Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Staying Sane at Christmas...

...isn't easy.



I'm bipolar. It's something that I don't hide. Quite the contrary, in fact. I'm loud and proud about this unusual brain of mine, a condition which may, or may not, be the product of an overdose.

This year was my first medication free Christmas. For over a decade, I took anti-psychotic medication to balance my brain in the wake of the overdose (I had come off my medication by Christmas 2015. But those drugs had been replaced by ones to combat sinusitis so this time last year I didn't know what planet I was on. It was actually quite nice!).

To say that this December has been stressful has been an understatement. I felt overwhelmed, tired, and sick. I could barely function but had to in order to get everything done. Three days before Christmas, I was on my hands and knees, sobbing with exhaustion and stress. I wasn't sleeping. I wasn't eating. I was vomiting from the tiredness. I was hallucinating. It was horrendous.

My apartment isn't decorated for Christmas. Not because I don't like Christmas but because the addition of lights and decorations overwhelm my already tired brain. Sure, I have a few ornaments that I put up. The cards that people give me decorate the lounge door so that I can see them every day. And I decorated the microphone stand that I use for interviews (That might have to become permanent because it looks really cool!). But there's no tree, no music, and no glittering garlands.



Instead, I appreciate the decorations at other peoples houses, at work, and in the windows of shops. I love looking at photos of London's Christmas windows. But the abundance of bright lights, glittery decorations, and repeated Christmas music tires me out. The same goes for large gatherings. Anything over an hour spent in the company of a crowd of people makes my brain ache and my body weary (It's not you, honestly, it's not! Please don't take offence if I turn down an invitation. I really appreciate your love and company and would never not want to spend time with you.) And I realise that I need to have a space where I can escape from it all and get some rest.

Christmas can be a hard time for many people. There may be the feeling that they have to take part in everything that's happening. Saying no to an event or a party may be tough. They may feel that friends and family will frown on them if they decide that they need time out from the festivities.

On the flip side, they may despise Christmas and want nothing to do with it. Or have no one to celebrate it with (Thankfully, this year, there seemed to be many places that were hosting events for people who would be alone on Christmas Day. If you're alone next year, be sure to check local social media groups to see if there's anything happening).

Christmas shouldn't be a stressful time yet we seem to turn ourselves in to nervous wrecks for four weeks of the year. For some people, like myself, we pick up on the stress of those around us. When others are wound up, we get involved in those feelings, too, which only adds to what we're already feeling.

Christmas doesn't have to be perfect. It shouldn't be all about whether everyone is included. Or how many gifts are under the tree. Or how many decorations we've put up. For many people, the chance to get together with others on one day of the year and celebrate together is enough.


Wishing all of you a safe, prosperous, and healthy 2017!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Merry Christmas 2016!

Leadenhall Market Christmas tree, London by RMSones


Christmas 2016 is nearly upon us and, for many of us, this year has been one of great highs and crushing lows. There have been moments when we wish that the world around us would end. But, in contrast, there have been many times when we couldn't have wished for a better time to be alive. There is so much happening around us, both good and bad, and it's what we make of those circumstances that counts. Do we let them crush us? Or do we allow them to turn us into a better version of the person we currently know?

At the end of every year, we tend to pause and look back over the previous months. We reflect on what's been lost and what's been gained. We say goodbye to people who are no longer in our lives and thank those who are.

For me, this has been a year like no other. It's been a year of change and discovery. In January, I believed that I was set for a certain path. Yet, as the year draws to a close, I see that the paths have changed and I'm now walking a different, and hopefully better, route. I'm excited to see what 2017 brings.

This is the time of year when I also say thank you to everyone who is a part of my life. Thank you for being there through the ups and downs. Thank you for all that you do and, most of all, thank you for being you.

Relax over the Christmas period and, if there's change in your life, embrace it in 2017. Whatever direction life is nudging you in, welcome it with open arms and run with it. Let it take you on its journey. The journey may be rocky at first but, over time, it will smooth out and you'll be glad that you made the decision to follow that little voice in your heart.


Whatever you're doing this Christmas season, I wish you a peaceful and happy one. May 2017 be an amazing year for you!


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Following the Foo Family

The first time I heard the words “Foo Family”, I was standing in Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. We were talking to the owners when they happened to mention a global network of Foo Fighters fans who referred to themselves as Family.

Those two words were thrust to the back of my mind until November 2014 when I started blogging about a Kickstarter that had recently launched. The crowdfunder in question was aimed at taking action against the secondary ticket market with the end goal of having the Foo Fighters play a small show in Birmingham, England. Unbeknownst to me, that Kickstater was being run by the UK Foo Family and suddenly I found myself as a part of the network that I'd heard about so many months before.

For the world's biggest “I'm not a Foo Fighters fan, really I'm not”, it was like landing on an alien planet. I barely knew the music and only spoke a few words of their language. Yet music truly is an international language and they took me in, welcoming me as one of their own. Due to my own stubbornness, I left and rejoined the group several times, my insecurities flaring because of the unfamiliar territory. Yet they always coaxed me back until, earlier this year, I settled down to write this book.

