Angels, spirits, ghosts, demons, other ethereal beings or locations


This month’s topic is all about that other world. You know – the one we can’t get into normally. It may contain spirits, ghosts, demons and other ethereal beings – or it may not.

After the Night Before

After the Night Before


So much of what we do, suffer and experience in life is down to chance, that it’s easy to say, “My guardian angel was watching” or “There’s a demon on her shoulder.”

But no, I don’t believe in them. I do believe in the power of prayer, however, and there may very well be rational explanations for that. Having worked with people suffering the trials of addictions’ abuse, I’m a little familiar with cognitive behavioural therapy. What or how you think affects the results of your actions.

An example:

Have you ever gone into a cupboard to look for something really important just knowing you weren’t going to find it? And them gone back to that same cupboard two days later believing you must have put it in there? Result.

Does it sometimes occur to you that you probably had it in your hand, while you searched the cupboard the first time, and put it down as you turned away?

Prayer in Action

So, meaningful prayer may very well work along those lines. The depth and persistence of thinking through your problems may well lead to understanding, solutions you didn’t think of earlier and the ability to accept what you can’t change.

What, the topic asks, do I think when the other world’s beings appear in people’s stories?

Like anything else in literature, I enjoy if it’s well written. I particularly enjoy the farcical effects of mischievous ghosts. The television programme, Randall and Hopkirk, for example, was brilliant fun.

My own reading preferences aren’t towards the story where she can’t let him go in death and brings up his ghost. The most helpful remark I’ve read about the loss of a life’s love and partner was by a Scottish novelist who was also a journalist. She described a dream in which her husband appeared and found herself thinking “But, how will I explain him to my friends?” I think it marked the moment when she moved from backward pulling grief to forward moving hope.

Grief is horribly real and can last months, years even. I remember marking things that happened as suitable for re-telling to my mum and then realising she wasn’t there to tell, for a very long time after her death. So I do accept that it will alter the mind’s state and perceptions.

Robert Burns’s Tam O’ Shanter is a comic and dread-filled masterpiece. But it does rely on the volume of alcohol Tam had consumed. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is another masterpiece, but it also relies on mind-altering drugs.

And finally – Have I used ghouls and ghosts in my own stories?

Yes. I wrote a lovely little two-hander for the stage, called Clinical Know-How. Spoiler alert – one of the ladies is dead.

So – what do my blog friends make of this? Well, there will be as many opinions as there are names, below. I’m followed by Yorkshire woman, Helena Fairfax but you can move from her to any of the other authors below. Good Spook-hunting.



Anyone interested in licensing Clinical Know-How should leave an enquiry in the comments and I’ll get back to you
Marci Baun
Margaret Fieland
Diane Bator
Beverley Bateman
A.J. Maguire
Fiona McGier
Heather Haven
Bob Rich
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Hollie Glover
Rachael Kosinski
Connie Vines
Skye Taylor
Rhobin Courtright





Bare Bones and Cover-ups

100_4097The Bare Bones of a story often arrive unheralded and at an inconvenient moment. Having a notebook to hand might be the ideal, but it ain’t always possible. So how do I hold that thought?

An image helps. The lovely lady above was photographed in an Eastern museum. She hasn’t inspired anything yet, but I have the distinct feeling she will and I’m so glad to have her image readily to hand.

Once the bare bones are lodged in your head the question of what next arises. How do you add flesh or covering, cosy curves or flamboyant frocks without losing the initial inspiration?

It was a process I found quite stressful in learning the art of novel writing. Starting out with plays means your head makes allowance in the writing for what the director and actor will bring to any character. Description is hardly needed and as to Stage Directions…Unless you’re the ghost of JM Barrie, forget it. The director certainly will.

Clothing the story and the characters is a lovely creative process. I saw a gentleman through the bus window this morning. Tall, his own hair, smartly dressed – but wait – sporting a bow-tie? Who wears a bow-tie?

And I was off – running. So look out for a story with a dandy, unreliable and petulant, in a bow-tie.

Sorry chaps.

Daisy’s Dilemma contains a few scenes about clothes and clothing. Appearances were so important in the fashionable world – nothing changes, does it – that Tobias instantly sees the problem faced by his young cousin, Elspeth when Daisy brings it to him. She will never attract a suitable husband if she is only the bare bones of a lady. Daisy, however, can be relied upon to have a plan.

RNA applications to be a reader for the Awards now closed

Garden magnolia

Garden magnolia

Today’s response to our appeal for readers for the RNA Awards has exceeded all expectations.

Thank you very much to everyone who has left their name in the comments, I will be getting back to you as soon as I can.

The appeal for readers is closed in the meantime while we match books with readers.

Thank you again. It’s warmly appreciated. Anne (and all the others involved)

Reading for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Awards: Post the Third



Hidden in the comments awaiting moderation are wonderful offers of help from lovely readers who are even now curled up with a new romance because I’ve sent them one, two, three, four or five. If I could pass these tea-cakes among them for real, I would.

I haven’t published those comments because sometimes folk are so excited they include their e-mail addresses. But they’re real and I, and the other organisers, are very, very grateful.

However, there’s still a wee problem…



…and a few more readers are needed. So if you could spare some time to read one, two or even three romances over the next three weeks, please leave your name in the comments and I will get back to you.