Not So Alone After All by Brey Willows

8 May

Bold Strokes Books, UK

Gun Brooke, Amy Dunne, Jeffrey Ricker, Brey Willows

I’m an introvert. A full on, writing in a cave kind of girl. Socialising is a lot like over-cooking eggs in a microwave; not pretty, sometimes explosive, and often messy.

But this weekend reminded me of something important; we’re not alone. Us writers who need space and time to create, who feel like we know our fictional families better than any actual humans, are part of something bigger.

Bold Strokes has worked hard to create a community of authors who support one another, who cheer each other on, and who help each other grow. And when we get together, we have the chance to see that we’re not loners alone in the world; we’re loners that are part of a fantastic group of loners (and the occasional extrovert) and that’s beyond awesome.

Truthfully, I was overwhelmed by people’s absolute kindness. People who…

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From Roaches to Rome by Brey Willows

4 May

Bold Strokes Books, UK


“Go outside and play.”

When I didn’t, my mum came to see why I didn’t do as I was told. I was a pretty docile child, really.

She found me standing in front of the screen door, looking at the wall outside our apartment door. At head height was the largest cockroach I think either of us had ever seen. I was standing there trying to figure out how to get past it…

“Why don’t you stay inside and play instead?” Mum closed the door on the atrocity of nature.

We ignored the fact that they were everywhere, even if we couldn’t see them.

That’s where I began life. Cockroach infested apartments, a single teenage mother trying to keep us from going under, alcoholic family members…you know the story. It’s an old and, unfortunately, common one.

Let’s jump ahead…

Last year, my wife and I went to Rome for a…

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All the Feelings by Amy Dunne

4 May

via All the Feelings by Amy Dunne

Punch in the nose and chocolate cake by Sandy Lowe

4 May

Great blog.

Bold Strokes Books, UK


I have a confession to make. I don’t like to travel. There, I said it. Arrest me and throw away the key.

My family loves traveling, in fact my parents are living their retirement dream touring Australia in their RV (aka the tin can). My older brother jets off around the world every chance he gets. The guy has been to Samoa, like, five times. I don’t have a clue where that is, but apparently it’s awesome. My dream vacation is a cruise; once you’re there, you’re done. Cruises are not for getting off the ship at ports. They’re for couch potatoes who like sunshine and cocktails. Snagging the best deck chair, cracking open a good book, and not moving for five days? Now that is a vacation.

When friends and neighbors ask me about my job, and I mention that I travel frequently, they get the look. You…

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4 May

Bold Strokes Books, UK


“Don’t miss this unique chance to discover the real dark heart of Rome.”

That’s what the tourist advert said and boy, they weren’t kidding. OK, I was looking for something different. I’d already done The Roman Forum, The Trevi Fountain, the Piazza Venezia, The Monument to Vittorio, the Colosseum (both above and below it), countless catacombs, ceaseless crypts, boundless Basillicas, the Pantheon, the Vatican…   Darlings, all so tedious and mundane. I mean, how many ruins do you want to see?

So when offered the chance to do something that dreams are made of (think haunting), I took it and went to the chilling Capuchin “Bone Chapel,” located in the centre of Rome, the Eternal City. I was about to discover that bit about Eternal.

I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY BONES IN MY LIFE.  They were everywhere. The place was lined with the skeletal remains of over 4000 monks.

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Bold Strokes Book Festival, Nottingham, by Victoria Villaseñor

7 Jun

Women and Words

Hey, friends! As Jove and I talked about in the Women and Words podcast last week, I did manage to track author and editor Victoria Villaseñor down and she graciously blogged her thoughts about the Bold Strokes Books festival in Nottingham. This was the 8th annual there, but this year was different because of horrific events that occurred in Manchester and London.

She told me she was a little worried about including her thoughts about that, but I told her that what happened was no doubt on the minds of people at the festival, and acknowledging it doesn’t detract from the festival, but rather recognizes our connections to each other, to our communities, and helps us with solidarity in the face of such terrible occurrences.

Here’s Vic with her thoughts.


At 3am on Sunday morning, my phone started buzzing. Because I have family in the States, I don’t turn…

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Pre-event pondering

2 Jun

Source: Pre-event pondering

The Importance of “Me Time”.

2 Jun


It can be so hard to see the positives when everything is going wrong and it seems likes there’s only negative things happening. And some days, weeks, even months can be more difficult to deal with and extra exhausting than others.

But it’s okay to take time out and look after yourself. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s essential. If today is a bad day and I can only summon the energy to stumble downstairs wearing my pyjamas and eat a humongous bag of chocolate while crying at a soppy film…that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I might text rather than speak to people but I will still let my loved ones know I love them. There’s no guilt. No pressure to act okay, when I don’t feel okay. It’s me time. The opportunity to take comfort in simple things and not feel bad or guilty for “wasting” a day.

And if today is a good day and I feel amazing, well that’s awesome. I will try and get as much done as I can. I will do the things I enjoy and make time to speak, visit, spend time with my loved ones and tell them how much I love them. Hug them. Make them laugh.

As my Irish gran used to say, “we’re here for a good time, not a long time.” There’s no such thing as a perfect life. We should not be so hard on ourselves. All we can do is our best, at this particular moment in time. 🙂


Deeper Connections by Sandy Lowe

2 Jun

Source: Deeper Connections by Sandy Lowe

Deeper Connections by Sandy Lowe

2 Jun

Bold Strokes Books, UK


In the modern digital age, there is a case to be made for using the Internet make our lives easier. Want a recipe? A book? An Uber at 3am? The Internet is happy to provide (and to profit). Less obvious, but just as life changing is the way cyberspace has transformed the social realm. We make friends, colleagues, lovers and even enemies online, opening ourselves up to a social network that transcends time and place.  For LGBTQ people this network can be life changing: increasing avenues for acceptance, support, resources and even as a vehicle for finding just the right happily ever after.

Social media has made it so that everything we share online can be viewed by friends, friends of friends, and often even strangers we’d never actually consider friends. Inevitably, this leads to impression management, curating just the right collection of filter-hazed photos, anecdotes, witty retorts and hashtags…

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