Summer. The sounds of birds singing their love songs from the tree tops; the delicious clunk of a cricket ball meeting a bat to be followed by muffled cheering; the smell of bbq in the air; radios playing catchy summery tunes in their tinny ‘I’m on the windowsill’ kind of way; butterflies dancing from flower to flower unsure where to land because everything looks too damned beautiful; bees busily buzzing and collecting whatever it is they collect …
Perfect isn’t it. Throw in picnics, trips to the park, beach holidays and never-ending adventures whilst wearing shorts, or a sarong, and we have the ideal time of the year that makes us forget those cold, dark mornings, freezing wind, icy rain and miserable skies.
Now let’s think of the reality of the summer season. Sweaty sticky patches in delicate places; food poisoning from undercooked sausages from your bbq leaving you with the dilemma of which way to face the toilet; summer tunes that grate on the nerves after hearing them here, there and everywhere but still not knowing the dance; wasps … flies … wasps … those green funny shaped jumping things that love to surprise … did I mention wasps? What about lack of sleep? Trying to find the cool spot and never succeeding? Picnics with ants, overflowing car parks, beaches full of hairy backs (men, usually – but you never know – I’ve seen some eye openers in the last couple of weeks); bodies giving the appearance of radiation exposure and the onomatopoeic ‘tisss’ when seeing the glowing red of sun burn; screaming toddlers / teens / seagulls and so on. Don’t forget that feeling as you slip on last year’s shorts and produce a beautiful impression of a camel’s toe. Priceless. I think I’ve only just stopped crying.
Maybe the last paragraph will strike a chord with most people, but so will some of the things from the opening one too. Summer is the time of year where as a teacher I pray and pray I will survive the school year and get to the this time where the bell doesn’t dictate my life, marking isn’t all I think about, and teens are home with their parents for the duration. It is the oasis in the school year, the oasis that at times taunts me like that bloody carrot in front of a donkey scenario – definitely out of reach however hard I try to grab it.
Then BAM! It is here and I am thinking ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ To be honest, I feel a little dazed by it all. All that wishing for it to be here and then … WTF? I’ve gone from working 65 plus hours a week to being at home – it is like driving at 90 mph and then hitting a wall. I don’t know what I should do first. I have editing to finish, a short story to finish, catching up to do, and not to mention all the jobs around the home I’ve had to put on a back burner since the dawn of time.
However, all my whinging will be for nought. It will take me about a week to wind down and then I will be loving the time off. I already have a stack of books to dive in to, and I know for definite I will be writing as I have so many ideas that I just wish I could type faster than my clubbed fingers will allow.
So, why this blog? Why have I been banging on about summer and her pros and cons? Why have I been on ‘whinge mode’ about work and trying to up the pity card? These questions are very easily answered. I just wanted to get my fingers back on the key board and words to start coming from LT Smith rather than teacher me.
Oh, and to tell you about my giveaway. Honestly, I would forget my head …
Right. Here we go.
I have been meaning to do a giveaway ever since the paperback version of Once was released last month, but work got in the way. But, I don’t have that excuse anymore so here we go.
This giveaway is in two parts – firstly, you have a chance to win a signed copy of Once. Maybe you have read this book when it was first released a few years ago, but this version is new and very much improved. If you don’t win the paperback, I am offering three e-book copies to three (un)lucky readers.
Now I don’t want to confuse anyone, although I probably have already, but it is very simple to enter this first part. All you have to do to have a chance of winning is to either message me on Facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now the second part of the giveaway is a little bit different. You can choose a book of mine for me to sign for you – your choices are Once, Beginnings, or Hearts and Flowers Border. Or if you don’t win a signed copy, I am giving away three e-books – you can choose one of my published stories to download to your reader (Once, Beginnings, Hearts and Flowers Border, Still Life, See Right Through Me, Puppy Love, or Forget Me Not).
I am a reader because …
Each sentence you complete is a new entry. Therefore, if you send me ten messages and have a different sentence each time, you have ten chances to win. I have already had a few people enter more than once, but it will be a case of the best reason for being a reader will get the signed copy.
The competition is open until 29 July 2015 – I will announce the winners as soon as … erm, I’ve decided?
And now that I have told you about the giveaway, where was I?
Ah yes. Summer. That time of year, just like all the other seasons, where you can look at life and her many scenarios positively, negatively, or as they really are. The essence of summer is in our hearts, our minds and our souls. It may be pouring with rain, just like it is now in good old Blighty, or the sun may actually be shining upon you (or from certain parts of your anatomy – I suffer from this ;p). Whatever the weather, whatever the scene, remember John Milton’s words ‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.’ So bloody true.
Oh, and btw …
I am a reader because I cannot stop myself.