Listen to the young people!

The courage of the young students at a high school in Parkland, Florida in standing up to be heard against the US’s powerful pro-gun lobby has filled me with hope. Hot on the heels of their stories, I read about a British young man who sits on his local council (an achievment at 20 years old in itself) and gives up his weekends to work with others to stand up against fox hunters.

That is why listening to young people matters so much. The older generations ‘have always had access to guns’ or ‘have always gone fox hunting.’ To say something has always been a certain way isn’t a good enough reason for it to continue. Young people know that. They know the older generation is leaving behind them a terrific mess and they want us to stop. Let’s face it, they really do have nothing to lose.

So let’s listen to them. Let’s hear their suggestions – maybe some of them will be naive, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work. Maybe they will be a bit black and white, but maybe we need to cut through the gray. Let’s give them a voice and, more importantly, let’s give them the education and confidence and freedom to speak without parents, teachers and other authority figures criticising them.

In short, let’s listen to what the next generation has to say. It’s starting to seem as though it will be worth hearing.

I write sitting down

I recently shared a Facebook post about the activities other writers do when they are stuck. Dan Brown, for instance, apparently has a device where he can hang upside down. I write sitting at my desk, and I do it all day, every day. When I am thinking something through, I take a trip to the pantry. As you can imagine, writing is not kind to my behind! I needed to do something about it and so I recently completed a one day course run by Rebecca Cragnolini and Imelda Curtin of Click Weight Success in Christchurch, NZ. This is the link to their page:

The workshop was incredibly empowering and followed up by weekly emails and meditations to keep us on track. I am half way through the follow-up support and thought I would take stock and see what changes in myself I have noticed.

Firstly, I am sleeping so much better. As a writer I am juggling not just Sabrina Summers but newspaper clients, teaching commitments and a busy home life so I never had a quiet mind. Now, I wake up with energy and clear thoughts, just what I need to get this darned book finished.

Secondly, I’m annoyingly happy! Seriously, all the time. I’m full of beans and take pleasure in little things. I’m even excited about getting the weeding done on my garden because I know that means I can enjoy it afterwards.

Thirdly, yes I have lost weight. Not much, but some, and the great thing about it is that I haven’t gone on any kind of soul-destroying diet or been a slave to the gym. I’ve just got a different attitude – I’ve got the energy to go to the gym and put more effort in while I am there, and I choose to have healthier food.

I’ve got several targets to reach by the  New Year – writing targets, marketing targets, and health targets and I’ll be reporting back on how I do, but thanks to the lovely Rebecca and Imelda, I’m confident I’ll get there. Watch this space!

Review from Bob Docherty

I was proud to be reviewed by Bob Docherty, who used to work for the New Zealand Library Service. He now visits schools and libraries and advises them about books their children would like to read. Check it out below.

Bobs Books Blog

Childrens and Young Adult Book Reviews by Bob Docherty

The Uncooperative Flying Carpet by Michele Clark McConnochie

May 15, 2015bobsbooksnzComments off

The Uncooperative Flying Carpet by Michele Clark McConnochie. 2015.

This clever, witty, imaginative novel is a self published work and is Saga 1 from a series titled The Strange Sagas of Sabrina Summers.

The father of Sabrina and Rory marries Bridget Bishop, a woman he met on the Internet, on a Friday 13th June. While they like her they think she is up to something strange and so they follow her one day with Sabrina’s friend Persis. By some magical spell they are transported into the magic land of Dralfynia (an anagram of Fairyland) along with Clyde, a horse and Olive a rich girl who is Sabrina’s enemy at school (she was barfing over the fence at the time)

In Dralfynia Sabrina resembles Rapunzel, Rory Ali Baba, Persis, Red Riding Hood, Olive, Cinderella and Clyde a unicorn. Interesting you say? It’s all part of the cleverness of this tale.

Dralfynia is a magic land in turmoil as the King and Queen have stood down to live ordinary lives and their son, The Beast with 9 Fingers has taken over in cahoots with goblins and Witchy Wu a nasty witch who lives in a gingerbread house. The true leader is the princess who has disappeared for 14 years. I can tell you no more you will have to read it to find out and you will not be disappointed.

Very well written in concise language and divided into 63 chapters of 2/3 pages each. You can pick it up and read for ten minutes then come back but you won’t it is too exciting for that.

Believable fantasy and behind it all is a sharp sense of humour that even adults will appreciate.

A book that demands to be read aloud to children from 8 – 13 years old.

Categories: Intermediate Fiction, Junior Fiction Tags: Friendship, Imagination, Magic


I really love my casual work as a features writer because I meet such interesting people. Rebecca Cragnolini is an NLP Practitioner and Self Hypnosis Coach, who dedicates her working life to helping people in post earthquake Christchurch. Her techniques are fascinating and effective, and she will even let people find out more for free. Find out more at and click here for her stress management information  stress management A5 and here for her weight management course weight management A5 v2