Thoughts for Friday – 1st May

Can it really be a month since I took on my new role?

It seems as if life has been passing me by at warp-speed these last few weeks and I can honestly say that I have woken up some mornings and wondered not only what day of the week it was, but which city I was in, too. If I thought I’d moved fast in the past, the last month has shown me that time waits for no man (or woman).

th_1My more experienced colleagues have been great in getting me up to speed with my confidence and style of delivery to the point that I will be out on my own delivering courses next month. If you’d told me that a few weeks ago, I would have laughed in your face. There was NO WAY that I would be ready in such a short space of time. “Don’t worry,” my colleagues said, “We have faith in you.”

Yeah, thanks for that added bit of pressure, guys…

I delivered my first full session last week and let me tell you now, I have never been quite so terrified in all my life. Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but let’s just say that I didn’t need any prunes to aid my bowel movements that week. Even though I had prepared to the best of my ability, my subconscious kept trying to convince me that everything would fall to pieces and the delegates that I was meant to be teaching would laugh at me. A last-minute case of the jitters almost threatened to make me cry and throw up simultaneously. Cue a much-needed mental smack around the face from my colleague who told me to suck it up and get on with it (but in much nicer language.)

Don’t ask me how I did it, but I managed to get through the whole day without making a complete hash of it. For the most part, the delegates were engaged and receptive to my delivery and even gave me a round of applause when I made it to the end of the session, whether that was due to the fact that they were glad that it was over or the fact that I did okay is undetermined at this point.

th_2Just before I began delivering the session, I did ask myself why a woman as shy and awkward as myself would think it a good idea to apply for a role whereby I would have to stand in front of big groups of people and talk with all eyes on me. I had 22 delegates in my session and every single one of them focused on me as I began.

To put it mildly, I was crapping myself.

After the session was over I realised that I actually felt quite a rush standing in front of a room full of people and relaying my own knowledge and experiences in the social care sector. More than that, I was completely exhausted by the end of the day and had underestimated just how tiring engaging a large group of people can be. My feet hurt from being on them all day and my throat was dry from speaking more than usual, but I made it through and that’s what counts (I hope!)

girl with stacked booksNot satisfied with studying on the job with my more experienced colleagues, I have also now started my college course in order to get my first teaching qualification. Without giving away my age, let’s just say that it’s been a while since I’ve been in a college environment. Thankfully, there were ten other ‘mature’ students who were in a similar situation to me when I arrived on my first day back at ‘school’.

The course has a good range of students from differing backgrounds, much of our first session dealt with getting to know one another and learning more about the layout of the course. I will be attending college every Friday for the next 10 weeks and after that time I will have my first accredited teaching qualification to my name which will allow me to go onto further studies and obtain a degree which would see me become a fully qualified teacher.

It will be a case of hitting the books and typing up essays over the next couple of months which may affect my ability to post regular Thoughts for Friday posts, but I am hoping that I will be able to keep up with both. If you don’t hear from me for a couple of weeks then you can be pretty sure that I have my nose stuck in a book, desperately trying to get my written assignment handed in on time.

peeled-bananaMy long-term goal is to become a fully qualified teacher and to be able to work in colleges and universities as a lecturer on the topic of social care. That dream is a long way off yet, but I cannot wait for the day when a student brings me an apple during class. I only hope they won’t be offended when I tell them that I prefer bananas instead…

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Cover reveal – Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A Thompson

SBScoverI am delighted to be able to reveal the next cover in The Timely Death Trilogy: Seconds Before Sunrise!

Regular readers of my blog will know what a huge fan of Shannon I am and so I shall let her do the talking (my original review of the book can be found here):

Shannon A Thompson:

The Timely Death Trilogy began as one teenager’s nightmare and morphed into a real-life dream of authorship. The entire trilogy re-releases with new covers and new interiors this summer and fall by Clean Teen Publishing. I hope you’ll check out this dark vs. light trilogy (mainly because the “dark” side is the good side…maybe), and I especially hope you’ll consider becoming a Member of the Dark! Each time there is a special event, you can participate and win prizes—like spotlights on my website, books, and more. Simply email me at shannonathompson@aol.com, and I’ll send a badge over to you. We might even have coffee together.

Thank you for reading about this dark journey,

Synopsis of Seconds Before Sunrise:

Seconds Before Sunrise (book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy)

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Timely-Death-Trilogy/227663240691565

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18805475-seconds-before-sunrise

CURRENT GIVEAWAY: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/131705-minutes-before-sunset

YouTube Video Reveal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe9Yzw_jzHM

pic1About the author:

Shannon A. Thompson is a 23-year-old author, avid reader, and habitual chatterbox. She was merely 16 when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy became Goodreads Book of the Month. She is currently represented by Clean Teen Publishing, and Minutes Before Sunset releases on July 28, 2015.

As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Between writing and befriending cats, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and she travels whenever the road calls her.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson

Minutes Before Sunset

by Shannon A. Thompson

Giveaway ends June 23, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

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Thoughts for Friday – 24th April 2015

number 200Last week’s post saw Trials of a Wanna-Be Published Author reach a very special landmark:

200 posts!

I’m not sure which is more surprising, the fact that I have managed to come up with 200 posts, or the fact that people are still reading them. Let’s be honest, I think I came across as a little too earnest in my early posts and looking back on them, it does make me cringe a little. Thankfully (or hopefully) I’ve hit my stride and am now using my blog not only to chart my journey as a writer, but also to chart my journey as a person.

Anyone who has read my blog on a regular basis will know that the last couple of years have seen some major changes in my life. I went from living at home to living on my own, I’ve had job promotions, tried internet dating, and I am now studying and practicing to become a teacher/trainer in social care. More often than not, I’ve blogged about all of these things.

To celebrate my 200th post, I thought it would be fun to see just what I have been blogging about in the last 18 months. The vast majority of my posts can be attributed to my Thoughts for Friday series, a long-running series of posts that are….um….posted on a Friday and consist of my…..er…thoughts. These posts started out quite earnest in their style and sometimes a little twee. I hope that the last few months has seen the series being given a new lease of life as I now write the posts with less of an eye to writing and with more emphasis on the weird and wonderful place that my life has become.

flash-fiction-badge-survived1I also took part in Thain in Vain’s FFC52 challenge in 2014. Although I didn’t submit an offering for every week, I did manage, more often than not, to post something pretty much every other week. Although my initial efforts were a little lame to say the least, I would like to think that I wrote one or two passable flash fiction stories during that time. I would like to write more short stories, but time has not been much a friend in that regard lately.

I’ve also posted a number of essays, originally on writing and what it might take to break into publishing and then, as time wore on, essays on such things as balls, rods, miscommunications and language differences. I’ve also written a number of guest post for my dear friend Kate Loveton, who has been kind enough to feature me on her wonderful blog a number of times over the last few years.

When time has allowed, I have also turned my hand to writing book reviews. I have been lucky enough to have been able to read all of Shannon A Thompson’s fantastic YA novels and have reviewed each of them on my blog. I would like to read and review more books, but once again, lack of time is a significant issue for me at the moment.

writingI’m aware that I am not posting as regularly as I used to and this is something that I hope to address in the coming months as my work schedule slows down a little (hopefully!) For those of you who are interested, I spent most of last week in Luton and then Southampton. This week sees me closer to home and commuting to work each day, while the following week I will be away for three or four nights in Haywards Heath. Hopefully, something wild/wacky/crazy/frightening/hilarious might happen and will provide me with some good blogging material that I can then use as the basis of a witty post. Failing that, I shall just have to make something up…

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Thoughts for Friday – 17th April 2015

It may come as a shock to some of you to discover that I am a T.I.T.

Miss Loveton, stop that sniggering!

Sadly for any men reading my blog, I am not going to write a post on breasts (that may come later…) I am, for want of a better acronym, a ‘teacher in training’.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my life had just got a whole lot busier and it is my ‘teacher in training’ status that accounts for most of that (neither Chloe the baby nor Barney the puppy are mine, so I don’t have to care for them 24 hours a day). Ever since I received word that I had been selected by my company to become part of their teacher/trainer team, life has whizzed past faster than I might have liked.

From taking delivery of a printer that is almost as big as my flat, to first aid kits and course literature, I am now only able to freely move in approximately one third of the area of my living space. I will soon also have three resuscitation dolls and am currently thinking of names to call them. Any suggestions on a postcard please…

image

Be glad that I didn’t pose on my chaise longue….

My new role started on April 1st (perhaps not the best day to start if you’re into all of that April Fool’s malarkey) and my first few days were spent relatively close to home. The real fun started on Easter Monday when I had a long drive up north to a place called Peterborough. I arrived in the early evening and checked in expecting to find a tiny little box room, imagine my surprise when I discovered I’d been put in an executive suite!

Gazing around my luxurious quarters, I discovered a beautiful en-suite bathroom, a king-size bed and the mother of all luxuries….a chaise longue!

Placing my travel case on the floor, I had visions of laying on said chaise longue and being hand-fed grapes by an Adonis in nothing but a loin cloth. It was only after I checked out that I realised that you had to pay extra for that little ‘luxury’.

photoThe room I stayed in had more light switches than I knew what to do with and may have accounted for my inability to drop off to sleep initially. It was only after I flicked a dozen or more switches that I managed to turn off the purple glowing light around my headboard. While this would have been great for an impromptu rave in my room or perhaps something a little more amorous, it wasn’t exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep.

The breakfast the next morning was pretty decent too, apart from the male server who kept calling me ‘sweetie’. On the fifth occasion he called me it I almost dumped the rest of my bowl of porridge over his head, which would have ruined his neatly coiffed hair which had been styled to within an inch of its life. NO ONE calls me ‘sweetie’ before I’ve had at least half a gallon of coffee in the morning.

That afternoon I had to drive to Nottingham where I would be staying for the next three nights. Judging by my Sat Nav, it seemed a fairly easy journey that would take no more than an hour. Cue major traffic jams on the motorways, a Sat Nav that clearly didn’t have a clue where it was going and Nikki Minaj performing at the city’s arena. A 60 minute journey took me nearly two and a half hours and by the time I got to the hotel I was badly in need of a stiff drink.

training-sign-300x300I’ve been fortunate enough to be working alongside an experienced trainer this week who has somewhat taken me under his wing. We spent two very enjoyable and slightly raucous evenings in the hotel’s bar and restaurant giggling like a pair of schoolchildren. My colleague is from the North, while I am a southerner which meant that we had a few mis-communications throughout the week and some very humorous stories to tell. Perhaps the hotel staff will best remember us for our ‘said the nun to the vicar’ response to every statement anyone made. I convinced my colleague that adding the statement to the end of any sentence is guaranteed to make it sound ruder than it actually is. For example:

“Can you butter my toast….said the nun to the vicar.”

“I’ll park my car in your driveway…said the nun to the vicar.”

“Does that come with cream…said the nun to the vicar.”

I’m sure you get the drift.

I had traveled to Nottingham with the intention of watching a master at work (i.e. my colleague) but he ended up throwing me to the wolves and asking me to deliver part of a course that I hadn’t even seen. The next day he made me present 85% of a course that I’d only ever seen delivered once. Talk about throwing me in at the deep end!

You’ll be delighted to know that both training sessions went pretty well and I didn’t die on my ass when confronted with a room full of people all looking to me to teach them something. Once I got over the initial nerves, I actually found that I enjoyed myself and only tripped over my words a couple of times. I think I did OK, taking everything in to consideration.

Who knew that Kevin Costner doesn't actually live in Nottingham?

Who knew that Kevin Costner doesn’t actually live in Nottingham?

I drove back home on the Friday morning, only slightly disappointed that I didn’t see Robin Hood or any of his band of merry men. I made pretty good time considering that I had to drive nearly 200 miles. The whole week was exhausting but also extremely enjoyable and I now even have a couple of real-life training sessions under my belt. This week I am in Luton with another teacher/trainer and so I’m getting used to living out of a suitcase, the plus side being that I don’t have to make my bed or cook any of my own meals while I’m away.

It’s hard work being a T.I.T but there are also a lot of perks, so maybe being one isn’t such a bad thing after all….

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Thoughts for Friday – 10th April 2015

car-service-icon-3d-button-16008614In preparation for my new job role, I booked my car in for a service at a local garage. I asked them to make sure that the vehicle was in good condition and would get me through another 10,000 miles of motoring. I made it clear that I will soon be driving up and down the country on a regular basis and that I simply MUST be able to rely on my car to get me from one place to another.

I’ll admit that I was somewhat surprised when the garage rang me to tell me that the only thing my car needed was a set of wiper blades and a new set of spark plugs. I asked again if the vehicle would be fine until its next service (in 10,000 miles time) and the garage once again assured me that it would. I drove away from the garage confident that my car would be fine.

Things ran smoothly for the first couple of days. My brakes appeared more responsive and the car drove as well as it ever has. Even though a massively long drive, I was looking forward to my first overnight stay at a hotel in my new role. My line manager had appeared to take pity on me last week when she scheduled me to work somewhere relatively close to home for the first few days. A 60-mile a day round trip would be nothing compared to later weeks in my schedule…

It was while driving back from the relatively local location that my car began to make a strange noise. At first, it made the noise only intermittently and so I carried on driving. In less than a mile, the car began to sound awful and I knew then that I needed to pull over, the only issue being that I needed to crawl past a slip road first while not causing a multiple-car pile up. Unfortunately, my tyre gave out before I could pull over onto the hard shoulder, blowing out with an almighty bang.

2010-05-02 14.14.40

My tyre looked something like this

I will forever be thankful that it had been a rear tyre that blew and not one of the front tyres. My car is front-wheel drive and, had the tyre blown out at the front, I could have easily lost control of the vehicle entirely. I limped my car lopsidedly as far off the motorway lane as I could, switching on my hazards and all the while panicking as to what to do next.

I’m the first to admit that I did panic at this point. I was stuck on the side of a busy motorway, just past a slip road with traffic zooming past me at 70mph. Stupidly, I sat in my car for at least five minutes trying to decide what to do, completely ignoring the fact that another vehicle could have smashed into me at any given moment. Visions of what had happened to my cousin filled my mind and only served to increase my panic.

‘Get out of the Goddamn car!’ I screamed silently, before realising that I would be opening my door straight on to the flow of traffic. I climbed over the centre console and got out of the passenger side instead. ‘Ring the recovery company,’ I told myself, only to ring them and realise that my cover with them had expired and that I had neglected to write the number of my new service down and keep it with me. I began panicking that I would have to call the police and that they would fine me for having insufficient breakdown coverage. As it turns out, my previous roadside assistance company offered to send a unit out (at a cost) and I had no choice but to accept.

breakdown-347x199Cue nearly an hour of waiting on the side of the motorway for a recovery vehicle to arrive. At this point, I wasn’t sure if my shaking was due to the fact that it was cold or that I was still in shock at what happened. It certainly didn’t help my blood pressure when the recovery technician cheerfully told me that I couldn’t have picked a more dangerous piece of road to break down on. Well, it’s not like I bloody well chose to have my tyre explode right then and there!

The technician put my space saver spare wheel on and instructed me to go no faster than 50mph for the rest of my journey home, which is all well and good if you’re NOT on the motorway. Even the articulated trucks were giving me a hard time for driving so slowly and I honestly felt like sticking my arm out of my window and pointing to my temporary wheel. I’d become one of those dawdling drivers that everyone hates…

As is my lot in life, I chose the Easter holiday weekend to have my tyre blow out, which meant that most garages were closed for the long weekend. I needed to drive to Peterborough on Easter Monday and there was no way I could do that on a temporary wheel and tyre. After much phoning around, I managed to find a tyre centre open and so I took my car there, fully expecting them to change the damaged tyre and tell me everything else was fine.

They didn’t.

Summer-TyresNot only was the rear tyre beyond all repair (that was pretty much a given, seeing as it exploded and all), but both of my front tyres were barely above the legal limit and would have lasted me less than a couple of thousand miles. It was at this point I realised that, in couple of weeks time, it could have easily been one of my front tyres that blew out, and could have resulted in much more serious consequences.

Suffice to say, I will be giving the garage that carried out the service a piece of my mind and I will tell them in no uncertain terms that I am less than pleased with the fact that they did not pick up on the state of the tyres. I know that I had a lucky escape and that things could have turned out much worse for me. I’m just thankful that they didn’t.

If you take anything from this post, let it be this message: If in doubt, get your tyres checked out.

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Thoughts for Friday – 3rd April 2015

christian-wellness-blogs1As anyone who runs a blog knows, keeping a regular posting schedule, dropping by and commenting on the posts of others, as well as answering comments left on your own posts is a time consuming business. Most of us have busy lives and/or full time jobs as well as trying to keep up with everything happening on WordPress, and unless you’re very lucky, keeping your blog alive takes time and commitment.

I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty lax when it comes to some aspects of blogging and I feel bad for that. The simple fact is that there are only so many hours in each day and by body has a habit of demanding a full night of sleep every now and then. How I curse the frailties of my corporeal shell when my eyes slam shut in the middle of reading a blog post. My physical self just doesn’t understand that a writer’s life is one fueled by caffeine and very little sleep.

There are aspects of blogging that take longer than others to complete, such as writing the post and finding suitable pictures/graphics to accompany your wise and witty words. Personally, I think a few well-placed photos or graphics can really enhance a post, it also helps to break up the text and make your posts appear more visually appealing. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words (and that’s 1000 less words that you have to spend time writing – yippee!)

After carefully choosing your words and pictures/graphics, then comes the taxing part of deciding which tags to add to your post. I have lost many an hour debating over tags and which well-chosen words will enable me to hit the WordPress jackpot and put me on the Freshly Pressed page (I have yet to find the right key words, so answers on a postcard would be much appreciated.) Bar bribery and/or blackmail, I have yet to catch the eye of those Fresh Pressers, so the chances are my tags aren’t quite what they should be.

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I was just looking for an excuse to post a picture of some balls…

Tags sorted and fingers crossed, you then have to decide which category to place your post in. Again, hours have been lost as I debate as to whether a post about balls should be placed in ‘Silly Stuff’ or ‘Thoughts for Friday’, after all, my thoughts about balls could have conceivably fallen into the latter category…

Now that the finer details are sorted, all a blogger has to do is figure out when they’ll schedule their post to publish, choosing the right date and the correct time for optimum publishing splash. A savvy blogger will also provide links via social media networks such as Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ etc.

Twitter is perhaps the easiest social networking platform to keep on top of, considering that you can only post tweets in 140 characters or less. Retweets are just the tap of a button, the same for replies. Why, oh, why then am I so damned bad at keeping up with my Twitter feed?

picture_1dac3a5bbc6ae4647bd5d70a91a0801557ab7434_XLAnyone who follows my Twitter will know that I am appalling at keeping up with new tweets, follows, retweets and replies. In fact, I only ever tend to venture toward my Twitter on very rare occasions. I have no excuse either, Twitter takes only seconds to keep up with, yet I never seem to find those seconds in my daily routine.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Twitter is so quick and simple to keep up with that I fail to do so. Whereas I set aside specific time to write my blog posts, I don’t afford myself the same luxury when it comes to Twitter. I keep telling myself that I’ll check Twitter later, the only problem being that I never do.

twitterPosts everywhere encourage writers to use Twitter as a way of promoting our work, but I’m afraid the only thing my Twitter feed promotes is my criminally lax attitude to answering anything on it. There are odd times where I will veer close to being suspended for breaking Twitter’s rules as I madly rush to retweet as many of my followers tweets and blog posts as I can, and it is then that my followers wonder just what the heck has gotten into me. A spurt of Twitter activity usually signifies that my guilt has reached its limits and I have no choice but to repent to the social media Gods for being such a wayward child.

So, if any of you do follow me on Twitter please do not be offended if I go weeks (possibly months) before replying or retweeting you. It is not personal, it’s just my complete and utter inability to find a few seconds during the day to sit down with my iPad and pay my neglected Twitter feed a little love and attention. I feel guilty each time I see that little blue bird and curse myself for not being a better friend to it.

14483321623_73a7f4a0f9_zPerhaps that’s why there’s always a new dollop of bird muck on my car each morning…

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A Friend Indeed

Kate Loveton once again asked me to guest-blog for her on Odyssey of a Novice Writer while she took a well-deserved vacation.

It took a lot of willpower, but I managed to refrain from any double entendres or smutty innuendo…

I hope you enjoy…

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Thoughts for Friday – 27th March 2015

This week’s post may be shorter than my usual weekly contribution, due to the fact that I have been struck down by a humdinger of a cold.

Those of you who have followed my blog throughout the last few years or so will know that, almost two years ago, the mighty Heather B Costa was felled by a flu-related virus of mammoth proportions, and all due to the fact that some butt-scratching, beer-bellied builder coughed in my face while I stood in line for my morning coffee at McDonalds.

mcdonald-s-coffee-coming-soon-to-grocery-storesFear not, I have learned the error of my ways and from that point forth, I have only ever used the drive-thru to get my morning java. Who would of guessed how much easier it is to NOT get out of your car and walk the 5 or so yards to the restaurant – if one can call it that.

What I had forgone on daily exercise, I’d gained from the fact that I remained cold/flu-virus free for the best part of two years.

Until now.

It might have something to do with the hectic month I’ve had, but I must have not been paying my immune system sufficient time and respect as it has now decided to all but abandon ship on me. I have been reduced to nothing more than a sorry-looking, wheezing, red-nosed, coughing, spluttering ruin of a woman. Strange fluids emanate from all kinds of orifices, and my lack of control over any of them is quite alarming.

I only wished that I looked this good right now...

I only wished that I looked this good right now…

Kate Loveton will tell you that I’m a pretty bad patient and not the type to let such an inconsequential thing as a little cold or flu knock me down. No, I struggle on through it and make the damn thing end up sticking around much longer than I wanted it to. The devil makes work for idle hands, as they say, and I find it hard to sit down and convalesce (even if it is the best thing for me).

Perhaps this is a case in point of my habit of over-sharing, but I have twice had to clean my laptop and tablet screens of the spittle projected from my mouth during a particularly violent coughing fit. If computers could contract human viruses, I am pretty sure that I could take down the FBI, MI5, and the Pentagon with this vile bug.

The virus isn’t really as bad as I am making it out to be, it’s just that I get a little grumpy when I feel under the weather and like to bitch and moan about it to anyone that will listen. I need hot tea, sympathy, and chicken noodle soup. I need pandering and pampering so that I can feel ever so slightly less dramatic about my sniffles.

stingI think I’ve used enough tissues in the last couple of days to end up on Sting’s hit list when it comes to those at fault for the decline of the Brazilian rainforests, swigged more cough medicine than a hard-up alcoholic on a binge, and coughed up enough weird-looking stuff that I could create a species of outer-world creature that wouldn’t look out of place on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

If I drop by your blog in the next week or so, please make sure that you’re wearing suitable protective gear as I am likely to cough, splutter and sneeze over everything within a 20 feet radius of me at the moment.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m pretty sure that’s Sting at my door…

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Thoughts for Friday – 20th March 2015

exhausted-womanFear not, I am not about to subject you to a post about back passages (as suggested by Snakes in the Grass), mainly because I have not had enough time to research the topic this week. That doesn’t mean to say that I won’t find time in the next few weeks to cover such and interesting subject…

Lack of time has been something of an issue for me over the last couple of weeks. Why does life always have a way of throwing everything at you at once and then expecting you to deal with it without breaking a sweat? Why doesn’t life just pace itself a little more sedately so that I don’t feel as though I am running around like a dog chasing its tail?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whinging that my life has become hectic of late, far from it in fact. I interviewed for a position last month that I had always aspired to but had never been able to attain. I gave it my best shot but returned home doubtful that I would be the successful candidate who got offered the role.

Well knock me down with a feather, I only went and got the job!

Believe me, no one was more surprised than I was to hear that I’d beaten the other applicants (through a mixture of sabotage and sticking pins in their effigies) to the job of my dreams. Not only was it a role that I had always wanted, it also meant a hefty wage increase and the chance of a company car later this year.

I’ve been walking around with my head in the clouds as far as the new position is concerned, but it has also meant that I’ve been extremely busy as I prepare to transition from my current role into one that is going to no doubt be a steep learning curve for me. My superiors have shown faith in me and now is the time to repay that.

work-hardAs well as working out my notice in my current role, I am also in the process of enrolling myself in courses for the qualifications I will need in my new position. All in all, it’s been a hectic few weeks…

Far be it for Heather B Costa to do things by halves, I’ve also had to deal with two new additions to the family: my mother’s new dog, Barney and my cousin’s newborn daughter, Chloe.

Barney is a King Charles Cavalier puppy who loves nothing more than chewing anything he can get his tiny little mouth on. He’s only a little guy, but he already has the heart and courage of a dog ten times his size. Barney often gets put in his place by my mother’s other dog Tig, but the little rascal will shake it off and then come back for more. Tig, it seems, can’t be bothered to put up much of a fight anymore and often lets Barney get on his bed with him during the day, either that or the little tyke has wormed his way into Tig’s affections too…

nappy-420x0Chloe arrived almost two weeks ago now and is the most gorgeous bundle of joy. She loves nothing more than a good cuddle and fell asleep on me the first time I held her. I have to admit that this is a marked improvement on when I first held Molly and Connor (they both screamed their heads off). I am taking it as a compliment that Chloe neither cried, threw up on me or pooped in her nappy when I held her – these are all good signs for when I come to babysit her in the coming months.

Barney and my sister Louise

Barney and my sister Louise

So I have a new job role to contend with, a new puppy and a new baby in the family, so if I miss a Friday post every now and again it will be due to one of three factors: I’m snowed under with my training, I’m clearing up puppy poo when visiting my mother, or I’m being thrown up on by a newborn baby. I see late nights, puppy training pads and wet wipes in my near future…

Kate Loveton once likened me to the Duracell Bunny and I have a feeling that I’m going to need to find some extra energy from somewhere in these next few months….

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Minutes Before Sunset Cover Reveal – Shannon A Thompson

Cover Regular readers of my blog will be aware that Shannon A Thompson (a young author who I am a huge fan of) recently suffered the devastation of her publisher closing down, leaving her without representation.

While many folks may have given up there and then, Shannon continued on (with the support of her ever-growing fan base of readers) and has signed up with a new publisher: Clean Teen Publishing who will be re-releasing the first installment of the Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset on July 28th 2015.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Shannon and her work, let me say this: this young lady is a hugely talented author with a big future ahead of her. Still so young, she has achieved so much, which is even more incredible given the blows that life has dealt her along the way.

Shannon isn’t just an author, she’s a blogger who puts her heart and soul into sharing the ups and downs of being a writer and also life in general. Shannon is a warm and giving young woman who always makes the time to reach out and make contact with new bloggers and readers. Take it from this blogger, she reached out to me when I was a novice blogger and introduced me to the wonderful community of fellow writers and readers on WordPress.

I could probably wax lyrical about Shannon for hours, but I shall let her bio do the talking (it’s much more eloquent than I could ever be):

pic1Shannon A. Thompson is a 23-year-old author, avid reader, and habitual chatterbox. She was merely 16 when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy became Goodreads Book of the Month. She is currently represented by Clean Teen Publishing, and Minutes Before Sunset releases on July 28, 2015.

 

As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Between writing and befriending cats, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and she travels whenever the road calls her.

And if you don’t believe what I have to say about the wonderful Miss Thompson’s writing, check out the synopsis and reviews Minutes Before Sunset has already garnered on its first release:

Two destines. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

Awarded Goodreads’ Book of the Month in July 2012

Releases July 28, 2015 – Second edition by Clean Teen Publishing, new cover and new interior!

Current Rating on Goodreads: 146 ratings, 4.3 stars

Reviews:

  • “A magical, if slightly dark, tale.” – The Reader’s Review
  • “Wonderfully unnerving.” – Coffee Shop Reader
  • “This is a story of forbidden love, hidden love, and a war of love.” – Endless Reading
  • “This book was brilliant, original and romantic. This is a timeless love story with incredible character growth, action and twists of fate.” – Note to Selph Book Reviews
  • “Miss. Thompson twisted the concept of Light and Dark, reversing the well-known roles, changing the time-old dance and making it her own. Brilliant and true, “Minutes Before Sunset” is thought-provoking, bringing real-life lessons and morals from a world of the supernatural.” – Live. Laugh. Read

I hope I have whet your appetite enough for you to check out the following links to access more information on Shannon and her books:

Goodreads

Facebook

Pinterest

Extras

Amazon


A link to my original review of Minutes Before Sunset can be found here

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