So, They Closed His School. Is It Really A Surprise? #90DaysBlogChallenge #Covid-19

Today’s writing prompt for my #90DayChallenge: ‘what’s on your mind right now, what’s happening?’

Well, as I write this rather a lot. I sit here in the early afternoon multitasking, which is even more of the new norm for me since the pandemic. (I shared how much my day and life has changed in a blog post here.) At this moment in time I’m surrounded by school books, pens, paper, pencils, the washing, and the normal content of my kitchen, my son is having lunch and has his nose in his tablet watching a movie. Pretty normal right? But, I’m in a state of shock. On one hand I ask myself should I really be, is there really a surprise here?

The prompt is to just write about whatever’s on your mind, in all honesty I have so much, I don’t even know where to start. I’m sorry if I seem as though I’m rambling. *Sighs*

This morning I got the one call I really hoped that I would never have to answer. A parent who is also a friend, and their child attends the same lovely school as my son called me to say ‘they’ve closed the school.’ I was like, ‘what?’ In a nutshell last night an email circulated, and teachers made contact to let parents know there has been two cases of Covid-19 confirmed. One teacher and one child. Now, no doubt I never got that contact as some of you may recall, I never returned my son to school. I opted to home-school since September. This decision was made after listened to the evidence, news, science, government and still was not sure about the safety of schools reopening. I then spoke to a friend of mine who is a scientist in Brazil. He forwarded research that published that day, confirming that as we know now kids carry the virus with no symptoms etc. It does not mean in any case that they are ‘safe’ and not at risk. After all they could and do transmit it to others.

At the time, I may have been a bit overprotective, but now I so glad I made that choice. Schools have only been open technically half a term- six weeks. Already his school is at risk.

In all honesty, this virus Covid-19 is serious and it makes me so mad when there are people in power, tweeting, ranting, and showing bravado that ‘it’s not that serious’ ‘ I’m immune now I’ve had it’ etc. It’s just rubbish and gives the wrong message about how serious this thing is. It’s kinda really hit home to me today, just how much we must be careful!

After I received that phone call, right when I was in the middle of a math problem with my son LOL I felt like I could not even continue to teach, or focus on it. I had so many questions, who is the child? Who is the teacher? What class was it? Of course, the parent who called me could not give me details. They didn’t even know, the teacher who made contact would not or could not I should say disclose this information. We’re all none the wiser.

Over the course of the morning I’ve been in contact with friends who have older children, they too told me that at their child’s school there have been cases. Even the parent that called me also said, their older child who has just started the secondary school ( high school) phase just September gone, also was sent home last week– one case at their school in their actual class. To add to the fact that the school their younger child attends with my son, is also now closed.

Jessss, does it ever end?, I wondered. As of now, I am really concerned about the state of the world with this pandemic. But happy that I made the decision to home-school as I could. I pray for every parent who reads this or does not even read this, who has a child in school. I send positive energy, there’s a bubble with some kind of protection that surrounds your child as they move through school, mix with other kids, teachers, and members of society that are not part of the family.

All I can say is keep well everyone! Please take this pandemic seriously. I know it’s hard, I know lock-down was even harder and by the looks of it, parts of the UK are under this threat, as are many other parts of the world. Keep your eyes and ears open, do what you can to protect yourself and others. Never feel as though you’re being ‘too scared or over protective’ by making certain decisions, keeping distances, not meeting up etc. I have no doubt many friendships have suffered. But, if people are really any friend of yours they will understand, and care about their safety and yours. make use of the Internet and communicate with cameras etc.

So the question is for me, is there really any surprise that the school has closed? Nope, I guess not when you look at the statistics around the world. And locally where I am. I just never once expected Covid-19’s impact to get so ‘close to home’ the school is literally at the bottom of the road LOL. It’s close! I have no idea what happens after half term, which is coming up. But all I know is looks like home-school is here to stay.

Wherever you are keep well.

90 Days of Writing: How Did You Start Writing? #90DaysBlogChallenge

A very good question! For day #2 of my #90DaysBlogChallenge. In all honesty you could say out of pure creative, therapeutic, time-passing, chance! I never really premeditated this career move, or making it an actual profession I take seriously at all. Here’s the thing I guess while it’s true that I’ve always been a writer. Journals, diaries etc I’ve always loved the written word, and placing my thoughts down . (I have some journals from my school days, I read back and laugh at how my eleven-sixteen year old mind worked back then), in all honesty I never sat down and said, ‘ you’re going to do this for your real job, or at least try to lol.’

Where Did it All Start?

