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The Roar of the Greasepaint

This is possibly, almost certainly, my last blog post before Christmas. I’m about to set off on one of my Granny Progresses, though I’m a lot cheaper to keep than Queen Bess was. No retainers and horses that need feeding, no truculent demands for entertainment. I may not arrive with my own bed and carpenters…

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Foxes and Hedgehogs

I’ve been asked the same question by several readers recently. How come I know so much about such a wide range of subjects? I blush even to type that last sentence. Now I’ll hurry on to correct a very mistaken impression. To answer the question: I don’t know a lot. I’m just interested in a…

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Cooking the Books

First, I’d like to reply to a question several readers have put to me: how can I possibly be without a publisher? The quick answer is, very easily. But let me explain. Publishing houses are no longer gentlemanly outfits where authors are cherished even in their dotage. Publishing is now big business, answerable to shareholders.…

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The Zen of Unemployment

  This is the button I’m definitely not going to push before, say, February’s rent is due. I’m puttering on with Volume 2  so that if/when the day to self-publish dawns I’ll have the convincing makings of a series. And when I’m not writing I’m keeping the hamster wheel of domesticity turning. The mending basket…

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Displacement Activity

Displacement activity, definition: an unnecessary activity carried out to avoid a difficult or unpleasant scenario. Examples: A bird, faced with an ambiguous situation  –  should he fly away or hang around for some potentially nutritious crumbs?  –  will peck the ground.  A dog, unsure whether or not he’s in trouble, will scratch himself. A writer,…

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Words for the Season

Like every English schoolgirl I learned Keats’s Ode to Autumn by heart and can still remember fragments of it now. Uplifting as that is, I wish the part of my brain that retains poetry would also hang on to some useful stuff, like PINs and phone numbers. Autumn is a rich seam for poetry readers.…

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Something For the Weekend

Thanks, first, to readers who sent me words of encouragement in these dark days. I may be out in the publishing wilderness but I’m still writing and probably always will. My dying breath will likely be, ‘Quick, a pen…’ I received a lovely gift yesterday: two issues of Slightly Foxed, that most charming and readable…

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On Being Binge-Read

As I wait, anxiously, for publishers to break through the security cordon screaming, ‘Me, me! Let me be the one to publish your next undoubtedly brilliant novel’, I try to keep my chins up by staying productive. So how hath this little busy bee improved each shining hour during the past week? I repaired a…

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Words in Their Mouths

The lowlight of my recent visit to the UK was when the Yeoman Warder tour of the Tower of London which my granddaughter and I had so looked forward to was cancelled for reasons of health and safety (rain, basically). I guess even the Royal Palaces have to be risk-averse in these litigious times. But…

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On the Road Again

The suitcase is out again. I’m off to England later this week to inspect some of my grandchildren, catch up with some friends and, most important of all, to meet some of my readers. The Hampshire Festival of Book Clubs takes place next week at Lord Wandsworth College. What a lovely place to go to…

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