Saturday, 27 June 2015

Where did the first half go?

I can't believe that on Wednesday we will start the second half of the year. Where has the first half gone?
I appreciate I have been a little off the radar as far as writing has been concerned so here's an update of what's been happening and what I hope to achieve in the second half of the year, assuming it doesn't go as  quickly as the first half.
As many of you know I have been having a lot of surgery for my throat and I won't go into that in detail, but needless to say the recuperation has curtailed my writing some what.
In an attempt to get my writing kick started I have set up a weekend writing challenge on Scribophile. This challenge involves an object being left and then a story has to be written which includes the object. This is going great except I am one of the few people failing to write the story. Motivation seems to have left me along with my thyroid and vocal chords.
I have also set up a group on facebook to promote any books which are available free through Kindle Owners Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited. I am happy to say a number of people have signed up to this and hopefully they have seen their books being borrowed thanks to the exposure.
Finally for me I have decided to split my novel 'Stripper of the Yard' into two parts. Part 1 is free and part 2 is the same price as the full book (only £1.99 or $2.99). The idea is that hopefully people will download part 1, enjoy it, and wanting to know what happens next, buy part 2. So far I have had 307 downloads of part 1 and 7 sales of part 2 or the entire book. This is all in the last 2 weeks which considering I had had no sales in the last 6 months is brilliant.
The hardest part of the whole thing was getting Amazon to list the book for free. With Smashwords and Barnes & Noble you can chose to list a book for free. However with Amazon you have to list a book for at least 99p. In order to list a book for free you have to get Amazon to price match the book in line with Smashwords and Barnes & Nobel. This means listing the book with those other sites and then writing to Amazon to request that they price match. Amazon then email saying they will think about it and take a week to decide. In my case they price matched in the USA and then I had to request that they did the same in the UK, which took another week.
But the books are now listed and if you want to check them out they're here....
Part 1 -
Part 2 -

Going forwards I have 2 projects on the go at the moment, both of which need more attention than I have given them recently.
I have my 2013 NaNoWriMo winner to edit and then publish. This is the story of an East-end gangster whose wife can get pregnant and pretends she is to keep him, while at the same time his girlfriend is pregnant and pretends not to be to keep him. When his brother introduces the two women the consequences could be dire. I am hoping to have this ready to publish by the end of the year.
My second project is to write my story. In the last 7 months I have had intensive surgery and been in most of the departments in the local hospital (except the maternity ward and the mortuary) and Guy's Hospital in London. I knew nothing about my condition and have learnt as I have gone a long and I thought it would be interesting to get everything down on paper to reflect on the journey I have been through. As my treatment has not yet finished I don't know when it will be available but hopefully some time next year.

So lots has happened and lots still has to happen.
How have you coped with the first half of the year?
Do you have big plans for the second half?

Friday, 5 June 2015

HME's - Swedish Nose v Bib - A Patient's view

When you have a tracheostomy you intake all your air through a tube inserted into your throat. One of the problems with this is that the air goes in dry and cold and doesn't have the benefit of the warming and filtering effects of you nose. In order to replace your nose's function a HME (heat and moisture exchange) is required.
Up until a week ago I have always used a Buchanan bib but at my last hospital visit it was suggested I should try a Swedish nose.
After my first week here is what I see as the pros and cons of the two systems.

Buchanan bib

  • The bib covers the trachi and gives the patient some privacy when out in public. A stranger would not know what was under the bid and not necessarily know the patient had an illness or disability.
  • The bib can be washed and is easy to keep clean.
  • A bib lasts three days.
  • The bib catches projectile spit/mucus that can be ejected from the trachi when coughing.


  • Unfiltered air can still enter the trachi around the sides and the bottom of the bib.
  • Although in hides the trachi the bib is fairly obvious and doesn't match most outfits so can look out of place.
  • In high winds the bib can be sucked against the trachi and cause some breathing problems.

Swedish nose

  • The Swedish nose fits snug on the end of the Trachi and therefore all the air is filtered.
  • There is a flanged opening so suction can still be carried out even with the HME in place.
  • I have found if you wear the Swedish nose under your shower protector in stops the shower protector from occluding the trachi and makes breathing much easier.
  • It stops mucus from escaping when you cough and staining or being absorbed into your clothes. 


  • The Swedish nose attaches onto the end of the trachi and therefore the whole of the trachi is visible when you go out.
  • It only lasts 24 hours and then you need a new one.
  • If you cough and produce a lot of mucus and don't suction as you cough, it can gather in the Swedish nose. This causes moisture build up which means the HME loses efficiency. This can also make breathing feel more laboured which means changing the HME more regularly.
  • If you have a strong cough, as I do, you can cough the HME off. So make sure you always carry a spare.
  • More pressure is needed to occlude the trachi to talk. If you have a sensitive trachi this can lead to more coughing.

I have had a few teething problems getting used to the Swedish Nose but if it is protecting my airways and giving me less chance of getting a chest infection then that can only be a good thing.

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