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SUMMER READING

WHAT TO READ THIS SUMMER …? So that’s it – at last the final lesson has been taught and timetables discarded for the forseeable future and it is time to prepare for a couple of months of freedom – and as we claw back a lot of our sorely lost freedoms this summer it seems even more precious to plan for the weeks ahead. For as long as I can remember – and probably for as long as I have been able to read – planning which books to pack into suitcases has been a treasured activity. And since I...

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COMPETITION NEWS!

July 1st and some exiting competition news to announce – I have just heard that I have been longlisted for REFLEX FICTION’S international summer 2021 flash fiction competition. Out of 521 entries, 48 have been longlisted and all will be published on REFLEX FICTION’S website – one every day between 23rd August and 30th September – and included in a print anthology to be published next summer. The requirements for this particular flash fiction story was to write on any theme or subject at a length of between 180 and 360 words. My story – which takes advantage of the...

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BLOG TOUR!

Next week sees the beginning of a blog tour for MILLER STREET SW22. My novel will be featured and reviewed by different book bloggers over a couple of weeks and their reviews and views shared on blogs and no doubt social media over this time span. This is a new venture for me and I love the posters and art work that had been produced specifically for the event. And street parties are suddenly in the news again! With the prospect of marking the Queen’s 70 year reign next summer by everyone encouraged to take to neighbourhood streets to celebrate...

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ANCESTORS & ANTECEDENTS – real & imagined

Recent lockdowns have led many people to turn against the present to find relief in the past. Our personal pasts, that is. Knowledge of grandparents is usually sound, but trawling back further can be fascinating – for acquiring a bit of family history as well as learning a little about domestic and social history. What kinds of houses did people live in? What jobs were common? What were the conditions that governed their lives? Even before the greater expanse of time that dreaded lockdowns supposedly offered us, I’ve done a bit of trawling back into family history although have not...

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Novel Memories and Moments

I am taking you back to the month of May 1991. No doubt unless you experienced something significant in that month 30 years ago you won’t have a particularly strong memory of it. But I have.  And do you know what? The weather in May 1991 was terrible. Cold, wet, unseasonal. (which is a foolish word if you live in the UK for seasons really are a seriously slippery commodity)And living in my Edwardian maisonette in SW14, I came to the conclusion that enough was enough. I had to get away. We had to get away. Coming home from school...

Let’s Hear it for 1974 …

The other day, sorting out my study and endeavouring to relieve it of unnecessary papers and files and random photographs cluttering drawers, shelves and boxes, I came across a yellowing few pages of a broadsheet newspaper – The Daily Express – for Monday February 25th 1974. Eagerly, I turned the enormous pages (how did people ever read such a cumbersome thing on crowded commuter trains?) expecting that this edition had been kept for some significance, the report of an extraordinary event – but could find nothing. Quite why these few pages had escaped being thrown out years, decades, in the...

LONG LIVE BOOKSHOPS!

Online book buying has become so second nature to many people that no doubt they never consider actually making a purchase in a real live shop. Just as high street shopping now has to compete with online retail, so bookshops lose customers seeking not only the convenience of buying from home, but also the satisfaction of getting that book at, possibly, a reduced price by an online purchase. But if three lockdowns in the space of some nine months have taught us anything, surely it’s the delight and experience of physically walking into shops and browsing. And bookshops in particular...

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MILLER STREET SW22 arrives at P.G.Wells!

P.G.Wells, Winchester’s independent bookshop, is now stocking copies of MILLER STREET SW22. If you are local to Winchester, please make this the place you purchase your copy – with the wonderful cover image from local artist, Josephine Chisholm, I am sure it will do justice to your bookcase! Independent bookshops are a rare breed and book lovers should do all they can to support them. Surely, as we emerge from our third and arguably bleakest lockdown, what is better than a browse around a bookshop, emerging with a new title or two or three? Now this truly is a local...

A Year Without Seasons …

Of course it’s happened before. It’s not the first time theatres have been closed, you know, Voices – some sounding suitably sanctimonious – have reminded us. What about in Shakespeare’s time? There was the plague then, after all. Even as one of Shakespeare’s greatest devotees, I don’t find the parallel at all comforting. I mean as passionate as I am about his work, there is no way I’d like to emulate features of life in Shakespeare’s day – public hangings, heads on Traitors’ Gate and the unsanitary state of London thoroughfares coming swiftly to mind. But it’s true that Shakespeare...