ME and me

I’ve recently been diagnosed with ME/CFS.

These are extracts from the ProHealth section on this condition:

   The best known symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME (ME/CFS) is an unrelenting, persistent loss of energy that physicians call “fatigue.” However, the profound loss of energy experienced by ME/CFS patients is nothing like the fatigue most people experience at the end of a long day or following a strenuous workout. It cannot be relieved by rest or sleep. In fact, patients may awaken feeling just as fatigued as they did before they went to sleep.

The hallmark of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is wide-ranging symptoms that wax and wane. These symptoms can affect any part of the body and any system, including the nervous system, the endocrine system, the digestive system, and the immune system. That is why ME/CFS is called a “multi-system” illness, and why fits into the category of neuroimmune illnesses – illnesses that primarily affect the immune system and the nervous system.

Healthy people also experience fatigue, muscle aches, digestive disturbances, and insomnia, as well as many other symptoms, but what marks ME/CFS symptoms is their severity and frequency. Patients with ME/CFS experience symptoms virtually daily, and to the point that they can become incapacitating.
Source: ProHealth

The website lists 55 primary symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; 36 of them currently affect me.

Not all patients experience the same symptoms, and not all experience the same severity of illness. As with any other disease, symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Patients often rate themselves on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being bed-bound, and 10 being fully recovered. In addition, there are three general levels of illness: mild, moderate, and severe.

Mild: Patients are mobile, can care for themselves, do light housework and work part-time, or even full-time with the curtailment of all other activities.

Moderate: Patients have reduced mobility and are restricted in all activities of daily living. They have usually stopped work or school.

Severe: Patients are unable to do anything without assistance. They spend most of the day in bed and are sensitive to light and noise.
Source: ProHealth

I consider myself very fortunate: I’m at the mild level of illness. I’m (reluctantly) learning my limits, and I have a lot of support, both personally and professionally.

You may be wondering why I’m sharing this with you, and why here? There are several reasons:

  1. To raise awareness of this condition, which affects far more people than you’d think.
  2. To show that anyone can have what’s known as a hidden illness.
  3. To encourage discussion, invite advice and suggestions, share experiences with those who have (or care for someone with) the same condition – especially, but not exclusively, fellow writers.
  4. To explain why my online activity, already sporadic, will probably fluctuate wildly from now on.

InvisibleIllnessTARDISAs well as being published on my blog, this post will appear on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.  I welcome comments on all platforms.

Like Someone with ME image source
Invisible Illness image source

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I’ve recently joined the iAuthor community, where my books are listed in the Romance section.

They’re also featured in two of the innovative Themes sections: Contemporary British romance, and Indie Books Looking for Reviewers (read more about the latter below)

iAuthoriAuthor is an interactive book discovery platform, global in reach and vision. Through ultra-immersive book samples and crowdsourced themes, iAuthor connects READERS to BOOKS. We aim to give the publishing world something unique: a hub for serendipitous discovery.

Are you a reader?
iAuthor is transforming book discovery. Through a theme-driven approach, iAuthor recreates the serendipity of the bookshop. From New York Times bestsellers to edgy indies, you’ll stumble upon books you never knew existed! Read enticing book samples straight from your browser. Buy in a format of your choice. Feeling creative? iAuthor lets you create your own book Themes ‒ then share them with the world.

More information can be found here and here.

Indie books looking for reviewers

My comment on this iAuthor page:

I welcome all reviews – good, bad, indifferent – as long as they’re honest; they help me understand what my readers like and don’t like about my work.
NEW BEGINNINGS is a contemporary British romance with adult themes; it’s not chick-lit and it’s not sweet and fluffy.
If you’d like to review any of the three titles in the series, please get in touch here, or via Twitter or Facebook.
Thank you.

iAuthor has something for writers and readers alike. Why not take a look?


You can find my iAuthor book pages here:
New Beginnings
New Beginnings: Moving On
New Beginnings: Starting Over

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Xmas-themed taster: Sunday 21 December


Sunday 21 December
I’m tired and I’ve got a sore throat, so I’m going to bed soon. I’ve got a horrible feeling that I may be catching the flu, or at least a cold, and I really don’t want to be ill over Christmas so on Friday I started taking Vitamin C tablets and tonight I’ve just taken some Night Nurse and I’m hoping to sleep it off. I’m going with Bridget and the girls to Byford tomorrow for their ‘getting to know you’ visit, and I’m driving so I’ll need to have my wits about me as I haven’t been there before.

We’ve had a lovely weekend, much more relaxed than I’d thought it would be. Jamie and I put the Christmas tree up on Friday after work. We’ve bought a fake one, just a small one, with some simple decorations for it. He told me that they used to buy a real tree each year, and there’s a box in the attic that holds the decorations they’ve used for years, but there was no way that I was going to put him through all that so I asked if he’d mind if I got a new one and he was fine with it. He was awfully quiet while we were putting it up, and it was obviously difficult for him, but he’s trying really hard to not get down about it all. I’m doing all the present wrapping and card sending (they’ve all been posted now) but I’ve been showing him what I’m doing just so he’s not out of the loop. I know he can’t drum up false enthusiasm for it all – wouldn’t want him to – but he’s doing okay.


Extract from New Beginnings: Moving On

Xmas tree photo courtesy of Tesco


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Merry Christmas From AWW – Free eBook Lucky Dip Giveaway!

This gallery contains 27 photos.

A Woman’s Wisdom – “a place to discover fabulous storytellers plus book reviews, life and humour” – celebrates a two-year anniversary with a very generous free book Luck Dip. Book lovers everywhere should be following this blog, and not just … Continue reading

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How EU VAT changes affect eBook pricing

I received an email from Kindle Direct Publishing last week, with regards to the new eBook pricing system which will be introduced from 1 January 2015.

ebook_transition_ebook-x-com-hello-worldThe gist of it is that VAT will be included in the sale price of eBooks from 1 January, which will affect the minimum price at which those books can be sold. I’ll share the important bits here, but if you want to know more then please ask and I’ll happily show the entire email.

