Five years ago, I was having lunch at my parents’ house in Italy. Their cat, Figaro, was not allowed inside their home. So, he peered through the French windows from the conservatory, that my parents used to store many things, including the bicycle that you can see behind the cat. Figaro looked so cute that I took several pictures of him (you can see him inside the yellow circle) with my mum’s iPad. In the picture, you can see also the reflection of the opposite wall of the room where we were lunching.
While we were looking through the pictures, which I had just taken, my sister-in-law screamed, “What’s that?”
In only one of the photos, Figaro seemed to be in the company of a woman, standing behind the bicycle.
Since then, I’ve been wondering whether what I caught on camera was a ghost. How could that be? The house was new when we bought it, nobody had lived there before us.
Yes, there was the occasional slamming of doors without any apparent reason. Also, when I was a teenager we had a séance in which a few spirits came through. Maybe one of them didn’t leave my parents’ place when invited to do so?
I know that there is life after death. Although I’m not a trained medium, some people who had left this plane of existence contacted me and asked me to deliver their messages to their loved ones, which I did. I was so nervous and embarrassed when approaching the people the messages were meant for. What if what I was going to say would be considered total rubbish? On the other hand, I couldn’t ignore what I had been asked to do. To my astonishment, the recipients of the messages confirmed to me that those messages made sense to them and thanked me.
Catching a ghost on camera was something completely different though.
Three years later, I had another supernatural experience, which I discussed in my blog post My Granny Angela Told Me… : my late maternal grandma came through a medium during a Psychic Night and helped me create my logo by sending me to Brighton for inspiration!
Why am I bring up this matter now? Because this week the famous psychic Craig Hamilton-Parker has given me his verdict, published in the magazine Fate & Fortune.
What’s your experience with the supernatural, dear Seeker?
A year ago, almost to the day, my science fiction novella Across Spacetime was launched. To celebrate this, I’ve interviewed Samir Bond, who, with Beatrice Blanche, is a main character in my book.
A: Hello Samir, how are you?
S: Hi Angela, I’m having a great time in London, away from Antarctica. Too cold for me down there. I can’t say that England is a warm place, but is still much better! People to see, places to visit… That’s my idea of paradise.
A: I see. I thought you enjoyed it very much on Mars as well, maybe even more than in London.
S: Yes, I did, still too cold though. It was an interesting phase of my life. For the first time I was off Earth without my family, doing something that was cutting-edge: making history or reliving history, to be precise. I felt special. When you live in an era in which almost everything has being discovered or invented, it’s very difficult to stand out in a big way.
A: Would you do it again?
S: Yes, I would. I met extraordinary people during the Spacetime Programme, from all over the solar system. How ironic that I had to travel back in time to meet Beatrice in London!
A: Yes, life is unpredictable. In the interview she gave me, Beatrice told me that she had a hard time in the past Earth because she had to remove all her implants, but once the withdrawal syndrome was over, she felt fine and didn’t need them anymore, not even when she went back to the future. So I was wondering, what was life in the past Earth for you?
S: Exciting and challenging. Another chance to show myself what I’m made of. Having to rely on my wits and not technology to solve my problems, that was exhilarating. Since I’ve come back from the past, I have reduced my dependence on it. Maybe that’s why I enjoy cooking so much, apart from starring in Across Spacetime of course.
A: You’ve helped me a lot when I was writing Across Spacetime. Is there something that you’d like me to have written differently?
S: Well, yes, actually. You made me say that I missed smart cities. And that was true. However, I’ve realised, too late, that you and your readers would have misunderstood what I meant. So thank you for the chance to put it right now. What I meant is that I missed the smart cities of my century, not the ones connected to a “smart” network, like the 5G one that governments around the world want to deploy in your point of the spacetime continuum. No, we refused to use them. Our ancestors decided against that technology because it was too risky for human and animal health. And also because it was the basis for implementing the so-called Internet of Things, that would have introduced an unprecedented level of surveillance on citizens without any legal reason for it and without full disclosure of the extent and scope of the surveillance. A true Orwellian society. I’m grateful that our ancestors stopped it before it was too late. I hope you’ll be able to do the same.
A: Thank you for this, Samir. Only recently, I’ve realised how dangerous the 5G network is. You're right, its introduction has nothing to do with increasing the speed and quality of our communications. I hope we’ll be able to stop it in this universe too. Can you tell me what is smart about your cities then?
S: Yes of course. In our cities, there is no pollution because we have free, clean energy, and no Homeless because everybody has a comfortable, nice place to call home. We care for one another; no one is left behind or excluded from our society. Everybody is given equal chances, but that doesn’t mean that we are equal. Meritocracy is essential in a just and happy society. I wish I could show you… Maybe in another book?
A: That’d be great! I have loads of other questions I would love to ask you, however I know that you must meet up with Beatrice shortly, so I won’t keep you any longer. I look forward to interviewing you again soon. And please give my regards to Beatrice.
S: Will do. Thanks for having me. It’s been a great pleasure Angela. Till next time!
After publishing the blog post Stuck or Still a months ago, I went through weeks of emotional roller coaster in which my mind could rationalise what was happening and my heart couldn’t accept it.
I needed somebody’s help but I was hurting too much to reach out. In addition, my mobile phone had died on me (the last thing to break down after many others in my home in the past month), making it difficult to keep in touch with most of my closest friends as they live abroad.
I knew that some kind of energy healing would help me but was too down to apply to myself the Theta Healing and Spiritual Healing techniques in which I’m proficient.
A few weeks later, the Universe answered my prayer for comfort through two Twitter acquaintances. One offered me time and attention and our friendship is blossoming. The other one, Terri, a Reiki Master, sent me a link to a YouTube channel, RestRelaxationReiki. As a level 1 Reiki practitioner who didn’t get the chance to carry on the training nor do self-Reiki in a long time, I was eager to find out whether I could feel the energy sent to me through these videos and if it’d be beneficial to me.
I played lots of them for many days, often back to back, and the more I played them the better I felt. However, there were still many questions I couldn’t find an answer to and couldn’t ignore them. Like why whenever I sought divine guidance to know whether to carry on that relationship or not, the reply was always yes, despite the incredible difficulties to continue it. And why, after yet another setback, I would receive the message that it was a blessing in disguise and I’d understand it in the end. Well, the end had come and I still had no clues as to the meaning of it all.
To be honest, I felt like Life had cheated me. I had done everything I could possibly have done to make that relationship work and when I thought we were out of the woods my dreams were crushed, burned to ashes. Like when I finally moved to Folkestone with my daughter from Italy to live with my now ex-husband and realised that, although there was no more physical distance between us, the emotional one was abyssal.
How could I trust my inner/divine guidance again? How could I manifest a wonderful new relationship if I didn’t know what I had done wrong? One of the videos I had played was Reiki to Remove The Obstacles Keeping You From Goals. What often happens with energy healing is that it changes the recipient’s vibrations so he or she attracts the answers he or she is looking for on the physical world.
In my case, the answers have come to me this week, during a massage session with Ben Barnett from Holistic Therapies (read my blog post New Year’s Solutions to know more). I wanted his help in another area of my life but ended up talking about my breakup. What has emerged is that I’ve been constantly attracting relationships whose main feature is distance, either cultural or physical.
Fair enough, that was a childhood dream of mine, to get to know in depth other cultures and places; and it had come true, like I explain in the About page of this website. It had been exciting and eye opening but also tough in many ways and I didn’t want to go through that again. I wished to experience an intimate relationship with somebody who lived close to my place and from a culture more similar to mine. However, my new love lived in another continent! At first, it seemed he would relocate to live with me but that possibility vanished for good a month ago.
During the session with Ben I was stunned to learn that, regardless working on myself for over 3 decades to establish healthy boundaries, reach a balance in giving and receiving, and release all that I didn’t need for my spiritual growth and wellbeing, I was still disrespecting myself by accepting other people’s priorities before my own; and that it stemmed from unresolved childhood issues. If I want a new lover with whom to enjoy a nurturing, close and lasting relationship, I have to work on these issues first.
