You believe in what?

Yeah, I get asked that a lot. So I thought I would write something a bit lighter today. There is a topic I love talking about more than anything and that is…wait for it… ghosts. No, please don’t run away… it gets interesting, honest.

Now, I have probably told this story many, many times before but every time I get asked about my novel, The Town Halloween Forgot, I can’t help but bring it up. Why? Because it inspired me to write. And anything that gets you fired up to write is a damn good thing, yes?

I am a firm believer in the spirit world. No question about it. I’ve had far too many experiences in my life to dismiss it, but I never expected what I’m about to tell you, and I certainly never expected to get a novel out of it.

When we moved into our current property seven years ago, I was still working on my first novel about vampires. I had been thinking about writing something different for a while and with Halloween only a couple of months away, I thought it would be great to write a short story centered on that theme. So, one afternoon while trying to write with two young, noisy kids I walked out of the front room into the hallway to find them kicking a ball around. Fearful one of them would get hurt, I asked them to take the ball outside. My son, who was only two at the time then said to me that they were only playing with the little girl. I immediately looked at my daughter who was looking over my shoulder and thought to myself, no, he must be joking with me. But no laughter was forthcoming. So I asked him what he meant and he pointed behind me. I knew we were the only three people in the house at the time, but nevertheless, I looked behind and saw nothing but an empty hallway. After a lot of investigating, I decided to leave them to it and went back to my desk, mulling over what he had said. After a little while, the idea for Halloween began to formulate.

Over the course of the next seven years, we have had many, many experiences in this house. My daughter, as it turned out is very psychic indeed. But of all the spooky going on’s in the house, the most frightening incident was when my daughter was making a vlog in her bedroom one afternoon. While she was filming, her bedroom door closed and a toy moved from under her bed. I know, it sounds like something from horror movie, right? This was all caught on tape too and I have to admit, watching it back made me a little nervous. And then there was one time, my son’s toy dog got thrown across the bedroom, but he wasn’t as scared as I thought he’d be which I thought was odd at the time. But kids seem more open to these things in my experience and so they find it easy to switch off and adapt.

Well, as it turned out, the novel is now in development for film. The second novel is already out, called Danny Hallows and The Stones of Aurora and I have been working, very slowly, I may add, on the third. So I wonder what will inspire the last instalment?Hmm.

Novel is available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Overdrive and Ibooks.

 

 

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Anxiety, Stagnation & Writing Novels

I don’t know where this year has gone, I really don’t. January started out with good intentions, as they do but somehow I am sitting here on June 19th with half a dozen unfinished projects. I’m sure some of you can relate, yes? Well if that’s the case, know you’re not alone and no, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just a temporary blip in the grand scheme of things. Well, that’s how I like to look at it anyway.

I had written a draft of a Christmas novella I hoped would be released this November, but a muck up on the cover made me seriously question why on earth, after eight of years was I still pretending to be a writer. I say “pretending” because my self-esteem became so low at that point that every time I would try to move forward, I was being pushed back ten paces. And that followed months of stagnation. And that is why, folks, I am sitting here typing this. It recently dawned on me that everything that I was going through was because I needed a break from writing fiction. I had spent over two years writing a historical novel and I was mentally exhausted. But instead of taking a break when I should’ve, I kept pushing on with a different project my heart wasn’t really into. And yes, I began making lots of silly mistakes, like the book cover incident. So what happened? My anxiety instantly took over and I started to have major self-doubts.

Just like I said on a previous post, writing is a healing tool, for me anyhow. I just knew I had to shake things up a bit. It’s only human to want/need change, right?  As a fixed Earth sign, change had never been easy in the past but I have felt a serious need for change the past few months like no other. Have you been feeling like this?

I think it’s important to keep things fresh so we don’t become bored and stagnated, like I did. Sometimes we need to fall in love with things again, to remember why we started in the first place.

So, yes, we’re half way through the year already but I don’t consider it time wasted. I think I needed to go through that process to find what I really want. It doesn’t make you any less of a writer even if you don’t get that manuscript finished in the time frame you want.  You’re still a writer if you don’t get that publisher you’re after. I stopped looking for outside approval and have decided to concentrate on writing what I love. Even if nobody buys it. It’s time to stop being so hard on yourself and express your creativity however and whatever way it pleases you.

 

 

 

My Favourite Beach To Chill

I am somewhat reluctant to tell you about this, but I’m feeling quite generous so I shall.  If you’re not from Swansea, I doubt you will be aware of Baldwin’s Beach. Tucked behind the new university, you would never even know it existed, or be aware of the access on to it.

Whenever I feel like some time out,  which is often, I take a twenty-five minute walk along the motorway, past the 1940’s War Museum and then cut through the university campus. I have to admit, more often than not I pop into the local Tesco’s for a snack, like you do. But then I’m suddenly aware that yes, most of the students there are half may age. But with age comes wisdom, right? So I feel like a wise old witch as I leave with a bottle of water and a bag of crisps.

Most days, apart from the occasional dog walker, the beach will be empty. Oftentimes, it’s like having your own private beach. How cool would that be if it was? Once the students leave for the summer, it’s certainly guaranteed to be quiet and void of humans. Thankfully. Not that it’s always heaving on a hot day prior to the students leaving anyway. uiuyiyiuiiuyiu9-0=0l.jpg

On a clear day you can make out Devon in the distance, the mumbles to the right and Port Talbot to the left. Oh, and I almost forgot, you can see Porthcawl, too. Hands up if you’ve never been to Porthcawl?  I would wager most from these parts have. It’s like the Blackpool of South Wales.

But you’re never entirely alone. Nope. I like to sit on the rocks and chill for a while and watch the the birds. There is a lot of wildlife in this area too, especially Sandpipers, Crows and Seagulls. It’s so funny to watch them, especially the Seagulls chasing away the Crows. So remember, if you happen to visit my favourite place, please be kind and take your rubbish home with you.  Please protect the wildlife and our beaches, okay? And shush, this place is our secret, right?

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Writing As A Healing Tool?

Yes. I started writing novels at the height of my anxiety period, which would have been around eight or nine years ago. Prior to this I hadn’t really thought about writing novels, although I had wanted to be a journalist at some point and had written several pieces for the local paper.

Being stuck at home with anxiety and a young daughter was no laughing matter. Some days I couldn’t go out at all, or I would end up standing outside the local Morrison’s store feeling like I was about to faint. I missed out on a lot over the years because of anxiety and it’s not something I would wish on anyone.

So where does writing come into this? Well, I started writing humorous stories about Dracula on my Facebook page one day, out of the blue. To this day, I still can’t remember why. But my friends thought that they were funny and wanted more, so I found that while I was writing and being in this state, I wasn’t anxious. But even at this point, writing a novel was the last thing on my mind. I had left an English degree several years before and my writing skills were more than a little rusty. Besides, I didn’t think I was capable of churning out a full length novel. No, that was geniuses, surely?

Actually, it turned out that you don’t need to be a genius to write a novel. You do, however need to be consistent, determined and above all passionate about what you’re doing.

I can remember the evening very clearly. I was sat at my PC listening to my favourite Scandinavian rock band when I see this image in my mind about a man laying in a field of blood. I wondered what his problem was and decided that I would write his story. In that moment, not only did I have an idea for a novel, I also had the title. It was The Rise of the New Bloods, From Dark Beginnings.  I was so excited, I had forgotten I didn’t have a clue how to even begin a novel. So I typed the title into a Word document:

The Rise of the New Bloods, From Dark Beginnings.

…and then I spent the next 18 months teaching myself how to put it all down on paper. And did it help? Oh yes. It was one of my turning points, I have to admit.

If you haven’t read it, the character is a vampire who comes from the wilds of Finland. He had no contact with the outside world in all that time he had been there, so when he arrived in New York he’s more than a little nervous, even for a vampire. You could say I projected a little of my anxiety through him. And that in itself was extremely healing for me.

I then went on to write about 13 more novels with one in development for film. So, yes, for me writing was/is a healing tool. Why don’t you give it a go. Even if it’s only writing an entry in a journal a day.

 

Anxiety & Me

Anxiety is a bitch, right? Believe me, I know only too well. Thirteen years ago I developed a panic disorder that quickly turned into claustrophobia and agoraphobia. My doctor wasn’t much help if I’m honest. “I’ll put you on a mild dose of anti-depressants.” This was, apparently their answer for everything.  The problem was that I hated taking pills and I didn’t like the idea of being on anti-depressants. Not because of the stigma attached but I firmly believed there was another way to combat this debilitating issue.

I consider myself quite a spiritual person and ever since I can remember I’ve always believed in alternative therapies and healing techniques. This particular day I had had enough and googled alternative therapies for anxiety. There was quite a lot of options, but one in particular jumped out at me and that was, Acupuncture. Now, I’m not saying for one minute that my way is THE way. Everyone is different, so hear me out. You would think the thought of having loads of tiny needles punctured into my skin would have given me an anxiety attack just by the mere thought of it, but nope. At this point, I was desperate for help. I booked an appointment with a Chinese lady in the next town and managed to get out of the house to see her.

If I’m honest, I don’t remember much of the session because after I felt a few needles entering my leg, I became so relaxed I fell asleep for over an hour. I had not had a decent night’s sleep in months at this point. I noticed an improvement days later but felt I needed something else. This was when I booked in to see Dr. Clyde, a spiritual medium, healer etc. I knew that I was out of balance and needed his help. Call it intuition or whatever, but I just knew that I was guided to this person. Again, I was desperate for help and so I walked about six miles to his office because I couldn’t take a bus. I had what they call THETA healing, I believe and I kid you not that after just the one session I felt more balanced than I had in a year and I even got into a taxi!!

Gradually, as the weeks went on I grew more in confidence and found my old self resurfacing. Of course, I still get the occasional bouts of panic especially when I’m  around a large group of people, but I am now able to do a lot more than I had in a very long time.

This was just my experience. I’m not saying you should definitely try alternative ways, but I don’t see the harm either. Whether you believe or not in healing, it can’t hurt to try something you haven’t done before to enable you to lead a richer and fulfilling life.

A Step Back In Time

There is a little hidden gem on your way into Swansea via Fabian Way, and if you’re not careful, you will miss a fantastic day out for all the family.

If you’re a WW2 history buff like me, the 1940’s Swansea Bay museum is the place for you. It’s run entirely by knowledgeable and friendly volunteers who, if asked will take the time to guide you around the museum. They have amazing stories to share, so do ask.

I recently visited, not for the first time as I live within walking distance, to regain my enthusiasm for the WW2 novel I’ve been writing. You enter the museum through their little shop, past an air raid shelter and end up in a 1940’s sitting room. Unlike other, funded museums you are allowed to touch things and try on coats, hats etc from the period.  My favourite thing is the little dining area that upon stepping into, instantly transports you back in time.  Who needs Dr. Who, right? Although they had a dismantled TARDIS in their stock room. No, I’m not kidding and I think it’s for sale.

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If that’s not all, we then enter a street (yes, inside the museum) It’s such a treat to be honest because it’s not something you would expect to see. We have a barber shop, a butchers, a clothes shop, which boasts, I must say, a rather lovely wedding gown made entirely from a silk parachute.  Put it this way, it’s lovely in the daytime but I personally wouldn’t want to be locked in there at night.  Although some people do because they have had visits from paranormal researchers too. Not to mention Cosplayers which they welcome. 35426506_1954389684635745_9073877140247674880_n

If you’re thirsty after all that excitement, they have a pub, The Three Lamps which was also the name of a real pub in Swansea at one time. This is the pub:

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The bar they have is the actual bar rescued from the pub too. Unfortunately, like the bar maid, it isn’t actually a real pub. But nonetheless it evokes the atmosphere of days gone by with an upright piano. Which is real and still works, if not a little out of tune if I’m honest. But who cares? They are actual pieces from the time period, so what’s not to love about that. Can you imagine the sailors whose elbows rested on the bar over a pint before the sailed off to who knows where? This is history come alive, folks.

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Is this place worth visiting? It’s an absolute YES from me. I have to point out that this place isn’t funded by the council or anyone, so it depends entirely upon the entrance fee, which is around six pounds. So I think it’s a very fair asking price. They are also open for school trips too and judging by the staff and their expertise, it will promise to be a very educational day out.

This is a non sponsored post and all opinions are my own. If you’re looking to visit, please refer to their website below.

Postal address:
Baldwin’s Crescent
Crymlyn Burrows
Swansea
SA1 8PT

Phone number:
# 01792 458864

Email address:
@ mail@1940sSwanseaBay.co.uk

Website:
W www.1940sSwanseaBay.co.uk

Why I Read Tarot & A Chance To Win A Free Reading With Me

Not everyone likes tarot, but then again, not everyone understands it. And that’s cool, right? If you don’t understand something it’s important to ask questions before you make assumptions. That applies for all areas of life.

Since I was a teenager I had been drawn to the esoteric arts, especially witchcraft but it wasn’t until about six years ago I discovered a love for astrology and tarot. The two go hand in hand. I got my first packet of cards, a traditional Rider Waite and began learning the symbolism and the basic meanings. But that soon went out of the window because I began using my own intuition when I would read for friends. More often than not, I would pick up on things only they could know.

Anyhow, I use tarot mainly, not as a predictive tool but as a guide. It’s my understanding that nothing is set in stone. Yes, I do believe we have certain events in our lives that are meant to play out, but that’s another topic, folks. The tarot tells a story of what you’re meant to know at the time of the reading. It can highlight something in the past, present, or even your future. But that’s when tarot is great because, it enables you to look at the the situation from another perspective so you’re able to gain a better understanding in order to make the right choices for you. It can also help you bring something to close, or even offer a little bit of counselling.

So in that respect, yes, I love tarot because I do like to help people in my own unique way.

And that’s why I’m offering someone a chance to win a free email reading with me. All you have to do is comment below with your name and I’ll enter it into a draw. Competition closes on June 30th and a winner will be selected and notified on the 1st.

If you would like a reading with me I am currently offering them for £7.50. Please email the69eyesfanwriter@gmail.com

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