Round Robin – Writing of the Pandemic

:Thanks to Connie Vines for this month’s topic.

How are you dealing with the COVID pandemic in your contemporary novels/short
stories? Not as a political statement or polarizing pro/con mask stance,
but the way the COVD virus affects the day-to-day lives of your
characters and appears within the story’s plot line?

On Christmas morning last year, a writing friend died. As so often happens when someone dies, I thought of my association with her, the times we’d been in company, some of her conversation and some of her writing. Also she had a pre-writing life as a Health Ambassador in Pakistan and Afghanistan which she came to through her work with Oxfam.

I remember her telling a group of us about how she explained germs to women who’d never thought of such a thing. She had a glass jug of water and asked them to watch her pour salt into it. Could they see the salt? No. Did they know the salt was there? Yes.

I think that explains how I’m dealing with the pandemic in my writing. I know it’s there but I’m not making a big thing of it. I may mention that my characters are working from home without spelling out why. My readers are living through this time, too. They know why most people working from home are doing that.

Most of my recent writing has been set in the nineteenth century and so I’ve avoided the issues thrown at us by the pandemic but I have written two contemporary short stories recently and one of them refers to the pandemic, if obliquely, because it explains a decision that would otherwise seem a little odd. The other one doesn’t. The second one has a plotline that didn’t need the pandemic and so I missed it out.

However, I do think the pandemic stories are there in my brain and will seep out over the next year or two. I hope they’ll be upbeat and show people coping with technology they never thought they’d need to know about. Maybe there’ll be the re-kindling of romance in established couples. Possibly the finding again of lost skills and pastimes. How many of us dug out jigsaws? If any of you followed my lockdown diary (it’s on this blog – scroll down) you may remember the way I was plunged into cooking three meals a day seven days a week. Nettle soup? You may remember the joy, absolute joy, of being sent a dinner by my children to mark the DH’s birthday.

Also, I think it has caused a re-evaluation of what it is to live. There are stories in the idiosyncrasies of one’s neighbours. There are stories in the sudden moments of blind panic most of us experienced – when will this end type panic? There are heroic stories of the people who not only kept our health service operating, but those who kept our utilities running and the paper being delivered and the post. The people who went into work stocking shelves in our supermarkets.

And there are the people who were less than heroic. I won’t give examples, but I’ve got one or two in the memory bank.

Some fellow Robins are listed below and I’m sure their views will be worth reading.

Thanks for dropping by,


Connie Vines

Skye Taylor

Marci Baun

Diane Bator

Dr. Bob Rich 

Judith Copek

Helena Fairfax

Robin Courtright


It’s in the Jar

A Quality Product

Not these jars – well, probably some of these jars as the actual jars are re-used from year to year. What I mean is the BIG BATCH has been made and we now wait to be sure it will set.

The normal activities of a writers’ household may resume again shortly, although, there is that birthday jigsaw underway on the dining-room table. Research really, as it’s full of scenes from the Georgian world as displayed in Jane Austen’s books.

I’m currently reading Miss Austen as recommended to me by fellow Capital Writer, Kate Blackadder. It’s by Gill Hornby, but I suppose as I am, as usual, late to the party, you all knew that. Anyway it is really good, folks. I think I might re-read Persuasion again very soon.

I did write a short story this week.


How are your days coming along? Are you back in the writing groove? Or the reading one?

COURTING THE COUNTESS is available for your kindle but my publishers, Lume Books, have made it available to read free if you’re a kindle unlimited person.


Diary of a Writer – January 2022 Prompt

At a summer event

So few of us attended any sizeable events in 2021, I thought I’d offer a wee reminder of what it’s like.

The colour, the months of planning. The moment when the shoe does pinch, but the grass is soft. They are all in this shot. So, if writing’s your thing, there’s something here for your imagination to get to work on.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Dear Readers. May 2022 be kinder to us all.

Inlay Taj Mahal