Welcome to my author's passions

This blog, is what I am passionate about, where I can share with you. Reviews, tips, hints, real help if I can, where you can share what you are passionate about!

Monday, 11 July 2011

My top seven passionate relationships!!

When I revamped this blog a few weeks ago, little did I know where it was going to take me!

Yes one of my passions is the relationships each and everyone one of us hold but it does not just need to be with people but objects, cars, each other, our online relationships. In our technological world, we are tweeting, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, blogs, forums, I could go on, many people that I came across everyday, yet I have never met personally. Do you need to meet to have a relationship? Well I gave the topic some thought and this is what I came up with:

1/ Very obvious, my personal relationships, my husband gives me strength everyday, no matter what I am attempting to do, he has that faith in me that I can do whatever I want. He encourages me to write, to blog and recently have been drafting blogs for his website and new business First with Iain. We try to support each other. Do you have someone who gives you that faith and support to you on a daily basis?

2/ My children and my extended family support my writing and always want me to be happy and not in pain, not always easy since Fibromyalgia came into my life. It is something we work on together. Slowly my extended family are realising the impact of Fibro can have on my daily life.

3/ My dogs, Boris and Flora always there following me from room to room, sitting at my feet as I write. Always there giving affection as they receive it, never turning away. I never thought I would develop such strong bonds and relationships with our dogs but now as I am housebound most days they are the company to keep me sane.

4/ My writer mentors and friends, people I have never met but who give their advice and support freely. I always thank Nick Daws at this point as without him as his courses, guidance and support I would never have started writing in the first place. Who inspires you to write? What started you on the path of writing? Finally what sustains you to continue to write? If ever I am stuck for words or inspiration, I load one of his courses and soon the inspiration is flowing.

5/ In Jan 2009 I joined Rosemary Conley's online group to try to lose weight whilst my husband was away for six months on foreign soil. Here on the forum I met some lovely ladies, who although we no longer use the forum, we support each other on Facebook. I have never met these wonderful ladies and one in particular always reads my blogs, will comment and support. If I am down she never fails to make me laugh or smile and when she reads this will know who I am referring to.

6/ Fellow writers who blog, whether they are editors, publishers or simply writers sharing their knowledge. Joanna at The Creative Penn, Joe Konrath at A Newbie's guide to Publishing. Lately I have been wanting to write short stories as a break from the non fiction or my novel staring at me unfinished and crying for attention. Rebecca Emin is fabulous at Flash fiction and has many stories published by Ether books for Ipad or Itouch family. It even inspired me to purchase my own Itouch, which I am still learning but found I can carry many books in my handbag with very little weight and my diary all rolled into one. I am becoming quite passionate about this useful little tool in my handbag.

7/ my relationship with my author's platform and the tools I use to build it. My Twitter account, My Facebook followers, You my blog readers and the tools I use to achieve this. The love hate relationship we have with our PC, the frustrations we can have when your Internet is down, so you cannot blog or a virus holding you up whilst you clean your PC

This last week I was a little pleased with myself as managed to blog 3 times a week for past few weeks. They say pride comes before a fall, well mine did. PC did not want to work, a huge virus scan later discovered nothing but some adware cookies but enough for PC to go on strike. Then when I gently encouraged it to work, the Internet was done, with all the stormy weather we had and lastly to top the the lot, we had numerous power cuts. So a word of warning as we develop new relationships daily, sometimes the simplest things will trip you up!

Monday, 4 July 2011

10 things you may not know about Lesley's Passions updated.

1/  I love the outdoors, the Countryside and the sea. Whether it is walking along a beach with our dogs Boris and Flora or scrambling through the wild heather of  Scotland and the wild scenery of Dartmoor but my dream location is a beach, walk far enough and you are generally alone.

2/ We have a Caravan we named Ernie, a Caravelle for me to be comfortable at the beach when husband is off surfing in his Kayak and we call her Carrie.

3/ I had the confidence to get into a wetsuit, may not seem much to some but I had the fear being branded a beached whale so would not do it. It felt great and I was told no whales in sight!

4/ I love being creative, whether it is outlining my next article, my book, a story, baking or sewing.

5/ Sometimes I can write with noise and distractions and other times I feel I have to be as Stephen Fry admitted to on his blog, completely cutoff, no distractions such as the freshly baked bread just alarming for my attention right now!

6/ I love taking recipes and seeing how I can make it healthier or my version of it to suit our tastes. I even wrote an article on this and may even do a book if there is any interest.

