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My latest blog posts

My latest blog posts

The editing process

Writing a novel is the fun bit – you let your imagination roam, you live in a half-daydream state rich with colour and imagery. Your days are spent doing what you love best in the world – playing with words, expressing your inner self, conjuring up a world that makes

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Alternative plot directions

Do you remember those ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ books for children that were in vogue in the 1970s and ’80s? The idea was that the reader, rather than the author, had some measure of say over the direction of the plot. Such fun for a child; though tricky to write, I imagine!  

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Burning Embers-inspired fruit salad

It’s the start of January, and for many of us that means an end to the indulgences of the Christmas season and renewed resolutions to eat healthily – good, fresh foods, sensible portion sizes and the five-a-day of fruit and veg. What better recipe, then, than one for an African-style

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The artistic hero

What does a woman look for in a romantic hero – in the object of the protagonist’s affection in a romance novel? Of course, we like him to be handsome and mature and intelligent and brave and masculine. We’re likely attracted to sensitivity and a sense of humour and a

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From writing a single book in a lifetime to 4,000…

If writing your first novel is hard, writing your second is harder still! The Huffington Post recently ran an interesting article on ‘One-hit-wonder authors’ – famous authors who only ever wrote one book. The authors included in the article are: Anna Sewell – Black Beauty Boris Pasternak – Dr Zhivago Cyrill

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The perfect man?

What makes a perfect man? Does such a man exist? Perfection is surely subjective – so what’s your idea of a perfect man? These are the fundamental questions explored in a recent survey commissioned by Remington (the UK supplier of hair care and personal care appliances). Remington asked 2,000 women

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A Touch of Moonlight

Regular readers of this blog will recall that one of my favourite poets, and one whose verses inspired me while writing my novel Burning Embers, is the 19th-century poète Leconte De Lisle. As a reader, I enjoy rich imagery, words that create vivid pictures in my mind; and as a

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For Auld Lang Syne

Is there any more well-known but misunderstood refrain through the English-speaking word than that of ‘Auld Lang Syne’? It is, of course, the song that, traditionally, we sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay  if you’re Scottish) to say farewell to the old year and celebrate the new –

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Burning Embers as a word cloud

I love words and I love art and creativity, so I think word clouds are a fabulously fun innovation. You copy a section of text into a program, and it generates word art based on a random selection of words (well, they say random, but I suspect the algorithm finds

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Christmas in Kenya

My novel Burning Embers is set in Kenya, and while the action does not span Christmas, I thought it would be interesting to consider what Christmas means to a Kenyan native. In the UK, Christmas is pretty much universal – even atheists may have trees and exchange gifts. In Kenya

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Favourite painter: David Roberts

An afternoon spent wandering aimlessly in an art gallery or exhibition, letting the images feed my imagination, is sheer bliss. As with music and dance and literature, I find many forms of art inspirational in my writing. A painter whose works I much admire is David Roberts, an artist who

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Music to write books by: revisited

I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that music is instrumental (forgive the pun) in my writing. It stirs emotion, it inspires, it creates ambiance, it lets the imagination take flight. I have varied tastes when it comes to music, and I listen to an eclectic mix when writing in

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Romance in dance: ballet

What is it about ballet that speaks so to the romantic soul of the watcher? For me, I think it is many things – the catharticism of the music, the grace and fluidity of the physical form, the perfection of the movement, the strict structure within which beauty emerges, the

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How peril creates connection

In many love stories – on screen, in literature, in music – there are examples of characters coming together having been in a perilous situation, faced with death. A writer knows that introducing the risk of loss sharpens depends characters’ feelings towards each other, helps them realise those feelings; and,

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My latest blog posts

Letting the cat out of the bag: On spoilers

Do you ever have a week when synchronicity leads you to keep encountering a term or idea, causing you to stop and give it some thought? This week, I have ‘spoilers’ on the brain. First, authors accidentally dropping spoilers. One poor author has spoken of her distress when she realised

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Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

From the blurb: After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti is banished from the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. She returns to her hometown of Venice and her only kin—a father she hasn’t spoken to since her forced marriage. Her hope of making amends is crushed when she learns

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The flamenco arts

When I write a novel, I immerse myself in the culture of the setting. For Indiscretion, set in Andalusia, Spain, that was an absolute pleasure, for it meant many hours enjoying one of my favourite art forms: the flamenco. The flamenco originated in Andalusia in the eighteenth century, and it

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