Happy New Year Everyone. (2018.)



Happy New Year Everyone.


Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year ’s Eve with your family, friends and pets.

I had a nice Christmas with my mum, boyfriend, Smokey and Holly and Boxing Day with my nieces. I love Christmas time as my mum always made it special when I was younger and during Christmas time my boyfriend asked me out two years ago, so it has always been magical to me. My nieces loved Christmas, they both were disappointed when their elves’ went back to Santa-land, but overjoyed that Santa had brought them so many nice presents and ate the treat that my nieces left for him and his reindeers.

Holly and Smokey also loved Christmas as they got lots of toys and treats that they spend time enjoying and eating. It’s always lovely to see them both jumping around and having fun.

This year, I aim to be more creative and hope not to take stress or get anxious as much as last year. Creatively I’ve started trying felting, adult book colouring. Besides, I’m looking forward to continuing my writing. I also hope to catch up on the books I didn’t get chance to read before Christmas as well as the books I got as presents on Christmas.

Besides, I’m looking forward to doing more blogging and welcome more wonderful authors to share their stories and inspiration on my blog…

I hope this year all my family, friends and pets stay well and have a lovely year. I hope they reach all their New Year goals and have a really happy 2018.

How was your Christmas? What did you all get up to? What are you looking forwards to most in 2018?

Wishing You All A Lovely 2018


Merry Christmas all (End of the Year Post.)

Merry Christmas all

End of the Year Post.

This year has been full of emotions and special moments for me. I can’t believe how fast it has gone and now we are near to Christmas. I hope your year has been lovely and mostly stress-free and that everyone has a wonderful Christmas with their family, pets, and friends.

Looking back over 2017, I’ve found that the start of my year was one of great sadness and needing to heal and get used to life without my believed dog and my Nan, as they both passed away just before the last Christmas and the beginning of the year felt very sad and everything a bit out of place around my home. However, great friends reminded me that even if one can’t see the people and pets that leave the earth they are always in our hearts and in the little things they taught us throughout the years of their life.

Halfway through the year, I was excited to meet my boyfriend and spend some magical moments with him. He is a wonderful guy and came a long way just to spend time with me and my two little monster cats—Smokey and Holly who really loved him after they had messed about with his things and got to know he brought them treats. I love him very much and I’m very blessed to have him in my life.


Also this year my Smokey got rather unwell and had to be sedated and sorted out. It was a horrible experience, but I feel very happy that he’s feeling better now and in time for Christmas as he just loves pulling things off the tree with his fellow house cat Holly and running in and out of tunnels like a cat on a mission. It’s lovely to see him happy again and I really hope the New Year brings good health for him and Holly.

I’ve also felt very cross and sad this year after ParcelForce failed to deliver my very special package my boyfriend sent me with a beautiful letter. I was saddened that they didn’t take responsibility for leaving their van exposed for someone to be able to just drive off with it and for the lack of communication on their part to the action they were taking. It also makes me sad that someone would take the van in the first place. I’m sure I’m not the only one hurt by this and in some way hoping that whoever stole the van and my package will return it. Even if it seems very unlikely, I guess I try and believe that people even if they do wrong could turn it around.

But I am very thankful to my family as we all are looking forward to Christmas, especially my nieces as their Elves are causing mayhem on Santa’s orders or baking cakes for them to help them prepare for Christmas Eve when Santa brings toys for the good girls like Imogen and Roseanna.

My friends have been wonderful this year, very supportive of my writing and making the year really special and lovely. I’m very lucky to have them and I hope they have a wonderful Christmas.

Thank you all who have been guests on my blog and opened my eyes to some great book. I’ve really enjoyed having you and I hope the coming year brings more reading and writing for us all.


Merry Christmas Everyone.

I hope you all have a magical one with lots of love and joy.

May the New Year bring more adventures and lovely moments.

Best Wishes




Interview with Anna from Twice the Speed of Dark.

Welcome Anna and a huge thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

1) Tell us a little about yourself. And what you are doing right now?

I am a retired art history lecturer.  There’s not much to tell. I used to love art, and no longer do. I used to be married and no longer am. I used to have a daughter.

I am sitting at my kitchen table, about to go for a walk through the woods at the back of my house.

2) How are you coping with the loss of your daughter? Do you have a certain way of coping you’d like to share.

I don’t think that is any of your business. But since you asked, I keep busy. It is depressing how little can make me feel these days as though I am busy.

3) I hear you write about the dead and forgotten? Could you tell us why and how this helps you?

