Monday 23 April 2012

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

I'm sorry to say that this is my last post as part of the April A to Z Challenge. I really wanted to complete it all this year without missing any days but it's proved more difficult than I anticipated. I love the challenge and I love meeting new bloggers and finding new blogs to read, but circumstances have taken control.

Last year I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS as it's known for short. POTS is an autonomic disorder which means that everything my body is supposed to do automatically, it doesn't always do. It's a secondary disorder to the Ehlers Danlos hypermobility, which means it's not likely to get any better. My body isn't particularly good at pumping the blood back up my body when I'm standing. Though it was only diagnosed last year, I have been living and dealing with the symptoms for the majority of my life. The main issue for me at the minute though is the lack of sleep. My body doesn't appear to be able to switch off. I'm literally living on two to four hours sleep a night.

I saw the cardiac clinic nurse today and we're changing some of my tablets to see if they help, but first I have to be weaned off the ones I'm on. This means that my sleep won't improve for at least another two weeks while I come off the tablets that aren't working.

I am being affected by this disorder quite badly at the minute, but in comparison to some sufferers, I live a full and "normal" life. Working full time in a busy job and having a life with my family. I won't give in to this, I will take what I need to so that I can keep functioning. I have dreams and aspirations and I won't let this disability define who I am, but I will discuss it occasionally because it's real and there's no harm in raising awareness for invisible disabilities. This isn't a soap box I'm standing on, but a bit of honesty for how things are right now.

So due to this lack of sleep and an unforeseen hectic work schedule, blogging every day is an impossibility. I have loved taking part for the first part of the month I managed and next year I will attempt to plan better and have the majority of posts written, but for now, I have to bow out. For those still going, have a great last week or so!

I will still keep blogging, just not to an every day schedule.

Friday 20 April 2012

Pinterest And The Queen's Jubliee

Yes, I know, I'm failing miserably at this A to Z challenge. Honestly though, work has been so much more hectic and demanding than it usually is and it's leaving me too exhausted to write blog posts when I get home. Excuses, excuses.

Today though, is the first in four days off, so I fully intend to catch up, so here are posts P and Q.


Have you checked out Pinterest yet? I have recently joined and I am officially addicted. When I first joined, I didn't think I would be. Pinning pictures on to virtual cork-boards and that's it? What is to get addicted about?

Pretty pictures! Idea's! Recipes!

I have several boards up and running now. One of which is my bucket list - obviously in image format. It's brilliant - look!                                                              

Another board I have that is actually useful is my Food and Drink Board. I actually made a homemade malteser cheesecake simply because I found it on Pinterest. I also made Turkish Delight Vodka, which I have to tell you, was delightful.

The other boards I have are Because I love the imagery. Beautiful places and simply beautiful pictures. If you're on there, look me up. My link is in the right   hand bar of the blog. If you're not, give it a try and see if you can stop yourself being sucked in to it!                                                                             

Queen's Golden Jubilee. 

On Sunday the 3rd of June, Queen Elizabeth celebrates sixty years on the throne. That's a long time and she must have seen some massive changes in the country in that time and is a part of a great history.

Our street has decided we are going to throw a street party. I was really surprised that people were up for it to be honest, but it's being planned with real enthusiasm. Plans are afoot for bunting, Hog roast, bouncy castles and discos on the street. It really sounds like it will be great fun and a fantastic opportunity to get to know the neighbours a little better. It's something I didn't expect to see in our modern times, but now it's happening, I can't wait. I will take photos and let you know how it went. I'm hoping for sunshine. Maybe that's asking a bit too much?

Are you doing anything that day?

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Online File Storage

I was wondering recently about online storage and if it has a place in my work with writing. I wondered how many people use it, and if they do, what their thoughts were on it.

In an age when we often possess more than one computer in the home and have the ability to take one with us t on, online storage seems a perfect solution.

One such storage company I have heard about is Dropbox. It says what it does on the tin. You drag and drop your documents/photographs into the box/file and can open it anywhere you so choose, through dropbox.

The good points? You can save your work where-ever you are and when-ever you want. A certain amount of space is free. If your computer goes bang, the file is safe.

The downside? I've read amongst their terms and conditions, that everything placed within drop box is the property of dropbox. Now I'm not sure how that works for writers, or anyone else for that matter. I have a feeling that it is just a legal phrase that isn't enforced or actioned in anyway. It does make me a little nervous though.

I have only used dropbox as an example because it's the one I've heard people say good things about. There are many similar facilities out there. Do you use such a facility and what are your thoughts, good or bad on it? The way forward or a fragile piece of nothingness?

Sunday 15 April 2012

Mari Hannah

Ok, so I've officially failed to complete the A to Z challenge as it was set out. Due to a busy week, I didn't post Friday or Saturday. This means I'm missing out the letter L and posting M on a Sunday. Even though I have technically failed, I am going to continue posting and visiting fellow blogging participants.

Today, M is for Mari Hannah. An absolutely lovely crime writer I had the pleasure of meeting at last years Harrogate crime writing festival and have caught up with a few times since.

Last week saw the release of her debut crime novel, The Murder Wall, in the UK. I haven't had chance to read the book yet, but I am really looking forward to reading it. This isn't a recommendation of a book I've read, but it is a recommendation to check out Mari's website and read the blurb if you are a crime fiction reader. The book has a fabulous cover and Mari has ten years experience as a probation officer to support her knowledge of the world of criminals.

The Murder Wall has been described by one of the country's top crime writers, Peter James, as "Brutal and engaging. Mari Hannah writes with a sharp eye and a dark heart."

You can find Mari on her website Mari

Thursday 12 April 2012

Keeping It Short

In the spirit of completing a blog post every day for the A to Z challenge this post is a bit of a cheat -

The suggestion for blog posts during this month is to keep posts short, so....

Are you keeping it short?

Wednesday 11 April 2012

James Patterson

Well, this is the tenth day of the April A to Z challenge and we're on the letter J. I did attempt to be organised and wrote a few posts ahead of time, but this one is just being thrown together as I'm unprepared and short of time due to long hours and odd shifts at work this week. I apologise if I'm not getting back to visiting everyone very quickly, but I fully intend to catch up and pop by and see you all.

How is everyone finding the challenge this year?

Anyway, back to J. James Patterson is a US crime writer I love. Particularly his Alex Cross novels. I've read them all from the beginning and following characters through years of books is something I really enjoy. I love to see the life changes and how this affects them and their relationships. Alex Cross has had a particularly rough ride as you can imagine the protagonist of a crime series, to have had. I'm surprised he's still standing and sane!

What I like about these books are the short chapters and quick movement. One chapter ending draws you immediately into wanting to read the next and I can't stop turning the pages. Some people believe he writes very formulaic and don't particularly like his books because of this, but he's a massive seller and a lot of people love his books, me included. I don't care if he has the formula down to pat. He keeps me turning the pages, it's not taxing on my brain and I love getting drawn in to an easy, enjoyable, fast read.

Another thing about Jame Patterson, is he is actively employed in encouraging reading in children and has a great website - Read Kiddo Read. So no matter what you think of his books, he has a genuine love of reading and writing and what's not to love about that?

Who do you read that has you turning the pages nearly faster than you can finish the page?

Tuesday 10 April 2012

If - Rudyard Kipling

I heard this poem being read out a short time ago and loved it and loved what it represented so I thought I'd share it here.

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Is there a poem that you love, that just strikes that chord with you and if so, what is it?

Monday 9 April 2012

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival

On the 19th July I am heading to Harrogate for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. It's a four day event held in The Swan, a beautiful hotel in Harrogate.

This year it is being organised by author of the Tom Thorne series, among other stand alones, crime writer Mark Billingham. There is a whole host of other well known writers lined up to chat and talk about a subject many of us love, crime fiction.

Among those listed for the event are Jo Nesbo, Harlan Coben, Peter James, John Connolly and Ian Rankin. I could list them all for you, but I fear it would be a rather long blog post. If you want to check out this massive event, check the website Here.

I attended this great long weekend last year and I came away ready to book for this year as I enjoyed it so much. I met some wonderful people I'm honoured to now call friends and I listened to some inspirational crime writers talk about their craft. Afterwards I was enthused and bursting with energy for my own work.

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival is for all fans of crime fiction, whether writers, readers or bloggers. It really is one of the most friendly welcoming events I have been to and I hope to be able to go for years to come.

I didn't do a very good job blogging about the event last year, but I definitely intend to try harder this year. There will be so many great things to share.

Have you been to any similar events and if so, how do you find them?

Saturday 7 April 2012

Grim Reaper

When I thought of the title for this post, I was thinking of the Grim reaper in the form of death. A perfect discussion considering I write crime fiction and murder. It wasn't until I actually started reading about the Grim reaper that I realised what a massive subject it actually its. It's far too long and complex to go into a comprehensive discussion on an A to Z challenge blog post which are meant to be short so people can get through them and on to the next blogger. See here if you are unaware what the A to Z challenge is.

The Grim Reaper has a solid history, but it also has it's differences depending on culture and religion which play big parts in what people perceive the Reaper to be.

It's natural for humans to be concerned about the unknown and what could be more unknown than death itself. A place people never return from, so no solid accounts are available on what happens at point of death. We needed a face. Someone to be there to guide us through the experience. Initially the people who were with us at the point of death were Valkyries, females with friendly faces who guided us to Valhalla.

It wasn't until the great plague that death took the dark form that we now commonly associate with death, the Grim Reaper with his dark clothing, skeletal face and large scythe. A brutal horrific time to live through so not surprising that death came in such a dark form.

So, does the fact that my victims face a brutal death mean they also face the Grim reaper, or, as I'd like to hope, they paid their price in the story, so a friendly face is the one to guide them through death, whatever that may be?

Friday 6 April 2012


Social networking is a phenomena. When I was a teenager, I didn't own a computer or mobile phone. We relied on landline telephones to keep in touch and the ability of our feet to walk to the distance to the people we wanted to talk with.

Now it's a different ball game altogether. We can reach people we would never have otherwise had a conversation with. We can connect with people from far away with similar interests and we can develop friendships that are real.

Facebook seems to have had the monopoly over the social networking world at the minute, but I'm not convinced it will stay that way. Details on my favourite networks to come in later posts. I am still using Facebook though and you can't deny it reaches an awful lot of people. It's reach is wide and it's users active.

If you're on Facebook, lets connect there as well here. Clicking HERE will take you to my personal Facebook account not a writer page or suchlike. I'm not a huge timeline hog. I blog more than I Facebook, but if you want to connect on there, feel free to add me.

I hope you're having a great A to Z month so far!

Thursday 5 April 2012


This coming weekend is Easter weekend. A time when the big white bunny with the floppy ears creeps (or is that hops?) into your home and leaves big chocolaty eggs covered in pretty shiny wrapping, for the kids in the house.

The problem is I have a slight addiction to egg shaped chocolate. Yes, I'm a chocoholic anyway, but make it egg shaped and I can't say no. I've been doing really well on my diet recently and I've lost half a stone in the last six weeks. come Sunday though, I will turn into a demented egg drooler, resorting to secretly breaking bits off the childrens eggs if the bunny doesn't fetch me my own.

What food drives you to distraction and will you be indulging this Easter?

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Dance Like No One Is Watching

Dance like no one is watching refers to the fact that we shouldn't worry about what others think of us, we should just live our life and live it well. 

I love this quote. It's simple but it says a lot. I found it particularly relevant a couple of years ago when I was approaching an age with a number I have no intention of mentioning again! Anyway, I decided I needed to do the things I wanted to do. I needed to push myself, if I didn't try, the dreams would never come true. So now I try and I keep trying. I started and finished my first book. I try to enjoy myself without putting things off for another day. OK, I may occasionally put the more difficult things off for another day. But the point is, I'm not putting them off permanently. I'm trying to live in the moment and it's going quite well. I don't want to get to an age where I look back and wish I done various things I had the chance to do, but didn't. 

I tend not to dance in front of others as I have the rhythm of a dancing frog, but I do like the quote. 

What are you doing that has you dancing like no one is watching?

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Crime Fiction

I love crime fiction. From a young age I read investigative mysteries for children such as Enid Bltyons Famous Five and Secret Seven and then moved on the Nancy Drew. From there it was the more adult crime with Agatha Christie. I'm not sure what draws me in to it, but drawn I am.

Crime fiction doesn't have to be all gore and slashery. There are so many sub headings in the crime literary world that there is a book for everyone. You can get cosy crime, psychological crime, police procedural, legal thrillers and even historical crime.

I had a discussion last week with someone who told me the book, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson wasn't a crime book simply because it was very psychological. The book actually won the Crime Writers Association John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger, so it definitely falls within the category crime.

I've been blogging for just over a year now and I don't know how many of my fellow bloggers read crime. I'd love to hear your views and thoughts. Are you an all out crime lover, an occasional crime reader, someone who didn't realise they were maybe reading crime, or a reader who just can't pick up that genre at all?

Monday 2 April 2012

Books - Organising The Bookcase

Today I thought I'd share a great little clip of a couple who recorded a movement of books around their bookcase. I love it. It's not very long and worth a look.

Sunday 1 April 2012

A to Z Blogging Starts!

Today I start on the A to Z blogging challenge. The brainchild of Arlee Bird over at Tossing it Out. To complete the challenge you have to post a blog post every day other than Sundays (But include today as it's the first of April) and all posts have to be alphebetised. You can find all details and extra info, over at Lee's blog or by clicking on the above image which will take you to the A to Z blog. 

A has to be the easiest subject post decision to make. I'm sure many of us are using this as our starting post.

I'm looking forward to blogging this month and to meeting new bloggers. I hope to be able to get around to as many bloggers as I can, though I couldn't possibly catch the entire number of people who have signed up to this brilliant blogging challenge.

If you are new to Life in Clarity, through the challenge, I warmly welcome you and I would love to see you again when all this madness has died down.

If you're a regular follower, I'm glad you're still stopping by as I attempt this challenge. I will of course, try and keep all posts relevant to the tone the blog usually runs at and I apologise if the posts get a little off key as my mind melts down at the shear size of this feat I'm attempting to complete. I do hope to continue to see you at the other end of this month.

So... it's the A to Z challenge... Lets get blogging!