100 days to be Happy…

I thought I’d have a go at this one. I’ve seen other people do it, but I’ve never really considered doing it myself… until the other day when I had a sudden Pit of Despair open up under me like a sink-hole in mining country.

Anyway, I decided that I needed to remind myself of all the good things I have in my life, so doing the 100 day Happiness Challenge would be a good idea.

So my very first thing to be happy about is… MY CHILDREN

The Kids

The Kids

This is the latest (and best picture) I have of my three.

Number One Son is 13 and has an odd knack of hiding when the camera is around; it’s very difficult to get him to stay still for a picture, let alone look happy and natural at the same time!

Princess Talkative by contrast, is too easy to photograph – there’s a girl who knows how to get into the limelight! She’s 9 and currently trying to persuade me to pay for Stage School lessons.

Princess Wriggles is the youngest. She’s six months old and is one of the smiliest babies I’ve ever come across… she’s also the screechiest and wriggliest.

Between them, they’ve given me some heart stopping scares – NOS walked out of school because he didn’t like the teacher and came home… when he was 8!
They’ve given me loads of flushed cheeks – most notably when PT told me she’d bruised her bottom and pulled her skirt up on the playground to show me.
They’ve made me angry for various reasons, too numerous to count and they’ve made me sad when I’ve realised how fast they’ve grown up and how little time I have left with them as children.

Most of all, they have made me happy. They’ve made me laugh and wonder and enjoy life anew almost every day. So today I’m celebrating them and the happiness and magic they give me.

Greetings from the Dry World of The Teigr Princess…

All writers go through dry patches where the words just won’t form. For one reason or another, nothing comes out right and  you begin to feel as if you will never write again. You stare at the screen willing the words to come and take you away from the agony you are in; the characters in your head are screaming, begging to allowed out into the world and giving you headaches that just don’t go away.

This is Writer’s Block. 

It’s not an absence of ideas, just a frustration that you can’t get them out of your head in the right way to form sentences that actually make sense.

There are many ways to beat it – here are my personal favourites:

1) Change your routine. 

You write best first thing in the morning normally? Well then forget about writing in the morning and write in the afternoon, or the evening or  at midnight. You have to sit and watch the news before you get down to writing? Watch a soap instead… or watch nothing. Change how you would normally work and sometimes the block gets confused by your actions and lets you through.

2) Do something else, equally creative.

Do you know how many writers are also artists? Or knitters, or embroiderers, or photographers? Hundreds. I know so many writers who have an alternative creative side, something physical and immediate that allows them to think about what they are doing with their hands and makes the subconscious work on whatever writing problems they may have.

Personally, I knit, embroider, paint, sculpt, design and make jewellery and accessories. I pick up new creative hobbies whenever the older ones have lost their savour and return to the older ones when I get bored with the new ones.  They  are usually, incredibly helpful when I’m stuck…

3) Do something else that isn’t creative. 

Mow the Lawn. Do the Laundry or the dishes. Take the dog for a walk, go for a bike ride. Bake a cake or two.  Get away from the pen/keyboard completely and often when you finally return with the house spotless and the dog exhausted, the words will flow again.

4) Write Anyway.

You might think that this isn’t helpful. How can forcing something that doesn’t want to be, work to breaking the block? But it does work. Funnily enough, a lot of the time, that is why I write a blog post. I pick a random subject from the news or something I saw or heard while I was outside the house, and I ramble on about it. That’s why one of my categories is Random Thoughts and Ramblings – sometimes, just writing about something unrelated to what I am working on is enough to jump the block and make things work again.

5) Change Method.

We writers often get stuck in a rut. We rumble along in our own little worlds and when a blockage shows up in our rut we haven’t the foggiest of an idea of how to eject it again.

So step out of the rut.

If you write Romance, then try writing Horror. Write Fantasy? Have a go at Crime Thrillers. Are you a Contemporary Literary writer? In that case, head for Fantasy. Never written any poetry at all? Have a go! Do you always use a keyboard? Pick up a pencil and some paper and relearn the joy of scribbling words onto the page until it’s covered.

6) Forget Punctuation.

No, I haven’t gone mad. It’s an exercise for your mind. Some people call it Stream of Consciousness writing. For this you need a pen and paper. Not a keyboard or tablet computer; not even a pencil and rubber. This is a messy thing to do and can make the inner editor scream in anguish, but you have to follow the rules:

Forget Punctuation.

Do Not cross anything out.

Do Not go back over what you have done until afterwards.

Always set yourself a time limit (or you’ll end up writing like James Joyce) to stick to.

Ignore the rest of the world around you. 

Set your timer going and start with the words “This happened a long time ago, in a land far away…”. From there you write whatever comes into your head, even if it’s full of swearwords and anguish. Write as if your life depends on it. Let the thoughts flow through your fingers into the pen. Doodle a little or add illustrations if you can’t think of the words you want.
Keep going until the timer sounds, then stop.  Put the paper on the table and walk away from it as if you’d just had your last exam and you want to get to the nearest pub to get sloshed. Go back later and read through. Sometimes it’s gobbledeegook and sometimes it’s wonderful. Either way it will clear your mind and you can always burn it if you want to!

7) Read.
Pick a book at random from your collection and don’t stop reading until you have to. Read bad books (they help you see what you’ve done wrong); Read good books; they’ll inspire your mind and help you with your own work, especially if you can work out why they are good.

You might be wondering why on earth I’m wittering on like this…

Well, I’ve lost my focus.

Stop searching the house please, I know exactly why and where it’s gone, and there’s nothing anyone can do to help me find it again.

I have a number of books that need finishing the first drafts on, a novella poised to be published and a couple of new ideas jotted down in my current notebook that are begging to be worked on. I haven’t got Writers Block – this post tells me that; it’s far too coherent and sensible for me to be blocked.

I just don’t seem to have the energy to even think at the moment. I fall asleep at odd moments (yesterday was a good one – we had AC/DC blasting out of the stereo and the children attempting to sort their toys and bedrooms out, but I still fell asleep!) and I am constantly feeling queasy; often I find myself eating the oddest things in order to stop myself feeling sick.
So I’m re-reading “The Wheel of Time” Series by Robert Jordan; I’m on book four at the moment, and I’m just generally trying to get through the day without blowing up at the kids for no reason at all.

I’m sure if you think about it, you’ll be able to come up with a reason as to why I’m feeling like this. You’ll probably also be able to give me tips and suggestions on ways to cure the problem.  Feel free to post them in the comments if you like; doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

All I know is that I don’t feel like writing at the moment and I’m not going to fool around with what my body is telling me… no matter how much my characters scream at me!

Grey and Grumpy day today – Help!

It’s Wednesday. Normally I’d be introducing you to a new writer or one that I really enjoy reading and there are several books that I’ve read recently that are worthy of the attention.

“Enchanted Glass” by Diane Wynn Jones for example. Her last published book , it is everything you expect from her and more. Or maybe Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” or “Fire”; beautifully written and superbly built fantasy worlds that draw you away from the hum drum of this reality.

There are so many books on my “To Be Read” list. I’m in the middle of M Cid d’Angelo’s “Dark Running” and enjoying it immensely. I’m eagerly anticipating Terry Pratchett’s “Dodger”…

…but to be honest, today I can’t be bothered.

It’s halfway through the second week of September. The kids are back at school and the autumn weather is starting to appear. I’ve been writing and enjoying it, even though I’ve had a few bouts of vertigo and headaches.

Maybe it’s the rain? We’ve had some lovely weather over the last few weeks and now we’re starting to get the chilly winds and wet weather of a welsh autumn. The colours don’t seem as bright under the grey cloudy skies and I can feel myself drifting on that downward spiral.

I’m tired from having to get up earlier than I’m used to, now that NOS is going to high school and needs to be checked before he heads out to the bus. Maybe this is the beginning of the SAD season? It’s possible; I do have more problems with my depression in the winter than I do in the spring and summer. It’s the whole reason my desk is next to a window, so I can get natural light.

