Hathor Hosts – how a Goa’uld is making pandemic life easier

I know I say it every week on one platform or another, but Suanne Braun’s Hathor Hosts on Instagram live really is a bright spark in the turmoil of pandemic life right now. It’s something that I look forward to every week without fail and I honestly cannot believe we are three months in already.

This pandemic has been a trial in many ways for many people. It has brought a lot of stress and a lot of issues. The latest for me is a housing crisis and the need to move somewhere wheelchair accessible with my two rats and two hamsters in a very short period of time. Something I am currently trying to resolve and not lose my marbles over. But the constant in all of this has been the relief from an hour (or sometimes more) of escapism provided by Suanne and her guest of the week.

The interviews are well planned and the research that goes into them is incredible. The rapport she has with each of her guests is sublime (can Netflix pick this show up please because I can tell you now it has an audience), and each week we find ourselves learning something about the people we admire and laughing so hard it feels as though we might topple over.

My favourite interviews so far, to mention but a few (and it’s hard to choose just a few) have been the giggle fest that was the episode with Amanda Tapping, the informative and yet hilarious conversation with Claudia Christian, the sincerity and profundity of the interview with Nathalie Boltt, and last night’s battle of the Goa’uld with Jacqueline Samuda. A special mention has to go out to the interview with David Blue, though. Because despite immense technical difficulties, and having to switch platforms to twitch, the two soldiered on and the interview is a beauty to behold.

Suanne is an incredibly charismatic, witty, and talented interviewer. Her talent for putting the interviewee at ease is clear to see. She is always attentive and courteous during the interviews. There’s also this element of her being representative of every fan watching, the appreciation for her guests so clear in her words and facial expressions.

I cannot wait for what next week brings!

(Thanks to the work and help of my dear friend, Kathrin, the videos are also available on Suanne’s YouTube as well so you can catch up too.)

11 months alcohol free tomorrow…

…and I nearly fell off the wagon tonight. For reasons I won’t go into, I chose instead to jump on the phone to my sister sobbing my eyes out, and extremely tempted to make an order for a large bottle of wine which I would have swallowed down in a heartbeat. But I had the sense of self to hold myself responsible and reach out to someone who would talk me down. I will see that year and after that year I will keep on going for my own health.

I gave up alcohol because it was effecting my health. It was worsening my IBS, it wasn’t helping my joints, and it was generally making things much more difficult cognitively. Almost a year down that road and I can honestly say that there have been a few moments where I’ve questioned if I would be able to stay alcohol free. But I have. And I am not going to allow the actions of another person to cause me to change the path I’m on.

I will admit that I didn’t know I was addicted. But then, given my genetics and my predisposition, I should have. Given my knowledge of AUD and how that’s developed over the past six years, I really should have. But then as they say, the last person to know is the addict.

I’m emotional right now. But I can feel those emotions. I can feel the pain and hurt in my chest and I’m not living wrapped up in a numb little bubble. I am choosing to feel the raw emotions and ride through them. I’m choosing to hold myself accountable for everything I do. I’m living my life authentically. Because dammit that’s the only way I know how.

Practicing Peaceful Empowerment with Pat Through Meditation

– or learning to ask the universe and yourself for answers to those tougher questions

If you know me, you know that my approach to life is holistic. That I attack things from all corners and as my sister in Germany said to me today, I persevere. I don’t give up, and I succeed in the long run. I like to call that tenacity. But what you might not know unless you really know me is that it’s not always that easy. Especially when my brain screams “Squirrel” every five minutes or so.

I ’ve tried meditation in many guises. On my own, guided, just mindful breathing. All with varying levels of success until I stumbled into a free class a while back that Patricia Tallman was giving. Suddenly meditation opened its doors to me in a way that it never had before. And today, I entered her webinar with joy in my heart and that playful energy she asks us to have at each of her sessions. Because I know that it works.

Pat might not be the person you think of when you think “meditation coach”. In fact if you’re reading my blog, it’s more than likely that you know her as Lyta Alexander from Babylon 5, one or a myriad of Star Trek characters, or for her incredible stunt work. But in part, both of these things make her perfect in this role. She relates to people. She’s not afraid to show her geeky side, she is honest with the path she’s been on, and unlike other coaches, she isn’t afraid to drop the occasional f bomb.

Pat’s guidance is open, honest, and truthful. She talks about where she came from, about what she gets from meditation, how she came to her own practice. She uses phrases that are relatable like “sleeping puppy dogs.” There’s nothing trite or difficult to understand. And for someone like me with ADHD and that brain that tends to scream “squirrel!” Pat reminds us that it’s natural for our thoughts to wander… it’s how we react when they do that is important. That in itself was a huge breakthrough for me. The lack of guilt attached to wandering thoughts.

I could go into huge detail about Pat’s particular coaching process, about how it’s refreshing to find a meditation coach who shares similar beliefs with me about certain things (I will never say the same beliefs because everyone has their own mind and believes something slightly different), but then I would be giving away some of the incredible wisdom that this wonderful woman imparts. And it’s her job to share that with you, not mine.

One thing I will say, is it doesn’t matter how many times I attend one of her webinars or classes, how many times I hear her cover certain areas, each time I come away learning something new about the process, the universe, and myself. To quote Ambassador Delenn, as Pat did today:

We are star stuff, we are the universe made manifest…

If you’re on Facebook head on over and give the B5 Events page a like. Trust me, if this post spiked your interest, it’s going to be one to bookmark for future reference.

Disclaimer: all opinions here are my own. This isn’t a sponsored post/review.

A gathering of B5ers

An online convention? Are you nuts? That was my first thought when other convention companies chose to start broadcasting convention panels in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Let’s be honest, part of the thing we all love about science fiction conventions is the interaction. The way we get to see each other all dressed in cosplay, the connection with our fellow fans, and if, like me, you’ve had the chance to attend some really small and intimate conventions, the unique aspect of interaction with the guests. I honestly was sceptical about the idea of an online convention or similar fan experience.

But then B5 Events came into being. If you’re a Babylon 5 fan, or a Star Trek fan, the likelihood is, you’ll know the name Patricia Tallman as well as you know the names of your own family members. She’s both actress and stuntwoman, and also an entrepreneur unlike any other. Whilst I have yet to take part in one of her Quest Retreats, I can honestly say that I look forward to the day that I can. Her life coaching skills are incredible, and there’s no one else that can lead me through a guided meditation the way that she can. When Pat runs a meditation session, you can visualise what she describes, find yourself in the places she talks about, and you come out feeling so much better. So, naturally, when my sister said to me “Hey, Pat’s forming this company and they are going to be running Babylon 5 related events online,” my answer was sign me up.

The Gathering was the first of B5 Events’ online experiences. I was fortunate enough to have both a general admission ticket and a VIP ticket for the experience, and I got my general admission ticket under the Early Bird price which saved me $10 – a nice incentive for a first event (or any event). After getting my tickets, it was just a case of waiting for the event to go live on my end. If you know me, patience has never been my strong point, so whilst I know that some people would have preferred a longer time frame in which to purchase tickets, the shorter time frame was beneficial in my case. It was also something to look forward to in the midst of all the chaos that the world has currently been in, especially with the pandemic.

This isn’t some pump piece. I won’t sugar coat the fact that there were issues with the platform on the day. Personally, I was unable to see the chat that others were able to take part in, but this could have been due to an issue with either my browser (although I did update it at one point during technical broadcast issues, or my OS). The broadcast issues seemed to be issues with the platform for the team behind B5 Events. I know that others had different issues. But that’s the risk of using a new platform for hosting a different type of event. The team managed it admirably. To be honest, not being able to take part in the chat made my experience more intimate because I wasn’t distracted by the chat and what was happening there, and I was able to pay attention to what was going on in the panels and segments.

The Gathering had an amazing guest line up in Pat herself, Claudia Christian, and Mira Furlan, with Jason Davis as M.C. There was the usual vendors area, and whilst half the fun is usually purchasing your items in person, I’m actually looking forward to receiving my post from both C Three Foundation and B5 Events. I ordered a signed copy of Claudia’s Snack Hacks to sit on my book shelf with my signed books and away from the kitchen where my very used copy is very clearly loved and, I will admit, falling apart, but that’s what happens when a cook book becomes your go to favourite. I also ordered a key chain pill holder from C Three Foundation to replace the original plastic one I’ve had since they first started doing them, which is also falling apart. There were a multitude of other vendors as well, and I have to admit, that when they do another event, depending on the price, I wouldn’t mind paying for a vendor’s space for my Redbubble store.

The panels had the usual format of the M.C. asking questions. But the beauty of these panels was the way in which the guests were all so relaxed, even though they weren’t in the same place. Being in the comfort of their own homes, allowed a certain amount of freedom we don’t usually see in convention panels, and it the connection between Pat, Mira, and Claudia was clear. They bounced off each other in the group panels and there were plenty of laughs to be had by all. It was very clear to all that twenty-seven years after The Gathering episode first aired, these three are the firmest of friends and that made for an extra special event. I found it particularly funny when Claudia would apologise for swearing and Pat’s sentences were peppered with the odd swear word without any concern. The three women each have such diverse energy and yet it melds together to create something beautiful. All three are extremely intelligent, extremely passionate, and as we all know, incredibly beautiful, inside and out.

What I loved about the format of this event was that as well as the usual panels, each guest gave a demonstration of something they are passionate about. Mira gave a yoga demonstration that not only showed her passion, but was inclusive of those with limited mobility, like me. She began it with chair yoga exercises that a wheelchair user like me was able to take part in. That’s something I will never forget. I’ve met all three women previously, and I know that accessibility for fans is important to them. But I wonder if they realise just how much it means to those of us who are disabled that they make that effort? I cried for a while after that inclusive section.

Claudia used her segment to give us all a cooking lesson with her exceptional cooking skills. Not only was the segment on CC’s Pandemic Pantry Leftover Rice Salad informative, but it was hilarious. If people didn’t know before, they will certainly have known afterwards, that Claudia has a fantastic sense of humour and a flare for comedy. I wish more cooking shows were like that segment, I might actually find them interesting and entertaining enough to pay attention to, rather than the dry British cooking shows I’m often subjected to over here. Claudia has a natural flare for entertaining and it was an absolute pleasure to watch that segment.

Pat’s segment was on meditation, and as I mentioned earlier, her guided meditations are the best by far. What I didn’t mention earlier was that during this particular meditation session, sat alone at my desk, with just my hamsters and rats in the room with me, there was an odd kind of quiet that fell over the room. Even my rodents stopped what they were doing and listened. Pat has this way of making you focus. She taught an exercise in which we each asked the universe for an answer to a particular pertinent question for us. Pat warned that we may not like the answer, but that we would get one. Well, I did as she asked, and since I went to bed on Saturday night the universe has been shouting its answer at me loud and clear and has not stopped….

The combined segments of the three guests worked together to create a holistic experience that given the current world situation was much needed. It gave a focus on something other than our fears, and an escape from the stress of day to day life. I would have liked more time for the vendors area in between segments, and perhaps more regularly scheduled bio breaks, but, other than that, the layout of the day was great, and the timing was perfect considering that I was in the taking part in the UK and they running everything in PDT. I hope that the next general admission advent will also be on a different platform, not just for the sake of attendees, but the sake of the panel and the team.

The VIP party was on a different platform and the beauty of that was that we were able to see each other, talk, and didn’t have the glitches. It was small and intimate, and it was good to be able to have that type of experience where we were with a group of people who were intelligent, interested, and wanted to learn more about the things that had happened in the sessions. I wish that it had lasted longer than an hour, but all good things come to an end. It was definitely worth the extra cost in order to be able to have that time with the panel and with a few others.

We’ve come away from the event with a new community being formed, which is the sign of any good event. The tagline for the B5 Events is more than just a fan thing, and they are right. It’s so much more. It’s building a community of people who, even after one event, are already showing that they are willing to be there for each other and support each other. It’s showing each other ways to do things and cope with things. In all honesty, I cannot wait for the next one. I’ve just found my new favourite way of experiencing convention life in a pandemic world.

Disabled and ignored

There’s a sentiment amongst many disabled people right now when they see able bodied people struggle with the lockdown in place that is along the lines of, “welcome to my world.” I get it. In fact, I’ve felt it myself.

We live in a world where our self-worth is measured by our ability to earn money. And to suddenly be faced, in many situations, with a long period of being stuck at home and unable to do so is infuriating. As is being separated from people we love. People are grieving. They don’t know where to channel that grief either. It’s an all too familiar tale for many of us.

It doesn’t, however, excuse the number of people out there who seem to think it’s appropriate to shut down disabled people during conversations about lockdown or the impact on the those who are physically and socioeconomically more vulnerable. It doesn’t give anyone the right to tell us to suck it up and just go food shopping whilst simultaneously looking at us in horror if we dare to venture outside our front doors.

The UK government has severely let down disabled and vulnerable people with their “extremely vulnerable list”. The narrow list negates so many people with conditions that make social distancing impossible and others who also are likely to die if they catch COVID19 that it would almost be a joke if it wasn’t so serious. This Guardian article shows how we are being effected in regard to food deliveries. While during this episode of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, you can hear how the pandemic is causing problems for disabled people globally, as well as the comments yours truly was asked to provide. It’s a 30 minute stream and well worth watching.

There is also blame to be put at the feet of the hoarders, the able bodied two parent families like my next door neighbours who have vehicles, the single people and couples who can go to the shops but choose to get food deliveries instead. They are taking away much needed slots that disabled people require. My housemate and I both have mobility issues. I’m in a wheelchair, she has ataxia and a severe visual impairment, neither of us drive. We’ve managed to get TWO Tesco shops since the whole thing began and one hasn’t even happened yet because it’s for the 17th May.

Supermarkets are letting us down with their insistence on phone calls. How are those who are non-verbal, hard or hearing or Deaf supposed to call? What about those with severe social anxiety? One Tesco staff member told me she didn’t like phone calls. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s that they literally send me into autistic meltdown. Especially when I’m forced to deal with automated selection lists and tinny hold music.

As disabled people we are becoming forced to rely on more and more ridiculous and expensive methods to get food which we often can’t afford. Takeaways and Amazon Prime Now being good examples. Especially with minimum orders often being £15. The food parcel boxes often don’t cater for individual dietary requirements so if you can order one you can end up with left over food you can’t get rid of because you are supposed to be sheltering in place for twelve weeks due to medical and government advice. But you still can’t get on that vulnerable list….

I spend my days tweeting and campaigning for awareness. Trying to get the main supermarkets to hear the voices of the disabled and vulnerable not on the list, in between worrying about loved ones who have COVID19, who have lost someone to it, or to something else during this pandemic and who can’t hold proper funerals. Or about the loved ones who can’t gain access to much needed services as well as food deliveries.

As I sit here writing this, I’m talking to an Instagram friend who is telling me she’s been sent a letter telling her not to go outside due to her and her partner’s medical conditions. But she cannot get a food a delivery. Her pharmacy won’t deliver medications. She has children. Are they all meant to starve or go without vital daily meds? Again we are being severely let down and no one seems to care.

When we try to explain that the local schemes in place leave us more vulnerable because it means trusting people with our money, the government ignores us. When I told my MP that I can’t rely on local food boxes because of dietary requirements he washed his hands of it. And those increases in benefits? Those only apply to those on Universal Credit, not the thousands of disabled people on legacy benefits.

I am begging the government to listen. But they don’t. Provision for disabled and chronically ill people is woefully inadequate.

“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Journeys – the most important book you’ll read in 2020

Today I received a copy of a book that back in 2018 I was handed by an American friend and asked if I would consider editing it for clarity of flow, spelling, and grammar. Yes, I can see the irony in asking a Brit to check an American’s spelling, but I am fluent in both British and American English on an editing level and since this book was a passion project, and for my friend’s advocacy work, I agreed, without question. I must admit, there’s also a part of me that loves being able to be one of the first to see new work before it’s available to the public. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. And in the case of this non-fiction collection of stories, I couldn’t wait to jump in and help.

The book has been edited a few more times since then. New content has been added, and other people’s eyes have been over it. But essentially, it’s still the same manuscript that I so lovingly spent a full twenty-four hours awake on editing. I can admit that now, almost two years later. I think had my friend known that I spent the first twenty-four hours of the approximately seventy-two I spent working on the book wide awake with coffee at my side, she might have had something to say about the matter.

Journeys is something I had heard about for a while before I was handed a copy. It’s a book that I knew was in the process of coming into existence, but I didn’t know would move me just as much as it did, or indeed has again. I had no idea that it would have the capability to motivate me even more than Claudia has, to do what I can to help her not-for-profit organisation, C Three Foundation. As always, after the introduction to The Sinclair Method (TSM) which occurs in part one of the book, the story collection starts with pure and unadulterated honesty from the woman who has collected the individual stories, or ‘journeys’ within, Claudia Christian, founder and CEO of C Three. 

Claudia’s candidness when it comes to her battle with Alcohol Use Disorder never ceases to amaze or inspire me. I’ve known her several years now, and every time I hear her speak, every time I read her words about her journey, I learn a little more, and I find myself inspired all over again. The beauty of her telling her own TSM journey is that we see from the beginning that it isn’t all roses and sunshine. The Sinclair Method is only as successful as the ability of the person using it to remain compliant, and it’s not necessarily a one stop shop. For many, it can involve work that goes beyond just pharmacological extinction. This is something she emphasises in her own journey, and again in the FAQ section, and is emphasised by others describing their journeys within the book. 

If you want to treat AUD successfully with TSM, you need to remain compliant. Compliance means taking naltrexone an hour before drinking (or nalmefene two hours before), compliance means taking that tablet before you start drinking, each and every time. It means waiting that hour (or two), not cutting it short. And it means doing so for the rest of your life. TSM has a 78% long term success rate. In my eyes that’s HUGE! Compliance ensures that success and it’s clear from the journeys in the book that compliance works. 

Of course, that said, TSM doesn’t work for everyone. And we see that in the book as well. Maybe it’s down to the inability to comply with the method of treatment, or maybe it’s just that there is a percentage for whom the medication doesn’t work. For these people there are still options. There are still other programs of treatment. Some of those programs also go hand in hand with TSM.  

But what strikes me about this effective treatment, what should strike everyone who picks up a copy of Journeys, who has picked up a copy of Babylon Confidential (Claudia’s autobiography), or watched One Little Pill (Claudia’s documentary) or her TEDEx talk, is that in a world where people are dying daily from a disease that causes so much pain and suffering, a disease that is still treated as if it were a failing of character, we have scientific proof that it isn’t. And there is an answer. An effective answer. One that can stop people from craving alcohol, help them rewire their brains, and let them lead a normal life.  

This book is one that every AUD specialist needs to read. It’s one that should be read by everyone looking to find a treatment option that works for them. Loved ones need to read the stories inside and they need to see that there is hope, but that the journey isn’t necessarily an easy one. Because it’s only when we look at every option and every choice out there that we begin to see that recovery is possible and that the adage “once an addict, always an addict” isn’t necessarily correct.  

I’m nine months into recovery myself at the time of writing this review. Whilst I’m not on TSM, I’m a firm believer in its ability to save lives. I’ve seen the proof. I have people in my life whose lives have been saved by the work of Dr David Sinclair. Which is why I will shout from the rooftops that people need to read this book if they want to fully explore all options available to them, their loved ones, and their patients. Because as C Three Foundation says regularly: Options Save Lives. 

Journeys by Claudia Christian is available to buy now from Amazon and in limited autographed supply from C Three Foundation.  

Viewpoints from Lockdown

Photo of a tulip from my garden
Tulip from my garden (c) N. A. Le Brun 2020

It’s funny how people see you as one thing or another but they never really get the full view. There’s a person I know who saw me, rightfully so, as shy. What she didn’t realise though, is that I can be anything but when you get to know me, when it comes to looking after those I love, or campaigning for human rights. That when I’m at a sci-fi convention and surrounded by my fellow geeks and nerds, I can let my flag fly free, and for a few hours at least, I become a butterfly, before I need to retreat back into my cocoon and recharge.

I’m a creative. My world is one of observation, introspection, only allowing certain people in close enough, and even then only allowing one person in the whole way. I’m happiest with my own company, or with the company of animals. And when I want socialisation, mostly I want the company of a few select people. But I’m also autistic. I’ve learnt how to put myself out there outside of my comfort zone. It’s tiring and it drains my energy levels. It causes me to want that alone time even more.

There are a handful of people that I have been in regular contact with since the lockdown started. For obvious reasons, one is my housemate. One is my sister, one is my closest friend, there are two others. Only three of these do I talk to daily. And even then our conversations may be short and to the point. It’s a case of checking in and making sure the other is okay.

I am happy with my writing, sketching, sewing, reading, colouring books, photography, baking, pets, and a wheel around the block. There’s no boredom here. I have been training for this my whole life. More so since disability took over to the point where a nine to five became impossible. If I need to curl up in my bed and take a nap, so be it. If I want to sit in the garden and meditate, why not? The calm and quiet is good for me. I’m also learning not to let the minutiae of the day drag me down.

Life can still be beautiful, even when the world seems to be in complete chaos. If you just find the time to sit and breathe. If you remember to say no to the demands of others. And if you just allow yourself to find that inner peace.

Snack Hacks – a definite hit in this spoonie’s house

I don’t review cookbooks as a general rule. Actually, as a general rule I don’t use cookbooks. My recipes come from long Saturdays and Sundays spent in the kitchen beside my mum or my grandad, or my own culinary experiments. If I really want to try something I might look up a recipe online occasionally and then I still adapt it to fit my needs.

But there’s a cookbook that was released on June 12th that I instantly put on pre-order the day I found out it was going to be released. I have to confess, I already knew that one of its authors is quite the foodie and culinary genius (even if others didn’t) and it just made it all the more tempting. Marketed at “gamers, coders, freaks and geeks” (am I giving away whose cook book this is yet?), I knew instantly that this was going to be a cookbook full of amazing recipes that would be worth a shot. And I also knew that as a disabled person, any recipe that’s going to involve a “Snack Hack” is going to be one that is probably going to be handy for me in the kitchen.

Snack Hacks by Claudia Christian and Mark Michel arrived on Saturday morning. By Saturday lunchtime I was cooking CC’s Sunday Blueberry Pancakes. Although I replaced he Blueberries with raspberry coulis (personal preference) made from frozen raspberries and just a tablespoon of maple syrup for sweetness.

As I said in my Instagram review of the recipe, I’ll be making these again. I just need to remind myself that they are a weekend treat because they truly are the best pancake recipe I’ve come across yet.

Today I made the Dragon Power Mac and Cheese and my review of that recipe is up on my Instagram too. Each recipe has a spoonie difficulty level attached and my honest opinion. I’ll be instagramming more recipe results as I delve further into the book. But I really am loving the healthy options inside!

I love that each recipe comes with its own “in game download” suggestion that creates an adaptation for the person cooking. The recipes give you background on which video game they are inspired by. “Hack Attack” pages give you handy hints and tips. There are “guest recipes” and information on Claudia and Mark’s love of food, the hacks they both use at home, and so much more.

I love the 8-bit graphic presentation of the book. It takes me back to my childhood and the games I used to play on Atari in my living room, the Sega Megadrive in my bedroom, or (yes I am this old), the BBC computer at school.

All in all, whether you’re a gamer, a Babylon 5 fan, a disabled foodie (or all of the above like myself), or none of these things, this cookbook is one that’s definitely worth having in your kitchen. I can’t wait to try the following recipes over the next week or so:

Slime Dressing

Crashbreaker Chips (which will go with the aforementioned slime dressing)

Claudia’s Deadly Disc Summer Citrus Pie

Mad Bomber Apple Pie Poppers

And who knows what adventures will await after that? My love of cooking is back. These recipes are making it so much fun and easier for this disabled foodie to access the kitchen!

10th June 2019

Am I still your buttercup? That’s the question that’s been playing through my head. I know we’re still rebuilding bridges right now and I know that that takes time. But it’s the question that’s been on my mind for a while. I know that without a doubt you are still ma chou, my witchy woman, my Chóvihánni. You never stopped being. You never will.

It isn’t a question that needs an instant answer. In fact it’s not one I’m expecting to be answered any time soon. I’m not expecting answers to anything right now. I don’t want to pressure you into anything. I never have. I never even expected you to love me in the way you have or even like me.

None of the questions I have right now need an instant answer, but eventually they will need one. And my saying eventually doesn’t mean this week, or even this month. However, and I know I keep saying this, we do need to talk things out in the near future.

It isn’t fair of you to expect me to hold on for conversations, etc., that you promise but that get put off indefinitely. I am worth more than that. I feel like you expect me to fit around you and just accept it. I told you I would never be a yes person, and I won’t. I will always support you and your endeavours, I will always love you. I get your need and desire for freedom. But I also deserve to have a conversation with you where I am not the only one letting it all out more than once every couple of years.

If we are going to stand a chance at rebuilding things, then we both need to put the work in. And I’m happy to listen to what you need from me in return to make things easier/rebuild things. But I do expect that we will both put in the effort. That means no more running, for either of us.

I am not prepared to be anyone’s ego boost. Nor am I prepared to not have my needs taken into consideration. I will always take the needs and desires of those I love into the consideration but I expect the same to be done for mine. Now I’m not saying you see me as an ego boost but I do need to get my feelings out as and that’s what these journals are for.

And to be honest I want to fix things and rebuild what we had, but it will take both of us and it will take more than emails and journals. But I shouldn’t have to be the one asking for time with you. I shouldn’t have to be the one to say “if you have an afternoon free….” If you really want to spend time with me , you will. If you really want to make things better between us again, you’ll find a way to meet me in the middle and put the effort in.

I’m not trying to be harsh or demanding, I’m not putting pressure on you. I am simply being honest. Because with all the will in the world, I can repeat myself until I’m blue in the face or until my hand drops off from writing, but it will take more than my love and effort alone to rebuild things.

A bientôt Lunegosse, ma cherie

I’m busily writing a whole new world right now, and it’s a scary prospect. I have to admit. I can’t quite believe that it’s happened. I’ve said goodbye to The Lunegosse Tales after 19 years with the publishing of The Final Battle. All three of her books are now out in the open. And yes I did say 19 years. She first came to me when I was almost 18. I started writing her story when I was 18 and at uni. I still have those first chapters, in my handwriting on A4 lined paper at home.

The Lunegosse Tales were always meant to be a trilogy. I always knew that. I never knew that they would see the light of day when I began to write them. I also never knew that almost twenty years after I first put pen to paper, I would be saying goodbye to the young girl with the dark hair who for almost half my life has been a steadfast fixture in my mind.

Lunegosse – Moon Child. You can tell I’ve always been obsessed with the Moon. Ever since I was a tiny child, she’s been my guiding light. I’ve always felt safe when I could see her in the night sky. I’ve always talked to her through my bedroom window. Always told her my dreams, my wishes. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, or maybe the Romani. Heck it might even be the Cancerian. But the Moon has always held a special place in my heart. That song from Fievel Goes West, “Out there somewhere,” has always held a special significance for me. As if I would one day find that special someone who was thinking of me too.

In creating The Lunegosse Tales, that was one of the main themes that I wanted to convey. A family in search of a long lost family member. A child in search of who she was. The Search for Lana, the first book in the trilogy is a play on words. One that I hope comes through when readers have read the book. The dual nature of searching for the one we’ve had to give up and finding the family we never knew. But I hope that I’ve also created an emphasis in the books on the fact that family isn’t just blood. The ties that bind a family together are love.

I’ve changed so much since I began writing The Lunegosse Tales. I’ve grown and matured, and I think that’s enabled her to grow and mature as well. Although the time it’s taken her to grow and mature has been considerably less than the time it’s taken me when you look at the time span of the books. The world we live in now is a very different place from nineteen years ago as well. The Twin Towers have fallen, the UK is in the middle of this awful Brexit mess, Trump is president of the United States. On a personal level, I’ve lost my mum, my uncle, created a whole new life and family for myself, and become a disabled rights and LGBTQ activist.

But one thing that hasn’t changed in all that time, is the need for stories. The need for creativity. My desire to write and to give people something to read. I’ve had that for as long as I can remember. And whilst I’m always going to remember Lunegosse and her friends and family with fondness. I’m going into the next chapter of my writing with enthusiasm. Who knows where Bibliothecam Angelus (my next book) will take me? I’m sure it will be just as much fun as The Lunegosse Tales and The Stolen Generation have been.