I Believe In You

I’m On Facebook. Come Visit

Are you on Facebook? If so, why don’t you drop over and like my author page. I post content that you won’t find on the blog including writing updates, quizzes and the occasional competition. What’s not to like about that? It’s the perfect way to start your Monday and if it’s as grey and damp […]

Support OCD Awareness Week

As today marks the start of #OCDAwarenessWeek I’m going to be blogging exclusively about this devastating and deeply misunderstood mental illness in an effort to educate and raise awareness. As many of you know, I have struggled with OCD for most of my life, particularly in my 20’s and 30’s. While I largely control it […]

Do You Ever?

Do you ever feel invisible? Do you ever feel that, no matter how hard you try, your efforts are ignored and passed over? If you stood in the middle of a crowded street and screamed until your lungs burst, not one person would stop and come to your aid? Do you ever feel it’s one […]

Disturbing, Unwanted Thoughts

I was watching a trailer for a movie last night, one where a huge tsunami was bearing down on a Japanese beach. Initially it was a distant speck, barely visible to the thousands of sun bathers enjoying their day on the golden sands. An idyllic scene, where families laughed and played innocently unaware of the […]

How Many Books Can You Read At The Same Time?

My TBR (to be read) list stretches far into the distance, largely because I can only read one book at a time. I imagine most female readers are now nodding knowingly, bemoaning the inability of the male of the species to multitask. Try as I might, numerous novels are a bridge too far for me. […]

Will You Join Me?

I’m working today. I know it’s a weekend, but needs must, and it’s going to be that way for the foreseeable future. Life’s like that. Spanners are continually being thrown into works and plans rarely pan out the way they are meant to. I’d much rather be spending the day with my family. Isn’t that […]

So Proud Of Our Kids

Now that Adam is sadly sidelined with a knee injury, Rebecca has taken up the mantle of sporting star for the Black family. After trying out a number of activities in recent years, everything from ballet to taekwondo, she has settled on football as her chosen sport. She started training with the local girls football […]

I’m Not An Angry Person But….

I woke up at 4:30 am and that’s been that, sleep wise. Since then I’ve been frenetically tapping away, putting the finishing touches to Chapter 5 of my serialised short story, ‘Bomb Girl,’ which I hope to post later today. I hope you all enjoy it. There’s been a bit of a gap between Chapters […]

Why?

I don’t really know what to say in this post so I’ll cut to the chase. Adam injured his knee in a match last weekend and underwent a MRI scan on Friday, the results of which we will receive today. We are hopeful it will be good news, but are prepared for the worst case […]

I’m In The Money

I’m in the money! Well, not really, but I received my first royalty payment for Book 1 this weekend. It won’t make me an overnight millionaire and I still have to go to the day job tomorrow, but that made it none the less exciting. I’m getting paid….to write. I must admit I’ve struggled a […]

Hitting A Purple Patch

I’ve hit a purple patch this week on the writing front and passed 28,000 words on my current book, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Tower.’ The KSC universe has exploded this week with a host of new settings and characters being introduced. As ever, most of these have come to me during the writing process […]

What Are Your Remedies For The Common Cold?

The Black household has been smitten with all sorts of nasty germs this last week. We’ve been sniffling, sneezing and coughing our little hearts out. My cold has even developed into full blown man flu! Thankfully I had booked a couple of days off work anyway, but all Fionnuala and I seem to have done […]

Some Days There Is Nothing

Some days there is nothing. Yet, here I am. Maintaining the blog, pursuing my desire to scribble down the jumble of thoughts and prompts which traverse my mind on a never ending spin cycle. Some days I am clear as to what I want to say and how I wish to say it, others I […]

Are You Over Your Past?

Before, during and after yesterday’s race I encountered lots of faces from my past, back in the days when I raced twice a month as opposed to twice a year. When I was obsessed with personal bests and trying to run faster than supposed friends on the race circuit. It was a period of my […]

What Are You Up To This Weekend?

One thing we are good at in Northern Ireland is complaining about the weather….whatever the weather. Most of time we moan about it being too cold, too wet, too windy. Yet the second the big yellow ball in the sky makes a rare appearance, we invariably fall to pieces. We are sweltered, roasted, ‘while warm’ […]

Making Hay While The Sun Shines

Sorry for the lack of content today but I’ve rediscovered my creative muse and have been typing furiously in order to keep apace with the flurry of ideas and dialogue assaulting my senses. I’ve now passed the 16,000 word mark for Book 2, having bashed out 5,000 words over the last three days. As a […]

My Wee Book

Just a shoutout to my new followers that I’ve written a book which is now available to buy on Amazon in e book & paperback format. Here’s the back cover blurb: It’s selling well and, at time of writing, has 23 five star reviews on Amazon from satisfied customers. Here’s one: So if you like […]

Book Review: ‘Undivided’ By Vicky Beeching

I’ve just finished reading ‘Undivided’ by Vicky Beeching, a memoir of her life as a Christian singer/songwriter who played to thousands on both sides of the Atlantic until declaring she was gay a number of years ago. It was a moving, challenging and ,at times, unsettling account of the experiences of one woman within the […]

Loneliness

Monday of this week was world suicide prevention day which Stephen blogged about. On this blog we try to reach out to anybody that is struggling with their mental health in any way at all. I struggle with my own head space as does Stephen sometimes a thought would take up residence in our mind […]

Questions Of The Day

Occasionally I’ll sit back and let you lot do the work. Fionnuala and I spend our weeks in a blur with work and family commitments. There are many days I have little opportunity to run, write or blog. So this morning I’ll leave you with a question. Or three. Please answer, especially if you are […]

Stuff I See On My Lunch Break

Yesterday’s lunchtime run took me out of the city and through the Titanic Quarter to H.M.S. Caroline. Caroline was a British battle cruiser which fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 during the 1st World War. It is the last survivor of Jutland but also operated as the H.M. Naval base in Belfast during […]

I Wake Into Darkness

As we creep into September and the days shorten I now face the pleasure of getting up when it’s dark to commute into Belfast for work. This situation will only continue to worsen in the coming months as the nights become ever longer. Soon not only will I be getting up in the dark but […]

What It Takes To Succeed

It’s a big week ahead as Adam’s rugby team get ready for their first match of the season this coming Saturday. It’s also a big season for him personally as he steps up into the college’s 1st XV and prepares to play top level Schools Cup rugby against some of the best teams in the […]

Back To School

The alarm went off just before 6 a.m. this morning heralding the start of a new week and a new school year. It was dark outside as I stumbled to the bathroom to shave off my three day beard and attempt to look remotely human before battling through hordes of bag wielding hatchlings in a […]

Three Weeks To The Big Day

The Belfast Half Marathon is now a mere three weeks away and I’ve been anxious about the lack of long runs I’ve managed to squeeze in. My longest, to date, had been 10.6 miles with my brother in law several weeks ago but, since then, a combination of inclement weather, other commitments and a general […]

We Are Here For You

Excited as I was last month at the continued growth of the blog, I was even more thrilled yesterday to realise we had broken our monthly views figure again in August. With a day to spare, no less. Yes, 14,000 of you clicked the view button on a FracturedFaithBlog post. Or maybe 7 of you […]

Does Your Writing Ever Disappoint You?

There are times the words flow, they are an unstoppable tide which rushes up the shingle beach, taking all before it. The words, sentences and paragraphs form a not so orderly queue in your mind, tripping over each other to be unloaded onto the blank page or computer screen. It is a literary stampede, a […]

Don’t Live Forever, Live For Now

25 years ago Oasis released ‘Definitely Maybe.’ Hearing this announced on the news this morning made me feel very old. It also brought memories of listening to the album on my ancient CD Walkman while walking to my first ‘proper’ job all those years ago. I was incredibly nervous but the music helped me to […]

Can You See This?

I posted a blog earlier today but due to unknown technical reasons, it hasn’t appeared on a lot of timelines. Either that or I didn’t get the memo about the universal boycott of FracturedFaithBlog with immediate effect. The former is the obvious reason but my OCD addled brain latches onto the latter. It whispers ‘they […]

Hi, Hello & Welcome

I’ve been delighted these last few days by the number of new followers to the blog, in addition to all the positive comments about our recent posts. Just to introduce myself, I’m Stephen (waves awkwardly) and I write the large majority of the words, ably supported by my wife, PA, Marketing Manager and chief cheerleader, […]

Suicide – What Do We Do?

Over the last 10 days, 15 young people have taken their own lives in Belfast. There is not a week goes past when I’m on call, that I don’t receive a phone call to inform me there has been another suicide. It has become an epidemic in all our cities and communities, cutting a swathe […]

Stepping Over The Threshold

I met a man the other week, completely out of the blue, and immediately knew I wanted to include him in the next book. He was a walking, talking caricature, an absolute gift to a writer. His mannerisms, his speech, his appearance just screamed inclusion in the chapter taking place in my mind. He was […]

There Is Always Hope

Being a total dork, I was studying our WordPress stats the other day and discovered the blog recently passed 200,000 views since its creation just over two years ago. Wow! And I’ll say that again. Wow! I still remember nervously tapping out my first post, ‘The Bag Lady,’ before hitting the publish button and sending […]

More Thoughts On My Writing

I’m sitting here on the sofa in my….ahem…loungewear surrounded by copious amounts of crisps and Diet Coke. The house is quiet as Fionnuala and the hatchlings are visiting my beloved mother-in-law. It’s a tight agenda today as the big Ireland v England match kicks off at 3 p.m. That’s less than five hours away and […]

This Is Who I Am

A neighbour, who is currently reading the book, stopped to chat to me as I headed out to work this morning. I asked her how she was getting on with it, an entirely inappropriate question given she has a young daughter and another on the way. The poor woman has enough on her plate without […]

Keep Screaming

Thank you to those who responded to my post yesterday, calling for more interaction between bloggers. It seemed to resonate with a lot of you, judging by the number of comments I received. Your screams were most certainly heard and I’m still getting caught up on my replies so, please bear with me. You’re never […]

Screaming Into The Abyss

Interaction is so important to me as a writer. Whenever I post a blog, it’s great to see multiple views and likes pop up on my notifications, but it’s the comments that really matter to me. To know that a person has taken the time to read a post, truly thought about it and then […]

Why Did God Create Wasps?

All things bright and beautiful All creatures great and small All things bright and beautiful The Lord God made them all. So goes the traditional hymn I recall being belted out on the church organ so many times during my childhood. It was normally reserved for harvest time when each pew would be adorned with […]

Who Are You?

This was a question I was asked yesterday and it immediately popped into my head the moment I opened my eyes this morning. Hmmmm….now let me think. I’m a father, husband, son, brother, uncle and cousin. I’m a manager, employee, friend and acquaintance. I’m a runner, writer, blogger and lover of honeycomb ice cream and […]

Killing Villanelle

I’ve been binge watching, and raving over, the BBC series ‘Killing Eve,’ of late. So as I spill the rest of my life all over WordPress I thought I would share the love with my blogging friends. It stars Sandra Oh (from Grey’s Anatomy) as Eve Polastri, a MI6 operative tasked with tracking down a […]

Are You In A One Way Friendship?

We all lead busy lives and it’s increasingly difficult to find the time to forge and maintain the deep friendships which anchor our lives and provide safe refuge when the wheels come off. True, lasting friendships are precious and should be protected at all costs; our friends are our first line of defence when besieged […]

My First Ever WordPress Rant

An uncharacteristic day on WordPress where normally I encounter universal support and positivity from my fellow bloggers. I’ve had a handful of negative and, in my humble opinion, utterly unnecessary comments pop up on the feed. I’ve thought long and hard about responding to them but have finally decided to get it out of my […]

Writing Doubts

I’m experiencing a mental block with regards my writing. Note, I’m not calling it writer’s block for it’s not as if my creative well has dried up. Rather, the opposite. The ideas in my head continue to pile up, so much so, that I’ve purchased a notebook to write them all down in. I amuse […]

Woolly Hats In August

Big running day as Gearard, my brother in law, and I stepped it up to over 10.5 miles. Gearard is running his first half marathon next weekend while I stepped up the mileage again as part of my training for the Belfast Half Marathon on 22 September. That’s only six weeks away now! It was […]

Girls Night Out….Boys Night In

Fionnuala, Hannah & Rebecca had a great time at the Boyzone concert in Belfast last night. 12,000 fans packed out Falls Park in Belfast to hear them perform their final ever Irish concert as part of the Feile an Phobail festival. The weather remained (mostly) dry and the girls sang their hearts out, returning home […]

What the People Think

Hi everyone just sticking my head in to say hello as it’s been a while since I last posted anything. It’s been crazy busy here over the last month the kids have been on summer holidays so we’ve been going on various different day trips seeing what there is to do on our doorstep and […]

Reasons To Stay Alive #4

People. My family. My friends. YOU! Writing can be such an insular process. The loneliness of the long distance runner, I get that, but it’s got nothing on the writing experience. The worry, the doubt, the 1001 emotions that rampage through your head every time your finger hovers over the publish button. It’s a whirlwind, […]

We Need Your Feedback

The blog passed 11,000 followers the other day and it’s growth continues to amaze and delight me. I don’t know why people keep coming back to view, like and comment but I’m forever grateful. At each milestone, I like to ask you guys what you want from the blog in the future. As well as, […]

The Thunderstorm

Yesterday afternoon I headed out on a scheduled 5 mile run. There were dark clouds overhead but I figured, on current form, I could scoot round and be home and dry without a drop of rain touching me. How wrong I was. About 3 miles into the run I heard the first crack of thunder […]

Have You Bought Your Copy Yet?

The book continues to sell steadily and has now accrued ten 5 star reviews on Amazon. For some reason, the proud state of Texas seems particularly keen on the adventures of Kirkwood Scott as he battles an ancient evil on the streets of Belfast. Here’s Liz from deepest Texas holding her copy. Available to buy […]

What’s Your Favourite Disney Movie?

In the last week we have watched the remakes of two Disney classics, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin.’ I’m not a massive Disney fan so didn’t sit down to either with high expectations. I think I’m still traumatised by 4 a.m. repeats of ‘The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’ during the early years with the hatchlings. I’ve […]

Thank You TheNewMrsM

Thank you to my blogging buddy, Lou at https://thenewmrsmblog.wordpress.com/whose copy of my first novel, ‘Skelly’s Square,’ arrived today. Lou runs a great little blog detailing her busy life. Her focus is very much family and fitness and her healthy food options are always a sight to behold. Check her out, everyone. A blogger worth following. […]

Me And My XXXL Life

Regular readers will know I recently visited a hydro park with Adam and Rebecca. What’s a hydro park? Well, think of a giant inflatable obstacle course and you’re close….situated in the middle of a reservoir. The kids loved it. Adam is fearless and launched himself off the highest points into the water without a thought […]

The Four C’s Of Blogging

I keep getting asked what is the secret to successful blogging. Which baffles me as folk seem to be suggesting I’m a successful blogger. I don’t see it that way at all as there are many, many better writers than me out there in the bloggersphere. But for what it’s worth here are my two […]

Bomb Girl – Chapter 4

The story continues…. Dark chocolate. Darker thoughts. Ariana chewed thoughtfully on a chunk of her bar as she stared across the river towards the main university building. Seated at her desk, she groaned and pushed away the opened text book which had proven utterly impenetrable to her for the past twenty minutes. Was it just […]

Happy Anniversary To Us

Fionnuala and I don’t get out much but last night we went for a Chinese meal and, afterwards, the cinema to watch the new ‘Lion King.’ Okay, the girls were with us but that’s part of the fun of family life. Just getting out of the house and being able to do stuff together sure […]

It’s Holiday Time

I’m officially on holiday. The last few months have a been a blur of activity but I walked out of the office yesterday knowing I didn’t have to darken it’s doors again for almost two weeks. As I did so, I didn’t perform a cartwheel or jump up in the air and click my heels […]

Speak Less, Do More

Money doesn’t grow on trees and these dishes won’t wash themselves. Two phrases I am very familiar with. If nothing else, life has taught me that you’re likely to be very disappointed if you sit around all day doing nothing, waiting for the ‘good stuff’ to drop into your lap. Life doesn’t work like that […]

Help A First Time Author Out

Marketing a book is an incredibly steep learning curve. Believe me, the writing bit is the easy part. One thing I have learned is that us debut author live and die by Amazon reviews. There are over 6 million books available to buy on Amazon at any one time and it’s those precious reviews which […]

Our Day At The Seaside

A picture speaks a thousand words they say, whoever they are. We had a lovely day at the seaside yesterday so, other than describe it in a written post, I thought I’d share some photographs that Fionnuala and I snapped. Eleven to be precise. Which beats me rambling on for 11,000 words. Feel free to […]

Do You Suffer From Imposter Syndrome?

I don’t dream much, I leave all that to Fionnuala, who is a prolific nocturnal storyteller. But last night I dreamt I was a trainee pilot. I turned up at the airport for my first shift to be told I was flying a massive jet to Australia. No pressure, then, although I did have to […]

What Should I Read Next?

It’s pay day tomorrow and, as I’m still slightly adrift of making my first million, it’s the most eagerly awaited day of the month. Even better, it’s the weekend. We are planning a family day out, weather conditions permitting, but before then I’m looking forward to purchasing a few more books on my Kindle Fire. […]

The Lonely Furrow

Blogging, and writing in general, can be a thankless task. Believe me, I know. You pour your heart and soul into your words only to be greeted with apathy and indifference. Us writers plough a lonely furrow at times. We don’t necessarily do it for the recognition, but it is reassuring to know our work […]

Where Are All The Greenlanders?

The little man who lives in my phone was busy last night as I woke up to discover my WordPress app had changed. Some might argue it was just a standard upgrade but I know better. It was the little man in my phone, right? Anyway the app now had lots of snazzy changes for […]

How To Speak Belfast #4

I’ve written a book. Set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Where strange beings walk the streets. And nothing is quite as it seems. Meet Kirkwood Scott and his nemesis, Augustus Skelly. Dare you to enter The Square? Just click the link below. And all will be revealed. https://www.amazon.co.uk/KIRKWOOD-SCOTT-CHRONICLES-Skellys-Square-ebook/dp/B07V6HVLQV

Anxiety Is A Killer

Anxiety is a killer. It kills your present and lays waste to your future, cutting a bloody swathe through your plans and hopes. It is a creeping, niggling death of a thousand cuts, nibbling away at the fringes of your confidence and self belief. It is slow, excruciating but it is there from the moment […]

Good Morning….

Good Morning from a breezy Northern Ireland. I’m back to work today, but here’s the deal. You are probably sick to the back teeth of me rabbiting on about the book I’ve written but I need your help. Yes, you! If you’ve read, are reading, or considering reading ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square,’ then […]

How To Speak Belfast #2

Hello. My book, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square,’ is now available to buy on Amazon in e-book and paperback format. Don’t be a chocolate teapot. Click the link below and secure your copy today. https://www.amazon.co.uk/KIRKWOOD-SCOTT-CHRONICLES-Skellys-Square-ebook/dp/B07V6HVLQV

Thoughts On Doubt

Whenever you poke your head above the parapet of life and try something different, there is always a degree of trepidation. You can be gripped by fear, riddled with doubt or overcome with indecision. You do not know what to expect as this is new ground, never traveled before. You want to turn back, duck […]

What’s Your Favourite Sandwich?

Fionnuala made lasagne for dinner last night. She is an excellent cook so we were all looking forward to it; and rightly so, for it was delicious. What I was not prepared for were the outrageous scenes which followed later that evening. Scenes which scarred my soul and I’ll take to the grave. Scenes which […]

Memories Of Portrush

Northern Ireland has gone golf crazy as the Royal Portrush course is currently hosting the 148th British Open. The world’s top golfers have descended upon the seaside resort to do battle for the famous Claret Jug. Tiger Woods, Phil Michelson and our very own Rory McIlroy are vying for sporting glory and the opportunity to […]

Skelfies from the U.S. of A

Have you ordered your copy yet of my first novel, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square?’ Ruth from Texas and Amy from California have. I was thrilled to wake up this morning to find they had both e-mailed me #Skelfies of themselves with the book. I made that hashtag up myself. Not bad, eh? If […]

I Stand By The Tracks

Thank I write this from my train stop as it’s back to work with a resounding bump this morning. The stop is empty, I’m either incredibly early for the next train or incredibly late for the last one. Either way, I’m sitting here on my own, enjoying the weak morning sun and the cheerful chatter […]

Rebecca’s New Book

I’m going to be posting twice a day for a while, in order to promote the book. I know some of you will be sick of the sight of it, but it’s my one chance to get it out into the big, bad world. Feel free to ignore, if you are, and my apologies. My […]

Where Are Your Words?

Don’t be sad, or tired, or lonely. Be you. For that is enough. I awoke this morning and the above words dropped into my head. Dropped with such a resounding clunk, that I had go write them down immediately. These words were not of me, I’m convinced of that. I don’t know where they emanated […]

A Record Breaking Day

Exciting times at FracturedFaithBlog. Sunday was our biggest and er…. bestest in over two years blogging. We set new highs in both daily views and likes. And, to top it all off, Fionnuala’s post on being the wife of a published author (moi) was the highest rating blog we’ve ever had. Huzzah. I found that […]

Reasons To Stay Alive #3 – It Will Get Better

It’s the weekend, and a long one at that, as it’s a public holiday in Northern Ireland on Monday. I finally have an opportunity to draw breath and look back on the events of the last few days. I’ve been employed by my organisation for 19 years and was promoted on Tuesday to a senior […]

My Book Is Available On Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/KIRKWOOD-SCOTT-CHRONICLES-Skellys-Square-ebook/dp/B07V6HVLQV My book, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square,’ is now available to buy worldwide on Amazon in e-book and paperback format. It’s been almost two years in the making but we’ve finally got there. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. I hope you enjoy it and am looking forward […]

Shards #1 – What Do You See When You Look In The Mirror?

When you look in a mirror what do you see? Is it a functional task, performing a visual checklist, before you step out to face what the day ahead brings. Hair, check. Clothes, check. Overall appearance? Meh, acceptable, you’ll do, I’m late for the train, no time to think too hard about this. Then it’s […]

Normal Service Resumed Tomorrow

Just a brief notice that normal blogging service will be resumed tomorrow after real life intervening over the last day or so. See you all then. Until then feel free to drop by my Facebook author page at the link below. Thank you all. https://www.facebook.com/StephenBlackAuthor/

Hear Ye Hear Ye

Hear Ye Hear Ye I’ve (or rather Fionnuala has) recently set up an author’s page on Facebook. You know, that archaic social media site that kids don’t use. It would be great if you could drop by and give it a like. It means you get twice the ‘Stephen experience’ and see what I get […]

The Last Lap

I’m proofing the final edit of the book today. I really should be doing other ‘stuff’ but I’ve foolishly informed my publisher I’ll have the final, final, final version with her by close of play tomorrow. So when I should be running, or studying or watching ‘Killing Eve’ boxsets I’m poring over a manuscript I’ve […]

It’s Competition Time!

https://www.facebook.com/StephenBlackAuthor/ To celebrate the launch of my first novel, we are holding a competition on my Author Facebook page. Click the link above to find out more and while you’re at it like the page. The prize is a signed copy of the book. Yes, signed. By me! Hurry Hurry. In the meantime I’ll be […]

Happy Birthday Adam

A belated Happy Birthday the big lad himself, our son Adam, who turned 17 yesterday. We celebrated with a family BBQ which he oversaw himself. On Saturday he has invited some friends over for more of the same. It’s a well deserved break given he has studied so hard these last few months for his […]

Hungry For Life….And Toast

Now that the hatchlings are on their summer holidays, our house is a little less frenetic in the mornings. I’m the only ‘child’ Fionnuala has to usher out of the nest, so there is (slightly) less screaming, shouting and general pandemonium. It’s chaos but organised chaos for Mrs Black runs a finely oiled domestic machine, […]

I’m Not One To Tempt Fate But…

Today I ran my best time in months upon months. Here’s hoping I’m finally over the injuries and illness which has plagued me so far this year. Hoping to keep it going through the summer in anticipation of a half marathon in September. Here’s a screenshot of today’s effort. I’m no world beater but it’s […]

Blinded By Your Grace

I believe in God but haven’t been to church in a number of years. That’s a story in itself. Suffice to say, I’ve never quite fit into the traditional church environment. Maybe it’s the inner cynic inside of me, forever questioning the motives of these ‘too good to be true’ people I found myself hanging […]

Reasons To Stay Alive – The Now

I wish it was this time next month. I would be on my summer leave. I’d have another stressful job interview behind me. My book would be published. I’m anxious about the latter two. Very anxious. The next month could be one of the most important of my life. In so many ways. It’s a […]

Reasons to Stay Alive #1

I’ve just finished reading ‘Reasons To Stay Alive,’ by Matt Haig . It is a shocking, raw, yet ultimately uplifting account of his lifelong battle with depression and anxiety. I devoured it in two days and took a lot of learning away from it. I would encourage anyone with mental health issues to pick up […]

Everywhere You Go….

I don’t know what it’s like in your little corner of the world but, when all else fails in Northern Ireland, we talk about the weather. We talk about the weather A LOT. I say talk but it’s more complain. It’s either (mostly) too wet but then we moan when it’s too dry as it’s […]

Running In Circles

Back running today after my latest injury setback. I originally thought it was worse but, thankfully, it seems to have settled down after a week of rest. Well, I say rest, but what I actually mean is a week of not running. You never really get to rest at chez Black as we lurch from […]

Fear The Niggle

Niggle. Such an innocent little word. Quaint. Cute. Inoffensive. It’s been in my head of late as I’ve had a few injuries this week which have curtailed my running. A twinge here, a strain there. Nothing in themselves but just enough to keep me off the roads. Niggly injuries. They’re not causing me any great […]

Stephen v The Rock. You Decide?

I’ve just finished watching ‘San Andreas’ starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Fionnuala found it while flicking through the channels after a long day tidying gardens and cleaning up the back yard. We both love a good disaster movie, and this was one of the few we hadn’t watched. Basically ‘The Rock,’ in the space of […]

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter….Larne

This week has been incredibly stressful at work. I’ve had a niggly injury which means I haven’t been able to run at lunchtime, which usually acts as a sure fire anxiety buster. Instead I’ve been largely chained to my desk, desperately trying to avoid the quagmire of office politics and gossip which have threatened to […]

Another Day….Another Mountain Of Food

I woke up to a bounty of Fathers Day presents this morning, many of which were edible. Hmmmmm….what are my family trying to tell me? Double Decker bars, German Biscuits, Coconut Mushrooms. Not to mention the huge tub of honeycomb ice cream already taking pride of place in the freezer. I sure have ‘a whole […]

Honey Coma Ice Cream

After a long day at the office it was lovely to return home to an early Fathers Day present – a ‘small’ tub of my beloved honeycomb ice cream. I’ve been fretting all week about work, writing and everything in between. So I’m about to succumb to a food coma of epic proportions. Thank you […]

My Desert Of Doubt

Sometimes I don’t know what to write. The ideas well has run dry and my imagination stretches before me, an arid, endless desert of dearth. Those are the worst mornings. The mornings where I sit before my blank screen feeling I have nothing to offer. Nothing to offer myself, nothing to offer my family, nothing […]

Where Are You On The ‘Me Me Me’ Tree?

We are all a little self obsessed. It’s human nature, that we focus on our own interests. Animal instinct, if you like. The trick is to be aware of this character defect and work against the grain, to put the needs of others before our own. Love others. You get my drift. It’s not easy […]

Going To Work In Sports Socks

I’m not saying I’m a needy dependent but my wife did make me change my socks this morning before allowing me to go to work. I thought I looked perfectly respectable. Dark grey suit, white shirt, black socks and shoes. Fionnuala took one look at my feet and shot me a horrified look – ‘You […]

Why I Don’t Like Science Fiction

Have you ever noticed how the fantasy and science fiction genres are grouped together, like salt & pepper or bread & butter. Many see them as a seamless combo, and that fans of one genre will automatically be devotees of the other. I love fantasy. I was raised on Tolkien and his tales of hobbits, […]

Where Is Your Quiet Place?

This is one of my favourite places in Belfast. A creaky, musty second hand bookshop just around the corner from my office, called Keats & Chapman. I visit it every couple of weeks and have whiled away many a lunch break wandering up and down its narrow corridors. Shelves of second hand books tower precariously […]

It’s Like Trying To Raise The Dead

Trying to get teenagers out of bed is a bit like trying to herd cats….a virtually impossible task. Take this morning. At the fourth unsuccessful attempt to rouse Adam from his lair I was greeted with a strangled groan more befitting a scene from a zombie movie. ‘It’s like trying to raise the dead,’ I […]

The Enemy Within

The Olympic Flame goes out more than Fionnuala and I. It’s the joy of having three hatchlings which are a constant strain on our time and finances. Even when we do have an opportunity we are normally incapable of doing much more than slumping on the sofa and getting caught up on our favourite TV […]

Some Questions For You All

I got an e-mail from my publisher yesterday to let me know the publication process had commenced. I’m hopeful, therefore, the book will be out at some point during the summer. Yes, it’s that close. Scary stuff. Various questions popped into my head so I thought I would share them with you all, rather than […]

Words Are Where It All Begins

Life is too short. We need to say what we mean. I’ve spent much of my life beating about the bush, avoiding the real issues and choosing to ignore the various white elephants trumpeting in the corner of the room. I often feel that I’ve wasted so much time and am now desperately facing a […]

Having Difficulties Getting To Sleep? Then Read This

The older I get, the weirder I seem to be getting. Hard to believe, I know, but true. Take my sleep patterns for example. I can’t remember the last time I experienced an uninterrupted night’s sleep. No matter how tired I am, at some point during the hours of darkness my mental alarm clock will […]

The Tweet That Would Not Die

I wrote last week about my love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with Twitter, and how I found WordPress a much more homely and comfortable environment. I rejoined Twitter a few months back, after many years absence, in order to promote my writing. Apparently it’s all about building a multi platform online presence. Or something fancy like […]

I’m Going Out….I May Be Some Time

So I’m sitting here in my running gear….on the sofa….blogging. As in, not running. Don’t worry, I won’t post a photo. Why aren’t you running, I hear you cry? Well, I fully intended to. In fact, I should be about two miles into a nine mile run as I write this. That was the plan. […]

Nothing Is Impossible….Just Ask Hannah

I didn’t feel much like running this morning but reluctantly dragged my body out for a seven mile plod along the country roads surrounding the village. I hate running first thing but, on this occasion, there was a method to my madness. For getting the run out of the way early meant I could accompany […]

How Is Your Garden?

I’ve been gardening this morning. It rained overnight and a faint drizzle still hung in the air as I pierced the soft, pliable soil and turned it over. The spade plunged deep and before long a reasonable sized hole was before me, in which I proceeded to bed a new addition to our array of […]

Me And My Cave

I live in a cave. A social media cave. Called WordPress. You may have heard of it. It’s my safe place, my sanctuary, a refuge where I’ve been able to lick my wounds and heal. When my confidence was at an all time low two years ago I discovered it. It was a new beginning. […]

Happy Birthday Fractured Faith

Fractured Faith Blog celebrates its second birthday today and we are launching my author website to coincide with the big day. Fionnuala has been slaving over a hot laptop creating it and I’m delighted with the outcome. It has links to the blog and my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Just click the links below and […]

I’m No Hugh Jackman, But….

I write from the heart, warts and all. You get exactly what it says on the tin. A lot of people seem to like this style, others less so. I cannot pretend to be happy when I am not. This is a modern day skill I have never quite been able to get my head […]

Photographs From Today’s Run

Here are some photos from today’s run. My 12 miles ended up as 13.5 but hey ho. Hannah joined me for the first mile while Rebecca chilled out at a picnic before joining up with me near the finish. Fionnuala was there to capture all the best moments and keep us all under control. The […]

Saturday With Team Black

Today promises to be exciting. I’ve been approached by a ministry team who are running marathon relays through each of Ireland’s 32 counties this year. This weekend is Week 15 and they arrive in County Armagh. It’s a massive undertaking but they are totally committed to completing the challenge, no matter what obstacles or adverse […]

Fractured Faith Hits 10,000 Followers

Hello from Northern Ireland. We woke up to more good news this morning. Fractured Faith Blog passed the 10,000 follower mark overnight. Almost two weeks ahead of schedule. Fionnuala and I would like to thank everyone who contributed towards the ‘final push.’ It’s been a tumultuous and topsy turvy week and I, for one, am […]

Thank You Everyone

Just a quick note to thank everyone who has forwarded best wishes regarding Fionnuala’s post yesterday that the book has finally found a home and is going to be published later this year. After a few near misses with bigger US agents I finally settled for a smaller, UK based publisher. The clincher was a […]

Mr. Razor Awaits

It’s back to work this morning. Which means I have to shave. My face, I might add. After a glorious bank holiday weekend in the realm of scruffy stubbledom, it’s back to reality with a resounding thump. Mr. Razor has an appointment with me in the bathroom, the second I stop writing this blog and […]

Help Us Hit 10K

We are less than 70 followers now off the BIG 10K at Fractured Faith. It would be great if we could reach this milestone by 21 May which is the blog’s second birthday. So, while we normally seek to give as opposed to take, it would be much appreciated if as many of you as […]

The Breaking Even Point

Being the most boring man alive, I’m reading a book about leadership at the minute called ‘The First 90 Days.’ It’s aimed at people who have moved into a new work role, normally as a result of a promotion, and who are expected to make an initial positive impact. It features lots of fancy leadership […]

We’re Off To The Big Match

We are off to the rugby today to watch Ulster play Connacht in the Pro 14 Quarter Final at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Adam is working in one of the hospitality lounges but Fionnuala and the girls surprised me last week with tickets to the biggest match of the season. It’s a sellout crowd and […]

Guest Bloggers – Meredith and Shae Jackson

Family Memories https://theshaesdaysblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/family-memories/ — Read on theshaesdaysblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/family-memories/ The first blogger I’d like to feature in my series on WordPress people who inspire me, is in fact a family. The Jackson clan from the good old U, S of A. Mother and daughter team, Meredith and Shae Jackson, are two of the loveliest bloggers you could […]

More Bad News

It’s everywhere isn’t it. Switch on the television and the news channels are saturated, the online world is largely a quagmire of gloom and despondency. Don’t believe me? Spend an hour on Twitter and then let me know your thoughts. Bad news. Tragedies, natural and otherwise, threaten to overwhelm our senses. It’s car crash television […]

Bucket List – The Winner

Over the weekend I wrote about 9 ‘things’ I wanted to cross off my bucket list over the next 365 days. Oh hang on, make that 363 days now. Best get my skates on. Although, thankfully, skating wasn’t on the list. Neither the ice nor roller variety. I have all the coordination of a three […]

What Fresh Hell Is This?

Fionnuala and the kids bought me some new work shirts as part of my birthday present yesterday. Designer shirts no less. I was delighted until I discovered they had no buttons at the wrists. These shirts were no ordinary shirts, no sirreeeee. Instead, they required cuff links, another utterly alien concept to me on my […]

Help Me With My Bucket List

I turned 49 today. I know, I know, I don’t look a day over 39 you silver tongued charmers. I’ve had a fantastic day with the family, received some lovely presents and eaten far too much. Back running again tomorrow in order to burn off the 49 million calories I consumed today. Thank you to […]

It’s My Birthday….Well Almost #2

Tomorrow, if I’m honest. But I’m going to continue a series of blogs where I attempt to give back to the WordPress community. This isn’t about me, it’s about us. WordPress has played a big part in turning my life around, setting me back on track, and ensuring I stay on the straight and narrow. […]

It’s WordPress Draft Day. Who Are You Picking?

The NFL Draft commenced yesterday where teams select the best college prospects for their 2019 rosters. There is always an excited buzz surrounding the event as scouts compete for the services of some of the hottest talents on the planet. And believe me, as a long suffering Washington Redskins fan, we are sorely in need […]

I’m Swamped….In A Good Way

I posted earlier in the week, asking fellow bloggers to send me their submissions and ideas for a guest post on Fractured Faith. I expected a few responses but was totally unprepared for the volume and quality of what I received. It will take me until my next birthday to read them all. I want […]

Bury A Friend: My Experiences With The Unfriend Button

I haven’t been active on Facebook in many years, but have recently begun to dip my toe back into that social media swamp. I’m starting afresh so need to have a massive purge of my old account. This has necessitated me hitting the ‘unfriend’ button repeatedly as I clear my timeline of those who I […]

Happy Birthday To Me….Well Almost

It’s my birthday in five days! Where has the last year gone? Search me. No need to guess my age or enquire as to my address for cards and gifts. Well, unless you insist. Rather, I want to spend the week returning the favour. I’m very blessed and grateful for the life I have. There […]

How I Spent My Easter Monday

Charlie the border terrier may be seven now, but he doesn’t know that, so still bounces about with all the energy of a three month old pup. We woke up to a beautiful, sunny day so I decided to take him for a walk around the village so as to burn off some of his […]

He Is Risen

Good Morning WordPress. Fionnuala and I hope you all have a wonderful Easter wherever you are. I’ll post my ‘normal’ blog later in the day. Never give up, no matter how much of a mess your life has become. I’m a walking, talking testimony to that. Don’t give up. There is still hope. For…. He […]

Let’s Start Again

When it comes to beating yourself up, I could compete for Ireland at the Olympics. But the last few days have taught me I need to focus on my strengths as opposed to dwell on the perceived weaknesses which always loom large in my rear view mirror. Fionnuala reminded me recently of what I have […]

Do You Know Where Your Mobile Phone Is Tonight?

It arrived in the post this week. My new phone. Fionnuala had been counting down the days until my current mobile contract could be upgraded. She was more excited than I was, explaining the improvements in the I Phone XR I was receiving. Lots of long words I didn’t understand about mega giga bytes and […]

I Got The Job

Well, despite my best efforts I passed the interview board earlier this afternoon and have been promoted. I am now officially a BIG BOSS. Two weeks of worry and gnashing of teeth evaporated the second the BIG BIG BOSS told me I was a BIG BOSS. I’m now in charge of a NOT QUITE SO […]

Man Vomits Casually Outside Bar

Catchy title, huh? But there I was, hurrying through the city centre to catch my train home when I beheld this wondrous sight. A very respectable looking middle aged man, standing outside a bar smoking a cigarette and checking his phone messages. Nothing to see here, folks. Perfectly normal. Next thing, however, he casually leans […]

I’m Home Alone….What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

I’m Home Alone this weekend. Well, almost. Fionnuala and Hannah are off to Dublin tomorrow for the Shaun Mendes concert. Hannah is fit to burst with excitement and I think Mrs Black is secretly looking forward to it as well, although she would never admit as much. They are packing as if they are going […]

What Mythical Being Are You?

Eyebrows were raised across the nation last week when Good Morning Britain, the U.K.’s leading breakfast show, interviewed an American lady who had decided to live her life as an elf. Complete with prosthetic ears, flowing dresses and ethereal eyed elegance. A proper elf, a la J.R.R. Tolkien as opposed to Will Ferrell prancing around […]

Mission Accomplished

I’m delighted to say I completed my home town half marathon in Omagh today. I was very nervous about this run as my training this year has been disrupted by three bouts of illness. I had a heavy cold for most of the week and haven’t run since last Sunday. I wasn’t sure until Thursday […]

I Won’t….I Can’t….Oh All Right Then….I Will

Tomorrow I’m due to take part in my 4th Omagh Half Marathon. I should be excited but have never felt so underwhelmed before a race. I’ve been sick all week, my third bout of illness since the start of the year, which has laid waste to my plan to run the Belfast Marathon next month. […]

The Things We Do For Our Kids

This evening I am accompanying Rebecca to a show at the Ulster Hall venue in Belfast. And by ‘accompanying’ I mean being dragged along kicking and screaming. Who are we going to see? One Direction reforming? No, it’s Northern Irish YouTube ‘sensation’, TheNewAdamB99, on the Belfast leg of his sold out tour. YouTubers go on […]

Warning: This Game Could Take Over Your Life

In recent months, I have felt increasingly excluded from the Black clan as Fionnuala and the hatchlings have sat hunched over their phones. Furiously punching keys, they have cackled and hissed in equal measure, accompanied by groans of dismay and squeals of delight. What on earth were they up to, I pondered? I decided to […]

Why I Won’t Be Lying For Another 364 Days

Yesterday was the busiest ever day in the two year history of the blog. Our April Fool’s Day post received 227 views and, in total, we broke the 500 view barrier for the first time. We also broke the 9500 follower mark and are heading towards the big 10K, a figure we never dreamed of […]

The Curious Case Of People Who Read Christmas Blogs In March

As the first quarter of the year draws to a close, I’m somewhat surprised that people are still viewing a series of blogs I posted at Christmas – imaginatively entitled ‘The 12 Blogging Questions of Christmas’. Are people accidentally stumbling across these posts or are there folk out there who just can’t abide parting with […]