Wednesday, 25 September 2013


It's been a few weeks since I have blogged mainly because we have been very busy, I will try to explain. Since my dad passed away in April big decisions have had to be made for our future, basically what are we going to do. First and foremost I need to get a job because I have not worked for the last eighteen month. (previous blogs will explain why)

The decision we have come to and are very excited about is we are leaving The Midlands and moving to the coast, a village in Norfolk ten minutes walk from the beach.

It has always been a long term dream to live near the sea, we have found a lovely little bungalow and fingers cross I will find a nice little job. I have discovered that apparently seventy five per cent of the village population are retirement age, so as I'm and always will be thirty nine that will make me one of the youngest ones there. Friends and family have laughed when we tell them that, but as we are really both in our mid fifty's (did I really say that) and have moved six times in the last sixtean years we want this to be the last move.

So what am I looking forward to, the obvious answer is walking on the beach even in winter to wrap up warm take a flask of hot coffee and watch the crashing waves. Also I'm looking forward to getting stuck into some writing, my book PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST has been out for nearly six months now and I think it might be time to finish off the next one.

But the thing that I'm looking forward to the most is welcoming family and friends to stay, to be able to spend time with those closest to you in a lovely part of the country. One of my favorite things in life after reading is feeding people, to cook a nice meal and sit laughing and chatting for hours, there is nothing better. Hopefully the cooking will be a little different and I will be packing up a picnic a few bottles of wine and off to the beach we go, weather permitting of course.

So thats about it for now next time hopefully fingers and toes crossed I will be blogging from Norfolk, new home, new job, new life and possibly a new book.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Today I would like to tell you all about an author friend of mine; she is the one you should thank if you liked my book PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST, but if you didn't like the book she's the one to blame.



Amanda was the one person who encouraged me not to give up with my writing; she was the one who received an email from me two minutes after my edited book came back from the publishers. The postman had just delivered the manuscript, it was in my hand I was so excited and couldn't wait to open up the envelope. Talk about being hit in the face and knocked to the ground well that's what happened when I opened the envelope, virtually every line on every single page had red ink corrections.

I was devastated my lovely book which I had spent hours, weeks, months writing was nothing but a paper battle field. I sent my email to Amanda feeling truly deflated, in fact defeated is probably the word. 'That's it Amanda I've given up, no more writing for me I'm back to just reading books, it was just a dream to far, I have well and truly failed'

A lovely email came back telling me to calm down and take my time and get it sorted, too late for that I had thrown it into a cupboard never to see the light of day again. The cupboard is where it stayed for several months, well and truly forgotten but with a lot of encouragement from Amanda it finally came out and eventually did get sorted. I now realise that it was one of the best things that could have happened to my manuscript, the lessons it taught me are invaluable and im so grateful for that.

Back to the lovely Amanda and her books, I have read all six and thoroughly enjoyed all of them.

The MUMMY MISFIT  books were her first and the ones that she is best know for.

The story tells of Libby and Ned Merchant and their struggles putting son Max through private education, not just with the money it costs but also having to deal with the mummy's or should I say 'meemies'. Thankfully the friendship she strikes up with Fenella and Josh is a big help, not forgetting Libby's lovely neighbour Mrs S, I just love her in both of the books, I can't hear a Barry Manalow song now without thinking of her.

The books are so funny and I'm sure we have all come across several of these characters in our everyday lives. Amanda has not said that there will be a misfit 3 but I think at some point in the future there just has to be , all good things come in threes and I can't wait to see what happens to all the characters and where life takes them all.

COMPLETING THE PUZZLE - Is a tale of families, love and mid-life crisis. Middle aged and middle-of-the-road, Fee Crawford has been drifting through life in a passionless marriage and hurtling towards the menopause. With her twin boys grown up and needing her less, why does she still feel incomplete?

STILETTOS AND STUBBLE - Where all you need is to be yourself . All her life Persephone's been branded a 'Big Girl' criticised by her outwardly perfect mother, dearly loved by her father, she's the queen of low self-esteem. Finding herself suddenly immersed in a world of glitz and glamour, where nothing is quite as it seems, will she finally realise it's what's inside that counts? 

CHRISTMAS DELIVERANCE - Because Christmas doesn't always deliver what you want ... but sometimes it might be just what you need.

LOTTIE'S LUCK - What happens when fate pushes you in a new direction?  Lottie Truman's life was simply tickety-boo until a neighbour's prediction seemed to coincide with her luck running out.

Why not check out Amanda's books on Amazon and Lulu Publishing, also you can follow her on her Mummy Misfit blog and not forgetting on twitter @mummy_misfit

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


I have met some lovely people on Twitter and Facebook and today I want to tell you about four of them. These ladies are all authors and after chatting with them through Twitter I then went on to read their books.

The first is TALLI ROLAND she is Canadian but now lives in London with her husband and new baby boy. For anyone who doesn't know Talli on Twitter she is the one who tells us when it's ' wine time '.


The first book of hers that I read was the very funny WATCHING WILLOW WATTS; it's the story of how Willow gets catapulted to fame on the internet after impersonating Marilyn Monroe. I loved this book and it's still my favourite of Talli's.

Since reading Willows adventures I have read three more of Talli's books and really enjoyed them, THE HATING GAME,    CONSTRUCT COUPLE and    BUILD A MAN.  On my list to read are POLLYANNA PLAN and   MIRACLE AT MUSEUM OF BROKEN HEARTS.

Talli keeps us up to date with all her news on her website, anything from shopping in Kensington High Street to pushing her little boy around the park. Not forgetting all her news and regular updates on her writing.

The next lady is the lovely SUE FORTIN I first met Sue through The Romaniacs website which is run by Sue and a group of romance writers, they are a lovely bunch of ladies and very funny. I was interviewed by them for their Tuesday Chit-Chats, we ate a lot of cake during the interview.

Sue has been a big supporter of my book PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST and not a week goes by that she doesn't give it a plug for me on Twitter. But not just me she is a huge help for dozens of writers out there. The one book she doesn't push enough in my opinion is her own, it's called UNITED STATE OF LOVE and quite recently it has a brand new cover which is fab. Here is a little desrcription of the book.
                                                          UNITED STATE OF LOVE

Since splitting up from her husband Anna is enjoying her new found freedom and independence. Now she can concentrate on looking after her teenage son and building up her career. However she didn't bank on working with Tex Garcia.

This is a really good summer read and I would highly recommend it, you will all want to go and find your own Tex, or will you?

LIZZIE LAMB is the next author I want to tell you about, it's Lizzie you can blame for getting me to go on Facebook, after she had nagged me on Twitter for months. She was right obviously I'm glad I did , by the way if you don't follow her I suggest that you do as there doesn't seem to be a day go by where she is not posting photos of books, authors, meals out with friends and not forgetting her famous parrot. Lizzie's book is called TALL DARK AND KILTED.


Notting Hill meets Monarch of the Glen, Fliss longs to get away from London and when she loses her job she gets the opportunity to move to Scotland and run a therapy centre. She is hoping the highlands are full of hunky men in kilts. Then she comes up against Ruairi Urquhart and he has other plans for Fliss and her therapy centre.

This is another lovely read and if rumours are to be believed I think there could be another book from Lizzie on the way.

The last of my Twitter authors for today is the lovely CAROL HEDGES. If you do not follow Carol on Twitter or Facebook I will warn you she is a stickler for punctuation and grammar, I have learnt to my cost ( I am only joking ). Carol does a weekly blog every Saturday without fail, some weeks it might be about a book, author or her 'adventures' out and about with her husband, these are very funny and I can't wait for them to all turn up in one of her books. Also Carol tells us about the action group she is involved with thats trying to save an urban green space from development.

Back to Carol's books she has written eleven and they are written for young adults. I hear you say what is this fifty year old man doing reading them; well I have only read one so far JIGSAW PIECES. I enjoyed the book so much I completely forgot what market it was aimed at.


Annie has been searching for her identity since moving from her native Norway. With a spikey personality winning her no friends and family members torn from her life, she is left seeking comfort from a growing intrigue into stories of fallen war heroes. A boy from her school commits suicide and Annie is confused by this and starts looking into his death.What she uncovers will bring her to a dark and dangerous place.

A few of the other books Carol has written are her famous SPY GIRL BOOKS -   DEAD MAN TALKING,    THE DARK SIDE OF MIDNIGHT,    OUT OF THE SHADOWS and   ONCE UPON A CRIME.

Well that's just four of the authors I have discovered on twitter and I hope to tell you about some others in the next few weeks. I hope you will take a look at their work I'm sure you will enjoy their books. All of these books are available on Amazon so why not take a look,  you can also follow them on their blogs and through Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Well that is the big question should I have published PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST ?

My book has now been on the market for three months and that's the question I've been asking myself during this last week. I'm not going to bore you again with why I wrote it, but just in case you don't know the reason behind the book you can go back and read February and March's blogs.

So back to the question should I have published it? One things for certain I am so glad I've written it, that was a very exciting experience and something I have wanted to do for over thirty years. To sit at the laptop and create all those characters not really knowing where they were going to end up was such a buzz and something I want to carry on doing forever.

Writing it was one thing but getting the story of Carole and all her friends published was another matter. Would I have changed anything ? Of course I would but I'm not going to harp on about that now. So should I have done it? The amazing thing is people have actually bought my book and I think this is the time for me to say thank you.

My first thank you goes to everyone who has bought, read and enjoyed PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST, your comments and reviews have made me so happy. One of the biggest kicks I've had, is when a lovely lady in Australia tweeted to say she had ordered my book in paperback, waited six weeks for it to be delivered, then tweeted to say she had really enjoyed reading it. My little book all the way to the other side of the world, to me that was so amazing.

The second thank you has to go to everyone on Twitter, Facebook and all those people who have told their friends, you really have helped promote and sell it for me. The lovely tweeters who RT and tweet day after day, week after week I cannot thank everyone enough. Not forgetting all the blogs that myself and PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST have been featured in.

A big thanks to Julie a friend who lives in Tenerife even shows holidaymakers the book on her Ipad telling them, ' You need to download this one as it's set here in Tenerife' 

Finally I would like to thank all the people who read it and did not enjoy it for one reason or another, you could have given a bad review but you didn't and I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea and that brings me back to the big question should it have been published?

Perhaps the answer should be no, I don't have an agent and I self-published without any experience whatsoever. I would have loved to have been able to sit down with someone who had years of experience, to advise me if certain characters worked or not, or to tell me to rewrite chapters, or maybe change the ending, but I didn't have that opportunity.

So after weeks of mulling this over I really don't know whether I have done the right thing or not, the only conclusion I have come to is PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST hasn't hurt anyone or anything, but it has brought a little pleasure to some people , Especially me!

Monday, 24 June 2013


In my first blog about my SUNDAY BEST books  (29/3/2013) I told you about 'THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY' which became my first. Today I would like to tell you about the author who has become the latest one to join my list . EMYLIA HALL is her name and the book which won me over is  THE BOOK OF SUMMERS.


I bought this book on the recommendation of several newspapers, but a few months passed and it kept going to the bottom of the pile, as other books arrived they seemed to go on top. A holiday was planned last October I got my books together and decided to add this one to the batch.

EMYLIA HALL was not an author I had ever come across before; this was because THE BOOK OF SUMMERS was her first. What I would like to do is write you the author's synopsis of the book as it captures the very essence of the story and is as beautifully written as the book itself, then I will tell you my feelings on it.


When news of a death in the family reaches her from abroad, Beth Lowe realises that she can no longer avoid her past. She is sent a photograph album, a poignant record of the seven summers she spent in rural Hungary. I was a time when she trod the tightrope between separated parents and two distinct countries, a bewitching but imperfect mother and a gentle, reticent father, the dazzling house of a hungarian artist and an empty-feeling cottage in deepest Devon.

Years later, Beth's Hungarian summers continue to haunt and entice her. THE BOOK OF SUMMERS is about the lies we tell, the truths we keep and above all, the ways we find to keep on loving one another.

This book has become one of my favorite books of all time; the writing is just so clear and beautiful. I felt I was there in Hungary with Marika and Zoltan, sitting and eating at their table. I could literally smell and taste the food that was there on the page, I so wanted to be able to walk around Zoltan's studio and look and touch his paintings, to walk through the fields and find the pond to swim in. To be able to sit in the garden with Marika and talk about life and loves would be a wonderful experiance.

Beth's journey through the photo album, each of the seven summers are so special to Beth so very different from her life in Devon. I really cannot praise this book highly enough, one things for sure once you have finished reading THE BOOK OF SUMMERS, it will stay with you for a long time, but be warned please remember you will definitely need tissues when reading it.

EMYLIA HALL has a new book out in September 2013 its called A HEART BENT OUT OF SHAPE.

Monday, 17 June 2013


Now where do I start, I want to say so much about this wonderful lady and her unique books. Marian is there at the top of my SUNDAY BEST list along with Joanne Harris.


I first came across her back in the nineties when a friend gave me a copy of one of her books 'RACHEL'S HOLIDAY'. To be honest when I first saw the book and it mentioned a girl going into a drug rehabilitation centre it didn't really appeal to me at all,  I thought it would be a bit depressing, just not my type of book. I really didn't want to read it, but I did and that was the start of my love for Marian's books.

After 'RACHEL'S HOLIDAY' I went on to read her two previous books 'WATERMELON ' and the fabulous 'LUCY SULLIVAN IS GETTING MARRIED' but a bit like remembering  your first love, or that first kiss 'RACHEL'S HOLIDAY' is still the one I always remember as the one that made the biggest impression on me. Not forgetting of course all of  her other books over the years.


I want to talk about the lady herself, i'm not really sure in which year I first saw Marian on the TV, but I do know it was on 'STRICTLY COME DANCING IT TAKES TWO' with Claudia Winkleman. The thing is she was then and still is obsessed with SCD, not just the show but the dancers as well, a few years ago I remember she wanted to be Lilia Kopylova. Calling Marian SCD biggest fan is an understatement.

Marian has not been on the TV as much recently and she very rarely gives interviews, but last year when I joined Twitter she was one of the first people I just had to follow. Anyone who follows her will know what a fun time is had when she is having one of her famous 'RAFFLES' or telling us it's 'BIN NIGHT' and her trips down to the shops in 'DUN LAOGHAIRE'. Not forgetting the snippets of news on 'HIMSELF' (Marian's other half) and the rest of the family especially 'THE REDZERS' (her nephews). Also who cannot get excited when she post's photos of her travels with the famous 'LANGER BAR' (a chocolate bar). Talking of photos she does love to take them of shoes, makeup and clothes that she shares in her tweets, sorry nearly forgot also her nails; Marian does have the most glamourous nails of any author. 

Then when SCD started last year there was just one subject on Marian's lips, 'PASHA KOVALEV' for anyone who doesn't know (I am aware unbelievably that not everyone watches SCD) he is a dancer on the show. Well that is when Marian and her gang of twitters really came into their own. Pasha become the word on everyone's lips and tweets, what great fun we all had leading up to Christmas. 

