Monday, 28 October 2013

All About Manic Mondays

Here is the promotional video

This is the superbly edited video interview from Candy Jar. Please be kind - it is my first ever interview! 

Have a great start to the week - It's just another Manic Monday!

If you have any questions about Manic Mondays please get in touch. Just leave a comment here, and I will respond, or contact me through my facebook page

There are still a few first edition copies available, so place your order now!

Thank you!

Monday, 21 October 2013

A Short Story - Part 2

Time and Tide Continued...

His life jacket broke his fall, as did the sinking sand beneath his feet. John dragged himself upright, and waded forward. The water a few steps ahead was waist height with the channel still ahead. A gust of wind and an error of judgement pulled the bow rope from his hands, and the boat was away; flying across the water without his weight to hold it back, and it was gone. ‘Bugger!’  John teetered in the sand and water, still with no one to see him from the top road, or from either river bank, or from the beach a few hundred yards away.

It was no more than twenty yards to the other side of the channel, so John decided he would swim. He was calm, he was in control, just tired was all, a bit weaker than usual. But he was confident. He’d got himself out of a few holes in his time, and this was just another one of those. Like the time he was in a sailing race and put his feet under the foot strap to lean further out, only there wasn’t a strap there, and he capsized. His mates had enjoyed that tale for the whole season. If it were now it would have been captured on YouTube, or the club’s web site. He smiled at the memory as he waded further into the murky choppy water, and then his underfoot was free and he was swimming. Only it wasn’t quite swimming, it was more a desperate squabble toward the other side of the river, as John realised that this was too much for him, and that he should have listened to his wife this morning. He realised that he should have listened to her when he was up on the roof at 6am two days ago building something, and that maybe when she said the steroids were affecting his logic, maybe she was right. He swallowed and spat the salty, muddy water as with ever diminishing strength he struggled fearfully across the water all the while being carried by the tide and buffeted by the wind. He felt the pain now in his limbs and weakened stomach, and after, he didn’t know how long, John felt rather than saw the slimy mud bank of the other side of the river.  It was squishy and gooey beneath his slipping feet. His tears cleared and he saw that he had made it to the other bank, and he knew there was a road which led home at the other side of the mud flats. The mud flats were not the place to walk, the mud deep, and the gullies were filled with the incoming tide.

Exhaustion claimed John, and his decision-making prowess was circling elsewhere with the seagulls. If there had been an observer it would have been a sorry sight that they would have met them as John’s thin form crawled through the mud to safety with cuts on his hands and face, and tears streaking his drawn cheeks.

John collapsed onto the road, and managed to pull himself into a sitting position when a young man in a tractor stopped to pick him up and took him home.

His wife was standing by the window watching the river race by when the tractor pulled up outside the house, and she sighed heavily when she saw a young man help her shattered husband from the cab. She slowly walked down the drive to meet him, and put her arm around his wet and muddy body to offer her support. As they walked up the drive to the house John half turned to her, leaning in to her, and said, ’I think the water’s a bit stronger than it used to be.’ She patted him gently on the back, as the tide slipped in, and said, ’I know love, I know. Let’s get you clean and warm shall we?’
Have a great Monday everyone! x




Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Short Story

Time and Tide

Here is first half of a short Monday story inspired by my rather determined father!

The river was dark that Monday morning, the tide low and shortly to turn, and the wind brisker than the forecast had suggested. Regardless of the weather he was determined. ‘I need to get the boat back for winter,’ he’d virtually shouted at her in response to her doubt. It was the way he emphasised need, like his life depended on it. He ranted on, ending with ‘Don’t nag me!’ She knew she was wasting her breath even trying to dissuade him; he always did what he wanted to anyway. He was one of those people who could and would justify anything. After ten minutes in his company you would leave thinking that there were genuine advantages to sleeping on a bed of thorns.  There was no point arguing. ‘Oh sod you then!’ she said, walking away.

He waved his lift goodbye and turned toward where the boat was kept, with a contented whistle on his breath. The breeze jostled the halliards on the sailing boats as they applauded his passage amongst them, and he found the little tender upended against the fence with the oars safely where he left them a few months earlier. He had been captain of the boat club for a long time; organising the races, charting the courses that sometimes took them out to sea and round the island, and other times led them howling round the markers in the estuary. He knew the estuary well, every tide, every marker, every swell and change in the seasonal sand banks. Had anyone been watching, it would have looked perfectly right seeing John sorting out his little boat on the river bank. But today the club was deserted, the season had ended and the boats were snugly wrapped up against the pending winter.

