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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Charlotte's Way is now available for download on Kindle, or in all other formats, at smashwords.
 Kindle UK
 Kindle US (and Ireland)

Reviews
 Excellent, really, really magnificent. Catherine Daly has definitely delivered a great book once again
...Fast becoming an author to be reckoned with..
...brilliant attention to detail and a friendship story that everyone will relate to. (Woman's Way)

Her characters are believable and her storyline is just gripping enough without being over the top.
Watch out for Daly, she could very well be the next Maeve Binchy. (Bibliofemme)

...a heartwarming family tale about discovery, love, longing and friendship...(In Dublin Magazine)




 Reviewers please contact me for a free copy.




Thursday, January 05, 2012

All Shook Up available as kindle book


It only took a paltry seven years after the print publication of the book- but hey! I finally managed it. It being the successful conversion of "All Shook Up" to an e-book.
I still have to convert "Charlotte's Way" and "A French Affair" but now that I know how to do it, hopefully it won't take too long.
In the meantime, here are the links you need to get you to the amazon pages:

Author page amazon UK

Author page amazon.com


Book on amazon.fr
Book amazon.de

And what do you think of the new and beautiful cover I made for it?




Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Prepare for the winter blues (SAD) ahead of time.

The season of SAD approaches
And this year, I'm planning ahead for it!
Although it still officially only August (just), it's hard not to think ahead to those long dark winter nights, and the corresponding short days. And the prospect of short days and long cold nights is enough to depress anyone - especially after the summer we've just had. But for a significant proportion of the population winter also brings with it the health problem known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter blues or seasonal depression, is actually a form of depression and needs to be taken seriously by patients, carers and the medical profession alike. It is triggered by shorter days, and a reduction in light levels as the sun doesn't climb as high in the sky. For this reason, SAD is more common in countries far from the equator like in Northern Europe, than in more southern latitudes such as north Africa, or equatorial regions

Symptoms of SAD include:
  • sadness, hopelessness, and low mood for an extended period of time
  • Weight gain and increased appetite, with a particular craving for carbohydrates
  • Losing interest in activities that are normally enjoyable, and consequently losing social contact and becoming more withdrawn
  • Tiredness and oversleeping, with a feeling of always being low in energy
  • Deterioration in memory and other cognitive functions. For example getting confused easily, or finding it harder to make decisions.
If you think you may be a sufferer of SAD it is worth taking time to discuss with your doctor to discuss treatment options.

If you are a frequent sufferer now is the time to start taking action to reduce the impact of this year's winter blues.

Light is by far the best treatment option for SAD, although antidepressant drugs and talk therapy also play their part. The problem is how to maximise your light exposure at a time of year when light is at a premium.

Top tips to ensure you maximise light exposure:
  • Make a point of being outdoors at some stage during the brightest part of the day (usually between 11am and 2pm.) If you can combine exercise with this time, so much the better as exercise is a good treatment for all forms of depression. So take a walk outdoors during your lunch break, do a bit of gardening, take the dog for a walk, go running. Even on a cloudy day you will get a big dose of light by being outside at this time.
  • Find an open space outdoors where you're not shaded by trees or buildings. Think parks or running tracks. Lakes and mountains. Open countryside or roof gardens. Think Big Sky
  • Use a light box. But make sure it is one which delivers 10 000 lux of light at a reasonable distance from it. It will be rated something like "10 000 lux at 30cm/ one foot". Use it first thing in the morning if you can, but the best is as soon as possible after you waken in the morning.
  • Make sure your environment is as bright as possible. Indoors make sure all the windows are clear of curtains and pull the blinds open fully to stop any shading. Spend more time in the South side of the house than the North. Sit near the biggest windows.
  • Cut down or trim any trees shading your windows.
  • Ask your employer if you can sit near a window, and time your breaks for the brightest parts of the day.
  • Consider a sun holiday if you can afford it. But at the very least take a few days off when you're at your lowest, and spend the middle of those days outside.
Apart from maximising light exposure there are other things that can help with SAD:

  • Take good care of your diet. Eat helthily. Don't succumb to those sugar cravings, or you'll get a sugar rush followed by an insulin crash with all the mood swings that entails. Try to eat protein and slow release carbohydrates regularly throughout the day .
  • Tell people how you feel, and how you need to be encouraged to get out and about rather than skulking at home.
  • Exercise at least 3-5 times per week. This is a treatment recommended for all forms of depression.
  • Consider antidepressants if your doctor recommends them
  • Consider talk therapy

But most of all at the darkest point in winter, remember Spring will follow, and Summer after that, and your worls will be filled with light again.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Keeping the writing muscles going.

It hasn't just been the blog I've been neglecting for the past few years. I've haven't been doing much writing at all. Part of it was down to bouts of depression when not only could I not be bothered, but sometimes I physically couldn't because of sheer exhaustion. So, not so much writer's block as writer's complete stop. I not only couldn't think of anything to write about, I couldn't even turn up at the page and stare blankly at it.
My health over the past few years has also left alot to be desired. I've been through a series of doctors and consultants and a full array of medical tests to address symptoms, but nothing showed up.And all this left me without the inclination, inspiration or sheer energy to write...

But earlier this summer I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and all the bits fell into place. No cure, living with fibromyalgia is all about management, but at least I could stop visiting doctors and worrying about whatever it was they weren't picking up. Because something was sure making me sick.
Now what you may ask has fibromyalgia got to do with writing.
Well, writing is what I do. I like writing. It challenges me, and improves my mood. No matter what I am writing about. But in the past I was always writing with a goal in sight. Finish the next chapter. Get to the end of a novel. Write a book review. Write a publicity piece. Now I'm a bit aimless. I've been out of writing for so long that I've lost the "writers' fitness" I had before. Words no longer flow as readily as they used to. I have no ideas. This is all partly down to the fibro screwing with my head- a phenomenon known as fibro fog - and partly due to the fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia.

But if I don't write what do I do? I can't work on my feet anymore- I wouldn't last a week. Even part time. And the unpredictability of fibro makes it impossible to commit properly to any job. One night out and the next day I can be an exhausted mess. One night staying in, but maybe going for a "good for me" walk -and the next day I can be exhausted or fine. One day I can manage a particular set of stairs up and down all day, no problem. The next I suddenly need to stop half way up to take a rest.

So writing is the only option if I want to reactivate my mind and have some hope of writing for a living in the future. So how do I do it without writing to a goal? Write for the Internet. It is a very forgiving boss. I just show up and write whatever I feel like, without deadline, required article length or commission. No need to have one particular 'voice'. My mood may dictate what I write but at least if my mood is bad then writing will improve it.

There are many sites where you can submit articles and having a couple of blogs is a good idea so there's always something and somewhere for me to write. And the more I write the more I feel like writing.
Some sites such as Infobarrel or Hubpages allow you to post articles on any topic and then get a share of ad revenue, but I'm not looking for big bucks more for a place to publish and to write. It needs to be public, because otherwise my writing becomes too introspective and naval gazing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My foray into laser technology. (oh, okay, Laser printers)

Why I love my new Laser Printer.

I'm not a techie, but back about a decade ago I was an early adopter. Tiny laptops, phones I could check e-mails on, ubuntu loaded onto an old laptup to make it work faster and give it a new life, wifi all over the house. We were the envy of the neighbours. (Or we would have been if we were the boasting type. But of course we're not.) Then too many things began to change too fast, and demanded an honours degree in maths to understand so I threw up my hands and hid behind the couch. Now am nearly at the point where I have to ask my teenagers to set the video. (What do you mean there's no such thing as video any more?)

Anyway, having always had at least a couple of computers in the house, we always had a couple of printers too. All inkjet, all by well known brands, and all worked reasonably well.

Then my printer broke down, stopped working, and refused to move because I had been putting in non branded ink cartridges. I had been doing this for years, but somehow I let the printer upgrade itself over the internet and it decided to go on strike next time I went to change a cartridge.

“But I only want you to print black and white” I pleaded with it. “You're only missing magenta, and you don't even need magenta to print black and white. Just print the flippin' document. Please...” (There may or may not have been some other things muttered under my breath, but we won't go into that!)

So off I went to get new ink. And later that week the printer stopped for good. Clearly too much of the 'pure stuff' had sent it over the edge.

I gave the printer a decent requiem. It had served me well for at least six years and had printed out a couple of full length novels, in the process. Which is a longer life and greater usefulness than many electric devices these days.

And then I began to think about a new printer. I say think, because as we now have a wireless printer in the family room, I could still print from the office, and running up and down stairs must have been good for me. So I thought some more, and developed thighs of iron. (That last bit's an exaggeration). And then I realised that I didn't actually need a colour printer. The wireless printer downstairs is colour, but I hardly ever need to print colour.

So carefully I set out for the printer shop, and asked about black and white printers. “You mean laser printers,” the helpful child behind the counter said. I didn't, but I nodded knowingly. I felt fear chill my core. Last time I went looking for a new printer, laser printers meant mortgages. “I'm only looking, really,” I told the child-assistant, shoving my wallet further down into the bag.

Then he showed me the entry model Brother laser printer. It looked the business, and matched what I thought a printer should look like. A solid space-occupying piece of office machinery which made it's owner look important. (I also saw portable printers you could fold up and slip in your pocket and they looked, quite honestly, a little ridiculous). Then I saw the price tag (€89) on the printer and I fell in love. (With the printer, not the child-assistant.).

“There's a free toner cartridge in it, not a full sized one but it will do for about 5000 letters.” he said, and the deal was complete.

Now I have been using the printer for about a month and I have to say the love affair is still going strong. I congratulate myself daily for clearing space on my desk and not leaving the printer on the other side of the room. Why? Because this printer is so fast (and all you inkjet users take note) that when I press “print” on my computer- I can't actually make across the room before the item's printed. Imagine that!