New Year fun and games

Happy New Year!

abstract analog art camera
Photo by Skitterphoto on

I woke up half-dreaming and half-thinking about Lawn House Blues being made in to a film. Dreaming is good but I now can’t stop thinking about who to cast as each character and it’s proving to be a challenging and interesting game. If you have any better ideas please feel free to send them in but here’s my list for starters:-

Della as a young woman – Saoirse Ronan ( so good as a vulnerable young woman)

Della as an older woman – Anne Reid ( bringing the wisdom of age to the part)

Arthur as a young man  – Tom Hiddleston ( handsome and a charmer)

Arthur as an older man   – Patrick Stewart ( control until the very end)

Reg as a young man  – James Buckley ( perfect choice for an unexpected future)

Reg as an older man – Gary Oldman ( can play any part you ask of him)

Max  – Eddie Redmayne  (sensitive, intelligent, ability to grow in strength within a role)

Jenny – Rosamund Pike  (beautiful and capable)

Ed      – Ryan Gosling   (another handsome charmer, who can actually play guitar)

Oliver – Dan Stevens  ( simply born to the role)

Celine – Vicky McClure ( wonderful in all she does)

Tricia – Jamie Winston ( gritty, flexible actress)

Gus  – James Norton  ( can play a strong country boy, and so much more)

Sandra  – Sheridan Smith ( will stand up for herself in any role )

Steve Cain  – Alec Baldwin ( American alpha male)

It could be a rather expensive film! All I need now is Jane Goldman to do the scriptwriting.


Seasons Greetings


Wishing a joyful Christmas and a healthy, hopeful and happy New Year to all my friends, and readers, and all you writers out there. I am so grateful for all the support you have given me in 2018 in the lead up to the publication of Lawn House Blues in September. It has been most gratifying to received such lovely, positive comments from those who have now read it and I hope this will continue in 2019 as I make a start on new writing projects.


NaNoWriMo done and dusted

In the end I did it – and I finished 3 days early because were were going away for a couple of days. The word count by 28th November came to 50,401 and I got my winners certificate.


I started to write a story about four girls, friends growing into professionally successful women. Their ongoing friendships battled through ups and downs, because of their innately competitive natures, work difficulties, and family life with children. It’s ended up quite a different story but was fun to write. I wonder if it will ever see the light of day – probably not, but that’s not the point of NaNoWriMo.

What is the point? It makes you get used to writing every day and practise your writing. It is a good opportunity to test out new techniques and new ideas in writing, that can be hidden or altered later. It can give you a surprise story simply because of the freedom it gives you to write whatever you want. It gives you a reason to ask someone else (e.g. husband) to cook supper for you every night for a month

The down side is that it makes you very boring to others not doing WriMo (e.g. husband). It can make you somewhat one-track minded and can result in unnecessary stress – I actually gave myself toothache from clenching my jaw as I wrote.

Lessons learned – avoid doing it next year – try to continue the daily writing practice – do not clench teeth when typing – appreciate husband more.

On Colne Radio – 12th November 2018

On Monday 12th November at 6pm I was invited to talk to the lovely Sarah Banham on her radio show, Writers Block on Colne Radio (106.6 FM and online). We enjoyed talking about Lawn House Blues, my other books, and the writing process. More can be discovered about Sarah on her blog Love of Books . I hope if you couldn’t listen on Monday evening you might be able to listen to us now by clicking on the link at the bottom of this blog page. Hopefully the programme will then download and you can hear it on iTunes.

The conversation begins after Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s great song from ‘A Star is Born’ – a brilliant film. The rest of the music is a little bit more random but there’s a good Coldplay song at the end too.

The programme lasts an hour but the talking can be found between theses time slots:

4.01-9.32 mins,  14.17-22.18 mins,  32.05-39.50 mins and 50.14-56.40 mins

To NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo?

With three days to go I haven’t quite decided whether I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo or not but the very fact that I keep thinking about it suggests I will be doing it. I’ve even written a few notes about characters for an idea I’ve had, which should keep me going for 30 days of daily writing and provide the 50,000 words that NaNoWriMo requires.

I’m not going to structure the writing much, but just practise free-writing, try some different ideas, and let it flow, hoping to do a chapter per day. By the end of November I should have a sense of achievement and the skeleton of a novel or maybe a series of potential short stories. I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice before, in 2011 and 2014, so hope not to feel too overwhelmed by the whole procedure. It’s quite fun getting a certificate, a badge or a banner for your computer when you complete the task.

After an intense few months getting Lawn House Blues published and before I start the more serious ‘life writing’ book I am planning to work on in the New Year, I think having a manic month of experimental free-writing in November might be just the ticket … I seem to have convinced myself.

In case you don’t know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and more can be found about what it involves on their website . It is free to enter but there are facilities for you to make a donation if you wish, to help support classroom kits, free creative writing programmes etc.

NaNoWriMo link



Last week I had a wee break from all things Lawn House Blues and took a trip with my husband to Edinburgh. I am embarrassed to say it was my first visit to this wonderful, historic city, full extraordinary buildings and galleries. The second-hand bookshops were fascinating and the Writers’ Museum a joy to visit. Here were the stories of Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.


On the train home, reading my Writers’ Forum magazine I came upon an advert for ‘one sentence poetry’ and was inspired to write a sentence;


Edinburgh, I thought you would be grey and stern

But you were brown and warm

And your lofty buildings stood firm

As the autumn wind blew golden leaves.

November Storm

I know it’s only October but here I’m referring to the November storm in Chapter 27 of Lawn House Blues, hoping some of you might by now have got round to reading the book. This is no spoiler alert as even the back cover tells you of a destructive storm which damages the house. I enjoyed writing about the storm and describing its effects. I tried to visualise  it and imagine the Suffolk countryside. I re-wrote the chapter several times to try to make it feel real.

Then quite by chance I visited Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury with friends and came upon the exhibition of Harry Hambling’s work, called The Suffolk Eye. (The book of the same name was on sale in the gift shop). In one corner of the exhibition I saw this painting which is called ‘December sunset’. There were no signs to say no photography so I discretely snapped it with my phone. Here was a picture of how my November storm might begin.


Once home from the exhibition I was delighted to see the picture again on the Instagram site harry_hambling. I knew that he had lived in Suffolk all his life (1902-1998) and painted the landscape and people of his native Suffolk. He was of course the father of Maggi Hambling, the painter and sculptor, and it was she who encouraged him to paint on his retirement by giving him a set of oil paints.

I loved the colour and atmosphere of this painting and could just imagine Max driving Jenny and Jacob home and seeing these dark, threatening clouds in his rear view mirror before the storm broke.

Thank you Harry Hambling for painting such a wonderful picture for me.