Guest Posts

Handing over the reins for a bit

by Veronica on December 10, 2012

in Guest Posts

Today I have a guest post from the ever-amazing Caitlyn Nicholas. I can’t remember how I stumbled onto her blog a few years ago (gosh, time flies) but my envy of her warm weather and her blooming garden hooked me and her writing and personality kept me returning.

I do suspect that she is superwoman though, because she has published not one, but two books in the last few weeks. I know. I KNOW.

I am honoured to have her on my blog today to talk about herself and promote her two new books.


Hey Lovely Veronica!

Thanks for having me on your blog. I am a huge fan of yours and I’m really excited about being here today.

Through November I watched with interest as you progressed through Nanowrimo. Huge congrats by the way for making it through to the end! It’s not easy. I know. It’s how I wrote my first book.

I’m a terrible pregnant person. I get very morning sick, in fact I could give Kate Middleton a run for her money (though neither of us would be up to much running!!) When I was pregnant with my second child I needed something to take my mind off hurling every six seconds, and so started to write a ‘Mills and Boon.’ It was the best decision I ever made. I loved having something to focus on that wasn’t about babies or how I’d get to the shops and back without puking. When I got to about 10,000 words we arrived at November and a chance post on the Romance Australia loop alerted me to the existence of Nanowrimo.

I dived in. Finished the book, submitted it to Mills and Boon (who rejected it in world record time!) edited it, subbed it to a competition (it came 4th) rewrote it, and then submitted it to Samhain Publishing. My Miss Nearly 7 was born two weeks later and I received my first book contract a couple of weeks after that!

I just don’t think I’d have finished the manuscript (named Running Scared) without nano. If you’re curious about that story it’s still available via all your usual e-sellers in print and e-versions.

I’ve had a few more books published since then, and, in the last couple of months have had two new releases.

The first, a rip roaring romantic suspense called Drive Me To Distraction came out in November.

Sometimes life or death decisions are easy. Alex Radford has a choice – borrow the money to treat her mother’s rare and aggressive cancer from sleazy moneylender Hamish MacCameron. Or do nothing and watch her die.

MacCameron has an agenda. He wants Alex in his bed, and he wants her to help him exact revenge on his sworn enemy, Robert Dryden. He is only too happy to lend her what she needs, but the strings attached form a tangled web from which Alex has little hope of escape.

It’s not all bad. Since she was a girl Alex has had one dream: to become a Formula 1 driver and show the boys how to drive a race car. MacCameron’s money gives her a shot at fame, and in a move that scandalizes the F1 racing fraternity she becomes the new driver for Rob Dryden’s struggling F1 team, Prometheus.

Alex tries to keep her distance from Rob, knowing that one day she will need to betray one of the few people who ever had faith in her. But things begin to unravel when Hamish MacCameron is murdered and she and Rob are the top suspects on the list …

Amazon | iBookstore | Kobo | Goodreads

And the second, a romantic suspense novella called The Danger Game, came out in mid – December.

Flick likes computers. She’s good with them, and they do what she tells them, mostly. People, however, are more of a challenge.

But when a terrifyingly dangerous program is stolen, and her mentor killed, Flick finds herself on the run. The police are convinced she’s committed murder, and a sinister weapons developer will stop at nothing to force her to work for him.

In Ben’s line of work being suspicious keeps you alive. So when Flick turns to him, he quickly realises that she’s up to her neck in trouble and hasn’t fully grasped the danger she is in.

First he has to keep her safe, and then, together, they have to figure out how to save the world from an epic meltdown.


Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | iBookstore | Goodreads

I hope that your story, and the stories of all nano participants make their way out into the publishing world. There has never been a better time to be a writer. The opportunities are huge and chances of getting a publishing contract are never better. I’m always happy to lend help and advice where I can. Stop by my blog and leave me a comment if there’s something I might be able to help with…

Huge thanks for having me.

Caitlyn can be found online at Caitlyn Nicholas


Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads:

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

It’s not always what you think

by Veronica on October 16, 2010

in Guest Posts

This is a guest post from Tanya at Living Right Now. I offered to host because this post deals with some sensitive issues and she didn’t want it on her own site.


I like to think of myself as ‘normal.’ I’m 5’6, brown hair, green eyes, am 23 years old and have a partner and a toddler. I’m on my second University degree, I’m going to soon be an Art Teacher. I try to be a good person, and I need to point out that I have been with N for nearly four years. I didn’t think this sort of thing would happen to me, ever.

