Lean In: A Must-Read Book For Working Mums (Career Loving Parents)

Friday 25th November 2016


The time is vast approaching when I will be returning to work full time following nearly ten months maternity leave.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve really struggled being away from work for this amount of time.

Since I was sixteen, I’ve worked full time.

Half my life in fact.

So to go from that to being at home with a baby all day has been somewhat of a culture shock for me.

I’m used to being busy. I like being busy. I’m typing this as I try and cram some ‘me time’ in as Ella naps. I’ve blogged to keep me sane.

I’ve got a brain.

I want to use it not lose it.

And it’s helped massively.

But what has spurred me on even more to make the decision (to be a full time working mum) is Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’.

Missuswolf Lean In Sheryl Sandberg Kindle cover with baby shoes and wand

I’m choosing to go back full time. I want to stay in this rat race.

I know Ella will be fine at nursery – heck nursery will prep her for school, which in turn preps her for the world.

At her visit last week she was craning her neck to see what was going on. She was desperately trying to wriggle out of my arms to join in.

I’m not worried about her going to nursery in the slightest. It will be good for her development – better than what I could ever provide her.

I don’t want her to have flown the nest and I’ve sacrificed my ambitions when I had the opportunity to chase them.

Missuswolf Mother and daughter walking on a country lane

Ella’s not mine to keep.

She’s mine to teach.

One day she will have a life of her own.

And I’ve thought this practically from the day she was born.

I’ll do my job with her and always love her beyond belief.

But we are both human beings and want the best for ourselves out of life.

In the book, Sheryl mentions Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller foundation, and the subject of how women choose to leave the workforce.

It would make sense for me to cut my hours. In essence I’m working to pay for my child to go to nursery and the household bills with very little play money at the end.

Missuswolf piggybank

But I’ve chosen to do this.

I don’t want to give up my career now when I was at the peak of it prior to maternity leave.

I’ve worked too hard. I’ve put in too many hours to just hold my hands up and step down.

Because in a couple of years, Ella will be at pre-school. Then actual school.

What do I do then? If I’d chose to leave the workforce, I’d be back in a position where I could go full time and not have to pay the nursery fees.

After discussing this with my OH, we are both acutely aware that the next couple of years are going to be hard financially.

But it won’t last.

Plus, we’ve struggled and survived on my maternity pay this year. We can make it through the next couple of years.

If I look back to November last year when I was twenty weeks pregnant, the time has flown over. I now have an eight month old.

Next November, I’ll have a twenty month old. Nearing that gap to fifteen hours free nursery care. Which will certainly ease the burden.

So I know I can do this.

I think maternity leave is the hardest part. You’re left alone to deal with this baby day in, day out, with little help and lack of money.

But come weekends and trips away, with the OH, family and friends – I don’t feel the stress and burden anymore. And bizarrely, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my KIT days. They’ve been welcome breaks.

I’m not saying this is what everyone should do – far from it. Every family set-up and circumstance is different. This isn’t a bash at parents who stay at home or work part time. It’s simply what I’ve chosen to do and I’ve found a book that’s supported my thought process.

This post is in case there are any like minded people out there struggling to come to a decision. I want them to read this and know it’s OK.

Sheryl broaches the subject that us women are often the breadwinners in our generation. So we do have to go back full time. Which is good. However, we’re penalised with nursery fees.

This was my case but I’m actually taking a cut when I go back to my new role. However, it’s still a promotion – and a development opportunity. I’m still in the game.

Sheryl’s point though is that if there was more help with childcare, more women would go back full time. For some families, it’s just not cost efficient to do so.

And I get that.

But what if those women really wanted to go back to work? That they were clever, hard-working and had ambition and drive?

Missuswolf woman at laptop working

Not only is it them missing out on bettering themselves and in turn bettering their families, but businesses are missing a trick. They are effectively losing out. Losing a strong member of staff simply because they can’t afford the childcare.

This is something that the government needs to look into and help with funding nurseries. But that’s a different topic for a different day.

However, Sheryl’s stance on this is that women mistakenly drop out of the workforce as their salary barely covers childcare. She promotes a different way of thinking. That we should measure the cost against our future salary rather than our current.

And with that in mind, I’m more than happy to go full steam ahead of working full time.

