Geode Girl Art

I rarely showcase or recommend something I’ve bought, but I’m blown away by the work created by Geode Girl, an artist living in London. She creates fabulous pieces inspired by nature, using resin and crystals. This decorative and useful selection of art is more amazing in reality than photos can do justice.

I’m equally taken by her seascape pieces as the geodes, and in time hope to own a piece of both, though I simply could not resist opting for the black seascape tray.

Each item will be unique, as is a feature of the process. I’m delighted by the way my ‘waves’ turned out.

Note: I waited patiently for several weeks for this made to order item, though to be fair, I explained I was in no hurry, but had I needed to wait longer I would say it’s worth doing so — these items take time to create and to cure between layers, so keep that in mind when ordering and allow the artist time to create what is surely a prized possession. But if you’re looking for a delightful personal treat or a unique gift, I struggle to imagine anyone who could be displeased with something from Geode Girl’s collection.


Conscious Sedation… A True Oxymoron?

I recently needed an extraction owing to a pesky wisdom tooth hooking under the tooth in front and killing the nerve. Judging by my last recollection of an extraction where the dentist tore my gums, I suffered extensive bleeding, agony which painkillers barely touched, and a month to heal a mouth full of ulcers, I gave Conscious Sedation a try. This is also apparently the only form of sedation a dentist outside of a hospital may administer these days, and, should I ever need the wisdom tooth out, I’m forewarned it will be ‘a bit of a bugger’. So… I chose Conscious Sedation to dampen my dread, and to test how well this works.

First, credit where it’s due. I’m grateful for the care provided by the dentist and all the staff with sincere gratitude for their understanding, and for working and offering treatment in these Covid times. The extraction was professional and nowhere near as bad as I feared. Was, in fact, nothing like my previous dental experiences; this time there was little bleeding and I’ve managed the post-extraction discomfort with no problem. Within 5 days, I was off the painkillers. Though I hate to say it, this is either the difference between private and NHS dentists, this being my first experience of paying privately (with pain radiating up into my cheekbone and round to my teeth on the other side, I had no choice but to do whatever I could to hurry an appointment along), or simple potluck in trying to find a good dentist.

Unfortunately, the Conscious Sedation didn’t work. Let me repeat: The Conscious Sedation DIDN’T WORK.

I had been told ‘if aware I wouldn’t care’ and ‘I wouldn’t remember’. I thought I would have at least felt drowsy or as though I was in ‘happy land’, but I didn’t even feel relaxed. I kept thinking, ‘When is this stuff supposed to kick in?’ Then the ultrasonic cleaning began (which I had also agreed to), and I thought maybe by the time this finishes, but I still felt no different. I recall being asked if I was okay several times, to which I felt confused and wasn’t sure what to say. I was ‘okay’ but nowhere near relaxed. In retrospect, I can’t help feeling the sedation influenced my agreement. Several times I argued with myself over saying something vs just getting it over with.

Next thing I knew, I was receiving injections and silently started swearing. I was, after all, not meant to ‘care’ by this point, and had paid £250 (£720, including the assessment and all the subsequent work) for the privilege. I was nowhere close to ‘unaware’. At the time of the extraction, I recall being asked if all I could feel was pressure, and saying no, I felt a little more than pressure at which point I received another 1 or 2 injections (while wishing I’d metaphorically kept my mouth shut to avoid them). Then the incredible alternating left/right pressure of the extraction and finally hearing, “That’s all done.”

I recall them bringing my husband into the room (with sedation someone has to take responsibility for you) and everything said. When I said I felt a bit ‘out of it’, the dentist remarked, “Like having a G&T.” I would frankly have preferred the G&T. I only felt as if I’d gone too many hours without sleep. I can’t help thinking all Conscious Sedation does to some people is to get them to cooperate and then they’re supposed to go home and sleep, whereby they forget everything. But I didn’t sleep. I spent several days struggling with insomnia. I returned home and dozed in the afternoon for 10 minutes during a 30 minute programme, of which I missed the middle. After going to bed that evening, I woke at 2am through to 4am. The next night I woke at 3:45. The following night I couldn’t sleep until 1am, though I’d not slept during the day.

I have spoken to others since, for which it both did and didn’t work, so I’m not alone. At least I’m now forewarned not to accept this form of sedation again, though that leaves me with a potential predicament should I ever need major/painful work. I certainly wouldn’t look forward to a root canal or that predicted problematic wisdom tooth removal. It’s since been suggested to me they design these drugs to trick the mind, so it’s possible I’d be someone not easily hypnotised.

