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My Worst Advice

No matter how old you get, no matter how independent you are you will always be given advice. A whole manner of issues and events crop up in life when others will feel the need to advise you on what to do. I’m not detracting from the natural support group that it is important to surround yourself with. What I’m discussing here are those who give unwarranted suggestions or advise on issues that are of no consequence to them. Busybodies if you like.

We’ve all had our fair share of terrible advice. Most of it comes from a good place but it got me thinking about the worst advice I’ve ever been given.

“There’s an operation now that can make you taller. You should go and get your legs stretched.”

My five foot tall frame has never bothered me. I’m the short girl. It means about as much to me as my having blue eyes or brown hair. This came completely out of the blue and if I were to follow such sage advice I’d have put myself through unnecessary surgery as a teenager for the sake of a few extra inches, which if it really bothered me that much I’d wear heels to fix.

“Try your best to fit in with the other kids.”

I was never the bubbly child. Sure I was lucky to have lots of friends but what I always enjoyed most was time alone, reading a book. I interacted little with the children in my class and for that I was made to seem odd. Most people that know me would argue I am a little odd but when you’re still growing up and finding yourself being made to seem like you are misbehaving because you had a different view of how you wanted to spend your leisure time was not helping.

It’s best to know your own mind. We all make mistakes of course but at least mistakes can be made of your own accord. I guess what my point here is is don’t let terrible advice make you change who you are. Whether it’s your looks or your hobbies or even how others perceive you.

So what is the worst advice you have ever been given? How did you react to it?

#amreading a blog by @VivikaWidow


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Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with. They will always have a home here at Harbour House.

My Three Wishes

If a genie (or a witch) were to grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?

It’s an age old question that we probably all asked ourselves at some point as kids. It’s fun to think about that romantic notion where everything your heart desires can be yours on the rub of a lamp. Fairy tales are fraught with the dangers of doing this though and there have been so many sensationalised examples of what can go wrong when you’re not careful in what you wish for. The movie ‘Bedazzled’ comes to mind.

Putting aside the idea that there rules attached what would be your three wishes?

For me looking for a lifetime of complete health would be first and foremost. What hope do you have of enjoying everything else when you don’t have your health? Maybe I’m just getting a little old and my priorities are different from when I was a younger woman but knowing that I was always going to be healthy would be my main aim.

Secondly, success. Not in a megalomaniac way nor in a greedy or prideful way. By success what I mean is being comfortable and affording that comfort to those around me. Life is full of its ups and downs and some days are more fruitful than others so just imagine how much easier life would be if you never had to worry about those rainy days where no matter how hard you work you just can’t break through. Just think of how much time could be spent on other things!

Finally, I would wish for an open ticket that would take me anywhere in the world on a whim. There’s so much to see and do in this life so there’s no time to be wasting. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I have a genie there granting that wish sure as Hell I’m going to do it!

So what would be your three wishes? Become a queen/king? Fill your life with unimaginable riches? Or would you seek the comfort of something more humble? Would you be so bold to wish for an unlimited number of wishes? Or would you go ahead and just set that poor genie free?

#amreading a #blog by @VivikaWidow


Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with for they will always have a home here at Harbour House.

The latest novel from Vivika Widow is available now!

Letter to My Younger Self.

“If only I knew then what I know now.”

This is one of my absolute favourite platitudes simply because it is so true. If I had the knowledge I have now as a woman in my thirties when I was a young teenager setting off for medical school things would have been so much different. I don’t doubt I would have made mistakes, no one’s perfect, and even as I get older and (hopefully wiser) I will still continue to make mistakes but the journey would most certainly be different.

With that in mind I decided to address my younger self. If I could go ahead and advise my teenaged self from my current perspective I would firstly want to urge that fire within.

Things will get difficult, that there can be no avoiding, but with the right frame of mind there isn’t anything you can’t handle. Don’t let the opinions, emotions or selfish needs of others dictate to what you are doing. Do right and good by others as much as possible but remember you are not responsible for their happiness. It is important to take a step back every now and again and examine your life. Know what you want and remember you’re a little fire cracker and can achieve anything you set your mind to.

I am pleased to say you will achieve your dreams but that will only come from a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Those sacrifices will be worth it but you won’t always feel that way and you will have your days of regret. However, just remember all the little glimpses of the future you always hoped for are there for the taking.

Look after your health. It is more important than anything. Without a healthy body and mind the rest is moot. Exercise and eat right. Pay attention to mental health too. You can find yourself slipping into your own head so easily. Don’t let yourself miss what is going on around you.

