These are posts from our old website that we wanted to share

Fairies in the back garden

05/11/2011

a0287d78412cc3eb3fabdfad0bca884fRoland and I have discovered that we have a Fairy Tree in our back yard aka Hawthorn. It is beautiful with all of its dainty white flowers and there is a magical air surrounding it. I sometimes wonder who or what is opening my back door in the evenings here and all I can think of is the “Fairies” who live in and around the tree. We have several birds who come to visit our yard everyday, some of which I have never seen before moving to the UK. Today I caught a glimpse of a Great Spotted Woodpecker sitting on the back fence waiting his turn to get at the delicious peanuts. Oh yes in case I didn’t mention it before we are back at home in the UK, after our very emotional trip to the USA, and enjoying our new home and all the beautiful things nature offers us here. The weather has been brilliant although we do need a bit of water. I was just thinking that it sure is nice to wake up in the mornings to birds singing outside the window and the sun trickling in through the trees. Till next time from the Duskweald!!!!!

Happy First Anniversary!!!!

05/14/2011

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On a beautiful sunny, warm spring day    one year ago, this was the best day of our lives.  Roland and I were married in the Highbrook Church with a few family and friends in attendance.

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We celebrated our anniversary in Fordcombe at the Chafford Arms, one of our favorite pubs.  We have gone there for special occasions during the last year and Paul and Jackie are the most friendly people.  They own and run the pub by the way.  I suggest to anyone here in the Kent area to go visit them….you will be in for a treat!!!!!

We also went to visit Willow and Whisper to see how they were getting along and they seem to be doing well. Happy Anniversary Roland, the best thing that has happened to me in this lifetime!!!!  Till next time from the DuskWeald!!!!!

How Green are the Squirrels

05/23/11


What do you do when squirrels thwart your plans to grow your own veg or just some beautiful flowers to add colour and nutrition to a grey life?

Ours decided to create problems perhaps falsely believing we didn’t quite have enough with the people derived ones. Having bought new rose bushes, climbers, daisies, lavender and tomato plants, Juanita had spent hours planting them. Squirrel response was overkill: next morning we woke up to find the tomatoes & daisies dug up and holes in all the other pots & planters, including around the roses. Plus plenty of evidence of paws hard at work. And they had continued the rampage next door, digging up plants and spreading earth across the paving stones.

If there had been a gun around or even a slingshot, they would have known it. As it was they got the tongue lashing especially when the female came back to dig out the replanted tomatoes. It wasn’t as if they had been starving or that they had buried any nuts in the pots. Far from it. They have been on bonus rations but maybe there are kids to explain the childish behaviour.

Juanita has been feeding the birds since we got home, aware that the squirrels were among the most regular customers. It was fun watching Firmin and his wife hanging upside down from the bird table feeding from the peanut holder; although she didn’t quite get the knack.

So we spent a frustrating day concocting our response. It began with withholding the food although it was pretty clear that the birds would blame us rather than take it up with Firmin & his family. Next came coffee grounds round the plants although there wasn’t enough brewed. And finally after one more morning of invading squirrels with their wanton vandalism, the master stroke. Juanita had another moment of brilliance, using upturned plastic pots without bottoms, which worked brilliantly, protecting the tomato plants.

We have ordered a new bird feeder pole with two arms, which will sit in the middle of the front lawn. It will have a squirrel baffle and hopefully be out of range (10ft) of any squirrel death-defying leaps. No doubt we might see one of the Firmin brood try the high-wire act along the telephone wires. Except part 2 will be making the old bird feeder into a station for squirrels and less agile birds, too large to twirl around bird feeders.

So have we found a green solution to the squirrels? We could trap them and take them out of the Duskweald or I did see something about ‘squirrel pie’ or was it ‘Écureui au vin’.


So how about our green credentials:

Well we do use Wind power in that our electricity comes from a company who supplies green electricity from windmills they have built – Ecotricity. And yes we are on their pure green tariff. (And being on the top of a hill, we get plenty of wind to ventilate our home; like now). Just don’t mention the excess wind problem.

Recycling waste: we are lucky as Sevenoaks District Council does collect bags of paper as well as plastic etc and I believe that all the rest is burnt as fuel rather than used as landfill. We also got delivery of our new wheelie bin for garden waste which will be great now that the weather is perfect for gardening.

So what else: Recycled paper for writing on with recycled pens from game consoles. Does drinking Guiness count as being green, because of the Irish connection?

Organic food does but sadly I am a bit of a disgrace to my roots. Having spent all that time in the late 70’s researching, marketing and promoting the organic message, I have to admit that we don’t buy as much organic as we would like/should. A lot is Fair Trade though and hopefully when our finances settle down, we can put our money into our mouth.

Sadly the car is NOT green but we do refrain from using it unless we have to, like visiting my mum, our weekly/ten day shop and visits to the doctor. However while we are busy going nowhere except to other worlds (without a vast carbon footprint), the car sits in the car park gathering dust. Or should that be tree sap, pollen and guano. When we use it, the car merges into the hedgerows…

Any more helpful suggestions?

Roland


P.S. Of course Willow and Whisper are definitely green being farm-raised. Their arrival is scheduled for some time Wednesday and their new home is ready. We can’t wait.

