It’s like a guest post birthday! It’s been a year now & time for another Ripple in Time promo! :-)

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This post is a re-post but A Ripple in Time is once again on offer and free to download to Kindle, a year on from the original post. It is still very much a recommended read.

A Ripple in Time

Dear all,

I know, I know, my schedule is so hectic, what with kid’s parties, the book signing coming up, Mr S-C (bless him being all clumsy and that) the book writing and the blog…!!! Oh no the blog! The time has come, I must hand over the wheel while I have a little breakdown, and who better to jump into the driving seat than the fabarooney Julia Hughes, @tinksaid! I’ll be back (no don’t sigh! Soooooo cheeky!) but in the meantime I can assure you, you are in very safe hands. So, now, sit back and enjoy the ride…Over to you my lovely friend, Julia.

me&tink3_(2) 

 

Thank you Jess, and don’t worry, your blog’s in safe hands, promise. And off she goes, no doubt to another children’s party or to organise Mr S-C’s Father’s Day treats. Do I sound envious? Oh to be able to turn back the clock to that very special time, when the kids thought Mummy and Daddy were the most wonderful people in the world. Mind you, I still feel that way about my parents. There have been times when I’ve longed for a boring life, but throughout it all – the major highs and the places no-one wants to go – there have been two people standing solidly behind me with words of encouragement and acts of overgenerous kindness. Among the many unexpected pleasures of writing, comes the opportunity to say a small thank you to those who support without question. So my breakthrough novel is dedicated to the best parents any child could wish for, lucky me –  I won the lottery.

I also won the lottery with Jess, who answered my plea for a beta reader. Jess’s success with her debut novel Poker Face, encouraged me to publish in paperback, as well as ebook format. A Ripple in Time will be free to download to your kindle until 18th April 2013. 

Massive thanks once again to Jess, and you can bet your life I’ll be attending her book signing at Waterstones in Hatfield later this month [and she did!] eager to pick up tips from this wonderful writer, who is also a wonderful friend.

A Ripple in Time can be obtained by clicking Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Julia

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Woo hoo! How awesome is that! I’ll definitely be fifteen minutes late for the next party downloading my copy of A Ripple in Time! Come on, writing before raving…always! Thanks so much, Julia, for your lovely post and your lovely comments too.

Seriously, congratulations on your lovely new shiny paperback! It is SO exciting! I’m sure everyone will agree, the birth of a new novel or in a new format is a very wonderful thing and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it. Go you!!!

Take care from me,

Jess 😀 x

PS beautiful pic, Julia!

Please check out Julia’s fabarooney website for more of her work and posts 🙂

Video Diaries! My very first signing event at Waterstones, Hatfield. Post re-visited :-)

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Well, readers, the time came…and went…aaaaand, despite all of the panic, tummy aches and tears, I made it to and through the 23rd June 2012. I lived to tell the tale…or should I say the video diary. Now, I must first apologise because I thought that my camera (with video facility) would be fine for the occasion but it seems, even after deleting all personal photos of our recent holiday, there was not enough room to fit the four clips that I wanted. As a consequence we used @Heather5mith’s i-phone (the wrong way up) so two of the clips are either going to show up sideways or with mega blacked out borders  – but as long as they show something, right now I don’t care! Uploading to this blog has been an absolute nightmare! I even cried!

So, here goes. The first clip is very early morning on 23rd June. The kids are having a go at their interviewing skills. PS I would just like to make it clear that I do not push my daughter in this clip, I am simply trying to keep her from YouTube! She is one determined little monkey, let me tell you!

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So, we got mega lost on the way to Hatfield. The journey should have taken us  1 hour and 15 minutes, tops. However,  even with @Heather5mith’s SatNav, Mr S-C’s built in thingy on his phone and my more caveman-like printed off ‘Route Finder Classic View’ we got lost to the tune of over one and a half hours! The upside of this was that I was so fed up that my initial reservations about the whole affair had been replaced with ‘All I want to do is get there!!!’ When we did get there the staff at Waterstones were absolutely fantastic. They grabbed a table, a snazzy table cloth, advised us on the best positions, provided a fabarooney decorated chalk board and then even grabbed us all a coffee from Nero! I love the people at Waterstones, Hatfield! I will say this more than once! I must also say that Heather’s interview technique is pretty cool and she managed an artistic reflective job, which is very clever. Let’s agree that it was a complicated, technical set up and was entirely intentional. If the BBC would like to hire @Heather5mith, she is available all day Wednesday (outside of Zumba) and most evenings (as long as it’s not a choir night).

