I am now offering a critique and manuscript assessment service. For further details, please e mail me at

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Reasons to be cheerful...summer, mostly.

The sun is shining and there are kittens and puppies, and I have a sufficiency of cake and chocolate and my bed is comfortable, so things could be worse.
Some kittens. Mine, not just random ones, which is even better.

Yes, that's a chicken on my washing line. No, I've no idea why she was there either, but she seemed very pleased with herself, and it made me smile, so I added 'chickens on the washing line' along with the kittens and cake thing. You can tell that I've been making a list of 'reasons to be cheerful' can't you? It's because I got the electricity bill, and now I need to distract myself from how awful it's going to be to pay off, so I started thinking about nice things and how much I prefer them to nasty things, and there were lots of them, so here are some.

I'm hoping that soon I shall be able to show you the forthcoming cover for the forthcoming book which is full of forthcoming words, and has the unforthcoming title of 'I Don't Want to Talk About It', and that's another thing that makes me happy; even though the actual writing down of the words can be very frustrating, it's lovely to have an end product.

I'm always more cheerful in the summer, I might also be cheerful in winter, but my cheerfulness is so muffled by the ninety layers I have to wear in order not to freeze to death, that nobody (including me) can tell whether I am being cheerful or just itchy. And I like the heat, I like the fact that my sartorial choices are between t-shirt slogans and not 'least bobbly jumpers', that I can wear the same clothes indoors and outdoors and the opening of a door isn't greeted by groans and the donning of additional layers.

There is soft fruit, which is a good thing, although I can take or leave the tennis that seems to come as a free gift whenever there are strawberries. And Pimms in the garden.

Running naked through hay meadows. All right, so I haven't actually done this, it's mostly silage round us and running naked through a silage meadow sounds a bit nasty, and certainly not something that you'd want to feature in an advert for Flakes or Cornetto or anything, and besides it would probably be scratchy and there are, you know, insects and things and I'd probably get an earwig in my bits. But I could if I wanted to, and that's what counts.
Yeah. Looks a bit 'bitey' to me too. But, you know, if I wanted to...

And now, because I know that you are all imagining me thundering around grassland, wobbling frantically and yelling 'whoops, there goes another earwig!', I'm going.

You'll go blind, and serve you right.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Fathers' Day - longest day of the year, so unfair...

Today is the summer solstice, longest day of the year...

Also, and I hope coincidentally, Fathers' Day. I can just imagine fathers everywhere gathering to set the date of their day and deciding to hold it when it's likely that barbeques can be invoked and there's plenty of daylight and sunshine to enable 'lounging about on the lawn with a cider'.  While Mothers' Day is generally in a month when it still feels like the middle of winter and nobody on earth would want outdoor food, besides, it's dark at about six p m and the most celebratory drink anybody feels like is a sturdy hot chocolate.

Fathers' Day

Mothers' Day

How Mothers' Day should look. Vast quantities of champagne and chocolate not pictured.
My dad was a lovely chap who, had he still been with us, would not have wanted any fuss for Fathers' Day, and was not a big fan of the barbeque; sandwiches on the beach were more of his forte. He grew up in the late 1920's, in rural Devon, in a house with no electricity or running water, and never got to read any of my books - although I doubt he would have read them anyway, because he didn't like books 'by women'. Too much talking in them, apparently, and not enough torpedoes.

Anyway. Happy Fathers' Day to all fathers out there, even if it is unfair that they can celebrate by sitting outside in the sun rather than having to gather all the family pets to their chest just to keep warm.  And big hugs to everyone who is missing their Dad today...

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Jurassic World. Seriously BIG STOMPY MONSTERS!

I am very bad at suspension of disbelief.  Seriously. If you don't believe me, then pop back a few pages and read what I have to say about Alpha Billionaires and my inability to believe in them. I just don't have the right sort of brain for 'yeah, okay, there's this bloke and he's sexy and gorgeous, and incredibly ripped, and, get this right, he's also a multi-billionaire (no, I don't know where he finds the time either), AND, not only is he gorgeous, ripped and loaded, but he's an Alpha, so he can tell me what to do all the time, and, because he's gorgeous, ripped and loaded, I don't mind!'

At about this point my brain fizzes and sparks come out.

Anyway. Despite my lack of suspension of disbelief, I really like sci-fi and fantasy films. Probably because not many of these have alpha billionaires in, although it doesn't explain why I refuse to believe in those, but can allow faster-than-light travel, human-shaped-and-orientated aliens and dragons, but anyway... So. Yesterday a bunch of us went to see the new Jurassic World film.

And, oh boy, I suspended disbelief to the extent that I nearly stopped breathing. I mean, DINOSAURS, people! And children in peril, and running in heels (not the children though) and BIG, HUGE STOMPY MONSTERS! WITH TEETH!
And not at any single point in the film did I find myself thinking 'those people are all acting against a giant green screen with a man with a tennis ball on a bit of stick jumping up and down to give them an eyeline'. And at this point..
I am actually thinking 'that's really cruel, those poor creatures!'. Although I reassure myself that, at one point in the film, the whole audience went 'awwww..' and at another, 'hooray!' And all of these reactions were occasioned by, basically, a man riding a motorcycle through a jungle on his own, whilst somewhere, far, far away, in a computer lab a lot of what I am contractually obliged to call 'boffins', did this..

And, although the film was rated a 12 (and I hate to admit this) it was about as scary as any film I'd ever want to see when I didn't have a cushion to hide behind. Suspense, blood (lots of people dying...I mean loads, to the extent that I had to count all of us who'd gone to see the film to make sure we'd all made it through), and BIG, STOMPY MONSTERS WITH TEETH!

I want to go and see it again now...

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Midsummer Dreams...Alison May's launch and things wot I dream about

On 12th of June (which is this coming Friday, folks), Alison May, who is another lovely Choc Lit author (by which I mean that Alison is lovely, as are other Choc Lit authors, not that I am lovely and Alison is lovely as well as me, although of course I consider myself the epitome of Lovely as long as it is dark and your standards aren't too high)...anyway, Alison's fantastic new romantic comedy, Midsummer Dreams is being e-launched on the 12th.

Look at the beautiful cover...just look at it!

And, in celebration of this launch, Alison has co-opted a bunch of us to do some dream-related blog postings. Keep an eye open over the coming week for more of us - it's going to be interesting...

Alison has given us three prompts (I suspect to keep people like me on topic and to stop me rambling about my puppy or owls or random bits of paper, which, I admit, I am more than prone to doing), and here is the first:

I had a dream...Now, I dream a lot, in colour, and occasionally lucidly (which is where you sort of 'wake up' in a dream and realise it's a dream). When I'm lucid (which most people will tell you is infrequently...) and I attempt to tell another character in my dream that 'this is all a dream', I find that they are prone to turn to me with a smile that is hard to describe, but it's like a kind of evil-knowingness.  Impressive, since this is all created inside my head. But yesterday I was reading a report about 'phantom hitchikers' (where someone picks up a hitchhiker who, on subsequent examination, turns out to have vanished from the car whilst it's still moving. People try to do that when I'm driving too, but they are always real and nervous). Sometimes these 'phantoms' are reported as having an expression 'like an evil smile'. Which makes me wonder if they are the result of 'asleep at the wheel' syndrome.
Yeah. No. Nothing like this 'evil smile', this is just an excuse...

I had a nightmare…My nightmares are boring and tragically derivative. You know. running through fields of treacle away from a fanged beast, or trying to pay for something and realising my purse is empty. Or the 'teeth' one. Or the 'finding it's suddenly Christmas day and you haven't bought any presents' one. I've never had the 'naked in public' one, although that may be because I forget my trousers on a daily basis, so this is not so much a nightmare as 'another injunction'...

My dream for the future…I know, I know, I'm supposed to say 'world peace and enough food for all and no more disease'. Obviously, all these things would be great, but what I really dream of for the future? Rubber houses.  Or houses made of , like lego, so instead of moving when you need more space you just sort of push the walls out a bit. And computers that plug into your brain. And a brake for the rotary washing line so it doesn't go like a whippet after a sausage on a windy day when you're trying to hang out your socks.

My head is full of stuff like this. Quite frankly it's exhausting being me. It's probably quite exhausting being subjected to me as well, but since my head is on this side of it, I can only speak for the exhaustion of having to live inside me.

 Now I've dealt with my are the details of Alison's book, because you are going to want to rush over on Friday and buy this book, cos, you know, brilliant and everything, and it's beautiful and Alison is lovely and, Reasons...

You can download the kindle edition of Midsummer Dreams here:

About Midsummer Dreams

Four people. Four messy lives. One party that changes everything …
Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect.
Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself.
Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers.
Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach.
At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.