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Welcome. Whether you read, write, or both, you'll find something here. Free reads, book reviews, writing contest details and links, and much about the writing process. By all means comment; I'm always interested in the views of readers and writers. Follow the blog and connect with me on social networks; the more, the merrier.
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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Running and Writing for ME/CFS #17

Writing and Running:

Everything’s been on hold whilst we set up in the new home. But, we’re on top of the most urgent aspects now and things are starting to return to normal.

Due to the heavy manual work I’ve been involved in during the past 2 weeks, I’ve ditched my old training plan for the running and instituted a new one, which means a 10 minute run on Thursday, and then 3 runs a week to build distance and stamina.

Not even looked at the book since the move. But that will also change now that my study is up and running, all the shelves put up and the rest of my working paraphernalia in place.


So, bear with me. The usual Sunday report should return this weekend. I’m still waiting to see whether my application for a place in my chosen race has been accepted: should hear some time in the next two or three weeks. I’ll then start looking for sponsorship so we can raise some funds for ActionforME and give some help to those who need it.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Wrong! A Themed Anthology 2014, Edited by Deborah Owen; Reviewed.

This collection of short fiction from many different authors is based on the following theme: ‘I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?’ And, of course, these creative authors show the reader just what can go wrong. I confess at this point that I’m a guest author for this anthology, but as only one of thirty-six writers, I think I can justifiably review the stories.

And what a mixed bunch of offerings there are here. There is something for all tastes, though most of the tales hold an element of romance. Many different writing styles and such individual takes on the set theme make this a very wide-ranging read. I enjoyed all of the stories presented in this book.


If you’re looking for some short fiction to enliven your coffee break or that boring journey by public transport, this is the book for you. And the proceeds go to a good cause, so you’ll not only be doing yourself a favour, but helping out those who have encountered cancer. Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Buried Deep, by Penny Grubb, Reviewed.

The wonderfully idiosyncratic heroine, Annie Raymond, appears first in Penny Grubb’s detective
novel, Like False Money. Buried Deep is the fifth book in the series, and this well-imagined detective has significantly developed along the way.

This story holds the reader’s interest from the beginning and never lets go. The reader easily understands Annie; her faults making her a believable creation and endearing her to us as she struggles with the difficulties sent her way. In this book, she has to work with the flawed police detective, Webber. He brings his own problems, prejudices, insights and skills to the tale, building the book into something bigger than a simple crime novel.

Penny has a way of wearing the skin of her characters, even the villains, so that the reader cares what happens. But Annie and Webber are the ones we really empathise with, in spite of their faults, or maybe because of them.

The nature of the crimes in this story will disturb some readers, but crime fiction is designed to make people think, to bring the real world into the safe environment of our homes where we can experience it without personal danger.

As always, with this author’s work, there are shocks, moments of unexpected illumination, many twists and turns, and a complex puzzle to solve. And the developing pace of the story engages the reader as both Annie and Webber are led into great danger. The denouement builds slowly at first, then the pace increases with the tension until it becomes impossible to book the book down until it’s finished. And a satisfying finish it is.

Buried Deep is more than just a crime novel. It is a well-written, engaging, absorbing and truly attention-demanding piece of fiction. If you like your crime enlivened with humour, human failings, realism, and intelligence, this book is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and heartily recommend it.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice. #19

English: The Dining Hall 2011
English: The Dining Hall 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Certain words/phrases can induce fairly specific responses in readers. As writers, we all know this, but do we use the power of emotion in our work?

For these few weeks, I’m looking at something subjective: how to choose between emotional and intellectual words for effect. You won’t always agree with me, of course; you’re writers. But, hopefully, my suggestions will get the thought processes going.

In this series I’m looking at the difference between words that seem intellectual as opposed to those that evoke a more emotional response. How you use them is obviously up to you. The point is that the alternatives have the same, or very similar, meanings, but their effect upon the reader can be markedly different. I’ve made some suggestions here, but I’m sure you can think of others.

Intellectual: Container
Emotional: Bag, Jar, Bottle

‘Take care when opening the container in case any of the caustic content we included damages your vulnerable skin, causing you to sue us for failing to consider your safety.’

‘Can you open this jar for me? The lid’s so tight I can’t get it open.’

Intellectual: Dine
Emotional: Eat

‘We will dine at eight and the ceremony will commence as soon as after dinner coffee is served.’

‘If I don’t eat something in a second, I’m going to die of starvation!’

Intellectual: Fidelity
Emotional: Faithfulness

‘Fidelity is an intrinsic quality of the marriage contract, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.’

‘One of the real signs of love in our relationship is our continued and mutual faithfulness.’

Monday, 12 January 2015

Writing and Running for ME/CFS #16

Okay folks; a quick heads-up.

I'm finally in the throes of actually moving house. We're leaving the old home on Tuesday and setting up in the new one on Wednesday. For a couple of days we won't have any phone line or internet connection, so I probably won't be able to do much online until Friday.

As for this week, I managed a single run on Monday, but nothing since, as I have been packing boxes and generally dismantling stuff to get it ready for the move. The same goes for the writing, but all will slowly return to normal as soon as we're settled in our new home. So, please bear with me for the moment.

More later!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? Tips on Word Choice. #18

The Wealthy Man
The Wealthy Man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Certain words/phrases can induce fairly specific responses in readers. As writers, we all know this, but do we use the power of emotion in our work?

For these few weeks, I’m looking at something subjective: how to choose between emotional and intellectual words for effect. You won’t always agree with me, of course; you’re writers. But, hopefully, my suggestions will get the thought processes going.

In this series I’m looking at the difference between words that seem intellectual as opposed to those that evoke a more emotional response. How you use them is obviously up to you. The point is that the alternatives have the same, or very similar, meanings, but their effect upon the reader can be markedly different. I’ve made some suggestions here, but I’m sure you can think of others.

Intellectual: Fearful    
Emotional: Afraid

‘Many people, even those who show courage in other ways, are fearful of expressing a sincere opinion about the activities of those who have extreme religious views.’

‘I’m not afraid of those idiots who believe their version of God is the only one. I’m willing to let them know how stupid they are.’

Intellectual: Inform    
Emotional: Tell

‘We must inform you that you have exceeded your authority in the fulfilment of your duties and you will therefore be eliminated.’

‘When I tell you what I just heard, you’ll never believe it.’

Intellectual: Wealthy
Emotional: Rich

‘It has been calculated that 85 wealthy people own more assets than half the population of the world. Such inequality must surely result in serious consequences for those too greedy to share their good fortune.’


‘Rich people never understand that they got that way because of the efforts of hundreds or thousands of other people who did all the support work that allowed them to do it.’