Why I Hate Your Novel

  1. Italics. I know you’re going to flashback or flash-forward  or go inside a character’s head and I’m not interested. It takes me out of the story and gives me back nothing but boredom.
  2. Letters and diary entries – unless you’re a truly great writer (for whom none of these hates apply) – it’s boring. In fact it’s beyond boring – I suspect you’re doing it as an easy way of padding out your dwindling plot.
  3. Present tense. I know I’m not there. Unless you’re a genius – you will not convince me I am there. You’re ruining your own magic.
  4. First Person Present Tense – ditto – double, quadruple, infinite times.
  5. Pure filth – some people like it, I don’t.
  6. Using the voice of a child… esp. if it’s about grief. What is this, the Victorian Age? Do not lisp your sentiment at me, I’ll want you to die.
  7. ISSUES esp. aimed at teens. This isn’t Biker Grove. You’re not subsidized by a charity – sod off with that miserable, soul-crushing sanctimony.

Other than that – it’s fabulous, darling!

My Granny’s Flat


For some reason I’ve been missing my Gran & Grandpa’s flat in Knightswood, Glasgow, recently.

I miss the mix of 1970s/80s tat and heavy Victorian-ish wooden furniture. And the way it smelt of fags & a coal fire. And the way it was always Sunday, and I played 2nd World War spies in the garden and Cleopatra or Jane Eyre or The Little Princess was on the television.


I miss the hay-wain, the flamenco dancer and the green lady.

I miss the dolly toilet roll cover, the shire horse ornament & the Nessie.

I miss the Island of Adventure (not so much – it’s in my room), the reader’s digest, and the bible.

& I miss James Last, Mantovani and Glen Miller.

Rurik Jutting: Murder Stories

I was trying to avoid news on my blog… but news is shaped like fiction and this story shows an ambivalence in the way we treat victim and perpetrator based on background.

Rurik Jutting is a white, British, privately educated investment banker who raped, tortured and killed two Indonesian women who were working as prostitutes in Hong Kong because they needed the money.

The BBC concentrates on his disorders, addictions, and his claim that he was sexually abused as a child by another child at his school.


The Mirror concentrates on his sexual sadism and the suffering of the victims.


The Guardian concentrates on the poverty & exploitation of the victims – but can’t bring itself to admit that they were prostitutes – because making all aspects of prostitution legal is now left-wing & feminist.


The Daily Mail thinks he’s a monster but is focused on contrasting his evil with his aspirational background.


Financial News covers the fate of his colleagues.


Hong Kong is interested in his work stress and the way he wanted to push the boundaries of submissive women…


& there have been protests against wealthy immigrant decadence and calls for justice.


& he himself – in rambling videos – admitted to being a racist, sexist, privileged man who felt excited by & entitled to – inflict pain on women… But he also knew he wouldn’t get away with it.


Myself – I find it impossible to care about the killer. I care that his victims had to go through such horrific ordeals. And the older I get, the more I would lock him away for life without a moment’s reflection.





Creative Dream Incubator

In a world of doubt and dismay it’s good to have a bit of wishful thinking in your life… As long as you don’t get too fixated on outcomes that may or may not manifest – it gives you hope for the future and solace for the past.

Andrea Schroeder of The Creative Dream Incubator is one of my favourite suppliers of happy place woo-woo… Find her inspirational classes and videos here:


And below is my paraphrasing of her latest email… which pinged into my inbox & made me feel warm & fuzzy.


I think of magic as another word for truth. The truth is, you are literally made of magic: stardust and creativity and love and dreams. The truth is, you can do anything – this is what it means to be a creative being. Your dreams are the blueprints for what you are here on earth to create.


You are literally, truthfully, actually MADE of magic.

This is your radiant core self.

And allowing more of your radiant core self to shine through your daily self is a how you bring more of your magic into the world and into your life.

Breathe into your heart. What’s there?

You are FULL of power and possibility and the ability to make your dreams real.

You are made of magic: creativity and optimism and resilience and inspiration and trust and love.

Believe in the power of your magic – you are amazing!

Dean’s Book of Fairy Tales

When I was wee my Dean’s Book of Fairy Tales was one of my most treasured possessions – the others being Dean’s Alice In Wonderland, Dean’s Sleeping Beauty and my extensive Ladybird book collection.

What made Dean’s Book of Fairy Tales so special was the beautiful, spindly illustrations by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, twin sisters born in 1926 who lived and worked together until Janet’s tragic death in a fire in 1979. Anne worked on alone until 1998.

More info on them here: http://www.wordsandpics.org/2015/10/the-art-of-johnstone-twins.html

and more info on Dean & Son here: http://www.vintagepopupbooks.com/Dean_Son_Publishers_History_s/1853.htm#axzz4E3kHEVYf