Cite & Insight Invite – 16th August

Eminem sums it all up beautifully:

“The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.”

Yes, life is a crazy ride.  It’s also a short ride.  Time drags while you’re waiting to grow up and do all those forbidden things that adults do, but when you reach maturity it’s scary how quickly the time does fly or how easily a life can be snuffed out.

Take my grandmother Elsie for example.  In the summer of 1967 she went for a nice evening walk to the local park as she always did, but on her way back home was killed by a hit and run driver as she crossed the road.  I’m only 4 years short of the age she was in 1967.  I looked on her as old at the time, and I can hardly believe I’m now almost 60!

Life throws us lemons sometimes.  We’ve all had a lemon or two or even a whole tree full of them.  I certainly have.  The lemon I received was not expected at all, but hey, I had to deal with it.  I’ve had all the treatments I can have for thyroid cancer bar one.  I have no idea whether the cancer will return or not, but in the meantime I’m making the most of whatever time I have left.  I’ve returned to work, bought the holiday home on the Isle of Wight that I’ve always wanted to do, and Sam and I are enjoying being part of our children and grandchildren’s lives.

The crazy ride is not yet over for me – it’s a case of hanging on tight, dodging the lemons as they attempt to knock me down, or trying my best to turn them into sweet lemonade!


A very slow death

I can sympathise with Ian’s plight quite well, having suffered from thyroid cancer for 12 years. With no thyroid and having to stop thyroxine for 2 weeks in 2006 for radioactive iodine treatment, I came to a slow halt and then stopped! Look after your thyroids folks – thyroid disease sucks…


In my early forties I was struck down by a disease I knew nothing about. For ten years I suffered from untreated Hypothyroidism. It ruined my career as a writer and came close to killing me. This is my story…

With the power of hindsight it’s hard to believe that nobody noticed. I certainly didn’t: although the evidence was staring at me in the face every time I looked in a mirror. My wife didn’t seem to notice: although really she did but it’s just that I wasn’t prepared or able to listen to any of the hints that she tried to drop in an admittedly uncharacteristically subtle manner. My friends didn’t notice: but they were probably amused that a weight fascist such as I had piled on so many pounds. The truth of the matter was that I was falling to pieces. My body had gone into shutdown. My…

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The Eyes Have It

I finished training on the new hospital system and yesterday (after a 3 year break) was my first full day let loose as an actual medical secretary.  At 9am, slightly nervous as to which department I would be sent to, I met up with my manager and waited for the news which wasn’t long in coming.  I would be going to ‘Eyes’ for the day, a department I’d not worked in before.

The Eye Clinic is in a modern building at the back of the hospital.  I walked over there with my trusty rucksack and presented at the clinic reception.  The senior secretary was bleeped and I met Sue for the first time, who picked up on my nervousness straight away and reassured me I’d soon get the hang of it.  I was given an office on my own (wonderful!) with a fan and an open window.  Could things get any better?

After a search for a spare set of headphones and a call to I.T to log me into the dictation system, I was ready to type my first letter.  The doctor had a heavy accent and my heart sank, as this is not what you dream of when you’re new in a department where you have to learn the terminology (which takes about 3 months).

I made my first foray out into the corridor on hearing what sounded like ‘antregef treatment’… wtf?  A lovely lady next door soon came to the rescue and told me it was anti vegf treatment.  Oh yes, silly me.

All I can say is thank goodness for Google!  I hate asking anybody for help, and soldiered through the next 10 letters learning all about bilateral geographic atrophy, pseudophakia, superonasal tear, bilateral yag capsulotomy (oh yes, everyone knows about that one!) Intragel vitreous haemorrhage, and oh yes… sectoral PRP and Oc VitA- Pos.

In departments where I’ve worked previously I’ve often got up to 40 letters done in a day.  Yesterday I’d had enough after 10, but felt strangely motivated and glad to be back.  The secretaries were lovely and the offices are modern and bright.

Where will they send me tomorrow?  I think it’ll be Eyes again, but I’ve written down all the unfamiliar words so perhaps I’ll be able to type a few more letters.

No posts tomorrow as I’ll be typing and Googling.  Wish me luck…



Tuesday Newsday – 15th August

Last week I read of a woman walking over Putney Bridge.  CCTV footage shows that coming towards her was a male jogger, who purposely barged into her and knocked her off her feet and into the path of an oncoming bus.  It was only the bus driver’s quick reaction by swerving out of the way that saved the woman from serious injury.  The driver also stopped the bus and several passengers got off to help the woman.

About 15 minutes later the jogger came back over the bridge and the woman, slightly injured, tried to speak to him.  However, he ignored her and carried on jogging.

When the CCTV footage was released, police received a huge response to their appeal for information.  A 41 year old man was detained on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.  He has now been charged and is in custody in a South London police station.

I could hardly believe what I was reading – what kind of person would do this to somebody?  Thank goodness for CCTV cameras.  We all complain about the lack of privacy today, but in this case it was a good thing Big Brother was watching!

A Load of Old Tat

I don’t know what my US friends call them, but over here we have boot fairs.  We get up extra early in the morning and head off to a designated field to sell our wares from paste tables or fold up picnic tables, making sure we’ve loaded all our tat in the boot the night before.

Sam and I did just that today.  We set the alarm for 05:45 and by the time we’d arrived at the Sunday boot fair, hundreds of other people were already there, so goodness knows what time they got up!  We were one of the last to arrive, but the vultures had seen us.  Before we’d even turned off the car’s engine they were flocking round, flapping their black wings and asking us what we had in the back.  Sam replied drily that it was a load of old tat from our loft, but nevertheless, the vultures would not go away until they’d seen it in person.

First out was our Fortnum and Mason wicker basket.  Somebody had bought it for us years before full of Christmas food, and the basket had been used as a toy box until the last grandchild had outgrown all the toys.  Now the vultures were falling over themselves to buy it.  Sam said £10 which put some of them off, but one brave soul baited us down to £8 and walked off clutching his prize.

As I was laying out Dot’s cardigans and jackets, female vultures were flocking, turning them over, and asking how much I wanted for them.  I said 3 for £1, which went down rather well.  Sam sold his spare set of speakers, and all we were left with were some books, a few of Dot’s blouses, and a blow-up airbed.

Nothing was shifting after 10.30, and the crowds were thinning out.  We decided to pack up and go home.  As we sat back in the car and started the engine…nothing.  The battery was as flat as a pancake.  There we were in the middle of a field surrounded by tat on all sides, and we were going nowhere.  Sam ended up phoning the AA, who arrived after an hour or so and provided us with a new battery for £140 (Sam had been meaning to get one and hadn’t got around to it) so we could go on our merry way.

Moral of the story: Always carry a mobile phone, and always change a car’s battery if it starts to fail.  Our one had let us down a couple of times before, and had now let us down for good!  Thankfully the sun was shining, the sausage roll van was doing a roaring trade, and there were three festibogs on site just in case.  We were seriously out of pocket, but were pleased to make it home again just in time for lunch.

No blog tomorrow as I’ll be at work.  See you again on Tuesday!

Vacation and Author Interviews

Have a lovely holiday Yecheilyah!

Pearls Before Swine

The summer is pretty much over but I have not exactly taken a vacation or a break. That’s about to change.


In about two weeks I will be going on a vacation of sorts and taking some extensive time off. I’ll be away from social media, and the blog. I am going completely offline from August 27th through September.

This means that I will not be here to share your posts and that all Introduce Yourself Interviews will be scheduled to go live ahead of time. Authors, this means it will be YOUR responsibility to promote your posts if your interview is scheduled when I am gone.

About scheduling…

For those of you who are interested in being interviewed on this blog between now through September, you will need to get your questions in to me before Wednesday, August 23, 2017 so that they can be scheduled to go out.

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Stevie Turns Reviewer



I’m starting to get emails from authors requesting reviews.  I keep on reading that authors must read as much as they write, and so I’ve said yes to a few requests.  So many authors write about how they never read anymore as they’re too busy writing.  However, if nobody reads at all because they’re all too busy with their job or hobby, then what’s the point of writing books in the first place?

I’ve always enjoyed reading, but to be honest, only certain genres appeal to me.  If you’ve got a fantasy or Sci-fi book,  horror story, erotic or vampire novel or anything based in the future where characters are ‘shifters’ and have other-wordly names, then I’m afraid I’m not the reviewer for you.  Also unfortunately I’m not too keen on detective novels/mysteries but some of these do appeal, usually the ones written by British authors (I don’t understand some of the American vernacular).

I like to read autobiographies, women’s fiction family dramas, contemporary romances and witty novels, coming-of-age stories, and psychological suspense/thrillers.  If your book fits the bill then please send me an email (details below) and I will consider adding it to my TBR list.  All I ask in return is that you sign up to my mailing list.  The subscription form should automatically pop up on this WordPress blog – please let me know if it doesn’t.

So… Stevie is going to read more.  Apart from blogs, I’m all written out at the moment and what with going back to work as well, I feel that I’ve written enough to be getting on with.  I’ve got it all out of my system, and when the inspiration strikes, then I’ll write another novel.  Until then I’m not going to worry about it.  I’m going to type my clinic letters 2 days per week, write my blogs when I think of a subject, and sit on my decking when I can and read your lovely books on my Kindle!

Yes, I only want copies sent direct to my Kindle, but first I have to authorise your email address on my Amazon account before you can send it.  So send me a request and details of your book to (please put Review Request in the subject box), sign up to my mailing list if you’d be so kind, and we’ll take it from there.  When I’ve got enough books to be getting on with, I’ll stop taking on any more until I’ve read them.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Regards, Stevie. x



Free book promotion, Words We Carry by D.G. Kaye

Have you got your copy yet?

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?

D.G. 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.

Editorial Review

“D.G. Kaye offers hope to those of…

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Friday Roundup – 11th August

1.  Melinda Clayton at Indies Unlimited tells us of the importance of categories and keywords:

2.  Jennifer Scott, guest writer on Nicholas C. Rossis’ blog, gives 8 tips to create the perfect writer’s resume:

3.  Janice Wald at Mostly Blogging gives the 4 worst blogging mistakes:

4.  Peter Adewumi writes of how to induce a spike in your blog stats:

5.  Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer gives advice on finding your first 10,000 readers:

6.  Cynthia Hilston on A Writer’s Path tells of the benefits of joining a writer’s group:

The Benefits of Joining a Writers Group

7.  Derek Haines on Just Publishing Advice reminds us that publishing is not just Amazon KDP and Kindle:

8.  Capital Nerd tells us how to get ARCs:

9.  Jason B. Ladd, guest author at The Creative Penn, gives advice on how to get book reviews:

10.  Matt Aird at The Book Designer advises on why we should grow our author platform instead of trying to sell books:

11. D.E Haggerty gives new writers some formatting tips and tricks:

Thanks to Chris, the Story Reading Ape, When Angels Fly, Don Massenzio, How to EBook, and AllTheAbove for the re-blogs.

Not Skirting the Issue

Have a ponder on this one while I’m out at work this morning…I know this topic is going to cause controversy, but I’m going to go ahead with it anyway.

On my BBC News app yesterday I read about a young lady, Gina, and her sister standing in a crowd at the British Summer Time music festival in London’s Hyde Park on a hot day in July this year.  A photo shows Gina wearing a long-sleeved top and a very short skirt barely covering her genitals.  Her sister was more conservatively dressed in a long black skirt which reached to her mid-calf.

As the sisters stood listening to a band, a man standing nearby in the crowd offered them some chips.  Gina accepted.  The man then asked her lots of questions and looked her up and down, laughing about her to his friend.  He then brushed up against her, and without her knowing put his phone between her legs and took a photo up her skirt.  Gina saw the photo out of the corner of her eye and knew it was her as he laughingly showed the result to his friend.

Gina grabbed the phone and ran towards the security team. The man followed her through the crowd and ran into the team screaming for his phone back and lying that he hadn’t taken the picture.  The police were called, and one of the police told Gina that she should be able to go to a festival in 30 degree heat and wear a skirt without worrying about what might happen.  They checked the photo, and because it was not ‘graphic’, as Gina was wearing underwear, they informed her there was not much they could do about it.  The police made the man delete the picture and closed the case.  However, her case was re-opened when Gina set up a petition to amend the law and make ‘upskirt’ photography a sexual offence, just like it is in Scotland.   There was another photo of Gina at a similar festival the following week…wearing exactly the same skirt.

My opinion is that of course Gina should feel free to wear a skirt at a festival, but is she asking for trouble wearing a skirt that barely covers her genitals?  Interestingly her sister, wearing the longer skirt, was not similarly affected.  I’m not advocating a return to the Victorian neck-to-ankle clothing, but many young men at festivals can lose all inhibitions and can act quite feral if they are part of a group of males tanked up with copious amounts of alcohol.  Most women are by nature less physically strong than men, and should be mindful of what could happen if they dress provocatively and give out the wrong signals.  Many ‘gentlemen’ these days are unfortunately not the gentlemen of the 1950’s, doffing their hats to the ladies and giving up their seats to the ‘weaker sex’ on trains and buses.

Should Gina have worn the same skirt to another festival?  As a teenager I wasn’t even allowed to go out with make-up on, let alone wearing a skirt in the shape of a bandage.  My father used to point at me and say “You can wash that sh** off your face before you go!” In my opinion Gina should have learned a valuable lesson and covered up a bit more.  Boys will be boys, and girls have to be a bit more careful!

What do you think?