Wednesdays are People’s Friend days

Regular readers know that I’ve spent a lot of the last year working on a major historical serial for The People’s Friend. It makes its appearance in the edition dated 21st August which wil be in the shops on Wednesday of next week. For those of you who are subscribers, it’ll be in your hands on Saturday of this week.

Nineteenth century medicine was practised by the cocks

Yesterday was ‘results’ day in Scotland. I received my share of brown envelopes, as they then were, and of course of euphoria and disappointment. But – I was able to sit those exams and own my results. Circumstances which did not always prevail in Great Britain and which do not prevail in many parts of the world today.

My research journey with Sophia Jex-Blake, her medical colleagues and the Edinburgh Stevenson sisters (Flora Stevenson School) was fascinating, eye-opening and heart-breaking.

There is a romance (thank goodness, Ed) and the serial is fictional.

Article by me about the Edinburgh Seven, published July 2019, The People’s Friend

If women’s struggle to become ‘real doctors’ interests you, then now’s the moment to reserve your copies.



Diary of a Writer – July Prompt

Diary of a Writer and already the year has reached July. The Scottish schools are now on holiday and the suburban area I live in will be quiet-ish for the next two weeks as many folk just pack up and go immediately for their break.

I say quiet-ish as someone is digging up the road. Has its benefits of course because traffic is scared off by four-way controls.

What’s happening in this writer’s household and brain to act as a prompt? So, regular visitors will have seen this picture already.

He left us safely, but it is still raining and last night there was thunder and lightening, too. Joys of a heatwave.

I feel the young roe deer has to be this month’s prompt although there are loads of competing images in the recent press.

Her Majesty reviewing the Guard as she attends the Ceremony of the Keys at the start of Royal Week in Scotland. Themes abound from that, not least the loyalty of a life lived for duty, but also what is the proud mum or young wife/husband in the invited audience feeling as their soldier parades for the first or last time? That handshake between two world leaders? Have we had to put on a polite face against our personal feelings? The heatwave itself – they don’t usually last too long in Scotland so difficult to know when to submit a story.


In other writing areas, I’ve been approached to write a post for my friend Anne Stormont‘s online book festival. It begins today and will run through July and August and my contribution is scheduled for August 21st. Anne’s idea is to have articles and interviews online to reach folk who might find it hard for many reasons to get to such festivals in person. Her opening post is here. First up is the wonderfully dark Scottish crime writer Helen Forbes.

Why not sign up to Anne’s blog so you don’t miss out on any of the fabulous participants she’s lined up?


The People’s Friend approached me to write an article about the pioneering women known as The Edinburgh Seven. It appears in the next weekly edition, dated 6th July and will be in the shops on Wednesday. I’ve got my subscription copy. For those of you who don’t know, The Edinburgh Seven were the first women to matriculate in any British university. Was it straightforward? Read the article…

Oh, and July is the month of the Romantic Novelists’ Association‘s conference. I’m off to Lancaster again and am deeply into difficult decisions like which dresses to take for the gala dinner, what colour should my nails be and how do you pack a plastic wine-glass with any hope of it arriving intact? 1-2-1s Ah, yes, the business side. Okay, I’m saying nothing, but will hope to have news.

How is your own writer’s diary shaping up?