We All Need Encouragement (Even Authors)

When I began to publish my books – which is more scary than you might think, because writing is very private, and letting other people read your stories is the opposite – my family were brilliant. There was a lot of finance to sort out, and Husband helped with that! But my children and mum were also brilliant, encouraging me to go ahead and publish my work – and they still are today.

In 2017, I published JOANNA. I wanted to explore what it meant to think like a psychopath, and how it would feel for her family. My son helped me by making a short video, and he composed the soundtrack. I think it’s brilliant – what do you think?

An exciting, easy read novel (without any nasty bits!) You can buy a copy here:

UK Amazon link

Here’s what other people have said about JOANNA:

“Not a genre I would usually choose, but I loved it.”

I read it on holiday, my sister read it too, we both really enjoyed it”

“A great read when you want to escape for a little while.”

“Really interesting way of looking at what it would be like to have a psychopath in the family. And I liked the happy ending!”

“Joanna is such a complex character, the story really made me stop and think. I loved it, am looking forward to reading your next book.”

Have you read a copy? It’s available in bookshops, but here is the Amazon link in case you prefer to read on a Kindle. (It would make a great Christmas gift too…)

UK Amazon link

I hope you have some encouragements this week.

Thanks for reading.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

Camber Sands with Mother

Mum said she wanted a week by the sea, and I can write anywhere, so I told her that if she didn’t mind being ignored until midday each day, I would take her to Camber Sands. Am hoping we don’t murder each other.

Other people’s reactions to the news were telling. My children all declined to join us, citing work/parties/washing their hair as plausible excuses. My siblings all advised I take lots of alcohol. My friends all said, “A whole week? Gosh!” I expect they were jealous.

We set off on Saturday. The dog filled the whole boot, so I told Mum we could only take what would fit behind her seat. I packed the dog, my stuff (one tiny bag) and the food (quite a lot of bags) and went to collect Mum. Her stuff was already packed, and in a long line down the front path and round the corner and half way to the next town. But we managed to fit it all in. And I quite like eating bruised apples and crushed crisps, so it’s fine.

Arrived at the cottage in one piece, despite my dodgy driving and fairly useless brain and completely useless SatNav. We have rented a two-bedroomed house from ‘Beside the Sea’ cottages. It’s on a little estate of pastel coloured houses, and is 3 minutes walk from the beach. The house is pretty small (Mum suggested we could empty a cupboard for big smelly dog to live in) but it’s very pretty. It also – most importantly – has a shower with decent water pressure, an outside hose (for rinsing big smelly dog) and two washrooms. There are also a few luxuries, like a Nespresso machine (am on my 4th coffee this morning and the world is buzzing) and Netflix. The owners have included helpful things like capsules for the dishwasher and hand soap for all the sinks, and we arrived to cake and biscuits and a bottle of wine. All very nice.

After a quick cup of tea, we walked to the beach. I don’t know if you know Camber Sands, but in the summer months, the only part of the beach where dogs are allowed is accessed via sand dunes. Dragged Mum over one the height of Snowdon but we made it to the beach. Tried to take selfies – realised neither of us were very good at this, and we now have several photos of our feet, and the sky, and the dunes. Both dog and mother went completely nuts and insisted on paddling. Mother told me she thought I was completely ridiculous to be wearing wellies on the beach in June. But I have lived with Husband for too long. And I hate sandy feet.

Sunday: I took the dog for an early run. The tide in Camber goes out for miles and miles, so we had a good walk. The only other people out there were fishermen digging for lugworms. I worried a little that the tide might come in and we’d get cut-off, but there were no warning signs (only about riptides for swimmers) so we walked 27 miles out to the sea and back. Kia chased seagulls and brought me dead crabs and stones to throw. (I didn’t throw the dead crabs, in case you’re wondering.)

Met Mum and we walked to the little wood and brick church on the main road, next to Pontins. People seemed friendly, and there was coffee and cake afterwards, which Mum stayed for as she likes chatting to strangers, and I didn’t, as I don’t.

We had lunch at The King’s Head in Playden. I’ve been there before, and it never disappoints. It’s pretty and cosy and the food is lovely. Spent the rest of the day walking and reading and watching Netflix.

