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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...

pink hibiscus flower
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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,...

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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,...

grayscale photo of old pictures
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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...

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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,...

woman standing alone in crowd
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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...

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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...

person standing near lake
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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...

retro photo of group of people in old times
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Famous and Infamous …

Celebrities seem to be ubiquitous these days. So much so, that I haven’t even heard of most of the names that people mention or know the reason for their apparent celebrity status. And it’s not just the pop and sports worlds that produce them either. Social media, the era of influencers and reality tv are...

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Those Were the Days, My Friend …

Historic fiction is self-explanatory. Surely. It refers to novels about the ‘Old Days,’ as we used to call the past when I was a child. By which, of course, we meant the times when our grandparents were alive. When life was in black and white rather than colour. When people were ‘Old Fashioned.’ I think...