Event News: Women Aloud 2016

International Women’s Day 2016 is fast approaching (faster than I realized, in fact), so it’s time for me to tell you all about the project I’m involved with, in celebration of it.

Women Aloud EasonsOn March 8th, as part of Women Aloud NI, I’ll be reading at an event at Easons bookstore in Belfast along with a great selection of other writers of all kinds (pictured above).

There are more events than just the one I’m at – including ones linked with Women Aloud, but happening outside NI – so, have a look at the full list to see what’s happening nearest you.

If you want to come along and hear me read, specifically, here’s more details of the event I’ll be at:

Location –  Easons, 20 Donegall Place, Belfast, BT1 3BA
Time – Full event runs from 12 noon until 2pm. I’m reading at 12.40 on Platform 2.
Price – Free! Booking not required.

View the event on Facebook here

10 Ways to Deal with Being Doxed!

Dealing with DoxingIf you find out you’ve been doxed (had your private information acquired and shared online), you have my genuine sympathies. I’m not suggesting you follow all of the steps below (beyond numbers six, seven, and nine), this is just how I reacted…

  1. Be Shocked
  2. Be Scared
  3. Panic a Bit
  4. Wonder if You’re Over-Reacting
  5. Go Through a Few More Cycles of Shock and Fear
  6. Take Screenshots of the Harassment (as evidence, in case the person deletes and denies it)
  7. Find out How People Got Your Details, and Just What Information is Actually Online About You (HINT: It’s probably a lot)
  8. Despair at Humanity
  9. Block and Report the Trolls
  10. Write an Angry Blog Post

There are a few ways I could start this blog post – this is not the blog post I had planned to be writing; I was actually feeling really productive and had planned to get shit done when someone ruined my night; I’ve recently been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I don’t need any of this stress right now – but all of that boils down to this: last night, some guy I have never met, decided it was appropriate to share part of my address on Twitter because I’m taking part in an event and his partner isn’t.

Yup. For real.

I’ve considered naming and shaming, but have ultimately decided not to give any more details about the situation – at least not right now – beyond saying the person did it to more than just myself, and that he’s been reported to Twitter for it.

Tomorrow, I will be promoting the event as I had originally planned, in a separate post not connected to this negative crap. I don’t want to risk bringing a really positive movement down any further. I just really needed to vent.

This is so far from okay, but I will not be scared into silence. Not over something so stupid.

Having that anxiety disorder I mentioned, and after watching my friend go through a much worse case of doxing just before Christmas, I’d been worried something like this might happen to me, and I recently bought extra security for this site – insuring that my personal details aren’t on who.is, as a result.

The take-away message is that people can still get your details easily enough. I recommend doing some searches to see what’s floating around online about you (start with Google, but also look at pipl.com), and adjusting your privacy settings accordingly.

Tales from a Book… Launch

Book LaunchA couple of weeks ago, I had the launch event for my latest book: The Love Poems. This is just a little wrap-up of how that went.

So, most importantly, there was cake. And also some people came.

It was a small gathering, but I feel it worked quite nicely – the art gallery that hosted was warm, welcome, and cosy. (If you ever find yourself in Bangor, Northern Ireland, I highly recommend you check out The Blackberry Path.)

The Love Poems is dedicated to my partner, and the event fell on the anniversary of our first date, so – as a bonus – my partner read a poem dedicated to me, after I’d completed my author readings. You can view my readings as well as his in the video, below.

Hel and Rebelle (Flash Fic)

Hel and RebelleI recently signed up to be a writing mentor for children and young people as part of an organization called Fighting Words Belfast and, in training for this voluntary role, a group of us went through the writing exercise that we would normally set the kids, to get a first-hand idea of what it’s like.

The gist of it is this: people suggest ideas for a main character, a secondary character (the best friend of the MC), a desire for the MC, and the MC’s main fear. These ideas then get voted on, and a story begins to be built around whatever combination of details that were picked.

My idea of a story about a pink-haired warrior princess with a helicopter for a best friend wasn’t picked, but I decided to write a little story about her anyway – mostly because my partner, who’s also a volunteer, was a little dubious about it…


Rebelle was the last in a long line of warrior princesses, hailing from a tiny island, just off the coast of Estonia.
Insurgent groups had just overthrown her parents, and now she was fleeing for her life.
Her best horse was galloping at top speed towards her other best means of a getaway – her best friend, in a lot of ways – a helicopter, affectionately nicknamed Hel.
If grown men could love cars and spaceships, referring to them with female names, Rebelle saw no reason why she couldn’t do the same.
Hel was like a miniature, one-pilot version of a black hawk – completely Rebelle’s own design. A black sparrow, she called her. One of a kind.
But none of that would matter if Rebelle couldn’t make it to the waiting copter in time. She’d voice-activated it, via her wrap-around headset, and the blades were already whirring around – Rebelle could hear them even over the sound of Jasper, her horse, panting, and over the roar of the mob. Many of them were mounted on quad bikes, and Tracktor-Xes. If she didn’t keep up her pace, they’d soon steal her sliver of a lead.
Hel couldn’t come any closer to Rebelle by herself, obstructed by the forest as she was, but the engine was warmed up and ready to go.
Closing the final distance, Rebelle stayed on Jasper until the very last second, at which she had to jump from the horse directly through Hel’s open door. Her high ponytail got sliced off by a chopper blade in the action, leaving Rebelle’s pink hair to fall down over her eyes in a fringe.
With no time to mourn for it, she slammed into her seat and rose into the air even as her seatbelt came around her waist.
Jasper continued running, off towards the horizon, and she missed him already; knowing that she likely wouldn’t see him again, and hoping that he wouldn’t be caught, or trapped.
Rising higher and higher, the mob was now only a series of dots to Hel and Rebelle.
The princess flipped them the bird as she took off towards the freedom of another land.

The Last Night Alone (What’s Going On 2k16)

This is a bit of a life update, because a lot seems to be going on in my life right now.

As I mentioned in my end of year post for 2015, I got engaged. And now, on the one-year anniversary of when we first spoke/instant messaged – TOMORROW – my partner and I are moving in together! Add to that the recent launch of the new wing to my business, and the book launch I’m having in two-days time, things. are. hectic!

Having just returned from the shop with a small easter egg for myself, I was about to tweet “Having a small party for myself, on my last night alone.” Yes, eating chocolate may not exactly equate to a party, but think about what I just said, for a second. My last night alone. Forever.

That’s kinda only just sank in.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, dear reader, but we’re now living in a modern world. Having hailed from a strict Christian upbringing, certain things from “normal life” (that is, things from outside the influence of the church) still feel a bit alien to me.

From my parent’s point of view, there is a certain sequence in which things are done: you meet someone, you get engaged, you get married, *then* you move in. Whereas, for most other people, you meet someone, fall in love, move in, and then comes the engagement and marriage bit, but it’s entirely optional.

It was as a kind of compromise between these two ways of going at it that my partner and I got engaged before we started house hunting, yet are moving in before we actually take vows. (Always a fan of the untravelled road that is the third option.)

For many people, moving in with someone is not a binding promise to be with them the rest of your lives, the way marriage is, but seeing as we’ve already resolved to do that, albeit at a later time; this, for us, will indeed be our last night alone.

It’s just occurred to me that perhaps now is when the bachelorette party should take place. Tradition needs to grow and change with society. (Which ultimately makes me think of whole same-sex marriage issue, but that’s a whole other blog post.)

Tonight, I’m celebrating love (by means of eating chocolate), and tomorrow I start a new adventure. Who’s with me?