Gazette column: Why a stroke shouldn’t take away the person underneath

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” (today out on a Friday…) where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about strokes and getting older and how, as with our Nanna, we all have to help and remember that every one deserves to be treated as the person they are.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Is the care provision for people suffering from strokes enough? Does the system care for the elderly sufficiently? Should we all do more to help? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

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Diary of a hopeful author: I’m chasing the real dream

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I do love a dream. What’s not to love about a dream? Good stuff happens in dreams, great stuff, stuff that, in your regular every day, moment-to-moment movements and routines and bill-paying tasks, would never ever occur. Like flying without a plane, or scoring a cracking goal or, in my case, last night, being an awesome surfer (don’t ask. Actually do. And my answer would be that my daughter wants me to take her surfing this weekend and I’m slightly scared. The dream surf was nice. I rocked.)

Thing is, dreams end when you open your eyes. In a way. There is, of course, the line of argument that your dreams should always stay with you. To this, of course, there is only one answer – they should, but only when those dreams are real, are reflections of what you actually want from life, what you really, really wish you had/did/were. And for those dreams to come about, to step out of your sleepy head and morph into living wonder, you need one thing: reality.

Let me stick this in context. My dream is being a massively successful author. This summer just gone has been a step towards that. I have, now, a literary agent, an event that bowled me over so much that instead of jumping and whooping (like I had dreamed), I gave one smile then got on with what had to be done. And now, how is the dream as I am in touching distance of it, as I am working with my brilliant agent (still weird saying that) and amazing editor as we shape my novel to be the very best it can be for publishers to read?  It is real. That’s what it is. It is, right now, all very real and very hard work, and, at times, is pushing me to think things through in a way I never have before, in a way only experienced people like agents and editors can help you do.

Because that is the reality of the dream. When you’ve blinked awake and realized that, even though you’re not asleep, you can still actually see your dream, see the thing you’ve wanted for so long. The reality of the dream is that you have to work hard. Really, really hard. It’s like the saying goes, ‘You can’t have the rainbow without a little rain.’ And that’s me, right now, working hard through the rain to make that rainbow appear. Or, in this case, a big publishing deal.

Turns out, this weekend, the forecast on the coast is for rain, pattering, British rain. But I’ll still go surfing with my daughter, because, like she said with a shrug at the weather report, ‘When you go surfing you’re in the sea so you get wet anyway.’  Too, right, honey. So I may fall off (lots), I may only be able to stand for five (two) seconds on the board, but I’ll be living the dream. The real dream.

 

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Gazette column: You can’t call Dursley ‘crap’

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” (today out on a Friday…) where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about Dursley being nominated to be a ‘crap town’, and my defence of why it is absolutely not deserving of that title.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think?  Is your town great or just a bit rubbish? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Wind turbines – it’s time for a compromise

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” (today out on a Friday…) where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about wind turbines and how, with a new, smaller proposal for them put forward in Thornbury, it’s time people began to let them happen and learn to compromise.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? All for wind turbines or not at all? Let me know.

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

My Citizen & Echo column: Whatever you do, don’t use the word ‘fat’

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about kids, obesity and the use of the word ‘fat’. Oh, and those McDonalds Happy Meals. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch my columns each week on the NEW Citizen and Echo Weekend website.

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday.

 

**I’m taking a break from my Citizen and Echo column writing, so this will be my last for a while**

 

Gazette column: When we buy a house, we don’t own the views

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about protests against a new housing development in Dursley and how not only do we not own the views from our homes, but sometimes change can actually lead to improvements.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Should we be able to keep the views from our houses or can we not own everything around us? Is there a development proposal in your area? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, well, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: What makes a good psychological thriller?

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

This week I am knee deep in plotting.  Following an edit meeting last week, my task now is to re-analyse my thriller novel and pick it apart, spot any plot holes, tie them back up.

I tell you what, this is a huge shocker. Seriously, I have had my plot pulled apart and picked so much that I feel like I’ve been spun round with a blindfold on then told to walk.

But no fear! Because – and I do mean this – it is all good. Yes, being asked questions about your plot is a right old tester, but without it, without questioning every single element of your story, you cannot get it to the very best it can be. And then it is bye-bye publishing deal.

All this editing has also meant re-visiting the main thesis and threads of my book. This is vital because the function of the plot is to communicate the thesis (theme). The thesis is like glue – without it, nothing sticks. So I have been today reminding myself what it’s trying to say in my novel and what I wanted it to be way back in the very first place. And all this has to be thought through in the context of the genre of the book. And breathe.

So, with all this in mind, I have for you this week a question. And it is this: What makes a good psychological thriller?

Below is a link from Wikipedia on this genre – see if it stacks up. What have you read that’s good and not so good? And what made it that way? Class – discuss. It will mess with your head.

Read the Wikipedia link here

**Coming soon: Interview with PFD’s Adam Gauntlett on submitting to agents**

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about  the Severn Barrage in Gloucestershire…**