7/ Fallen in love with Scotland not to live but to visit, and my husband encourage me to walk up my first mountain 2 years ago up, Glenmore, opposite Aviemore. Although it was not a Munro but a Graham it was still a mountain to me.

8/ Love the thrill of learning something new and how I can make a success out of it, obviously currently that is writing.

9/ I used to imagine as a child that I was floating, often in the playground, until the school bell rang when of course I would float back down again often with a bump!!

10/  Note to self check and check before publishing. So here is number 10: I simply love healthy debate not arguments but debating a subject with friends and if it can be washed down with a glass of red I am in heaven.

What 10 things do I not know about you, are you willing to share or even blog about it, if so leave me your link would love to read them.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Our shared passion of reading and writing.

As Writers we all started out as readers. When that change happen to us, when we decided to write as well as read is different in us all.

When at school we learnt how to read and write but most of time our writing consisted of writing what we were told, or to answer the question. Now as writers and Authors as many of hope to be, we have free reign to create and write a good story. I ask myself this question frequently, how it is then we are so disappointed with the books that have actually been published.

I am aware we all have different tastes but as a writer and reader you will have come across many I am sure of stories that lost the plot in the middle or seemed rushed at the end. Sometimes it even happens in films, you get to the end and it feels as someone has really lost the plot!

Whether you are an established author, or a struggling newbie, trying to put together and polish your first works, we all want to strive to write our best or is it just me? You want to create a page turner, something your readers do not want to put down, you hold that suspense, drama to the end where if you have been successful, you have your readers begging for more.

So how come in a world where traditional publishing houses are apparently struggling, has so many badly written books end up on our shelves leaving us with a bad taste in our mouths. I recently read a book where it was split into four sections but each sectioned to be linked to each other, the first three had me there turning page after page and then the final section was as if either the editor had told them to shorten it, or the author ran out of steam. I felt it was rushed, you had this big build up only for the ending to be rushed and incomplete and yet it was published by one of the big houses.

I ask myself, is it me? Have my standards of writing and reading risen so high I can no longer find satisfaction in published works by the traditional houses. For all the critics of JK Rowling and Dan Brown (and I am not one of them). Many of jealous of their success.All I know is that they created page turners. Stories you wanted to stay up all night to finish. The likes of Barbra Taylor Bradford and Nora Roberts I enjoy their works, but not all. I would not say I am so avid a fan I would buy all their books as I have not enjoyed all but that is down to taste not because of poor writing. Another bestseller I used to enjoy, now just seems to churn out the same, almost predictable scenes for his character. Has he gone stale or just trying to rely on his fans to buy his new repeats.

Whatever my future skills may fall, I hope no one has to write such a blog over me, publishing poor works with the big houses depending the fan base.

I wish you all a happy weekend and hope whatever your reading delivers your expectations.
What books have you read that have not come up to the mark ?
Did you feel it was down to your taste or had the author somehow let you down?
Let me know would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Cooking, pacing, networking with a passion for more energy!

Recently I have been learning a new skill, well new to me anyhow. Pacing! With any chronic illness will come the inevitable fatigue. That exhaustion that is so past tiredness, if feels like you have nothing left. The advice to reduce and hopefully avoid it is to pace yourself.

Like any new skill this has taken time to improve, no I will not say I have mastered it yet, however I feel I am improving all the time. So small positive steps! So what is Pacing and why should you care? Well if not a sufferer yourself, you will probably know someone who needs to pace. In the first instance I thought it meant do a job, tick it off the to do list, sit down, do some writing and answer those emails (I thought I was resting, well I was sat on rear!) then go back to the list and tackle another job. In the evening if I was very lucky I would have enough energy to cook the evening meal and eat it but then I was totally wasted, could not lift a finger. Whole body felt it was on strike and I had no control.

You got it! I was doing it wrong, what I thought was pacing was just another way of trying to cram in as much as possible into my day (well I wasn't working i.e. getting paid so it didn't count did it?).

I needed to have it explained further and this is what I learnt. Pacing is about breaking down the task, into smaller ones and completely resting in between! What? You mean no emails, surfing the web, writing my novel in-between, nothing at all? Exactly in actual fact, try to relax, meditate. Huh? Lesley totally relax, meditate, I thought I would never get anything done.

However, now that I have grasped the idea, broken down tasks, I actually achieve much more. How is that possible when doing less and resting more?

Well I have more energy now. I have found my trigger to relaxation which was one of my passions all along. The beach, now a few deep breaths and I am there, walking on the sandy beach, light sea breeze blowing my hair, smelling the salty air and I feel revitalized. So I break down the task of making a meal.

