Tag Archives: dedication

Dream Come True! …….it’s real!

On Thursday 11th June a parcel arrived for me. (Huge thanks to my neighbour across the street for taking it in for me).

Instantly I knew what it was.

Secreted in cardboard packaging, I was holding something I’d only ever dreamed of holding in my hands.

Trembling, I carried it into the kitchen and sat it on the table, not trusting myself to look at it never mind open it!

Once I’d turned on the over for dinner and put away my bits and pieces of shopping, I carried my package upstairs to the bedroom and laid it down gently in the middle of the bed.

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I stood staring at it, still not believing that it was real.

I changed out of my work clothes then sat on the bed beside it, running my hand over the cardboard. Yes, I even took its photograph.

This was a never to be repeated moment in my life.

My heart was pounding. My hands were shaking. My throat felt dry.

Slowly I tore off the strip across the back of the package and caught my first glimpse of the contents.

A lump now filled my throat and unshed tears were stinging at my eyes.

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It was really real now.

Lovingly I slid the contents out of the cardboard sleeve.

I was holding it in my hands!

A huge smile of pride spread across my face as I tenderly caressed it.

What was I holding in my shaking hands?

The first ever paperback proof copy of my Book Baby – Stronger Within.


Since its release on Kindle, there have been many emotional Book Baby moments that I’ll treasure forever- seeing it on sale on Amazon’s website for the first time; selling my first copy in the UK; selling my first copy in the USA and in other countries around the world; reading the first  5* reviews. It’s been an emotional creative roller coaster over the last few weeks.

Nothing however prepared me for the overwhelming emotion of actually holding it in my arms as a real “live” Book Baby!

The last piece of the dream was becoming a reality.

Book Baby sure has come a long way from the four tattered handwritten A4 notebooks that it began life as.

I know I’m biased but it’s beautiful. (Thank you so much to my Photoshop fairy godmother)

So after eleven days, has the feeling worn off?


I’ve painstakingly re-read it from cover to cover, taking extra care not to break its spine, slotting in post-its at pages where the layout requires to be tweaked. I corrected one glaring spelling error. I corrected one “writing” error (I got left and right muddled up). I made one minor tweak to the wording of one section following a reviewer’s criticism of my non-USA language.

Even when it was brimming with post its, it still looked amazing to me.


Corrections made, I submitted a second draft and ordered another proof copy.

I arrived home this evening expecting it to be waiting for me. No sign of it. A wave of disappointment washed over me. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

However as I sat on my front doorstep in the early evening sun, my neighbour handed me a cardboard package. (Huge thanks to next door!)

My heart began to pound and a smile began to grow.

I carried it indoors and laid it on the kitchen table then returned to the doorstep to finish off this post.

I guess I’d better go and open my parcel!

***The paperback edition of Stronger Within is available on Amazon now. ***

The First Few Days of Book Baby Motherhood

Book Baby Blog collage

It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting in the sun with a coffee and some hot buttered cinnamon raisin toast, trying to get my head around the last few days.

What can I say about last week? Where to start!

When I uploaded my last blog post and launched Book Baby on the world I was physically trembling with nerves – scared nerves and excited nerves.

Walking into the salt mine as usual an hour or so later felt weird. I guess by then my own paranoia was beginning to creep in and I felt as though everyone was staring at me. The rational voice in my head told me not to be so stupid, to go and get a coffee and get on with some work – I did.

Throughout the day my phone, email and FB pages were lit up like Christmas trees as I was smothered in congratulatory wishes. Thank you!

The majority of the day was spent with a warm feeling of pride burning deep inside me – possibly fuelled by the 50 Shades of Red I turned every time anyone spoke to me about Book Baby!

I had bought a tiny bottle of bubbly on my way home the night before. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how to celebrate this momentous event. I’d gone through many ideas in my head but wasn’t confident that anyone else would be the least bit interested in celebrating with me on a Wednesday night or any other night for that matter. (I’m not a party person)

The Big Green Gummi Bear usually heads to the gym after work so I didn’t expect him home until late – hence the choice of a little bottle of bubbles. Enough for one small glass each. One wee toast.

He surprised me by coming home early, skipping the gym. He said he felt as though it was wrong to go to the gym and that he should come home and celebrate with me. That meant SO much to me!

We toasted the birth of Stronger Within together – should’ve bought a bigger bottle after all!

Then we were both looking at each other with a “Now what?” question hanging in the air.