I am not sure it helps, but how can we just ignore people? They had families, they had people who loved them. And we look at the news as if it is there to entertain us, and don’t even care to know their names.

4) If you could swap places with a fellow person you are with or have met, who would it be? And why?

I would go back fourteen years and swap with a version of myself. I would insist that I take the job offered to me by the University in Vancouver, I would insist that my family follow me, that my husband Michael would soon be established in Canada. I would insist that my teenage daughter did not need her friends or her school life here. I would take us all away so that she would never meet Ryan. I would make them follow me. I would not push my ambitions aside, I would not care that it wasn’t what they wanted. I would be selfish and it would save my daughter’s life.

5) What do you believe your main propose is in life? And how far will you go to achieve it?

I used to think my purpose was to bring a sense of wonder to my students, to give them the courage to let lose in the world, to care about art, to care about their own careers. I used to think my purpose was to love my family, to care for my husband and daughter.

None of those things are true anymore. I don’t think I have a purpose.

6) Do you think you’ll find love again after your split from your husband or has your marriage put you off men forever? If you did find love again what kind of man would you hope to fall in love with?

It hasn’t put me off men. It has put me off love. But who knows what life has in store for us? I don’t like being as lonely as I am. But then, there is very little I am prepared to do to change that, so I become accustomed to it.

7)  Have you done anything unforgivable to someone else? Was it out of love or revenge? Tell us about it.

Not yet. But much as I try to banish thoughts of that disgusting man, thoughts of revenge play through my mind every day. Believe me, I would make him understand what he owes.

8) What has been your favourite memory?

Memories are difficult because they reveal a happier time. The more favourite, the more difficult. So I will skip back further, perhaps not to a time that was my favourite but this memory has the advantage of being bearable. I was nine years old. My mother, busy with some chore or other, took me to the town library, gave me her card, and left me there for the whole afternoon. I sat on the floor with the art books, so big and heavy that they wouldn’t fit into my lap. I spent the whole afternoon lost in the pictures.

9) Do you believe or have you seen other world out there? If so what are they like or do you imagine them to be like.

There are other worlds in paintings, and I have believed in all of them. But they are so varied, so exquisitely personal that it is impossible for me to describe. Go to a gallery and see them for yourself.

10) What was your favourite thing about being an art history lecture?

I loved to dissect. I loved the operation of it, taking a painting or sculpture and exposing it to forensic examination. A process that equally demanded the dissection of our own view, our own expectations. Much of art is in the context. I miss that, the challenge, the arguments even. I miss caring about something enough to argue with my students or colleagues, I miss caring about anything as much as I used to care about that.

Buy link 



Social media 

Twitter @LRAllison77

Today I’m Very Excited to be Interviewing Lulu Allison About her New Novel Twice the Speed of Dark.

Today I’m very excited to be interviewing Lulu Allison

Welcome Lulu,  please tell us a little about yourself and yourself and Novel.

I am an artist turned writer. I started my first book in 2014 and this month it was, to my delight, published by Unbound.

What inspired you to write this novel?

Curiosity about the way we react to stories, the way we feel empathy. I wanted to know if we could or should care about the deaths of distant people, of people whose lives are a mystery. I think, in conclusion, that we should but at the same time, we can’t because it is too grueling.

Do you like to write on a computer, dictate or longhand?

Computer. I use Scrivener, because I like being able to see everything at once.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope reader grasp?

Twice the Speed of Dark started at the time of the Boston marathon bombing as an art project. It began with a question: Why did the news offer reasons to care about victims of the Boston bombing but didn’t give even the names of those who died in Iraq or Afghanistan? Why are some victims unseen and others offered up for public grieving? In response to this question I began what was at first an art project, writing portraits of the nameless victims in the news. During this time, I was going down the escalator in Victoria underground and I looked at the people going up the other way and felt a sudden surge of love or empathy for them – they would be the ordinary people killed in terror attacks, all of them would have complex, beautiful lives. That is why I turned the project into a book – to explore that further. So, it may not be exactly a message, more like drawing attention to something that seemed beautiful or important to me, to see how others would respond. The book grew into something different over the time I wrote it, but that is what is at its core.

Do you have a specific writing style? If so tell us about it.

I don’t feel accustomed enough to writing to know how to answer this. I am sure I do have a style, but I personally don’t know how to even see it, let alone describe it! I hope it will develop as I go.

Tell us what your muse looks like in three words?

Epic, ancient, wise

Are you a planner or write as you go writer?

Both, sometimes.

