but I love information and trivia so my brain is happy.

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Excellent news is that I’m still kicking OCD’s butt, THANK GOD! Had an appt. with my therapist last week for the first time in a while and (not to tempt fate) my brain is mending and it’s definitley more recovered than recovering.

Funny isn’t it, how when you’ve been ill for a long time that when you are reminded that you’re ill it is almost odd? As I’ve been focusing on other things the realisation that my brain is still a little bit poorly actually felt strange…I’m more normal these days and less beseiged by OCD rituals and safety behaviours!

Excellent book – and no, I don’t know him, owe him or get paid to say this! but Matt Haig’s book is brilliant. Titled, Reasons to Stay Alive, it is worth reading whether you’ve been through depression, are going through it or want to understand what someone goes through. It’s got a ton of celeb endorsements too if you like reading those!

My Mary Queen of Scots book is still a work in progress but it will be out before the next millenium, honest!

Have a fab week and please remember to be kind to yourself.

Joanne

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Brain drain

Hi

It’s been a while, time flies! I hope you missed me…what? you didn’t notice I’d been away…Charming!!

thJ7EILSRXAnyhow, I’ve been a busy bod freelance writing a lot of diet, fitness, superfood, exercise blogs and lifestyle articles…it’s amazing how you think you know a subject fairly well but there’s always more to learn! I’ve switched white bread for wholemeal and increased almond eating…apparently they are very good for you. I live, I learn.

It’s lovely when you get good feedback too, thank you to anyone who gives me a fab review, I appreciate the compliment and I know that you don’t have to comment. It’s great for the soul though.

What’s not good is that I’ve been naughty…slapped wrists time…I worked without taking a day off for almost two weeks and guess what? My brain and body kicked my butt! As much as I love a searing headache, feeling overtired and wrung out like an old dish cloth (NOT) I have to remember that my OCD, anxiety brain needs a rest or I’m playing double jeopardy with my recovery which thankfully has been very good these last few weeks. I’m fine now and lesson learned – the hard way. Hmmm.

I’ve also been working on a new book for my series Royal Rifts, this one is on Mary Queen of Scots and her marriages. Stormy! It will be out in the spring. Publication date to follow.

Well, that’s me, and my brain and writing life for the last few weeks so take care and remember to rest your brain cells. They’ll be glad you did!

 

Joanne

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!

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Joanne

 

 

 

Mrs Santa – Fun Christmas Poem

Hiya

Tis the season to be jolly so here’s a fun Xmas poem…enjoy!

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Mrs Claus

The keen little elf said “Err, hello.”

In a tiny voice, not an elfin bellow

“Have you seen Mr. Santa Claus?

Is he in his office behind those doors?”

 

Mrs. Claus smiled her kindest smile

Newbie elves were sweet, just like a new child

For she and the toy making crew knew

That her husband was turning the air blue

 

Not in the office, paperwork amassing

But outside in the chill enduring a gassing

The poor beardy guy was again falling prey

To back drafts caused not by his sleigh

 

The reindeers were enjoying giggling fits

The mayhem was courtesy of Mrs. S’s titbits

She would insist on giving the reindeer molasses curry

Before their MOT’s she’d get cooking, all of a flurry

 

It’s a strange coincidence Santa thought

As some fresh air and his breath he caught

That it’s always somehow a curry dinner the night

I say the next day it’s MOT’s and practice flights

Dishing up for all, Mrs. S would sweetly smile at him

And say that she’d cooked up curry on a whim

Poor Rudolph’s nose never lost its glow

After the 1924 vindaloo went down below

“Daydreaming, Mrs. S?” Her sleeve was tugged by elf, Ed

“You’d better give it five minutes,” she knowingly said

“Or it won’t only be your clothes that are green.”

Ed frowned, “Whatever, lovely lady, do you mean?”

 

“Well, Santa’s doing reindeer MOT’s in the snow

With last night’s dinner he’s meeting ho ho ho!”

“Surely you’ve not indulged in foul play, Mrs. Claus?”

She folded her arms, grinned through the pause

 

“Ask the elder elves, they’ll tell you Santa won’t let me take flight

Or steer the lovely reindeers on any Christmas night

Always it’s a no ho ho when I ask but he’ll get the hint one day I’m sure

In the meantime for his Christmas roses there’ll be spicy manure

And for us an annual work day bonus of entertainment galore!”

 

Have a fab rest of the day and holiday season, Joanne :-)X

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…

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“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.

