Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My 2013

Or how it happened from the perspective of a crazy person cracked out on tea...

Said goodbye to my furry muse, Bertie. Very sad... :(

Was the first to review the awesome documentary "Battlefield of the Mind"! WOOOO!!

Getting ready for book launch #2.
Went to Leeds for the very first time. Pretty city!! Hello and thank you to everyone who came to the Leeds Steampunk Market!

Book launch #2! Yayyyy!!! Lots of nice people and good musics and laughter.
Also got new tattoo to celebrate. Yayyy!!

Time for a breather!

Went to see one of my favourite bands play live for the very first time, thereby overcoming a long held fear of crowds.
Also went to another new place. Hartlepool. Famous for its football team (so I'm told!) and HMS Trincomalee. Met more new people, had lots more fun, and got to meet lots of Facebook people! Much love to Charles, Lynn, Richard, and Warden Arkwright! Thank you for my books and badges!

Booked my first holiday for over a decade. Vegas, baby!! I'm gonna win it big!!
Two new books signed! Yay!! The Eve of War (Veetu Industries #3) and A Second Past Midnight (post-apocalyptic) will both come out in 2014. Can't wait!!

Down to London to see the lovely Meg Kingston! Lots of love, plenty of hugs and tea, and more books!!

The first round of edits arrive so I slump off into my corner and pretend not to be alive.

Went walking in the Lake District. Well, I say walking. It was more like mountain climbing with no idea. Survived!

More editing. Send tea.

Even more editing. Tea supplies running low.

And that was 2013 in a nutshell! Next year's going to be a bunch of fun and I can't wait to see where it takes us all!!

While I'm here, let me take the time to wish you all a very splendid New Year!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

And So We Kiss Goodbye To 2013

.... and welcome in 2014. It's always strange saying goodbye to one year and welcoming another. I don't know why, but, for me, it's always a bit weird. Like one thing is dying and another is awakening.

2013 has been another amazing year. I haven't done many things on my resolutions list (learn to drive, lose a bit more weight) but many other brilliant things have happened.

There's been new friends, and meetings with old ones. Trips to places I normally wouldn't have been to and finally meeting (and getting hugs!) from some of my online friends.

There's been overcoming fears, doing things I never thought I would, and mad days of chasing musicians around cities (some known to me, some not).

There's been two new books finished, both of which will come out in 2014.

There's been periods of growth and understanding, of slowly finding my way in this world.

There's been plans for new challenges and seeing others come to fruition.

There's been the knowledge that I can't punish myself when I'm not working. Things don't happen overnight, but they do happen to those who try hard. However, it's no use getting upset because, for a few moments, my poor brain won't work. Sometimes we need to take time to ourselves to reset our bodies and brains. We're not machines.

Finally, there's the ever expanding circle of wonderful people who come in to my life. I'm blessed to have you all here and I'd like to take a moment to say that whether we've met in real life or not, you're all my friends. You're the family I've chosen for myself and I can't wait to see each and every one of you. :)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

My Wish For Christmas

My wish for this Christmas
Is not just for peace and goodwill to all men.
It’s for everyone to have a home
Which is free of damp and stress.
For people to be treated fairly
No matter of their race or gender.
For money to be plentiful
And not just hoarded by the rich.
Freedom for children to just be children
And not forced into the roles of adults way before their time.
It’s for wars to end and peace to reign
For religions to stop thinking that they know best.
For governments who act for their people
And not for their own self serving gain.
I wish for fair wages for all
And companies who respect their staff.
For people to be treated as humans
And not just numbers in a machine.
For all to follow their heart’s desire
Unfearing of what the future holds.
Most of all I wish for a world
Which is filled with love and joy.
May you all have a Merry Christmas
And may your future be bright and happy.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Night Before Wintermass - A Veetu Industries Tale (Safe For Work)

The Night Before Wintermass

A Veetu Industries Tale

A chill swept in from the ocean, wrapping around peoples legs and lifting the hems of furs, cloaks, and coats. But no one seemed to notice for the most magical time of the year was upon them.


The time of the year when everyone put their cares behind them. When the hatred stopped and, for a few glorious days, peace and love appeared to hang over the world.

A clear sky hung above the city of Svenfur, stars twinkling across the velveteen night. Already a frost was beginning to brush everything with her icy fingers. Yet, along the promenade, West Road, and pier was the most magical market anyone had ever seen. Stalls and fairground rides lined every possible space. Music tinkled from a number of different stages, while the smells of freshly cooked foods filled the air. At the heart of it, sitting at the entrance to the pier, was the centerpiece of the entire market.

Standing as tall as the buildings around it, the Wintermass carousel was decked in bright lights. Garlands of fir tree, dotted with lights and decorations, danced around the roof of the carousel while the music of a full orchestra sang from its heart. Curls of grey smoke billowed from its chimney and were whisked away by the wind.

But that was not what made the carousel so spectacular.

What made it beautiful and unique were the animals which adorned its four platforms. Standing before the ride, Cedo stared at it, unsure of where to look first.

Like any normal carousel, the horses rode up and down their gilded poles. Yet their limbs were jointed, legs stretching and curling while they tossed their heads, their manes streaming behind them. Real saddles sat on their backs and bridles were looped around their heads. Everyone who rode it appeared to be fall in love.

Erus stood beside him. “So what do you think?”

Looking at his Master, Cedo grinned. “It is amazing! What an incredible creation! I do believe you have outdone yourself.”

Erus smiled under the bright lights of the carousel. Cedo's approval obviously warmed the weapons designer. “I am glad. I trust you will be riding?”

“Of course! I wish to take several rides.” Still grinning, Cedo pressed himself against the redhead. “Besides, I shall have to give a fair and accurate review of it.”

Cedo looked through the crowds for Billy. The blond man had disappeared moments before, his hand raised in greeting to someone he had seen in the crowd. No doubt Billy was catching up with old friends, and Cedo could not blame him. Wintermass was the perfect time for such encounters. A chance to pass on the greetings of the season. Earlier in the day, they had paid a visit to his mother and left gifts and cards for herself and Billy's sisters. It had been good to see her. Even in what seemed like the depths of poverty, she had turned the small house into a picture of Wintermass joy. A tree had stood in the front room, decorations and candles adorning its boughs. In the kitchen, garlands had been placed above the fire, a smattering of cards balanced on the fireplace.

Suddenly the crowds around them parted and Billy, rosy cheeked from the cold, appeared. He gripped an earthenware mug in one hand, tendrils of steam curling from the mouth.

He grinned at Cedo. “'ave I missed anythin'?”

Chuckling, Cedo nodded toward the large carousel. “Only the greatest ride in the whole of the city.”

His lover's face fell and Billy used his free hand to hold wisps of golden-blond hair from his face. “You 'aven't.”