It could be my finances. I’m juggling the family’s needs against the little that we get coming in at the moment and finding that there is very little leeway. That’s enough to depress anyone, I suppose…

I want to write and help to support the family, but I’m so scared of mucking it up that I can’t concentrate on the writing enough to make it good!


It feels very much like I’m on a treadmill, running to try and stay in one place instead of dropping backward or moving forward. I know I should be pushing myself to go forward, but it feels like I am on a bungee cord, pulling against me.

So there is only one thing for me to do. Start pushing myself and pull hard enough on the bungee cord to make it snap and free me.
How am I going to do that? Well for a start, I am going to publish a few more things:

“The Heir of The Dragon” is currently in Beta Reading Stage. I’ve drafted and redrafted it enough to be happy with it, but I need to make sure it’s perfect before I put it out there. So hopefully that will be out in the next three months.

I have a collection of Horror Stories that I hope to get out by Hallowe’en, I just need to format and get a cover done for them. That will be under A.E. Churchyard. Watch this Space

I have moved into the last stages of editing for “The Angel’s Crown”, so that should be available in the New Year.

I’ve started writing the next story in the “Tales of Cassius” series. I’ve got my characters all built up, so that will be out there in January as well, or sooner if I can manage it.

I would like some help please though…

I currently have two books out on the kindle shelves:

The Necklace of Harmony

My first story collection… a gentle introduction to my mind.

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes.

Do you remember this? Well it is currently languishing at #393,998 on the bestsellers listing. I’d like to get it up the ranks a little and for that I will need help. How? Well here’s how:

  •  Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so! I shall be doing a promotion to aid sales soon, but until then, please buy and read!!!


  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.


  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.


The other book I published was this:

Tales of Cassius: Statues of Justice

Cassius Longinus has a long memory. He can remember over three thousand years and in all those memories, he cannot recall an atrocity like this.

New Texas was supposed to be a peaceful place where Reiskinn and Human could live side by side. That peace is shattered by the greed of a few and Cassius must put things right.

Brought back to society by a slave raid on a nearby village, Cassius is sent on a quest to retrieve the tribe’s women and children by the Tribal Shaman.

What he discovers when he finds them is beyond anything he has yet encountered…

Poor Cassius hasn’t even made it onto the seller list… he has however garnered a 4 star review:

“Justice must be served even if you’re three-thousand years old. Having witnessed humanity’s atrocities for that long time the hero, Cassius, puts an end to horrible wrongs inflicted by Earth colonists on the new planet’s natives. Can he bring overcome his thirst for vengeance and build a lasting peace? Can he validate the faith of the one who so touched his heart three-thousand years ago? Be prepared to want to read more.”
– Paul De Lancey, Amazon.com


What can you do to help Cassius gain a foot hold? Exactly the same as the list for Necklace of Harmony:

  • Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so!
  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.
  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.

I shall be sorting things out from my end, but please, if you enjoy my work or even if you only like my blog, then can you please go to the Amazon pages for both books and like them? Like the helpful reviews as well, and agree with the tags… It’s only a small thing, but if enough people do it, then I might actually be able to start pulling on the bungee cord, instead of fighting against the pull back.

The thing about the reviews is that we authors like getting them. I suppose that for us small independent authors, it’s a way of keeping score, of knowing how well you are doing and if it’s worth going to the trouble of publishing a new book. We write all the time – we can’t stop, but publishing, now that’s a different matter. As I said in my last post, there are hundred of words on my PC that will never see the light of day as a published book; I don’t feel they’re good enough, so they don’t make it out into the world.

Publishing something yourself, if you’re determined to make a good job of it, requires about ten times the effort of writing the story in the first place… so we keep score. We check our ratings and reviews and make daily decisions about our future as writers on them. It can get very depressing if you don’t have many readers…


The sun has come back out and I’m feeling slightly better than I did when I started this post. I’m going to go getAngel’s Crown” finished and ready for formatting…