Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas and alone?

Christmas is that funny time of year where there's tinsel and brightly coloured decorations everywhere - and yet for some, desperation beckons. Isolation and despair can be reflected in every shiny bauble, illuminated in every twinkling light; in a world that's bustling with people in every direction you look, its strangely easy to feel so miserably alone.

Funnily enough, I spoke about this yesterday with someone who is suffering and feeling alone. I hope that my conversation helped and I hope that for at least those few minutes, the person knew that here was someone who gave a damn.

And I'm not alone, am I? Because we all give a damn. That's the exact reason so many of us frazzle ourselves at Christmas, trying to catch up with as many friends and family as possible. But what about those of us who have no family? Whose friends are all busy with their own extended families? It's these people who are hit the hardest.

So if you fall into that category [and before my children, I did for many, many years] then don't suffer in silence. Speak to someone, a friend or a neighbour, and get out of the house as much as you can.

And remember - there's always another door to be opened, another window to let light through. You just need to reach forward, someone will be on the other side.

If that seems just too much, please, please phone the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

Merry Christmas. XXX


Friday, 16 December 2016

Amazon Book Reviewers Sought

My newest book, Ascension, is due for release in February 2016 with my new, American publishers. I have several copies on PDF available free to reviewers.

If you would like to be considered for a free copy in return for a review, please contact me on, stating your Amazon ranking number and genre preference.

Happy Reading! x

Friday, 9 December 2016

So Christmas is looming - which means of course that we have been in this house for almost a year. One whole year and I'm still referring to it as the new house. It's not that I haven't settled in, because I have, or that it doesn't feel like home, because it does. So what is it then?

I actually think it's a state of mind. This past year has gone in such a flurry of activity, and I've been such a hive of industry, I almost haven't allowed myself to believe that a year has passed. I've written two whole books and made inroads into a third, decorated, weeded and done all the normal household stuff and yet I'm still wondering if I could have done more, been more industrious...

So on that note, I am making a plan. You know how I love a plan. Next year I will write Volume VIII of the Owners before I write any other books. This is a pivotal volume, for it starts to bring the story back to San and Loni and all the other characters we left in Volume I, because they still have so much to say, so much to do.

In Volume VIII therefore, we will see how Sophia became the leader of her people - what particular things happened in her life to bring her to the exact point at which she meets Little and Loni. We will find out about the tragedies that drive her forward and the challenges she has had to face.

Similarly, we will find out more about Rian, about his unhappy early life and how all that happens then, puts him on the very path that will one day ensure that he meets San.

This will be an emotional book; powerful and strong, full of resolve and purpose, just like its main characters, and I can't wait to start it. Both Rian and Sophia have been patient with me. They have waited in the back of my head for their time to emerge fully into the light. Next year will be their time.

And writing their tales will be no easy task. It will be draining and emotional, but I hope that it will be cathartic both for me, and for its readers. If nothing else, it will give Rian and Sophia the freedom they deserve.

So until then, and just in case I get caught up in Christmas and New Year and don't have a minute to blog again, let me say,


I hope 2016 has been great for you and that 2017 will be wonderful!

And if you get one of my books as a stocking filler, I hope you enjoy it. X

Monday, 5 December 2016

New reviews for my books.

Here are some more reviews for my books on Amazon.

About the Owners Volume I. Pretty good for a first novel - and my daughter liked it a lot.

Confess I'm not a teen reader but there's enough of interest here to make me think Carmen Capuano can write and one day she'll pen a great novel. Till then this is enjoyable fare and might just turn into a favourite series for my daughter to enjoy. - Andrew.

Read it! Couldn't put it down.  - Peter Teale.

Thank you guys!

About the Owners Volume II

"Teenagers should love this.

Like the ideas and the way she reinvents the future disaster story. Also better edited than the first in her Owners series so it doesn't suffer from to the same extent from incorrectly typos." - Andrew.

On the Owners III -

"Like Owners II a big improvement on Owners I.

Continuing the story of Dan Ryan from Owners II and pretty well, what I said positive about that applies here to. A good read for any teenager but I am a sucker for disaster survival stories." - Andrew.

Split Decision

"Snappy dialogue and excellent writing- worth trying!"

Looking at this because I like Carmen's 'The Owners' series. Not sure whether it'll appeal to male readers as much as female but she can write and her dialogue is spot on - she makes her conversations sound real and for that reason I'll persevere. The only reservation is about pricing - even for a 400'page novel £11 plus is going to deter many potential readers." - Andrew.

On the Owners IV

"Excellent continuation of the series.

More of Jack Ryan's story from Owners II and III. Excellent continuation of the series." - Andrew. 

Many, many thanks for your honest reviews guys! x

Restaurant review

Yesterday evening I was treated to an Indian dining experience which went beyond anything I have previously encountered.

Located in Harborne, Umami is blessed with a great location which allows for a small outside seating area when the weather is fine, and large plate glass windows through which you can watch the world go by.

From the first sight of its chic decor, which fuses elements of modern and traditional design to create a lasting impression of serenity and elegance, it is obvious that Umami is different to other Indian establishments. Even the air seems to be more subtly aromatic than is the norm, redolent with aromas which evoke thoughts of long, balmy Indian evenings and fragrant nights.  

