Mental Health – A Dark Period

silhouette-photo-of-man-leaning-on-heart-shaped-tree-744667On Saturday evening, I came home from work and found out on social media that an iconic British presenter had killed herself. Although I didn’t know her personally, I’ve been a huge fan of hers for almost a decade. Her funny, down-to-earth, humourous and beautiful personality made me feel like I already knew her the very first time I saw her on TV. Since then, I have watched and follow her programs. I’ve always wanted to meet her in real life and tell her what a uniquely humourous personality she had. Call me a dork, but when I was based in London Soho for work, I would always have a pen and paper in my handbag just in case I bumped into her and wanted her autograph (I am old-fashioned). She was definitely one of a kind. Then I found out about the tragic news. I had to blink my eyes hard several times as I stared at the headlines before understanding what it meant. She was gone. Apparently, she had taken her own life to escape all the causes to her mental health. Then it made me think about my own experience.

Almost a year ago, I had my own experience of a mental breakdown. I never thought it would happen to me. I would often read about others on social media, TV and magazines about their mental health, but never really understood what it was really like. To my understanding then, mental health was about feeling sad and crying. Little did I know what I was in for. It all began during one afternoon when I was taking a short nap. I don’t usually take naps as I constantly work around the clock. But on that particular day, work took its toll on me. I don’t even remember having a dream. When I woke up, I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something was telling me to look back on a project I had done a few years back. Feeling uneasy and confused, I turned on my computer and opened up the files to the project. It wasn’t long until I saw what could have been a huge problem that could have cost me my life. I began to panic. I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. For the next whole month, I wasn’t myself. I didn’t know who I was. I couldn’t eat or sleep properly. Thinking back, I don’t even know how I had managed to survive without food and water in my system. I felt no hunger or thirst. My mental breakdown had emotionally blocked it all away. My stomach wasn’t even making hunger noises. I spent most of my time crying on and off. If I wasn’t crying, I would just stare into space. The feeling inside me was unbearable. It felt uneasy and out of control. Everything around me felt emotionally dark, like I was in my own hell. I even thought about my parents and prayed for their presence. I needed them. I tried to be strong in the presence of my then eleven year old boy. But he too knew something was wrong. Death even came to mind. But it was the thought of leaving my family behind that stopped me, especially my boy. He is my muffin, my life. I was also afraid to see my doctor or talk to my friends. I was afraid to seek help.

It wasn’t until a ‘professional’ friend’ came to my aid. He had a look into my problem and finally convinced me that there wasn’t a problem. He then went on to tell me that sometimes when we think that there is a problem when there is not, our minds will begin to create one without us even knowing it. After our deep conversation, things slowly began going back to normal. I tried to focus more on my well being. I didn’t work for six months, which would explain my long absence from this blog. I did a lot of working out. I tried to live positively and not think about what happened. I would be lying if I didn’t say there were a few times when I thought about the problem. But I managed to force myself to shake those dangerously toxic thoughts away.

After six months, I feel like things were back to normal. And in order to test that theory, I faced what I thought was the problem during those past months. I looked back to the project…and felt nothing. There was no problem. There was none to begin with. I couldn’t believe how I thought there was one to begin with.

So you see, mental health can affect anyone at any time, sometimes without their knowledge. After my experience with mental health, I saw life a little differently. I no longer question anything in life, because you’ll never know what might happen. I never expected to go through a mental health scare. I am also careful with my thoughts. Deep down, I am afraid to experience what I’d experienced. Therefore, I try to have a clear, positive mind. I’ve even started to chat with two of my best friends, *Coco and *Winnie (who I have mentioned before in another post) more than usual. The three of us may be in different parts of the world, with Coco being in Malaysia, Winnie in Australia, and I myself in London-town, but our friendship have always remained intact.

I hadn’t planned on sharing my experience on mental health until only a few days ago after the death of my idol. Her death has really hit me to the core. By sharing my experience, I hope to let my follow bloggers and those reading my blog know that I am here if you ever need to reach out. We may not know each other in ‘real’ life, but I am here. I always love to hear from you guys. Don’t be shy, don’t be awkward and don’t be a stranger. Sometimes a simple one word ‘hello’ can make a huge difference. We are human beings at the end of the day, so let’s be kind to one another.

Much love and hugs always,

Puiyin W.L.

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The Dark Web – An Excerpt

73495112_10156664089253202_2953792560151134208_n “The work of the Devil is strange and powerful and for now I need you three to stay together.”
She handed Fay a small crystal, not unlike the one she had given to Rex. She placed it in the palm of her hand, said a few whispered words as she spun her hand over the top and they all watched in amazement as the crystal glowed and left a red mark in the middle of Fay’s hand.
“This will help protect you, but please, please, stay together until I call you,” she said stressing the second ‘please’.

 

 

 

 

The Dark Web – An Excerpt

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He put his notes down, switched off his bedside light and relaxed back into his two feather pillows. He was just drifting off to sleep when something touched his cheek that caused him to jump. He was immediately awake and on the alert. As he sat upright something touched his face again and in the semi-darkness he could make out the shape of a giant spider hanging from the ceiling by a single thread. He leapt out of bed, avoiding the spider, and ran to the side of the room. He needed something with which to kill the arachnid that was now staring at him with blood red eyes.

‘The Dark Web’ by Vivian Head

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The Dark Web is finally out. The sequel to The Warped Web by the sensational Vivian Head is now available on Amazon. It will soon be available in other retailers and on ebook.

As a publisher when looking to take on titles by others, I first look at the linguistics of the work itself before the overall storyline. This is to determine whether the writing is at a ‘readable’ state and if I would be drawn to the words. I want to ‘know’ the original work. After a story is edited, I would still like to see most of the original style of the writer in the story rather than a whole different, edited one. With over forty years of experience in the publishing industry, it was no surprise that Vivian’s writing immediately grasped my attention, and it took me just less than a day to finish reading the first book The Warped Web with many written pages of my own detailed notes to go along with it. Vivian had created such an atmospheric setting at the beginning of the story with her style of writing that I was already drawn to what was happening and wanted to know what would happen next. After finishing the story, I knew that Vivian had to come up with a sequel, which she did with The Dark Web. I am currently on the verge of pursuing Vivian to write a third instalment…or more. On top of it all, the character Rex Saloman already has a place in my heart. For me, The Warped Web is more thrilling and heart-throbbing, whereas The Dark Web is darker and spine-chilling.

Following the success of his first case as a private detective, Rex Saloman embraced his next case aware that it was not as simple as it would first appear. Approached by a concerned father, Rex was asked to look into the background of his daughter’s new boyfriend. As suspected, there was a dark side to the young man’s nature and a connection to the Black Widow Temple which Rex had believed was over following the arrest of Lucifer’s servants. But the devil knows no barriers and his work spread beyond the bars of a prison cell threatening the lives of Rex and his associates. Rex calls once again on his ex-partner, Peter, for help and together they follow their target to Mongolia, where their lives become entangledwith the Dark Web. 

The Warped Web on Amazon

The Dark Web on Amazon

Puiyin W.L. Publishing

Do follow the adventures of Rex Saloman and get in touch with any thoughts or leave them on Amazon.

Who We Were Series

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The titles for my series Who We Were are revealed. For those of you who have been following my blog and are fan of the first title, you will know that I have been working on all of the sequels for a while, and I can now reveal the official titles.

Who We Were The Diary

Who We Were The Invisible Cord

Who We Were A Later Time

Who We Were Ashton’s Story (A Novella)

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It is difficult to understand the theory of a parallel existence, but two young people – Jace and Melodi – experience out-of-place memories that later prove to be strangely accurate in detail. In 1950, a young man named Qingshan moves to Jiangning in China with his parents in search of a better life. He meets a beautiful young lady named Lei-Li, but their love is forbidden due to old family traditions and cultural differences and they pay the ultimate penalty for trying to be together. Jace and Melodi meet at High School in Connecticut in the USA in 1996 and feel an immediate affiliation for each another, but their relationship is also doomed. They meet up again as adults, when Jace is a doctor and Melodi a writer, and their paths become intertwined through the words written in a diary by Lei-Li. The coincidences are hard to ignore and a tragic accident leads to a better understanding of who they really were.

A Day in the Life of Puiyin W.L. – An Ordinary Weekday

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I came to writing my previous post How I Write My First Draft Of A Novel In 3 Months after having been asked many times how long or how fast I could write a novel. So in this post, I will let you in on my writing life and show you what my typical day as a writer/author/publisher is like.

Depending on whether I am in the drafting or publishing phrase, every day can be different in terms of what time I wake up or how busy I get.

(*Names have been changed for privacy purpose)

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7am: Good morning. I wake up and first thing I do is go on my personal group chat where I keep in close touch with two of my childhood friends, *Coco in Malaysia and *Winnie in Australia. We have a tight-knit, unbreakable bond, and no distance can break that. Anyways, we chat every single day, and I wake up every morning to their messages. I would spend ten minutes replying to them.

7:10am: As much as I love my girls, I have to leave them and climb out of bed to get my son ready for school. He’s not hard to wake up. Sometimes he’s already up before me. I always have a quick shower in the morning for a fresh start. It wakes me up instantly. 

7:25am: My son and I are already in the kitchen. It doesn’t take me long to get ready if I don’t have someplace to be in the morning, such as my work taking me into central London. My son has a quick bowl of cereal. As for me, depending on how I am feeling, I would decide whether to have my Starbucks’ filtered coffee which I can prepare at home or grab the one at my son’s favourite bakery. 

7:35am: No matter what, my son and I are out the door at this time. We then head our way via walking to his favourite bakery. We live seconds away from the bustling streets of coffee shops and bakeries, but there’s one that we go to every school morning.

7:40am: We are at the bakery getting my son’s favourite chicken pasty, one for breakfast and one for school. After then, we hurry to my son’s school bus which is at a waiting spot only a few minutes away. The bus leaves at 8am sharp.

8am: I am home by this time. I prepare my morning weekdays favourite breakfast, hash brown and runny eggs alongside my second round of coffee. I then bring my breakfast up to my office room and eat it at my desk in front of the laptop. While I eat, I check on my many emails.

8:20am: I am a fast eater. Once breakfast is finished, I go straight to work. If I am working on drafts, I like to usually work in bed. I also don’t just work on one draft of a novel alone. I tend to work on two to three maximum. So I will split my time doing about an hour on three chapters each, depending on how much there is to write on one chapter alone. There are times when I have to proofread/edit my authors’ work. In that case, I put their work first before mine and work on them for as long as I need to. I don’t usually take more than two weeks.

11:45am: Lunch time for me. During the weekdays when I am working, I like to have healthy homemade egg noodles with chicken and salad for lunch. I prepare it the evening before as I like to have it at a chilled, overnight temperature. Every now and again, I would have some chocolates after my lunch to give me the bit of energy boost. I am not a fan of healthy snack bars or the energy ones. Besides, like the saying goes, life is too short not to have chocolates, right?

12:10pm: Once again, I am a fast eater. After lunch, I relax a bit and check my group messages from Coco and Winnie and reply to them.

12:15pm: I go back to work.

*There are days when I catch up with my fairy godmother aka editor on work and personal stuff over the phone. 

3:15pm: I stop working here and get ready to pick up my son at his bus stop. If he has swimming practice (go Team GB!) I would then have to pick him up at school. From now until 9pm is ‘mommy’s time’. I give my son all the attention and spend time with him, whether it’s watching him swim, going shopping, or having ice-cream. My mother-son bonding time is very important to me, and I would always put him first on top of everything else.

9pm: It is my son’s bedtime. Once he’s tucked in bed, I continue with some more work. This time, unless I am proofreading/editing, I will have Netflix on. As mentioned in my previous post How I Write My First Draft Of A Novel In 3 Months, I cannot work in a quiet environment when writing. I will only have the TV on while working at night, and during the day, I will have the music on. Also, I am very much a night owl. This is the time where my imagination becomes extremely active. And I tend to write more in the space of an hour than I usually would in an hour during the day.

11:40pm: My husband is home from work and we spend a few minutes catching up on our day.

12:10am – 1am: I go for a run or fast walk on my treadmill (sometimes up to an hour). I find it hard to workout during the day. I just can’t set my mind on it. I would workout five days a week.

1:15am: After a nice shower or bath (I would take about twenty minutes in the bath) I go back to work. Yes, my mind is still active at this hour.

2:30am: Here is where I stop working and watch Netflix or read a book in bed. Occasionally, I will message Coco and Winnie. 

3am/4am: The lights go out. Goodnight and see you at 7am. 

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It does seem like I’m working in the comfort of my own home, which is good. However, every work that I do have deadlines. And I’m used to the little sleep I get. It’s waking up and doing what I love and being who/what I am that gives me the boost and motivation to keep on going. 

So there you have it, an example of my ordinary weekday.

Happy Sunday from the Publishing Cat

Memeng the publishing cat is a long time fan of Mr Whiptail. In fact, he could see himself playing one of the roles.

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cat                       ©Vivian Head, Biddy Lee 2019

William wasn’t very good at cooking and so he had just gone to the larder
to get a piece of his favourite cheese when he noticed two enormous eyes
peering through his front door which he had foolishly left open. The eyes
belonged to the village cat Jaspurr who, up until that moment, William had
never had any trouble with. William could feel the hairs rise on the back of his neck, nervous about what was going to happen next. He wondered if his little hairy legs were
going to hold him up for much longer.
“Leave me alone Jaspurr, go and find your own food!” William said, trying
to sound tough, but his voice was a giveaway as it showed signs of a slight
quiver.
“Why?” asked Jaspurr.
“Because it’s not fair picking on someone that is so much smaller than
you. And anyway your humans give you plenty of food.”

Excerpt – William Whiptail’s Words of Wisdom

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William went to give his new friend a hug, but then backed away.

“What’s wrong?” asked Spike.

“I wanted to give you a hug to make you feel better, but I am not sure how
to get past all your prickles.”

Spike laughed again.

“They’re not actually called ‘prickles’ you know. They are
called ‘spines’. Do you know I have more than five thousand to protect me and
every year they are replaced by new ones so they stay nice and sharp.”

How I Write My First Draft of a Novel in 3 Months

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I have often been asked many questions regarding my writing. How long does it take you to write a book? Where do you get your ideas from? Is it hard for you to write? Do you enjoy writing? Do you take your time? So in this post, I will share with you how I get my full draft done. This is my way and how I get things done. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to finishing your first draft. It’s all about getting it done.

Starting Point

Having a new idea for a book can be exciting. For me, I’m always excited when I have new ideas, and I often tend to have more than one idea at the same time. It is impossible for me to have just one idea alone. I could look at an apple and an idea/inspiration could just come to me without me having to do anything. With all these ideas, I have a small brown book where I carry with me to keep my ideas in. It doesn’t matter how I write it down. It could be as brief as writing ‘looking at apple’ or ‘seeing apple dance’. Others might not understand what I’ve written, but it’s my own way of understanding it.

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Taking the Pick

With all the flying ideas in my head, I choose one that I can see myself writing a story about. There are times when I can combine two, or more, different ideas into one.  As a writer, I like my stories to be like movies. I am a huge movie fan, and I like my stories to be seen as something that could be played into movies. Don’t get me confused for being a screenwriter. I love writing books, and when readers read my works, I want them to be able to picture what is going on in their head, like the inside of their heads are playing a movie. If you know me as a writer since from the beginning, you would know where my tagline comes from.

“Every story plays a movie in the head.”

 

Now Write and Brave It

Once I’ve picked my idea, or ideas, I then think about the ending. I always think about the ending and have an idea as to how my story would end. This way, it helps me with the rest of the storyline. I don’t like to waste too much time thinking about what to write. I start writing the storyline in brief points for each chapter until more than halfway through the story. It doesn’t matter if I do not know what would happen in one chapter. I think hard and keep the ending in mind. It’s easy said than done, but by not thinking too much, I can allow my mind and the pen and paper to do the work. I also don’t just like to write in any notebooks. I like to write in good quality, fancy ones. I just like the feeling of it. But no matter how good quality or fancy the notebooks are, the writing itself is always messy, quick and over the place. This is what I call good brainstorming. After writing down the storyline points, I start to write the actual story entirely. I have also often been asked if writing the entire story via pen and paper would take up a lot of my time. The answer is no. I tend to write fast, and writing down helps to make my story grow. If I were to type it up on my laptop/computer straight away, my mind would freeze. It would not work. At this point when I’m writing the entire story, I don’t worry about the grammar or making it perfect. In fact, my writing at this point is over the place, and if someone were to read it, they wouldn’t understand what was going on. Only I could understand my own mess. The most important thing is to write the story. After drafting every chapter or two, I type what I’ve written onto my laptop/computer. This might seem like a lot of hassle, but it’s not. I can work faster this way than working straight from my laptop/computer. It doesn’t take me long to work on a chapter. Of course, sometimes I get writer’s block or I’m stuck as maybe the storyline for a chapter is not working out. That’s what the storyline brief points are for. I can change things around, and if need be, re-write a chapter, so long as I have the points to keep me on track. Once I’ve written close to halfway through the storyline, I finish with the rest of the brief points for the rest of the chapters until the end. In my opinion, the overall timescale should take no longer than three (or maybe four) months. This is because during this period, the mind is fresh with the storyline and ideas. But I feel that the longer I work on it, the less I will feel connected to the story, and therefore losing the touch with the storyline. A story will not work if there’s no passion towards it. And if there’s no passion, then the readers won’t be able to connect with the story.

69906519_2386590808275207_7179030976201228288_n (copyright material) – Draft for Who We Were

You can never expect to see a nicely written draft from me. I believe that the messier the draft, a better written story will come out of it, because it shows that the ideas are pouring out of the head. It’s all about getting the ideas down than having neat handwriting at this point.

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Show Time

Now it’s time to polish the draft from its mess and make it as perfect as possible. Yes, it’s time to proofread and edit. This process should not be rushed, but of course, it shouldn’t take too long either. I have three ways for this process. Firstly, read the entire story and edit out what is not needed or doesn’t make sense. Here is where I fix the mess and make it work. Don’t be afraid to edit out words/sentences. My advice is that it’s always better to have a well written story than to have it judged by its quantity. Secondly, read the entire story again, except that this time, you pay attention to the grammar. And thirdly, read the entire story once again and see how you feel with everything polished. You can, of course, re-read the entire story several times more until you are happy with it. For me, I do not take more than a month for this process, or else, I will keep finding irrelevant mistakes to edit. It does happen.

Off to the Fairy Godmother

Once I’m happy, or satisfied, with the polished draft, it’s time to send it off to my fairy godmother, also known as my editor, or fairy god-editor. Every author, or writer who wishes to publish a book, should have their own fairy god-editor who will add their magical touch to the draft to make it a finished product. Believe me, any great authors out there have their very own fairy god-editors, because when it comes down to it, we can never see our own mistakes. That’s when the fairy god-editors comes in and give the draft some magic. I could have the option to just send my fairy god-editor my unpolished draft, but then it wouldn’t seem like it would be my writing when it comes to the finished product. Having a fairy god-editor look through my works will enable me to learn from my mistakes and become a better writer.

Wellbeing 

For me, it’s always important to stay healthy and have a clear head when writing, especially that I tend to work till late nights and have little sleep. If I’m distracted or in a foul mood, it would be impossible to write. And when I’m writing, I always make sure to have some food and coffee with me wherever I work. Never go hungry writing. I always make my writing space a comfortable and happy one as it relaxes my head. I like to work in bed while listening to nineties hip pop music during the drafting period or early stages of a book. I can’t work in a quiet environment or else my mind would wonder. Also, the distractions at this stage serves as an inspiration. And when it comes to the ‘serious’ polishing stage, I work at my office desk with no distractions. It is also a good idea to do some exercise. Nothing too extreme if you’re not a working out person. Trust me, it’s another way to relax the body and mind. For me, I like to run or fast walk for forty minutes to an hour five times a week. Lastly, it helps to have a long shower or bath. I have a remedy where I use my favourite organic shower gel and scrub three times a week where it relaxes me and puts my mind in a happy place.

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Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to the stages of writing. This is my way. Happy writing!