Posts Tagged ‘family’

Heading back to the 80’s

Posted: April 23, 2015 in family, movies, writing
Tags: , ,

My youngest son and I have taken to watching movies at night that I’ve missed seeing on the big screen. Last night we watched Guardians of the Galaxy. Even though I didn’t think I could be entertained, I was; the story is simple, the acting amusing and not overdone and there is terrific music.

We listened to all the 1980’s songs on the film; Ain’t No Mountain High Enough among others. I had to laugh because it’s not the first contemporary film that’s used the hits of the 80’s. It was a good decade. I was travelling overseas with a backpack and a few pennies to my name and experiencing working in London and travelling across Scandinavia with a Norwegian girl. I was ‘shown’ Paris by an expert, Danish boy Klaus, who visited the city often. We went off the tourist trails in most places I visited and it was an intense time.

The 80’s also marked my eventual buckling down to study at uni in Bathurst. Wow, did we have some fun there. Between being ‘enlightened’ by knowledge and meeting and forming firm friendships with overseas students – shout out to Kezang and Jean – and my Australian bestie Jackie, we had a blast. The seasons were full and breathtaking with new experiences.

And then I came to Goulburn in the 80’s and met my future husband. A rebel without a cause, I think I quickly became his cause and despite the ups and downs of marriage, more than 25 years and three sons later, we go together like ‘peas and carrots’, as the line in my favourite movie Forrest Gump goes.

Music and good memories. They’ll cheer you up any day and I’m all for sticking my head up over the parapet and getting on with things.

If you would like to check out any of my books, head over to my author page at Amazon or visit my website.

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It was on a dusty road, she remembered

the conversations of that time,

with loved ones long since passed.

Today she heard their voices,

recalling them like it was yesterday.

 

The dusty road was familiar,

as she dodged its well-worn grooves.

Too easy for her old relic of a car

to get caught and head into trees.

Who would save her she wondered?

 

The old gear box groaned

as she slowed the car. In

any case, she wanted the dust

to settle for the next driver,

who came down this dusty road.

 

Off guard, she caught sight of her boy,

in the rear vision of time.

His seven year old eyes familiar,

like the grooves and potholes in the road,

that lay all at once ahead, and behind.

 

She stopped, then, at the entrance

to her childhood home.

One of many she’d laid her head

to rest, against the passage of time.

One last trip she decided, down a dusty road.

 

She had called it right today she knew,

as she turned her car in and headed home.

Time was not the master, only her

decision to go back to where it began

and do her best to put it right this time.

 

Think of Australia and you think of beaches or perhaps the Outback, or Sydney Harbour Bridge…I could go on. I’m from an inland rural area so I particularly enjoy a beach holiday, heading north along the NSW coastline, with the prospect of swimming every day in that beautiful Pacific Ocean.

On holidays, I really chill and contemplate while being inspired by the present. I love to lie on the beach after a swim and dry off in the sun (sunscreen has been applied of course), and while I’m lying there letting my mind wander to the various beach scenes in front of me. The little boy who surfs the waves like a dolphin, the dad and his daughter sharing a good relationship, the nanna who is such an integral part of a nearby beach family. And my own children, strong and growing up, laughing and teasing me when I try and body surf…and get dumped.

This holiday we took our caravan, a little home away from home and put up the annex for extra room. It’s like glamorous camping really, but you are close to simple living and non-existent routines, which means most things are spontaneous and creative. And because you are all living so closely together for such an extended period (no computer games, no long phone calls with the best friend) it’s definitely quality family time.

This week there was time to laugh with, and at one another. There was time also for eyebrow raising and robust debate, but most of the minutes spent away were meaningful. That’s the thing about camping holidays, they draw you closer together as a family – no getting lost in 5 Star hotels, just simple things like walking through the bush together, or enjoying the sunset on the beach.

It’s these times that remind me of all the wasted time spent in working day routines, where long days, every day and sometimes on the weekend, take you away from family. The focus shifts to your latest work project, the difference of opinion with a co-worker, the stress of a deadline. At home you nod vaguely when someone says something, still replaying that conversation with a work colleague or boss. Such a waste of precious time really.

Today I reveled in a beautiful summer breeze (well Spring breeze really) – back from my beach holiday and trying to keep the faith. I shot some hoops with my son – the best to 10 – and I swung in the hammock. I helped cook the cheesecake and laughed at silly jokes. Right now, I never want to return to the mind-numbing routine of a 6 day working week that is about as family friendly as a work conference and the obligatory booze-up.

It’s the little things that bring the pleasure…and writing of course. On that subject I’m seriously planning and plotting my first horror/paranormal novel – not my first novel, but the first in this genre, and that’s really exciting. Now I just need a beach view and I’ll be set…

Wow. What a week, what a year…and it’s still not over. Such has been the pace and the things life has hurled (not tossed) my way over the past months, that I have begun wondering where all the magic has gone. Life’s smallest miracles that, in the scheme of things, are large guideposts to make sense out of the chaos, and finding beautiful_blue_butterfly_wallpaper-1024x640meaning.

Meaning – so important to understanding – is the epiphany we all hope for. It’s the thing that calms the mind and the heart, and crystallizes awareness. Without meaning, life is just a series of random events and we are inside the spin dryer on a long cycle.

I’ve always been open to the signs and signals the universe sends my way, when I’m not caught up with worry about tomorrow, that is. When I’m open, I get to really notice what I’m meant to see. It can be as simple as a butterfly – or several actually – that fly around, and sometimes in, my window. This morning it was the most perfect rainbow I’ve ever seen, right on my doorstep. (Thank God for rainbows because I was starting to think I would never see another one. But that’s just me being melodramatic of course).

And so, after seeing my perfect rainbow on my doorstep, I made a wish and called my partner to get him to do the same. I didn’t wish for a pot of gold because we all know that rainbows aren’t stationary, they move and you will never actually get to the end of a rainbow. I wished for something more humble but that would, nevertheless, make a huge difference.

The wish concerned family. The most important thing in my life. The meaning in the rainbow on my doorstep in all its vibrant glory, that I just couldn’t miss if I tried, was that things would be ok in the end.

I’m going to try and turn off the spin cycle for just a bit while I get back to basics, and that is to encourage joy and happiness…on my doorstep, to come inside.

We all get pushed…around I mean, even if we don’t actually know it. It can be as simple as our kids wanting more than is good for them, and we give into them, or something quite serious like surrendering our will to someone else’s, despite the voice inside saying, ‘hey this isn’t in your best interests’ or ‘this isn’t remotely near what I want or need’. And that’s called a mistake that in hindsight you’ll probably regret.

The reason we get pushed  is merely that we’ve given our power away to someone else’s needs, wants, desires…even games, at the expense of our self and our best interests. Every time that voice inside says, ‘I don’t want to do this’ or ‘this is not in my best interests’, and we don’t speak up, then we lose our self determination.

But losing your ability to make the decisions that are in your best interests, and subjucating your needs for someone else’s, leads to resentment and disappointment and that’s…well…dysfunctional.

Of course, we all need to give and take. That’s a given and we need to keep up with our responsibilities. But sometimes when boundaries are pushed too far, too often, it’s time to speak up or to simply say ‘no’. If we stay silent then we risk being dishonest and bringing the very dysfunction into our lives we are trying to avoid.

I have spent years learning how to say ‘no’. I’m still not all that good at it, but I try. I say ‘no’ when things appear to get ridiculous. That’s my litmus test. If what I’m being asked to do is ‘ridiculous’ then I say ‘no’. I should qualify here that it takes a lot for something to go from normal to ridiculous. When it does, it’s just plain offensive so I feel justified in saying ‘no’.

I’m not sure why saying ‘no’ is so hard for so many but I think it’s a combination of not wanting to offend someone, being ‘fearful’  of possible consequences, and a genuine but misplaced desire to help another. In the past, I have preferred to say ‘yes’ than confront this complexity.

How wrong I was for so many years. All I ended up doing was running myself ragged for everybody else’s self interest, whether that be at home or in the workforce. But I’ve gotten a lot more intolerant of imposition now, and it’s easier to say ‘no’ because in reality there are no consequences in doing the right thing by yourself. Once you say ‘no’ and mean it, that’s the end of the argument really isn’t it?

So put your hand up next time someone is being unfair and say ‘no’ but most of all mean it. It just makes life a lot more simple and that’s good.

 

My wonderful 13 year old hero Stevie Vegas is back in Dawn of the Shadowcasters, soon to be released by Lodestone Books in the UK – and for Stevie it is dark days indeed.

Dawn of the Shadowcasters is set the year after Stevie Vegas battles the Shadowcasters (demons), and finds out he’s an Illuminator (lightbringer). Stevie and his family have returned to their hometown, Valley Dale, to try and start a new life. Stevie is really battling with himself because he doesn’t want to accept his powers. He just wants to be like any other 13 year old.

But fate has a different destiny for Stevie because the Shadowcasters turn up in Valley Dale and things go from bad to worse. Not only does Stevie have to accept his abilities like mind reading and being able to ‘make’ things happen, he finds he is almost out flanked and outwitted as the Shadowcasters turn up on mass and begin to hunt him, and his family, djhp52dcea0a69eddown.

It is quite literally ‘always darkest before the dawn’ for Stevie. But to tell you more about the plot, would be to give it away, so you’ll have to wait until 31 May to get your copy.

One of the themes I enjoyed exploring in the book is the notion that there is much power to be harnessed in nature, if we know how. Through his mentor, Aunt Bessie, Stevie is taught how to ‘call’ to the wind, master it, and use its power against the Shadowcasters. The Illuminator or power stones are also a mighty source of power that will help Stevie and his family as the Shadowcasters draw perilously closer.

Skateboarding – movement and action – are also incorporated in Dawn of the Shadowcasters with Stevie making firm friends with a young marshal arts expert and a girl, Mary Lou Nova, who’s the fastest girl on two wheels – well she rides a motocross bike as well as any teenage boy. In fact, she gives Stevie, who is a champion skateboarder, a run for his money.

There are plenty of surprises in Dawn of the Shadowcasters. Stevie finds out things he didn’t know about his family, and his growing friendship with Mary Lou is more of a welcome surprise – so, set amidst the backdrop of demonic danger, Stevie takes his first tentative steps towards romance.

There are plenty of twists and turns in Dawn of the Shadowcasters and readers can expect the unexpected. But just as danger, mayhem and evil incarnate follow Stevie Vegas in equal measure, so too do the bonds of friendship, familial love and loyalty, and the pure light of magic.

How would I describe Dawn of the Shadowcasters? It perhaps sits in the genre of Fantasy/paranormal but also in action and adventure. There are certain spiritual aspects to this book too, as light battles dark: demons against lightbringers. And despite dark days for Stevie Vegas, there is always hope. Just as there is always hope when we battle adversity in real life.

The message is, hold onto hope no matter how dark the days and, above all, believe in yourself.

You can preorder Dawn of the Shadowcasters at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Shadowcasters-Stevie-Vegas-Chronicles/dp/1782794565

Or find out more about it via Lodestone Books: http://www.lodestonebooks.com/books/dawn-shadowcasters

Shadowscape – The Stevie Vegas Chronicles is the first book in my paranormal/adventure trilogy series for young adult readers. It follows the adventures of 12 year old Stevie Vegas who’s just your average school kid living in suburban Valley Dale, with a passion for skateboarding.

He thinks his life is pretty normal…that’s until he discovers he’s an Illuminator with extra-ordinary mind powers. Then the Shadowcasters arrive and he’s forced into a battle as ancient as time itself, one that pits Illuminator against Shadowcaster: lightbringers against demons.

Weston1 (4) small Sounds exciting. I think so ’cause I sure had fun writing Shadowscape.I wrote it in 2011-2012 for my son who was 12 years old at the time, and a passionate skateboarder. The main character of Stevie is modelled on him. Every night he would read what I’d written and say: “mum you can’t say that” or “yeah, that’s ok” or “yeah, pretty good”. He was my biggest critic and fan, depending on if I got it ‘right’. Thank you Callum.

The most fun I had when I wrote the book was in creating the skateboarding feuds between Stevie and his arch nemesis Jacob Barron. I did my research and under the tutelage of my then 12 year old, I had the characters perform anything from triple kickflips to attempted 900’s. I feel I should say that a triple kickflip is where the rider ollies and kicks his/her foot out and flips the board 360 degrees along its long axis with his/her toes, allows the board to spin all of the way around, and then catches it and lands.

And a 900 requires lots of skill and is very rarely pulled off, but it’s when the skateboard and skateboarder spin in the air with a 2½-revolution. While airborne, the skateboarder makes two-and-a-half turns, facing the other way when coming down than before. It is considered one of skateboarding’s most technically demanding tricks. Let me show you:

 

So with a champion skaterboarder with mind power in Stevie Vegas, I was able to explore the phenomena that had captured my then 12 year old son, and a couple of his friends. Skateboarders are not like football or baseball players. They are the cool players in the sports arena, I believe. Very much individuals, rule breakers even. They have to be to try some of their airborne stunts.

Before I began writing Shadowscape I had campaigned hard for a skatepark in my local town. I wanted to offer the young people something besides the traditional sports. And the skaters needed a place to skate. So, as the then editor of the local paper, I launched a campaign and we got our skatepark. I’m very proud of that particular campaign.

Once I had finished Shadowscape, I began to write the second book in the Shadowscape trilogy, Dawn of the Shadowcasters which is currently in production with Lodestone Books and due out on 30 May 2014. It can be preordered and is available in ebook and print.

Dawn of the Shadowcasters picks up Stevie Vegas’ story a year later and, yes, there are some nice skateboard stunts in Book 2.

There’s also a bit of a love interest for Stevie in Mary Lou who just happens to be a champion motocross rider. I suppose it’s fair to say I have a thing for Xtreme sports. I also have a thing for anything that is out of the box or the norm. Street art, skateboarding, motorcycle riding…it all comes from the same place as skill, creativity and courage. And that’s a good basis for a hero in a book don’t you think?

Shadowscape is available in ebook on Amazon. And Dawn of the Shadowcasters is out via Lodestone Books in May.