Sheryl discusses childhood bossiness and the neighbourhood. Looking back, I had similar drive. As an eight year old, I used to dance on our driveway with my sister and our friends.

 

img_1480We would put on shows.

Our favourite song to dance to was Two Unlimited’s ‘Get Ready For This’. I know. How cool were we?

I went so far as to type up tickets (on a typewriter too – no computers in those days) on yellow or green paper. Then we would march around the neighbourhood and sell them to people. To come and watch six girls in crop tops and cycling shorts dance.

And people actually bought them.

Could you imagine if we did that in this day and age??

Suffice to say our parents marched us straight back to return the money.

But looking back, you could say it was the start of business thinking.

When I was ten years old, I bought jewellery making kits and pulled together some earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

I packaged them and marketed them as ‘GG’s Gems’ and sold them at fayre’s at the local community centre.

Why I’ve never pursued this little trait I’ll never know but my god I wish I’d gone to University and done English/Journalism or Business and Marketing.

Never mind. I suppose it’s never too late.

My point being is that Sheryl Sandberg had a similar streak and ‘bossiness’ about her. Now I am no way comparing myself to her at all (I wish!) but her point is that it’s not bossiness as a little girl. It’s leadership qualities coming through.

And I’ve never seen myself as a leader. But maybes at this point in my life, it’s time to become one. Especially through the eyes of my little girl.

Missuswolf little girls taking photo

I want her to look up to me. To see her mammy working hard but playing equally as hard. Show her independence and drive. That mammy enjoys using her brain and contributing financially. See her mammy happy as she has a healthy balance in life.

And lead her to strive for that same well-being.

Leadership is also a quality to look for and nurture in little girls of our own. Which I’m going to do with Little Miss E.

Missuswolf little girl in princess outfit

#GirlBoss

Sheryl points out that thriving marriages appear to be ones where both parents work full time and have careers as well as children. There’s less guilt and good mental health. Some data also suggests that two working parents outside the home are advantageous to a child’s development – especially girls.

Missuswolf little girl reading

I agree with this statement for my set up. I’m used to being extremely independent – working full time, having my own money and coming and going as I please.

 

To say this has been turned upside down this year is an understatement. I’ve had to be dependant on someone else, had very little money and my schedule is dictated by a small human.

Who wouldn’t look back on their former selves with envy? Of course parenthood and maternity has probably been the hardest year of our marriage. So I’ll be welcome of a level playing field come January.

Missuswolf couple on top of mountain

Like I said before, there’s no question about my love for my child. I just know exactly what I want out of life and Sheryl Sandberg has shown me I can get it. Being a mother does not prevent me.

In fact, it fuels me. I’ve discovered a drive I’ve never had before.

I’m more determined than ever.

Caroline O’Connor refers to herself as a career loving parent instead of a working mum.

And I love this title.

From now on, I will refer to myself as a career loving parent. A woman who loves business and works to better herself as well as her family.

Like Beyonce says:

Missuswolf woman with child on her back in working fields

 

Who Run The World.

Girls.

Where you can grab a copy of Lean In:

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

Images from Unsplash

K. A. Richardson’s Time To Play: Blog Tour

Friday 30th September 2016

image

The book I’m currently reading is Time To Play by North East Crime Writer K.A Richardson.

 

I always like

to have a book

to read.

Missuswolf Time To Play K.A Richardson

For those of you who’ve followed this blog for a long time, you’ll recall the days when this was solely about books and writing.

It’s somewhat expanded in the last couple of months but my heart will always be with literature.

Crime and psychological thriller’s tend to be my forte.

 

K. A. Richardson

I used to work with Kerry a few years back and I’ve loved following her writing journey. Back then, she was busy writing her first book, With Deadly Intent (cheeky post plug – read more on my interview with her here).

She was also in the process of setting up her blog too Kerryannrichardson.com

2016 has been a busy yet exciting year for Kerry. Her debut novel, With Deadly Intent, was released in April, followed by I’ve Been Watching You in June and now Time To Play was released on the 22nd of this month.

Back in July, Kerry also won author of the month over at the UK Crime Book Club.

At the time of going to press, I’ve Been Watching You was number 2 in the free Kindle Crime Chart and no 6 in the overall free Kindle Chart.

Pretty impressive achievements while working in a (very important) full-time job.

Biography

Missuswolf K A Richardson Author PictureMy name is KA Richardson, and I am a crime writer based in the North East of England. I write around my other work commitments so am constantly on the go. I love reading many genres, love speaking to people and spend a lot of time people watching in coffee shops, though if I’m honest this is more for the purposes of character building and plotting. I enjoy watching ‘cop’ shows from both the UK and the USA, and am a fan of sci-fi. I began thinking about writing as a career in 2010 and completed my Ma Creative Writing in 2011. I love to be inspired, and enjoy spending time with friends and family, as well as other like-minded folk. My website has some more info on me, if you’re interested pop on over to www.kerryannrichardson.com, or I can be found on Facebook as KA Richardson.

Time To Play …

DI Alistair McKay is still reeling from the ‘one that got away’ but when he is called to deal with a potential murder at the water side, he must put his personal worries aside.

As police diver, Marlo Buchanan, starts pulling bodies out of the water, it becomes clear that something isn’t right.

Someone is torturing young girls and dumping them in the local reservoir.

Then the body of a man is discovered and Mackay and Buchanan are pulled into the seedy underworld of human trafficking.

As the team race against the clock tensions start to run high.

Can they overcome their personal demons to work together?

And will they find the killer before he strikes again?

The team are back in the third novel from the gripping North East Police series.

 

Missuswolf Time To Play K.A Richardson

You don’t have to have read

the previous books

to read Time To Play

Although the book is part of the ‘North East Police’ series, the beauty of Kerry’s work is that the books are stand alones in their own right.

They focus on a different character in each novel and, although they make reference to previous character’s who are bobbing along in the background, this doesn’t distract from the main storyline.

My favourite style in this book is that the sections are snappy; almost like an intertwined diary. In any chapter, the date and destination heading change allows us to follow different character’s; from the police dive team, detective’s and scene’s of crime officer’s to the horror of the human trafficking world.

Interlaced within all that are the sub stories of the police officer’s lives.

The pace is good, it keeps it interesting the technique that Kerry has used.

The topic is very raw and the level of research that Kerry has done on both the subject and the roles of the police teams involved is a real credit.

Richardson’s got a good knack of getting inside the mind of a killer and their thought process to justify their actions.

Chilling,

but thrilling.

I’m not going to give too much away on this one for fear of dropping any spoilers.

The nights are drawing in and what better way to get all snug and cosy than to get your nose in a new book.

Time To Read

Time To Play

Missuswolf Time To Play K A Richardson

Have you read any of Kerry’s books?

Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Kristina Gause Stutts

WEDNESDAY 22nd APRIL 2015

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

Today, I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Kristina Gause Stutts, author to Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss, the first book in a Sci-fi romance series.

~Author Bio~

K.G. Stutts is the author three sci-fi romance series as well as several romance stories. She has a degree in massageKristen author photo therapy. As a contributor to Independent Writers Association (IWA) her insights can be seen regularly there and on her own blog at kgstutts.blogspot.com and her website at kgstutts.webs.com

When she’s not weaving words, she enjoys reading, playing RPGs, hockey, wrestling, and football, and is a big sci-fi nerd. Currently she resides in North Carolina, USA with her husband, Brad.

~Synopsis~

Amethyst is a secret team of genetically enhanced humans which is Earth’s greatest defensive weapon. Leading the team of super soldiers is Ember Wilson, a tough woman with a huge chip on her shoulder. The team gets
their name from the after effect of the Genesis Project which turned their eyes and even their blood purple.

amethyst pictureFor decades, Earth has been ravaged by unpredictable weather which began to cause crops to fail. Most of the planet’s food sources have deteriorated. Dr. Clayton Rudo has proclaimed he has the means to save the soil. He has created a weather machine to regulate and help replenish. But Ember knew the truth. He didn’t want to save the planet. He wanted to control it. Amethyst destroyed the machine, but was placed in stasis. Two years later, Rudo recreated the device and has frozen Washington, DC.

General Tom Blanchard brought Amethyst out of stasis to work with an elite Air Force team, led by Major Liam Ross. Tensions between Ember and Liam rise as they butt heads. Can they work together before Earth is completely under ice?

Grab that cuppa and get settled as we catch up with Kristina Gause Stutts … 

coffee and cream

 

Hi Kristina and welcome! It’s great to have you here.

Thank you so much for having me!

Where did you get the inspiration behind this novel?

I’m a big fan of Joss Whedon. He writes these incredible, tough, kick-butt women. I wanted to develop a character worthy of that. A woman who can fight as fiercely as she can love. Someone that readers can look up to, inspire to be, and root for. And then came Ember Wilson.

How would you compare writing this book with anything that you have written previously?

Oh, gosh. The Amethyst Chronicles is a bit different than my other books. It’s definitely less science-y than my Mirror series and more action. But I keep the humor and both series are very character driven.   

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I started writing in high school. Started off with little songs and poems. I began to write fan fictions and plots, but it didn’t reallyMirror Image go anywhere for a long time. I started to have a dream a couple of years ago about a woman who found out she’s actually a clone. I went to bed every night hoping to pick up where I left off and I got really excited. So I started writing it out and that became my first novel, Mirror Image. It’s getting ready to celebrate its first anniversary published.

How do you organise your writing time?

I work in a call center so often times I’ll write in between calls. I always have a notebook with me so I can jot things down when I can. Sundays are a big writing day for me, but I do try to write every day.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

Sometimes it’s just sitting down with a pen and a notebook and write. I don’t have a set place really. Life is too busy to schedule things like that.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

I used to referee independent wrestling matches on the weekends. Had to stop after a back injury. I’m still at CWF Mid-Atlantic. It’s definitely a passion of mine that I miss, but maybe one day I’ll get in the ring again.

Thank you for being here today Kristina.

Thank you for having me!

~Where to find Kristina~

amethyst picture
Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-up – An Author Interview with … Katie Gallagher

WEDNESDAY 08th APRIL 2015

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to welcome back the lovely Katie Gallagher, who releases ‘Forever Love’ the sequel to ‘Stealing Cynderella’ this month.

Katie Gallagher mage~Author Bio~

Katie Gallagher is the author of the young adult novel, Catching You and Stealing Cynderella. She lives in Western PA with her husband and young daughter who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and lack of cooking skills. She loves coffee, flip flops and hates cold weather.

~Synopsis~forever-love-bk-2-flat

Cyn Clark never believed in such a thing as fate, but not soon after starting classes, and beginning a  new life away from her parents, she meets James Lucas. She’d never been very good at relationships, but James is different. The two of them quickly fall in love . As soon, as Cyn finally gets used to college life, and is comfortable with James, life throws them a curveball. Now, they are both hiding secrets, that if they don’t come out, the relationship won’t survive.

Now grab that cuppa and get comfy as we catch-up with Katie Gallagher …

coffee and cream

Hi Katie and welcome back! It’s great to have you here.

Stealing Cynderella ImageForever Love is a sequel – did you have an idea in mind for this when you were writing Stealing Cynderella?

I originally wrote this as one book, but right before I got the go ahead from my publisher, I found out that I was pregnant, so I asked if I would  be able to split into two different books, since I didn’t have the energy to do a full book at that time. Now, I’m in the process of writing a third and fourth novel with these characters, but that’s a conversation for another day.

How would you compare writing this book with anything that you have written previously?

The inspiration for this novel came from a real life experience of mine, but I changed names to protect the innocent. It was written before my first novel was published, but I didn’t feel confident to publish it, so I decided to write something else which became my first novel. Now, almost seven years later, I feel better about this novel, so I’ve decided to publish it. I feel good about this novel after my editors glowing compliments about the storyline throughout the whole writing/editing process.

The last time we spoke, you had a five month old and did the bulk of you’re writing in between her naps. How did you organise your writing time for Forever Love?

Not much has changed. Now she’s sixteen months old and the only time that I get to sit down at the computer and write is when she’s in bed. I usually worked on Forever from 7pm-10pm before heading to bed, so that I could get some sleep for the day job the next day unless it was my day off, then I’d stay up a little bit later to write.

 As a reader, what can we expect from Forever Love?forever-love-bk-2-flat

I don’t want to give away any spoilers for readers that haven’t read the first novel, so I’m just going to paste the back cover copy here.

Cyn Clark never believed in such a thing as fate, but not soon after starting classes, and beginning a  new life away from her parents, she meets James Lucas. She’d never been very good at relationships, but James is different. The two of them quickly fall in love . As soon, as Cyn finally gets used to college life, and is comfortable with James, life throws them a curveball. Now, they are both hiding secrets, that if they don’t come out, the relationship won’t survive.

And finally, if you could be another character for the day – who would you be?

I’d have to pick Joey Potter, played by Katie Holmes, from Dawsons Creek. She’s torn between two guys, but  despite that, she doesn’t let love rule her and still lives her own life and pursues her dreams and doesn’t follow the guy around like a lost puppy. She’s a strong woman and I was able to relate to her through all six seasons of the television show. I wish that I could write a character like her in one of my novels. 

Thank you for being here today Katie.

~Where to find Katie Gallagher~

Twitter: @Katie_Gallgher

Facebook

Amazon

Blog

forever-love-bk-2-flat

Forever Love

Out April 10th 2015

Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Clare Mackintosh

WEDNESDAY 01st APRIL 2015

Cuppa and a Catch up pic



I am delighted to feature on my blog today the lovely Clare Mackintosh, author to the brand new psychological thriller that everyone’s talking about ‘I Let You Go’.

~Author Bio~

Clare MackintoshClare Mackintosh is an author, feature writer and columnist. She has written for The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, The Green Parent, and many other national publications, and is a columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing Magazine.

Clare spent twelve years in the police force, working on CID, in custody and as a public order commander, and has drawn on her experiences for her début psychological thriller I Let You Go. She is currently writing her second novel.

~Synopsis~

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everythingI Let You Go she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

~Thoughts~

2015 has haphazardly seen my reading habits drift toward the psychological thriller. The pleasure I receive for these books toying with my mind is exquisite – I get a kick out of reading material messing with my brain.

And I Let You Go is not one to disappoint.

The story itself is an extremely good concept – however it’s the structure, the style of narration and the writing that make it breath-taking. It’s a book that not only has a great twist, it’s full of surprises.

The depth in which we’re allowed into the minds of the character’s and what makes some of them tick is what makes this such a great psychological thriller. It allows us a greater understanding of the big picture.

We’re even privy to a glimpse into Detective Inspector Ray Stevens life; we get to experience his struggles not only investigating the incident, but within his own family as well. 

The final pages of the story catapult us into an extremely tense and emotional ending. The pace doesn’t give you the opportunity to put the book down – you’re yearning for the next chapter, the next sentence, hell you’re even craving the next word.

I’m on a spate of reading such good psychological thriller’s and I Let You Go is no exception to the rule.

In fact, it’s as if it wrote the rule.

So grab that cuppa and snuggle in as we get to know more about Clare Mackintosh …

cuppa

What was the inspiration behind ‘I Let You Go’?

Many years ago, when I joined the police, a young boy was killed by joyriders on an estate in Oxford. It was a terrible crime and the offenders were never caught. I tried to think how it would feel to be responsible for something so horrific, but not coming forward, and couldn’t begin to imagine how the child’s mother felt. The hit and run that starts I Let You Go is very different, and the subsequent story is not at all the story of that boy from Oxford, but I thought of him and his family often when I was writing the book. I wanted to explore what motivates people to commit and conceal crime, and I wanted to create characters that weren’t straight forward.  

How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?

My first book was a romantic comedy called Hot Property. I worked with a great literary agent who really helped me develop the story, but after a year or so it became clear this wasn’t the right book. I had a yearning to write something much grittier, and as soon as I started I Let You Go it felt right. When it was finished I signed with a different literary agent and worked on a rewrite before she submitted it to publishers.   


One thing that impressed me with ‘I Let You Go’ was the structure of the story – I thought it was incredibly clever. Without giving too much away about the storyline, how did you plan this out?

Thank you! I’m obsessed with structure and dissect everything I read, or watch on television. I love seeing how stories are put together. With I Let You Go I started in the middle, where I had a really clear idea of what I wanted the story to do, then I worked out from there. I knew how the book started, and I was fairly certain I knew how it ended, so it was a question of filling in the gaps! With psychological thrillers it’s all about the pace, so I had to drop in pointers that would keep a reader turning the page, without giving away the plot!

