Hello, and thank you for visiting my site. I hope that you'll return often and always find something of interest about my world and what inspires me to pick up a pen. (This is a figure of speech, unfortunately. My handwriting is terrible!) Here's what I've been up to recently...

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS!

Despite the wishful photo of Maggie the Viking above, created by a wonderful Facebook app, 2024 is definitely going to be a time to look forward rather than back. Long cherished plans include bringing out a new book,  essentially a memoir about a glorious summer spent ‘riding the Dog*’ across the USA.  Scary moments such as being mobbed on the New York subway and chased out of a brothel in El Paso were amply compensated for by the camaraderie experienced along the way and the warm hospitality offered by many different American families and individuals. 

*The Dog in question being the wonderful Greyhound Bus Line

WATCH THIS SPACE!

 

 

3 January, 2024 Make the first comment on this story

A story for Christmas

 

By a very happy coincidence. this came out yesterday on my birthday and it can also be found in today’s issue of Love Sunday (Sunday People).

Originally written as a story for children, a few tweaks made it appropriate for all ages. Who hasn’t dreamed of an unexpected windfall when money is tight? That it was very well deserved in this case is, I think, a bonus. Honesty was definitely the best policy for struggling young mum Daisy and even the villain of the piece came good in the end.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

24 December, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Christmas celebrations with Ripon writers!

I was privileged to celebrate with two different groups this week. The photo above (thank you, Nicky) is from Write On! Ripon’s Christmas meal at the Claro Lounge, which was very enjoyable. The conversation flowed as freely as the drinks and the wearing of cracker sourced hats was purely optional.

The following evening, I was at Ripon Writers’ Group’s pre-Christmas event, which featured less food and alcohol – although members did bring contributions to a small festive buffet – but also boasted a quiz, seasonal readings including a short play by our newest member and a Secret Santa.

Good fun all round and I’m very happy to have so many friends who ‘get’ why I write.

19 December, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

A Great New Read!

If you’re looking for a gift for a lover of crime fiction, I can heartily recommend Val Penny’s latest book, published, like her other novels, by SpellBound Books Ltd.

DI Hunter Wilson is looking forward to spending a holiday in India with his girlfriend Dr Meera Sharma, away from the cold, wet winter of Edinburgh. He looks to share his happiness with others when he is attacked by Santa Claus, he says. His team swing into action to catch his attackers but then receive information about an elf found dead in a car park and a car stolen by Mrs Claus. Are the crimes by these Christmas characters connected? Can Hunter’s team restore peace and good will to Christmas?

Hunter’s Christmas and Other Stories includes tales about DI Hunter Wilson and DS Jane Renwick along with those about new and different characters in this gripping collection of short stories especially for crime fiction readers.

The multi-talented Val Penny, American by birth but now happily based in SW Scotland with her husband and cat, has a wide variety of books to her credit and no wonder! Never short of inspiration, this graduate of both Edinburgh and Napier Universities has been amongst other things a hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.

Val’s books are widely available and she can be contacted through her website http://www.valpenny.com

 

 

 

10 December, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Time to relax!

Writing is hard work. Relaxing in the company of like minded friends is always a joy.

 

Last night saw the celebration of Write-On! Ripon’s second anniversary at Portofino Ristorante on Kirkgate.

Not everyone was able to make it, but those of us who did certainly enjoyed it. The food was good, the wine flowed and so did the conversation. 

27 October, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Ripon Poetry Festival 2023

 

What a weekend! Actually it began for me on Thursday evening, when the two Ripon writing groups that I belong to co-hosted the open mic event to launch this year’s festival.

    

  

 

The downstairs area of the Claro Lounge, where Write-On! Ripon meets on Tuesday afternoons, has never seen as many poetry lovers crammed into its many nooks and crannies. We even had to bring in chairs from the garden, so it was lucky that the afternoon had been a dry one. There were sad poems, happy poems, funny poems, angry poems – some using traditional forms and others the most free of free verse. Definitely something for everyone. 

 

    

The same could be said of Saturday evening, when the launch of the 2023 anthology was held in the Ripon Arts Hub. Everyone who had had a poem chosen for inclusion was invited to read and I was delighted to meet up with a friend from the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Penny Blackburn had travelled from Newcastle to take part in various activities throughout the day and we just managed (courtesy of my son Richard) to have a photo taken of the pair of us before she set off home.

 

24 September, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Back to school!

 
What an interesting evening I had yesterday, invited to view my contribution to Lawnswood School’s ‘alumni’ wall. For non-Leeds friends, I should explain that the current co-educational school was created many years ago to replace two grammar schools, Lawnswood High for girls and Leeds Modern for boys. Apart from Old Mods John Craven and Alan Bennett, I think I’m the oldest contributor so far, but the wall will continue to evolve.
 
 
(In anticipation of people who remember their Latin grammar pointing out that I’m an ‘alumna’ rather than an ‘alumnus’, I know, but I thought it would be churlish to point it out.)
 

              

21 September, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Open mic at the Claro Lounge

With the closure of the Curzon cinema, Write-On! Ripon Unleashed had to find a new venue and the lower ground area of the Claro Lounge fitted the bill perfectly.

Here am I, strutting my stuff as well as showing off a new hair do. It was a great evening all round!

4 August, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Writers’ Narrative

The demise of Writers’ Forum left a gap in the market that this new emagazine is attempting to fill.

How successful it will be remains to be seen, but I’m happy to have an article on ‘filler’ writing included in the first issue.

At the moment, Writers’ Narrative is available from Amazon for £1.99, but the aim is to make it free to download.

31 July, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Good news!

For one thing, I’m back on my feet, although still having to take it easy. A slow plod is the best I can manage so far, but I’m working on that. It’s wonderful to be fit enough to resume normal activities, including meetings of Ripon Writers’ Group and Write-On! Ripon. (The latter group, following the much regretted closure of Ripon’s Curzon cinema, now meets at the Claro Lounge in the Market Place.)

Secondly, with Swanwick Writers’ Summer School 2023 only a few week’s away now, I’m delighted to have come second in an associated competition. Prolific crime author Val Penny and her publishers Spellbound Books set the challenge to write a story with the theme of revenge. Mine, set around a baffling murder in Amsterdam, has given me £100 off the cost of my place at this year’s School.

Amsterdam holds many fond memories for me and I was a great fan of the original Van der Valk television series with the late Barry Foster, both of which influenced the story.

There is also a Whitby connection and a nod to singer John Leyton, who provided inspiration for one of the main characters. Who of my generation could forget his haunting rendition of ‘Johnny, remember me’?

12 July, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Check Out My eBooks
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