I’m sure that If I had given up on my last relationship sooner, I wouldn’t have suffered so much to feel the need to find out what this experience was teaching me. As always, Life has given me what I need and not what I want. Now I’m truly free to move forward with my life.
And you, dear Seeker, do you know what’s holding you back from achieving your goals?
Two Sundays ago I went to the allotment (see my blog post Folkestone Cantiaci Volunteers) with the volunteers from the Folkestone Cantiaci group for the first time in two months. I wrongly assumed that wintertime there was nothing to do there. I mean, weeds don’t grow so there’s no need to pull them out. And there’s nothing to be sown before spring comes.
However, since December my friends have been shaping up the new area by organising the place to accommodate things kindly donated by people in our community: containers to collect the raining water, others for the compost, a new metal table (so we can have our tea when we take a break), and have assembled the frame of the greenhouse.
As two Sundays ago we had washed and dried all the glass panes of the greenhouse, last Sunday we mounted them in the frame. Unfortunately, some had been broken during the transport to the allotment and couldn’t be used. We’ll have to replace them with plastic ones and we’re looking into how to do it in cost-effective way.
As the pond has collected lots of water, a small area had to be dug to allow the water to overflow without flooding the nearby patches. Last Sunday we had the material needed to stabilise its bottom but the water of the pond was frozen for about 2 cm on the surface so that’s something for next Sunday.
Lastly, we planted two fruit trees, one apple and one plum. Yummy!
How many times have you felt stuck in your life? How many times have you felt that you were almost there, only to find yourself in an even worse place than where you started?
It’s like working on a story for 2 years and realising that the ending is lame, like it happened to me a year ago when I was writing the sequel to Across Spacetime. Or your failing health preventing you to make plans for the future. Or job hunting and nothing shows up. Or burning with the desire to start a family with your soulmate and life circumstances keep the two of you apart. Over and over again.
I’ve noticed that this usually happens to me when I am trying too hard to achieve the result in the way I think I should achieve it.
Sometimes not seeing a solution doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Sometimes it only means that other things must fall into place before we can achieve our goal because doing a beeline from A to E is not what we need for our personal and spiritual evolution. And so Life diverts us to C and stops us there. Or it thrusts us back to A. We feel lost, stuck, and determined to tear down the Heavens if we don’t get it our way.
What if we chose to consider these roadblocks as blessings in disguise instead? Like you dear Seeker, I’ve suffered many a setback and used to go mad when that happened. However, whenever I let go of my expectations regarding a result, and allowed myself to go with the flow of life, I ended up with something better than I had anticipated. Yes, it’s not easy. It takes a lot of practice to let go of our deep need for a sense of control. Life makes sure we have plenty of training though.
Sometimes, going with the flow actually means staying still, allowing things to blossom, come to fruition. Staying still allows us to take a look round, ponder different outcomes so when the occasion arises, we’re ready to grab it.
For example, in the case of the sequel, I put it on a side for a few months, jotting down ideas and letting my mind work in the background. It took me an extra few months to come up with an ending that satisfied me, but I got there and did lots of other things in the meantime.
As for my health, it’s been 20 years since my muscle problems began. This has forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and the meaning of success; and choose a path that has eventually brought me to writing.
As for the job hunt, I have used these months to gauge the labour market and find out in which capacity I can be of service to others to the best of my abilities.
As for my love life, I’m at a crossroads. Just another one of many. Will I be able to follow my own advice?
I can hardly believe that a whole year has flown by since I had my first radio interview. Where did time go? Let's find out.
The launch of Across Spacetime took up the first three months of 2017. It was an exhausting and rewarding experience. What I liked the most was definitely the radio interviews because I had to push my boundaries well beyond my comfort zone and I felt empowered. The waiting for the first interviews was nerve-wracking but I was lucky to have kind and experienced hosts who put me at ease straight away.
Finishing the manuscript of the sequel to Across Spacetime is one of the achievements I’m most proud of. It took me more time than I had anticipated because I was unhappy with the ending. Editing it could take another month or so as I’m busy with other projects, like looking for a job.
As my daughter is in secondary school this year (and therefore is more independent) and my health has greatly improved, I've decided to go back to the labour market. I love writing but I’ve been feeling a bit lonely lately. And a work environment can help me with fresh ideas for my pieces :-).
I must confess that at times I felt uneasy when promoting Across Spacetime last year, as it is a science fiction love story based on how I had met the man who was divorcing me.
Now I'm in a far better place. All the emotional turmoil is over, in a few months I'll be a divorcée and I’m ready to welcome a new love in my life. But that's another story.
It looks like even 2018 will be a busy and important year in my life. I welcome it!
And you dear Seeker, what are you looking forward to this year?
Today I'm thrilled to host an interview with author Jo Linsdell, not only because we've been collaborating for a while (remember the August bookish blog hops and the Christmas one?) but also because she's a Brit living in Italy and I'm an Italian living in the UK.
For how long have you been living in Italy, Jo?
I came here for 3 days back in June 2001, and I'm still here ;) Crazy to think it's been that long.
Wow. And since you moved to Italy, have you always lived in Rome?
No. Although we've mainly lived in the capital, we also spent some time living in Tivoli. It's a small town near Rome and definitely worth a day trip for those coming here on holiday. It's home to some beautiful villas and waterfalls.
I had the chance to visit Tivoli in my youth and I agree, it's well worth a day trip. How do you like living in Rome?
I've moved around a lot over the years and Rome is the place I feel most at home. As a city it's changed a lot since I've been here, and not all in a good way, but there's still so much to love about living here. There's so much to see and do too. I love history and art, and both are in abundance here.
Agreed. Rome is the perfect city for art and history lovers! I went several times and look forward to taking my daughter there. However, you must miss the UK. Can you tell us what you miss the most?
Mostly little things, like proper bacon. Italian bacon is different from the big cut we have in the UK. It's just not the same. Another thing I miss are the houses. Since moving to Rome I've lived in apartments. I miss having a house with a garden. I'd have to move out of the centre to have something like that here though.
I think the thing I miss most though is hearing my own language. When I go to the UK to visit I like that everyone is speaking English. I know that sounds odd. I'm bilingual and have no trouble speaking and understanding Italian now, but I miss hearing my own language. It's nice to go for a walk and just absorb the Englishness.
And I miss the Italianess. So, did you get married in Italy?
Yes. Here in Rome.
What inspired you to write A Guide to Weddings in Italy?
I'm married to an Italian, and thought others might benefit from the research I had to do to get married here. As with anything bureaucratic, working out what documents were needed, where we needed to go, and when, was a long process. Having gone through it all I figured others might find the information useful.
Was it easy for you to learn Italian? Is it why you decided to write Italian for Tourists?
When I first came to Italy I only planned on staying for 3 days and so didn't study the language beforehand. I learnt Italian by living here. It was hard in the beginning but I think the hardest part was getting out of my own way. I was afraid of making mistakes. Self doubt plays a big role in slowing down progress. Once I just threw myself into it and allowed myself to get things wrong it was actually much easier.
A lot of people told me I should write Italian for Tourists. I used to work with tourists and it would often come up in conversation. I used my own experience and the things that tourists wanted to know how to say to create a language guide specifically for them. One of most common comments about other phrasebooks was that there was too much information in them that wasn't relevant for tourists. Stuff like how to buy a house. Tourists don't need to know that, and it just gets in the way of finding the information they do need. Italian for Tourists is a bare bones phrasebook created specifically with tourists in mind.
Do you speak English to your children?
Yes. They both speak Italian and English.
They're very lucky. Changing subject: where is your current favourite place to write, and if you could pick any place in the world where would be your ideal place to write?
I have an office area in the corner of my bedroom with a desk, but rarely use it. I prefer to be comfy in my recliner armchair in the lounge. I don't really have an ideal place as such, but I find I can't concentrate if I'm out and about so would need to be at home, with some peace and quiet.
Your CV is impressive: you’ve written fiction and non-fiction books, you run your own website, you are the founder and CEO of Writers and Authors and Promo Day, have won several awards in your career, were named the Who's Who in the writing industry in 2009, and you are an illustrator too. If you had to pick the thing that you like to do the most that is writing related, what would you pick and why?
Now that is a hard question. It's like picking which of my kids I love the most. Impossible. I enjoy all aspects of my work. As long as I'm being creative I'm happy.
What are you currently working on?
I have several projects in the works at the moment. My new book 365 Days of Quotes for Writers is due for release on 17th January 2018 and so I'm busy with tasks related to the launch.
I'm also finishing writing the KOSMOS series and getting the last episodes ready for publication over the coming months, and working on edits for my novel Do You LIKE Me?
Is there a question you would have liked to answer but was never asked in an interview?
I've answered all sorts of questions over the years. Nothing springs to mind. Obviously the question I like most is "Where can we buy your work?" As I do a lot of different work the easiest answer to that one is my website, www.JoLinsdell.com. It has information and links for all my projects.
Thank you Jo, and best of luck in all your endeavours.
The past Christmas holiday was the best one I had in years. What did I do? I spent it with the most important person in my life, my 12-year-old daughter Sofia, playing games, watching TV, talking and doing a spot of shopping. “Is that all?” I hear you asking. Yes, it is. And I loved every minute of it. For the first time in many years she has kept her room clean and tidy and she’s behaved in a loving and caring way. Not that she’s never done that before, however those calm and enjoyable moments lasted for two days at the most. With her permission, I'll share our story.
I have worked on our relationship for many years. The main problem was her room. I expected her to be responsible for it, and I would only supervise it. I hoped to make her more independent and teach her valuable skills, e.g. organisation, respect of deadlines, and health and safety. Nothing worked. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. Nor the stick, the carrot or the sandwich method – allow her to do something she likes, and tell her to do her bedroom with the promise she could have more fun afterward. Nor working on myself with meditation, Theta Healing techniques and so on.
Her room was a war zone. Sometimes it was impossible to walk through it as the floor was covered with anything you can imagine. And in the past year she fiercely opposed my offer to help her clean it up. Well, enough was enough so a few months ago I stationed myself in her room and in a few days we got rid of everything she didn’t need anymore-mainly clothes, toys, and books.
We were so happy! Keeping the bedroom tidy would be so easy now, we thought. It wasn’t. Soon it went back to being messy, although not at the desperate level it had reached before.
The problem wasn’t just that it wasn’t clean and tidy, it was that it was a barrier between us. We didn’t spend time together because she had to clean her bedroom. She would spend days instead of a few hours a week because she would be side-tracked. Playing with her toys, reading books, using her tablet (only one hour a day) were the usual reasons why she wouldn’t finish her chore and have time to spend with me. Cleaning her bedroom was a never-ending task.
Moreover, once finished, she would be proud of her achievement. Nevertheless, she would plunge her bedroom in an awful mess again in the following hours.
Out of desperation, I convinced her to see a Child Well-being Consultant. Probably because she was already too old for this approach, the sessions didn’t help much.
Just before Christmas, the breakthrough.
On 20th December I had a massage with a new therapist, Ben Barnett from Holistic Therapies. During the massage, which I had while lying on a waterbed full of warm water (heaven!), he guided me through a visualisation aimed at improving my relationships in general and specifically with Sofia.
He understood the messages my body was sending me in the form of pain and stiff muscles, explained them to me and with the visualisation he helped me change the energy pattern of my relationships.
The result came quickly. No arguments with Sofia for the past two weeks, we guffawed many times especially when playing charades, and her bedroom is still pretty tidy. She’s even decided that she wants to eat in a more healthy way and she’s really impressed me.
What a wonderful way to finish 2017 and start 2018. And now I am very hopeful that my other troubled relationships and some other aspects of my life I'm working on with Ben will heal too.
May the New Year bring solutions to us all!
In November my fellow author and blogger Solveig Werner invited me to contribute a guest post to her Advent 2017 series. It has been published today. You can read the beginning here and carry on her blog.
When I was a child in the ’70, my parents had just started their own ice-cream business. To me, it meant not seeing much of them, having a few toys to play with (that sometimes my mum was forced to give as a present to other children if we were invited to social events like their First Communion for example), and clothes handed down from older cousins.
Christmas Day was a rare occasion to celebrate, and the anticipation for the family reunion and the chance to play with my cousins filled me with joy. Not to mention the expectations for the gifts I would find under the Christmas tree at my granny’s! However, delusion would quickly set in as my presents came always with the caveat, “For today and for your birthday but it’s so big!”
Yes, I am one of the lucky people who was born on 31st December. To add insult to injury, usually there would be just a birthday cake for me, but no party, because my guests’ parents would be too busy getting ready for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Growing up, I’d celebrate my birthday with my friends in mid-December or on the 31st, but eventually I stopped altogether because I’m always 28, you see.
I’m sorry I’ve digressed. Let’s go back to Christmas. During the festivities we used to enjoy visiting the various Nativities displayed in nearby churches, farms and schools. Some would be small and made with simple materials, others elaborate and covering a huge surface.
Continue reading on Solveig's blog!
Time for me to wish all of my Seekers a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 2018!
Welcome to the 6th stop of A Bookish Christmas Blog Hop! I hope that, like me, you've been having fun reading the previous posts.
Without further ado, let's answer the question.
It would have to undoubtedly be Aslan from the Narnia Chronicles. Could you imagine that? A talking lion on the roof. I guess, it’s not any more unbelievable than a reindeer.
A dragon! Preferably Shardas from Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George or Gnaw from Dragon’s Curse by H.L. Burke - then I could chat with him and not worry about being eaten!
My mind automatically went to pretty much every character from Narnia as the answer to this question. So many wonderful creatures to choose from. Aslan would, of course, be amazing, but I’d love to find Tumnus or Reepicheep too.
There’s a few characters that come to mind when I think of creatures I’d like to meet on a roof instead of Rudolph, but the one I think I’d like the most is Gadzooks from The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey, a dragon, or Pegasus from Greek mythology. I mean, who wouldn’t want to fly through the night sky, even if it’s especially cold out?
Well, this could be construed as a shameless plug, but one particular dragon I would love to meet would have to be one I made up in my short story “Arthur and The Egg”, currently available in the anthology Dreamtime Dragons--he’s big, innocent, and pretty much named himself Truck. I want to meet Truck!
But if it can’t be Truck the Dragon, then I wouldn’t mind envisioning a gryphon at the head of a bunch of reindeer--like, gryphons actually have wings, which is more than can be said for the deer!
Yay, my turn now. I like dragons too, especially Falkor from The Neverending Story. I 'd love to relive the magic of my childhood, you see.
However, let's pretend I've grown up. Who would my grown-up self love to meet on the roof? A unicorn, because they're pure, majestic and magical creatures. And Christmas is a magical time of the year, right?
To be honest, though, I should stick to Falkor, as according to researchers like Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, unicorns blessed our planet with their presence before becoming extinct like the dodo bird.
And you, what fictional creature would you like to meet on the roof instead of Rudolph? Please leave your answer in the comments below and after you've done it, read the other posts of the Christmas Bookish Blog Hop if you haven't done it yet!
Here they are:
10th: A book you love so much you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it too. Host: Belinda Bekkers
11th: A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmas feel to it. Host: Jo Linsdell
12th: A book you'd like to find in your Christmas stocking this year. Host: Leslie Conzatti
13th: A fictional character you'd like to spend Christmas with. Host: Casia Schreyer
14th: A fictional character you'd like to kiss under the mistletoe. Host: Laurie Lucking
See you over on Skye Hegyes's blog tomorrow to read the answers to What 5 fictional characters you'd invite to your New Year's Eve party!