Category Archives: About me

Late Home… Again.

So… she strolls in at 11.30pm as if I she has no idea I would be waiting, toe-tapping, wondering where the hell was, worrying about her.

She treats this place like a hotel, wouldn’t dream of explaining where she has been or what she has been up to. No point in asking; as usual, she strolls into the kitchen and starts rummaging around, complaining that she’s hungry.

I tell her she should get home at a decent hour if she wants to eat. She says, no matter, she’ll go out again and pick something up. I say,

No way, not at this hour, my girl! It’s bedtime and you know it…

and that’s it… she flies off the handle, marches into the bathroom and starts throwing things around. My precious ornaments are smashed on the floor and does she care?
I tell her to stop that, she needs to respect my things. She expects a comfortable home life, would it be too much to ask for her to occasionally consider my feelings?
I say I am so angry I can hardly speak to her. I say we can talk about this again in the morning and I go to bed, furious.

I wake first, realise she’s not up yet and, me being me, I go check on her.
There she is, curled up in the handbasin, as if geckos wouldn’t melt in her mouth. I say,

Good morning, Cleo and she stretches.

All is forgiven.

Life with my cat.

Hungry!

Miss Adorable

The Damage. ☹️

A New Book Out at Last!


At last, I am very happy and proud to announce the release of the third novel in my Berriwood Series.

Dirty Work will be available on Amazon tomorrow!

Each book in the series is a standalone novel; the link being the Cornish village and its characters.

This is a psychological drama with murder at its heart. Don’t be fooled by the pretty village of Berriwood; dark things can happen!

 

 

Here is a little bit about it:-

A shallow grave.

A body to find.

But no one is looking…

Caroline Duke and her sister-in-law Marcie lead very different lives, but blood is thicker than water; they are close, they share things.
Husband troubles.
Marcie has everything she could possibly want, funded by Nathan’s high-powered city job. She pays for her privileged position in lonely days and nights, while her husband works away.
Caroline is struggling with two jobs and out-of-work Pete, who brings in no money at all. He is never home either. He spends his evenings in bars and clubs and the occasional ditch.
But everything in the Duke family is set to change. And for the better. Pete declares he has given up drinking for good and is getting a job. Nathan announces his intention to work less, spend more time with Marcie.
A birthday dinner should be the perfect occasion to bring the four together. But when is a party not a party? When someone ends up dead.

i would be very grateful for any likes or shares.

When I have time…

It’s Monday again, bringing that busy beginning of the week feeling with so much to achieve and only five (six?) (seven?) days to do it in.

Last evening I went through my to-do list. I don’t know about you but I probably need a whole month to get through my average week and, in order to make things look a bit more doable, I relegated a few of the not-so-urgent items  to dates a little further along in my diary. These range from things that definitely need to be done in the next week to those that must be done by the end of the month and a few that will be okay this side of Easter. They are mostly to do with writing/blogging.

But I was also reflecting on my ‘When I Have Time’ list and realised this one is quite a mixed bag. So, forthwith, (and in no particular order) here are some of the things I would like to fit in over the next few months:-

  • Wax  the car – properly.
  • Knit some fancy hot water bottle covers (fun gifts)
  • Sow my seeds, Amongst other things, I am planning to grow bananas and papyrus from seed this year
  • Get fit – I ran a half marathon in May 2016 and since then everything in the body department has gone to seed!
  • Maybe get a kitten?  (Cleo would like a playmate)
  • Make marmalade
  • Spend time with my children/grandchildren
  • Learn Portuguese
  • Make a bed quilt
  • Read everything
  • Move house
  • Take up Tai Chi

……….. But at the moment, I’m writing 🙂

Children’s Books and What They Mean to Me

img_1990Books. When I was a child, I couldn’t get enough of them. Picture books, children’s encyclopaedia’s especially the sections on Volcanoes, tropical islands and exotic animals! I loved Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five series, because those kids had such adventures. Also, just William by Richmal Crompton and Jennings and Derbyshire by Anthony Buckeridge for their downright naughtiness. Later I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries.

When my children were small I began to discover children’s books all over again, old favourites and bright, new books. Parents are so lucky, moving through a few short years of The Hungry Caterpillar and Dear Zoo to The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Mog and Winnie the Witch and on to longer stories. When we read together (long after the children could read for themselves) The Animals of Farthing Wood, Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad Series, Diggers, Truckers and Wings, and of course Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and others I couldn’t wait for the next chapter any more than the children. I never got to read the Harry Potter books to my children as they came a little too late but I’m looking forward to that pleasure with my grandchildren.

At the time that I finished writing my first novel, The Palaver Tree, we also happened to be moving house and I came across an old box file of my writing from way back when I used a typewriter. In there was the outline for a children’s book that I had long ago imagined and named Kelly at Come-alive Cottage. I was excited by the story that I had forgotten and decided there and then that I would next produce a children’s book. After all, I told myself,  the process of writing a novel is a long and sometimes arduous task. I thought my little fifty page chapter book would be a breeze.

Wrong

It  was hard, just like any writing project, but it was fun and different and also gave me a new respect for children’s writers.

My blog is all about my love of and experience with books and, for a while I have wanted to separately feature some of the best children’s books, both old and new.  This is what Fridays will look like on the blog.

I started last Friday with a brand new and lovely book by Cat Michaels, The Magical Aquarium.

Which  children’s books have you loved and remembered? If you can recommend a favourite old or new or have written a children’s book please contact me with ideas for this feature. I will be choosy, I want to feature those that I would love to share with the next generation of readers (and parents!) I will be reading and reviewing each book, so please, none longer than about fifty pages. There  are still a lot of novels out there to read too!

Children are the next generation of readers. Who knows what publishing will look like by the time they grow up? Let’s give them all the encouragement we can with great books to start their reading journey.

My Come-alive Cottage Series

imageimageimageimage

 

 

 

Happy New Year, Everyone!

img_1956

It’s the eve of a new year and judging from many of the wonderful blogs I have had the privilege to read in 2016 quite a number of us will greet it gladly with anticipation of some better times in 2017.

So, to everyone, I want to wish all the very best. Here’s to hard work, strong relationships and a little luck to help us along the way, in 2017!

Happy New Year!

 

It’s Almost Here!

img_1950Christmas, it’s almost here!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to drop in and like or comment on my posts over the last few months. Every, single one is appreciated. Thank you also to those generous bloggers who take the time to write informative posts and share their experiences and expertise.

A break, a time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends is very important, especially as writing is such a solitary task.

I have just a few, fun, Christmas books left to review now before the end of the year and so would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday season and I look forward to sharing more, learning more and creating more in the writing year to come.

Best wishes!

img_1949

Making Good Things Happen

Image source - Pixabay

Image source – Pixabay

This time last year I was determined the New Year would be a better one. An ongoing, family-health situation meant that the whole year had been swallowed up by it. When I say the whole year, I don’t mean that nothing was done at all but what I am talking about is creative energy and time to laugh and have fun.

Nothing changed at the beginning of this year and around April time it seemed like this situation might go on forever. And then I saw a way to make things happen. I finally realised that while I could not change things around me I could change me: my attitude, my outlook, my way of dealing with things.

Writing and, of course that essential partner, reading, have always been a part of me and what Individual Me really wants to do most. I am not talking here about Wife Me or Mother Me or even Grandma Me;  those roles are also vital to my wellbeing, but when something goes beyond your control you have to protect all the Me’s in order to protect the whole.

That’s why somewhere back before the summer started I decided that I needed to get back to writing and reading. I had never really left; it was just whenever I did those things there was no real focus. No matter whether I was reading it or writing it I was never lost in a book the way I used to be.

I’ve been trying to make up for lost time. I am writing almost every day and I have re-read books  that I didn’t give enough attention to first time around. A little while ago I promised myself I would not fail my Goodreads Challenge this year. I am still not too sure if I will make it but I am giving it a good try.

This week I will be posting reviews every day, if I can, as well as my usual Wednesday slot, as I still have quite a few to do if I am going to cross the finishing line in time. Twenty two reviews to go!

Christmas is coming, the season of good cheer. If there is some huge issue clouding your life I want to say, hard as it is, try to compartmentalise, try to give a little time to each and every part of your life that is important to you. I hope you can reap the benefits of that little bit of control, I know I have.

Image source - Pixabay

Image source – Pixabay

The Business of Writing

img_1910As I have mentioned a few days ago here my mind is awash with plans and resolutions. I have a lot I want to do in the New Year and I don’t want to arrive at the start line unprepared.

For ten years I worked for an adult training company. It was all about system management. Virtually all of our courses were run ‘off site’ many in the company offices of our clients who had employed us to train their staff in health and safety or first aid. Even more of our courses took place in woodlands and muddy fields; Tree surgery, tractor driving and the art of dry stonewall construction. These courses were potentially dangerous for our attendees; proper pre-course instruction, suitability of the site and personal protective clothing were paramount. So too was making sure the candidates were fit for the course and the right instructor was selected.img_1908

It all boiled down to meticulous and timely planning. I loved it.

Writing was always in the background, always has been; a luxurious guilty- pleasure, an escape and a desire to create.

When I finished my first novel, in that rush of excitement that I had actually done it, I knew that this wasn’t just it. I wanted more. But I still hadn’t latched on to the idea of writing as a business. I uploaded the book to Amazon and look around with a glorious feeling of, ‘Ah, what next?’

The many books and posts ( thank you fellow bloggers!’) I have read on the various aspects of producing and marketing books have made me realise just how much work there is to do. My Systems Management Brain has finally kicked in. There has to be a plan. Any time is a good time for a plan but the beginning of a New Year is an especially good time.

Resolution No1 – Make A Plan

I believe a lot of writers will agree, this is not an easy thing to do. Following a plan is hard, but even devising and making a plan that can work for you, as an individual, is no piece of cake. So I am breaking it down into digestible chunks, just like I would when planning a training course.

  • writing
  • Blogging
  • Marketing
  • social media
  • Reading

… and I will be breaking down these topics much further as I go into them.

As a new blogger, I am still looking for ways that I can add something to the blogging community. When I very first started this I knew there were already many experienced people out there who can speak with much more authority than I. What could I add to all that expertise? It seemed a bit daunting.

But there are many people starting too, so I want to document what works and what doesn’t for me, what I enjoy and what is just hard slog! I want to share what I have learned about writing andmaybe ask a few questions too

Talk to you soon… Back to the plan!

img_1909

I’m a Little Behind…

img_1882As I have mentioned quite  a few times I am behind (not a little but a lot) with my Goodreads review challenge this year.

Having been wrapped up with so many other things at the beginning of this year it has only been in the later months that I revised what I could achieve in 2016. I set new goals but, amongst them,  I still hoped to complete my promised reviews – I still do!

Today already has lots of demands on my time but I am also going to try to post at least six reviews for great books I have read this year. The challenge goes on!

On not winning the Edinburgh Marathon this year.

img_1867On 29th May this year I took part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. It was the first long distance race I had ever attempted and I enrolled in the half-marathon which is a distance of 13.5 miles.

The training was hard and, as I was in the UK during the winter, the more serious long-distance training often meant running in dark, cold conditions and mostly it was also very wet! I ran several eight mile stretches and finally a nine before sustaining a sciatica-type injury to my right posterior (ouch!) and being advised to rest it until the BIg Day.

It was an early start. Coaches arrived at pre-organised points on the outskirts of the city and we competitors were bussed in to the start point. It was clear to me from the beginning of my training that the only person I would be competeing against would be myself. Although I have kept reasonably fit throughout my life (squash, tennis, badminton, keep fit, yoga) these have always been on a beginner sort of level. I knew that also age was against me. I was old enough to be a grandmother to many of the competitor! But I wanted to do it and there I was, at the start line, worries about the sciatica niggling at me as I watched slender, young things flex their muscles in preparation.

The very beginning is fun as the pack starts to slowly move over the start line where each individual start time is recorded. I had already elected to start towards the back as I expected to come in at a slow time, if indeed I ‘came in’ at all. The runners soon split up and although I got off to a reasonable start I soon began to lag. Let me tell you, if you have never done this kind of thing that a half-Marathon may be only 13.5 miles but that is a loooooong way to run in one go.

img_1868

Although I thought I would never get there the final two or three miles were actually the worst and the best. The worst because my leg was killing me and I honestly thought that I could not carry on much longer but the best because the way the course was planned many full marathon runners were passing me going the other way on their much longer run. By that time I was little more than a staggering mess but I cannot tell you how many of those younger, fitter runners reached over the barrier toward me with high fives and encouragement to keep going. ‘Don’t give up!’ ‘you can do it’.  They were so generous and supportive and they did keep me going.

By the way, I did finish. (I may have been last – it’s hard to know!)😊

img_1818

The purpose of my telling you this story is two-fold and has been prompted by some excellent, recent, blog posts I have read highlighting the way Indie authors are regarded by some others, both readers and writers. That somehow we are less, regardless of the quality of the work, because we pushed the publish button ourselves.

1) My marathon memories reminded me how incredibly important it was for me to feel part of the group that day. No one was saying, ‘Don’t try, you’ll never be as good as us.’

2) It also reinforced in my mind how much hard work it takes in any sphere of life to achieve the best you can do.

The ‘elite’ runners in the marathon that day in May ran 26 Miles having left the start an hour later than me and the first ones crossed the line just minutes after I did. At any age, that kind of fitness and stamina takes great dedication that should never be underestimated. Of course, I already knew marathon runners are fit people but just taking some small part in their world gave me so much more insight into how much they must work to be ‘elite’. The same is true of any sport or endeavour. I have always been a great tennis fan and I remember well people dismissing Tim Herman as ‘useless’ because he didn’t win Wimbledon and was only number four in the world. How dare they?

NaNoWriMo is underway and several bloggers have pointed out that this month-long rush to write 50,000 words is writing at a ‘professional’ pace. That is an awesome pace, make no mistake. (And well done to all who take part) Those authors who publish year after year work tirelessly to complete new works.  It’s hard. It takes dedication whether you are a full time writer or not, whether you are an indie or not.

We should all expect to work hard if we want to achieve big goals and we should ply our trade with absolute professionalism. But when the work is done it should be judged for its own merits.

Let’s hope we are moving toward the day when the finished article,  the books that are the fruits of those labours, will be judged by their presentation and the words on the page, rather than some antiquated idea that who published them is what matters most.