Finally, know that you are loved. If you forget that or don’t realise that just hug one of the little ones. They’ll soon remind you!

We have things we’d like to say to our younger selves, to warn them against or even encourage them into. What would you say? Would you do things differently if you had the knowledge?


Vivika is the author of various thriller books, graphic novels and short stories. Proceeds from her novels support Ragdolls UK who are helping Turner’s Syndrome girls achieve their full potential.

Her latest novel Harbour House is available now.

“Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those society can no longer cope with for they will always have a home here at Harbour House.”

0109: Interview with tawny mcinney

Harbour House 2020 trailer.

A woman, middle aged, frizzy haired and full figured is brought before me. She is smiling despite her surroundings. She has an unlit cigarette in her hand. She knows she’s not allowed to smoke in the office but she clutches it for comfort. Behind that smile is perhaps a little nervousness. She is Tawny McKinney better known by some as The Baroness. She’s an old show girl from the Knock Knock club in the Shanties and if you had told her she looked nervous just a few short years ago she would have dismissed it with a laugh.

Interviewer: So how are you feeling today, Tawny?

Tawny: I feel good. Better than I have done in a long time.

Interviewer: That’s good to hear. You’ve settled quite well into the routine here. When you first arrived you were mute.

Tawny (laughing): Some people would say having me shut my gob was a good thing!

Interviewer: You were brought in here as a trauma resident. Do you feel you can talk about what happened that night at the club?

Tawny (laughing again but now nervously): You really want to hear about that?

Interviewer: It’s why I’m here. I’d like to hear your own perspective on it.

Tawny: A lot of people got hurt. A lot of people lost their lives.

Interviewer: It was a horrific attack.

Tawny: Yeah those bastards!

Interviewer: I’m not here to discuss the cause of the attack or the motives of the attackers. I would just like to help you open up about what you saw and how you felt.

Tawny: They were like family to me. How do you think I felt?

Interviewer: I think you feel somewhat responsible. Is that correct?

Interview terminated. Resident 0109 becomes hysterical and requires porters and nurses to calm her. Interview will continue when she is in more of a state of mind to face the reality of her trauma.

#amreading #thriller #harbourhouse2020 by @VivikaWidow


Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with. They will always have a home here at HARBOUR HOUSE.

The Baroness was a much loved figure. An attack on her club would split the city in two.

Download the entire first season to kindle or read for free here at vivikawidow.com.

Community Spirit

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about community. Because of quarantine I realised we take being able to see our neighbours and speak for granted. It isn’t until we are advised to keep a distance from each other that we realise just how much we need that all important human touch. Even for a introvert like myself it’s been tough going. I can only imagine how hard it has been for people who enjoy surrounding themselves with company all the time.

It’s been three months now I’ve been in isolation and (with fingers crossed) it looks as though things may start easing off a little in the coming weeks. Don’t quote me on that, I can only go by what my own news and sources are telling me. When things do open back up the first thing I will be doing (apart from sorting this mop of a hairdo) will be to grab a cuppa in my local café and having a chat with friends I haven’t seen in such a long time. I’ve been luckier than most in that some of my family isolated with me. This meant I was able to see my niece and nephew which after three months I would have been missing like crazy!

But the good thing about quarantine is that it has given me a lot of time to thing about priorities and that all important word ‘community’. I have been thinking a lot about the work of Ragdolls UK. When I first set out with the charity I had visions of helping some local girls with Turner’s Syndrome. As the years went by the reach became bigger and suddenly we were able to offer support and advice to girls across the world! So that’s what brought me to community. Now, more than ever before, we need to act as a global family. They say the world is a small place and when we are all forced indoors and each and every country is affected that becomes more apparent. So with that in mind to my TS sisters, my readers and supporters and to the global community let’s take what we can from this horrific past few months and bring some positivity moving forward. Let’s remember our neighbours and what is really important.

So what will you be doing when lockdown is lifted in your area?
What lessons have you learnt from this?
Has lockdown been lifted? Has it made a difference?

#amreading a #thriller by @VivikaWidow


The latest novel by Vivika Widow is now available. In need of rehab? Come visit the best clinic in the Shady City.

My Bucket List

Being on lockdown has given me a lot to think about. Mostly I’ve been thinking about what I would love to do when we are able to move about freely again. So let me introduce you to my bucket list. The ideal situation would be to strike all of these off before I reach the age of forty.


SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
This is something I’ve had in mind for a long time. Despite being a strong swimmer I do realise that in order to do it safely I have some training and preparation to do. One day will be greasing on the pig fat and running into the sea with the aim of reaching France. It seems lucky that I’ve never minded cold water then, doesn’t it?


VISIT PARIS
Of all the places in the world with all the fascinating histories, sights and draws, Paris is one city I would love to visit. Again this is something I have been aiming to do for along time. In the course of a short flight I could be ready to experience the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and a whole host of other things. Over so many other places in the world, Paris has just had a draw for me.


VOICE A CARTOON
This sounds like a strange one. I’m not an actor by any stroke of the imagination but ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to provide a voice for a cartoon, especially a musical one like a Disney flick. I’m not saying I have the talent for it (speaking or singing) but I know I would be a very happy woman if I was given the opportunity to be part of an animated movie. Perhaps one day …


GET A DRIVING LICENCE
This isn’t so much a bucket list item as it a necessity that my family keep begging me to do. It’s not that I have an aversion to driving I’ve just always managed to get wherever I need through public transport so I’ve never felt I need it that much. I’m a bit of a clumsy B at the best of times so I can only imagine what kind of menace I would be on the road. Besides, I do love just lying back on the train with my headphones on and losing myself in my own head. Can’t do that when driving. Can you? Ok mum and dad, I’ve added to my list.


BUY A BOAT
Who needs a car when you can have an boat, right? This one is cheating a little because I did have a boat before but cutting a long story short it sunk (see above clumsiness). On my bucket list is to have one again, perhaps bigger, prettier and it would be named the Cooper Mare (see KNOCK KNOCK). The adventures I would have! The places I would sail to!


HAVE A PLAY PERFORMED
I’ve been a writer/ author pretty much my entire life in greater and lesser extents. I have had written plays and I have been in discussion with the productions of plays and I have had performances but I am still yet to see an entire stage performance. I love the theatre and I would love the opportunity to see an entire play of mine performed.

So that is my list. What about yours? As you are held at home have you been thinking about what you plan on doing afterwards? What things do you miss the most? What are your dreams and ambitions?

#amreading a #thriller by @VivikaWidow


The latest novel from Vivika Widow is available now!

05:02 is the slaughter time. Welcome to Harbour House.

What should have been.

Tonight’s blog should have been about fears, what shapes them and how they impact our daily lives. It was a carefully constructed article (If I do say so myself) that tackled the issues of childhood trauma and facing those fears. Then unfortunately WordPress happened. Thanks to a issue saving the article the whole thing was deleted. I’m not a huge tech whiz so there may be a small chance that it was my fault somehow but I’m trying to not cry so let’s just leave it at that.

Instead you may consider yourself having read a terrific article and are now thinking, “Wow! That’s probably the best thing I’ve ever read on the internet.” I’m trying to cheer myself up here if you will indulge a girl. Anyway, if you find my article zooming about cyber space feel free to nab it and prove me wrong.

This isn’t the greatest thing you’ll read on the internet but at least it’s a tribute 😉

In the meantime I’d like to continue on the theme of fear with a few words:

They sow doubt and plague our minds. 

Fears hold us back; routed deep in our design.

A time comes when we don’t have a choice.

They come at us full on with a screaming voice.

Then we decide to run or to fight.

Do we give in to that all consuming fright?

Face them for the sake of those who rely.

Face them or at least give it a try.

Enjoy this? Read more articles from Vivika Widow by clicking HERE 

Coming 2020

Bring my your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with, for they will always have a home here at Harbour House.

Click HERE to pre order.

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My Earliest Memory

I have a terrible memory at the best of times so why, you may ask, have I chosen to write about my earliest one? Just how far back can I go?

Despite having a shocking memory there are those moments that just stick. One such memory is of something that happened to me when I was about 5 years old. It’s probably not as far back as many of you can go and probably not technically my earliest memory but it certainly did stand out for me.

My mother had explained to me that she was going to visit an aunt. Letty her name was. I had never heard my mum mention this aunt before and I had certainly never met her. I was in and out of hospital a lot as a kid so I was familiar with all the hospitals in the area. The one I was taken to to see Letty wasn’t so much a hospital as a care home. It was private, beautiful with elaborate gardens. The lighting wasn’t as harsh as a hospital normally would be. The nurses weren’t wearing NHS uniforms. There was hospital beds though. That was when I was introduced to Letty. As I said I had never met this woman before in my life. Mum seemed to know her real well though. She was incredibly sick. She had an oxygen mask on and kept drifting in and out of sleep. Mum spoke to the carers but I watched Letty, comfortable, clean and surrounded by people.

Obviously mum had just made it her point to say hello to an old relative as she was easing away from life, perhaps not a relative at all but a friend of my grandmother. Either way having never met before I was taken to this strangely caring, friendly place. Now that I’m older I realise it was probably a hospice. The reason this particular memory stands out to me is because it was all so strange as a five year old. As a child you see things in black and white for the most part. I had never before witnessed death and age walk hand in hand with smiles and comfort.

We may have only just met that one time but Letty certainly had a huge impact on me. I could ask my mother exactly who she was and why she was there but sometimes it’s best to allow that little bit of mystery to remain. I sincerely hope that little girl clutching a grey rabbit brought some comfort to you Letty. I do remember it made you smile.

What about you? What was your earliest memory?

Enjoy this? Read more articles from Vivika Widow by clicking HERE 

Coming 2020

Bring my your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with, for they will always have a home here at Harbour House.

Click HERE to pre order.

HHpreorder

To Hate is Exhausting

In a world where our media is so saturated with hatred it isn’t surprising that we – the general public – are starting to lose our sense of humanity. We have entered an age of real dirty politics and with social media allowing us to share across a global audience there is very little left to uncover.

Is it that this particular generation of public figures are less worthy of the title than their predecessors or is it that the populous are becoming more politically aware? I follow political feeds and general opinions quite closely and it is worrying that there is no room for mature discussion on the topic. I am yet to find a political thread that doesn’t erupt into name calling, violent threats and insults. Is that what we have come to? I realise even as I write this, the heckles of some readers are going to stand on end even though I haven’t paid homage to any particular political affiliation.

That isn’t even the problem. The issue we really face is that the hatred that is constantly being placed on our televisions, computers, tablets and phones.

With the constant barrage of who is more despicable it is very easy to forget that there is a lot of good out there in the world. I like to take some time each day and track down stories of a more inspiring nature. I like to read of those who do good and do well. The idea of living in a world where we are so consumed with contempt for each other there is no going back is worrying. We are all on this planet together and rather than fighting over our differences lets take some time to join hands in our similarities. Teach our children that it isn’t okay to discriminate. Let go of that anger and start looking towards building a future. It seems like a simplified solution to a large problem but these problems are only difficult if we make them so. Only then will we have a truly neutral society in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little grumpy today. What do you think? Is the world losing it’s sense of love? Comment below with your thoughts.

Enjoy this? Check out some of Vivika Widow’s thrilling novels.

Click HERE to read MUSE and join David as he tries to salvage his reputation in the art community.

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Loud, proud and drawing a crowd!

So this all began when I got a call from ma wee mam. Settle in because this is a long one …

“Are you around?” She says on the voice mail. “Can you phone me back?”

So I do … and this is what had transpired:

My mam had been visiting a friend and my young nephew was enjoying the responsibility of being home alone and (dare I say it) peace and quiet.

Anyway, like most young teens he blocked the world out with headphones, YouTube and the silly bam fell fast asleep.

Mum returns home a short time later and can’t get in the door. Yes the dizzy little B locked the door and left the key in.

Now, anyone who knows my mam knows she ain’t quiet. Her fog horn scream through the letter box can’t stir him, neighbours banging on ceilings and floors can’t stir him.

“I have a ladder!” A helpful neighbour suggests. Perhaps going in through the balcony? They return with a two tier step ladder. What in the Hell are they supposed to do with that? Pile on shoulders like circus performers?

So the police are informed. There comes Glasgow’s finest tearing round the corner but of course there’s nothing they can do. Now a fire engine dingalinging, making even more of a scene than my mother already was because did I mention she had hair dye in that needed rinsing?

The fire men manage to get in through the balcony and open up. The police follow in to make sure everything is in fact okay.

“Thank you officers. Thank you ever so much,” mum says in her most queenly voice.

The door of the nephew’s bedroom is kicked open like the terminator. Aaron sits up in bed, sleep dazed and wondering what the Hell is going on.

Queenly voice lost immediately. East end Glasgow takes over.

“You ya stupid looking (enter string of expletives)! Did ye no hear me shouting!”

All I can think to myself is the little man needs to tell me what kind of headphones he’s using. I could use that kind of noise cancelling power. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Enjoy this? Check out some of Vivika Widow’s thrilling novels.

Click HERE to read MAESTRO and book your music lesson with Mr Baines.

Click HERE to read MUSE and join David as he tries to salvage his reputation in the art community.