The first ever book I penned was a 90,000 word novel A Stranger in France. It was rough as hell in terms of the manuscript. I had no conscious thought for ‘how to be a good technical writer’ back then, but it’s a good story. This is when I realised my talent, and that a good writer is a GOOD STORY TELLER not (just) a good technical writer. As you can pay people to become good with grammar etc, and do that part. Plus you learn it as you write more. Story-telling natural talent, is not something you can teach, or pay people to really give you naturally. Yes, you can attend courses, read books I’ve written a writer’s reference too on writing good romance, but all they give you and all anyone can give you is, an outline and guide. You, the writer, must bring your talent and A-game and that’s what makes a good story teller- you-your talent. You have it or you don’t I feel. You as a writer will know, regardless of who says what.

Anyway, even with my lack of regard for being a technically good writer with grammar etc (at the time in 2015/16), my focus was just to write and get my idea down on paper then edit it all later. To my surprise after sending it out to the first publisher I had ever approached, I got a response! A good one! A contract! OMG what happened??

So fast forward the first version was published in 2016, but I was very unhappy. with the publisher’s standards of working, and marketing, I learned a lot. The main difference between a good publisher willing to help you grow, has high standards with regards to quality, and ones that are really not worth the paper they offer you the contract on. Especially as you market the hell out of your book, to bring them money, but the end product is piss poor if you want me to keep it real. So that’s how I fell into writing.

I wrote that book because I had a story inside me to tell, and wanted to get it on paper. I had no idea about self-publishing or KDP at the time. I was a total virgin writer in every way! Once my cherry was popped in a way that woke me up, I learned all I could about self-publishing, how to do it well, and the role of a good publisher. I kinda didn’t really trust anyone with my work for a while. I kept writing, self publishing, and loved it I did a few books but then found my home I’m at now. A publisher who I am happy with so far! And they are happy with me.

What Was Going on in Life When You Penned That First Novel?

At the time I started to write my first ever novel, I was thirty-four years old I was running a book club in London too. Some of you may already know this. I ran it for about five years, met some wonderful girls (it was just for girls). We’d meet in London’s biggest book store Waterstones with five floors of books! It was heaven, and I was reading at least two books a month if not more back then. I just opened up a word document, and started to write what was in my heart, how I felt, and what characters came to me. I was also in a terrible relationship, nearing the end. I think that writing actually gave me the strength to say ‘times up, good bye’. So I did! I moved forward with life. Writing really was my saviour, I went on to write more books. Now I’m on about number fourteen (off the top of my head), at the time that I write this. It’s not a hobby, it’s a habit, something I have to do, something that came to me later in life, something that was ‘woken up’ within me, my talent came out from experiencing trauma and self-realisation! For that bull-shit that happened I am thankful for.

Never once did I imagine that in under five years of being a traditionally published author, I’d be an award-winning and best-selling one. Nope, never. I never had any of those common goals or wishes many writers have in mind, in order to 1. validate themselves as a writer 2. validate their talent as a writer 3. make them feel as though ‘they’ve made it’. It just happened by writing and being myself. My only goal has only been to get these characters out of my head , on paper, and into stories that I would love to read and hope others would. I guess I’m the kind of writer that writes for me first, and then hopes others will enjoy it. Sure, if I notice that readers like a particular story, style, series I create etc I will aim to keep them happy! But I guess when I sit down to write, the first thing that comes to me is ‘what do I want to create?’ rather than ‘what will sell?’ ‘ x,y,z would love this’, if that makes sense.

So my route into writing was a very random one, it flourished from experiencing joys with getting a publishing contract very easily or early, but not being happy with that experience, to learning myself how to put out my work, to then securing a publisher who is on the same page as me! My only hope is one day of course for one of the BIG, BIG BIG publishing houses to take onboard a manuscript of mine. But for the here and now I just want to keep going as I am, just write.

What Else Do You Write?

Outside of romantic suspense and crime/thriller/mysteries, magazine writing came later, I expanded on my love of non-fiction writing. I wrote for one magazine that did not stand the test of time sadly, and carried out editorial here. Then I landed my gig with Aspiring Authors Magazine LLC. Then I was blessed with an Associate Editor’s role for a romance literary magazine this year. Tallon Lake publishes quarterly.

How did you get into writing? Leave me a comment, blog it and link back to it here. Join in the writing prompt challenge use #90DaysBlogChallenge

90 Days of Writing: Average day and Routine? #90dayBlogChallenge.

I woke up this morning in a very good mood, not that I don’t normally but today just felt like I had an extra spring in my step. I don’t know if it’s because release day is nearing for me, or just from reading some very uplifting books these last few days. Either way it felt good as I fixed my morning tea and thought about what’s on today’s to-do list.

