My Blog

Great characters – a great read.

sea dog hotelI’ve had Marlish Glorie’s second novel Sea Dog Hotel on my iPad for a few weeks now, but it was only this week that I started reading it – and then I couldn’t stop.  When I turned the last page I wished I’d read it sooner because spending time with Ruth,  Grace and all the strange and quirky characters who come and go at the Sea Dog Hotel in the little outback town of Nyacoppin, made me feel so good.

Starting the uncomfortable journey in the car with irritating Ruth, who is hoping for yet another new start in the search for happiness, and her brooding resentful daughter, Grace, I wasn’t expecting such a delightfully warm and reassuring read.  But I was quickly drawn into the life at the hotel, and began to care about the people, the place and the things that mattered to them.  Marlish really conjures up the feel of the run down hotel, the almost forgotten little town, and the people who come together as a community.  I loved the sense of satisfaction I had at the end, and was looking for the promise of a sequel. The voices of the characters are strong and authentic, and while they are eccentric, sometimes prickly, and defensive they are very real and each one has characteristics to which I quickly warms.  I love character driven novels and Marlish has really created a believable group of people and an unique little world at the Sea Dog Hotel.

This is a delightful book – perfect as a relaxing holiday read, or an engrossing distraction on a long flight, or something that will just lift you out of your surroundings and revive your spirits.

You can find Sea Dog Hotel on’s Kindle Store.

Sarah Waters Ten Tips for Writing Fiction

Sarah Waters Ten Tips for Writing Fiction

I’m a big fan of Sarah Waters – and now I’m an even bigger fan.  These tips are great for anyone starting out and for reviving the rest of us when we get lost or jaded.

My favourite novel is The Night Watch, and then The Little Stranger.  What I admire most in Sarah Waters work is the discipline which means that there are no redundant words or phrases and she keeps me riveted right to the end.


Yes, this time I really think I am emerging from a winter that has passed in a blur of sickness and exhaustion that has knocked me flat for months.  I’ve been struggling to keep up with everything and obviously the blog was ignored for far too long.  But I’m back at work now and just finished the next book –  waiting in nervous anticipation for the comments of my publisher and editor.  There were times when I thought I wouldn’t make it with this one.  It was a struggle to find out what I was doing, strange how physically illness also affects the ability to see and think clearly.  So –  fingers crossed!

Meanwhile it’s such great news that Canadian writer Alice Munro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  If you haven’t read her work now’s the time to start.


I’m actually embarrassed by my failure to post anything in recent weeks.  I’ve been sick –  some time in hospital and much more time recovering at home.  I’m still convalescing and improving but rather more slowly than I’d hoped, but fortunately my brain now seems to be working again which is great relief.  I’m spending a lot of time reading and in the last six weeks have found some I loved, and others that I abandoned for a whole variety of reasons.  I write soon about the ones I loved,  but I thought this survey by Good Reads produced some interesting results.  It’s about the reasons why readers give up on a book and the point at which they do it.  I often give up quite early in a book and it may not be because I think it’s a bad book, just that it doesn’t appeal to me –  it could be great topic but I don’t like the way it’s written, or perhaps beautifully written but not really ‘speaking’ to me.  I’m a firm believer in giving up if you’re not enjoying it or finding it interesting, and I do know that people give up on my books and I’m okay with that.

When do you give up and for what reason?  Have a look at this link below and see what other people think.



Harmless the new novella from my friend and colleague Julienne Van Loon, is a haunting and beautiful book – that challenges us to think about what we really value. An engrossing read that kept me up all night.



We  know it’s true but this article pins down some interesting facts and figures about the under valuing and under utilisation  of women of 45+ in the workplace.  And what’s so often forgotten and hidden is the amount of unpaid voluntary work undertaken in the community by women in this age group.  Without that the country would grind to a halt.