More story

I am still here, just not doing anything other than making meals and writing the next book. I am on chapter ten and only stop when my back and eyes ache from too much computing.

We scattered the dog’s ashes in the garden today and are now looking for an evergreen plant to remember him by.

Happy Valentine’s day and, if you didn’t get a card, make this one from me!


Choosing a genre

If the bookworm is the image I am usually posting about writing. This time I am asking a question. Do you know what a pastiche is? I had to look it up when a friend wrote a book that was listed as a pastiche. I don’t think it is an accepted genre but there are plenty of them about.

When I decided to write a book for children I naturally turned to the stories I loved as a child for inspiration, The ‘Alice’ books, the’Narnia’ books and the Wind in the Willows. However, times have changed and modern tales are sharper, more violent and not so ‘preachy.’ Girls are no longer ‘sugar and spice’ ( or maybe they are still spicy) and boys are not made of ‘slugs and snails ( and puppy dog tails? was this just for the rhyme?)

I couldn’t help copying the conversational style of Beverley Nichols when I brought Miss Smith back to life. Of all the witches in literature she must be the most fascinating. So, in a short tribute, I wrote ” Penny Down the Drain” and am keeping my fingers crossed that it will be out between lockdowns so that some children can enjoy it at Christmas. I know some of the ladies in Mumsnet liked the original books and as soon as I have copies I will let them know. Then they can tell me if I have really written a pastiche,

Blogging friends

Not being on facebook I did not expect to have so many people from all over the world who were kind enough to follow me and join in with comments and conversations but wordpress has brought me into contact with some great¬† friends, even if we have never met in person. I’m especially happy to have discovered Beetlypete who has a gift for writing what other people are thinking and for allowing us to share his life.

Thanks, Pete, for promoting my latest book on your blog. It was much better than I could have expected. The best thing about ” More Fish in the Sea” is that, in the back, it also tells the readers about my previous novels which are a bit more substantial. I have found two other writers who used the same title but the other’Julie’ only has her book in digital format. My kindle has given up the ghost and needs updating or I would have bought it, just out of curiosity.It’s too hot to go out so I have been working on my memoir. I’m not going to publish it but it is keeping me busy for now. Best Wishes to you all.launch ALFTT

Memoir, or not!

Writing a memoir is very different from writing a novel. I keep wanting to visualise the places where I used to live but when I looked on Google the first house I lived in was obscured by an enormous hedge. All I could see was the roof! I remember the garden but it won’t be the same after over 70 years.

I wonder how accurate I need to be? Will it matter if I get events in the wrong order? I can remember what happened but not exactly when. A number of people in the story have passed away but there are a few left, although I have lost touch with them. If I’m going to do the job properly I suppose I should contact them and ask what they remember.

I can find photos from the 1960’s onwards of places, but not people. ( with the exception of Miss Wingate who was quite famous) I’m off to research the Green Line Bus routes. This may take some time!bookwormclipart


Wow,that was a surprise! Welcome visitors, even if you didn’t leave a comment. I’ll have to try to make my posts a bit more useful and not so full of grumbles as I don’t think newcomers scroll down past the first post they land on.

This started off as a writing blog but deteriorated into a personal one. Then I felt I shouldn’t write anything unless I had a picture to go with it. Now I’m just waiting until I can celebrate the new book. How about a ‘Look Inside?’

“I thought we were all given choices . Didn’t you have two?”

” No, I didn’t. It never occurred to me that we were given options at the same time.” He sounded angry. ” It was made out that they spent time and effort finding a perfect match. I read all about you and was sure you were right for me. Then we met and I liked you straight away. I thought we were getting close. I didn’t realise you were just playing the field.”

He jumped to his feet, his face red and his fists clenched. ” This is nothing like what I expected.” He looked quite intimidating and Valerie wasn’t sure what he would do next.

(Hopefully any more new visitors will be encouraged to explore further.)

Proof reading again

At last the lockdown was eased and some of our group could meet in a garden. Three turned up and I read the story I had submitted to a competition – only to find I had made a rather important error, writing ‘girl’ for ‘boy’ and ruining my argument.

It was more proof, if that were needed, that reading out loud can find things that reading on line or on manuscript miss. I felt such a fool.

Not the only one, ‘though. A clothing catalogue came today and about a quarter of the size conversions from centimetres to inches were incorrect – often on the same page as the correct numbers. I couldn’t resist telling them.

Writing Magazine came yesterday. Perhaps I’ll get inspired soon.


Another story

I have returned to the children’s book I was writing before I started to get excited by the next novel. It is only 37 pages but so completely different from anything I have tried before. Today I was adding chapter headings. Then I’ll look on line for some possible cover images. I don’t intend it to be published this year but if it is ready it would make a fun Christmas present.

It is called ” Penny Down the Drain,” and my illustrator is doing some drawings for inside. It is a very crowded field but may be easier to sell than my adult books. It will depend on the price and the health situation ,I suppose. It is full of animals so I’m going to look on wordpress for a suitable image for this post.

bunny cute ears easter bunny
Photo by Mike on


Right, I’ve deleted the comment that appears on my top line. Now let’s see if I get my name back.

I’m planning to change my website as the only people who used it were folk offering to review my books. I don’t want to pay for reviews and I wouldn’t have known who to choose. Our writing group wrote a combined story¬† and I have been adding chapter titles to my children’s book but don’t feel very inspired to write anything new. Maybe designing a new website will keep me occupied.

It is the first wet day for ages and there was a little mouse on the bird feeder while the wood pigeons weren’t there. I couldn’t take a picture as the window was covered in raindrops but I found one on wordpress. Best Wishes to all.

animal cute little mouse
Photo by Pixabay on

Ripping up manuscripts

I must be desperate. The house is so full of paper that I have started to rip up original manuscripts of my novels. After all, I have published copies. Why would I need the draft notes?

It seems that the virus has at last made me start to clear out stuff I have held on to for years. This must be a good use of my time but it is very depressing. It’s like destroying history.

I can’t feel creative since I wrote the Daffs poem. The only thing I have written this week is a menu chart for five days, just to make certain I am using what is in the freezer while trying to get a balance. This craving for sweet stuff cannot be a good thing. I’m only walking to the end of the road but I did do some gardening yesterday so that was exercise.

Now, what do I do with two sacks of ripped up paper?img_0244

new story

Now the novella is with a beta reader I am back with the story for children that I started. Having a break has made things much clearer but it is going to end soon and is much too short to be a novel. What do I do with a long short story? Could I make it part of a book of stories? That would keep me busy for a while.

Actually, the poetry anthologies did sell quite well but it might be expensive to have a book for children printed as it needs illustrations and although I know a brilliant artist I think that may put the price up. I need to check that out.

Struggling to keep up with goings on here at present and finding it hard to stay awake in the evenings. I hope it’s just to do with lack of daylight. Getting old is no fun.