Tag Archives: literature

Book or Ornament?

This might seem an odd dilemma but the question is prompted by something that happened yesterday on a rare day out of the office. Mum had asked me to ‘be her’ for the day (interesting!) as she had booked a trip with the U3A with a close friend and neighbour but in the end was unable to attend. Despite mounting workloads and waning energy levels on my new gym programme, I had of course agreed and we had a really fun day at Hatfield House in Herts!  Great company 🙂

One of the rooms in this stately home I loved was, of course, the library, pictured below. Rows and rows of ancient books and despite knowing they would not like greasy fingers on the covers, I knew I had to… some compulsion that said inside my head: touch the book. My friend did too of course! We only touched one, but don’t you just love the feel of a real book? So many of them, from fiction to psychology although hard to read the authors or the titles on them, shame, they all look the same! So, of course, poking fingers got reprimanded with a ‘don’t touch the book’ which I ignored, almost touching another in protest but I am aware these are priceless artefacts and if we all poked the books would not live another 500 years. I get it, but that voice inside did not! See, the thing is, these are books. They were born to be opened and read and enjoyed and now they are nothing more than ornaments and somehow I find that sad… what do you think?


Hatfield House Library

The Library, Hatfield House, Herts, taken September 13th, 2017

I think it was a day of rebellion because there was also a dog groomers on site where they had the stable doors flung wide open so you could watch, an invite to see the doggies get clipped.  So, when an Airedale looked at me from where he was being pampered and wagged his tail I naturally said hello there. So then the woman who was in there reprimanded with a don’t talk to the dog. I ignored that too, … don’t open the door and invite us to look in if that is the case! Books are made to be read just as dogs are made to be social!

Later, in part of the old house, we walked around what had been a massive kitchen, read the sign that said ‘Do not touch the kitchen utensils’ and guess what we saw? The gong. Oh yeah… a gong for announcing that dinner was served. We looked at one another and seriously, seriously wanted to pick it up, I mean, to apply the same philosophy, and allow it to be what it was made to be… oh how much we wanted to do that… but even we (rebels that we are) thought that might have finally been a step too far! But imagine giving it a lease of life once more… 🙂 I so wish my inner rebel had done it now! Darn that self-control!

But seriously, I am all for rules and preserving history etc… but a book is made to be read, is it not? It’s a library but not a functional one so is it really a library if no one reads? Is it really a book if simply on a shelf? History needs to be living and breathing and even if greasy fingers spoil books at least they get to be books and not ornaments! There resteth my case!

I will leave that for you to ponder and for me to wish I had taken that gong now and made my protest to the world! Pick up the books, smell the books, read the books!!!

A collage for you all…


Some pics of Hatfield House, including me in hat to tame the frizz, and very cheesy grin… Knight in shining armour anyone?




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Settling into Life

How lovely it is settling into my new life in this lovely little house. The house has so many windows and I love the light.

Yesterday a very talented musician friend was here with her hubby; I think I have known her longer than any of my friends, we go back to infant school in fact and I introduced her to her husband when we were both doing our A’Levels! They have now been married twenty-seven years! Wow! Anyway, Nic is the one who wrote and recorded the music that goes with the book trailer for While No One Was Watching, the one Dad and my best friend sang on… shared again below as it’s been a while! Anyhow, she is releasing a very special album and yesterday we turned our living room into a recording studio and I gave a reading as Lydia, the whole of Chapter 16 of the novel as it happens!

Once this is released I will share. I think she will use some of it as it’s ten minutes long, but there will be a link to hear it all, so that’s me talking in my African-American accent. Hope it sounds okay. How bloody exciting is that!

So what fun! And then we had a Chinese meal sat on our patio, so the house has had its first social gathering 🙂 How lovely 🙂

The garden is a work in progress but we are getting there! What do I look like? Don’t answer that!


Here is the book trailer :)CLICK  https://youtu.be/yu-FEliJflA


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Count your blessings

I saw something on Facebook that said get a glass jar and every time something good happens write it down and fold the paper and put it in the jar. I think this is a wonderful way to think in a positive way and focus the mind to think about good things and not bad ones. I think I could count many blessings every day; that I get to do what I love, that I write lists and do everything on them; that I have the most wonderful friends, a great family, a man who tells me every day how much he loves me. I think we must all think that way.

This week as I look at it in review I have subbed Chutney with a new synopsis; finished an edit and have the report to write today, fitted in three gym classes yesterday, helped someone pass the next level of their PT course by being their guinea pig in a training session the day before, set up a JustGiving page for our gym challenge and met the lady from the charity, got banners, T-shirts and balloons and arranged a visit to the hospice; arranged to see my best mate Sunday as a pre-birthday lunch and plans with a couple of friends for lunch next week. Hopefully my poorly man will be well enough to take me out Saturday but if not then we will have to postpone the birthday celebration until he is well… that will stretch it out, right?

If we can see the good and the positive and not the negative side of life, which we all know is there, we will see that counting our blessings is a wonderful way to live and imagine the joy we will have reading those little notes in that glass jar this time next year.

That is all, have a wonderful weekend everyone… 


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Late blog this morning as was busy early, but just popping in to say have a great weekend all! The countdown begins and next week I will be posting short extracts of some of my published short stories and maybe novel extracts too on here in my own countdown until Friday!

So watch this space folks!

Happy Friday!



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Celebrating all things writerly

Just a few photos from the Canvey Writers’ Christmas meal.

I think it’s really important, as writers, who naturally tend to work alone, to come together to share the experience and our work.

This year we were at a local pub for a meal … thanks Half Crown!

Roll on Christmas!


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Being busy

I love that I have a lot of work, although my own writing has to wait when that happens. I suddenly have a lot of work this side of Christmas; from both private clients and Cornerstones, but that is all fab! It is, after all,an expensive time of year!

Tomorrow I finally get to meet my Cornerstones colleagues when I am off to London for a little drinks evening; although I have a consult with a client first! As you do. So tomorrow I will not be in the office even though I have a lot of work to get through! Anyone would think it’s Christmas! But when I think about having colleagues who do what I do for a job I can’t help thinking about how I created the ideal job. I think back to when I would sit in the open office at work; all discussing pharmaceutical technical things and wishing we were talking about character motivation and the like! And now, well it is only me in the office, but I do have phone calls and I do spend my afternoons doing just that! I have indeed created the perfect job! And I will forever be grateful because I am quite sure I could never go back now! How could I do anything else or work for anyone but me? I couldn’t!

Tomorrow morning I also have to be at the gym early to be put through my paces by my lovely friend and one of the trainers as she has her final assessment to become a fully qualified personal trainer. So later I get to be trained by the man and then in for another session tomorrow for her and him again Thursday! I will feel it! I will not blog in the morning as I need to be up and editing at 5 so at least I get some work done before my busy day! But I will be back on Thursday to report on meeting my Cornerstones’ colleagues!

Have a fantastic day folks, whatever you’re doing!


Create the life you love…

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On This Day… 22/11/2016

Today sees the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. Three years ago I had the official launch of While No One Was Watching, my debut novel. And what a three years it has been.

The same year I won the inaugural Bath Short Story Award, was shortlisted in the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize and my story, The Theory of Circles, was also nominated for the highly acclaimed Pushcart Prize! It was hard to top that in a year!

The following year also saw successes, the biggest of which was finding an agent.

Since then I have had something published each year to keep that short story momentum going and had numerous signings and events along the way. I also moved to Essex, joined a gym and met a lovely man.  So personally and professionally my life has changed.

Give me a WHOOP!

Novel wise, I have still got the other three novels and been working on at least two new novels but am waiting for something to happen. My agent is so incredibly busy and she has now joined a much larger agency where her focus has changed more towards non-fiction. She still represents… me for the time being, but I am now making plans for 2017. I need to have another novel out there now!

I talked about my novel, and this whole idea of using a real event, such as the Kennedy assassination, woven into the fabric of fiction at the U3A event last Friday. Aptly timed of course for the anniversary. We used examples from film and talked about the historical novelists like Philippa Gregory and Sharon K Penman and where the historical novel sits (although mine is not a historical novel per se) in terms of representation of history. Can fiction change what we believe and is that a good thing?  It went down really well and I sold 14 books which isn’t bad for an event like that!

I will share links to the U3A site as they also took photos  when that is live.

So on this special day, I am sharing links to my novel again (sorry!) for anyone who has not read it! Give it a go! Christmas presents?


New cover WNOWW

Buy me

Thanks and thoughts to Kennedy and what the world might have been if he was still here.

Would I even have written this novel?

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