I keep telling myself that I have a BLOG! Yet… I haven’t written one since… Oh dear… since 2018. I really must write about something, but what?

I’ve still been writing, but even this has been somewhat lacking. Why? Because of COVID 19. This horrific virus doesn’t give a fig about anyone’s life, in fact it tries to take it over.

Tomorrow will be the 1st October 2020 and we are still in the midst of this dreadful virus, and more cases are appearing every day. It doesn’t seem to matter what people do, (or in some cases don’t do) because it just wanders around looking for someone to attack. We all wander around wearing face masks etc. and I begin to wonder if, once we can stop wearing them, whether we’ll be able to recognise enyone.

Family life has changed so much for everyone. Gone are the days when we could do something spontaineously. I used to love it when my family came round and we hugged and kissed and generally laughed about life.

Can we still laugh about our lives now? I can smile perhaps, because I’m lucky. I’m lucky because I live in a country area with wonderful views from my windows. I can spend whole days working in the garden. But what about other people? What about all those people who live in high-rise flats and don’t have a garden to either walk around, or work in. Life for these people must be intolerable.

As I said before, it will be October tomorrow, so what can we look forward to? Christmas is now only weeks away, and yes, I have started to buy the odd Christmas present. Here, in England, we cannot meet any more than six people… I can picture our dining table on Christmas Day… there will only be six of us!! I usually cater for about 12… so who do I leave out?

I know… we could have two sittings, so can you picture me after cooking for six, saying …”lovely to see you, but you have to go home now… pick up your presents on the way out”. Then of course I’ll have to start cooking again for the next six.

I’ll be on my knees.

I think I’ll stick to writing. So I’ll go back to my next story. It’s a romance and it has the title of THE REFUGE. I seem to have been writing it for such a long time. I started it in 2019 and should have finished it by now. So far I’ve written just under 60,000 words, but I haven’t added anything much at all this year.

As I said just now, it is a romance, and romances in books don’t usually contain references to GLOBAL VIRUS ATTACKS. My biggest problem is whether I should mention COVID 19 all. Do other writers have the same worries? Would the mention of people being very ill, or even dying of this dreadful virus make readers throw the book they’re reading away? People being ill was not in my mind whilst writing this book at all. So perhaps I should make it true fiction and not mention it.

I was asked by the leader of a local Writing Group to write a piece, or a story about COVID 19. I sat down immediately to write something, and here it is:


     I was trapped in the middle of a desperate crowd of angry, hungry people. Some of them were staggering around seemingly unable to do anything. I tried to move away, but nearly tripped over a poor woman who was writhing in agony on the damp cold ground. I saw others bending over before falling to the ground. Even more were shouting and screaming the words “Food… food… food. We are starving and dying because of the virus.” Others were demanding help: one young woman with long matted hair, and wearing a blanket around her narrow shoulders, stood there crying hysterically, ‘My baby is dying because I have no milk to give her, and my husband has just died.’ Others surged forward, shouting foul words that made me want to place my hands over my ears.

     The people nearest to me had started to grab hold of my coat whilst trying to push me out of their way. I am quite a small person and throughout my life I remember larger people sometimes took advantage of my size and good nature. I felt exhausted, hungry and extremely frightened. I turned around to see if I could get away from this unruly ravenous crowd, but there seemed to be no way to escape.

     Suddenly a large man loomed up before me. He had a sweaty pimpled face, and his unwashed hair hung in strands around his face. He looked at me and swore, but his voice was so husky that I didn’t quite understand what he was saying. When I didn’t answer he pushed me to the ground swearing loudly. I called out for him to stop, but he took no notice. He opened his mouth and laughed displaying brown, rotting teeth. I called out in dismay and he laughed again, before lifting up his heavily booted foot before sending it crashing down towards my face.

     I screamed in terror, and… the scene suddenly disappeared.

     I woke up with a start and opened my eyes. I felt dreadful and my damp nightdress told me that I’d been sweating profusely. I took a deep breath and looked around. What on earth was going on? My befuddled brain seemed reluctant to take in the usual immaculate tidiness of my bedroom: for a moment I felt totally confused. The sheets looked as if they had been involved in a battle. I sleep alone, so how could this be? I recalled the moments in my dream when people were tugging at my clothes.

     I felt sick.

     My mind continued to try to take me back into the nightmare which seemed to have captured my brain, but the more logical part tried its hardest to bring me back to reality. Last night the news was no different to the ones broadcast over the last few weeks, as an expert repeated the words which had become law in my mind.

      “We should all stay at home, wash our hands for at least twenty seconds and stay at least two metres away from everyone.”

     I had followed this advice to the letter ever since. In fact, my hands were so sore that I had to cover them in cream every couple of hours. But the nightmare from which I had just woken seemed to epitomise the dread of a virus so dangerous that thousands of people had already died. How could I tell anyone about the dreadful things that might happen in the future through my dream, if we didn’t follow these guidelines? Would they believe me, because I too felt scared to take myself back to the horror of that starving, angry crowd? Perhaps it was purely a thought, or something that my brain had manufactured? Could this kind of thing actually happen? I began to tremble again as I began to think about the future.

     It was worse than any scary film I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few over the years, believe me. I used to read a lot of science fiction stories too, but this… this was something else. There were no zombies, or aliens. This was a virus: you can’t see it, you can’t smell it, but it attacks you nevertheless.

     Even if I did tell anyone about my nightmare, what would they think? They might think that it was a figment of my rather active imagination, or even worse they may end up laughing at me, saying “Stop being so mellow-dramatic, Anna: it was a dream, only a dream”.

     The best and only thing I seem to be able to do, is to forget that it happened, but could I just brush that awful crowd of trembling humanity who were all pleading for help, away from my mind? The whole concept was so shocking that even the thought of my nightmare terrified me. The stable part of my brain was telling me not to be so silly. You are being paranoid it tried to say.

     Was I being paranoid, because of a nightmare?

     I pushed away my tangled bedding and climbed slowly out of bed. I looked around the room. It looked the same as usual, but the clock stared at me blankly. My heart sank. We must have had a power cut, so perhaps the chaos has already started. My mind was filled with terror, but when I looked at the clock it had started again. I closed my eyes and heaved a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, the act of closing my eyes had a detrimental effect, as my nightmare came charging back into my mind again. My legs felt like jelly, as I lurched towards the window and stared at the curtains. What was waiting for me if I opened them? Would it be the end of our world as we knew it? My hands shook as I pulled the curtains open.

     I couldn’t believe what I saw.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining out of a clear blue sky, and I opened one of the windows. I could hear all the birds singing their hearts out, and could see a lot of little green leaves on the trees. I could even hear a cuckoo calling in the distance… and my heart stopped thumping. I smiled as I heard a car driving up the road, and two people were walking past the gate, holding hands and laughing, and with that smile, all the dreadful things in my nightmare disappeared too.

    Yes, it is a terrible time, but we as a people are brave and purposeful, and we will cope with whatever happens, and just like anyone in this country, I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

***   ***   ***

Yes, I will finish THE REFUGE… but I’m still undecided whether to mention COVID 19 in the story, or make it a true work of fiction!


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All about…

It’s the first week in March, and I’m sitting at my desk which is situated in front of our study window, and watching the leafless trees swaying around in an enervating breeze. The snow has now gone, and the birds are starting to sing. They are no doubt thinking about building nests, and preparing for their next brood. I wish that I could see the first signs of tiny buds swelling and readying themselves to burst into full leaf. I have to confess that I’m not a winter person.

I digress… I should be thinking about writing something, but what am I going to write about? Do I write another book, or another short story? I’ve just sent off my latest short story, which will hopefully be included in an Anthology.  It’s all about a bonfire. Bonfires, you may ask? Well, it’s about November the 5th, and Guy Fawkes sitting on top of a pile of rubbish and waiting to be burnt. But I could equally well be spending a little more time on another story on which I’ve been working; this one is about a beach hut. What can you write about a beach hut? You can’t cook in one, and you’re not supposed to spend the night there either. What’s more, they now cost a fortune to buy! The most important thing you need of course, is wonderful summer weather which is sometimes in short supply.

I try to picture my ideal beach hut in my mind. I will call it THE REFUGE. It will sit alongside five other beach huts. Each one is painted a different colour and surrounded by a low white picket fence. But I can’t make everything perfect, can I? There has to be conflict of some kind, or it would be a little boring. So this is where the fun begins. As a writer, you can imagine all kinds of problems. The trees outside my window are now swaying in a really strong breeze. and the clouds are scudding across the sky. My brain immediately conjures up a raging sea, which is gradually sending up huge waves… will they reach my hut? The possibilities are endless.