Getting a writer (or anyone for that matter) to do something that they feel uncomfortable with can be like trying to herd cats. We can be stubborn and awkward. There are times when we don't want to face what our life is calling us to do. And that was especially true with the fan book. I was constantly finding myself redrawn back to the Family and I couldn't explain why. That was until I was speaking to a friend earlier this year and I mentioned an idea I'd had back around the time of the Kickstarter.

The passion that surrounded the Kickstarter made me want to write a book about the fans. I wanted to tell their stories. I wanted to give them a place in history, something to help dull the harshness of the numerous negative entries that litter the record books. Wars, famine, and genocide still happen and will be forever documented. But what about everyone else? Don't they deserve to be able to have a moment to talk about what's important to them?

Music is a way to escape the horrors of the world around us. 2016, while it has had many glorious moments, has also crushed the souls and spirits of so many people. It would be great to think that, in a hundred years from now, someone, somewhere, could pick up this book and read the stories of friendship, happiness, and survival from a group of dedicated and loving music fans.

And so it began. My friend (who shall remain nameless until they give me permission to name them) put the wheels in motion by feeling out the lay of the land. How would others feel about speaking to a complete stranger? Did they want to talk about their love of the band?

The overwhelming answer was Yes. For me, that was a breakthrough and, over the past months, I've told the story of another project that I put to one side. I spent two years hunting for funding for it and, while there was a lot of positive feedback, there was little in the way of any other help. Compared to that, the fan book has been a breeze and, in the past five months, many of the pieces needed for it have fallen seamlessly in to place.

This book wouldn't be possible without the help and support of the global Foo Family and, for that, I am eternally grateful. To know that there are so many kind and loving souls out there makes me feel so much better about the current world we live in. Over the past year, I've been lucky enough to make many new friends and rekindle old friendships. While, in many ways, 2016 has been a harsh and unforgiving year, finding so many beautiful friends has made it easier to bear. If I've spoken to you over the past months, thank you so much. Thank you for answering mine, a complete stranger's, email or phone call. Thank you for your love, kindness, and time. Thank you for the emails, Facebook posts, and Tweets. Thank you for including me in a world that, at times, really does feel alien to me. Your acceptance and inclusion means far more than you can imagine and it's something that this world needs so much more of.

While I'm hoping to have the book in some kind of finished state in the next few weeks, there's still time to get involved. If you'd like to be interviewed, please send me a message over at the Facebook page or email me at:

rae@raegee.co.uk


Take care and have a very Happy Christmas!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Magnify Strengths

...Not weaknesses.

So often these posts begin with the words “We live in a world that...”, and this one is no exception to that rule.

We live in a world that tears people down. The goodness in people is diminished in favour of tearing them down for what others see to be negative aspects. In a world where distressing news stories and violence are broadcast 24/7, it's hardly surprising that many people react to everything, including the people around them, with negativity.

Slowly things are beginning to change. More and more people are realising that a world where negativity is used as a currency to climb imaginary ladders is unsustainable. There are communities springing up on social media to help promote positive messages and thought patterns. Websites are dedicated to reporting the happier and lighter side of the news.



I go through a lot of it. As well as this blog (which I try to keep as positive as possible), I also run another site. The other site attracts a lot of users and, as such, a lot of different personalities. Our rules include what is expected of users, including the need to be nice to one another (we use the famous House of Blues “Be Nice or Leave” quote). Most of the time everyone gets on just fine and it's generally a happy place that we've lovingly nicknamed “Like a spa. Except with writing”. When we took it over in 2014 our aim was to turn it in to an online ocean of calm where people could come to chat and create. Thankfully, 99% of the time, that's exactly what it is.

Sadly, there are times when ugliness rears its head. It can be in the form of someone reacting badly to another user's comments or to a request from the admins. Often they speak in a way that's designed to make the recipient feel bad. It's surprising how black words on a white background can make you feel and the awful feeling of the messages can be overwhelming. I've been called everything from a whore to being on a par with North Korea and it's in those moments when my weaknesses, instead of my strengths, are being magnified.

Being in the midst of that can be distressing and I admit that, at times, I've handled things in a way that's probably inappropriate such is the feeling of negativity that I'm receiving from the other end. Dealing with how I'm feeling can be hard and, more often than not, I take a few days out to heal myself. Thankfully I'm surrounded by a group of very loving people who remind me that there's always light, even on the darkest of days.


It's time to stamp out the constant petty criticisms. There's so many ways to make the world a better, happier place. If someone does something you like, say something. Send an email or write a note to a friend. Praise the people around you. Make them laugh and lift them up. Find inspirational communities, both on and off-line. Spend less time on social media and more doing the things you love. Make yourself, and everyone you're with, happy. Live life to the fullest and do it with a smile on your face!


Saturday, 15 October 2016

Finding Magic

It's been an interesting few weeks here. The first round of interviews for the fan book have wrapped up and I'm now slowly transcribing them.

Secondly, I got to spend some time away from home and, importantly, away from the computer. Once upon a time, I used to live in the Lake District but rejected it in favour of returning to my town in the heart of the country. Home is centrally located with easy access to major airports and cities.



However, I'd forgotten just how beautiful the rolling hills and flowing rivers of the Lakes can be, especially when you're out in the wilds. There's magic in the hills and mountains. You can feel it trickling through the streams and crashing from the waterfalls. It twinkles among the trees and you can almost see the fairies and souls from the past watching you. There's a feeling that something is calling to you, pleading with you to stay a moment longer among the rolling fells.

Inspiration lurks around every corner whether it's a 600 year old pub, a cascade of rocks, or the drop of a waterfall. It's hidden in crisp scent of fresh grass and moving water curls around you. It's beneath your feet and in the clear, night sky above you.

When I booked that break back in January I didn't realise that, come September, I'd need to get away from everything and be in a place where there was no phone signal. I had no idea what 2016 would hold for me and that by the year's ninth month, I'd need to rest. So far, it's been an amazing year, one filled with new friendships and paths I never thought that I'd take. However, it's taken its toll on me far more than I thought it would and even though my body has grown stronger since 2015, I still need to remember to take time out and look after myself. Because none of us are invincible. All of us need to rest and recuperate.



Getting away from it all, no matter how long it's for, can be an amazing form of therapy. A break from the norm to rest our weary brains and bodies can be just what we need. We all need time to rest and refresh and to see where life is going to take us. Whether it's trekking through the wilds or riding the at a concert, that brief respite from the crush of reality can be all we need to reconnect with ourselves. So buy those concert tickets and take that trip as it may be just the tonic that you needed to find your mojo again.


Have a great day and happy travels, wherever they may take you!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Life at the End of Your Comfort Zone

What does your comfort zone look like? Is it a warm, safe space that you never want to leave? Do you want to leave it but worry about doing so?

This time last year, my comfort zone was torn apart when I moved house. Everything I'd ever known and loved was being packed up and moved across town. It was uncomfortable and painful and I fought it tooth and nail. I wanted to stay in the warm, happy space that I knew. I didn't want to be anywhere else. Yet this move was only the start.

It's a theme that's continued well in to this year. At least once a month, I've had to face up to another fear, whether that's going to a venue that I greatly dislike or learning how to communicate with people. I've met people I never thought I'd meet and done things that, two years ago, I'd have laughed if you'd told me I'd be doing them. 2016 has, for many people, been a year of upheaval and change whether it's been in their personal lives or through watching their favourite musicians die.

Yet it's also been a year that's shown many of us where we're supposed to be heading. We've discovered who our true friends are or that our career needs a shake up. The comfort zones that we know have been taken apart and reassembled elsewhere.

It's uncomfortable when your comfort zone starts to dissolve. You may feel frustrated, depressed, and angry. You may get upset with the people around you and have trouble controlling your emotions. I know that all of that happened for me, and is still happening. Little by little, I'm being taken away from the places I used to know and being put somewhere completely new. It's unnerving yet, at the same time, it's exciting. I've wanted to do different things for a long time and now, slowly but surely, they're happening. There are times when it's still distressing but I know that it's part of the growth that I need to go through to become the person that I'm supposed to be.




If you know you need to be somewhere else in your life, get ready for things to happen in order for you to get there. It may be a move, or a loss, or something entirely different. You may have people put on your path who are sent to teach you something, or even to guide you to the next place. Keep your eyes open and trust that things happen for a reason (Again, a year ago, I wouldn't have believed that to be true. But so many things have happened that have lead me to believe that so many things that happen to us have a reason behind them). Let go of everything you know and go with the flow because who knows where you're going to end up!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Letting Go

Dreams are awesome and everyone should have at least one. Whether it's getting that perfect job, starting a family, or finishing that book you started six years ago. Dreams, and the processes that go with them, are a healthy part of life.

However, sometimes there are dreams that we just have to let go of and hope that the universe beings them back to us.

If you'd told me this time last year that I'd be writing two non-fiction books, I'd have laughed. I was deep in screenplay territory, crafting the perfect story for the big screen. Getting it just right was essential. Besides, it wasn't my first go on such a ride. I've worked on screenplays before. I've written treatments for other people. Little parts of me have already made it into cinemas or on TV. I'm not a novice when it comes to the world of broadcast media.

One of the advantages of spending four years in film school is that my writing is apparently already fairly visual. Several people have uttered the words, “It was like watching a film”. So I was fairly confident that I'd find someone out in the world who'd give me an answer on my current idea.

The story started out as a novel and as slowly built into a script. From there, back stories, outlines, and treatments were created and, finally, the whole package was sent out in to the world.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited a little more.

I knew not to pester people because I knew that I'd be asked to be patient for a little longer.



In April of this year, twelve months after the first copies had started to make their way out into the world, I decided it was time to try something else. By then, I was already working on the idea for the tribute bands book and decided that, if the film was supposed to happen, then it would.

So I reluctantly put my dream of selling a screenplay on to the back burner and knuckled down to my latest project. In July, I added a second non-fiction book to the roster. In August, I went back to working on an anthology that I'd started back in February.

Releasing myself from the stress of the wait seemed to fuel me in ways that I may never understand. No longer was I checking my email with baited breath. No longer was I watching my phone from the corner of my eye. Instead, I'd said, “Okay, if this is meant to happen it will happen. Someone, somewhere, will pick that up and think, 'This is just what we want'. But, for now, I'm going to concentrate on other things.”.

It was hard to reach that point of letting go. It was hard to free myself from the daydreams of being back on a film set and of finally seeing the finished article. But I knew that, deep down, it was the right thing to do. Since then, everything I've been working on has seemed to flow like water from a mountain.

You have a right to have dreams. Some are easy to start working on. Eating healthier, looking for a better job, losing weight. Others are based on the whims and choices of others, leaving us to do little other than wait.

But every dream has the possibility of coming true, even if it has to go on a back burner for a while. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow may bring that phone call. Or, somewhere across the world, someone could pick up your manuscript and say, “Hey! This is just what I've been looking for.”.


Give in from time to time and go with the flow. But never give up. Because you don't know where life's going to take you.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Staying Positive

There's a million books on how to be positive. But it's not always possible as there's a myriad of human emotions. There's no way for us to stay happy and positive all the time. Things happen that push our patience and inner happiness; bills need paying, arguments arise, the car breaks down. We begin to wonder if we'll ever get to where we want to be.



These past few weeks have been rough ones for me. There's been an ear infection, followed by some dental surgery, and ending with a thankfully minor accident that left me feeling a little knocked around. I'm grumpy, tired, achy, and not feeling 100%. All I want to do is to delve in to the books I'm writing but my body won't let me. It needs to rest. It needs to eat the chocolate, drink the tea, and read that fun book. It needs to listen to the funky music and to stretch out the aching muscles.

Needless to say, I'm trying not to let the past few weeks grate on those around me but it's hard. Sometimes we can't always control how we feel. Sometimes we need to feel the pain to remind us what how it feels when we're happy. Sometimes we need the exhaustion to remind us that we're pushing ourselves too hard and that, for a while, we need to rest. Sometimes we need to get angry just to remember what it's like when we're calm.

Being positive doesn't mean being happy all day every day. Being positive means not letting yourself stay in the darkness and the pain. Being positive means moving forwards no matter what stands in your way. Being positive means putting your best foot forward, even if you don't feel like it. Being positive means being you, even when the world wants to tear you apart.

Don't let yourself get stuck in the darkness of the bad times. Look for the light around you, for the people and moments that make you smile and realise that life is worth living. They may be fleeting, but they'll be there, waiting to help you. And once you've stepped from the darkness, turn and help the next person behind you.


No matter what you're going through, you can do it.

http://elvenwhovian.tumblr.com/

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Butterfly Brain

Why do you always have more than one writing project on the go?

This is a good question and something that's come up time and again. At the moment, I'm currently writing two non-fiction books as well as a series of short stories. And yes, it can get mind-boggling which is why there are spreadsheets and calendars to help me keep track of everything.

The reason I do it is because it actually helps me to focus. For me, switching between several projects helps to keep them all fresh in my mind as well as helping me to keep an interest in them. I'm one of those people who can get half way through a project and suddenly lose enthusiasm. Before I know it, I have a hard drive full of half written books and stories (this is also the reason that you haven't seen Book 4 from the Veetu Industries series. It will arrive at some point, I promise!).

https://pixabay.com/p-1073165/?no_redirect


Having a number of projects on the go also allows me to rest when one of them becomes too tough. Sometimes it's like hitting a brick wall and you find yourself living in a haze. You can't find the right words or phrases and everything feels hopeless. Having a second or third project gives me the chances to come back to the first one with fresh eyes and a rested brain. Working on non-fiction projects has reawakened fiction muses that have lain dormant for two years. On the flip side, losing myself in a fantasy world for a few hours allows my brain to think up avenues in which to take the non-fiction books.

It takes some work to juggle several projects at once and, yes, it's tiring. But it's fulfilling and, most importantly, it makes me happy.


If you want to work on several things at once, take it slowly. Map everything out using whatever you need (I personally use calendars, spreadsheets, and flow charts). Learn to step away from it all from time to time and just take time out for yourself.

"Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." - Earl Nightingale

Friday, 12 August 2016

This Is Just a Tribute - Update 1

I thought it was about time to give you an update on the two projects that were launched in July.

The first is a book dedicated to some of the world's hardest working tribute bands. Of the two books, this is going to be the one that takes the longest to put together because, while both books are a labour of love, I want this one to be something that everyone is proud of. All of the bands are being hand picked by myself and my family and I'm focusing on one interview at a time. This gives me a chance to research the band and to customise the questions to them. Thank you to everyone I've spoken to in regards to this book and thank you so much for your kindness and generosity. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of you in the coming months.


The second book is one that I spent around eighteen months debating whether to write and is dedicated to documenting the stories from Foo Fighters fans. It's a fun piece to work on and everyone's love, joy, and enthusiasm are making it a pleasure to put together. There's currently 15 interviews for this book. Ideally, I'd love to get between 20 and 25 so if you'd like to take part, please feel free to email me at:

rae (at) raegee.co.uk

Alternatively, you can answer online at:


If you want more information on the fan book, you can find the original post here:



A few people have asked why I'm writing both books side by side and the main reason is that I like to stay busy. It's also easier to record interviews when all the equipment is set up rather than putting it in to storage and taking it out a few months later.

At the moment I'm saving transcribing the recorded interviews until later in the year. My apartment currently feels like a blast furnace and I'd rather not be sitting right next to an equally hot computer! So the transcribing is a job that's going to be done when the nights draw in and all I want to do is curl up with a cup of tea.

To every person I've spoken to so far: Thank you. Your passion and love for what you do are the driving forces behind these books. You're the ones who keep the music going and support it along the way. 


We all need a bit of this. :)
(Tea is optional!)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Living for the Music

Music. If we've spoken recently, chances are we were talking about music. Either playing it or being a fan of it. I've enjoyed these conversations immensely and feel so blessed and honoured to be putting peoples stories in to words.

However, up until a few years ago, I'd never been to a concert. Some of it was through fear of crowds (being 5'2” doesn't help). The other reason is my hearing.

Because I hear too much.

I have a condition caused by my ear canals being too narrow, which focuses sound onto a tiny area of the ear drum. In turn, it means that I can hear very high and very low end frequencies, something which most people lose with age.

The first concert I went to was Rage Against the Machine in Finsbury Park. Thanks to it being outside, the sound dissipated and meant that I didn't come home with tinnitus and a migraine.

But not all concerts are held outside and, like many people, I was desperate to go and see my favourite bands play live.

We discovered a solution at the BPM show in Birmingham. While it's primarily a trade fair for the dance music and club industry, they also had several vendors who dealt with hearing loss and protection. One of the products they carried were tiny ear plugs with interchangeable filters. These little filters would take out the frequencies which were deemed dangerous to my hearing.



Last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to upgrade my over the counter earplugs to a pair of custom fitted ones. Sleek, beautiful, and comfortable enough to sleep in, they now go everywhere with me. On top of it all, I can now go to a concert happy in the knowledge that I'm going to enjoy the music as much as everyone else around me.



I'm an advocate for looking after your hearing. Whether you go to concerts or work in a noisy environment, one of the things you can't get back is your hearing. Once it's gone, it's gone.

There are a number of people and places that you can turn to for help with your hearing.

Action on Hearing Loss were the people I approached at the BPM show. They have advice on a wide range of hearing subjects and their shop stocks a range of products.

Alpine MusicSafe Pro Filter Ear Plugs were the first ones I used.

For custom made ear plugs, Google for local specialists. Mine came from Specsavers and cost around £130.


Look after your hearing and, most of all, keep enjoying the music!

~~~

I'm currently writing two books on music. One is about tribute bands while the other is about Foo Fighters fans. If you'd like to get involved, please feel free to email me at:

rae (at) raegee.co.uk

Or get in touch via the comments.

Thank you!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

When You Support Artists...

This post is dedicated to everyone who's ever bought my books. This is for those who support and love me because, without you, none of this would exist.

When you buy a book (or anything from any kind of artist), you're not just buying a product. You're helping them to keep going. You're helping to pay their bills, buy research materials, or replace a slowly dying computer. Without supporters, there would be no art.

Recently, I decided to clear out some of my stock. I had a couple of boxes of print books that I was using as a foot rest under my desk. They needed to be out in the world, being loved and read by other people. I also needed a new piece of equipment. So I listed the books on social media and was overwhelmed by the response. Thanks to all of you, in less than a month, I was able to buy what I needed.

The equipment in question is a Zoom H4n, a small multi-track recorder that, with a bit of studio wizardy can be plugged in to a phone. This allows me to record interviews without having to physically be with someone (and without putting too much pressure on my shaky internet connection and ageing computer). It's small enough to fit in my hand so can go wherever I go. It's perfect for what I want to do.



You're not just fans. You're not just readers. You're beautiful human beings whose constant support and encouragement are the engine in any artists life. You allow us to expand and try new things. You give us the opportunities to put out more of the work you love. Without you, this world would be far bleaker.


Thank you so much for all that you do, from buying books to writing reviews to just being there. You're an important part of my life and I hope that I get to share many more projects with you.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

This Is Just a Tribute - Part 2

I'm sitting here, watching Sonic Highways, and trying to unlock the secret to the popularity of one of the world's biggest rock bands. There's a notebook on my knees and a cup of tea to my left. The recorder I use for interviews sits at my elbow with an XLR cable dangling from its rear.

Because I've got a(nother) confession to make. Despite what the walls of my flat (apartment for my American friends) say, I'm not the world's biggest Foo Fighters fan. Bar four or five songs, they're not really the kind of music I normally listen to. Sorry, guys, but you're more likely to find me in the pit of a Megadeth concert than a Foo Fighters one.

I have to admit that they do look very cool!


But I'm not here to pick the band apart. There's a number of reasons why I have the absolute utmost respect for them. This is a band that rose from the ashes of another to take on a world that was favouring auto-tuned pop music. This is a band that is comprised of a bunch of hardcore music fans, their own love radiating out to those who come in to contact with them. This is a band that will go to the ends of the Earth, quite literally, to have a few moments sharing the stage with their heroes. They are the ultimate music lovers band and their passion has obviously crossed over in to those who follow them.

Which is why I've added another book to the roster of ones that I'm working on. At the insistence of some of friends, I'm writing a book that's centred on the fans and tribute bands that follow this band wherever they may roam. And, damn, these are some passionate fans. Never, in all my life of being a music fan, have I seen anything like it (which is surprising because metalheads tend to be a pretty passionate lot, too). These are the people who live and breathe the band and, because of that, it makes them instantly, and attractively, lovable. I've made a good number of Foo friends and their unadulterated love makes me smile and warm to them. I have absolutely no problem sitting down with them and having a coffee while listening to them wax lyrical about all that is Foo Fighters. They're beautiful and enthusiastic and, as such, definitely warrant their stories being immortalised in print.

So this is it. I know there's a few of those friends reading this and I want to thank you for everything. For loving me even though I have a tendency to go running back to the Megadeth fandom whenever a new tour is announced. For always looking on the positive side of life. For championing my writing. For lifting others up in their time of need. You're wonderful, amazing people and this book is a dedication to all that you are and all that you do.

Would you be willing to be interviewed for the book? Feel free to leave a message over on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thequeenofsteam/?fref=ts) or email me at:

rae (at) raegee.co.uk

I know there's a few questions that may come up so here's that information for you, too:

  • How will you interview me?
    All interviews will take place over the phone. We'll arrange a date and a time and I'll give you a call. If you have Skype or FaceTime Audio, even better (for some reason FaceTime Audio seems to be a lot clearer than a normal phone line).
  • I live in the States/Australia/Japan etc. Can I still take part?
    Absolutely! I can arrange my schedule to fit in with the time difference.
  • I play in a Foo Fighters tribute band. Can we take part, too?
    Yes! Yes! Yes! I came across an inordinate amount of Foo Fighters tributes while I was putting together the contact list for the tribute bands book. The sheer number of active bands covering the Foos music far outstrips anyone else on my list (be proud of yourselves for that!) and was one of the many reasons that I wanted to write this book.
  • How do we know that you're legitimate?
    I have several published books and picked up a couple of awards along the way. I've also worked on screenplays, anthologies, short stories, and copy for websites, blogs, and products. I work in healthcare during the day and write in the evenings. I also use some of my spare time to work with reading and creative writing projects in local schools.

This is a book that I'm really looking forward to writing and I look forward to talking to you all. Until then...


Oh sweet ignition be my fuse,
You have no choice you have to choose.
Bid farewell to yesterday,
Say goodbye I'm on my way.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

This Is Just a Tribute - Part 1

It started with a photograph and ended with a book.

Or at least the bare bones of a book.

For a long time, I'd wanted to write something that my Mum could read. She won't touch my novels because, well, too much sex and violence for her. She doesn't want that. She wants something positive and happy. Truth be told, I don't blame her, because I want the same, too.

When I first started publishing my books, I was in a very dark place and they became an outlet for me to express what I was feeling. What followed were three novels written in rapid succession. One of them went on to win awards, something I'm still proud of today.

As the years moved on, so did I, and I found that I had a desire to put more happy things out in to the world. And, four years after my first book hit the shelves, here we are.

I've always wanted to combine my love of writing and music. It's a topic that many of my friends have requested. So how did I end up with an outline for a book about tribute bands and a list of people to contact?

There's a few reasons. The biggest one is my family. They're ridiculously talented when it comes to music.

First, there's Mum and Dad.




Then there's Andy.




Up next is Joe



And finally, there's me. I write books.



Drink silly amounts of tea.




And throw parties where I get to wear really cool clothes.



But I'll never be stick-twirling, vinyl-spinning, busking-for-your-airfare-home* kind of cool. Instead I use my talents to express my love of music rather than play it.

Secondly is because I've spent a lot of time working with, and watching, tribute bands. Joe got his start by playing with bands that covered the likes of Metallica and Iron Maiden. There were nights where he'd play three or four sets with three or four different bands. He now plays for a wedding band and composes music for video games and adverts. Andy still DJ's, and Mum and Dad, well, like the rest of us, will play in any place that will have them.

This book is, in a way, a tribute to them and the love of music that they instilled in all of us. From the early days of listening to Cream and the Beatles, to more recent times when we've packed up the car and headed to Wembley or Milton Keynes, they gave our family a bond that was forged from an unwavering love for music.

*Apparently they were waiting for the bus to come and take them to the airport and NOT busking for the airfare home. Dad thinks that the latter option would have been more fun.

~~~

Are you in a tribute band? I've got interview spots available and would love to talk to you. Interviews can be done in person or over the phone (In person interviews are dependent on location. I will call you for phone interviews). Please get in touch via the comments or email:


rae (at) raegee.co.uk

Friday, 1 July 2016

Change of Plans

Walt Disney had his work stolen and struggled to make a name for himself. Yet he was still successful.

James Dyson couldn't find a distributor willing to sell his vacuums. He's now worth nearly five billion dollars.

Success isn't just for a few people who have been selected by some unseen force. Firstly, success is how you define it, whether it's a book deal, more money, or getting your own house. And one thing that you need to achieve your desired target is hard work.

Getting to that golden place, your utopia, takes dedication and investment. Your investment may be time, money, or sacrificing having a social life or romantic relationship.