'THE MYSTERY OF MERCY CLOSE' is Marian's latest book and I saved it to read on holiday as I wanted to give it my full attention, I wasn't disappointed. I feel there is something really special about this book, not just the intriguing story that keeps you hooked but the way the book makes you look at things in your own life, good and bad. Also in my head I now have a 'SHOVEL LIST' if you haven't read the book yet  that might not mean a lot to you, so I suggest you go read it and find out.


So that's me telling you a little bit about the lady, she is Ireland's queen of writing, twitter and glamour. I really don't think anyone who might be reading this blog would have never read a Marian Keyes book but if you haven't I suggest that you go and get a copy of 'THE MYSTERY OF MERCY CLOSE'  i'm confident that it will start you on a journey with a lovely author.

Finally if you are feeling a little down or a bit lonely and fed up, may I suggest that you should definitely follow her on twitter, because an hour or so of her antics will certainly brighten up your day, it will also probably make you want to go and paint your nails a fab colour.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Looking at my notes it's been about ten weeks since i've written anything, the last blog posted on 16th April had been written quite a while before it was posted. It's felt good to be back in front of the laptop creating people and situations, nothing might ever come of them but it has been fun. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will know why I haven't been blogging.

Very sadly my dad died and as you might have read from one of my previous blogs (25th February) I have been his carer for the last four and a bit years. Eighteen months ago I gave up working as he needed 24/7 care this involved doing everything for him and since October of last year he became completely bedridden. I don't want this to come across as a sad blog, because the time we have all spent together as a family in the last four years has been very happy.

Family and friends during this time have been so very important to me; there is no way I would ever have coped if it wasn't for their love and constant support on a daily basis, not forgetting the two lovely nurses that came from the hospital twice a week. How anyone can manage to be a carer all by themself with no support team behind them I will never know. I count myself extremely lucky. As for my partner and sister I will never understand how they managed to put up with me these last few months.

My dad's final wishes were to go back from The Midlands to Devon for his funeral; he knew where he wanted the funeral to take place and which minister he wanted to take the service. Over a couple of weeks my sister and I got everything sorted, he had made this less difficult for us by discussing what he wanted.

Five of us travelled down to Devon the day before the funeral, we didn't meet up with family and friends that evening we just had a quiet time together in a hotel. I really wasn't sure exactly who or even how many people would be at the funeral as many relatives we haven't see or spoken to for quite a few years, just the usual Christmas and birthday cards.

The day had finaly arrived and as we walked into the church, that's when it really hit me how important family and friends are. My late mum had four sisters and my dad two, so there are a lot of cousins and they were all there with their husbands, wives and partners, many had travelled quite a distance to get there to pay their respects and support my sister and me. I feel very blessed to have such lovely family and friends, we might not see much of each other over the years but it's so reassuring to know they are always there when you need them the most.

Rest In Peace Billy your family love and miss you.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Carol has written several fiction books but these are not the ones that have drawn me to this author, the books that she has written and grabbed me by the throat are her non-fiction books. These are the ones that I have included  in my SUNDAY BEST books.


Now where do I start, first of all a lot of people know of Carol as an actress, she was best known for playing Helen Herriot in the television series All Creatures Great And Small. But that's not the Carol I want to tell you about today.

I want to tell you all about Carol and her Olive Farm books, there are seven altogether one of them is an illustrated companion to all the others. The books are THE OLIVE FARM, THE OLIVE SEASON, THE OLIVE HARVEST, THE OLIVE ROUTE, THE OLIVE TREE and RETURN TO THE OLIVE FARM.

Carol's story begins when she and Michel a TV producer, (by the way their romance is woven into the story of the olive farm) buy the abandoned OLIVE FARM Appassionata, in the south of France. With very little money they begin to get the farm up and running, nothing is straight forward and along the way we find out all about the local people and food, the many animals that seem to just turn up, family and friends that come to stay, but most of all we learn all about the olives.


The olive story gets very exciting when it is discovered they are producing the finest extra-virgin oil. As we go through to THE OLIVE SEASON the water supply becomes a problem and Carol goes in search of a diviner who promises magical results, we also find out Carol is pregnant. Michel is away a lot working and this leaves Carol to manage things without him, as the harvest season approaches events cast a dark shadow over the farm.


Eventually Carol and Michel look forward to spending the summer together, THE OLIVE HARVEST but it's not to be, Carol is alone on the farm with a very uncertain future. This is when we see Carol venture out from Appassionata and start to explore other aspects of Provencal life.


 The books with Carol's wonderful writing all come together in THE ILLUSTRATED OLIVE FARM, we get to see Appassionata and all the people, animals, food and not forgetting the olives with beautiful photographs taken by Michel. 

There is no way I would have even tried to do anything like Carol and Michel, I don't normally envy people but they do seem to have a lovely life and outlook on to the world we all live in. This is why these books have become part of my SUNDAY BEST BOOKS.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


This week has been the start of A-Z April and I've loved it, I knew I would before it even started because I had really enjoyed the advent calendar blogs posted in December. I've just loved the interesting variety of subjects people have been blogging about, trying to keep up with all of them is a different matter. I'm not going to mention any individual ones as I don't want to leave anyone out, but I can honestly say in the dozen or so I have been popping in and out of there's not one I haven't enjoyed.

Quite a few people have said I should have taken part, but I'm afraid I wouldn't have been able to produce my blogs to such  high standards as the ones I've been reading. However not wanting to miss out completely I have decided to do just one from this weeks letters. The letter I've chosen is Thursdays D.
D is for Devon

Devon is the part of the UK I was born and grew up in,  It's one of our most beautiful counties and that's something I had never really appreciated when I was young. Oh how I would have given anything to live in London, the bright lights and theatres not forgetting the shops. But when I was older and had moved away I started to appreciate what a great place it is. You have the rugged landscape of Dartmoor where you can walk for miles without seeing a car or even another person, just the famous wild Dartmoor ponies and lots of sheep to keep you company.


You also have the magnificent coastline, to the north you have Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Bideford, to the south Salcombe, Torquay and Paighton. Two of the places I'm always drawn to when I go back to visit are Dartmouth and Brixham, I would love to live in either of them ( you've got to have a dream )


Dartmouth is steeped in naval history dating right back to the Domesday Book, it was once considered as a possible site for a naval dockyard before the Admiralty chose Plymouth. Instead they decided on Dartmouth as the site for training naval officers and in 1905 The Britannia Royal Naval College was completed. Many Royals have attended the college over the years, it is said that is where our present Queen first met Prince Philip.

One of the most important events for Dartmouth each year is its famous Regatta, every August people travel from all over the world to attend the festivities. Dartmouth to me reminds me of my family Sunday lunches at The Dart Marina Hotel, overlooking the river Dart. Very happy times were had over many years with several generations of us all getting together.

The other place in Devon which brings back very happy memories is Brixham. In the middle ages it was the largest fishing port in the south west of England, it was know as the 'Mother of Deep-Sea Fisheries'


The fishing trawlers can still be seen coming in and out of the harbour followed by flocks of seagulls. Apart from fishing most of the other local industries were connected with stone. Limestone was once quarried and used to build the breakwater and for houses and roads.

To me Brixham is the place we would go to after having a day on the beach at Goodrington Sands, a walk around the harbour and the little streets of shops followed by one of the best parts of the day, seaside fish and chips the tastiest ones you will ever find.

Brixham Fish and Chips

So that was my little contribution to Aprils A-Z, I hope you enjoyed my letter D and hopefully before the month is out I will be back with another letter.

Friday, 29 March 2013


Thank you very much for all the lovely comments via the blog, twitter and facebook concerning  the story of PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST. I had a good time writing them and explaining how and why I wrote the book.

There are some great book review websites and blogs (one of my addictions) and there is no way I would ever be able to do what they do. I know of one site where the lovely lady manages to read three or four books per week, she then writes fabulous long reviews about them. What I would like to do is tell you about some of the books and authors I have enjoyed over the last twenty odd years; thanks to websites like Amazon most of the books are still available.

My reading habit is a bit odd or so I'm told; the thing is I keep certain books for different situations. When I'm writing I seem to stick to biographies, real life story's and travel books. Other times I just love to read my favourite authors, fiction by the boat load escaping into other peoples worlds, that's when I'm at my happiest.

Then I have what I call my 'SUNDAY BEST BOOKS',  people of a certain age will remember that when we were young we had clothes that we only wore on Sundays and special occasions. Well I have books like that, I think it's because I have been reading some authors for so many years, I like to treat their books with lots of love and respect, that's not saying I don't treat all books with repect, but these just have that little bit of extra love given to them, am I being stupid I don't know

If one of my favorite authors has a book out say in February and I know I have a holiday in June I will save it until then, because I know I won't have to rush through it. This list does get added to all the time, at the moment I think there are about twenty authors on it; one author was only added just last year but her book has become one of my all-time favourite reads, more about that in a later blog. 

I do think you have to be in the right mood for for certain books, even down to what time of the year it is, I did say I was odd didn't I and the older I get the worse I become. My obsessive reading habit all started with one book and to this day it's still one of my all-time favourites, even though it was written way back in 1992.

The book I'm talking about was written by Robert James Waller 'THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY', let me tell you about the book and how I came to read it.

I first started to read this book at Gatwick airport; I was going on holiday to the Canary Islands. The book had been featured in a big way on The Oprah show, all of America seemed to be talking about it. When I'd got myself settled in my seat on the plane, an older lady sitting next to me had noticed the book, she remarked that she didn't think it was a good idea for me to be reading it now and suggested I saved it for my holiday as I would probably get upset, and perhaps being on a plane wasn't the best place for, well lets say being emotional.

As the story unfolds it's a very hot summer in Madison County Iowa, the year is 1965 a middle-aged photographer, Robert Kincaid is lost, so he drives up to a farm to ask directions. That is where he meets Francesca Johnson an Italian war bride, she is there alone as her husband and children have gone off to the state fair. She directs him to the location he's looking for, but then she invites him to join her later for dinner. During dinner Roberts talks to her about art and poetry; these are things she never gets to talk about with the local towns people. This takes her right back to when she was a Neapolitan girl and not just a bored farmers wife.The next night she invites him back again for dinner and with a little help from a few glasses of brandy, one thing leads to another and thats where I'm going to leave them.

If you have never read this book, I suggest you might like to give it a go, It's a short book and the two characters come to life in an instant. I find that nowadays a lot of books seem to be full of young fit glamorous creatures, so to have a love story about two people in their late forties is so refreshing.

Back to the plane I hear you say, well I managed to finish the book during the flight and just like the lady sat beside me said I did cry, actually I sobbed and when I turned towards her she was crying too. The book was later made into a wonderful film with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, I loved the film but I was so glad I read the book first.

As well as my favorite books I will in the next few blogs talk about some of my SUNDAY BEST authors.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


I really don't know what to write in this blog, so much has happened in the last week or so, I suppose I had better start at the beginning.

My book PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST was due to be published on April 1st yes April Fool's day, honestly it's not a joke and that's still the date when the paperback comes out. But on Sunday 17th March we had a family get together, while they were there I got them to set me up on Facebook, more about that later. We had a lovely day some nice food and lots of chit-chat.

After they'd left I had a quick check on Amazon to see if my book had moved up the charts with paperback pre-orders, to my complete surprise and amazement the ebook copy was up and available for people to download. I was hoping it would be there before Easter as Rachel from Troubador Publishers said she would try her best to have it available for the Easter weekend.

As you can imagine I was so excited (the understatement of the year) as this was two weeks before the arranged release date and yes I did download myself a copy and yes I did start reading it all over again, but this time was different, this time was special it looked like a proper book, not an email or printed on A4 paper with lots of corrections in red ink scribbled all over it.

So what was I to do, this had thrown my blogging schedule out completely but in a good way not a bad one? Monday 18th March arrived and I posted my blog called 'How I  Tried To Get Published' and then on Tuesday 19th the blog 'We Finally Got Here' was ready for posting. But was I ready to tell the Twitter and Facebook world that it was there on Amazon for everyone to read?  Then there was the small matter of six preview chapters to sample free, it was all very scary.

Well I did tell everyone and the reaction I got was unbelievable, by that I mean I was so shocked how nice people were. I have always known that the authors and readers I talk to on Twitter were nice and so supportive I was hoping they would wish me well, but for so many people to go out their way to send me such lovely messages, people who I had never even spoken to on line before. This started on Tuesday 19th and a week later it's still happening, not a day goes by without me getting lovely comments from all over the world and if you are one of the people I haven't thanked please accept my apologies, I have tried so hard to tweet and email back but I'm sure some have got lost in all the excitement.

Something else fabulous happened this week too, I was interviewed by my good  friend and author Amanda Egan this was for her Mummy Misfit website, you must check it out! The interview went live on her blog on Sunday 24th and again we both had some great feedback, Twitter and Facebook people are so kind. One of the amazing things that did happen after the interview unbelievably we were sent a tweet by the lovely Beverley Knight. All this came about because of one of the questions Amanda asked me.

The question was "Name a song that sums up your book" my reply was that it would have to be "No One Loves In Vain" by the wonderful Beverley Knight; the song is a big part of one of the chapters and without giving too much away the words sum up someones loss.

Well that's the weekend over with so what's in store for this week, another little bit of excitement regarding the book, the paperback version has been delivered to me from the printers, my writing actually in print a real book that I can hold unbelievable, I was over the moon as you can imagine, I still can't believe it's happening.

So that's the story of how and why PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST came about, I hope you have enjoyed reading the last five blogs as much as I've enjoyed writing them, thank you so much for all your support and lovely comments they have meant so much to me. The book is out now for the all world to see and my mission is accomplished.

Next time I blog I want to tell you all about my SUNDAY BEST BOOKS and I will start with one of my all time favourites.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Hello again I know that it was only yesterday that I posted my previous blog. But EXCITING NEWS! although the paperback version of my book PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST isn't released until April 1st. The Kindle version of  PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST is now released and available for download right now on AMAZON at £1.99. Which means I have to post my final blog about writing my book sooner than expected, so here it is I hope you like it.

Two months after giving up and dumping my book in the drawer I was persuaded by friend's, family and author Amanda Egan not to give up and get it sorted out. A very special friend of mine Samantha Grainger helped me put right all the editors corrections, then with a little bit of rewriting of a couple of chapters off it went back to Troubador again (for the last time hopefully.)

The next big project was the book cover and I had great fun sorting that out, I knew exactly what I wanted and I couldn't be more pleased with the result. Ninety percent of the story is set around the complex in Tenerife where Carole lives, she spends so much of her time by the pool listening to her neighbours problems, so the cover just had to be of a swimming pool. I hope you like the final choice as much as I do.

Then the final task was the proof reading, with the help of Troubador and a very good proofreader that was all sorted, well that's what I thought, wrong again! It was very exciting the day my final manuscript arrived in the post. All my work, my writing, all my words were there on those pages, just as I had always dreamt they would be one day. I just couldn't believe it was all actually happening. So I made myself a strong black coffee and I was ready to read my book. After reading a few pages however I began to realise that we were not quite there yet, this still wasn't the final stage after all. Parts of the story just didn't match up dates, ages of some characters, locations I could go on but I won't. I now realise these issues should have been rectified way before it ever went to a publishers. I will never let this happen again next time I will read it over and over again, double checking, no triple checking everything.

So here we go again, I read the whole thing yet again, then passed it on to a good friend who did the same.  Hopefully together we have come up with the finished product, I think I am about eighty-five per-cent happy with it all. Something tells me I will never be one hundred per-cent happy, there will always be something I would want to change.

Now what have I learnt? Well one things for sure the writing and publishing of a book isn't a straight forward business, well not for me anyway. But my god I've learnt so much in the process and the great thing is all that I have learnt I've already been able to put into practise when writing my next book. The working title is 'FROM LONDON TO NEW YORK' but that will definitely change.

So that's the full story so far, in these five blogs I've told you how the book got started through to getting it published. I can't tell you about the last part yet which will be finally having the finished printed paperback in my hand. I can't wait for that day to come, it will be an amazing feeling and I can't wait to share this with you all in a later blog.

Monday, 18 March 2013


At last my book was finished it had taken a couple of years on and off to get to this final stage, or that's what I thought. Well I printed it off and put it into a lovely A4 file, at this point I was the only one who knew the full story because I hadn't let anyone else read it.

My partner and family were aware I'd been writing the book but I wasn't going to force anyone to read it, at this stage it had only been for my own benefit, a kind of sense of achievement, a project that had kept my mind off other things. It was left lying around on a coffee table for anyone who wanted to read it, it was up to them.

It was several weeks before my partner eventually picked it up to read, I've since found out that he was really afraid to read it in case it was a load of rubbish, he just didn't want to have to lie to me if it was. He knew I would be able to tell if he was lying. One day I came home from work and he was reading it, by the end of that evening he had finished it. His reaction wasn't quite what I was expecting, utter disbelief  is what springs to mind, his exact words were ....

      'It reads like a real book, a proper story, where did it all come from and how could you think something up like that'

He just couldn't stop smiling, that was really encouraging, I was pleased he'd enjoyed it but that's when he started on about me getting it published. We decided there and then we would give it a shot, but first there were a lot of spelling mistakes and grammer that needed correcting, plus a little help with some of the plot lines that needed tweaking. Over the next few weeks we both got stuck into it together.

I then researched different agents on the internet, I looked at who represented my favorite authors, and drew up a short list.  It kept coming back to the same name, so that was that off it went in the post. Oh and by the way I've  forgotten to mention I aimed high I'd only gone and sent it to Lizzy Kremer, the Lizzy Kremer of David Higham Associates, just google her and look at the great authors she represents and you'll understand why I chose her.

I suppose you can guess what happened next, I had a letter back saying no thanks, a very nice letter I might add. We all have dreams and one of mine would still be to have her as my agent (but that's never going to happen)

Another couple of agents and nice no thanks letters later I gave up, PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST was put away in a drawer and I started another project. Well three actually but none of them made it past ten thousand words. I just didn't like the characters or the plots. As for PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST it was destined to stay at the back of the drawer, until one day a friend suggested self publishing and as you all know thats exactly what I've done.

The company I've chosen to publish with is Troubador Publishing, they have been great especially the very patient Amy Cooke. She has been so helpful and has guided me through the whole process. We have had a few scary moments though the scariest of which was when it came back from it's first edit.

My god I've never seen so much red ink in my life, there were so many corrections needed, I couldn't believe it. I just freaked I felt I'd failed, who did I think I was, what an idiot just because I had time on my hands it didn't mean I was a writer. PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST was thrown back into the drawer and that was it, I'd given up no more writing for me, back to just reading books, I was good at that my dream was over (or was it?)

Well as you know it didn't stay there, next time I will tell you what happened when it next saw the light of day and escaped from the drawer again, thats when the hard work really started.

Monday, 11 March 2013


First of all I would like to thank everyone for the lovely comments about my last blog and my visit to The Romaniacs for Tuesday Chit-Chat.

So in the last blog I told you where I wanted my story to be set, I actually started writing about Rosa and Augusto the two people that gave me the idea for PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST. However after a couple of pages I'm afraid they were deleted, erased never to appear again. As they disappeared so did Mainland Spain and I moved my little story to the island of Tenerife.

The main character in the book is Carole Harding and I must say I love her; first and foremost I would love to be her friend, she's such a good, honest, lovely woman, but where did she come from? I can honestly say Carole just appeared on the page one day, other characters were going to have more to do in the story, but the more I wrote about her the more I realised it had to be her story. The idea of everyone on the complex having secrets which needed to be sorted out sprang to mind, Carole seemed just perfect for the job.Then that's when my imagination went into overdrive, my partner still asks me where it all came from? I always say who knows!

I find it so easy writing for the characters that I like, I found Nadean, Felicity and Victoria's lives a joy to write, as for Jeremy the evil person in the book oh I so wanted him to get his comeuppance. But I felt Carole also had to have something in her past that no one knew and that is where the inheritance came into the story. I think my favourite bits to write were the two parties and Carole's transformation.

One of the other things I need to do when writing is I have to know what each character looks like before I start, they could have a face of an actor or someone who serves me in a supermarket, it doesn't really matter as long as I know what they look like. I'm not sure if this is normal but it works for me, one day I will blog about this and who I think Carole looks like, she actually has the face of a British actress, well in my head anyway, but you'll all have you're own ideas of course.

Well that's about it for now, on the next blog I will tell you what happened when I finished writing the book, also how I started to learn all about the world of publishing, not forgetting the day I saw my book cover for the first time. I hope you have a good day.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Before I start I would just like to thank everyone for the kind emails, tweets and comments about my last blog.

The idea for my book 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' came to me on a holiday in Spain, I was staying there with my partner and we rented a lovely apartment at the top of a very steep hill which looked right out to sea. There was about forty apartments and they were set out in an L shape, ours was right on the top in the middle. Most of the apartments were owned by people who lived and worked there, so it was very quiet during the day when they were all out at work.

Now I'm a nosey sod and was very interested in the comings and goings of the residents, I would be sat on the balcony in the mornings with my coffee as they went off to work, by the time they returned  it would be evening and more importantly, wine time. The thing is I have a terrible habit of inventing names and situations for people I see, unfortunately after a few glasses of wine my brain goes into overdrive.

We had stayed in the apartment the previous year and one of the residents had really intrigued me. I had named her Rosa, by the way she isn't the Rosa in my book. I first noticed her about four o'clock in the afternoon when she came out to take her two dogs and a cat for a walk. Now Rosa was beautiful she must have been in her late twenties early thirties she had long dark curly hair. After her walk she would then take her pets back to the apartment and would go off to work. Nothing unusual about that I hear you say, well she would come back about midnight, then take the pets for another quick walk before her guest arrived.

Yes she had an admirer and he would arrive about twelve thirty and stay until about two in the morning. He was about fifty and very smartly dressed, I named him Augusto and he was always in a suit and tie, I guessed that he could be her boss. The following year we returned, Rosa was still living there and she had now gained another cat and her routine of walking them was still the same, but her days of going out to work were over. Also the cat was not the only thing to have moved into her apartment, Augusto had moved in as well.

I told you I was nosey, well that's where the idea for my book first started; I knew it had to be based around a block of apartments somewhere in the sunshine, full of people sat on their balcony's knowing everyone else's business. Sadly Rosa and Augusto never made it into 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' but whoever they are in real life they were my inspiration, I have a lot to thank them for.

Well I hope you are having a good day and next time I will talk about the characters I created in 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST'.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Today I want to tell you about how my book 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' came about. It all started in 2009 when I moved my elderly father from Devon to live with me and my partner in The Midlands. He was eighty three at the time and had lived by himself for twelve years after the death of my mum, my sister and I took turns going down to Devon every weekend, but that really was not enough as he was starting to need looking after 24/7.

As a family we decided a retirement home was not an option for us, nothing against homes but we felt with just a few changes to the way we lived our lives and a little more planning we would be able to cope. The four years have been really good for us; sometimes it's been a challenge and we have good days and bad days.

The more the months went on the less and less we were able to leave him. I was very lucky that someone would check on him while I was out at work, but my evenings out and long walks on a weekend slowly came to an end. Not  being the type to spend all my time in front of the TV I felt this seemed the perfect opportunity to fulfil my dream of writing a book, This is when 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' was born.

The last twelve months have been the hardest as I've had to give up work, he is now bedridden and needs care 24/7 as he is unable to do anything for himself. In a future blog I would like to tell you about the wonderful support I get from family, friends and the NHS.

Perhaps the book I've written should not really exist, I'm not really qualified to write as you will see in the blog covering the editing. 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' was it just a dream too far? and have I been silly thinking I could write a book. Well I have done it now and loved every minute of the writing, to sit at the laptop escape from everything and put these characters that I have come to love into a story, has been a very fulfilling experience. I'm well aware I've put myself out there to be criticized, but as one of my favouite authors said.....

'There are a lot of people writing books that really should stick to just reading'

I must admit in a lot of ways they are right and I don't hold that against them. But writing this book and another that I have just finished have helped me get through a very difficult time in my life.

I have so much admiration for carers, there are so many out there that do not have the support from family and friends like I have, I really don't know how they do it. So thats it for now I hope you are having a good day, in my next blog I look forward to telling you where the idea for 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' came from.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


This is my very first blog, I have always wanted to start writing one and now seems the perfect time as my first book "PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST" is due to be published on the 1st April.  The book is something I have really enjoyed writing and in the next few blogs I will cover:

1. How I was able to write the book

2. Where the story started
3. The characters and the plot
4. Trying to get the book published
5. Editing, proof reading and the cover
6. Finally seeing it in print.

As well as my book, I will blog about books I have loved to read, some of which go back 20 years.  There will be some recent ones thrown in as well.  I have quite a strange reading habit so I'm told; the thing is I remember the days when we had SUNDAY BEST clothes, and I carry this over into my reading. There are certain books I won't read until a special time, holidays and being in special places; I will explain all later.

I also want to tell you about the things I like and dislike; the people and situations that get my back up.  Plus there might be a bit about my addiction to the odd telly programme or magazine.  Not forgetting the dozens of blogs I read.  Well that's it for now, if you'd like to read a bit about "PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST" , please don't hesitate to visit my book page on this site. On my next blog I will explain how I came to be in the position to write my book.