Faith in Humanity

Today I feel sick, for the man who was killed yesterday, his family and friends, and the entire human race.  We live in a world where there seems to be a culture developing that Violence is some sort of action used to justify ones beliefs.  Where in reaction to these crimes people feel as if it is there right to cast a sweeping generalisation against a race or religion as a result of the acts of the few, not the many.

Yes, the men guilty of the murder yesterday appear to have been Muslim extremists, but the definition of extremist is:

A person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, esp. one who resorts to or advocates extreme action

Note: ‘A person’. Not ‘all people’

Let’s face it, yes there are groups and there are many, from different religions, races and walks of life, but even if someone instructed those men to do what they did yesterday under some misguided belief that it would get the ‘right’ sort of attention for their cause, two individuals had within them the capacity to commit a heinous crime.  It isn’t their religion that makes them do it, sure it’s a factor, their belief in it is obviously deep-rooted and allows them to use it as a reason for committing crimes against humanity, but it isn’t what tells them to do it.  There are quotes all over the internet today from members of the muslim community denouncing the actions of these two men yesterday, it isn’t whats written in their bible, it isn’t what they are taught, it’s the action of a few, affecting the lives of many, on both sides of this.  Those men did not commit the murder because their entire faith believes in what they do, they did it because they believe in it.  They didn’t do it because of where they were born, or the colour of their skin and for every person who has made that assumption, aligned themselves with that sort of bigotry and declared their own misguided beliefs, they should know that makes them not too dissimilar to the perpetrators of these crimes.

Growing up as I did, Irish and Catholic in the UK, I can tell you that it doesn’t feel good when someone asks your last name to make an assumption about you, as a child in school we had a student teacher and upon hearing her Belfast accent I was delighted there was someone else from where I was from, first thing she asked little old nine-year old me? What was my surname, she was sizing me up, she needed to know which side my loyalties lay and I can tell you, they very definitely lay on the My Little Pony side as opposed to the Barbie on, I was always sure of that.  My friends used to get upset when I said I was going home for the summer ‘but you’ll get blown up’ they’d say and I’d laugh, because I knew I would be fine, the army men at the check points always checked under our car with mirrors and smiled at me through the window (have always been a slut for a man in uniform) 

So how did that affect me? Did I decide to become a freedom fighter for Ireland? Did I hate British Soldiers? Did I shout abuse at my english friends at school for the persecution that happened so long ago that we aren’t taught it in schools here in the UK? Nope. Because my parents brought me up properly, Catholicism didn’t play too great a role in my life, no confession or communion for me, course as I got older and heard about the troubles I learnt more and yes, I am angry at the people responsible for violence that took relatives and people my family knew away from them.  But I wont be going out on a rampage, my religion, my place of birth and the colour of my skin have yet to make me a raving extremist and I don’t think it’s coming any time soon either.  Surely I’m living proof that the sweeping statements about a race are ridiculous, I’m not stupid nor an alcoholic but it doesn’t make me any less Irish than Paddy and Mick in those jokes people think it’s ok to tell every Irish person they meet (and it is, they’re funny, just go easy)

For me the bottom line is this, yesterday, two human beings, ok let’s be more specific, two Male Homosapiens, chose to take the life of another Male Homosapien, because they decided that it is in some way defendable if you quote a bible, a god that many don’t even believe exists (some people don’t believe in any god of any religion) those two men were wrong.

No matter which way you swing it, there is no right on this earth for one man to decide to take the life of another.  Just as I have no right to judge your beliefs and you have no right to judge mine.

The problem with people…

Oh, sorry. No I don’t have the answer, god but I wish I had, lately I’ve found people irritating.  Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m the one who’s changed and so everyone else who stayed the same is getting on my nerves.  I’ll admit that my patience wears thin, like the in seam a pair of Primark leggings on a fat girl at a disco (I can say that. I’m the fat girl) I’m frequently known to shove my tongue below my bottom lip behind people’s backs when they get on my last nerve (nerve also wearing as thin aforementioned leggings) but that is where it stops, ok sometimes I flip the V’s too.  Because I am failing as an adult to find the strength within me to say no, or speak my mind, or stand up for myself.  I end up flabbergasted, or upset and just hide in a toilet and wait three days then tell someone what’s been said.  Its strange, I was such an outgoing person at one point in my life, I told people how it was, protected friends from bullies and said no, but now I’m incapable and its causing me strife.  
For instance, I’ve been in my job for eight years next week, I’ve given it everything, been involved in every money-saving, technologically-advancing improvement that’s happened, lots of which were even thought of and created by me.  Now I’ve found myself in a rut where I carry people of higher stature and get zero compensation, monetary or gratitudal (yes, not a word, but I like it) It isn’t for want of trying, I’ve asked to be reviewed countless times, even had a meeting with a manager about it, but that was 8 months ago and my new salary came in today, same as last year…The one time I lost my temper and made a case for my boss, I was called a bully for asking.  Great. Me, who can’t say no, who doesn’t stand up for themself, is a bully?  I think not. 
In my personal life its the same, I give great advice, I’m everybodies surrogate sister and for the most part, I enjoy it, until the piss is being taken, liberally.  Its not everyone, its some people, the ones who trail you along and disappear when it suits them, the ones who make promises they have no intention of keeping, time and time again.

Its telling that some of the most supportive people in my life are women I met on a facebook group for chick lit writers and some of my friends I’ve known for years, haven’t even read my books…

I wonder, if I can’t figure out the problem with people, do they even realise I am a people myself?

Cheesy Chick Lit Chat…

So I’m over at chatting about Fallon, then letting her chat about herself a bit too, with the lovely Julie Valerie of Chick Lit Chat.  Not just me though, there’s an entire month of cheesy celebrations going on over there, many of the guests have melted their cheeses into the blogs a lot better than myself too!! 

So jump on over and have a read! 

Is it just me?

So yesterday I started listening to Miranda Harts Audiobook, Is It Just Me? and as she goes about telling me things and asking that question I repeatedly find myself saying, no, it’s me as well.  On a variety of subjects, obviously it isn’t every subject, but it seems that she’s quite like minded, which is nice, because up until recently I wasn’t convinced there were many other people like me in the world.

I’ll start by telling you what I think I am like…

  1. Quite open minded/liberal/lacking any real predjudices (unless you are a small animal living in my house rent free)
  2. Outgoing (once I get to know you, but shy and paranoid in the beginning)
  3. Funny (There, I said it, I do think I’m funny)
  4. Adventurous, at least that is my hope, to be adventurous, at the moment I am failing
  5. Young…

So you may agree, if you know me, that some of those things are at least partially correct, my best friend Becky is much the same and as we had coffee this afternoon and she told me of her plans to spend months working in Turkey (as of Friday, she hadn’t told me by text and due to the circumstances of my recent bureavement waited until today) I explained how I would love to be doing something different, not tied to a desk or a job, a car contract that holds me back and debt nowadays only up to my knees as opposed to a few years ago when I’m convinced it went over my head…

We thought about it, how different we seem to be from other friends our age, as she uttered ‘God Nic, you’re gonna be thirty this year’ and I didn’t slap her because a best friend can say such things and laugh with you, but that neither of us has (apart from my aforementioned financial ties) anything keeping us here.  Neither is in a relationship that holds us here, nor owns a property or has children, we aren’t career girls with clients that need us, even though we are both hard workers, the work itself is basically irrelevent. 

I wondered what type of people that made us, in the eyes of many of my friends I don’t doubt that I am a laughing stock failure, I mean I haven’t married a nice local boy and had children (nothing wrong with this, just not for me), there isn’t a mortgage or rental (I live with my parents), I don’t even own my adorable yellow car and will be handing it back in October.  My books are self published, you can’t buy them in the Northallerton Branch of Waterstones or WH Smith, the only time they were on Tesco’s chart bookshelves or ipads were when I rather naughtily placed them there to take photographs (even using my wifi hotspot phone to open the page on the ipads was rather adventurous, I didn’t try downloading them) I didn’t go to university, my job has no enormous prospects (but it is important, that I am sure of) and my teen dream of being a pop star didn’t ever come true, along with that of my marriage to Ronan Keating.  None of those things are failures, half of them were pipedreams, some need input from others and self publishing a book is harder than having an editor and a publisher helping you with it, that I am damn sure of!

So is it just me that thinks being 29, not having a clue where I want to be in 10 or 20 years from now, and not even really bothering that much about it, is not the worst thing in the world?

Am I happy? Yes, mostly, not lately but that’s circumstance and will pass with time.

Am I in love? Apart from with fictional characters? Not really, I could be, but I don’t think others are willing to invest yet.

Have I written two and almost three entire novels and put them out there for thousands, yes thousands, of people to willingly download onto their kindle? Yes I have and thank you, it was difficult and I am damn proud of it.

Am I normal? I think so, I mean what is normal? I think Normal is what you want to be and when you attain that, then yes, you must be normal and screw what everyone else thinks…

Is it just me? No, it’s not, everyone worries, everyone struggles, everyone has decisions to make and sometimes not the first clue how to do so…


Salvation in Strangers

Lately, well I haven’t been at my top, my writing isn’t really going anywhere, I can’t get away from certain aspects and so I just keep re-writing stuff I know I wont use (and therefore adding it here on the old blog) there has been salvation in the strangest of places, not the people I see every day, but the ones I haven’t ever met. I joined a Facebook group, Chick-Lit Goddesses (presumptuous that I’m honourable enough I know) and was accepted, from there I have forged bonds with several of the other writers, people who type a little comment when I need it, or tweet me some news, people who have read my book and reviewed it (when people I see all the time have yet to do so) and in doing so, they make my day a lot (not a little) brighter.

I haven’t claimed to be a talented writer, but I maintain I am a writer, I don’t claim be successful, but there is success in my sales figures, even if they are all on Free Promo days, the Goddesses and my Twitter community don’t care, they like my writing, or they like me, or they don’t, but what they do, is unilaterally support me and one another within the community.

So yes, when you are a small child and you are walking home from school, beware of strangers, but if one offers you a virtual olive branch on Facebook or Twitter and looks safe enough, go on and accept, it could make life lots better.

Try a little tenderness

I’m going to start off this post by saying that I’m peeved to say the least, we’re 17 days into a new year, a year full of possibilities, a year in which I have simple hopes that go a little something like this.
a) I never want to hear the words School Shooting uttered again, ok in reference to times passed then yes, I appreciate it, but for the future, no new ones.  That’s not asking much? Just a general shift in humanity.
b) I want to turn thirty in December and really feel like I’ve done something with the prior thirty years, achieved something.
c) I generally just want people to be nicer, not use me, not abuse me, treat me right.

So imagine how I feel when a fellow author friend sends me a message about a cruel review of her book.  Yes. We read things we don’t like, so whack a small star review on it and be done, do not write cruel things.  Personally I read of my writing that it was Atrocious, that the story was good but that my writing is horrible.  I have a style. I argued with teachers in school to be able to write how I do without being told off, creatively, surely imposing a structure beyond basic language is going against creativity.  I write dialogue, I don’t care what shade of orange the leaves falling from the trees outside a frosted autumn window in a gently flowing breeze are, I want to know how my characters feel, what they’ve got to say. Its my style. Don’t like it? Fine. Go read one of the world’s top books FSOG in which a woman wrapped copious sex scenes around badly written prose the way Anastasia wrapped her arms around her Mercurial man as her Inner Goddess tutted from her chaise long. People bought the books for the sex, the romance, not the chance that the author would become the new Jane Austen. (How many times does she need to use the word Mercurial?)

People should know, putting pen to paper or fingers to keys is not simply an act, it doesn’t just spill out of your mind. Its a craft, it takes time to create a world and lives, its not easy, its not something Anyone can do.  Sure I firmly believe everyone has a book in them, more maybe, but they might need a ghost writer to get it out.  There’s more to a book than commas and full stops. Sure it has to make sense and I admit I need an editor for Forgotten because I can’t see outside a story to see those things.  Ill admit my writing can be rough, I never claimed to be a queen of prose, I tell a story.

So if you’re reviewing a book on Amazon or goodreads (most don’t bother) spare a thought for the writer, who opened their heart and bore a little of their soul so you could or could not enjoy their book. And remember, we don’t all have a taste for marmite, so why would you expect to like every single book you pick up!