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...

Stranger in a Strange Land

When asked to take part in a PYA panel discussion on the above topic, I was unsure which of my books to talk about. After all, ‘Had We But World Enough’ is all about people on the move and ‘Shadows of the Past’ and ‘Wheels on Fire’ both feature the mixed fortunes of English schoolgirls in France. However, for my 13-year workhouse orphan from London, the West Riding of Yorkshire in the early 1900’s is an equally alien environment, so his story is the one I chose.

The discussion was chaired by Edwin H. Rydberg, the original inspiration behind Promoting Yorkshire Authors, which began with a mere handful of writers in York and is rapidly spreading county-wide. On the panel with me today were Rosemary J. Kind (‘New York Orphan’ and its prequel, ‘The Blight and the Blarney’), K.S.Marsden (the ‘Witch-Hunter’ series) and Darren Walker (‘Closed Shop’).  

Harrogate Library, which hosts regular PYA sessions, was once again the setting – a haven of warmth and comfort on one of the wettest and windiest days of the year so far.

17 March, 2019 Make the first comment on this story

Bill’s Last Night

It’s been quite a while since my work last appeared in The Weekly News and this story is quite unlike anything that I’ve ever submitted before. 

As soon as I came across Lovelace’s poem, written whilst he himself was incarcerated, the character of Bill began to form in my mind and refused to disappear. As he muses on what led him to his lonely cell and, even more, what the following morning holds, I hope that readers will begin to empathise with him. Some already have and tell me that they were taken aback by the twist at the end.

If you’d like to read the whole story, please let me know and I’ll make it possible.

9 March, 2019 Make the first comment on this story

News flash!

I’ve just started work on an audio version of ‘Workhouse Orphan’, courtesy of Sam at York’s Melrose Yard Studios. This is a new departure for me and I have no idea whether it will prove to be a success – in which case I’ll record more of my books – or a very expensive failure. Only time will tell!

25 February, 2019 Make the first comment on this story

Workhouse Orphan on sale in the most appropriate place possible!

The thousands of destitute people who entered the Ripon workhouse as a very last resort would have been amazed to see its transformation into a highly rated visitor attraction. Now open for the 2019 season, it has a lot to offer for individuals, families or groups. Activities for children are a particular feature, especially during the school holidays, but are offered to school parties during term time as well.

Having spent a good deal of time in the Ripon Workhouse Museum whilst researching my latest book, I’m delighted to see copies now on sale in its well stocked shop. I’m looking forward to doing a signing session later on in the year.

 

15 February, 2019 Make the first comment on this story

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

An unexpected accolade

No, that isn’t yours truly receiving a trophy from Carole Bromley. That distinction went to Ripon Writers’ Group’s Chair, Sheila Whitfield, for her poem about the traditional craft of dry stone walling. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, I was placed joint third.

Why should that be such a big deal, you might ask. Well, it’s because my entry, ‘Not a Hope’, listed all the reasons why I wouldn’t expect to get anywhere in a poetry competition. Prizes these days tend to go to writers of free verse, with traditional forms disdained as hopelessly old fashioned. I disagree, as you’ll realise if you read on. Much of what I hear today, whether at an adjudication or an open mic, I only know is a poem because that’s what I’m told it is. Beautifully crafted and full of clever imagery it may be but, devoid of both rhyme and metre, it’s indistinguishable to my ear from prose.

Carole said that she placed my poem, submitted anonymously, because its writer ‘succeeds in writing a tongue in cheek, brilliant poem which makes her point powerfully and wittily’. I hope you agree. Comments very welcome.

NOT A HOPE

To write an ode is her intent,        

But inspiration, heaven sent        

To those of a poetic bent,          

Has quite forgotten where she lives; 

An oversight that always gives   

A chance to better poets than she        

To craft their entries, while she sighs      

And wonders why she even tries.            

Her pen is chewed beyond repair  

And nothing beckons but despair.

Her friends evoke both place and time 

In part or para or half- rhyme. 

She knows their poems can’t fail to chime

With any judge of modern verse. 

That’s not her style, for she is cursed 

With love for both full rhyme and metre

And something strongish by the litre

To drown her sorrows when they beat her.

 

9 January, 2019 There are 2 comments on this story

Every little helps!

First ‘filler’ of the year to appear in print, cheque to follow. The advice in my ‘Easy Money for Writers & Wannabes’ continues to stand the test of time!

7 January, 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

A festive story published at last!

D.C.Thomson have maintained their policy of paying on acceptance rather than on publication, for which their regular writers are very grateful. However, it’s always a little disappointing when a story is ‘held over’, as mine was last Christmas. However, here it is at last in the issue dated 22.12.18.

My original title, ‘A Slice of Happiness’, gave more of a clue to its subject matter than that chosen by the fiction team. Inspired by the same event that I described in my novel ‘Shadows of the Past’, it tells of an unexpected act of kindness during the final days of the WW2 German occupation of France. One reader has already let me know that it moved her to tears.

20 December, 2018 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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