Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 51 – There’s a World Out There

The Woman’s Weekly magazine arrived this morning with the papers and it features an interview with Romantic Novelists’ Association’s President, Katie Fforde, on how she’s coping with the lockdown.

I first met Katie and her husband at the lovely autumn conference which used to happen in Pitlochry. Hugh Rae, sadly now the late, used to inveigle promising and rising stars he’d encountered at the Swanwick Writers’ School to come along and she was one such.

I see from the interview that Katie’s stellar success might be down in part to her thinking time walking the family dog. I don’t have a Wolfhound or its replacement a King Charles Spaniel, so possibly that’s where I went wrong. Possibly, there are other reasons.

Yesterday, was a trip to the local butcher’s shop, Mathieson’s (or Coq & Bull), where I took advice from the owner’s son as, after six weeks of a meal every day, I’m out of ideas. Glasgow Fillet was the result and very good it was, too.

Curiously, on the way back I met one of the organisers of the Edinburgh Christian Aid Book Sale and heard a lot of the goss attaching. She looked much more relaxed than she would have done had the sale been in full swing. Even more curiously, I encounterd two King Charles Spaniels. Owned by some neighbours, these little escape merchants needed to be coralled and their owners alerted. (We are listening PM & FM).

Writing, cooking, jigsaw, chocolate (woops), and the next GH, A Quiet Gentleman, help one hour slide into the next. Scrabble although DH won as he again managed to go out and earn the BONUS! Steward’s Enquiry needed I feel.

Any favourite menus I might give a try? Who did you encounter before they were famous in their field?

Christian Aid Week



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 38 – We Hear You

The gang of teenage Herring gulls irritating the neighbourhood has been around for a while now. I don’t have a pic of a herring gull, but these cranes created by the kitchen on board a boat on Hulong Bay are way more elegant – and a lot quieter.

Background noise is always with us and even in these unnaturally quiet days of lockdown, there are rustles. Let’s hope the whispering campaign to ease the social distancing doesn’t become a bellowing before we’re ready to cope.

Shopping for a neighbour and a lovely family chat were yesterday’s highlights. Almost finsihed the daytime book which is Death At Eden’s End by Jo Allen. Who dunnit?

Cooked a new chicken and chorizo recipe from yesterday’s Woman’s Weekly. V. good. DH played online bridge and went to a Gotomeeting.

Sad to learn the DC Thomson publication, The Weekly News is to cease. 165 years young – a goodly innings.



Round Robin – Project the Projects


Thought I’d welcome everyone in this month with a plate of my favourite goodies. With or without the iconic Scottish lion standard a box of said goodies was a highlight among my Christmas presents in 2015. The culprit knows who he is!

So that’s in the way of another 2016 goal entirely – get the weight back into the “I am a size ? comfortably, and not just when I breathe in.”

But we are meant to be discussing the one or two writing projects I’d like to accomplish this year and what obstacles to them I might encounter.

I’ve written, short fiction and non-fiction. I’ve written plays. I’ve written professional letters and reports. I’ve written minutes…I think you’re getting the picture.

I enjoy writing and re-reading my novels, but there are one or two ambitions I didn’t realise in the shorts’ world – and that’s my project for 2016. I want to be published by Woman’s Weekly. For those of you in Canada and the US, this is a weekly woman’s magazine which still features two short stories and a serial each week. There is an Australian version, too. I’ve tried before, but not managed. That being said, when they had a letters’ page, I was a regular, so strictly speaking I have been in W’s W, but not in the format I covet.

So, what am I doing to anticipate any obstacles I might encounter? In the first place, I’ve signed up for one of their workshops in Glasgow in early March. Got the ticket. Sussed the travelling. Sharpened the pencils.

One thing coming up next month is the publication of my first novel, Mariah’s Marriage, in large print by Ulverscroft for their Linford Romance line. That is certainly the realisation of a long term goal. Do ask at your library, please. It’s going to be such a pleasure to hold my book in my hand. I can feel the excitement as I think about it.



Interested in how we writers go about organising our year, then pop across to the lovely Hollie Glover Hollie Glover http://www.hollieglover.co.uk and any of the others listed below.


Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.com/2016/01/23/writers-to-do-list-for-the-new-year/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Bm
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Anne Stenhouse  https://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Hollie Glover http://www.hollieglover.co.uk
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

It’s an ill wind – Nina Lambert

It’s an ill wind by Nina Lambert ran over five episodes in Woman’s Weekly. I saved them up and read the whole as I would have done a novel.

The story is cozy crime with romance. The crime is all off-stage, if you don’t count a cack-handed effort by one of the romantic couples to pretend they’re villains and the romance is fairly well-concealed too. Our heroine Emma, kicks over her job in the opening paras and that turns out to be because she’s secretly in love with her boss, Liam. Liam reappears at the end of episode three.

As almost everyone is a chef and the action takes place on a luxury yacht, there are a lot of recipes containing chilli and coconut and prawns. The chief villain beats his wife (3rd) and drinks too much.

Okay, it didn’t float my dinghy. Magazine serials used to be the meaty fiction offering wrapping up the week’s reading. Now, the editors seem to believe all the research about readers having the attention span of one of those unfortunate prawns in Emma’s lunches. The writer has had to reduce everything to synopsis. We are TOLD the whole story. Where are the emotions this reader wants to engage with?

Woman’s Weekly have a new serial starting on 6th February from Jan Jones.