And Umami certainly lives up to its name, providing a fifth element of taste that is less definable than the traditionally agreed sweet, salty, bitter and sour, in its rounded, rich savoury dishes.  

Greeted by an elegantly bedecked hostess, we were ushered into a lounge area and presented with an extensive drinks menu which had everything I had ever heard of and more. Cocktails with exotic names and even more exotic ingredients, champagnes and spirits, soft drinks and wines to suit every budget and palate.

My companion chose a Cheeky Monkey, which was pleasingly strong and an excellent choice for the discerning whiskey drinker, whilst I chose a Rise of Umami, a soft and fruity concoction, which was both refreshing and delicious. We sipped on these whilst we took our time to consider the unique and innovative menu with a good selection of starters, mains and desserts, as well as three set-price menus, which each have a selection of starters and mains to share, and which can be replenished on request.

It was one of these set menus which we chose, the Royal Prix Fixe, whilst our drinks orders were replenished with yet another cocktail, this time an Old Fashioned, smooth and full bodied, and a glass of Cotes de Provence Rose, refreshingly chilled and light.

Suitably relaxed,  we were led through a very stylish contemporary bar area to the dining room, which exuded effortless class from its delightful soft furnishings to the semi-private dining booth, easily able to accommodate up to six diners.

What was apparent by this stage was the sumptuous attention to detail which was obvious throughout, both in the exceptionally well-appointed restaurant and in the attentive yet discreet service from the waiters. And we were clearly not alone in our opinion, for every table was filled with diners who radiated a sense of contentedness, lending the whole place an excellent ambiance.

But it was when the food emerged that an even greater meticulous care was evident. The three starters of tandooried king prawns, chargrilled chicken tikka and Welsh lamb chops were so well-executed that they seemed to melt on the tongue. Each mouthful was tender and succulent, with just the right bite to it.

Likewise the four main courses were exquisite. Each dish seemed to challenge the next to be even better; the fish simmered in coconut milk and mango curry was smooth and light, the Palak Paneer was delightfully moreish, the Welsh lamb was fragrant and piquant and the butter chicken was so sweet and juicy that it immediately became my new favourite. So much so, that I just had to ask what it was that made this dish so different from its counterparts across the country.

I learned that unlike most other restaurants, the chef at Umami uses pulled chicken in this dish and he considers it to be one of his finest specialities. Having tasted it, I had to concur, whilst my dining companion voted for the Welsh lamb with its subtle coriander and cumin flavours.

Somehow by sheer force of will, we managed to leave just enough room for dessert, ordering carrot pudding encased in a crispy samosa pastry and Hagen-Daz, which was served in a brandy basket with a fruit coulis. Both were delicious.

I have to say, we left with reluctance, and only once our plates were completely clean. But I don’t think it will be too long before we make another visit to this fantastic restaurant, to sample once more the banquet truly fit for a Maharaja.  

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Coming up next...

Today I'm writing about death and destruction. It's just as well I can separate fact from fiction, truth from lies.

There is a book coming up, based very much on a true-life story told to me. It is one of deceit, betrayal and a crippling injustice perpetrated. Will justice finally prevail? If I have anything to do with it, it will...

Oh and if I'm feeling particularly generous, I might even change the names of the villains. Then again, maybe not. :)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A little gem of a place.

Being around and about Stourport recently, I have been introduced to the Bay Horse public house, on the Hartlebury Road, much to my delight. 

In a day and age of pubs which sprout false plastic beams from every juncture of ceiling and wall, here is a pub that's the real deal. Quaint and traditional without being either tatty or old-fashioned, it has that warmth of yesteryear with none of the heavy-handedness of deliberate retrogressive interior design. The pub looks cute and quaint because it is exactly that.

Likewise the attitude of the management and bar staff belong to another era, one where customers were warmly welcomed without being intruded upon, where diners and drinkers alike were free to have as much camaraderie and rapport with the staff as they wished, without feeling as if the smiles were fake and the opinions proffered were bland pleasantries. Wish that it were so in all pubs. 

Who hasn't nowadays visited an establishment where the staff are almost indifferent to the needs of their customers, where the queue at the bar comes secondary in importance to finding out what Jim did on his night off? Where walls have been pained an off-white to look older than they are, and where leather sofas have been bought with that 'worn look' to add to the fake ambiance? 

And that's where the Bay Horse has it all going on for real. Add to this a full and varied menu from which there seems to be almost too much choice, and I was captivated. Twice now I have eaten there, and twice I have been more than pleased with my meal - large flavoursome portions which were complimented by crisp salads and tasty chips.

So when I'm back down that way, guess where you will find me... That's right, tucked into a warm corner, knife and fork in hand.

Until then - Happy Reading! x  

Friday, 18 November 2016

A little catch-up.

I can't believe how quickly this year has flown, and continues to fly by. In many ways it has been a landmark year - I received my first ever speeding ticket [who would have thought either me or my car would have been capable of that?] doing 36 in a 30 mph section of road, I moved house after sixteen years of being in one place and I turned fifty. I attended three funerals and spent many hours looking at the past, as one tends to do in these circumstances. I saw my eldest child turn sixteen and leave school for the new boundaries of college and my youngest start her final year of middle school. In short it has been a year of change.

And during all of this, I did what I always do, I wrote books and renovated my house and looked after the kids and dogs. Because it is these things which are the fundamentals of my life, the lynchpins of my sanity.

During this time new people have come into my life and shared their stories with me, as they so often do. Some are tales of horror, of injustices done and cruelties perpetrated, others are uplifting and life-affirming and others are just plain funny. And yes, I won't deny it, some of those stories, either in part or in their entirety, will find their way into my books, of course they will.

At the moment I am coming toward the final part of my current book. This is always hard. I want to race ahead with the story, but doing so will mean saying goodbye to characters I love. But I know they will be safe with you, for you will love them as much as I do.

Soon, Ascension will be released and you will get to meet Jessica Stone, the girl who will change her world. As always happens, she was a character who came to me and told me how dire her need was, how desperate her situation. I couldn't refuse to write it down. And the more I wrote about her - the more I got to know her - I realised how human she was, how beyond all her bravery and her quest for truth and justice, she had flaws just like we all do.

But in the book, there is one character who was moulded from a very real person. Grandma Emily was based upon my own late grandmother, her strange wisdom and her hope. This last year, through all the changes above, it has been my grandmother I have thought of time and time again. And in every moment of doubt I've had, every middle-of-the-night awakening I've had, scared and alone, it's her voice I have heard. How she would have laughed if she'd known what is going on in my life right now. Then again, what's to say she doesn't?

Happy Reading! x

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Future Perfect is coming soon!

I'm so afraid for these characters. Wish I could step into the book and help them.

The following excerpt is taken from Future Perfect [coming soon].

Chapter 14

A laser beam slashes a small aperture in Simone Mewdleys’ abdomen. Layers of skin and fat are cut through to produce an opening which is deeper than its width. Even so, the foetus can be clearly seen nestling within the sack of the womb.

It’s so small. So infinitely vulnerable that I feel tears prick the corners of my eyes. Almost fully grown, it is curled up around itself, which only serves to make it seem both less and more human at the same time. Curled up like a cat, it is hairless and covered in a greasy white slick, little arms curved into its chest, little hands curled into fists.

“Don’t hurt it!” I whisper. Even though I know ELSA can’t hear me, saying it out loud is more than a plea, it’s an invocation, an entreaty to something beyond our world within the Dome. To God, if such a thing exists.

Happy Reading!

Monday, 14 November 2016

A little bit of poetry to soothe the soul...

Every so often you come across someone who strikes a chord with you. This poet/author is one such person.

With his permission I have posted his lovely poem here.

This has come from a great writer friend of mine from 'across the pond'. It's about October - the magical month of my birth [of course it is]. Enjoy. xx

My Quarrel With October
Look up from the rich, black soil....
Fatigue never felt so good to me.
Look up from blinkered garden toil:

There is beauty and wonder in all I see.
Feel the soft warmth of the autumn sun.
Breathe in the crisp chill of October’s air.
Number life’s virtues when day is all done.

The majesty of October reigns everywhere.
Clouds sail past in a feathery sky.
The chill foreshadows the coming cold.
The woods serve up a feast for the eyes:

A leafy mantle of crimson, scarlet and gold.
The flowers of summer all bow their heads
To the mums, now crowned in purple and gold.
Spikes of royal lavender stand up in their stead.

The rhythms of autumn never seem to grow old.
See the blood red flush of the burning bush,
Twilight colors the sky violet and shades of red.
The palette of autumn has come on with a rush.

Nature’s beauty has made me drunk in the head.
Listen closely and one will hear
A wedge of wild geese on the wing,
And the serenade of the lark so near.

Have you ever heard a more beautiful thing?
The early crickets have come out to sing.
They rub their limbs to ward off the cold.
They long again for the warmth of spring.

No one told them the year had grown old.
Hear the rustle of the tasseled corn,
As restless and wavy as the open sea.
The wind gently sighs of winters forlorn.

All the while, autumn whispers goodbye to me.
I wipe rich, black earth from my hands.
The day has grown old at a quarter to five.
Autumn work draws forth the joys of a man.

Sweet October makes it feel good to be alive.
I stack a cord of wood from the pile.
The apple tree blushes red with her fruit:
There’ll be supper and apple pie in a while.

First I’ll light the fire and kick off my boots.
Thoughts of winter make a man sober:
I’d invite October to stay on, if I could.
Let this be my only quarrel with October:

There’s too little of her to last us for good.
There is beauty and splendor in all I see.
The senses reveal what mere words cannot say:
The splendor of autumn is far too lovely for me.

Has the world ever given us a more beautiful day?

Richard Merli
Copyright Richard Merli

As ever - Happy Reading! xx


Often in life there are hard choices to be made. Prudence Smith is facing one such choice. Taken from "Future Perfect".

“I hear you went to round to see Helena earlier. Does this mean that you’ve changed you mind?”

I pick up on the hope in Mitch’s voice and am ashamed. I should have explained to him what I was doing before I went – now I have given him false reason for optimism.

“I needed to find out where we should head when we leave here. Which direction I mean.” My voice is tight. I’m so scared. Scared that he will refuse to leave when the time comes. Scared that I will have to make a choice between him and safety for our child. I’m scared to look at him, to see the hurt and sadness in his face, to let him see the fear and anguish in mine.

And yet deep down in the deepest, primal part of me, I know what I will do if that time comes. I will protect my child, our child – and if that means leaving Mitch, then that is what I will do too.

Happy Reading!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Here's what I have just written today. Taken from Future Perfect. [Cross-genre dystopian science fiction.]

I almost can’t wait until Mitch gets home. Almost have to lock myself in our apartment to stop myself from running down to his work station and demanding that he listen to me. But there’s a reason I don’t.

In order for him to listen properly to me, for him to agree to what I ask, I will have to sound rational. I can’t afford to look or sound hysterical, to be thought of as irrational, crazy or unreasonable.

Words, thoughts and emotions run unchecked through my brain. I try to sort them into some semblance of order, some logical progression of an idea that I can argue my point with. But they refuse to be sifted and polished, seeming to prefer instead to stay coarse and unrefined, too raw and crude to enable me to sway him by words alone.


Love is my best weapon, I realise. He loves me and it’s for that reason if no other that he will listen.

Will he listen to her? I hope so!
Happy Reading.

Friday, 4 November 2016

ELSA will not be challenged!

ELSA will not be challenged. Taken from Future Perfect.

I don’t give them a chance to answer. The guns are in position and ready.

There are seventeen people directly in the weapons’ lines of sight - eight women, three men and six children.

All guns fire simultaneously. Smoke billows into the air and bodies fall soundlessly to the ground, holes torn in their soft human flesh. One woman twists as she falls, probably dead before she hits the ground. But in perhaps that last moment of life, of awareness, she pulls a young child against her, shields his body with her own. She topples on top of him, saving his life with the sacrifice of her own. It’s to be in vain.

I roll the assignment vehicle over the dead and the dying, unable to hear the crush of bones, the wet squelching of ruptured organs, under its weight, but satisfied of the outcome nonetheless. This sector decided its fate the moment it did not comply with my demands. There will be no mercy. There cannot be.

It's war!

Working on Future Perfect today and it looks as if there's a war brewing...

It is more important than ever that the world these children are born into, is as stable and as bountiful as it can be.

In another part of the Dome, I roll open the shutter doors and send the modified assignment vehicle through.

I track every metre of its progress back to the renegade sector. Through the artificial eyes of the satellites I see it roll steadily across the grass and wasteland, keeping to as straight a line as possible to decrease distance.

Seen in this way, a single object moving in an otherwise still frame, there is an inherent beauty to it, a line of symmetry, a form of both grace and refinement that I have not previously noticed. It is as if I am seeing it for the very first time.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Back to work!

Here is the latest on the current book:-

Mitchell’s right, she’s enormous. From the look of her, you’d think she was at least six months pregnant. Yet she is barely more than six weeks.

“You’ve grown so much!” I can’t stop myself from exclaiming.

“I know!” She laughs. “Goodness knows the size I’ll be by the end!” Her words cause an involuntary shiver up my spine. What else will she be by the end, I wonder. Dead?
The thought comes from out of nowhere, attacks my conscience with its vivid  imagery – Helena, grotesquely swollen, her stomach torn asunder as if the foetuses have exploded from there in a shower of gore and carnage. Bile rises in my throat. I swallow it back down and hold it there by force of will.  
Happy Reading!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Wait and see

I'm actually intrigued to see who will become the next American President. Will it be the misogynist with 'the hair', or the 'cool' cat with the tomcat husband?

I guess I'll just have to wait and see, although I know who my money would be on...

Last night I met with a group of Birmingham writers called New Street Authors. All independently published and publishing, they were astute, knowledgeable and witty. They were also so much better at the technical side of things than I am [formatting etc.].

We talked for a long time about my self-published series, which went to press before I was signed up by traditional publishers for other books, and whether in future I would again tread the self-pub route to fame and fortune, or remain on the traditional publishing path.

The answer is that right now, there is no answer. Both have their merits. And big money can be made in both camps if you go about it the right way.

I love the autonomy that self-publishing gives, but there is a lot to be said too for having someone else fighting your corner side-by-side with you, their interest in seeing you succeed, as vested as your own. That said, the group were a pretty tight bunch, and I could see how they genuinely worked hard to help one another... and I wanted to be a part of that.

So for now readers I am waiting and watching.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Milestone!

Today I am taking a little time out from writing to reflect on life and relationships, because next week, I will be fifty.

I have been calm and crazy about this idea in turns. I admit that being fifty is better than being dead, but that's about as much as can be said for it. Let's be honest, unless I can reach at least 100, then I am already more than half way through my life. I almost want to stay up until 3am every night and rise again at 6, just so that I can squeeze every last drop of living from every day. But if I actually did that, I wouldn't be around for very long...

Yes, it's a milestone, an achievement. There are plenty of poor souls who never get this far in life. And it's wonderful to see my three, lovely children growing up, becoming daily more independent. I just hope that as the years pass, I will continue to have a place in their increasingly busy lives.

My life is good. I have a job that I adore and because there is time left at the end of my working day, I now have another job, doing social media for some very well-known places and faces [don't ask because I can't tell]. And that too is fun. So it's all good.

As for the house - well it's coming along. Still slowly and still with one step forwards and at times two backwards. That was certainly the case the other day, when my outside tap burst and there was literally water everywhere. But I guess that too is part and parcel of trying to do up a dilapidated wreck of a place.