Emotionally it all felt very surreal and, to be honest, it still does.

Even now, I’m still blushing bright red any time anyone speaks to me about the book. That little nagging voice of “Paranoia” has been whispering in my ear all week as I hear of more and more friends and family (including parents!) and friends of my parents (eek!) who are reading or planning to start reading my Book Baby- what if they hate it? What if they think its rubbish? What if they are laughing at me behind my back?

What can I say? That’s me through and through about most things in life! Still psychologically scarred from the dim and distant past.

So “Now what”?  The question is still hanging there waiting to be answered.

I’ve drawn up a short list –

  • Stop feeling so self-conscious and allow myself to feel proud of my achievement
  • Relax and let things take their course with Stronger Within
  • Re-connect with my characters and story lines. The rest of the tale isn’t going to write itself!
  • Learn how to stop blushing!

I’ve a feeling that the last one may prove to be impossible!

The Night That Was Meant To Be

Ever get the feeling that some things are just meant to be? Perhaps it’s fate. Perhaps it’s luck.

A few months back I secured tickets to a concert that I felt sure was going to be “the one” that would realise a lifelong dream for me. (Well, twenty seven years long to be exact so not quite lifelong)

I was wrong.

A little over two weeks ago, a show was announced that was to be held in a small Glasgow venue on 7th November and would be for fans only. Pre-registration via the artist’s website was required in order to qualify for a code that would then allow you to attempt to purchase a maximum of two tickets. In my excitement and haste, I screwed up my registration. I realised my error less than thirty minutes before registration closed. Too late.

The lack of an email landing with a mythical code confirmed my error.

Gutted doesn’t begin to cover it.

Tickets went on sale the next day at 10am. From reports online there were technical glitches with the codes and subsequent sales. Lacking the necessary code I could only sit back and watch my fellow fans try to secure their golden tickets.

Ok , let’s be honest here, I sat back and sulked quietly, trying to console myself that I would get to realise the dream on 4th Dec.

Tickets were duly snapped up and I genuinely thought that was an end to it.

A glimmer of hope emerged around Tuesday lunchtime when a fellow fan hooked me up with another fan who had details of an unused code. There were rumours of balcony seats still being available. However, despite my best efforts online and via phone, I failed to secure tickets.

Gutted for a second time in five days.

Still sulking (big time by now) I was watching TV on Tuesday night, idly playing around on social media on my phone. A post by the artist caught my eye. There were limited tickets left! All I had to do was email the address quoted in the post. You’ve never seen an email sent so fast in your life!

Lady Luck was smiling on me and within ten minutes, amidst much screaming for joy, I held two tickets for the 7th November show in my trembling hands.

All day Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, I silently fretted that perhaps it had been a hoax. Worried that the tickets were fake and I’d been de-frauded out of my £20 and my credit card details. (Blame the paranoia on all the years spent working in a fraud team)

Even on the Friday evening on the train, chaperoned by Boy Child, I was doubting that this was real.

As I stood in the lengthening queue outside the venue, watching Boy Child chitter with cold in his t-shirt and jeans (yes, bad rock mum let him out without a jacket), I doubted that it was really real.

It was only once we’d cleared security (Boy was it tight!), entered the hall and I was standing in front of the merchandising stall that I allowed myself to believe that it might actually be happening.

Lady Luck was still keeping an eye on me as we took our places, two rows off the barrier slightly to the left of centre stage. Almost my ideal spot in the hall.

So who was I there to see? Who had I waited all these years to see play live?

The one and only – Slash.

Ever since I bought “Appetite For Destruction” on vinyl when it was first released, I’ve wanted to see him in concert.

I guess everything does come to she who waits. And, in true recent concert going for, shows are like buses – two have come along at once!

After a fabulous ninety minute set from Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, which literally saw me swept off my feet by the crush in the crowd, my dream was only thirty short minutes away.

Boy Child had his eyes set on the mayhem that lies in front of centre stage and, with my nervous blessing, disappeared off into the crowd in the hope of finding a mosh pit. He did.

Standing in front of me was a young man in a checked shirt, who turned round and said, “If I stand here you’re not going to be able to see, are you?”

My reply was, “No and I’ve waited twenty seven years to see this guy live.”

His face was a picture and, in the perfect act of chivalry, he gave up his spot for me. Thank you, young sir!

Now I was one row off the barrier with a perfect view of the stage.

A creepy freak show intro played, closely followed by a blaze of lights, then there he was. Dream come true – Slash was on stage in full view playing “You’re A Lie”.

And the icing on the cake was that Myles Kennedy was out on stage doing the vocal chores! The cherries on this particular “rock” cake were, of course, the Conspirators themselves – Todd Kerns, Frank Sidoris and Brent Fitz.

For ninety minutes, I was held utterly spellbound as my dream became a beautiful reality. The mother in me did start to fret a little as the crowd surfing began and, with my heart in my mouth, I watched for Boy Child appearing over the crowd. Whew!-he didn’t…this time.

Hearing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” played live for the first time was incredible. A moment that will live with me for a long time. That song is possibly my all-time favourite song). Seeing Slash coax his numerous solos out of his guitar was stunning. Watching Myles strut his stuff alongside the super talented Conspirators was breath taking.

Only as the show came to a close with the wonderful “Paradise City” and I, along with everyone and everything in the building, was showered in confetti did I truly believe that all around me was real.

The dream had come true.

And, to return to the cake analogy, this rock chick is allowed, on this one occasion, to have her cake and eat it, as I am now counting down the days until 4th December when I get to live the dream all over again.

Some nights are just meant to be.

SMKC collage

And we’ve survived “the Festival”for another year

If you are a parent, teacher or school pupil within the Inverclyde area then the third week in January can only mean one thing – time for the “Festival.”

This year saw the Inverclyde Music Festival celebrate its centenary year- quite an achievement. The first Festival was a two day event – 25-26 April 1914 – and was held in Greenock’s Town Hall. A century later it is a two week event and is still held in Greenock’s Town Hall. From the tiny tots in Primary 1 right through to adults, the Festival attracts competitors of all ages. It covers a vast range of talents- speech, drama, country dancing, instrumentals, ensembles, choirs, soloists, duets, Burns song and verse. Over the entire two weeks it caters for every taste.

Now I’ll be honest as a child it terrified me. I was “the child” whose mother had to write a letter to the teacher saying I was too scared to step out on that stage. I finally overcame that fear and sang – badly most likely- in the school choir when I was about thirteen. Never again!

Add a few years and I have become the parent. Taking my lunch break at 10:30am to run along to the Town Hall to support either Boy Child, Girl Child or both as they competed with their primary school class in Action Songs  or Singing Games. Add another few very short years and they ventured into the Brass category. Sitting up on the balcony in the main Town Hall or on a seat in the Saloon (a slightly smaller hall) watching your baby play solo is nerve wracking. I was sick with nerves every time. Listening to them play as part of an ensemble, band or orchestra is only slightly less nerve wracking.

Girl Child and her French horn endured a love/hate relationship for almost four years before she handed it back and bowed gracefully out of the arena. Boy Child still plays with multiple bands – he plays trumpet – and appeared three times at this year’s Festival. His school concert band even won their class and a huge silver cup this year! He may be almost six feet tall but when I’m watching him on that stage he’s still my baby boy.

The Festival is now over for another year – “Thank heavens for that!” cries every school teacher and music tutor for miles around who have practically lived in the Town Hall for a fortnight – and next year will likely be Boy Child’s last year performing.

This centenary year also marked a personal milestone. The Big Green Gummi Bear finally came to hear Boy Child perform as part of Inverclyde Schools Wind Orchestra at the Centenary Concert. It was the first time he had seen him out on stage- I hope it won’t be the last…time will tell.


The poem below was inspired by previous trips to the Town Hall for both the Festival and various concerts.


Maybe This Time

Excitement building

The audience take their seats

The lights dim

The concert band take to the stage


Next to me an empty seat

A glance to the doorway – no one there


The concert band play

Music fills the hall

With parental pride the audience applaud

With a bow of thanks the band are gone


Next to me an empty seat

A glance to the doorway – still no one there


Time moves on – more groups perform

The talent and confidence shared.

Soloists and duets; quartets and strings

Achievement and success abound


Next to me an empty seat

A glance to the doorway – still no one there


Finally the orchestra take to the stage

More formal and precise than before

String, woodwind and brass ring true

A standing ovation well earned


Next to me an empty seat

A final glance to the doorway –

Was that a shadow moving away?

If you are interested in learning more about the Inverclyde Music Festival Association and its hundred year history you can find the whole story on their web site – www.inverclyde-music-festival.org.uk