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SUMMER/AUTUMN EVENTS:

Crete Summer Events: Book signings and sales:  Aptera – May Gavalochori – August  ………………………………………………………………………………………………… Talks: U3a – Epsom – July 1st.  WRITE ON! – inspirations and ideas for writing Eastleigh – July 17th. – WRITING OUT OF THE RECENT PAST  Lee Hub Community Library, Lee-on-Solent – MY WRITING CAREER Alresford Literary and Historical Society – October 16th – WRITING OUT OF THE RECENT PAST  …………………………………………………………………………………………………

brown envelop on table

Letter-Writing – and its sad demise

Remember those days when it was possible to return home and find the doormat displaying neat oblong-shaped Basildon Bond or Queen’s Velvet blue envelopes bulging with handwritten pages of missives from friends, far and wide? Equally exciting were those tissue-thin airmail letters that allowed only so much text so the sender compressed handwriting style to make the most of the limited space? Bygone days, naturally. But remember the anticipation? Tearing open such letters to read swiftly the contents whilst still wearing a coat, clinging on to car keys, a pint of milk picked up on the way home, was forbidden...

pink hibiscus flower

Waiting for the Cicadas

That sounds like the title of a poem. Or a light summer read novel. In truth, it’s neither. Although I would love to use it sometime … In reality, it’s what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks – amongst other things. For although here in Crete it is now hot – the weather, since my arrival, switching from a gentle early summer warmth through two half days of indifferent cloud and a sudden downpour to this – the full-on heat of a Mediterranean summer. But the cicadas are still absent. We are not woken by their insistent clamour,...

woman looking at sunset

Fiction Versus True Life …

Fiction, as we know, is made up. Populated by people who exist only in the minds and imaginations of their creators. And yet as we all acknowledge – and as authors are constantly asked – characters and their situations often have some semblance of a link or an echo of someone or something known, met, seen, overheard or discovered at some point in the writer’s life or experience. It’s inevitable in character-driven novels that are propelled by the actions and reactions of the protagonists. In novels rooted in realism. It’s why writers are seldom without a notebook or some means...

grayscale photo of old pictures

Back Stories-or Stuff that Happened Before …

Creating convincing characters is obviously paramount for fiction writers. Even if a novel is peopled with fantastical creatures, they still need to be believable within the context of the world of the story. But how much do we really need or even want to know about a character before he or she steps onto the pages of a novel? How much detail must a writer include to convince that this particular character had a felt life before taking part in the carefully woven plot about, hopefully, to hook and intrigue the reader? Deep into writing my fifth novel and setting...

close up photography of yellow daffodil flowers

All Downhill From Now on…!

That’s how it always feels for me once the clocks go forward. Or when we reach the Easter weekend. And this year, the fact that the two events coincide is consolingly neat and tidy, as if the arrival of Spring has decided to package itself as a convenient double deal. An early Easter, in fact, suits my desperation to shrug off the shackles of winter to arrive at a point where everything has the potential to be lighter. Warmer. Freer. That extra hour of daylight seems to me like offering an additional 60 minutes of time to 24 hours. And...

woman standing alone in crowd

Impostor Syndrome and Alter Egos – and the like!

This week has been draining on social batteries and anyone who knows me well is aware that mine run flat frequently and fast. Anyone who delights in the solitary room, the blank computer screen with only imagination, a few scattered notes and a cup of coffee for company will appreciate this viewpoint! That’s not to say that the London Book Fair which took place this week was an indifferent occasion. On the contrary, it was a fantastically exciting and dynamic event and one that I would not have missed for anything. But as soon as I arrived at the mammoth...

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SPRING/SUMMER EVENTS:

Thursday 21st. March – Online talk about my four novels for Brendon Care Community Saturday April 27th – Bournemouth Writers’ Festival – Speaking with Steve Couch and the publishing team from Troubador/The Book Guild about choices and roads into publishing Saturday May 11th – Swindon Festival of Literature – running an afternoon Writing Workshop about the techniques of short story and novel writing, casting an eye over the current publishing world – and much in between! Monday June 11th – Talk to Farnham Friendship Group about my writing career Monday July 1st. Talk to U3A in Epsom – talk entitled:...

rain drops

For the Rain, it Raineth Every Day …

Shakespeare, when writing this line in the song at the end of Twelfth Night, was being prophetic. Very prophetic. Clearly, he was projecting ahead to the late winter days of a year in the 21st century when rain had become such a common occurrence that any span of 24 hours when it did not happen was noteworthy. Remarkable. Shakespeare knew a thing or two. He makes this line a chorus and also adds, for good measure: With hey, ho, the wind and the rain. Yes, we know what you are talking about, Mr Shakespeare. In fact, his plays are full...

person standing near lake

No People Are Uninteresting ….

The phrase in the title is not of my invention. It’s the first line of a poem by the 20th century Russian poet, Yevtushenko whose poetry I discovered round about the age of 16 and have continued to love the handful that I know since then. People – or rather characters as clearly they are creations and products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner as every published story is obliged to state – are the concern of novelists who have the task of inventing, developing and shaping characters who will convince. A reader, after all, needs...