But I started this post to talk about relationships. Recently it has become very clear to me that things need to change, so I have set things in motion. I have joined a friendship group, not for romance but to meet men and women who actually enjoy doing the things I do - so much better than dragging a reluctant partner along to things they don't want to attend.

So if when you are out and about, you see a crazy woman dancing  like a loon and having a ball with a big group of people, come and say hello - for it will most likely be me.

Happy Reading!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Praza Princess!

How often do you get to feel like a film star? Like a Goddess who graces everyone with her presence? Not often I'm guessing. Me neither!

But that is exactly what's on offer at Praza in Edgbaston. With it's sumptuous interior design, high-backed velvet armchairs which resemble thrones more than anything else, and its exquisite food, it's impossible to feel anything less.

Add to that the polite and courteous staff, who clearly take their lead from the charismatic proprietor of this high class Indian dining establishment, and it's more than just a step away from the ordinary dining experience.

There's such a lot to love about Praza because it really has it all. Great location [with free car parking] fabulous food and an amazing ambiance.

So imagine how thrilled I was to attend a VIP event last night where they were showcasing Bombay Sapphire gin. Now you know me readers, I come from Glasgow and am from Italian and Spanish descent, so I like my alcohol. In particular I love champagne and gin.

So when I was given the chance to sample Bombay Sapphire at this select event, I jumped at the chance.

I've never had this particular brand before and must admit that I thought there would be no difference to my usual brand. I was wrong. It's much, much smoother with a subtlety I haven't experienced before. In fact I demanded to read the list of ingredients in a bid to find out why it was so different and was persuaded to try another - in the cause of science of course!

So many thanks to Bombay Sapphire and to Praza for a great night and a fantastic memory!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Danger alert!

Oh! Things are starting to get dangerous for Prudence Smith...

But in both of these scenarios it would be my life and that of my family which would be the most affected. Either Helena’s child would be looked upon with fear and mistrust, reviled and cast out from society, or I would, for my truthfulness. Whatever the outcome, my family would be ostracised. So I continue to keep my mouth shut.

Don't forget to click on the link to see my published books.

Happy reading! x

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Latest paragraph

This current book is coming along at a rate of knots, even though for the last few weeks I have been tied up with other things, and haven't been able to devote much time to writing. I am now roughly quarter of the way through writing the book, and the revelations are coming thick and fast.

Dystopian in nature, the book is very character driven and focuses just as much on their motivations as it does their actions.

Here is the latest paragraph:-

You are eight weeks and one day pregnant, Prudence Smith. Congratulations to you, and to your husband, Mitchell Smith. There’s a sour taste in my mouth as I read ELSA’s words.

“That was the day we got married!” Mitchell whirls me round to face him. “We made a child that night Pru!” His face is rapturously happy and I don’t have it in me to crush him with my fears.

We had been careless that night. Just married and drunk on love and happiness, we had fallen into bed. We had never been intimate before. Never spent the night together, never explored each other’s bodies, each other’s uncovered souls.

That night we did.

It never even entered my head that I could get pregnant. It was one night, after all. Now I see how naïve I have been.

Happy Reading, x.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


I'm afraid I won't be at the Hive tonight, as I've had to cancel due to some frightening events which have taken place in my house.

Rest assured there will be many other things and people there to entertain you, and you will still have a wonderful time without me.

If you were hoping to purchase a signed copy of one of my books tonight, I do apologise. Please email me on and I'll see what I can do.

Happy Reading.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Business as usual

If you have ever been to one of my talks, you will know how I write books - its an almost unconscious streaming of words and ideas - therefore plots can often take me by surprise.

That's exactly what's happening with this current book. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the main character's situation, but now she has completely taken me by surprise. In a good way, of course.

Then again that is exactly how real life is, isn't it? We amble along, thinking we know where we're going until something happens and we realise that we were deluded in thinking that we were in control in the first place...

Speaking of which, I have been working some more on my wayward house. I swear this house has a personality all of its own and that it is trying to confound my attempts to do it up. Just when I thought things were improving, we have developed a leak in the outside tap, another in a radiator and the patio has begun to disintegrate.

But I have managed to create a more homely feel, by applying paint ever more liberally to the walls, the dogs, myself and even in some cases, the furniture, as well as hanging pictures. One day it might resemble a finished project. Until then, dear readers,

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Character in distress

As you may know, I have been writing a new book, based on real life. The characters are strong and the storyline is flowing well, however last night something happened that will change my work schedule over the next few months.

A character came to me, so in distress and desperate that I tell her tale, that I am compelled to put aside the current book, to enable me to write this new story. This isn't a new phenomenon to me. Sometimes characters are so desperate to be heard that they will interrupt my sleep or my waking moments until I take heed of them. I could see from the off that Prudence was going to be one of those.

So what's she like? Well she's strong but surprisingly sweet of nature. And she's very much in love. But she's also in grave danger...

I'll keep you posted on her progress!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

October 5th

Oops I was supposed to announce this before... [been a little distracted of late] so here it is:-

Wednesday 5th October I will be at The Hive in Worcester where they are having a Space Night, 5-8pm.

There are lots of great things happening and I will be there to talk about my books and sign copies.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, 9 September 2016

A read for those who are not faint-hearted

Goodness me this new book I'm writing is shaping up quickly! And it's certainly not one for the squeamish or faint-hearted.

Because of the sensitive nature of the book, I am unable to post the more adult sections so here is a little bit of where it's currently at:-

“I’ve done it Mum,” Sarah said into the phone.

“Does he know?”

“No. Not yet anyway. Unless John and Saranne have phoned him and told him.” It was a possibility, although she thought it unlikely that they would choose to be the ones to break the news.

“How did it go telling them?” Mary Sweeney asked. She had her eyes closed and scrunched up as she spoke. She could picture her daughter’s in-laws so clearly, and could imagine how shocked they would have been.

“Well it wasn’t nice, obviously. They have no idea what Colin is really like.”

Want to know what Colin is really like? Well you'll have to wait a little while until I finish writing it.

Until then, take a look at my other books, especially Split Decision.

Happy Reading! x

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A more adult read

I think this book might be one of the hardest I have ever written in some ways. It's about what happens after a marriage breaks down and how the main character, Sarah, has to forge a new life for herself.

As I alluded to in my last blog, some of it is written from personal experience and some from the experiences others have shared with me. I have to thank you all for being so brutally honest and baring your souls to me. What you have told me has made me laugh and sometimes cry, but each and every time, it has informed my characters of how they would act, what they would think and what they would say.

So to all of you once again, thanks.

Because of the adult content of this book I will be unable to post as many snippets as I usually would, so here is just a little bit to tide you over.

“Shall we go see the new house then?” she said.

Neither of the girls answered. Perhaps young as they were, they realised there was really no choice in the matter.

Her hands shook on the steering wheel but she manoeuvred the car with care. “Here we are.” Her voice was falsely cheerful.

The girls looked unenthusiastically up at the low-rise block of flats.

“You said there wasn’t a garden, but there is,” Kaitlin accused, pointing at the narrow expanse of grass between the building and the car park.

“That’s not a garden honey. That’s just a strip of grass and it’s for everyone to use.”

“Everyone?” Ellie said, sounding confused.

Sarah looked at the building again. Not as she naturally perceived it, as a group of connected flats, but as her daughters saw it, a huge imposing residence.

“That isn’t one big house. It’s lots of little houses called flats, all put together in one place.”

As ever, if you are in need of a good read, take a look at my dystopian sci-fi series, The Owners or for young adult romance/thriller, Split Decision. Ascension will be out early next year. And many more to follow.

Happy Reading! x

Monday, 5 September 2016

I'm going to give you what you want.

For a long time, as long as I have been writing novels, there has been a story lodged at the back of my head.

I have wanted to write it and I know that lots of you have expressed a desire to read it - but up until now, I wasn't ready to commit it to the page. I am now.

Different to my other books, this one will be very hard-hitting and gritty. But I think there will be moments of mirth, of dark humour in amongst all the tragedy and pathos. And yes there will be elements within it, where some of you might recognise bits of your own lives, your own insecurities, your own worries.

Will you enjoy it? Of course you will. But don't think that it will be easy reading. It will make you think. Will it also make you view your life differently? Perhaps. I know that's something that seems to come through in most of my books, so I guess it might in this one too.

As ever I'll post snippets and keep you informed of progress.

Until then - Happy Reading!

Friday, 26 August 2016

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so!

I got a brief text message from a friend the other day:

Hi. Did you just phone me? Sorry. I was too engrossed with reading your book. It's really hard to put down!

I laughed and laughed. This is from a woman who resisted my attempts to get her to read Split Decision for over a year. And I totally understand why. She's my friend and was worried about what she would say, how she would face me if the book was no good. But I knew something she didn't, I knew that she'd love it.

That's the problem with friendship. A few years ago another friend actually confessed to me that she'd bought my first book because she'd felt she had to. But when she began to read it, she was fully captivated by the story, so much so, that she took to hiding herself away, so that she could continue without interruption. The look on her face as she told me how riveting the story was, was priceless.

You see, as many people have remarked, you wouldn't know by talking to me that I am capable of writing these books. Whilst this could be taken as an insult, I have to admit that it's true. The words and ideas which flow so easily onto the screen when I'm writing a novel, are almost incompatible with the everyday me, the one who is obsessed with how much she weighs and whether everyone has eaten their food and is basically a dimwit when it comes to current affairs.

So to any of you who know me and still haven't bought one of my books, I have only this to say: When you do eventually buy one, and you finally read it, try not to say what everyone else says. Try not to exclaim, "I can't believe you actually wrote this! I loved every minute of it!"

Because my reply will always be, "I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so!"


Happy Reading!

Monday, 22 August 2016


I have just written the last sentence on my latest book. I'm feeling sad and happy at the same time.

It's hard to wrap up a book, knowing you are finished with those characters. But I'm also excited that it brings me one step closer to letting the world read about their adventures. In fact, I can't wait.

If you can't either, take a look at the books I already have out on sale. There's another, Ascension, coming soon and there are a further eight more, ready for publication.


So until then,

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

It's been a while...

It seems like a long time since I sat down to write a blog post. I have been busy working on my latest book [there are only a few chapters left to write], decorating the new house and doing all the other things the summer holidays threw at me.
Added to that, I have attended yet another funeral, making it three this year alone. Let's hope it will be the last for a very, very long time!
I am increasingly excited about Ascension, which is due for release next Jan/Feb. My publisher keeps getting excited about what a powerful story it is - she doesn't need to keep telling me, I remember the excitement of writing it.
Similarly, the one I am finishing off is equally gripping. Different to Ascension, it has that same sense of time slipping away from the characters, who have to make sense of their situation.
The female lead, Tudie, is strong and her wisdom belies her nineteen years. I think she is a little bit like how I was back in the day and I have to say, approaching a landmark birthday, I envy her strength and indomitable nature.

