I’ve come a long way from the Malverns to conduct a bloodbath. My home for this week is the The Court in the tiny village of Sheepwash, Devon. Lovely hosts Debbie and Wendy run Retreats for You in this beautiful sixteenth century townhouse, mainly for writers, but anyone in need of utter peace can enjoy their splendid hospitality and the deep rural peace here.
This blog is usually about my writing, or other authors I love. In case you’re steeling yourself for the crushing disappointment of not hearing about my latest publication, relax. There will be links to my new anthology at the end.
We writers tend to live in a fantasy world of our own creation much of the time. But at times in any writer’s life, reality doesn’t just intrude: it bangs open the door, shouts loudly to attract attention, and continues to be demanding and exhausting for as long as it can get away with. A bit like a teenager.
I first read Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice as a teenager. At the time I found it a gripping story, combining adventure, romance, war and an unparalleled portrayal of life in the Australian outback. I have since re-read this slim masterpiece many times, most recently this week. The Rider and I have been holidaying in Malaysia after a hot busy fortnight in Hà Nội, Vietnam [long story featuring two weddings and many family visits – see my other blog].
I’m really quite an organised person; or as my beloved suggests, I’ll do any form of prevarication to avoid actual writing. So I keep a detailed record – using fab writers’ tool Duotrope – of all my stories and their current whereabouts.
Now please don’t be picturing the bereft little creatures, dispatched shoeless and alone, doomed to wander forever in the big bad world.
I’m not that cruel, and I truly love every story I write (even if a surprising majority of publishers and competition judges don’t agree.) So I track each submission carefully, anxiously monitoring the progress of my small creations and weeping a little whenever they are rejected and sent back to Mummy unpublished. Continue reading “Poor little lost souls”
The turkey’s all eaten, the Christmas decorations packed away in the loft, and 2016 securely seen out amidst much maudlin remembering of auld acquaintance.
Goodbye 2016, hello 2017. It’s New Year, the annual opportunity to turn over a new leaf and generally plan to live a fitter, happier and more productive life.
New Year, New Me. Time to change my life.
I’ll lose those twenty pounds, take up virtual boxing, learn Vietnamese, and create tofu cuisine. Just like January 1st last year, when I committed to learn German, enrol in spinning classes, eat more mackerel … and, er, lose those twenty pounds. Continue reading “Banish the New Year resolutions!”
It’s officially autumn. Even our sunflowers have wrapped shawls round their heads against the October chills.
I can personally vouch for the season’s change, having caught the Great-Grandmother of all colds nearly four weeks ago. It kept me in bed for a fortnight, and then ruined a week’s holiday in the Dordogne, especially when my Beloved also fell prey to the virus and couldn’t drive us home. We were a menace on four wheels as we wobbled our way back to the Channel, cutting our trip short and coughing a bug-filled hurricane over every passing French person. Continue reading “Back on your heads!”
Readers of my travel blog (peteandjacmotorbikingineurope.wordpress.com) will immediately appreciate the serendipity of the picture above. Tracy Chevalier, my hero and talented author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Last Runaway, and most recently The Edge of the Orchard, was a speaker at the Historical Novel Society’s 2016 conference in Oxford last weekend, which I attended. (Apologies for the poor quality of the image, taken on my phone from way back in the hall.) Her wit, modesty and plain good sense are like gold dust. Coming only a few days after seeing the Vermeer original of Girl in The Hague on the final day of our European travels, her keynote address just seemed to really bookend that wonderful trip. Continue reading “Special moments in history”