I have always been a planner, so now I play to my strengths and plan more. I plan my meals ahead, see what I can double up, freeze half or have a quick alternative if energy is starting to flag and no its not picking up the phone for the takeaway.

What is the benefit to you and to me? Well by pacing, eating better, cooking smarter, I have more time, more energy, so much so I was able to attend my first Fibromyalgia support groups today. My husband drove me there as not mastered enough energy saving to safely drive again yet but I feel I will try that one soon.

It was lovely spending a couple of hours with other people who are constantly learning just like me and we were able to share our ideas. Information to share in the group. So now I am networking face to face, not just through this blog.

Our main topic of conversation today was how do we describe how we are to others in order than they will understand. Well I would like to share just this one thing and if you have only picked this one thing out of this blog, then I am very happy and have succeeded.

Anyone who has a chronic condition even if it is not visible to you; they are not going to get better. The name kind of give it away, it is chronic, meaning long term in some cases no cure. So please do not wish someone a speedy recovery or get well soon, as that cannot happen. You can however wish them better days, if they are smiling, it is either to hide the pain or they are happy but they are not well.

To more good days for all of us.

Please share your thoughts, if you have someone you care for in pain, a chronic condition, if you have an idea that I have not mentioned or something that worked for you, please share, this blog is your opportunity to do just that, I will reply to all.

Monday, 27 June 2011

My passion for Good health for everyone!

From an early age, health and caring came natural to me and to follow a career into the health profession was a natural step.
Back in the late 70's everyone it seemed wanted to be a nurse and waiting lists were very long. I even tried for military service as a nurse but was told I would qualify quicker in civvy street. That's how I ended up in West Yorkshire which is also the setting for my novel I am currently writing.

All my life it seems I have had the passion to help, to ease suffering and most of all to ease pain. Hence why I chose my first book to be on the subject of pain control. I wanted to empower people with chronic pain to Take charge and control their pain.

 Pain as it is something most of us deal with every day in our day to day lives. It is not something we welcome with open arms but it is something that is very individual.

Nobody experiences pain just as you do! It is yours and your alone, hence health professionals do not always get it right in helping you manage your pain.

I first experienced acute pain that did not go away with some magic cream from my Mum and hug over 30 years ago. We have all been there as kids ourselves or as parents, where the child falls over and it is the shock more than the pain for the child to cry. A hug, some magic cream from Mum or Dad if it was really bad a magic plaster. I had endured the occasional tummy pain, growing pains, toothache as we all have.

Some say that birthing pain is the worst and you never forget it, well from personal experience, I found it pretty painful and I have not forgotten about it but apart from the joy my children give me there are no lasting pain that I need to learn to live with each day.

No that first injury to my back was a searing, ripping pain as I tried to save someone from falling to the floor (I was very young and naive). I learnt later I should gently lowered the person to the floor but the damage was done. This was treated as Acute pain, 2 weeks off work,  rest was the prescribed treatment then.

I will post from time to time  hints and tips I have learnt as a Nurse treating patients in acute, chronic, and emotional pain for over 20 years as well as my own personal journey.  Hopefully you will join me in discussions, follow on a feeder and please if you have any useful hints and tips and want to share, please feel free to use this blog to do so.

For those of you who can't wait I have my 1st edition ebook you can download but also have an expanded 2nd edition on its way. This will  include recent developments and my own personal journey dealing with the chronic pain of Fibromyalgia.
If you take one thing from this post, remember this, pain no mater its source can be controlled.

I look forward to discussions on this blog and future editions very soon. Thanks for reading.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Our shared passion of Wine!

If you read the blog of last week titled my top seven passions, among them in no particular order was wine!!

It is a passion shared with my husband. We love to relax over dinner with a glass or two and we like the glass to be crystal for no other reason other than we can.

We do try to be disciplined and a bottle will last two consecutive evenings, but occasionally we will push the boat out as they say and indulge in a whole bottle between us in a evening.

We often feel we need to justify to ourselves that red wine is good for you. It has been shown by numerous studies that wine is good for heart in moderate amounts. I have worked out that we probably have 175 mls each and not every night. Your probably thinking why do we feel we need to justify our consumption, we are adults! However in a world where we are strongly advised as to what is good and what is not so for us. You can almost feel a self-regulating pressure from all the health information out there.

So why would this interest you?

Well we decided if we were only going to have moderate amounts of wine then we would have good quality wine. We are not, nor would we ever profess to be wine connoisseurs but we know what we like. I did pick up a tip years ago which may or not be true. Good wines tend to have a deep divot in the bottom of the glass bottle. I was told the deeper the divot the better the wine.

I must admit in the essence of research of course, we did test this theory and on the whole it has proven to be right! Not very scientific testing mind you, just tasting as you would.

We are not strong believers in you can only drink white wine with fish and white meat and red wine with red meats. Although I probably would not drink a heavy Burgundy or Rioja with a light dish but we do tend to drink what we like not what is dictated to.

So instead of confusing ourselves week in week out at the supermarket as to what wine we enjoyed last week but can't remember its name or they no longer stock it or the classic or just sticking to a few favorites. These were the likes of Turning leaf, Wolf Blass or Penguin, we decided to take the plunge and join a wine club.

What I can hear you now, is that like the book clubs and toy clubs, sign here your with us and our mailing list forever! No it isn't thankfully. We joined one who dispatches a box of wine to us delivered to our door (no more lugging clanking bottles home anymore) about every 12 weeks. Well you might say that is not a lot of vino well sometimes, husband is away with work or courses and I do not like to drink alone and sometimes I might indulge in a perry cider to wash down a spicy curry. So the wine stocks seem to last just long enough.

Of course if we wanted to, they will always deliver more, but we don't want to be greedy now do we!!
It has in its terms and conditions, should any wine fail to please, call us up and return for a full refund but somehow that has never happened. Sure when we were experimenting in the supermarket or wine store, we bought some not to our taste, we have discovered we prefer Spanish to French but we will try most reds we come across. So my point is if you have thought of joining a wine club, our advice, make sure it is a reputable one who will give you refunds and have good customer service but when found take the plunge, dive right in.

We did and it is one decision we have not regretted! Love to hear about your passions and your thoughts on wine or my new blog. Love you to join me, see you again on Monday! Have a great weekend and enjoy a glass or two, its good for you!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

My passionate escape!

I was very fortunate to grow up in South west England, never too far the countryside or the beach. Now whilst I love to walk along a country lane, field or meadow or when fitter try to climb mountains with my husband.

I actually crave the sea, I did not realise how much, until for work and career purposes I moved away to Northern England to where my first novel is based. Often on my days off from training to be a nurse, I would miss the smell of the sea air, the sound of the ocean. It was pretty land locked where I trained. There was beautiful and very famous countryside as I was not far from Howarth and Bronte land. Many a time I would sit in a cafe, people watching, storing facts for my future stories.

If I had sufficient time off I could explore the wilds of Yorkshire and it too has spurned many a story. Barbara Taylor Bradford set her Harte series in Yorkshire and although through the books you moved to London, Australia and America her roots were from Yorkshire.

No although the Yorkshire wilds were truly lovely, they were not the sea. I later returned to the South West to raise a family and share my passions with them. My son loved the sea so much, he joined the Royal Navy.

Recently you would have read that I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and part of my treatment was relaxation therapy. Me relax Huh!! That had always been a problem, soothing whale song would drive me nuts, mediation was an art I could not master. How this lady was going to get me to relax I did not know.

Well we all learn something new everyday, we started with deep breathing which to be honest I do find relaxing but can't always switch off, the Occupational therapist summed up my problem, I needed to find my inner calm or my passion. There it was the beach, slowly she taught me how to deep breathe and within a few moments I was there at my beach. She told me to feel the sand between my toes, the warmth of the sun on my face that I was safe and calm. Really her work was done when she mentioned the beach, that is where my inner calm, my passionate soul craves for. Where we live now is a few hours away from the nearest beach but I can now be there in my mind's eye in an instant.

I can walk along the beach, feel the sand, see the seaweed, smell the ocean, hear the water lapping around my feet, the waves crashing on the shore. I feel at home, at peace. We are planning to move back close to the beach in approximately 18 months from now but I no longer need to pine for the sea because I carry it with me all the time.

The moment I start to feel stressed, in pain, unhappy; I can sit back, take some deep breathes and I am there, can you imagine where your passionate place is? We all have a place where our souls feel at home. Mine is not my literal home but in my minds eye that beach probably in North Devon with miles of golden sand and very little else around. You walk far enough and you leave the families, surfers and sunbathers behind to peace and quiet, just the ocean and you.

If you take one thing from this post today, think where is your passionate place? Where does your soul feel at home at peace?

If your happy to share your happy place, I would love to hear from you. Until Friday take care and come back soon :-)