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I’ve always written: I have a diary I kept when I was seven, and a fictionalised account of a family holiday in which I detail our ‘intrepid’ explorations of a campsite in Yorkshire. I wasn’t encouraged to consider writing as a career (and doubt I’d have made a success of it, back then), but carried on writing bits and pieces throughout the years. When I was pregnant I took over as editor of the local NCT newsletter and loved writing columns and putting together features. I started a blog which quickly gained followers, and from that was invited to write a column for a regional magazine. Gradually I began pitching features to other publications until 2011 when I left the police to write full-time.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

I have several! My regular writing space is my office: a very small room in my house where I have my desk, printer, huge book case, a wall planner and two enormous white boards. At the moment I also have a vast map of the London Underground (research for my next book). When the house is empty I can work quite well in there (although am easily distracted by the internet, a beeping washing machine, or a dog needing a walk) but I find it almost impossible to work when the children are in the house, however quiet they ‘think’ they’re being… I sometimes write in cafes, where I feel obliged to be productive because I’ve spent £2.50 on a latte. My favourite place to write is Chez Castillon, a writing retreat in the South of France, where I write four times as much as at home. If only I could live there all the time!

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

When I was 19 and at university I wangled an invitation to Downing Street. I was waitressing at a golf club and was talking to one of the guests who was involved in an award ceremony taking place at the PM’s place. I persuaded him to include me on the guest list, and he sent me an invitation the next day! 

Thank you for being here today Clare and best of luck with the book.

~ Where to find the Author~

Website

Facebook

Blog

Twitter

 Love Missuswolf xxx 

Please note this post contains affiliate links

ARC

Happy Third Birthday Blog!

SATURDAY 23rd AUGUST 2014

It’s three years ago today since I made myself comfortable on my corner sofa in our little flat, fired up the laptop and created Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Blogging

We’d not long been back from a fabulous holiday in Mexico, where I’d been a bridesmaid to one of my best friends. Despite the high of that holiday, I’d come home to discover there was trouble in my parents’ paradise. That August, I was also in my third month of being redeployed into a job working shifts in a role that I didn’t want to be in.

Seventy ThousandBut it gave me the time to focus on my reading and writing, and so this blog really did become my world – my distraction. I’d always read books, usually a couple of chapter’s a night before bed. I found that I started to read a lot more and used books as a form of Ruby Competitionescapism.

It gave me the drive to self publish the paperback version of ‘The Ruby of Egypt’ in December 2011. The kindle version shortly followed in January 2012.

That year, I wrote the first draft of my novel ‘Little Miss Pooshoe’ in January and February, attended creative writing classes at the local high school (which became my Creative Writing Café feature), joined Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Team #GoTeamPIF in the September and my nephew was born in the October. During all of this, the author interview feature ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’ was born. It was a hard year as my parents separation became final.

Go Team PIF2013 was a busy year – after eight years of waiting we finally managed to sell our flat and buy our house. This left little time for writing. It wasn’t for the want of trying – I did try to complete NaNoWriMo in the November however there was too much to do around the house and general day-to-day life got in the way. On a positive note, it gave me the makings of a Science Fiction novel ‘The Arm of Northumberland’ which is a longstanding WIP. It’s a story I need to tell as it all stemmed from an Cuppa and a Catch up picextremely vivid dream …

Oh – and Ruby’s book trailer was created in February 2013.

Ruby of Egypt Cover 2013The Ruby of Egypt was also revised and revamped with a new cover, courtesy of Carl Harvey.

The start of 2014 was a struggle as my working lifestyle really did get me down. Fast forward to August and I’ve got a new job, two new nieces, set up my own freelance writing business and I’m now ghost-writing a historic novel for a family member. My parents sold the family home yesterday and officially went their separate ways – which all seems so fitting now.

 

Life has a funny way of just falling into place.

Today, I had the wonderful surprise of meeting up with my grandparents (from Nottingham) whose mystery tour bus holiday they were on brought them to Gateshead.Freelance Bus Cards

The last three years have been a chapter of my life that have moulded me. There’s been difficult times but there has also been really good times. I’ve surrounded myself with other people’s stories by constantly immersing myself in books. Looking back I’m proud of the work that I’ve accomplished. Here’s to the next three years and what opportunities they may bring.

