Thursday, March 31, 2011


Hello world.  I just thought I'd say hello because I've picked up a few new followers over the last couple of weeks and I promise I'm trying to get round to all your blogs to have a read and a comment but it's taking time.

If you have been here a while and you think I might have missed you, feel free to remind me here and I'll make a special effort. I'm not the most organised of people (I think my writing reflects that a bit) so I might have missed some of you. But I swear it's not on purpose. I'm a natural blonde!

Meanwhile THANK YOU to all my LONG TERM FOLLOWERS for your kindness, loyalty and patience.
I appreciate each and every one of you!

And the same applies to you. If you think I've been absent too much lately, give me a nudge and I'll call round at your blog to say Hi!.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Succinctly Yours - Microfiction on a Monday

I've decided to take part in a microfiction challenge.
It's happening over at Grandma's Goulash and you can write either 140 characters or 140 words, based on a photo provided by Grandma. You also have the option to include a Word of the Week. So this week's word is CATER and this is the photo:  (Thanks to Akelamalu for tracking this down!)
Please don’t sit in Charlie’s armchair. We cater for everyone’s wishes here and he hates sharing.

Of course he’s been dead five years.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reading the classics

Thanks to the very entertaining Nature of Magic Blogfest I have encountered some great new people, including co-host Tessa who has made a pledge to read 12 classics this year. Now that seems like a very good idea to me.

Given that I received 100 free e-books when I bought my new e-reader this is the perfect opportunity for me.  I read a lot of classics at school because I had to, and I can't say I enjoyed them all that much. So there's a few I want to go back to and try again now that I'm a grown up!

One of the first on my list is Silas Marner, although I admit I have already read a part-finished work by Dickens this weekend called A Message From the Sea, which I'm going to count. Beyond that I don't know. I've never read The Great Gatsby and I think I should.

I shall keep you informed how I get on.

This will provide a link that tells you a bit more:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Once Upon a Time 2: Real Magic

See The Nature of Magic Blogfest at Diamond's Blog

Once upon a time, yes we are having another one of those stories. Why? Because that’s how they always start and it is just a way of telling you that you are about to hear a story, so that you settle down and listen.

Once upon a time there was a castle in the middle of a big town where Lord and Lady Avarici lived with their family. They had three daughters, Isabella, Coronella and Cinderella. So you think now you’ve heard the names that you know the story? Well, maybe so, but you’re probably wrong so keep listening.

The three sisters were all of marriageable age, which in the case of this type of story means anything over about twelve, but Isabella and Coronella were twins and they were a year older than Cinderella. That meant that the two older girls were expected to share everything and dress alike but she had lots of new clothes and shoes and jewellery all to herself.  Cinderella was also naturally blonde and rather pretty, which she was quite fond of pointing out to people.

Like everyone who gets things without much effort, Cinderella really did not appreciate the value of her clothes and finery and she spent a lot of time in the castle kitchens sitting around the fireplace getting filthy as well as being in the way of the staff who all hated her. The exception was a page boy who fancied himself and thought if he sucked up to the boss’s daughter he might make a bit of money out of it.

Well, one day Lady Avarici heard that there was going to be a huge party and the Prince was going to be invited. Of course she needed her daughters to meet some eligible bachelors if she was ever going to get them married off. She bought them all lovely new clothes with matching outfits for the twins but Cinderella insisted on something much more elegant and expensive.

On the day of the ball Cinderella was hogging the bathroom when there was a “whoosh” and a very strange woman appeared in the twins’ bedroom. She wore ragged, black clothes, leaned on a stick, and was the hairiest person the girls had ever seen. She even had a beard!

“Who are you?” the twins asked, together, and the woman said: “I’m your Furry Godmother, of course!”

“Erm, shouldn’t you be more sort of, sparkly," said Isabella, "and wearing posher clothes?” said Coronella.

“That’s PR for you. It’s all image these days isn’t it? Well no, I’m a real magic worker and real magic isn’t pretty and twinkly, it’s hard-working and practical. I am here to grant you each a wish, so what do you want?”

The twins asked for five minutes to think it over. They huddled in a corner and compared notes then came back and announced: ”We would like to meet two nice young men tonight who will love us and make us good husbands, please.”

“Sounds simple enough,” the Godmother said and waved her stick over their heads. Nothing happened and the girls thought perhaps it was some sort of joke that Cinderella had arranged but they were polite and said thank you and the Godmother went away.

Later, at the party, Cinderella shone and caught the eye of the Prince who danced with her all evening and ended up asking her to marry him and she accepted without a moment’s thought.

The twins, however, spent a lot of time talking to two young lords from a neighbouring city, who were also twins and would one day share their parents’ wealth. They were not particularly handsome but they were kind and funny and fell instantly in love with the girls.

And so the twins got their wish. Within a year they were both married and living in a very large castle in the nearby town and they lived contentedly ever after with husbands who loved them and cherished them and believed them both to be beautiful.

Cinderella got her Prince and went off to live in the Palace in the capital city but it was a cold place and the Prince’s grandfather had gambled away much of the family wealth so there was no money to improve it.

And what did the Prince get? He married a beautiful but spoiled young woman who became very bitter when she realised he could not afford to buy her fine clothes and shoes and jewellery.  And when she was bitter she was really rather ugly. So the Prince took up with the page boy, who, against all the odds, loved him for what he was and not what he owned.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh my! What have I done?

I swear I fought it. I wasn't going to do this. But I've fallen for it. After trying to track down an old book online and finding that it was no longer available in print I realised that the only way forward was electronic.

I promise I didn't mean to. I thought I'd never get used to the idea of reading anything but a block of printed paper in my hand. Not so. I have been seduced by a lightweight (about the same as a bag of barleysugars) shiny, silver siren and promises of free books. FREE BOOKS!

Yes folks, I can now hold in my hand around 100 (because I haven't uploaded any more yet) classics. I have the complete works of Dickens, ditto for Oscar Wilde, some Austen, Brontës, poetry, plays, and novels I haven't even heard of - let alone read!

And it's easy. So easy to read from the machine. A touch of my finger turns the pages and it feels so good.
I have crossed to the dark side

fff55: Time zones

Where does it go
That  hour that we lose each spring?
Just as we return to rising after dawn
We are plunged back to morning darkness.
The evenings become longer.
But those hours are lost in
All those after-work chores:
Commuting, cooking, cleaning,
Eating, sleeping, living life.
Where does it go?
Where does time go?

The clocks go forward this weekend  in the UK....... snore!

FFF55 is a weekly challenge to write something in exactly 55 words. 
It's hosted over at the G-Man's blog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The joy of subs

It's not obvious to me why - possibly because I was a journalist for 13 years - but I tend to be a little touchy when it comes to the use of language. Bad writing makes me angry.

When you are a trainee journalist (or at least - 35 years ago when I was a trainee journalist) you are taught not to make basic errors because your copy goes through a lot of stages before it sees daylight in a newspaper. (Many more than the stages it then goes through to end up wrapped round fish and chips!)

At every stage you are likely to be hauled (verbally) from your desk and bawled out publicly to 'teach you a lesson'.

The copy correction process is called subbing, because it is carried out by sub-editors, known as subs, and everyone who ever worked in newspapers understands that.

Today I read a blog comment about editing a novel and the writer kept using the word 'subbing'. It confused me, because they didn't mean subbing - they meant submitting.  And my subs always used to tell me that if your writing confuses the reader - it's bad.

Do you want to know the really depressing thing? This person is a published author. A 'proper' novelist. Clearly the people at the publishers haven't put them straight on what subbing really is. Perhaps they don't know either, which is deeply disturbing for me because it carries a worrying implication.

Maybe I shall never be a novelist because it seems I don't speak the same language any more.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Now all I have to do is finish writing it...

I had a parcel in the post yesterday. This is what was in it:

Some time ago I won a competition hosted over at the wonderful Year of Writing Dangerously by the equally wonderful Michael G-G. This was my prize!
I would just like to say
for choosing me as the winner.
(A quick scan has already informed me that my current WIP is around 25,000 words short.  That's almost half as many again then.............. Back to the keyboard AJ!)

Thanks again Michael. I promise to make good use of it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sleepless in Milton Keynes

Mistaking them for cliffs
The crows have nested
In the cracks and ledges
Of this concrete edifice.
Nine storeys up
I share their view,
Overlooking city lights
And watching traffic signals
Change. Red amber, green,
And red.
No darkness marks this night.
Bright street lights line up
On the blue below.
Ranks and files denote
The squared-off plan of roads.
They do not sleep - the crows -
But caw incessantly, gently
To each other. All night.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh dear - scared now!