John dragged the boat to the water’s edge, puffing under the strain, and feeling strong and able despite its weight. He stopped to catch his breath as the sun broke through the racing clouds, and he lifted his fact to capture its warmth. He smiled a rare smile. He pushed the boat onto the water and jumped on board as it left the shore wobbling under his weight and the choppy waves beneath. John sat back with the oars ready and begun the slow steady motion he knew of old, pulling through the water on the backward motion, releasing the oars to fly through the air on the forward motion; pull, release; pull, release as the boat made its way out. John was pleased that he had calculated the tide change perfectly, and the incoming tide, despite the opposing wind was helping his journey. The sandbanks, he noted, were now nearly all covered as he journeyed across the river estuary at its widest point all the while heading for home.

For twenty minutes John rowed, and was surprised at his lack of progress. The tide wasn’t running as fast as it would in another hour and the wind in the middle of the river was stronger than it was at the shore. He was skimming across the tops of the sandbanks, but only just, and the boat’s progress was jerky as it stuck and released from the river bed.

Something didn’t feel quite right to John - the wind, the lack of progress, the middle of the river, and sandbanks. He brushed the feeling aside. There was not a soul in sight, just John and his belligerent determination, and a solitude that was beginning not to feel like the good kind. He knew the river, he knew its ways, he was a pro. John took a deep breath, and he relaxed himself. ‘Make a decision,’ he thought, ‘make a decision’. He begun to head directly across the river to the other side and decided he would make his way up river from there. The wind would be less strong, and he would be on the home side of the river. ‘Just to be on the safe side,’ he said to himself.

For ten further minutes he rowed through the tide and the wind heading for the other bank; slow minutes weighted with effort, as he wiped the perspiration with the back of his hand. He noticed that the boat was starting to take on water; it was a small boat; he was not a small man, and the water was lapping over the sternum. A tender is meant for getting from the shore to a larger boat that is moored further out, not for a mile long row down a choppy river. John should have known that; he was experienced in the ways of the river. He reached for the bailer and started throwing the water back where it came from, ‘Bugger’ he muttered under his breath clearing enough water to make progress again. John was the capable sort, a man to be relied on in a crisis – and he knew it. You’d get John’s opinion if you wanted it or not, and he would solve problems for you you didn’t even know you had.

When the boat ran aground John felt his strength properly diminish for the first time; he was weakening. He needed to get to the shore quickly so he decided that he would get out of the boat and wade, pulling the boat across the sand banks to the other side; his progress would be quicker he knew, and his decision made perfect sense. The tide was still low, so the main channel should be low as well. It was an area of the river difficult to navigate if you didn’t know it; very shallow in places at low tide with islands of sandbanks the larger boats could not easily negotiate. The channel was marked clearly with buoys guiding the way.
John slipped from the side of the boat, and hit the icy water losing his balance. His life jacket broke his fall, as did the sinking sand beneath his feet. John dragged himself upright, and waded forward.

To be continued tomorrow....

Monday, 14 October 2013

Manic Mondays - An Extract

A Manic Monday for Catherine Blake (Caz)

Here is an extract from the novel, Manic Mondays. Caz has just dropped her daughter at a new nursery and is about to have some time to herself for the first time in ages. It hasn't started so well....

Caz gave her hysterical daughter a quick kiss as Jo

scooped her up, and she hesitantly left. Feeling completely

dreadful for leaving her in such a state, Caz shut the door

behind herself and burst into tears. The wind whipped

noisily around her as she walked down the path crying into

a dirty tissue. My morning! My one Monday morning! To

do something for me! Caz had built up such expectations

for what she now thought of as a stupid half-day by herself.

She felt wretched and the grey cloud pounced, leaving her

with nothing but a feeling of bleakness. Caz didn’t notice

the bike pulling up by the railings outside the nursery.

‘Watch out!’ the cyclist yelled as, with head bent down,

Caz walked straight into the side of his bike and bashed her

knee on the revolving pedal as it tipped into her.

‘Ouch!’ she yelled, and continued snivelling.

‘You were lucky I had slowed down to park! You should

have been looking where you were going’.

‘Look I’m sorry, OK?’ Caz sniffled through tears as she

hobbled on her throbbing knee. ‘Just don’t give me any

hassle. I don’t think I could cope with it at the moment.’

‘Hey! It’s you... you’re the lady from the park, aren’t


Caz looked up - it was Mike.

‘Oh, hi,’ she sniffled at him with a half smile. Caz knew

she had mascara smeared across her face but didn’t care.

Mike smiled back at her, ‘Sorry to say it, but you look


‘You’re the second person to say that recently.’ She tried

to wipe the smeared mascara from her cheek, not convinced

that she wasn’t making it worse. She smiled a strained smile.

‘Seriously, are you OK?’ he asked, bending down to find

Caz somewhere under her mass of curls.

‘No. No I’m not OK.’ she said sniffling. ‘I’ve just left

my daughter at the nursery for the first time and she’s

howling louder than this bloody wind; it’s the first time I’ve

had to myself for weeks and now it’s ruined; I’ve just moved

here and I don’t know anyone – and I completely hate

Mondays anyway!’ She burst into tears again.

‘Sounds bad.’ Mike seemed to be struggling to keep the

humour out of his voice.

‘What? What’s funny?’

‘I dunno. Just the Monday thing, mostly,’ he said. ‘I

mean, all the rest sounds genuinely tough, but Mondays?

Ninety-nine percent of the population hate Mondays, so I

was wondering why you threw that one in.’ Caz couldn’t

help but smile back at him.

‘It’s a long story. My Monday thing is quite different to

most peoples though, I assure you.’ She licked a finger and

ran it under her bottom eyelids, to remove any last traces of

offending smears.

‘Come here,’ Mike said pulling a clean hanky from his

pocket. ‘You missed a bit.’ So there she stood like a four

year-old, while a virtual stranger wiped her eyes for her.


‘Look, give me a minute to sort out my bike and get

Leah out of this wind, into the nursery and then I’ll have a

look at that knee of yours and, who knows? Maybe we can

clear up this Monday thing too.’ Caz turned to go.

‘And don’t walk off, do you hear?’

Caz turned back. She felt embarrassed that Mike had

seen her in such a state, and she really wanted to go, but he

had been so nice, she just stood there. She watched him lock

his bike up and tried to compose herself. She smiled at Leah

who poked her tongue out. She felt like returning the gesture

but resisted the temptation. Caz watched Mike’s blonde hair

being made even more tousled by the wind. She wondered

if he just washed it and left it uncombed, because it didn’t

look like he did a lot with it (she thought of James’

slicked-back, tidy hair). It suited him though. He had big,

bright-blue eyes, and he looked laid back and carefree. She

imagined him to be an artist, or a writer, or a … Mike looked

up at her from his bike and smiled. Caz looked away

That's all for now . I hope your Monday starts off better than this one did for Caz.
Happy Monday xx

Monday, 7 October 2013

Manic Mondays New Cover!

Hello Everyone... welcome to another Manic Monday.

Woo hoo! Candy Jar publishing company had designed a new cover for my book. I hope you like it!  It has been designed by the lovely Nathan Hudson.

I have been researching other Monday books to see if I can find anything like Manic Mondays. There's not much around and nothing that has this book's focus - love them loath them we all do Mondays. It's the get up and go day, or for Catherine Blake the get up and go wrong day!

'Oooh! That's interesting,' I hear you shout. Yes.... exactly, which is why I shall tell you some more. This is what I found.....I found two crime books and a fantasy. Blue Monday by Nicci French, and Monday Mourning by Kathy Reich. Mister Monday by Garth Nix is one of seven that go right up to Lord Sunday. When people said I should write Toxic Tuesday, Winky Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday etc (you get the picture) I said 'are you for real? that would never work!' I stand corrected Nicci French - Tuesdays are Gone, and Waiting for Wednesday. I read Monday to Friday Man by Alice Peterson recently, and enjoyed it, but as far as Amazon goes on a Monday morning that's it my luvlies.

Back To Monday!!

Did you know that more arguments happen on a Monday morning than any other week day? Yes, it's true. Us human beings get all stressed out on a Monday morning. We've got to get out, on time, remember everything, work hard, look after our children, be nice... it's tough!

So, my message to you this Manic Monday is ...don't have a row, or snap at a loved one just because you can. Choose to see the good in them instead. Make Monday be to your week what a cup of tea can be to your day - a great start!

...And if you leave that in the middle of the kitchen floor for me to trip over again, I will scream.....!

See you next week xx