Anyway enough warbling on... here's the snippet you want.

We are suddenly both awkward with one another. I refuse to meet his gaze. Instead I look for Grey.

He’s just behind me. A young woman stands next to him, and from the way she gazes up at him, I can tell what’s in her heart.

Her face is open, at once scared and yet strangely expectant, as if she has waited her whole life for this one moment. With her gaze so focused on him, it is still me who Grey turns towards and without him saying a single word, I know everything there is to know in that one glance. I can only wonder if he can read my eyes and expression as well as I can his.

Happy Reading - and don't forget to check out my Owners series and my thriller Split Decision.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

On Air with the Fizzogs

I had the privilege recently to be invited onto Black Country Radio, to talk to the Fizzogs about my latest book, Ascension. Whilst I had a wonderful time with these inimitable ladies, it required a huge amount of concentration to have to answer questions fired at me from all sides. I have been told by friends who listened in that I came across well, but believe me, that was a real fluke, as these ladies are both funny and gregarious, and therefore apt to hijack every innocently meant comment, and turn it into something completely different!

But what stuck me most about them is how different they are to their alter egos, the Dancing Grannies. I was curious to find out more.

How did you come up with the concept of the Dancing Grannies?

Sue: They were originally part of a comedy sketch - from two separate things. We just added some dancing at the end of the sketch and it went down a storm.

Then we decided to do flash mobs to hand out flyers about our shows. We did it as the Dancing Grannies and then suddenly, there was a video which went viral around the world. Since then we have had 19 viral videos with over 270 million views.

The Dancing Grannies are our most popular characters.

You've recently done Freezin', a Black Country take on the animation Frozen.

Sue: We enjoy doing non-traditional pantos, which is what Freezin' was. It's for adults, not children. It was so popular that we did a ten date tour that sold out, so we had to add another two dates to it.

And you have found fame with your radio show too!

Sue: Well we have a slot on Friday morning because it fits into our busy schedules. But we have such a good time on the show and I think that's what the listeners enjoy. We are totally unplanned and unprepared and we just go for it! You get to hear the real Fizzogs, not something planned and premeditated.

Well readers having been there and done that, I can attest to the truth of that statement.

So Fizzogs, keep on fizzing! We love you.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Love is in the air!

Here is a little bit of the book I am currently working on. It's a dystopian science fiction story, with a smattering of romance.

“And he’s a very lucky man.”

I’m so surprised that he sounds genuine that I turn towards him. Surely there is some scorn subtly implied there that I have missed?

“Do you really think so?”

“Yes, of course. To have someone who loves you enough that they will risk everything for you, isn’t that what we all want?”

I answer his question with one of my own. “Is that what you want, Devlin?”

His eyes close and for a long time I think he is asleep but when his voice comes it is quiet and reflective. “ELSA won’t allow you back into the Dome.”

“I know.”

“Perhaps without him you might stand a chance, although you have rebelled against her, so it’s slim. But since she has already cast him out, there’s no chance for him.”

“I know. And there’s Willow too.”

“It can be a hard life out here in one of the Sectors.”

“I’ll cope.”

His eyes open. “Yes actually, I have no doubt that you will. But will they?”
“They’ll have to! And I’ll help them.” I close my eyes. I don’t want to talk anymore. Whatever will happen, will happen, and I’ll deal with it then. There’s no point in brooding upon conjecture.

Hmm what will happen next?

Happy reading.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Calling All Black Country Bibliophiles!

On Friday I will be live with the wonderful Fizzogs, on Black Country Radio, 102.5fm. We will be  talking about my published books and my forthcoming release, Ascension, due out early next year.

Acerbically witty and wickedly talented, these ladies have become a world-wide hit and have productions to their credits as diverse as Freezin'  [a comedic take on the animated film Frozen], Fifty Shades of Fizzog, Kippin Beauty [ Black Country  colloquialism for sleeping],  as well as their hilarious routine as the Dancing Grannies.

It was as these alter egos that I first encountered them. Loud cardigans pulled over cavernous, drooping chests, they were a sight to behold. When they danced, the whole room became still and focused. Not a single glance was stolen away from their performance, and the applause was raptutrous.

So what will they make of me and my books? Of all the interviews and talks I have given, they are probably the most likely not to bat an eyelid when I tell them that in my dystopian science fiction series, humans are kept as pets by other, larger, feathered creatures called Eyons.

And I am sure that they will love the premise of Split Decision, where the main characher has a life-changing decision to make, even if she doesn't know it at the time.

But of Ascension, dark and brooding and beautifully dystopian - what might they make of that?

Well if you are keen to find out, join me at 9.10 on Friday, live on the radio. I'm so excited!

Until then, as ever, happy reading!

Thursday, 23 June 2016


For the past academic year, my daughter has been perfecting her role as a lioness in a school production of The Lion King, so obviously I bought a ticket for one of the performances of the show this week.

Now it may surprise you to know this, but underneath this hard, Glaswegian exterior, is a heart that's as soft as a marshmallow. I kid you not! In fact I couldn't watch the animation of this film when my children were little, without dissolving into a puddle of tears. Not just the first time, but every time!

Likewise, I don't watch King Kong, because it breaks my heart, and if I ever watch a sentimental movie, I am a blubbering mess for days after. But this was a school production of a tale set in Africa and where all the characters were animals... how were a group of kids going to pull this off in any moderately interesting way?

I imagined lots of pretend animal noises and cardboard masks, coloured-in by the kids themselves.
Not so!

What these middle school children pulled off was such a refined performance, that I was thoroughly entranced. All of the major parts had been given to budding actors and actresses who quite frankly, acted and sang their socks off.

But the one person who made it for me, was the young girl who played 'Scar'. Her performance was so riveting, so filled with elements of light and shade, that she came across both as a dynamic and seasoned performer.

This show had everything it should have had, humour, wit, great costumes and interesting dialogue. And it was put across with real heart and soul. The costumes were well thought out and designed, and the music sung with gusto and just the right amount of poignancy.

So there's nothing more for me to add, other than:- Kids you were fantastic and I loved every minute!

And whenever you have another production, rest assured, I'll be there!

Until then, happy reading!

Friday, 17 June 2016


Yes, I know how incredibly lucky I am. Every day I settle down to do a job I adore, one that makes my heart race and that gives me the utmost satisfaction.

So on top of that, it is my absolute delight to announce that I have just signed a deal with another publisher, Uncial Press, to bring you my latest fantasy, Ascension, which should be out early next year.

I am extremely fortunate in that I have been blessed with the best editors ever, both with my existing publishers P'Kaboo, and now with my new American publishers, Uncial.

In fact, I have found the editors from both of these publishers to be so light of touch and so exceptionally empathetic to both the storyline and my own individual style, that changes to the original manuscript have been kept to a minimum. I believe that's not true of all editors and publishers.

So my wholehearted thanks go to P'kaboo and to Uncial Press.

May our journey together be long and fruitful! xxx

Monday, 13 June 2016

Bare faced cheek

And now for a subject which fascinates me - to be made up, or not to be made up?

Most days I don't wear make up. I really should, as I am about to be 50. But until now, I have been fortunate enough not to really need the stuff unless I have had an exceptionally late night the previous evening. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that my appearance wouldn't have been improved without the odd bit of 'slap' but that rather I didn't feel the absolute necessity to use it.

However as a society we are obsessed with the idea of celebs going make-up free. And I have to ask why. Generally speaking, whilst I wouldn't dream of attending something or having a night out minus make-up, I don't see the need to plaster myself in it, just to buy dog food or walk the dogs.

There are whole webpages dedicated to showing celebs minus make-up, either in a positive or negative light. Quite frankly, if the said celebrities are under the age of forty, they should look good with or without makeup. Youth = youthful skin, and believe me, no amount of expensive creams or serums can give you back elasticity when it's gone.

So why are we so fascinated with these images? I think because it's a chance to see the 'real' person beneath the paint, so if that's your thing then go on, knock yourself out.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Today's chapter

Here is a little bit from my latest book:-

The grass is long and coarse, with little bits of flower or seed at the top, which blow majestically in the gentle breeze. I run one finger and thumb up the length of the stalk, feeling its texture, realising that I have never experienced anything like it. Nothing here is old to me, all is fresh and beautiful and even though I am compelled urgently forward, I recognise that there is much here to fill the heart with wonder and joy.

The land is more undulating than before and I can’t tell what lies beyond a half day’s walk from here. Perhaps only more of the same, perhaps something different.  Time and distance will tell.

I know exactly how this character feels, for I too am in familiar yet unfamiliar territory at this moment. None of us know what lies ahead and regardless of our hopes and dreams, what we find, might not be what we were expecting.  
I hope your journey is a satisfying one. I'll keep my fingers crossed for us all. x

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Am I mad or is it the rest of the world?

I have been watching a leading supermarket chain's television advertisement with growing horror. I can't mention the store on here but it's the one where two very familiar and well -known actors [think Gavin and Stacey] take an item of fresh food back to the shop and swap it for another item instead.

So far so good you think. So why the horror? Well there is a line of writing which runs underneath the action of the scene which states that all food purchases must be returned within date. Now there is only one reason for this request, and it is clearly due to the chain's intention to resell the food.

Whilst I hate waste, this is more than dangerous. Imagine if you will that I am  a religious fanatic of the sort who is increasingly infiltrating society. I inject a fruit or piece of chicken with poison and take it back to the store where they will resell it to some poor unsuspecting person...

A bit far fetched? The poison and needle marks are too easily detected by the naked eye? Ok then try this one. I buy butter, milk, frozen foods or raw meats, leave them in my car for a few hours whilst I drive somewhere else, get petrol and pick up a prescription. I then remember I already have some of these foods at home and that I have duplicated my shopping by mistake.

Do you want to be the one to buy what was once my butter which was left sitting in my car for hours, whilst my dogs excitedly sniffed the wrapper? Thought not!

So you see it is a terrible concept. Take back those mistaken purchases of shoes, bags and clothes by all means. But food? Well I'm afraid if you bought it, you should be stuck with it!

But that of course is just my opinion.

Happy Reading!