The Astronomer’s House

W Dress Cover

Still some editing to do but I’m getting very close to a completed manuscript. Looks like this will be the cover –  suitably ghostly. I love it!

How the Sea Can Save You 2018

Hi – and all good wishes for 2018 – I am hoping to finish my new novel – The Astronomer’s House –  early this year and then to write more poetry – especially poems like the one  below about growing up by the sea…

How the Sea Can Save You


Photo by Seth Doyle – Unsplash


How the Sea Can Save You

Summer evening, a neap tide

seeps over the flood step

and into the kitchen.

We stand ankle deep

in its salty lick,

swallowing the day’s ruin.


Grabbing towels and swimsuits

we hurry to the sea wall, to

a tide lapping lambent, pearlised,

our very own swimming pool.


No kicking up the shallows , no inching in

instead we slip dreamlike to its hold,

at the pull of a rising sea

that is no portent of doom,

just the Channel filling

just the rise and fall of the moon,

and the rivers on the run,

running down, covering all.

Women, Writing and Freedom

If you’d like to join us for what promises to be a fascinating and thought provoking evening, (with some fun thrown in, of course), then you can get your ticket HERE, as long as you don’t leave it too late…

See you there!


The Sedgefield Book Ends Event

 I’m delighted to say that on Thursday 5 October, I’ll be taking part in the inaugural Sedgefield Book Ends Event, in support of Durham Book Festival


I’ll be talking about my novel Sometimes A River Song, about a writer’s inspiration and using our imagination – also about winning the People’s Book Prize.  Thursday promises to be a great day beginning with Wendy Robertson’s writing workshop. We’d love to see you there. Do join us…

Don’t Let the Booker Get You Down – The Artist’s Task

I know a number of writers, me included, who find the idea of having to market one’s self or one’s work thoroughly depressing, and for the most part, totally ineffective. Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads Giveaways, Blog Tours (thankfully I’ve never done one of those) and who are we talking to? Mostly we are talking to ourselves. Or I suspect to other writer’s in similar postions.

If we’re not published by the mainstream it’s hard to get our work out there and hard to find readers. (Although when we do, on that rare occasion, find readers or reviewers who offer their unsolicited praise this is as a gift from heaven!)

We feel we’ve failed because we’re not the name on everyone’s lips and we haven’t made the shortlist for a big prize. We allow ourselves to be judged by a publishing world that has little intellectual, or material, investment in writers. We doubt ourselves. And worst of all we forget that the joy is, and must always be, in the work itself.

Amit Chaudhuri in his Guardian article, Why The Booker Prize is Bad For Writers    argues – ‘The meaning of a writer’s work must be created, and argued for, by writers themselves, and not by some extraneous source of endorsement…Virginia Woolf didn’t wake up in the morning and think, “I wonder if Mrs Dalloway will be longlisted for the Booker?”’ (I love this reference to Virginia Woolf. It’s going up on my wall!)

I read Chaudhuri’s article this morning at coffee time. I read it with great relish and I recommend it. We need writers like Chaudhuri to remind us what it’s all about, and to give us permission to carry on. Permission to reclaim ourselves and our work.

And in case you’re in need of further reminding and consoling as to the true work of the writer here is an unmissable piece by Mary Oliver, on – The Artist’s Task


Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash




The Astronomer’s House


I had to think quickly about my new novel – I needed to provide a synopsis and an idea of what the cover might look like – so I came up with this, photo courtesy of – a wonderful resource for free images. I’m not sure it really does reflect the landscape of my new novel which, as usual, is more water than earth or sky, but I do like it. It will definitely do for now…

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