Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Amazon Discussion Forums - Continued


WEDNESDAY, 7 MAY 2014


Amazon Discussion Forums - Continued


I wrote a blog about the Amazon Discussion Forums last year. A few people know that I have hosted a friendly discussion thread on the UK Amazon site - on the MOA. There has never been any l trouble as we are a small group of friends (there would not be a thread without them) who chat about our homes, gardens, family and anything else that crops up. We rarely if ever discuss politics or religion, after all some things are best kept private. In fact,  the subjects have never actually cropped up. Quite often over the past two years many people have popped in to say hello and exchange a few pleasantries. New friends are always welcome.
Should someone disagree with another poster's point of view on the thread the opposing point has always been put in a polite, non-controversial way. The opposing view is always discussed in an adult, friendly manner. Nothing nasty had ever happened apart from a few weeks ago when someone decided it would be, 'big' to leave a swearword. I don't know who it was aimed at. It was childish to say the least, or maybe the woman who posted it was drunk. I don't know. I chose to ignore something so childish, and Amazon deleted it. I thought then that the thread was heading for trouble.
We were nearing the 10,000 posts when the swearword was left. Amazon stop the posts at this point, and if you want to continue you have to start a new thread. 
I was right. A few days later a regular poster left quite an innocent post and as I am the host I replied.
This was when the trouble started; I was incredulous at the venom directed at me. Not just by a known troublemaker, who trolled the fiction threads, when they were popular, but by someone who posted on the thread regularly, and to all outward appearances called herself a friend.
So, how did I handle it all? Did I go in with guns blazing and tell them exactly what I thought of them? No, I stepped back, thought about it, and ended up feeling sorry for two obviously very insecure, and unhappy people, and have very low self-esteem. This is not to say that I'm not hurt. I am. I made an innocent remark which was jumped on because someone must have been harbouring nasty thoughts about me, and a few of my other friends who were also slighted.
I was going to take a break once I had refloated the thread, but decided not to let the unpleasant people feel that they had won. 
There's an old saying that says we should forgive and forget. Well, I forgive them for the reasons pointed out, but forget? That's another matter, I prefer not to speak to these people ever again, and hope that they disappear into the ether.
The one person says she is a GP, now it's not up to me to disbelieve her, but would a semi-retired GP, actually come onto Amazon Forums and act like a spoiled child? If she is a GP, then she has brought her profession and herself into disrepute, but more than that she has come across as spiteful and undignified. Strangely, enough she seems to know the other post (my so called friend) very well. She mentioned things about her finances etc which up until the friend mentioned she was on benefits no-one really knew about on the thread. Very strange indeed. I have a number of friends who are in General Practice, also Consultants and Professors, and I know their wives and families. They have always treated me with respect and would never think of going on a public forum and insulting posters. They have far too much respect and dignity for their fellow human beings. 
Of course, this just goes to show the type of person who reads the threads without ever dropping in to say a pleasant hello. They wait until such time as they think they can cause trouble and say evil things about someone. I pity them. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Another 5* review for Birmingham Girls.



A great review yesterday for Birmingham Girls
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Jun. 2015
 See all my reviews 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Birmingham Girls (Kindle Edition)
Fantastic read

This book tells the story of our early lives in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, where we lived in a back-to-back house with our mother. Our father deserted Mom before I was born. She had a desperate struggle bringing us up during and after the war until she remarried. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Introduction and the first few pages of - A Haunted Past Life





Available from Amazon Kindle
Also available in paperback from me.
Please email for details or visit my website
www.carolarnall.com


Introduction

Could a taxi journey change your life forever?
It does for Jen Rickmand.
Abused by her stepfather, Jen flees her childhood home with hopes of starting a new life. Struggling with agoraphobia, panic attacks, and concerns for her wellbeing, Jen finds comfort in the spirit world, developing connections with the paranormal that she never thought possible.
A simple taxi ride turns her life inside out when she finds herself transported back in time to 1965, where a husband and child await her. Despite her protestations, and her husband’s thinking concerns, Jen is desperate to return to 2011, but only if she can take her new daughter with her.
Horrified when she is suddenly whisked back to the future without her, Jen is torn between the two worlds. Will they eventually collide, allowing her to find the happiness she truly deserves?
A Haunted Past Life is an intriguing blend of spirits, ghosts, and time-travel with a heady mixture of love, tangled emotions, and relationships.






Chapter 1

Early Years

‘Home,’ Jen Rickmand muttered, mopping the kitchen floor. ‘This isn’t a home; I’m just the unpaid char.’ She wondered why she had let herself be used and bullied for so long, allowing her stepfamily to eat away at her self-confidence to the extent that she now suffered from agoraphobia.
For years, anger bubbled beneath her calm exterior, but she hid it well. Whenever they picked on her, she would take a deep breath and count to ten. She never once retaliated; instead she would bite her tongue and tell herself not to give them the satisfaction of knowing they had got to her with their spiteful remarks.
Her stepsisters made her life a misery, commenting almost daily that she looked like a beanstalk and her hair was nothing but a frizzy mess. In fact, Jen was pretty, tall, and slim, with beautiful, long, naturally auburn hair.
Jen’s only escape from them had been her interest in the paranormal, unfortunately, they had found out about it by snooping in her bedroom. They made snide comments such as, ‘Fancy reading books about ghosts. Have you been talking to them? You idiot. You’re nuts, you are.’
She often heard them talking about her as she went about her chores.
Have you seen the mess she looks today, especially her hair?’ Thelma would ask of her sister Monica, who would laugh.
Yes, she looks like a haystack on fire, doesn’t she?’ Their spiteful laughter would drift into the kitchen where she would be preparing the evening meal or doing another household chore.
They would deliberately throw rubbish on the floor and then order her to pick it up. ‘Come on, you’re the cleaner, pick it up or we’ll tell our dad about you when he gets home.’ They knew the more they derided her, the more their father would favour them. And he did, buying them CDs and giving them money, making certain Jen was around when he handed them out.
Her stepfather was the worst; he would push her against the kitchen wall when no one was about, standing close to her, threatening with how he would make her regret her idleness. He would grab a handful of her hair and pull it hard, telling her if she yelled out, he would make her regret it one way or another. He was pure evil, she never doubted that one way or another, he would attack her if she wasn’t careful. Whenever he was around, she would appear even more meek and mild while doing what he said, presenting a serene exterior, but all the time seething at him, and deriding herself for being such a weakling. The truth was she lacked self-confidence; it had ebbed away like the outgoing tide over the years of torment and abusive comments.
Should Jen ever look as if she was going to retaliate, her mother would shake her head, knowing it would be the worst for Jen and herself if he was provoked.
Her father died when she was three years-old; she had vague memories of being whisked up high in the air, held by a strong pair of loving arms. How she wished he was still alive; their whole lives would have been entirely different if only she had known him. Her mother worked hard to bring her up and provide as many treats as she could so Jen never felt different to the other girls. When Jen was thirteen, her mother met a widower, Derek, with thirteen-year-old twins; Jen was bowled over when her mother married him, thinking they would be one big happy family. Only this didn’t happen and she quickly discovered she was the odd one out in her mother’s new marriage.
From the first day, she was expected to do all the household chores, including the cooking.
Jen never complained, she would come straight home from school and do the tasks her mother and stepfather had left for her. She was never allowed to have friends over or any type of social life. Even when she left school and started working in a bank, her home life remained the same. She was still head cook and cleaner; woe betide her if she missed a chore, her stepfather or sisters would be on to her immediately, calling her an idle slut. Gradually, her anxiety levels were so high that she began to experience panic attacks. Leaving the house became a problem and she had to force herself to go to work. It was almost a relief to be at home despite the bullying; at least it was a familiar world where routine existed.
She longed for approval; trying hard to meet her stepfather’s high standards, but sadly, she never achieved this. The harder she tried, the more he mocked her attempts, telling her she was, ‘thick and stupid’.
She knew she was neither, but would question herself. Was she stupid? Was she thick? She must be to put up with what she did. How many women of twenty-three came straight home from work and did everything in the house their mother should do, and put up with the daily tormenting and insults? At times, she wanted to rebel when yet another task was added to her list, but she didn’t, she simply plodded on and consequently, her confidence was at an all-time low.
Jen was fully aware that her unhappy home life had contributed to the awful anxiety she experienced. Her step-siblings’ taunts and jeers made matters worse. Although she disliked her home life intensely, she felt safer inside than out; she knew this was ridiculous as she wanted to escape her environment more than anything, but she didn’t have the confidence to try to find a way out of her situation.
She had never been allowed to have friends.
Her stepfather would tell her, ‘You have far too much work to do in the house,’ whenever she plucked up courage to ask if she could go out. Gradually as the years passed, she stopped asking and refused all social invitations.
Secretly, she agreed with her stepfather when he called her a loser, she must be or she would have left years ago, wouldn’t she?
This morning, as she cleaned the kitchen, she mulled over her years of servitude and suddenly decided, No more, I’m leaving.
As the words entered her head, her stepfather jabbed her in the back, telling her, ‘You’d better get this kitchen cleaned up and our dinner ready or else you’re for it!’ He then did something he had never done before. He began to stroke her hair. She was rigid with fear as his hands moved down her back. My God, this was terrible, the disgusting swine was getting fresh with her.
‘Get your filthy hands off me,’ she shouted at the top of her voice.
‘Come on, Jen, you know you’ve always fancied me.’ He pushed her up against the kitchen wall, his hands roaming around her body.
He was too strong for her to fight off. This was awful, he was going to rape her. What could she do? Why hadn’t she seen this coming? The more she tried to kick him, the harder he pushed her against the wall, ripping at her clothes, his hands clawing at her breasts. She was lost; she would rather be dead than take this from him, who she had hated for so long. As if from nowhere, she found the strength to give him an almighty shove and he staggered away from her, coming to rest by the kitchen table.
He looked at her. ‘God, you’re beautiful,’ he drooled.

She had nowhere to hide and she could not go outside, her blouse and bra were in shreds, everyone would see her. If she went upstairs, he would follow her and get her on her bed.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A few of my books for Kindle and paperback books


The Other Place
Available from Amazon Kindle
goo.gl/XWSuxr

Introduction

Chrissie James is a troubled soul: with family problems, unexplained phobias and a stalker to contend with, she seeks help with a hypnotherapist. Whilst in therapy, Chrissie discovers she has led a past life.
Will living a previous life help Chrissie to discover the truth of what caused her fears and phobias, and will she find out who is stalking her?

The Other Place is a paranormal mystery. Its many twists and turns will keep you guessing to the very end.

The Haunting of Kate Somner
Available from Amazon Kindle

Introduction

     After a reading from Gary, a clairvoyant, Kate Somner’s life changes forever.
Her husband Ben disappears in unusual circumstances.
She loses her job, her home and discovers she is pregnant.
As if all the above isn’t bad enough, Kate begins experiencing time slips which take her back to the 1960s. Here, she “sees” Sheila, who is living in the same flat that Kate now lives in. Is there a connection between the two women?
Kate revisits Gary, hoping that he will be able to help her.
Will Gary help Kate find her missing husband?
Will she unravel the mystery of the time slips?
The Haunting of Kate Somner is a supernatural mystery full of intrigue, secrets and deception.

A Haunted Past Life
Available from Amazon Kindle

Introduction


Jen’s unhappy life changes forever when she finds herself leading a past life in the 1960s. 
She is astonished to discover she is happily married, with a husband and an eight year old daughter. 
Jen is suddenly torn from her only daughter and taken back to 1965. Could this be a past life? Is she dreaming? 
Trapped and confused, Jen tries to unravel her tormented emotions with newly discovered relationships, living and dead. 
Jen is haunted by these two lives but has her spirit guides to reassure her. She needs to make an important decision - Should she stay or should Jen find her way back home again? But how can she possibly leave if she has fallen in love?


Dancing With Spirits
Available from Amazon Kindle

Introduction 

The story begins thousands of years ago on the outskirts of Rugeley, in the heart of Cannock Chase.
It tells the story of a young girl whose love, Deimuiss, has disappeared without trace and her desperation to find him. Her search leads her to finding herself in the 21st Century where she begins a new life.
Eventually Elvaennia will have to make the decision whether to return to her old life or continue to live life in the 21st Century. She discovers something that may well destroy her family back at the settlement; and realises that yet again tough decisions will have to be made regarding her life.
Will the challenges of her new life take over the old Elvaennia, making her disregard her promise to love Deimuiss for all time and beyond? Will she forget the old ways and values or decide to pursue this new life?

Deimuiss also finds himself torn between his new life and the old. New challenges await him in the 21st Century but will his past, and love of Elvaennia, beckon him back?




Spirits of the Lights
Available from Amazon Kindle

Introduction

The story begins when Mark follows Elvaennia, a time traveller from the Calegi Settlement at Cannock Chase in prehistory, back to her own time.
Previously, Elvaennia had time travelled from her settlement to the 21st century in search of her lost love, Deimuiss. After many trials, Elvaennia found Deimuiss and they had then returned to the Calegi settlement. Mark followed them back through time, desperate to win her love.
A misunderstanding between the couple almost immediately leads Deimuiss back to the 21st century; this delights Mark, as he now feels free to pursue Elvaennia.
 Elvaennia has difficult decisions to make; she knows her family and the other settlers are in great danger of being killed by their enemies, the Delph tribe. She eventually manages to persuade the majority of the settlers to time travel with her to the 21st century to escape the impending danger. Mark accompanies her back to the present day in the hope she will eventually fall in love with him.
Elvaennia goes in search of Deimuiss, who she believes is now living with her rival, Caroline. In her search for her love, she meets many men along the way, including the enigmatic Steve, the producer of her television show, ‘Ghostly Investigations’, and Julius, a Roman soldier who offers her comfort when she needs it most.
As Elvaennia discovers, the path to finding love is not easy and leads to many questions. Will Mark finally win the woman he has been following through time? Will Elvaennia settle down with Steve, or perhaps Julius? Will the time travelling lovers reunite, or will Caroline’s love keep Deimuiss with her forever?

Available from Amazon Kindle

Also available in paperback

This book gives an insight into how you can develop your psychic skills. It examines my involvement in the psychic world, and the ways and methods I discovered to help develop my psychic ability. There is a section on ghosts ? including some ghostly tales that illustrate my points ? tarot cards, mediums, time travel, and many more of the psychic sciences that I have discovered along the way. There are discussions on all the above, allowing the reader to form their own opinions on whether they want to follow a particular pathway or not; it also shows how the various methods deployed by psychics may help improve their lifestyle. For anyone who is new to the psychic world and wonders if they have psychic skills, this book can be used as a first-step introduction and will give an insight into how to proceed. There is advice on how to go about setting up as a psychic and how to avoid the pitfalls. I have included my interpretation of the Tarot cards, dream interpretations, and other helpful suggestions as to how you can develop your psychic skills. I have not gone into great detail with any of my ideas as I think it is far better that an individual chooses their own way of developing their skills and ideas. Too much information when a person is starting out can be confusing. I hope the book gives the reader a clear insight into the different pathways of the psychic world.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

An unusual happening - My dog Sophie looking for her brother who died in 2013


Sophie

The other afternoon Sophie woke after a long sleep. She looked at me, then she gazed at my husband who was sitting in a facing chair. She then went looking behind the sofa, stared at us again in passing, and continued her search in the dining room, kitchen, and my office. I watched her looking everywhere. 
I glanced across at my husband, and we nodded at each other, we knew she was looking for Boyden, her brother who died in July 2013 . I think she woke up disorientated, and went searching again. Bless her. I wish like her that he was still here.
She's done this before, gone searching for him, especially in the garden. Sometimes she stands by the garden gate, just staring, as if to say, 'where are you?'
She's such a sensitive little soul.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

My Inspiration for writing my book Birmingham Girls



I thought that I would share my inspiration for writing Birmingham Girls. I used to listen to Professor Carl Chinn's programme on Radio WM. He is a well known local historian. He always encouraged people to write their memories down through his radio show or newspaper columns before it was too late. I thought about it for a long, long time. I started it, shared what I'd written with my older sister Pauline, who lived in Scotland, she wrote back saying, 'get on with it'. Cutting a long story short, I didn't, life got in the way, and a few more years went by.  In between whiles Pauline would write or phone asking me if I'd written anything else. She kept telling me to finish it.  I asked her to write her memories down for me for (a car accident had unfortunately wiped many of my memories out), Pauline promised she would. Unfortunately she died suddenly. I was bereft for a long time, but after a while I started to write my memories down as a tribute to her, always hearing her voice urging me on, 'to get it done.' She remained at my elbow until I eventually finished it ten years down the line.
Without the encouragement of my beautiful sister I would never have written Birmingham Girls.
I've also published a booklet of the Kindle edition. If anyone is interested in buying a copy let me know. You can follow the link on my web page for my email address.

Friday, 21 November 2014

A Virtual Talk - A few ghostly sightings of my beloved dog, Boyden

I'm a reluctant speaker. I've been asked a number of times to give talks to various groups of people. Not always about writing, some people have asked me to give talks about, ghosts, tarot cards, embroidery and a few other subjects.
Being a shy, retiring type I've always refused their kind offers.
I thought that I would have a virtual talk and see the type of questions that I might possibly receive after my talk.
Today's subject is about my book, Whatever Happened After Birmingham Girls. Here we get the best of both worlds because I am reading an extract from the book about the hauntings I've experienced since my dog died in July 2013.

       Extract

Early in 2013 I could sense him failing, and some nights I would cry praying he would not begin to suffer or the inevitable would happen. He kept going, still enjoying his food, but I knew deep inside that he would not live the year out.
One night settling down to sleep the inevitable tears started, when suddenly I heard my best friend’s voice say, “Don’t worry, Cal, I will look after him for you.” My friend had died two years previously. My tears stopped, and she repeated what she had said. Although I was shocked, to say the least, it made sense to me that she would care for Boyden, she loved animals and when she was alive she had four dogs and a cat. Like me she had always been an animal lover. My sister who had died a few years ago never kept pets, so I understood why my friend had spoken to me.
Ever after that, whenever the tears came in the following months, I would hear her, “Don’t cry, Cal. I promise I will take care of him for you.”
Now, please do not think that I hear voices in my head. Whenever I say I hear someone who has died speak to me, what actually happens is that I have an impression of their voice in my head. This is the best way I know of explaining it. I have an instinctive thought of who it is communicating with me. Or maybe I am listening to my inner voice. I honestly don’t know. The main thing is it comforted me.
And I did stop crying. I knew he would be safe in her hands, wouldn’t he?
Time passed and I became more aware of how Boyden’s health was failing. It was hard to accept. In fact my husband wouldn’t accept it. He would deny anything was wrong with the little fellow. I felt terrible about this, I considered I was facing up to the inevitable, as heartbreaking as it was; I needed him to as well, for his own sake.

Some nights I found it increasingly difficult to sleep. I would keep telling myself to enjoy the time we had left together, to concentrate on the here and now, not afterwards. I would hear my friend’s voice telling me everything would eventually come right, but it would take time. It helped knowing that she was there, even when in the cold light of day I knew it was my imagination. I wouldn’t cry. Looking back perhaps I should have done, maybe afterwards I would not have been so ill. Who knows, it might still have been as terrible.I’m not going to pretend it’s been easy since losing Boyden on the 7th July 2013. It hasn’t. I think I cried non-stop for the first fortnight. Yes, I have his sister; she is and always has been a joy. I loved him so much and I always will. Life has been terribly sad. He was such an enormous part of my life that I find it difficult to accept that I will never see him again. I often wonder if the sightings, the sounds, the feeling that he is here still are simply because we want him to be. I’ve listed the happenings below. But if they are my imagination how is it that Sophie still stares at something which I can’t see and wags her tail, looking unbelievably happy? Maybe it’s not my imagination; perhaps he is here in spirit. Why shouldn’t he be here? After all, he was a much-loved family member. Why should death take him away forever?
I will always love him; he was one of the best friends I ever had. It’s so hard not to cry at his absence. It is a little easier now seven months on, but it only takes a sudden memory or a mention of him, and I still start crying.
I don’t visit our walks so often now; it hurts me far too much. Memories of him are everywhere. Each bend of a path brings the hope that he might just be there lying in wait waiting to run up to me wagging his tail, with a huge smile on his face, and saying “hello’ to me. If only.
Sundays became terrible days for me. After all, he left us forever on a Sunday. They were unbearable for a number of months. I would cry non-stop, grieving for him. It suddenly hit me one day – he didn’t just die on a Sunday, he had lived for thirteen years of Sundays, and he was still here with me. Next year, the day he died will not be a Sunday, nor the following year. He could have died on any day. True I still do not visit our favourite walks on a Sunday, but that’s more to do with the mountain bikers riding along the narrow lanes. I would hate for us to knock one of them off their bikes. Also, the place can get crowded. We now visit the shops.
I’ve reached the conclusion that there can be no goodbyes to our beloved relatives or pets, only a whispered “hello” every morning, and a fond “goodnight”. I have Boyden’s picture on my screensaver, also on my phone, and they will stay there forever. His photograph is in my locket and I had a hologram made from his photograph. He is always with me.

A few sightings of Boyden

On 6th August 2013 Sophie was lying by the open kitchen door. As I walked past her I called her to me, she was looking into the adjoining dining room wagging her tail. She ignored me! I asked her again to come to me; she kept wagging her tail and staring into the dining room.
I thought my husband had come home, so I walked into the dining room; there was no one there, but Sophie continued happily wagging her tail and ignoring me. I should say here that she is normally the most obedient of dogs, even if she does not want to do something that I ask her to, she will do it, albeit reluctantly. It was strange. I walked into the lounge, no husband. He normally arrives home about 4.15–4.30pm; the time of this occurrence was 2.45pm. Still she carried on looking into the dining room and thumping her tail with joy. I walked past her and again asked her to come to me. I turned and looked at her. Suddenly, she turned her head round; her eyes were clearly following something that I could not see. After a few minutes, she stopped wagging her tail, looked at me, got up and followed me into the back office. It was a strange experience.
For the last weeks of his life, Boyden lay on the chair in the dining room. I think he lay in there because it is the darkest room downstairs. I have not moved or used the chair since.
Three difficult months passed. He walked through my dreams; he was in my thoughts all day long. It was a terrible time emotionally for me. I found it so hard not to cry. Of course, now I realise it isn’t wrong to cry, it’s human. It would be strange indeed if I had not cried. After having my friend beside me for so long, what normal human being would not miss them?
I also found myself avoiding people who had normally stopped and fussed him when we were out and about, walking or shopping. I dreaded getting upset should they talk about him. It is difficult not to appear rude in these circumstances.
A remarkable bond sometimes develops between an owner and their dog and no one on earth can ever break it. It’s difficult for people who do not own a pet to understand the depth of understanding that can exist between an owner and their dog. Some dogs develop a high sensitivity to your every thought and mood. In fact, they almost seem to know what you are going to do or say before it happens.
I kept trying to accept that I will never see him again. It was also difficult for my husband. At times Sophie would run around the house and garden looking for her brother. She would even go to his favourite chair and stand in front of it wagging her tail. I wondered if she could see him. I don’t know and never will.
I always go to bed fairly early so that I can read for an hour or two; Boyden and Sophie would always come and lie beside me in the bedroom. When I was ready to go to sleep I would take them downstairs to their own beds. Since Boyden died we follow the same routine and Sophie still comes upstairs with me, except that as she misses him so much she sleeps upstairs now.
One night my husband took Sophie downstairs so she could visit the garden. I popped downstairs to collect a magazine. I was walking back upstairs when I suddenly heard doggy footsteps behind me. I thought, Sophie was quick, when I felt a rush of wind go past me. I knew immediately that it was Boyden because there was no sign of Sophie, just the silence. It was his way of saying, “I’m still here.” There could be no other reason for it to happen.
My husband has told me on more than one occasion that he has heard Boyden walking around downstairs. It’s strange he should say this, because he has always said he does not disbelieve in ghosts, but has never seen or heard one. Boyden developed a strange way of walking towards the end of his life. He dragged his feet. I was forever saying, “Pick your feet up, boy.”
One day at around mid-day I was cleaning the lounge window. Sophie was as far as I was aware in the kitchen waiting for her lunch. I suddenly heard Boyden groan, and a small shuffle. He always did this when he lay down in later years. I know it was him. I glanced round immediately. No Sophie, no Boyden. Just thousands of dust motes dancing on the air. It was strange.
I keep a small amount of his fur in my purse. It’s another comfort to me. As I mentioned walking the same walks without him is heartbreaking, at times I cannot face going, there are far too many memories. Slowly I began to realise that if he were here we would still go out and about every day, and as I firmly believe he will always be with me I must continue the daily walks with him (in spirit) and his sister. It’s only fair to her anyway. Every time I leave the house I say to myself, “Come on, Boyden.” I don’t say it aloud as I don’t want to upset my husband.
I say “goodnight” to him when I go to bed, and plump his cushion up on his chair for him. One morning there was an indentation in the cushion, it looked as if he had been lying on it.

Its 1st November 2013, yesterday was Halloween. Tradition says that at midnight, the veil between this world and the next is at its most fragile. I wondered whether any of my loved ones would be able to make contact.
Midnight came and went. I received not at a sign. At 12.15 I thought I saw a movement on Sophie’s dog blanket. She – Sophie – had gone to lie in another part of the bedroom at just gone midnight. On seeing the movement, I blinked, but could not see anything.
The next morning, when I looked at Sophie’s blanket I saw that there were two white feathers lying on it. To me these tiny white feathers are always a sign of contact from someone in spirit. As they were both on the dog’s blanket I can only assume they were a sign from my dog, Boyden.
I felt a warm glow knowing that he had visited me. Not that he has ever left me or ever will.
Often when I was out walking with Boyden, he would suddenly jump, and move away from me. It took me a long time to realise why he did this. I realised that it was more than likely because my dog Connie was pushing him out of the way. There is simply no other explanation.
One night about a month ago, December 2013, I was walking through the dining room when I glanced back; to my amazement I saw Boyden standing looking at me. I was so shocked. It was so unexpected that I gasped aloud. The sighting lasted a few seconds. Since then I have never been aware of him in the house or seen him. It could be that was his last visit.
Since I wrote the above paragraph, I have been aware of his presence again. How could I think that he would leave me forever? Earlier this month, February 2014, Sophie was lying beside me as I was writing my book when all of a sudden I heard Boyden cough. I jumped exactly at the same time as Sophie did. She leapt up and ran into the kitchen. I sat stunned, listening to her running up and down the kitchen and then in the dining room. I thought it was quite incredible. Needless to say, we were the only ones in the house at the time.
On the 8th February Sophie once again was following something with her eyes, and wagging her tail. I gazed around the room but could not see anyone in the room. Sophie undoubtedly saw someone or something. I can’t put that down to my imagination!
Maybe I imagined seeing and hearing him. I don’t know. Perhaps it is because we are in such emotional turmoil when our loved ones go that sheer longing actually brings them back to us? I don’t know. I do know that everything I have written about hearing and seeing him is true.
I find it difficult going out on my own without him. I worry about the panic attacks returning. Most times now I go out with my husband. Sophie is a difficult dog to walk on a lead as although she is not as big as Boyden, she is strong and pulls, causing me headaches. I do try to take her out on my own, but it is hard.
It’s helped writing about Boyden, and our walks, and in the end we have to accept that our pets are only given to us for a few short years. I was so lucky to have him.
Will I ever have another dog? Who knows what the future holds. No, not at this moment in time I don’t think so. I tried, it didn’t work out, and the pain of him not being here ten months on is still unbearable. My heart still aches for him and it always will.
As another small memorial to Boyden, I painted the slabs with his name on. I can see it through the window where I sit typing every day.  
I also hung a wind chime by my window. It’s a real comfort to me. Every time I hear it I am reminded that he is nearby and thinking of us.
I had a bit of a blip when the thought passed through my mind that perhaps there is no heaven. I thought, if there is no heaven then we will never see our loved ones again. I soon closed my mind to that thought. I know that when the time comes I will meet him and the other loves of my life again. They will be there to greet me. In life as in death, there are no endings, only beginnings.



Boyden
You’re Not There

I reach out to touch you, but you’re not there
I call your name; it hangs in the empty air
I touch your lead; I look at your empty chair
You’re not there
My days are long and sad
You’re not there
My fingers ache to stroke your soft fur
You’re not there
My arms ache to cuddle you forever
You’re not there
Because you’ve gone to a place
Where I’m not there
Boyden 2001–2013
RIP my wonderful, faithful friend
Until we meet again

Question Time

Do you believe in ghosts?
I do. So many people, including myself have had sightings of them they are obviously are all around us.

How do you know you are actually seeing a ghost?
The image is ethereal, it's not solid, it is a person or an animal, but I know immediately that I am seeing a ghost.

Have you ever actually spoken to a ghost?
Only in my mind. I've never stood face to face with a ghost and had a conversation.

Do other members of your family believe in ghosts?
My husband never did until Boyden died. Since our dog died my husband has heard his footsteps in the house and been aware of his presence.

Do you ever doubt what you've seen?
Yes, I always question whether it is all simply my imagination at play. Maybe a trick of the eye or perhaps I'm dozing! But as mentioned there are so many different happenings around the world that to my mind ghosts do exist. If that's the correct way of expressing it!

Available from Amazon Kindle


Monday, 17 November 2014

The Other Place - At long last I've added music to my video.


                                           
                                                 http://goo.gl/XWSuxr
Available from Amazon Kindle and also in paperback
The Other Place
Chrissie James is a troubled soul: with family problems, unexplained phobias and a stalker to contend with, she seeks help with a hypnotherapist. Whilst in therapy, Chrissie discovers she has led a past life. 
Will living a previous life help Chrissie to discover the truth of what caused her fears and phobias, and will she find out who is stalking her? 
The Other Place is a paranormal mystery. Its many twists and turns will keep you guessing to the very end. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

How important are book titles, book covers, and blurbs?

Discerning readers will always be put off buying a book with a cover that doesn't do the job. They will also see errors in a poorly written blurb that hasn't been professionally proofread and edited.
In my opinion, a book cover is the most important feature of a book because hopefully it will immediately grab the reader’s attention. The cover picture should represent what the book is about but should not distract from the title. The title and the cover should tell the reader what the book is about.
When planning my book covers I always remember the old saying, every picture tells a story, and that's what the cover and title should tell the reader.
First off, an inspiring cover will always draw me in and make me curious as to what the rest of the book is about, the title that should be placed so as not to obscure the picture otherwise a reader will not be drawn to it.

One mistake a few publishers traditional and self-publishers make is to put their names in large print at the top of the page. This can work for well-known authors, but if you are a new unknown author readers will drift away. When a reader visits Amazon and clicks on the book pages, their eyes should instantly be drawn to the book cover and title not the author's name. They will move on to the next book where the title is showing. 
If you are in a bookshop and books are placed on a higher shelf, all you see is the author's name not the book title, this tells you nothing, especially if the author is unknown. I walk away, as I should imagine others do. After all there are millions of other books with the titles showing just waiting to be bought.
Now, for the all-important blurb, this is the final decider as to whether a potential buyer has been convinced. The publisher has to get it right so that the reader will want to read book more than any other book they have ever read. If the blurb overlong, a reader will lose interest, fast! The blurb needs to draw them in with the first line, and continue to make them keep on reading and most importantly want to know more. A poorly written blurb will turn readers away, fast.

To buy a copy of The Other Place visit http://tinyurl.com/ktwmwlu for a copy on Kindle, the book is also available in paperback.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Another great review for Birmingham Girls.

Another great review for Birmingham Girls!
Available from Amazon Kindle

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Birmingham-Girls-Carol-Arnall-ebook/dp/B003YDXJO4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1415715559&sr=8-3&keywords=carol+arnall

Birmingham Girls is the story of two sisters growing up in post-war Birmingham

This book tells the story of our early lives in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, where we lived in a back-to-back house with our mother. Our father deserted Mom before I was born. She had a desperate struggle bringing us up during and after the war until she remarried. 

Thanks to the reviewer, Shirley for giving Birmingham Girls a five star review. She wrote that she loved it.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A must read autobiography - The Age of Innocence. Manchester 1930s and 40s






Memories of Manchester during the 1930s and 40s.
In a time before television, when access even to the radio was a luxury, the world may have been further apart, but community was never closer.

Older readers will remember fondly the days of seaside holidays and Vera Lynne, and those younger will be inspired by this heart-warming account of a young girl’s life, growing up in a working-class neighbourhood of Manchester, during the 1930’s and 40’s.

And whilst there were no strangers in the street, life behind closed doors could be particularly tough. Money was scarce, family tragedies struck with merciless frequency and war was ever looming.

Yet through it all a spirit of camaraderie enlivened her community, giving its members the strength to face these dark times with courage, and even hope. Further proof, perhaps, of that old adage, which asserts that sometimes the most adverse conditions of life provide the most fertile soil for happiness… 

Friday, 31 October 2014

Various ways of publishing

Traditional Publishing? Online Publishing? Indie Publishing? The choice is yours.

I have recently been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, as against publishing with traditional and online publishers.
Obviously, traditional publishers have a lot to offer, editing, marketing, professional support, and your books also hit the book shelves in bookshops and libraries. All excellent reasons for being published by them; that is, of course, if they offer you a contract. They also give you an advance. Not as much as in previous years but it is money on the table.
Disadvantages. You sign the rights to your book away; hence, any alterations the editor wants to do have to be carried out. Be warned your story can be changed! Pricing is set, and you have no say in the matter. You have to wait for your sales information. Plus you sign to say (normally) that they have the rights to publish your next book/or two. You also have to work within the timescale that they set. If you dislike pressure, then it’s not for you.
Marketing? You still have to do a set amount of marketing. Publishers do not have the resources to promote new authors. They tend to stick to the celebrity authors now. They know they are going to make high sales from anything they publish. What they make can then be spent on publishing new authors.

Online publishers
I often wonder what the advantages are for placing your book with an online publisher. Some of them do offer free editing. Okay, that is an advantage, but there are many reliable editors in the market place who will check your work for a reasonable fee.
A few of the online companies do publish in paperback, but the books are a bit pricey. They also pay royalties, but take a substantial amount for themselves. Many online publishers do not publish paperback copies; this is a disappointment to the many readers who are not online. After all everyone deserves to read your book. Not everyone likes reading online or on an e-reading device.
You do not get offered an advance.
The on-line publisher will upload your book for you. Fine, this is an enormous help if you lack the technical skills to do it yourself. The thing is there are many authors who will upload your book for you, or there are small companies (easy to find) who for a small fee will format and upload your book for you. Cover design?  Yes, the business will provide one of their covers. I have seen good and bad.
And, as with traditional publishers you have to sign a contract, and this can include future books. Of course, if they should consider that your book has not made enough money for them they can break the contract. If you have written a best seller, they will benefit enormously until your contract has run out.
Marketing? Make no mistake the online company will push you to promote. You will have to do a massive amount of marketing. It will be part of the contract; you will be expected to work with their other authors and push, push, push. Hopefully, you will find new readers, not authors; it’s not helpful to keep selling to authors (who, I agree are readers. I’m one myself). But you need to break away from Facebook and Amazon forums and try to reach the big wide world where readers are. It is difficult, but it can be done.

Paying to have your book published.
This is another option, but it is quite expensive. There are quite a few companies that will publish your book for you. But as mentioned it is very expensive. I know a few people who are happy with the books they have published this way. Very few authors make it to the top, but then surely that is not the goal, is it?

 Independent publishing
You work for yourself, no-one else; every penny you earn in royalties is yours.
Once you have written and have checked your m/s until your eyes hurt; the next step is to find a professional editor. When you are happy with any changes recommended by the editor your book needs formatting. This should not present be a problem to you. KDP publishes  instructions on their site that lead you through the process. They have also published a free booklet which you can download.
What more could ask?
You are in total control of the content; there is no-one breathing down your neck. The choice of the editor is yours. The cover design is yours alone to choose. You set the price. You also choose where, when and how you publish. And a huge plus is that you can check your sales any time of the day or night.
When you upload to kindle your book is normally online within 24 hours.

Createspace is excellent for publishing your paperback copies. Within ten days, (at the latest) your book can be on all the Amazon sites. I have three of my books with Createspace.
There are companies who offer to format your book for you for a small fee.
 Remember there is no stigma attached to self-publishing today. It has become quite acceptable to publish your own work.
I have friends who are with traditional publishers. They tell me that they  have to market. I also have friends who have books with online publishers, and I have colleagues who own an independent publishing company. The latter use Lightening Source to print their books. They all have to market their books. How else will people know that they are out there?
It all comes down to making a choice. Whichever way appeals to you is the one to try.
There are millions of books are online now. Your book is just one of them. Think about it, you have to get it known. Leading companies market their goods week in and week out; we as authors have to make a bit of  noise, or should I say a giant explosion to let the general public know about it. But a word of warning do not over do it. Think of the advertisements on the television, the most annoying ones are those we do not watch. Why? Because they’re on far too often, and so become boring in the extreme.

Publishing a book should not be about making a shed load of money. Not many do. For me it has always been about writing and publishing a book that people will enjoy. If it happens then you have scored the biggest hit ever.