Friday, 30 December 2016

Solved at last - The World's End Murders



Christine Eadie and Helen Scott 

It sounds like something out of a horror movie. Two best pals go out for a drink together. The 17-year-olds are having such a great time they didn't leave until closing time.

It was October 1977 and the two best pals were called Christine Eadie and Helen Scott.

That pub was called The World's End pub in Edinburgh's Old Town and for two teenage friends it would be the last time they were seen alive. After they left, Helen and Christine were never seen alive again.

This case has haunted me ever since I first heard about it. I just couldn't understand why two young women with their whole lives ahead of them who did the safe thing that all girls are told to do by their parents and stick together, in a busy, public place could still come to such harm.




What made it worse was that years went by and their killer/killers weren't found. How could that happen in any decent society?

The next day, Christine's naked body was discovered in Gosford Bay, East Lothian, by people out walking. Helen's naked body was found in a field.

Both girls had suffered horrendously before they died. They'd been brutally beaten, gagged, tied up, raped and strangled. Their bodies were just left out in the open and they were naked, showing the callous disregard their killer had for them. Covering up bodies normally suggests remorse.

Heartbreakingly, the two dead best friends were found six miles apart.


The police even staged a reconstruction

The police diligently came up with a list of 500 suspects and took over 13,000 statements from the public. But despite their efforts, the killer or killers were never apprehended. Witnesses said they'd seen the girls with two men, but despite appeals from the police the men were never traced.

Police knew they were looking for two men as different type of knots were used to tie up Christine and Helen.

A breakthrough came in 1997 when the police's cold case unit decided that further forensic work needed to be undertaken in the case and they found the DNA profile of a man, discovered on both girls. Unfortunately all 500 suspects were eliminated.

It wasn't until 2004 after the DNA was retested that they got a match to Edinburgh man Angus Sinclair.

He stood trial in 2007 for the World's End murders but the case collapsed due to insufficient evidence. 

It wasn't until he was convicted after a trial in 2014 that tragic Christine and Helen got justice at last. And it finally came out what a truly loathsome individual Sinclair was and he was dubbed Scotland's Worst Serial Killer.



He carried out the crimes with accomplice Gordon Hamilton, his late brother-in-law, who died in 1996 without facing justice. Both men's DNA was found on one of the young women.

Tragically, Christine and Helen might not have died if Sinclair had been arrested a few weeks before their murder after Patricia Wallace told police he tried to abduct her by dragging her into a caravan. It was the same one tragic Helen and Christine had been taken to.


Read her story here


Vile Angus Sinclair

Evil Sinclair's record -

1961 - aged 16,  convicted of raping and strangling neighbour Catherine Reehill, 8. He phoned for an ambulance himself saying, "A wee girl fell down the stairs."


1977 - Believed to have murdered six women in 7 months, including Helen and Christine.


1978 - murdered 17-year-old Mary Gallacher.


1978 - guilty of raping and sexually assaulting eleven children aged 6-14


2001 - Convicted of murdering Mary Gallacher, 17.


2014 - Justice at last for Helen and Christine as despicable Sinclair gets given 37 years, the longest sentence ever handed down by a Scottish court. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Truth is always stranger than fiction - Bible John - Glasgow's unsolved murders





Who was Bible John? 

In Vile City, a serial killer is going around Glasgow abducting and killing young women. The press have dubbed this killer the Glasgow Grabber.

In real life, Glasgow's most notorious serial killer is a man who has never been caught. Someone who's nickname even today, sends terror throughout the city.

A good looking, well dressed, soft spoken man who was given the name Bible John because he said his name was John and he quoted from the bible.

He's believed to have murdered three women in Glasgow between 1968 and 1969 that he'd met at the city's Barrowland ballroom. All three victims - nurse Patricia Docker, mum of three Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock - were raped and strangled with their own stockings and their handbags were taken.

What makes Bible John so unusual is that he shared a taxi with one of his victims (his 3rd and last know victim), Helen Puttock and her sister Jean and happily chatted away to them. Jean also invited another man to share the cab with them too (despite appeals, he never came forward). That left two people - the sister and the taxi driver - who could have identified him.

