Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Happy Christmas to all my followers!

Happy Christmas to all my followers. It's only 12 December today as I write this blog but it is just 13 days until Christmas day and we already have the weather. Not that our Zak is enjoying it that much at his age!

This scene seems a million miles away from our first cruise to the Caribbean islands and down the Amazon river in Brazil. Here people were fainting from the heat!

We also saw an amazing selection of strange creatures on the Amazon including the little biter below!

But the heat reminded me of New Zealand temperatures where it is summer at Christmas time. Going on my first cruise also made me think of the heroine of my book, Elizabeth and how strange it must have seemed to her to set sail for the first time. I'm sure she wouldn't have had the comforts we experienced on our cruise. She certainly wouldn't go as fast as we did powered by diesel rather than sails like her. 

Plus, I expect, no swimming pool! But we did experience our sea legs and that made me identify with Elizabeth somewhat. TARUREKA -to be published March 2018. Until then, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and I'll see you in 2018. God bless you all. Thanks for following!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Women's issues

No woman can be unaware of sexual predators - Harvey Weinstein, currently in the news, or Jimmy Saville in the past. Times change and we are told we are becoming more advanced in so many ways but in this particular way, nothing has changed since Roman times! Women still remain vulnerable, the only difference being that we are now more aware of it.

Our church, St Andrew's had a women's day last Saturday (14/10) when the charity, Restored was invited. Their purpose is to help end violence against women in the form of domestic abuse, be it physical or emotional. They can be found at www.restoredrelationships.org

My book, Tarureka, in its final editing stage at present, deals with the issue of rape in the church but rather than ending there and showing just the negative side of the church, which so often happens in the press, it also deals with hope and acceptance in the church too. The issue is, I hope, dealt with sensitively but always with God and restoration at the centre.

I hope my blog followers will want to buy a copy when it is out in the next few months and also enjoy a story of romance set against nineteenth-century New Zealand life.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Family Connections

We nearly all belong to families, or if on our own, most of us are part of friendship groups or even interest groups.

July and August was a time for my family of catching up with old friends and family and sharing memories and experiences.

There were friends from afar like our New Zealand and Australian cousins -

And then there was catching up with our sons and our old friends -

My current novel 'Tarureka', which I am currently working on, explores family relations and connections against a pioneering background. But although the background and life experiences are very different from ours, the emotional struggles and family ties that bind them together are similar to ours. It's interesting and absorbing writing in a past historical time but basically, human beings and their relationships remain unchangeable.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Peaks and Troughs

Our lives are often full of peaks and troughs and it is therefore right that our literature should reflect the same contrasts.

July has been very much a month of peaks and troughs. My youngest son, Luke, not only qualified as a doctor and we were the proud parents at his graduation but he also got engaged to a lovely girl called Kelsey from America.

Note the lovely ring! That happened at the very end of June and then just a few days later, the graduation.

Just a picture of the South Bank Centre stage in London, I'm afraid as all the good pictures of Luke and Kelsey are official!

These events, of course, are highs, things to celebrate and enjoy. But then, just as we were getting ready to go to London for the graduation and a few days lovely break, I heard of the death of a dear friend and lovely lady of prayer. Of course, this too is a reason to celebrate in many ways, as we know she has gone to be with the Lord but also sad as we will miss her lovely singing voice and her commitment to prayer. She was always someone who would support and encourage others. Indeed, she came to my first book launch of 'Alpha Male' and was glad to buy a copy. What a privilege to have known such a person!

It got me to thinking, as I said earlier in our post, that our writing should reflect life. My first book, Alpha Male, had a happy ending and that's great. That kind of romance is real escapism which we all need from time to time. But 'Tarureka' which I am working on at the moment, one editor called too tragic. I make no apology for this. It is written in the early pioneering conditions of New Zealand. Life was hard, children died and tragedy happened. But like life, in all of this, my characters have their moments of celebration and joy.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Writing is my calling

I really should post here more often, although I hate to post when I have nothing useful or interesting to say!

I have just returned from an inspiring Lydia prayer conference. Lydia is an organisation of women and we meet to pray for this nation of the UK. I am also a writer as well as a praying woman, prayer is my God given responsibility, writing is my calling. I was inspired while away to read a post from one of my colleagues on the association of Christian writers www.christianwriters.org.uk talking about rejection and how it really hurts each and everyone of us at some time or other. Of course, this is true but I got to thinking about this and this is when I thought that as a Christian I am more than just a writer, this is my calling but I am also a spirit filled Christian. Therefore, although it still hurts I am able to rise above it because my writing isn't everything to me. God is.

I also have a real reason to be grateful today too. I have signed a contract with a publisher for my second book, Tarureka, a book about New Zealand in the nineteenth century and the first pioneers.
What a beautiful land and what a privilege to write about it. So, whether it is successful or not, it's still a privileged calling for which I am very thankful and I look forward to working on the book.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Writing, Racing and the Winning Post

Can't believe it's been over two months since I last posted here! To be honest there hasn't been a whole lot of writing in February either. And to think I started the year so well, thanks to the encouragement of James Prescott and his Facebook writing group https://www.facebook.com/jamespressgang encouraging us to write every day. I think I managed that almost up until mid-February when financial work considerations stepped in. Isn't that always the writer's problem? For most of us writing doesn't pay and so we're forced to seek paid employment. I have two jobs - working two days a week as a receptionist for a Podiatrist - feet guy and then waitressing up at our lovely racecourse whenever I can and there's a major event. I also host two lovely Irish guys once a year for the Festival B & B, biggest event on Cheltenham's calendar with the Gold Cup to play for, or should I say ride for.  This year I was also up at the racecourse for the actual day itself, working, although I didn't even see a single race that day. But the most exciting thing that happened to me in our corporate box was making a cup of tea for the famous jockey A. P McCoy before he had to go on telly!
I wonder too, if I was hearing correctly when he left and I wished him a safe journey home and he said, 'thank you, Sheila'. I'd like to think so!

Anyway, back to writing... At least the Festival stimulated the writer/poet in me and I ended up writing one complete poem and a limerick (how very Irish!), the latter of which I'll share here below.

Yesterday, on Gold Cup day,
I got no tip and minimum pay,
But compensation for my aggravation,
Was serving tea to jockey of the nation, A.P.

With grateful thanks to Tony McCoy!

May I remind my followers too that my book, Alpha Male, has a racecourse scene in it. Please buy to relive the experience.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Rachel Ridler - Guest post

I'm happy to guest blog, Rachel Ridler this month. A Christian blogger and a mum of two young children. Her post challenges me to consider whatever season we're in as Christians, God can and wants to use us. At my stage of life with grown up sons and a bit of freedom before grandchildren I feel I have more time than ever for his purposes, whether through my writing or through my relationships. I am also aware that being in the final third of my life I need to make use of the days left to me. Thank you Rachel for your thoughts here below.

Serving through the seasons

What season do you find yourself in right now?

I am a mum to young children (3 years and 1 years old).   People tell me it’s a busy season to be in, that I have too much on my plate and that I shouldn’t take on too much.  I don’t think they’re completely wrong.  But then I also don’t think it’s an excuse to not spend this season seeking and serving God.

We all know that in life we go through many different seasons and that our roles and responsibilities change alongside that.  Who doesn’t forget their footloose and fancy free days as a child and teenager?  And those who have been or are currently parenting new-born babies will understand the unique challenge that sleepless nights’ present!  I am sure that retirement and all the seasons I have yet to face will bring even more challenges and trials into the mix.

But whatever season you are currently in, please don’t use it as an excuse not to fulfil your commission to serve and make disciples.  Jesus DID NOT SAY “go and make disciples, but only on your good days and only when you are financially secure and only when you are full of energy and enthusiasm and only up until you retire”.  He just said to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).

I for one choose to use the unique opportunities I have access to during this season of my life for the benefit of God and his kingdom.  I am using the toddler groups to get to know other mums.  I am using the time at home to be hospitable to others and invite them in for a cuppa which I couldn’t do when I was working full time.  I am trying to pull my children into mission and teaching them to be generous and loving like Jesus was.  In any other season, I wouldn’t be able to reach these people, but amazingly during child-rearing years I have an immediate bond with other mums that opens doors.  So I am choosing to use that to fulfill my commission to go and make disciples.

Back to the question I started with.  What season do you find yourself in right now? And here is a more important question – how are you going to serve God in this season?

Rachel Ridler

Please also view my interview with Naomi Lynas on her blog http://lifebynaomi.com to learn more about me and my book, Alpha Male

Monday, 16 January 2017

2017 New writing challenges and successes

This year has started well for my writing. I have joined James Prescott (Association of Christian Writer's friend) both to review his forthcoming book and to be challenged by him to write every day. Go to  JamesPrescott.co.uk to sign up. Anyway, it has helped me to get into a pattern of writing every day even when I've been at work. Although, having said that, there were two days during the six when I had to cry off due to busyness but at least one was a Sunday when I rarely write anyway. And, Angus, my husband was away most of that week and my commitments were few, also a bonus. So a good discipline but like all disciplines, there is a need to give oneself a break when life marches in and circumstances overtake.

The second bit of news to share, is the publication of a worship anthology of poetry which features both current and past poets, the anthology is called 'Stones before the Ocean' and is edited by Dan Gilbert. It can be viewed at https://archive.org/details/SBTOanthology  - please view my contributions on pages 114 (just after a poem by Charles Wesley) and on 173 (just after G.K.Chesterton). It can also be purchased from the US at http://www.lulu.com/shop/various/stones-before-the-ocean-a-worship-poetry-anthology/paperback/product-23017453.html but unfortunately at an exorbitant price of over £12 when postage is included. I got an earlier copy which was just over £8 with postage included but the price has obviously risen in the last week! Please do have a look if you have the time. These are my first published poems and it's amazing to be in such illustrious company!