Advance Readers Required

nan nose best ad Hi guys!

I’m looking for 100 people who would like to receive a free copy of Nan Nose Best which is due for release on 25th June 2016. To be in with a chance to read this rip-roaring story before anyone else, simply complete the mini form below:

In return, all I ask is that you leave me an honest review of the book on Amazon on the release date of 25th June 2016. The link to do this will be given when you receive the story.

So what’s it about? 

‘Jade Greene is a 14-year-old girl who lives in a run-down council house on a sink estate with her workshy, thieving father, workaholic mother, diabetic sister and a Nan who is never in her own home in the old people’s paradise around the corner.

All Jade wants is a lock for her first ever diary to stop the bane of her life, (Chrissie, her sister,) from writing in it before she gets the chance. She only expects to be writing about mundane things like school and the latest argument between her parents, but an unfortunate incident involving the school’s smelliest boy and an elevator sparks off a chain of events that Jade could never have foreseen.

Her Nan, who regularly embarrasses her granddaughter on social media, gets wind of what has happened and writes an innocently meant post that immediately goes viral and changes the lives of more than one family.

Mix in an advertising campaign that is a surprise hit, a famous football team and the team’s billionaire manager and Jade’s life will never be the same again!’

 

Power and how it can go to the head (of idiots)

anger Why is it that some people who hold a position of ‘power’ (by that I mean managerial rather than super) let it go to their heads?

A friend of mine, I’ll call her Caron, works for a man I’ll call xTwatfacex Bob. He is a stereotypical zero man-management skills manager. (If you’ve ever seen ‘The Office’, think David Brent and multiply his lack of personal skills by roughly one hundred.) His views are outdated, outmoded and out of order – and he inflicts them willy-nilly on all the women who work for him. He has offended possibly every race, age and sexuality, all under the guise of it being ‘just a joke’, but the jokes are never funny and always make someone feel awkward. Caron told me that someone called him out on something particular that he said one day and he asked if it was that lady’s time of the month and nearly killed himself laughing at his shwit. Ha ha. Very bloody funny. Never heard that one before…

So how does someone with so little respect for women get away with behaviour like this? He’s married (I’d lay odds that his wife wears the trousers at home) so he should know that speaking to anyone like that will neither make him popular or make them want to do their best for him. One member of staff is now on long term sick leave – stress related; two others have walked out. None of them have reported his behaviour which means he gets away with it.

Recently Caron has been on the receiving end of his ‘humour’. After one particularly personal comment, she finally flipped and told him he was being offensive. He made his usual bluster of how it was just a joke but Caron stuck to her principles and repeated that it was offensive and he should stop. Late in the evening, (probably scared that she’d report him) he rang to apologise. Caron, being Caron, accepted it with good grace and told him to forget it.

He didn’t. Since then he has systematically rubbished her work: clients have been withdrawn from the database under her apparent say so, client appointments booked on her online calendar have mysteriously disappeared. Whilst others have access to the database, he is the only other person who has access to her calendar, so the only conclusion she can come to is that this man is now sabotaging her.

Bob’s emails to Caron (she’s forwarded them to herself for backup) appear to have been written by a teenage boy not in control of his emotions. He orders her about and ends them not with a signature, but with a ‘Clear?’ They made me feel sick when she showed them to me. Nobody, I repeat, nobody, should treat others like that.

So why is he doing this? Because she stood up to him? Are these the actions of a man, because I don’t think he can call himself one? A real man celebrates the difference between himself and women. He accepts that sometimes men and women see things differently, but that each sex is equal to the other and each have the right to be spoken to in a decent and respectful manner especially in the workplace. Bob is not a man – he is a relic.

Caron’s just quit her job – but before she went, she coolly, calmly and factually forwarded Bob’s emails to his boss. I wonder how funny he’ll find that?

Charity shops and not so charitable staff

man-156786_640I try not to get on my high horse unless I really have to, but something that happened today has made me want to don riding boots and carry a crop!

I am really super proud of one of my daughters who, instead of gaining work experience in a paid environment, chose to volunteer for a local charity shop. Now, she hasn’t been there long and has been given all the worst jobs to do (kind of like a rite of passage, I guess) but she’s stuck at it. She’s been a bit quiet about it over the last couple of weeks (which is odd) but I’ve put it down to exam pressure at school.

Well, that was a mistake. I forgot that the other reason she goes quiet is when something is bothering her. She frets on things, turning them over and over in her head until she’s got as much sense out of whatever is bothering her as she can, and then, (and only then,) will she talk to me. So when I collected her from work tonight and found her upset and saying she does not want to return I wanted to get to the bottom of it.

It transpires that she is friendly with an older member of staff in the shop who is profoundly deaf. My daughter said that although she has found it hard to communicate with this person, they do so by smiles, nods, hand gestures and patience with each other. As a result, they have built up a nice relationship.

However, other members of staff including, (and this is what has riled me so badly,) the person in charge, appear to get their kicks out of publically taking the piss out of the way the deaf person sounds when they speak. This is, I repeat, a Charity shop.

My daughter has refused to join in, so now (perhaps inevitably) they have started including her in their ‘jokes’. She said that when she talks to this person she is very aware of the others laughing at the pair of them, and she has had enough of it. She said she doesn’t think the deaf person realises (although I suspect that they tactfully choose to be blind as well as deaf), and she doesn’t want me to say anything at the shop in case it rebounds on her – and I have to respect her wishes – but my blood is quietly boiling!  (Can you tell?!)

I want to go in there and rip the person in charge a new a-hole! How dare they behave like that? More to the point, how dare they encourage other members of staff to do so – particularly, impressionable kids? I am so proud to know that my daughter is offended by behaviour like this and won’t be easily led, and that she has enough strength of character to not join in. But she is not old enough to be able to tell them where to go and instead feels like her only recourse is to not go back to work there. Which is a shame for both her and the deaf person she has befriended. And, more to the point, for the charity who will have lost a member of staff who genuinely treats people with equality and respect – a lesson that the staff member in charge badly needs.

 

 

Take what you know and twist!

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I’ve often been asked where my stories come from and at first I didn’t really have an answer, so I’d shrug and say that they just appeared in my head. It’s not untrue, but I was aware that there was more to it than that – I simply couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I’ve pondered this question for a while now and have come to the conclusion that I do what Mark Twain suggested; each story I write takes shape from something I already know; something I’ve experienced personally, something that has happened to someone else or something that could potentially happen if

In short, I take what I know and twist.

This means that when I am told (as I have been) that ‘I’d like to write a book too, I just don’t know what it would be about’, I have an answer (thanks, Mark): write about what you already know.

Which leads me neatly on to another thing I’ve been told fairly recently; that someone had half-written a book only to find that someone else had already had a similar idea to theirs and that story was already out there. They stopped writing because they didn’t want to appear to be plagiarising.

Now I get this, I really do and it was another thing that played on my mind. Then I read a quote by Audre Lorde who said that ‘there are no new ideas, only new ways of making them felt’ and the truth of this touched a nerve.

For clarity: suppose three people are each given the brief to write a love story that incorporates murder and ends in a double tragedy? Imagine that the first writer is a natural cynic, the second an unmitigated romantic and the third is blessed with a razor sharp wit. I can guarantee that none of those stories will be the same as the others, nor the same as the Shakespearean original. There is room for us all.