I just entered my first writing competition (as a grown-up, that is).
I think I need LOTS of reassurance, chocolate and red wine!

The picture is, of course Edvard Munch's The Scream. Sorry if I've broken any copyright laws by using it.

FFF55. We are not A-muse-d

My muse has not been striking.
In fact she went on strike.
In spite of all my efforts
I find I can not write.
Blank paper is a barrier
Too high for me to climb.
No sharp, inspired storyline
No breath of poem’s rhyme.
My usually prolific stream
Of words has dried up like


Yes folks - I've had a grim week word-wise! I hope next week is more inspirational. 

If you're looking for more (and better) words than these you can find them arranged in 55s over at the G-Man's blog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Holiday Reading

I’m going on holiday soon to an area that I’ve never visited before. We’re off to Hastings, and one of the things I always do before any vacation is to research what’s there and who used to live in the area. After I’ve done that I try to find some holiday reading that is relevant to where I’m staying.

Apparently Dickens was fond of Hastings and gave readings at the old music hall (which is now a Yates’s Wine Lodge). The source I’m using online says “Hastings features in many of his works” but fails to identify which ones.

Another son of Hastings appears to have been Lewis Carroll who, in spite of being born in Cheshire, spent time there as a student with his good friend the artist Harry Furniss.

Catherine Cookson moved to Hastings as a young woman when she became laundry manageress of the local workhouses (later a hospital) and was married in the town. She’s a Northerner really though, and most of her books, as far as I am aware, are set in Northumberland (or at least Tyneside and higher latitudes).

Dante Gabriel Rosetti stayed in Hastings in the 1860s and apparently married Elizabeth Siddall there but he’s an artist. I suppose I could find something non-fiction about him and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood but it’s not really what I want.

Six miles east of where we’ll be staying is the town of Rye, which also has a lot of literary connections. The town lays claim to several such as Henry James, Joseph Conrad, H G Wells, G K Chesterton and E F Benson, who wrote the Mapp and Lucia series.

So what does everyone think?  Which of the many literary giants with links to East Sussex should I choose?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bantrum (unreal words generated by spam filters)

Over on my other blog, before I set up this Wordsmith version, I launched a page called Bantrum. I started out collecting the 'words' that are generated by spam filters. Bantrum was one of them and it seemed to sum up the whole concept really. So I collected, and I translated them and turned them into my own mini dictionary. I've given each of them a definition. If you decide to go over and take a look at them I think you might enjoy it. Oh - and when you get to horse it really did offer me that as 'random' letters!

The picture is a detail from a sculpture:
House of Knowledge
Jaume Plensa
Part of the Beyond Limits exhibition at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, 2008

Monday, March 14, 2011

I love you

I love you.
How often have I heard that phrase
Drifting from the lips of so-called lovers?
They said it and I thought I heard
And yet I never really did.
Perhaps I have always been deaf.
Or they never really spoke.
But you do. 
I can hear our love in the silence.

Most of you know who this is for. I don't do poetry very often but once in a while the muse strikes me.

Friday, March 11, 2011


We went out last night to buy a take-away. We live in a village but there's a string of shops between us and the Chinese so we always window shop as we go along the street. And last night we encountered this little gem that is for sale in our local florist.

Now, I know all about the greengrocer's apostrophe and I fully accept that a lot of the people running market stalls are neither natural English speakers nor particularly well educated (even in their native lands) but this is different. Someone went to the trouble of embroidering this little error and presumably these bears are all over the country somewhere if they have been distributed widely by the manufacturer.

I have two basic questions. One is: Why the hell, if you are going to the trouble of manufacturing something with words on, would you not go to the trouble of checking your spelling? This is not a typo. This is someone who does not know the difference between your and you're. (And presumably yore - they probably don't even know that's a word.)

My second question is: If you run a shop and your (or should I say you'r?) supplier provides you with this little lovely. Why the hell don't you send it back and refuse to take delivery?

Many years ago I was involved in the production of a children's colouring sheet. It had a phrase on it (I'm not saying what or it will identify where I worked at the time and that's not fair) that included a plural. On the day it came back from the printer for final proofing I was on holiday. And someone else decided that the plural needed an apostrophe. Next time I saw the thing it was one of several thousand in box loads in our store room. I was devastated. And, needless to say, our extremely well educated customer base refused to buy them. They ended up being pulped. A waste of time, energy, money and natural resources that I have never quite got over.

FFF55. The pitfalls of a new business venture

When Smith and Hudson decided to set themselves up as art thieves and chose to advertise (in only the right places of course) that they could steal anything to order, it never occurred to them that their first commission would be a half-ton naked marble woman from a fountain in front of the town hall!

FFF55 is a weekly challenge to write a story in exactly 55 words. Take a trip over to see the G Man for more examples of the Flash art!

The photo is of a sculpture in the centre of Birmingham (UK) she's affectionately known as 'the floozie in the jacuzzi' but I think she's actually supposed to be some form of river goddess. As far as I know, nobody has ever tried to steal her!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Great Transworld Crime Caper 3: The Business of Dying by Simon Kernick

I've been very lucky to have been accepted to take part in the Great Transworld Crime Caper and that gave me the chance to read and review three novels from their catalogue.  This is number three.  If you'd like to read the other reviews too, they are linked at the bottom of the page.

A writer friend once told me that all the best stories start with a great "what if?" and that might explain what makes The Business of Dying such a riveting read. It begins with one of the best "what if?" assumptions I have ever encountered. What if a mid ranking police officer became so disillusioned with his job that he decided to moonlight as a professional hitman? It's a thrilling place to start a book because within a few pages three men have been murdered in a gangland style killing and the reader does not discover that the gunman is actually Detective Sergeant Dennis Milne until a roadblock forces him to use his warrant card to escape. (Unless you read the jacket blurb, of course.)

It soon becomes obvious that he has been set up, however, when news reports reveal that the dead men were customs officers, rather than the drug dealers he thought he had assassinated. In spite of his part-time occupation Milne is not a bad man. He joined the force to help remove some baddies from the world. He began executing them only after it became clear that modern policing was unlikely to have any long term effect on crime rates or to apprehend the real offenders. There is some interesting and thought provoking discussion on how he justifies his double life and readers are left wondering whether, in the same circumstances, they might not be driven to doing the same thing.

Given that Milne is a senior detective it is no surprise that bodies arrive thick and fast in this tale, and not all as a result of his handiwork. There is enough police procedure to satisfy the amateur sleuths who want to work out for themselves whodunnit but this is not a polished forensic drama. It has none of the glib crime-fighting paraphernalia that has taken over a lot of detective fiction since the advent of CSI.  Neither are the murders quite as straightforward as many writers would have us believe. Guns jam. Victims fight back. Blood squelches. Corpses make revolting noises. The business of dying is truly messy.

The book is Simon Kernick's first, and is a much better novel than an author's debut outing usually achieves. It has been re-released on the strength of his later success with Relentless, but this one deserves to be widely read too. Milne comes across as a real guy, facing real dilemmas in a very real world. He is also lacking in many of the now clichéd world-weary copper attributes that have littered crime novels for the last decade. For example, he drinks because he enjoys it, or because he has had a bad day at work, or because he has just killed someone. We imagine we would have a glass or two for the same reasons. His habit is not a plot device, it is a genuine part of the character.   OK, so his love life is not too promising, but police work is often cited as having a high divorce rate so that is also believable. (It does mean that he is free to sleep with a suspect, however, even after she makes some startling and incriminating admissions, which is a little far-fetched.)
Beyond that there is little to detract from this cracking tale with its unusual premise. It spins along at a swift pace and is far from predictable along its route. Read it soon. Because life’s too short.

The other two reviews were:

Robert Goddard
Past Caring

Simon Beckett
The Chemistry of Death

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

two small pebbles in a river of stones

My river of stones book arrived in the post yesterday and I have to admit I am totally blown away by it. I guess it's a measure of my amazement that I have sunk to using such a cliché to describe my feelings, but there you go. It arrived in a plain brown cardboard package with a simple delivery note in a plastic envelope on the front.  I undid the cardboard flaps and opened it up and it was stunning. I have seen photos of the front page but I was still unprepared by the depth of colour, the shine and the mesmerising lines of the pattern.
This is the first time that I have been in print in this way.

As a journalist I have seen my work in black and white for many years, of course, and during a later career in marketing I've seen it in other colours too. But this is different. I took part in this writing project because I thought it would be fun and I enjoyed it immensely. At the end we were asked to submit up to ten of our favourite pieces and I chose eight. Two of them were picked for inclusion in this book. Making me a published writer (by my definition) for the first time.