It started when we went to the pool. I was dry and itchy down there. I thought it was thrush but by the end of the day I was chaffing as well. It was sore and I felt dizzy, hot and generally unwell. I thought that maybe I had been sunburned and was just feeling a touch a heatstroke. I went home and sat on the couch uncomfortably.

By the next day I was in pain. It was itchy and sore and there were lumps forming on my lady parts. When I tried to scratch the pain shot through me. The first thing I thought of was a heat rash, but the lumps seemed to indicate something else. I booked into the doctor and surprisingly got an appointment the same day with the lady doctor at the local practice.

I had to wait for an hour in the doctor’s surgery, with itchy lady parts and the urge to stand up, drop my pants and try to scratch it. It was uncomfortable. The lady in front of me had a brand new baby, cooing over her kept me occupied for a few minutes. I then started to watch people coming in and out of the surgery. I witnessed a young lady and what I assumed was her partner appearing at the desk after being seen by a doctor. She was in tears and he was rubbing her back sympathetically but smiling at the same time. She then went next door to have bloods done. I guessed a pregnancy.

I finally was called to the surgery and I explained my symptoms to the doctor. I sighed when she asked me to lay on the bed so she could have a look.

‘Uh huh, yes.’ She said thoughtfully. ‘Herpes simplex.’

I asked her to repeat herself.

‘Herpes. Herpes? Do you know what herpes is?’ She asked.

‘I do. But. I’ve been with the same person for four years. It’s impossible.’

‘The virus can lay dormant for a long time…’ she started, but I wasn’t listening. I was crunching numbers in my head. I had only been with two people, ever. The first one I was his first and he was mine. There is no way I could have picked up herpes.

‘You don’t understand…I cannot have contracted this at all. There’s no way.’ I began. I could see that she wasn’t interested in my excuses, and told me that it was perfectly normal, and okay, and lots of people contract this virus through sexual activities.

I gave up and sat there glumly. She explained the medication to me and gave me a prescription. I left the surgery in a daze.

In the car something occurred to me. He must have cheated on me, I thought. I burst into tears and by the time I walked in the door at home I was sobbing loudly. N and our housemate J were both panicked and N held me tight and asked me what had happened. When I told him he shook his head in disbelief.

‘That’s impossible.’ He said.

‘I know.’ I replied, but I wasn’t believing it for a second.

I grabbed some money and headed to the chemist to humiliate myself again. I was more than embarrassed and I felt dirty somehow. How could I have an STI? Doesn’t that only happen to people who sleep around a lot? Did he cheat? Does he have it? My mind was racing with questions. I picked up the medication and noticed the pharmacy assistant give me a quick glance up and down as she handed me the package. She was tall, blonde and gorgeous, of course. She would never get herpes.

I spent the rest of the day half in tears and couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone. One of my best friends appeared online and I dropped the bomb on her. We hadn’t been on great terms lately but luckily she was fully sympathetic and I was thankful.

The accusations in my head were physically displayed in my disinterest in touching, or even being next to N. For one thing I felt dirty, and I blamed him. In my head I accused him of cheating, or of at least giving me a disease. I researched the condition on the Internet and once you have contracted it, the virus never goes away. I was stuck with this for the rest of my life and it could reappear at any time. This sent me into a depression and I moped around for a few days before N approached me with a theory.

He reminded me that he had had severe coldsores a week before my symptoms appeared. I had kissed him just as they were starting to clear up and knowing that coldsores are a form of herpes, I could have contracted them that way. I dismissed his theory and backed it up by research done on the Internet. (Good old Google!) Coldsores were the herpes simplex virus one, or HSV1. Herpes transmitted sexually were HSV2. Two completely different strains.

I can’t even explain how upset I was. It sounds so stupid but once you’ve been there you would understand. I felt dirty as well as sick and I was in too much pain to wear underpants so I lived in my pyjamas for a week. I was so angry and wished there was a way that I could have prevented this from happening. It was disgusting. I was disgusting. I had a disease which I would pass on to anyone. I was unclean. J shared my view as he had been accused of passing on an STI and understood how dirty and wrong I felt. I wasn’t talking to N often because in the back of my head there were still accusations that wouldn’t leave my thoughts. I didn’t want him to know this because I didn’t want him to know what I had been thinking if somehow my accusations were wrong.

The next few days passed in a blur, the sores were nearly cleared up, but others things were weighing down on top of me. I decided that the best thing to do would be to go back to the doctor and find answers. I was glad that I didn’t have to have a blood test, only a urine test to determine what was really going on down there.

The tests backed up N’s theory, no HSV2 virus. No cheating. No shame.

