Tag Archives: writing

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 Missing Thread by June V. Bourgo


This is Book 3 of the Georgia series by June V. Bourgo. Although it is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Anything that occurred in the previous books that is needed in this one is explained.


Georgia is a young woman who has gained fame by writing about her previous experiences. In this book, Georgia goes to a writer’s conference where she is to speak. While there, she uses a hire car to visit places, but is caught in a torrential rainstorm. She is forced off the road by a vehicle and into the river. Although she manages to escape the car, she is swept away and into a nearby lake.

Fortunately, she is rescued by a man and taken to hospital, almost dead and suffering from hypothermia.

Eventually, she recovers consciousness, but with no memory of who she is, or her life before waking in the hospital.

The story tells of how Georgia, helped by her husband and daughters, struggles to rebuild her life with, to her, total strangers.


After a strange accident, Georgia awakens from a coma to a sea of faces she has no memory of, in a place she doesn’t remember.

Returning to a home she doesn’t recognize, Georgia struggles to mend the strained relationship between herself and her family, and rediscover a life she can’t recall ever having.

Through life-changing events and a mental struggle that challenges the very core of their family, Georgia realizes that her accident is linked to something in her past. But can she put the pieces together and learn the truth?


I found I liked Georgia and her family, and was rooting for her to regain her memory. Ms Bourgo does an excellent job of drawing a picture of a woman with no memory of her past life, and the anguish she goes through as she tries to rebuild her life with total strangers. We feel Georgia’s confusion and her anxiety that she won’t be able to love the stranger who is her husband and the two little girls who are her daughters.

Georgia’s husband, Sean, is another character I could relate to. Sean does his best to be understanding and patient, but on occasion, as would we all, things get too much for him.

The two girls behave like most intelligent children would. Confusion and anxiety that their mother will no longer love them if she can’t remember who they are.

 I don’t want to spoil things for you and so I will say no more.


As said earlier, Ms Bourgo does an excellent job of making us feel like Georgia in her predicament. She gives us a sense of Georgia’s panic when in the sinking car, and how she feels about her unknown family.

Sadly, there are typos and grammatical errors, and while they were irritating, and did on occasion throw me out of the story, I think the story is so good, they did not detract too much.

I gave the book 4*.

My ranking of books. In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

I enjoyed this story as much as the previous two. Have you read it? Did you enjoy it if you have? Let us know in the comments.

If you would like to receive an exclusive, free short story by me, called The Haunted Table, simply click the link. This will take you to the page where you can download it.

Maria and Tom have bought an antique table for the old cottage they have bought. When they hear strange noises in the night that sound like crying, they worry their house is haunted, but the sounds seem to come from the table.

They set about trying to find what is causing the disturbances. The answer is stranger than either of them had thought.

(Clicking the link will add your email address to my email list, but don’t worry, you can unsubscribe immediately if you wish. Nor will you get any spam. I only send out an email each quarter, or if I have any exciting news–like a new release.)

Spring Cleaning–A poem.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Not my favourite job to do, but when the sun shines in, it makes the dust more noticeable. So it’s a job that has to be done.
And the satisfaction at the end makes it all worth while.

Spring Cleaning.

The sun is now shining making everything light

So it’s time to make our homes shiny and bright.

Let’s pick up our dusters and polish all day

Till every speck of dust goes away.

We’ll clean all our paintwork and make it as new

And polish silverware so your face you can view.

Then wash all the curtains and clean all the floors

And see if we need some more paint on our doors.

‘Spiders beware, don’t you build any webs.

We’ll knock them all down with our brushes,’ I said.

Sweeping and polishing all of the day

Until the last smidgen of dirt’s gone away.

Now stand back and look at all we have done.

A shiny and perfect home. We have won.

Have you done any spring cleaning yet? I’ve washed my dining room curtains and cleaned out my kitchen cupboards. Still a lot more to do!

The Wolf Pack book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar series

All Carthinal wants is admission to the ranks of the mages. Traveling from Bluehaven to Hambara, where his rite of passage is to take place, he doesn’t expect to end up on a quest to find the long-lost sword of the legendary King Sauvern. With strangers he meets on his journey, Carthinal sets out on the seemingly impossible quest. Followed by Randa, the snooty aristocratic daughter of the Duke of Hambara, and the young runaway thief Thad, Carthinal and his companions face tragedy and danger. Watched by the gods and an implacable foe, they will have to accept help from the least likely sources and face their innermost fears. As the fate of their world hangs in the balance, they realize that this is more than an adventure. This quest will change them all.

This book came from a Dungeons and Dragons scenario I wrote for my D & D club at the school where I worked. I had been buying scenarios, then I thought I could write one myself. I wrote one from which this series has emerged.

I played Dragonlance, both as a player and a DM, and when I discovered that Weiss and Hickman had turned it into a series, I thought, ‘Why not?’ Thus The Wolves of Vimar series was born.

I only intended it to be one book, but it sort of grew into what will eventually be a five-book series. I’m unsure that my players will recognise it now, although some things are the same, such as searching for Sauvern’s Sword (Book 1) and the name of the antagonist.


Discerning Reader

5.0 out of 5 stars A solidly done, and crafted fantasy novel.

Verified Purchase

“The Wolf Pack” is an original and well crafted fantasy novel. If you like novels like the “Earthsea Saga” by Ursula Le Guin or “When the Heavens Fall” by Marc Turner then I suggest that you may well enjoy “The Wolf Pack.” British style and spellings throughout. Not really a negative, just a difference to be noted.

I found the characters well developed, and complex (in a good way).

The plot is unique and unusual. It is not easy to explain, but does unfold nicely as one reads through the book. I am trying to avoid spoilers, so I do not want to give too much away.

Dialogue is well written and each character has his or her own voice

To purchase from the seller of your choice click on the book cover in the sidebar, or on the button below.

The book is available as:

ebook, paper back, hard back, large print, pocket book and audio book.

The ebook is free on all platforms except Amazon where it is 0.99 (pounds or dollars.)

10 Fun Things You Didn’t Know About Me.

  • I recently passed my Grade 5 piano exam.
  • I love growing plants from collected seeds. I collected fallen tree seeds in Amiens and have loads of little baby trees coming up. Don’t know what to do with them!
  • I make all my own cards—birthday, wedding, birth congratulations, Christmas.
  • I enjoy walking in the countryside. I live in an area that is good for that. Both hills and flat areas.
  • I like cooking and baking. I have written a recipe book which includes many very old recipes from my grandmother, dated 1909.
  • I don’t enjoy housework, although it has to be done.
  • I learned to tat when I was at school. It’s a dying art. We moved to a new school and the cookery rooms weren’t finished, so we did craft instead. The teacher offered to teach us to tat. I and my friends took her up on it.
  • I have been using computers since the very first pcs came out. It was called a PET and we still have it, although it no longer works. This was in 1979.
  • I hate crowds and cities, although I didn’t used to worry about it. I prefer the countryside.
  • My family has farming roots. Dairy farming. My sister was still farming until last year.

What is interesting about you that we didn’t know? Let us know in the comments.

Feel free to share with your friends. Please link back to my blog if you do.

British Wild Flowers. The Lesser Celandine.

Lesser celandines are one of the earliest wild flowers to appear, blooming from late January until the end of April.

They are small, growing to a mere 2-3 inches, but form masses of flowers. They look gorgeous when in bloom. A veritable carpet of yellow stars.

They are found on banks, at the edges of woods and paths, in grassland. In fact, almost everywhere. One might be tempted to put some in the garden, but think twice. Although they are lovely little flowers and bloom when there isn’t much else, they can be invasive.

They spread from tiny tubers which grow in the leaf axels. Rooting them out can be a problem as it can help them to spread! My suggestion is to enjoy them where they are. I did see some for sale in a local garden centre. They were lovely with unusual dark, reddish leaves. Very tempting.

I understand, from reading on the net, that their leaves are a rich source of vitamin C. Useful at a time when, in past ages people hadn’t had much green vegetables during the winter months and may have been suffering from scurvy as a result. I have no experience of eating these leaves, and so cannot recommend them as a salad vegetable. ALWAYS CHECK FOR TOXICITY BEFORE EATING ANYTHING GATHERED FROM THE WILD.

Here’s a little poem to the celandine.


Little stars litter the grass.

Have they fallen from the sky?

They are shining when I pass

Reflecting sun’s rays from on high.

Celandines are here to say

Winter’s gloom is nearly past.

Spring is really on the way;

Warmth will soon be here, at last.

Bright and cheerful little flowers

Covering the woods and banks  

Creating lovely yellow bowers.

We should all be giving thanks.

I hope you enjoyed this little post about one of our early spring flowers. Feel free to share it with anyone you think might find it interesting, but please link back to this blog if you do.

If you want to read more of my poetry, you can buy my first poetry anthology, Miscellaneous Thoughts, by clicking on the book cover in the side bar or the title in this paragraph.

I just looked at my poem on the preview, and the breaks between the verses does not appear even though I added them when writing. this always happens and I wonder why. Does anyone know why?

Please leave your comments in the comments box. I love hearing from you.

Pettic. A poem

This is not a poem that appears in a book, but it’s about a character in the Elemental Worlds duo.


Pettic was a farmer’s son who loved to plough the land

Until one day his life did change in a dramatic way.

He was chosen from many lads to obey Prince’s command

And go to live in the palace, far, far away.

He was to be companion, confidant and friend

To Prince Torren, the Crown Prince, the king’s son and heir.

And with the Prince, his lessons he also would attend.

But then the Prince disappeared, nobody knew where.

So Pettic chose to go in search of his dear friend.

He visited strange worlds like nothing he had seen

And faced great dangers, helped the folk, their lives he did defend.

And found what he was looking for when he did intervene.

For in four lands he had to find four gems that were the key.

Will young Pettic find all that is required 

To find Prince Torren and set him free? 

If you wish to know the answer to the last question, you can find out by reading The Stones of Earth and Air, which is free as an ebook on Amazon, and The Stones of Fire and Water. Follow these links to buy at your favourite store.

St Patrick’s Day

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Today is St Patrick’s Day. Here’s a poem in tribute to him. I’m a bit late posting, I know, but I had to write it first! Of course, he didn’t really banish the snakes from Ireland, but it’s a good story.

St Patrick 

A boy was captured and taken for a slave

Across the sea, but he remained brave.

A shepherd in Ireland for six long years

He escaped and ran home to family cheers.

A Christian he was, and hearing God’s call

Was ordained as a priest to the joy of all.

God called once again that he should go

Back to Ireland to preach, and so

He sailed once more across the sea.

And converted many to Christianity 

And with his staff he gave a command

And all the snakes left that land.

On March seventeenth, in the year four sixty

He passed into Heaven on that isle so misty.

He’s remembered still by the Irish folk

On the isle  of Ireland where he spoke

And all round the world where Irish dwell

They still remember, and his story they tell.

The Battle of Hastings.

Image by Gioele Fazzeri from Pixabay

I am now King of England. King William I. Doesn’t that sound great? However it wasn’t such an easy position to gain. Let me go back to the beginning.

Edward, my second cousin, was in exile in Normandy after Cnut had taken the English throne. I decided to go and see him as he was family, after all, and had no heirs.

While I was there, I played on the family connection, and reminded him that, although he might eventually get an heir with his wife, Emma of Normandy, if he should die suddenly, there would be no obvious claimant to the English throne.

Well, he hummed and hawed and didn’t make a decision then. I’m not surprised, really, because his mother had married Cnut and had a son by him. She supported her son, Harthacnut, and eventually he became king of England.

Edward was lucky. Harthacnut died, and Edward sailed unopposed into England to take the throne. Not long after, he sent his son-in-law, Harald Godwinson to tell me that he had decided to make me his heir. King William sounded good, I thought, but I didn’t trust Harald, so I had him imprisoned. Eventually, in order to regain his freedom, he swore an oath of fealty to me, the rat!

In the year of our Lord, 1066, King Edward, who had become to be know as The Confessor, due to his religious conviction, died. Harald, the rat, took the throne and was crowned the day after Edward’s death. He said that Edward had made him his heir on his deathbed. A likely story!

It was then I decided that I needed to go to England and sort this man out. He had broken a holy oath, and I was the rightful king. But it seemed I wasn’t the only one to want the crown of England. Harald’s own brother, Tostig, joined forces with the Norwegian king, Harald Hardrada, and launced an invasion.

They met initially at a place called Fulford, in the north of England, not far from the city of York. This was 0n September 20th 1066. It seems the invaders won, but Harald was not to be defeated so easily. He fought another battle five days later at a place called Stamford Bridge where both Tostig and Harald Hardrada were killed.

Well, this was too good an opportunity to miss. I had set sail, knowing that Harald would be occupied, and we landed at a place called Pevensey. There had been a Roman castle there, and we made use of that. I ordered a wooden fort to be built inside the Roman walls. It was a good defesive position.

The whole area was marshland, and the sea came up to the fort walls. I ordered the troops to begin marching over the marshes, heading towards the town of Hastings. Once we got there, I ordered a fort to be built, and we raided the land for supplies.

We waited for Harald to arrive from his battle at Stamford Bridge. We knew they would be tired after a forced march. I set a watch the night before the battle. I would not have put it past Harald to make a surprise attack, but he didn’t, and so on 14th October, at dawn, the battle began.

I won’t go into details here. Suffice it to say that it was hard fought and lasted all day. In the end, though, we won, and Harald was dead. I was now King of England.

I have begun the research for the next book in the series, A Family Through the Ages. This one will start in 1066 with the Battle of Hastings.

If you would like to catch up on the series, the first book, Vengeance of a Slave, is free as an ebook. Alternatively, you can get it from your favourite store, here.

Jealousy of a Viking, the second book, can be got from your favourite store, here.

Or click on the images in the side bar.

Both books are also available as audio books.

My publisher has released merchandise with the book covers on. These include: t-shirts, mugs, drinking glasses, jigsaw puzzles, tote bags and many more.

Why not go and take a look at what’s on offer? Click here to go to the Next Chapter store.

Please let me know what you think about the story and the books and merchandise in the comments.

Feel free to share this, and any other posts. Just link back to this blog. I will be ever so grateful!

Leila. A Cat poem.

I wrote a doggy poem not long ago and Geoff Le Pard commented ‘What next? A Kitty ditty?’

Well, I didn’t want to write one similar to the doggy one, so I wrote this about my daughter’s cat.


Someone said, ‘ Does your daughter own a cat?’

I answered, ‘Not at all, but a cat owns her.’

The puss is named Leila, and if on her chair you sat

She sits at your feet and gives a hard stare.

A pretty cat, she has long tabby fur

But is not very sociable, not liking people much.

But on my daughter’s lap you can hear her purr

As she delights in my daughter’s touch.

One day my daughter’s husband sat on her chair.

This annoyed Leila so she got her own back.

She sat on the Sky box, which he thought unfair

As she glared at him with a look so black


She runs the whole family with an iron rod

But the rod is set in a velvet paw.

She knows in ancient Egypt she’d have been a god

And that  knowledge is enough for her.

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If you want to buy any of my books, you can do so by clicking on the cover in the side bar. This will take you to where you can choose to buy at the platform of your choice.

If you like to listen to your stories, many of them are also released as audiobooks.