I can't express how proud I am to be part of this. (Which is a pretty awful admission for a writer!) It actually reduced me to tears. As I read some of the other small stones that share the pages with me I could not believe that I was considered good enough to be among them. Thank you Fiona and Kaspalita. Thank you for the opportunity.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Suspicious character

I am absolutely convinced that my neighbour is a mass murderer. It’s not that he’s threatening in any way, in fact quite the opposite. He is extremely quiet and keeps very much to himself. On the few occasions I have encountered him in the street he has always been polite and seems like a nice young man.

But that’s what the neighbours always say, isn’t it? After they find the bodies.

I owe this entirely to Sandra Davies whose thoughts about her own neighbour run along very different lines!
Thanks for the inspiration Sandra.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


It's been a gardening sort of day. I thought I'd give you an extract from my 2010 NaNo novel. Based on reality and still in edit.

I took the photo, surreptitiously, from an upstairs window and he was not aware that I was there. He is wearing a white, open-necked shirt and dark trousers, rolled to the knees, to make way for a pair of workmanlike Wellington boots. On his head is the inevitable straw hat, protecting his ears and neck from the sun. I had been watching him for some time, turning over the ground with a spade and raising small terraces of earth where he was planning to plant potatoes. I was familiar with this ridge and furrow method that he used. It allowed the potatoes to grow freely in soil that was not compacted and did not inhibit their development. The furrows between the rows allowed efficient watering without swamping the plants, which would have encouraged disease. The preparation was effective and we had a regular supply of spuds from the earliest, sweet, new potatoes through to November’s bakers that we would use to warm our hands on Bonfire Night as we watched the whizzing, banging fireworks and burned our Guy Fawkes effigy.

The system was hard work though. He had to dig over the soil twice to break it up enough for the seed potatoes to go into the ground, and raking up the ridges was a back-breaking task. The photo shows him resting on his spade as he seeks a moment’s respite from the toil. Although it is faded I can see that he has nearly finished preparing the area and the rows have been built up behind him, ready for the seed. Beyond where he is standing I can make out squared-off sections that would each hold a different crop. I know there were strawberries, one of the few luxuries that Dad allowed space in his well-worked plot. There were cabbages and carrots, celery and lettuces, radishes, onions and rows of beans. Broad beans and French beans and runners stood side by side, with the climbers snaking their way up bamboo teepees made from three sticks tied with raffia near the top. I can recognise the shapes of four small apple trees near the end of the garden and there is a smudge of green that shows where the bramble grew.

Friday, March 04, 2011

FFF55: Trade in

It’s just a car, he kept thinking. You’ll get over it. He’d owned the Jaguar a long time and this felt like losing a friend. But it was time for it to go. It had served its purpose. Gloves on, he pushed the car off the bridge with his dead wife in the driver’s seat.

Since the writings's now on the Jobbing Writer Blog Wall I'm moving the Friday Flash Fiction over here from MorningAJ. If you want to know more about this weekly challenge to tell a story in exactly 55 words, call in at the G-Man's blog and see what other people have to offer. They're good!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Work work work. Words word words.

I write for a living.

Hey, I can hear you say, that's great isn't it? I mean, you get paid for writing. Cool! (OK I know you don't all talk like that but you get the gist.) Well yes. I've done a few jobs in my time, catering, office administration, selling shoes, so I know just how mind numbing some can be. And I can appreciate that any job I have that involves writing is the best I can hope for. It beats cleaning out a commercial-standard deep fat fryer any day! But there's writing and there's writing to order. And most of my working life has been spent writing to order.

Back in nineteen hundred and frozen to death I went off to college to learn to be a journalist. It was a great time. I was young, but not as young as some of the people on my course. I'd already made a complete hash of a biology degree that I've since chosen to forget except in a few special circumstances. So I'd lived a little. I'd spent the previous year as a temporary whatever. That's when I sold shoes.

[A brief aside: 'Sold shoes'. Like 'soled shoes'. Reminds me of my O level English course and Julius Caesar. 'All that I live by is my awl' See more here.]

The journalism college was in Sheffield. Wonderful steel town of the North (except I come from further north than that so to me it was the Midlands) with a fantastic atmosphere and an availability of arts events and venues that I had previously not accessed. In fact it had lots of things that I had previously never tried and I had a great year learning and experiencing things and generally living the high life.

We studied law and public administration and shorthand and typing and English grammar (yes - I do know the difference between an adjective and an adverb and if I concentrate I can probably still remember what a gerund is) and a great subject called 'journalism'. It covered everything you can think of. This wonderful subject called 'journalism' was basically the same as the subject called 'life'. It was a wonderful preparation for anything that the newspaper business could demand of me over the next thirteen years while I worked as a reporter. It was also a great preparation for writing stories and novels since then.

I still work as a writer but nowadays I write press releases and newsletters and marketing brochures and I try to make my boss's complicated announcements easier to understand by normal people. I translate the jargon-ridden achievements of my organisation into words that my readership will understand but will still have the same meaning. It's not easy. And it isn't always fun. But it's way better than measuring smelly feet to fit them with shoes!

Postscript: The photo is part of a sculpture called Industry and Genius and it's a monument to John Baskerville - printer.
The stones represent letter punches and the word on them reads "Virgil" because Baskerville's first book was a reprint of the poet's works printed in 1757.
The sculpture is by David Patten and it's in Birmingham.

Very well then, I contradict myself

The writer who needs a home of her own is not the one who composes press releases and promotional leaflets. She's the creative writer who is trapped inside someone who has to work at short-order writing in order to earn a crust. This one has to write because she has things to say, ideas teeming around in her head that need to be given voice. I have often been accused of having a butterfly mind and flitting from one idea to another but that is not really a fair assessment. True, there are lots of ideas in my head and they can sometimes seem to be a little random, but that is because there was nowhere to lay them out neatly and let them take their proper form and order.

Some of them have been released onto scraps of paper in the past. There are samples of my prose all over the country. I have been a journalist and have had many by-lined pieces published. The nature of the work means that I am on record in the British Library. Even I have difficulty accepting that idea. My name in print (or more probably microfiche or electronic records by now) in the nation's repository of words. My work alongside the likes of Dickens, Beowulf, Shakespeare. Maybe not on the same shelf, in fact probably not even in the same room, but in the same store. Albeit at some distance!

But even before I was a journalist I wrote. As a child I entered story contests (and won sometimes). I kept diaries as a teen. I created scrapbooks and projects and wrote endless pages of dreary poetry about how life was so unfair and nobody loved me. It wasn't very good. But it was all grist to the writing mill. I would turn out strings of words and sometimes people would say they liked them and ask to read more. And so I realised that I am a writer. That is who I am. And so it became my job as well as my passion and so it has become my life.

Words. Words, words and more words.

And they are bursting out of my mind and down my arms and into my fingers and in this modern age they are being translated into electronic beeps and blips that appear on computer screens all over the world. Sometimes people say they like them and ask to read more.

And that is how this blog came about. Because I realised that the readers who want to see my writing do not want to read recipes or look at my paintings or hear about how I had an argument with the people at the insurance company or lern about what I buy at the supermarket. All of that can stay in the original blog.

This one's all for the writer in me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Do I contradict myself?

It's the first day of March and that seems like a good time to do some Spring cleaning. One of the things I've decided to Spring clean is my blog. Or rather, my blogs. I already have more than one blog and some of my readers will know that I have a lot of different sides to my character. There's the one who takes photos and the one who paints and draws. There's one who is a bit of a whizz in the kitchen and handy at saving money. There's the historian, the traveller, the mystic, the worker, the layabout, the nature lover, the gardener, all sorts of people. In fact one of my favourite quotes is from Walt Whitman and it's to do with being lots of different people in one mind and body.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself.
I am large. I contain multitudes

All of those people have found their way onto my generic blog. MorningAJ. The one that I started out with. Then one part of me peeled away. She started out as a couple of pages called "How to..." but she became Auntie Anne. The best thing since sliced bread. And her advice, recipes, anecdotes, hints and tips have their own place now. (And their own little group of followers!) But it started to become obvious that another part of me needed space of its own. And that's the writer. The Wordsmith. So here it is. I already spend my days writing marketing and publicity for an organisation in the Midlands (and that's as far as I'm going to go in identifying it. I do not profess to represent my employer once I leave the office. This blog is mine. All my own. And the views expressed here must not be seen as reflecting on anyone but myself.)but a lot of my spare time is spent writing creatively. Short stories, flash fiction, bad poetry, and there's even a novel in progress.