For the first four years of my writing life, I had no social life. I didn't go out with friends and I barely left the house except to go to work. I've been single since 2011 and this self inflicted solitary confinement is starting to pay off. Only now do I feel like I have enough experience to start stretching my wings in to other projects and it's only been in the last year that my social life has started to pick up again (Which, of course, leads to the eternal struggle of “Concert? Or writing? Concert? Or writing?”!).

But not everything I work on is successful. Living Las Vegas was a good example of this in that it needed funding to go ahead. The Kickstarter was the last in many funding routes that I'd taken and was part of a process that spanned the past 24 months. Yet I haven't given up on it. For now, Living Las Vegas has been moved on to a back burner while I work on another project.

Don't give up when life gets you down. You may be discouraged now but tomorrow the sun will rise and the sky will still be blue. Take time to collect yourself and see how far you've come. Then move on to something else. If something is supposed to happen for you, eventually it will. Take the lessons that every day gives you and work out how you can grow from them. Go with the flow, work hard, and see what each day brings.


Life is beautiful. Makes yours a good one.


http://www.uiparade.com/portfolio/dark-loading-bar/


Monday, 20 June 2016

Living Las Vegas Kickstarter - Final Update

Hi guys!

Well, here it is. The end of the road for the Kickstarter. I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who supported this. For all the work you put in and all the love you gave. It's so very much appreciated. 
While the project wasn't funded this time around, it will be next time! Yes, I'm a little bit heartbroken by it as something like this takes an incredible amount of work. But maybe this wasn't the right time for it to happen. Please do keep in touch. If you're not on my Facebook page, please do come over and say hi and I'll keep you posted with when this happens again.
Here's some final stats for you on just how far this project reached.
The Facebook adverts were viewed in excess of 3,000 times.
The Twitter links were viewed 6,316 times.
Two hundred press releases were sent.
This project had over 10,000 views.
Thank you so much for all you did! 
See you next time!
Rae :) x

Saturday, 18 June 2016

You Are Amazing

Never forget...

You are beautiful, both inside and out. Don't let the media, or anyone else, tell you that you're not.

You are talented. Just because you aren't where you want to be yet doesn't mean that you won't get there.

You are loved. Your family and friends love you as much, if not more, than any partner may do.

You are kind. Don't allow your confidence to be broken by others perceptions of you. Their actions speak more of them than they do of you.

You are desirable. Someone may not be knocking down your door right now but you don't know who will appear tomorrow.

You are courageous. You may be waking up to a world that wants to bring you down. Yet every day you face it with courage and dignity. That takes more strength than you can possibly imagine.

You are not a failure. So you're angry/hurt/sad? This will pass. It's what you allow it to do to you that matters. Don't dwell on it; you're human and have emotions. But move on from it.

You are an inspiration. People will look up to you for many reasons but they may never tell you. Praise the people who inspire you.

You make the world a better place just by being in it. Keep loving and living because your life, and your spirit, are needed.

You are amazing. Never forget that.



Saturday, 11 June 2016

I Want To Be A Writer...

...but where do I start?

Awesome! Welcome to a beautiful world filled with magic and mischief!

To get started, you'll need a pen, paper (or a computer), inspiration, and patience.

Don't think about what you want to write. Just start.



But I don't like what I'm writing.

Welcome to the dark side. It's not pretty, is it? This is where the self doubt creeps in. It's where your biggest fears lurk. Terror and horror will eat away at you.

Do you want to know a secret?

You've got to work through it. Keep writing, even if you hate what you're seeing. It takes time, and patience, to become good at your craft. Even if you only write a few words a day, you're still getting closer to your goal whether that's a finished poem or a published novel.

I've run out of inspiration.

It happens. Move on to something else for a while (I've spent the past year trying to find funding for a non-fiction project because my inspiration for writing fiction has dried up.). Most writers have a pile of WIPs (Works in Progress) lying around. There's no shame in putting something to one side and coming back to it at a later date.

My life's become too busy to write!

Again, this is a fact of life. Work, family matters, friends, social lives. It all happens. Sometimes we need these distractions to help us focus and regroup our thoughts. I know I do from time to time. It helps to bring things into perspective and realise which projects are the ones I need to be working on. At the end of the day, if you're suddenly not enjoying writing a piece, put it to one side and come back to it at a later date. It took me six years to finish one novel because I couldn't get my mind around it. But, when I did, it took me less than a year to finish both the novel and screenplay.

If you need recommendations on how to manage your time, or just pointers on how to organise your mind, I highly recommend John Parkin's “Fuck It: Do What You Love”.




Being a writer should be fun. Writing is the soul's way of letting loose and having fun. Don't let the mountain of completing a piece get to you. Instead, see every obstacle as a step closer to your goal. Most of all, make sure to enjoy the process.

~~~

Rae has published several novels, including the award winning Veetu Industries series. Her crowdfunder is still running and can be found at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/raegee/living-las-vegas

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Battling the Monster

Every day, I go to war with my mind, an organ that is in a constant battle to kill me. Every day, I get up and grin at the monster that looms before me. Black and stinking, with bloody fangs and pebble eyes, it grins at me, hoping that today will be its day to win.

The monster has never won. Every morning, I stand firm and grin at it, sending it scampering back to the place from which it has come.

You can't see the monster. But I can. This is the dark side of my brain. The place that tells me I can't do something. One of the haunting, horrible parts of having Bipolar. And whenever something good starts to happen, the monster makes an appearance, snarling and laughing, ready to snatch away whatever I've been building.

As you know, I've been working on several projects recently. Some of them are nearing completion faster than others. And this is when the monster decides to visit.

If you were reading last year, you may remember the Great Pumpkin Delivery of November 2015. It was an event that made me look myself in the eye and finally push beyond the fears that have been building for many years. That event was several hours of pure Hell. Of crying, of not eating, of being on my hands and knees as I fought with every ounce of my being to put the monster to sleep once and for all.

And it's here again. As pieces of the next project fall into place, the slumbering monster rises and stands before me.

You don't deserve this.

You can't do this.

You can't have this. It's not for you.

Crawling behind the blackened beast is the pain. Pain so harsh and so violent that, in the past, it's caused vomiting. It's like your soul is being dragged from your body. Desperately you try and cling to that precious fibre of your being but eventually the searing pain becomes too much to bear. You give up. You sit and cry before closing your eyes and hoping never to open them again.

And all the while, in the back of your head, that rasping voice hisses, Do it. It won't hurt for long and, when it's over, the pain will be gone forever.

Life becomes a battle of wits as I try and piece together this next book while artfully dodging around a creature that would like to see me dead. But, as happens every time, I can feel myself going in to my shut down mode. The mode where I don't talk, don't eat, and don't do anything other than go to work. I push people away and refuse to acknowledge anyone in my sphere. Because, as the monster has told me, I don't deserve any of this, not even people who care about me.

This is probably the hardest post I've ever written. It's also one of the most freeing. Rarely am I honest when it comes to how I truly feel. I much prefer to plaster on a smile and pretend that everything is okay. Because I'm healthy, right, and what more is there to life than that? But... There's always a but...

I don't want to lie to anyone who reads this. Life is hard today. Today hurts and aches with a pain that tears straight through the body. It feels as though I'm slowly being cut open. My eyes are dry and my face aches from the crying. Where there was once light at the end of the tunnel, there is now none. Darkness has settled and, in the distance, I can hear the monster cackling. Its claws are whispering over my skin and its putrid breath is trickling my cheek. I've given this battle my all and now I'm on my knees. The time is nearly upon us.

Yet tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow the sun will rise, and it will set. Life will happen all over again and it's another chance to battle the black monster. To stand up it, and smile, and say, “Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. You don't control me any more.”.

But I'm scared that one day I won't be strong enough to battle the monster that lives in my head.


I'm sorry.


~~~

Rae is an award winning author with several books to her name. When she's not battling the beast inside her head, she enjoys seeing how far life will take her. She's currently running a Kickstarter to help fund her first non-fiction book:


Saturday, 4 June 2016

Pushing Through the Pain



My immune system is broken. I make no bones about it, nor how it came to be that way. This is what nearly 15 years of illegal, and prescription, drug use does to you. It might not happen to everyone but, for me, it's left me having to take life at a slow, steady pace. With love and care, my body will hopefully repair itself. For the time being, I'm eating a healthy diet and loading up on vitamins and minerals. And I'm lucky to be alive, something that I'm eternally grateful for.

With it comes a whole slew of side effects. The exhaustion is crippling and some days it starts before I've even slipped out of bed. My energy levels go up and down more often than a roller coaster. And my social life is non-existent because I'm either too tired, am recovering from some virus, or am trying to avoid another. It's not you, it really is me!

But all of this has given me the time to follow my heart. It's given me the chance to search deep inside of myself and rediscover those hopes and dreams that I'd previously thrown to the wind. It's allowed me to sit back and start working on these things at a slower pace. Things may seem like they're not happening but, deep down, you know that there's a shift happening and that there is something bigger just over the horizon.

Your dreams don't happen overnight. They take a lot of work. So what happens when the inevitable tiredness raises its ugly head? How do you push through the pain and weariness to keep on going?

Often this is when people stumble and stop. The exhaustion and the effort drive them to do it, forcing them to stop and make do with the life they have. Their mind tells them that everything they're working for doesn't exist and that there is no use in carrying on. Why bother when there will be nothing to show for it at the end?

But, rather than going wrong, what if it all goes so right? What if everything you've ever wanted is just going to take one more little push?



When the doubt and the exhaustion arrive, stop for a few days. Take a step back and enjoy the life that you have right now. Look at where you are and all that you've accomplished. Those amazing photographs that everyone comments on? Yep, you took those. That story that everyone is raving about? Yep, you wrote that. That piece of art that's hanging in the little coffee shop in town? Yep, you created that. The song that a stranger is currently passing around social media? Yep, you wrote that.

When I'm too tired to move, I stop and step away from my computer. I go and lie on the sofa. Or read a book. Or listen to some music. When the doubt appears, I think back on the wonderful reviews and comments I've had about my writing. It's the push I need to pick myself up the next day and do a little more.

Just because the big things haven't arrived yet doesn't mean that they won't. They will but you have to keep pushing on through to reach them. Enjoy what you have right now and, once you feel ready, go back to what you were doing.


You can do this, one step at a time...

~~~