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Towards the end of the day we went for another clip but my camera held up its little camera hands and said ‘No, sorry, I clocked off at lunch time. It’s Saturday! I don’t get paid for this!’ Diva camera alert! So we dug into @Heather5mith’s hugomungo bag and caught a bit more of the day on her phone. Neither of us knew what to say at this point but we said there would be a video diary and by Jove we were going to rise to the challenge. It WAS a challenge!!!

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We packed up at 5.30pm, feeling exhausted (I’m not sure why I was as all I’d done was sit at a table all day, answer some questions, try not to do a runner and sign stuff!) It might be the fact that by that point I had consumed two large coffees, only one small bottle of water and not much else. After a farewell to Robin (not my Robin but the fabarooney Robin at Waterstones), Laura, Chris and Maisie (If I have spelt this incorrectly please let me know and I will change it – who I didn’t get to talk to but wish I had now) we made our weary way to the car park. The box of books was reassuringly and satisfyingly lighter than when we had arrived and we loaded the car for what SHOULD HAVE BEEN an hour’s drive home! Yeah I bet you’ve worked out what happens next! A slightly more stroppy video of me is what happens next, but at least (as I am not required to look at the camera in the next clip) there is no random face pulling, singing, dancing, ear tugging, lip rolling, hair touching, arm scratching or eye avoidance going on. This is the most normal clip that exists of me! The only problem I have with it is that my nose looks big sideways on and I HATE IT!!!

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This here concludes our video diary of my very first signing at Waterstones, Hatfield, and I have enormous gratitude to everyone who works there. They are absolutely fantastic! To the manager Steve Jenner (hope he doesn’t mind me using his name) for allowing me to be there, to @Heather5mith for accompanying, standing for ages and supporting, for Mr S-C for doing the very same thing along with the occasional ‘You look well cool!’ (lies) and much needed hugs and to Julia Hughes (@tinksaid) and her wonderful sons for coming to visit us, to Mr S-C’s mum and partner for coming along to say hi and having the kids for a bit, and to my fabarooney sister for agreeing to have my two children (on top of her own three) so I could get out and about and promote my work. I also would like to thank (yes I am still going on but stay tuned because this one is probably for you) all my fantastically supportive followers on Twitter and my understanding friends because, without all of you, this would nowhere near have been the most fantastic experience of my life that it turned out to be. You are all way cool and I loves ya!

Take care from me,

Jess 😀 x

A dedication to Mr S-C! Blog post revisited :-)

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Dear readers,

Life is an expedition, a delicate and precious thing. Sometimes it brings joy and sometimes fear or sorrow but, whatever it brings, it’s the people who make that journey with you that this blog post is all about.

A few years ago I decided that I wanted to write, my son had just started school, my daughter was teeny and it was completely different to the legal ‘stuff’ I had dedicated my life to up until that point. I gave it a go, wrote a sci-fi that then turned into a fantasy that soon turned into a series. I then wrote a romance and finally discovered a story that I fell in love with – Poker Face. Fortunately for me my husband, Mr S-C, encouraged my passion for writing and it is that writing that has brought about this blog. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this post to him and to say a big thank you.

I met my husband (he wasn’t my husband then mind. I didn’t bump into some random young man, look at his ring finger, spot that he wore a matching version of mine and say “Hey, will you look at that! You must be my husband!”) No, seriously, we met eleven years ago when he was working somewhere that I had worked previously. My sister still worked there and so did my friends so I regularly went out with them as a group. I even attended their Christmas parties! (I’m such a gatecrasher!)

We were always great mates and he was always lovely, always kind, always hilariously funny (even without meaning to be) and very supportive. We have been through so many things together and on many occasions he has been my rock, my desperate logic, my shoulder to cry on, my supporter and my best friend. He has never doubted me or my abilities or judged me, because sometimes I am more than a little scared of my own shadow, and we have pretty much laughed our way through everything.

So, let me tell you a little about the man behind the name (Mr S-C). Well, he is a little bit accident prone and grew up being reassured that ‘If there were no breakers there would be no makers’ and, in his defence, he always does it with a smile 🙂 Ha ha! Let’s have a few examples:-

I have now taken to only buying plastic beakers…and not because of the children either!

When we have a dinner party guests have to bring their own wine glasses and we eat off of a combination of three different dinner sets (all now incomplete).

And there’s more 🙂

Once upon a time we went on holiday to Menorca and spent ages at the airport picking out sun glasses and flip flops because he had left his behind by accident. Being a very active person, he doesn’t like just chilling on the beach like I do, so he dragged me on a walk over the rocks. Having lived in Menorca for over seven months and visited every year until I was sixteen, I had walked these rocks a million times already. What I wanted was a blooming tan! Needless to say I was grumbling along behind him, our first ever ‘tiff’, when suddenly I heard a ripping noise (imagine a strip of Velcro being separated from another strip of Velcro) shortly followed by a “What the!” I looked up from my feet to see Mr S-C standing there holding what looked like a flip flop in each hand but, when I looked down at his feet, he still had his left one on! How could it be? Had that ripping noise been the birth of another flip flop? (I have to say I don’t think I made that noise in labour but, then again, maybe I did). I looked confused, clearly, so Mr S-C took the items in his hands and demonstrated how they fitted…TOGETHER! While I had been staring at the ground moaning his flip flop had become wedged between some rocks. Unfortunately he had kept moving, ripping the whole topside from the underside and stubbing his toe painfully in the process. His flips flops were now useless and so we turned and headed for the shop to get him some ‘jelly’ shoes, much to his disgust.

The next day wasn’t much better. He decided that we should go on a bike ride to visit a lighthouse but, only five minutes into the journey, his chain had come off, he’d opened up the cut on his stubbed toe and run over his own sun glasses, crushing them instantly. I shouldn’t laugh BUT IT WAS SO BLINKING FUNNY!

I will end on one holiday disaster that beats them all and I must just point out that these stories are all before we had children (since then they just got better!) We went to Centre Parcs and stayed in one of their hotel apartments for a week. We arrived and did what you always do when you first arrive in a hotel NO NOT THAT! My, my, readers, your imaginations are just like mine! No, after dropping our case and swimming bags, we made it out mission to check behind all doors, to include bathroom door, cooker door, bedside cabinet door, wardrobe door and some strange ‘in the middle of the wall’ type door. What made this ‘in the middle of the wall’ type door strange was that it wasn’t the front door to our apartment aaaaaand, even weirder, there was a smooth white wall behind it. I have to say I was a bit freaked out. I didn’t like this eerie thing at all. Doors leading to walls, what was the point to that?

“What do you think it is?” I whispered, feeling like we were part of some freaky horror movie ‘Blair Witch does Centre Parcs’. Mr S-C shook his head, lowered his eyebrows thoughtfully and walked away, leaving me standing there alone. I continued staring and wondering until suddenly I realised I could hear children’s voices on the other side. They were playing and chatting and I placed my hands against the smooth surface as it finally dawned on me what I was looking at. A light bulb flashed in my head and I exclaimed with relief “Oh! Of course, you know what this! This is a…” but as I turned I spotted Mr S-C running towards me, shoulder first (his way of ascertaining what a wall behind a door could mean!) “No!” I shouted but it was too late, he’d reached me already and had slammed his shoulder into the…ADJOINING DOOR! No surprise that the false wall gave in, the children started to scream and we…well…we shut the ‘in the middle of the wall’ type door, grabbed our swimming bags and bogged off to the pool to hide!

Thanks for reading guys and never forget those that travel with you because they, like my Mr S-C, are absolute gold dust.

Love from me, Jess S-C 😀 x

Less is More! Blog post revisited :-)

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Dear all,

So we’ve just come back from our holiday and I had intended to write a blog post while I was away but I didn’t take my laptop and I didn’t have a pen…what can I say…the odds were stacked against me. My excuses may seem pathetic but I can assure you they’ve definitely got better with age! I’m not going to tell you that my dog has a thing for maths books, my brother thinks it’s funny to hide my calculator or I’ve had Scarlet Fever, a very rare case that lasted only 12 hours, I’m just going to tell you that I didn’t do it.

So, you’ve guessed from the title by now that this post here is a little exploration of the term ‘Less is more’. Now I’m going to attempt to link this into writing in some way (don’t tell anyone but I haven’t worked out exactly how I’m going to do that yet!) An easy assertion would be to point out that this term is used a lot as a general rule of thumb when it comes to writing. Basically, don’t waffle or you’ll bore people. I do it a lot!

So we recently went to Mallorca for a week and we booked a villa because, to be fair, although I only officially have two children my husband counts as three and we need more room! I’m not talking size wise (better make that clear or he’ll be clicking the delete button on my blog) but because he’s pretty nuts! Another perk of having a villa means that we can take lots of food with us and save on eating out. My children are hungry ALL THE TIME! We took our son out of school for a week to keep the costs down (I know!  I know! Don’t go slating me in the comments box for being an irresponsible parent!) We justified doing this because he never has time off, he works really hard and he’s doing incredibly well academically. If we went in the half term week the cost of the holiday would rocket and, well, we just wouldn’t be able to go. When we do travel abroad we get the children to use the language and we spend time explaining the culture. Travelling is a learning experience in itself. (Why am I even trying to get your approval? Anyway, we already did it so there!)

We hired a car and I drove. To save on costs we packed two booster seats rather than pay 8 Euros a day for them. I know, you’re trying to work out whether we actually took any clothes on this holiday! Well, let me tell you, one case was solely dedicated to accommodating our booster seats and food. This does mean there was less space for bikinis but, on the plus side, if we crashed on a desert island (unlikely) we’d have been popular with the other passengers! Seats AND sustenance! Go us!

So we got to our villa and spent lots of time playing in the pool and tripping it to the beach, where we took photos of me sunbathing. At this point we discovered that I’m more a moving type person when it comes to pics. My best side is whatever side is in motion and the faster I go the better! We recorded a couple of videos instead and, low and behold, I look better! Yay! I should be on the big screen! Quick someone tell Steven Spielberg!

Anyway, at the end of the holiday we returned the car with almost all of the impossible to burn amount of fuel in the tank. We’d had to pay £60 in advance for a full tank of petrol and were advised that we must return it empty! Have you ever tried or planned to go on holiday and burn a full tank of fuel in one week? That would have been like a normal working week in the UK! “So what happens if you return the car with its almost full tank of petrol then?” I hear you cry. Well, simple, they hire it out to another family and charge them £60 too! The long, short, wide and thin of it is that we were shafted, good and proper! We used very little petrol (probably about £10 worth) but paid £60 for the privilege. Next time we go away and a car hire company try to sting us I’m going to request a one bed villa for the kids, Mr S-C can sleep on the sofa and then I’ll sleep in the idling car out front, burning the fuel right down to empty! Huh see how you like that, car hire company!

So, back to my intro, this really should have an element of writing in it and, in a way, it does. Here’s the link; In Blog Post 13 Choose your weapon! Pen or laptop?:-

https://jesssturman.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/choose-your-weapon-pen-or-laptop-blog-post-revisited/

I explained that I cannot and do not write on paper. I only ever type my work straight to screen. There isn’t much left in this life that requires you to use a pen, sad I know. I never wrote a blog post while I was away because that would have required some handwriting on my part, ugh! However, I did put pen to paper once on my holiday [Shock! Disbelief!] but it wasn’t to edit my novel and it wasn’t to write a new one either. I put pen to paper to sign away £60 for £10 worth of fuel! Is it true that less is more? Well less blooming costs more, and that’s a fact!

 

Jess 😀 x

 

In-security Blankets! Blog post revisited :-)

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Hello and dear all,

A strange thing happened to me the other day, I received a letter. “What’s strange about that?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s strange for two reasons (1) because since having children I no longer receive post addressed to me. It’s like I no longer exist. I went into labour over eight years ago and was simultaneously made to disappear from society. My identity was changed, even my name was swapped for the more general label of ‘Mummy’ but the other reason this letter was strange, numero (2), is that it was from an agent and I hadn’t even made a submission! “Yeah fair enough that is strange,” you agree.

When I opened up the envelope I discovered that they did indeed have my work and now I was really confused. I hadn’t sent out submissions in ages, what was it all about? I looked on my ‘List of Agents’ prepared way back when (organised or what!) and this particular one was recorded as having been sent out on 9th September 2011. It had taken eight months YES EIGHT to receive a reply. This is a record as far as submission go for me. I’ve waited over six months before and I thought that was pushing it! In fairness it was a really lovely worded letter but it was still a rejection and, more importantly, a rejection I felt I hadn’t opened myself up for because I’d written off ever receiving a response.

When I finally realised what had happened (basically they said it had been with lots of agents while they tried to come to a decision about whether it would work for them or not. I read between the lines and concluded they had popped it in a drawer instead of the bin in error and had just discovered it) I was okay. I said to myself “Well, that’s fine, it’s not going to be for everyone is it? I’ve changed the story quite a lot since then anyway and I’ve published it myself. Lots of people have loved it so it really doesn’t matter. No need for upset or negativity. It’s all still good.” However, the next day I didn’t feel quite so good and it was playing on my mind. I’ve continued to get things done since then and have even managed to meet with the Team Young Adult Librarian to set up and facilitate an adult writing group, which is fantastic news. I am preparing advertising for the Waterstones, Hatfield signing event and I am mentally packing for our fast approaching holiday. As far as I was concerned, I’d pretty much moved on from the unsettling incident.

Then, last night, I had a dream. I was standing in a park (don’t ask me why) and the sun was shining (even less likely). A woman came up to me holding an envelope.

“I have your submission here,” she told me, holding it up for me to see and then sliding out the the contents.

“Are you going to read it in front of me?” I asked feeling nervous and horribly vulnerable.

“Well…that’s my job,” she smiled and then she did just that. When the painful wait was over she smiled again and said. “Well done. I like it! Now send me the whole thing and mark the envelope ‘Entertainment’ .That will ensure it gets to me and makes it through the filtering process.” The dream is slightly sketchy here but I’m pretty sure some dancing and screaming was involved. “And I absolutely love this!” she suddenly exclaimed. “This is the best thing I’ve ever read. I want much more of this. Well done you!”

I wondered what could have excited her so much and reached forward to take the document she was beaming all over (and continuing to love like you wouldn’t believe!) She let me have  a look and when I cast my eyes over it a cold rock formed in my stomach. The document she had pulled out from my submission and had quoted as ‘The best bit about the whole thing’ was actually someone else’s. It had been caught up with mine…and I had no choice but to be honest.

“That’s not mine,” I told her sadly. She frowned and glanced over it again as if that might miraculously change the minor embarrassing point. But, even after looking again, the dream reality was that this piece of work was not mine, it was better than mine…much, much better than mine.

“Oh, well, never mind,” she told me like she felt sorry for me. “I must find who it belongs to though because I REALLY want to represent this author! This is going places! This is rare! This is…”

THIS IS where I woke myself up because she was getting on my sodding nerves now! I mean even in a dream, how bitchy can you get???

In a post dream state, and having had time to contemplate what it all means, I conclude that the experience was a manifestation of some serious insecurities. Basically my sub-conscious is asking, am I good enough to cut it? I know there will always be people better than me (that’s life) but will I still be able to compete against that and hold my own? The dream I had last night was my ‘In-security blanket’. I might have left the old, tattered blue and white crochet one from my childhood days behind but, sadly, I replaced it with this other more resilient and less sympathetic one. It’s not cuddly, it’s not reassuring, it’s unlikely to get lost (no matter how hard I try) but it did give me a good reason for a blog post and that’s always a good thing!

Cheers guys and remember (unless you are some famous author having your books made into film right now) you’re not alone and if you’re struggling, I truly feel your pain! 🙂

Take care from me. Jess 🙂

I did something VERY wrong but it felt sooooooooooooooo good! Blog post revisited ;-D

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Dear all,

Last Sunday my husband finally took part in the Milton Keynes marathon that he’d been training so hard for. The marathon was the first for Milton Keynes and it was lovely to be a part of something like that, something that I hope will become a regular event for the MK calendar! On the morning of the event Mr S-C dressed in his shorts, his trainers (the ones from blog 13) and his REACHOUT PLUS charity t-shirt. We attached his number with a couple of safety pins (that we had to hunt high & low for) & then we set off.