See, the things is that the HSV1 virus is in 80% of people. The majority of people only know this when they get coldsores. But what a lot of people don’t know is that the coldsores can appear on other areas of your body, even the genital area. I caught the virus off N, and with Uni assignments looming upon me I was stressed which triggered the outbreak. Instead of coldsores on my face, they appeared elsewhere. I could now have coldsores at any time, although it is ‘unlikely’ that they will appear there again, and more likely that they will appear on my face. (Yay me.)

I think this is important for everyone to know, if you get the symptoms I did, don’t just assume the worst. It may not be what you think.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

This post comes from my friend, Kristin, who is going through a really tough time at the moment and can’t post it on her own blog.


It’s hard to tell where it started. Perhaps it was the night I stood in the kitchen. The kids were in bed, he was down in the basement doing god knows what, lifting weights probably. I was alone. I was angry. My body was trembling. And that is when the thought entered my mind. That I could take a glass, one of his glasses, a Guinness glass, and throw it against the wall and it would feel very good. I had bought him a set at Target last year. They were large, over-sized drinking glasses. I stood for a moment and tasted this thought. I had never thrown anything against a wall, never broken anything before. I didn’t think highly of people who did these sorts of things. But wouldn’t it feel good?

It wasn’t just that he had been reading my private emails. It wasn’t just the elaborate lie he had made up to cover up the fact that he had been reading them. Nor was it the lie upon lie upon lie before that. No. It was the eight years of stifling every sharp-edged truth that rose up in my heart lest it disrupt the precarious balance of his emotions and tilt him into a slide. A slide into what? I didn’t want to find out what. I lived in fear of that what.

In the end I picked up the glass and walked to the stairwell and in one easy motion chucked it against the wall where it smashed into a thousand, glorious splinters.

A glass thrown against a wall in an empty room. Immature, perhaps. Fateful, it would turn out. But so clean and honest. I turned and walked quietly to my room. Did I know then that I had aroused the slumbering beast?

It’s funny how when tragedy falls we act so surprised, as if we never saw it coming. This was my very reaction three days later when I sat in my bathrobe filling out the witness statement as the police took photographs. I couldn’t believe any of it was actually happening. But looking back all the signs had been there. I had lived in fear of this moment for months. Years, really. I had gone so far as to pack bags and prepare a safe place for myself and the kids to stay after each legal meeting, just in case, knowing that he would be agitated by the discussions over child support and alimony. I woke often during the night, nervous and on edge. I felt trapped and afraid living in the same house as him during our divorce, waiting for my settlement so I could get out.

No one had ever laid a hand on me in anger before, ever. Not my father, not a boyfriend. No one. I had only seen my parents argue once in their 16-year marriage.

When I sat in the Victim’s Assistance office of the county courthouse, just before my husband was released from jail, I told my story calmly and with careful attention to detail. In truth, I was both exhausted and terrified. I never thought I would be sitting here. I was intelligent, well-educated. Wasn’t this something that happened to other people with different lives?

I told her about the phone call I received from jail. He wanted to make sure no one at his work found out lest he lose his job, was quick to point out that we both relied on his paycheck. He blamed me. Asked how I could do this to him. I didn’t do it, I said. Well, it was your fault for making me angry, he said. The victim’s advocate shook her head. Typical abuser response, she said, no accountability. She was the third person to tell me this.

I am still digesting these words. Abuser. Victim. I don’t like the way they sit in my gut.

I relayed my concern for my children, who seemed by turns angry and stunned. My daughter, 7, sitting alone at the kitchen table, staring off into the middle distance. My son, 5, full of turbulent emotion. By the close of the weekend they were yelling, hitting, kicking, crying. My daughter in the bathroom, my son on the outside, “I’m going to break down this door!” I tried to pull them apart, hold them, comfort them, isolate them from each other, scold them, talk to them, nothing worked, nothing. They were like two broken satellites hurtling through untempered black space. Lost.

* * * * *

I try to imagine what it was like for them, how this must have rocked the simple order of their world. What was it like through their eyes?

That morning they are watching a movie. I come downstairs and sit on the couch with them and I can tell right away he is angry. He immediately begins to pick a fight. He demands I apologize for the glass throwing incident three days before. I tell him I don’t want to argue. He persists, is clearly worked up. Please, not in front of the kids, I say. He walks to the kitchen and picks up a large ceramic artisan bowl my father bought for me before he died. It is my favorite bowl. Do you want me to throw this against the wall? He lifts it up and holds it precariously, tilting it from side to side. No, I answer. Apologize, he demands Please, I say again, not in front of the kids. The children are silent, their movie forgotten. They look back and forth between us. My heart beats fast. I avoid his eyes. They are like steel. He badgers, needles, provokes. I ignore. He disappears upstairs.