That Pot of Gold

06/01/2011

4e04f29f22748b9661b1f67c8d8c1de8Ever wonder where the Crock of Gold is?  Yes I know, at the End of the Rainbow.  I mean not just the one we dream of finding or even that lottery win, but the one that you really deserve for all the hard work you put in. Of course the Revenue usually finds it first or they think they have.After all the trauma in the US, we arrived back home, looking forward to the quiet life, enjoying our time together in The Duskweald and beyond.  It was not to be, as it turned out that Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs had been trying to investigate since March my finances. In their infinite wisdom, they had decided that I was squirreling away money in an offshore account.And that is how they think I was covering my expenses, not struggling on Disability Living Allowance and sporadic help but with undeclared millions.  I just hope HMRC feel they have got the right answer by the deadline tomorrow.

So where is this money, I’ve been asking as I relive the hardest part of my life (2005-08). And yesterday at Borde Hill Horse Trials buried gold got mentioned again, although in jest.

It was actually our first chance to get to an equestrian event all season and a good day out, connecting with friends, enjoying the spring weather and being well looked after, despite the tussocks of grass making it hard to walk and getting me a mite annoyed with the MS.

As always Borde Hill has an enlivening effect on me, but it isn’t the house. That always feels intimidating and even a little alien. However I have always got a good vibe standing in the park surrounded by nature. Having other people enjoying the setting with their horses feels good too and I’m glad we got the event back on the calendar in 2005.

Perhaps as the jest went, I have buried the gold on Borde Hill.  Maybe like a squirrel I have buried the pieces of gold like acorns but have forgotten.  Perhaps over time they will sprout and flourish. Or is that just the atmosphere in the park?

Of course my father is buried under the trees in Gore’s Wood. Did he have a crock of gold buried with him? Some of my family believe that he should have left them millions so maybe he did.

Except I know where the gold is and yesterday I found it.

Walking round the Horse Trials catching up with all the latest news or just chatting and joking, it was obvious.  Whether it was having lunch at the core of the event, sampling the best coffee on the circuit, joking around about a certain yellow & green ball, chatting to riders who are a crucial part of the past, or just seeing the future, the gold was all around us.

What more do we ever need than true friends with whom we can share a precious moment.

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The Great Novel
06/12/2011

After too many years, too many changes of direction, a number of characters disposed of and a few other real life interruptions and diversions, ‘Spiral of Hooves’ is finished.  Well to be honest just the first draft that I am basically happy with in terms of plot and characters etc.But now comes the hard part – revision and editing until I have honed it into something ready for neutral readers to tackle.  Luckily I won’t be totally alone on this journey as Juanita has offered to read it and tell me where it doesn’t work.   Then at the next stage, two valued friends have offered to cast a constructively critical eye over it, with red pen in hand.  So given the speed it’s been rushed out, it might be ready for the 2024 Olympics

To keep the creative cells going I am developing a new idea. Or is ‘SKEIN’ a means to delay the hard work?  Or maybe the time off?  ‘Skein’ will be another mystery/crime novel but not set against horses, although there is at least one horse in it. However it is still set in a ‘world’ I kind of know.

Anyway time for some proper writing.  Until next time from the Silver Scribbler in The Duskweald.

Time

06/19/2011

It’s been too long since able to post and I hope I can get this done.  Novel is now on back burner prior to the big edit, which is meant to be the best thing.  Some experts advise putting it away for six months before doing the edit, as you can then approach the story more objectively.  After 10 years what is six months, except it is set against London 2012 in part so time is running down.

Using the time to develop new idea – a mystery set against world of computer gaming.  So researching cyber crimes and forming the characters who will move the plot.

Anyway time to get back to the writing (although this is scribbling of a kind).

Until the next time from the Silver Scribble in The Duskweald

RAIN

07/13/2011

dancing around in this wet abyss
with puddles around my feet
as the rain falls from the clouds above
i am in a world as beautiful as life;

as i spin blissfully
jumping around in joy
a little skip here and a little hop there
nothing can disturb this tranquil peace;

when nothing in life seem to go right,
never quite sure what tomorrow might bring,
knowing everything is for a reason,
the only thing that I can do is be my self;

as my fingers reach out to the falling raindrops,
i smile as i watch the rain come down,
softly sprinkling on my skin
alluring my senses into spring awaking;

as i surrender to the beauty of rain,
swimming in a sea of serenity,
a blanket of warmth surrounds me
as I fade into the darkness
letting my mind set itself free

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REFLECTION

07/17/2011

c319dee7ad9c8f4073b78ecf3b4d4055The moon rises full tonight.  Its alabaster orb poised above the horizon emanates a luminescent glow that spreads over the black velvet sky, unveiling hidden shapes concealed in the shadows of the darkness.  Its reflective light takes my breath away.  How large it is suspended above the world seemingly lit from within.  I have witnessed many moons ascend the night sky but I was not then as I am now.  When I stood in the glow of full moons past, I was younger and less aware of what I held inside.  I have grown since, wearing countless winters upon my face.  And now, it captivates my senses more deeply than ever.  Its penetrating glow bores into my soul like a treasure seeker digging for gold.
I am wholly laid bare as its celestial glow illuminates all in its silvery sharp shine.  My secrets are revealed.  The desires unmet I harbor sweep through me, undulating as the ocean tides advance and recede in their unending wash upon the shore.  There is no rest.  Like the waves that eat the sand in their retreat, so too does my soul evaporate as this searing light delves deep into my heart.  I cannot escape its scrutiny.  The truth is exposed.
How I wish not to gaze upon another blinding moon and succumb to its probing stare.  My being is weary of subsisting in and out of time.  I wish to abjure this existence between, return to the force from whence I came and dispossess these scorching pains that permeate my core.  If only their blaze would burn me out, then this tortuous journey could end.
It is folly to think on this.  I will forever endure in this middle world, apart from the verve of a vital life, eternally witnessing its dauntless enthusiasm evolve around me.  This is my doom.  I cannot be taken back; they have released me.  And I, the fool, requested this freedom.  This journey of life, this path of near mortal flesh, I asked for.  How I rue the day eons ago when my spirit was fiery and bold, exhuberant in its visionary infancy.  I did not know, and they could not force me to see that my impetuous pursuit was too soon, and too far away.  “Look to us.” they said.  “We will guide you.”  But I did not discern the wisdom in their appeals.
A fierce eagerness overtook the better part of me.  The desire to touch the mortals churned within and I could not reist their enthralling charm.  Their audaccity was like a magnet to my energy.  It ignited a craving within the root of my essence that I was poerless to resist.  How it burned and shot like fire through me, this appetite to feel their living, to be like them, to exist in their reality.
Watching them trapse through time, I felt a yearning overtake me entirely.  It was a piercing need that powered through me, eclipsing the words of caution from those more experienced that I.  Ignoring the hesitant admonitions in their minds, I plunged away from their sedate duration of being.  They had to let me go.  They could not contain the intensity of my rapture with their quiet insouciance.
And so, here I stand beneath this vibrant moon bleeding my pain into the night.  This soul I now possess incessantly aching from the lacerations wrought by time.  I will never escape the agony I bear.  The embullience I craved to attain the cognition I longed to embrace will ever evade my grasp.  I am destined to walk in this world I cannot touch, forever thirsting for its verdant life and this lucent sphere, relentless in its interminable orbit, will ever hang obove constant with its reminder that I thought too soon!!!!!!!

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First Drafts

07/25/2011

Another milestone in the novel writing adventures of the Silver Scribbler. Having set myself the deadline of a month to write the first draft of ‘Skeins’, I completed it on time yesterday, without cheating.  Great feeling although not something that I would do again as it meant having to be somewhat anti-social from waking up to going to bed; barring MS exercises, meals and rests.  Also with the MS, I did require regular breaks or my legs stiffened up badly.  Next time I will go for a slightly slower pace – back from 2,500 words per day to 2,000 = 5-6 wks for same length draft (78,000).

Anyway it is written and without reading it through to revise it, I am happy given it is a first draft.  First real test will be my honey reading it, especially as gaming is at centre of the cyber-crime plot.  Also new working title is ‘Wyrm Bait’ due to cyber & fantasy gaming connections. Might even use main characters again and stick with some title format with ‘Wyrm’ or related.

I won’t be doing any serious revision on it for at least a month if not two or even six (the recommended marination time according to some professional writers). Instead I will be beginning the revision of ‘Spiral of Hooves’ which has sat in a cupboard since June 12th. Spent a week deliberating about how long to marinade it for and whether I should start a second novel, or whatever was deemed sensible. Eventually having weighed up all the advice, decided to write two in parallel.

So ‘Spiral of Hooves’ re-enters my life and I wonder what I will find.  Could be an exciting time for the Silver Scribbler…and his red pen.

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LETTER FROM HEAVEN

08/03/2011

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To my dearest family,

some things I’d like to say.

But first of all to let you know,

that I arrived okay.

I’m writing this from Heaven,

where I dwell with God above.

Where there are no tears or sadness,

there is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy,

just because I’m out of sight.

Remember that I’m with you,

every morning, noon, and night.

That day I had to leave you,

when my life on Earth was through,

God picked me up and hugged me,

and He said, “I welcome you”.

“It’s good to have you back again,

you were missed while you were gone.

As for your dearest family,

they’ll be here later on.”

“I need you here so badly,

as part of My big plan.

There’s so much that We have to do,

to help our mortal man”.

Then God gave me a list of things

He wished for me to do,

and foremost on that list of mine,

is to watch and care for you.

I will be beside you,

every day of the week and year.

And when you’re sad, I’m standing there

to wipe away the tear.

And when you lie in bed at night,

the days chores put to flight,

God and I are closest to you

in the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on Earth,

and all those loving years,

because you’re only human,

there’s bound to be some tears.

Do not be afraid to cry,

it does relieve some pain.

Remember, there would be no flowers,

without a little rain.

I wish that I could tell you,

of all that God has planned.

But if I were to tell you,

you would not understand.

One thing is for certain,

though my life on Earth is over,

I am closer to you now,

than I ever was before.

And to my many friends,

trust God knows what is best.

I am not far away from you,

I’m just beyond the crest.

There are rocky roads ahead for you,

and many hills that you must climb.

Together we can do it,

taking it one day at a time.

It was my philosophy,

and I’d like it for you too,

that is, give unto the World,

so the World will give to you.

If you can help someone

who’s in sorrow or in pain,

then you can say to God at night,

my day was not in vain.

And now I am contented

that my life, it was worthwhile.

Knowing, as I passed along the way,

I made somebody smile.

When you’re walking down the street,

and you’ve got me on your mind,

I’m walking in your footsteps,

only half a step behind.

And when you feel a gentle breeze

of wind upon your face,

that’s me giving you a great big hug,

or just a soft embrace.

When it’s time for you to go

from that body to be free,

remember you are not going,

you are coming home to me.

I will always love you,

from that place way up above.

I will be in touch again soon,

P.S. God sends his Love.

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Cats Sleep Anywhere…

08/04/2011

Cats sleep anywhere, any table, any chair.
Top of piano, window-ledge, in the middle, on the edge.
Open drawer, empty shoe, anybody’s lap will do.
Fitted in a cardboard box, in the cupboard with your frocks.
Anywhere! They don’t care! Cats sleep anywhere.

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KITTIES BEDTIME PRAYER!!

08/04/2011

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray this cushy life to keep.

I pray for toys that look like mice,

and sofa cushions, soft and nice.

For grocery bags where I can hide,

just like a tiger, crouched inside!

I pray for gourmet Kitty snacks,

and someone nice to scratch my back.

For window sills all warm and bright,

for shadows to explore at night.

I pray I’ll always stay real cool,

and keep the secret feline rule.

To NEVER tell a human that…

the world is really ruled by CATS!!

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A SCRIBBLER’S DILEMMA: What Next?

09/28/2011

Well finally got a draft (4th) of Spiral of Hooves which I felt was good enough to send to my valiant beta readers on Sunday. But what to do next?

I have started looking through the first draft of the second novel, Wyrm Bait – cyber-crime – but wondering if I have left it long enough.

However, I started developing characters & ideas for third. Provisionally titled Fates Match, it is a psychological suspense mystery – young girl implicated in the murder of her grandfather. Wondering whether to get first draft of that done, then leave idea to marinade while I revise Wyrm Bait.

Undecided as I want to enter something in 2012 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition and deadline is November 30th. So I need time to get one of existing novels together.

Oh I love dilemmas…NOT.

Will announce the Silver Scribbler’s decision in next post…whenever that is.

Matching fates over time

10/17/2011

How far back should characters look for their motivation and for their paranoia?
I am having fun plotting my third novel ‘Fates Match’ and I am finding that there is a fair bit of backstory, some of which lies in the distant past.  In fact I am talking about 250 years earlier than the main story so I am having to find ways of deciding what is merely part of the characters’ identity and what has to be there in the unravelling of the plot; or should I say the careful weaving of the story.
It must be obvious now that any attempt to edit ‘Wyrm Bait’ is on hold although not because I dislike the story.  In fact I enjoyed writing it so much I can’t wait to do the next draft but I know that isn’t something to rush into until I’ve distanced myself from the initial creation; plus done some research.
So for the moment ‘Fates Match’ is the one evolving mainly through character creation which as a result has thrown up more flesh on the bones of what was an old concept I dreamt up years ago.  Basic plotline is a student from a gypsy-traveller background is accused of murdering her wealthy grandfather.
Meanwhile my friends/beta-readers are gradually making valuable comments on ‘Spiral of Hooves’ so that I can start sending that out to prospective agents once corrections made to existing draft.
As for the 2012 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition, I have decided not to enter it for various reasons including having other plans for unfinished manuscripts as well as practical difficulties.
Time to get back to my real writing even if it is at present just notes and short passages.
Until next time from the Silver Scribbler.

HAPPINESS

11/04/2011

In the picture, just look at their condition.. no place to sleep, still they have

made some space for the cat and the dog… water pouring from the roof but still

each one of them have a peaceful smile on their face.. Simply amazing!!!!!

The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems,

but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect.

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THE LAST LEAF

11/13/2011

Halfway through my 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month

A new challenge has presented itself in the form of this international literary abandon – www.nanowrimo.org/enwhich I started a few days late on November 3rd.  You have to write 50,000 words of a new novel during November and if you succeed then you receive a certificate.  NaNoWriMo was started in the US back in 1999 with 21 participants and six certificate winners.  Last year there were 200,500 participants and 37, 500 winners.  This year the numbers have continued growing.  Some of the frenetically novels have even be edited, honed and re-edited into published books.

So it will be interesting to see where ‘The Last Leaf’ ends up.  It’s a fantasy novel but there is a mystery to resolve which may involve a crime.  Enjoying writing it and pulling ideas out of the ether as I write, while trying to retain some consistency in the storyline.

Basic initial synopsis (when I started):  A retired scholar sets out to unravel the origin of his country which has been lost in the depths of ignorance, rumour and propoganda. At first his mission is welcomed by his academy but then the vested interests that decide the way society runs, arrange for the scholar to be led astray. The first opponent is a fellow scholar who has already researched the founding fathers but his thesis is full of errors as are his arguments. To research the period properly the scholar needs to enter an ancient abandoned city so enlists a guide and protector to help him.  The woman although proficient and surprisingly knowledgeable, clashes with him in numerous ways but they find the old tablets, well-preserved and concealed.
He returns to his university but discovers that someone has stolen the tablets.  He realises that the woman was provided by the hierarchy so he would find the tablets which could then disappear.  Except he has remembered everything and realises what they are meant to say.  He sets out on the last leg of his quest which will entail a confrontation with his teacher.  The woman finds him and reluctantly he believes her tale of betrayal and torture, which leads to The Last Leaf.

Amazingly the plotline has survived so far although with exciting shortcuts and meanders on the journey.  Well better start doing today’s creative musing and writing.

Until next time – The Silver Scribbler

NOVEMBER NOVEL NEWS

11/26/2011

Winner as I actually managed to write 50,000 for NaNoWriMo in November

On Tuesday evening November 22nd I hit the 50,000 word count in ‘The Last Leaf’, the novel idea dreamt up for NaNoWriMo.  Maybe it was more of a flow of words from my conscious ramblings but I feel there is something there to hone into shape.

On Wednesday, I actually reached ‘The End’ – 53,713 words but don’t feel that is quite the first draft as in the haste I knew that I hadn’t foreshadowed events that appeared in the writing and there are descriptions missing as well as missed opportunities with secondary characters.

So now I am working through the text, making corrections and additions, developing the plot and characters a little and ensuring the story flows consistently.

It will become a first draft to print out then rewrite plotted properly although not until the new year – as I have to work on the final draft of Spiral of Hooves.

Wonderful challenge to write a novel this way.  It reminded me of what I had read about the famous British writer John Braine’s method (Writing a Novel) which Hemingway used years before him = start with just a basic theme and v short synopsis plus names of main characters but no more.  Then write a white-hot speed without breaking the flow of words – no reading back, no revision – until the first draft is one.  The feeling is meant to be exhilirating and in many ways that was what I felt: elated, chuffed and although aware of the rewrite that has to follow, I also felt a huge sense of achievement.

That sense of achievement will be even greater when I have read this white-hot draft through and found it isn’t total gibberish.  Test 2 will be when Juanita reads the first print-out aloud.  It may be short but I know that there are things that can be worked in (as I cut out the excess words).

Wyrm Bait was of course written at a fast pace but I had plotted it and worked on the characters.  Fates Match has had even more plotting so that will be interesting to write.  But first Spiral of Hooves – the long haul novel!!!!

Time to read & write a bit more.

Until next time from the Silver Scribbler

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Happy Birthday Carrie, Our Angel Always Watching Over Us…

12/07/2011

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Remembering the day that you were born, Carrie, that beautiful December day that you came into

our lives and captured our hearts forever…..

December 07, 1973…..the happiest day of our lives…..

April 09, 2011…..the saddest day of our lives……..

How can I even put into words the ache I have for you in my heart, Carrie?

The need I have to hold you in my arms and tell you again that I love you…

the need to hear you laugh, and see your beautiful smile.

I go through your pictures…from when you were born till the day you were taken from us.

Tears fall freely down my face.

I love all of the pictures, and although they make me smile, my heart aches so for you.

I just try and get through every day without you, but its not easy, Carrie.

I still think of you every day, and there has not been one day go by that I haven’t cried.

Sometimes I talk to you out loud, pretending that you are still here, but I try and do that when no

one else is around.

The laughter has gone out of our lives, Carrie…and the song has disappeared.

Things are just so different now, but how could they have stayed the same? Not now…not without you.

I want you to know that our love will never fade for you, Carrie

And I will keep your memory alive every way that I can.

Its hard to really realize that you are 38 years old now, Carrie.

You will always be my little girl and you will always be beautiful and so full of life.

This is the first birthday we will celebrate without you here and it will be the hardest to get

through…….It just seems like I need you more and more. I picture you now, running in

fields…carefree and happy.

You are our beautiful Angel. In my heart I do know that we will be reunited one day, and then we will

never be apart ever again.

I will love you eternally Carrie…with all the love that a Mother could ever have for her

child…the unconditional love, the undying love that will last for Eternity.

Mommy

Birthdays In Heaven

Are there birthdays in Heaven?
Does the angel blow his horn?
Announcing to everybody
That this is the day you were born?

Can the stars be your balloons
And angel food your cake?
Presents wrapped in moonbeams
All the angels helped to make.

Birthdays meant so much to you
They were always a big deal
Birthday presents, lots of friends
And perhaps a special meal.

So I’ll whisper a little prayer today
Asking everyone up above
To sing you a Happy Birthday song
And give you all our love…

For Eternity,   Mom and Roland

Room for Jesus and Santa at the Duskweald

12/25/2011

Today is a time for prayer, rejoicing and precious gifts

Having watched Santa make his journey around the world last night and read the comments on NORAD Santa site, I realised what a precious time this is for all kids young and old.

Most of us associate Santa Claus with Christmas as observed in christian communities and yet the traditions at the root of Santa are more varied.  This is not the place to post a lecture but if you want to know more, visit: http://www.lone-star.net/mall/main-areas/santafaq.htm  OR http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yulethelongestnight/p/Santa_Claus.htm

The danger would be to allow the Birth of Jesus Christ  to be swamped by the commercialisation of the festival.  For many of us that mysterious event gives us hope that there is more to life than the materialism, that there is a love that we can share and that there is a force that gives form & reason to everything, whatever one calls one’s God; be it God, Allah, even Gaia.

And on the other hand it would be wrong to sacrifice the magic that Santa Claus brings at this time, with gifts that can be as simple as the fruit I found in my stocking as a child.  The joy is also in the giving especially for adults.  Believing in Santa creates magic in a world that is losing it and encourages us to reach out to others.  It’s only humbug to those in a grey sad world who are blind to any colour even while sitting on the grass looking at the sky.

So today I can rejoice that I have life and can share it with those I love.  Today I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and that Jesus or some other spiritual energy is alive in your heart and finally I hope that Santa visited you.  For today is the time of light in the midst of darkness.

The Silver Scribbler

Spiral Snow Suspense

02/05/2012

A new year and new writing targets…
…but not resolutions as they melt with the first snow.  In fact I am sitting here looking out on a winter wonderland but feeling a slight chill.  At least we have enough food to last us until the snow goes in a day or so.  Don’t want to give the delivery driver an excuse not to bring us our supplies.

Writing:  finished another draft of Spiral of Hooves, using comments from my kind beta readers/friends. That should be the final one but I know there could be more honing in time.  For now holding on submitting manuscript anywhere, at least until the Debut Dagger short list is out – entered but not holding out much hope as Spiral has faults.  Also it is set in 2012 which could be a big mistake.  Maybe I should self-publish, although money is against that.   Dilemma: drawer, rewrite, submission or a new plot?

Today though I am starting to write Fates Maelstrom, the psychological mystery that I plotted back in October.  Back then it was called Fates Match but I feel that the title needed to be stronger with more suggestion of something ominous.  Sure that an agent or publisher will change it but I like a good working title.

Enough rambling for today – time to put my brain to real creativity.

Until next time from the Silver Scribbler

Turning Sixty……

02/29/2012

930d16ec7af8c329f75c7410d8818a0dI have been sitting here for days wondering what I could write about my life and turning sixty…..I thought it would be easy. And I have been scared about it…..I thought about the different approaches I could take….you know, how it feels to see your hair turn gray, your hips expand, your boobs go south, or hear your grand kids say that your tummy makes a good pillow…..that sort of thing.

60…….six—–ty……..SIX……TEE!! Where has the time gone? I don’t feel any older….I take that back……I do feel older. Especially today. My joints are stiff. I think I remember that person in the mirror……its just that the person I remember didn’t have gray hair peeking through……..

When we were kids we always thought that by the time we were “old” we would have all the money in the bank that we would ever need. We would have all our goals accomplished. We would have found the love of our life and live happily ever after……….we would know all there is to know, have the best house on the block with the best car and the best kids ever.

I feel like I had a good life growing up, despite the little things that happened like divorce. How devastating it is for children to have to go through that with their parents and not really understanding why and wondering what they did wrong to cause such atrocity……..no one ever explained it to me so why not be my fault?

Oh the tales I could tell you about life and her fickle ways…….for some reason just when you think things are going oh so good, life throws a monkey wrench into it and boggles it all up…….along the way come the high points in life…..love, babies, rainbows……really the ups in life almost make you forget about the downs, which hopefully I have learned from……..

I dropped out of High School and ran away from home when I was 17, it was an escape from a home that I was not happy in…… my mom didn’t know where I was for a long time…..I think I broke her heart…….I can’t go into all the details of what happened to me during that time but it was my worst nightmare….I will just say that at one point during this time I didn’t think I would be alive to enjoy the rest of my life. Then I met the man that I would eventually marry…..he saved me from an untimely death, my hero and savior……..we did eventually marry and we had four beautiful children together……I went back to school and graduated and got my certification as a Nurses Aide, then he got sick and in 1987, after 17 years of marriage, he passed away. My dreams were shattered and I knew that my life was over at that point…..how could I go on without him? I started drinking, something I am not proud of and then one day I stopped and I looked at my kids and then I decided that they deserved better…….so I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and tried to make life better for my kids. My oldest was 13 and the baby was 3 when their daddy died. I lost everything despite trying so hard to keep things together….then in 1988 I met my second husband…..he was wonderful, and he treated my kids good…..we married and were happy. Damn it felt so good to be happy….then the unthinkable happened again……he was diagnosed with cancer and within a week he to was gone…..how much more can I take? That was 1999……oh I have seen more death….I lost 2 baby grand daughters, my dad, and eventually my daughter in April 2011. I did marry again but was divorced after 5 short years when he was not being very honest with me and I caught him doing things he should not have been doing……I think of this as one of the mistakes I made in my life and do not reflect on it at all………

My son eventually got me interested in playing MMORPG’s and it was in one of these games in April of 2009 that I met my real hero……the only problem was he was half a world away…..so what do you do? He is disabled and I knew he could not make a trip to meet me so in November 2009 I boarded a plane destined for England. I was only going for 2 weeks but ended up staying for two extra weeks……it was the happiest 4 weeks of my entire life, not counting when I gave birth to my kids……..it was so hard to go back to America when the time came and I cried because I had to leave him…..god it felt like my heart was being ripped out of my body…………I got back to Idaho, spent a lot of time on the game and phone with him…I was so depressed without him……so we decided that I should go back to England……and on February 3 2010, with all my children’s blessing, I again boarded a plane for England……..we had to eventually rent a flat as the B and B was getting to expensive to live in and so in March 2010 we moved into our flat in Tunbridge Wells…….we discussed getting married but I think at the time both of us were a little gun-shy……..and we both knew that 6 months would pass by fast and we had to do something…….after much discussion and interviews with officials from the Church of England we were married in May of 2010…..nothing fancy with just his mum, brother, sister-in-law and a couple of good friends of ours. We then had to go back to America and get the spousal visa and here I am living my dream, in the country of my forefathers………with the man I love and who makes me happy……happier than I have been in a long time……….

I could go on and talk about the circle of life. Tell about the wisdom I’ve gained as a daughter, mother, aunt, grandmother and friend……or how it really feels to have raised four children, watch them grow up and actually survive and have families of their own…..I could share how being a grand mother feels…..how it feels to see little pieces of my parents, myself, and my children, running around tearing up books or unrolling the toilet paper down the hall……Mentally I still think the same as I did in my thirties…..when I was in my twenties I thought I knew everything……then I realized I didn’t and tried to correct my thoughts. This has been a lifelong project, because you see, people are complex…..just when you think you have them figured out…….WHAM! Something unexpected happens and it’s either you change the way you think, which is way easier, or force them to change….bottom line….ACCEPTANCE is the key…..if you can accept the changes thrown your way and deal with them, you have won the battle…..now, after all that thinking, I realized that turning sixty isn’t so bad…..I am worried about nothing…..forty was worse….at 39 I was still a hot mama but when I turned forty I was someones grandma!!!

There were not so many gray hairs at forty but it was then that I found my first one and that was freaky……I wasn’t so worried about heart disease and diabetes, because I was to busy watching my family die from some of those degenerative diseases…..now it is me being told the same things I heard the doctors say to some of them………

I have learned a lot of cool things over the course of my years but it only seems to come in handy when Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is on television…..and I CAN say to my grandchildren with confidence “I remember when”…….oh boy that is scarey to hear yourself say…..at fifty I got used to all the changes in my body, my mind, my soul…..now I can relax and enjoy the ride even if it is all downhill from here……I still worry about my mortality but I am not that old yet….at least that is what I tell myself……DANG!!!!! I still listen to the top forty, remember the words to songs and sometimes I have exchanged CD’s with my kids and grand kids…….I even have a heavy metal collection……does Led Zeppelin count?……now in 10 years ask me to write something about how it feels to be seventy and I may have a real problem…….

Yes, I feel like I have lived a good life despite all the lemons I have been dealt…..all the hurt I have felt…….emotionally I have more time to stop and look at the roses…..The thorns hurt less nowadays…..and the smell is OH so sweet……what I am trying to say is I guess I have calmed down a lot and take things in stride more…..I try to see the humor in situations…..and I love my kids, grand kids and great grand kids….UNCONDITIONALY!!!! I have embraced life so far and I intend to live it fully……….

IN MEMORY

04/09/2012

Our beautiful daughter….Carolina Charlton Neves……..12/07/1973 – 09/04/2011 Forever in our hearts!!!!!!!!!

It is now 6:20 pm here in England and it has been a very bleak day, rainy and windy. I have sat here for most of the day trying to reflect back on Carrie without shedding a tear, but its not working. I have a large amount of sadness and heaviness in my heart and a void which can never be filled. I remember how beautiful it was back in Idaho on this day a year ago and I try to make sense of it all. I am saddened because I was not with my daughter when she died and that breaks my heart. Oh Roland and I were staying with her at her home but that week we were there was the worst week of my life, watching her suffer and not being able to stop her pain….watching her drift in and out of consciousness….laying there so vunerable to the world and yet not being afraid to die. I don’t know how many times she looked up at me and told me with sadness in her eyes that she just wanted to die and each time she said that a part of me died with her……the days we were with her I felt bad, not because she was dying, but because of the disrespect that was shown to her by everyone that was living in her home by fighting and bickering, and you all know who you are. I was angry to think that here is my daughter dying and all these selfish people could think of was themselves.

After spending a week listening to all of this I decided that I could not take anymore, so Roland and I went back to Boise to stay with my son and his wife. I just needed to get away from all the commotion and gather my thoughts because I knew I would need to be strong for my daughter and those she left behind. I wanted to be with her to hold her hand and tell her everything would be okay….but it was not to be…..that moment was stolen from me forever….I remember getting the phone call to tell me she was gone, at that moment time stood still and my world came tumbling in on me. Gone forever was the one person I could talk to and tell all my thoughts and dreams to. Gone was the person who told me to come to England and be happy with Roland for I had been so unhappy for so long, and gone was the person who told me that she would keep the family together while I was not there…….

No date is etched as deeply on my heart as Carolina’s death date.

We never truly forget the day our child died. How we honor it (or run from it) may change from year to year, but it’s a marker just the same. It’s akin to our personal 9/11/2001, though the actual day/month/year is likely different. My date is 04/09/2011, for example. It may be a date of no significance to you, but it was the day that the world as I knew and understood it, ceased to exist.

Friends and family may wonder if they should remember it, too. They may be confused about what is appropriate, however. They may wonder if it would hurt us too much if they acknowledged the pain they once shared with us, fresh as an open grave. Would we resent the tug back to that awful day — if they called or said something to hint that they recalled the significance of the day, as we continue to work to “get over it”? And how should they approach us?

They have reason to ask how I’m doing, because my emotions have run the gamut in the past. “Don’t cry because it’s over, Dr. Seuss advised. “Smile because it happened.” Most days that advice helps me, but it just doesn’t hold water on the anniversary of my child’s death.

Today is the one year into “After,” I have cried many tears in this last year. But that didn’t help. Crying makes me feel guilty, like I am seeking a release I didn’t deserve because I had spent a year unable to “fix” it — to barter her back, or to wake up from the nightmare myself. Surely I deserved all of the pain I felt. That’s how I was thinking this last year.

That’s called Depression. It’s normal to be depressed on the anniversary of a child’s death. The pain of separation and grief is a constant, steady throb.

Truth is, this last year I was still struggling with the core guilt of surviving a cancer that I didn’t even have. But I was the Mom, and Moms shouldn’t outlive Children. Even if the children die apart from them. Except sometimes they do and we do and it’s terrible not to be able to change places and set the world back on its axis.

I don’t know if I find solace in remembering… or forgetting. My child lives on in my heart and mind and memories. It isn’t enough — it will never be enough — but it is what it is. I have to learn to deal with the loss (over and over and over again, anniversary by anniversary) or I will go crazy.

Trying to actively cope with pain does not mean I am pushing it down or denying it’s legitimacy. Taking a breather from grief is not a failure to grieve enough or a failure to hurt enough. I have a lifetime to spread the pain over. If I can take it a day at a time, and ask for the help I may want on those significant days that are especially hurtful, it is a blessing of grace. I can imagine, perhaps, that my ability to cope in this way honors my child, too. I had love in my life and I continue to need it, no matter how adept I may now be at pushing it away.

Someday in the future, I may inadvertently “forget” the significance of the day. Then, when I realize it’s slipped by like an oily snake, I’ll either feel an immense relief … or an immense guilt.

And on those days, I will try to remember to “smile because it happened” because I had Carolina in my life for 37 years. I want to honor the day she entered my life, and I will try to honor the day she left it as well. I was, and am, still her mother. No one can strip that from me. What a gift that was. And when I think of it that way, I do smile because it happened.

The memories we hold deep within our heart,
can bring us joy, or tear us apart.
They surface when we’re lonely, they make us cry,
As we sort through painful memories, of days gone by.
They can cause such sadness and heartache too,
We even wonder at times if we’ll make it through.

The memories are our past, we never let them go,
They are also our future to help us grow.
Memories within the heart, always stay,
But given time, the pain, will go away.

Give yourself the time, for when heartache is real
You need to grieve before wounds can heal.
Then you can look back, once in awhile,
And memories will be there to remember with a smile.

They’ll bring you comfort, there’ll be no more pain,
And your heart will be free….to love again.

Mom and Roland….

P.S. Roland didn’t have you in his life but for a short while but you gave him a lifetime of joy!!!!!!

Sculpting Fates Maelstrom

05/04/2012

The longest first draft to date and a sense of achievement

0d274e3b5d9812810d0b2ee50f1c749cAfter 12 weeks of sculpting and writing I have finished the first draft of FATES MAELSTROM – a crime mystery about a young girl from a Romani community, accused by the police of murdering her grandfather.  Now Honey has started reading it aloud before I leave it to marinade for a few months.

However one of US family wants to read the book asap so might make a few minor changes then let her see this version + I am considering entering a competition whose deadline is mid July for a crime novel with a strong female protagonist BUT hoping mine is strong enough as she starts as the victim and has help in her struggles!!

Next step – once Fates Maelstrom is in the drawer marinading – is to work on 2nd draft of WYRM BAIT, first of a potential series about cyber-crime.  Sadly my poor Honey had fiction of my hero Norman turn into reality when her LOTRO account was hacked and all her characters had their bags and vaults emptied.  Fortunately the GMs must have found the thief as she has got almost everything – although it’s going to be very hard sorting out the items especially as some missing still.  Going to update Wyrm Bait to reflect our renewed faith in GMs & game producers – although will leave in the horrific end for the fictional gold hacker as a warning to real ones that Karma might get them too.

Karma & Fate

Unitl next time from The Silver Scribbler

Finding My Writing Wings

05/16/2012

There was a time some years ago when MS had so clipped my writing wings that it was hard to write and I had to turn down commissions to write articles or even take photographs.  Even the novel that I had dreamt of writing was a mess and going nowhere – except perhaps to a shredder, one day.  Spiral of Hooves as that unfinished opus was called, had taken almost a decade of scribbling and gone through so many plot versions that even the characters were confused – although we all perhaps realised it was meant to be a mystery set against the equestrian world of eventing. However at that point I realised that I was listening to far too much good advise but not to my inner muse whose voice had gone quiet as far as I was concerned.

Any crutch that I had left to help me continue writing had failed so I had literally started to shut down and accept my life in a wheelchair doing very little of worth.

Then in 2009 I met Juanita and we got married. She showed me how to fly again, telling me to trust my own instincts and stop believing in ‘I can’t’.  She gave up her life in the USA to be with me and she was the one who took me out of that wheelchair, inspiring me to write again.

Since we have been together I have completed what I hope will be the final acceptable draft of Spiral of Hooves  – which probably took 12 years. In one month last summer I wrote the first draft of Wyrm Bait – a cyber mystery set against the online gaming world – which is potentially the first of a series. Then in November I took on the NaNoWriMo challenge – http://www.nanowrimo.org/en – and wrote the first draft of The Last Leaf – a fantasy mystery.   This spring, taking a bit more time, I completed the first draft of Fates Maelstrom – a psychological mystery.

So what about the quality of three drafts written at red hot speed during 9 months compared with 12 for my first attempt? Well judging by the comments of my number 1 critic when she read all four through aloud, Juanita could see that I was improving as I wrote more, which is what I felt as I was writing each new draft.  The words came more easily and they flowed in interesting directions that on hearing them spoken seemed to work. Plus after each day’s writing I would work through what I’d done the day before and the daily editing process became more constructive. That’s not to say these drafts are perfect and that is the next step, honing. So of course I am looking forward now to the fun but hard part of revising these drafts – but that’s perhaps another blog.

At least now I know that at last my imagination is soaring as my writing wings have been unclipped again thanks to Juanita’s support – and perhaps my accepting that ‘I can’.  As I have said I sense that the writing in these draft novels feels as though it is improving as I slowly learn the craft.  I am only a fledgling novelist but I am learning the basics of writing flight and the crutches have become wings.

Never give up, believe in yourself and you will begin to have writing wings.  I invite you to join this fledling on a winged adventure with The Silver Scribbler.

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