Tag Archives: Psychology

Dear Reader #43

Dear Reader,

My personal top ten this week with Ann’s War proving popular. This mini series has greatly exceeded my expectations.

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https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E/

April 1st was Sam’s birthday. I write the stories in ‘real time’ so Sam has a real age, thirty-seven, although believe me she still looks twenty-seven and in terms of attitude to life she’ll always be seventeen 😉

I‘ve been writing about Sam for six years and have enjoyed every minute. Sam is a writer’s dream, always full of stories.

At the moment, I’m storyboarding Looking for Rosanna Mee, book seventeen in the series, and have many more stories planned.

Happy Birthday, Sam! 

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Published today, Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine April 2020. As ever, there are some great articles and features included this month. Read or download your copy FREE 🙂

My latest article for the Seaside News

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To date, Imprint Digital have printed all my books. I’m delighted with the quality of their printing and it’s great to see that even in difficult times they are proceeding with the expansion of their printing plant, pictured here.

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My Imprint Digital paperbacks are available from my website at special reduced prices for visitors to my website store.

https://hannah-howe.com/mystore/

This lyric by Al Stewart could serve as a soundtrack to one of the chapters in my Spanish Civil War Saga, The Olive Tree: Roots.

While traveling northwards on a back country lane

I came on the village where first I grew

And stopped to climb up the hill once again

Looking down from the tracks to the gray slate roofs

I watched the village moving as the day went slowly by

In the fields we lay here, my very first love and I

Under timeless arcadian skies

Under timeless arcadian skies

The old canal lies sleeping under the sky

The barges are gone to a lost decade

On overgrown banks here, lovers’ footsteps went by

Long before ever the roads were made

And in our turn we passed here and carved our names on trees

As the days washed by like waves of an endless sea

Under timeless arcadian skies

Under timeless arcadian skies

Time runs through your fingers

You never hold it at all till it’s gone

Some fragments just linger with you

Like snow in the spring hanging on

I left the village behind in the night

To fade like a sail on the darkening seas

The shifts and changes in the patterns of life

Will weather it more than the centuries

And in another village, in a far off foreign land

The new day breaks out opening up its hand

And the sun has the moon in his eyes

As he wanders the timeless skies

As part of their psychological assessment, the would-be agents at the SOE training school were shown Rorschach‘s inkblots, including card nine, the card featured here. Most of the students interpreted this image as dragons, which coincidentally is my interpretation.

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Harry Rée is one of the inspirations for Guy Samson, my character in Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, therefore I was delighted to see that Harry’s son, Jonathan, has edited his father’s memoirs and published them recently.

I’m looking forward to reading this book 🙂

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This is exciting, for today at least Operation Locksmith is #1 in France, outselling James Patterson 🙂

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Operation Locksmith is now available for pre-order.

“I understand that you wish to return to France,” the man behind the mahogany desk said.

“That’s correct,” I said.

“Your motivation?” he asked, smoothing the corners of his moustache.

“To do my bit for the war effort,” I said, “to defeat the Nazis and to discover what’s happened to my husband.”

“It would be extremely risky,” the officious-looking man said, “suicidal even, for a lone woman to undertake such a venture. However, there is an alternative.”

“Alternative?” I frowned.

“Yes. We’ll parachute you in, as one of our people. Of course, you’d have to undertake training first. Rigorous training. Top secret training. If you fail, I’m afraid it will mean a spell in the cooler, possibly until the war is over.”

“The cooler?”

“But I trust it won’t come to that,” he said, ignoring my question. “When can you start?”

I began immediately. And during my training I met two people who would radically reshape my life – Guy Samson and Mimi Duchamp. I also discovered secrets about myself, abilities beyond my imagination. However, as the training heated up so the situations became all too real, until they reached a point where I had to kill, or be killed.

EVE'S WAR OPERATION LOCKSMITH MASTER

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE will continue next week, but this week I present Men of Courage Heroes of SOE 

Harry Alfred Rée was born on 15 October 1914. An educationalist, he was regarded by historian M.R.D. Foot as one of the best male SOE agents.