It was because of that taxi ride that the police managed to get so much information on the killer, including developing a psychological profile and a photofit. By all accounts, Bible John was an extremely polite and easy going companion.

The sister Jean got off at her stop, leaving tragic Helen Puttock alone with Bible John.

Poor Helen was found raped, beaten and strangled in the garden of her own flat the next morning. She'd put up a fight and there were grass stains on her feet showing that she'd tried to run. Her handbag was missing and police think her killer took it as a trophy.

A man was later spotted with his face covered in scratches and in a rumpled state on a bus heading into the city centre. Whenever that was Bible John or not, it’s impossible to tell.


Was Bible John's motive misogyny? 

One facet of the crimes that shocked Glasgow were that all three women were menstruating at the time they were brutally murdered, suggesting a hint of misogyny to the murders. Or was it a case of he wanted to have sex with the women, but saw them as unclean? Who knows what goes inside the head of such a warped individual? 

Bible John has never been found. Like other infamous killers who escaped justice, theories abound about Bible John's whereabouts and his identity. but the one person who may have been able to identify him, tragic Helen Puttock's sister Jean, has long since passed away.

One belief is that the well spoken man who recited from the bible, may have gone overseas to work as a missionary which would explain why the murders abruptly stopped. Could he have carried on his killing spree undetected abroad, perhaps in Africa?

There are other theories such as that Bible John joined the army or was a police officer (apparently the way he was dressed was the way members of Her Majesty's Constabulary dressed at the time).


Is evil Peter Tobin Bible John?


A young Peter Tobin next to a photofit of Bible John 
Evil killer Peter Tobin, who has been convicted of three murders and who is believed to behind many more, has also been linked to the killings as there are those who think he resembles the Bible John photofit.  The name Helen Puttock's sister said Bible John gave them was also similar to one of Tobin's known aliases.

However the man who probably knows him best and who brought him to justice, retired DCI David Swindle believes there's no evidence to link Tobin with the crime. 

Tobin's victims were all very different from Bible John's who murdered grown women.

Tobin's victims could be described almost as children - Vicky Hamilton, 15, Dinah MacNicol, 18 and Angelika Kluk who although she was 23 looked much younger and was living a long way away from her Polish homeland when Tobin who was working as a caretaker at the church where she was staying raped and murdered her.

Bible John was also described as well-spoken and well dressed, two things weasel-faced Tobin could never be described as. 

It seems like we'll never know the true identity of the monster who held Glasgow in a grip of terror and destroyed three families' lives forever.

You'll need to read Vile City  to find out if DI Waddell and his team catch the man they are after, the man dubbed the Glasgow Grabber. 


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Happy dance time - Vile City gets a publication date

PLAY THE MUSIC AND DANCE:) 

Today it's happy dance time as the wonderful Darren Laws at Caffeine Nights has told me that Vile City will be published on May 11th, 2017. 

It's the first novel featuring tough Glasgow detective Duncan Waddell who is fast starting to despise the city he loves because of all the horrors he sees. 

I'm over the moon that my novel will finally see the light of day. 

It's been a long and winding road for Vile City. 

In 2013, I won the Scottish Association of Writers award for a novel and was delighted to win the Pitlochry Quaich ( a quaich is a Scottish drinking cup). 

The battle to find a publisher began and over the years I improved Vile city. 


Why Detective in a Coma? 

I've dubbed the book the first in the Detective in a Coma series. When I was writing the book and then re-writing it, one character wouldn't stop talking to me. A peripheral character called Stevie Campbell. 

He was a colleague and friend of Duncan Waddell and he'd been in a coma since he'd been attacked by a suspect and left bleeding to death. 

Tony Soprano spoke to his therapist, Waddell speaks to his friend who's in a coma. What's surprising is that Stevie talks back to him, but only when no one else is in the room.

Has Waddell gone mad? Or is Stevie playing mind games?




You can decided when you read Vile City when it comes out on May 11th, 2017. 

You can read an extract from Vile City here. 







Update - Vile City is now available to pre-order on Amazon. 

Why Glenn shouldn't Die in The Walking Dead

Don't let it be Glenn
We've waited such a long time after being left in heartbreaking limbo over what's been a very long summer.

Will Glenn be the one to die like he does in the comics at the end of Negan's bat Lucille?

If you're asking me, the last thing I want is the TV show to follow the comics.

For one thing, it makes it too predictable and I want to be surprised.

Killing off such a major character as Glenn would be a death too far. Tyreeses's death in the show was pointless apart from letting someone direct a Tarrantino-esque episode. 

Tyreese - killed too soon? 

The show simply doesn't have enough major characters to lose Glenn, one of say only half a dozen characters that could have a stand alone episode and keep you interested. Apart from flashes from Aaron, the Alexandrians have been a boring, whining, inspid lot. 


When Rick's new squeeze and her two kids died, did we care? 


Glenn feel like he's the one person on the show who represents us. Maybe it's because we've been with him from the beginning.

From the minute the former pizza delivery boy arrived on the scene and saved Rick Grimes. To the moment he finally had to break his code of having never killed a human being at one of Negan's outposts.


So, who should Negan kill?

I love horror movies, so this is how I'd like things to go -

Negan swings his baseball bat like a pantomime villain and aims it at the man he perceives as the biggest physical threat.

Someone who glares him down whilst everybody watches on helplessly or looks away.

Somebody who doesn't quiver in fear.

That man's Abraham.

The shock of what's happening makes Maggie go into premature labour.

The baby comes out stillborn and starts to eat her. After the first bite, Maggie's fate is sealed.


Meet Maggie's baby 

As everybody watches on in horror, Negan merely smiles. When you're a sociopath and kill without any regret or emotion, watching a zombie baby eat it's mom ain't that shocking.


How would that change The Walking Dead universe?

1. It could mean that since the outbreak most babies cannot be born safely. Lori was okay because she might have become pregnant by Shane/Rick before the outbreak.

2. With Maggie gone, Glenn would have to find a way to carry on. Would he turn to the dark side? I sure hope so. It'd give us a chance to see another side to him.

3. Carol would come back in full psycho killer mode, something I hope she will do when she hears about what Negan did and how he steals men's partners and forces them to sleep with him in exchange for food (that's if his character follows the comic).

4. Morgan would need to realise his "All life is precious" mantra should be "Some life is precious and the other kind needs a bullet to the head." We could get to see more of that stick action.

So, what do you think folks, how would you like to see The Walking Dead premiere go? 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Get the Crime Files box set for 99c or 99p (Limited offer)



For a short time only, the Crime Files box set featuring the first 3 books (Hell To Pay, Throwaways and Don't Come for Me) is just 99cents on Amazon.com
and 99p on Amazon.co.uk

A bit about the box set 

HELL TO PAY - BOOK #1

Nancy Kerr refuses to be a victim—even when she walks in on her parents’ killers and is raped and left for dead…

Fourteen months later, Nancy wakes up in a psychiatric hospital with no knowledge of how she got there.

Slowly, her memory starts to return.

Released from the institution, she has just one thing on her mind—two men brought hell to her family home.

Now they’re in for some hell of their own…

THROWAWAYS - BOOK #2

Huddled in a doorway, in a blonde wig, and my best Pretty Woman outfit, I'm already soaked to the skin. As downward spirals go, this was bad.

But I wasn’t here because I was reduced to turning tricks for a living. I was here to catch a killer…

Throwaways.

That's the word they're using for the four Glasgow sex workers who've gone missing. But two people do care.

When Suzy Henderson was found dead in a landfill site, her eyes pecked out by crows, they found the finger of another missing woman wedged in her throat.

Nancy Kerr and Tommy McIntyre are on the case and they won’t stop until they find the missing women.

But, how can they trust anyone when they can’t even trust each other?

DON'T COME FOR ME - BOOK #3

What if you were charged with your boyfriend’s murder, but you knew he wasn’t even dead?

That's the position rape survivor Nancy Kerr finds herself in. Now, she faces a race against time to find Tommy before she’s convicted of his murder.

But, someone doesn’t want her or Tommy’s Special Forces buddy, Eric from finding out the truth.


And getting too close could get them killed.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

An extract from Vile City and what made me write the crime thriller


Vile City tells the story of abducted Shelley Craig and DI Duncan Waddell's attempts to find her.
The inspiration for Vile City 
The idea for Vile City came to me one day when I was walking through Glasgow city centre. In my mind's eye, I could see a young woman walking with her boyfriend. He's caught short and goes down an alleyway to relieve himself. 
When he hasn't returned after five minutes, the young woman goes looking for him. 
She sees him lying on the pavement as though he's fallen and leans down to check if he's okay. That's when a figure appears and grabs her and injects her with something.
It was trying to figure out why that would happen that Vile City came about. 
Who was this woman? 
What was going to happen to her?
Has she been targeted or was she simply unlucky? 
Would she live to tell the tale? 
I kept asking all these questions and like anybody would, I wanted answers.
I hope you'll be as interested to find out the answers as I was. Hey, I'm nosy like that:)
Yay, publication! 
It's been a long, long path to publication for Vile City. At one stage I was convinced the book would never see the light of day.
Yet in 2011 when I won the Scottish Association of Writers Pitlochry Quaich for a first crime novel, I thought it would help me win a publishing contract or an agent or both. I came close a few times.
One top publisher loved it, then turned round and said there were too many Scottish crime novels. Another only wanted to publish it as an eBook. But I love real, physical books. The feel and smell of them, so I turned down the contract offer.
Thankfully, Caffeine Nights came along and I was delighted. They write the kind of books I love to read and publish one of my favourite authors Shaun Hutson.
Vile City will be published in 2017. Stay tuned for the exact date.
Meanwhile, here's a sneak peek - 

Chapter 1
Stuart was hiding something. Shelley could tell. She was always the one who'd had to wake him because he could always block out the shrill of the alarm clock, but these days he was up before her, grabbing the mail whilst she slept. And, he’d started making breakfast – nothing much, just tea and toast, but that was more than he’d ever made her in their two and a bit years together.
When she'd calmly ask him if anything was wrong, he’d shrug his shoulders, give her a wee smile and say everything was fine. But, she knew he was lying because his face went even paler, making his freckles stand out as if they'd been drawn in by a kid with a coloured pencil. She never pushed it, maybe because deep down she was worried that he’d tell her he’d met someone else.
The No.76 bus was empty when they clambered onboard - one of the benefits of working until 11 at night in a call centre, was that there was no need to scoot past a sea of legs and become a contortionist to get on and off a bus.
Their cold breath filled the air with ghosts as they walked towards Waterstone’s, Shelley pausing to take a peek at the new crime fiction releases showcased in the illuminated windows, whilst Stuart fidgeted with his watch. He was always footering about with something since he’d given up cigarettes and it drove her mad, but at least it didn’t fill his lungs with tar and make the house smell like an overflowing ashtray.
“I need to have a pee,” he announced, as they came to the dimly lit lane off Mitchell Street that reeked of eau de Glasgow: decomposing takeaway, urine and other bodily fluids.
She groaned. “Can't you wait until we get home, Stuart?” She knew she’d pronounced his name “Stew-art” as she always did when she was annoyed with him, but she couldn’t help it. What made men think it was okay to urinate in public?
Stuart looked pained. “Sorry, I can’t. Too much coffee tonight.”
She let him walk on ahead of her and whilst he scooted down the alley, she stood outside the amusement arcade, pretending to look in so she wouldn’t be mistaken as a prostitute. Around here, at this time of night, unaccompanied women were likely to be mistaken for prostitutes. It'd happened to her once when she'd got off the bus alone. Stuart hadn't been working that night.
Five minutes later, she was so cold she couldn't feel her nose and Stuart still wasn’t back.
She turned the corner to look for him, fully expecting to see him ambling back towards her with that jaunty walk that always made her smile. But, he wasn't there.
Where was he?
Anger welled up in her chest. Had he started smoking again? He swore he wouldn't.
There was one way to find out.
She headed down the alley. The sole light was provided from some nearby buildings so visibility was poor.
She’d walked a few steps when she spotted a bundle of rags on the ground. Was someone sleeping there?
She moved closer. Squinting into the dim light, she realised it was Stuart. He was lying motionless on the ground. He must have tripped and knocked himself out after hitting the concrete.
She ran over to him, calling out his name, the squeezing in her chest waning slightly when she knelt down and heard him groan.
She pulled her mobile phone from her bag to call for an ambulance.
She didn’t make it to the third digit. A gloved hand clamped across her mouth and nose, cutting off her airways and the phone fell from her grasp, clattering onto the cobbles. Terror gripped her and she couldn’t breathe.
As she struggled, her assailant pressed his mouth to her ear. He was so close that it occurred to her that if anyone saw them they would think he was her boyfriend whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
“Your man’s been given a strong sedative. He’ll wake up with a sore head and nothing more. But, if you scream, I’ll kick him several times in the head and he’ll never get up again. Do you understand?”
She didn’t recognise the voice, but there was an accent. Not from around here. His voice was cold and emotionless.
She nodded under his hand. Then she did something he didn't expect: she back-heeled him in the groin.
There was a satisfying yelp as he released her.
She ran, arms pumping away like Usain Bolt’s, down towards the café at the end of the alley and safety.
She'd almost made it when he grabbed her arm and hauled her back. An electric shock shot from her elbow to her shoulder as she pulled herself free. He was too strong.
She could offer little resistance as he dragged her towards him.
Before she could scream, he punched her fully in the face and she went down with a thud jarring every bone in her body, momentarily stunning her.
As she fought to get up, he punched her in the back and she fell again.
The last thing she saw was the pavement rushing towards her before she blacked out...
TO BE CONTINUED...