It had rained constantly throughout the night and when we finally got to MK we had to sit in traffic waiting to filter into the car park we’d paid for. By this time I was feeling sick, don’t ask me why, probably nerves at knowing I could be stranded for over five hours with two children in the tipping rain. I sipped water and tried to keep quiet (I mean to be fair my husband had enough to worry about with 26 miles looming). As we slowly neared the car park I became horribly aware of the fact that I needed a wee, so was relieved when we pulled in and waited to speak to the sopping wet marshal. He adjusted his hood in the downpour as he leaned in and shouted through the high winds.

“Go all the way round the car park and then go out the way you came in, then follow the diversion signs.”

“Do WHAT?” I shouted back. He repeated.

“Go all the way round the car park and then go out the way you came in, then follow the diversion signs.”

Yes, it seemed I had heard correctly! The car park we had booked was apparently flooded so we were sent across MK to another one. When we finally got there I was desperate (like ‘I’m pregnant and waiting for my scan with a bladder full of water and it hurts’ type desperate). I heaved the backpacks onto the kids & pulled up their rain hoods but within seconds we were all drenched. We didn’t even have time to grab the wellies from the boot when someone pointed out that the buses (that were meant to run every 10 minutes) were off and we were going to have to walk the two miles to the start line. We now only had 20 minutes till kick off!

At this point I must confess I got a bit frustrated, yanked off my hood and turned on my husband.

“Right this is ridiculous and I need a wee like you wouldn’t believe. I feel sick and we are soaked already…and you can’t run in this STUPID BLOODY WEATHER! I say we go home and I’ll just pay the money that we’ve raised instead!” He frowned at me like I was mad and heaved my backpack onto my back, yanked my hood back up and said.

“Right let’s go!”

I didn’t fight it any further I just fell in line and followed on as fast as I could whilst holding onto two children. We slipped and slid in the mud until we could see the start line up ahead and the hundreds of people congregating there. All I wanted to do at this point was either cry or be sick so I confessed that I couldn’t not go for a wee any longer. My husband was very understanding and suggested I go in a bush. I haven’t been for a wee out in public like that since I was five but now I didn’t have a choice (unless of course you’d wet yourself by choice). I dumped my backpack on him and made for the bushes just as another woman was coming out. We tried not to make eye contact. I found somewhere remotely hidden, although people were walking along the path behind me and to the front of me was a big wire fence and a factory with lots of windows. I took one look to my right and there was another woman in the act of going and I got all uncomfortable. I felt like I’d just pushed the door open on her by accident.

“Oh! I’m so sorry! I didn’t realise…” I began and she laughed at me and replied.

“Needs must. We’ve all got to go!”

I mulled over her wise words for two whole seconds (my life flashed before my eyes) and then I must confess I pulled down my jeans and did it! I was probably spotted by runners and their families as they rushed to get to the start line, I was definitely spotted by the woman to my right and I am probably on a few camera phones belonging to the staff at some warehouse located in central Milton Keynes! If I ever get famous guess what pictures of me will be plastered all over the tabloids! Well, you know, you heard it here first!

Anyway to cut a very long, dreary and saturating story short, my husband ran all 26 miles in those dreadful conditions for something he wholeheartedly believes in – young people. I am incredibly proud of him. I was met by his family shortly after he left the start line so thankfully I wasn’t on my own,. To them I am truly grateful for standing in the pelting rain all day while we tried to work out at what points we might be able to spot him and holler support. After 4 hours we waited at the finish line, The Staduim MK, and I walked back along the route for two miles until I found him, almost ready to collapse, drenched and in so much pain. I ran the last two miles to the stadium with him (in my knee high boots) telling him not to give up, the end was in sight and in so many ways he had made a difference – to young people and REACHOUT PLUS, to his children who were so proud of him, to his family who had waited all day to show their support, to the people who had put their faith in him and donated money, to himself by proving what extremes he was capable of conquering and to me who had, that morning, flashed at virtually everyone and degraded myself in public (not forgetting the staff who are currently uploading entertaining videos of desperate women on YouTube!)

This post has nothing to do with writing but I did write it so…you know…it’s kind of relevant here!

Cheers for reading guys and take care from me.

Jess 🙂 x