Fairness – how difficult can it be?

4 Sep

Lack of empathy for people in a less fortunate situation annoys the hell out of me. There’s an election coming up soon in New Zealand and if I hear one more time that everybody has the same chances and choices I’ll scream.  They don’t.  End of story.  My family wasn’t poor but we didn’t have a lot of money and when I decided I wanted to leave school at 16, without any qualifications, my parents didn’t fight too hard for me to stay.  If I was working they didn’t have the expense of sending me to school and I could contribute to the family purse (I seem to remember that bit didn’t always work out too well!). 

My teachers wanted me to be a journalist but even at an early age I knew I could never be a door-stepper, couldn’t inflict pain on anyone deliberately, couldn’t do many of the things that a successful journalist has to do.  So because I closed that avenue to myself and nobody advised me of any other avenue, I couldn’t see anything else to do other than leave school.  I got myself back on track but a lot of it was because my mother has always been very inspiring and always encouraged us to have a dream. 

Everyone needs inspiration.  Most people who are poverty stricken have no room for inspiration in their lives.  Every day is a struggle just to get by and day follows day in exactly the same manner.  Everyone deserves to have colour in their lives but when putting food on the table is your number one priority it doesn’t leave much room for the pretty stuff.  And when the cost of everything, except wages, keeps going up, how do you cope with the feelings of desperation and inadequacy? 

 How can people aspire to a better life if they’ve got no experience of what a better life looks like?  When I was a teenager I had a friend who lived in a house with no bathroom.  They didn’t have enough chairs either, only milk crates.   My friend came to stay at my house most weekends, just so that she could clean the bathroom – of course my sister and I were delighted to let her.  A few years after that she enrolled on a construction course and she built a bathroom in her parents’ house with her own two hands.   More than 30 years later, I’m still so proud of her for that. 

As an aside,  what I vividly remember about going to her house is that her mother always had a particular brown bread and honey roast ham because it was my favourite. It never once bothered me that I had to sit on a milk crate to eat it because she did this just for me and I loved her for it. 

It’s just not possible for every single person to be a get up and go-er, to be ‘successful’. Success means different things to different people anyway.  Money doesn’t motivate me at all.  I like to work, I like to do a good job and I’m happy being a PA – I’d hate to be the boss and have the responsibility that goes with it. And that doesn’t make me lazy or not worthy.  It means that I have different priorities – the things I do outside of work are more important to me. Things like writing. 

I get so angry when people go on and on about the economy as if that’s the only thing that matters in a country.  What about the greedy employers who get away with paying minimum wage and see nothing wrong with that?  Do they not SEE their employees?  Not notice their shabby clothes or their pale faces?  Not notice that they don’t go to the doctor when they’re sick? Does it never occur to them that they’re paying less than the person is actually worth? They really don’t seem to care and it breaks my heart.  

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that there are enough people like me out there, even if we’re in the minority, to give me hope that all is not lost.  There’s a Living Wage movement in New Zealand http://www.livingwage.org.nz/ and I’ll be voting for a party that believes in what’s fair and just. 


For all you dog lovers out there

12 Jul

I have a short story published on The Bright Light Cafe website today.  The name of the website caught my eye initially.  I’m a softie, wuss, call it what you will.  I don’t like horror, violence, gratuitous sex, gratuitous anything really.  I don’t think it’s good for your soul and regardless of how good the writing is in Game of Thrones, who needs to see the blood and guts and gore to appreciate the story?    Some of you will say it’s necessary but I think psychologically and spiritually it’s damaging. This is based only on my observations, no science involved.

Anyway, on this sunny Sunday morning I hope my story gives you some extra bright light. 

Hope Unexpected



Don’t Go!

17 Jan

One of my pet hates is clicking on an external link in a blog post or on a website and having it open in the same page.  At least 50% of the time I don’t go back to the original page unless I’m familiar with the author and know that it will be worth my time.

Harsh – but true.

If you have a blog or a website and the link you’re talking about is close to the beginning of your post, do you really want people to leave you soon?

If possible all external links should open in a new tab.   I’m only looking at WordPress because Blogger needs more technical knowledge than most casual users have and I don’t want to make things worse.

The link below (which should open in a new tab :-)) will tell you better than I can how to do it in WordPress.


When you add a link to a website make sure you add target=”_blank” inside the <a> tag: (I’m assuming that if you have the knowledge to build your own website you will know what I’m talking about here :-).   Otherwise, if you’re getting it built ask for the external links to open in new tabs.  You don’t want all links to open externally – only those that are not yours.

If you implement these changes on your site you will make it more user friendly and that can only be a good thing – right?

Happy weekend.



28 Dec

Decluttering was THE buzz word a few years ago, mostly because of the never ending parade of home improvement shows. It wasn’t a bad idea in general but it gave minimalism a big foothold and that’s a trend we could have done without – in my opinion!   I love my STUFF. 

Anyway, when I opened my email yesterday morning and saw the influx of crap mail I decided I needed to declutter.  I was brutal.  I hit Unsubscribe for every sales email, blogs I don’t read, all the free book sites and my lists of preferred sellers  on Trade Me and Ebay. That hurt a bit.  

No hurt this morning though when I see my new streamlined Inbox.  I actually stopped to read the emails I received – no skimming – and what was there was interesting, and relevant.  I didn’t miss anything important because of the sheer volume of advertising emails.  I doubt I’ll spend as much money shopping online either when the temptation is not in my face.

So, while I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore (I’m at that age where you’ve realised they’re quite pointless and if you’re going to do something you really ought to just do it anyway) I will claim this as a new departure for 2014.   No more time wasting on my Inbox! 





Second Avenue Second Hand

3 Oct

I’m very excited to let you know that my first published story is for sale today.

Welcome to Bottle Bay, a little town where anything can happen, especially should you choose to visit the old curiosity shop on the corner of Second and Main. 

Selma is homeless and busking on the street when a strange old woman comes into her world and her life is suddenly about choices she never thought she’d have the chance to make. 

Selma’s Choice, written by Norah Jansen, is one of ten stories in a themed anthology entitled Second Avenue Second Hand and is available to buy from 3 October at the following outlets.


Smashwords –         https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/356525
Kobo –         http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/second-avenue-second-hand-a-short-story-fiction-anthology
Barnes & Noble –     http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-avenue-second-hand-wendy-tyler-ryan/1116913259?ean=9780986946684

If you prefer a paper book you can buy a copy at https://www.createspace.com/3857701
I’d love if you could buy the book and I hope you enjoy my story if you do. 

Harlequin challenge

21 Sep

Sort of following off my husband’s comment that I should write what I know i.e. not romance 🙂 I thought I’d give my version of romance a go and I entered a Harlequin’s writing challenge – theme – Blind Date.  Apart from kick-starting me out of a slump it was fun to write and now I’m waiting to hear how I got on.   This is the story.

Date Unknown

“This is your worst idea ever. I won’t do it!”

My sister sniffed. 

“Don’t be so childish. It’s not a life sentence; it’s a blind date and a favor for your sister!”

I shook my head from side to side before I shrugged my shoulders and gave in. I never could stay mad with Sian for long and she was right anyway; it wasn’t a big deal. Her boyfriend’s cousin was coming to town on business and Ron asked Sian to set him up a blind date with one of her friends. That turned out to be me because none of her friends would let her bully them into a blind date. 

“Can I at least go home to change?” 

I swept my hands down my drab black skirt and drab black tights to my drab black court shoes. 

“No! You can’t. You’re always cute. We should be there now.”

“What if I had a date already? Did that ever occur to you?” 


Righteous indignation fought with resignation, and resignation won. I trotted obediently behind Sian as her long legs ate up the distance to the taxi rank. 

White aproned waiters glided through the restaurant; one of them detached himself and swept to a halt before us. 
“How may I help the Signorinas?”

I swooned a little to myself as the smooth Italian accent washed over me. 

“We are guests of Mr Dunbar.” Sian answered and our host beckoned to us to follow him.

I saw Ron’s red hair first. Seated at a prominent table in the centre of the room it seemed that nobody passed him by without stopping to slap him on the back and fawn over him. 

My shoulders were hunching of their own accord and my feet dragged. I couldn’t understand what my gorgeous sister saw in the pompous Ron with his political ambitions and the bald spot he tried to hide. 

Ron’s companion had his head buried in his menu, almost as if he were trying to hide. The top of his head was all I could see; dirty blonde hair that looked as if it had just come through a wind storm, but even with his head bent I could see he was very tall. I wished fervently that I’d been able to go home to change; a pair of heels would be very welcome right now.

Sian swept up to the table and dropped a kiss on Ron’s forehead.

“Sorry we’re late; it’s my geeky sister’s fault.”

Thanks Sian! It wasn’t bad enough that I looked dowdy but now I was a nerd. Computer programmers came in all shapes and sizes, not just nerdy types.

I still hadn’t looked directly at my date but now he was standing and Ron was making the introductions.
“Carly, this is Joseph, my cousin from Seattle.”

Okay I admit it; I was always going to find him interesting just because he was from Seattle – my favourite geeky place. I just wasn’t prepared for how I’d feel when I finally raised my eyes to his though. He looked like a surfer in a suit. Blonde tousled hair brushed the collar of his navy jacket and the white shirt was brilliant white against his tan. 

I swallowed nervously, my heart was racing and I prayed that he wouldn’t want to shake hands because I could feel my palms becoming sweaty. His eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled – I didn’t notice they were brown until later – and my heart was beating a tattoo against my ribs. 

He came around the table to pull out my chair and I stumbled my way into it, flustered and awkward as always.
“Nice to meet you.” I muttered as he took his seat and he nodded, with that smile again.

