Tag Archives: novels

How I became a writer, and some of the books that led me here.

Image by Lubos Houska from Pixabay

I’ve always been a writer, although I didn’t understand that until late in my life. I wish I had realised earlier, but I didn’t. Nothing I can do about the past, but I can make up some of the time now.

I’ve always loved stories from being tiny. I can still remember my favourite story. It was about two little pandas called Pink and Ponk. I can still quote the first few lines, but I do remember the story quite clearly.

Later, when I could read myself, I devoured Enid Blyton books. Early on it was Noddy and The Faraway Tree. Later I loved Shadow the Sheepdog. I remember that the first ever story I wrote was about a dog, inspired by this story. I was only young–probably about seven or thereabouts – because my spelling was a bit dodgy.  I spelled ‘of’ as ‘ov’ , all the way through.

I also really enjoyed her Famous Five books, and the Adventure series. And although I read a couple, I was never really enthusiastic about Mallory Towers books.

Another book I loved reading was Black Beauty, about the life of a horse. It told of his life from his early days with his mother, through different owners, some good, some bad, to his retirement. 

When I graduated from the children’s section of the library, I discovered Jeffrey Farnol and Mary Webb. Later, I read many Agatha Christie books, and other books in that genre, and I loved Georgette Heyer and other historical novelists.

Of course, there were the classics. I always loved the Brontë sisters’ books, especially Wuthering Heights. 

I remember making a little fairy out of grass and telling my younger sister stories about him/her. 

At school, I loved it when we were given a title, or first line to write about. I can’t remember any of the stories I wrote then, but in my teens I wrote a very bad romance that I read to my friends. They said they liked it, but I suspect they were just being kind.

At Teacher Training college, I began my poetry writing. I had my first ever publication in the Manchester University Institute of Science and Technology magazine. The poetry era ended until I was teaching in 1990 when I wrote a poem for the staff Christmas party. I had to write one every year, by popular demand, after that. Sadly these have all been lost except the one in the UMIST magazine.

I loved reading Science Fiction, too and read all the well-known writers.

Then I found Fantasy. A young boy, by the wonderful name of Fred Spittal, asked me if I’d read The Lord of the Rings. He was reading it, but said I should start with The Hobbit. I found it in the college library and from then was hooked on fantasy.

I won’t go into all the fantasy books I’ve read. It would take too long.

Since writing Book 1 of my Wolves of Vimar series, I have published almost a dozen books. I have also drifted into historical fiction and begun writing poetry again. My first published poetry book is called Miscellaneous Thoughts.

So you see, I have always been a writer, but didn’t know.

Do you remember books that influenced you as a child? Tell us about them in the comments section.

Review of River Bones by Mary Deal


Mary Deal is one of my favourite authors. Her books  always keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat.

River Bones is no exception.


Sara Mason has returned to the town where she grew up as a poor girl in a dysfunctional family. Now, though, she is a successful computer game designer and has enough money to buy a large house in need of modernisation.

Not everything is as it seems, though. A serial killer is on the loose, and things begin to get dangerous when the killer turns their sights on Sara.

I am saying no more so as not to give anything away.


A serial killer is on the loose in Sacramento River Delta.

When Sara Mason returns to her hometown to start a new life, she learns that a murderer is terrorizing its residents. Despite battling difficult childhood memories, Sara is determined to make peace with her past.

But she soon learns that the elusive psychopath is now stalking her. Sara’s attempt to rebuild her life is hindered even more by the discovery of skeletal remains on her property. As the investigation focuses on several suspects, Sara discovers critical clues and bravely volunteers to be a decoy for the sheriff’s department.

Sara’s destiny has brought her back home, but will her decision lead her down a path lined with danger… and straight into the arms of a madman?


The main character, Sara, is a young woman who has issues left over from her childhood. She tries to overcome them while fighting her fear of living alone.

We can empathise with her as she is well drawn and has depth.

Her best friend, Daphine, is a likeable, but sensible woman who gives Sara good advice (not always taken!)

Esmeralda is the former owner of the house Sara has bought. She now runs a care home for the elderly, even though she is elderly herself. Her husband disappeared on a gold hunting trip and his body has never been found. However, she is nothing if not resilient and proves a great ally to Sara.

The town has its quota of strange characters. Crazy Ike, Frederick, who works at the care home and is strangely fascinated by death and dying, and Tripp, who is the gardener at the care home, creating beautiful gardens. Sara finds him as creepy as the other two.

Wonderful characters who remain with me well after finishing the book.


Mary Deal sets the scene of her book right at the beginning. Before I had read many pages, I was feeling on edge. She brings the people and area of The Delta to life, and I feel she has taken me there.

Typos are non-existent. Grammar is almost flawless, except for a confusion of ‘to lie’ and ‘to lay’, which, I find, a lot of people have trouble with.

Have you read River Bones, or any other of Mary Deal’s books? Did you enjoy them? Let us know in the comments section.

Destiny in Fiction

I recently read the following post by Charles Yallowitz on his Legends of Windermere website. While I suspect those of you who are not writers probably won’t find it useful, perhaps you will find it interesting. Just one of the many problems we have to sort out.

Very few tropes are as common in fantasy as the destined heroes. This motivation has existed since the days of mythology and continues to be used today. Authors find twists and variations on the concept of destiny and fate, but it tends to boil down to the same thing. The hero is on a path that was chosen for them by a greater power, which brings up the question of if they are in control of any of their actions. Needless to say, readers and authors have railed against the concept. Does that mean it should be shunned and ignored? I’d be a hypocrite if I said yes since the God of Destiny is a major player in my stories. In fact, Legends of Windemere is all about destined heroes . . . Of course, there’s more to it than that, which I will get into after we go over ‘Fate vs Free Will’.

This has been a debate for years if not decades. It shouldn’t be surprising since the concept of destiny has been overused to the point of ultra-cliché. Audiences see the use of destiny or fate or being chosen by a higher power as a cop out by the author. Why does the hero go on this dangerous adventure? Well, they don’t have a choice. More importantly, it goes against our desire for freedom, which is shown through free will. Readers want to connect to the characters and destiny can be a glaring obstacle.

What do you think about the idea of destiny in novels?