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Monday, 31 March 2014


April 1 2014



Do you live in Scotland? Do you, like me, have  a huge collection of paperback books?  Then buy while you can because from September 2014 Scottish  residents will only be able to download new e-books : the printed versions will banned.

In the capital  today crowds gathered in front of Edinburgh Castle where the Minister for Reading, Mr Carnt Wright gave a long, drawn out speech.

'The only way to make Scottish Independence work,' he declared, 'is to limit our spending.   
 I therefore have no choice but to ban the printed word..'

Thousands have already signed a petition calling for the ban to be reversed.  Please download your copy and vote NOW (before lunchtime if possible.)

Monday, 24 March 2014

Here's to The Queen Mother's memory... (and her fridge!)

What has the late Queen Mother's housekeeping got to do with my novel  Baggy Pants and Bootees?  The answer, it seems, is a 60-year-old fridge!

According to a report in The Times recently, 'A fridge that belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, is marking it's diamond jubilee. The Frigidaire, which was made by General Motors, was bought in 1954 for the Castle of Mey, the Queen Mother's home in Caithness.'

And now, the memory of this  household appliance has been brought to life by 24-year-old Sophie Wainwright, the 1960's cub reporter featured in my debut novel.
Frigidaire Appliance Company
TypeDivision of Electrolux
IndustryMajor appliances, Small appliances
HeadquartersCharlotte, NC
ProductsClothes washers and dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, ranges, room air conditioners, dehumidifiers, microwaves ovens.
Frigidaire is an American brand of consumer and commercial appliances. Frigidaire was founded as the Guardian Frigerator Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and developed the first self-contained refrigerator (invented by Nathaniel B. Wales and Alfred Mellowes) in 1916.

My protagonist Sophie is  extremely wary of men. After witnessing her mother's disastrous relationships during the grim post-war era, she refuses to feel anything other than contempt for good looking office Romeo Steve Sibson. Keen to understand her, and determined to thaw out their relationship, Steve gives Sophie the nickname 'Frigidaire.'

'I love this nickname' says one reviewer. 'It really brings the romantic relationship to life.' Find out more at


Tuesday, 4 March 2014


My Writing Process – Blog Tour

The Valentine's Day publication of my debut novel Baggy Pants and Bootees marked the end - and the beginning - of a long-held dream. It also made me realise that the only thing I like better than writing is, well, talking about writing! So thanks go to fellow Safkhet Publishing author Suzie Tullet for asking me to join her in the My Writing Process – Blog Tour #mywritingprocess 

Suzie, who writes fun-packed romantic fiction,  is the author of Going Underground and  Little White Lies and Butterflies which was short listed for the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize in 2013.  You can read all about Suzie here

Meanwhile, I've been asked  some interesting questions as part of this blog tour, so here goes:
1 What am I working on?
As a former journalist my attitude to novel writing is rather unconventional; I work on instinct rather than planning before I begin the actual manuscript.
Mystery, heartbreak, drama - all of these things describe my work in progress -  another time-slip novel.  Why do I favour time-slip? With two  separate stories going on at the same time –  beautifully demonstrated   in Rosamund Pilcher’s acclaimed novel The Shell Seekers – the reader can see how  the protagonist has been influenced by past events.
I prefer not to give away the plot , partly because I’m superstitious, but also because it is  evolving - ie  the characters are still  deciding  what they want to do next!  
2 How does my work differ from others of its genre?
 I still write my dialogue a bit like a journalist – it’s hard to break the habit – but then I love dialogue as it makes the story so much more realistic.  I want to make the reader laugh, even when I am ultimately telling a sad story, because I think we all need a sense of humour to survive.  In short, I like to face real issues.
When my second daughter was born she had a port wine birthmark on her forehead.  Keen to make contact with others in the same situation, I wrote an article about how I dealt with this in Parents Magazine.  The magazine kindly sent on to me all the responses they received from readers and I was amazed how many people my story had touched. 
3 Why do I write what I do? 
Over the years my tastes have changed a great deal; A level English literature taught me to appreciate J.D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and the books of Stan Barstow, George Orwell
Later, my husband introduced me to the works of Ibsen, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov  etc and though I enjoyed these (particularly Ibsen’s the Master Builder) I could only stand back and admire the skill involved in such works.
 Later  I began to read  books such as Other People's Marriages by Rosie Thomas and Erin Pizey's The Watershed and  finally realised that these were the  kind of novels I wanted to write.
As a reader I want a good plot, poignancy and realism,  but I want to learn something too -– it’s not enough for me to just be entertained.  I hope this comes over in my writing.
How does my writing process work? 
My writing begins with flashes of inspiration which can arrive at any time – even in the middle of the night.  I always have a pen with me to jot down my thoughts.  Sometimes an idea will come from a chance conversation.  For instance, I was talking to …..oh no, I can’t tell you that…there’s always the chance the lady in question will read my next book!
For a time slip novel I write the two stories separately then integrate them at the end so there is a consistency and flow for the reader.  I much prefer to write the initial chapters by hand – this means I can do it whenever the mood takes me, but always transfer it to my laptop when it has begun to take shape.

I write because I want to and, now that I’ve had my debut novel published, I hope that more people will continue to read what I write.  But if they didn’t, I would still write. It's a simple as that. 

You can click on Baggy Pants and Bootees  to find out more.
And now I'd like to welcome my two guests  - Peter Kenny and Jack Barrow, who will be taking part in the tour next time. 

For Peter Kenny, variety is essential. He's written everything from TV ads, junk mail, journalism, poetry, plays, lyrics,  stories, libretti and more. His thought provoking blog peter kenny: the notebook can be found here: 

Peter was born in Guernsey and I was lucky enough to meet him at the first ever Guernsey Literary Festival where he read some  haunting poems about his island home.

Meanwhile, Jack Barrow is known for his controversial views. Jack, who 
lives in Hertfordshire, England,  writes about popular philosophy in modern life. He says: 'I have a particular interest in the way people are rejecting mainstream religion and creating their own philosophies from the bottom up. These ideas cannot really be described as theological in the way that western religions are and they seem closer to eastern mysticism, such as Buddhism or Zen, while being dressed up with symbolism drawn from folkloric sources.

Jack's  first novel, The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is now available worldwide after receiving excellent reviews in the UK. He is currently working  on a travelogue, 'which is distracting me from working on the second novel about an end of the world religious cult, Morris Men practised in the martial arts and the accidental destruction of a literary festival...' Find out more about Jack on: