Friday, 29 September 2017

Rocking the Waves

    I can remember getting a battery operated, transistor radio for my ninth birthday. My two loves at that age were books and music. The gift of the radio meant that I could stick the little earphone in my ear and read in the solitude of my own bedroom, without disturbing the rest of the household.

    More importantly, when I was under the bed covers at night with my torch, reading a favourite book I could keep my music on and not 'give the game away' that I was still reading when I should have been asleep.

    How I loved listening to the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline that broadcasted from a ship off the British coast and Radio Luxembourg. The airwaves crackled and faded regularly, but that didn't matter. It was exciting and all part of being a little rebellious. Part of growing up.

    I still love listening to the radio while writing and reading, thankfully the sound no longer crackles and fades. However, on occasions I can be a little rebellious!


Sunday, 24 September 2017

Meet Author Tina-Marie Miller

    Tina-Marie Miller is a UK based indie author and writer of women's fiction. I have been lucky enough to have read her debut book, 'Everything Happens for a Reason' and I wanted today to introduce to you this talented, new author. Tina-Marie has agreed to a Q & A feature in order that you can get to know her and her work a little better.

Q & A 
  • What made you decide to write women's fiction?
             Writing in the genre of women’s fiction was a natural starting point for me to launch my writing career because I have always been drawn to this genre as a reader. Throughout the years, I have read many works of women’s fiction and subsequently found myself crafting more and more stories in my head around similar themes that the genre portrays – love, friendship, laughter, tragedy. I am passionate about women’s fiction in particular because I find it the most relatable genre, and I am therefore able to convey a greater sense of realism in my writing to produce something that readers are able to easily relate to. I also find that there is a limitless ability to craft and express a range of emotions and situations when writing women’s fiction.

  • What do you consider the most difficult aspect of writing for a predominantly female audience?
             The challenge is in crafting a story that evokes a range of emotions and leaves a lasting impact on the reader. The greatest hurdle to overcome in writing in the genre of women’s fiction is the ability to accurately portray real emotions. When writing, I focus on portraying emotional experiences in the most honest and realistic manner possible, because I want my readers to be able to relate to the emotional experiences that I am writing about to draw them into the reality of the story.

  • Is your work aimed at any particular age of reader?
           No. Whilst my work is aimed at adults it’s not particularly aimed at a certain age group. I’ve created a range of characters of all ages within my stories to appeal to a wider audience.

  • How did you decide on your debut title, 'Everything Happens for a Reason?
            Often when we are faced with challenges, some people take the view that these challenges occur because it is just their ‘luck’ or it’s fated. Therefore, my debut novel’s title, Everything Happens For A Reason is a reflection of how the main protagonist deals with the many challenges that are presented to her but also goes on to demonstrate how these challenges go on to lead towards a positive outcome. This is something we do not always recognise when faced with difficult times.

  • You have a second book due for release in October, 'The Curious Miss Fortune'? Is this work a venture into a new genre?
            Not at all. I’m excited to invite my readers back to the Hamptons for the second book in this series where there’s great excitement as the Hampton Players gather to begin rehearsals on their annual am dram. It wouldn’t be the Hamptons without a bit of drama and of course a lot of fun and frolics along the way! I’m also welcoming Poppy and Richard Hambly-Jones back who will be hosting the Hamptons Autumn Ball which is certainly something to look out for.

The Curious Miss Fortune is due to be released on 1st October 2017. Here is a first look at the book’s cover:

  • Could you give us a peek into your fictional world and one of your favourite characters?
            It has to be the Reverend Peter Fisher. He is a complete hoot! Peter and his wife Cathy have a penchant for the Alter wine more nights than not. Whilst he is a very laid back character, he is firm in his belief of God. Many of the locals feel Peter has missed his vocation as an actor rather than a vicar, given his dramatic prose and eccentric behaviour. He is a much loved stalwart of the village who would do anything for anyone and they would be lost without him. He can often be found rummaging through the villagers dustbins seeking out unwanted trash to make into someone else’s treasure.

The Church of All Saint’s, Sutton Courtenay
All Saint’s Church in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire

Photo courtesy of

    This is the stunning All Saint’s Church in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire which is the inspiration behind the fictional St. Michael’s Church in Hampton Waters featured in my first two novels.

Please do take a moment to visit their website and learn more about its history:

  • Finally, Tina-Marie can you tell us a little about your journey into the writing world?
           As a child, instead of making cards I would make mini magazines. I loved reading and writing and regularly got told off for day dreaming! I can clearly recall the first time I was fortunate enough to have one of my letters published in a magazine. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of seeing my work in print. It was indescribable and I knew that one day, I aimed to see my name on the front cover of the many books I now aspire to write.


    Thank you Christina for giving me this opportunity to showcase my work. To find out more about me and my work or to connect with me, please visit:

My website:
My Facebook author page:
My Twitter page:

Thursday, 21 September 2017


    One hundred and twenty-four years ago this week the self-governing, British colony of New Zealand granted women the right to vote. The first country in the world to recognise that women were equal to their male counter-parts.

    Considering Britain had a female queen at that time, Victoria, it took the UK astoundingly another twenty-five years to give women their vote. Although, it was only given to women over the age of thirty and women over the age of twenty-one were not granted their vote until ten years later in 1928.

    I am certainly no feminist but I do believe that all humans are equal and for many of us the fight goes on not just to be given a vote, but to be treated equally.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Young Author

    I chose this weeks poem just because I thought the title was apt. However, the English, poet and writer Samuel Johnson's words tell us a young author's troublesome journey in search of his fame and fortune.

The Young Author

When first the peasant, long inclined to roam
Forsakes his rural sports and peaceful home
Pleased with the scene the smiling ocean yields
He scorns the verdant meads and flowery fields
Then dances jocund over the watery way
While the breeze whispers, and the streamers play
Unbounded prospects in his bosom roll
And future millions lift his rising soul
In blissful dreams he digs the golden mine
And raptured sees the new-found ruby shine
Joys insincere, thick clouds invade the skies
Loud roar the billows, high the waves arise
Sickening with fear, he longs to view the shore
And vows to trust the faithless deep no more
So the Young Author, panting after fame
And the long honours of a lasting name
Intrusts his happiness to human kind
More false, more cruel, than the seas, or wind
'Toil on, dull crowd' (in ecstasies he cries)
'For wealth or title, perishable prize
While I those transitory blessings scorn
Secure of praise from ages yet unborn'
This thought once formed, all counsel comes too late
He flies to press, and hurries on his fate
Swiftly he sees the imagined laurels spread
And feels the unfading wreath surround his head
Warned by another's fate, vain youth, be wise,
Those dreams were Settle's once, and Ogilby's
The pamphlet spreads, incessant hisses rise
To some retreat the baffled writer flies
Where no sour critics snarl, no sneers molest
Safe from the tart lampoon, and stinging jest
There begs of Heaven a less distinguished lot
Glad to be hid, and proud to be forgot 

 Samuel Johnson 1709-1784

Thursday, 14 September 2017


St Andrews University
    The other week one of my close friends was recollecting about her son when he was sitting a math's exam for the first time at high school. He asked her if he could have a calculator and she accused him of trying to cheat, because as far as she was concerned his brain should be doing the work. In denial he explained that he was one of the only boys in his class that didn't have one.
    Of course mothers know that when kids say, 'they're the only kid that doesn't have one,' this isn't always the case. However, when she checked with the school she found out that the kids were being encouraged to use them and that he had in fact been using one provided by the school.

    Feeling slightly guilty at doubting her son she went straight out and bought him one. She explained to me that still to this day, thirty-years on, she carries the guilt.    

The Quad, St Andrews University

    Now, children grow up with calculators, iPads and the rest. I never really thought about how the whole thing of calculators and computing came about until the other day. When I read about the Scottish, mathematician, physicist and astronomer, John Napier who died four hundred years ago.

    His invention of logarithms and a type of abacus called 'Napier's Bones' opened up a whole new way of tackling mathematical calculations. His abacus was the forerunner to a calculator and helped in the development of the "slide-rule"or "slipstick" I believe you call it in the US.

    Napier went to the University of St Andrews at an early age, however he only stayed for a short time. Like many inventors, what I've read about him demonstrates he had a certain amount of foresight. He became better known for his mathematical achievements including introduction of the decimal point in calculations.

    Although, his other creations included a type of 'burning mirror' to be used by ships in war and a chariot that fired shots also to be used in warfare, I'm sure inspired other inventors. Of course, his inspiration for both the latter items mentioned, could have been gotten from Archimedes and Leonardo da Vinci. It doesn't really matter though, because I'm sure he got his calculations correct.

St Salvators clock, the college itself is where Napier studied

Sunday, 10 September 2017


        Love can give us much pleasure, however it can also tear us apart. The classic poem I'm featuring today is by Scottish born poet and playwright, Joanna Baillie, describes the way in which love effects us all.

To Cupid

Child, with many a childish wile
Timid look, and blushing smile
Downy wings to steal thy way
Gilded bow, and quiver gay
Who in thy simple mien would trace
The tyrant of the human race?

Who is he whose flinty heart
Hath not felt the flying dart?
Who is he that from the wound
Hath not pain and pleasure found?
Who is he that hath not shed
Curse and blessing on thy head?

Joanna Baillie 1783-1851

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Incredible Journey

    This month I'm celebrating the fifth year of my blog and I really can't believe it. Four hundred and sixty-three posts on, I've learned lots and of course, I'm still learning every day. My early posts didn't contain any pictures and that was because I had no idea how to even insert them. At least I can manage to do that now. Although, I have to admit there have been a few hiccups along the way.

   In the early days I used to worry that no-one was going to read my blog, but now it's all about retaining the readers and increasing the number of visitors. That's why I believe it's very important to vary the content as much as I can. Something, that isn't always easy, however I do love writing my blog as much as I love writing books. Both can be challenging, still what would life be without challenges?

    Many of my popular posts can be found down the side-bar of my blog, of course there are too many to view and I've included a few more links below from over the years that I hope you will also enjoy as others have.

    I am now looking to show case other authors regularly, with a new Q &A feature. The first author to be featured is the wonderful indie author, writer of women's fiction Tina-Marie Miller. I am superbly excited by this, not just because it will be my first in this category, but because Tina-Marie is promising us a little teaser. I'm not going to say anymore, you'll be able to find out all about Tina-Marie by dropping by, September 24.

    I hope that I can show case others in the months to come, so if you're an author I follow on Facebook, or Twitter and you want to be featured, DM me and we can hopefully work together. There is no reason to be shy and the feature is free of charge.

    Over the last five years I've had an incredible journey. With a consistent, constantly increasing number of visitors to this site and three published books under my belt. A journey that I'm glad I bought the ticket for.

    A HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT. A virtual hug is coming your way.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Village Green

    Whether it's a cot mobile, a musical bear, or musical toy giraffe, young children are lulled to sleep with tunes that have done so for hundreds of years. One such song is, Twinkle, twinkle, little star, the words of this song were written by English poet and author, Jane Taylor and I am today featuring one of her poems today in my classic poetry post.

    The words of the featured poem truly evoke a picture in the mind's eye and I believe that you can nearly hear the noise of the playful children too.


ON the cheerful village green
  Skirted round with houses small
All the boys and girls are seen
  Playing there with hoop and ball
Now they frolic hand in hand
  Making many a merry chain
Then they form a warlike band
  Marching over the level plain
Now ascends the worsted ball
  High it rises in the air
Or, against the cottage wall
  Up and down it bounces there
Then the hoop, with even pace
  Runs before the merry throngs
Joy is seen in every face
  Joy is heard in cheerful songs
 Rich array, and mansions proud
  Gilded toys, and costly fare
Would not make the little crowd
  Half so happy as they are
Then, contented with my state
  Where true pleasure may be seen
Let me envy not the great
  On a cheerful village green

Jane Taylor (1783-1824)