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Good Morning everyone! Happy Sunday! welcome back to the blog, if you're new, a very warm welcome to you!

May is a funny month to me, Spring seems like it has finally arrived, albeit with a rainy, damp beginning, but this is British weather so I don't really expect anything less. Spring equals a new start for me as it does every year, but it holds sadness in that my mom would've celebrated her birthday this month - something that hasme planning a new memorial. 

Spring's new beginning for me this year is some new novels in my head that are itching to reach paper and I'm giddy with excitement over them. These are paranormal romance - a genre I do love reading and these are soemthing a little different. I'm not giving too much away as I don't want to allow expectations to build up only for disappointment if the books don't meet expectations (mine or yours). I have high hopes of things changing for me this year and this includes with my writing. 

So my new books are a series of 6, split into 2 smaller sets of 3 - they center around family groups is why that is, but the characters will cross over. I've been writing out my characters, ideas I have about who they are, what I want them to be and what it is that they're telling about themselves - I know the last part sounds strange, but any author will tell you, the characters speak to you, they tell you how they want to be written. 

I'm including some nifty (if I do say so myself) sub plots to keep the action going and keeping things interesting. I'm even writing a little lore for the characters based on who they are and the type of books that I'm writing and this is exciting for me, I am putting together something for my own little fictional realm that makes perfect sense to me, works very well with the characters and keeps a tradition there, that while only exists in fiction, seems realistic enough that it could be true in the real world too. 

I've written an autobiography too, "On The Brink Of Sanity". This is very much in a rough first draft stage and is very heavy on the short hand notes, scribbled down furiously to get things out of my head before i forgot them. I'll fill it out more and detail in where necessary later on, but for now, it is waiting in the background for the time when I'm ready to tackle it again. 

In the meantime, I'm enjoying my new work, I'll keep you posted on my progress as always - hopefully I'll  be brave enough to face an editor and publisher soon!

Whatever else you're doing, stay safe and look after each other! As always, Keep Reading! x

Good Evening everyone! Welcome back to the blog. 

Shocking news received on Friday here in the UK - HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has sadly passed away. My thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences go to Her Majesty and all of the family during this very sad time.

I suppose this news encourages reflection on life and how short it can be. 

I have discovered how theraputic writing an autobiography is. I've had a lot going on in my life and I thought it would be an idea to write is out and get it out of my head once and for all. I kept it all anonymous, but I am aware that the content will upset some people more than others. I'm contemplating publishing, but not sure if anyone would actually want to read it. 

I didn't realise how freeing it would feel to just get it all out and down onto paper. Yes, it is in shorthand at the moment, in brief as there's some things I can't reveal and don't want to think about more than I have to, but I'm sure a professional would have an absolute field day if they ever got ahold of the book! Honestly, you couldn't make up half of what I have been through - I should know. 

I've been busy adding more recipes to the cook book my other half wanted my to write. Of course it is a first version, in an old notebook, scribbled down as I remember them. No pictures in sight yet, but I'm sure I'm pulish that when it is ready!

I'm keeping this short today, I'm working on my day job tomorrow and I have to get my bits and pieces set up again (I pack it all away on a week off so i have a break!). 

Whatever else you're doing, stay safe, look after each other and as always, Keep Reading! x 

Happy Sunday! Welcome back to the blog, I'm happy to see you. I hope you're all well and coping with the various lockdowns and so on. 

I'm on the CEV list (some odd reason that doesn't make an ounce of sense) so I'm technically shielding at the moment. I've been keeping myself busy though, been baking "proper" bread for the first time since I was 15. 3rd week in a row I've set on and made a loaf and this one looks as good as the others, so I'm really pleased with myself. 

Bookwise, you'll be pleased to hear I'm writing in full steam again. I have two new books on the go at the moment, one my other half is calling my 'life story' and a new fiction book that again features a twist in the way I'm writing it. I'm really pleased with progress so far, my plans are coming along and I really think the books will be good - I really need to get the courage together to get them published! 

Please understand why I don't want to give too much in the way of detail. I'm still in the drafting stages of the books and I don't want to tell you a lot of things about the book in case it doesn't come out the way I want it to - not only will I be disappointed, but so will you.

My other half has announced he has a new favourite "cake" that I've made recently - a chocolate orange cheesecake. Really quick and easy, but heavy on the calories so kiss goodbye to your diet for the day if you make one. 

For the base: I used chocolate digestive biscuits, but you can use whatever you prefer. mix the crushed biscuits with melted butter and mix so they become the consistency of sand. pour into the base of the tin or baking dish you're using for the cheesecake and press down to line the bottom. Put this into the fridge to chill while you sort the filling. 

For the filling: Now is the time to multi task. In a bain Marie (bowl over a pan of simmering water), melt 210grams of dark chocolate with 1 teaspoon of orange extract. In a small bowl mix 2 small tubs of plain soft cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar - the cream cheese will go really soft. Remember - you must use the full fat version or the cheesecake won't set properly. In another bowl whisk 2 small pots (500mls in total) double cream - I used Elmlea - until stiff peaks - don't over whisk or you'll end up with butter. Take the melted chocolate off the pan and set aside. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the cream with a spatula and then add the melted chocolate and fold in until completely combined. 

Now to make the cheesecake. Grab the base from the fridge - it will have set. pour the filling over the base and spreadout evenly. Put the cheesecake into the fridge and walk away - it needs 3 hours minimum to set nicely (overnight is better still). of course if you want to try your cheesecake filling, there's bound to be some left on the spatula you can sample! Enjoy - but remember, this is a rich cheesecake and you don't need a lot of it at any one time. 

Okay, that's all from me for now - I have books to write. Whatever you're doing please stay safe, look after each other!

Take care, and as always, Keep Reading! x



Good Morning! Welcome back.

If you haven't already guessed by the title of this, it is finally snowing in London. Not just any snow either, this is the kind that settles and makes a beautiful white blanket all over, making it look like everything is ok with the world. 

Since I was a child, the one thing I have always loved to do is watch the snow come down. Even better, is when it is doing what it's doing now, the big snowflakes falling softly but thickly to the ground. 

I know, snow on the ground is all well and good until it begins to melt and then freezes, turning even the most regular paths into veritable skating rinks, and the risks of broken and bruised limbs is an ever present problem, but just for 5 minutes looks out of your windows, watch the snow fall and take in a deep breath. When the snow falls, all is right with the world, there's nothing but the calm that snowfall can bring. 

Actually, the snow here caught me by surprise. One minute I'm munching toast and making plans for my days writing, nothing in the sky but grey clouds and what looked to be the threat of rain, the next thing, I look up and there's huge snowflakes falling! The child in me squeaked and got all excited by the snow, whereas the adult in me, even one of my age (not sure I'm that old) had a minor panic moment and vowed not to go out for fear of slipping over and hurting myself. Not to mention, my snowboots are not something I have handy to wear.

Call me sappy, but I think there's something romantic about being snuggled up in the warm with your loved ones, mugs of hot chocolate (with whippy cream and marshmallows). 

Right, I have some writing to do, and a mug of coffee to make. Stay safe, stay warm, look after each other and as always, Keep Reading xx 

Good Morning! Welcome back to the blog. 

On social media, I'm part of a fiction writing group and I've seen a lot of questions popping up lately regarding what to write, how to overcome writer's block and so on. I know I've covered something of this before, but it always worth revisiting from time to time. 

General good advice is to write about what you know. It is pointless choosing a subject to write about that you have no experience of yourself as this will only serve to do two things; firstly it will add more stress and strain to you as the writer and two, you as the writer will very quickly become disenfranchised, bored and will lose all interest in writing the piece. In short, it is not worth your time choosing to write a piece on Rocket Science unless you happen to work in that field or have a working knowledge of it. 

Of course, that being said, there would be nothing stopping you from completing courses to learn the topic that you want to write about, but think whether you want to write the subject badly enough to do that - taking a course alone is a substantial commitment of time and effort (not to mention the cost of the course), so be sure that this is something that you want to do. 

If there was to be a benefit to the whole pandemic mess it is that whilst we're subject to various lockdowns and restrictions, we have the time to study, time to write, time to try that something new that we wouldn't always find the time to do before the pandemic hit. After all, we all live busy lives, when are we meant to fit in writing/studying and so on in between holding down that full time job, and juggling goodness knows what else. 

Before you ask, I am doing the exact thing I've been talking about. Since May 2020 I've been completing some Diploma courses online. I'm 3 modules away from completing a Diploma in Genealogy, and over the Christmas break I've picked up both my Egyptology and Greek Mythology courses and I've been working on those, and I'm up to Module 4 of 10 on both. 

I can hear the sighs and the "lucky you" from here. Why did I choose those subjects? They fascinate me. I've always been interested in the subjects and sadly you don't find them covered in High School/Senior School curriculum. I'm also considering a future book that I've been planning to write for a long time time, where my main character is meant to be something of an expert in the field. How can I write a character such as that if I can't make them sound like they know what they're talking about? 

So my taking the courses that I'm completing serves a dual purpose, I'm learning something on subjects I'm already fascinated with (and gaining Diplomas to boot), and I will be able to write books featuring the new somethings that I know. 

I'm well aware that this won't work for everybody and I would urge you to find the something that works for you by trying different methods. The same can be said for overcoming the dreaded "Writer's Block". There are some that beleive that this is, in itself, fictitious, an excuse to not write, but for those who become stuck, or 'blocked' the affliction is very much a reality. 

Having gone through blocks a few times myself, I found the easiest way for me to keep going is to have a number of things on the go at once, and not all about the same subject. I use a new notebook for each new novel idea, I write in different coloured pens or even pencil and I sit in different places when I work on different things. I might write a scene or chapter for one piece and then move on and write something on another. I might find I work better on one particular piece if I'm sat on the sofa, laptop on my knee or another if I'm sat on the bed. 

This is just what I have found works for me but remember, everyone is different. I know it can be tough, hard going, but only you know what you are comfortable with. When I'm writing my blogs or book reviews for example, I'm generally sat (as I am now) on the end of the bed, using the keyboard shelf of the desk as a perch for my laptop and I have view out across the balcony to the street below so I can watch the world go by as I work (or at least hear the world go by as we're 2 stories up). 

Here's a secret no-one knows. I have a draft novel in planning that is a fantasy novel - not something I have written before. Where did my idea spring from? Well the flat I'm in at the moment happens to sit in the flight path to two airports so Airplanes are going overhead at regular intervals - I don't mind, I'm a geek who loves the physics of the whole thing (but I digress). One particular day I happened to be sitting looking out of the window and watched as two or three planes passed overhead and I thought, "does anyone else think that looking up at planes going over is like looking at the underbelly of a dragon?". The general shape of the planes, wingspan and so on. Next time you see a plane going overhead, look up and see if you can see it too. 

Try out something new for your next project. Take a notebook (or your laptop/tablet) to a different place in your home that you don't normally sit to write and just sit. Look around you. Do you see the room in a new perspective now? I changed the postion of the sofa in the living room from a side wall to the back wall and the first time I sat on it after that I was surprised by how different the room looked from that position. Sometimes, seeing a room or a view from a different position helps you to open your mind to new thoughts. Yes, the comfort of the same old, same old, is a routine we like to keep, but don't be closed off to a change. 

Ok, lecture over for today. Take care, look after each other, stay safe. As always, Keep Reading! x