I can hardly believe that we’re already in October and if I’m honest, it’s always in the last quarter or so of the year I personally get more productive. Whether this be with writing and/or personal goals. This year it’s been very different, the Covid-19 pandemic in a very ironic way pushed me to get more done. I was and still am at home so often, that I have not much choice put to get on with what I should be doing, around managing the household.

So anyway, this morning I woke up and realised, ‘damn it’s already October’ and I felt like I really wanted to focus my time on my personal blogging. I’ve had this blog/official author site since 2016. Back in the day I did a hella-lot of blogging and writing prompts. I slowed down though because of other projects. I decided I’ll do my very own blog challenge that I included in my writer’s reference book , and respond to all the blog challenge topics myself as we close out 2020! Reason being 1. to actually do the challenge myself 2. allow you a little more of a glimpse into me the person, and my life 3. as mentioned I felt like I wanted to spend more time on my blog, personally rather than just featuring others and posting reviews etc. it’s been a while since it’s had a ‘personal touch.’ If your interested you can find out more here on this page, ‘personal blogs n’ rambles’. The funny thing is in the book I’ve set the challenge from the months October- December so it’s perfect timing LOL.

Also I’d like to say do join in with me on the prompts and topics, feel free to link back to this page! I’d love to actually spend more time reading personal blogs of others. Back to that habit I developed years ago. Use #90DayBlogChallenge if you’re onboard.

My Average Day and Routine?

I really wish my day was that simple, wake up, coffee, the rest… since March my average routine has flip itself upside down, around, backwards, and God knows where else. The reason? Yep you guessed it Covid-19. Here’s what my day looks like now as we move through this second wave of the virus in Europe.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday

7.00a.m: Alarm goes off, I moan, curse ,and generally ask myself WTF it’s time already? by 7.30ish I’m out of bed.

7.30-8.00a.m: coffee, tea, or a herbal tea, switch the heating on if it’s chilly, sit down at the kitchen table, express my gratitude for the day and think about what needs to be done today. Quick check of emails.

8.00-8.30a.m: Most days I try to fit in about twenty to thirty minutes Yoga. I really like Vinyasa, Astanga more dynamic yoga in the morning to wake me up! During the summer when I started this new routine, I’d take my yoga mat out onto the patio and practice there. If it’s chilly I’ll practice in the kitchen lol.

8.30a.m: Wake everyone up! Make breakfast, then I jump in the shower and get ready for the day.

9.30a.m: Shower time and dress my son.

10.00a.m: Home school starts! Now this is the major change to my average day since the pandemic. My son has not returned to school since they opened, closed, then opened again. I’ve made the decision to home school until the risk with Covid-19 is a little less. I would rather my son goes to school and has social interaction, yes. But in all honesty health first. I know maybe I’m over protective so much so that I will disrupt my ability to work and earn to home school, but there are ‘vulnerable at risk people’ in the house. The thought of him bringing the virus home (sans symptoms as kids don’t have them), then passing it around. Or him becoming very ill in anyway frankly, it freaks me out. We focus on all the subjects for his age, the national curriculum for his key stage, and we follow the work sent home from school etc.

12.30p.m/ 1-ish until around 2pm: Lunch time. I’ll prepare something, or we’ll have something from the night before. As we all take a break from the day, I allow my son to watch his tablet if he wants, or play a game. Generally he gets to chill. I will check on emails, calls, anything I need to do. Sometimes if need be we’ll eat then head straight out to run errands.

2.00p.m- 4.30ish: Back to home school. We will change topics and/or subjects.

5.00p.m- 7.00p.m: Me time! Finally I get to chill and do as I please. My son will go off and take his time also.

7.00pm: Cook dinner.

by 8.00pm: We all eat!

9.00p.m until bed time: Family time, chill time, reading, writing, enjoyment at home. I actually will do my ‘day job’ around this time I work from home part time.

So Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday that’s generally my ‘pandemic routine’ before this there would be no home school. My son would be at school, I would work and write in the days.

Wednesday officially there’s no school, my son only ever did four days a week anyway. This is a day of rest for us all and enjoyment. I may write a lot on a Wednesday, catch up with work in the evening. On the weekend Saturday and Sunday we take it as it comes, wake up whenever,eat whenever,get dressed whenever and general it’s whatever and whenever I love it. The changes to my week and days has been a lot to get use to. But we’ve managed, it’s working very well. In all honesty I see the improvement in my son’s overall educational abilities from the one to one focus. As mentioned I do really hope that he can return to his normal traditional school soon. But only when this ‘second wave’ is not so risky.

How does your day or routine look? Has it changed since the pandemic? How do you feel now with the changes? Let me know below, join in the blog challenge link it back if you want or comment