This morning I walked along a footpath towards Rye (I couldn’t face even more sand and wet dog, I figured one trip to the beach a day would be fine.) The path went past fields of chubby lambs and great pools of deep water with fishermen next to them, and was lined with poppies. Camber seems to have lots of poppies in June. Came back to write this, and will now do some work. So far the week is going well, and we are both still alive. I’ll give you an update next week.

Thank you for reading. Have a good week.

Take care.
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson is an author of several novels and one non-fiction book. You can find her work in bookshops and on Amazon.
Thank you for reading.
anneethompson.com

The latest, and best book (in my opinion). An exciting novel written in the first person, which shows how a psychopath views the world. The story encompasses the world of women trafficked in India, and shows how someone very bad, can be used to achieve something amazing.

A gritty thriller, which shows what it means to be a psychopath, and how it would feel if someone in your family did something awful. (Because every psychopath has a mother.)

This tells all the things I wish I had known when first diagnosed. A helpful book for anyone with a potentially terminal illness. It shows how to find a surgeon, how to cope with other people’s fears, how to not be defined by an illness. It also has a few funny anecdotes – because even when you’re ill, it’s good to laugh.
Available from Amazon (you can get it free if you have a Kindle).

A hilarious romance for when you want to relax.

Hidden Faces by Anne E. Thompson.
An easy read, feel good novel, set in an infant school. An ideal gift, this is a book to make you smile.

An exciting novel, set in the near future. One family shows how they cope with driverless cars, new laws, and schools run by computers.

Surviving Easter Weekend and a Post Post Script

Hello, and I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. I am actually writing this on Good Friday, in a snatched few minutes before the next onslaught of jobs. No idea if I will actually make it past tomorrow.

It has been a stressful week, but I will try hard to not apportion blame.

It began badly, when the painter arrived on Monday. For some reason, somebody had booked a man to decorate the entire house, beginning the week before Easter. This is generally a busy time, as all the family, including my mother, come to stay, and then on Easter Monday we invite the whole church and anyone else who wants to come, and we all go for a country walk and have a cream tea. Last year we had about 80 people, so it involves baking quite a lot of scones. And having the house tidy. And is not helped by having a bloke painting random rooms the week before.

But we survived. The painter man turned out to be relatively low-impact, though having to empty whole rooms is not without a certain amount of chaos, and chemicals smell horrid, so windows have to be open, so the house is cold. I couldn’t write in my normal place, and so shared the kitchen area with son who’s back from uni. It wasn’t completely terrible, and I managed to write 13,000 words of next book. I think I write best when depressed.

The main reason for the depression is that, due to repeated nagging from various people, I went to the doctor about those chest pains/breathlessness I told you about a few weeks ago. Part of this involved blood tests, and I was told I need to cut down on cholesterol. Which is frankly awful. I am not sure that a life without cakes and flapjacks and cheese sauces is necessarily one I want to live. I spent the week rebelling, and baking said flapjacks and cakes, and then feeling guilty, so forcing them onto other people.

The weather is also being rubbish. As I write, I have just returned from a particularly unpleasant walk. The fields are not just boggy, they are lakes. Son made a lot of fuss about having a hole in one wellie. The chickens insist on leaving their cage because it’s not actually snowing, but they are cross, so sit on the back doorstep frowning at me. The back doorstep is now covered in chicken poop, so that’s another job before the cream tea (in the rain) on Monday.

The ducks are happy though. And randy. Ducks in the spring are incredibly randy. Which means lots of eggs, but I have been removing them because I don’t want more ducks, and now the laying boxes are empty each morning. Which means they are hiding their nests. Which means they will arrive with a clutch of ducklings in a few weeks time, and I will have to either fish them out of the pond, or leave them for the magpies to eat.

Anyway, I have survived so far, and if I make it to Monday I will be feeling calmer. Am hoping lots of people still come to cream tea, even if the weather is bad, otherwise I will have many pots of clotted cream to dispose of (or eat, if I decide the whole cholesterol thing is best ignored). Perhaps I could post them out with copies of Clara. A sort of unusual special offer: Buy a book and get a free pot of cream. Perhaps not.

Enjoy your day and have a lovely week, whatever the weather.

