The magpie knocked on my door #omens

magpie2016 was a good year for me! My best for many years . I escaped from a job, or moreover an organisation, I’d come to despise and, because they made me redundant (thank you, BCS) I was able to follow my heart and my dream and WRITE for a living. I’m lucky. I know it. New babies came into our family too – always such pure joy. We also went on a wonderful holiday to New York and Canada. So, despite all the Brexit and Trump voting, neither of which really affects me on a daily basis, 2016 was a good year.

Then came 2017 and the magpie knocked on my door – quite literally!

A soft tapping on the front door, not like the knocker which reverberates through the house, and I looked out of the window and saw a magpie. It was clutching onto the brickwork around the door frame, leaning over and tapping on the door with its beak. I watched in amazement.

That afternoon my dad died.

Whether you believe in superstition or omens, or not, it was certainly very strange. One for sorrow – they say of magpies.

Yes, he was very old and he’d been sick for a few days – that’s all – but we didn’t expect him to die. We thought he was invincible. But he wasn’t.

It’s fairly common knowledge that January has the highest death rate in the UK – I even mentioned it in one of my short stories in Twelve. It’s not surprising really when you consider it’s the middle of miserable winter, but it meant that we had to wait more than three weeks for his funeral. And everything stopped in those three weeks. WH Auden’s poem Stop All The Clocks (Funeral Blues) has never felt so true.

What now?

Life is short – no matter how long we live. I’ve decided that’s it’s my duty to seek out joy and pleasure. To love life, to live it – on my terms. To try to smile more often – difficult when your mouth naturally turns down! To enjoy the small things as well as the large. Not to take life too seriously. To be kind to others and try to bring joy to them also.

To enjoy life, because life is too short to be miserable.

Fellow author’s latest book now out – enter giveaway to win Amazon gift card

•🔹✨✨🔹New Release & Giveaway – D Breeze – Just Listen!🔹✨✨🔹•
Get your copy now for the special release day price of 99p/$1.29 before it goes back to full price tomorrow.
Synopsis
Depression is just a word. It means less to me than it does to you and I’m the one who’s living it.
I live. I love. I laugh.
And you’ll believe all my lies.
Because she does too.
The world is a stranger.
But everyone thinks they know me.
My body has all the answers.
But my mind can’t understand them.
I’m drowning everyday.
But I never go near water.
The air in my lungs is toxic.
But I’m breathing all the time.
You’ll think you understand.
But how can you?
Even with her, I’m alone.
Giveaway
Head on over to D’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDBreeze/ to be in with a chance of winning a $10 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook of Just Listen. All you have to do is like her page and comment on the pinned post. Good luck!

Cover reveal for fellow author Anna Bloom

Ԭ) COVER REVEAL РAnna BloomʥԬ)

anna-blom-kindle-coverCheck out this gorgeous cover for Anna Bloom’s new contemporary romance, The Truth About Love, releasing 8th Feb.  I can’t wait to get my greedy hands on this one!

Synopsis

Eve Harris has always had a point to prove: where you come from doesn’t matter, it’s what you aim for that counts. She’s got it all planned; find the perfect teaching job and live with her best friend, Cherry, and never ever get dragged back into the destructive world of her youth.

The last thing she expects is to bump into billionaire heir Cameron Wallis on her last day on campus. Nor is she expecting to find that when she gives him a chance to win her over he’s nothing at all the playboy the newspapers paint him to be.

Will Eve be able to let go of her judgements and embrace a spontaneous affair with Cam that isn’t part of her plan? Or will the constraints of both their families prevent Cam and Eve from finding The Truth About Love?

The Truth About Love Vol.I is the first instalment in a serial About finding love even when you’re least expecting it (but can be read as a standalone).

Mark it to read on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33983628-the-truth-about-love

Connect with Anna 

Website – https://annabloomwrites.com/

Just Listen – cover reveal for fellow author

.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)COVER REVEAL¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)

jlcoverCheck out D Breeze’s awesome new cover for Just Listen, a contemporary erotic romance that follows the struggles of depression within a relationship.  I can’t wait to read this one! Released 31 January.

This cover and title look quite creepy to me. #Intrigued.

Christmas, dark days and bright lights

xmas-tree

It’s that time of year again – the dark, dull days of December. Still dark at 8am and twilight fast approaching by 4pm. After the long, warm summer we’ve had the darkness seems to have crept up suddenly.

Thank goodness for Christmas! We so need the bright lights and jollity now. Not to mention the day itself to look forward to. Whether it’s Christmas carols or boozy parties, there’s usually something to uplift everyone.

December, for me, is always a time of introspection. Maybe it is for most people, maybe that’s why New Year resolutions are so popular, though I gave them up years ago.

2016 has certainly been a momentous one for me. The biggest and best change has been the arrival of two new babies in our family – six months apart, they’re simple adorable.