I wait. I wait until I think he is in the shower and then I go upstairs to get some clothes for my son, who is still in his pajamas. But of course he is waiting for me.

What did they hear next? Probably nothing for a while, as I try to defuse the situation, talk him down as I retreat backwards into my room. And then? His yelling? Did he even yell? I don’t remember. The door to my room banging open, the pursuit, the crashing of fists through the bathroom door, my screams. His animal-like wail. By this time I can hear them crying downstairs. Then they see him run down the stairs and flee the house–the police had been called–crying, his fist bloodied. The 911 operator is telling me to repeat myself, slow down, breathe. This is when I hear them sobbing outside the splintered bathroom door. My son is clutching his blanket. I let them in, lock it again and hold them close until the police arrive.

* * * * *

Here are the facts:

• On Saturday August 14th, my husband was arrested and jailed for domestic violence.

• He was released on $1,500 bail the following Monday and given a 72-hour no contact order that applied to myself, the kids and our residence.

• I was urged by the Victim’s Assistance unit at the courthouse to file a restraining order to extend this.

• I was urged by my lawyer not to file a restraining order as this would interfere with our Collaborative Divorce case, which was fully negotiated and settled, but not yet drafted and signed by us.

• Instead, my lawyer filed a temporary order extending the no-contact order until our divorce is finalized. It allows me to remain in our current house until then and gives him limited contact with the kids. I am responsible for paying the mortgage and all household and child-related expenses and he has been ordered to start support payments. The support payments will not cover the expenses of the house.

• Two days after my husband was released I was out front doing yard work with my son when he said, “Is that Daddy?” I turned around to see a car identical to my husband’s driving by the house. We live on a dead-end street. It had driven by once, turned around at the cul-de-sac, and was driving by a second time.

• I was told by the Victim’s Assistance unit at the courthouse to immediately file a police report seeing as my husband had violated the no contact order.

• I was told by my lawyer not to file a police report as the police would again arrest my husband and then he might not sign the divorce agreement.

• I didn’t file a police report.

• Since the incident on the 14th I have had no direct communication with my husband other than the phone call from jail. I have been told through my lawyer that he wants financial restitution from me for the expenses incurred by him for having to hire a criminal attorney and pay for anger management classes, all of which he deems to be my fault. He is now refusing to sign the divorce agreement and instead asking for a reduction in alimony payments to compensate for this.

• I have incurred several thousand dollars in legal expenses getting a temporary order filed in lieu of a restraining order and otherwise dealing with the fallout of this incident.

• He has never apologized to me or expressed concern about the trauma experienced by the children on that morning.

* * * * *

I’m not sure I can properly convey the way violence can shift a world. I have a jar of compost scraps on the kitchen counter that is full. I need to empty it. The compost bin is at the far end of the backyard where the lawn meets a thick stand of trees. I won’t go empty it.

I’ve had a locksmith out to change the front and back locks and I’ve changed the code on the garage door. And still, at night, I don’t sleep. Every sound, every creak of the house settling, sets my heart to racing. The kids are in the next room and they feel so far away. I want them closer.

I used to think nothing of going out to the mailbox.

I have dealt with a lot of setbacks in my life. I have lost my parents. I have been through break-ups, left old lives behind, started over time and again. I have the drill down. I know how to catch my breath, get up and dust myself off, tuck my humor back in my pocket and head off down the road.

But this. This has quite knocked the wind out of my sails. Because this man is the father of my children and I can’t take their hands and walk off down the road without him. He will always be there. And just when I think I’ve turned a corner, he’s found a new way to break me, financially, emotionally, psychologically. And now the threat is physical.

My own blog has sat silent now for two weeks. I have so much inside me that I want to say but I’m afraid to say it because there is the silent threat of a backlash. Will he sign the divorce documents or not? If not, I stay in a house I can’t afford and we start over again with new lawyers, another 15k down the drain. Will he respect a piece of paper telling him to stay away? Or ignore it as he did earlier this week?

People ask me if I recognize him as the man I knew during our marriage. The truth is yes, I do. Only darker and more amplified. It’s myself I don’t recognize. I don’t know this woman who is paralyzed by fear and stunned into silence. I never dreamed mine would be the face of domestic violence.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

This guest post comes from the lovely Marylin. Marylin and I ‘met’ through the internet when SN and her blog then were only a few weeks old. She’s one of my very best friends. She blogs at Softhistle.


Yeah, there we go. I said it.

I want another baby.

Reeeally want another baby.

My OH is happy to oblige, as he would love one of his own.

We’ve only been trying since April of this year, and I know that’s not long in the grand scheme of things.

I was just so sure this month.

My boobs were tender, I can smell the rabbit pee even though he’s just been cleaned out, I keep getting tugging pains down there when I cough and such.

My period is due tomorrow.

I have one test left. One of those expensive “can tell before your period is due” types.

I tried to not use it.

I really *really* did.

But… my impatience and need to know attitude got the better of me.

So now I know that I’m *not* pregnant.

Yet again.

When I had my two kids I was pregnant straight away, so I know I’m fertile.

The OH has never had any kids before, so he’s not sure if “maybe (he’s) shooting blanks”.

I have no idea to be honest.

I hope that’s not the case.

I know that really there is a lot going on in my life with having a special needs almost-3-yr-old, but I can’t help yearning for just one more.

Just one more chance at having another child who could be normal.

I know you’ll all hate me for saying that.

It’s just that life is so different with the 3yr old than it was with the 5yr old. Everything was different and not what I expected.

I would love the chance at having a child who learns to talk and walk and jump at the ‘right’ ages.

I want the chance to finally maybe just MAYBE have that elusive little girl that I’ve yearned for.

Every month that goes by is another month lost.

I guess maybe it’s just not meant to be…

This was written about 3 weeks ago, currently at the start of the 2ww again… oh the joys. >_<

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Exhaustion and the Art of Lazy Parenting

by Veronica on July 29, 2010

in Guest Posts

This post comes from the lovely Zoey, who blogs at Good Goog – Adventures in Parenting.


Sleep deprivation and parenting go hand in hand. There’s the newborn stage, bouts of illness, the very un-awesome rounds of teething and all manner of other little things along the way. It’s a cruel joke that a sleep deprived parent is constantly trying to get their reluctant little munchkins to sleep. And although Riley is now over 2 and (mostly) she sleeps pretty well, a very new pregnancy has thrown me back into the exhaustion pile. Which I’m happy about. The way I figure it, being tired just means that everything is as it should be.

With my first pregnancy I moaned about a lot of things, being tired and having to drag myself to work, aches and pains, itchy and sore breasts, hips that went to crap, just to name a few. You won’t catch me complaining this time around, because I am so grateful to be pregnant. But nonetheless, looking after an energiser bunny toddler brings its own set of challenges. And sometimes you just have to work on a certain laziness in parenting.

Lying Down Games
I’m a big fan of lying down games, or games in general where I don’t have to move. This could be a game of peek-a-boo on the couch with a blanket, or where I’m lying down and my only job is to react while she tickles me, or even better the game where I pretend to be asleep and then ‘wake up’ suddenly. All good.

Being Oblivious on Purpose
There are certain destructive behaviour patterns that I allow, given I know it’s only going to take me half an hour to clean it all up when she’s having a nap. Like redistributing beads all over our floor. Or pulling out tupperware from the cupboard. Or anything else that is not actually putting her in harms way and is not permanently damaging the house.

Getting Up Early, Very Early
The 5am wake up isn’t exactly ideal. I’d quite happily stay in bed until 7 or 8. Quite. Happily. But if I go with the early starts then I get no protest at nap time and no problem with getting Riley to bed at a reasonable hour. And there’s nothing I love better than a lazy afternoon nap with a touch of Winter sun peaking through my bedroom curtains.

I take every opportunity for someone else to do the hard work. Let them run around with Riley for a few hours. This is where grandparents and aunts and uncles come in handy. Very handy. The fact that Riley will often ask for her Aunt during the day is very clear evidence of the fact that there are plenty of people with far more energy than me.

The App Store
Riley loves puzzles. In fact it’s usually the first thing she says when she wakes up ‘puzzles?’. Which is where an iPhone or an iPod Touch comes in handy. In a clear travesty I don’t own an iPhone, but I do have an iPod Touch and there are all manner of puzzles and other kids games available for download. Which means that Riley may occasionally consider being still for a few minutes as we chillax on the couch. Sadly this post is not sponsored by Apple. Otherwise I would already have a freaking iPhone.

It’s still a work in progress and it’s still very early days, but I’ll take a certain level of laziness over being snappy and grumpy any day of the week. Because tired or not I have a joyful little toddler who runs around the place yelling ‘happy’ and ‘fun!’ for a good part of the day. I’d like to keep that for as long as possible.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }