New Video Project

Last weekend, I was very excited to spend a whole day filming a series of videos, titled The Stories Behind the Stories. There were so many tales to tell about the writing and publishing of my novels, about all the weird and wonderful synchronicities that have occurred that I wanted to share them all with you in video format.

Cue a fabulous photographer and videographer called Philip James. We met at a Film Networking event in Brighton, and after reading The Earth Angel Training Academy, Philip got in touch to say he would love to do some videos about the story.

So we met up on Saturday, and took over Tim’s front room. (Tim is actually one of the characters in the Earth Angel series, I met him several years after writing the first book!). We filmed all day, and I haven’t seen much of the footage yet, but it should be fun to watch (I hope!)

And Action!

Tim messing about with a clapperboard

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Just wanted to post some pictures and a short clip of Tim having fun with the clapper-board!

 

Gaining Mastery

True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way. It can’t be gained by interfering. Lao Tzu

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I would, for the first time in my life, plan my year. I would plan where I was going to be, what I was going to do, how much money I would make and how much of my debt I would pay off etcetera. I got an organiser and I sought advice from time management experts on how to best structure my time and get things done.

I was determined to not just drift along, going wherever the wind took me. Because that was irresponsible, after all, look at what a mess my finances were in! No sir, was not going to go with the flow, I was going to have a PLAN.

You can probably guess how long that lasted. Not very long. Having plans felt very much like I was swimming against a riptide, or clinging onto a tiny branch in the rapids.

Futile. Ridiculous. And arrogant, in some ways. To plan my life would be to suggest that I know what I should be doing and where I should be. But how can I possibly know of all the beautiful, sychronus meetings with amazing people that the universe has lined up for me?

But despite realising that I needed to go with the flow once more, there were parts of my life that I did desperately want to improve, and so I came to the conclusion that instead of planning things, what I needed to do was manage things. If I managed my finances and my time rather than planned it, then there would be room for flow, spontaneaity, and surprises.

And since all my plans went to hell, that’s exactly what I have been doing. My organiser is still in constant use, my finances are improving bit by bit and I have had the most wonderful synchronistic meetings with beautiful souls.

I feel that I am finally on the path to mastery over my own life, my own existence. Now tell me about you, do you plan or do you flow?

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Putting the Novelty back into Novel-Writing

I don’t know about any other writers out there, but I know that for me, writing needs to be as fun as possible, otherwise things like washing up and cleaning become more interesting and therefore take priority over getting any writing done.

But how fun can you make it? Well, when I wrote my first novel, The Earth Angel Training Academy, it was immediately after reading No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, a book that I have told many people about, because without it, I may never have got started. I’m currently participating in Camp Nanowrimo to get my latest novel written. Chris is a master at making writing a fun thing to do. He encourages writers to set crazy deadlines, eat far too many snacks, wear crazy hats as writing totems and then printing out the manuscript and diving into the paper with wild abandon.

Unfortunately, most of my writing time is really not very exciting, and consists of me being hunched over my iPad with some music playing. Fun or novel it is not. Until that is, I discovered the Hanx Writer.

For some time now, I have been hankering over getting an old typewriter. I remember having one as a child and loving doing my homework on it, and it seems like every movie author has one, and quite frankly, I just love the way they look and sound. But practical? Not really. To write my books, I really need a normal keyboard, and one that’s connected to something digital. So when I read about the Querky Writer, I was really excited. It was a typewriter-style keyboard you can attach to your keyboard. Genius! When I first found it, it was on KickStarter and was in pre-production stage. Now that I’ve seen the final product, I don’t find it does much for me.

Then while looking at the Querky Writer, I found this site, which sells actual typewriters that have been modified so they link directly to your computer or iPad. Now this was much more exciting, though if I were going to spend that much money, I would buy a Mac laptop, as my PC is terribly slow and I need a new one.

Then, my wanderings on Google led me to the Hanx Writer. Designed by Tom Hanks, who is a collector of typewriters (who knew??) the Hanx Writer is an app for iPad and iPhone that basically turns it into a typewriter. You can use the basic version for free, but I bought the upgrade and I have to say it’s fab. I have used it for the last two days, and weirdly, I think it’s made me a faster and more productive writer. All because I love the way the words appear on the paper and the clacking sounds of the keys.

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Yes I’m on Chapter Eleven of the latest novel in the Earth Angel Series!

It’s definitely put the novelty back into novel-writing, and in a weird way, makes me feel like a real writer. One day, I may still get a modified typewriter, but for now, the Hanx Writer ticks all the boxes!

Now back to the clack-clacking.

 

Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to write this! This is my own honest opinion about an app I found accidentally and have fallen in love with.

The Ideal Life

In the spirit of the themes of my recent posts, after seeing an article about how fake our ‘online lives’ are, it made me think about all the many times I was too busy trying to record an event rather than experience it in the moment. I mean, it’s great to be able to watch the videos and see the pictures afterwards, but when we are only seeing things through a screen, we are not fully present in the moment.

The life we present to the world is also often very different to the life we are living. The smiles, the blue skies, the gourmet meals – we present the snippets of our lives that seem idyllic, that make people envious, that make us appear to have the perfect existence, when in reality, that gorgeous selfie took 20 takes to look good, and that meal didn’t actually taste that great, but it looked good, and the next day, that sky turned grey, the rain lashed down and the wind was howling.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with presenting your best side to the world, as long as you don’t miss things because you’re too busy trying to record them for others. I’ve certainly been more aware recently, that instead of reaching for my phone to take a photo, I should just enjoy and experience the moment, and whatever it presents. After all, what matters most is that I was present with the people in that moment and enjoyed it fully, not that I have a cool photo and something to talk about afterwards on Facebook. It is difficult to strike a balance with this, especially seeing as I write a blog, and it’s well-known that in order to make something interesting, we need an image or a video to go in the blog post in order to catch people’s attention.

The other day, a baby deer wandered into the garden, calling out for his mum. At first I went out just to see, but then went and got my camera, because I was in the middle of writing my deer-themed newsletter and wanted a photo. But instead, I got the cutest video of him! But the whole time, I wasn’t looking at my phone, I was looking at the deer, and experiencing the moment (hence the dodgy framing and shaking) and it really was the sweetest moment.

How do you feel about your online life? Does it reflect your reality? Would love to hear from you!

Get Busy Living

In a follow-up to my post on Talking of Lack, I thought I’d write a little about realisations that have been formulating as a result of that post, and as a result of chatting to my friend and sorting through my stuff.

In my post before, I said how it seemed that we generally only speak of that which we lack, or the negative things that we have. And that we cannot create the life we want, by speaking of what we don’t have. Even affirmations can push away our desires, as continuously affirming – I am abundant – clearly comes from a place of lack. Because people who genuinely are abundant, do not feel the need to state it out loud.

It occurred to me today, that when things are going really well in my life, I literally don’t have the time nor the desire to really discuss it. I’m just too busy living it. It’s really only when things aren’t going so well that there is need to discuss things, to write things down, to think about things. I wrote in another post back in April, that I used to write diaries, but only ever really wrote when I was unhappy, which meant that I had recorded all the bad times, and was too busy having fun to record the good times. I said I wanted to change that, and to record more of the good times, but do you know what? I think it’s more important to be fully in the present moment, experiencing the good times, than to divert your attention onto recording them.

How do you know when life is good? When you’re too busy living it and enjoying it to talk about it or write about it. A couple of years ago, I created a ‘happy memory jar’, which I planned to fill with memories written down on pretty pieces of paper. For the first six months of that year, I was separated from my Flame, and though I was very busy doing things, seeing new things and meeting new people, I wasn’t completely happy, as so any happy moment was recorded and put in the jar. I did have some genuinely happy times, but the point is, there were plenty of moments surrounding those happy times where I was a little down, and to lift myself, I would write down the happy times.

By the middle of the year, I was back with my Flame and was putting fewer bits of paper in the jar. That Christmas, I emptied the jar and read all of the memories, and then I decided to re-use the jar for the following year. Because I was happy, and I was busy living, I didn’t put any slips of paper in that jar. I berated myself when I realised that I had been forgetting to write things down and add it to the jar, but I realise now how silly that is. That in fact, by not having time to write a diary, or to write down memories, it meant I was truly content and happy.

So truly, I believe that instead of thinking or talking about doing something, we should just do it. Instead of affirming that we are something, we should just be it.

