Saturday, 5 April 2014

Invaded by Google+

In my innocence, I volunteered to create a blog for a community group. A short statement of our aims plus a few photos. Easy-peasy, you might think. Think again. Working from my laptop, it proved impossible to erase my own Google+ profile from the new community blog. Using an alternative email address did not prevent Google’s myriad, invasive tentacles identifying me. Somewhere, somehow, there must be an escape option, but non-technical dinosaurs are slow-witted, helpless prey and our privacy has gone forever. 
However, we dinosaurs still remember the old ways. I walked to the local library on my own two feet and created a Blogger account using their computer. Mission accomplished, with the bonus of fresh air and a couple of “wee blethers” along the way.  

Image courtesy of Victor Haddick at

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Wasteful charity

In one week, I have received three fundraising appeals from the Red Cross, containing:
3 pens
6 cards
6 envelopes
6 drinks coasters
12 gift stickers

The Red Cross does brilliant work, but wasteful, aggressive fundraising like this sets my teeth on edge and discourages donations. Why not a simple flyer?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Spitting mad but almost grateful

In a lifetime’s travelling, I kept my eyes open for trouble. All I had stolen was one travel alarm clock and one rainjacket. Smug, moi? You bet.
Then, in my home town, smugness reared up and kicked me in the teeth. I tried on a jacket in the changing cubicle of a shop, making the classic mistake of picking up my shopping bag and leaving my handbag behind. Returning in panic ten minutes later, I found some lowlife had taken £60 in untraceable folding money. I’m still kicking myself for being such an idiot. 
Still, be thankful for small mercies. The thief did not take my house keys, car keys, driving licence, credit cards or phone—nor my precious writing notebook. No hassle, and life goes on. I could almost be grateful.  

Image courtesy of sattva at    

Friday, 31 January 2014

Giving romance heroes a say

Having read The Rescued Heart, a friend made an interesting comment. “I could see why she fell in love with him,” she said. “The way you described him, he was gorgeous. But I couldn’t see why he was attracted to her when she was middle-aged and insecure.”

In The Rescued Heart, the hero is an artist, accustomed to looking beyond the surface. However, my friend's comment made me think. As a romance author, I fall a little in love with each of my heroes despite his flaws, and I hope my readers do the same. Therefore I endeavour to get under the skin of my heroine, and I describe the characters’ shared journey from her point of view. Although my heroine takes centre stage, naturally she spends more time reacting to her man’s admirable or infuriating behaviour than reflecting on her own good and bad points. (Like all of us, she is oblivious to her own flaws).

Perhaps it is time to give my heroes more of a say.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Tumbling Beyond A Blog

Fellow author Christy Effinger interviews me today on Tumblr. Tumblr is a newcomer in the world of social media. The catchy name conjures up an image of information and opinions bounced hither and thither through cyberspace, generating their own momentum, as blog posts are read and reposted. According to Tumblr’s own figures, it has 300 million visitors a month. Mighty impressive, until you read that users must navigate their way through the 130 million blogs hosted by the site. To see where curiosity takes you, and to find out more about Christy’s Say Nothing of What You See, a paranormal tale laced with romance, visit her at:

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

On tea-making as an alternative to murder

The Chinese and Japanese civilisations have developed rituals around the act of offering a drink of tea, devising ceremonies that go far beyond domesticity or hospitality. Every step of the elaborate ritual is designed to emphasize tranquillity, mutual respect and spiritual harmony.

I could have done with some inner harmony this morning when I made my husband a cup of tea instead of murdering him. The dear man had put a baking tray away in the cupboard, unwashed. Some weeks later I retrieved it, slippery with oil and encrusted with charred remains. Grrr! Even my mother, who displayed a splendid disregard for domestic perfection, would never have done that.

Inner peace failing to manifest itself, I revert to Keep Calm and Carry On. Recall my own mistakes and near disasters. Make cup of tea for both of us and smile. He smiles back, his tranquillity undisturbed.  "Any chance of another?"  he asks.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Sunday, 22 December 2013


The year has turned. Hurrah! In less than a week the onslaught of advertisements for festive food and expensive gifts will be silenced. Come Hogmanay our token decorations will come down, in order to welcome New Year visitors into a clean house.
A few more minutes of daylight each morning and the world feels a hopeful place. We humans’ reaction to the awesome power of sunlight must go back to caveman days, when our ancestors emerged blinking into another dawn, safe from nocturnal predators. Even as I wrap up warm to patrol the beach at dawn, the earth is stirring in its slumber. The first snowdrops will soon appear, and with them the promise that crops will once again push their way through the soil come Spring.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at