Review of ‘Apple Blossom’, by Jaye Marie





My 4 star review:

I did wonder why there was a picture of apple blossom on the front cover of this book, which is a very short (14 pages) but factual story of the author’s thoughts and feelings on her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer (the treatments are not described in too much detail). However, the significance of the apple blossom became apparent as I read on. I finished the book in 20 minutes, and can sympathise entirely with Jaye Marie’s dread of radiotherapy, as I underwent 30 of these treatments myself for a different type of cancer earlier this year.

I would have liked the book to have been a little bit longer, and would have liked to read more about the after-effects of radiotherapy and whether the author suffered from on-going tiredness and lymphoedema (swelling due to bad lymph drainage)  for example. After-effects can linger for years, and it would be interesting to find out if radiotherapy for different types of cancers all give similar after-effects.

The book was well formatted, and I found only a couple of typos. Doctors, nurses and radiologists try their best to make us as comfortable as possible during our treatment, but at the end of the day a course of radiotherapy is something that ultimately augments a cancer sufferer’s capability to endure. We can take along CD’s to try and blot out the clicking of the tomography machine, but it is unfortunately an endurance test. Well done to Jaye Marie though,  for passing the test with flying colours!


Friday Roundup – 20th October

1.  L C W Allingham advises on things you learn when you’re a writer:

2.  Thanks to Writing nore for this blog regarding active and passive voice:

Active vs passive voice in writing

3. Thanks to Chris McMullen for this info regarding CreateSpace:

4.  Thanks to Dale Lehman at Indies Unlimited for these 4 ways to hone your writing:

5.  Hugh’s Views & News wonders if it’s time to turn off blog comments:

Is it time to turn off comments on your blog?

6.  Author Marketing Experts give 5 reasons why it’s better being an Indie author:

7.  An interesting take on ghostwriting from Meg Dowell:

Write Your Own Content.


Thanks to Don Massenzio, Chris, the Story Reading Ape, Sylvia Hubbard, and Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie for the re-blogs.

Book Promotion: Get Reviews and Author Interviews with Bloggers

Thanks to Gemini Adams at ‘Finish Your Book’ for this helpful information on obtaining book reviews.

Finish Your Book

Book promotion and publicity used to be about securing pre-publication reviews in national newspapers and relevant magazines. Now there are literally thousands of media channels, and often highly targeted niche ones, where you can get your book attention, thanks to the plethora of internet bloggers.

The good news is that they are also hungry for relevant content; meaning products and people who are going to appeal to their audience.

Reaching out to bloggers who cover your genre and subject is a great way to get your book noticed, and, unlike newspapers and magazines, these reviews or author interviews never get trashed, and they can often earn you valuable backlinks to your website which will help promote traffic (ask the blogger to include a url link to your website somewhere in the review/interview — this is what’s known as a backlink). And, typically you can get your book reviewed well…

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Night Manoeuvres

I couldn’t help but answer the question below when I visited Quora yesterday:

‘How do you wean an 18 month old off breastfeeding during the night when he is waking up screaming and flailing around?’

Ha ha, this took me back to a similar time when I was a new mother and constantly tired.  Our eldest son Leon refused to sleep for any length of time, and this carried on for about two years.  He hated to be left alone to go to sleep on his own, and we always had to get him to sleep by putting him in his pushchair and rocking it backwards and forwards.

Every time he woke up at night, Sam or I would get up, give Leon a bottle of milk if he was hungry, and then rock him back to sleep again in the pram.  This could  happen several times every night, and we were both on our knees with tiredness.  The screaming  was relentless if we put him down awake in the cot, and the constant broken nights wore us out until we were both snapping at each other out of exhaustion.

One night when Leon was about two years old,  it was Sam’s turn to rock the pram backwards and forwards.  He stumbled out of bed and I fell back asleep.  In the morning the alarm woke us up, and I couldn’t hear any screaming.  I looked over at Sam in amazement.

“He’s still asleep!”

“Probably, yeah.”  Came the muffled reply. “He’s sleeping it off.”

“Sleeping what off?”  I sat up in bed, worried.

“He asked me for a little drop of whisky in his milk, so I gave it to him.”

“You did what?”  I was livid. “You can’t give whisky to a toddler!  He might be dead in there!  I can’t look!  You’ll have to go and see!”

Sam is very resourceful, inventive, and can find a practical solution quite quickly if there’s a crisis.  He shrugged and did not seem at all perturbed.

“It was only a few drops.  He’ll be fine.”

Up he got and peered into the nursery.  The noise of the door opening woke Leon and started him off screaming.  Sam picked him up, changed his nappy, and brought him out into the kitchen.

“He’s got a hangover now!”  I sat Leon in his highchair. “And it’s all your fault!”

That night was a turning point.  I forbade Sam to give Leon any more whisky, and we decided that unless we let him scream himself to sleep, then we’d still be rocking him when he was 16.  We lived in a flat, and I knocked on the neighbours’ doors to warn them to put their earplugs in round about 7pm as we were going to let Leon scream it out.   One of our neighbours was an elderly lady who had brought up 5 children of her own, and she confirmed that she had done exactly the same thing for two of her sons who had never wanted to go to sleep on their own.  I was reassured by this, especially when she told me that the boys never remembered screaming themselves to sleep when they were older.

It was hell for 6 weeks, but by the end of it we could lay Leon down in his cot and he’d go to sleep. We went in a few times during the nightly hour or two of screaming to reassure him we were still there and sometimes he had a drink of water, but we didn’t pick him up.  Leon is 35 now and of course doesn’t remember any of it.

When we had Marc we had to do it all over again, but this time Marc was only about eight months old and it didn’t take so long.  Marc would scream until he vomited. We’d bathe him, feed him again, and then lay him back down in the cot and he’d sleep for the rest of the night.  It became a nightly ritual for about three weeks until he got used to going to sleep on his own.  All that screaming wore him out.

So, to all you exhausted parents of toddlers out there,  you’ve probably just got to endure the screaming, unless you’re prepared to forego any proper sleep.  For all those parents whose infants lay down in their cots and immediately close their eyes – you don’t know how lucky you are!

As late as 8 or 9 years old I can remember waking up in the middle of the night, calling out for my mother, and asking if I could get into her bed. Bless her, the answer was always in the affirmative.  Dad would stumble into my bed, and I’d hop into their double bed.  For years Dad never knew which bed he’d wake up in.

Do you have to play night manoeuvres?  How do (or did) you get your children to sleep? boss resigns in sexual harassment scandal

It’s good that women are now coming forward while the perpetrators are living. Usually we only find out what’s going on after the abusers have died.

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from the USA says about itself:

Meet Tarana Burke, the Activist Who Started #MeToo Campaign to Ignite Conversation on Sexual Assault

17 October 2017

Amid the ongoing fallout from sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a former contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” has subpoenaed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for all documents relating to her and any other women who have accused the U.S. president of unwanted sexual contact. We look at how this has reignited a conversation about sexual assault with women using the #MeToo hashtag, and speak with activist Tarana Burke, who started the campaign about a decade ago. “’Me Too’ is so powerful, because somebody had said it to me, and it changed the trajectory of my healing process,” Burke says. We also speak with Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and Soraya Chemaly, a journalist who covers…

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Man Booker, it’s time to open up literary prizes to self-published authors

What a great idea (count me in)!

Nail Your Novel

It’s not my policy to run press releases, as this blog is my personal writing and publishing adventures. But this is a campaign I’m proud to get behind, and I think it will strike a chord with a few of you guys too.

Today, the winner of the Man Booker is announced, and Orna Ross (left), founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, has issued an official plea to literary prize organisers everywhere: it’s time to open prizes to the quality work being produced by self-published authors.

Here’s Orna:

‘As so many authors are now producing work of creative and commercial merit, a prize that fails to include author-published work is deficient: unrepresentative in a way that seems incompatible with the prize sponsors’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. We strongly urge the Man Booker Prize to find ways to include self-publishing writers in their programme.’

(You might also recognise…

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Younger Men With Older Partners

I had a little hop over to Quora yesterday and found some inspiration for today’s blog.  I read that a mother was wondering if she should allow her 36 year old son to date a 41 year old woman.

My answer was that if she has a 36 year old son, then he is a grown man and whether or not he dates an older woman is up to him.  I expect she was looking ahead to possible future grandchildren, and realised that a 41 year old woman will probably not be providing her with any.

That said, I do know of several relationships which did survive for quite some time (some are still going) where the man’s partner is much older.  For at least 15 years my son’s bandmate Terry, who was in his twenties at the time, lived with a woman who was in her fifties, and they were both extremely happy.  He wanted to be mothered, and she liked to mother him.  In fact she did everything for him, but one day she decided that she had done enough and what Terry needed was to get himself a job and a personal maid.  She moved out of their cosy nest and has never looked back!  Terry got himself a job and now lives alone in filth in his own flat.

My friend’s son is 38 and is married to a woman 8 years older.  They have been married since 2008, have 2 children,  and seem very well suited.  Another chap I know married a woman 15 years older than him against his parents’ wishes.  The marriage lasted for about 10 years, but they are now divorced.  My mother Dot was 4 years older than my dad, but again they were happy until death divided them.