I’ve also just finished a tale which I’ve called A TANGLED WEB! The protagonists in this story call themselves “THE BLACK SPIDER’S WEB”. There again, my mind immediately thought about MI5 (or would it be MI6?) spies and danger. Such fun.

I’ve written three books over the last few years: A PASSING STORM, PAPER DREAMS and WHEN THE ICE MELTS, and they were all published by Matador. I like writing romantic stories, but they have to have a thrilling edge to them. One review I received for A PASSING STORM described it as “…a story of the complexities of human relationships told from different viewpoints. It is well told and is one of those rare books that show a wisdom and an understanding of different people and their motives.”

Another 5* review for A PASSING STORM with the heading: “Drama, excitement and romance.” In this review the reader says: “…The storm of the title is not only the physical storm which puts Jennifer in danger of her life, but also the emotional storm which she has to ride out for over a year. The plot moves swiftly from one dramatic happening to the next, and Jennifer is left reeling.” She goes on to say: “The author  explores her various characters’ feelings and reactions and brings them vividly to life, and helps us to see that many of the events come from the way those characters act out of their natural individuality, whether good or bad.”

Receiving reviews makes an author feel that all the effort and worry about producing a book that someone wants to read, is worthwhile. I’ve received some 5* reviews for all of my books. I published WHEN THE ICE MELTS through Matador in 2016 and two of the reviews made me smile. I’m sure that there couldn’t be two shorter 5* reviews in existence: one said “Mesmerizing”, and the other, “Spellbinding”.

I’m still sitting at my desk and occasionally glancing out of the window. A squirrel is using the branches of the trees as a fast “highway”. as he progresses from one to another. Human beings can’t possibly do the same, but we do have the ability to write about what we think and see, and enjoy doing.

But… whatever book you read, whether it is non-fiction, or one of the many genres of fiction, please think about the author, and give them a review. Don’t get me wrong, to receive a 5* review is wonderfully gratifying, but any review is better than no review at all.






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We hear a lot nowadays about “ICE”. What exactly does the word mean and why is it so important in our lives?


Water in the solid state, is formed by freezing liquid water

You can eat a portion of ice cream

You can break the ice

You can cut no ice

You can skate on ice

Ice is pieces of frozen water that you put in drinks to keep them cool.

There are so many different things you can do with ICE

Word origin of ‘ice’

Old English īs; compare Old High German īs, Old Norse ī 

But does it always mean the same thing?

Everyone knows that ICE is a liquid that is frozen, but it can melt. We are constantly being told that global warming is happening right now, and that the polar ice is melting. Are we sure that this is all our fault, or is it part of the earth’s ever-changing climate over millions of years?

But I digress…

Having said all that, it is so important to know what sort of ice we are dealing with.

     We have all heard of someone having an ICY MANNER, but what happened to make them act in this way?  This attitude can cause problems, particularly in personal relationships!


So, what happens when this ICE MELTS?

In my book WHEN THE ICE MELTS, potential readers may think that it is yet another story about Global Warming, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As a writer you are often trying to think of an interesting story to tell. I read an article about a woman whose son was in a long-term coma with no chance of a recovery. It quite upset me, and I began to wonder what it must be like to be in such a situation.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and so… WHEN THE ICE MELTS was born.

     Solicitor Tom Wenham is severely injured in a plane crash in Switzerland, which leaves him in a coma. Several months later, his wife, Sarah, is told that her husband’s condition has deteriorated and that there is no brain-stem function.  The consultant looking after him, informs  her that he needs her authority to have his life support machine switched off. Sarah loves Tom so much, but she eventually relents and gives her permission. After his death, she finds it impossible to believe or understand what she has done. She cannot forgive herself, and tries to protect her emotions by building a thick wall of ice around her heart, thus cutting out the outside world.

Should Sarah be condemned for making such a decision? Would you be able to do something like this, yourself and not feel guilty?

This moving romantic novel has a thrilling edge to it. In order to achieve a happier future, Sarah is involved in a roller-coaster of enormous proportions, until the ice in her heart eventually melts, and she  finds true love again.

Find this story on: http://www.phyllisburton.com and also AN INTERVIEW WITH SARAH WENHAM).

***   ***   ***







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Do you love Writing…?

I have always loved reading and writing down my thoughts.   I also love writing the thoughts of the characters in my stories.   The world is not only ‘my oyster’ as the saying goes, but…

Source: Do you love Writing…?

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An interview with Solicitor, Sarah Wenham


When I first thought about the subject of my next book, my mind was filled with questions. Who is the main character in this story? What will happen to her? I had the bare bones in my mind, but as a writer you have to put flesh on them in order to gain a reader’s attention.

I was told at Creative Writing Classes that you have to write about and describe ‘rounded’ characters: they have to be believable; they have to have problems, or conflict of some kind. But they have to be likeable, law abiding (well she would have to be because she was a solicitor), stiff and starchy when needed, but able to enjoy life to the full. In my mind, my heroine was Mrs. Sarah Sensible. She was a solicitor (or a lawyer to my American readers). Yes, she was very attractive, slim and in her mid-thirties, and married to Tom Wenham, also a solicitor.

Some time ago, I read about a “Character’s Interview”, so here is my version. I will set the scene for you.


Sarah and I are sitting at an old wooden table in the garden of the local pub and I have a piece of paper with several questions written on it, to which I’m dying to know the answers.

Author:  Hello Sarah. This is a “getting to know you” interview. Are you happy to tell our readers a little about yourself?

SARAH:  Hello. Yes, although I am a little reluctant to have you delve too deeply into my mind. It has been quite a hard time for me.

Author:  I do appreciate how you must feel. It must have been extremely difficult for you. Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and Tom, of course?

SARAH:  Yes, well… it was my first day at Law School, and I was feeling a little nervous, and…  I was introduced to Tom. He was young, handsome, intelligent, and we hit it off immediately. It may sound improbable, but we sailed through all the studying and exams together.  About a year after we qualified, we decided to get married: we were very much in love.

Author:  Your father was a solicitor too, wasn’t he?

SARAH:  Yes. He had started up a law practice several years before. It was a big step to take, but Tom and I decided to join him. I have my father to thank for my enthusiasm for anything to do with the law and helping me to become a more rounded person.

Author:  And Tom…?

SARAH:  Yes of course. He was amazing… utterly amazing. Not only was he intelligent, but he was… he was wonderfully open. His knowledge of the law was infinite, and Tom and my father would often talk for hours about every conceivable aspect of the law. Oh, but don’t run away with the impression that I was a disinterested party; quite the opposite. Then my father died. I loved Tom dearly, so I was quite happy for him to be an equal partner in the practice.

Author:  I know this is painful for you, but you must have been unimaginably distraught when you learned about his accident. How did you cope?

SARAH:  I don’t really know how I coped really. I was living and thinking like an automaton. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. I was sitting at home waiting for him to return from a conference in Geneva, when I heard the telephone ringing. I had no inkling of the disaster which was about to unfold. The small aircraft in which Tom was travelling, crashed and he sustained injuries which were so serious that it seemed impossible for him to survive. He was in a coma, you see.

Author: Can you describe your feelings while he was in a long-term coma?

SARAH:  My feelings were complex. How could you sit and watch the man you love more than anything in the world, struggle to survive? I couldn’t eat, sleep or work properly. My mind was totally fixed on waiting for him to wake up again.

Author:  What was it that made you agree to end his life?

SARAH:  I knew that I really had no alternative but to let him go. Once there is no brain-stem activity, life is impossible. Half of me wanted to scream “NO”, but the other half argued with me. It was an horrific battle. “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” screamed at me. But it was no use. Tom, the man I loved so dearly, was no longer a living sentient being and never could be again.

Author: Then what happened, Sarah.

SARAH:  I signed his life away. I…

Author:  I know this is a really difficult question to answer, but how did you feel afterwards?

SARAH:  Numb, grief-stricken and so terribly guilty. In fact my heart felt like a solid lump of ice.

Author:  Can you tell me exactly how you felt when the ice melted?

SARAH:   How long have I got to answer such a question?

Author:  As long as it takes, Sarah. Thank you for being so candid.

SARAH:  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my life with Tom…



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Medieval Castle, Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland

Medieval Castle, Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland

Source: Medieval Castle, Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland

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Fourth April Blog.

Fourth April Blog Poppy Harvest. The fields lie fallow, with brown bare earth, Seed of the corn has been sown. With April droplets and bright sunshine, New shoots will show, wind-blown. Green tops …

Source: Fourth April Blog.

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#8 – Yay For Family!

The Rambles Of A Filmmaker

I’ve only gone and got myself some cash! Things have taken a dramatic leap forward in terms of the first film for The Fear trilogy, Killer Bird. Since January I have managed to save up roughly £600 for the project from my own pocket, which is not nearly enough – nowhere near. Not even enough to tentatively start casting with the hope I save another £600 by the time we start shooting – knowing that I can afford to for at least food and travel expenses. Whilst I was doing all I could do ready myself for eventually being ‘ready,’ if I was honest with myself, I may have been able to start one project this year, but definitely not until much later on in the year. Not until I spoke to my Dad.

