REVIEW: Pulling the trigger by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan

REVIEW: Pulling the trigger by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan

Pulling the trigger: The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach for OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression Adam Shaw spent his life running away from the terrifying thoughts which tormented him. This lifelong struggle with mental illness ultimately lead him to a railway bridge and the brink of suicide, and it was at that point that he met psychologist Lauren Callaghan and was finally able to get the help he needed. They share this practical approach in their new book, Pulling The Trigger: The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach for OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression. The book, divided into two helpful parts, provides both first-hand evidence for sufferers that recovery is possible, and a user-friendly blueprint for mental health support and recovery. For my review of this book, I enlisted the help of Huw Davies, football journalist and OCD sufferer. Davies has written about his own experiences with OCD for publications such as The Guardian and ShortList. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder,...
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REVIEW: The Other Side of Silence – Linda Gask

REVIEW: The Other Side of Silence – Linda Gask

As a psychiatrist, I walk a fine line of understanding. While I can try to empathise with the people I see in my clinics and on my ward, I cannot truly know their experiences. Sometimes that helps to give me the distance of objectivity, and sometimes it leaves me lacking. Linda Gask has a markedly different perspective. She is a psychiatrist and academic who has experienced mental health problems from both sides - that of a clinician and that of a patient. In her book The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist's Memoir of Depression, Linda draws on both her professional knowledge and personal experience to take the reader on a "guided tour" of depression - using her own life and anecdotes about patients to illustrate the complexity of this illness and its manifestations. What I love about The Other Side of Silence is that it sets aside the traditional, medical model of psychiatry and instead embraces a whole-person, holistic approach to the...
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Crime Cymraeg: A Tour of Welsh Crime Fiction

Forget Nordic and Tartan Noir. From drug dealers in Cardiff to PIs in Aberystwyth, Crime Cymraeg is a broad church with something for everyone. Wales is curious mix of busy port cities, kooky university towns, coastal tourist traps and rural isolation. It has a thriving capital city next to some of the most deprived areas in the UK, the post-mining legacy of the Valleys. It has a glorious national park, with mountains and lakes, award-winning beaches, and a heavy reliance on state jobs, manual labour and hill farming. It has a rich cultural history, from bardic poetry to male voice choirs to the Welsh language revival during the latter half of the twentieth century. It is the birthplace of Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and the peerless Aneurin Bevan, founder of the National Health Service. No wonder this varied nation has produced such a diverse range of crime fiction. I've been reading a lot of Welsh crime fiction while researching The Amy Lane...
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CrimeFest 2014: Must-Have Books

CrimeFest 2014 rocked Bristol last weekend and I had a great time meeting crime writers, readers, reviewers, agents and publishing folk! In the first of my CrimeFest posts, I share the books that tempted me into buying at CrimeFest and why they are crime must-haves. The Axeman's Jazz - Ray Celestin New Orleans, 1919. The birth of jazz, the advent of prohibition, Mafia, racial tension and a man putting axes in people's heads. Based on a TRUE STORY. The Beauty of Murder - AK Benedict Time-travelling serial killer in Cambridge - who could resist? The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde I'm late to this party, but as a Thursday Next fan, I had to try this out. First in the Nursery Crimes series, this book asks the question: did Humpty Dumpty fall or was he pushed? Desecration - J.F. Penn From bestselling indie author, this London-based mystery delves into the supernatural, pairing a police detective with a clairvoyant. Joanna Penn also writes excellent books for authors on self-publishing...
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Writers’ Tools: Story Forge

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time, as evidenced by the fact that the first photo I took for it was while I was still planning my wedding and I'm been married almost seventeen months! Back in March 2012, I saw this cool Kickstarter project on my Twitter timeline (back when one's Twitter timeline wasn't chock-full of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the like). I was immediately intrigued and backed it, making it the best $25 I've ever spent on my writing. What is Story Forge? What may at first look like tarot cards for maximum upheaval in your life are in fact prompts for the fiction writer's imagination. Using the suggested layouts in the accompanying booklet, you can pick a plot, design a dramatic decision or concoct captivating characters. The deck is nominally divided into five suits - Destiny, Wealth, Will, Emotion and Identity - but this has never greatly affected the outcomes for me. You can read more...
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I Have Nothing: Why “The Bodyguard” Musical Needs More Plot and Fewer Songs