Take care,
Love,
Anne x

PS. Had the BEST review today – the local bookshop wrote on twitter that a customer had so enjoyed Clara that they’d gone back to buy my other books. Excellent. Have you bought a copy yet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PPS. As I set the table for Easter Sunday dinner, I put out napkins. We don’t use them very often, because some of my family never use them, and they are bit of a pain to wash and iron afterwards. But for special occasions, we use cloth napkins. Which reminds me of something I read this week.

Did you know, that Romans used napkins, and their slaves would watch while they ate? When the master had finished eating, he would screw up the napkin and leave the table, signifying he had finished. But sometimes, he would leave the table and carefully fold the napkin. This was a sign to the servants that he wasn’t finished – he would be returning to the table. Now, if you read the Easter story, you will read in John’s book, that when the disciples got to the empty tomb, the grave cloths were left there, abandoned. But the napkin which had been around Jesus’ head was carefully folded…

These are a few of my favourite things….in case we have a thunder storm.

Christmas tends to involve a lot of stuff. Some of which is fun, and helps the general mood of celebration, and some just gets in the way. Sometimes I think we have too much stuff, and life would be much simpler without it. But there are some things which I really like, for a whole variety of reasons. Sometimes because of who or what it reminds me of, and sometimes just because it works really well. So, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite things (even though some are perhaps a bit odd.)

I shall begin with my iron. People have been very rude about my iron over the years, but I think it’s perfect. It’s small and heavy and doesn’t hiss steam in a scary manner. My brother gave it to me in 1988, and it still works just fine. I expect you are jealous.

Next is a more recent gift, a mug from my mum. It is chipped now (no one admitted responsibility, one of those mysterious damages that happen in families). It is now a pencil pot. During its brief life as a mug, it was a nice curvy shape to hold, with a thin rim, so nice to drink from, and it held more coffee than our other mugs.  It was my morning coffee mug. Once chipped, it lost its attraction, but I can’t quite bring myself to throw it away, so it sits on my desk, reminding me of peaceful mornings and the joys of living in a family.

Next is my garden. I chose our house on the strength of our garden, and I still love it. It’s not very manicured, but it’s full of little corners and living things. You will find chickens wandering through the trees, and cats waiting to pounce on you, and ducks being noisy on the pond. Two of my best gifts from Husband were a large cage for a birthday (which he managed to put together with himself shut inside, but we won’t talk about that!) and some toadstools. The toadstools are surrounded by snowdrops in the spring, and they sit near the lawn where we buried my labrador, so it’s rather a special corner.

Next is my knife (these are not in any sort of order, in case you’re wondering). Okay, so it’s just a knife, but it’s red, so easy to see when I forget where I’ve left it (happens a lot) plus it works. I don’t particularly like cooking dinners, but I can whiz through a sack of potatoes with this knife in no time. It was bought from John Lewis, but when I tried to buy another one, they were gone, and they only had serrated ones. If you ever see them lurking in a shop, let me know. (Made by Kuhn.)

I can’t choose a favourite book, so I’ll have them as a bookshelf. Hours of learning and listening and being whisked into other lives.

My wellies have to be on the list, because I live in them, and they symbolise hours of pleasure, stomping across fields and hills and footpaths. My life would be less nice without wellies.

I will finish with some jewellery (just to prove I am a girl!) Actually, specifically my engagement ring, which is the most exciting piece of jewellery I own. It isn’t huge (we had no money) but we bought it soon after we were engaged, when we were still students. It was from a shop in London, and when it was fitted to the correct size, I had to collect it and take it to Bristol, where Husband was a student, so he could keep it until we were ‘officially’ engaged. I remember sitting on the National Express coach from Victoria, and staring at it on my finger, holding it in the light so the sapphire shone blue. Then Husband kept it, for ages, until we finally told everyone that we planned to get married. It was all wonderfully exciting.

I could go on, but you might lose interest if I go through my favourite shoes, and pen, and chair. So I’ll stop. What is your favourite thing?

Thanks for reading. Have a good week.
Take care,
Anne x

xxxxxx

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anneethompson.com

Happy New Year! (Survived 2017 okay?)

Well, I did it, I made it to the end of the year. Christmas was lovely, but busy, then straight into visiting family, family parties, and preparing for New Year Eve’s party. I can now collapse in a heap somewhere.

The family parties especially are good to survive. They are fun, but somewhat different to the parties we had when I was little. In those days, we all went to my granny’s house, where she had a huge room that stretched across the shop below, and we played games. The games were things like musical statues, and postman’s knock – where no one ever wanted to have to kiss Uncle George because he didn’t have many teeth. He’s dead now. Today, it would probably be classed as child abuse.

These days, I go to my in-laws houses for family games. These range from the impossible (Eg, trying to match words my mother might think of – I opted out this year and let my brother partner her) to the not so impossible (trying to stay awake during ‘Mafia’). My father-in-law brought a game this year: we had to order a list of animals according to the neurones found in their cerebral cortex. Which is a test for intelligence (the number of neurones, not the game. Though actually, now I come to think of it…) Like I said, I survived, and it was fun.

Then we began to prepare for our own party. The low point every year is lunch time on the day of the party, when the family wants food, but I am trying to clear up the kitchen and I don’t want to start cooking. Then there are always left-overs, which do not fit into the fridge, but I don’t like to waste them. Actually, the fridge is a major tension point, as I try to coat strawberries in chocolate and prepare vegetables for dips, and there is nowhere, absolutely nowhere, to put them. Why does no one ever eat the last piece of quiche/pudding/pie? And I can’t even put them in plastic bags anymore because Son who works for a conservation charity tells me it’s unethical. The dog walks around shedding hairs on my freshly vacuumed floors, and someone used the last bit of loo roll and flung the cardboard bit on the floor.

The party this year had an “Around the World’ theme. I went to church Sunday morning, mainly to avoid the annual tense discussion, when I try to keep my house undisturbed and Husband is in major ‘change everything for a party’ mode. I returned to a lot of flags, and tried to avoid going into rooms where I knew my furniture would be moved around.

Son 1 asked what he could wear, as he planned to come as ‘the international space station’. (If you have a young child who tends to announce on the way to school that today is Book Day, and everyone is dressing up, and if your friends tell you, “Don’t worry, they grow out of that,” – Don’t believe them. They don’t.)

By the time guests arrived, all was lovely, and I had a marvellous time.

Anyhow, I hope you too made it to this side of the new year. Have a rest now as you slip back into the easy routine of work and weekends. Have a great week.

Take care,
Love, Anne x

 

Thank you for reading.

Why not start the new year by signing up to follow my blog?

I usually write a post every week.

anneethompson.com

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How was your Christmas?

Hello, and how was your Christmas? Or, more to the point, how are you? Full of food and love and happy thoughts I hope.

I find the work for Christmas begins several days before, when I start making lists. Then I have to rewrite the lists, because I’ve lost the originals. This year I decided to also make a time-plan, like we used to make in Domestic Science lessons at school: 11:40 boil potatoes and parsnips, 11:55 potatoes into oven, 12:00 parsnips into oven…you get the idea. I hoped it might solve the “finding the chestnuts for the sprouts in the fridge, when I put the remains of the turkey in there” problem, which tends to happen every year. It didn’t work of course, but at least I had evidence that I had tried.

Another pre-Christmas job is laundry – washing everything that’s in the dirty washing basket. This was partly because I didn’t want to have to do washing during the Christmas period, and partly because I knew Son 2 would arrive with a suitcase of dirty washing, and I prefer not to have to queue for the washing machine. Husband then made helpful comments about, “Gosh, we must’ve been burgled, and they stole all that stuff you’ve been storing in the washing basket for months.” But I ignored him.

Actually, understanding Husband is sometimes difficult. He often embarks on a major DIY project just as my workload feels over-whelming. Like the year he decided it would be helpful to re-floor the kitchen on Christmas Eve. Yep, Christmas Eve. This year he mended the extractor fan in the bathroom. At least, that’s what he told me he was doing, it looked awfully like he was playing Candy-Crush whilst sitting on the sofa, but who am I to know?

To be fair, Husband mainly helps to stop me spiralling into despair. When I woke him at 3:30am on the morning of the 23rd, to tell him in panic I was completely out of control, the time had slipped away from me and it was already Christmas and I wasn’t ready, and I still haven’t managed to proofread Clara, he was very calm. He just sort of absorbs all my worries and tells me it will be fine. Which it was. Perhaps that’s why I married him.

