Have we had summer for this year?

2019-02-24 13.04.40So, it appears we have had summer – in February.

February is usually bitterly cold here, with a prevailing east wind that blows right through a body and frost enough to shatter anything optimistically left outside on the washing line. No need to thaw the underpinnings this year!

The conservatory became summer hot, so I left the doors 2019-02-24 13.05.13open in order for the scents wafting from my early-burgeoning herb garden to fill the house with fragrance.

Unfortunately, the farmer thought that it was a good idea to spread his fields with muck so what the house actually smells of is eau de cowshed/pigsty.

I forget who wanted to live in the country. I’m told it was me but I’m not sure I believe everything I’m told.

2019-02-26 14.54.51

As soon as the smell cleared I took my work outside. I do wonder if that and the fact I dug out the parasol has anything to do with the change in the weather.

It’s raining today and I have no excuse but to sit down and get on with some writing. Books do not write themselves. they need blood, sweat and tears as well as a pain in the nether region from sitting too long. Oh, and copious amounts of tea.

Corona Books has just put out a call for submissions for their third anthology of horror stories. It’s time to get tweaking and polishing.



http://www.coronabooks.com                 @CoronaBooksUK

What happens if you get an email from a fictional character?


TWWWNHW front cover[217]
Check out Deryn’s story. http://www.coronabooks.com http://www.amazon.co.uk
My novel ‘The Woman Who Is Not His Wife’ is science fiction. the male protagonist is an alien so what can be more scary than receiving an email from him.

I was happily writing away – or playing cards – one or the other but my mind was not on emails when I was notified of a message from a Deryn.  My protagonist is named Deryn. (Okay, it’s Welsh and the Welsh aren’t alien but I liked it.)

While seeing a glowing box in the dark late one night did not particularly scare me the email did.

The Corona Book of Horror Stories
See what happens should you find a strange box on your window sill.

I could avoid a ravenous box. I could hit it with a hammer if needs be. (Not that that did much good in the story.)

What if I was living in a nightmare of my own making? Had I inadvertently created a new life form?  New life forms are usually up to no good. Its the main plot of all the sci-fi/horror films I’ve ever seen.

Was he coming to take his revenge, angry with what I’d put him through in the book? He didn’t have much luck, come to think of it.

Scary was beginning to be replaced by a sense of adventure until I opened the email. I help out with the local parish magazine and it was from someone with the same name enquiring about placing an advert.

The adventure was over before it had even started.


The Box?

2019-01-24 12.41.57

I had a bit of a moment the other night. I was just settling down in bed with my kindle, which was providing the only light at the time. As I turned over to make myself comfortable, I noticed something square glowing on top of the chest of drawers.

The Corona Book of Horror StoriesFor those of you who don’t yet know, I wrote a story entitled ‘The Box’ a couple of years ago. If you wish to read it you’ll need to get yourself a copy of ‘The Corona Book of Horror Stories’. Well worth a read, if I do say so myself. (www.coronabooks.com / http://www.amazon.co.uk).

The box in the story is not very nice, (I’ll not spoil things by telling you more as I know you’ll want to get your own copy) and I suppose I should have been frightened. However, 1, I don’t frighten very easily, and 2, I wrote ‘The Box’ and know it isn’t real. Or is it?

In this case, the glowing box turned out to be a gold painted 2019-01-24 13.10.44presentation box which had held some jewellery I had been given some years before. I rather like it and so still have it. Those of you who know me well will understand that this is perfectly normal. I may have forgotten what jewellery was in it but the box is shiny and very useful for keeping things in.

The light from the kindle was shining on it and making it glow like some spectral entity – which it was not.

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I even had my top ready to go.



So, there was no chance of being involved in some scary adventure, more’s the pity.

I shall just have to lose myself in writing such tales instead.

The Second Corona Book of Horror Stories

4635013429_262x400[1]Congratulations Corona Books for not only being nominated in the Critters Annual Readers Poll in the best anthology category but coming in the top 10. A lot of care was taken when selecting an eclectic range of stories for this book and it is only fitting that this has been rewarded.

Okay, I know I’m biased as I have a story in it but there are 16 other brilliant tales well worth a read. These range from the classic Hammer-style horror to modern technology developing sinister predilections.

My personal favourites revolve, as always, around the psychological and what could happen in real life. I suggest Drum Lessons and Masterpiece if you need something to keep you awake.

For those of you who prefer your horror to be a little off kilter try Back to the Soil or Domestic Disturbance.

It has mirrors too. Mirrors are scary. I can’t look in a mirror after dark since I watched American Werewolf in London and Dark Reflection does nothing to alter this.

If you like this you can go to http://www.coronabooks.com and check out other books published this year, which include;



There’s a treat for a cold dark night.

Christmas Myths

I have had time to ponder this Christmas; pondering, beyond how to remove glitter from soft furnishing and dinner plates. (See previous post)   Now that the twelve days are almost over I find I have come to the conclusion that there are some serious myths surrounding the festive season.

Myth 1: Sprouts need to be put to boil until reduced to a pulp

2019-01-03 18.10.30This is indeed a myth. Owing to a series of unfortunate incidents (see previous post) my sprouts were still growing in my garden as late as 12.05 pm on Christmas afternoon and not boiling away as they should have been.2018-12-25 12.08.59

Result? Gorgeous sprouts served without any fussy dressing after a gentle 15 minute steam.

