How has your life changed since last year?

This is not a completely easy question to answer, in my personal opinion.  Has my life changed?  Slightly, yes.  It’s changing, but has not completely changed.

After losing my dad so suddenly, it has made me more determined.  I have realised that life is too short, which is one of the main reasons I decided to go back to studying (as well as working a full time job).  I always wanted to be a teacher and people in the past seemed to have put that idea out of my mind.  Well I took a big step and signed up to The Open University and I have just completed my first module of a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing.  It’s a long way off but it might help towards me becoming a teacher ‘eventually’.

I have self published another one of my short stories and there is another one in the works.  This has made a path for new readers reading my words and they have told me how much they enjoyed what they had read.  Amanda over at Chocolate Pages wrote an absolutely lovely review and I can’t honestly thank her enough.  How has this changed my life, well it has made me more determined to finish some of my unfinished projects and even pick up my novel again, which is finished but does need a lot of work done to it.

I have a few things I will attempt along with continuing with the writing and studying and that is lose a few pounds in weight, tick a few things of my bucket list (hopefully).  Hopefully continuing to partake in these activities will help change my life for the better.

How has your life changed since last year?

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My top moments for 2018

As you can tell it has been a while.  Honestly, I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind.  So better late than never, I thought I would share with you my highs of 2018.  There is no preference here, just things that made me happy.

Sally’s Birthday Treat Day
Well it was a special birthday for her, so what better than to spoil her.  A coffee to start with birthday presents followed by a manicure, then lunch at Cotes and something for our postal nerdiness, we visited The Postal Museum. What a great day.

Completing Walk All Over Cancer
This was tough for me, but I am happy to say I actually smashed it.  It felt great after completing it and obviously raising money for a great cause.  Thank you to all you who sponsored me, your help was very much appreciated.

Eroticon
This was my first time attending this conference.  I had a blast.  I was nervous at first, but I was made to feel part of the family.  It was extremely informative and who doesn’t like a huge goodie bag (free).  It wont be the last time that I attend.

Leigh – on – Sea
I had gone past this place on the train many times and finally instead of going to Southend, I got off the train and decided to explore the little fishing town.  It was the perfect place to do some writing and as an added bonus, the sun was out in all its glory.

Hades and Athena
Well after the sadness of loosing my little boy Thor, my heart was naturally broken.  A few months after loosing him, my dear other half bought me two black kittens.  A brother and a sister whom we named, as you can tell, Hades and Athena.  They are beautiful and have brought a smile back to our faces.

Started my Open University Degree
I should have done it when I was younger, but I think loosing dad made me realise that life is too short.  I have always wanted to do a degree and be a teacher.  At the not so young age of 42, I have started my BA in English Literature and Creative Writing.  Apparently you are never too old to learn something new.  I am currently coming to the end of my first module and apart from the time flying by, I have enjoyed it so far.

Edinburgh
Even though I come from England, I had never been to Edinburgh.  So for mine and Sally’s Christmas get together, we decided on Edinburgh this year.  We travelled first class on the train and it was perfect.  It was so beautiful.  Admittedly it didn’t stop raining, but that didn’t matter.  We had each other’s company, snacks and Christmas movies.  We were in heaven.  I will go back as I really wanted to visit Edinburgh Castle, so now I have an excuse to go back.

Thunder Christmas Party
For those of you that know me personally, will know of the obsession I have with a certain group called Thunder.  I have seen them numerous amounts of time.  I never get sick of seeing them and no one show is ever the same.  I had never managed to get to one of their Christmas shows before.  This time I was going.  It was my little Christmas present to myself and it was worth every penny.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely.

So there you go.  Its only five months late, but these were the highs of 2018 for me.

Dad

Dad (2)

It’s never easy when you lose someone you love. Especially when it is someone like you father.

Two years my dad was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. He had to endure months and months of chemotherapy. When he ate, it made him feel sick, he didn’t want to do anything and then he got better. Great news he was told he was in remission. He had beaten the horrible disease. In February this year after been told at a check-up he was still in remission, a couple of weeks later, he was not feeling too well and was rushed into hospital. He was told the cancer was back and that it had attacked four different areas and was much more aggressive than before. No one wants to hear this.

He was started on a more aggressive form of chemotherapy, which unfortunately drained him of energy. He struggled to walk, to eat, everything unfortunately was a struggle for him. He was hospitalised again.

Mum and dad celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on 17th May.  They had been together for 46 years.

On the 19th May, we get the phone call. “Are you coming to see Mr Atkinson, today.” We know that is never a good call to receive.

What was weird on the 19th May, even though my mum lives 20 minutes from the hospital and I live 2 hours from there, my mum, my brother and myself all arrived at the hospital at the same time.

We were too late. 11 minutes after the hospital had called my mum, my dad closed his eyes and was out of pain.

On June 8th, it was dad’s funeral. Our final farewell. I told mum, I would like to do a reading at the service. Something that I had written myself. A piece that is personal to us.

For Dad

Firstly Dad, we all thank you
For the home you gave us
And for all the love and things we had

Do you remember when we were young
You’d call us, for a gift we thought
But instead to be your remote control

With your special love you showed us the way
To believe in ourselves
And the decisions that we make

We will always remember you being there
Making us laugh
And sometimes making us cry

We may have caused you trouble and strife
With the paths we chose to walk
But you were there and walked them with us

Through the good and the bad times
No matter what
You were there for Mum and all of us

Now you are with your mother and your father
Playing trains with your younger brother
Amongst your heroes, like you are to us

Dad you may have left us far too soon
But know this
We love you always and you will never leave us

You are to us and always will be
Our Dad, a Grandad
And Mum’s true love.

 

They were the hardest words I ever had to write and even harder to read aloud at the service.  I did it though and I know dad was standing there beside me as I did.

Sleep tight dad. We will love you always.

 

 

Writers Block – A Sonnet

Have you been asked what inspires you to write?
Does your answer change from day to day?
The people around me fills my delight
And listening to what they have to say

What should I write?
I ask myself A poem, a story, something descriptive
I look towards my inspirational shelf
Maybe it’s time for something less addictive

Will my words flow from the pen to my page
And let my inner feelings be set free
Or will they stay locked within my writer’s block cage
Where no one but me can see

No one should say that writer’s block has over taken
When inspiration is around us everywhere waiting to awaken.

For the Love of a Romance

He held her in his arms and told her that he was never going to let her go again. He had lost her once, due to a silly mistake on his part and he was going to make sure he made it work between them, so that it never happened again.

Marie sighed as she closed the cover of another book and placed it back on the shelf. She ran her fingers over the spines, reading the titles, trying to make up her mind which was to be her next romance novel to devour. If only the heroes of her books would emerge from between the pages and sweep Marie, cleanly off her feet. Imagination and dreams were a wonderful thing.

What I Took Away From Eroticon 2018

To say I have wanted to attend Eroticon for quite some time is an understatement.  I don’t know if I was scared, or what I was to expect, to be honest.

I wanted to improve myself on my erotica journey.  I had dabbled with my writing for a while, but I needed to know myself, if what I was doing was right.

When I was younger, I had been an Ann Summers party rep and I honestly loved it.  I never felt embarrassed and always felt confident about it.  I used to attend Erotica every year.  A type of sexibition.  I would walk in wearing a corset and stockings with the shortest skirt possible.  So why was my stomach turning somersaults right after I signed up for Eroticon?  I still had almost a year to go before the actual event.  I realise now, I was being silly.

What an amazing experience and with some truly amazing people.

So what did I take away from Eroticon 2018?  Plenty.  Lots of inspiration, new friendships and a sense of belonging.

Friday night meet and greet – I was debating whether to go to this.  The nerves were settling in.  No, I had to do this.  I walked into the Holiday Inn in Camden and I was greeted by Girl On The Net.  She started talking to me like she had known me for years.  I started to relax a little.  I still felt a bit like a wallflower, not knowing anyone, then I spotted another, who looked just as nervous as me.  We got rid of our coats and approached each other.  A new friendship was formed with the lovely and talented Pixie Heart.  We made a small pact to be with each other over the weekend, that way we would at least know each other.  Thank you, Pixie for signing your story in the Eroticon Anthology.

A huge thank you – without the amazing Girl On The Net, Molly and Michael Knight, there would be no Eroticon.  What they do for the Eroticon family is a wonderful thing.  You get a feeling of welcome and admiration and the buzz around the whole place, doesn’t die down for the one minute.

An inspiration – My first talk was with Madeline Morris on Taboo.  She was also my last talk of the whole event on Love you Longer: Writing longer erotic fiction.  A true inspiration and extremely passionate about what she was relaying to us.  She started the weekend on a high and ended it the same way.  I hope she will be talking again next year.

Shy Creatures – I think I fall into this category perfectly.  Thank you Victoria Blisse for bringing this shy creature out of her shell again.  Such an inspiration and thankfully, I did manage to get a few ideas written down, (now to actually write them up).

Goody bag – A girl does love a free goody bag and thank you to all those that added to this wonderful bag.  I am still looking at the products in awe.

The Erotica EffectAnnabelle Knight‘s talk was so enlightening.  It’s true people on the outside, looking in, will certainly frown upon sex in the written form (sometimes even the physical form).  People are slowly opening up towards the whole “erotica”, but that is due to a certain trilogy of books that actually made it into the mainstream.  Sex or erotica is a very taboo subject unfortunately, but let’s hope it’s starting to change now, for the better.

Self Editing – Thank you Anna Sky for a great talk (and for the slides).  I do tend to self-edit a lot, but with your help hopefully, I can do it better now.  I may even pluck up the courage to write something for next year’s anthology.

So my head was spinning with so much useful information and a ton of inspiration and that was only the first day.  Roll on the second day of this amazingly snow covered weekend.

Crafting Sunday – I had originally planned to go to two different talks on Sunday morning.  Sorry to those speakers that I didn’t manage to get there.  I wanted to know what KinkCraft was all about.  I walked in alone as Pixie had gone to a certain talk, but she would join me afterwards.  It was a nice small relaxed group.  We were sat around a table, chatting away and making kinky things with our hands.  I made a red and black flogger and a matching collar.  It was so therapeutic and so much fun.

Shocking the SystemKendra Holliday‘s talk was amazing.  She shared her story of the highs, quite a few lows and even a court case, but she came through it all and is still happy to tell the tales.  If there is something you like doing or writing about that is not the norm to others, don’t let those few others bring you down or stop you.

I believe you should be who you want to be, wear what you want and attending Eroticon, you can be yourself.  No one will judge you.

I do have a few regrets.

I regret that I couldn’t split myself into two as there were so many talks I would have loved to attend, but alas, I could not be in two places at once.

I regret not attending the Saturday night social.

Finally, I regret that it took me so long to make that step to actually attend Eroticon.

There will be no hesitation for Eroticon 2019.  I will be there!

 

 

 

I Walked All Over Cancer…

Well, I like to think I did.

Cancer.  It’s a truly horrible word.  In 2016, my 40th year, bad news hit with abundance.  First, my beautiful step-daughter spent her 16th birthday in hospital.  She had noticed a lump on her shoulder.  It turned out to she had a rare form of cancer.  SHe had major surgery.  Thankfully she is now cancer free.  A few months later, my dad was diagnosed with the awful disease.  My dad’s was in the blood, but where he had a sore throat, it attacked the weakest spot.  After months of chemotherapy and numerous scans, he was told he was in remission.  Great news for both of them and all the rest of the family.

My step-daughter is turning 18 in May and is still cancer free.

In February 2018, my dad was unwell and a lump had appeared in his mouth.  It was thought to be an abscess.  Unfortunately, it was a mass.  The cancer was back and more aggressive than before.

Cancer Research UK, was advertising about their campaign to ‘walk all over cancer’.  They wanted people to walk 10,000 steps per day for the whole month of March.  So by the 31st of March, we should have done 310,000 steps.

I could do this I thought.  I signed up.  I have had no training.  I know walking is something I was taught from an early age, but I am unfit now (unfortunately).  I work, sitting at a desk all day, not to mention the two hours of travelling each way, to actually get to and from work.  So it is hard.  I was just about clearing 8,000 steps before and on the weekends, I would be lucky if I even cleared about 500 steps.  I have my steps on my phone and do not always remember to pick it up to record my steps.

I had to do this.  This was for cancer.  This was for my dad and step-daughter and for all the others out there, being struck with this deadly disease.

1stof March came round and I actually wasn’t at work.  I would be walking around London with my bestie for her birthday.  I smashed the 10,000 steps.  I actually managed 12,908.  I was extremely proud of myself.  One day down, another thirty to go.

I started walking to the station, instead of getting a cab (unless it was raining or snowing).  There were still work days to conquer.  I would actually have to take a lunch break and venture outside to go for a walk.

After work, it was walking the back streets to the second tube station, instead of walking to the end of the road to the first tube station.  This was giving me an additional 2,000 steps.  I was going to succeed.  The only thing was, how do I record my daily steps?  I couldn’t see anywhere on the Cancer Research website.  People were sponsoring me, I needed proof.  I took a screenshot of my phone every day for 31 days.

I was hoping it would help me lose a little bit of weight.  I don’t think I have lost any weight, but it has helped me sleep better.  I honestly feel better in myself.

My total steps for 31 days is 324,808.

I will continue to keep walking, it’s definitely helping me health wise.  To say I am proud of what I have achieved is an understatement,

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.  Hopefully, the money raised will help to eventually find a cure for this horrible disease that takes so many lives from us.

If you would like to donate, please go to my Justgiving page, no matter how small or how large the donation, it all helps and hopefully it will make a difference.

Thank You!