Tuesday, 8 May 2018

A book and a pair of royal blue knickers

I know I've been banging on about my books, but needs must. I'm terrible at publicity, but just in case anyone reading this (a) is interested and (b) hasn't read this book, it's out in its new edition on Thursday (cue trumpet voluntary).

A bit about the book*. It started off with leaves falling off a tree - no more - and ended up being partly autobiographical (absolutely not intended). I never plan (not good). I'm a seat of the pants writer. Sometimes it works; sometimes not. But I think this is my best novel, and I also think this is because it's partly written from my own experience. The mad mother in the novel is based on my eccentric mum, the bereavement in the middle is based on my own bereavement, and it was my sons who showed me how to blow up cowpats (thanks, boys). As for the royal blue knickers (one reviewer said this couldn't possibly be credible), those were mine.

At school we had to wear navy knickers for PE, but my mother bought me royal blue ones. To this day, I don't know where she found them, but wear them I had to, and I was mortified. I dreamed of navy knickers; of looking like everyone else. And in the end she bought me some sort of navy briefs, which were even worse (PE knickers had to be bloomer rather than brief). But I forgave her, for as I wrote in the dedication, she took me out of school to pick primroses. Who wouldn't love a mother who did that?

So - please buy my book. It's currently still only 99p on Kindle. You can do this by clicking on the image in the side bar. After all, what else can you buy for 99p?

*Previously the Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Your perfect dinner party

John and I were discussing this last night - who would comprise your perfect dinner party?
I would have:

 Desmond Tutu (for his wonderful smile, and the fact that he summed up his life thus: "I have laughed and I have loved". Perfect.)

Dame Edna Everidge  (because I think he/she is one of the funniest people on this planet).

Judi Dench (just because she is wonderful).

David Nott (an amazing doctor who has spent much of his time working without pay in some of the worse war zones. That man is a saint).

Who would you have? Still living, if possible, and preferably people you haven't met.(Yes, I should be working, but I'm having a break.)

Monday, 23 April 2018

Breaking news - not Princess Alice, then...

...as I thought it would be, but a boy (no name yet). But congratulations to them anyway. I'm delighted for them.

It isn't cool to be a supporter of the royal family, but I think we're incredibly fortunate to have an apolitical head of state, and I am a great fan of the Queen. You only have to see the crowds outside St. Mary's Hospital (where, incidentally, I trained) today  to know how much pleasure the royal family give to so many people. As for those who don't like them, well, they can just ignore them can't they?

Any guesses as to the name of the new prince?

Friday, 13 April 2018

Of mathematical limericks

Graham has posted a very clever - far too clever for me - mathematical limerick on his blog. I thought the limerick would be something like this:

A man from the island of Skye
Bad at maths, but determined to try,
Realised all of his fears -
After forty-five years
He still can't tell his log from his pi.

How wrong can you be 😩

Feel free to have a go yourself - either kind will be welcome!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

The problem of titles

Do you have problems choosing titles for your books or stories? Or problems remembering the titles of books you've read? I've recently had problems with both. Two of my novels have recently had to have new titles (the old titles were too misleading), and this has proved problematic to say the least, one at least being a compromise. I have just read a brilliant novel,  wonderfully written, and for the life of me I cannot remember its title. It just isn't memorable, and  I can't believe I'm the only reader who's had this problem with this particular title. On the other hand, some titles stay in the mind for ever. Who can forget "The hundred year old man who jumped out of the window and disappeared"? A long title, certainly, but not one that's easily forgotten.

 Choosing short story titles doesn't seem to matter so much as the reader will probably read the story once, and then move on, especially if it's a magazine story. But a novel takes its name on a long journey (you hope!), so it has to be a title that stays in the mind of the reader. Otherwise how can he recommend it to anyone else?

Do you have trouble thinking up or remembering titles? I'd love to know.

Thursday, 8 March 2018


This is a picture by my talented granddaughter. She did NOT get her ability from me!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Look where you're going!

Am I the only person who is disturbed when drivers in films turn to speak to their passengers for far longer than is safe? I find myself screaming at them to look at the road. I know it's all done in a studio, but they could at least add a bit of verisimilitude to the action.

And then there are the actors who run from the kitchen (to kiss somebody or shoot somebody) leaving a pan on the cooker, leaving me shouting :"the chips! You've forgotten the chips!"

And my third gripe is those who emerge from the loo and dash straight out, leaving me shouting:"you've forgotten to wash your hands!"

Does anyone else feel the same? Or am I being too fussy?