 

 

Happy Friday

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It’s Friday which means that the first weekend of October is almost here! Fetch me a fab book, my snuggly blanky…and hot chocolate with cute little marshmallows….wanders off in to a delicious daydream…

I’m back!

This week I’ve been working on a children’s story which fingers, eyes and toes crossed the client will like (pretty please!) and next I’m off in to article writing land to write 10 pieces. Research required, it helps if I know exactly what I’m talking about, apparently. Who knew?

I’m also working on another royalty quiz book which should be out before Halloween, I know that ghosts love a good quiz, they do, really.

In the dear old U.K. October means we will probably hear fireworks any time now, even though Bonfire Night is still over a month away, show a Brit a firework in a store and they will purchase and let it off, even sometimes at two in the morning, hmm thanks for that;0)

 

 

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Final thought for the mo, please can we all tell the media to stop writing/speaking so negatively about mental health issues?

Very few people are about to become a danger to their communities, hey, some of us even know that as mental illness sufferers we are more susceptible to being the victims NOT the perpetrators of crime. It would be great if the people charged with the duty of informing viewers/readers (and the powers that be) could remember that before they fall in to stigmatisation yet again. Just saying, right that’s me off my soapbox and off to the land of cute article queen.

Have fun, stay safe and smile.(But never at a crocodile.)

Joanne

 

babsIn paperback and Kindle formats.

 

Err…you can’t say that!

Hi

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It’s a bank holiday weekend here and surprise surprise it’s raining (again) so I am taking refuge on my comfy sofa later with a book about Catherine the Great so here’s hoping that as I’m editing my book about Charles II at the moment I won’t get confused and start rewriting history, you know, just for fun!

 

 

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Anyway, here’s what happened early last night, it made me smile…

OK, the British are legends on the subject of weather, we can’t go thirty seconds without discussing it and we probably dream about it too…so, I was a bit surprised when Mr. Weatherman pointed to his sexy graphics of rainfall over Blighty after the news last night and authoritatively uttered the immortal line “but don’t take too much notice of that.” 

You can’t give a Brit the weather forecast and then tell them that it might be totally rubbish and containing inaccurate pictures and warblings, the nation will go in to mass bemusement and seek therapy! There just aren’t enough therapists in the land to cope with the crisis – I know that the TV company are changing info providers soon but really, are the old lot just yanking our chains?! Heaven forbid that we actually look out of the window and decide what the weather is up to, the very thought is nonsense!!

Just to confirm that the country seems to be OK, people are going out unsuitably dressed for the weather and moaning about it being the end of summer before it’s started as usual so we’ll be fine. No, we will, if we all huddle under an umbrella in sandals and bobblehats and blame the weatherbod for the forecast being almost right.

Have a fab rest of the weekend and remember to relax and to dress weather appropriate, sixteen layers should do it!

Joanneimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laptop, words, YAY!

Hi peeps

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Hope you’re having a fab day.

I have had the most fabtasticexcellentmarvellous time writing full on – do not disturb – style the last few days. I love it when the inspiration and pinkies work in unison with my laptop and produce (fingers crossed) a fab piece of work.

I nearly always get a bit nervous when I start a new piece, will it soar or bellyflop in to nowhere plot land??? Yesterday and today, smooth flights. (Phew!) Tomorrow…more fingers crossed. But right now my writing brain cells are pooped. Officially. They refuse to work any more. They’re on strike.

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And yes, yours look like this at the end of a work day, it’s not just me! 

Good job that my reading brain cells are limbering up for a work out. I’m reading about Grace Kelly at the moment. Interesting lady. As with all people, very little is absolute, humans are a mass of contradictions. Keeps us busy working ourselves out, I suppose!

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Joanne

 

Working!

Hiya

 

smile-737278_640I have to admit that I love the feeling when you start writing and it flows as if there’s an electrical inspirational charge from brain to fingertips as you type away.

I wrote a short story out of nowhere after I finished another project, there was still an hour or so until I wanted to finish work and so I thought OK, let’s see what happens…

What happened was an 1800 word short story and it looked like a miracle when it arrived on the page! I get amazed when it happens.

It’s easy to take things for granted, the “I’m writing this today and tomorrow and the day after it’s…” but I don’t think that the magic involved in a creative piece arriving from the ether will ever diminish for me…and I don’t want it to. EVER.

I am very lucky to be able to write each day and some of it may be cringeworthy when I look back at it pre-edit but just to be able to have the freedom and the brainpower to do what I love is totally fab.

Hope you’re doing what you love to do, have a great day.

 

Joanne X

PS please keep your fingers crossed that the freelance job I bid for earlier gets a big fat YES from the client! THANKS!