On the whole, do you think that a marriage can last if the man is at least 15 years younger than his wife?  I would imagine it’ll be okay until the man is about 35 and the woman 50, and then perhaps the menopause would send the marriage into a tail-spin?  However, I’m sure there are many happy younger men who have older wives, but to go back to my original paragraph, if a man is 36 years old then in my opinion whomever he goes out with or marries is none of his mother’s business!

See you again on Thursday as I’m at work tomorrow…


Open Book Blog Hop – 16th October

This week the topic is ‘Things that you want to see change in your industry’.

As I view writing as a hobby, I will write instead about the industry that I work in – the NHS.  I started working in my local NHS hospital in 2002, and so I’ll list the changes that I want to see happen there:

    • Two whole wards have closed since 2002, denying 72 patients a hospital bed.  I would like to see those wards re-opened again instead of being used for storage.
    • Car parking fees have risen substantially since I began working at the hospital.  I’d like for there to be no car park fees for staff or visitors.
    • Most staff have to park their cars a mile away (it’s free) and either walk in or catch the shuttle bus.  I’d like to see some of the original staff car parks reinstated, which have all been given over to patients and visitors, who of course have to pay higher parking charges (staff who are allowed to park at the hospital get a discount).
    • I’d like to see less managers in the offices and more nurses on the wards. The nurses who are there are harassed and stressed due to overwork.
    • I’d like to see more secretaries in the offices.  The ones who are there are also harassed and stressed due to overwork (I chose to return a grade lower because I didn’t want or need all the stress of having to do mountains of admin, organising doctors’ annual leave, and answering the phone constantly whilst trying to keep up with the Government’s 3 day target for sending hundreds of typed clinic letters out).
    • I’d like to see some proper geriatric wards built, so that there is not a constant bed shortage.  Elderly people make up the majority of hospital admissions, and there should be proper provision for them.  If we don’t die young, then we are going to grow old and frail and need hospital care.  It’s a fact of life.
    • I’d like doctors to dictate clinic letters slowly and clearly, and not yawn, eat, gabble or mumble as they’re dictating, or assume we all know to whom they want the letter sent (“Send this to everybody” is a good example of what I’ve had in the past!).
    • I’d like the NHS to be more about patient care and less about money.

What would you like to see changed in your industry?  Click the link below to view other blog-hoppers’ thoughts or add your own blog (the blue button doesn’t seem to work this week!):
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Review of ‘Words We Carry’, by D.G Kaye


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Amazon Book Description:

D.G. Kaye takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.
Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.

My Review:

5 stars

The dysfunctional childhood suffered by author D.G Kaye has left her with great insight into the human condition, which she writes about with much accumulated wisdom in her inspirational non-fiction book ‘Words We Carry’.  We read how parents, teachers, and events in our childhood shape the adults that we become.  I suffered quite a few similar events in my own childhood that the author did, and found the whole book excellent and eerily uncanny to my own life experiences.

Ms Kaye believes, just as I do, that we should put on a smile, think positive thoughts, and dress to please ourselves and not others.  It doesn’t matter if we are not blessed with outward beauty, a happy and friendly demeanour will shine through and attract new friends.  Beauty is as beauty does; nobody gets pleasure from being around a miserable complainer, even though they may be the best looking person for miles around.

By the time the reader reaches the last page, they would have the recipe in their hands to give their self-esteem a huge boost.  Over the years I have learned to feel comfortable in my own skin, just like the author had to, and to ignore or walk away from people whose only aim in life was to make disparaging comments in order to make me feel bad about myself.

I received this book in a free promotion, but I will definitely read it again.  Thoroughly recommended!

Do you know the visibility of your website?

Thanks Jean for this info!

Jean's Writing

Want to know how your blog is doing?

Well, there is an easy, great way to assess, improve and create a better website.

After reading the post from Story Empire Blog below, I followed one of the links provided (WEBSITE GRADER) and here is what I discovered about my blog.

Yay, at last, I managed to get the security part right. But let’s look a little deeper.

First up Performance, grade 22/30.

Hmm, looks like my HTTP requests need to come down. But not bad.

Uh Oh, got an X. I must confess that JavaScript and CSS stuff always leaves me scratching my head. But this weekend I will read up a little on it. After all who wants an X?

Alright, alright! 30/30 on Mobile! Moving on…

To SEO. Another scary, confusing acronym that totally baffles me. No wonder my website scored 15/30 AND received a big fat X in two…

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