On Why I Use a Walking Stick

Accepting walking aids.

Why I Use a Walking Stick (written originally for the MS Society blog)

Recently, my physiotherapist has encouraged me to try and increase my exercise routine. I used to go to hydrotherapy, but this is not running currently. This got me thinking about why I use a walking stick when out and about.

     It all started when I was still working. I used to be a nurse, and my final post was a community psychiatric nurse. One winter’s day, I was tasked with escorting someone to an important solicitor’s meeting in Manchester city centre. This person was really shy, and had difficulty understanding others, he used a lot of non-verbal communication to make himself understood.

     It was all going well until I parked up in the nearest available space. As soon as I stepped out onto the street, I suffered the familiar sensation of blurred vision, indescribable dizziness and a feeling that I MUST grab onto something to steady myself.

  Even when I was a child, I had a sensation that ‘tall buildings might fall on me’. I suppose this is an irrational fear, and some have suggested this is anxiety, but I don’t think it is.

    I must tell you that we did manage to make the appointment although I must have looked rather strange clutching onto walls, lampposts and traffic lights. This made me feel terrible in my role. I was meant to be easing another person’s worries by providing physical support, and I must have looked as though I wanted to crawl along on the pavement. I could not explain what was happening because of the communication barrier. The man clutched at his chest, appearing even more anxious himself. I knew then that I had to do something – this is when I started using a walking stick.

     The feeling I described earlier has worsened over the years. Although I do get blurred vision at home, it is manageable in familiar surroundings. Triggers to the problem for me are bright lights (such as fluorescent lighting in supermarkets reflecting on shiny floors). Wide-open spaces (such as the big field that dog walkers use near my house). Or the opposite – city centres with a dense concentration of tall buildings. Looking at the sky, and then back to straight in front of me causes it too. I think that this is something to do with moving clouds, the contrast in lighting and my eyes not catching up.

     I am told that optic neuritis is quite common in MS, eye problems were the first thing I noticed, and I have been treated for it several times in the past. An MS nurse once told me that the lasting results of optic neuritis can be spatial awareness. I would say this is true for me because I do sometimes think there is a step there when there isn’t. And again, sticks come in handy in this instance.

   The walking stick has helped me immensely over the years. I feel more confident when out and about. I have noticed that if I try and walk without it, I am very unsure, slow and looking for somewhere to sit or lean when I should be looking ahead of me at my destination. I believe walking with a stick acts as a visual marker in a crowded situation that I might become unbalanced if I don’t have space.

     A couple of things to think about with walking sticks: as a person who follows the advice of my physiotherapist, I am conscious not to hunch over the stick. Get it at the right height (most walking sticks are adjustable and there is an NHS page on how to use them). My physio is always advising me to ‘turn my stomach muscles on’ and so I actively do this when moving. If anyone asks me ‘why are you using a stick?’ I try and keep my answer short and sweet because strangers don’t need to know my life story. Accept that the walking stick can only do so much, I use a scooter for longer journeys – planning is everything.

     Ultimately, I wanted to write about walking sticks because I did feel self-conscious when I first started using them. Now I embrace it. I have many sticks in different colours and patterns to match what I’m wearing, and I keep them in the car and just by the front door. I think it is essential to make life easy for yourself, whatever your particular problem is living with MS.

Me at the big field – sunglasses always help!

Happy reading everyone, Samantha 🙂

PS I wrote these books ~

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FQXFV6R

I’m Back! (and other mini-dramas)

I haven’t blogged for a while, or participated (properly) with social media. It’s all been for a good cause – I concentrated all of my energies on my BA (Honours) English Literature and Creative Writing degree, of which I have now completed the first half of my third year.

I used to be able to do more – either my MS is getting worse, I’m getting older, or the course is getting more demanding. Probably mostly the latter but also (probably) a combination of the three.

I have still been reading for fun, of course but all the other things (book promotions, reviews, adverts) have had to take a back seat.

I plan to use my summer to write my next standalone novel – I am too anxious to reveal the title today, although I’m not sure why.

First, I plan to relaunch my 2017 novel ‘1962 (an uplifting tale of 1960s Lancashire)

You know, someone hurt my feelings about this cover earlier this year and I could really have done without it. There’s a long story behind the cover, my dad didn’t want his face on the cover (!) and the person I gave the photograph to to draw a picture from didn’t illustrate an image of the bike. Amazon KDP were not happy with the original cover (too blurry) until eventually I was forced to change it. The cover you see above is aiming to be an old Penguin.

Postcards From Penguin: 100 Book Jackets in One Box: Amazon.co.uk: Penguin  Group USA: 8601404201011: Books

Anyway, I plan to change the cover when I relaunch.

One advantage of being an indie author is that I can make these kind of decisions and change things whenever I fancy it. (Although it doesn’t provide protection from busybodies)

Thank you for understanding, I hope everyone has a fabulous summer, Samantha 🙂

PS I wrote these!

Book Review Alia Henry and the Ghost Writer by Christine Betts #IARTG

This great book is part of a multi-genre promotion about books set in France! https://books.bookfunnel.com/fromfrancewithlove/1un9lt0lk6

I read loads… loads and loads of books everyone is using that word ‘voracious’ these days (huge appetite lol!) I do love reading, and apart from a few of the set books chosen by the Open University, I usually only read what I enjoy.

Anyway… this week I found a book that was right up my street!

Alia Henry and the Ghost Writer by Christine Betts

The blurb from the book’s Amazon page :

After a stunt lands heiress and comedian Alia Henry in lock-up, she finds herself under house-arrest in a crumbling mansion owned by Whitehall International, a company she discovers controls much of her ‘free-range’ life. Detoxing and device-free, she must write her contracted novel or face dire consequences.

But she is not alone on the once-magnificent estate. Phillip, Whitehall’s unquestioning aide-de-camp, intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure and wandering the house at night, she meets Braith, eccentric writer-in-residence and mixer of marvellous cocktails.

Each day she struggles to write but at night, under the light of an increasingly implausible full moon, Alia delights in exotic drinks and dazzling conversation with the mysterious Braith.

Not usually one for asking questions, she wonders is Braith a ghost…?

Or is she?

Funny, smart, and full of heart, Alia Henry discovers what happens when you look up from your screen long enough to see the people in front of you.

Actually, when I started reading this book I wondered if it reminded me of anything else I had read. I think that’s why I liked it so much, it is a good fiction that did not fit into any pigeonhole. Women’s fiction, I reckon. It did remind me in a funny sort of way about a new series I started watching this week – The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco. Because both of these fictions have a female protagonist who can see ghosts (if that’s what they are!)

The Flight Attendant Poster

Here is my little five star review:

5.0 out of 5 stars You will be rooting for Alia

Don’t you love France? Alia (short for Thalia – brilliant) is a talented young heiress with a bright future ahead of her… although… things have not always been great; she lost her parents and dealt with this bereavement by drinking.

Oh… and when we meet her, Alia is in a bit of a pickle, getting arrested for a naked stunt in London.

Fortunately (although it feels unfortunate to Alia at first), she ends up on house arrest in a gorgeous Paris chateau with NO MOBILE PHONE (imagine!), and forced to write the children’s novel she is contracted to. At night, the building is different and Alia starts seeing things that others don’t, staircases that others can’t climb, and then she meets Braith, a poet, novelist and charmer.

A brilliant read for those who like a mystical narrative, literature and backing a character who needs a shove in the right direction!

Photo by Czapp u00c1rpu00e1d on Pexels.com

Happy reading everyone! PS, don’t forget to click the link for all the books set in France 🙂 Samantha xx

https://books.bookfunnel.com/fromfrancewithlove/1un9lt0lk6

Edna and Genevieve are Having a Whale of a Time in France #Bookpromo

I am thrilled to bits that  Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue (book 3 of Curmudgeon Avenue) is part of a BookFunnel promotion celebrating stories set in France.

The promotion is called ‘From France With Love’ and here is the link to a selection of multi-genre books https://books.bookfunnel.com/fromfrancewithlove/1un9lt0lk6 all written in with carefree, passionate, European style.

In Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue the lovestruck pair move away from Manchester’s grey streets to Genevieve’s home country of France. Edna is thrilled to bits to leave her idiot sister Edith and husband Harold (Edna’s nemesis). Genevieve returned to Whitefield in book one and although she had previously broken Edna’s heart their romance was soon rekindled. 

Initially, Edna and Genevieve stay in a gite in Brittany, but quickly find out that rain in this part of France can be (almost) as persistent as in Manchester. They then continue their adventure and move to somewhere on the Bordeaux border in a fictional chateau called Chateau le Grincheaux. This is a very loose and creative translation of Curmudgeon Avenue. When I say ‘very loose’ – my 1980s high school French did not stretch that far… 

Edna is enthralled by a place in Dordogne called Rocamadour and persuades her hosts Diane and Jackson Bove to take Genevieve and her on a day trip to this medieval treasure. However, Genevieve refuses to go and instigates a tiff with Edna to support her plan. Later in the book, the same thing happens again when Edna wants to go to Paris! What is Genevieve hiding? Will the couple ever return to Curmudgeon Avenue? 

Speaking of Curmudgeon Avenue, as this is the third book in the series the existing Whitefield residents go about their business under the watchful eyes and ears of Curmudgeon Avenue. Yes, it is the house that tells the story in this social satire series.  

I am lucky enough that Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue is part of a multi-genre promotion called ‘From France with Love’  These twenty-one books are well worth a look. Apart from my book, I have read ‘Hotel Deja Vu’  by Christine Betts which is a unique story beautifully written and set in Paris. 

Photo by Alex Azabache on Pexels.com

Just for fun, I am about to share some photos from a holiday we took to France seven years ago… (eek seven years!)

This is Rocabadour, where Edna managed to climb the many, many, many stairs because she had been drinking wine. I don’t know how I did it!

I’m rubbish at Jenga.

Inspiration for Edna and Genevieve’s French home (no one tell my husband I have posted a photo of him!)

Happy (French) reading everyone!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/fromfrancewithlove/1un9lt0lk6

Samantha xx

The End of Lockdown (and why ‘popping round’ is still banned at my house).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is not my front door, but I chose this photo because of the colour. Green – how does green make you feel? This image makes me feel safe, and in harmony with my surroundings (I can’t wait for spring-time light-gardening weather). Also, I can’t stand up for long if someone knocks on my door.

The last twelve months have reminded me of when I had to finish work. It was awful – and I refuse to return to how I felt.

Writing about the end of lockdown in the UK may be premature but it is worth writing about. A word I heard on the news this morning was ‘caution’. This got me thinking… Especially as during my (phone) appointment with the MS nurse last month, she reminded me to be careful about anxiety when ‘things start getting back to normal.’

I have lots of words about the pandemic, but I suppose the most fitting one is ‘fraught’ the past twelve months have been fraught.

Upsetting/stressful/quiet/boring… these are all words that pop into my head when writing this.

I’ve got MS and I lost my twenty year nursing career (I was a band 6 community psychiatric nurse). Now I am used to being at home. While everyone was getting used to the weirdness of seeing the inside of their kitchen and front room at 11.30 am, nothing much had changed for me… except I had company.

I also had understanding, I knew what a culture shock staying at home was going to be for my family. I feel like we were lucky, and we’ve broken it’s back. We are now about to go through another change – I am not going to rush it.

It wasn’t the being at home… I am very comfortable spending time in my own house. Cabin fever is not something I suffer with. It is odd being at home all the time, though.

When I stopped working, I felt like I was losing my identity… my sense of self was stolen, and this wasn’t my employers fault – it was how others treated me. That is the absolute truth.

I’d been so ill… The worst relapse ever. My complete right side of stopped working from my right eye- blind with optic neuritis, a weird pins and needly painful nuisance feeling in my right arm, my right hand was completely useless – I couldn’t even put my glasses on without hitting myself in the face. And I couldn’t walk.

I looked the same, though.

And that’s where the problem began.

I looked the same so people thought I could still do the things that I used to be able to do. I can’t, listening to people talking is draining. If it wasn’t, I’d still be working. Likewise, we should be careful not to expect everything to quickly return to ‘normal’ after lockdown.

Since my diagnosis of MS in 2005, I have worked really hard to follow the advice of the neurology team at the hospital, occupational therapy and physiotherapy (which has been the consistent rescue of my condition – I swear by those appointments all these years later).

But even when I was still off sick, my life quickly became a stressful series of visits – people (not friends… these people were not being friendly) ‘popping round to see how I am’. All I heard was the chatter of loaded themes and bossy statements which all started with ‘What you should do/why don’t you do this/you NEED to do this. All the while, I should have been staying away from stressful interactions and looking after myself. I was so ill I did not feel strong enough to say ‘leave me alone’. Actually, when I did say ‘please don’t visit’, people ignored my requests and still knocked on my door. This is what I don’t want to return to after lockdown.

Sorry to go on about things that happened years ago, but it has all come flooding back in nightmare and flashbacks during this recent turmoil.

(I did speak to another MS sufferer and she experienced the same thing – she even woke up one afternoon to find a visitor sitting on the end of her bed… how rude!)

It took a long time for me to accept and move on. AND I’M NOT LETTING MY NEW LIFE GO. Now I have a routine of physio, rest in the middle of the day and work in the afternoon. I write books instead of being a nurse, and yes, that is work. Also, keeping my fingers crossed for good health. Before lockdown, if I wanted to see my friends, this would be at the weekend – especially as I need my husband’s help to get around. Not Sundays though, Sundays are for COMPLETELY chilling out – husband agrees.

Even though we all look the same as we did, there is no denying that things are different now. Let’s learn from this, and adopt a new routine – with caution.

During this time, I have appreciated (even more) how important it is to be careful, I think we all have.

I can remember clearly (before all this) people had sneezed right in my face. It was disgusting, let’s not go back to those times. Face masks or not, let’s not spread germs.

When things re-open, let’s support local businesses and go to the pub or café instead of ‘popping round unexpectedly’. We can all (gradually) have a safe and enjoyable summer.

It is OK to be wary at the end of lockdown.

Since the start of the year, people have been hinting at breaking lockdown rules and ‘just popping round’. Even though, last week it was announced that people with some risk factors should shield until the end of March. I felt I was right back where I started my house full of people, not strong enough to say no. But that isn’t true anymore…

Although ambivalent, I am strong enough now to say do not flood me. It is ok to be cautious.

I don’t care if this makes me sound antisocial – I’m not, ask any of my actual friends.

Now leave me alone, I’m working from home (as Zandra Bennett said in my novel ‘The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue’).

I wrote these books:

Enjoy the next few months, Samantha 🙂

Bleak House and Curmudgeon Avenue: A Comparison

Bleak House and Curmudgeon Avenue both written about houses.

Imagine my surprise when this years first book of my creative writing and English literature degree was announced as Bleak House by Charles Dickens.

Bleakhouse serial cover.jpg

I had never read this book before, and it rolled onto my Kindle with an estimated reading time of twenty seven hours (I think they guess these times on your personal reading speed). The first thing I did (not for academic purposes) was to have a quick nosy on Wikipedia… Then I read this sentence ‘The novel has many characters and several sub-plots,’

Let’s just have a look at that again  The novel has many characters and several sub-plots, 

Remind you of anything?

Yes, Curmudgeon Avenue – the six and a half part series also has many characters and several sub-plots but I promise… or as we say in Manchester I swear down I had not read Bleak House before I started writing Curmudgeon Avenue.

Image result for gif I swear down
Here is a Gif of the American version of ‘SWEAR DOWN’ just in case my North West England vernacular confuses you.
(Also, we don’t spell it Northwest England).

When the multi talented Lindsay McKinnon of Theatre of The Mind Productions narrated the audiobooks of Curmudgeon Avenue, she wrote a post on her website ’50 Shady Characters & More’ which you can read and see her contact details (if you are looking for a narrator) by clicking on the words in bold.

I didn’t realise I had written 50 characters, but with all the supporting extras they do add up! Especially if you include all six and a half books.

Bleak house has 52 characters.

Incomplete sentences, some reviewers (in the US) have picked up on this. Yes I write with British English grammar and spelling, this includes a creative turn of phrase. My character Wantha Rose likes to refer to herself in the third person – particularly if her boyfriend Ricky has upset her (as so often he does).

Nobody upsets Wantha Rose. NOBODY.

See what I mean?

Charles Dickens was also a fan of incomplete sentences. The opening to Bleak House starts with the one word sentence ‘London.’ Say what you like about Curmudgeon Avenue but even George Eliot’s fancy-piece George Henry Lewes (famous philosopher and literary critic) was unable to review Charles Dickens into submission – even though they were ‘dear friends’.

Charles Dickens, the Victorian literary genius and me (I can’t say and I – I’m from Manchester) both like incomplete sentences in our books.

That’s books about houses, Bleak House and Curmudgeon Avenue.

Bleak House is set in London and Lincolnshire – there is an actual Bleak House in Broadstairs, Kent

Curmudgeon Avenue, is of course, fictional. This street could be anywhere in Whitefield, which as you know is a real life town north of Manchester.

Whitefield is located in Greater Manchester

Narration

Bleak House and Curmudgeon Avenue both have unusual narration choices.

Dickens’s Bleak house was serialised and the finished novel version appeared in 1853. The serials published in three or four chapters. The novel is narrated by a third-person omniscient narrator and the first-person limited account of character Esther Summerson. Though these narrative voices greatly differed, Bleak House worked because the narrations were not mixed within the chapter, (so readers either got Esther or the omniscient narrator speaking to them). This meant that Victorian readers of Dickens’s Bleak House knew what was going to happen next before the narrator Esther Summerson.

I’m about to write a long explanation… wait for it…

The Curmudgeon Avenue Series is written from the point of view of the first house on the street. The house becomes an omniscient character and so, the name Number One Curmudgeon Avenue has capital letters. This means that the books are second person witness narrated.

Very unusual, most books are either first person ‘I’, third person ‘they’. Second person is hardly ever used, the reader is addressed ‘you’. I couldn’t help it… I wanted the house to tell the story, and this technique allowed me to satirise the people who lived in the street:

‘Edna’s costume jewellery jangled like tinnitus’ [Who said this? Number One Curmudgeon Avenue, of course]

There is a review on Goodreads that explains it all from a reader who ‘got’ the Curmudgeon Avenue Series. The reviewer said something like ‘I wondered at first how the house got to know everything. But then I remembered I was reading a book where the house told the story, so why wouldn’t the house know everything?’

As writers, we must trust our readers to make what they will of our books. Otherwise, we would write books that TELL rather than SHOW. And although I am not against telling a little, it is much more fun to show the reader what you mean, that there is a house with a personality with eyes and ears watching every move and making fun of it (for our benefit).

A bit like Charles Dickens having fun with his readers when Esther Summerson doesn’t know what we know because we’ve already read about it when the omniscient narrator was having a turn. (I was going to pop a spoiler in here because Bleak House is a famous book, and if you were to Google it, you can read a plot summary, but I decided not to because that is cheating!) All I will say is the book is about Esther Summerson’s parentage and the long running Jarndyce and Jarndyce legal case.

Image result for Charles Dickens free image

Repeated phrases.

Charles Dickens used repetition to remind his readers which character or location they were reading about. (Ideal for those early readers who caught the serialised editions in Household Words). Fog is mentioned thirty times as a literary device, a curtain of fog… readers must wait for the fog to clear before they get to know the plot. Mud is mentioned thirteen times, ‘mud and mire’, all a bit grim around Chancery and Tom-all-Alone’s. Mrs Bagnet’s domestic dinner-times. Grandfather Smallweed who does not go out without his Grandaughter, Judy who he speaks to as though she is his servant. And Mr Krook’s bottle shop and lodgings are said to symbolise ‘rock bottom’.

Repetition in Curmudgeon Avenue is just for fun really, I suppose I could say that I was trying to reflect the house’s disdainful personality. Repeated phrases (that I slotted in wherever I could) are ‘For longer than reasonably necessary’ or ‘quite some time’. Both probably reflect that Curmudgeon Avenue has been hanging around since Victorian times.

Social satire

Yes, both Bleak House and Curmudgeon Avenue are social satires.

Time

Bleak House was written as a contemporary novel in 1853, Curmudgeon Avenue is a contemporary novel of current times.

Dialogue

Dickens wrote Bleak House is a social commentary. The upper middle class characters are very well spoken ‘Anything to vary this detestable monotony. Oh, go on, do!’ This is Lady Dedlock, she sounds very posh to me. Dickens’s poorer characters have a colloquial vernacular which Dickens wrote in non-standard English grammar. ‘I know wot she’s come for!’

Curmudgeon Avenue is a bit of fun… All the characters are Northern, working class and speak with a Manchester turn-of-phrase. Using this technique aims to bring character to the… characters. Nobody ever says ‘and I’ in North West England. When we greet each other, we say ‘Alright’ sometimes, the exuberance of a hello sounds like ‘Alrite’ . These are not typos – it is how things are round here. ‘I knows someone called Ricketts(from The Terraced House Diaries)

Photo by Olenka Sergienko on Pexels.com

I regularly watch a film or read a book and think ‘that reminds me of’ another film or book. Reminds doesn’t mean the same as. I love it.

Have you read a book/watched a film that reminded you of another story?

Happy reading, Samantha xx

Sans Feline

I am devastated, RIP my lady Petal cat (2006?-2021).

No description available.

Only the week before, I reported that Petal had sniffed out a mouse at the back of our house (she did nothing about it once I had opened the back door).

Last week I was at the vets three times with Petal, her presenting complaint was me asking if she could possibly have had a crisis of confidence after the mouse incident because she didn’t seem herself (she hadn’t). A few days later I was crying on Manchester Road (you’re not allowed inside the vets at the moment). Poor Petal went downhill in the space of a week. She had not been eating as much for a while but had been completely normal in all other ways.

Last Sunday, however Petal stopped eating altogether. Long painful story later the vet tried a few different things and Petal was booked in on Friday to have further tests, but Thursday evening was the real start of the end for her.

I’m only blogging about Petal because I would always post about my animal friends.

We adopted Petal with her mother Flower in 2008, Petal we think was 14 or 15 years old when she died.

I can’t believe I have no cats (sad face).

^ One from years ago when we had three,

Hug your pets

Samantha xx

A Mouse Has Been Spotted in My Back Garden, (and other mini-dramas).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not actual garden footage, my new four legged friend moved too quickly for me to take a photo (or decide if it was a mouse or a rat).

The other day, fourteen year old Petal cat was meowing most vehemently at the back door.

May be an image of cat

Above is a photo of Petal cat in her favourite place, sitting on me, so I had been surprised at her interest in the garden, she hardly ever goes out.. I soon found out what Petal wanted when my eyes were drawn to a little brown bottom (followed by a thin tail) scooting behind a dividing wall. I froze at my back door. Meanwhile, Petal elegantly sniffed the air and returned back inside (I love how cats style things out as though they hadn’t intended to pounce anyway)..

Our next door neighbour informed Mr Henthorn that he had seen a mouse playing around at our shed door. When husband built the shed, he put gravel underneath it. I thought this was a fancy way of shed maintenance, but now the gravel has come in handy because I can see that it had been disrupted by our new guest.

I do hope you’re not reading this in search of advice about how to get rid of vermin. There is plenty of this on the internet – I know because I searched myself the other day. That is the sum total of what I have done, however. It has been very cold and wet here and my legs have been too hurty for any garden adventures. And in any case, Martha the Border terrier has taken a great interest in the shed door of late and even insists on a midnight visit to bark into the corner.

I think Martha has scared them off (whatever they were) the gravel remains safely under the shed today.

I started this year with a list of intended blog posts, the titles are all great… I just haven’t written them yet because my head has been full of nonsense.

Other mini-dramas, I have noticed this week is that… even though we are in this situation… you know what I’m talking about… people still find the time to be mean behind the screen.

Anyway, I have removed myself from the receiving end of the screen to free up the time to help my parents. My dad in particular has asked for my help with something and I would hate to have to put Mum and Dad off because my head is full of nonsense from outside sources.

I saw on the news that a parish council meeting in Cheshire is trending on Twitter:

Avoid people who are mean behind the screen. You wouldn’t want you to end up trending on Twitter, or living on Curmudgeon Avenue…

More next week, happy reading, Samantha xx

Do Fictional Characters Listen to Music? (in the parallel universe they exist in).

Do fictional characters listen to music?

I remember hearing something on the radio (BBC Radio 6) that stuck in my mind. I am always returning to the past, recalling snippets of random stuff. I then waste almost a full day thinking, doing internet searches and finally, wondering what made me remember this nugget of useless information.

I was on my way home from work (that’s how long ago it was), when I heard a presenter talking about an Irvine Welsh interview.

Apparently, Irvine Welsh compiles a playlist for his characters when writing a novel.

This was on the radio, and as I was driving so I couldn’t write this down… this idea stuck in my head.

(I can’t find the interview on the internet but if you Google Irvin Welsh loads come up for him).

Despite this concept sticking in my head, I don’t remember reading a book since where a playlist was obvious. (Please let me know if you have).

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I must have had music in mind when I wrote some of my books.

In 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire), my character Rose Bradshaw sings (no lyrics were used) Edith Piaf songs to her Uncle Billy.

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

The Curmudgeon Avenue series references plenty of music (without using the lyrics).

In book 2, Harold and Edith get asked a question about Nirvana, at their pub quiz (on accidental proposal night). Later on in the book, they listen to Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band. Wantha and Ricky turn up the ‘CHOONS’ when club classic Shine On by Degrees of Motion is played on the radio.

Book 3 brings the new character Gil Von Black. Patchouli met him at a speed dating event in Radcliffe. Gil Von Black is ‘famous person royalty’ in my fictional version of Whitefield. He is a retired session musician who has played with Black Sabbath and even (ha!) Def Leppard.

Plenty more heavy metal references are dropped in book 4, but it isn’t until book 6 that we get to find out the characters’ guilty pleasures.

Suzanne ‘Toonan’ Rose’s guilty pleasure is Vanilla Ice (remember Ice, Ice Baby?) Edith Ricketts’ guilty pleasure is the theme tune to Murder She Wrote. Wantha Rose doesn’t have any guilty pleasures, Wantha Rose apologises to nobody. Patchouli, however…. well her guilty pleasure is Lionel Richie, the reason for this is a corker. (Sorry, I can’t tell you it would be a massive spoiler).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All of the advice on the internet is you cannot use song lyrics in your book because of copyright. (Some sites give details of how to ask permission but I presume this will cost). I choose not include lyrics but referring to artists is fine.

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

During the second half of this year, I plan to start writing my next standalone novel. The characters have rattled around in my mind for a long time. I think it is time I figure out their tastes in music.

I hope it’s awesome…

Happy reading and writing, Samantha

Book Spotlight for “A Curmudgeonly Christmas” by Samantha Henthorn

Thank you Sudesna Ghosh for blogging about my new book (and for all the sweet books you write!)

Sue's Book Blog

Blurb

THE ONE WHERE IT’S THE CURMUDGEONLY FINAL

Curmudgeon Avenue has been going on for quite some time, some would say for longer than reasonably necessary. In this Curmudgeonly edition, the nincompoops of Curmudgeon Avenue would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gordon Bennett is obsessed with the pothole growth on the street as we get proper emosh at Wantha and Ricky’s wedding. Christmas is coming, and Francesca is getting fat meanwhile Zandra may have overdone it with the scented candles. And the ghosts are immune to any lockdown restrictions.

Put down the sausage rolls and the leftover wine, A Curmudgeonly Christmas is a perfect end to the Curmudgeon Avenue series and the year!  

Written with British English Grammar and turn-of-phrase.

Excerpt

‘Toonan! This is going to be a disaster!’ Francesca rushed to the counter atGenevieve’sin her dressing gown, having noticed Toonan…

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