The strangest, and I’m very happy about it, has been my move from day job to full time writing. It was something I’d wanted for a long time. I published my first book, The Finder, in 2013 followed by The Illusionist in 2014, but it was my third book, Blame it on the Onesie that became a runaway hit, spending two glorious months in Amazon UK’s top 100.  By December last year I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I could give this writing lark a chance and go full time. Then fate lent a hand and my crappy employer (sorry, I know it’s Christmas, goodwill and all that, but they are a crappy employer), made me redundant. Perfect timing and I haven’t looked back.

So where am I now? The Sister, a novella in the Stonehaven series is due out in January and then I’ll be starting work on my next full length novel – something completely different!

I’m lucky, I know that, especially with all the horrible things going on in the world – let’s pray for the poor souls in Aleppo, men, women and children trapped in a warzone. In the words of John Lennon: Happy Christmas – War is Over

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

It’s the tea sets I find so sad

teasetWith so many charity shops on our high streets it’s hard to walk past them without peering in the windows, and, in my case, without being lured inside. I ignore the clothing and shoes; it’s the furniture and bric-a-brac that attracts me.

It’s apparent that a lot of the content comes from house clearances; relatives are disposing of someone’s life, probably after their death and what hits the charity shops is what family and friends don’t want.

In among the three piece suites and chipboard furniture are some gems: solid oak tables, walnut dressing tables, his and hers wardrobe sets. So much of it dates from the 1950s and 60s and some of this furniture has been in the same family for all this time. You can bag a bargain, upcycle it and enjoy furniture from a bygone era – with a twist.

But it’s the tea sets that really make me sad. Fine, white bone china, delicate flower patterns, sometimes roses, autumn leaves, occasionally lily of the valley, these tea sets are immaculate because they’ve been cherished. Brought out only on special occasions (usually Sundays), their gilded edges have never seen the inside of a dishwasher – the gold would not survive the temperature or the detergent.

Whenever I see a complete set: six cups, six saucers, six tea plates, one large plate (for the salmon sandwiches with their crusts cut off) a sugar bowl and a milk jug, I swallow a lump in my throat. I imagine the 1950s bride who received this set as a wedding present and spent decades ensuring it survived intact, immaculate. It was probably kept in a glass cabinet, on show but safe from dust and inquisitive little fingers.

What was she saving it for?

And now it sits in a charity shop waiting for someone else to love it. If you buy one, treat it nicely; remember the hopes and aspirations invested in it, and the care.

But use it, because after you’ve gone, if it survives intact it will be back in that charity shop – making me sad.

 

Life is stranger than fiction…synchronicity

Truth is stranger MTIt’s said that life is often stranger than fiction, I think this is certainly true of synchronicity: the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. It was first described by Carl Jung in the 1920s.

We’ve all experienced it; you think of someone and within minutes they ring or message you. It doesn’t happen very often but often enough that it makes you think, makes you comment, sometimes makes you smile.

Recently I’ve experienced two weird incidents of synchronicity.

I was leafing through old photograph albums looking for a specific photo I needed. The albums live in a drawer under the bed in a spare room, so it’s not something I do very often; in fact it’s probably two years since I last even opened that drawer – we keep photos digitally now. Inevitably the photo I was seeking wasn’t in the album I thought it was and I soon found myself sidetracked and reminiscing, especially when I came across pictures of old work colleagues who I haven’t seen for over twenty years. There were four of us, all pregnant and we gave birth to our babies within a few weeks of each other. Those pictures made me smile, bringing back happy memories, then I put that album away and got on with my original task. Finally locating the photo I wanted, I closed the drawer and thought no more about it.

Until an hour later when this happened.

My daughter rang me: Did I know an Ellen Cole*?

Me: Yes. Funnily enough I’ve just seen her in an old photo album. Haven’t seen her in person for years. Why do you ask?

My daughter: I know her daughter through a friend of a friend. We’ve just discovered we were in hospital together as newborns.

Me: That’s right.

My daughter: Ellen wants your phone number – she wants to ring you.

Ellen and I spoke on the phone and I told her how I’d spotted her in my old photo album and she said she’d been thinking about me a lot lately – she wasn’t sure why. We plan to meet up in September, once we’ve tracked down the other two in those photos. We both laughed about synchronicity. So now I’m putting out a message to the universe to bring the two other people in the photo back into my life too.

The second incident happened about a week later.

A passport application for a child in the family was causing a few problems mainly because, due to divorces, surnames had been changed over the years and proof had to be supplied.

It made me remember an old friend who, after her divorce, had chosen a new surname entirely, something different and unusual, instead of going back to her original (maiden) name. It set me off reminiscing again – this was also a person I hadn’t seen for years. Then I forgot about it.

Until the next day.

The weather forecast came on our local TV channel and they display a photograph taken by a viewer as a backdrop. They also show the name of the photographer. You’ve guessed it – it was the person I had been talking about the previous day. What are the chances?

Ironically if these situations appeared in a book some readers would say they were farfetched and not true to life – but, as I said at the beginning: Life is stranger than fiction.

Life is infinitely ACD

When googling the above phrase it appears that many great writers agree with me, including Mark Twain, Lord Byron and Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

*name changed