Sunday, 30 December 2012

My 2012

Or How It Happened From The Perspective Of Someone Slightly Crazy...


YAYYY!!! Book coming out!!


Book coming soon!!


Where's book?


Book coming soon?!


YAYYYY!!! Book launch soiree!!


Phew! Time for a rest!


YAYYYY!!! Book 2 signed!!


Olympics!! Go Team GB!!


YAYYYY!!! The Asylum! Lots of fun, new people to meet! Hi! How are you?! Hope you're well! Thank you for stopping by. :D


Wooo! Book 2's out!


Must promote Book 2. Oops, got Dad's birthday. Will do it later!


Must promote Book 2 and finish Book 3. Yayyy! Christmas! Everything else can wait until the New Year!!


Don't forget to go and check out some of the other posts:
Thank you to friends old and new
A Mad Engineer's Wintermass

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!!


May your Christmas be filled with love and joy, 
and may 2013 bring all your dreams. :)
Thank you for all your love and support throughout 2012.
Here's to an amazing 2013!!
Much love to you all!


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Thank You!

I know the year isn't over yet, but I wanted to take the time to say thank you.

2012 has been a huge year for me. There's been the publications of my first two novels, along with all that entails. It's the first time I've stepped in to the Steampunk community and to say I was nervous was an understatement. Yet you welcomed me with open arms, relaxing my nerves, becoming my friends and teaching me a whole lot of new things along the way. I've had the utmost pleasure of meeting some of you this year, and I can't wait to get to know all of you. I truly hope that, in 2013, we'll have the time to sit down with a cup of tea and have a really great chat.

I'm also truly grateful to my friends, old and new, who've been there every step of the way, who've encouraged me and helped in every way you can. You're the family we choose for ourselves and I'm so thankful for each and every one of you. Some of you I've yet to meet but you've still taken a chance on me. You were brave enough to try a new author, and your words of love and encouragement mean a great deal to me. It's wonderful to know that there are still such beautiful people out there, and I look forward to the day I can thank you in person.

Facebook has been a huge one for me this year as well. Many thanks are extended to the wonderful people at The E-Reader House, The Independent Paperback Gift Shop, Destiny of Angels, The Adventures of Cecilia SparkBest Dad I Can BeThe Alterium, World of Steampunk, and the fantastic minds over at Creators of Glorious Steam. Without all of you, without your knowledge and all that you've given to this world, none of what I've achieved this year would have been possible. I'm so grateful to you all for extending the love and for giving me a chance.

The amazing people over at Torquere Press need a mention for all they've done this year. For helping ship books over and for explaining the intricacies of the US tax system. For just being there when a new author was a little confused over what to do next.

Finally, my family, who've walked this path with me for many years. I thank you for giving me the time and space I've needed this year, as well as supporting all the crazy endeavours which have gone with these books.

Thank you to all of you! Thank you for continuing to read this blog and for being there every step of the way. Know that all you do is very much appreciated. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas 1992

Why 1992? It's 20 years ago.

Well, this time 20 years ago, I was in India. Along with my family, we'd headed out there for a few months of work. As I've told you before, my family were (and still) are missionaries. They do a lot of work in Bulgaria now, but it all started back in 1988. 1992 heralded the start of our 10 year stint living in community. And it all began with a trip to India.

I still remember it well, with certain sights, sounds and smells bringing back vivid memories. It's why I spend a lot of time in Southall, London. It's like winding the clock back 20 years, and I'm perfectly happy. I love it there, although there's nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of the actual country.

We lived in Hyderabad, sleeping on the floor of a missions house (explains why I like sleeping on the floor!). We were up in the hills between Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Every night, we'd sit on the boulders and watch the sun plummet towards the horizon, before a perfect slice of moon rose. There was always a smog hanging over the city and it turned the sky a deep red. The sunsets were amazing, and I've never seen one like it since.

While we were there, we celebrated Christmas. We took everything we needed with us, including M&M's, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. Unfortunately, several weeks of extremely different food and water soon told us that there was no way our bodies were going to allow us to eat such rich foods. But it was nice. There was a Christmas tree made from crepe paper and the Christians we were living with couldn't understand our obsession with Santa hats (still a very Western thing at the time). There were few presents, partly due to luggage restrictions, and partly due to money. Although notebooks, tissue paper kites, and highly decorated pens were very welcome!

Unfortunately, as with this Christmas, our stay was marred by the crash of El Al Flight 1862. Even though it happened in the October, I distinctly remember watching it on the news and it became tagged on to Christmas 1992. For many years I thought I'd imagined it, until a Dutch friend was able to confirm it (Thanks guys!). It's one of those vivid memories which sticks with you for a long time afterwards. I know that everyone is thinking about, praying for and lighting candles for the children and teachers who so tragically lost their lives at Sandy Hook. I don't want to say too much because so many millions of words have already been written. Let's just never forget them, especially not at this time of the year.

Thank you for reading!


Take a look at the other Christmas posts while you're here:
A Mad Engineer's Wintermass (A Veetu Industries Tale)
Rae's 12 (well, 13) Videos of Christmas

Sunday, 9 December 2012

A Mad Engineer's Wintermass

A Mad Engineer's Wintermass
A Veetu Industries Tale

Twas the night before Wintermass and all through the theatre, the bannisters were decked and the hall was filled with cheer.

The grandest theatre in all of Svenfur was celebrating the season. In the lobby of His Majesty’s Theatre, a tree stretched from floor to ceiling, decorated in fine red and gold ornaments. On its branches sat gas filled safety bulbs, the glow warm and welcoming. The golden bannisters were wrapped with greenery and ribbons, the rich red carpet dusted with snow. Modern marvels to enchant the festive audience.

Within the auditorium, the crowd roared and cheered, fuelled with the spirit of Wintermass. They sang and danced as the night engulfed the city, the magic hour close at hand.

And sitting proudly at the top of the bill was one Cedo Reilly, his name emblazoned on the marquee in black, foot tall letters. On this snow filled night, he stood astride the stage, dressed in a suit of claret red velvet, gold thread picking out a design of delicate snowflakes. Bathed in the warm light of the limes, he wove a story for the night before Wintermass, telling the audience of long dark nights, roaring fires, and a cloaked being who delivered gifts in the dead of night.

“You must keep your kitchen window unlocked,” Cedo's voice projected to the crowd, “for this is how Saint Nicholas shall enter. He is a lowly man and much prefers to use the tradesman's entrance to the front door. Do not forget that he is a lover of the poor, so leave an offering upon the table of the kitchen. Food, wine, and a small amount of money are his favoured offerings. In return, he will bless you with gifts, gifts which you shall find under the tree come dawn.”

Throughout the auditorium, decorations hung. Collections of red and gold decorations dangled from the heavens, catching the light from the stage and sending a million twinkling dancing around the house. As Cedo prepared his final speech, he glanced heavenwards and smiled. He knew what was to come, the final surprise before the clock struck eleven. For they all needed to be home before the clock reached twelve. If not, then Saint Nick would not visit.

“There is one final thing you must not forget,” he whispered loudly. Before him, the audience strained forward, their ears and eyes on him. “Saint Nick comes to us upon a sleigh pulled by six white horses. If you wish to receive gifts, you must remember to leave them a little something too.” Gazing around the full theatre, he smiled before stretching a hand above his head. “A Merry Wintermass to all, and to all a good night!”

With a snap of his fingers, the snow began to fall, slowly descending on to one and all. There were gasps and cries of glee, faces lighting with joy as it settled over the auditorium. Sweeping his hat from his head, Cedo smiled and bowed, quickly making his exit before they had noticed he was gone. It was time for the real magic of Wintermass to begin. The decorations had already been hung at the Witheybrooke house, trees, large and small, sitting in every room. The normally sombre house, one which was reserved for the coming war, was alive with Wintermass joy. The staff were happy, exchanging gifts and creating meals large enough to feed the ever growing army. Billy had disappeared for a number of days, citing Wintermass, before returning bearing brightly gift wrapped boxes, the thick paper held in place by string. They had been promptly deposited beneath a tree and nothing more said. No amount of pleading and whining from himself was going to make Billy reveal their contents.

And as for his Master... Cedo grinned as he walked through the winding corridors of the backstage. Erus had taken on a whole new persona in the days leading up to Wintermass. Not only had he assisted them in hanging the decorations, but Cedo could have sworn he'd heard the flame haired engineer humming Wintermass tunes to himself. His jolly mood had even lead him to forbidding the servants from working on Wintermass Day, ordering them to have left the house by midday so that they could travel to their families.

Reaching the door to the loading yard, Cedo pushed it open and...


All that the yard contained was a growing drift of snow, thick flakes floating down from the quiet sky. Beyond the walls of the large yard, he heard the sounds joyous celebrations, of people singing and being merry. Of people relaxing from a world which, in previous months, had shown them nothing but hardship. Soon it would become even harder and, for a few hours at least, they could forget it all.

Forgotten. That was how he felt. After the excitement of the past weeks, Cedo suddenly felt cold. Wrapping his heavy coat closer to him, he watched the snow, wondering where his Master and lover could have gotten to. They had accompanied him into the city, Erus making for a luxurious restaurant to celebrate Wintermass with the Patron, while Billy had made for his Mother's, eager to spend time with his family before the following day. A day when they would do nothing but relax and feast. Yet they seemed to have forgotten him.

Looking at the snow, Cedo tugged his collar up. He would have no option but to walk. It would take all night but he would be home by dawn, safely tucked beneath the piles of bedding. He would be frigid by the time he returned, but it would be worth it to celebrate Wintermass with the people he had come to call his family.

Cedo was just about to step into the snow when he heard it. Carried on the gentlest of breezes was the sound of bells. They could just be made out amid the countless voices and songs.

As if by magic, it appeared, sliding in to the yard on long, upturned golden skids. Behind the skids, he noticed six wheels, drawn up from the ground, obviously ready to be dropped should the terrain become free of snow. Pulled by six snowy white iron horses, the sled was just as white, intricate designs painted along its sides. Bells and Obtainium fired lamps dangled from the four corners, filling the air with a warm light and gentle sound. Open to the elements, the sled could carry a number of people, yet only one sat at the rear, huddled beneath blankets and furs. At the fore sat another fur covered being, a large hood pulled up around their head, the reins gathered in their hands. A long, slender whip was clutched in one hand, ready for use.

The excitement rose, his cheeks tinting red as he strained to look over the ornate creation. Was it a dream? Or was it real, his story come to life?

The being holding the reins turned and swept the hood from their head. Flame red hair tumbled around their shoulders, a stark contrast to the grey and snowy garments they wore. A grin broke his Master's normally stony face and he gestured to the sleigh behind him.

“Well? What are you waiting for? Your ride home awaits!”

Cedo laughed and stepped from the theatre, the snow cascading in to his boots. Grasping the edge of the sleigh, he pulled himself up, settling himself beside the single rider.

His happiness grew, the spirit of the season once more filling him, as the other occupant turned to him. Bright blue eyes sparkled from beneath a hood, a warm hand reaching out to briefly touch his face before it disappeared back in to the depths of its muff. Collecting cloaks and blankets from the seat, Cedo wrapped himself against the biting cold before leaning against Billy. Balmy breath touched his cheek, lips following in its wake. He smiled, eyes on the powerful, prancing horses. Steam poured from their nostrils and they tossed their heads, straining against the harness.

“'e came and got me from 'ome,” Billy murmured. “Couldn't believe it when 'e pulled up.”

Cedo chuckled and pressed himself closer to his lover's warm body. “You are not the only one.”

“My Ma made these for us.” Reaching in to a bag at his feet, Billy pulled out three knitted stockings. Each bore one of their names, and had already been filled with small gifts.

Smiling, Cedo reached for his. Quickly it was snatched away, a mischievous grin on Billy's face. “No touchin' 'til tomorrow.”

Kissing Billy's cheek, he chuckled. “You are such a tease.”

“Aye, an' don't you know it.”

From the fore came the cry of, “Walk!”, and the sled smoothly pulled away.

Turning from the yard, they slid along a snow covered road. From the pavements, people watched, their attention caught by the jangling of the bells. Cedo heard himself laugh, a sound which mixed with that of the city around them. Beside him, Billy pressed himself closer, enjoying the ride.

Cedo felt elated. Erus, his Master, had stepped from a place where he felt comfortable to create a unique and beautiful gift. For him to be at the helm, driving it through the icy streets, was another great stride for a man who considered himself to be above all others. For him to be serving another was nothing short of a splendid shock.

Slipping his hand from beneath the blankets, he reached in to the muff and wrapped his cool fingers around those of his lover's. Against his cheek, he felt Billy smile.

Around them, the city was alive. People spilled from gin houses and theatres, singing, arms linked around one another. Colourful decorations hung in windows, a million candles guiding them home. The air was filled with the smell of mulled wine and hope. Hope for a better life, for one where war did not hang over them. Songs of joy reached their ears, the words touching Cedo's heart, causing his own voice to reach to the citizens they passed. Beside him, Billy also began to sing, his voice a low, and delicious, baritone.

They rounded a corner and found themselves on Svenfur's main thoroughfare, the wide and steep West Road. Here the snow had been cleared, leaving bare cobbles. As they touched it, the sled paused and jolted. Leaning out, Cedo laughed as the skis retracted and the wheels touched the cobbles. Only an engineering genius could have devised such vehicle. With the wheels down, they joined the throngs returning to their homes, the road saturated with hansoms, steam-carriages and the brightly coloured, multi-storyed omnibuses. Horses and steam engines jostled for space, coming and going, the noise a delight to hear. For it was the sound of people returning to their loved ones for a day of merriment.

People stared at the six massive horses, their iron hooves ringing against the ground. They tossed their heads, wire manes rippling in waves, their metallic whinnies calling to their blood brothers along the road. Yet Erus barely appeared to guide them, the man-made beasts knowing the route they needed to take.

Between the Terminus and the subterranean railway station sat a tall Wintermass decoration. Made from red, green and golden wood, the four tiered carousel was alive with children, all riding one of the dazzling horses. Steam belched from the roof of the tall structure, joining the downy snow-filled clouds, jangling Wintermass music only amusing the children and watchers more. Wintermass decorations hung from the roof of the carousel, the sparkling lights turning them into strings of stars. The smokestack, Cedo noticed, was in the shape of a dragon's claw with a mouse sitting at its heart, the carousel a gift to the city from Veetu Industries. He could not help but smile.

Above the noise, people called Wintermass greetings to them, children shouted with delight as the sled powered on up the road, happiness alive and well amid the coal-scented night. They returned the wishes, laughing and waving as people chased after them. A banner hung from the Terminus, The Svenfur Terminus wishes all our citizens, both young and old, a very merry Wintermass.

They continued through the city, passed the Terminus and toward the city boundaries. Every building they rolled by was festooned with the trimmings of Wintermass, with the scents of roasting chestnuts and figgy pudding floating from a million chimneys. They rode in silence, enjoying the bite of the cold air, and the feeling of falling snow against their faces.

The sleigh swung out of the city and on to narrow country lanes. Pitching to the left, the streets and lanes disappeared to be replaced by rolling hills of freshly fallen snow, the full flickering from behind the heavy clouds, its light glistening from the fallen flakes. With a jolt, the skis were lowered and they raced across the Downs. The horses panted and chomped at their bits, the mechanical parts whirring and clicking.

Sweeping over the rolling ground, Cedo and Billy cheered with exhilaration, the wind tugging the hoods from their heads and catching their hair.

“This is extraordinary,” Cedo cried above the wind.

Beside him, Billy laughed, a fur warmed hand reaching to grasp him, pulling him in to a tight embrace. Onward they raced, the horses seeming to never tire, their endurance going beyond anything Cedo could have ever imagined. They never faltered, forever pulling them toward their home.

They careered through trees and over a frozen river, the thoughts of what was to come blown from their mind by the speed, the sleigh coasting easily over the snow, the bells wildly jangling. The lights lit their way, the bright flames catching the snow and the bare skeletons of trees. Amid them, Cedo swore he could see the shadows of Wintermass' past, their childlike hullabaloo only fuelling the one which was to come, the one which lay only a few moments away. For some, it would be their last Wintermass, their lives lost in the coming war. But they did not think of that. All they thought of was the present, of the bright day which would dawn, of gifts, of friends and family, of the love it would bring. The war was another day, in another time, and, for now, it was banished to nothing, the thrill of Wintermass chasing it to nothing. For if they could cling on to such feelings then perhaps it would not come. Perhaps the enemy would catch news of what they could do and retreat back to their icy lair.

Skimming over the brow of a hill, the Witheybrooke house came in to view. Its windows were alight with Wintermass lanterns, the warmth drawing them in. The sleigh swung down over the frozen stream and in to the garden, sliding to a halt beside the small yard.

For a moment, they sat and stared at the house, stunned in to silence.

“If you dally, you'll miss the magic hour,” Erus called.

Unwilling to break the spell, they slowly stepped from the sleigh, both giving it longing glances as their boots crunched through the heavy snowfall. It was the only noise which broke the thickness of the night, their thoughts still turned to the enchanting ride.

The house was warm and aglow with the welcoming light of gas and paper lamps. Heavy layers of furs were shed and left beside the door, the snow fading away. His Master was dressed in a suit of white, fur lining the cuffs and collar, a stark change to his normal black attire, his hair almost glowing against the bright colour. Walking past the empty servants quarters, they entered the study, Cedo and Billy murmuring with delight at the transformation. It was the one place they had not decorated, Erus refusing to let the spirit of the season permeate his sacred work space.

Intricate wax-paper lanterns adorned the shelves and desk, fashioned into five-pointed stars, trees, and the fantastical sleigh. Boughs of fir tree weaved their way around the fireplace, bows and baubles peeping from beneath the sharp scented needles. The room was filled with the delicious fragrance of cloves and mulled wine and a fire was burning in the grate. And there, beside the window, was a large pine tree adorned with ornaments.

Cedo turned to Erus. “Did you-?”

His Master leaned against the desk, a smile lighting his face. “Indeed I did.”

“You did not attend a meal, did you?”

Laughing, Erus shook his head. For once it was not a malicious sound, but one filled with love and happiness. “You are correct, I did not. But I shall not tell you how it was done.”

Placing a hand against one hip, Cedo playfully frowned. “And why not?! I demand to know the secrets of Wintermass Eve. I demand to know how this-” He gestured around the room. “And the sleigh, came in to being!”

“Then keep demanding for you shall never know.” The smile remained on Erus's face and, knowing he was not going to get any further, Cedo returned his attention to Billy.

His lover, hair wind ruffled around his face, stared in wonder at the richly decorated room. “Never 'ad anythin' like this when I was a young'un.”

He leaned close, an arm going around Billy's waist. “Yes, but you have a family, and that is what Wintermass is about.”

“True. But doesn't always mean it was good. 'specially with my father around.”

Feeling the love of Wintermass wash through him, Cedo placed a gentle kiss to Billy's cheek. “He is gone now. You do not have to worry. Your family are happier now that they are free. Do not worry, just enjoy the moment.”

Billy looked to him, a wistful smile curling his lips. Gently he slid a hand along Cedo's jaw, drawing their lips into a soft kiss. Closing his eyes, Cedo let himself melt against his mate, fingers dancing through his hair.

A hand brushed over his own head and he leaned back to look up into the emerald green eyes of his Master. Cradling the back of his head, Erus kissed him, and Cedo felt his heart swell with the affection from the two men who loved him. And he loved them just as much, blessed to feel safe and wanted. For one day, they could lay aside their jealousies and differences.

Behind them, the fireplace clock began to chime midnight. With it, came the gentle whirr of clockwork and they moved to look at the tree. Cedo and Billy gave cries of delight as it came to life, the small ornaments moving and stretching. Fairies fluttered their wings, horses and reindeer shook their heads, and tiny children swung on swings. A top the tree, the star unfolded its points and, with a shake, dispensed golden glitter across the room.

As the clock sang its final call, a flight of small, golden angels burst from inside the tree, taking flight around the room. Whirling around, their tiny voices joined to sing the praises of Wintermass, before settling back on the boughs of the tree.

Mulled wine was poured and Ma Burton's stockings were hung before the roaring fire. The lower boughs of the tree began to shake and, a moment later, and Misty bounded out, a clockwork frog caught in her jaws. Erus laughed. “It looks as though someone has already found their Wintermass gift.”

The laughter rose in Cedo and he picked her up, placing the white cat on his shoulder. She curled around his neck, dropping the frog in to his outstretched hand, purring as it gave a metallic ribbit. Draining his glass, Erus ushered them to the door.

“And now to bed. Because if you don't, then good Saint Nick will not come.”

With the thrill of Wintermass in his heart, Cedo allowed himself to be chased to bed, he and Billy curling around one another as the door was carefully closed behind them. Jumping onto the bed, Misty curled herself between them, deep, rumbling purrs shaking the bed.

What they did not see was Erus, the smile on his face, and finger raised to his lips. From beyond the door, he quietly shushed the young lovers before sweeping back down the stairs. Pulling the fur-lined hood over his head, he silently stacked the paper wrapped gifts beneath the tree, a glass of mulled wine at his side.

As the last gift was placed beneath the tree, he leaned in to the window and stared at the snow covered lane beyond the glass. Large flakes still drifted downwards, the gas lamps beneath the tree catching them and turning them, briefly, into floating stars. He was happy and he did not want the feeling to die.

“A Merry Wintermass to all, and to all a good night,” he softly whispered.

~~ The End ~~


Thank you for reading! I really appreciate it! Do you want more Cedo, Billy and Erus?  Mars on the Rise (Veetu Industries #1) and Selling Mars (Veetu Industries #2) are now available from Torquere Press and all good retailers!

Feel free to check out Rae's 12 Videos of Christmas post. A little bit of fun and a heck of a lot of music!

Rae's 12 Videos of Christmas

While I finish off the Christmas short story (well, Wintermass in the Veetu Industries world), here's the 12 Videos of Christmas. They're not all Christmas related but hopefully they'll make you smile. Enjoy!













13. Bonus video number 13, suggested by a friend. Too cute not to add!


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Drumroll Please...

Mars on the Rise scoops 3rd place in the Rainbow Awards Best Debut Novel AND Best Sci-Fi-/Fantasy categories!!!!

Thank you to everyone for all their love and support!!

Saturday, 1 December 2012


Assumptions; we all make them. We may make them about the weather, about a shop, or about someone we see in the street. We may try not to, may scould ourselves when we do make them. We may feel guilty if we do make an assumption.

I've heard a few about myself recently.

“If you still live at home you obviously can't cope by yourself.”
(No, I just can't afford a place of my own at the moment. Nothing unusual in the current climate)

“If you're single you must be a lesbian.”
(Errmmmm... let's talk about that in a moment shall we?)

“If you don't have a car then you must be a stupid hippy.”
(No, just can't afford one. Have you seen how much it costs to run one? It's on a par with why I don't have my own house. Although, despite my love of flying, I do try to think about the environment. That and I really do love walking.)

Let's talk about why I'm single shall we? It amuses me when people make assumptions about my personal life, often without asking. Because, if the person asked, they'd find a wealth of information.

Right now I'm stupidly busy. It's taken me many years to get to the point I'm at. In that time, I've managed to put my life on hold thanks to being a complete and utter idiot. Now I'm actually doing something I love and, you know what? I want to succeed at it. Writing and film making for me aren't just past times. They're the beat to my life, my oxygen, my reason for waking and my reason for going to sleep. I adore them. At the moment, to be able to fully dedicate myself to someone would be difficult. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be in a relationship.

There are also those who don't want to be in relationships, for whatever reason. They could have gone through abuse, or just feel that being with someone isn't for them. Hopefully the person who made the above comment will one day read a report on asexuality. Hopefully they'll see that the world isn't just black and white, but many shades of grey (the comments section is down there for you to make your “50 Shades of Grey” jokes. Go on, you know you want to!).

For me, there's also a medical reason. For a long time, I've known that, without some serious scientific intervention, I'll never be able to conceive. It's made me wonder if, like animals, we give off pheromones, signalling that we're ready and able to bear children. Perhaps I lack this. Perhaps I don't give off the “scents” to attract someone. It's a tough one to face up to, but I believe that if I'm to have children then I'll adopt. Because I'd love to give a little life a home. And one day, hopefully I will.

I'll never forget a day at work a couple of years ago. A relative had come in and, for some reason, she singled me out. She told me that she'd adopted her children and talked me through the process. Once she'd finished, I looked at her in complete shock and told her what I've just told you. There was no was she could have known. But it was definitely reassuring.

Don't get me wrong, I love the comments and compliments. Keep them coming! I love it when someone tells me I'm pretty. Makes me feel like a real woman. Makes me feel desired. Because isn't that what many of us want? We want to feel as though we could rock someone's world.

Thankfully, I know that the people who read this blog are wonderful. They're caring, loving, and extremely understanding. Not the kind to make crazy assumptions at all, are you?! I thank you for passing by here as regularly as you do. For reading and commenting, for spreading the love. Most of all, I thank you for being yourselves. You're all beautiful, all desirable, and all very much loved.

Thank you!

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Religion of Science

(Or the Science of Religion. Whichever. Pick a title!)

Science and religion are two very strange bedfellows. They don't tend to get along very well.

Unless you live in our house where they grab a bottle of good red wine and crash out together to watch England beat Germany 5-0 in penalties (which no amount of science or religion will solve because, as everyone knows, England's shite at penalties).

Why? Well, I come from a bit of an odd family (the sign in the kitchen says it all. "Remember, as far as anyone knows, we're a nice, normal family..."). My Dad's an engineer, one of those blokes who can fix anything from the stapler to a military jet (That one I only found out about a few years ago. Thanks Official Secrets Act!).

And it also brings about some interesting conversations and debates. Such as, would the ark have been possible? Was the world really created in seven days? How could you part the sea? Give him twenty minutes with a pencil, paper and slide rule and he'll give you the answer. And if he can't find the answer, he'll keep on going until he comes to some kind of conclusion. It's an odd, and extremely funny, marriage, one which we've enjoyed since we were young.

'Cause, you see, we'd take the those stories we were told in Sunday school and challenge his brain with them. As you can see, it's still fun!

Unlike some people, my parents happily acknowledge that, without science, the world wouldn't be the world it is. We wouldn't have medicines, or high speed travel, or computers, or the internet, without the power of the human mind. "Sure," they say, "we'll pray for you while you're sick, but you better be taking those pills the doctors gave you. 'Cause if you don't there's gonna be trouble."

Want to know how that plane got off the ground? Here, have a physics book. Want to look a little deeper at life? Here, read something by one of the great teachers who've passed through this world.

Recently we've been talking a lot about the science of music and how the body is "programmed" to respond to certain rhythms and beats. There's a lot written about the subject so feel free to Google it. It's utterly fascinating and a reminder of just how incredible this world is.

This post was inspired by this video. Despite having worked for Rolls Royce, Dad never got to see this test done. He often wondered what he was missing on test days. Now he knows! Be sure to crank the volume up!

I know that both religion and science are touchy subjects for some people. This post is just a humorous look at my slightly crazy family. Please treat it as such. :) My dream? That everyone, no matter what religion or scientific leaning they have, will be able to live in perfect harmony. Let's try and make it happen. :)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My Next Big Thing

Thank you to the awesome Wendy Steele for this. Head on over to her site and take a look at the great things she does. Lots of positivity and happiness there!

What is the working title of your book?
"The Eve of War (Veetu Industries #3)"

Where did the idea come from for the book?
 It's the continuation of the series I'm working on, with the first two being "Mars on the Rise" and "Selling Mars". It was only supposed to be one book, but people were asking what happened next. Everything snowballed from there!

What genre does your book fall under?
It's generally considered to be LGBT Steampunk. Although I tend to lean towards "Crazy things which come out of Rae's brain which someone, somewhere, likes".

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Mars on the Rise took 18 months, Selling Mars took a year. The Eve of War, so far, has taken a year and it's not finished yet.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
War of the Worlds, V for Vendetta (even though it's not Steampunk), The War in the Air.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Lots of things! Music, photos, books, things people say, places I've been. There's actually a style book on my Facebook page of things which have inspired the books.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

That it's not your normal Steampunk?! A friend described it as "sexily unconventional steampunky stories".

And now it's time for me to pass this on to a few other people. Please say hello to:

Michele Poet, author of the award winning "50 Shades of Blue"
Sam Stone, wonderful lady and author of "Zombies at Tiffany's", which is beyond brilliant!
Linzi Cooke, author, musician, multi-talented and extremely funny lady. You couldn't ask for more!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

An Ode to Dad

Dad turned 60 today.

Can't believe it. Where have the years gone?!

Apparently I was a bit of a surprise. My parents were told they couldn't have kids. Then it happened and, on 14th February 1981, I was born, the first of three. If the story's to be believed, Dad didn't hear the tannoy telling him he needed to get to the hospital. Instead, his foreman had to go and get him and tell him to get himself to the hospital pronto.

Dad and I haven't always seen eye to eye (quite literally, as I'm a lot smaller!). Our arguments when I was a teenager were legendary and are still talked about today. But, over the years, we've both mellowed and come to have a mutual appreciation of many things (a good piece of engineering, a fine wine, a bloody good football match).

So many things about Dad never fail to impress me. The way he stands up to what's right, even if it's not the opinion of everyone else. His work ethic. His ability to be able to fix anything. The way he can plan something to within an inch of its life and, when everyone else doubts him, the way it all pulls together. There's so many things I could list and I'm sure I'll keep discovering them.

Happy birthday, Dad! Here's to the next 10 years!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Inspirational Interview 1 - Abir

Over the past year I've had the wonderful pleasure of getting to know Abir. Strong, funny, lovely, creative, beautiful and an inspiration to all, she's inspired me to start a series of interviews on the website. I wanted to find people who share the love of being positive, of putting good works into the world, and trying to change it for the better. Because this world is just so dark right now. It needs a pick-me-up. Needs people to stand up for they believe in, and to show the world that we're not all going to give in to the horrors which happen on a daily basis.

Abir is part of Gothrock band Madness of the Night. Their music carries strong messages and is gaining a lot of momentum in the world. So, without further ado, I'd love for you to meet the wonderful Abir.


Hello Abir! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. It's great to see you! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Greetings Rach. I’m very happy to answer you and honored to be interviewed by you.
All I can say that I lived a very hard life, in extreme wars, abusive relationships, very abusive father. I could say that I have been locked many years in my room not to see my father. I’m a feminist, songwriter, singer, painter, drummer, software programmer, DJ. I have experienced everything in life pleasures and pain. I come from Beirut. From a very political family. My grandfather was a minister in the Lebanese government. My family is a very open multicultural tolerant family. We have Christians, Muslims, Druze, Buddists and different nationalities inside our family. It is a big family. Though i lived in Oppressed situations in many different phases in my life. I'm also a Bipolar and married to a Swedish man which is my partner in life and music.

Madness of the Night, for me, harken back to earlier bands, easily capturing the sound and feel which has been missing for so long. Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration comes from inside. We have never been trying to sound like anyone. Though we listen to Classicals, Opera, Gothic rock . And we simply do it our way. For me as a singer I don’t want to sing like any particular singer.

What kind of message are you trying to get over?

I would like to unite people through my music. There is a political message, a feminist message to women, a warning to politicians not to use people. A message of a revolution to the world. And standing for what is right even if you are alone. Peace and Unity between all nations on earth is what is the vision of MOTN.

Are there any artists or bands who inspire you?

Not Artists nor any band. Do I sound bad because i say this? (No, not bad at all! Rae) What inspires me is the voice of nature, birds, sea, hearing bombs in Beirut it effected me a lot. Those are voices that inspired me and they flow inside of me all the time.

Do you ever feel marginalized by society because of the music you make? If so, do you feel you're able to break down these barriers?

There are pressures. People would think why be an artist. You cannot own money from it. Work as a politician and you would become rich and more written about. Those opinions I heard. It makes the person stronger. Just ignore this. In Sweden there is a word called Lagom it means everything have to be the same, everyone should dress the same, eat the same. Much more like a Socialist way of thinking. No one is allowed to think outside the box!.

Madness of the Night have recently been picked up by a manager and record label. You've also been getting a lot of radio play. You must be extremely proud! How does it feel?

Our manager is Fredrik Ahlström he is a relative in our family. He have helped us a lot in getting played. He wrote a lot of promotions, letters and hardwork on twitter, facebook, sites even phone.
Massacre Records is our label. And yes I’m proud. I hope it gives a reason for other people to have the same motivation. If you believe it will be. And nothing can stop you.

The band, tragically, has been the focus of a few negative attacks, which you take in your stride. It's an unfortunate side effect of another person's success and one which needs to be dealt with. How do you deal with people who want to bring you down? Do you have any advice for others who are just starting out in creative industries on how to deal with such people?

We have been sent letters, phone calls, stalkers over the internet. There is someone trying to stop us and he or they can never will. We will do what is right and focus on bringing out the message of MOTN. I presume bad or shit talk is jealousy. You only need to be original not a copycat and believe in yourself. In general many artists are attacked all the time by other bands, DJ's or ignorant people. The strong person knows how to ignore shit talk and continue working.

Being a woman in the music industry can be tough, with only a handful of bands ever seeming to get the recognition they deserve. How do you feel about being a woman in the music industry?

I never view myself as a woman while singing. If I do then I know maybe I will not be able to grow balls, grow a mustache someday and sing like a man. Start seeding yourself from inside as a human not a gender.
You can also wear makeup and wear bikini. You can wear a slip. What matters is being tough and don't take shit from no one. I recognize myself with a Transsexual voice I sometimes like to change the pitches of my voices from male pitch to the female pitch.

Do you find there are certain pressures on you to do a particular thing, or dress a particular way?

No. I usually dress what I want. In the Gothic subculture. There is Always the dark Colors. This is a shallow View. It is the music that counts not the dress. If you Wear orange or yellow but got the talent nothing will stop you. Andrew Eldritch with his famous orange shirt lol. For me personally I wear what I want.

Do you think women are taken seriously in the music industry?
Yes and no. It depends on the radio, label, surrounding and open mindness of people. Submit your music to serious DJ's, serious radios and serious labels that's my answer.

Or are they just treated as “sex symbols”? If so, what do you think needs to be done to break these perceptions?

We surround ourselves with assholes not all men are Jerks. Not all men are dark forces. Not all men abuse women. But we the women allow those men determine the rules. Being sexy is wonderful. If you wanna go naked do it but do it for yourself, maybe just being daring, sharing a powerful message and not pleasing a handful of men. This is what is a sex symbol is pleasing men. Please yourself. Find the power to break the rules.

You're well known for your amazing support of minorities, in particular women. What message would you like to give to the world? What would you like to say to the women of the world?
Yes :
Only revolution inside of you
it will liberate you
only rebellion
strengthen you
only your strength
will embrace u
raise in steel
this is how you feel
the power in yourself
will reveal you

Can you pinpoint where your views came from? What keeps you going with your support when there's so much negativity in the world?
My views comes from Life. I lived in East and West. To understand that this world needs tolerance, acceptance, revolution, standing against wars and politicians, removing jealousy hate from your heart and being happy for other people when they achieve. Negativity comes from tragedy but through tragedy comes triumph.

Your positivity and beautiful mental attitude is an inspiration to many. It's something which many around the world need to learn about and use. How do you keep yourself so positive?
I surround myself with positive people, positive manager, label, positive DJs, friends. Enviroment is important. When you hear bombs on the streets all your life many cannot be positive. But in every stone grows a flower. Grab this flower.

What advice would you give to people who want to change their outlook and become more positive?

No one can stop you. Be original. Be not a copycat. Do your thing. Enforce happiness on yourself cause everyone deserve it. Love the ones who are jealous from you. Positivity is your only choice against odds, wars, tragedy in life. Never submit, never quit! 


Is there anything else you'd like to say? Any messages or information we need to know?

We have added a member to Madness of the Night. She is a very talented Sitar artist and theatre artist. Her name is Fatima Addberger she is also an Indian Scandinavian (Sami).
Our Facebook page is . MOTN will be played on Arabic Radio but that news will be announced there by Fredrik as soon as we know when. And our new song Stand Up is on only on our Facebook page will not be found anywhere else. It is dedicated to the Syrian Revolution and against dictators!.

Thank you for taking time to interview me. I enjoy the questions. Smiles.

To listen to Madness of the Night, go to:

You can find them on online at:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My Next Big Thing

Over the next few weeks, several of my friends are taking part in the My Next Big Thing blog chain. Today is Wendy Steele's turn to take the baton and, next week, I'll be taking it and passing it on to several other people. Wendy is a fantastic woman, and a beautiful soul. Be sure to head over and see what she has to say. :)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Winter Giveaway

Along with a whole host of other brilliant authors, I'm taking part in the great winter giveaway over on Cecilia Spark's site. Hop on over to the website and enter for some cool wintery goodies!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Mental Block

"He had this idea. It was kind of a virologist idea. He believed that you could cure racism and hate... literally cure it, by injecting music and love into people's lives. When he was scheduled to perform at a peace rally, a gunman came to his house and shot him down. Two days later he walked out on that stage and sang. When they asked him why - He said, "The people, who were trying to make this world worse... are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness."" 
- Robert Neville talking about Bob Marley (film version of I Am Legend)

1 in 4 people will suffer with a mental health problem in a year. And that's just in the UK. Goodness knows what it's like for the rest of the world.

I suffer with Bipolar. It's no secret. It's been talked about one here, and it forms part of the URL for several pages and blogs I own. Many people refuse to speak about mental health problems, as though, because they're in the mind, they're not there. It can't be seen so it's not happening.

But it is, and it happens on a massive scale, far larger than any of us can imagine. Many people who have a mental health issues are creative, either through a natural inclination or because they find it helps. Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Fry, Edgar Allan Poe and Chris Joseph are just a few of the people diagnosed with Bipolar alone. Think of who else there is out there who has some kind of mental health issue. You're not alone in this world!

Yet it affects that core desire, that desire to create. And when it hits, it hits hard. For the past week, it's affected me. I've looked at my work and it's seemed tepid and uninspired. I can see what's coming in the stories and it bores me. I don't want to be a part of that world any more, don't want to drag readers down a path which will bore them senseless. Don't want people having to wade through a bunch of crap to get to some uninspired ending. The mouse hovered over the delete button, the email was ready to send to the publisher to tell them that there would be no more. I didn't want it any more, considered myself a failure. The future looked bleak.

Then something happened. We threw a party at my day job. I'd organised it and, much to my surprise, it went a million times better than I could ever have expected. People were singing and dancing and having a good time. The elderly residents joined in, singing with us and, for those who could no longer walk, encouraging those who could to dance like their lives depended on it. We hugged, we drank wine, we ate silly amounts of cake. We had an awesome time. Who'd have thought that a couple of bottles of wine, some homemade cakes, a few silly hats, and a bit of music could bring so much joy?!

And it got me thinking. Happiness isn't just about success. It's about finding it in the little things in life. It's about laughing (and making someone laugh), dancing like your life depends on, singing, walking, listening to your favourite song, sliding along a polished wooden floor. It's about the little things which, in turn, can lead on to the bigger things. A positive mental attitude can get you so very far!

So how do you overcome the mental illness and writers block? Different things work for different people, and if you have a suggestion, feel free to pop it in to the comments. :) A few from me...
- Take time out from it. Don't force yourself to write. Go for a walk, or listen to some music. Have a cup of tea or read a book.
- Never ever look on yourself as a failure. Just because you've not churned out a New York Times bestseller by the time you're 30 doesn't label you as a failure. Everyone has to work to get to where they want to be.
- Make the most of what you have. If you want to go and spend time with your family, do it. 
- Look after you health. If you're stressed and tired then your writing it going to look the same.
- Go and work on another project. I routinely have several on the go, picking and choosing as my mood takes me.
- Always carry a notebook with you, 'cause you're going to hate yourself if that writer's block lifts while you're stuck on the 18.06 from Euston to Birmingham!
- Most of all, enjoy it. It's not supposed to be a chore. If you're having fun writing, then it really will show through.

Have fun, and good luck! And, as always, feel free to chat away in the comments. :)