The Darkness Can Be Blinding



Regardless of how much people know about you, you sometimes feel compelled to keep certain things quiet. In particular weaknesses that you worry will make other people see you in a different and not completely positive light. Everyone knows I suffer with severe depression and anxiety, and most people also know that I was recently diagnosed with PTSD. Yet still for some reason I still feel the need to keep quiet and get on with my life as if I don’t have these life crippling issues that I am in constant battle with on a daily basis. 

So here I am being honest about my illness, really honest. The truth is, I am not in a good place. I guess you could say the place I am in right now is very bad. This morning I had to ring in work sick because my anxiety last night got so bad that I had (yet again) horrendous nightmares that led to me having a ridiculous migraine and then vomiting in the early hours. Any those of you who know me, it takes an awful lot for me to ring in sick, mainly because I love my job and hate to feel like I’m letting people down so 99 times out 100 I soldier on. 

I just can’t do this anymore, my current living situation is awful, me and my husband have lived in this flat for 11 months and for the entirety of those 11 months we have been subjected to all manner of horrible situations from our vile excuse for a human being neighbour who lives above us. The endless noise and verbal abuse has made me a nervous wreck and the music that booms until the early hours has now forced us to move our bed into the living room in the hopes of actually getting some sleep. So yes, we are now sleeping in our living room. Not only that but it would seem that the only option we now have is to leave our home and move somewhere else. The alternative which we were originally pursuing was to have our neighbour evicted which we were told would take anything up to and maybe exceeding 12 months. In all honesty due to my health I don’t have 12 months of energy or fight left in me. We have now asked to be moved as it’s is the best choice for us and we are being moved in just under a month and while it is positive and people say it’s not that long to wait, given my current situation living with this on a daily basis makes the wait that much harder. What has been occurring to me recently is that every single home I have had, I have been chased from or forced to leave for some reason or another. I’m 32, can you imagine never being able to call anywhere a home? It’s fucked up and it makes me angry/upset/pissed off. 

One of the most important things you learn during times like this, is who really wants to be in your life. While relationships in any form are a 2 way thing, sometimes you run out of energy to give to other people regardless of your relationship with them. I have some dear friends who I haven’t heard from in a while and that is fine, as I know that they have their own ‘stuff’ to deal with and their own lives. But there are other people who really should try harder or just tell me you don’t want me in your life. While this may come across as angry and scathing I just don’t have time for people who just can’t be bothered with me. I can genuinely count my dearest friends on one hand and I love them dearly, they are wonderful people and I am looking forward to celebrating all their amazing life moments with them. The love I have for those people is forever and I am lucky that I have that, because not only does it show me that there are some incredible people out there, it shows me what true friendships and relationships should be. 

I am in therapy at the moment and it is intense, but hopefully once I eventually come to the end of my sessions I will be stronger and able to take on the world with a little bit more sass and strength.

Despite all of this, I am still fighting to get better and to survive. Sometimes it just gets to a point where you need to vent and get everything off your chest. This post is just that, an emotional and angry venting of a lot of the things that are weighing me down right now.

Call it what you will but as I say all the time, it all boils down to survival. Strive for survival and prove to yourself that strength and willpower to be happy make you a great person. 

Roll on moving day, please god let it come quickly.

Just remember. Survival. 

Author Interview: Catherine Miller

Today folks, as part of her blog tour I have a wonderful interview with Carina author Catherine Miller.


Hello Catherine, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, I am pleased to welcome you to my blog.

Thank you for having me, Daniel! I love following your blog.

So tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you write?

I’m originally from Margate and have migrated across the country to Southampton. When I’m not writing, I’m mum to three-year-old twins and often wonder how it is that I’m managing to juggle the two. I write contemporary women’s fiction that could be described as emotional page-turners.

What would you like to tell me about your book Waiting for You?

Waiting for You follows Fliss in her quest to become a mum second time around. Only it isn’t happening and finding out why will test everything.

My next novel, All That is Left of Us, is due out on the 15th September and is about the aftermath of surrogacy within a family and how they adapt to the changing dynamics.

Where do you find your writerly inspiration?

I think mostly from everyday life. Waiting for You came from a dinnertime conversation and a trip to the Paralympics. All That is Left of Us came about mostly on a visit to the zoo! I would advise going for a walk anywhere to get the ideas flowing.

What can you tell me about your typical writing day and what your process is?

Umm. I’m not sure I’ve had a typical day since my twins were born. I squeeze writing in when I can and most of Waiting for You was handwritten. These days I get a lot of work done at evenings and weekends. My girls start their preschool hours in September so I hope to get into a better routine then.

Can you tell me about your journey to publication? How did that all happen?

I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme in 2010 and graduated with my second book. I wrote the first chapter of Waiting for You and was lucky enough to be shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award. I had a one-to-one with Carina there and they wanted to see it once it was finished. When I did eventually finish it I sent it in and was offered a contract.

What are your publishers Carina UK like to work with?

They’ve been great to work with. I love my editor, Victoria. It’s rare to find people more enthusiastic than me and she really is.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Get in the habit of writing regularly. Don’t wait for the right mood to strike, write until the mood finds you.

What do your family and loved ones think of your success?

They are very proud and I hope my girls are proud of their mum when they grow up. I dedicated Waiting for You to them as having them spurred me onto the finish line.

So what’s next for you, how is the writing going right now?

All That is Left of Us is due out on September 15th and I’ve started to work on a couple of other project ideas so there’s excitement in the future.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Catherine, I really appreciate it.
Thank you for asking them, Daniel! It’s been a pleasure. 

About Catherine

When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren't full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with Carina UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, is due out in March 2016.

Catherine was a NHS physiotherapist, but for health reasons (Uveitis and Sarcoidosis) she retired early from this career. As she loved her physiotherapy job, she decided if she couldn't do that she would pursue her writing dream. It took a few years and a couple of babies, but in 2015 she won the Katie Fforde bursary, was a finalist in the London Book Fair Write Stuff Competition and highly commended in Woman magazine's writing competition. Soon afterwards she signed with Carina. Soon after that, she collapsed in a heap and was eventually revived by chocolate.

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Author Interview | Nicola Cameron

Hello folks, today I am super excited to have Nicola Cameron on my blog for a uper intersting interview, so as I always say, grab a brew, get comfy and enjoy.
Hello Nicola, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, I am pleased to welcome you to my blog.
Thanks for having me on, Daniel.
So tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you write?
I was literally born and figuratively raised at the University of Chicago (my mother used to work for the Humanities Division, so I spent a lot of time there during summers and school holidays). I also worked at the U of C as an adult, and my university internet account was how I wound up meeting my future husband on rec.arts.tv.uk. He’s a nice Midlands boy from Derbyshire, and after we got married we spent the next twelve years traveling around Canada and Europe for long-term contract work with his employer before settling down in Dallas.
I began my pro writing career as a science fiction writer in 1995 with Circlet Press, then started doing erotic romance in 2012 with my short story, “Tied With a Bow” for Evernight Publishing’s holiday anthology Vanilla-Free Christmas: Manlove Edition. I still write in both genres, but I find I’m bringing a lot of my SF experience and interests into my erotic romance work, which is giving me the best of both worlds. For instance, my Olympic Cove erotic romance series includes Greek gods, mermen, tritons, selkies, nanotechnology, bioengineering, battle scenes, and Alan Turing. What can I say—I like coloring outside the lines.
What appealed to you about writing M/M? Your covers are very yummy by the way.
Thanks for those go to Sour Cherry Designs — they’re brilliant, aren’t they? I started writing M/M because I like reading it, to be honest. When it came time to try writing an erotic romance, it was natural for me to go with an M/M story (or an M/M/M story in my case). I’m very lucky in that I have a number of friends across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, so I was able to call on them to answer questions about everything from sexual positions and what’s anatomically possible (and, more importantly, what isn’t) to the inner emotional and intellectual lives of gay men.
I am cognizant of the school of thought that disapproves of women writing M/M, understandably considering it the appropriation and fetishization of gay male orientation in the same way that lesbians were fetishized by male writers in the mid 20th century. I very much respect this concern, and do my absolute best to make sure that my characters and their stories are as realistic and fully developed as possible. If a gay male reader can see himself in my characters and enjoy the ride, then I feel I’ve done my job as a writer.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Literally everywhere. I’m one of those people who have chronic insomnia because my brain is constantly tossing ideas my way. One of my WIPs was inspired by being stuck in downtown Dallas traffic and noticing all the pyramids used as architectural features (seriously, Dallas is pyramid heaven). And my SF M/M erotic romance Two to Tango was inspired by John Barrowman and Misha Collins fooling around at a Fedcon in Germany and tweeting pictures of them tangoing together. I saw that and thought, “That’s nice, they’re having fun…oh, hey, wait a minute…” A few hours later I had a story about a dashing Scottish interstellar art thief and the Russian archaeologist he accidentally kidnaps. And hijinks ensue!
What can you tell me about your typical writing day and what your process is?
I’m one of the lucky writers who can work full time (the Brit and I have a deal — I’m our retirement plan since I don’t ever intend to stop writing, so he supports me now and I’ll support him later). I get up in the morning and work on whatever the current WIP is, take a lunch break, then spend the afternoon catching up on word count or doing any outstanding paperwork, social media, or promotion. I also enjoy a variety of crafts (the maker gene is strong in my family) and I’ve incorporated that into my writing process. If my hands are busy with a jewelry piece, a quilt, a dollhouse, etc. it gives my brain a chance to run through dialogue, work out plot points, or just free associate. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I wound up fixing a story problem while working on something else.
Can you tell me about your journey to publication? How did that all happen?
If we’re talking about erotic romance, it started when I saw the antho call for Vanilla-Free Christmas: Manlove Edition on Facebook. I had an idea for a pleasantly kinky M/M/M menage holiday story, so I wrote it and submitted it to Evernight. They bought it, so I decided to try doing a M/M fantasy story for their Romance on the Go line. They bought that as well, and I just kept going. By this point I’d been a professional SF writer for 17 years, so I think that played a large part in Evernight deciding to publish me.
As of last year I released my first self-pub novel, Empress of Storms. It was intended to be a standalone, but it did amazingly well and people keep asking for a sequel, so I’m working on that now and frantically trying to fill out the world so that it makes sense (also, I just want to say that I only started reading Game of Thrones this summer, so I swear that any coincidences between EoS (and there are some, to my embarrassment) and Mr. Martin’s magnum opus is due to the fact that we both speak English and are using European lands and history as inspiration).
What are the folks at Evernight Publishing like to work with?
Evernight is an utterly solid, professional company that is a joy to work with. Their editors know their stuff, their cover artist Jay Aheer produces the most amazing artwork for us, and their financial dealings are scrupulously honest and transparent. I’ve really enjoyed writing for them.
What do your family and loved ones think of your success?
Pretty much everyone thinks it’s great. My husband is immensely supportive of me, and when it comes down to it his is the only opinion that’s truly important to me. A funny anecdote: back when I was writing SF my late mother once sighed, “I wish you wrote romance — then you’d have something I could show my friends.” Be careful what you wish for, Mom!
What to you tell people when they ask what you write?
Depends on the person — usually I say I write SF and paranormal romance. If they want details, I explain that my work tends towards the more explicit side of the spectrum and is heavily M/M. Either I get a polite, “Oh, okay,” or they want book titles and places they can find my work, which is gratifying.
What advice would you give aspiring writers, particularly those like me who are looking to write m/m?
Writing M/M is like writing any other kind of erotic romance or erotica—you need to make sure your plot is tight and well-crafted, your characters are three-dimensional and engaging, and the emotions between them real. Smoking hot sex scenes are also good, but make sure you know both the anatomy and the dynamics involved. It annoys the hell out of me to read a M/M story that was written by someone who obviously thought, “Oh, I’ll just put a dick on the woman—that’ll work.” Yeah, no. Quite apart from anatomical differences, M/M romances have a different dynamic from M/F romances, and it’s vital to both recognize and respect that.
Also, to quote my friend Colby Keller, “There’s always time for lube.”
So what’s next for you? What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m finishing Palace of Scoundrels (the EoS sequel), and I’m also working on a dubcon M/M erotic contemporary romance titled Do No Harm. It was supposed to be a short story for Evernight’s Dark Captive anthology, and then the damn thing exploded on me. Both of those should be out in September, then I’ll be working on a fantasy M/M erotic romance called The Chevalier set in a quasi-AU 17th century France. Hot men, cold steel, and serious snark — whee! The final book of the year will be a historical M/M erotic romance about Baron von Steuben, one of the heroes of the American Revolution who was also an out and proud gay man. I’m very much looking forward to working on his story.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Nicola.
About Nicola
 
Nicola Cameron is a married woman of a certain age who really likes writing about sex. When not writing about sex, she likes to knit. And she may be rather fond of absinthe. Well, it’s true!
 
Okay, okay, the full version: Nicola Cameron has had a healthy interest in sex since puberty, but it wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to write about it. Turns out that the skills picked up during her SF writing career transfer rather nicely to erotic romance and erotica — who knew?

Speaking of erotica, her fantasy erotic romances Storm Season, Breaker Zone, and Deep Water (Books One through Three in the Olympic Cove series), Romance on the Go™ novelettes “A Boon by Moonlight” and “Grading the Curve”, coyote shifter paranormal romance Trickster, and fast-paced SF caper romance Two to Tango are are all available from Evernight Publishing. Her self-pubbed high fantasy erotic romance Empress of Storms is available from Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, and a variety of other online retailers. She is currently working on Behind the Iron Cross, a dark MMF erotic romance set in Weimar Republic-era Berlin, and Cross Current, Book Four in the Olympic Cove series. Her To Be Written work queue currently stands at around nineteen books, and thanks to certain enablers in Baltimore she may have added two more to that list. But hey, who needs sleep?

When not working, she’s usually making Stuff™, kissing her husband, or entertaining her cats.