So thank you for reading and thank you Charity Rattiner for pointing me in the direction of wordpress.

This really has been Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 30 – Would save if my house burned down

MONDAY 30th JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK is the final one (sob!) – the book I would save if my house burned down.

For starters, I hope my house never burns down.

Secondly, I can’t choose.

This one is a bit of a cop-out  as I can’t decide which actual book I would save.

My Beloved Kindle

Therefore, I choose to rescue my beloved Kindle. It houses a lot of books that have featured on my blog over the past month – and so much more.

There you have it. Book A Day is now complete.

I have truly enjoyed this challenge; it’s re-enforced how much I do love books, re-ignited my love for forgotten treasures and created a re-read list.

I’ve made some lovely connections along the way and conversed with people who share my passion for reading.

Here’s to the next #BookADayUK

Love Missuswolf xxx 

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 19 – Still Can’t Stop Talking About It – The Hunger Games

THURSDAY 19th JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK is one that I still can’t stop talking about.

The Hunger Games.

Image from Amazon, click here to get your copy ...

Image from Amazon, click here to get your copy …

I told you it would feature again. I’m not even sorry.

Recommended to me back in February 2012 by my lovely friend Andy Wright (who kindly let me borrow the book) I inhaled the whole story in a couple of days. You can even catch the urgent blog post I so desperately needed to write the morning after here.

Image from Amazon - click to grab your copy

Image from Amazon – click to grab your copy

The story has remnants of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ – which I read in August 2011 (catch my post here). Again, another Andy Wright read.

Both stories are tales of ‘What if’s?’

What if you don’t read these books?

I’ll tell you my fellow book lover – you are truly missing out.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Book A Day Challenge UK: Day 18 – Bought on a recommendation – The Accident

 

WEDNESDAY 18th JUNE 2014

Today’s #BookADayUK is one that was bought on a recommendation.

The Accident.

Image from Amazon - click to download your copy ...

Image from Amazon – click to download your copy …

There are so many I could have chosen from – The Hunger Games being one of them but it’s had its airtime (and may appear again! Shout out to Andy Wright for that recommendation).

My good friend Emma Buckton (shout out to Lady B!) downloaded The Accident and posted a lovely reading-my-kindle-in-the-garden pic to my FB page by way of suggestion.

After A.J. Fikry, there was the dark reading void, that follows upon completion of a good read, and that void needed to be filled.

The urge to read something else was satisfied by The Accident. Keep toot for a future blog post on this …

Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Michelle Saint-Germain Weidenbenner

MONDAY 19th MAY 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Michelle Weidenbenner – Amazon bestselling author of SCATTERED LINKS and CACHE a PREDATOR. Scattered Links is only 99 cents to buy today on Amazon!

~Author Bio~

Michelle grew up in the burbs of Detroit with five brothers. No sisters. Each time her mom brought the boy bundle home from the hospital she cried, certain her mom liked boys better than girls. But when her brothers pitched in with the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting, without drama, she discovered having brothers wasn’t so bad. They even taught her how to Michelle SGW Author Pictake direct criticism without flinching, which might come in handy with book reviews.

When she’s not writing she’s winning ugly on the tennis court. She’s known as “Queen of the Rim Shots.”

No joke. It’s ugly.

Her debut novel, Cache a Predator is a geocaching mystery and an Amazon bestseller in the thriller/crime category.

Scattered Links (initially titled Love is Just a Word) was the winner of the 2013 Aspiring Writers Competition, sponsored by Write on Con and The Reading Room.

Michelle blogs at Random Writing Rants where she teaches and encourages writers how to get published

 

~Scattered Links~

Scattered Links

Book Description:

Scattered Links is a novel that pulls its characters from the gutters and, in the end, celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

Thirteen-year-old Oksana lives on the streets of Russia with her pregnant mama and abusive aunt—both prostitutes. When Mama swells into labor, Oksana makes a decision to save herself from abandonment, a decision that torments her forever. When her plan fails and her aunt dumps her in an orphanage, she never has the chance to say goodbye to her mama or tell her the secret that haunts her.

Scattered Links is a story of family and the consequences that come from never learning how to love, of a girl’s inability to bond with her adopted family and the frustrations that follow.