An extract from Vile City - what made me write the crime thriller.


Vile City tells the story of abducted Shelley Craig and DI Duncan Waddell's attempts to find her.
Vile City will be published on May 11th but it's available on pre-order now in the UK (more countries coming soon).
Here's the link :)
Meanwhile, here's a sneak peek - 

Chapter 1
Stuart was hiding something. Shelley could tell. She was always the one who'd had to wake him because he could always block out the shrill of the alarm clock, but these days he was up before her, grabbing the mail whilst she slept. And, he’d started making breakfast – nothing much, just tea and toast, but that was more than he’d ever made her in their two and a bit years together.
When she'd calmly ask him if anything was wrong, he’d shrug his shoulders, give her a wee smile and say everything was fine. But, she knew he was lying because his face went even paler, making his freckles stand out as if they'd been drawn in by a kid with a coloured pencil. She never pushed it, maybe because deep down she was worried that he’d tell her he’d met someone else.
The No.76 bus was empty when they clambered onboard - one of the benefits of working until 11 at night in a call centre, was that there was no need to scoot past a sea of legs and become a contortionist to get on and off a bus.
Their cold breath filled the air with ghosts as they walked towards Waterstone’s, Shelley pausing to take a peek at the new crime fiction releases showcased in the illuminated windows, whilst Stuart fidgeted with his watch. He was always footering about with something since he’d given up cigarettes and it drove her mad, but at least it didn’t fill his lungs with tar and make the house smell like an overflowing ashtray.
“I need to have a pee,” he announced, as they came to the dimly lit lane off Mitchell Street that reeked of eau de Glasgow: decomposing takeaway, urine and other bodily fluids.
She groaned. “Can't you wait until we get home, Stuart?” She knew she’d pronounced his name “Stew-art” as she always did when she was annoyed with him, but she couldn’t help it. What made men think it was okay to urinate in public?
Stuart looked pained. “Sorry, I can’t. Too much coffee tonight.”
She let him walk on ahead of her and whilst he scooted down the alley, she stood outside the amusement arcade, pretending to look in so she wouldn’t be mistaken as a prostitute. Around here, at this time of night, unaccompanied women were likely to be mistaken for prostitutes. It'd happened to her once when she'd got off the bus alone. Stuart hadn't been working that night.
Five minutes later, she was so cold she couldn't feel her nose and Stuart still wasn’t back.
She turned the corner to look for him, fully expecting to see him ambling back towards her with that jaunty walk that always made her smile. But, he wasn't there.
Where was he?
Anger welled up in her chest. Had he started smoking again? He swore he wouldn't.
There was one way to find out.
She headed down the alley. The sole light was provided from some nearby buildings so visibility was poor.
She’d walked a few steps when she spotted a bundle of rags on the ground. Was someone sleeping there?
She moved closer. Squinting into the dim light, she realised it was Stuart. He was lying motionless on the ground. He must have tripped and knocked himself out after hitting the concrete.
She ran over to him, calling out his name, the squeezing in her chest waning slightly when she knelt down and heard him groan.
She pulled her mobile phone from her bag to call for an ambulance.
She didn’t make it to the third digit. A gloved hand clamped across her mouth and nose, cutting off her airways and the phone fell from her grasp, clattering onto the cobbles. Terror gripped her and she couldn’t breathe.
As she struggled, her assailant pressed his mouth to her ear. He was so close that it occurred to her that if anyone saw them they would think he was her boyfriend whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
“Your man’s been given a strong sedative. He’ll wake up with a sore head and nothing more. But, if you scream, I’ll kick him several times in the head and he’ll never get up again. Do you understand?”
She didn’t recognise the voice, but there was an accent. Not from around here. His voice was cold and emotionless.
She nodded under his hand. Then she did something he didn't expect: she back-heeled him in the groin.
There was a satisfying yelp as he released her.
She ran, arms pumping away like Usain Bolt’s, down towards the café at the end of the alley and safety.
She'd almost made it when he grabbed her arm and hauled her back. An electric shock shot from her elbow to her shoulder as she pulled herself free. He was too strong.
She could offer little resistance as he dragged her towards him.
Before she could scream, he punched her fully in the face and she went down with a thud jarring every bone in her body, momentarily stunning her.
As she fought to get up, he punched her in the back and she fell again.
The last thing she saw was the pavement rushing towards her before she blacked out...
TO BE CONTINUED...




Out now on pre-order at Amazon.


The inspiration for Vile City 
The idea for Vile City came to me one day when I was walking through Glasgow city centre. In my mind's eye, I could see a young woman walking with her boyfriend. He's caught short and goes down an alleyway to relieve himself. 
When he hasn't returned after five minutes, the young woman goes looking for him. 
She sees him lying on the pavement as though he's fallen and leans down to check if he's okay. That's when a figure appears and grabs her and injects her with something.
It was trying to figure out why that would happen that Vile City came about. 
Who was this woman? 
What was going to happen to her?
Has she been targeted or was she simply unlucky? 
Would she live to tell the tale? 
I kept asking all these questions and like anybody would, I wanted answers.
I hope you'll be as interested to find out the answers as I was. Hey, I'm nosy like that:)
Yay, publication! 

It's been a long, long road to publication for Vile City. At one stage I was convinced the book would never see the light of day.
Yet in 2011 when I won the Scottish Association of Writers Pitlochry Quaich for a first crime novel, I thought it would help me win a publishing contract or an agent or both. I came close a few times.
One top publisher loved it, then turned round and said there were too many Scottish crime novels.
Another only wanted to publish it as an eBook.
But I love real, physical books. The feel and smell of them, so I turned down the contract offer.
Thankfully, Caffeine Nights came along and I was delighted.

They write the kind of books I love to read and publish one of my favourite authors Shaun Hutson.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

My name is Jennifer Lee Thomson and I'm agoraphobic



From the age of 11, I was bullied mercilessly at school and in the small village where I lived. I couldn't go anywhere without getting targeted.

I'd get spat at, pushed and shoved by one boy who was two stone heavier than me and who was a trained boxer and a neighbour who'd once been a friend marched up to me on the bus and spat "You're ugly," in my face as other kids howled with laughter. Well, you'd better laugh so you won't be the target of the bullies.

I had no idea what I'd done to merit this treatment. Even today, I still haven't answered the question why? That's when my agoraphobia (also known as social anxiety disorder) began.

It made me terrified to go out. Outside my home. To school.

By the age of 13, I was hiding pills under my bed with the intention of swallowing the lot.

My writing was the only thing that gave me confidence and that's what stopped me from taking an overdose.

Ever since I was a little kid, I'd been a writer scribbling away on notepads, writing wee stories. I sold my first piece to Bunty comic when I was 13, then sales of short stories to Jackie magazine followed.

My agoraphobia didn't ease and even simple things like going to the shops were a nightmare. The only way to beat it was by going with someone else. I tried various jobs and they didn't last - I was too jumpy and nervous. It's just as well I've always make some money out of writing magazine articles.

My agoraphobia is so bad that when I won the Scottish Association of Writers' Award for my crime novel Vile City in 2011 LINK my social phobias were so bad that I couldn't attend the ceremony. It'd have been a boost for my writing career as there were some great authors in attendance as well as literary agents and publishers.

It wasn't always that way. Once upon a time I was a confident kid - maybe a bit too confident as I once told my teacher that my answer to a question was right and she was wrong. In primary school I regularly entered Burns competitions* where I'd sing and recite poetry. The stage held no fear for me.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

One doctor sent me to a psychologist for cognitive behavioral therapy. They also refer to it as talking therapy, probably because it involves a lot of talking. CBT gets you to challenge your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and how they affect your feelings and behaviour.



But what about if the way you behave is perfectly proportionate to the way other people treat you? Besides, my problem has never been with myself and how I've responded to others - it's with other people. Life is tough enough without people being so nasty and petty minded to each other.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy does help people, but I knew it wasn't going to work for me when my psychologist was sitting there telling me how I needed to learn to be happy with who I was and out the corner of my eye I saw a box of slimmasoup on her shelf. With all her training she wasn't happy with who she was, so how could she help me?

By the end of my sessions with her she couldn't. I was offered CBT again and I refused it. I didn't want to take up the
appointment time where somebody else could be helped. Just because it didn't work for me didn't mean the treatment wouldn't work for them.

Antidepressants

At one point I was also put on the antidepressant Fluoxitene (Prozac).
Tip - if you're vegetarian or vegan like me you can ask for the medication in a solution form like a cough syrup, as it usually comes in gelatine capsules (bits of animal muscle and bone swept up from the slaughterhouse floor).

So far though, nothing has helped. Going out alone is something I avoid. When I have to go out alone it's a nightmare for me. I have panic attacks where I feel as though I'm going to stop breathing or have a heart attack.

The only way I can go out alone is with my rescue dog. I'm so preoccupied playing and talking to him that I seldom have panic attacks.

At the moment, I'm on Diazepam to help me cope with day to day life. Like everyone I have good and bad days.


Are you agoraphobic? quiz 

If you answer yes to the following questions then you probably are. Agoraphobia can vary in severity.

Do you feel scared before you go out or try and avoid going out?

Are simple things like going to a nearby store difficult for you?

Do you suffer from panic attacks when you go out?

Is the only place you feel safe your home?

Do you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder before you go out? Looking constantly out the window to see if anyone's around? 


*Robert Burns is Scotland's most famous writer. Competitions are held once a year where his songs are sung and his poems recited by school children. 

Friday, 12 August 2016

When writers get stuck what do they do?

Every writer gets stuck 

Recently I was working on the ending for the second book in my Detective in a Coma series, Cannibal City. In the book, a killer is on the loose. He's kidnapping men, force-feeding them, then killing them and eating their livers.

It was all going well, then I got stuck, I mean really stuck. 

I needed there to be something that would lead my detectives to finding out something about the person they were chasing and it couldn't be something obvious. Nor could it be a lead that landed on their laps. One of the characters had to have I  for this lead. 

There's nothing I hate more than crime thrillers or mystery novels where the crime's solved by the detectives getting lucky. 

I tried everything I could to solve my problem. I took time away from the novel and wrote something else. I did other non-writing activities - household chores that I should have done a long time ago, I played baseball with my rescue dog Benjy and I played a crime game on my Nintendo DS (it was called Awake - you should check it out). 

When the link I needed came it was out of the blue. A coiled snake bracelet of the kind Cleopatra might have worn. 

I wracked my brains trying to figure out this where this bracelet idea came from. Had I seen it on a TV show or in a movie? Read about it in a book? Seen it in a painting? 

It came to me so fully formed it had to have come from somewhere. 

It wasn't until days later that I found it in one of my storage boxes. Here's the picture below as proof - 




Footnote - Vile City, the first book in the series featuring Inspector Duncan Waddell will be published by Caffeine Nights in 2017 under my full name Jennifer Lee Thomson. 

I'm working on the third book in the series, Vigilante City.


K.I.S.S - Keep It Simple Stupid

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