It's not every day that you win an award, so I thought it was news worth sharing! It might not be an Oscar or a Grammy or a Brit, but for me it was just as exciting. A travel article I wrote for the Telegraph newspaper in the UK was nominated in the 'Best Cruise Lifestyle Feature' category at the CLIA UK & IRELAND CRUISE MEDIA AWARDS 2017. The competition around me was very stiff - I was up against some awesome journalists and really didn't expect to hear my name called out. And when it was I was SO excited.
Here's a pic:
Thank you so much for everyone who voted for me - it means such a lot. It's my first ever award and I will cherish it as if it was a BRIT, an Oscar or a Grammy!
A few years ago a friend of mine who’s an author said: “What a novelist really needs to write is a ‘what if’ story.”
He went on to explain that a novel which makes a reader sit up and take note and think ‘what if’ would be the type of book which would appeal to the masses.
I’ve never tried appealing to the masses, preferring to write what I wanted to write, as opposed to worrying about what might sell to a reader.
A Call to Heaven was different though. Because I didn’t come up with the idea at all; my mother did. And seeing as my mother (who sadly died six years ago) wasn’t able to tell me the idea in person, she came to me in a dream. In that dream she gave me the title for the book as well as its premise and then she kept repeating over and over: “You must remember this when you wake up.”
I did remember it when I woke up because it was an amazing idea and remembering that dream still gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
Amy is A Call to Heaven’s heroine and she too has recently lost her mother. What Amy finds herself in possession of (unlike me) is a phone with supernatural powers – a phone which allows her to call her mother in Heaven. Of course it’s about a lot more than that too. It’s about her abusive husband; it’s about a hot (skeptical) doctor she comes to know; it’s about a challenge she’s set from Heaven; it’s about love – love for a man (the hot doctor) and love for lost loved ones.
As I was writing the book I wished that my mother could teleport me a phone like Amy’s so that I could call her too. As I was working on the book, I realised that I’d finally written a ‘what if’ novel. I mean really…WHAT IF such a phone existed? WHAT IF we really could communicate with the deceased on the phone? WHAT IF we could prove there was a Heaven and we could connect with those in it? How amazing would that be? Or, if you were skeptical hot doctor Daniel, you might not think that would be so amazing after all…
Is there anyone you’ve loved and lost and wish more than anything that you could speak to them again?
It's been busy, busy, busy here with the release of my new novel A Call to Heaven.
The reviews are coming in thick and fast and they are all FIVE STAR I'm thrilled to report.
This is what Shannon said on Amazon.com: This book. Man.
I have lost a lot of humans that are close to me. So, naturally I'm drawn to stuff like this. This particular book hit me in the guts. There were parts that made my heart pound, and rather than leisurely lay down to read, I was sitting and tapping my foot in anticipation of the scene unfolding. There's very specific scenes this happened with for me - but I don't want to ruin the book for those who haven't read it yet, so I'll just say - you'll know them when you get to them!
I enjoyed the story so very much, and felt sad that it ended. I guess for me that's how I know if a book is "great". I grieve the characters as the book comes to a close. I felt that with this one.
I sure wish I could get my hands on that phone. I have several people I'd like to hear it ring from. What a blessing that would be for all of us!
Highly recommend this one!
And this is what Laurie said on Goodreads: This a perfect read for anyone who ever has "wished" to have a last conversation with a loved one who has died. The feelings of each character in the book as they struggle with their grief is so real. The main character "Amy" who has to contend with an abusive home and an unexpected loss as she perseveres, picks herself up and puts one foot forward to regain her life and help others-with the help of an old phone. It left me thinking and wishing I had a phone like this very special one. I loved this book. To find out more and to win a paperback copy of my book (there's only four days left so hurry) click on this link: http://creativelygreen.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-max=2017-02-07T03:00:00-05:00&max-results=25&start=6&by-date=false
When I started out in my journalistic career I was a TV Researcher on a
paranormal show and as part of my research I had to interview psychics. I spoke
to three psychics (each one in private) and all three of them asked me the same question: “Do you have twins?” Two of them followed that question by
saying: “I’m seeing a boy and a girl.” I hadn't yet had any children at the time
and remember thinking that all these psychics weren't very psychic at all. BUT...forward-wind a few
years and I gave birth to my first child. Or should I say children. Because it
was twins – a boy and a girl! Do you think those psychics had actually been able to read my future?
I went on to work on several
paranormal TV shows over the years and witnessed quite a few weird and
unexplainable phenomenon – including being with the infamous Israeli spoon-bender
Uri Geller, who frequently bent spoons in my presence. In fact, spoons bent
whether he was holding them or not! It was the spookiest thing and, honestly, I didn't see any way/how any trickery/fraud was coming into play.
The spookiness was soon to become more personal, however. For part of my research I read all Uri Geller’s autobiographies. In one of them was a section entitled:
How you can bend a spoon with the power of your mind. It was a five-part
process, which included:
a. getting the spoon
b. closing your eyes and holding
the end of the spoon between your thumb and index finger
c. thinking from your
head down to your fingers and demanding the metal spoon to bend
d. concentrating harder
e. concentrating even harder.
I did all those things. I
concentrated and then suddenly I felt the spoon burn between my fingers and
dropped it to the floor. When I went to pick it up I was MORE SHOCKED THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN BEFORE OR SINCE IN MY LIFE. The spoon had bent over double. And I was the one responsible for making it do so.
Ever since, not only do I believe in the paranormal, I believe that ALL of us possess some of these powers, only it's a power which is untapped.
The novel I've just written - A Call to Heaven - is also based on a paranormal premise, because sometimes it's nice to believe that the extraordinary really can happen...
Well, now you can. My latest novel - A Call to Heaven - has finally come out. I'm really hoping this story touches readers and makes a difference. For an exclusive sneak preview, here's an excerpt from the book:
Everyone’s looking at me. I’ve got the yellow telephone in my hands
and I’m not sure what to do with it. I take a seat at the end of the table and
lay the phone down in front of me. Beth is to my left, Ben is to my right.
Daniel is opposite me. I look from one to the other and feel color flood my
cheeks. My gaze finishes on Daniel and stays there for a beat. He nods, his
eyes encouraging me. I return the nod, take a deep breath and count down from
three to one in my head.
“I’ve got to tell you all something.” My voice comes out as a thin
squeak, but actually I’m surprised I manage to articulate at all. I’m hot, so
hot. I lift the hair off the back of my neck, flapping it around to try to cool
my sticky, clammy skin. I can’t breathe, I need air. I unlock the patio doors,
flinging them wide open. The inside of my mouth feels rough as sandpaper. I’m
desperate for a tall glass of water packed with ice-cubes but, when I turn to
see six eyes staring at me, I dare not leave to fetch one. I feel like an
exhibit in a museum and in some ways I wish I were. I could hide behind a
Perspex box next to the yellow telephone with panel blurb doing the explaining
for me. I could be part of a new exhibition entitled ‘Incredible Discoveries’.
I would share the same hall as the dinosaurs and anything else which took aeons
for people to believe existed. I draw a deep breath and continue.
“You’re probably going to think I’m mad, but I’m going to tell you
A breeze blows through the open patio doors.
“What I wanted to tell you is this.” My voice is soft as a whisper.
I sense all their bodies leaning closer towards mine, straining to hear. “I’ve
recently started talking to my mother.”
There, I’ve said it.
I feel a great sense of relief, both that I’ve said it and that I no
longer have to keep this to myself. Beth relaxes in her chair with a sigh,
leans across and takes my hand, patting it. She’s got wavy brown hair and a
kind, open face. She tilts her head sympathetically.
“Oh honey, you must have tried out that clairvoyant you mentioned.
Please tell us all about it.”
I should have seen that one coming.
“No, you don’t get it.” I
lift up the yellow phone, as if to demonstrate how to use such a contraption.
In one hand I take the receiver, in the other the plug. “I don’t speak to her
through a medium. I speak to her on this telephone. I plug it into a socket in
my bathroom and I’m allowed to call heaven.”
There, I’ve said it now.
Not a muscle.
Their mouths all open, Daniel’s is the widest. I don’t think any of
them even realize they’re doing it. As feared, they are looking at me like I’m
“I can see you all think I’m mad.” I actually manage to pull a small
smile. Now that I’ve started, I feel much calmer. “And, if I were in your
position, I would think I’m crazy too. But one night my mother came to me in a
dream and told me I could use this phone to call her in heaven and, bizarre
though it must sound, it turns out she was right. That’s why I stopped coming
to Grief Support Group every week. I wasn’t grieving so much because my mother
had come back into my life.”
The three pairs of eyes grow wider and wider, as if I’m slowly
sprouting four serpent heads. I replace the receiver back into its cradle and
drop the plug, holding out my hands in submission.
“You can believe me or not. It doesn’t matter. But the reason I’ve
gathered you all here is because I’ve been asked to choose three other people
to call to heaven.”
I sound like a fairy godmother or the good witch in the Wizard of Oz. I do not sound normal. I
pause. The effect is dramatic although it’s not intended to be.
“And I’ve picked you guys.”
I look at them one by one.
“Beth, I know how much it might mean to you to be able to speak to
your daughter and know that she is safe.”
Beth nods. Her gaze turns glassy.
“Ben, I’d do anything to be able to give you a chance to speak to
your brother again.”
Ben nods, his mouth still formed in a perfect ‘O’.
Daniel is the hardest one for me to look at. He’s not nodding
anymore and his eyes are no longer urging me to continue. Instead he’s shaking
his head, a slow, subtle movement, but I catch it all the same. His full lips
have now formed a thin line. He’s the only one who looks like he still thinks
I’m certifiably insane. Hell, he’s a doctor; perhaps that shouldn’t come as a
surprise. Part of me wonders whether I should abort this whole escapade and
pretend it was all a joke. I’d do anything to not have Daniel stare at me in
this way. He looks ready to call the local sanatorium and send them round with
a straitjacket. But I can’t abort and I must continue. What happens next is up
“And Daniel, I thought that maybe you might like to speak to Katie.”
He opens his mouth as if he’s about to say something, but clamps it
shut again without speaking. Nobody else says anything either. They all shift
in their seats, pretending to take sips of coffee and look around the room.
Perhaps they’re checking out the photos on the mantelpiece above the fireplace,
trying to work out if I look like a madwoman in any of them. I pick up the
knife. Now I probably do look mad or,
at the very least, dangerous.
The countdown is on - only ten days to go until Christmas!
I don't know about you, but even if I'm feeling miserable and low, tired or in pain, there's something about Christmas-time which lifts my spirits. It's the decorations; it's the buskers in the street collecting money for charity; it's the lights, the dazzle, the trees, the sparkle...It's hard not to feel uplifted when you see it all. And what about the shop window displays? I was on London's famous Oxford Street a few days ago and was incredulous at how creative the window displays were - think animatronics and singing Santas! I managed to capture some of the spirit of London at Christmas and turn it into a short, two-minute film, designed to make the viewer feel all warm inside and to make even the meanest of Scrooge's smile!
Please do take a look: https://youtu.be/Wj551C_WEWQ
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2017.
I hope you are all well and not getting too tired/stressed in the run-up to Christmas.
Christmas is always a difficult time of year if you've recently lost someone and find yourself lonely. I remember that after my mother died unexpectedly six years ago, the first Christmas without her being around was horribly painful. And then as the years pass it gets a little easier, but she is never forgotten and there is a constant sadness that she isn't around to watch her grandchildren (and children!)grow.
Talking of my mother, despite passing away six years ago, she is very much present. In fact, it's her to thank for the book I have just written - A Call to Heaven - which is being released at the end of January, 2017.
Find out why/how she inspired me to write the book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qQLxZbVs50.
Whenever I tell people this story, they get goosebumps on their arms - and so do I whenever I think of it!
I really DO feel that my mother is still around and this belief gives me a sense of peace.
Be well and safe as you get ready for Christmas and speak very soon!