Even worse, it appears Conscious Sedation is gaining popularity in all medical circles with it being used for surgeries. And though statistically, it’s a tiny percentage of people for whom it doesn’t work, it’s not foolproof. After some research, this quote stands out: “With Conscious Sedation, I think physicians recognize that quite a lot of the time their patients will actually be distressed, but they’re relying on the fact that most are not going to remember it…”

I don’t know about you, the one reading this, but I dislike the idea of patients being distressed but that being ‘okay’ because the patient won’t remember. They’re also looking into whether patients may subsequently suffer PTSD complicated by the fact they won’t know the reason for it. Patients at least need to make a truly informed decision.

Update Oct 2020

Hi Everyone!
I didn’t blog last week, too involved with a major sort out and tidy up in the house and the garage. I think this was in part to take my mind off things, but it also proved more exhausting than expected. It’s what comes of climbing up and down steps and lugging boxes around. The garage also has some pretty enormous spiders.

Not much in the way of walks to report and now we’re all in for another lockdown.

Been watching a few comedy series, and some horror films for October. Bit of juxtaposition, but suited my mood. Tried the BBC series, Ghosts, and am in two minds. Quite dry humour, with a childish bent. The series really interested me because it’s so similar to something I wrote as a child. Of course, the characters and outcomes were different. My writing wouldn’t have been up to scratch, and I never completed it, but the inherited house full of ghosts and only the woman can see them was so my idea. I remember writing it in an old school textbook.

Though it received a love/loathe response from many, I enjoyed The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix, not that I didn’t have issues with it. Not truly scary, it’s mostly a bittersweet love story. I had problems with at least one plot point (spoiler alert), namely what happened to the ghost that the principal character took with her? He served a purpose to give her a reason for taking the job, trying to start anew, and to let us know she could see ghosts, but then he vanished from the story to serve no other purpose. At one point, I thought he might have helped save her from one of the other ghosts, but the creators completely overlooked this possibility.

Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff
I love books that blend genres surprisingly. With richly portrayed characters and a real feel of both fantastical magic, and the more frightening and bitter horror of racism, the historical setting adds an uneasy depth that’s all too realistic. My one criticism is that I felt a little detached from the true cruelty of the era, and would have liked more emotional insight into the characters’ feelings; saying that, it’s all too easy to fill in the blanks. The book is easy to read in a series of individual but linked stories with a noir pulp feel running through them. (Side note: the book is not the same as the series, with a subtle tone down of the magic and mayhem, and with less blatant sex.)

The Witcher: The Lady of the Lake, Andrzej Sapkowski
As this is the last of an 8 book read I committed to, I was looking forward to this. Felt a little disappointed at the start. Ironically, one character close to the start of the book states she doesn’t like legends that mix fables with reality. While we can hardly quote tales of King Arthur as reality, they are of our world, and I’ve always preferred The Witcher to exist completely apart, not linked to famous myths and legends as we know them. The book also felt somewhat padded, but there are plenty of personal stories, and fabulous, bitter and sweet endings. Without spoilers, the most I can say is the conclusion felt a little nebulous, but the story of Ciri, Yennifer, and Gerait is a journey worth travelling.

Disappearance at Devils Rock, Paul Tremblay
An author who writes in his own style and created his own genre, bridging the supernatural and real life paranoia. Horror? I’m not sure I would categorise his novels in that genre, but horror covers such a wide spectrum these days. Sometimes his work has a Young Adult flavour, but then, as many of his characters are teens or children, this is fine. This novel sums up a mother’s terror over her missing child well, yet the true horror here comes from the way Tremblay captures the flavour of social media, and journalism, the criticism and blame aimed at victims.

Relics, Tim Lebbon
I’m a little torn with this book. On the one hand, I love the human characters, Angela, Vince, even Fat Frederick, but when this seeming thriller becomes supernatural, the reader must completely suspend belief to accept the magical world surviving in the shadows around London. Unfortunately, I think other writers have done that better, which isn’t to lessen this book. It’s urban fantasy with believable characters, an array of villains, and a sometimes blurred line between good and evil. I enjoyed the read, but I did not realise this was a series and I’m uncertain it’s hooked me enough to continue.

The Troop, Nick Cutter
I would have finished this book sooner had time allowed; I didn’t want to put it down. At first, I wasn’t sure of the narrative. Being that the plot involved teenage boys, much of the tone expressed that initially, but then as things progressed, so did the style grow more lyrical and tighter, edging along the sense of well-constructed doom. Scary? Yes, owing to the subject alone, the sense that one day this or similar could happen under humankind’s egotistical restructuring of the natural world. This is an amazing book. I’ve seen negative reviews and understand the dislike of animal abuse portrayed, but sometimes it’s necessary to reflect reality. Even then, the story is painfully sad, making the reader feel for these boys. Other negatives, I don’t understand as there’s little point moaning about extremes when reading horror, as long as it fits the story without being gratuitous. The various personalities build a rich tapestry of human nature, good and bad. For me, the book ends on a perfect note.

I’m in the last quarter of the draft for my horror novel. Not that I’m anywhere near finished. I’ve been getting many more ideas I want to incorporate, and it won’t surprise me if the book ends up being longer than I expected. This book is important to me and I won’t rush it just to get it done, but I will shelve it and work on something else next, likely around the end of the year.

Stay happy and healthy!
Sharon x

Looking Back Ten Years

I think we all have to agree this has been a terrible year, and we’re not even at the end. Looking through some old posts on my draft list, I spotted this and thought looking back might prove to be a strange blessing and appropriate. We too often overlook the best reasons to be grateful:

Throughout 2009 I kept writing 2008. Maybe I was trying to claw back a year of my life, but I don’t think that’s the reason. I think so much has happened to me in the last couple of years I had lost track of time. When you’re young, the older generations tell you time speeds up the older you get. You turn away in disinterest, for only time can teach you how right they are. Yep, time has sped up in recent years and only partly because I’ve been so busy. [I didn’t realise how much was about to happen in the years ahead, including having to move twice, eventually ending up in the countryside, only then to have the move spoiled by health problems.]

Well, I spent the Christmas holidays and New Year slowing down as much as possible. I read but didn’t write (although I dreamed up a couple more story ideas and scribbled them down). I ate, but not too much. Drank, not too much. I put my feet up. Visited family. I slipped and slid in the snow, which melted the next day. I came home. Visited neighbours. I jumped around like a loony playing on a Wii console, amazed it aged me younger than my years. I relaxed as much as I could on my birthday and welcomed the new year in with ambiguous feelings, probably because I really couldn’t get my head around that number of 2010. Yesterday (Sunday) I took the decorations down and wondered how it was possible I was doing so because it felt as if I’d just put them up. The poinsettia — a gift — is the only evidence of Christmas left. [Now I’m struggling to get my head around the year 2020. Such fond memories, especially in a year of a pandemic which has robbed us of seeing family and friends.]

Many of us in the UK also said goodbye to David Tennant as Doctor Who and, try as I might, I’m not entirely sure I can give the new Doctor a chance. He’s too young for me, which must prove my age. LOL. Jon Pertwee and, to some extent, Tom Baker were my doctors — and for those who understand the programme, each generation has their ‘own’ doctor. David Tennant gave the show a new lease of life that I doubt anyone else can, mostly usurping the doctors of my childhood. The last episode gave him a parting line eloquent for the actor and us as an audience. David loved playing the doctor and didn’t want to leave, although it was his decision to do so. But sometimes we have to leave good things behind to move forward to better ones. Likewise, most of the audience didn’t want him to go, but gone he has, and the thing to do was appreciate the good things while they were there. Tennant is one of my favourite people on TV, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he does next. I’ve also got three hours of him in Hamlet to watch. [Note: Matt Smith eventually grew on me, and I wrote an audio short story featuring the 11th Doctor.]

So, new year and that often means changes. I rarely make new year’s resolutions, but this time I have. I have in mind what I want to do writing wise, holiday-wise… and the lovely experience of spending some quiet time with the one person most important to me in this world has made me determined to make more ‘home’ time, including time to get out for some walks, do some exercise, and sit down for a good home-cooked meal now and then. I do cook, almost every day, but I want to dig into my recipe books so every other Sunday it would be nice if it was a morning of freshly brewed coffee, some home-baked bread, or a nice dinner over a bottle of wine. We’ve been so busy in recent years, writing, working, moving, decorating, dealing with the unfortunate incidents life throws at you and some wonderful ones. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to do those things; the simple things. This is the year I want to remember. [Note: Life and health issues now mean I can’t touch the wine and have to be careful to avoid certain foods. I didn’t know when I had things so good.]

Update Sept 2020

Hi Everyone!


We got out for two walks and spent some time planning others where we can keep to ourselves as much as possible. The garden earned a little attention, even though spider season started, and I’m still dabbling with artwork with lots of ideas. And we learned they’re getting round to at long last laying tarmac on some local roads, but apparently with no regard to waste collection getting through. Oh joy!


We finished Season 1 and 2 of Star Trek Discovery with mixed emotions. I liked some characters, but after season 2, I’m torn whether to bother when season 3 arrives. Felt quite satisfied with a partial open-ended storyline, especially as this should fit into earlier events around the time of the original series. I’m unsure where it’s going interests me all that much. May well shelve it until/unless there’s little else to watch.

Like many others, we tuned into Ratched, the Netflix series based on Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The series didn’t have quite the punch I expected, but I like how the line between good and bad blurred and they gave the storylines deeper consideration than they might have. And, although they directly took one element from Stephen King’s The Green Mile, they used it to startling effect. Not for anyone squeamish.


Darkness Comes (aka Darkfall), Dean Koontz

Very much a mixed offering, and even though this is an early example in this author’s career, it feels weaker than some others that came before. There was as much I liked about it as I disliked. I wanted to care about the characters more. It’s fun in a B-Movie way. The monsters of the story come straight out of Lovecraft. Whether this is a bad thing it’s hard to say. There are a few creepy moments but not as many as in other novels, and the threat seemed diminished by introducing the antagonist who seemed rather cartoon-like to me. Still, I’m not knocking a novel that was perfectly acceptable at the time it released, but I reread this as part of a book clearance and have no problems letting go of it.

Lost Innocents (ebook), Jacquelynn Luben

This reads at first like a well-plotted standard detective story, but I especially liked that a journalist undertakes the detecting. The stories don’t at first appear to connect, but, of course, they do. Also, it’s towards the end of the book the subtext truly comes to light.

The Witcher: The Tower of the Swallow, Andrzej Sapkowski

This series reads as a set of three, and a set of five. The first three have an entertaining, jumpy, short story feel, with the following five more serious books making up a set of novels. The first three are much more fun. Book four of that five is the best yet with Ciri coming into her own and going through the worse trials, Gerait and Yennifer pursuing her for the right reasons with plenty of villains snapping at all their heels. Though the way the author writes and presents these stories receives mixed reactions, I like the non-chronological story telling. There were a few slower sequences that felt like a bit of an info dump, but otherwise I loved all the story elements.

Revival, Stephen King

This is one example of an author choosing a perfect title. The theme resonates throughout the book. Scary? Overall, I would say no, though the payoff is potentially terrifying. I found the story absorbing and well written.

Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder

A magical, mystical blend of fact and fiction that makes for an excellent teaching aid for anyone wanting to learn about philosophy. I felt a little disconnected with the book at first — as though the letters to Sophie were a bit too much like sitting in a classroom, but as it progressed, I became swiftly hooked. The ending also felt a little too long, but overall the experience is not unlike falling down the rabbit hole, and I wish I had read this many years ago. Though I knew some facts, I didn’t know them all. The book even touches on the subject of natural selection and implications of more artificial selections/mutations caused by pesticides and disease control. The book is just as relevant today as when first written. It’s a lot to take in, but if you want a whirlwind tour of history and how philosophy has helped to shape our lives, this is an amazing book.


I must begin by saying that I heard at the beginning of September of the sad, sudden death of Celina Summers. She was a strong and talented woman. She, and the people she introduced me to when she ran Musa Publishing, taught me so much, and she was inspirational. Celina spoke up for others and I recall her work came close to attracting the attention of one of the Big Six publishers on two occasions, rejected once because they had recently published something similar. Having read her work, I can honestly state she was an excellent and imaginative writer who deserved recognition. I was disheartened by her near miss and am truly choked by her passing.

Reaching the end of the third quarter of my first draft of my first horror novel. I stress draft, because my novels to date haven’t had to joggle the cast in quite this way. I will shelve this for a while when complete before I rewrite some passages and edit. And as I stated last month, Night to Dawn magazine releasing in October will feature reprints of my short story The Wolf Moon, and my poem, Ichabod, Ichabod, Ichabod.

Stay happy and healthy!

Sharon x


I missed blogging last week because I didn’t feel all that well. No, nothing to do with the dreaded virus, but I’ve had a strange disjointed week, though the writing picked up a little with the least written being approximately 1,300 words. I’m working on the draft of a horror novel, so everything else remains shelved. I’m into the third quarter, so don’t expect the end to be too long off now. Though I stress I’m saying ‘draft’. I’ll be doing a lot of rewriting on this and shelving it at least a month before I do, but that will give me room to consider writing something else new and maybe re-releasing an older work early next year. More news as and when.

For this week’s blog, I thought I’d leave you with something beautiful to watch: