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...

Shadows of the Past – the prequel!

It’s fun to look back on my initiation into the French language. The textbook issued to me in the First form had been written in the late 1930s and did nothing to dispel the stereotypes I already had in my mind. Reprinted many times but not updated, it was still in circulation well into the 1960s.

Grammar and the acquisition of vocabulary were very much to the fore at my school in those days, with speaking almost an optional extra. This goes some way to explain the difficulties experienced by my characters Daisy, Kate and Ronnie when they found themselves in a nightmare scenario rather than the innocuous ‘international work camp’ that they had signed up for. Not understanding what was going on around them for much of the time, they didn’t know that they should have run for their lives while they had the chance.

The prequel to ‘Shadows of the Past’ will be available as a free download. WATCH THIS SPACE!

10 February, 2019 Make the first comment on this story

Swanwick 2019

Always pleased to support the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in any way I can, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to repeat a workshop that has been very successful in the past.

Money isn’t everything, I know, but it certainly helps. ‘Easy Money for Writers & Wannabes’ has been described as the gift that keeps on giving. If you haven’t already got a copy, why not give it a try? You won’t lose by it.

10 February, 2019 Make the first comment on this story

A very ‘authorly’ gift.

I’d wondered how my nearest and dearest might top last year’s charm bracelet, which featured several of my books, and now I know!

These mugs will certainly be accompanying me to next year’s literary events!

(Apologies for the quality of the image, which is due to my lack of skill at photography and no reflection on the print shop that produced them.)

27 December, 2018 Make the first comment on this story

Another boost for ‘Workhouse Orphan’.

Thank you, Graham. Your unflagging support for the creative members of our community is always very much appreciated.

6 December, 2018 Make the first comment on this story

Promoting Yorkshire Authors Christmas event

The weather outside Harrogate Library was horrible, but inside all was warm and cosy. Fellow PYA members Neeley Wickes, Marla Skidmore, John Jackson, Edwin Rydberg, Brian Pentelow, Darren Walker and I set out our stalls and looked forward to a few hours of discussing our books with the public and – eternally optimistic – going home at the end with empty bags. It didn’t quite work out like that, but I sold a fair few of mine and met some very interesting people.

I’m indebted to John Jackson for this wonderful collage of the PYA members selling their books today.

The presence of the Friends of Harrogate Library with their pop-up cafe (and good selection of delicious cake!) was very welcome and I was fascinated by the skills of the ladies from Harrogate Embroiderers’ Guild, who were displaying their work and offering the opportunity to have a go. Thanks are also due to the talented gentleman who played seasonal music for us throughout the event. Sorry I neglected to get his name. 

1 December, 2018 Make the first comment on this story

Just for fun!

If you scroll down, you’ll discover that the outfit featured was concocted for the 1940s disco at this year’s Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Amit (AA) Dhand was the guest speaker I’d recommended to the Committee, having met him previously at a York Writers meeting. His powers of oratory are as great as his books and, despite the grim nature of the topics he writes about, he could easily have a second career as a stand up comedian. He was a huge hit at Swanwick and the queue to buy his books stretched back from the information room to the bar. (Fellow Swanwickers will know just how far that is!)

Andy Hamilton and Bob Pegg are both old favourites of mine, my admiration for Bob going right back to my teenage years.

As for the newspapers, well, I admit to being rather tongue in cheek on that topic!


22 November, 2018 Make the first comment on this story

Promoting Yorkshire Authors Christmas Event at Harrogate Library

Looking forward very much to being one of the featured authors!

21 November, 2018 Make the first comment on this story

Ripon Remembers.

I’ve never been prouder of my adopted city than over the last couple of weeks. An angry comment from a veteran to Councillor Stuart Martin last year about the dismal effort made to commemorate Remembrance Day has led to an explosion of red all over the Ripon district. He and the indefatigable Hazel Barker have spearheaded a tremendous community effort. Well over 50 000 knitted and crocheted poppies, produced and sewn onto netting by many willing hands, lined the route from the Cenotaph to the Cathedral in preparation for Sunday’s parade. Not only that, they’d spilled out into the Spa Gardens, were to be seen in every shop window, all over the Market Place and the Town Hall… I could go on and on! All the stops were pulled out at the Cathedral too, with its Fields of Mud installation (the magnificent creation of local artist Dan Metcalfe), Wall of Remembrance, poppies cascading from the pulpit (and just about everywhere else) and silhouette soldiers on guard. Roundabouts and other entry points to the city sported large wooden poppies produced by the JennyRuth workshops.

Memories of the Concert of Remembrance will stay with me for a long time and not just because my eyes were wet for most of it. During the readings and while the Dishforth Military Wives, Cathedral Youth Choir and Combined Ripon Primary Schools sang and Ripon City Band played, the names of the fallen were scrolling up endlessly on a screen above their heads. All the surnames were local ones, often repeated, which really brought home the losses to individual families in a community that only numbered around 10 000 at that time.  

A fabulous light show projected onto the west facade of the Cathedral attracted large crowds on several evenings. Photographs of soldiers and their horses alternated with displays of poppies and lines from well known war poems. Wilfred Owen wrote some of his best while stationed in Ripon, which was home to a huge military camp throughout the hostilities.

Ripon’s contribution to the centenary of what we now call the Great War has been recognised all over the UK and beyond, featured in both local and national news broadcasts and LEST WE FORGET was on everyone’s lips.


12 November, 2018 Make the first comment on this story

Jago Cobbett

Some things are just meant to be. Still grieving over the loss of our 17-year old cats Tom and Tabitha, I was browsing through the website of our local Blue Cross rehoming centre when this unhappy looking chap caught my eye. A week later, he was ours. Five years old and with a chequered history, Jago has settled in beautifully and quite taken over the house.

We’ve had our ups and downs already, though. The first – and so far only – time he has been outdoors since we got him, he had a run in with one of the other neighbourhood cats and needed emergency treatment for a badly bitten back leg. It’s still devoid of fur and he will be housebound once more until all danger of infection is past. At this time of year, though, that’s no bad thing. Bonfire Night celebrations, once restricted to 5th November, go on over a much longer period these days and the last thing Jago needs is to be exposed to fireworks.

He’s a very cuddly cat and I hope that he will be as happy with us as we are with him. More reports will undoubtedly follow. Watch this space!

1 November, 2018 There is one comment on this story

Check Out My eBooks
The 20th century has just dawned when David is apprenticed to a Yorkshire coal miner. But what of the younger brothers and sister he has been forced to leave behind in their London workhouse? Will he ever see them again?
If you can't be famous, be infamous. Wheelchair bound after a tragic accident, revenge is on Kaz's mind when she joins the school trip to Paris...

Available in print and eBook version.
Not far from Paris lies the village of Saint-André-la Forêt, where three English schoolgirls disappear without trace during the summer of 1965.

Twenty years later, a stranded traveller stumbles across a skeleton in the nearby forest and ignores local people's warnings to leave well alone. The secrets she uncovers, some dating back to the darkest days of World War 2, are more than enough to put her own life in danger.

Available in print and eBook version.
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