There were a few low points. I had decided this year to avoid the ‘pull the crackers and then leave all the stuff on the table’ activity which happens every year. I decided to buy those make your own crackers and buy a gift people would actually want, which in my family is alcohol. The trouble was, the crackers did not arrive in pieces, as I had expected, they were already formed but with one end open. So inserting miniature bottles of drink was a struggle, and adding the hat and joke was impossible. I basically had to screw them up and stuff them inside. Which did, I admit, look less than professional when they were opened, but everyone merrily wore scrumpled hats. I guess the alcohol helped.

Another unexpected moment was when the food order arrived on 23rd. Who knew you could buy such tiny packets of stuffing?

The absolute low point however, was our family trip to the cinema to see Pitch Perfect 3. Husband’s choice. I knew it would be bad, but I hadn’t realised quite how bad. Words cannot adequately express my feelings towards such drivel. But everything else about our Christmas was brilliant. Next is New Year’s Eve party – not so much potential for disaster there. Is there?

Take care,

Love, Anne x

xxx
anneethompson.com

 

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Christmas Meal with the Family

For the last few years, we’ve tried to go up to London, to see the Christmas lights and have dinner together. Not anywhere particularly posh, but just to be together, somewhere different, where I don’t have to do the cooking. Last weekend was the 2017 family meal.

I wasn’t sure if we’d manage it this year, as only Husband and I were at home, and everyone else would be travelling from different parts of the country, but they all seemed willing, so I booked a table and hoped it wouldn’t snow. It didn’t, but it did rain, which made the event damper than planned, but it was still nice to see everyone.

We arranged to meet at 5:30pm at The National Gallery. I chose this time because it was an hour before our restaurant reservation, and my family, whilst wonderful, are somewhat unpredictable when it comes to times and trains and going in the right direction. Well, actually, it would be more accurate to say they are very predictable, and I knew it would be best if we met ahead of time. As I guessed, one child arrived on time, with partner, in arranged place. One child texted to say they were at a station in Hertfordshire, the other was silent, so we assumed they might be on a train to Edinburgh. Nothing unexpected there.

To be fair, we were all together, in the restaurant, at the correct time. We had a lovely time together, lots of good conversation and teasing and general family bonding stuff which goes to make up the best memories. We then wandered around Covent Garden, and through Leicester Square Christmas Market. They did have security on the gate, checking bags, and one person had with him several large bags, hauled down from uni; but when he mentioned they were full of dirty washing, the security were surprisingly unkeen to search them.

We then had a quick look at China Town, before deciding the weather was too awful, so went and camped in the bar of the Curzon Theatre for more chat and cups of hot chocolate.

My family does best when it’s contained in a restaurant or bar, as wandering around places never works. This might be due to the general unsuitedness of Husband and I, who are both bossy leader types that dislike following others. (A matchmaking site would never have put us together, even though we do actually have lots of fun together. Sometimes I think God just wanted to spare two other weaker people, who would have been squashed by our dominant personalities!) The problem is, our children are also not, in any respect, ‘followers’. So when the family tries to walk anywhere, we have many different opinions about where to go and the best route, which means everyone tends to disperse in different directions.

As you can imagine, raising strong personalities was fun, but challenging. Whenever I took them out, I would have back-up plans, just in case. Such as, “If you get on a train before me and the doors shut before I’m on it, get off at the very next station and wait for me.” Or, “If you realise you have lost me, just stand still and shout; and only ask for help from a woman with children.” (I figured that a woman who had children of her own would realise how awful they generally are, and would never want to steal someone else’s!) However, one son informed me that these strategies no longer work, and now he’s a  very tall man, if he approached a woman with children and told her he was lost, she would probably have him arrested.

It was a lovely evening, and stress free, which such evenings have not always been. I remember the year when there had to be a line drawn across the table, so one son’s feet did not extend into my daughter’s foot-territory. And the year when one teenager arrived in the car ready to drive to the station moments before our train was due, wearing a shirt and jeans. Just a shirt – no jumper, no coat. And it was snowing. But apparently teenaged boys do not feel the cold or ever get ill, so it would have been unreasonable of me to comment.

But not this year. This year, they all arrived, from their various places of residence, and we ate dinner together and chatted. A special time. So, if your children are younger, and perhaps not always easy, hold that image in mind. In time, they will be the people who you most want to be with. They will be the provider of your most special memories, the accompaniment to precious moments, and the people who lighten your heart. If they manage to arrive in the right city on time….

xxx

Thank you for reading.

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anneethompson.com

 

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