What are your current projects you are working?

I am writing a second novel called, provisionally, Wetlands. It is about connection to the land, a man in prison and the way different states or circumstances bleed into each other.

What’s have you found to be the most enjoyable part of writing a novel?

Turning thinking and wonder and curiosity into something.

Do you have any advice for writer out there that are writing their novel at this very moment?

Only this – do it. Find a way and do it. Good, bad, indifferent – do it. There is no magic answer that will make it work. There is only the work. But that is a wonderful thing.

Thank-you very much …… for doing this interview, it has been a pleasure to hear about your novel and writing. I for one can’t wait to read your next novel. I wish you all the luck with all your writing projects.

Thank you too, Katrina

Author Bio 
Lulu Allison has spent most of her life as a visual artist. She attended Central St Martin’s School of Art then spent a number of years travelling and living abroad. Amongst the bar-tending and cleaning jobs, highlights of these years include: in New Zealand, playing drums for King Loser and bass for Dimmer. In Germany, making spectacle hinges in a small factory and nearly designing the new Smurfs. In Amsterdam painting a landmark mural on a four storey squat. In Fiji and California, teaching scuba diving.
After a decade of wandering, she returned to the UK, where she had two children and focused on art. She completed a fine art MA and exhibited her lens-based work and site-specific installations in group and solo shows.
In 2013 what began as an art project took her into writing and she unexpectedly discovered what she should have been doing all along.
Twice the Speed of Dark is her first book. She is currently writing a second, called Wetlands.


   Where you can buy Twice The Speed Of Dark.

Social Media
Twitter @LRAllison77


My Review of Away For Christmas by Jan Ruth.

My Review


Away For Christmas by Jan Ruth.

I really enjoyed Away for Christmas by Jan Ruth. Jonathan is a really interesting character and his writing journey over many Christmases is interesting to follow. I like the contrast between what he imagined being a published author with a small publisher would be like, vs what it was truly like for him. I also liked how being self-published was painted in a good light. I think one of the clear things in Jonathan journey was expectation and discovery.

The story itself follows Jonathan as he quits his job and dedicates his life to his book. However, being published isn’t all he thought it would be and though his writing frustrations he loses his long-standing partner and also realised he’s not the father he should be. Will he be able to get his books? Rebuild his relationship with those he loves? Or will his life go down as fast as a sinking boat? Read this novella to find out.

One of my favourite characters was Jonathan’s daughter Lizzie, She’s bright and caring and values helping others.  I also loved Gwilym; I could just imagine him in his worldly bookshop stuck in the past among old timeless classics.

This is a great Christmas read, full of twists and turns and festive hope amidst harder times in Jonathan and his loved one’s lives.  If you love a good festive read with a real life feel and great characters to follow and seek to delve into a writer’s mind, you’ll love this novella.

Link. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076583YC6/ref=sr_1_1?tag=geolinker-21&s=digital-text Blurb

Jonathan Jones has written a novel. Losing his job a few days before Christmas means the pressure is on for his book to become a bestseller, but when his partner drops her own bombshell, the festive holiday looks set to be a disaster. 

When he’s bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town, it seems that some of his prayers have been answered, but his publishing company turn out to be not what they seem, and when his ex-wife suddenly declares her romantic intent, another Christmas looks set to be complicated. 

Is everything lost, or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo, and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book, and his skin?

Bookmuse Magazine: “If you’re a writer you will laugh, despair and sympathise with Jonathan Jones, and the trials and tribulations he faces as he battles to become a published author. And if you’re a reader, you’ll be captivated by the excellent story-telling that weaves Jonathan’s complicated life into a page turning drama. A real feel good novella, perfect to curl up with on a stormy winter’s afternoon…”

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Jojo Moyes, Jill Mansell, Erica James.

Ideal accompaniments: Hot chocolate with marshmallows and a plate of shortbread.

Welcome Today’s Guest Author Matt Wingett: Why I broke the rules when I wrote The Snow Witch

Why I broke the rules when I wrote The Snow Witch


Matt Wingett

The magic realist novel The Snow Witch by Matt Wingett tells the story of a refugee from Eastern Europe who finds her life under threat when she makes connections with the wrong person in a British seaside town. The book is filled with hallucination, obsession, lust, witchcraft and weaves together folklore, mythology and the real horrors of the war she escaped into a compelling mix. Its main villain, Riley, is cruel and violent, while Donitza is frozen by painful memories. When these two personalities collide, a story rich in magical symbolism and esoteric imagery unfolds.