Well, we liked them and there were none left.

Myth 2: Christmas is expensive.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

My sister brought me a cup of tea in bed. I never thought I would have a cup of tea brought to me in bed, the right side of a hospital ward, ever again.

I rate a cup of tea in bed beyond diamonds. It was simply the best present this Christmas. Thank you, Linda.

Myth 3: Goodwill to all is for Christmas

Last year I missed a snowflake on the kitchen door when taking down the decorations. Once noticed,2019-01-03 18.14.05 I decided not to remove it as it reminded me that goodwill should be extended to all throughout the year and not just at Christmas.



God bless us, everyone. May your New Year be everything you wish.



Christmas morning

December 25th 

7.22 am

Heaven Forefend! It’s nearly half past seven and I need to be out of the house by half 2018-12-25 12.08.59eight at the latest. I have my granddaughters’ Christmas presents and they’ll be expecting me. I know it shouldn’t take an hour to get showered and dressed but the sprouts are still growing and everyone knows they should have been put to boil in the summer if they’re to be ready for Christmas dinner.

2018-12-28 09.46.05I set the alarm for 7 but as the church clock was striking 4 when I fell into bed it’s hardly surprising I slept through it. Also, I need 2, preferably 3 cups of tea before I can face the world. Especially after 3-ish hours sleep.

7.54 am

I am showered and airing. I like to air myself before I dress. When your joints seize up at inopportune moments you can’t be sure your crevices are dry enough not to chafe when underpinnings are applied. Therefore, I air. It is not negotiable, even when short on time. (Except in hospitals. Hospitals have their own rules and are not to be tampered with. See previous post – What I did on my holidays)

7.57 am

2018-12-25 12.21.22I have a glitter related incident. I spray my hair with glitter as it is Christmas but when I remove my finger from the button the glitter forgets to stop.

As a result the settee, the sideboard and I are covered with glitter. So is the conservatory as I race through to put the can outside to spray the garden in peace.

Away from the sprouts, I might add, as they are still growing.

This sets me back quite a bit.

8.14 am

2018-12-28 10.11.48I throw as much bacon over the turkey crown as I can, pour on some mixed dried herbs. (The bay and rosemary – like the sprouts – are still growing.)

It’s soaking outside. A fine mist is penetrating every crevice and I’ve glitter sprayed my hair – quite savagely, as it turns out. They can stay growing.


8.19 am

I dig out the Christmas pudding left over from last year. It should be okay, except it wasn’t last year – it was 2008. I dust it off and bin it. We have festive cheesecake and oodles of cheese and port. No one will care  if they have enough port. They might not notice the sprouts are still growing if we start drinking early enough. Note to self – must dig out that bottle of Madeira I found in the back of the cupboard.

8.23 am

2018-12-23 17.53.26I find time to look at the carnage I’ve left. I have guests for Christmas dinner. I know its daughter and her boyfriend but when you invite someone you can’t really expect them to start by washing up and picking their own veg. It’s hardly etiquette. And let’s not forget the fine mist of glitter over the dining table which I set last night. I shall just have to pretend that was part of the festive plan. It’s sparkly. Lauren likes sparkly – I shall tell her so.

8.26 am

The car is soaking. I can’t see out of the windows so set to wiping them dry while the engine warms up. By the time I finish the first are misted up again. I do one more round before loading the presents.

Oops, nearly forgot to get the cheesecake out of the freezer.

8.38 am

Ready to go. The spouts are still growing but what the €µ©ꝅ!

It appears that everyone has left the planet apart from me, a few geese and a lone dog walker. Could I make the 9 miles across the centre of town in 7 minutes?


Did the sprouts ever make it to the table?

Follow me to find out. Merry Christmas!

Still another 2 days until Christmas?

Decs are up, pressies wrapped – some even delivered, cards written and posted, fish clean. I’ve even been out for some festive socialisation a couple of times. Well, 4 actually, last week. Anyone who knows me will wonder what has happened. No more waiting until the bells ring out for Midnight Mass to cause panic preparations.


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There’s just one tiny detail…

My husband, Mike 8-shed Eaton was a bit of a DIY fan. So much of a fan to be exact that I never dared suggest we decorate the house for Christmas in case I came home to find a new wall in progress – or one gone. Despite continual training he never learnt that by ‘decorate for Christmas’ I meant tinsel and not plaster or new tiles in the bathroom.

The tiny detail I have struggled with this year is the lack of a large sack of plaster where the Christmas tree goes. It was one of those things that might come in handy even if you never use it – which we never did.2018-12-23 17.55.52 As much as I complained about it long and hard for numerous years it did provide a nice guide as to where the tree should stand without it looking squashed. Covered with artificial snow it provided a neat bench for Father Christmas to sit on and kept the presents from the underfloor heating.

I got rid of it fairly quickly but now find I miss it. The snow just looks a mess and Santa has had to sit on the shelf above. There’s nowhere to put the pressies.

Mind you, I did forget to tell my son that the old kitchen sink leaks so we had a bit of a flood on Friday but all’s well that ends well. I don’t think I could cope without some DIY at inconvenient times.

2018-12-23 17.54.00  As I’ve finished so early I think I’ll have a cup of tea.