Friday, 30 May 2014

#itstime for new #releasealert and news of my Featured author for June - Kenneth Lim

I have been working tirelessly on the sequel to Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure over the last few months and now it's almost release time.
As an Indie author, still learning my craft there are, and have been, challenges along the way. I feel blessed to have made some amazing friends and colleagues on my writing journey, who not only inspire and motivate me but who also provide constructive critique and advice when it is needed. An authors life, particularly as they approach releasing a new title, is all consuming and solitary at times. I feel the need to apologise to my friends and family, and in particular my husband Nigel who has become a book widow over the last few weeks. I want to improve in everything that I do and I strive to achieve a book that we can both be proud of, as it is again our story.

Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente is an honest, warts and all, account of our French adventure.
To reveal the inner most secrets of family life for public scrutiny is nerve racking. However, without honesty you cannot hope to inspire others to follow and achieve their dreams, as we have.
Anyway enough of my sleep deprived ramblings.

I am excited to announce my Featured author for June - Kenneth Lim. I first met Kenneth in 2013 on Authonomy and admire his work immensely.

Kenneth worked as a correspondent for a radio station in Manila under martial law, raised bees for honey in the bush of Pontiac, Quebec, did research on the life of native artist Benjamin CheeChee who hanged himself in a jail cell in Ottawa on his birthday, and authored a short-lived cartoon strip called "Grouse Mountain Poet" for the Vancouver Sun. He also sold books, residential tax shelters and uniform rental packages. He is currently poised to teach English as a second language, possibly in the Far East.
The North Korean is one of several literary projects in his funnel.

I have a extra blog feature starting in June which focuses on memoir authors from the Facebook group We Love Memoirs. To start us off we have Alan Parks author of Seriously mum, What's an alpaca? and Seriously mum, Where's that donkey?

I hope you will stop by to read my interview with Kenneth Lim and Alan Parks over the next few days.

Keep reading, keep reviewing and feel free to contact me.

Sarah Jane

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Reader requests photographs of Kings Canyon, NT from Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure

I love getting messages from people reading our story. 
I received this request for photographs from Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure.

I love getting messages from people reading our story. I received this request for photographs from Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure.

"You describe Alice Springs and your outings there in such exquisite detail, I have never been to Australia, and I don't know if I would ever have thought of chosing to visit Alice Springs, but I think I am falling in love with it. Do you have any photographs of Kings Canyon, I particularly enjoyed reading about your happy times there." Wendy Newstead

Chapter 5 Happy times in the desert
Kings Canyon, NT.

Despite July being winter in Australia there is no respite from the extreme temperatures. Therefore, it was refreshing, and breath taking to unwind from the car journey in our personal Jacuzzi bath, in our hotel room. The unfrosted bathroom windows overlooked rocky hills and scrubland frequented only by the resident wildlife of wallabies, kangaroos and lizards.
The word paradise can conjure up visions of tropical islands, white sandy beaches, clear blue oceans and ultimate relaxation. However, in the desert paradise comes in a contrasting form. It gives you idyllic seclusion, at one with some of nature’s wildest inhabitants such as dingoes, wallabies and snakes, but in luxurious surroundings. 
We experienced amazing sights and special moments on this romantic break, the memories of which will stay with me forever.

I will post more photographs on my blog over the next few days. Feel free to let me know what you would like to see or know more about.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

99c SALE #ebook #GHF

With the release of the sequel to Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure coming soon, I have placed GHF on sale to encourage people to catch up with the story so far.

Take a trip to Australia for only 99c!!!!!!!. Visit Alice Springs, Hobart, and a variety of places in Queensland. Enjoy and experience road trips through outback Australia and NSW. We lived the Australian dream; embracing the adventure untill adversity came to test us.

Read it now before the sequel is released 

RT @SarahJanewrites Read Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure, for 99c before the sequel is released #TWFBG 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

#Book cover #reveal for Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente.

Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente. 

The title says it all, what we have and where we are. This book, the sequel to Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure, follows our French exploits as we endeavour to rebuild our lives, in another new country, after spending four and half years in Australia.  Our goal, or hope for the immediate future, is to focus positively on the present,  so that we can start a new optimistic future back in Europe.  To be nearer to the children is our main aim, leaving the dark clouds of the challenges we faced in Australia as a distant memory.  Journey with us as we arrive in southwest rural France. Enjoy my reflections, thoughts and observations about my family, our new surroundings and lifestyle, as well as my writing, our renovation project and our topsy-turvy life in general as it unfolds.  Once again, we will laugh, cry, and enjoy life to the fullest with a generous helping of positive spin thrown in for good measure.
There's still time to read Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure before reading about our french adventures.

Available at:

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

#Cappaccino versus #Australian adventure #ebook. Which would you choose? Then again why choose have both for under £4

In 2003 the average price of a cappuccino was £1.30 but now it is £2.20 on average.

It will take you on average 15 minutes to it drink alone, or 30 minutes over a chat with a friend.

Glass Half Full: Our Australian adventure ebook, which has 23 Amazon UK reviews 
4.6 out of 5 stars. 
It will take you longer than 15-30 minutes to enjoy and you can escape into our Australian lifestyle, experiencing road trips, outback living and working and find out how one woman and her family overcame life changing events.

Here's the link to Amazon UK

The sequel Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente is due for release soon.

Book cover reveal coming this weekend :)

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Preparing my new #book the #sequel to Glass Half Full:Our Australian adventure

It is exciting waiting for the final draft of my new book cover to arrive and the final edits and proof reading of:

Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente.

I have started a new board on Pinterest for some background photographs.

Stay tuned for updates, have a great week.

Sarah Jane

Thursday, 1 May 2014

My featured author for May is Phil Thomas

Introducing Phil Thomas author of Shame, a true story.About Phil Thomas (aka Raymond Poar)

Ray, born in Widnes, met his wife Denise from Runcorn, in a night club in 1982. Denise and Phil married in 1996.
After suffering two miscarriages they had a daughter Michelle in 1987, and a son Mark in 1988. However, Mark was born prematurely and only survived for a few days. Phillip, their second son, born in 1995, also premature, is now a healthy university student. Ray and Denise are extremely proud of both Michelle and Phillip.
Welcome Ray,
It is an honour and a privilege to have you as my featured author for May.  I know a lot of my readers are eager to learn more about the man behind this harrowing story. 
Boy on the bottom to the right is Ray

Can you tell me a little about your new book Shame?

Shame is a story of my true experiences. It starts with a childhood filled with utter degradation and neglect. It proceeds through an inevitable trail of court appearances, borstal and prison incarcerations. However, this story perhaps really begins when I was sexually abused by a warder in one of the borstals I was sent to – Medomsley. This was a horrific event for a boy who with no sexual experience at all, of any sort, until that point. (I was always too dirty and smelly for any girl to look twice at me!) This assault set the tone for the rest of my life. It gives the book its title – Shame. 

The shame that I felt that I had not fought back when I was attacked, that I had given in to the most degrading and horrifying abuse haunts me still. In this book I allow the reader into the life of a victim of abuse and what happens long after the headlines have faded. My abuse at the hands of a paedophile, now dead, who has been described as ‘more prolific than Jimmy Saville’, has coloured every part of my life since I was seventeen. 

My story takes the reader from my first forays into crime (climbing out of the bedroom window to steal bread and milk from doorsteps to eat), to the night that I turned up at the home of Neville Husband, my abuser, with a gun, determined to shoot him dead for what he had done to me and to other boys. It is a ‘warts and all’ look at the youth offender penal system and highlights the good and the bad of that system. It covers my escapes from borstal and the harsh treatment I received from the courts. 

It examines, without self pity, what happens to a child who is allowed to grow up feral, to be beaten in front of the police by his mother as a punishment for his crimes, and to be beaten every day by that mother whether or not he had done anything wrong. 

Ray and Denise on the right
I share with the reader the loves I had, and my eventual marriage to Denise, who is still the love of my life. My story tells of the death of my first son, and my suicide attempt that was fuelled by the all-encompassing shame that has influenced my whole life. It covers the court case against the Home Office, which includes the experiences of fellow sufferers. 
This is an observation of how the world was for a young boy who was abused first by his mother and then by various other people in authority, but who throughout his childhood steadfastly believed that adults were always right.

Why did you title your book Shame?

The reason for the title 'Shame' is firstly the all consuming shame I felt about the things he made do and the fact that I hadn't kicked and screamed until he stopped? But I was just a terrified boy and he was very strong and had shown that he could and would kill me if i didn't do what he wanted. Therefore I became completely compliant. 
As the years have passed and especially after the birth of my son my shame became overwhelming. When I reported what had happened to me to the police and the investigation started I found out that Husband was known to the police and the home office and had known about his behaviour for a decade before he assaulted me. Even the officers at Medomsley knew what he was doing to young boys and it is their shame too that he was allowed to continue abusing young boys/men for twenty five years.

Readers say:
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to appear in print 28 Mar 2014
By Jenny
This book is a good read but the subject is harrowing. Phil Thomas shows the same humour in describing his early childhood as Frank McCourt did in Angela's Ashes, though Frank seems to have had it easy by comparison, with only extreme deprivation to contend with. It is a wonder Phil survived, and with humour intact, as well as any faith in human nature.

The wry tone of the first part of the book changes with his terrible experiences at a youth detention centre. That a public institution should have treated him like this, then given him an uphill legal battle, is appalling. While other young people were starting life in jobs or at university, this was the start the state gave Phil and the legacy it left him with.

He shows great courage and character in writing about his experiences and making them public. In doing so, he turns the moral spotlight on those who have had much easier lives, and yet, when the time comes to do the right thing, make keeping up appearances and protecting their reputation their top priority.

His family and friends must be proud of him.

What led you to wanting to share your life’s story?

I was encouraged to write my story by an abuse councillor who told me it would help me deal with it.

Your story depicts some devastating experiences, how did you find the process of writing about these very personal experiences?

It was really hard for me to write the book. At first I spent a lot of time crying to myself in a log cabin in Wales. The problem being it was really hard too separate the boy I was then from the man I am now and it still is every time I think about what happened back then I become that boy again.

What next for Shame, can we expect to see any form of dramatisation?

There will be a follow up to shame called 'Shame - the guilty and the survivors.' This will cover our long fight for justice and the exposure of the cover up by the police and home office. It will also give an insight into the psychological damage caused to the many victims and how they have coped gone on to live with it.
I do hope to get 'Shame' turned into a docu-drama and I have approached a few film company's. I have also written and produced five songs that would accompany the docu-drama so fingers crossed it will be produced.

Each song fits into a part of any dramatisation that is produced fingers crossed.
'My sanity' was written during and after the court case at the High Court in 
London in 2006 which we lost. I really thought I was losing my mind. 'In the 
mirror' was written to illustrate that it is wrong to treat people badly as you 
never know what they are going through. 'Your mine' is for my lovely Wife. 
'Crying in secret' is about me going to secluded places to cry before I told 
any body about what had happened to me in Medomsley. 'Same room' was 
written when Kevin another victim asked me to do him a big favour which I did 
he thanked me and said he knew he could rely on me because we had been in 
the same room (With Husband) .

Links to the songs on You Tube can be found here:

What made you decide to become an ‘indie’ [self published] author?

I chose to self publish mainly for financial reasons, but also to retain control of my book.

Can you tell us more about the other victims of abuse that you are helping?

Over the last 11 years I have met many of Husbands victims and I have become firm friends with them all. We all connect really well with each other, and I am proud to call them my brothers. We attended every court case together, all the way to the House of Lords, where we managed to change the statute law. As a group we have been on holidays in the Welsh mountains and this is where we wrote and recorded songs together the lyrics expressing our emotions and feelings. We all had a great time relaxing and singing in safety. Keeping in touch on a daily basis with this group of people has been the best therapy anybody could ask for, because we know each others 'shame.'

What can others do to help/support victims, who can they contact?

If any body wants to report abuse suffered at Medomsley they can call Durham police on 101, quoting operation seabrook and ask to speak to Paul Gaundry. Or any office involved in operation Seabrook.

There is a short film on You Tube by Zoe Lodrick, a sexual abuse consultant, which I found very helpful. It made me in feel better about myself, and I am sure it will help other victims as well. Durham police will also offer appropriate counselling to any victim if requested.

Thankyou Ray,

I really appreciate your time and your honesty, sharing these very personal experiences with us. I hope that this feature will go some way to helping raise awareness for the victims and their families. I think your book is an important story that needed to be told, and I for one am glad that you had the courage to share it. I look forward to the sequel which I know a lot of people will be interested in given recent news events.

Many best wishes for a positive life ahead for you, your fellow victims and your family.

Sarah Jane