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...

Inspired by visits to the Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway has an irresistible pull for me when I visit Northern Ireland and so it was inevitable that one day I’d set a story there. Once my work has been accepted, I have no say in how it’s illustrated, but Tracy Fennell has done me proud this time.  Lucy, who didn’t watch her step, and Connor, who came to the rescue, look exactly as I’d seen them in my mind’s eye. 

4 May, 2022 Make the first comment on this story

Reviewing the situation…

Well, reviewing ‘Oliver’, actually. It’s always a relief to see a piece only lightly edited when it appears in the press and makes sitting up into the early hours to meet the deadline very well worthwhile.

In this case, I was particularly happy to volunteer my services and very much enjoyed attending the dress rehearsal in order to get the review written in time to help with marketing the show. It’s been 16 years since I trod the boards with RAOS (as one of the mamas in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’) and almost as long since I helped out backstage as a chaperone, but I have very fond memories of the people I worked with at that time and the fun we had. Quite a few of them are in the current show and it was good to see them again.

21 April, 2022 Make the first comment on this story

The Stray Ferret

The Stray Ferret isn’t, as some people believe on first sight, an animal charity. It’s an excellent media outlet for local news – local being Harrogate (hence the Stray) and district. With Ripon situated only eleven miles from Harrogate, we get a good amount of exposure and our local correspondent, Tim Flanagan, has done me proud this time.

19 April, 2022 Make the first comment on this story

A very happy Easter to all my readers!

Tulips from Amsterdam? Well, not exactly, but the Delft vase they’re standing in was bought over 50 years ago for my mother. She loved it and so do I, as it’s very much associated with my memories of happy times spent in the Netherlands.

By coincidence, my latest published story also features flowers. Inspired by news stories of individuals and groups taking it upon themselves to beautify neglected areas, I wrote about two doughty retired gentlemen’s transformation of a derelict ginnel/alley/snicket (or whatever you call it in your part of the world) for the benefit of their community. 

Baffled by the accompanying illustration? Well, so was I, but that is none of my doing. Once a story is sold, how it is presented is up to the editorial team. 

17 April, 2022 Make the first comment on this story

Write-On-Ripon! Unleashed 2

 

The second open mic evening in the Curzon Cinema’s ‘Cavern of Creativity’ went very well. Most of the people who came along were keen to read and – in the case of The Wandering Man – sing what they had been working on. A large glass of rosé inspired me to read a poem about the failures of Care in the Community as well as perform a comic number about an unfortunate encounter between an unpleasant young tourist and the Ripon Hornblower. (‘Gary and the Horn’ was written many years ago by the late David Andrews, a past member of Ripon Writers’ Group.)

 

 

I also took the opportunity to mention that, for the foreseeable future, any royalties from my ‘Had We But World Enough’ collection will be donated to a charity helping Ukrainians displaced from their homes. It can be downloaded from Amazon for considerably less than the price of a takeaway coffee.

6 April, 2022 Make the first comment on this story

Memories of Ukraine

 
Very saddened by the horrific events unfolding in Ukraine, I’ve just been looking at some photos of happier times. Aged nineteen, I joined a group of fellow students in an epic road trip that included two of the cities currently under attack. Above, you can see me (long hair and striped frock) gazing up at the Taras Shevchenko (poet and writer) monument in Kharkov/Kharkiv.
 
 
One of my happiest memories is of crossing the pedestrian suspension bridge in Kiev/Kyiv leading to the ‘island of recreation’.
 
 
Here are some of my friends enjoying a sunny afternoon on its beach. We were later joined by a group of young soldiers from the Red Army, all in uniform and anxious to remove their boots and foot wrappings. (No socks in those days!) Conversation was difficult, but there was a lot of laughter and swapping of souvenirs.
 
Not a religious person, I can’t promise to pray for peace, but I hope with all my heart that it will return, and very soon. In the meantime, I shall be donating all the royalties from my ‘Had We World Enough’ collection to a charity supporting suffering Ukrainians. 

4 March, 2022 Make the first comment on this story

Angus’s Not So Lonely Road

 

I’ve always enjoyed ‘road’ stories, both as a writer and a reader, and am very pleased to see this one in the March issue of ‘Mom’s Favorite Reads’. The editorial team has done me proud with the illustrations, don’t you think?

 

It’s interesting to reflect on the fact that this started off as a writing exercise for Ripon Writers’ Group, one of our regular ‘5 objects in search of a story’ challenges. The items brought along by committee members at the time were a tourist guide to London, advertisements for a camper van and a car ferry, a multi-lingual phrase book and a postcard featuring the state birds of Minnesota,    

2 March, 2022 Make the first comment on this story

A Christmas Flash!

I hope this gives you a laugh or maybe puts a tear in your eye if your little ones have done similar things.

4 December, 2021 Make the first comment on this story

Connections

 

It’s always good to be featured in a new magazine and the latest issue of Connections has done me proud. 

A double-paged spread features general information and then there are excerpts and reviews.

 

28 November, 2021 Make the first comment on this story

Inspiration is where you find it!

 

Tickled to see this in the December issue of Writing Magazine. If you’ve never had a Fat Rascal, you really should!

Originally published in The Weekly News, the story that came from my enjoyment of this delicious confectionery can be found in my ‘Swings & Roundabouts’ collection, available to download separately from Amazon or as part of an omnibus edition that is also out in print.

26 November, 2021 Make the first comment on this story

Check Out My eBooks
A working holiday in France for so little? “It sounds too good to be true,” says Daisy’s mother, but her warning falls on deaf ears.
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...

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