desk writing novel author Lorraine Ambers

Top 5 things I need to write

I’ve spent the past week learning new payroll software, filing VAT returns, writing GDPR policies for my 3 businesses and redeveloping the website for my welding and fabrication business. YAWN!

During that time I’ve missed writing. And yes, my sanity has suffered for it. I’m amazed to discover that even editing my MS helps my anxiety and stops me from plummeting into depression. And the more of my blogging community I discover and supportive you all are, the less embarrassed I am about my Complex PTSD.

Alice in Wonderland. Have I gone Mad?
Image from Pinterest.

So, without further ado here are my top 5 writing essentials I need for working on my WIP.

  1. Tea and lots of it. A good old fashioned mug of builder’s brew and the stronger the better.
  2. Peace and quiet. I can’t write with people around and I don’t have the luxury of an office or even a desk. As there’s just no room in my bungalow. And so I’ve commandeered the dining room table, it’s home to an extension lead, work files, lots of USB sticks, many notebooks and two laptops. One has an antiglare screen for working on my MS and the other has all the tedious software for running the other businesses.
  3. Music. I know I just said peace and quiet – I guess I meant people. I usually play the radio or music channel. Anything with upbeat tunes. I use it as a motivator and a way to cancel out the unnecessary chatter of my mind. It focuses me. I’m listening to Coldplay’s – In a sky full of stars. I get to channel my voice through words, while dancing in my seat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
  4. My dog. Pulling my attention away from my laptop and getting out in the fresh air is essential. It recharges my batteries and increases my creativity. Yes, I moan about taking my beagle Dexter out, but I always feel better for it. Particularly if I head to the beach or take a river walk.
  5. Lastly, but most importantly is a functioning mind. I skirt a fine line between holding it together and tumbling into despair. And I can’t write when I’m depressed. While it’s not my fault I have psychological wounds or that I’m regularly triggered. Staying on top of the things that help me, is in my control. Things like, exercise, meditation, writing and therapy.

And I’m going to add a 6th. A cat because it’s finally time to bring another one into my life after losing Jasper. While I still hope he returns home, it’s been 8 months and this writer needs a kitten.

And so, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a sneak peek into my life. What’s your number one writing need. Share it with me, as I love reading about you too.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

Lorraine Ambers Writer cat

Crazy Cat Lady

 

Missing cat,

Jasper’s been lost since bonfire night. I’m convinced the fireworks scared him into hiding.

Day three of missing Jasper: I’d implemented the street search for kitty. I took my beagle and traipsed the housing estate, fields and Jasper’s general hangouts. The vet’s had been checked and my neighbours were on the lookout.

Day Five: Driving the kids to school, I spotted a black cat. I approached with caution and picked him up. He looked terrified, and his jet black fur had turned slightly auburn. Did the sun do that? Jasper usually prowled at night and slept on my bed in daylight hours. Undeterred, I shoved the scrambling cat into my car. The imposter leapt onto my sons lap, stabbing his legs with razor sharp claws.

My kids shriek, ‘he’s not our cat!’

I inspect the creature, ‘How do you know? It might be.’

My daughter raised her brows. She looks at me with an expression that read – are you nuts? ‘He’s brown.’

The cat meows. It’s not high and tuneful, but gritty and low. That’s not our cat. I leap out of the car, run around to the boot and let the scatty cat out.

I’m at a disadvantage now, because the flyers of my missing cat are useless, I’ve seen a black cat with green eyes and no collar. So have my neighbours, problem is… it’s NOT MY CAT!

Crazy Cat Lady

I’d like to say that was the only abduction of similar cats… it’s not.

A week later the imposter cat returned and sat opposite my house. He was watching the birds in the shrubs, just like Jasper use to do. This time I brought him home and offered him food. Yes he’s fur was tinged, but the poor guy been feral for weeks. That could happen, right? I’m at a loss, the cats arches his back. Ahh, I have a brain wave, our beagle will recognise him. So I call in enforcements,

‘Dexter, Jaspers home,’ I say.

Dexter disagrees and chases the cat out of the house. I have not seen imposter cat since. Neither have any of my neighbours.

I continue to stalk my neighbourhood, calling out of the car window, ‘Jasper!’ Perhaps news of the Crazy Cat Lady has spread to the cat world? All black cats seem weary. Why aren’t any of the black cats around here wearing collars?

It’s been four weeks since my wiley cat disappeared. I must admit, at times it’s been tempting to pack up his belongings and give into the despair. But even in the darkest of times there is always hope.

 

I’m able to stay positive because of the amazing support and help from my neighbours and friends. They’ve led me to many possible sightings.

Beagle dog Black cat laying together

Recently a neighbour was amazed by a small black cat. He ran up to her little dog, sniffed his face and then followed them on a walk. The unusual cat behaviour is a classic trait of Jasper. He often follows me and Dexter on our walks. I’m confident Jasper is alive and thriving.

When he gets home he’ll be in so much trouble, I’ll probably buy him a radiator bed and better treats.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Why not share your positive pet stories with me. Thanks for reading.

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
Author Lorraine Ambers Beagle Dexter Dog

Persevere and conquer, it’s worth it!

I’ve not always been a cat or dog person. It wasn’t that I hated animals, I just didn’t understand them. I certainly didn’t understand why owners got so attached to their furry friends. So when my family begged for a dog I gave them all the reasons why I would never own one.

  • They smell!
  • Malt fur everywhere!
  • Lick your face, Yuck!
  • Chew things to death!
  • And you’ll have to clean up poop!

With the argument successfully won, we resumed back to normal family life.

As a child I loved my pets. I loved my many, many short term pets. All ironically named Lucky. Perhaps that’s what put me off the little critters?

In the end, my family won. We were given Bailey a stunning rag-doll kitten that needed a homed. At first, I wasn’t sure what I thought of him. He was cute, loved to attack my ankles and took my husbands undivided attention. Everyone one else, fell head-over heals for the fluff ball.

Cat & Dog asleep friends
Fluff & Stuff
It wasn’t until he went AWOL, that when I realised I too loved him. I was devastated, sent out lost cat flyers and searched the streets at night. We found him in the neighbours garden with a lady friend, little tramp!

With my new found love of all things on 4 paws I declared to the family it was time for a dog. Not any dog, the right dog. One we could train to love Bailey bear. I did my research, picked the correct breed of dog for our lifestyle and thought, this will be great, wonderful, easy peasy.

Assumptions is the mother of all F**k ups!

For me having a puppy was worse than a newborn baby. I’ve never faced anything so stressful. I know! I sound melodramatic and ridiculous.

Your probably thinking; Try renovations, relationship break down, moving house or worse the death of a loved one… I have! This for me was far worse. I was driven to the brink by the worlds cutest creature. It was undoubtedly the last thing I expected.

In hind site (Oh bloody hind site) I should have used  a dog crate or only allowed him access to one room for the first month. I should have given him dog boundaries, I should have realised he was a puppy not a toddler.

But he was defenceless; like a baby. My mothering instinct took over and I couldn’t be cruel to my tiny Dexter. Instead I watched him with hawk eyes, for the tell-tale ground sniffing showing he needed a pee. Two problems with this method, the first he literally peed every 5 minutes for the first 6 weeks. Second; he’s a hound, they constantly sniff!!! My house stank of white vinegar from all the wee patches I had to scrub.

dexy1
Nickname ~ Dexy Adair
Thankfully he slept a lot… little bugger would root me out, snuggle up  on my lap and sleep on me. crafty on his part, as it made me bond with him. Increasing my internal struggle.

 

I’d stand outside for ages with him, in the middle of winter but as soon as he crossed the threshold into the house, he’d cock his leg and piddle. Little bugger! That wasn’t all, He wouldn’t go on walks! He would shiver by the front door, like monsters lurked outside. When I finally lured him past the front drive he would stand there and refuses to move.

At this point I broke down, crying hysterically to my husband (I’m not usually the weepy type). ‘I can’t keep him, he’s ruining my life… but I love him and someone else might treat him badly.’ My poor hubby replied. ‘He’s just a dog, not a baby.’ Half of me agreed with him while the other part thought. Stupid man, doesn’t he understand?

By the time he was four months old I had come to my senses (Only slightly at that point) and got him a large crate, more like a giant playpen. I would pop him in so I could cook dinner, have a shower, live a normal life… knowing he couldn’t pee on anything, which was usually everywhere; except outside!

Flame-cream rag-doll cat
Nickname ~ Bailey Bear
Ultimately I persevered and gave us both some serious training. I taught him how to listen to commands and me how to give them. Now he’s my perfect companion. He keeps me company when I’m writing, I no longer feel lonely. It can get that way when your an author. He’s my muse, we walk together and each time he makes me smile and reboots my creativity. The initial stress has now become my stress reliever. He also helped me grieve for my much loved, Beautiful Bailey.

 

I wonder if I could use this experience as an example to an interview question? ‘Tell us about a time you encountered difficulties and how you overcome them.’

My answer would be: ‘I had a puppy, it was insanely stressful but I learnt with perseverance anything is achievable.’

I apply this method to any task I want to accomplish. As humans we are always evolving, always learning and always have the capabilities to achieve the impossible.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Share with me the times you’ve struggled but battled through, conquered and come out stronger. No incident is too big or small, they all develop who we are.

Beagle dog Black cat laying together
Brotherly love ~ Dexter is happy again with his new companion, Jaspurr.