The son of Dr. Alfred Rée, a chemist who was from a Danish Jewish family, and Lavinia Elisabeth Dimmick, Harry Rée was a conscientious objector, ordered to work for the National Fire Service. However, in 1941 he re-registered for military service and was called up into the army. Later, he volunteered for the SOE. 

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In April 1943, as a Captain, and with the code name César, Harry parachuted into France to join the Acrobat Network. He argued against the RAF bombing targets in France because it turned public opinion against the Allies. Instead, he suggested that SOE agents should organise effective sabotage of factories on the ground. 

Harry convinced the director of a Peugeot factory at Sochaux to cooperate with the SOE. The director, a member of the Resistance, not only assisted in the sabotage, but also shared tactical information on Wehrmacht projects, including the V1 rocket. Due to this action, the RAF did not bomb the factory, saving many lives.

The Nazis tried to capture Harry. Indeed, he escaped a Feldgendarmerie group after being shot four times, swam across a river and crawled through a forest to reach Switzerland. In May 1944 he returned to Britain. 

Shortly after the war, Harry starred alongside fellow agent Jacqueline Nearne in the film Now it Can be Told (aka School for Danger), produced by the RAF Film Unit, which told the story of SOE’s activities in France.

In 1940, Harry married Hetty Vine. They had three children, the first of whom was born while Harry was in France.

Harry died in 1991.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

P.S. Apologies if the Issuu links do not load and for any formatting errors. This is entirely the fault of WordPress who, once again, have undated their platform at the expense of their customers. WordPress’ ‘improvements’ continue to make blogging and website management more difficult. When I joined them they were excellent, but now they provide a second-rate service.

Dear Reader #33

Dear Reader,

My sales top ten this week. Many thanks to everyone who supports my books.

Some people stand out. If you watch this video you will see what I mean. Currently, I’m reading dozens of books about twenty-one female SOE agents. All these women were remarkable, but some stand out even amongst such illustrious company.

This research will shape my SOE agents, Eve and Mimi. It’s an honour to read about these people, and their stories are gold dust for an author. So many ideas spring from every page. It’s very exciting.

Local views this week, at Sger.

Women of Courage, Heroines of the SOE

More research for my forthcoming Eve’s War series.

Lise Marie Jeanette de Baissac was born on 11 May 1905 in Mauritius, which made her a British subject. Of French descent, she was the youngest of three children.

In 1919 Lise and her family moved to Paris. When the Germans occupied Paris in 1940 Jean, her eldest brother, joined the British Army while Lise and her youngest brother, Claude, travelled for six months through Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar before arriving in Britain.

In Britain, Claude was recruited by the SOE while initially Lise worked at the Daily Sketch newspaper. Soon, Lise joined Claude in the SOE. However, instead of being trained for the usual roles of courier or wireless operator, Lise was instructed to create her own resistance circuit.

Lise de Baissac

Lise trained with Mary Herbert, Jacqueline Nearne and Odette Sansom. She impressed her trainers with her ability and her imperturbable, cool reactions. They regarded her as intelligent, strong-minded and decisive, with a flair for organisation.

On 24 September 1942, Lise and Andrée Borrel were the first female SOE agents to parachute into France. The agents jumped from a Whitley bomber and landed in the village of Boisrenard near the town of Mer. Their mission was to establish a safe house in Poitiers where new agents could settle into their secret lives.

An Armstrong Whitworth Whitley c1940

Lise’s role was to form a new circuit and to establish a centre where agents could go with complete security for material help and information on local details, and to organise the pick-up of arms drops from Britain to assist the French resistance.

Cover stories were vital to SOE agents. For her cover story Lise was Madame Irene Brisse, a poor widow from Paris, seeking refuge in the provinces from the tension of life in the capital. She moved into an apartment on a busy street near the Gestapo HQ, and became acquainted with the Gestapo chief, Herr Grabowski.

