In 2015, I published my first novel, kicked a lifelong sugar habit and dumped the first 35 surplus pounds.

I’ve been blogging for a while about the experience of writing fiction and navigating today’s publishing landscape. Then I started slipping in a few posts relating to Singled Out (that’s the novel) – the ups and downs of being single, Turkey, foodie matters and the psycho-side of life.

Now with my sights set on maintaining my new healthier lifestyle and continuing to offload unwanted pounds, I’m blogging about my experience of turning around a lethargic, sugar-laden, poke-and-ping mindset and offering a few thoughts on the way the world at large is chewing over what it has branded “the obesity crisis”.

I love it when people read and comment on my blog, so please, don’t be shy, join the conversationClick here or select BLOG from the menu bar.

Oh, and the novel?  Singled Out is a gritty psychological suspense story set on a singles holiday in Turkey.  Think sunshine holiday romance… but only for a moment. For when the sun goes down on this group of guests, things get very dark for some. You can read more about Singled Out here.

Thanks for dropping by.  Please stay a while, join in and share the experience.

42 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. So cool! Congratulations on the upcoming book. That’s really exciting.

    I grew up as an expat in Turkey (baby to college with a few trips to the US – parents worked there). It’s such a deep and lovely country! What’s your connection there?

    1. Thank you! I have no connection with Turkey other than I’ve taken several holidays there over the years and I love the country, the people, their warm hospitality, the food, the scenery, the raggedy coastline, the sea, the beaches…..; basically the soul and spirit of the place. I thought it would make a great setting for my first novel. I guess I’ll find out whether others agree with me in a week or two.🙂

      1. I completely agree. It’s a fantastic setting.

        When I was a kid we had summer vacations at a beach (Kizkalesi) with an actual ruined castle on a tiny island a quarter mile from shore. We’d swim or canoe out and climb the old towers. I mean, how do you beat that? Incredible! And I still miss the food.

        Best wishes for the book launch! Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

        1. I have many wonderful memories of my Turkish holidays, but favourite are the several times I’ve spent days and whole weeks at a time on-board a Gulet, motoring, or better still, sailing the coastal waters around the Bodrum or Dacta Peninsulars. Funnily enough, there’s a Gulet in my story…

  2. Hi Julie! I am happy to be visiting your blog for the first time. Congratulations on your first novel ‘Singled Out’ and your blog. I am confident that great days lie ahead for you in writing and blogging. I do wish that your candle shines as brightly as possible.

  3. While on our holiday I had the chance to read your book Singled Out.  As usual reading your words were nothing short of delightful, fun, interesting and awesome.  I loved the main character Brenda. I could see her so well and also found her in actuality while on a boat tour in the thousand islands.  It must have been her.  The plot was great, easy to follow, fun to figure out and the twists and turns were delightful.  I learned a great deal more about you as a person through your book.  It seems to me Turkey is one of your favorite places in the world.  The way you described the wonderful foods and treats were so detailed along with the drinks.  Lots of sex authorized and unauthorized.  X was played like a cello by the best of the best.  It all went the way it should have.    
        I love your writing style, always have dear lady.  My wife is now reading it as well.  Hope she enjoys it as I did so much.  Thank you for the excellent mental journey.  Looking forward to your next book.  Thank you for sharing your sagacious mind.

    1. Hi Bill, I’m so very glad you enjoyed Singled Out! I hope you don’t mind that I have very slightly edited your comment, to remove the spoiler, just in case anyone stumbles across it unawares. I learnt a great deal from writing this first book, and as my ideas begin to come together for the next, another challenging time for Brenda, I hope to put what I’ve learned into play. I hope your wife enjoys it too – and that you both had a lovely and happy vacation.

  4. Hi Julie,
    Thank you for visiting my blog, cicampbellblog.wordpress.com and commenting on my post there. Especially since it brought me here to yours. I couldn’t resist your book when I followed the link to Amazon, and I bought it. I can hardly wait to read it, but I have to finish reading one I’m reviewing first.
    From the ‘look inside’ feature, your book looks well written and well edited…just what I was trying to encourage in other indie authors. For me, it is a huge selling point. The fact that your story grabs my attention is another.

    1. Hi Christine,
      Thank you for visiting my blog in return. I would have commented rather than just ‘like’ the post, but life and client business got in the way, so I’m so glad you found your way here to my blog, as I shall now go back and comment properly.
      I’m so glad you liked the look of Singled Out – it’s quite a dark story, a bit gritty in parts, but I’ve taken great care in editing, and it’s always lovely when people notice this.🙂
      Until I started to edit, I didn’t realise just how much was involved, and how many layers there were to the editing process. You can’t do them all at once either, you have to peel them away, one at a time. I was mentored through an early draft of Singled Out and my mentor gave me good advice – she said, if you want to be good, you have to be prepared to ‘do the work’, by which, she meant those layers of editing. Check out posts tagged ‘editing’ for some of my editing pains!
      I do hope you enjoy Singled Out as you read it, and I will enjoy looking back through your posts and checking out your novels too.
      Thanks again for connecting!

  5. Singled Out sounds great – Definitely something I would love to read – I will check out the links above to see where I can get it🙂

    1. Wow – thank you Gabrielle! It’s available on Kindle and paperback from Amazon, UK/US and most other Amazon websites too🙂 If you do pick it up, I really hope you enjoy the read.

  6. I’m still reeling at the thought of giving up sugar. Giving up sugar? That would be, like, giving up breathing. How in the world did you manage that? (And what is the worst craving you had to kick?) Inquiry, post-holiday-cookie-holics, want to know.

    1. Giving up sugar was a progressive thing. I’d already given up chocolate for all but a couple of short periods in the year (Christmas and Easter), so I took the decision not to re-introduce it for Christmas 2015. I’d enjoyed having those two indulgent periods of the year to look forward to for the last 3 or 4 years, but they had rarely lived up to expectations and I’d become aware that chocolate no longer filled the emotional hole it was supposed to fill.

      The main thing was reading all the arguments for reducing added sugar intake, which are, believe me, compelling. Sugar rewards you emotionally, but does nothing for your body, and it was undoubtedly a major factor in my weight gain – and that’s not even taking into account the whole diabetes issue. So I began to be more conscious about it. I don’t crave cakes and pastries, so that wasn’t a problem… my ‘biggie’ was biscuits/cookies. If I had them in the house, I would easily eat 4 or 5 with every cup of coffee. When I stopped buying them, there were days when I would prowl the kitchen looking for something – anything – sweet to plug the gap. But that passes fairly quickly, although I do recall squeezing spoons of toffee sauce one evening! But the truth is, the less of the sweet stuff you have around you, the easier it is *not* to consume it. And once the cravings diminish, you’ll be amazed and you’ll wonder how sugar ever had such a hold. In the meantime, my advice? When you begin this process, don’t just put or throw sweet stuff away… pollute it with washing-up liquid first!

      There were two sweet things that hung about… (1) I struggled with a nice, healthy bowl of porridge – I couldn’t enjoy it without a big squeeze of Golden Syrup and (2) I was still consuming sweetened yoghurts. Neither of these seemed particularly *bad* to me (it’s amazing what you can tell yourself when you want to believe it) – after all, I was eating porridge, and yoghurt, wasn’t I? But they had to go. Now I can enjoy porridge with a sprinkle of salt (yes, really!) and some blueberries or banana, and I’ve replaced sweetened yoghurts with my favourite creamy indulgence – Fage Greek Style (ahem, full fat) yoghurt, which is utterly sublime.

      I don’t miss anything – and that amazes me. It’s just become so obvious to me that we are ‘trained’ to crave sugar and regard sweet things as treats. Now there are savouries which I regard as treats – although my aim is to ‘treat’ myself with other things, not edibles. But it’s a journey.

      By the way – I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to make a blog post of this comment!

      1. No, no. Go ahead and blog about it. But converts might be long in coming. I don’t disagree about any of what you said. I just know I am challenged by a much higher addiction to sugar. If you think 4 or 5 cookies is a lot…um…don’t ask about Christmas.

        1. Ah yes, Christmas… But it’s never easy, though at this time of year there may be a little more support around for changing habits. I have taken on my sugar habit gradually – and that may be a more tolerable approach than the ‘cold turkey’ way.

    1. Wow… Gabrielle – thank you! Yes, it’s available in both paperback and on Kindle from the various Amazon pages. Just £2.99 in the UK for the Kindle version! It’s a gritty story, but with a lot of heart. If you do get it, I hope you enjoy the read, and I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

      Incidentally, before I began blogging about my new healthy lifestyle and weight loss, I blogged for 2 or 3 years on the writing of Singled Out. Check out some of my earlier posts for some background on my central character, the setting, the whole singles holiday thing and my bad-guy…..

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