Thursday, 1 August 2013

Almost effortless weight loss...

Ah ha! Here is a new business venture for me.

I have just weighed myself and I weigh EXACTLY 8 stone 8 pounds. If you would like to know how I achieved a few pounds weight loss over the course of 10 days here are my helpful tips.

1. Go for a will hurt like hell and you won't be able to talk but on the plus side, you won't be able to eat either.

2. Blow your oven up. Now you have nothing to cook on, [even if you did work yourself up to be brave enough to try food once more after undergoing option 1 see above].

3. If you are tempted to eat outside of the home, just forget to bring the hospital-issued painkillers with you. That will soon put a stop to that idea.

4. Ensure that before embarking on steps 1-4 that you fill your freezer with foods that your children love but that you hate, so that cravings are reduced.

and finally

5. Should you get hungry at any time, console yourself with a large cool glass of orange juice, even though you know that your body does not react well to this and spend much of your free time in the toilet.

There now you too can lose a few pounds the Carmen way...

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Ok, here is a review of my first book, warts and all.

One thing I will state openly is that book 1 did go to print with typos and I have been pulled up about this before...I am sorry about that and have endeavoured to learn from my mistakes and the reprinted versions which are now available should contain no typos. But the bit I am focusing on is where he says that for all that,
he loved it! So I guess I must be doing something right...

 So here it is.

I’ll start with this: on a technical level, this book is utterly horrendous. From the very beginning it is filled with misplaced commas, excessive exclamation marks and ropy formatting. Various words are capitalized which probably shouldn’t be, most notably “Pet” and “Eyon”. In general, this book gave me the impression of an author with much raw talent but with little care for the editing process.

And yet, for much of the time reading it, I absolutely loved it.

The book’s concept is certainly a novel one. In Alone, humanity is dominated a race of avian humanoids called eyons. The creatures frequently take in human children to live as pets and servants; Loni and San, the book’s protagonists, are two such pets. Their owners, like most other eyons, spend most of their lives hooked up to mysterious “work machines” and are consequently oblivious to the world around them. Loni, however, is different in that she spends most of her time with her owner’s hatchling, who she calls Little. When Little’s work machine arrive, the two flee in order to keep Little from becoming like the others. San, meanwhile, leaves without prompting in order to discover the truth behind humanity’s place in the world.

Chapters alternate between Loni’s and San’s perspectives, with the final chapter incorporating both points of view at once. Of the two, I must admit that I preferred Loni’s sections by a fairly long way. I could genuinely feel the bond between Loni and Little as I read about them, making them very easy to emphasize with. There is a real sense of progression in Loni’s chapters, as both she and Little learn about the world around them and vow to change it for the better. San’s chapters were hardly bad, but their events felt quite random at times and I didn’t feel that he developed as much as he could have done.

My only major criticism of this book is the ending, which leaves almost all of the book’s plot threads open and seems intended solely to set up a series. This is compounded by the fact that all other “Owners” books have been prequels so far, which leaves me to wonder if the author will ever go back to Loni, Little and San. I really hope that she does, as it would be a shame to end their tale where it currently is. Here’s hoping it happens.

Found on

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Owners, Volume V : Eyon Rising

Oh I know it's the summer holidays but much as I'm enjoying the sun and the leisure time, I'm itching to get back to editing Volume V of my debut series and then to begin Volume VI. You see I know what is about to happen...

They shoot horses, don't they?

It is a strange world indeed. A world full of contrasts and complexities so deep, that sometimes I have to just stop and wonder at it all.

As you already know, the human condition perplexes me greatly and although I know I will never get to the bottom of its deep well of understanding, I do like to drink deeply of it every now and again.

I have recently joined a new Facebook group. Not having even previously known of their existence, I came across this group of random individuals, who dedicate much of their spare time to the
collection and care of injured birds, mostly pigeons.

And what a revelation! Big hairy, bearded men, the sort I would possibly have crossed the street to avoid, are pictured lovingly regarding a healed or healing bird, which sits perched on their shoulder. Heavily tattooed young women with neon hair, hold the injured birds up to the camera, to show their injuries and ask for or give advice on specific wound treatments.

And I realised something about myself in the process. Having come from Glasgow [albeit a long time ago when I was eighteen], I thought that I judged people by their actions, rather than their image. But I was wrong. I am just as judgemental as is the next person.

Now don't get me wrong. These lovely people are nutty as fruit cakes but in a lovely way. And I'm sure now that if they read this blog they will agree. Let me explain.

It's not what they do, the rescuing and caring for birds, which is the nutty part. No, that is the most commendable part of their characters. The care, the diligence and the concern they show for each and every one of their charges, is heart-renderingly wonderful.

The nutty part, is the bit that comes after, where they proceed to let the birds fly around their houses or nest up in the curtains! But it is a nuttiness born of consideration and love, a real ability to actually do what most of us can only say - to live and let live.

And of course, I am as nutty as the rest of them. I, after all, have an injured wood pigeon in my kitchen which flaps around the kitchen and the back garden. That's why the conversation I have just had with one of my children hit me so hard.

I was asked by my daughter why she had [in a film] seen a horse being shot after it had a broken leg. I had to explain that although the injuries would heal, that most people found the process too expensive. And that, added to the fact that the horse would never be able to be ridden as well afterwards, caused it to be condemned to a death sentence.

My eldest was mortified. Why were there no laws to stop this? Why were there no charities that would take in the horses? I explained there were charities but that they were most probably swamped with requests.

But awful as that situation is,  I was not disheartened by it as I once  would have been. Through this group I can see that there are kind and humane people in all walks of life. And that just because you can't instantly spot them, doesn't mean they don't exist. Because I know that somewhere, someone will be working with these horses just as my group is with birds.

You see what I am trying to say, is that these people have restored my faith  in human nature. They have given me back what was lost through countless news programmes or newspaper articles which report on only the horrors of the world.

There are good people out there...and not just a few. So stand up you strangely bearded men and neon barneted women, with your piercings and your tattoos, arise you quiet damsels or shy withdrawn young men and come forward all you others who look just like you and I.

Come forward all of you, for you are my heroes.