Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Cover Reveal, Covid-style

She was almost killed, now she writes novels...

Interview with Gilli by Gilli Allan


Gilli Allan, author
You know you're in a pandemic when your author friends interview themselves for your blog.

With the Covid19 crisis taken an emotional toll on me and robbing me of a good percentage of my stamina and sanity, my good friend Gilli Allan prodded me to help her promote her novel, Buried Treasure, re-released with a brand new cover.

Click here for my Amazon review of Buried Treasure


Feeling less than able myself to muster up an appropriate congratulatory blog, I let her go it alone. She's a great writer. I love her books. I love her attitude. Take a listen to what she wants to tell you, not about her book but about herself:

Gilli Allan: Thank you for the invitation to your blog.

When and where were you born?
Gilli: I’ll tell you the where but not the when.  Orpington, in Kent, in the United Kingdom.

Where do you live now?
In Gloucestershire in the West of England, in an area known as the Cotswold Hills. But not the posh and sedate part, beloved of Tory grandees, but in a village near the far more counter-culture and alternative town of Stroud.

Have you ever been in a life or death situation?
During the summer of my thirteenth year, I was crossing the road outside my house and was hit by a van.  It was a serious accident; I was thrown about fifteen feet and landed on my face, and apparently there was a lot of blood. Fortunately, I’ve never had any memory of it although still suffer from mild PTSD if I have any kind of a shock.
Luckily a police car happened to be cruising the area and alerted emergency services. I was carted off to hospital very swiftly and actually made a fairly swift recovery (although I still blame my creaky knees on being hit by that van, and the dis-function of my thought processes is obviously due to undetected brain damage!).  

What is your favourite colour?

It’s got be yellow, the colour of sunshine, daffodils and baby chicks. When PVC was all the rage, I had a yellow oilskin (a proper sea-going garment).

You didn’t go to university.  Why not?
My performance at school was indifferent. The only subject I was good at was art. (I have belatedly come to the conclusion that I’m dyslexic.  I can tick nearly all the pointers.) I left to go to art school at sixteen but dropped out after 2 years.

When did you first start writing?
I first decided to write a book when I was around ten, but the urge to create was soon blighted by the difficulty of dreaming-up a coherent story. I resurrected the hobby in my young teenage years and carried on writing – beginning but never finishing – a number of ‘books’. I did it to please myself, never considering it a serious ambition.

What were you doing when the idea ‘to take writing seriously’ occurred to you? 
I was doing the ironing, while listening to the radio. I had a three-year-old son, and was unenthusiastic about the idea of trying to resume work as an illustrator in advertising.  What else could I do that would enable me to stay at home?  What else was I good at? A radio programme came on about Mills and Boon, and the light bulb went on.

But you say you are unable to write a category romance, what do you mean?
I fully intended to try to write this kind of book but found I couldn’t do it. Once I’d put pen to paper the plot instantly took a very non-M&B direction. I am not dissing the genre, but in giving myself permission, as it were, to try writing seriously, I was instantly gripped by the magic and potential.  I knew I HAD to finish the book that was unfolding before my eyes, whether or not it proved a commercial prospect.

How have you been coping in the Covid 19 emergency?
I am well aware of our good fortune. I can only imagine the desperation of those with young children who are financially insecure, and are forced to live cooped-up in a high-rise block! 
I have always been pretty self-reliant and self-sufficient.  In the current bizarre situation, it probably helps that I don’t have grandchildren and not many close friends. All the people I am most deeply attached to live several hours drive away, so at the best of times, we don’t meet-up that often.  Living in London, my son and his wife are hyper aware of hygiene, and are probably the most unlikely people to catch the virus.  I’d love to see them, of course, and also my best friend and my brother and sister and their partners, but life is what it is.  I don’t spend time fretting about what I can’t do.  I just get on with what is possible.

Do you have strongly held spiritual beliefs?
I am fairly fatalistic about life. My accident is a case in point. Had the van been travelling faster, had I not been a fairly resilient, strong-boned individual, had the police car not been cruising the area, who knows? I have a code I live by which could broadly be described as Christian, but I am more political than religious. I don’t take my skepticism about the super-natural as far as Richard Dawkins.  His certainty about the materiality of life annoys me, as his position discounts many people’s mystical and paranormal experiences. My own experience and that of members of my family, leads me to the sense (I wouldn’t put it as strongly as belief) that there is more to life than meets the eye.  

Have you achieved what you wanted to achieve in life?
The trouble with ambitions is that they are either unreached or if they are, you don’t notice and fix your sights on something further off in the distance.  
As a child I wanted to be rich and famous.  As art was the career I seemed to be heading for, a famous artist was the goal.
I then decided I wanted to go out with and ultimately marry a pop star.  Every girl at school would envy me. The fame would come vicariously.  Or I could be a famous fashion model.  I was forever pulling ‘the face’ in mirrors, and wishing other people would see what I could see. Any flaws could be overcome by dieting, a growth spurt and good lighting.
When I decided to try my hand at writing seriously, the ambition was to be published.  That happened so quickly that my ambition instantly changed to becoming a bestseller and going on chat shows.
I have reached a point in life where becoming famous would be a nuisance. I certainly don’t crave ‘things’; I am proud of re-using, up-cycling, and making-do and mending.  I have garments in my wardrobe that go back to my twenties! 
Now, I just want people to read my books.  

Oh, I’ve just had a thought. A major movie deal would be nice.  

BURIED TREASURE
Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at

Contact Gilli at

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Most exciting thing that happened to me during lockdown

Yes, lockdown, or 'sheltering in place' as some say, rather euphemistically, or self-isolation as the Public Health edicts call it is difficult.

For those of us without children at home, and not working from home...well, let's just say I had a very pleasant one hour conversation earlier today with a telemarketer. What else is there to do?

I've asked my social media friends to share what the most exciting thing is that has happened to them since the pandemic struck.

For me, I can't think of many exciting moments to consider and rate.

Perhaps the most exciting thing happened yesterday when I played hide-and-go-seek with the grandchildren. I'd forgotten how dark closets are when the door is closed. Remember the tiny crack of light under the door? I can't say I actually saw that crack. I mostly just saw the ceiling, being as I was simply a face and voice on an iPhone. Diminishing this experience, however, was despite the fact I was hundreds of miles away I repeatedly got blamed for making too much noise and giving away the hiding spot.

Although that was a fun event, perhaps for an exciting event I should consider my social distancing visit with four close friends around a roaring campfire the other night. The fact that we couldn't share food or drink or photos did't stop us from sharing a few good laughs. Especially when we enacted our perspectives on tele-medicine and our annual physical exams.

But as far as the type of excitement that gets one's heart racing, the number one event since being in self isolation has to be the day I exploded the hot tub.

Now, I am ever so grateful to have my very own hot tub, outdoors. A place I can go and soak away my worries and woes. But like I hinted at before, boredom does strange things to people. It seems it caused me to believe at some point that I might have plumbing abilities.

In any event, I decided to fix that control knob that leaked. It had been leaking for months but it only leaked when the jets were on and the tiny trickle just ran back into the tub so nothing had been done about it. But for pandemic-induced reasons, I decided I should and could fix this issue.

Well about two minutes into my repair job, complete with the explosive sound effects, a frothing four foot pillar of angry water torpedoed the knob and its leaky innards a good fourteen feet into the air. Myriad plastic pieces fell back from the sky, burying themselves into the surrounding snow banks as the geyser kept rising, writhing and roaring from the hole where the control knob had once been.

Keep in mind it is -10C , I'm soaking wet, in a bathing suit and the water in the tub in dipping dangerously low. I'm jabbing at the control panel to turn off the jets but nothing is happening. The pool of water outside the tub is beginning to freeze.

Luckily, a few more jabs and I finally got the jets turned off. I stared around me. I couldn't believe my misfortune. I'd entered the tub fearful and anxious, intent on giving up my stress to the warmth of the water massage as I'd done almost every day since  Covid-19 stay-at-home orders were issued. Now, I was more anxious than ever and had apparently disabled one of my life's few remaining pleasures.

But, being me (and being cold), I didn't stand there long. My robe, which had been carefully hung on the rail was dripping wet. My slippers were wet, too, but they were my plastic sandals so I slipped them on and, mostly naked I raced around the deck, digging into the snow to retrieve washers and rings and various other pieces of plastic that looked like they may belong to a hot tub control knob.

Still fancying myself somewhat of a plumber I pieced things together as best I could and then closed the tub lid, too frightened to turn on the jets to see if my fix job worked.

As I climbed down from my hot tub, I realized with horror that the steps were covered in a smelly, brown mess. As were my sandals! Apparently in my dash about the deck to recover pieces, I'd uncovered the winter's stash of doggy do-do.

I now had to rush about (still in my bathing suit), scrubbing, cleaning, rinsing, disinfecting the steps, my shoes, the deck, itself. 

I was not a happy camper when hubby showed up. But bless his soul. In less than an hour he had my tub up and running again.

I'm am so very happy that each day, I can still slip out there and soak. The snow is now gone, the stash of doggy-do gone, and overhead the Canada geese fly, robins flirt in the nearby trees and around the pond below, my beloved red winged blackbirds trill.

Yes, the day the tub exploded was the most exciting thing that has happened to me since lockdown began.

"...Lockdown" has been brought to you by the BackTracker Series.


Canadian author, Eileen Schuh, is known for her thrilling elements of crime, sensitive treatment of social issues, and emotional exposure of the human psyche.

Schuh's most recent release in her gritty BackTracker crime series is the crime thriller, OPERATION MAXTRACKER. The previous books in this series are THE TRAZ, FATAL ERROR and FIREWALLS.
Schuh is also the proud author of two adult SciFi novellas, SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES, the adult crime thriller, SHADOW RIDERS.
Her latest release is the grade school novel, BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE RAINBOW.



Saturday, April 18, 2020

Schrödinger's Lockdown Covid--19

Disclosure

The mandated self-isolation required to prevent the unfettered spread of the novel coronavirus is proving very difficult. It is more than just the inconvenience and more than just the loss of freedom.

Yes, we are social creatures and socializing is etched into our genes--but it is more than that.

The effects of the lock-down reach deep into our psyche, disturbing our dreams and wearing on our emotions. Warping our sense of reality.

For those not familiar with the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment, the take away is that according to some interpretations of quantum theories, reality doesn't actually exist in our space time until it is observed.

Physicists are coming to realize that our entire reality, from subatomic particles on up through our world and out into the universe beyond, exists only in relation to other things. Much like 'up' is meaningless and can't exist without there being a 'down', things like electrons owe their existence to their interaction with other particles. The basic building blocks of energy and matter exist only in a state of possibility and probability until interacting with the space-time reality in which we exist. Only with that interaction, do they condense into a set time and place in our world.

I think we intrinsically know about this nature of our reality and it perhaps terrifies us to think that withdrawing from our society threatens it's very existence. Without interaction with our world, we fear it will fade away. We fear we will fade away. We fear reality will collapse into nothing, into a black hole, sucking us and all we know into non-existence.

This may not be a valid fear, but it is a primordial one, one that visits us at nighttime in dream messages, tapping into our subconscious knowledge. Beyond what we can express in words, we know reality needs our participation to exist.

As weeks of isolation turn into months of isolation, we feel ourselves fading away.

Schrödinger's Lockdown has been brought to you by SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT

"I loved it from the first word."
"And the ending I never expected"
"thoroughly rocked my socks..."
"a book that engaged all senses and emotions"


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Toss the Bottle


Toss the Bottle
~ EileenSchuh.com©

Put away the pint, will ya
Before the damn stuff kills ya.
It should be pretty clear by now
There ain’t no wine or beer no how
Gonna make that pesky virus go away.

You may not wanna hear it
But there’s evil in those spirits
Put the cork in, toss the bottle
Send the devil on his way.


The fifth is a series of Mental Health blogs for Covid19



Brought to you by OPERATION MAXTRACKER

"Cyberspace Teeters on Collapse"

"Fourth novel in thriller series has eerie ring of reality"

"a fast-flowing follow-up to FIREWALLS"

"Schuh creates in readers a quiver of anticipation and dread"

"Schuh takes OPERATION MAXTRACKER to a new level as danger, cunning and espionage spill out of the virtual world into real life."




Eileen Schuh, Author 
FIREWALLS
FATAL ERROR
Schrödinger's Cat
THE TRAZ
Web site: http://www.eileenschuh.com
Blog: http://eileenschuh.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Write Way to deal with Covid19

For Therapy, for Posterity, write your life

Disclosure

I gave a little teaser on Facebook today about what I was going to blog about on my daily Covid19 Mental Health series.  I wrote a little poem about #GrandmaInLockdown.

The toys are all a-scatter
Not that it even matters
There won't be any knocks upon the door.
No visitors will visit
No kids will come to play
No one will ask for ice cream
Or beg their mom to stay...
#GrandmaInLockDown

My blog was going to be about how therapeutic writing is, about scientific studies that show the act of writing helps people deal with fears, stress and anxiety. I was going to encourage my fellow writers to use their words in public ways to help the world. To record this massively historic event so the generations to come will have a clear picture of what we went through. So we can be viewed as great adventurers, achievers, fighters. Strong.

I was going to tell those of my readers who are shy about writing, to pick up the pen anyway and keep a diary. Lock it if you want.  For now.

When we're long gone, our descendants will be interested in "the Pandemic of 2020". They'll want to read about our lives, our feelings, our fears, our governments. Our homes, our clothes, our food and technology. Our culture. They'll be intrigued with even just short accounts of firing up our i phones and logging onto Facebook, fascinated to discover how strange it felt for so many to work from home. They'll wonder at the quaint custom of 'buffets' and roll their eyes at our stories of toilet paper hoarding and maybe laugh at the government videos showing us how to wash our hands.

I was going to write all that until I wrote that poem. When I hit 'post' the life drained out of me. My spirit died. Hope, vanished. My desire to be useful left. I no longer wanted to write about writing. How could I tell people it was therapeutic to write, when it had decimated me?

I was going to tell you all that my latest novel written for middle grade children, BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE RAINBOW starts off with a mother admonishing her children to consider the turn in their lives an "adventure."

Danielle cannot believe she's embarking on an adventure. Her parents are fighting and divorcing and her mother has moved them from their city home to a rundown shack on the prairies.

Danielle  must have felt much like we do--life as she'd always known it was over. She had no electricity, no inside toilet. No running water. Her friends, her school, and her father are thousands of kilometers away. And...like us, she has no idea how or when it's all going to end. She knows, it will never be the same again.

Adventure indeed.

Well, come to think of it, now that I've written about my novel, I've cheered up a bit. I love talking about my books, reconnecting with the characters I've lived with and slept with and dreamed about for months (and some of them, years) as I worked to tell their stories.

Perhaps this idea of writing for therapy has some truth to it...

The Write Way...has been brought to you by BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE RAINBOW


Nine-year-old Danielle’s parents are getting divorced and she doesn’t think things can get any worse—but they definitely don’t seem to be getting any better, either.
Her mother takes her and her older brother, Jayson, thousands of kilometers from their Toronto home to the old family homestead on the Alberta prairie. Inside and outside of the rundown shack that is now home, everything is strange and frightening.
Her mother says they will connect with nature on the farm and begin to heal but to Danielle, it seems a very painful way to heal.
Little by little, however, she learns what a family is all about. She just might begin to find the peace and happiness she needs.

Eileen Schuh, Author 
FIREWALLS
FATAL ERROR
Schrödinger's Cat
THE TRAZ
Web site: http://www.eileenschuh.com