I now realise that I was probably walking into this idea blindly and naively hoping…

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LOVE is on my mind


What is love and what does it mean? Love is LIFE itself. One description of the word in my dictionary describes it as: “To have a great attachment to, and affection for…” Yes, but what does it really mean, because there are so many different kinds of love? The list is endless, for without love what kind of a world would we live in? It would be a cold, austere place where people go through their lives selfishly without thinking of other people and their feelings. Love makes the world go round.

Poets and playwrights over the centuries have written much about romantic love. Their words live on and on.

The following sentence was written by A.E Houseman:

“Look not in my eyes, for fear they mirror true the sight I see and there you find your face too clear and love it and be lost like me.”

Virgil wrote: “How I saw you. How I fell in love! How an awful madness swept me away! Now I know what love is, Love conquers all things. Let us too give into love.”

And who can forget Shakespeare’s hapless character, Romeo as he utters these words as he stands beneath the balcony and looks up to his love, Juliette:

“It is my love: O! That she knew she were. With love’s light wings did I o’er perch these walls, for stony limits cannot hold love out and love can do that does love attempt.”

In the play Twelfth Night, Shakespeare wrote:

“If music be the food of love, play on.” And in The Taming of the Shrew, the well-known saying: “Kiss me Kate, we will be married o’ Sunday.”

“O, my luve’s like a red, red rose, that’s newly sprung in June. O my luve’s like the melodie that’s sweetly played in tune.” were written by Scotland’s Robert Burns whose words have been loved and remembered for many years.

We all start (so they say) from the love between Adam and Eve and their forbidden love. Two people meet, fall in love, get married and have children in the belief that love lasts for ever. But what happens when love goes sour?
Shelley wrote:

“When hearts have once mingled, love first leaves the well-built nest! The weak one is singled to endure what it once possessed.”

Along comes unrequited love, and who doesn’t feel sorrow for poor Tit Willow as he plunges into the “billowing waves” (Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado). Young love, lost love, the love between two elderly people who have lived together for so many years and the universal love between mother and child and of course the love between any creature and its young. (Here we have the art of shared devotion, which is love of the purest kind).
But love comes in many different guises. The enduring love of people for their animals is very well known, as is the love of travel, music, books, theatre and nature. Throughout the centuries, people have confessed their love of culture of all kinds. A wonderful, but heart-breaking, true story of love, the memory of which has remained with me for many years, was the story of a man and his dog living in Edinburgh.
When his master died, the dog refused to leave his grave and was fed daily by sympathetic passers-by, but despite this, he later died there. There is a plaque in Edinburgh commemorating his devotion.
Patriotic people all over the world have spoken words of love and fealty to their homeland with hands held closely to their hearts. Robert Burns wrote of his love of Scotland in these well-known words:

“My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here, my heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer. Chasing the wild deer and following the roe, my heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.”

In Shakespeare’s play, Richard II, the King said:
“This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land…”

The love of politics, religion, power, greed and domination has played its part throughout history with dire consequences, including the displacement of millions of people and has contributed to famine in many countries. This is the downside to the word love, because in cases like these, the true meaning of the word is lost and is replaced by a mere shadow of its true definition.
I firmly believe and hope that until LOVE replaces the word HATE in all people’s hearts, there can never be true love throughout the world.

Finally, for all lovers of romance, the following passage is taken from my book Paper Dreams. Dream on…

“They flew off together to a distant warm exotic island, where tiny waves rippled onto a light golden shore and tall palm trees swayed in a warm, sultry breeze. They sunbathed and dreamt together on the beach underneath an umbrella of coconut palm leaves and gazed deeply into one another’s eyes, as brightly coloured birds called out as they flew overhead.
There was a little hut…and the sound of gentle music was wafting lazily towards them as the sun gradually slipped further and further downwards, before finally disappearing gently into the sea.”

“To all, to each, a fair goodnight.
And pleasing dreams, and slumbers light.”

(Sir Walter Scott – 1771-1832)


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My Jottings

Hi…I am actually blogging again after nearly a year of silence, and I’m talking about JOTTINGS! I hope you don’t think that this is the only subject I write about. My silence does…

Source: My Jottings

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