So many times, I have stated what I am going to be, or what I’m going to do, and often, those things didn’t happen. Instead of stating or affirming these things, I should just get on with it. Because if I was getting on with it, I wouldn’t have the time to discuss it!

If this blog post has made any sense to you at all, and anything has resonated with you, please do comment below! If not, I hope that my mad ramblings have at least convinced you that you are quite sane and sensible, unlike me :)

Why does it take so long to let go?

Why does it take so long to let go?

What My Characters Have Taught Me – Aria

Aria is without a doubt, my favourite character. When I first read through The Earth Angel Training Academy, having written it in just over two months, I couldn’t help but giggle at Aria’s fantastic lines. Her cheeky, slightly naughty, infallibly honest nature shines out and I love writing anything with her in it!

One of the primary things I have learnt from Aria is to have fun. To not take anything too seriously. She hated the fact that humans seem to be so boring and serious, and did everything possible to have as much fun as she could. She chose not to go to Earth in the first book, because she couldn’t bear the idea of losing her wings and becoming a heavy human, and I have to say – I’m with her on that one!

Another thing I learnt from Aria, is that honesty really is the best policy. She always says what she thinks, and is always open with her opinion. She hates to hurt anyone’s feelings, but cannot help but tell the truth, and because she is coming from a place of innocence, it’s difficult for anyone to be annoyed with her. One of my readers said that Aria irritated her in the beginning, but then she completely fell in love with her, which is generally how it goes with Faeries!

But the best thing I learnt from Aria is that as long as there’s chocolate, then everything will be just fine!

Aria

Talking of Lack

I am an avid reader of self-development books, of spiritual books, of positive thinking-hug a tree-be a unicorn type books. I love them. But a little revelation that has occurred to me numerous times over the years, which I tend to forget about and then rediscover, (and in fact, even mention in my book – The Elphite) is that for some reason, in general conversation, we mainly only talk about the things we lack, or complain about the bad things we have.

We learn that in order to manifest what we wish to have, experience or be, we need to affirm in a positive way that we have whatever it is we are lacking. And so we keep writing down, or affirming out loud – I am abundant! I am my perfect weight! I have a beautiful home! I am madly in love with my soulmate!

Yet often, these things don’t come to pass. Or they do, but long after we have stopped affirming them, and when we have forgotten our requests.

So why is this? When struggling with finances, I found that I talked about money a lot, in conversations with friends etc, and even though I was being positive about money quite often, it was a front, because I was still struggling. I did ‘abundance’ courses, read books, sought out new affirmations etc, but somewhere along the line something occurred to me – all of my focus on money was coming from a place of lack. And that genuinely wealthy and abundant people rarely speak of money – they are focused on their passions, on what they love in life. And if they do speak of money, they are not coming from a place of lack, but from a genuine place of abundance.

So how do you get to that space of genuine abundance when you’re lacking what you need or desire?

I’m finding that only talking about the areas of my life where I genuinely feel abundant is a good place to begin. Because then I am not speaking and feeling from a place of lack. And to relax, go with the flow.

10317545_660240414056794_7075465084839450578_oI try to avoid small talk too. I feel that small talk keeps us small, because it make us connect to others through our complaining, griping and moaning. We share our stories of illnesses, woes and grief, because we know that others will relate to what we say.

It seems we don’t want to appear to be too happy, only speaking of what we love, in fear of looking to be better than/superior to/looking down on anyone else. (I’m talking from a British perspective here, things may be quite different in other parts of the world, I hope they are!)

But I feel that it’s only when we move beyond small talk that we can all grow and evolve and expand our thinking. Often, I will quite quickly get into a conversation about other worlds, angels, the afterlife and parallel universes, with complete strangers I’ve met minutes before, because it’s almost like we sense we can talk of these things, and neither will get ‘weirded out’. When I sense it’s not possible to bring up such subjects, I find myself lapsing into silence, in the hopes of not finding things to complain about in order to connect. But I do find it difficult!

Do you have any tried and tested ways to operate from that place of abundance? I would love to hear them if you have!