How can a child understand the mechanics of forming a healthy relationship when she never had a mother who answered her cries, held her when she was frightened, fed her when she was hungry, or loved her unconditionally?

Only when the child meets a rescued abused horse, and recognizes the pain in his eyes, does she begin to trust again.

Now grab that cuppa and get settled as we chat to Michelle Saint-Germain Weidenbenner …

coffee and cream

Hi Michelle and welcome today!

Where did the inspiration behind ‘Scattered Links’ come from?

In 1997 we traveled to Russia to adopt our daughter from an orphanage, so some of the story came from what I saw and the families and therapists I interviewed since then.

CACHE-Book-CoverHow would you compare writing this book with anything that you have written previously?

It’s totally different. My debut novel, CACHE a PREDATOR, was a thriller. The other books I’ve written are about kids—some with super powers. This novel is multi-cultural and reads like nonfiction.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

My parents often encouraged my writing. After we adopted Olivia I didn’t want to go back to work full time so I decided to try my luck at writing for magazines. That was more difficult then I thought. So I attended Taylor University in Ft. Wayne, Indiana—an hour from my home. I had a bachelor’s degree in business, but I wanted to learn more about how to write fiction, too. It was a blast. I love going to college. One of my friends once called me a consummate learner. I want to learn something every day.

Scattered LinksHow do you organize your writing time?

Honestly? Not very well. Ha! It’s always a struggle because I work at home and my family thinks I can cook, clean, and wash their dirty underwear. Sometimes all that living invades my writing time. I’m better if I make goals for myself. During NaNoWriMo I rock the words out, but my family suffers.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

We recently moved into a home that has a large room over the garage. It was used as a play room by the previous owners, but I’m going to make it into my cave so I can go in and shut the doors (there are double ones) and pretend I’m not at home, but in some far-away place where no one can find me.

Also, I’m going to paint one large wall with paint that can be used as a dry erase board. I can scribble with markers on it and wipe it off when I change my mind. Have you heard of this type of paint? It’s different than a blackboard/chalkboard. Won’t that be cool? I will plot my story line on the wall. I love visuals. It’s going to be a blast once I get it all going.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

I can be mechanically inclined. When I was a teenager my dad made me learn how to change a tire, my oil and filter, and the spark plugs in my car. Back then spark plugs had to be checked and I couldn’t afford someone else to do it for me. (What can I say? I’m old.)

Now when I have to put something together I’m not intimidated. Plus, there’s You Tube Videos that can show you how to do just about anything. I love that!

However, I do have my tech ‘tard moments, but when I look at how far I’ve come in the social media world I think I’m doing better than others. I’m proud of that. We’re never too old to stop learning.

Thanks for being here today Michelle – I love the idea of your dry erase board for a wall it sounds amazing!  

~Where to find Michelle Saint-Germain Weidenbenner~

Blog: Random Writing Rants

Teaching adults and teens how to get published

Website

Facebook 

Twitter: @MWeidenbenner1

Goodreads

Scattered Links

M. Weidenbenner

Young adult contemporary, multi-cultural

 Pages: 256

 ISBN: 978-1494366957 

 Ebook: ISBN: 978-0-9894049-3-8

 Cover artist: Avalon Graphics

 Random Publishing LLC

Buy on Amazon today for 99 cents!

~Endorsement~

“CAPTIVATING!

SCATTERED LINKS takes you down the street of nearly any Eastern European town, arm-in-arm with the orphaned. Michelle has captured the beauty and horror millions of children live everyday. The attention to detail is impressive. Having lived in a post-Soviet country for a time, visiting orphaned children, this fictional account rings with truth, from the heart-wrenching pain of abandonment to the realization of self-worth, and the love family and faith brings. Thank you for such an uplifting book, appropriate for the young reader, as well as adult. May your heart be encouraged, as mine was.”

Kim de Blecourt, speaker and award-winning author of “Until We All Come Home: A Harrowing Journey, a Mother’s Courage, a Race to Freedom”

Reviews

Check out the fab Book Trailer for ‘Scattered Links’ here:

 

 

You can also check out the Book Trailer for ‘Cache a Predator’ here too:

 

 


 Love Missuswolf xxx