Posing as an amateur archeologist, Lise cycled around the countryside to reconnoitre possible parachute drop-zones and landing areas for the RAF. When local networks collapsed and the Gestapo closed in, Lise was flown back to Britain. There, while assisting new recruits in training, she broke her leg.

With her leg healed, on 10 April 1944 Lise returned to France where she rejoined her brother Claude. After D-Day, she gathered information on German dispositions and passed that information on to the Allies. She was bold enough to rent a room in a house occupied by the local commander of the German Forces.

According to Lise, on one occasion, “The Germans arrived and threw me out of my room. I arrived to take my clothes and found they had opened up the parachute I had made into a sleeping bag and were sitting on it. Fortunately they had no idea what it was.”

In the summer of 1944 Lise enjoyed another lucky escape when cycling from Normandy to Paris. She was searched by a young soldier at a German checkpoint while carrying spare parts of radio sets around her waist. Later, Lise said, “He searched me very carefully. I knew he could feel the things I was carrying. But he said nothing. Perhaps he was looking for a weapon like a revolver, maybe he thought it was a belt. I do not know.”

Claude de Baissac

Lise’s colleagues spoke very highly of her. Captain Blackman, the leader of an SAS party in France wrote: “Every day she would cycle sixty or seventy kilometres. She often carried much compromising material on her person and bicycle, such as wireless material and secret documents. If she had been discovered carrying such things she would have been undoubtedly shot on the spot without trial or formal enquiry. Consequently she risked her life daily.”

Lise continued her SOE activities until the liberation, organising several groups and providing the Allies with information. She was also involved in sabotage missions, setting tyre bursters and mines on roads used by the military, cutting telephone wires, underground cables and railway lines. On at least one occasion she took part in an attack on an enemy column.

After the war Lise married Gustave Villameur, an artist and interior designer living in Marseille. She died on 29 March 2004, aged 98.

In 2008, Lise’s life was recaptured in the highly fictionalised French film Female Agents (Les Femmes de l’ombre).

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #26

Dear Reader,

This week I wrote chapter twenty-two of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. In this chapter Sam wanders on to the beach and sees bioluminescent plankton, a phenomenon caused by tiny organisms that produce a chemical called luciferin as a defence mechanism to draw predators towards the creature trying to eat the plankton.

Very proud to be a member of the Mom’s Favorite Reads team. Our magazines have proved popular throughout the year and with our December edition I believe we have produced a cracker 🙂

🎄🎄🎄Our Christmas edition! 🎄🎄🎄

In this edition…articles, short stories, recipes, travel, interviews, young writers, poetry and activities for all the family.

Read or download your copy FREE.

Readers familiar with my Sam Smith Mystery Series will know that the stories are based on psychological and sociological issues. Therefore, I’m delighted that blogger and YouTuber Anna Grace agreed to discuss a range of psychological issues in a guest post for my website. If you haven’t seen Anna’s post you can view it here 

https://hannah-howe.com/2019/12/04/anna-grace/

Some political pictorials that caught my eye this week…

Mom’s Favorite Reads‘ charity of the month is Christmas for CAMHS, a charity that supports children and adolescents who will spend Christmas in hospital, often away from their families, because of mental health issues.

The gifts on their wish list are inexpensive, no more than a cup of coffee, so please support this great cause by either: following their Facebook page, sharing their web links, donating via their gift page or by sending gifts. Thank you.

https://www.christmasforcamhs.org.uk

https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/9A29RCVE11LW

https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasForCAMHS/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Anna Grace

Readers familiar with my Sam Smith Mystery Series will know that the stories are based on psychological and sociological issues. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Anna Grace and I’m delighted that she agreed to write a guest post for my website. Please share the post and connect with Anna via the social media links listed below.

Should I Trust My Brain?

This is a question that I often ask myself. Its all well and good recognising the difference between me and my mental health, however, sometimes, in crisis, it comes down to; do I listen to my brain or not.

As someone who lives with Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety, has a possible diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and has spent the last 3 years battling with Anorexia, at times, listening to my brain can be deadly. All of these disorders come with intrusive thoughts. I like the analogy of the devil and the angel sitting on my shoulder. Each of these disorders sits on my shoulder like the devil.

A lot of my decision making comes down to whether I decide to listen to the devil or the angel. At times when I am most unwell all I can hear is the devil and I start to make decisions which are damaging for me and possibly for those around me. When I am well, its almost like I can hear a debate between both sides and I have to determine which voice is which; and there’s the catch, it would be all well and good if I knew which voice was the devil and which was the angel however the more I am mentally struggling the harder it is for me to determine which voice is speaking to me and therefore the harder it is for me to make decisions that are healthy for me. 

The devil and the angel don’t just affect my decision making, but also my self perception. This is where the eating disorder, anxiety and BPD come into play. My self perception is perpetually an internal argument between these two voices. Part of my eating disorder treatment is learning to identify my true voice and believe it rather than the voice of the eating disorder, for me this can be of some help with the anxiety and BPD too, I learn to identify the damaging voice and learn that it is untrue.

I in no way have perfected the art of ignoring the bad voice, however I have learnt techniques to remember some fundamental truths. For me, as a Christian, a lot of these surround receiving bible verses which I find helpful. For someone who is not religious this may be remembering some fundamental beliefs and reciting them as a truth on which they can rely. 

This technique helps me to remember the foundation of my identity and can help focus me in order to make a decision which is healthy for me.

Connect with Anna on social media

Blog: https://www.annagrace-mylifewithbipolardisorder.com/

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUN3AwHAiB19NQez7V2lfYQ

Twitter: @annagracemylif1

Instagram: @annagrace.lifewithbipolar

Dear Reader #24

Dear Reader,

This week saw record-breaking sales for my Ann’s War Mystery Series with Betrayal placed at #1 for the seventh time. Many thanks to everyone who has supported this series.

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Delighted to see that the Spanish edition of Saving Grace has entered the top ten of my personal bestseller chart 🙂

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Eton, the source of all Britain’s problems…

“A characteristic of the schooling of many senior Tories (I should know, because I went through the system) is extreme competition. Your worth is constantly assessed by whether or not you come out on top. You can’t succeed unless others fail. It embeds a win-at-all-costs mentality.

Virtue is unrewarded, unless it is the kind that can be measured by tests and marks and athletic competitions. Kindness, empathy, attendance to the needs of others, count for nothing. In fact they count against you, as they might prevent you from elbowing your way to the top.

This encourages a ruthless disregard for anything but winning. Honesty, decency, other people’s lives: anything that might stand in your way is swept aside. You win or you have no self-worth. It’s a really toxic way to bring up children, and we see the results in public life.” – George Monbiot, author and journalist

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Margam, my local park

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt that a smile or a handshake is sufficient…

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Somewhere in Britain, in the near future…

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Winter is approaching. Cold, frosty nights. Snow. I love the frost and snow. It feels good under my feet and it looks beautiful. However, the cold weather is an enemy for many people, especially the homeless within our society.

Four homeless people in Britain died last night. An estimated 726 homeless people have died over the past year. These deaths are the direct result of austerity. These deaths are the direct result of Tory policies. A report in the Independent newspaper called them murder by government.

So, while you sit snug and warm beside your fireplace with your family tonight, enjoy your surroundings. And spare a thought for the man who will lay his head on a park bench for the last time. Spare a thought for the man who will bid this world goodbye.

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While writing chapter seventeen of Snow in August the subject of the Rorschach test cropped up. Named after Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, the Rorschach test is a psychological test in which subjects’ perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation. This card, nine of ten, produces the most varied answers. What do you see here?

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #22

Delighted to announce my publishing schedule for 2020. It’s an ambitious one with the following books in the pipeline.