“Not without you, no.” Cedo grinned and looked at the mug. “Drink up and we shall ride.”

Billy drank whatever it was he had brought and handed the empty vessel to a passing automaton. The metal being nodded at them as it continued on it path through the jostling crowds. Cedo saw the emblem of Erus' company embossed on the machine's shoulder; an outstretched claw of with a mouse crouching in its palm.

A burly man dressed in red furs took the coins they offered. Stepping through a small gate, Cedo looked up at the great machine before them. It embodied everything that Wintermass was about. From the sparkling decorations which danced around the roof to the jangling music to the faint smell of cinnamon and roasted apple.

Peering closer, Cedo discovered where the scent was coming from. Oil burners were attached to the sides machine’s engine, allowing it to give off festive scents as opposed to the usual acrid smell of burning coal.

His heart beat a little faster as they climbed aboard the carousel. Turning to Billy, he asked, “Which level would you like to ride?”

“’ow about the top ‘un? That way we can look out over the city.”

With a smile and a nod, Cedo made his way to gilded staircase which wound its way to the upper levels. They passed through the first level and continued on to the top. The sight was breathtaking. Beneath them, all of Svenfur was laid out. In the distance they could see the shadows of the factories, plumes of grey smoke still billowing into the dark night. Lights flickered on streets and, beside the Terminus, they could see the city’s giant Wintermass tree. A glowing star sat atop it and lights glittered on its boughs. From the sea, the cool wind made its presence known against their exposed skin.

Walking around the uppermost level, Cedo selected a horse of red. It had a golden mane and tail with ribbons wound into the silken strands. Its leather bridle and saddle were also decorated in gold and stirrups hung down its sides.

Swinging himself on to the back of the horse, Cedo gripped the reins and waited. Beside him, Billy climbed onto a beast decked out in green and gold.

“Why do you think 'is royal 'ighness ain't ridin'?”

Cedo chuckled. Billy had always referred to the slightly pompous engineer with such a moniker. “Because he believes it would not do his reputation much good to be seen prancing around on his own creation.”

Billy looked at him and pursed his lips. Sliding from the horse, the blond haired man leaned over the railings.


Closing his eyes, Cedo laughed as he listened.

“Yes, you. You comin' up 'ere or are you gonna catch your death down there?”

In his minds eye, Cedo could see how the exchange playing out. Beside him, Billy continued to shout down to the crowd.

“I don't care what you think. It's bloody Wintermass. Get your borin' arse up 'ere an' 'ave some fun.” There was a pause. “I know you know 'ow to 'ave fun. 'ow about givin' it a go once in a while?”

Resting his head against the wooden horse's wiry mane, Cedo laughed even harder.

“I don't care what your idea of fun is! Up 'ere. Now!”

He felt Billy brush beside him and go back to his horse. “'e's on 'is way.”

Sitting up, Cedo shook his head and grinned. “You know he will punish you for that later, do you not?”

Billy grinned at him. “I do. But at least it'll be fun. 'e knows I'm messin' around. An' secretly, deep down, 'e wants someone to tell 'im it's okay to 'ave a bit of fun.”

Around them, people edged their way on to horses and into carriages and gondolas, carefully selecting their own steeds. The crowds were a mix of young and old. All were looking for the same kind of festive magic. Behind him, Cedo heard the gold gate open and close.

“You two will be the death of me on of these days,” Erus' voice was filled with humour.

Looking at him, Cedo grinned and shook his head. “Do not be laying the blame for this at my feet.” He pointed to his lover. “You can blame that man there.”

Laughing, the red-haired man swung his legs a white and green horse. “Well, it is Wintermass. So we should give in and just enjoy the season.”

The music grew a little loud and, beneath them, the carousel juddered to life and slowly began to move. The horses rose and fell on their golden poles, their limbs stretching and curling. As with a real horse, they raised and lowered their heads, metal joints creaking inside their wooden bodies.

As the carousel picked up speed, so did the icy breeze. It whipped at hair and plucked at clothes. Beneath the riders the city and sea flashed by. The lights of the pier danced across the sea, bobbing with the waves. They could hear the voices of the people below, mingling with the music and creak of the twirling ride.

Cedo felt his excitement rise. The season of peace and goodwill to all men was upon them. For the next few days, their worries were no more, carried away by the cold and the snow. Back at the Witheybrooke house, a tree stood in the study with wrapped gifts nestling at its feet. Garlands had been wrapped around the bannisters and, from the kitchen, came the delicious smells of cooking.

It truly was the time of the year when his Master stopped thinking about how best to protect the country and discovered the joys of being able to relax. Having the redhead join them atop his own creation was just another moment for Cedo to treasure.

They had collected trinkets and food on their way through the market, the bags and baskets taken from them by automatons and whisked away home. Breads made with ginger and tree decorations sprinkled with gold. Mugs of mulled cider and beer had been consumed, the alcohol swirling through their brains and warming their bodies. Now it woke them, the laughter of the three men whisked away on the cold air as the horses danced above the city and sea.

Eventually the carousel began to slow. The horses fell on their golden poles and people began to leave. Sliding from his own steed, Cedo took a final look over the sea. Below them, the waves lapped at the shore and the pier and music whispered up to them. From his vantage point, he watched people wander along the boards. Sometimes they stopped to look over the railings and down to the sea. Sometimes they paused just to listen to the music and admire the bright lights. All appeared to be at peace.

And Cedo felt the same as they walked from the carousel. His heart sang and his feet felt light. For once both of his lovers were at peace, their hearts singing the same Wintermass song.

Stepping from the giant wooden structure, Cedo turned his head to the sky. He smiled at the stars and the full, round moon before Erus and Billy took his hands and lead him toward their waiting carriage.

A Merry Wintermass to all, and to all a goodnight.”


 Want more festive fun?! Check out the animated Christmas tree!
Or read last year's Christmas tale, A Mad Engineer's Wintermass.

Most of all, thank you so much for sticking with me! Thank you for all your love and support and for continuing to be there. I really do appreciate it!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Rae's Christmas Videos 2013

It's that time of the year again! Here's my selection of Christmas videos for this year. Enjoy!

And this one will always make it in to my Christmas list, just for being cute!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season! Thank you for your ongoing love and support. I really do appreciate it! Thank you!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Doctorin' The Tardis

This weekend we're celebrating 50 years of one of the world's most iconic TV shows - Doctor Who. With nearly 800 episodes under its belt, the Doctor and his companions have time travelled their way into the homes, hearts, and minds of billions of people.

To celebrate, I compiled a short quiz for the people I work with. Feel free to have a go and no cheating! I'll post the answers later on.

1.    What does TARDIS stand for?
2.    Who composed the theme tune?
3.    Who played the first Doctor?
4.    When he reaches the end of his life, the Doctor can do what to remain alive?
5.    The Master is the Doctor’s what?
6.    The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) had a trademark piece of clothing. What was it?
7.    Which villain is characterised by its salt pepper shaker like appearance?
8.    K-9 was Doctor Who’s what?
9.    The Tenth Doctor’s companion was who?
10.    Doctor Who premiered on the day after which other big world event?
11.    The words TARDIS and Dalek have been added to what famous reference book?
12.    Doctor Who holds the Guinness World Record for what?
13.    Doctor Who can be formed into an anagram which is now used for a spin off series. What is this anagram?
14.    Which catchphrase from one of Doctor Who’s villains has made it into modern use?
15.    Which silver suited villain first appeared in 1966?

And, while we're at it, let's have a bit of music!

So, who's your favourite Doctor? Do you have a favourite memory of the show? Or a favourite villain? Feel free to share them in the comments, and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Houston, We Have A Problem

I have a bit of a problem.

Actually, it's not a bit of a problem. It's a massive, lingering cloud which hangs over my head.

Let me try and explain...

I have absolutely no problem helping other people promote their music/books/events/causes/art. In fact, I love doing it! I love sitting down, putting my brain in gear, and helping other people.

If I love it so much what happens when it comes to my own projects?

I completely and utterly flat line.

I see all my friends doing all this cool stuff. They're off giving interviews and being on TV and the radio and doing more and more cool stuff. And I don't hate them for it. Not by a long shot. I'm so freaking proud of them! It's like watching baby birds learn to fly. Suddenly they're out there and doing some absolutely brilliant stuff!

But I can't do the same for myself. Part of it is because I don't know how to. The other is because I don't like asking for help. I don't like calling up the newspaper or the radio station or the events organiser or the website owner and asking them if I can do something. For some reason, it makes me feel like I'm intruding on their time and that I'm also not that interesting. Why would they want to speak to yet another author?

As I found out recently, places get inundated with requests from authors. So many that they have to turn them down. And that was a bit discouraging.

So how do you do it? Leave your ideas in the comments or feel free to drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you and thank you for reading!!

waking_the_dead @ yahoo.co.uk (Just remove the spaces!)

Friday, 15 November 2013

My Tips For Authors

We've all seen the tips on writing and promoting books and other things literary. So here's a few I've picked up over the last couple of years on being an author.

Appearances Count

They say don't judge a book by its cover. But we do. So you've got the snazzy book cover, your website looks awesome, and you've got some cool as ice business cards. What else?

Get some promo materials. Not just business cards but flyers and postcards as well. People forget about emails you've sent, links you've posted to their Facebook walls, and things you've Tweeted them. They quickly get lost in the ever growing pile of electronic noise.

But you give me a postcard and I'm more likely to check out our wares. They don't have to be hard to make. A quick search of the internet turns up hundreds of discount printers who can turn around postcards, flyers and posters in a matter of hours. Artwork doesn't have to be a hassle either, just try not to use the site's standard templates. Have a look around for royalty free and creative commons images (always credit any artists you use. They'll thank you for it!) and pick one you like. Or hit up any artists you know. It might cost you a bit but you'll have something which stands out from the rest.

And Smile!

For the love of all things great, get some photos taken! If you find yourself giving an interview, or someone needing a photo of you for whatever reason, the last thing you want being used is a Facebook photo of you drunkenly gurning at the camera. You only have to take a look at some of the articles on music site Blabbermouth to see just how some atrocious photos are used (Yes, it's believed they do it deliberately!). Put on your finest clothes, brush your hair, and grab a photographer friend. Go somewhere nice, or somewhere interesting, or your back garden. Do something interesting. Get some nice photographs taken so you've got something to hand out if people need it.

The ones I use were taken by a friend in exchange for dinner. It did involve a hike up to a castle in high heels (never again!) but it paid off with some really pretty pictures.

Be Nice

Seriously. It's not hard to do and people are more likely to remember you if you've been nasty to them. Yes, we all have our bad days. We're only human after all. But try not to moan, especially about your situation as an author. Whether you're self published or traditionally published, there are people who follow you and will have a certain image of you in their minds. If you break that image, you've broken their trust in you and, in turn, probably lost yourself fans and readers. By all means moan about your day, the weather, the traffic, or whatever, but remember that, as an author, you're in a somewhat privileged position. A smile will make you a lot more friends than a frown (unless you're Grumpy Cat. But let's not go there because this post will descend into nothing but photos of our favourite frowny feline).

Saying that, play up to your quirks. I've managed to turn being grumpy into something which I think makes people smile. Thanks to everyone who sends me Grumpy Cat stuff! You're only helping to fuel that fire! ;) Be yourself and continue what you're doing but keep the moaning private.

No One Left Behind

Remember those who've helped you get where you are. You might not be selling books at the rate JK Rowling does but, somewhere around you, there'll be a team of people helping you along. This may be people at your publishers, friends, family, the local community, or work colleagues. Send them a card every now and again. Drop them a gift at Christmas. Say thank you. Again, emails, Facebook messages and Tweets are great but there's something so much more personal about sending something through the mail. Trust me, people love getting things which aren't bills and junk in the mail.

No One Left Behind Take 2

Some people do need a slap in the face with a shovel. But, for this one, we'll forget about them. Authors are generally a really great bunch of people. So let's help one another out! Promote each others books, help others who are struggling, hold competitions, and get involved with events. Together, we can do this!

Thank you so much for reading! I really appreciate it!


Rae spends her days running around a care home and her nights in front of a computer. When she's not writing or making people laugh, she enjoys listening to music, keeping in touch with her friends, and fangirling over various bands. She's threatened to write a novel about some of her life experiences.

Her first two books, Mars on the Rise (Veetu Industries #1) and Selling Mars (Veetu Industries #2), are available through TorquerePress. Her next two books, The Eve of War (Veetu Industries #3) and A Second Past Midnight, will be coming out in 2014.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Things That Go Bump In The Night - Part 4

Here's the final part of the Things That Go Bump In The Night series. I recorded this one as a video because, well, it really did freak me out. Enjoy... ;)

You can find Parts 1 - 3 here.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Things That Go Bump In The Night - Part 3

Part 3 of some of the distinctly odd things which have happened in my life...

Call it being psychic, call it being in tune with the universe, call it being spiritually sensitive, call it a sixth sense. Whatever you call it, not even the most powerful of anti-psychotic drugs have stopped me from seeing and feeling things. They've always been there, just on the edge of my vision, or tickling the lobes of my ears. What do I think they are? Beings from other dimensions? Good and evil? Things which are locked to this earth? I don't know and I refuse to try and categorise them. 
You can identify most of the things you see in the sky. Aircraft, balloon, Chinese lantern. But there are some things which you can't. Things which have the tag UFO applied to them.
There's been several incidents which have seen me using this tag. There's possibly been more, but these ones stick in my mind.
Summer 2004. I was standing on New Canal in Salisbury. It was a clear, beautiful day, much like the images on the Google map. I can't remember where I was walking to but I remember looking up. And there, hanging in the sky, was a cylinder.
One of the things you have to understand about Wiltshire is that you see a lot of aircraft. A lot. It's a military area (which may have accounted for some of the distinctly odd things we did see) and is also on the flight paths to a lot of the major airports. 
But this. This didn't look like a plane. There was no tail, no wings, no markings and it was just hanging there, moving only slightly faster than the breeze. Heart hammering, I crossed the road and began to follow it. I managed to keep it in my line of sight for a good several minutes. Then I had to look down to cross the road.

When I looked back up, it was gone. Vanished. I had a wide expanse of sky and could clearly see in the direction it was travelling. At the speed it was going, there was no way it could have disappeared so quickly. But it was gone.

I looked around, searching the sky. But there was absolutely no sign of it.

Spring 2011. Leicester. I was standing in the back garden of my parents house. Again, it was a nice, warm day. There were wisps of cloud dancing through the blue sky. And there, amid it all was a silver ball.

In comparison to the clouds, it was fairly high. Again, it just hung there. Except that this time it looked like it was tumbling. Over and over and over. Yet its position never changed. It didn't up or down or in any other direction. Just hung there and tumbled.

I must have watched it for a good fifteen minutes before the clouds swept in front of it. When they parted, guess what? Yep, it was gone.

Both times I tried to get photos. Both times there was nothing of any description on them. Nothing I could see or analyse. Did I imagine what I saw? Who knows...

Do you have any UFO stories? Feel free to share them in the comments. Or go to the contact link and send me an email. 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Inspirational Interview - Serena of Rock Radio Sexism

A few months ago, I discovered Tumblr and, on there, I've had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people. People who've expanded my horizons and who I've been able to learn from. A couple of weeks ago, I asked the lovely Serena to answer a few questions. Here's what she had to say:


Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by! Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.

My name is Serena. I’ve been a feminist for about two years, now - although I’ve dabbled in feminism a bit longer. I really like hard rock and heavy metal, and I also like pink and pastel-coloured stuff. And, no, it’s not contradictory to like the two. I’m also into psychedelic art.

You run a couple of awesome feminist blogs. For those not entirely in the know, what is and isn’t feminism?

Thank you!

Feminism is about advocating gender equality. We have, indeed, gone a long ways towards achieving gender equality since, say, the fifties. However, we still have further yet to go. Rape culture is still a major issue that affects women today, along with slut shaming. There is still a double standard that men can sleep with multiple women, and be considered a “stud” - whilst women who do the same are regarded as “sluts”. Then there is the whole reinforcement of gender roles through advertisements and marketing - which of sort of my, uh, pet feminist issue.

Feminism is not about hating men, or following a bunch of rules of shoulds and should-nots. Especially since we already get enough of that shit from the patriarchy. If women want to shave, cool. If women don’t want to shave, that’s also cool. The one thing to take into consideration, though - is that women who choose to shave should probably examine why they choose to do so. Are they doing it because, uh, they really like the feel of smooth hairless skin - or is it simply because they were taught that it’s what women “are supposed to do”?

There seems to be a lot of anti-pink and anti-feminine thought patterns within feminism. Why do you think this is?

Oh, yeah, this is a good question. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I was initially leery of associating myself with the feminist movement. Certainly, I’ve always agreed with the dictionary definition of feminism - which is that women should have the same rights as men do. However, I didn’t see why that meant I couldn’t like pink - or other things coded “feminine”.

I think a lot of the anti-pink and anti-femininity attitudes that permeate certain factions of the feminist movement is due to the resentment that there is the social expectation that women are supposed to like pink and other things coded “feminine”. That is, of course, very understandable. In fact, I sort of feel that way about pop music. I resent that pop music is heavily marketed to girls and men, while rock and metal are often seen as “dude music”. So, certainly, I understand rebelling against something that is forced on you.
However, the problem comes from when they start having the attitude of this: “I don’t like pink - and other women shouldn’t like pink, either.” Some women like pink. Some women don’t. Both are fine. Also, very few women are 100% “girly-girl” or 100% “tomboy”. In fact, I’d say that most women are some combination of the two.

Then there is also the fact that gender roles also hurt boys and men. Boys who happen to like pink are often discouraged from acting upon it, lest they get teased for it. Some portions of the feminists, I believe, are so focused on for girls and women are affected by gender roles - they often fail to consider the other side of the issue.

I wouldn’t say that this is “sexism against men”, really. This is more a case of “femmephobia”, a devaluing of things considered “women”. There is a large subset of men, often referred to as “dudebros”, who are all about being “manly”. To them, the “alpha male” is the ideal. As such, they recoil at the idea of anything considered “feminine”. This is the other issue I have with faction of feminists that also decry anything considered “feminine”. Granted, they’re coming at it from a different angle from that of the dudebros - but the end result is the same, and that is problematic.

As feminists, we must be mindful not to advocate replacing a system that favours men with a system that favours masculinity.

One of your blogs looks at sexism within rock music, something which is particularly close to my heart. Why do you think there are these attitudes towards women? And why, in the 21st century, do these attitudes still prevail? What do you think can be done to change the mindsets of some of those within the music industry?

A think a lot of it has to do with the fact that rock music is often seen as being aggressive, a trait that is commonly associated with men. When rock and roll first got its start in the 50s, it was popular with both boys and girls. It wasn’t until sometime during the ’60s that there was a move towards rock music being “music for men”. The term “cock rock” is often used to refer to the early hardish rock that was marketed towards men. The Rolling Stones, I believe, are the progenitors of “cock rock”.

I’m not sure why those attitudes continue to persist into the 21st Century. I believe that there are more women than one might suspect that do like rock music. But maybe the main reason why there aren’t too many that listen to rock radio is because a lot of rock radio stations that cater strictly towards men. As a result, the disc jockeys and other people who work in the radio business feel that they have a licence to make sexist and misogynistic jokes. A lot of times, when they have contests, they are geared towards heterosexual men.

Maybe it’s a chicken-and-egg scenario. A lot of women are turned off of rock music due to the sexism and misogyny permeating it, or else they’ve just been conditioned to believe that rock music is not for women. So, in turn, the music industry believes that women simply aren’t interested in rock music - and, therefore, they see no reason to remove the sexist and misogynistic elements from rock music.

As for how we can change it, that’s kind of a tough question to answer. Maybe, if we can get enough interested women to band together, we can show those people that there are women who like rock music. Maybe what we need is something similar to riot grrrl, but not just for punk rock. For pretty much every subgenre of rock and metal. I would love for there to be a female version of Disturbed, or a female version of Avenged Sevenfold.

Despite the negative attitudes towards women featured in rock music, scores of women still support these people and find them attractive. Why do you think that is?

Well, I think because they just happen to like the style of music. Also, there is the other side of it that our patriarchal society has the attitude that rock music is “not for women”. Indeed, this is a bit of a paradoxical situation. This is what I’ve referred to, a few times, as the “feminist dilemma”. As such, a lot of women who happen to really like rock music will still listen to it - despite the sexism and misogyny - because, dammit, women can like rock music too!

Do you think it’s still possible to support these bands despite their attitudes?

Oh, certainly! In fact, if we gave up everything that is problematic, then there’d be next to nothing left to enjoy. We can still enjoy the music, but not excuse the bands when engage in problematic behaviour. Of course, if other people choose not to listen to certain bands due to their sexism and misogyny - we should respect that. But it’s not our place to police what other people should or should not listen to.

One of the things which comes up a lot is that women have to look good to get anywhere in life. Are there any female fronted/all female bands which you recommend? And what can women do to empower themselves within the entertainment industries?

Right now, Halestorm is quite successful on active rock radio stations. Kitty is a great band, too - and then there’s Cherri Bomb. I probably don’t listen to female-fronted or all-female bands as much as I should - partly because I am sort of addicted to the radio. I think it’d be nice to have a radio station, even if exclusive to the internet or satellite that mixes the stuff that you hear on active rock stations with a bunch of female-fronted and all-female bands. There are some online stations that are focused exclusively on female rock bands - but what if you don’t want to give up on the male rock bands that you like, as well?

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I would remove everything having to do with power imbalance, as well as useless social norms.

Which of your blogs do you recommend?

Definitely Rock Radio Sexism. Initially, I started the blog with the intent to discuss the issues of sexism and misogyny regarding rock radio. But, even if you don’t listen to the radio, I’d still recommend it. We have since broadened the focus to include the rock/metal scene as a whole.

Thank you so much for taking the time to pass by and talk with us. It’s really appreciated!

You’re very welcome. It’s my pleasure.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Things That Go Bump In The Night - Part 2

Part 2 of some of the spooky things which have happened in my life...

Call it being psychic, call it being in tune with the universe, call it being spiritually sensitive, call it a sixth sense. Whatever you call it, not even the most powerful of anti-psychotic drugs have stopped me from seeing and feeling things. They've always been there, just on the edge of my vision, or tickling the lobes of my ears. What do I think they are? Beings from other dimensions? Good and evil? Things which are locked to this earth? I don't know and I refuse to try and categorise them.

This particular tale took place a couple of years ago. I'd approached someone we'll call Subject X to make a documentary on their life. Subject X's boss is not known for being a nice person. Sure, they've tried to clean up their act in recent years but the past has a habit of never forgetting you, especially when you're in the media spotlight.

Anyway, at the time, Subject X was a free agent. They weren't affiliated with anyone and were more than happy for me to camp out in their life for a month or two (or longer, depending on how much we had to talk about). We began going through the usual paperwork which comes with making a film when they got the call and went back to work for their old boss.

That was when the contact broke and, needless to say, I was devastated despite having a few more people on my list of potential interviewees. I sent a couple more emails, all of which were carbon copied to various other people who were involved with the film, namely my legal eagles. We got a reply which read distinctly oddly and one of the legal eagles called me up.

“Rae, Rae, Rae! DON'T reply to that email!”

“Why not?”

“That's not Subject X writing.”

My heart stopped. “It's the boss, isn't it?”

“Got it in one. Drop it, Rae, at least for now.”

So I did. But I felt a certain affinity Subject X. I do a lot of meditation and praying in my spare time. I feel that the world around is a dark and dangerous place and so meditate for protection for myself and my loved ones. Subject X also became a part of the protection, a white light which is cast around myself and anyone else I choose. I felt he needed it, especially with some of the people he was associating with.

Until a couple of years ago. It was a night much like tonight. Cold, with the promise of winter in the air. I was outside having a cigarette and staring at the clear, star filled sky. Then, from the corner of my eye, I saw a dark, shadowy figure run across the garden and straight through the wall of the house. While it made me jump, I thought nothing more of it. A spirit, or ghost, or something else moving from one spot to the other.

That was, until I went to bed. Turning off the lights, I went through the usual ritual of saying prayers and wrapping the white light around myself, my family, and my friends.

But I couldn't sleep. Couldn't settle.

The shadow which had run through the wall was there, standing in the corner of the room. I could feel unseen eyes staring at me. I said a quick banishing prayer and hoped for sleep.

The shadow figure continued to terrorise me. I was sick. I was lethargic. I couldn't write. I couldn't work. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. No matter what I did, it was there, silently pulling my life apart. Finally, at the end of my tether, I consulted a couple of friends. One of them asked me a few questions before falling silent.

“Do you get a familiar feeling from it?” they asked.

“Yep,” I tiredly replied.

“Where do you think it's from?”

“The States. California.”

“Good, because you're probably right. Any idea who it is?”

“Mmmhmmm.” I swayed and leaned against the wall, desperate for sleep. “The Boss.”

“Good. I suspect we're both on the right page for this one and that this is The Boss warning you to back off. He doesn't like the idea of you talking to Subject X.”

The friends went away to the respective homes and began working to get rid of the shadow figure. One instructed me to be ready on a particular night. I was to sit quietly and imagine myself and Subject X surrounded by white light and angels. The image which formed in my mind was amazing with huge, angels, as tall as buildings, surrounding us. All held swords, all were bathed in fire, ready to go in to battle. At the same time, somewhere else in the country, one of the friends, along with a group of other people, worked to get rid of the shadow figure. I was told that, should the figure ever return,

It worked and the figure left. I was able to sleep, eat, write, and get my life back together. It's been gone for a good 18 months now. Although it does like to make the occasional visit to make sure I'm keeping up my end of the deal and staying away. Now it doesn't take much to get rid of it again. A few seconds of meditation and it's gone, banished back to wherever it came from.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

A Letter To The Evil That Is The Twelve Tribes Cult

It takes a lot to get me as angry as I am right now. A Hell of a lot. But the reports which have been spread over the news the past week have been enough to get my blood boiling at you scum. I'm not even going to call you "people" or "humans". I wouldn't even call you "animals" because at least animals look after their young. You're scum. And even then, I think the scum which lines my toilet bowl might be offended at me calling you that.

You're all pure evil and you're all going to burn in Hell for what you've done to those children. I don't care what your website says. I don't care what those "letters" on your website say (they're pretty easy to forge. How do I know? I've worked in the film industry. I forged things for a living.). If you give us solid, absolute proof that you haven't beaten those children black and blue several times a day, then we'll back off.

But the authorities know. They know that you're as evil as the Devil himself. There's no way you're Christians. Again, how do I know? I'm a Christian and the "god" you worship is not the God I worship. "Love the little children"? You lot have absolutely no idea what love is. "An Act Against Love" as your headline says is exactly that. But it's an act against the good people of this world, not against you. Brainwashed, that's what you all are. Absolutely and utterly brainwashed. You should all be ashamed of yourselves and I hope the authorities acting makes you take long hard looks at yourselves. But you won't. Because you believe whatever's said to you. Utter and total sheep each and every one of you. We can tell you this until we're blue in the face but you won't believe it until you're standing at the gates of Hell. And it's where you deserve to be.

Twelve Tribes 'child caning punishment' claims (BBC)
Twelve Tribes community: NSPCC demands police inquiry into Christian sect that canes children (Independent)
In Germany's Twelve Tribes sect, cameras catch ‘cold and systematic’ child-beating (Independent)
The Devon cult that canes tiny children to ‘cleanse their sins’ (Daily Mail)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Women Are Worth More Than The Paper They're Printed On

“World's Hottest Footballer's Wives.”

“World's Hottest F1 Driver's Wives.”

“World's Hottest Musician's Wives.”

They're mainstays of tabloid media. Pointless, redundant articles which spew the virtues of being nothing more than eye candy and masturbation material for a male orientated market. They're everywhere, and a day doesn't go by when one woman or another is put on a pedestal because she's married to someone famous.

“You're just jealous,” people say. “I don't know what you're getting upset over?”

Don't know what I'm getting upset over? Have you ever read one of those articles and seen any mention of the woman's life other than the fact that she's “beautiful” and “married to X celebrity”? Chances are you haven't. They never make a mention of that. Never mention the achievements of said woman. Instead the woman's form is just reduced down to that of an object. That's it. Nothing else. The article might mention if she's had a breast enlargement, or if she lost her post baby fat really quickly. You might get a mention that she's an actress or a model but you won't be given a list of her works. Again, that's it. And people wonder why the world is so screwed up. They wonder why there are girls who are literally starving themselves to death. They wonder why self esteem and self confidence are low. There are many reasons, a lot of it starting with the media.

“But you objectify men!” you say.

Yes, I'll hold my hands up and say that I'm guilty of that. But go and take a look at the lists titled “World's Hottest Actors” or “World's Hottest Rockstars”. You won't find a list of why their hair's nice or how they got their killer abs. No, you'll get a list of how well they act, which countries their band's toured, how many cinema seats they've filled or CD's they've sold. You'll probably get the name of their highest grossing film or best selling album. You might even get a glimpse of the car they drive, the house they live in, and how much their bank balance is worth.

“It's not offensive! I don't see your problem.”

While it's not outwardly offensive (no blood, no overly graphic content) it does the same nudity and murders and normalises people to it. Suddenly it's “normal” to want to be “hot” and “married”, as if it's the only thing which women are good for. Forget the 21st Century. Attitudes towards women are still firmly rooted in the past. Women are only supposed to be broodmares, used for nothing more than pleasure and bringing about the next generation. At least in the eyes of the male orientated media.

“You must really hate men!”

Actually, no. I just hate the misogynistic attitudes towards women. I've worked in many industries where, to be a woman is the worst crime ever. Bar manager, nightclub DJ, band manager. I've lost count of the number of men who've come up to me and told me they can do a better job. Really? Here, have the lack of sleep, the paperwork, the hours of phone calls, events being cancelled, staff being sick, equipment not working, merchandise being delayed, and the crappy pay. None of those jobs were ever done for the money. They were done for the love of music or creating amazing events. And, with each of those jobs, I was approached to do them. I didn't apply. I was asked to take the roles. Someone with tits and a vagina. What does that tell you? It's not the gender of a person but their ability to do a job. Unfortunately, as we all too often see, the gender of a person does still play a part in every day life.

You hate women!”

<sigh> No, I don't hate women. I just hate that they're used and exploited for the pleasure of others. Some do do it for profit and pleasure and I take my hat off to women who are strong enough to do that. We need more strong, independent women in this world. More role models that the younger generations can look up to. Role models whose entire life doesn't revolve around being pretty and married.

Basically, I'm tired of a world where women are treated like second class citizens. I'm tired of being told I can't do certain things because they're “only for men” (playing any instrument other than a cello or piano, learning to fly, listening to heavy metal etc). I'm tired of people trying to pigeonhole me. Tired of people telling me how to live my life because I'm a woman. Women can do whatever they want to and they don't need approval from anyone to do it.

There's a lot of wonderful and loving men who read this blog and I don't want you to feel like this is aimed at you. It's not. I love you guys to bits and I hope you'll stick with me despite some of my rantings!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Things That Go Bump In The Night - Part 1

As the nights draw in and the air cools, our minds turn away from summer and towards other things. It's time, I think, for me to tell some of my spooky tales.

Call it being psychic, call it being in tune with the universe, call it being spiritually sensitive, call it a sixth sense. Whatever you call it, not even the most powerful of anti-psychotic drugs have stopped me from seeing and feeling things. They've always been there, just on the edge of my vision, or tickling the lobes of my ears. What do I think they are? Beings from other dimensions? Good and evil? Things which are locked to this earth? I don't know and I refuse to try and categorise them.

We'll start by taking a trip in to my own past. Once upon a time, I worked in a wonderful little pub, with a fabulous group of people (some of who may be reading this. Hi guys!), in a small, sleepy city in the south of England. We knew that everything wasn't as it seemed in this 600 year old building. And, from that building, came a handful of tales...

The Voice

This tended to happen when the bar was empty, early morning normal. I'd be cleaning up the bar area and I'd hear someone, as clear as day, yell my name. I'd go looking and yell into the kitchen to see if the chef had called me. Nope, wasn't him. At this point the hackles on my neck would be raised. It tended to go both ways; some days the chef would stick his head out to see if I had called him when I hadn't. It didn't happen once or twice, it was a daily occurrence.

The Footsteps

"Can you hear footsteps?"

The Pheasant was an old building, spread over several levels. Like a ship of the time, the ceilings got lower and lower the higher you went. We lived there, several of us who kept the place running. Late at night, once we'd kicked everyone out, we'd sit at the bar and chat quietly while having a couple of drinks. When a dignified silence fell, then the footsteps would start on the floor above the bar. Creaking footsteps that would walk to one end, pause and come back again. Once they stopped, we started talking again and, once we stopped talking the footsteps would start again.

The Fireplace

As an old pub, very old 600+ year old pub, we had several big fireplaces. One of them was a gas fire with a copper hod over it which channeled the gases outside. Anyway, in the summer, this was never on. Never. Because a summer in the south of England can get like France and Spain if it's in a good mood. Sometimes there would be sounds coming from the fire. They weren't normal sounds like the fire needed fixing. It was someone or something banging rhythmically on the hod of the gas fire. Some days it would be 1 or 2 bangs, some days it could go on for hours. Like I said, this wasn't the fire cooling down as people would have thought. Looking back on it, I wish I'd noted them down because I'm wondering if something was trying to to communicate in Morse code.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

And I Have A Name

I am Bipolar.

I am addiction.

I am an illness.

I am a disease.

Yet I am not contagious.

You won't catch anything from looking at me.

You won't catch anything from talking to me.

Being around me won't suddenly take years off your life.

I am not here for your amusement.

I am not here for you to ridicule.

I am not here for you to point fingers at.

I am not here for you to talk about because I have "something".

I am not here to make you feel better about yourself because you don't have my "disease".

I am not a lesser person than you are.

I am a person.

I have a heart.

I have a mind.

I have emotions.

I have a face.

I have seen the best and worst of humanity.

I wear my scars, both inside and out, with pride.

I have seen the darkest levels of Hell and the highest glories of Heaven.

I am healing.

I am growing.

I have turned myself inside out to get to this point in time.

And I have a name.

My name isn't "disease."

It isn't "illness".

It isn't "Bipolar".

It isn't "Addiction".

It is the one I give you to call me by.

I am me, no matter what you think I am.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Cocaine Hell

Cocaine 'rapidly changes the brain'


That was a headline from the BBC website. My first reaction to reading it was "No shit, Sherlock". I was hooked on that stuff long enough to know the effects all too well. I was hooked on several different drugs, all dangerous, and all way too much fun to get rid of.

Except I had to, for my body and sanity. And it happened on 31st August 2004. My brain broke. Or, as one friend described it, "Pulled out the patch cables and rearranged them". It had had enough of my behaviour and decided to show me by landing me in hospital. Not fun and not pleasant. I never thought I'd be able to break that cycle but, in a way of saving itself, my body showed me how to do it. Several weeks laid up at home meant that I couldn't go out to find drugs. Sure, the dealers tried to contact me (I was a good customer with a well paying job. They couldn't afford to lose me) but, somehow, they never got to the house. Somehow I survived those first few weeks, after which I left the area forever and moved home.

I'll never forget the people who helped me through that period. The people who went to the mental hospital with me, who brought me food, or went for coffee with me. They were the steps towards becoming normal again. Yet, somewhere in the wiring in my brain, some things still haven't quite fixed themselves. For example, I don't hold a driver's license because I find it difficult to judge speeds and distances. On top of that, the medication I currently take makes me weary and unable to focus in the mornings. I'm bad enough on two legs at the moment. Can you imagine me with four wheels and an engine?! One day I'll get there, I'm sure.

But the whole experience made me realise that we don't live forever. That our bodies are fragile and damage easily. And that they can tell us when they've had enough.

31st August will be nine years since I broke my addictions. I'm going to go and bake cake. Give me a shout if you want some!


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Indian Timing Part 2

At the moment I'm sitting here with wires trailing from my pockets, down my legs before they curl back up and disappear into my back. They're attached to pads stuck to my skin, sending little shocks of electricity into my body. Stupidly I've managed to overstretch the muscles in one of my hips again so I'm hooked up to my TENS machine and toddling about as best I can.

When I was a missionary kid, there was one summer which sticks out in my mind. It was the summer where I seemed to spend one day a week of the long holidays in hospital. Somehow, I'd gained a "thing" for breaking my fingers. By the end of the summer, I was an expert in tearing surgical with one hand. I still have kinks in the ends of a couple of my fingers, possibly as a result of that summer.

How do you control your kids when you live in a massive building and you live in a time before mobile phones? The answer - you try. And try my parents did. At first, my Dad utilised a whistle. We still have it and it's still used. It's the same brand which are used by football referees (That's the soccer for my American readers. Hi guys!). It's loud and, over wide open spaces, you can hear it for miles.

Except that we didn't. We were kids. We had lots of wide open spaces to ignore. The last thing you're going to listen to is your Dad leaning out of a window and blowing a whistle. During our second, and longest stay, at the Lodge my parents invested in a pager (we still have that as well somewhere!). It was nicknamed The Frog due to it being green and a pain in the ass to carry. Problems? It wasn't always guaranteed to be on the person you were calling and it was stupidly expensive to call and leave a message.

Eventually my parents all but gave up. My Dad is the king of lingering threats and you didn't mess with him. If he told you to be back by 9pm, dammit, you were back by 9pm! He has "A Look" which still puts the fear of God in us, although these days it's more likely to make us laugh.

As a kid with this huge place to explore, you didn't want to sleep. There were too many interesting stories to hear, to many awesome pictures to see and, in most cases, too much incredible food to eat. It's a good job we had all of that wide open space to run around in because, damn, we met some awesome cooks! One of my favourite foods was cooked by a lady who now lives in South Africa. She cooked this incredible peanut sauce. Horrifically fattening but it didn't matter. It was a little slice of heaven.

I've just asked my Dad "How did you keep tabs on us while we were at the Lodge?".
He thought about it for a moment before replying, "We didn't."

You can read the first part of this series at Indian Timing. At some point, I'll go in to the attic, find all the photos, and scan them in for you. Thank you so much for reading!

Sunday, 11 August 2013


Well, it's that time of the year again. Those few weeks where my body goes, "Okay, ENOUGH!!".

It happens around every August. I've pushed myself as hard as I can and my body decides it wants to take a holiday. My joints ache, my body feels like lead, and remembering the password for my phone becomes impossible. I stare at the hunk of black plastic like it's an alien species before tossing it in to a corner. Let it ring. Whoever it is can talk to the voice mail.

Friends and family get the brunt of my tiredness as I swing from snide comments to gallows humour to all out narcissism. I cry, and shout, and stare at my belly button because I can't accurately describe how I'm feeling. The power of expression has suddenly upped and left. I'm not a pretty picture at these times, and gods help anyone who comes in to my firing line.

Thankfully I've learned to notice the signs. The weariness. The inability to string a sentence together. The time it takes for my brain to work out how to use the kettle. Suddenly I feel OLD. Really old. I go from running all over the place to sitting in my little spot here and leaning against the wall while I watch cat videos.

Some people translate it as me disliking them. It can take me several minutes to carefully explain what's wrong, and even then I'm not sure if everyone believes me or if they think I'm out to get them. I'm not. My body and brain just want a rest, even if it does mean going into Ultra Grumpy Rae mode (That's the one several steps up from the normal Grumpy Rae you see here).

I try not to let it get me down, especially the people at the Day Job who tell me, "Oh, you only work part time.". Yes, but like everyone else, I then go home and help look after a house. And, on top of that, shock horror, I actually start the SECOND, far more enjoyable, job. My day doesn't end when I step out of those doors and begin the walk home. No, it carries on. The music playing through my headphones is the soundtrack to the latest piece I'm working on. My phone, stuffed in the bottom of my bag, the password still forgotten, is pulling in information I've asked it to look for. When I get home, I make a cup of tea, switch on the computer, and start again.

Recently, I had this conversation with the awesome Meg Kingston about this. About how the brain doesn't stop working and that people think the things we produce (be it books, music, poetry, art, engineering, whatever) simply... appear. They don't. A well worked piece will have weeks of research in it (I'm currently listening to live air traffic control feeds for a new piece). And this stresses the brain. Just because you're sitting, or pacing, or lying on the sofa doesn't make it any less of an activity than a full day's manual labour.

Anyway, that's enough of me moaning. I'm going to go and stare at the kettle, see if I can convince it to turn on. Failing that, I'll be here watching cat videos.

Peace and love to you all!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Haters Gonna Hate


Don't you love 'em?

I've had my fair share of them. I still get them from time to time. Right from when I was in school, I had people telling me my dreams were worthless. Heck, I had people tell me I was worthless. And those words are soul destroying. They tear your very person apart and leave seeds of doubt and pain in your very being.

Words have power. Immense power. It's why they're written down by people, by the religious and non-religious alike. And I think people forget this. They forget that their words have the power to build someone up or completely and utterly destroy their world.

It's taken me a long time to see past the doubters. It's taken me a long time to give them the finger and say "Fuck 'em" and live my life how I want to live. It's my decision to follow my dreams not theirs. It's my choice in what I want to create in this world.

And it's your choise to. Seriously, I know it hurts. I know you can see their words are ingrained on your eyes and in your mind. They'll stay there forever. Some of the words of the people who have put me down remain with me to this day. But now I see them as encouragement to keep going, rather than to give up and fade away.

You're not worthless. You are someone. You're here for a reason, even if you don't discover that reason until you're 80. Heck, you may never discover that reason until you're on your death bed and a thought comes to mind. You have a reason for living. Put your hand on your chest. Feel your heart beating. THAT'S your reason for living. Live your life however the heck you want to live it. You want to be a musician, a writer, a nurse, a doctor, a train driver, whatever? Go and do it! Never give up on that dream! And never, ever let anyone else talk you in to giving up.

A couple of days ago I was having one of my "I'm hopeless. Everything I do is crap" days. Oddly, at the same time, I came across the following set of gifs (if anyone knows the video it's from, send me the link and I'll edit this part out). Now I'm passing them on to you. You can do whatever you want to take. Some may say it takes talent. But if you've got the determination, you can go far.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Writer Scheduling

Veetu Industries used Grammarly to grammar check this post. Because time is money and, rather than worrying about the little things, you could be building the world of tomorrow, today.

Writer scheduling is a lot like staff scheduling except there are more voices shouting for your attention. And those voices are normally the muses in your head, all of them wanting to play at the same time.

Keeping track of those voices and ideas can be a pain. Especially when you're working on a major piece only to find yourself interrupted by a new and amazing idea which demands your attention RIGHT THIS INSTANT. I'm known for flicking between two, three, or even more projects at any one time. Which is why, when a person asks me another book of the Veetu Industries series is coming out, I tend to reply with a shrug.

“When they're willing to play ball,” I reply.

Until then, it's business as usual and my butterfly mind wanders off to whatever is looking pretty and shiny today.

There are two ways I keep track of all the various ideas. One is the usual pile of notebooks. Normally they're divided into two with one idea running front to back and the other running back to front. Crammed into the front of these notebooks are various pieces of paper and sticky notes, all with little snippets of stories written on them.

On the wall of my office is a board known as RAECON (which takes its name from America's Terminal Radar Approach Control, also known as TRACON. Do you see what I did there? Thank you! I'm here all week!). This board lists the current projects I'm working on and the “holding pattern” that they're in. The pattern changes week by week, day by day, depending on what I'm working on. Something which has my attention this week may drop to the bottom of the list the next while a project I haven't worked on for six months may suddenly shoot to the top and find itself on “final approach”. Yet the next day, that project may drop one or two spaces while another takes over. Two days later a new project may insert itself in to the flight path. I'm a fairly visual person and, as an aviation geek it's a great and easy way for me to keep track of everything.

An early version of RAECON

Do you have a way of keeping track of them all? Notebooks, divided folders, or even an app on a computer or phone?


Talking about writing and all that jazz, Torquere Press have picked up two more of my books! One is the 3rd in the Veetu Industries series (“The Eve of War”) while the other is something completely different and isn't, shock horror, Steampunk! “A Second Past Midnight” takes a look at the world following an electromagnetic pulse and the affects it's had on otherwise normal people. Really can't wait to show them both to you all!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Grumpy Rae

I suppose I'd better explain myself, hadn't I? Just in case anyone's a little bit worried.

If you're a follower on either Facebook or Twitter, you may occasionally see references to Grumpy Rae. And I know it's worried a few people.

Grumpy Rae is a joke which started a few months ago during an email exchange with a friend and kind of stuck. Okay, she really stuck! Grumpy Rae is the one who brings all the pain and angst to the stories I work on. She's actually a lot of fun to be around, throwing in curveballs like sudden deaths, stress, and various other (mostly unexpected) plot twists. For those who've asked, Grumpy Rae isn't depressed, nor sad. She's just slightly sadistic. And likes to take her inspiration from Grumpy Cat (obviously!).

Grumpy Rae in action!

I tend to talk about my mood swings fairly frequently (oh, the joys of Bipolar!). I'm not ashamed of who I am, nor of what goes on inside my head. If I can help one other person get through something they're going through, then that's great! The email's always open, as are the Facebook and Twitter accounts. If anyone ever wants to talk, drop me a line. You'll never get judged around here (not even by Grumpy Rae).

Grumpy Rae/Happy Rae are extensions of me, of the fun I get to have, and part of my self-deprecating sense of humour. I prefer making fun of myself rather than laughing at the expense of others. And I know she makes a few people giggle so I'll keep up posting as Grumpy Rae. Heck, she might even make it on here! For me, Grumpy Rae is one of the muses. Like I said, she's fun. Try engaging her in conversation one day. Just don't expect a happy response!

Happy Rae

 Right, it's getting late here so I suppose I'd better get to bed. Grumpy Rae needs a lot of beauty sleep.