Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Z is for...

1)Zeitgeist: I looked this up as it is such a lovely word, and find it means ‘the cultural trends of a particular period’. I’m hoping that the present zeitgeist may expand to include writings about spirit guides and past lives, so my novel will be in fashion. But my son is writing his first novel, about Zombies, he really IS in the Zeitgeist! Watch this space....

2) This is the last day of the A to Z challenge and I am off on a short break with my Mum and my daughter. We aren’t going anywhere beginning with Z, (actually we will be visiting the Alhambra, so full circle round to A!) but I hope to fit in a few zzzzs. We all need them after this busy blogging month!

3) Zingiber is the botanical name for ginger, which makes a wonderfully relaxing bath. Fill your bath with hot water and add at least a cupful of powdered ginger. Soak as long as you want - you’ll find the ginger warms you even as the water cools. Afterwards, wrap up in a towelling dressing-gown, and feel the heat seep into your bones. (put your hair up or it will fill with gingery grit!)
Have a good night’s sleep!

Goodbye for now, and thank you for visiting. Please come back, I’m not going off-air , though there will be a short break!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Y is for....

1) You, the Reader. Thank you for coming by, I hope you have liked what you have found here. I also hope that you will try my novel “Despite the Angels”, and pass on the word about it to your friends! You, as the reader, are the most important person in this equation - would I write if I thought no-one would ever read it? Probably not....The novelist Joseph O’Connor, writing in the forward to “Circle Time”, the 2011 anthology of work by the Dalkey Writers’Workshop, put it eloquently: “A story, like a song, takes its chances alone. What the reader does is the truly creative part of the relationship, for in the unique and intimate courtship opened out by the book, the little black ink-stains called ‘words’ and ‘sentences’ are blazed into life by imagination.”

2) Yummy! All my life I have been interested in good food, a trait I have passed on to my daughter, who with her friend, has a lovely blog all about food. (check out Gastronomic Girls) A few foods start with Y - yoghurt, yam, yakitori, and this last one brings me to one of my favourite restaurants in Dublin, Yamamori. I’m particularly a fan of sashimi.

3) Yellow Dock is the common name for the remedy Rumex, which is good for those  coughs which are caused by a tickle at the base of the throat.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X is for...

1) X is a terrible letter when you’ve restricted yourself to writing on certain topics! I can’t just make up a character called Xenon, or go for an Xray.... And I do wonder if I have the Xfactor-for-writing....
X is a multiplication sign, so I am hoping that my sales of “Despite the Angels” will multiply, my good reviews will multiply, and my energy to get on with publishing “Revisited Sins” will multiply even more! And may the multiplication angels visit me with myriads of creative ideas, and the time to trap them on the page...

2) Here is another poem, about love -where we all use lots of xxx!
19 and 15
Nearly six foot of gangle
gets into bed beside me,
and a beautiful woman
brings her duvet and sits on my feet,
and once again a Christmas morning
resounds with laughter
and “look at this!” and “what is it?”
and I sink below another sea of tissue paper.
An unbroken line of chocolate coins
and a-mandarin-in-the-toe
seems to stretch back through the years
to when they were soft bundles
drowsing milkily against my neck.
But before the past can become more
than a prickle in my eyes,
comes “look at my bubbles!”
and “would you like a marshmallow?”
and the solid happy presence of them
breaks the spell,
and I think, -despite all troubles,
mistakes and failures,
to have raised such kids as these
I have done well.

3) XXX  No common homoeopathic remedy starts with X. Kiss it better!

Friday, 26 April 2013

W is for....

1) Writing and writer: I am running my first two sections together today, because it’s the same stuff! I have been writing all my life, and was greatly helped by the school I attended in getting my writing accurate - we had to write an essay every weekend. But this did not help creativity, so it was quite a while before I started to write fiction. I started my creative writing with poetry as that was encouraged in school, but we were never asked to write an actual story. However, I have overcome that and now have published my first novel, and have the second to work on for publishing. My third is half written, and is suffering from my distraction by the AtoZchallenge!
Here is a poem that has been published in ‘Circle Time’, the third anthology by the Dalkey Writers’ Workshop. A Marché Nocturne is like a food court in a village square. They are held during the summer in many towns and villages in the Périgord region, and we love attending them.

Marché Nocturne
Serried poplars, pinkening sky
garlic and mussel scented air
guitar and accordion set up their cry-
it is time to dance at the night fair.

Plump and bald answer the call,
wives in hand, remembering when
these were sylph-girls at a Hunters’ Ball:
thought they would always be young men.

Ancient lessons guide them round
on easy moving feet
that music such a familiar sound,
a happy lilting beat.

They look down with loving eyes,
smile through all the years
connectedness that never dies
enhanced by local wine, or beers

which ooze out of million pores
and stain two dozen shirts,
wives fatter now than years before
and wearing longer skirts

but in his eyes the very girl
he held so close back then,
this gentle move the self-same whirl:
Old bodies still contain young men.

3) Wyethia is a remedy which can be useful for the type of hayfever with an itching palate

Thursday, 25 April 2013

1) Volunteering. Mostly this means to do a job without pay, usually for a charitable cause of some sort. But it can be seen from the work and discoveries of Michael Newton, that many people’s whole lives may have been a decision to volunteer for a tough job. I find this idea makes sense of some of the ‘tragedies’ of life. If you can see the little Down’s child as an old soul who volunteered to be here to help her parents learn about disappointment, patience, or simply love, you can see her life as truly meaningful. This may be the case for the souls in many difficult situations - they may have agreed to be there to help those around them in some way, and they are usually very experienced souls. This does not make it easier for them when they are here, nor should we forget to treat them with total compassion. For more about this, see ‘Journey of Souls’, ‘Destiny of Souls’, and ‘Memories of the Afterlife’. (I contributed a chapter to this last one.)

2) Very. I can’t think of anything that describes me that begins with V, so will have to put in my Very fine hair, and the fact that my boss once described me as Very deep! Very is probably a good word for me, as I don’t do things by halves!   Oh, and the heroine of my third, half-written, book is 'Violette' !

3) Very high dilution. Sceptics dismiss homoeopathy because of the high dilution of the remedies, but this is a misunderstanding of the principle of homoeopathy. Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy discovered almost by mistake  that diluting a remedy actually made it more effective, not less.( Isn’t it interesting how many wonderful discoveries have been accidents? Think of penicillin!) Sceptics also say ‘Oh well, there’s no molecule of the active ingredient in there, so it can’t possibly work,’ and stick with the assumption that it doesn’t work. A more scientific viewpoint would say ‘It is astonishing that these remedies work, I wonder how?’ As I said under Q, it is quantum physics that will eventually work out the answer to that question.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U is for....

1) Unconscious mind. This is also known as the sub-conscious, and is the part of the mind that is really in charge. Children of seven and under have only an ‘unconscious’ mind, which is why they will believe anything they are told - they have not developed the ‘conscious’ questioning part. As adults, we think we are running our lives with our conscious minds, and to a great extent we are - it is with this that you book tickets, or look left and right crossing the road. But it is your unconscious that is most deeply in control, it decides you are afraid of heights, or don’t like spinach, and it holds those beliefs really tightly. Until a hypnotherapist comes along, and helps you to access your unconscious, and tell it that spinach is delicious, that heights are not inherently dangerous, or more commonly, that cigarettes taste foul! It is also in your unconscious that all your memories are stored, and it is there that we go to pull out the deepest truths about you. It is there that your ‘past life’ memories are sitting, whether you believe these to be genuine memories, or only your mind or spirit’s way of making up a story to explain you to yourself.

2) Unitarian: I signed up to become a Unitarian about two and a half years ago, 18 months after I started attending the beautiful Unitarian church on Stephen’s Green in Dublin. I have found a lovely supportive community there, which as someone from a tiny family, I truly treasure. If you would like to learn more about this liberal non-creedal religion, look at “Are you a Unitarian and don’t know it?” which is where I did my initial research about four years ago.

3) Urtica. This remedy is made from the nettle, and is good for any skin conditions that resemble nettle-rash.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T is for...

1) Time fills itself up! I have many things I could do with every second, but writing is Top Dog at the moment! So all my other activities, except those that make money, are on a back burner, until ‘Despite the Angels’ and ‘Revisited Sins’ are up and running. ‘Angels’ is available for kindle download, but so far is not moving, please help change that! The paperback will be out soon, just as soon as I find that elusive Time to go on Createspace (Amazon) and click “go” !

2)Teacher. My mother was a secondary school teacher, so I decided that I certainly did not want to be a teacher ‘when I grew up’. Unfortunately this was probably a bad decision, as there is a lot of the teacher in me (I think you can probably see that by reading these posts, I have an instinct to inform!) and although I would have hated to be a class teacher, especially for small children, I think I could have been some type of teacher on a one-to-one basis. I enjoy medical consultations most if there is an education aspect to them, as my inner teacher gets some time in public.

3) Thuja This will help the body to clear itself of warts. It works for about 50% of people, and the other 50% need a different remedy, perhaps ‘Ant Crud’. To try Thuja, suck one tablet of either 30C or 6C potency 3 times a day for 3 consecutive days weekly, for 4 weeks. If the warts have not gone 3 weeks after you stop, repeat the process. If they still don’t clear, you are in the unlucky 50%!

Monday, 22 April 2013

S is for...

1) Soul Groups. Everyone has heard of soul mates, but not everyone knows they actually have a whole bunch of special soul friends. ‘Life between lives’ regression sessions will usually include a visit to the soul group which is mostly of about a dozen souls. These can be the souls of people who are present on earth, and the subject may recognise them as their brother, or friend, or colleague. We all leave some of our energy behind in the spirit world so we can literally be in two places at once. Our group may be the one we were put into as a baby soul, or if we are more advanced it can be a special interest group, who are all studying the same aspect of existence, or learning to carry out some particular task. Those who have incarnated without many members of their soul group can feel very lonely in their life, and this can be a deliberate choice, maybe to learn self sufficiency.

2) It is said that life is too Short, but I also think it is too narrow! I have many interests, and not enough time to do them properly. So maybe I am a bit of a Jack of all trades. As a child I learnt to Sail dinghies, but this fell away after my brother and sister joined the family when they were 20 months old and I was 15. They were a handful, and sailing is not an ideal occupation with two tiny children to watch!
Later in life I discovered Scrapbooking, and still do it, although at the moment I have been so busy getting my book ready to publish I haven’t had much time to play with glue paper and scissors. I find sitting in my little craft room making a foot-square page with one to four photos on it, and embellishing it with many different types of decorations is like a meditation, and I come away from my table not only with a beautiful page to add to my album, but with an enormous feeling of peace.

 3) Symphytum. This is ‘knitbone’ which is helpful after fractures as it helps bones to heal. It can also be used in cases of ‘non-union’ when a bone has failed to heal.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

R is for...

1) Reincarnation. This features in “Despite the Angels” and my next book “Revisited Sins”, but both are works of fiction and it is not necessary to believe that reincarnation happens to enjoy the story. All the same, it is a fun way to look at the world and for me at the moment, it explains some of the crazy things that happen. In the ancient world it was a much more accepted idea than it is now, and there are examples in the Bible, as well as in Jewish and Islamic writings that show that the writers thought that reincarnation was the case. In the early Christian church, it was accepted as fact until the Ecumenical Council meeting in 533AD. This meeting of the church was gerrymandered by the Roman Emperor Justinian of Constantinople who did not believe in reincarnation (or at least did not want Christians to, possibly because if your followers think they have more than one life in which to get it right, they are harder to control) and who packed the meeting with 159 of his followers from the Eastern Church, when only 6 of the Western branch of the church were in attendance. Pope Vigilius was so incensed by this that he refused to attend the meeting (and was subsequently persecuted by Justinian - imagine if this happened now..) so according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia this meeting was not genuine and its decisions are actually null and void - so it is only a fluke that all of us who were brought up Christian were not taught routinely that we would have future lives!!

2) Reader. I am an avid one, and used to be a very fast one. Going on a holiday was always a bit nerve-racking, would I bring enough books? I had to pick carefully, nice thick books, not too frothy, to slow myself down a bit, books I wouldn’t mind discarding when I had read them, which was very difficult, books in my family have almost household-god status! Then I got a Reader and life changed. My first one was a Sony EReader, which was okay, but I had constant problems getting books off the Waterstone’s site to actually go onto the device; I haunted the local Sony shop, and a lovely guy Greg there had almost as much difficulty as me. Then I got a Kindle, and its one-stop-you-don’t-need-your-pc function is a dream! But my eyes aren’t as good as they were, (since cataract ops they are full of huge floaters, so just making the print bigger doesn’t always work) and my reading speed has dropped, so my kindle is full of books I haven’t read yet. So is my house, of the paper variety!

3) Rhus Tox This is a good medicine for muscle or joint pain which is worst after being immobile, but which improves on being worked out.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Q is for...

1) Quantum. Physics or mechanics, the quantum version, will explain many things in the coming decades. It is said that when you ‘go very big or very small, there is nothing there but patterns’. Patterns of what? This is the awe-inspiring part, as at a sub-molecular level there are no atoms, no protons, no anything. So the patterns are not patterns ‘of’ anything, they are just patterns. I think this is where the explanation of how very ‘dilute’ homoeopathic remedies work will be found.
In journeys into the spirit realm, it is found that there is no time, which is a construct that goes with the material world. Quantum mechanics shows that particles can become energy, and also can disappear ‘here’ and reappear ‘there’ instantly, so time has not had a part in it. As I am not a quantum physicist I will stop now, and just say ‘there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy’. Thanks to the Bard!

2) Quiet. I am a quiet person by nature and, like my mother and daughter, speak softly. This works against me in my hobby of amateur drama, as no director at auditions believes I will be able to raise my voice and be heard at the back! This is quite untrue, as anyone who knows me well can tell you - if I am cross I can shriek like a fish-wife...

3) Quinine. This is the substance which led Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) to discover homoeopathy. He was a doctor in Leipzig, and apparently was a grumpy character, which may have been the reason he needed to supplement his medical income by translating medical books. In one of these he read that the reason quinine cured malaria was that it sedated the stomach. He doubted this, and decided to test it by taking quinine even though he was well. He was amazed to find that he developed symptoms that were exactly the same as those of malaria. Instead of throwing the quinine away in disgust and going for lunch, he made a leap of imagination and wondered “If that drug can cause what it can cure, I wonder if that is true of other substances?” He carried out many experiments and found that this is in fact the case, which led to the statement of the homoeopathic principle ‘like cures like’ or ‘similia similibus curentur’.  The dilution of the remedies is NOT the main principle of homoeopathy, and was only discovered later by Hahnemann. For more about homoeopathy, see the entry on my site, madelineannstringer.ie

Thursday, 18 April 2013

P is for....

1) Paperback Proof copy. This came yesterday, and is SO exciting! It looks okay, except for having page numbers on the ‘front matter’. But I already worked my hardest to get rid of these, with no success. So the book will be up for purchase very soon.

2) Puffin Club. I was a founder-member of the Puffin Club which was set up in 1967 (at least the magazine started then, I could have sworn I was younger when the club began...!)by Kaye Webb who was the Editor of Puffin books(Penguin’s children’s label). I received the magazine, Puffin Post, I think it was quarterly, and a badge which I wore proudly -and so I should, I had read every Puffin book, my mother had a standing order with Hodges-Figgis (Dublin’s biggest and wonderful bookshop) to keep her the new releases. When they arrived she would bring them home, there were usually two at a time, and hand me one. Then we would sit at either end of the couch and read, swapping when we were finished, although I suspect she finished first and read something else until I was ready! Mum got her “M.Ed.” degree based on a thesis on children’s literature, and I am very grateful to her for exposing me to good writing. (When I first read an Enid Blyton, brought to me as a gift by a birthday party guest, I recognised it as inferior and never bothered with another!)
Back to the Puffin Club. My claim to fame was that I came second in one of the competitions. We had to finish a story, they had provided one page, and I think I wrote another one or two. I have no idea if I got a prize, but the warm feeling has stayed with me ever since.

3) Phytolacca. This is another sore throat remedy. When alternated with Hepar (see H) they will fix most sore-to-swallow throats.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

O is for....

1) Only Child. I am an only child, or at least I was until I was 15, which is enough to have you ‘reared’ and behaving for life as an only. The reason I am putting this fact in my things-about-writing section is that I have read many books which contain an only child who does not think or behave at all like an only. I think this happens because the author needs the hero or heroine to be a parent, but does not really need extra characters in the book, so one child is provided; and often the author was not an only child themselves, and is not particularly thinking about the fact that their young character now is, so they just write a child as they have known them. The end result is an only child who is much less knowing, much less comfortable around adults, and much less introspective than an ‘only’ child would be. Maybe one day I will write a story about an only child who will ring true!

2) Opal. This is my birthstone (October, another O) and I really love it, particularly the blue type, which can have sparkles or gleams of green or purple. The opal is a mystical-looking stone with hidden depths. An employer once described me as ‘deep’, but I don’t know about the colourful glints!!

3) Opium. Not a commonly used remedy, but useful for illnesses that have resulted from a physical shock that has not caused actual injury.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

N is for....

1) Dr Michael Newton is a hypnotherapist in California who accidentally discovered that he could bring people to the ‘life between lives’ or spirit world. He was doing a past life regression for a woman who spontaneously said that the reason she was unhappy was that her soul group had not come to earth with her this time, and that she was all alone. This is where taking a past-life experience as a metaphor, and actually thinking there might be some truth in all this ‘nonsense’ may have to part company. I’ll be talking more about reincarnation under ‘R’. Michael Newton regressed about 8,000 subjects into what seems to be the spirit world, and published his results in ‘Journey of Souls’ and ‘Destiny of Souls’. The amount that different peoples’ experiences in this hypnotic state produce the same information is quite compelling. I have found that my own clients also experience a range of things within Newton’s described range, even if they have not read his books. It is very intriguing. My own experience in the ‘life between lives explained to me something about why I am as I am.

2) I have No idea really why I wrote a Novel. It was just a Notion I got, and there it is! Number one in a set of Novels that are Not a series. I am Not Naive, or particularly Negative, but No-one much is buying it yet and that is Not Nice! Please take a little Notice of my literary (!) baby!! I would Not like it to be a Non-event....

3) Nux Vomica.  The hangover remedy. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

I got an award!!! "The Liebster"

The Liebster Award is a blog 'award' that is passed around from one blog to another, with some rules.
First of all, let me thank Kathleen of Reading, Writing and Life for the nomination. She is also taking part in the AtoZ challenge, please go and have a look at her blog.

the rest of the rules are:
I have to give 11 random facts about me
I have to answer the 11 questions the presenter of the award has asked
I have to nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the award, they must have fewer than 200 followers
I have to ask my nominees 11 new questions of my own

Here goes: 11 facts about me:
1)I really do not like milk chocolate, and think white chocolate is vile.
2)I was an only child till I was 15, then I got 2 siblings of 20 months old
3)My mum's mum's family come from Stratford on Avon, and a great great (etc) grandmother lived in part of Shakespeare's house
4)I like to do crafts : knitting, sewing, crochet, macramé, beading, scrapbooking, candle making have all had their turn
5)My attic is full of defunct craft stuff
6)I also go bellringing, in the local church and in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, which has 19 bells (the most in the world I think) hung for 'full circle' ringing. Haven't been for a while as have had tennis elbow
7)I do not play tennis
8) or any other sports
9) I like to cook, and eat, but one of my favourites is raw : I love sashimi
10)I am a lot older than the average first-time book publisher, later this year I have a very 'roundy birthday'.
11)I am married for the second time. My Dad often said 'you should never do anything for the first time' : he meant put up shelves on curved walls, and suchlike, but for me it applied to getting married!

Kathleen asks:
1) Which of the 3 stooges are you most like? - I have no idea, I have never watched them.
2)Which character would you like to take the place of, and why? - one of the Swallows and Amazons children, because I would find out what it's like to have siblings, and it would be fun to have all that freedom to sail dinghies in pretend adventures.
3)Mac or PC? PC
4)Your favourite book cover? Hard one, I don't judge by the cover! So I'm going to 'cheat' and say that of my own book, because it's the only cover I really paid much attention to. And did I pay it attention!! It's over there on the right...
5)the last 5 books you've read? -Createspace Self Publishing by Jan Roetman; The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller; Burning Bright by Catherine Brophy; Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (John Banville) and Homoeopathic Sketches of Children's Types by Catherine R Coulter.
6)Who would play your nemesis in a movie of your life? - So far, I haven't really had a nemesis, so this is a toughie. I think it would be what a colleague of mine used to describe as 'a woman with balls' -those over-assertive women who are out for power. Now, I see very few films, so can't really identify any actor, but a young Helen Mirren might be able to play such a part?
7) Vanilla or Chocolate? Depends what is being flavoured! If it's ice-cream, chocolate, definitely.
8) By a strange accident of fate, I am stranded in your home town. Can I stay at your place? - Yes, if it isn't for too long, and you don't have to be entertained!
9) Are you sure? No!!(only kidding...)
10) What is one word which describes your current MC?- I had to check with Kathleen what MC was, it's the main character of your book, so that's hard, as I have 4 MCs! -"invisible".

Now, the 11 bloggers I am nominating to take over the Liebster award:
1)Ficticious Amo AnneMarie Miles is blogging as her hilarious character Lizzie, who is a little girl in Dublin. Check it out.
2) Karen Adair YA Author  has a lovely chatty style about all things literary
3) Chick Lit Love  is all about 'chick lit' authors, including its owner, Laura Bambry. If you're looking for a new easy read, here's where you go...
4)Shannons Book Bag in The AtoZ challenge, Shannon is writing about all aspects of photography
5) The View Outside  Vikki Thompson is going through well known authors (L was Lawrence) in an easy to read style
6)Paranormal Lounge Kayla Curry writes lovely paranormal pieces. Use your imagination!
7) Always a Book Lover. Victoria Teoh is writing about books and emotions
8) Inspired Life : Christine writes about family life and problems, with lots of photos
9) Thoughtless Gibberish is written by a fictional character called Bumferry Hogart
10) No Filter Between Brain and Mouth  Barbara Garren muses on her life. In L she claimed to be lazy like lizards...
11)Debra's Windows into Writing: Debra writes on all aspects of writing

Now, my questions which my nominees must answer:
1) How much do you like your steak cooked? (If you don't eat steak, what is your favourite equivalent?)
2) Tea coffee or something else?
3) How much was your first pay -packet for, and what was the job?
4) Favourite film, and why?
5) How long does it take you to read an average length novel?
6) Was your school co-educational or single sex, and do you think that was the better option?
7) Which emotion do you feel the most easily/most often? Do you enjoy it?
8) Has anything out-of-the-ordinary wonderful ever happened to you? Can you tell us about it?
9) Left or right handed?
10) What's your favourite kind of holiday?
11) Do you have a pet, what is it, or if not, why not?

Thank you to everyone, my nominator, my 11 nominees, and you, the reader. At the end of the month I may answer my own questions, if I have any energy left!!

M is for....

1) Médoc. This is where the third flashback in Despite the Angels takes place. It is the wine growing peninsula just north of Bordeaux. I took a camping trip there some years ago to research, and to find a surname for Lucy’s past incarnation as Eloise. I went to several graveyards, and finally picked ‘Seurin’ which appeared frequently. This is a tiny detail, but I get a quiet satisfaction out of getting things like this right. On the other hand, I have fun making up stuff too - David’s past incarnation is called Daniel ‘DeVrac’ which is a silly joke. I got good information about the wine and salt industries from my trip, and also a visit to Madame Cassou-Mounat in Bordeaux. She was a retired Professor of ‘Historical Geography’ from Bordeaux University, and lent me a wonderful document about the salt trade of the time.

2) Mediterranean Sea. If I have lived before, I think many of those lives were near the Med. I always feel relaxed and at ease there, whatever part of the sea it is. I love Provence and Crete, and on shorter trips to other parts have felt right at home. This is not just because of the weather and the palm trees- I visited Santa Barbara in California on my way to a hypnosis course. It is a Mediterranean-style town, with palm trees, lovely weather, and mountains rising behind, but I felt at sea there, like a real stranger. To use the language of reincarnation - I had never been there before in all my lives!

3)Merc Sol. If Hepar Sulph doesn’t hit your bacterial infection, Merc S might

Saturday, 13 April 2013

L is for ....

1a) Libraries. I'm not sure who it was who said "Libraries will get you through a time of no money better than money will get you through a time of no libraries", but isn't it true? It is sad that as my book is having to be published privately, it may never find a place in a library and be read by those who cannot afford to buy books. The spirit world is said (Michael Newton's books) to have a library too, where souls returning from a life can go to learn about their successes and errors, and check up on how they managed things in their previous lives.
1b) Lucy is the heroine of Despite the Angels, but was also a Yorkshire Terrier I had in the 1980s. I don’t know why I chose the name for the dog, but I think it got into the book because it is short. No-one wants to have to type out Esmerelda-Maybelline over and over, even if they liked that name...!

2a) Left-handed. That’s me! I am not as strongly left-handed as most people around me are right-handed, but I think that is because the world is arranged for right-handers, and we ‘citheogs’(the Irish expression) just have to cope with it, (though I am guilty of pulling pens in banks off their chains so I can use them at the left side of the hatch!). When I was a child there were no left-handed scissors, so I am proficient at using ‘normal’ ones. Mostly being left-handed doesn’t affect my life, but it irritates me a bit when people say “Oh, you’re left-handed!” (I swear one day I will reply ‘am I?’!) and more so when they express surprise at the quality of my handwriting, or my ability to do craft work. Left-handers are just as deft as anyone else, there is nothing inherently clumsy (or dirty) about the left hand. The prejudice against the left hand originates centuries ago in the belief that it had something to do with the devil. I don’t believe in a devil, so I just dismiss that as nonsense.
2b) Luck. I have had my share, and also my share of the bad sort. I wonder does it exist, or is it, as a famous golfer once said, ‘I get luckier the more I practise’?

3) Lycopodium is good for some sore throats that start on the right side of the throat. Lachesis is useful for those on the left, and also for some PMS. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

K is for...

1) Karma. This is a very misunderstood word. Many people think it has something to do with punishment being meted out to transgressors, but it is not as simple as that. It seems that we choose to experience things in our life, either out of curiosity, or to learn. So, for example, a blind person is not ‘being punished’, as is suggested in the Gospel of John, Chapter 9, but may have chosen to be blind in order to experience dependency, to accentuate musical abilities, to get away from too many lives which in some way have over-stressed the visual (for example, someone who has been an artist in many lives might choose to be blind in order to force himself to find another life path.) A child may be born blind because he has volunteered to do so as his parents will benefit in some way from the experience. I have seen this more clearly in a few families where there is a Down’s child - I remember a Mum saying to me ‘we have learnt so much by having him’, and her daughter said ‘every family should have a Down’s baby, Mummy’ ! It is possible that the soul inhabiting the Down’s body may be quite advanced, as it is often mature souls who volunteer for life’s hardest roles.
2) Knitting. I can knit, and used to do a lot, but it had slowed down in the last years. I can also crochet and sew. I used to do most of my own dressmaking. I also do beading and scrapbooking. In other words, I’m quite good with my hands. When I was a child I loved to be let loose with card, paper, scissors and glue. My mother used to tease me that I was ‘sticking flap A to flap B again’. But she and my dad were where I got it from, Mum is a very good calligrapher now, but also knits and sewed most of my childhood clothes, Dad was a DIY expert, and also drew very well.
3)Kali Bich. This is a great remedy for nasal discharge, especially if it is sticky or stringy, and greenish.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A Guest Post by Catherine Brophy

I'm interrupting the flow from A-Z to bring you a piece by Catherine, whose book "Burning Bright" just came out. It is well worth a look. Catherine is a born story teller:

The Power of Stories.

I recently had the pleasure of hearing a Native American storyteller.   Her name was Dovey.   She is a member of the Lakota.   She told us that, in her culture, children are never punished for bad behaviour.    The Lakota believe that if a child is continually disciplined she will learn that discipline is something outside themselves and never learn self-discipline.  So do they just let them run wild?   No, they use stories.
When a child does something dangerous, or rude, or in some way unacceptable. A parent, or more often a grandparent, takes them aside and tells them a story from the great treasury of traditional stories.   The story is of course related to the child’s behaviour and shows what effect that act has on the world and on the individual.   And this approach works,
Stories are more than mere entertainment, they can change behaviour.   I was travelling one time with a friend in the car of a boy-racer.   He was way over the speed limit thinking he was Louis Hamilton and I was terrified.   I begged the boy-racer to slow down.   He laughed and called me a stick in the mud.  My friend made no comment on the driving he just told us a story of a speeding car and a hideous accident.   The boy-racer slowed down and stayed within the speed limit for the rest of the journey. 
When I write stories I want my readers to enjoy them.   A lot of what I write is humorous because I want to entertain but I also because humour is subversive.  When people laugh they open their hearts and their heads. I want to show how humans behave and what makes them do what they do.   But often there’s more to it and sometimes I do not realise what it is till the writing is done.   Sometimes it takes someone else to tell me what it was!

Writing Burning Bright gave me the chance to laugh at the madness of the Celtic Tiger years and also to look back to a time when we Irish had little else but out pride.  And the question I’m asking myself and my readers is; can we hold on to the best of both worlds?

J is for...

1) Jotin. ‘My name is Jotin’ is the first line of my novel, and Jotin is one of the two ‘spirit guides’ in the story. He looks after David, the hero. But really, Jotin and his friend Trynor are the heroes, or heroines -spirit guides or ‘angels’ have no gender. It was fun making up other-worldly names for the spirits, but at work I meet people from other countries and often their names are just as unusual, so if there are any Jotins or Trynors out there, I’m sorry!
2) I struggled for a while to think of a ‘J’ to represent me, until my wonderful daughter came round last weekend to announce her engagement, and I remembered: she was born in January, and her brother was born in June. Probably the most significant events of my life!
3) Jealousy. There are no useful remedies starting with J, so I’ll mention Ignatia, which is a good remedy for the jealousy felt by a toddler when her younger sibling is born.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I is for ....

1) Imagination. So important, both for the author, and for the reader. When I read, I go into another world, and my mind’s eye produces the pictures for me - so much so that I am usually disappointed in the films made from books- the pictures are rarely right! The world within my book,“Despite the Angels”, is imaginary, and I hope potential readers will take it as such, and enjoy the story. Some people have said to me “Oh, but I don’t believe in angels (or reincarnation)”. So what? I don’t believe in talking rabbits, but can enjoy Alice in Wonderland; or flat worlds, but love Terry Pratchett’s discworld series. Animal Farm became famous though no one thinks pigs can actually talk! This is all possible because we all have Imagination, and the ability to let go of the mundane, and let our minds roam free.
2) Irish College. I am Irish, and in Ireland it is still compulsory to learn the Irish language. In fact when I was in school, if you didn’t pass Irish you didn’t get your Leaving Certificate. (A Levels/High school graduation). So summer schools were popular, as a month of total immersion was supposed to make us fluent. I thoroughly enjoyed my month at “Trabolgan”, (then a boarding school which acted as an Irish College for girls in the summer, but now a holiday camp), but I never became fluent. The way Irish was taught, as though it was a dead language, was not designed to produce either Irish speakers, or people full of love of the language. In fact, I think the language has survived despite being compulsory, not because of it. I can say only a few useless phrases, and more importantly, never need to...
3) Ipecacuanha is a great remedy for cough which ends up as gagging or vomiting

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H is for...

1) Hierarchy.  Michael Newton’s books, Journey of Souls/Destiny of Souls, give much information about the age or developmental level of souls. He also describes the “Council of Elders” which every soul meets on their return from a life. Some people find themselves becoming nervous about this as it seems judgemental and hierarchical, but this is actually not the case. Souls may well be at different stages in their learning, but the more advanced souls are in no way better than the less advanced, any more than a child in the final year of school is better than the infant in kindergarten! We are all on the same journey, some of us are a little further along, that is all. And the wise souls who look after us are more like nursery school teachers than policemen or lawyers. This is why the souls who are just a tiny bit ahead of us are called ‘guides’, because they guide and help us.
2)Hypnosis. This is the most recently learnt of my three modalities, and I think it suits me because there is a story-telling aspect to it! Not in the sense that I make up nonsense and put it into peoples’ minds, that would be appalling; but that I have to think on my feet when issues arise for the client, and work out quickly how to help them explain it to themselves, so that it will no longer cause pain. This also uses some of the improvisation skills I learnt at many Drama Summer School sessions.
3)Hepar Sulph is a good remedy for many infective processes. It can help some sore throats, especially if there is pain on swallowing, also pimples/boils and so forth.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Week 2, Day 7: G is for...

1) Guides. No, I was never a Girl Guide, my experience in the brownies, (see B) put paid to that. This refers to ‘Spirit Guides’, which is a better name for what are commonly referred to as Guardian Angels. It is thought that we each have at least one, and this spirit will do its best to hint to you what is the best to do. This is the information that may be explained as intuition or happenstance. Trynor and Jotin, in my novel, show how frustrating it could be to be a guide to a human who is totally unaware of their presence. This explains the title of the book; the humans act despite the guides’ (angels) best efforts.
2) George. This is my husband, who put a line through my appointment book on the Mondays, saying ‘you are going to Finish That Book’. So I did. I can’t thank him enough for believing in me and making me do it. His surname starts with G too, so I can be Mrs G when I want -mostly in France, where ‘Stringer’ is a dreadful name to explain or spell out loud....
3) Gelsemium. This is almost specific for that real flu which creeps up on you and leaves you apathetic on the sofa, with pains everywhere and a low grade fever. 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

F is for...

1) Formatting. This is something that was a meaningless word to me a year ago, and now I have done it. I was about to write ‘now I can do it’ but that is something different! Those of you who know what it is will know you sweat blood, and those who don’t, well: be glad you don’t need to.
2) France. I was brought to France first when I was seven, and by the time I was ten I was in love with it. My Mum spoke fluent French, having studied it for her degree, and lived there for a year, so I understood its value (it got me ice cream!) and learnt it pretty well. I speak it adequately, although not fluently - I won an argument with a Parisian waiter once, which has to count as enough- and knowing French does help you love France. I have seen most places, and apart from the very industrial north east, have loved it all. Now, by a happy accident, we have a place in the Périgord, and I am in heaven. So part of “Despite the Angels” is set in France, and my third novel, as yet un-named, will use my Périgordian knowledge even more.
3) Ferrum Phosphoricum, for the early stages of most febrile conditions

I don't know what is controlling the date for these posts, but it is 00.13 according to my watch, my computer, and my phone, and yet the post has gone up as Friday!!! It is Saturday here, and I'm going to bed....

Friday, 5 April 2013

E is for....

1) Effort. Writing is addictive, but getting a book published is work, and requires a lot of Effort. I have used most of my book-Energy, and so far I'm ‘only’ on-line. The trouble is, I and my friends are of the age when books are paper, not kindles (though I love my kindle too), and I don’t really believe I’m published because I can’t riffle through the pages! So another bunch of effort must be dredged up from somewhere...
2) Elegant. This is what I want to be ‘in my next life’. I want to be someone who gets out of a car without a) showing my undies, b) getting entangled in the seat belt, c) dropping my bag so its contents go all over the road. There are many other situations where a spot of elegance would come in handy too.
3) Euphrasia. This is ‘eyebright’ and is good in liquid form, as drops for sore eyes.

If this is still saying it was published on Thursday, I'm sorry, my phone said 1 minute past midnight!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

D is for....

1) Dundee. Everything I said yesterday about research also applies to Dundee. One of my characters' past lives is there, so when I had to be in Scotland for some hypnosis training, I took a day trip to Dundee, to make sure I wouldn't get things horribly wrong. I spent a fascinating couple of hours in their wonderful public library, reading the street directories for the relevant year; I was looking for Christian names that would be correct, or at least believable, and discovered that had you gone out in the street in Dundee in the late 1800s and shouted 'William!' more than half the men could have answered. I found it an emotional experience walking the streets my 'Lewis' and 'Dorothy' would have walked, to the extent that I forgot that I had made them up, and texted my husband "I'm sitting looking out over the water, feeling sorry for my people". I hope my readers will find it equally moving.
2) Dad. My Dad died at 62, over 20 years ago now, and when he was ill he told me that one of the reasons he was sad to leave the world was that he had not yet "written a novel, or designed a cathedral." He was trained as an architect, and I am not, which is why I wrote the novel, partly for him, and partly so that on my deathbed I could not be similarly sad.
3) Drosera: for those childhood coughs that start "the minute the child's head touches the pillow" at night, while during the day things have not been too bad.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

C is for....

1) Crete. When I decided to start my story in the ancient past, Crete seemed the obvious choice because not only had I been there twice, I loved it! So I wrote the story, then needed to do more research - what a great excuse for another holiday. So down we went to Budget Travel (where are you now?!!) and booked a week in Gouvés. We had a great time, going to Tylissos, Malia (which I called Malatos in the story as Malia is very pie-and-chips now, even though the palace ruins are wonderful) and up on the Lassithi plain we went into the Diktaean Cave, which the Minoan Cretans considered a sanctuary. I wrote a whole chapter about Alessia's visit there, and loved my spirit guides poking fun at the priestess. But it ended up on the cutting room floor, as does a lot of carefully done research. Maybe, when the book is a run away best-seller (they say we should be positive!) I will publish the chapter on this blog for my millions of fans....
2) Calendar Girls. One of my other interests is amateur drama, and I occasionally get small parts in plays. From 16th -20th of this month I will be in a (fully-dressed) cameo role in Calendar Girls in the Mermaid Theatre in Bray, Co.Wicklow. It looks like being a great fun night out. Tickets from the theatre at 01-2724030
3)Chamomilla. This is the number one remedy for teething pain, and is said to have converted more men to homoeopathy than any other substance!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B is for....

1) B is for belief. This always comes up when I tell people about my book. "But what if I don't believe in reincarnation (or guardian angels) ?" they ask. The answer is - it doesn't matter a jot. The book is fiction, and can be read as a story, just like any other work of fiction. No one who read Animal Farm felt they had to believe pigs could talk, nor do Terry Pratchett's readers believe there is an actual disc shaped world out there !  Do I 'believe' in past lives myself? I'm not sure that belief is the right word, but for the moment I think the idea of reincarnation explains a great deal of the bad stuff about our world, as well as some of the good things. We'll all find out eventually anyway, so what anyone believes about it is a very temporary situation...
2) B is also for Brownies. I was made join the Brownies when I was about 7, and hated it. Particularly my 'enrolment' which was spectacularly badly handled, and terrified me half to death, because I didn't know what was happening. About 14 years ago, I went to Drama summer school, and did a story-telling course with the wonderful Sue Colgrave as teacher. I told the story of my Brownies experience, which went down really well, and afterwards a classmate came up to me and asked "how long have you been a writer?". That gave me the courage to start.
3)Belladonna - a great remedy for infections with a very high temperature. Specific for scarlet fever.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Day 1. A is for.....

1)I think A is possibly the easiest and most obvious of all the letters. (Oh Dear!). Because it is, of course, ANGELS. This is in the title of my book because most people who think about these things at all, think they might have a 'guardian angel'. Actually, they may have a 'spirit guide' to look after them here in Earth School, angels are far higher beings and don't usually do mundane things like trying to persuade humans to listen to good advice, and rewarding them with an occasional parking space! Read all about my 'angels' trials and tribulations in Despite the Angels.
2)I am Madeline A Stringer because I was advised against using my whole name. My middle name is Ann, after a greatgreatgreat etc grandmother who was apparently a bit of a character. She was Ann Walters, lived around 1820, in the other half of Shakespeare's house (the half you don't get shown) in Stratford on Avon. We have all been given some part of her name, and been christened in the broderie-anglaise robe she hand made. I was known as Ann for my first 17 years, so am fond of that 'A'.
3)Aconite: a great homoeopathic remedy for shock and fright.