… and one in particular.

I know, some people prefer not to see them, but I generally like to see those posts from the past that pop up every day. Of course, some of them are no longer of interest, while others bring a smile to my face and words from my lips.

“Was that really six years ago?”

“Was that only last year? So much has happened to me since then.”

In the current climate, I also think of how the whole world has changed since last year.

One of today’s memories brought a different reaction from me: regret.

We met, she and I, in an online forum. Later, she started up another, smaller forum and I joined it. We interacted quite a lot. I even met her in person when we stayed together for two days.

Eventually, with the rise of Facebook, there didn’t seem any point in continuing with the forum. We became Facebook friends. She sent me a message in Hebrew; I was touched.

SadMemory

It couldn’t last. Although we had a lot in common – enough to chat about on the forum – there was too much that separated us. Topics that didn’t come up on the forum couldn’t help but come between us on Facebook. She broke off contact.

I think about her sometimes and hope she and her family are well and happy.

Facebook is supposed to bring people together, but sometimes it tears them apart.

Social Anxiety Revealed by Miriam Drori.

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My non-fiction guide to social anxiety has begun the next stage of a long and exciting journey.

The first stage, which lasted for thirteen years, transformed it from a collection of random ideas to structured text.

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Cover - Bestseller

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The second stage saw it travelling together with the many wonderful books – mostly fiction but also non-fiction – of the publisher, Crooked Cat Books.

As Crooked Cat changes direction, Social Anxiety Revealed had to part company and continue alone.

Social Anxiety Revealed by Miriam Drori.

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And so, my little book has now changed platforms and is standing proudly, thrilled to be beginning a new stage of the journey. Yes, you can now find it, with a few minor enhancements, on Smashwords.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Social Anxiety Revealed

Fear of other people? Most of us feel this occasionally, when giving a presentation or being grilled in a job interview. This is not social anxiety disorder.

Fear of what other people think of you? We have all felt this, too. It is why we dress as we do and generally try to behave in a way that is expected of us. This is not social anxiety disorder either.

But when those fears become so prevalent that they take over your life? When they cause you to hide away, either literally or by not revealing your real self? When you keep quiet in an attempt to avoid those raised eyebrows and the possible thoughts behind them? That is social anxiety disorder.

And it is much more common than you might think. In the mental health table, it comes third – after alcoholism and depression – and yet most people don’t even know it exists.

If you have social anxiety disorder, this book is for you.

Even if you don’t have social anxiety disorder, you might have a friend, a relative or a work colleague who does. You might see it developing in your son, your daughter, or a child you teach. This book is for you, too.

Social Anxiety Revealed is created by people who yearn to ditch all these problems and live their lives to the full.

Can you help? When you have read and understood, you’ll be in a much better position to do that.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been bored at all since lockdown. In fact, I’ve had more to do than usual.

I miss going out to folk dancing, which won’t take place for another month, and that date, of course, relies on the coronavirus figures going down. Fortunately, they are, despite the gradual relaxation of the rules.

What have I been doing all this time? It’s hard to remember. There have been a lot of Zoom meetings of different sorts. I’ve written, and edited, and submitted. Lately, I’ve been trying to keep afloat in a vast sea called Self-Publishing. (More about that, later.)

What I want to tell you now is that this book:

Dark London Volume OneDark London Volume One

is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be released by Darkstroke on 25th June.

This is a collection of short stories from authors across the world – Miriam Drori, Jess Popplewell, Ted Bun, Anne-Marie Ormsby, Kate Braithwaite, Donna Cuttress, Sue Barnard, Sam Hall and Cathie Dunn – with a special foreword text from international bestselling London author, Alice Castle.

Yes, that’s me up there.

All monies received will go to two London-based charities – The London Community Foundation and Centrepoint.

If you pre-order now, the book will land in your e-reader on launch day and you’ll have helped those charities. Here’s the link again.

UPDATE: Volume Two can also be pre-ordered now from here.

I’m author number seven out of the eighteen who have written stories for Dark London, the new anthology to be published by Darkstroke.

Dark London Authors

I’ve long thought of my lucky number as twenty-five. Why?

  • I was born on 25th August.
  • The house I grew up in was at number 75 (25 x 3).
  • I came to live in Israel on 25th October.
  • When I was 25, I lived at number 25.

However, seven is a rather special number in Judaism because:

  • The menorah (the 7-branched candelabrum) has been a symbol for Judaism for about 3000 years.
  • The festival of Sukkoth, which involves eating (and sometimes sleeping) in booths, as a reminder of the years when the Israelites wandered through the desert, lasts for 7 days.
  • Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing of the Torah, includes parading around the synagogue 7 times.
  • The wedding ceremony includes 7 blessings.
  • The festival of Shavuot, commemorating the receiving of the Torah, is celebrated 7 weeks after Passover, which commemorates the exodus from Egypt.
  • The shivah, the period of mourning, lasts for 7 days.

 

Ruth&David'sSukka

Inside a Sukkah (booth)

I couldn’t be author #25 because there aren’t 25 authors in the anthology, but I’m happy to be #7, and I imagine one of the characters in my short story is, too.

Publication will be this summer. I’m excited!

Letters from Elsewhere

Today, there’s a letter and two announcements for you.

The letter comes from John, who is Martin’s boss in Bournemouth, UK. John has popped over from the pages of my novel, Cultivating a Fuji. It’s 1976, shortly before the start of the novel.

The announcements follow the letter.

Dear Martin,

I’m at my wits’ end. I’ve tried other ways to no avail, and now I’m resorting to a letter. At the very least, I can now be sure you’ll understand how I feel about this matter. But I’m hoping for much more. I’m hoping you’ll write back with an explanation, and that you’ll give me hope to believe things will gradually change. I promise I won’t show your reply to anyone, if you don’t want me to.

You know, I’m sure, how much I appreciate your work – how much we all do. We all know you do the work of ten other programmers, and we’re always confident you’ll complete all your tasks on time and with extreme efficiency.

But employment in an office doesn’t end with producing output. There is always a social aspect to it. We expect all employees to interact sometimes, as this adds to the convivial atmosphere in the office.

I would have thought that you, too, would welcome more interaction. No one can work all the time without a break. Instead of spending your breaks hunched over your desk, you could be having a word with your colleagues. It doesn’t have to be anything deep – just a little something to break the ice and ease the tension.

I don’t know anything about your past life. Exam results don’t tell me much. I suspect something happened to make you so quiet. Maybe a lot of things happened. If you want to tell me about them, I’m here to listen. You can do it by letter, if you prefer. I repeat my promise: I won’t tell anyone what you confide in me.

But please, please do respond in some fashion. I’ve tried many different paths to reach you – not because I’m nosy, but because I really, really want to help. Because I’m sure you’d be much happier if you opened up a bit. If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what else to try. I genuinely want to help you, but I can’t think of any other way.

Yours,
         John

More information about Cultivating a Fuji and about its author (me) is available by clicking the tabs at the top, as well as at the Amazon link in Announcement 1 below.

Cultivating a FujiAnnouncement 1

Cultivating a Fuji (the Kindle version) is completely free this weekend. Do download it from Amazon while you can. I hope you enjoy reading it. That was my main intention in writing the story. I also hoped you’d think about the story after reading it not so that you feel uncomfortable, but so that you’d consider changing your behaviour in the future. Because, probably, everyone knows someone like Martin.

Announcement 2

I’ve been waiting for a long time to be able to make this announcement. I have a short story in the two-volume anthology, Dark London, that will be published by Darkstroke this summer. All royalties from this anthology will go to London-focused charities. I’m very excited about this, delighted to find myself in this amazing lineup of authors and looking forward to the publication.

Dark London Authors

Letters from Elsewhere

I’m delighted to welcome Joan to the blog today. Her letter speaks for itself. I expect the sentiments in the letter have been echoed by many over time, even if they weren’t written down. Joan comes straight from the pages of Finding Nina by my good friend, the fabulous author, Sue Barnard.

16th May 1944

My darling Stella,

I really don’t know how to begin this letter.  If I’m honest, I think I’m writing it as much to myself as to you.  I need to get things clear in my own mind.

I’ve never been in this position before, and I find I’m thrilled and terrified in equal measures.
I’ll never forget what Mother said to me when we brought you home: “Babies don’t come with an instruction book.”  I’ve heard that said before, when my friends and work colleagues had babies of their own.  Now I fully understand what it means.  But in my case there’s an added layer of complication.  You were given to us, which in some ways brings even more responsibility.

With effect from yesterday, when we went to court, I am now officially your mother.  But I still can’t get out of my mind the image of that poor young girl at the adoption offices.  I don’t even know her name, but she looked no more than seventeen at the most.  My heart went out to her as she handed you over to me.  The social worker told me afterwards that she’d insisted on doing this herself, even though it isn’t normally allowed. 

All she said to me – and I can still hear her voice now, six months later – was “I can’t keep her because I can’t marry her father.  Please look after her.”  Then she started crying, and the social worker led her away. 

That was the moment when I first realised that our happiness – having a child of our own after so many years of waiting – is the direct result of someone else’s heartache.  Yes, you will call us Mummy and Daddy, but there’s no escaping from the harsh fact that somewhere out there you have another mother who was forced to give you away.

A friend who adopted a baby a few years ago told me that I need to start telling you the truth as soon as possible – before you’re even old enough to understand it – and that way, there will never be a time when you haven’t known.  “Tell her that you chose her,” she said.  “It will make her feel extra-special.”

So that’s what I’m going to do.  Starting tonight.  It will be our own bedtime story.  You’re still only six months old, but the sooner it begins, the easier it will be.

One day you will have to know the truth.  I can only hope and pray that when that day arrives and you fully understand what this bedtime story really means, you will not stop loving us.

With all my love, from your new mother,

Joan

About Finding Nina

1943: A broken-hearted teenager gives birth in secret.  Her soldier sweetheart has disappeared, and she reluctantly gives up her daughter for adoption.

1960: A girl discovers a dark family secret, but it is swiftly brushed back under the carpet.  Conventions must be adhered to.

1982: A young woman learns of the existence of a secret cousin.  She yearns to find her long-lost relative, but is held back by legal constraints.  Life goes on.

2004: Everything changes…

Sue Barnard: Books

FINDING NINA is part-prequel, part-sequel to the bestselling NICE GIRLS DON’T, but can also be read as a stand-alone story.

You can find these two books on Amazon: Finding NinaNice Girls Don’t.

About Sue Barnard

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction.  She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue BarnardSue was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium.  She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.  Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird”. The label has stuck.

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

Sue is also in these places:
Blog   Facebook   G+   Twitter   Instagram   Amazon  Goodreads  RNA

Letters from Elsewhere

Emma is a troubled woman. I don’t need to say any more about her before you read her letter, except to tell you that she comes from the pages of The (D)Evolution of Us by Morwenna Blackwood.

To…who? 

            My son, Richard.  I don’t even know who you are.  Or who you will become.  You’re just a name and a parasite at the moment.  You battered me from the inside, and now you demand me without end.

I do love your dad, but we couldn’t have been together – not in this town.  The old gossips would have called him a cradle-snatcher if they knew who he was.  I can’t even tell you.  Sorry, but it’s not worth the hassle.  And that’s the reason I didn’t shove a knitting needle up me and destroy you – because I love your dad, and you are a piece of him.  He’s a good man, and if you turn out to be even half the man he is, I’ll be proud.

I’m sure I’ll know, even when I’m gone.  Because I won’t be here to see it.  I can’t do this.  I’ve tried to stop the drink and everything, but I can’t do it.  I can’t live with that woman and be sober.  I mean your Nan.  I can’t live with her judging me and everything I do; with you screaming blue murder all day.  Why do you have to cry so much?  Can you sense how shit I am?

You ripped my body apart when you came into the world, and now you are ripping up my mind.  You make me think about the future, you make me dependent on that woman, you make me miss my dad, but more than that, you made me lose the only man I’ve ever loved; the only person who’s ever loved me.

And in spite of all this, I’m worried about you.  I feel responsible for you.  I’m trying not to let in the fact that I might actually love you; that I could teach you about the stars and the Universe and Nature, that I could teach you to count to ten, ride a bike – you might even get the chance to go to uni.  But I won’t let that in.  I couldn’t even choose you your own name; you got my dad’s.  I couldn’t look after you, anyway – I’m a shit mum.  I could barely even get you out of me.  I feel bad, leaving you with my fucking mother – she’s been shit with me – but she does better than I do.  She likes you more than she likes me, anyway.  I can’t think.  You’ve lost me my love.

He understood me.  He knew my dad.  You’ve got good genes on your dad’s side.  You’ll be okay.

But it’s too late for me.  I’m going to meet my dad now.  Hopefully.  ‘Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again’, they say.  They’re wrong about the parting bit. 

I’ve lost faith.  Good luck, Richard.  I hope you find something that makes sense.  I can’t do this anymore.

Your mum, Emma.

About The (D)Evolution of Us

The (D)Evolution of Us by Morwenna Blackwood… the water was red and translucent, like when you rinse a paint brush in a jam jar.  The deeper into the water, the darker the red got.  No, the thicker it got.  It wasn’t water, it was human.  It was Cath.

Cath is dead, but why and how isn’t clear cut to her best friend, Kayleigh.  As Kayleigh searches for answers, she is drawn deeper into Cath’s hidden world.  The (D)Evolution of Us questions where a story really begins, and whether the world in our heads is more real than reality.

The (D)Evolution of Us will be released by Darkstroke on 4th May. The ebook can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.

About Morwenna Blackwood

Morwenna BlackwoodWhen Morwenna Blackwood was six years old, she got told off for filling a school exercise book with an endless story when she should have been listening to the teacher/eating her tea/colouring with her friends.  The story was about a frog.  It never did end; and Morwenna never looked back.

Born and raised in Devon, Morwenna suffered from severe OCD and depression, and spent her childhood and teens in libraries.  She travelled about for a decade before returning to Devon.  She now has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter, and lives with her husband, son and three cats in a cottage that Bilbo Baggins would be proud of.  When she is not writing, she works for an animal rescue charity, or can be found down by the sea.

She often thinks about that frog.

Find Morwenna on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.