Yesterday, I took my parents out to see "The Bodyguard" musical. My mum loved it, my dad suffered it, my husband continues to grumble and I was entertained. Spoilers ahoy for "The Bodyguard" film and, to a lesser extent, the musical - if you haven't seen the film, why not?! Go! Watch! Done? Good. Now I'll begin. First off, I love "The Bodyguard". My mum bought it for me as my first 15-rated DVD for my 15th birthday. I've used it with script editors to discuss the plots of mysteries I've been writing, as it uses some classic diversionary tactics. The musical is, obviously, more musical than the film. There are many more songs. Because they are shoe-horned in to make a film into a musical, they are largely superfluous to the plot. I love the musical format, but I feel musicals that are not full libretto should have songs which enhance and serve the plot. Extraneous scenes are not useful in either musicals...
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BOOK REVIEW: Rule Zero by Laurence Timms

As I'm currently wending my way down the road of traditional publishing, my appetite for books of all stripes grows voraciously. So when Laurence Timms told me about his new book RULE ZERO - a "darkly comic fantasy thriller" - it sounded right up my alley! It follows Harry Bacon, a shady man from the depths of the Ministry of Defence, previously leading a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and now largely mothballed. But when experiments from his past start exploding all over the place, and his friends use their dying words to warn him, he is dragged back to adventure, recruiting unlikely allies to stop a mission of revenge. The style reminds me greatly of Jasper Fforde (The Eyre Affair, etc.) and it has the same irreverent approach to the status quo, though it is nominally a universe similar to ours. The novel uses gateway characters to good effect, using folk with no idea of this topsy-turvy underworld or those with only...
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10 Things About Les Miserables

[Here There Be Spoilers - You Have Been Warned] 1) New songs? New lyrics?! It wasn't long enough for Hollywood? 2) Just give Anne Hathaway the Oscar now. GUH. 3) Speaking of which, I loved the close-up solos - particularly "On My Own" - and, surprisingly, the direct-to-camera stuff really worked. 4) I was pleasantly surprised by Javert. Russell Crowe really brought out the pathos in the character, and that is now my favourite version of "Stars". 5) And Marius wasn't a total loser! I actually gave a damn about the boy. 6) Disappointed with Valjean - did he need extra songs? Really? 7) And, to add insult to injury, at the expense of "Drink with me" - Grantaire's solo is one of my favourite moments! The students overall needed more time. 8) But Eponine was perfect - everything I hoped and more. "Little Fall of Rain" was heartbreaking 9) I only teared up during that song. The cinema was filled with audible sobbing by the end. 10) And...
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Review: The Cabin in the Woods

*** This is a spoiler-free review. *** (The fact that I have to say that is ridiculous, but there we go.) I'm always wary about movies that everyone professes to love. Too much hype will kill you, and all that. I haven't seen any trailers for this film. Didn't see a cast list, didn't read any reviews ("spoiler-free" or no). It was worth it. It was completely worth it. I shrieked when I saw each new cast member. I gasped and groaned and laughed my way through every twist and turn. It has the Whedon hallmarks (familiar actors, lots of feet) and it has complete U-turns, shocks and thrills. There was homage to the genre, and there were marked deviations that made it all so much better. From the get-go, it was surprisingly. And then it went completely off the reservation. And the ending...I can't believe he did that. I honestly cannot believe it. But wow. With this film, I have three words for you:...
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2011 Top Eleven

Here are my eleven favouritest things from this year. They all come with my highest recommendation. X-Men [Colon] First Class Out of all the comic book movies released this year, this was undoubtedly my favourite and a good film in its own right. It takes two big characters with decades of history and brings them back to their potential. It shows a complicated relationship develop into the closest of friendships - and then shatters it. The supporting cast enliven the film and the action plot ain't too shabby. Come for the fights, stay for the characters. Tangled After Disney's recent output, I was nervous about a new film. But the trailer sold me instantly and the feature didn't disappoint. The first song threw me completely, as I'm now accustomed to Pixar's style, but the dynamics between Rapunzel and Flynn (who I want to call Gwaine) sold it. Easily Disney's best film for ten years. Easy A I missed this at the cinema, so rented it on...
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