The World Needs My Stories #NaNoWriMo

I did it! I survived #NaNoWriMo2015, and I conquered it! This has been a very challenging month for me. Not only did I have the ongoing chaos of domestic family life, I was dealing with emotional and mental health difficulties as a caregiver. By that I mean that I do not have a mental health disorder, but I am close to people that do, and I take on the role as cheerleader, counsellor, and supporter for these people, because I love them, and I want them to be happy.

There was one major trauma during #NaNoWriMo for me this year, and it was the death of my beloved Nanna. I was very fortunate to have her in my life for over 33 years, and I am thankful and happy to hold such precious memories of growing up with her, and with my remaining grandparents. My Nan was my cheerleader. She was incredibly proud of my writing achievements, and she would keep our distant family members well informed of my projects and novels in progress. Therefore, I had no choice but to persevere with #NaNoWriMo this year, even as I was wracked with grief and sadness at her loss. This new novel, Hunting the Hunted, will be dedicated to my Nanna Hargreaves. It is the least I could do.

Congratulations on your successes, fellow Wrimos. Whether you hit 50k or not, you wrote something, and I am proud to call you my writing buddies. Well done folks!

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Write Through The Grief #NaNoWriMo

The past week has been very challenging for me. I fought hard to catch up with #NaNoWriMo, and for a couple of days my Muse was wild and active. Then the day approached for my Nanna’s funeral. I am very fortunate to have reached the age of 33 and still have all four of my grandparents living at home. I have given thanks for my blessed life when it comes to loving family. Now, however, the grief is hitting me very hard. My urge to write the novel has all but died, and yet I feel the urge to write something poetic and meaningful, although I do not know what.

My Nan was incredibly proud of my writing achievements. She always asked what I was working on, After her funeral, when we attended the wake, I found myself meeting with distant relatives that I hadn’t seen since I was a little girl. They all knew about my books, and they all told me about how Nan kept them informed of my activities (alongside the Facebook updates from those that see me online). I find myself wavering between the desire to give up and call this year’s #NaNoWriMo a failure due to circumstance, and the burning need to continue with my novel, to complete the challenge, and to make my Nan proud, wherever she has moved on to now. You all know how this will turn out… see you at the finish, my Wrimo friends!

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“What a Beautiful Sky, Mummy!”

This week I experienced the first expression of intended sarcasm from my daughter. She is not yet 5 years old. How is this possible? Well, she did it, and she knew exactly what she was saying. It started when we were walking home from school one afternoon. A few days earlier, I had been very excited about a particularly spectacular sunset that we experienced here in South Cheshire. I wasn’t the only one to appreciate its beauty: several friends shared their photos on the social networks, and our local news channels talked about it as well. My daughter even came running to tell me that the sky was all pink and pretty. Well, we were walking home and she looked at me with a huge grin on her face and said, “Ooh, what a beautiful sky!” in her mock-mummy voice. Little monkey!


Still, maybe I get a bit over-excited sometimes. I look up at the sky very often, you see. When I am washing dishes at the kitchen sink, I stare out of the window and my gaze naturally travels up towards the clouds, where my mind wanders away. Walking to and from school, we have to admire every aeroplane that flies over (and we are on the flight path for Manchester Airport), because our toddler loves flying machines. And, of course, as a shaman, I appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature, and I want to instil that in my children. And you know what? I don’t care if she thinks I’m daft! I will continue to show my excitement for the beautiful sky, the gorgeous trees, and the colours of our seasons. We live on this Earth, and we should blimmin’ well enjoy it while we are here! I’m off to watch the trees now…

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The Beast Inside Your Head (Poem)

This poem has been brewing for some time I believe, hidden deep in my subconscious. It came out quite suddenly just last-night, and here I am compelled to share it. I welcome your response to my words…


The Beast Inside Your Head

I talk to you
But you’re not there,
You look beyond me
Away you stare

What do you see
Out there in front?
Do you see me?
Is there any point

Of all my tears
Excuses, and noise
I’m beaten, worn down,
I have no voice

The beast has won
Inside your head
It steals you away
And we are dead.

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The Season Turns, and we say Goodbye

This week has been one of emotional upheaval. I started the week feeling refreshed and happy after a busy and fun-filled weekend. Then I received some upsetting news about a loved one who had been in hospital for the past three weeks. And then I embarked upon the madness that is National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo). Top that off with the usual domestic chaos that is my life, and you begin to see the bigger picture. It is one of any average mother, wife and writer. I have been taking time to honour the change of season as the Wheel of the Year turns and Autumn shows herself in all her beautiful, golden glory. It is essential to ground yourself during times of emotional stress, to remember that we do need to rest sometimes, and it is alright to do so.


Well, my week has culminated in the most dramatic of all emotions: grief. I am very sad to report that my wonderful Nanna died peacefully in hospital, with her children around her. I am very lucky to have had her for all of my thirty-three years in this world. And I am still processing the feelings and emotions that come from her loss. I alternate from smiling and laughing, to crying at the most bizarre memories. For example, earlier today I was preparing a batch of pizza dough, and as I rinsed flour and water from my fingers, I remembered those childhood days when I would do baking with my Nan in her bungalow. And then I found the photo albums… I will not go on. We all experience loss and grief at some point in our lives. I have been blessed to have avoided it until now. My Nan had a good, wholesome, fulfilling life and she was happy. That is the best memory of all. I love you, Dorothy Hargreaves, my Nanna.

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The Month of Madness has arrived: #NaNoWriMo 2015

Oh yes, the time has come! We are fast approaching that marvellous month of madness and mayhem…it is time for National Novel Writing Month, 2015. And this year I am ready and raring to go. There is one slight problem: I don’t have a clue what I am going to write! But that’s never stopped me before… and this year I have a team of writing buddies on hand to assist, which is fabulous. We are forming our own little NaNoWriMo group, just the three of us for now, although we may persuade a few more to join us as we progress.

Part of the joy of NaNoWriMo is the sense of community and comradeship that we find. Although I have not yet managed to attend local write-in sessions for our regional writing groups, I now have people in my home town that will participate this year, and we have a central venue in which to work together. Amazing! And then, of course, I will have all of my lovely supporters via Twitter and the NaNoWriMo forums. We are always there to console and cajole at odd hours of the day or night, such is the all-consuming madness of the month.

So, for the next couple of days, I must prepare my home and my family for the abandonment that is to come. Fortunately, my elder daughter is now in school, so she is happy to relax when she gets home in the evenings. My younger daughter attends preschool, so I do have at least two days in the week for solid writing sessions. And the rest, well, I will do what I can around the domestic responsibilities. November will be a month for ready meals (sorry kids!), a dusty house (nothing new there, then), and even less sleep than usual for me. But it is totally worth it! See you on the other side… with my brand new manuscript!

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My Spiritual Journey: It is Time to Seek Answers Within

It has been many months since I posted an update on my spiritual journey. That doesn’t mean I stopped studying the Craft, or that I wandered off the path. There is no set course that we must follow in our lives, but it has taken me a very long time to begin to accept it. I believe there is still work to be done on my ego-based beliefs and ideals, but I am working on them, and that is all I can do.

Looking around me, I see a lot of people that seem to be coming round to the idea of taking care of themselves. We have become a society that expects everything to be done for us, either by machine, or by our government. If something doesn’t work out for us, we blame our lack of money based on the economic situation, or the fault of someone else that did or did not help us in the way that we expected. I know, because I have been there. I have blamed my peers for not showing me the way in my career. I blamed my husband for not being romantic enough, or not doing what I want him to do, even though truthfully, I probably didn’t make it clear to him. I didn’t speak up.


Now I feel that my life is moving forward again, after a period of stillness and quiet. Well, not complete quiet, because I am nurturing two young children. And there lies another challenge. As a shaman, I want to walk in nature alone, and be free to meditate without distraction or interruption. If I take the children for a walk, we must always stop at the park, or talk to the ducks, or simply chatter about everything we see. Those times are precious, and beautiful, and I do cherish them. But I also crave the time to be alone, and to be still.

So hang on, I want to be still, and yet I want to move forward. What does that mean, exactly? What do I want? Well, practically speaking, I want a lot of things. I want to earn proper money from my career as a writer. And for a long time I struggled with this concept, because, well, I was always told that you can’t be a free spirit and still claim money, which apparently is supposed to be a negative, human, capitalist concept. Actually, I don’t think it is, but it is only now that I am resolving my personal demons when it comes to my attitude to money. It is only energy, at the end of the day, and when wielded properly, it can be a force for good, which is what I want.


Oh, I am just a big old bubble of confusion and conflict at the moment! As we move into autumn and Nature settles down for the cold slumber of winter, I will take some time to properly acknowledge all of the wild thoughts and intentions that are circling my mind. I will discard the old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve me, and I will emerge fresh and revitalised in spring. And in my ‘normal’ human life, I will continue my work as Mother, Wife and Writer. Blessed Samhain, brothers and sisters!

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Join me this Halloween for A Dose of Dark Fiction

We are just days away from Halloween (or Samhain, if you prefer), and I would like to invite you to join me at City Library, Stoke-on-Trent, for A Dose of Dark Fiction. The event is hosted by Father Darkness, aka Dan Weatherer, and he has invited me along with other guest authors, to read samples of our work for anyone who dares to listen.


I have chosen to read a chapter from my contemporary novel The Vampire of Blackpool, and it portrays the scene of a battle between our vampire protagonist and her new enemy, the vampire hunter. This novel is not overly sentimental. My vampire is not gentle and emotional. She is a killer. She is bored. And he has been sent to destroy her in the interests of saving the human population of Blackpool…

See you this Halloween Saturday, 11am, at Hanley Library… if you dare! 

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Great Scott! It is #BacktotheFuture Day

I could not allow the day to pass without taking some time to talk about one of my all-time favourite films (and series, for that matter). As a child of the 80s, I have grown up with Back to the Future, and I’m sure I probably quote something from the film at least once a week, if not once a day. It is a way of life for me and my husband, and I can’t even tell you why. I mean, I love Marty McFly. I love Doc. I love the whole crazy story that is Back to the Future. Suffice to say, I will be watching the films later today, and my children will have to deal with it. We have to go back…to the future!


*Image courtesy of

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Busy Times Being an Authorpreneur! #ScribeFest

Phew! What a crazy week this has turned into! I mean, I knew it would be busy. This week we finally got to experience #ScribeFest 2015, which has been several months in the making. A lot of work and effort went into building this social event, and so far we are extremely pleased with the results. And it isn’t over yet! Tonight we have 2 events happening in local pubs (“Reel to Real” in the Boar’s Head, and “The Wonder Years” at the White Bear). Both start at 7pm, check our website for more details…

-Reel to Real- at #ScribeFest -The Wonder Years-

Anyway, I have been attending events both on a professional and a personal level. I wanted to see them in their finished glory, and I wanted to get out there and meet people. After all, that is why we hold literary festivals, when all is said and done. They offer a chance for the writers to come out of their hiding places, dust themselves off, and interact in public. But it is a daunting prospect, especially if, like me, you have been immersed in the chaos of young motherhood for the past 5 years.

Meet Catherine Green at #ScribeFest!

Last-night we held the SCRIBE Short Story Awards Evening, and what a huge success that competition turned out to be. We were amazed at the talent of our young writers, and very proud of the winners, including our very own Holly Crocker from Drinks and Bites, who won the Over-16s story category. You will be able to read all of the shortlisted and winning stories over on our website soon enough, and photos will be live on our Facebook page as well.


For now I am hastily catching up with my ‘behind the scenes’ computer work, which includes social networking and general admin, and then I am preparing for my appearance at ‘Writers in the Real World’ tomorrow in the Boatyard Artspace Gallery. Oh, and I should remember to pick up my children from school and pre-school at some point… and maybe prepare them some food for tea… yes, that would be useful! See you at #ScribeFest my friends!

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