Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Lists

The nearest it gets to Christmas, the longer my list of things to do seems to grow. Life gets muddled. I’ve been gradually addressing my Christmas cards, overseas ones first. Halfway through the list I forgot to cross the names off, and my helpful husband posted the already addressed cards. Now some people will be getting two because I can’t remember where I stopped on the list.

Since I last wrote I attended an awards luncheon for the West Australian Society of Women Writers. It’s always fun to get together with other writers, and the luncheon was no exception. The Christmassy lunch was expertly cooked and served by a team of young hospitality students, who are offered hands-on cooking experience at an aged pensioners centre, which is an early part of their training as chefs. News items about teenagers are often sad or detrimental to young people as a whole, so it’s good to be reminded that most young folk are decent, hard working citizens that their parents can be proud of. They just never get into the papers. The students at the Roy Edinger centre in Perth are no exception.

At the moment I’m preparing for my departure from Western Australia for England the day after boxing day. Finding warm clothes to wear is a problem, especially as I’m going from one extreme to the other. This visit is to celebrate my mothers 100th birthday, otherwise I wouldn’t be going to a cold climate in January. My mother (photograph above) was the middle child of a family of twelve siblings, the daughter of a fisherman. What an achievement to reach a century in age, imagine the changes that have taken place in that time. She is well looked after by my sister Daphne and her husband Edgar.

The tree is up, the lights are on. I may or may not blog again until after I’m back from my trip. It depends on how long my list, and I want to put some mileage on the book I’ve just started to write. Before Christmas I have a family party for 22, plus a luncheon for five for an English based writer friend who’s doing the reverse trip to mine (we cross paths for one day). So in case I don’t blog until January. A HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR TO ALL!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Edge of Regret

As I said a little while ago, my latest novel EDGE OF REGRET has been picked up by Severn House UK for March 30th release. The book is set mostly in Scotland. First in the city of Edinburgh with its beautiful architecture, then on to the breathtaking scenery of the Southern uplands.

I reported the news to Publisher’s Lunch and hey presto! The book has already been mentioned on three or four blogs by lovely people I’ve never met, as well as being advertised for ordering on a couple of sites.

I don’t mind telling you that I had great trouble writing EDGE OF REGRET for reasons that will be obvious if you read my last blog. Grey minds don’t always equate to grey writing. Nevertheless, I heaved a sigh of relief when it was accepted. I’m now looking forward to reading it in book form in an improved state of mind. In the meantime I’m getting on with another book, which will be a contemporary novel rather than my more usual historical novel.

This time of year there is always so much to do. We’ll be hosting a family Christmas party of about 22 people halfway through December. At the moment I’ve only bought gifts for the two youngest members of the family, so a marathon shopping spree is coming up. I love watching the kids faces as they open their gifts. It’s such a pleasure.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Helpful writer's sites and medical

Thanks Sandi and Luna for your praise and comments. Helpful sites for writers follow.
In the UK. Jacqui Bennet Bureau Writer's sites. Explore Anne Gracie's site and Paula Roe's site

Over a year ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had no real symptoms, except those that could be easily be attributed to other causes.

The cancer was found quite by accident. I made my usual yearly visit to the optometrist for a check up. My eyesight hadn’t changed, but he was a bit worried about another aspect of my sight, so sent me to the eye specialist. The symptom I had was quite normal, but the eye specialist thought my carotid arteries were a bit soft.

I reported this my GP who duly send me for a Doppler scan. The arteries were okay, but the Doppler picked up some nodules on my thyroid. More films concentrating on my thyroid, showed a rather large nodule on the left side and some tiny ones on the right. Thyroid nodules as you grow older are fairly common, but I was sent to a specialist as a precaution. Tests indicated that it wasn’t cancer. However, the large nodule could have caused trouble, so it was arranged for the left side of my thyroid to be removed. Halfway through the operation a frozen section would be done to double check it wasn’t cancer. When I woke I was assured that no cancer cells were present. I was sent home.

A few days later the specialist rang to say more tests had been done by a suspicious pathologist and two types of cancer had been found. It was straight back in to have the rest of the thyroid removed. Luckily, both cancers were low grade, which was why they’d been hard to detect. But one type has just begun to invade the vascular system, which meant there was a chance it could have spread. A week ago I had radiation treatment, with no ill effects. The resulting follow up scan and tests show that the cancer hasn’t spread, and the likelihood of it reoccurring is highly unlikely.

I’m given to understand that thyroid cancer effects women more than men, so one of the reasons I’m writing about this is to inform women, and to urge them to get their thyroid gland checked, especially if they get unduly fatigued, or go to extremes of body temperature, such as sudden flushes or coldness. Sinus trouble, difficulty swallowing or a voice that soon becomes husky can also indicate thyroid problems, as can weight gain. For me the symptoms closely resembled menopause, which is what I put them down to. All I can say is, thank goodness for a vigilant optometrist who set the whole chain of events in motion.