Snow in August: Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 16

The Olive Tree: Roots: A Spanish Civil War Saga Book 1

Looking for Rosanna Mee: Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 17

The Olive Tree: Branches: A Spanish Civil War Saga Book 2

Another beautiful translation from Cristina. Available soon 🙂

ANN'S WAR ESCAPE MASTER ITALIAN

Recently, I visited a series of caves in west Wales where I learned about the Red Lady of Paviland. The Red Lady of Paviland, pictured, is an Upper Paleolithic partial skeleton dyed in red ochre and buried in the Goat’s Hole Cave 33,000 years ago. William Buckland discovered the skeleton in 1823.

The Red Lady obtained her name because of the red ochre dye and jewellery found at the site. However, later analysis proved that ‘she’ was a man.

This incident will feature in Snow in August, out soon.

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The joy of research is it will often lead you to items you were not originally looking for.

While looking for books to place on the Europe by Book website https://europebybook.com I discovered the story of Nancy Wake, a remarkable woman.

“Nancy Wake (30 August 1912 – 7 August 2011) worked for the Pat O’Leary escape line and the Special Operations Executive in France during World War II.

After the fall of France to Nazi Germany in 1940, Wake became a courier for the Pat O’Leary escape network. As a member of the escape network, she helped Allied airmen evade capture by the Germans and escape to neutral Spain.

In 1943, when the Germans became aware of her, she escaped to Spain and codenamed “Helene,” joined the Special Operations Executive.”

I intend to learn more about Nancy Wake and use elements of her story in a novel I’m currently researching.

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Struggling to find the right presents for your children this year? Here’s fun for all the family! The aim is to become a tax-dodging millionaire. If you fail, you lose!

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In a recent study, Buckets, Trapnell and Paulhus sought to examine the dark personality traits of Internet trolls. The researchers explored trolling in 1,215 participants and compared this to the dark personality triad, which is the dark triad – narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy – plus sadism. They discovered that all forms of dark personality were significantly higher in individuals who troll with sadism the strongest factor.

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So many good people do so many wonderful things. Our political leaders pale into insignificance in comparison.

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #17

Dear Reader,

This week, I completed the first draft of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. Snow in August is set in a small coastal village in wild West Wales, a new location for Sam.

Readers of the series might be in for a surprise when they start this story. I won‘t give the details away now, but the book will be available for pre-order later this month.

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Over the past year I have had the honour of being editor-in-chief of Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine. With twelve magazines published I would like to thank our talented group of contributors and the skill and dedication of our editorial staff. I’m very proud of our achievements with Mom’s Favorite Reads and look forward to scaling even great heights in our second year.

Here’s the blurb for the latest issue.

The September issue of our popular eMagazine!

In this Back to School issue:

Young Writers, Humour, Poetry, Travel, Short Stories, Puzzles and Articles including:

What is Adoption?

Power Animals

What is Happiness and How Can We Find It?

Read or download your copy FREE!

https://issuu.com/momsfavoritereads/docs/vol-2_iss-9_momsfavoritereads

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Delighted that Sandra, who translated the five books in my Ann’s War series, has offered to translate Saving Grace into German 🙂

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A lovely quote from screenwriter Ernest Lehman when discussing writing the script for North By Northwest. I am sure most authors will identify with this.

”Typical of a writer, I was stalling, losing myself in yet more research.”

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Sam’s Song is moving towards the top of the Amazon charts again this weekend , but I have mixed feelings about that in light of continued reports of workers being mistreated by the company. There is a brutally about Amazon that makes me feel increasingly uneasy about contributing to its profits.

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Photo by Tobias Dziuba on Pexels.com

“Clear as the dew it kindles on the spray

Across the shadows of each shelving lawn,

The rising sun, with low and level ray

Scatters the cold, grey phantoms of the dawn.

Like ghosts, they flee, like dreams expire

Within the elemental fire

Of our first calm October day.”

John Jay Chapman

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx