MEET VALERIE POORE

I have, I really have! What I mean is that I first met Val on Facebook, we got chatting, we enjoyed each other’s books, then we discovered a real live person we know in common and finally we met up twice – once in Amsterdam and again in Spain. We’re planning another meet up soon, so many of our early experiences are amazingly similar. A very warm welcome to a really nice person. Over to you Val.

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Firstly, thanks so much to Lucinda for letting me sneak in here this week. I’ve coveted a spot on her blog for ages, so now I’m here I’d better make it good!

So what can I say about myself? That I’ve been writing all my life? That I’m finally finding my creative outlet? Yes, well, none of that is very interesting is it? Perhaps it’s truer to say that I’m a writer by accident and it’s all Peter Mayle’s fault. Yes, that man has got a lot to answer for in more ways than one and now I’m addicted.

The thing is that like Lucinda, I lived in South Africa for a long time. How I got there is a story I have yet to tell in full, but it had to do with an errant husband and being very cold in the UK. In other words, we urgently (and I say that with emphasis) needed somewhere to escape to and I was determined it should be somewhere warm. ‘I don’t mind being broke, but I do mind being cold and broke,’ was what I said to him before we decided where it was we were going to flee to. The immediate outcome was three years on a South African farm, which I absolutely loved, along with the heat, the drought, the primitive conditions…hmm, I think I’m going off track here, but actually I did love it all. The end result was that I was so happy there I spent a total of twenty years in South Africa.KindleCover

When I came back to Europe in 2001, I missed it so much I decided to buy a barge and live on the water in the wettest country you could possibly find. There is a kind of logic to that but I’ll let you think about it.

Anyway, while I was still busy missing my former home in 2004, I read Peter Mayle’s book A Year in Provence. Now I know this book has had a mixed reception, but I really enjoyed it because I could see so many parallels between his experiences with local French country people and my own with South African rural people and I thought ‘I can do that’. And so I did. I wrote my own memoir about my life on our South African farm and I called it African Ways. It took me a while to finish it and then to publish, but it eventually came out in 2007.

Well, having done that, I got the taste and then the addiction for writing.

I went on to write a memoir about my first year of living on a barge, and then a novel about a child growing up on a barge in the early 1960s when the Cold War was at its height. Since then, I’ve notched up another four memoirs (mostly about boats and boating) and another novel. So, Peter Mayle, if you’re reading this, see what you started?

It is actually true I’ve always liked writing. I did quite a lot before when I was in South Africa; things like short stories that were read on the radio and radio plays that weren’t. But I’d never written whole books until African Ways. The trouble with Africa is it gets in your blood and so now I’m in the process of publishing the sequel to African Ways. Once again, I’ve wallowed happily in the memories of that fabulous country. I’m also working on a novel set in Kwa-Zulu Natal, one of its provinces and where I used to live, so you see I’ve got a lot in common with Lucinda. Oh and I’ll just say here I’ve loved all her Amie novels. They take me back there and I can wallow all over again (nothing like creeping round your blog host, is there?). VAL BOOK 3 SHEEP

So with that, all it remains for me to say is a huge thanks to Lucinda for this opportunity to ramble on about myself and my writing. I’ll keep doing it until I drop whether anyone buys my books or not, but I’d thrilled if anyone reading this does give them a try. Just in case, the link to my Amazon author page is here:

https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Poore/e/B008LSV6CE/

Val, I’ve no idea why it took so long for you to be on my blog, but you can come again soon – I adore all that creeping (cheques in the post).

This last book on the left is highly recommended, I laughed out loud all the way through and although Val tells me it’s only partly memoir-based, I’m not sure I believe her 🙂

Till next time, take care.

 

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MEET BRENDAN GERAD O’BRIEN

OK, OK, I admit it I have a soft spot for Irish writers, the land of my birth, though I have long since lost the accent.  While we may speak the same language as the English, Welsh, Scots, Americans and the Australians, I maintain we have poetry and words flowing through our veins. Have you guessed that this week’s guest is also from Ireland? What a surprise!  Welcome, Brendan Gerad O’Brien. He now lives in Wales, but you can never take the power of words away from the Irish – not that I’m biased of course. Over to Brendan.

Brend

When I won my first writing competition I was so excited I ran all the way home. I was about eight years old. The Fun Fair was coming to Tralee – our little town on the West coast of Ireland – and apart from Duffy’s Circus which came in September, this was the highlight of our year. Our English teacher asked us to write an essay about it and I won the only prize – a book of ten tickets for the fair.

So writing was in my blood from a very young age. My uncle Moss Scanlon had a small Harness Maker’s shop in Listowel – a bus ride from Tralee – where I spent some wonderful summer holidays. The shop was a magnet for all sorts of colourful characters who’d wander in for a chat and a bit of jovial banter. One famous storyteller who often popped in was John B Keane, and I asked him once where he got his ideas from. He told me that everyone has a story to tell so just listen to them. I was there when John B’s first story was read out on Radio Eireann. I can still remember the buzz of excitement.

But it was only when I got married and the children came along that I made any serious attempt to write a book.

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The result was Dark Septembera brutal alternative history thriller set in Newport during WW2. Germany invade Britain. Stormtroopers attack the South Wales coast to capture the coal mines. Newport is blitzed. Danny O’Shea’s wife is killed. O’Shea heads for neutral Ireland with his son and they witness Welsh Nationalists ambushing a German convoy carrying a mysterious cargo.

But the Nationalists fall out and the cargo disappears. Then O’Shea goes to the aid of a dying woman – and both the Germans and the Nationalists believe she told him where it’s hidden. Now pursued by both the Germans and the insurgents, his only concern is to get his son to safety.

I always found writing short stories is amazingly therapeutic. I get a great buzz from taking an idea and developing it, often watching it evolve into something completely different from how it started out. Great ideas are all around us. Little gems are waiting to be harvested everywhere we look. I found myself listening to what people are saying, and the way they say it.

For instance, the Irish are famous for their colourful and exaggerated language, always using a dozen words when one would have done. So I set my short stories in Ireland. The names are changed, of course, because I don’t earn enough to survive a lawsuit.

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Dreamin’ Dreams contains twenty of my published short stories. They’re all based on real people who passed through my life at some time or other, or events that actually happened to me. Enhanced, of course, and sometimes exaggerated out of all proportion.

The title comes from something my father said years ago when I got poor grades at school. ‘What do you expect?’ he said to my mother. ‘He never does any studying. He just sits there, dreamin’ dreams.’

Gallows Field paperback new

This was followed by Gallows Field, set in Tralee, Ireland during WW2.  Eamon Foley, a Local Security volunteer is in a crowded pub when his brother-in-law Joe McCarthy is shot dead. Foley thinks he sees a face from his past when he was working in Dublin and witnessed a brutal murder. Important items went missing then and the killer believed Foley took them. Foley thinks shooting Joe was a warning that they’ve caught up with him and are looking for their stuff.

But Garda Sergeant Liam Edge believes Joe was a victim of a jealous husband because of his involvement with numerous women.

Then Foley’s sister Mary is found dead in the town park.

And his son is taken by a nun in a car.

When Foley illegally obtains evidence saying who is responsible, Sgt Edge dismisses it, insisting they follow proper police procedure.  With dreadful results.

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My latest book is A Pale Moon Was Rising, again featuring Eamon Foley during 1944. A German submarine is spotted in Tralee Bay on the West coast of Ireland.

Next morning the body of a young man with fatal head injuries is found in the river. He’s wearing a distinctive silver ring.

Garda Eamon Foley traces the ring to Paudy Daly, who’s been missing for over nine months.

But Paudy’s father, the notorious Mixer Daly, is furious when he sees the body. Because it is not his son.

Garda Foley discovers that the body is that of a Polish seaman. So where did he get Paudy’s ring?

Then Garda Foley learns that the last time Paudy was seen alive, he was on his way to rob a pig-breeder’s house.

Writing magazine

Thanks for choosing me for your blog, and have a great week,

Sláinte

Brendan

bgobrien.net

I had no idea that Brendan was such a prolific writer, as the books featured here are only a part of his vast repertoire. Check him out on his Amazon author  page

https://www.amazon.com/Brendan-Gerad-OBrien/e/B006ICG2HE 

and thank you for being my guest this week.

MEET LINDA M STRADER

My guest this week is a very special lady and I’m thrilled to host her as she is one standing up for women to be people, like me she admires strong women who can, in most cases, do a man’s job.

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Strader moved to Prescott, Arizona with her family in 1972. In 1976, she became one of the first women on a Forest Service fire crew in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

Her publishing history includes many web articles on her expertise in landscaping with desert plants. A local newspaper, the Green Valley News, printed an article about her firefighting adventures, the magazine, Wildfire Today, later published an excerpt. The article generated interest in her speaking on this topic to several clubs, including the American Association of University Women. Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage is her first book, scheduled for publication on May 1st, 2018 by Bedazzled Ink Publishing. She is currently working on a prequel.

In addition to writing, Ms. Strader is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist. She currently lives in the same area where her Forest Service career began.

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As I researched the history of women in the U.S. Forest Service for my memoir, I discovered something rather disheartening: There wasn’t much to find! Since its inception in the late 1800s, the Forest Service was strictly a man’s world. What surprised me, though, was that women were not even working in offices until men decided they hated paperwork. But hiring women for field work? That took a while to happen.

The first exception to the rule was Hallie M. Daggett, who was no stranger to National Forests and wilderness experiences. She had learned to hunt, fish and trap, which was quite an accomplishment for a refined and educated lady in those days. She also had a profound hatred of forest fire destruction, and wanted to be a part of the Forest Service’s goal to prevent such catastrophes. Therefore, she was honored to be hired at the Gulch Lookout Station on the Klamath National Forest in June of 1913.

Hallie acknowledged that she had support from a few men, thus securing the lookout position. However, dissenters insisted that she couldn’t possibly handle being alone in the lookout tower, especially once it got dark, saying, “She’ll be on the radio the first night, pleading to go home.”

I’ll bet Hallie laughed herself silly over that one. Of course, she proved them wrong. Full of spirit, skill and aptitude, she continued working as a lookout for 14 more years.

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That article sparked my curiosity. What other interesting, strong women in history could I find?

Emma (Grandma) Gatewood didn’t own any fancy hiking equipment. She scoffed at a sleeping bag, tent, backpack, hiking boots or special clothes. “Most people today are pantywaists,” the sixty-seven-year-old said, as she planned to solo hike the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail in May of 1955.

Emma carried her supplies in a denim draw-string bag, including a woolen Army blanket for warmth and a shower curtain for a raincoat. Keds sneakers were her only shoes—although they did need regular replacement.

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She ate peanuts and canned Vienna sausages, supplementing this simple diet by foraging for wild strawberries, onions, and sorrel. Occasionally, she reveled in what she called, “trail magic”—food shared with her by strangers. Talk about one tough woman.

Now I had a mission. What other inspiring ladies could I find?

Canadian Molly (Myrtle) Kool was one cool lady. She loved the water, and spent much of her childhood working on a scow with her father, Paul Kool. Longing to be her father’s first mate, she applied to the Merchant Marine Institute in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1937, but they denied her application. However, that didn’t faze Molly—she kept trying, and earned a coastal master’s certificate in 1939. While that is impressive in itself, think about this: At only 23 years old and female, she was now a Captain! But did she get a Captain’s respect? LINDA SEA 1

Fellow sailors gave her a pretty rough time on the rough waters of Bay of Fundy, where she hauled cargo. However, Ms. Kool was known for her smart comebacks in times of stress, refusing to succumb to the harassment she received. When her ship encountered dense fog and collided with another ship, she was tossed overboard, in danger of being chopped to bits by the ship’s propeller should she go under. Luckily, she was able to grab a piece of wood to stay afloat. When passengers on the other ship threw life preservers at her, she hollered, “I’m already afloat! Quit throwing useless stuff at me and send a boat!”

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Gotta love her practicality.

Molly Kool lived until the ripe age of 93, outliving both her first and second, husbands.

There are many more women in the past that have made a mark in history, and plenty that have in recent years. Others will continue to do so over the years to come. While it may be assumed that women no longer have to struggle to achieve the recognition for accomplishments that are easily bestowed on men, the reality is women still face harassment and bias. However, with inroads being made in all fields, let us hope that someday soon, everyone, regardless of gender or any other labels, are respected and revered for doing what they love and doing it with style.

You can connect with Linda here:  Lstrader2008@aol.com

Blog address: https://summersoffirebook.blogspot.com/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/LindaStraderauthor

I can’t show you the cover of Linda’s book as it is not out until May, and she’s sensibly into the marketing before it hits the shelves! Keep a look out of it, and thank you for being my guest today.

 

MEET ADRIAN STURROCK

Now I’m cheating a little here because in October I had Adrian as a guest in my newsletter, but I just adore the way he strings words together and I didn’t have enough space to include everything – so, here he is again 🙂  Making no excuses!! We all need a good laugh, especially on a Thursday morning.  🙂

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Adrian Sturrock is a writer, occasional musician, teacher and ethnic minority (except when in Wales), specialising mostly in observation and unconsidered opinion. He currently lives in Buckinghamshire UK with wife Natalie: his travel companion, best friend and the person responsible for keeping him out of trouble on social media. They have three children between them.

Adrian has been published on www.dcpolitick.com, and excerpts of his poetry/lyrics displayed alongside those of Benjamin Zephaniah in Luton Town Hall (though it is very unlikely that Benjamin is aware of this). He has been smiled at by Madonna and once spent an afternoon watching Ace Ventura, Pet Detective in Barry Gibb’s living room, where David English remarked on his shoes.

He is the founder member (singer/songwriter) of the highly unsuccessful band, God of Small Things, with which he recorded two studio EPs. (There are rumours that some of these songs even sold on iTunes.) His solo sets include the highs of playing to an audience of thousands at Lord Rothschild’s 82nd birthday bash and the lows of having to endure an audience of three elderly women eating soup. Tony Visconti once said of his songwriting, ‘Sorry, not my cup of tea’. Adrian intends recording again in the near future.

This bit is about the book.    https://www.amazon.com//dp/B0764KC23N

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I had originally intended to lie to you. I haven’t had a change of conscience on this issue. It’s just that I realise that I probably won’t get away with it. That’s the problem with the general public; they tend to eventually work things out. So I’m afraid that you are now stuck with the truth.

It was never going to be a dramatic lie. I wasn’t about to try to sell you a dodgy time-share or claim to be a kidnapped Nigerian prince in desperate need of your bank details. It was more about the timescale of events in this book. I was going to lead you to believe that this road trip was one single linear journey, a grand forty-day adventure across some of the best roads, towns, cities and mountain regions in central Europe. In reality, the trip was completed in three sections. This is due to the fact that I have a day job to factor in. Life is indeed a cruel mistress.

Between road trips one and three, the Syrian crisis happened, Brexit divided the UK pretty much down the middle and Prime Minister, Theresa May, declared herself the personification of ‘the will of the people’. There have also been a number of terrorist attacks across Europe, including Paris, London, Brussels, Istanbul, and Nice, allegedly born out of perceived cultural or religious differences but really due to a lack of respect between peoples.

Since this book was written, Donald Trump has become the US President and Mike Pence his Vice-President. Not even Mr Disney himself could have anticipated that one day Donald and Mickey would be running the White House.

What had prompted me to buy a sports car—for those who care, the car we used was a Mazda MX5 Roadster Coupe Sports 2ltr Graphite Limited Edition—was a sudden threat of redundancy at work. Yes, I know! One would have thought that I might have opted for quickly consolidating my financial position. I thought I might have considered this too. Instead, my feelings of insecurity led me to a surprise epiphany—it struck me that one can play safe all one’s life and still be screwed over; that good guys neither come first nor last—mostly because nobody is really watching.

Sometimes, the best way to stick a finger up at ‘the man’ is to defiantly indulge in something that excites you. Then, even if you lose, you win. So I bought the car—though I didn’t speak this train of thought out loud to my wife at the time. (Actually, I probably did. A few large glasses of pinot noir can make me a prolific and uninhibited orator. My dancing gets better too.)

As things turned out, while there were a whole series of redundancies at work, my own position remained safe. My first reaction was, ‘Woo-hoo! I’m still standing.’ My second reaction was, ‘Shit, I’m still standing … here!’ But that’s a conversation for another time.

Having bought the car, my mind then moved on to the question of how I could make best use of it. I felt that only using it for the ten-minute journey to and from work and for grocery shopping didn’t really cut it. I needed a proper reason to own a car like this.

‘I was thinking,’ I said to my wife one Sunday morning over breakfast, ‘how might you feel if I was to take off into France for a few days, you know, to get to have a proper drive of the car?’

‘If you want to,’ she said. ‘You not inviting me?’

‘I didn’t think you’d want to come,’ I said, surprised by her response. ‘For me, it would be an exciting drive. For you, well, I thought you’d see the idea of it as just a “bloody long time in a car”.’

‘I can do a bloody long time in a car,’ she said.

‘Okay,’ I said.

So I began to map out our bloody long time in a car.

“Adrian takes you on a journey of story, introspection, and wit; a journey well worth taking”

– Lane Belone, Founder of Increase Freedom

 “This read is a lot of fun, especially for travel-lovers and adventurers! I came out admiring how the author communicated the culture of the places he visited through an original voice, portraying his own expertise as an artist. Would definitely recommend to other travel enthusiasts!”

– Casey M. Millette, Author of the Cursed series

Keep up to date with all things Adrian Sturrock by subscribing to his rather lovely website:  www.adriansturrock.com Here, you can find out more about the locations in this book, and explore, amongst other things, photos taken during the road trip, together with information about routes and even a selection of hotels used.

Also, follow Adrian on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

His second book, RANDOM: a collection of articles, will be published in early 2019. Well, that is a while to wait, but in the meantime, this one is definitely going on my TBR list. Thank you, Adrian.

 

MEET MADELEINE BLACK

Madeliene Black is another of life’s survivors, but I will leave it to her to share her story.

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After many years of keeping quiet, Madeleine Black decided in September 2014, to share her story on The Forgiveness Project’s website and she completely underestimated what the response would be.

Many women and men got in contact and explained how reading her story gave them strength, hope, and a different perspective of what’s possible in their lives. The founder of The Forgiveness Project, Marina, often refers to the various people on her website as  “story healers” rather than “storytellers” and now she completely understood why.

In March 2015, Jessica Kingsley Publishers released a book called The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age, by Marina Cantacuzino. It’s a collection of 40 stories from the TFP website, including hers and has forewords by Desmond Tutu and Alexander McCall Smith.

The sharing of her story also opened many doors for her in ways she never imagined and after that, the invitations started to pour in.

What it took for me to forgive  

I never intended to forgive the 2 young men who gang-raped me when I was 13 years old.  I wanted to hate them forever.  As far as I was concerned they were evil, sadistic animals and I wanted someone to kidnap them, tie them up, beat them up, rape and torture them just like they had done to me for hours on end.

But in 2003 there was a combination of events, which I believe released memories that I had locked deep within. My eldest daughter was turning 13, I was attending workshops run by a teacher of life and was studying for a psychotherapy course. The memories of that night started to come back and haunt me again in a way that they hadn’t before and I was unable to block them out anymore.

They were very disturbing; like a porn film running in my mind and to be honest for a long time I thought I was going mad.  I mean surely if it was that bad then I would have remembered it?  I now know that after a trauma it’s very common for our minds to numb out and shut off disturbing memories, but they can usually resurface many years later, once it thinks you are strong enough.

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So I decided that I needed some help to get rid of them.  I quickly discovered that I couldn’t get rid of them but that I had to face them and learn to accept what was done to me in order to recover and heal from that night.  I learnt that the way in was the way out.

It was during this therapy that my therapist suggested to me in a session that maybe they weren’t born rapists.  I could not believe what I was hearing and was completely outraged by what he was saying.

But he planted a seed within my mind and that seed started to grow.

They weren’t much older than I was, perhaps 17 or 18 and I wanted to understand what went so wrong for them?  How did they know how to be so violent to another human being?  What had they heard; witnessed or experienced that changed them so much?

I do believe that we all come into this world the same way as an innocent baby like a blank sheet and I don’t think anyone is born a rapist, murderer or burglar but that we get conditioned by life, which shapes the path and decisions we make.

A good friend used to be a midwife and she told me that she has delivered 1000’s of babies but has never once met an evil one.  That has really stayed with me.

And once I really understood that, I felt for them.  In their dehumanising of me I realised that they had dehumanised themselves and were cut off to their own source of aliveness

And the more I thought about being gang-raped and the 2 young men, I couldn’t help but take them into my heart and I started to feel compassion and forgiveness towards them.

I came up with a plan which I call my “best Revenge” many years ago when I decided to become a mother and live as good as life as I can.  I chose to be happy but I often wonder what must it be like to live with what you do to another human being?

Forgiveness for me initially was an act of self-love as I had so much blame and shame for what had happened to me.  And then it became an act of understanding towards them.  I chose to let go of all the pain, hate and resentment I felt for years, which has resulted in a much more peaceful and content way to live my life.

After all they would have no idea if I was consumed by hate, bitterness or revenge and the only person it would hurt would be me and all those in my life.  My healing came when I finally faced all the details of what they did to me on that night and learnt to integrate it. I realised that I’m not my body or the things that they have done to me.  The real essence of me could never be touched.

And if I am not what was done to me; are they what they did to me?

Her memoir, Unbroken, was published by John Blake Books on April 4th 2017

You can check out Madeleine’s book here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XNLZ8RV

and visit her Website   www.madeleineblack.co.uk

 Facebook page  www.facebook.com/madeleineblackunbroken

 Twitter @madblack65

Madeleine, you are an inspiration to many of us. Thank you for sharing your story.

 

MEET BARBARA CARTER

I’m sure many readers will resonate with this week’s guest Barbara Carter, living with a burst of creativity inside and not knowing how to express it – life always gets in the way!

BARBARA CARTER was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is a visual artist and writer and is currently working on a series of memoirs focusing not only on her personal journey but highlighting important issues such as: anxiety, depression, loss and grief and the not so great ways of dealing with inner pain. Also living with a narcissistic mother. Barbara has an amazing ability to shed light on the sometimes dark subject matter with her ability to use humor. She also instructs art classes and offers guidance in writing memoir. The focus of her work is on examining the past in order to heal and move on.

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My story is about learning how to follow my inner voice/intuition/soul.

As a child, I loved colouring books. At about the age of 10, I learned how to draw. There were no art classes taught in the schools I attended, so I was very much on my own. Later, in my teens, I purchased how-to art instruction books to help me learn more.

My dream at that time was to become an artist.

I was also drawn to writing, especially poetry and song lyrics.

But I felt I had to choose one or the other, that I couldn’t do both.

Living outside a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada life didn’t work out as I’d planned. No one encouraged me to pursue creative avenues and I lost hope, ending up on a self-destructive path.

After years of spiraling more and more out of control, I eventually managed to do what everyone else around me was doing: get married and have children.

Giving up on my earlier dreams, I tried desperately to suppress my inner voice, to deny my desire to create. I struggled to become what I thought I was supposed to be: to fit in and just be considered normal!

During this period, I’d stumbled upon quilting. I made necessary items for our home, such as quilts, chair cushions, curtains, etc. But it wasn’t enough. There was still this longing inside, a need to create my own images.

I had no money for art supplies, so one day, in a flash of inspiration I made use of the only materials I had on hand: fabric, thread, and needle.

My earlier creations were black, white and gray, the colours I’d been using just before giving up on my dream of becoming an artist.

When I first began creating my fabric images, I didn’t realize that I lacked joy and colour in my art, as I did in my life.

I was a shy, insecure young woman who didn’t know how to achieve the life I wanted. I had no idea that my images were anything more than a “picture” to hang on the wall, because I, as a person, didn’t realize I had anything of value to say.

Over time, I grew as an artist by my commitment to step out of my comfort zone, to contact strangers, to ask questions, and to seek answers. As I did this, my confidence also grew.

On that journey, I met many amazing people and learned how to show my art in galleries. It all seemed like a dream come true.

Skip ahead many more years to my mid-forties. My desire to write became overwhelming, and I felt that if I didn’t get whatever was inside of me out, I would literally lose my mind.

So I began to write, having no idea of how to properly go about doing it.

Once again, I simply followed my inner desire/voice.

After years of secretly writing on my own, I signed up for a creative writing course, and it was there that the voice of my child-self first emerged. She was a strong, powerful voice, pouring out thoughts and feelings that I had no idea were even inside of me.

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As an adult I had blocked out who I’d been as a child, especially how I’d thought and felt growing up. Until I began writing, I had relied on the facts and the memories of others.

 

My first memoir, Floating in Saltwater, contains stories of my childhood, the lessons I learned, the questions I asked, the messages about life I received and the struggle to trust my inner voice.

My second memoir, Balancing Act, is about my early teen years, my struggle to fit in, and my need to find love, happiness, and freedom. It expresses how I dealt with an over-controlling mother, my anxiety, depression, the loss of young love, and the steps that led to a nervous breakdown at the age of 15.

Balancing Act - Front Cover

I continue to follow my inner guidance and plan to write and release a series of memoirs that deal with various stages and issues in life. I hope that my journey, my words, can heal others on their own journey, and to encourage them to trust their intuition/inner voice, to find love and happiness, joy and peace, to address and finally, to lay their past wounds to rest.

Find me on Facebook at: Barbara Carter Author

https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-Carter-709937872489827/

Website: www.barbaratercarterartist.com

 

Barbara’s Web Page:  http://www.barbaracarterartist.com/index.html

I think Barbara proves what we all know, that until you’ve experienced life, had the knocks, the highs and the lows you are not as well equipped to write and share that pain and laughter with the world. You have more to give to your books and what they tell the world.  As the daughter of a narcissistic mother, I can relate to so much of what you say Barbara. Thank you for being my guest this week.

 

MEET SUSAN FAW

I really should run a competition for the ‘spot the typo’ on my blogs, for the moment they go live, I always see one – despite reading them very, very carefully. Let’s see what this week’s error is 🙂

My guest today is Susan Faw who writes fantasy fiction for the YA age group – and she’s won an award for her work – so please read on.

SUSAN FAW

Do you know when I first decided I wanted to be an author?

No, it wasn’t after reading Harry Potter. It was when I was about 4 years old.

My sister and I used to play a game before we could read before we were even school aged, where we would pick a picture at random from the only magazine my parents would allow in the house – The National Geographic Magazine. We would play school and whoever was the ‘teacher’ would make up a story about a picture and the other would have to ask questions.

You see, people love stories. Children love stories. Even back then I loved books and loved to tell a story.

And I still love to tell stories.

Which brings me to Harry Potter. Harry Potter did not create my love of stories. What Harry Potter did for me, was introduce me to a woman, a single mom, who was destitute and nigh unto homeless.

J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of the Harry Potter Series, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, in an unfurnished flat in London after fleeing an abusive relationship with her infant daughter. She lay on the floor of her flat day after day and wrote, and when Jessica was sleeping, she pushed the pram to a cafe and wrote some more. She was a university educated single parent, hungry, poverty-stricken and relying on food banks.

Yet despite the trials in her life, she wrote. Despite her situation, she wrote. She wrote because she believed in herself.

She wrote because she LOVED TO WRITE.

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I am also an avid reader and an unashamed fan of the Harry Potter series. Jo got one thing right, that so many authors forget. That in order to write, you just first love to read.

J.K. Rowling managed, in a day where electronics are king, to get kids and teens to put down their phones and their I-pads and turn off their TV’s to pick up a book. Not just any book, but a heavy many-hundred paged hardcover book and READ.

To me, that is true magic, in its purest form. She is my hero, she is whom I aspire to be. An author people want to read. For the money? No, although money is nice! I write for the pure joy of a story well told; to make a connection and be able to share the joy of new worlds with someone you have never and may never meet. The joy that comes from reading is the essence of real magic.

I would be thrilled to hear if you have one of my books and if you have taken the time out of your busy lives to try out my series if so I am so glad to have you along for the journey!

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I love connecting with my readers and others who share the same geeky fandom love. Come chat with me and tell me what are your favorite fantasy book series?

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Come chat! I assure you, I love to talk too!

Thank you, Susan. I have such admiration for writers who can connect with young people and also admire JK for what she achieved. Thank you for being my guest.