Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The river of stones book

I've just realised that I neglected to tell you that the river of stones book, pay attention: a river of stones has been published (sorry, Fiona and Kaspa).

The book is available here in both paper and pdf ebook formats. I've been enjoying dipping into it and spotting the contributions of online friends, as well as my own stone. There's going to be a new river project in July, all details can be found on the blog or the Writing Our Way Home forum.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hello sunshine

I was at the doctor before Christmas asking about some symptoms which I thought might be multiple sclerosis related. In passing I happened to mention that my mood was low. I didn't feel truly depressed, didn't want or need medication, yet I still felt not quite right and mood disorders can be a hidden symptom of MS, so I thought it was worth highlighting.

The doctor asked if I ever suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I said no, because I'd never been aware of any connection between my mood and the seasons before. But now that the sun is out and the weather is becoming milder, I'm beginning to see there probably is a connection.

Like most people with MS I don't cope well in the heat, indeed both of my identified relapses have been in the summer. But almost two years on from diagnosis I can also recognise that I get far more stiffness and pain in the winter, that probably I function less well overall. This winter I've struggled to blog at all and I largely lost interest in social media, preferring just to lurk and only occasionally post because I was finding a number of people and conversational topics on Twitter upsetting. Don't worry, the problem was mine, not yours.

But with the appearance of the sun my mood has lightened. I've also started to take more vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, but that deserves a blog post all of its own one day. I'm at my best in the spring and autumn, I must make the most of it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pausing for breath

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last week. There was a reason for this, I wanted the Authors for Japan post to stay at the top of the blog until the auction finished. Not being in a position to either donate or bid, my only contribution to that very worthy cause could be to use social media to raise awareness in my own limited way. The auction finished last night, having raised an amazing total of £10962.25, so huge congratulations to Keris and her team of helpers.

I'm still doing little actual writing, as we are struggling with Son 2's lack of sleep and the knock-on effects on our own health. I'm feeling a little brain dead, to be honest, so I'm using any time I do have to do a little more background reading for novel two, some of it in German! I also hope to get novel one out to a few more agents either later this week or next. I've had some very positive feedback on my writing, but it isn't the light commercial fiction which agents and publishers seem to be looking for right now. I still have many options to try, so I'm far from giving up, but I think having a few weeks off to take stock has been healthy.

Onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Authors for Japan

I've known Keris Stainton online for several years now and have been constantly inspired by both her writing and her enthusiasm. So I shouldn't have been surprised when she felt compelled to do something to help alleviate the current suffering in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami.

But what she has achieved in just a few days is mind-blowing. Authors for Japan is an auction where readers can bid for signed books, manuscript critiques and even the chance to have a character named after them in an author's next book. Some items will appeal especially to writers, others to anyone who loves books. All the above, and many more goodies, have been donated by the huge number of authors of adult and children's/young adult books who responded to Keris' plea for help.

Authors for Japan is currently listing 150 items. Bidding starts at 8am GMT today (15th March) and will end at 8pm GMT on Sunday 20th, full details of how to bid are on the website. All proceeds are to go to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.

What are you waiting for?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feeling grateful

The last few weeks have been difficult, to say the least. On top of the ongoing financial worries, we are having to start planning for son 2's future, for a change which will be very difficult for all of us. As might be expected in these uncertain times the goalposts keep moving and we fully expect that to be the case for the next two and a half years. As part of the process we have had to open up our home and our lives to the scrutiny of social services, something which is never easy, even though we have nothing to hide and indeed got praise for what we have achieved with son 2.

But sitting here in front of the BBC News Channel, watching pictures of the tsunami sweeping in across Japan and listening to warnings for the whole Pacific area, I realise that for all the difficulties that the UK is facing at the moment, we have so much to be grateful for.

My thoughts are with everyone affected by the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami.