Our planet is sick.

 

 

Our planet is sick and the mighty force of nature is fighting back. This has become painfully apparent in recent months. However, we were warned by eminent experts that Climate change will bring about extreme weather events. Unfortunately, this is happening sooner than anticipated.

The problems the world is facing as a result of the climate crisis is escalating, resulting in the chronic disease of our planet. Pollution, wildlife extinction and global warming are but the tip of the iceberg that is melting.

Symptoms of this global disease are clear to see. The European heatwave that swept Europe in 2019, droughts and floods in Tasmania. Arctic wildfires and cyclones in Mozambique.

In 2019 wildfires burned 2.5 million acres of Alaska. In some places like Australia and California wildfires is a year-round risk.

On the opposite spectrum is flooding. Close to home here in the UK, we have experienced severe flooding causing untold loss and damage to property.

All of these environmental issues need urgent attention and the coming together of nations to prevent the continuing destruction of our world.

The sickness of our planet does not affect environmental health alone. Now we are faced with a huge Public Health issue. Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 is now an imminent threat to our civilisation. At the beginning of the outbreak when I was in China very little was known about the virus and despite the death rate increasing daily, it appears that very little progress has been made.

 

Apocalypse now.

Anguished eyes snake-like peer above the charcoal and fibre

Wild adrenaline races the roads of blood

Alerting every sense in her tense body.

Hot breath above the mask, droplets of liquid from over expanded lungs

Rise towards the optical glass.

 

Clenching two small hands she races to the gate.

Fear, jaws clenched beneath their pseudo party mask.

Two tiny hearts beat wildly, they see the flying bird.

Escape in reach, twelve hours away, brings sorrow and pain.

 

Friends and colleagues left behind to watch and wait

Microscopic organisms infiltrate and spread.

Shedding, spreading virus unpredictable wild and free.

Surreal, cinematic apocalypse now.

Nature will respond, the world will fight back

Somehow!

 

 

 

Shanghai Adventure

      Shanghai Adventure

No sooner were our Christmas decorations away, when my husband and I began packing for our Chinese adventure. Three days in Shanghai city and 2 full weeks with my daughter and family who live 2 hours’ drive away close to the city of Ningbo.

We took the opportunity in Shanghai to visit the famous Nanjing Road, where to my delight I came across a huge bookshop which stocked a variety of books, including many English titles.

Unable to resist, I entered the shop and introduced myself to the manager, leaving my business card in the process. Fingers crossed. Maybe one day my books may be on the shelves of this much-esteemed shop.

We enjoyed the amazing sights, visited lots of famous landmarks, including the Oriental Pearl Tower and the magnificent Shanghai tower.  Our hotel on the Bund riverside area overlooked the Huangpu River. At night this was lit up to display its true splendour.

Sadly our adventure was cut short due to the rising number of cases of corona-virus. No sooner had we arrived at my daughter’s apartment when a lockdown procedure was put in place. Wearing a mask, my daughter, met us at the taxi, gave us a mask each and whisked us off to be isolated in her apartment, until she had arranged return flights for us all the following day.

Thank goodness we pre-empted the drastically changing situation. There was talk of the roads to the airport being closed and flights cancelled. Flying out to Heathrow from Pudong airport we continued to wear our masks for a further twelve hours. Not an easy task for adults never mind a three-year-old and seven-year-old.

At the time of writing this article, we are in self-imposed quarantine for fourteen days. Today is our sixth day. Thankfully we are all well and looking forward to day fourteen when we can emerge from our confinement.

ELIZABETH IS MISSING

Elizabeth is missing.

After watching the TV Drama adapted by Andrea Gibb, I was compelled to read the book. Usually, for me, it is the opposite way around. Having watched the drama twice, one would think that I had no need to read this fantastic novel written so touchingly by Emma Healy. It is hard to believe this was her debut novel. I am in awe of her skills.
I felt that she truly got into the characters of both Maud the protagonist and her daughter Helen. In some ways, this novel covers a social problem, much like the ones I have written but in addition, the writer has cleverly created a suspense thriller as well.

When Maud’s best friend Elizabeth appears to be missing, it has a severe psychological effect on Maud, who is suffering from dementia. Her muddled memory overlaps the present supposed disappearance of her friend Elizabeth with the disappearance of her much-loved sister Sukey who vanished under mysterious circumstances shortly after world war two. Written in the first-person narrative the reader gets into the muddled mind of Maud and me for one, felt her frustration.

 

The TV drama was equally as brilliant, hence me watching it twice. Directed by Aisling Walsh and adapted by Andrea Gibb this TV production was a real eye opener.

Glenda Jackson was magnificent in the role of the protagonist Maud portraying the effects of worsening dementia with great skill.

The story of Elizabeth is missing will remain with me for a long time.

 

Memories are made of this.

Happy New year to my followers and welcome to all newcomers even if you happen to have come across my website by chance.

Here we are in a new decade. The past behind us and a whole lot of new memories to make in our future. Memories that you may not realise you are making.

As Winnie-the-Pooh said.’ You don’t know you are making memories, you just know you are having fun.’

Have you ever considered your most important childhood memories?  I guess that I am talking here of good childhood memories, as I don’t wish to take any of you back to a dark place. That is not my intention.

Allow me to give you my own examples: Family holidays, playing with friends, building dens and having picnics. Visual and other sensory memories such as new and familiar smells play an important role in memory.

How I loved school. It was 1958 when I attended primary school and yet I still remember those wonderful familiar smells. The polished desks, the smell of new textbooks, pencils and wax crayons.

A first glimpse of the sea as we drove to the coast for our annual one week holiday on the East coast of England. The smell of salt in the air, the sound of gulls and the absolute joy of seeing our caravan home. I clearly remember the smell of the gas lights inside the caravan and the cooking burners on the stove.

As I am writing this I can honestly tell you that another memory has popped into my conscience. The taste and smell of golden wonder crisps. It was such a treat to have a bag of crisps with my cheese spread sandwiches. I had a little plastic water bottle on a strap which I carried with pride. How times have changed. Now I would be carrying the plastic bottle with an element of shame, linked to the environmental issues.

In this new decade let us embrace the role of memory architect in the landscapes of our lives. Every year there are days that pass us by without leaving any long-lasting memories. Keeping a memory journal can help to address those ordinary days that pass without leaving any meaningful sensory information.

Conversely, there are some days that we will remember forever.

 

 

 

Little Women

Little women written by Louisa May Alcott is such a timeless piece of literature that it is hard to believe that the author was born in 1832.

I have always loved and admired the main character, Jo March for her love of writing and her fierce desire for independence.

This story is still relevant today, encouraging women to value virtue over wealth and to be true to oneself.

The author writes with such depth and honesty and truly captures the coming of age of the four March sisters. Each have their own strengths and weakness which is skilfully wove into this incredible story.

Therefore the moment the 2019 film hit the screen, I was in the Que at my local cinema, full of anticipation.

I was not disappointed.  It was the most amazing production so far. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig this coming-of-age period drama covers aspects of ambition, true love and gender constraints that are as applicable today as ever.

With a star-filled cast of well-known actors and a number of nominations already in place. This is a literary film not to be missed.

 

Recently I find myself reflecting on my accomplishments as a writer and have come to the conclusion that although I am but an amoeba in the pool of writers and poets, perhaps my contribution to the arts is not wasted.

If my words have helped or inspired others, then my work has not been in vain.  In addition to poetry and two works of contemporary fiction, I have been busy this past twenty months, producing a monthly article for a column in our local news journal.

Titled ‘Mansfield Bookshelf ‘I review and recommend books for local readers and occasionally talk about local literary events.

I must confess that I rather enjoy going to Inspire Library events and to the many local book and poetry festivals. One day in the not too distant future I plan to attend some of the larger and more famous literary festivals. Who knows I may meet some of my followers there. So if you happen to see me at any events, big or small, please come and say hello.

 

 

 

Inspiration

Inspiration.

 I totally love the word. It conjures up many wonderful images in my mind. We read and hear so many amazing stories on a global scale about inspirational people who have achieved great things often against all odds.

Did you know the word inspiration meaning ‘to breathe into’ predates its literal meaning of ‘an unconscious burst of creativity in an artistic endeavour?

Take for example Stephen Hawking who even after being almost paralysed continued with his extraordinary work in the field of physics. He devoted his life to a single theory that describes our existence in the universe. I would guess that he inspired many people to have courage and conviction even when life may be unfavourable.

There are many examples of twenty-first-century women who have become icons of inspiration. Malala Yousafzai who at the age of 11, started writing blogs for BBC on the conditions of girl’s education in Pakistan, for which she constantly received life threats and was later shot by a Taliban gunman.

Being inspirational is also about leading by example and encouraging others to feel there is something worthwhile to do and to become.

This can be achieved by being true to yourself, to be enthusiastic and determined.

To never forget about caring for others and helping them to achieve their best.

Each time I begin to write a short story, novel or poem, I am seeking inspiration to bring the words alive, to add depth and meaning.

As I continue with this quest I try to keep in mind those people who have provided me with their life stories, their joy their struggles and their determination.

 

Inspire Culture

 

Throughout the world, changing seasons can remind us of the beautiful dynamics of nature.

Autumn beautifully crept upon us here in Mansfield with an array of literary events arranged by Nottinghamshire County Council and Inspire Culture.

The Inspire poetry festival began in advance of ‘The National Poetry Day October 3rd 2019’ with an exhibition of the Voices project in Mansfield Central Library.

This was a community project that aimed to harness the power of poetry to bring unheard of voices to the world.

Poet, playwright, and performer Ben Norris from Nottingham worked with Woodleigh Christian Care Home, Mansfield, Building Bridges, West Bridgford, Bassetlaw Day Services Worksop and the Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum Youth Project.

He worked with these very different groups, which included people living with dementia, adults with learning difficulties, refugees, and people living with or affected by mental health issues.

Supported and funded from the National Lottery, through Arts Council England. This was an amazing project facilitated by Ben Norris and photography by lens bases artist Ben Harriot.

I was especially moved by the poems written by the young refugees, reminding me of how difficult life can be.

Events throughout the week in Mansfield Central Library included a literary film ‘Bright Star, which told the story of the three-year romance between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. A poetry reading workshop with Jenny Swann and a writing workshop with Deborah Tyler-Bennett.

Around Nottinghamshire many other amazing events took place, including ‘A Quite Enormous Poetry Event’ (yes, this was the title) performed at Nottingham Playhouse.

On tour with Chameleon Days

On tour with Chameleon Days.

Anyone who follows me on twitter and Facebook knows the one thing that I am consistent with is the unashamedly promotion of my books. Therefore, it will come as no surprise to learn that when another opportunity presented itself to me, I grasped it with both hands.

Allow me to share my journey from Southampton to The Norwegian Fjords aboard The Royal Caribbean Explorer Of The Seas.

Nominating my husband Michael as the man behind the lens to capture each moment of special significance was a shrewd manoeuvre on my part. All I had to do was hold my book at the right height to be captured in the shot while securing my cocktail with my other hand.

Being a budding perfectionist in his art allowed me enough time to enjoy the Pina Colada, watch the sail away from the port, and promote Chameleon Days. Talk about multi-tasking.

So here, I am courtesy of Cibsky photography on a glorious September morning.

 

Following a day and half, at sea, we arrived in Kristiansand the lively capital of Southern Norway. It was a short walk into town which being a Sunday was not lively at all as unfortunately most places were closed.  However, we enjoyed walking around the town admiring the quaint white and pastel-coloured houses and window-shopping.

Day five the ship moored at Flam, famous for the Flamsbana railway and the stunning views of the Myrdal Mountains. The waterfall at Stalheimsfossen and the snow-topped mountains gave a fairy tale feel to the whole experience.

 

Day six we arrived in the city of Bergen set amongst the backdrop of seven mountains. The surrounding fjords were best viewed from the top of Mt Floyen, which was reached by cable car. Strolling through the town, we visited the medieval neighbourhood of Bryggen with its cobblestone alleyways and historic wooden dwellings.

 

Day seven we sailed through the Lyse Fjord to my favourite port of call, Stavanger. This is a city full of historic architecture dating back to the 18th century. The cruise port was only a short distance from the town, which had a stunning waterfront and ocean views. As in all of the other ports of call, the air was so clean and fresh. It was truly exhilarating.

Interview with NF READS. https://www.nfreads.com

Quite unexpectedly, NFReads.com enquired if I was interested in providing an author interview. As a result, I did my due diligence and in doing so had the opportunity to read other interesting author interviews. I do hope that others will read the story of my journey to publication and feel inspired or motivated to begin or continue their own journey into the world of publishing.

 

Author K.L Loveley typing at her laptop

My own story began when I was quite young. Although at the time, I was not aware that I was laying down the foundations for my future as a writer of contemporary fiction and poetry.

During my childhood, I kept a diary, which I wrote in, with great enthusiasm, later writing in a journal. It will come as no great surprise to hear that I was an avid reader. Still, am. There is truth in the saying ‘So many books, so little time’.

As I left childhood behind my love of reading and writing did not wane. If anything, it went from strength to strength. I read the classics and studied A-Level language and literature. In awe of all published authors; one day striving to write a novel myself. From time to time, I wrote poetry eventually putting together a collection, which has recently been published by ‘Globeflower Books’. Chameleon days explores the changing and sometimes camouflaged emotions of a woman unleashed. Beautifully illustrated by the artist Elvina Dulac. This is available from Amazon and other retail outlets. (ISBN: 9781999829483)

Chameleon Days

Life for most of us dictates the necessity to work and earn a wage. I realised early on, the difficulty of earning a living from writing. Fortunately, I chose a career that I adored and was well suited to. Nursing involved a lot of hard work, unsociable hours, and dedication. There was also a terrific amount of study, which for me took no effort. I had a thirst for knowledge in those days, which was quenched from reading the many books and journals. Writing essays was an opportunity to practice my writing skills. Out of necessity, the nature of my writing at this stage was of a different genre to my current work. Scientific writing continued to be a part of my life for many years, well after completing a degree in Biological Science.

As much as I enjoyed this, it did not feed my creativity. Although writing in my journal allowed me to express myself in the written word. It did not completely hit the spot for me. When my family left home to become independent adults, I was able to reduce my working hours, enabling the pursuit of my dream to write a novel.

My journey to published author.

It was inevitable that my debut novel would incorporate my existing knowledge about real-life social issues. It came to my attention through my role as a Practice Nurse in Primary care that alcohol misuse among women in modern life was fast becoming a major public health and social issue. My debut novel simply called ‘Alice’ and published by Austin Macaulay publishers, is a fictionalised account that reflects the struggle of many women who find themselves in circumstances that feel beyond their control. Women who in their twenties saw themselves with a long and happy future ahead of them. Sadly, the reality for some women is that these aspirations and dreams are shattered when the family unit breaks down. These women may follow a different path with a change in their drinking habits.

The story follows the life of one such woman. Alice is available to purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, Barnes and Noble and other retail outlets. ISBN-10: 1786129728

ISBN-13: 978-1786129727 Available as a hardback, paperback and EBook.

July 2015 I completed the first draft of my debut novel Alice. In truth, I hoped but doubted very much that it would be of interest to mainstream publishers. An unknown author like me. Who would take such a chance? Out of interest, I began my google search of publishers. Where does one start? Well, at the very beginning of course. With the letter A.

In retrospect, I realise now, just how naïve I was, and still am to some extent. However, since the early days of my journey, I have learned a lot more. I told myself that I was just testing the water and prepared for many rejection letters or maybe, no reply at all. From my search of the internet, I discovered that there were very few publishers willing to take on new writers. However, hey, I was testing the water, right. I went back to the first search page and chose the first publisher willing to take on new authors. A = Austin Macaulay.

Forward to August 2015 and I received a reply from them. The first of many rejection letters I thought. Wrong! To my utter amazement, the letter was positive.

‘The publishing board have reported favourably on a piece of work which you submitted for consideration. ‘

No way, I thought. This is incredible news. After sending them the full manuscript, they offered me a publishing contract. Not a traditional contract where the author is paid an advance, but one with good royalty payments set against a one-off payment by myself to cover costs. It was a reasonable amount and I understood it was a risk on their part. I was assigned a production coordinator who was very professional. After approximately eighteen months, the book was ready to go to press. I was able to decide on my own front cover design and the blurb. Although they provided me with a few front cover designs, none truly appealed. Therefore, I sought help from a contact of mine who lived local and was able to meet with me to plan a suitable front cover. The publisher was happy with the arrangement, and the first books were hot off the press in January 2017. I organised a book launch party in a fabulous listed building in my local village. It was well attended and such an awesome experience for my family and myself.

Once I had completed the editing and proofreading process of my debut novel, I began working on my second book. However, I did not take into account the amount of effort and hard work required to promote and market my debut novel. The lady who helped with my front cover design, Anna’lisa meanwhile developed a marketing company of her own. With her help, I set up the most popular social platforms to promote my book. She developed a website for me and taught me about how to manage it and write blog posts. She arranged radio interviews media coverage and magazine contacts. Anna’lisa also arranged a couple of blog tours and give aways, something I was not aware of. In effect, she became my marketing manager.

Upcoming book release 2017 - Debut novel 'Alice' by K.L Loveley, female drinking alcohol on a black book cover

When my second book ‘Love, Secrets And Absolution’ (ISBN-13: 978-1999829407) was ready for publication I was so satisfied with her work that I agreed to her publishing it for me under the imprint of ‘Globeflower books’.

As with the subject matter of my debut novel, I chose a topic that was very much in the public arena. Over the past decade, there has been increasing awareness of children’s mental health issues. This has not always been so. With this in mind, I ventured to create a fictitious family who would portray some of the struggles that families and individuals suffered when certain conditions are not recognised or understood.

This was a difficult novel to write due to the structure. I would describe it as a coming of age story with a difference. The reader first meets Alfie the protagonist before he is born. I guess that sounds strange and to be honest it was a risk on my part. I felt this was a risk worth taking, so the reader begins to get a clear understanding that it was nature as opposed to nurture that shaped Alfie’s life.

The title Love, Secrets and Absolution describes the love between mother and child.

The secrets and how difficult it can be for a young child to keep them.

Absolution, Will anyone find closure?

Also available from Amazon and other book outlets. Available as a paperback and EBook.

Love, Secrets, and Absolution - novel

What I found the hardest.

It takes a lot of nerve to get from an idea to a novel. It is important to keep believing in your book and the ability to complete it. Writing can be a solitary pastime and a time for reflection. With the exception of celebrity writers, most authors like me, are not comfortable performing. It was the public appearances, no matter how small a gathering that I found daunting. However early on I realised that in our world of fierce competition one needs to be seen as well as heard.

I had a steep learning curve when it came to the world of marketing and quickly needed to learn new skills.

Do you have a special place to write?

My special place is on our narrowboat, although when I am overflowing with ideas I can quite easily write anywhere. For example, while travelling on the train I carry my notebook and can often be seen making notes. In addition, I have an office overlooking our beautiful garden where I witness the changing seasons and gain inspiration.

 

 

How much of the storyline is connected to your own life?

I am often asked this question and given the nature of the issues with Alice in my first book. The answer is thankfully not much. That does not mean that I have not used and exaggerated some of my own life experiences and observations. Some of the conversations I have taken from life and put into the mouths of my fictional characters.

What next for K L Loveley?

Having completed my third book titled ‘Union Blues’ I am now in the process of editing and making plans for publication which will hopefully be early next year.www.nfreads.com