December 2016

So, that’s it, another one over, I hope you all managed to survive Christmas and are enjoying the strange half life that are the days between the Big Day itself and New Year’s Eve. You know what I mean, those days when time has no meaning and you find yourself eating strange things at odd hours of the day, you’re still in your pyjamas at 4pm and the outside world seems a remote and scary place. Looking around my home, at the piles of presents yet to be put away, the boxes of chocolates, biscuits and other assorted festive food that we seem to have accumulated, I can’t help but think what an expensive, excessive and downright exhausting experience Christmas is. Every year I vow to do Christmas differently, to spend less on silly things and concentrate on what matters. I start off well enough, writing lists and planning budgets, but, by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, all thoughts of restraint have gone out the window and I seem caught up in a “hang the expense” mood. Ah well, there’s always next year …

Once again, I need to apologise for not keeping up with the blogs as regularly as perhaps I should. 2016 has been a very stressful year, one of great upheaval in both my work and home life, and one in which I have been dogged with ill health. I am hoping 2017 is going to be a more positive experience for me, and that I will be both physically and emotionally stronger, ready to concentrate on writing and promoting my work.

I have been asked if I make New Year resolutions? Well, I made plenty last year, none of which I kept, so I think this year I will make determinations instead. In that, I am determined to work harder at promoting my book, I am determined to make full use of all social media platforms to get myself and my work noticed, and I am determined to take great steps towards the dream of being a stay at home author.

Anyway, I wish all of you out there a Happy New Year, keep the messages coming in either through email or via my Facebook page. Very soon, I will be adding regular Twitter and Instagram updates and will be exploring the world of Goodreads. In the meantime, why not check out my new page on Wattpad.com where I have placed a special gift for all my readers everywhere.

Keep reading guys, and look to see much more of me in 2017.

Julia Blake

May 2016

Good news on the work front! I did manage to find myself another job which ticked all the boxes for hours, pay and location and started last week. I am enjoying my new job, despite wandering around half the time in a daze of incomprehension and exhaustion, and everyone has been extremely kind and patient with me, but I still feel like a bit of idiot half the time – I mean, how could I not know that all typing is emailed internally nowadays?

Looking back it probably didn’t take as much time as it seemed to find another position, yet it felt as if the scary uncertainly lasted forever, and I would like to thank my readers for all the messages of support and encouragement I received, thanks guys, they certainly cheered me up when it felt as though everything was as black as could be.

Hopefully, now things are back on an even keel I can really pay attention to pushing my books forward for publication. I did send a copy of Eve, together with the first fifty pages of two of my other novels “Cat’s Tale” and “The Forest” to the head of BBC drama – wouldn’t Eve make a fantastic TV series? Can’t you just imagine the cliff-hangers, especially the bit on the staircase, and those of you who’ve read the book know exactly which bit I mean, it would certainly be spine-tingling stuff. However, I sent them several months ago and so far have not even had the courtesy of acknowledgement of receipt, so, maybe that’s a lost cause, but you never know, I am told these things take time.

Just a short blog this time, I am still trying to adjust to different, longer hours and am finding it hard to manage all the other things that scream for attention in my life, all you busy working mums out there know precisely what that feels like.

Take care everyone and, as usual, any comments or messages are always gratefully received either via the email contact or on my Facebook page.

All the best
Julia

March 2016

March 2016

After over twenty years of working for the same company, I am being made redundant due to the retirement of my boss. This has put me in the rather unpleasant position of having to look for a new job. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent and hard-working individual, but, working so long for one person I’ve become a little … how shall I put it … comfortable, complacent even?

I’ve been quite lucky in the past, jobs have simply come along either through word of mouth or by being in the right place at the right time, however, the world seems to have moved on and I have a horrible suspicion that’s not going to be the case this time. Despite having over thirty years experience and being good at what I do, it appears I am qualified for nothing. The area in which I am searching, secretarial/PA/admin, has apparently been downgraded somewhat from the high status career it once was, into something on a level with office junior, and I have been rather rudely awakened to the fact my boss was actually being rather generous with my salary, and a job that will actually allow me to pay my bills and eat may be harder to find than I at first thought. When office managers are being paid less than the office cleaner, it makes me wonder if I’m applying for the right jobs.

I must admit to finding the whole process a rather scary and soul destroying one. As sole bread winner in my house the amount of pressure I am under is crushing, the very real fear of losing my home because I cannot afford the mortgage is frighteningly real and the responsibility of having a dependent child to provide for enormous. Of course I have registered with online employment agencies, yet they are also adding to the stress. I request secretarial/admin jobs in the Bury St. Edmunds area, and they send me details of sous chefs in Peterborough, welders in Nuneaton and field engineers in West Yorkshire – I have no idea what being one of those entails but apparently I get my own van, a must when you consider the commute to and from work every day! All joking aside, even if I get to interview stage that in itself is daunting – last time I had an interview A Flock of Seagulls was number one – and there’s the whole worry of what to wear and what to say to make them believe I’m the only person they should consider for the job.

The only bright side is it has made me even more determined to try and get the next novel published, and not just self-published, but by an actual, really truly publisher, one who will be able to promote the book and place it in bookshops where it can be seen and bought by the novel reading public. To that end I am really working hard now, re-typing and editing Cat’s Tale (making sure it is well and truly backed up, not just on the hard drive but on two USB sticks as well, just to be certain I can’t lose it all again). To be able to be a stay at home writer is the dream, so I guess it’s up to me to try and make it a reality.

Sorry this blog is a little doom and gloom, hopefully by the next one I’ll have more positive news for you. As always, please feel free to leave any comments on my Facebook page.

Christmas 2015

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Moyses Hall

Moyses Hall

Hatter St

Hatter St

For my Christmas blog I wanted to do something a little bit more special, so I thought what could be nicer than if I took you for a walk around my lovely home town of Bury St. Edmunds, and showed you some of the locations that occur in The Book of Eve?The heart of Bury is a large open space called the Buttermarket. Usually, cars are allowed to park here, but every Wednesday and Saturday, at Christmas and for special events, the area is cleared and large markets are held here. Facing the Buttermarket is Moyses Hall, the oldest building in Bury. Dating back to medieval times, it is now a small museum of local interest and I think this would definitely have been on Eve’s list of places to visit when sightseeing with Luke.

Angel Hotel

Angel Hotel

Angel Hill

Angel Hill

Bury is full of charming little side streets, one of which is Hatter Street. This is where Mimi’s shop is located; can you guess which one it is? Close to Hatter Street is the Angel Hill, where the famous Angel Hotel stands. Charles Dickens wrote part of the Pickwick Papers here and was so charmed by the place that he had his characters stay there. Looking at another view of the Angel Hill, you can see the Victorian building where the borough offices are located, looking above them you can just about see the balcony and windows of Scott’s apartment. Cross the road from the Angel Hotel and you’re in the lovely Abbey Gardens, dominated, as so much of Bury is, by the amazing cathedral. Wander amongst the gardens as Eve and Mimi did in the book and you’ll see the ruins which in the eleventh century formed one of the largest abbeys in Britain.

Abbey Gardens

Abbey Gardens

garden view

Garden View

As you can probably tell, I love my home town and think it’s one of the best little towns to live in. One of the great things about Bury being that even the humblest of back gardens can have a fantastic view.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed our brief sightseeing tour and, as usual, if you have any comments or remarks, please visit my facebook page where I would love to hear from you. Finally, I would like to wish all my family, friends and readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Julia BlakeWatch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

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November 2015

I know it’s been a while and, as usual, I have no excuse, other than the normal one of not knowing what to blog about. But, this month, I thought I’d tell you about the holiday the Daughter and I had late in the summer. Being a lone parent, holidays tend not to be something we really do. We go away with family or go and visit friends but, for one reason and another, this year we actually went away, just the two of us, for a week’s stay in a cottage in a little village outside York.

AA route planner promised it would only take us a shade over three hours to get there. Yeah right, six and a half gruelling hours later, after a journey from hell stuck on the A1 which for some reason had been re-designated a car park, under looming skies and lashing rain, we finally reached our destination. As you can imagine, I was not in the best of moods, and unloading the car in the pouring rain, making endless trips to and fro, not being helped at all by the Daughter (who was too busy exploring the cottage), I seriously wondered if I’d made a huge mistake.

Spirits were raised somewhat upon discovering how lovely the cottage was. They were raised even more upon discovering the complimentary bottle of bubbly and, once we’d unpacked, had dried off, eaten dinner and were playing with Sky movies, it seemed as if maybe, just maybe, this holiday had been a good idea after all.

During the week that followed we basically explored the area around us. Neither of us being the type to wish to lay by pools or laze around, we packed in as many activities as we could, managing two trips to York where we visited the Jorvik Centre and the incredible Castle Museum (to my mind far better value for money). We spent a day at Castle Howard roaming the house and fantastic grounds, it all brought back memories of watching Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews in Brideshead Revisited and, as we wandered about, I kept humming the theme tune until the Daughter said if I didn’t shut up she’d go and sit in the car.

We had a traditional beach day at Scarborough, where we ate seafood and chips on the beach, made ourselves sick with too much candy floss and spent far too much money on the slot machines. The Daughter even had a donkey ride, although as she’s now a great skinny length of a twelve year old I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the donkey. We paid a visit to the beautiful Tudor manor house, Burton Agnes, where I got all arty with the camera in the magnificent gardens and on the way back passed through a village with the wonderful name of Wet Wang! Much hilarity in the car over that. Finally, we made the drive through the heart of the heather moors and had a great last day at Whitby where we treated ourselves to a fabulous seafood lunch in the famous Magpie Café. I highly recommend it, although go early. We went at 11.30am and even then only just got in.

Dreading the journey home, I was pleasantly surprised when it took a mere three hours, AA route planner vindicated. So, all in all, a great holiday in a stunningly beautiful part of the country and I would like to thank the lovely Michelle and her family for letting us stay in their gorgeous guest cottage and for all their many kindnesses during the week. If you would like to see some pictures of our holiday, please visit my Facebook page, where I would love to hear to comments.

First Blog

I have been told to blog. I do not know how to blog. To be honest, I was a little hazy as to what precisely a blog was, so I asked my daughter. Being 11 years old she is, of course, au fait with all things internet and computer. She sighed, gave me a look that quite plainly said “idiot mother” and explained as follows:- “a blog is sort of like an online diary that anyone and everyone can read,” she then paused, wrinkled her nose and added, “even Nana”.

Oka-a-ay, if that doesn’t make me watch what I blog about, nothing will. So, here goes, my first ever blog, which no one will probably ever read because who could possibly be interested enough in some small-town, first time author to even bother to look for their website, let alone make it to the blog at the end? But enough of me and my low self-esteem, or rather, maybe that should be what I write about, because isn’t that what publishing a book is all about? Overcoming your fear of rejection and conquering your self-doubt to actually do it, to actually put your book out there in the public domain, where people can read it and say nice things about it or not….

Ah, now that’s the whole crux of the matter isn’t it, the not part. What about if people hate it? What about if they dismiss years of work with a few cruel and thoughtless comments, what about, and this is the worst part, what about if they attack with personal remarks aimed directly at the poor hapless author? I must confess these thoughts and fears did hold me back for several years from taking that final step and actually getting published. But then I thought, why not? Some might hate my book, so what? It would be impossible to write a book that everybody loved, by the law of averages there must be some who simply don’t like it, but that’s not my problem, it’s theirs, and not publishing simply because I was afraid I wouldn’t please everyone was ridiculous.

So, I swallowed down my fear, approached the publishers and now, some six months later, I can look people in the eye and say with pride – “I am a published author”.