On January 1, 2015, European Union (EU) tax laws regarding the taxation of digital products (including eBooks) will change: previously, Value Added Tax (VAT) was applied based on the seller’s country – as of January 1st, VAT will be applied based on the buyer’s country. As a result, starting on January 1st, KDP authors must set list prices to be inclusive of VAT. We will also make a one-time adjustment for existing books published through KDP to move from VAT-exclusive list prices to list prices which include VAT. We’ll put these changes into effect starting January 1st; you may always change your prices at any time, but you do not need to take any action unless you wish to do so.

One-time Adjustment for Existing KDP Titles
Starting January 1st, for any titles already published in KDP, we will make a one-time adjustment to convert VAT-exclusive list prices provided to us to VAT-inclusive list prices. Subject to minimum and maximum thresholds, we will add the applicable VAT based on the primary country of the marketplace to the VAT-exclusive list price provided. For example, if an author had previously set £5.00 as the VAT-exclusive list price for, the new VAT-inclusive list price will be £6.00 because the applicable VAT rate in the UK is 20%. Please note, if an author had set a consistent VAT-exclusive list price for all Euro based Kindle stores, those prices will now be different due to varying VAT rates for the primary country of each Kindle store. For example, if an author had previously provided a €6.00 VAT-exclusive list price for,,, and Kindle stores, the list prices including VAT will be €7.14 (19% VAT), €6.33 (5.5% VAT), €7.26 (21% VAT), and €7.32 (22% VAT) respectively.

Minimum and maximum list prices for the 35% and 70% royalty plans will now also include VAT.
Learn more about the new minimum and maximum KDP EU list prices here

You currently have one or more books in the 35% royalty plan that will not meet the new minimum list price requirements. To make sure that your books still meet the minimum list price required for the 35% royalty plan after January 1, we’ll adjust the new list price that includes VAT in order to meet the minimum for 35% royalty.

  • For ebooks less than or equal to 3 megabytes, the new minimum list price requirements are £ 0.99 and € 0.99
  • For ebooks between 3 and 10 megabytes, the new minimum list price requirements are £ 1.49 and € 1.99
  • For ebooks equal to or greater than 10 megabytes, the new minimum list price requirements are £ 1.99 and € 2.99

VAT-300x199_accountancy-edge-co-uk-tag-vatWhat this means is that the digital version of all three books in the ‘New Beginnings‘ series will be increased in price from 1 January, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

If you’ve been thinking of reading one or all of them, I suggest you treat yourself before the end of December! 😉


eBook image courtesy of ebook extreme
VAT image courtesy of accountancy edge

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Win Christmas on PayPal


Fancy the chance to win your Christmas shopping, paid for this year with PayPal?

Every time you pay with PayPal between 1st November and 24th December, you could be one of five lucky people to win back your Christmas shopping, up to the value of £1000 every week*.

Whether it’s Christmas dinner with all the trimmings or that must-have gift for the kids, you could win it all back when you pay with PayPal this Christmas.

Click on PayPal’s Christmas campaign banner below to be entered into PayPal’s Christmas prize draw for the chance to win £10,000.

Click Here

* Terms and Conditions Apply
Full details at PayPal

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Mini make-over

Change-200x200My website has undergone a mini make-over.

Please let me know what you think, especially if something isn’t working, or if you feel something is missing.

Thank you 🙂


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It’s official! I’m a Writer of Wales!

girl_writing-elizabethwinthropMae’n swyddogol! Awdur Cymraes ydw i!*

Literature Wales is the national organisation responsible for developing and promoting literature. It is made up of Yr Academi Gymreig / The Welsh Academy, which is the Society for Writers of Wales, and Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre.

literature_wales_logo_400px_wLiterature Wales represents the interests of Welsh writers in all genres and languages, both inside Wales and internationally. It offers advice, support, bursaries, mentoring and opportunities to meet other writers. Read more about Literature Wales and The Welsh Academy here.


I’ve been an associate member of Literature Wales (Llenyddiaeth Cymru) for several years, but I’m now proud to announce that I’ve been added to The Writers of Wales Database.

Johanna Nield
is the pen-name of Gail Metcalfe (nee Nield-Siddall). She was born in St Asaph and still lives in her childhood home of Rhyl on the North Wales coast. Creative writing became a passion in primary school, where she won two national writing competitions; English teachers in high school further encouraged her love of words, language, reading and writing, and that passion has never waned.

You can see the rest of my Writers of Wales Database page here


* It’s official! I’m a Welsh author!



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Something has to go!

During the last four years, I’ve gradually built up a modest online presence via various platforms. As well as this blog, I have a website, a Twitter account, two Facebook pages and various other media through which I’ve been able to engage with some wonderfully diverse groups of readers and writers.

However, for various reasons, I no longer have enough time to devote to all of these online accounts.

So … which one(s) should go?

Please take a look at each of the following, and then tell me honestly which one(s) you’re least likely to visit.

About Me
Book Stores: Wix & Tictail
Google+ Page
Facebook 1
Facebook 2 Vote for as many as you wish, and those with the most votes will go.

Thank you 🙂

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Tictail app – shopping on the go!

Today, I’m sharing some great news, received by email this afternoon – my Tictail store New Beginnings is now available via the Tictail app!


The Tictail app gives you a wide range of shopping opportunities at your fingertips (including my books!)

Download the app now:


P.S. – telling your friends never hurts 😉




Tictail app image courtesy of Tictail
Tell Everyone image courtesy of Simple Life Publishing via Google

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