Monday, 14 May 2018


Having recently spent a long week-end on the Isle of Wight I was surprised to discover how inspirational the island has been, and still is, to many writers. From Queen Victoria, who was inspired to write her letters and diaries whilst staying on the island at Osborne House to Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson who made his home at Freshwater in the 1850's. His home proved to be a tranquil escape from his many fans.

There were many writers, artists and illustrators who were drawn to the inspirational beauty of the island including Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear and William Allingham as well as Victorian Photographic pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron. 

Karl Marx  described the Isle of Wight as 'The Island is a little paradise,' and Lewis Carroll said it presented 'Golden summer hours and whispers of a Summer Sea.' Obviously encouraging all to write their best work.

After driving around the island in the warm sunshine I have to agree. The island is beautiful as long as you stay away from the more commercial areas. Especially if you want peace and quiet for your creative juices to flow!

There are plenty of current children's writers and illustrators who reside on the island where they write and publish surrounded by the sea. These include Jules Marriner, Zoe Sadler and Marianne Su Yin. 

Many base their stories on the island like Frank Fenwick's Sailor Ted series. And Philip and Eleanor Bell of Island-based publisher Beachy Books, whose Jack and Boo picture books of fossils and dinosaurs, wild woods and beaches, all mirror the island's unique landscape. You only have to visit the rugged, colourful coastline of the famous Needles to understand why.

         Sailor Ted and the Cowes Week Adventure Image                   

Also living on the island and no doubt having based his fantasy tale Podkin One-Ear on the creatures living there is the 2017 Blue Peter Book Award winner Keiron Larwood.

If you are visiting the Isle of Wight then check out the Literary Heroes - An inspirational tour around the island. It shows 15 places of interest linked to assorted famous literary persons. And of course for something special why not check out the details of the Isle of Wight Literary Festival held in October. The event is based mainly at Northwood House, a Grad ll Georgian manor house set in 20 acres of parkland in the heart of Cowes.

So where do you find your inspiration for writing from? What is it that encourages you and gives you the wonderful ideas that makes you want to sit down and write those exciting stories?

Share your ideas and help encourage other writers new to the process. 

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018


This last two weeks has seen the start of the 'Cardiff Children's Literature Festival.' 

The event features Authors and Illustrators who bring a cast of colourful characters from the world of children's writing aimed predominately at youngsters aged 3-11.

It features many well known, such as The Gruffalo and Harry Potter but also welcomes the newest of story characters in both English and Welsh. There are over 40 exciting events, in and around Cardiff,  during the two week period which will satisfy all book-lovers.

I attended a lecture tonight hosted by Horatio Clare and Philipa Milnes-Smith. It doesn't matter how long you have been writing there is always something new to learn.

A member of our local SCBWI Association Claire Fayers will be attending and we shall have a stand to greet and meet potential writers/illustrators who want to learn more about us.

Monday, 23 April 2018


One of the joys of writing is when you see readers enjoying your books. None more so when its a child who is looking through the story and pictures. Recently I was sent a photo of a young Australian who has just sat down to read the first set of six Little Friends Picture Story Books - Woodland Adventures with his Grandparents.

It doesn't really matter how many sales one makes, although they are always welcome, but a picture equals a thousand words any day and is certainly just as, if not more, pleasurable to see.

I hope they have fun and enjoy reading the stories together. Have already ordered the next set of six from me to be sent once they are in print. Whooppee!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018


Well I am delighted to say I have received the first draft print copies of the second series of the Little Friends Picture Story Books - Garden Adventures. I have to say they are looking good but as is normal the print is all askew. Hey Ho that's the joy of POD which my publisher says will be sorted PDQ!!!

Anyway after going through them carefully I have done some word amendments and some image amendments and hopefully they now look better and are ready to be printed correctly.

Luckily the front covers have not been changed and unlike my copies of the first set of Woodland Adventures they include a bar code and retail price? Ha ha well, these things do happen sometimes.

I have to say people who have reviewed the books are also delighted with them so I hope once the last lot are complete I can start promoting them with a vengeance.

Having said that I must confess that when I set out to write these stories it was purely for my own pleasure. After all I am supposed to be retired so it was a way to keep the 'little grey cells working.' Although I will confess it has been an enjoyable experience being involved in the fictional writing world. And certainly different to the factual one.

And of course it has introduced me to a variety of different people who have made the last few years very interesting and enjoyable. It's true what they say you do need a hobby and once retired you wonder how you ever found time to work???

Monday, 26 February 2018


Well what a strange couple of weeks we've had down here on Cardiff Bay. The weather has been alternating between freezing cold and brilliant warm sunshine. And its only February! 

Saturday I worked at my laptop with the apartment door open it was that warm. Yet Sunday I was freezing due to the cold front coming on from the Bristol Channel. And today, Monday, we are back to the sunshine bit with a wind blowing. I wish it would make it's mind up.

A week last Saturday I was asked to redo the video interview I did for a students media class. The original one had been taken inside the Millennium Theatre Centre and was too noisy so I invited the young girl Runzezi to come to the apartment. What an afternoon we had. Having been sat chatting for awhile about the English language (Runzezi is Chinese) we were shocked when the apartment started to shake and the TV began to rock back and forwards on its stand. I honestly thought a large truck had hit the building. However, it turned out we had an earthquake.

WHAT! I hear you say. In Cardiff Bay, South Wales. Never...... Well yes we had. In fact the whole of South Wales into England felt the effect. At least some did. It was exceedingly strange because some did and some didn't feel anything; even those who were supposedly over the epicentre of the quake? Of course when I told my husband about it he asked if we had been drinking ha ha. I must admit it was a bit of a shock at M4.7 as it is only the second time I have ever experienced such a thing. The first time being in Taiwan a couple of years ago and that was M6.9.

Anyway we managed to get the video done and the whole interview and write can be seen on:

Not bad for a student doing media and journalistic studies in a foreign language. Mind you it was quite strange talking about oneself as well!!

Monday, 12 February 2018


Well it's been quite an interesting time since I last wrote something here. For a start I am now another year older! I was going to put a comment about getting old but to be honest I'm not really bothered. I just keep telling myself (and everyone else) that I'm only 31. The reason for this is I decided to start going backwards in birthday years once I hit 50. That means I will be 30 next year. (In reality 70.) So maybe I'll start coming forwards again? My daughter tells me if I don't she will cease to exist by the time I get to 21 ha ha. I have also decided to have more than just one 'birth day' and have spread the celebrations out over a couple of weeks, maybe a month. It's a lot more fun that way. Perhaps I'm making up for all the parties I never had as a kid??
I've also been busy completing a friend's website. She's an artist who creates brilliant pictures and murals for kids but her website was so out-dated it needed to be brightened up. I've made it full of colour with some lovely images of her work. Totally different to the original. Fortunately she loves it.
This week I also completed two interviews. The first one has gone live on the ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) Blog. Reads great. In fact sounds better than when I originally answered the questions lol. You can read it by clicking this link:
The second interview was for a student from Cardiff Uni. Runzezi is Chinese and is in her final year doing Media and Journalistic Studies. We met at a local Art gallery and got talking and she asked if she could interview me. Always one to chat I said yes. What should have been about an hour and a half turned into three hours. It was good fun. We talked about all sorts of stuff not just my writing. She's off back to China later this year but I hope to keep in touch with her. Waiting now for the finished result to go live.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018


As I reported recently, like the rest of the UK I have been caught up in this horrible flu virus that has been doing the rounds. It seems that people have been dying from the effects of it. Maybe the bugs are fighting us back. Or maybe we are trying too hard to be clean? I remember the days when we played out in the dirt all day, ate our sandwiches with grubby hands and didn't wrap up because we weren't feeling the cold all the time. What has happened to us? It seems our desire to be cleaner could actually be killing us! This is my fifth week of the virus but fortunatly it looks as if I am finally beating the thing at last. Still coughing now and again but at least the cold appears to have gone. I live in hope.

Told my daughter in Australia about people dying from this flu and she told me not to! I said I had no intention as I was going to outlive my Dad to which she laughed. But, I meant it. He was 94 when he passed away and I would seriously like to at least reach the same age if I can. Mind you I also told her she would probably be looking after me to which she responded that was okay but she wasn't sure how her kids would cope with me. Told her tough they would just have to put up with a grumpy grandma!! What! Me grumpy. Never.

Yesterday was a good day as I approved the first draft of the basic cover design for the new set of the Little Friends Picture Story Books. They are being titled 'Garden Adventure Series.' Hopefully they will be in print within the next few weeks. Now I just have to finish the last set of draft books to be titled 'Farmyard Adventures Series' and that will complete the whole series of 18 books. It will be a relief as the reissue has been a long process but also a sad time that they are finished.

Also yesterday proved to be an interesting day for me as I was invited to be interviewed live by Ceri Stennett on Radio Cardiff for the 'Come on In' show. The time seemed to pass so quickly. I could have carried on chatting a lot longer. But, as Ceri said, I can always go back again. What a nice man. As I came out of the recording studio his next guests were waiting and they all complimented me on the interview, telling me how well I had come across. I felt quite chuffed by their comments. Certainly lifted my day for me. Now to see if I can download a copy for my records.

   Me and Ceri

Monday, 15 January 2018


Well what a crazy Xmas break I've had. Unfortunately the week before Xmas just as I was looking forward to a relaxing few days away at the Botolph Hotel & Spa on a Musical Break I was struck with a virus. What started out as a mild sore throat has ended up with my now entering my fifth week suffering with a cough and cold. And of course I have passed this along to my husband. You can guess how poorly he's been suffering!!

All this of course put paid to a good Xmas break and a New Year celebration. However, one good thing to come out of it is that I have lost quite a few pounds in weight. Just what I needed ha ha.

The other good thing was that being stuck at home meant I got the opportunity to catch up on some work. Finished the second set of the Little Friends Picture Story Books so they are off to the publisher later this week. And have just completed the third and final set so they will follow to the publisher in due course. The plan is to have all 12 books up and running by the end of April at the latest.

Another gain is I managed to complete the first review of the manscript for one of the young writers I am currently mentoring. It now needs proofreading and a front cover design agreeing upon prior to it going to the publisher. I'm also progressing the other young writers work, a series of poems which will include some lineart relating to the subject of each poem. Again these should be in print within the next couple of months.

That now leaves me free to decide what to do next? I have a number of short stories to finesse and a novel based on a famous opera star to complete. I am also considering reviewing and updating my historical novel and mystery short story book. The latter is due a new cover which is in the process of being completed. Looks like Spring 2018 is going to be an active start to the year.

NB are you a young writer? Would you like to have your written work reviewed then please feel free to contact me at