Vivid Dreaming

I’m no stranger to vivid dreams. I have woken up deafened from the noise of the tornado that’s just gone past me, woken up breathing heavily in fear of being chased or attacked. I’ve often had prophetic dreams too. Sometimes I have foreseen things in a literal way, other times, in a metaphorical way.

But what happened last week really did spook me a little bit!

I woke up on Thursday morning, and found that I was crying, because I had just been sobbing in my dream. In the dream, I had rescued a wolf from a river, as it had choked on the water and started to drown. I had pulled it out and rescued it, then I picked it up and cradled it in my arms like a child. Then I took it home but found that it kept wanting to eat things it could choke on, and by the end of the dream, it had in fact choked to death, which is why I woke up crying.

Now, if you’re into dream interpretation, then please, by all means, let me know what you think any of that meant!

So later on Thursday, I headed to the Brighton Film Networking meeting, and got chatting to Lorenzo Fantini, and artist and founder of Screen Rebels in London. For some reason we were talking about dreams, and I described my dream to him. He then showed me some photos of his artwork, and one of the images was so eerily like my dream, that it quite honestly freaked me out a little. The only difference was the creature was a fox, not a wolf, but he has very kindly let me share the image with you. Here it is:

fox. lorenzo

 

Then on Saturday morning, I had a dream where a lion was watching me, and when I picked out a random tarot card later in the day, it had a lion on the card, sitting on the side, just observing the scene.

I’m just praying that the red and blue, whale-sized baboon fish don’t turn up when I go to the beach tomorrow…

What My Characters Have Taught Me – Evelyn

This idea popped into my head, so I decided to go with it. This is the first post in a series about what I have learnt from my own characters. I have always held to the fact that when I write, I don’t ‘make-up’ my characters, they arrive, as fully formed people, and simply go about their business while I write down what’s going on. Because of this, they often do or say things that catch me a little by surprise, and that actually teach me something. I sometimes pick up my books and flick through, reading the odd sentence here and there, and quite often I am surprised by the little gems of wisdom that I find.

I’m featuring Evelyn in this first post, the lovely lady who we meet in PAM’s Tearooms at the very beginning of The Doorway to PAM. There is an exchange that occurs between her and the main character, Natalie, that I refer to quite often when I chat to people who are frustrated because they so very much want to help people, but find themselves hitting their heads against brick walls because their advice or help is going unheeded. The scene is at the end of Chapter One, and Natalie and Evelyn are sat on a bench in the park. Here’s the part that I love:

Evelyn chuckled. “We are all capable of so much more than we realise, my dear. The only limitations in our lives are self-imposed. Anything is possible.”  She let Natalie take this in for a moment, then she turned to look at her, her gaze serious. “All you have to do is believe that you can do anything, anything at all, and it is so. Now, the question is, do you want the job of helping others to realise this too?”

Natalie was quiet for a while. “That seems like an impossible task though. How on earth do I help everyone find their purpose? Help them to realise their own possibility?”

Evelyn shrugged. “The same way I do, my dear. You wait for them to come to you. You see, it’s no good going out there and trying to help people who don’t ask for it. They won’t listen. Even if you can see they are struggling, even if you know what would help them, what would be best for them, they won’t listen until they’re ready. When they’re ready, they will come and find you.” She smiled. “Just like you came to find me.”

The part that I have highlighted above, is that part that really struck me. As someone who loves to help people, I find it frustrating when I can see where I could make a difference, but the person concerned won’t listen or heed my advice. And as Evelyn says, it’s no good going out and helping people who aren’t ready. You have to wait for them to come to you. Which does require patience, and which does require a great deal of strength too, because it’s not easy watching other suffer, but ultimately, if you wait until someone is ready and open to your help, you will ultimately make a much bigger difference in the long run, and you will also save yourself a lot of wasted energy and effort. 

The second most important lesson I learned from Evelyn is the following:

“Listen to your own heart. In all honesty, there is no question I can answer better than your own heart can. Everything you need to know, you already know. You just need to find that stillness within you to be able to hear it.”

As a seeker on a spiritual path, it’s often too easy to keep searching outside of myself, from other people and in books and movies, for answers to my questions, when in reality, all I need to do is go within and get quiet enough to hear the truth, the answer that lies within me already.

If you have read The Doorway to PAM, what did you take away from it? What part or character stood out the most to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Doorway to PAM