“You too Carly. I’ve heard absolutely nothing about you so we’ll have lots to talk about.”

I shot a frantic look at Sian but she was deep in conversation with Ron and there was no help there. I took a couple of deep breaths and decided I could use my fail-safe method of getting out of personal conversations – we could talk about him.

Ron called a waiter over and we ordered; 16oz steak for Ron, salad with no dressing for Sian and vegetarian lasagna for Joseph and I. We actually shared a conspiratorial smile over that as if to say “Look, we have something in common.”

Sian and Ron continued to engage with other diners and Joseph turned his chair to face mine. I played with the stem of my wine glass and before he had a chance to ask me any questions I blurted out,

“Are you married or anything like that?” 

My eyes opened wide and my mouth fell open. I couldn’t believe I had just asked that question. My hand clamped over my mouth and I spoke through my fingers.

“I’m really sorry – I don’t know what made me ask that. I was going to ask what work you do.”

Joseph was laughing at me and the corners of my mouth twitched in response.

“No, I’m not married – or even “anything like that”. I don’t mind you asking. What about you? Are you married, or anything like that?”

We were grinning openly at each other now and I shook my head.

“No, geeky girls aren’t quite as popular as the cool girls.” I nodded in Sian’s direction.

“Geeky girls are popular with geeky boys though aren’t they?” Joseph asked and I made a face.

“Mmm, hard to say – I tested the theory once and that was a disaster.”

“I haven’t told you what I do yet.” 

“Oh, what do you do?”

“I’m a game designer at Microsoft.”

The restaurant faded into the background as our eyes locked and then Joseph placed his hand over mine and our fingers curled around each other. I wriggled my toes in my comfy shoes and thanked God for my sister, her annoying Ron and their best idea ever. 



Cheryl’s Choice for Real Estate

29 Jul



I heard a lovel…

27 Jul

I heard a lovely story today from my real estate friend Cheryl.  When she first started in real estate she had a listing to sell an apartment owned by WINZ.  This apartment had a tenant, a formerly homeless man called Willy, and because he had no phone she would visit him to make appointments to bring viewers around.  He had carefully furnished the apartment from skips; he had furniture, paintings and rugs on the floor.  When there was a viewing he would bake bread so that the aroma would be enticing to a buyer.  Cheryl sold the apartment to an investor and, as WINZ would continue to pay his rent, Willy was allowed to remain.  

A few weeks later Cheryl was walking past the City Mission with some clients when she heard her name being called.  Willy sauntered over to her and they had a catch up right there on the street accompanied by her bemused clients and a dozen homeless people.

As Cheryl walked away she heard one of Willy’s friends ask

“Who was that”

And Willy replied…………..

“That’s my estate agent.”

Real Estate risk takers

23 Jul

I watched a few episodes of a TV programme over the weekend that has stuck in my head.  It’s called Property Wars and is set in Arizona (which is much greener than I envisaged) and follows a group of property buyers who buy properties sight unseen.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  There’s not a lot of explanation but from what I can make out these are properties that are foreclosures and they’re auctioned off by the courts early on a particular morning (it could be every morning – they don’t specify).  

The buyers are in teams of two and one gets to the house approximately 10 minutes before the auction starts and has a quick look around the outside of the house and the other stays at the courthouse to bid. The ‘winner’ doesn’t know what state the property is in until the door is opened by the estate agent and is already his to enjoy or destroy.

Some of them are gorgeous (oh, really cheap real estate out there too – at least by NZ standards) and others are disasters – down to the floor being dug up – by suppliers who hadn’t got paid or maybe by unhappy owners giving the banks a hard time.

I know a lot of estate agents but I only know one who would have the gumption to do this.  Marnie Adams. I think she’d love the excitement of opening that door and not knowing what she’d find.  And if it was bad, she’d roll up her sleeves, get stuck in and still make a profit. 

It’s about more than money – it’s about living your life to the fullest.  These guys (and funnily enough they are all guys) are not content to sit back and take the safe option. There are so many property shows on TV that you get a bit jaded by them – this one has shaken the pot up for me and I’m really enjoying it.   

It’s a brave new world

20 Jul

Good morning, good morning.  I’m feeling great today because I’ve been suffering really badly with vertigo recently and I don’t have it this morning.  I’ve been up since stupid o’clock though and decided I’d get myself a blog because ‘they’ tell you should if you’re serious about writing.   So here I am.

I live in Auckland and in case  your geography is as bad as mine, that’s in New Zealand.  It’s great most of the time, unless your little niece who you’ve never seen except in photos turns one.  That was yesterday, Irish time, so happy birthday little Maria – you’re absolutely gorgeous.

I’m sure I’ll get into the hang of this blog thing but I’m sitting here looking at the screen and wondering what the hell I have to say that would be of interest to people. I’ll get there no doubt – I’ve got ideas galore.

That’s enough for now – I’ll be back soon.  Have a lovely weekend.