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.
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”
Those of you who already know and love the wonderful books of British author Jodi Taylor, including her St Mary’s Chronicles series, will recognise the cheekiness of my title for today’s blog. On Saturday I went to Octavo’s cafe in Cardiff with my lovely daughter-in-law (aspiring children’s author Ariana Carrano), to meet Jodi and hear about her books and writing. Continue reading “Just one (good) thing after another…”
A few weeks ago, I went to my local library in Cheddar on an innocent mission of research. I emerged having foolishly promised an enthusiastic volunteer that I would get involved with the upcoming Cheddar Arts Fringe Festival (CHAFF), taking place 29 April to 2 May in my part of Somerset, UK. Continue reading “A Moment of Madness”
In spring 2013 I visited the entrancing city of Istanbul with my parents. I instantly fell in love with this exotic and history-drenched city. I was less enamoured by the hustling carpet salesmen, but managed to return home without a Turkish rug under my arm. Continue reading “A Touch of the Sinister”