Thursday, 28 January 2010

The room where I write

This room is very nice, sometimes I don't want to leave it all day. I have all my favourite things around me, my pc of course, my books, telephone, paper, printer, pens, notebooks - all within arms reach. There is a coaster for my coffee and an empty cereal bowl that I haven't bothered to put in the sink yet. Across the other side of the room I have two goldfish, Dasher and Dancer; the filter bubbles away and when the sun shines into the room, fish shadows float across the opposite wall the size of sharks. I love it when the sun shines.
Hanging from the ceiling beams are jugs and things that I collect and my china cabinet is stuffed with curios and treasures. There is a chair for guests, my husbands sits in it every morning before he goes to work. I barely use the other rooms; I might dash into the kitchen to make a sandwich and I spend ten minutes or so in the shower each day and eight hours a night in bed.
My desk is massive, it needs to be really for I am not tidy with all the books I use and scraps of paper I make notes on. The desk surrounds me on three sides. I manage to keep one top relatively clear so that I can work but, every so often, I have to force myself to have a tidy up. Above the desk, covering two walls are my bookshelves, laden with marvellous volumes, history books, novels, poetry and art books. They are the best of all my possessions -especially those I wrote myself!!
Of all the rooms of the house, this is the one I feel most at ease in. From the window I can see that the garden is in desperate need of a tidy up, the summer hosue has algae growing on the windows and roof. The fields run down to the line of trees that mark the boundary of our small holding and, on a good day, I can see the summit of Llanwni mountain in the distance. There are birds of all discription,squirrels stealing the bird feeders, rabbits defying my dogs and making holes in the lawn. i see it in all seasons, summer, spring, autumn and last week, while the snow lay thick, I sat here next to the radiator and looked at it all and was so be glad to be inside.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Waving At Trains

Well, I am very happy and not a little surprised to be able to announce the publication of a volume of poetry. Waving at Trains is to be published by Lapwing, Belfast and is available to order direct from or signed copies can be obtained from me. Just email me on
The poems are memories from my childhood and stories passed down through the family. I have never considered myself a poet, I am first and foremost a novelist, poetry is something i do if my current novel has become stale, it frees up my writers block. The poems are very personal and because of that, I thought they would have little external interest but it seems I was wrong. Dennis Greig of Lapwing says they are 'quintessentially English' and descibes the collection as 'a lovely little book, much admired already by those who have seen it.'
Here is one of my favourites, it is a memory of an old lady I used to visit when I was a teenager. She was very lonely old thing, her children grown up and moved away, I was her only visitor. She was wrapped up in her past, and believe me, what a past she had!

The Tiller Girl

I were a tiller girl once,
she said, relishing my flash of surprise;
I'd legs up t' me armpits
an' I could kick the lightshade in me mother's parlour

She pulls a spangled costume
from a tissue-lined box,
waves a photograph, yellowed with age.
I recognise the ghost of her smile.
She was a person once
but, now, rheumatism has stolen her high kicks.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Frozen stiff!

I am becoming resigned to a life in a frozen waste, I no longer look for thaw. although it has only been a matter of weeks and days it seems like years. I am scott of the antartic, I am an inuit, I am a yeti. i long for the colour green, to squelch in warm mud again, to see a worm or a mole hill ...even a slug! Beneath the thick layer that smothers my flwoer beds I wonder if the green shoots of spring that I spied before Christmas have perished or if they will be t here after the great melting. I have not left the farm, the road is sheet ice that I cannot hope to stay upright on; instead I trudge the fields and garden feeling like the only woman left alive. The ponies, so glad to see me bringing their morning and evening hay steam like engines, they ignite a poem, here it is.

In the lea of the hedge
I hear them
crunching frozen hay,
heads down,
bodies steaming
in chilly sun.
I sprinkle summer scents,
on winter ground.
They push against me,
hot breath stealing
into pockets, cold lips
seeking warmth.
The old tin bath is
brimful of ice;
With a brick I fragment
solidity into
shards of water that
cascades like jewels.

Monday, 4 January 2010

A return to normality

Well, all that fuss and its over in a trice! Our festivities were pleasantly dull, it was nice to see my grown up children all at on table, nice to eat so much chocolate without feeling guilty, nice to have a new shiny laptop to fill with fabulous novels but so very, very nice that things can now go back to normal!

Most of all I am looking forward to the resumption of my writing group and long for enough peace to get on with writing The Forest Dwellers. I have done little to it in the past two months but there are ideas popping into my head all the time.
The story so far: Aelf's family have been evicted from their forest home to make way for the King's hunting ground. The strangely beautiful Alys has made a home with them and her presence unintentionally brings discord between the brothers. Aelf and Alys run foul of Prince Richard and during a flight across the forest the king's son meets an early death. Knowing they cannot return home, the family seek refuge with other outlaws in the depths of the New Forest and prepare their fighting skills to drive the Normans from their lands. A battle and a raid on the camp see an end to many of Aelf and Alys' friends and Alys makes a shocking discovery. They are taken prisoner, set to work as slaves in the nearby Norman castle until Alys' beauty catches the attention of a Norman baron. More excitement to follow!

It promises be a busy year. I hope to promote Peaceweaver and sell as many copies as possible, seek out some book fairs etc. and continue with on-line promotions. The feed back on Peaceweaver has been very gratifying; the biggest complaint being that it is keeping people awake long into the night.

Happy New Year to all and may it be a healthy one, prosperous and full of book sales!