Diana’s August book review ~ The Madness of Grief by The Rev Richard Coles

Why did I choose this book?

I know, I know; it’s the middle of September. Why am I writing my August book review now? I was looking at Elstow Abbey website one day, where both my parents are recently interred, and reading Father Paul’s newsletter, where he talked of how he felt the best way he could support folks through their grief is by being kind. He also mentioned reading Richard Coles’ book.

Did I want to read it so soon after my parents had both been laid to rest?

Would it be cathartic? Would it stir up all of those feelings of helplessness and overwhelming sadness once more?

In the end I downloaded it, but could only read the book in small doses, but neither could I indulge in reading a novel in between.

Did you feel empathy with any particular character?

Of course! Rev Richard Coles is pouring out his grief, feelings, thoughts and behaviour of himself, his dogs, his friends and acquaintances when faced with the loss of David, the love of his life. I do not have a dog but can imagine, if you are living on your own, having dogs snuggling up to you through the night would be such a comfort for them as well as for yourself. I was stirred by his honesty; his ability to paint a picture in words of every scene and yes, his sense of humour even at the darkest times of despair and hopelessness. I have to admit I have not, to my knowledge, listened to him talk on Radio 4 or on TV and so I had no preconceived idea of what Richard is like as a person, but I immediately warmed to the man; the church minister and the person who is obviously an extremely good and loyal friend to those close to him.

Is there a lasting thought or memory of the book which remains with you?

Yes, certainly, but one is painful and the other is heartwarming.

I was shocked by the ‘few’ and I hope that is the case, messages and letters from those who purport to be Christians and yet were not only judgmental but viciously cruel in their choice of words at such a sad time in Richard Coles’ life. Where is Christian love? Where is the evidence of ‘loving one another as I have loved you’?

I felt warmed to the offer of two very dear friends, Beth (I think it was her name ~ hard to look back on Kindle) who helped with the practical side of sorting David’s things in a way that Richard could never do in his state of mind but she was also there for him as a companion when he needed it most. Then there was Lorna, whose long term friendship offered a place to live as Richard ‘found himself’ once more. The generosity of both of these ladies (and other relations and friends too) to be there and just allow Richard to grieve in his own way and his own time, felt like being surrounded by an alpaca blanket; soft, soothing, warm and full of love.

And finally, because ‘The Madness of Grief’ deserves a final word, this book would be an eye opener and helpful not only to those bereaved, but also to those who wish to support them, and even folks who wish to widen their understanding of human experiences.

Click for Amazon UK

Leave a comment

Filed under Book reading, Book reviews

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I have had a copy of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul‘ (2nd Edition) for years.

The books are a collection of true stories with a feel good factor, empathy or message, but one story has always lived with me. Being a teacher I was struck with an end of year story of a tutor who was saying good bye to his students of that year. To some he congratulated them; others he wishes them luck in their new ventures, but to one student he gave a tiny box. When the student opened the box there was a pearl nestled inside.

The message of this gesture remained with me and in a way it worked on me over the years, just like the oyster covering the tiny piece of grit or shell, until I had the idea for a small gift book.

I wrote ‘Search for the Pearl Inside Yourself’ back in 2014 and, at the time, I was taking voluntary redundancy from my work at college. If I had not done so I would have been competing with colleagues, who were dear friends too, for the few jobs remaining. Two thirds of our department left or had to leave that year.

Recently I was remined of this draft manuscript and so I metaphorically dusted down the files and worked on them. After that, I asked several folks for their feedback (my beta readers) and amended it accordingly before publishing it through Eventispress.

If you need a bit of positivity, a feel good factor in your life, or you just need to read how others are coping with similar situations to yourself, then I really recommend the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series. They now do books for Teens and areas like Dementia, but personally I just love the original mix of stories.

www.chickensoup.com

or the original version on Amazon.co.uk on their 20th anniversary.

I gained permission to mention the 2nd edition in ‘Search for the Pearl Inside Yourself’, a gift book for young adults ~ inspiration, motivation and encouragement.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Book reading, Gift Book for YA, Writing

Author Platform ~ If you’re new to writing plan ahead!

Don’t do as I did!

My author platform is now:

www.dianajacksonauthor.co.uk

www.dianajacksonauthor.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianaJackson/

DianaJackson@Riduna on Twitter

My main blog www.dianamj.wordpress.com

Dear Reader

I began writing in 2000 and had my first book Riduna published in 2009 by Pegasus Elliot McKenzie. I knew nothing about author platforms and just chose a Twitter handle and web address fairly randomly.

Twitter

I chose my Twitter handle @Riduna’ before it had occurred to me I’d write several books. It was the title of my first book and the Roman name for the island of Alderney, on which my novel was located. In the early days of marketing it certainly helped to link myself to Alderney and one of my first followers and readers did a search for ‘Riduna’ on Twitter and came up with me. He was an ESOL teacher in Argentina at the time, but his Great Grandparents were alive on Alderney at the same time of mine. One of those lovely coincidences!

Riduna

In 2012, a small Indie Author Collaborative, for which I was a founding member, relaunched Riduna and its sequel Ancasta. (losing all my hard earned reviews for Riduna on Amazon unfortunately, but that’s another story)

It was when I came to release ‘Murder Now and Then’ in 2014 that @Riduna was less helpful, although characters in that novel did in fact visit Alderney briefly.

Website

The website for Diana Jackson was not available and I so I chose http://www.dianamaryjackson.co.uk as my web address. I was asked where the ‘Mary’ came from when interviewed by Chiltern Radio. I must have looked surprised, although of course I couldn’t be seen, ‘it’s my middle name,’ I replied. Since then I’ve realised that it is a little odd. At first I thought to change my pen name to Diana Mary Jackson. It has a certain ring to it don’t you think? If you ever wish to do that, please don’t go there! It’s far too complicated, especially since I had already published at least one book in each of my three series.

Blogs

I am reluctant to update my main blog www.dianamj.wordpress.com because it goes through periods of success and increased outreach, dependent on my input and a bit of luck. I also find that some posts and themes have a certain amount of longevity, discovered by folks sometimes years later. I now have links to this blog on both websites making it easy to share news and for me to update most of it myself. This works seamlessly

I have two blogs, but this year I have paused on www.selectionofreflections.wordpress.com to give myself less pressure through a difficult year.

…and so I’ve kept ‘Mary’ hidden in my blog address by the initial ‘M’ and that sounds like the title of a book!

Banner

I have yet to get this banner updated with my latest release ~ see below, but it is on my dot com website and my Facebook page too. I’m not sure about my twitter header. What do you think?

In Short:

Think carefully before you choose twitter handles and web addresses and not only that its worth paying for web addresses ahead of time to reserve them. You never know who might come along and snap them up. Be consistent!

“Diana Jackson’s latest release is a #YA book of encouragement, inspiration and motivation called ‘Search for the Pearl Inside Yourself‘, just released on Kindle .”

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Blogs, Marketing your novel, Social Media Networking, Writing