Saturday, 28 January 2017


It's all around us, apparently. So why can't I find any when I need it? A blank page can be exciting, it can also be challenging. But without inspiration its emptiness is damning. Which is where I'm at just now.

So I thought I would look back to see what inspired me to write past stories which have sold successfully.

My first to be published with The People's Friend was called 'Take a Break' - yes, I did sell a story with the title of a rival magazine. That was inspired by an 80 year old plate in my mother's china cabinet which is the sole survivor of an incident when as a child she accidentally pulled the kitchen cupboard over and smashed all the crockery, except for this one plate.

My husband's determination to complete Killer Sudoku puzzles was the trigger for 'The Numbers Game', bought by Woman's Weekly.

A family joke describing laundry as the 'joy of socks' led to a story which sold to Yours.

Another laundry inspired task came to me while ironing with an ear worm of 'Dashing away with a smoothing iron' repeating in my head. That was published by The Weekly News under the title 'Dashing Away'.

So, apparently I need to focus on destructive children, puzzle obsessives and housework.

Maybe I'll just have another cup of coffee and a biscuit while I think about this. Anybody have any ideas to spare?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


I haven't written much in the last few months. But on January 1st I vowed to change all that. New Year, new start, etc. My plan was to ease myself back in with a fresh blog post every week, to try a few bits of flash, reader's letters, etc. Then to move on up to writing short stories again on a regular basis.
Then my computer died and all my good intentions fell apart. In high dudgeon I took what couldn't be saved to the tip and Freecycled the best of it. I've not written anything since (unless Facebook and Twitter count?). 

But truthfully I never had a valid excuse not to return to my desk. What did writers use before computers were invented? Good old fashioned pen and paper of course. I still have plenty of those.

Then typewriters - not that I'd dare use this antiquity which belongs to my brother. It's purely decorative but it acts as a reminder of why I like my modern keyboard so much.

So I've bought a new computer which was installed yesterday. Now I have no excuse. The hardware is all set up. Here I go. Ready, steady... write!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Gate of the Year

The new year can be exciting, full of possibilities - successes, new discoveries, plans to be made. But it can be scary too. Who knows what problems lie before us? A poem I learned as a child comes to my mind each January.

I love the imagery of a guiding hand being "better than light and safer than a known way". The poem was written by Minnie Louise Haskins who died in 1957. I wrote about her in my recent article which is published in The People's Friend Special 133. Minnie unwittingly became an overnight celebrity when King George VI quoted from her poem in his address to the Commonwealth in December 1939.

The words of the poem would have provided comfort to many in the early days of the Second World War. As you stand at the gate of 2017, I hope that, whatever your faith, you will find strength and courage to embrace everything that the new year has in store.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year.