Here, author Matt Wingett talks about the two characters at its centre, and how he decided to ignore the writer’s rule book when approaching both of them.

Whenever I hear people say that some rules in storytelling are sacrosanct,  I can’t help taking the bait and breaking them just to see if they’re right. That’s certainly true of two of the main ingredients of The Snow Witch.

The first far-too-often repeated maxim is: “Your villain must be identifiable”.

You know the sort of thing: the heartless psychopath has a soft spot for chihuahuas, or the killer hates doing what he’s doing and seeks absolution from a priest / shaman / psychotherapist, or the bully is kind to old ladies because they remind him of his dear old gran.

The second maxim is: “avoid the pathetic fallacy”. For those who don’t know, that’s when the rain falls at the point in the story where the lovers break up, or the dawn rises just as a new chapter in the characters’ lives begin, or the depressing fog falls just at the moment of most despair.

The problem with both these rules that are used to alternatively badger and bully writers is actually they’re born of descriptions of some bad uses of both tropes, they’re not law. The problem is, too often, these sorts of rules are treated as law, and that’s when I get annoyed.

There’s no doubt many stories have two-dimensional villains who should be rewritten to make them interesting. But making them identifiable can be a shortcut you take instead of making them more real. Through identifiability, you’re meant to be offering the reader an “in” to their psychology, but instead, you’re just giving them more amusing and eccentric behaviour that doesn’t really tell you about them.

I wondered, if I wrote my villain’s psychology well enough, then wouldn’t the fact he is a screwed up, sadistic bastard become interesting in itself? Isn’t the other interesting too?

Then there’s that question of who we are making our villains identifiable to? Who am I as a writer to assume that none of our readers are sadistic bastards? Maybe the villain we’re written is identifiable, even as he is… to someone you wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night, alone.

Then there’s the final problem with identifiability. You do it badly, and you end up taking away from the villain’s nastiness. In the end, they become reasonable in their evil. Yet, sometimes, evil is unreasonable. In fact, sometimes, it’s worse because it appears to have no cause. So, you can see why I was willing to try having a pure villain. One who is not redeemed or redeemable.

That’s why I do not ask my readers to like Riley, even if we do understand him. Sure, there’s a cliche that the devil is a charmer, but actually, how more sinister is the devil as pure malevolence that is not fully fathomable? Just so with Riley. We are here to bear witness to the petty cruelties he performs and the misery he causes.

As for the pathetic fallacy, isn’t that really a fancy way of saying the weather is a metaphor? And who would say “never use a metaphor”? In the The Snow Witch, I gave the central character, Donitza, a frozen inner world, and that is what manifests in the bleak snowscapes in the world outside.

Surely it’s what you do with that white powder falling from the sky that makes the read interesting? To be banned from using it because sometimes people do it badly, that is plain silly, isn’t it?

This has been my approach throughout The Snow Witch – to create a magical, mystical world that is also real, hard and cruel. Symbol echoes symbol, archetype reflects archetype. The magic weaves its way through the story and grips you in its icy unforgivingness. I hope – and I’m being told by reviewers- that the result is a fresh, dark, gritty and disturbing tale.

That was the plan, anyway. What do you think?

Author Bio

Matt Wingett is an author, performer, songwriter, publisher and screenwriter. He has written episodes of police tv drama The Bill, stage plays and short stories. He also wrote Conan Doyle and the Mysterious World of Light, an account of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s belief in Spiritualism and has published several books on local history relating to his hometown of Portsmouth, and is also a public speaker on this and other topics.

Matt finds the mysterious, fantastical and magical have a powerful attraction for him, and most of his stories incorporate magic realism or fantasy in some way. He was editor and contributor to Portsmouth Fairy Tales for Grown-Ups, Day of the Dead – tales of death and dying to disturb perturb and delight, and is the publisher of Dark City, Portsmouth Tales of Haunting and Horror, which was published in conjunction with the University of Portsmouth.

He is also the organiser of HolmesFest, an annual celebration of the life of Arthur Conan Doyle in Portsmouth.

Buy links:

The book is available in paperback or hardback, post-free in the UK
direct from the publisher’s website, here:


It is also available from Waterstones, Blackwells, WHSmith and other
good bookshops.

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Welcome Today Guest Wendy Clarke To Tell Us About Her Story Collection Silent Night…

Weaving Memories of Christmas into My Stories

When it comes to Christmas, I’m certainly not a ‘Bah Humbug!’ type of person. Why would I be when there’s so much to love? After all, if it wasn’t for the festive season, I would never have written my story collection, Silent Night. All the stories in the book were written for national magazines and every one of them has been inspired by a Christmas memory – maybe a recent one, but more likely, one from my childhood.

So, what are my favourite festive memories and how did I weave them into my book?

The Christmas Tree

When I was a child, my parents had two Christmas trees. Both were artificial, one green, one silver. They stood about two feet high but were never taken out of the attic until Christmas Eve. The silver one stood on a table in our hallway and was decorated with simple, tiny coloured balls, but it was the green one, in the living room, that was my favourite. Every year, the box of decorations came out and my sister and I had the thrilling job of decorating it. There were shiny balls of every colour, snowflakes, fir cones sprayed silver, snowmen and bells we’d made out of egg boxes. There was even a drunken fairy for the top. How we loved it! The Christmas tree I have now is a hotch-potch of colours, handing with homemade decorations and swathed in garish tinsel. Nothing’s changed!

Christmas trees feature in several of my stories. In ‘A Christmas Present called Abbie’, absent father John’s Christmas consists of going to the pub, so he’s left floundering when his eight-year-old daughter comes to stay with him while her mother’s in hospital. Her words, ‘Where’s the tree?’ says it all.

When Bella’s husband in my story, ‘On My Own’, produces a spreadsheet to organize Christmas Day, she rebels by renting a cottage by the sea for the festive period. ‘The tree jauntily displays its home-made decorations: silver fir cones, golden flower heads and white cut out snowflakes shimmering with glitter. It is a far cry from the white and pink baubles we bought in Selfridges.’ Her Christmas tree is just like the one from my childhood memory!

Christmas Carols

One of my best childhood memories is carol singing with my sister and a friend. I was in the school choir and insisted we did all the harmonies. I think those who heard us were surprised and maybe even a little impressed. For ten years now, I’ve belonged to my local women’s choir and every year we have a Christmas concert with carols in the church. Can you guess which one is my favourite? Yes, you’re right… it’s Silent Night. Here’s a snippet from the story that gives my collection its name.

‘Around them, the red tips of other cigarettes could be seen glowing in the dark. He leaned back on his elbows and looked up at the night sky. It was a clear night, the great dome of the sky arcing above them, studded with stars.

“That’s Orion.” He pointed to where three stars cut a diagonal across the black. “There’s his belt. Odd to think that other people might be looking at him too.”’

Christmas songs also feature in my story, ‘A Song for Christmas’. Cal’s visiting his girlfriend’s young son in hospital. He’s hoping his song might help him bond with little Ben.

‘”This song,” I said, looking at the little boy with the grey eyes just like his mother’s, “is called Dinky Dino Hates Christmas.” I strummed the first chord slowly and put on my gravest voice as I began. “Have you met my pet called Dinky… his covered in spots and his feet are stinky…”

Maybe not exactly the song my sister and I sang on our friends’ doorsteps on Christmas Eve!

Playing in the Snow

Well, okay, maybe not actually playing in it (it wasn’t often we got any) but the idea of it. Even today, I love receiving Christmas cards with a snowy scene on the front and it’s not surprising I chose a fir tree covered in snow for the cover of Silent Night. Snowy trees, snowmen, snow angels – the memories I have of those infrequent snowy days are still special to me.

In my story, ‘The Memory Purse’, Mr Bhadu has fond memories of his life back in India but the one thing he’s never done is built a snowman.

‘I was twenty-three and wanted to make a better life for myself and for my wife, Neeta. My cousin had gone before me – he used to send home books for us children to read. My favourite was the one about a snowman who came to life. I’d never seen a snowman. I’d never seen snow.’

For the grandmother in my wartime story, Do You Believe in Angels, a snowy day in her past also holds special memories.

‘Laughing, she threw herself back and the snow received her like a heavenly cloud. For a moment they lay there, side by side on the white lawns, snow falling softly onto their faces. Then a great happiness came over her and she raised her arms in an ark above her head and back down, leaving an imprint in the snow… like wings.’

There are so many other memories I’ve used in my story collection but it would take too long to mention them all. What special Christmas memories do you have?

Wendy Clarke – Biography

Wendy Clarke is a writer of women’s fiction. Her work regularly appears in national women’s magazines such as The People’s Friend, Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly. She has also written serials and a number of non-fiction magazine articles.

Wendy has published three collections of short stories, Room in Your Heart, The Last Rose and Silent Night and has just finished writing her second novel.

Wendy lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!