Five Years Later

  Five Years Later   It’s been a long time since I blogged. On my last post, I wrote about how my husband, Den, was undergoing treatment for cancer. As you can imagine, fighting that consumed our lives at the time, and whilst I shared a lot with friends on Facebook, I didn’t blog about it. What followed his diagnosis in May 2016 were probably the worst eighteen months of my life. Sadly, despite continuing treatment and his own bravery and determination, I lost the love of my life on 18 th December 2017. Although we lost him a week before Christmas, we vowed to have the big family Christmas lunch he would have loved, and we laughed and smiled for my grandchildren. We said our final goodbyes to him on 4 th January 2018, where I had Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You , and her duet with Kenny Rogers, Islands in the Stream , played at his funeral. He adored Dolly, so it was my way of telling him that she sang for both of us. The crematorium was packed and in lieu of flowers we r

More catch up and an MA in Creative Writing

Sorry I've ignored the blog for so long. As you all saw in my last post, we've been battling with Den's cancer. Three weeks ago he finished a course of radiotherapy, and since then it's been a bit up and down. He has started eating solids again, which is a good thing, but unfortunately he still has days when he can't keep anything down. We see the doctor again next week (on my birthday of all days), to discuss further options, including chemotherapy. But at the moment we're taking the view that he's still here, he's still functioning fairly well, so we're not ready to give up just yet. We know he can't be cured, but we can work on keeping him here for as long as possible. It's a bit 'one step forward/two steps back' around here, but we keep on going and are trying our best to carry on as normal (whatever normal is). With this in mind, I've signed up to do an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University, which starts in Oc

A difficult catch up post

It seems that my joy at sorting out my own health was to be short lived. I had only just been declared fit when we learned that my husband, Den, has Oesophageal Cancer. He'd had problems swallowing for some time, but refused to go to the doctors until I was sorted out. You can imagine how guilty I feel at the moment, though I've been assured that these things don't happen overnight and it's something he'd have had for a long time before symptoms appeared. We've known about it for a week or two, and I have mentioned it on Facebook, but things have moved so fast, I haven't had a chance to share the news here. I now feel it's time to share it with those of you who perhaps aren't on FB. Den has to have more tests, as they now fear the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes. I Googled that, and wished I hadn't... As you can imagine, it's a very difficult time for us and it isn't over yet. Den is a fighter. Fifteen years ago, he survived an

The Secret of Lakeham Abbey Out Now!

<br /> I am delighted to announce that The Secret of Lakeham Abbey  is now published and available to buy.  You can order it from, and Smashwords using the widgets above. There is also be a launch party on Facebook, where I promise to bring Chocolate flavoured prizes, but you'll have to work for them as I have some dastardly questions planned! I will also be appearing on some blogs, and into June, so watch this space for news.   1948 When Percy Sullivan’s family take over Lakeham Abbey for the summer, it was a chance to get away from battered post-war London and be cossetted by the capable and pretty housekeeper, Anne Pargeter. They soon learn that the Abbey conceals a dark secret; one that someone was willing to kill to hide. When Anne is convicted of murder and sentenced to execution, Percy is determined to do all he

On The Mend and (gingerly) Raring to Go

Some of you may know that I've had a bit of a problem with my tummy for quite a few years. There was a lump above my belly button that just kept getting bigger and bigger. Of course, my first thought was cancer. Isn't that the way we all think? It wasn't. I was first told it was a divaricated rectus muscle, and that it was not hospital policy to operate on them as they weren't life threatening.  It wasn't exactly life-enhancing either! But I couldn't argue, as it was the policy. I know I'm a big girl anyway, but it made me feel a bit freakish having this lump sticking out. Especially in the last couple of years when it got bigger still. The only positive was that I always got a seat on the tube as people assumed I was pregnant. I didn't disabuse them on the notion and was always rather flattered that they thought I was still young enough.  Luckily Fashionworld do a nice line in tents so I stocked up on those... It didn't only look awful. It was u

Short Stories and Going Back To My Roots

To those who have only known me in latter years, it probably seems that I’m all about the pocket novels. This is not entirely untrue. I’ve been writing them since 2008, when I penned The Secret of Helena’s Bay and tentatively sent it to Maggie Swinburne (nee Seed) at My Weekly Pocket Novels. I now have over 20 under my belt (not all published by DC Thomson, but all published by Ulverscroft in Large Print), and I have to say it’s my first love. However, I started off writing short stories (actually I started writing fanfiction, but that’s for another day and is not about original work), and had some success in women’s magazines, with over 60 stories published. That took some time though, and I remember receiving 9 rejections in one day from one magazine. Ouch. I did okay, but never as well as my more talented story writing friends. I know I did much better when I was in the fantastic Story a Fortnight Group and learned so much from those talented friends. You can see our joi

In Praise of the Happy Ending

I like a nuanced ending to stories as much as the next person. I’m an intelligent woman so I know that there isn’t always a ‘somewhere over the rainbow’. Neither in real life nor in fiction. Yet nowhere are happy endings more vilified than in romantic fiction. A fellow romance writer recently linked to a review of her novel, which, quite apart from suggesting my colleague was ‘frittering’ away her talents writing romance (talk about damning with faint praise!), also dismissed happy endings in romance, as ‘boring as hell’ (I won’t link to the review as I suspect there’s some subtle trolling going on). As many other romance writers pointed out, no one complains when Poirot gets the killer the end of an Agatha Christie novel. Okay, someone is dead, and others have probably died too. But for the purposes of the sleuth having solved the riddle, it is, to all intents and purposes, a happy ending. The bad guy/girl is punished and the worthy get their reward (usually the fortune