Springs in the Valley

Springs in the Valley

Forty years ago this month, I was given a book of daily devotional readings which, over the years, I have dipped in and out of, though by no means on a daily basis.  Today, I read a short passage that mentioned a flower I’d never heard of before, the Soldanella, also known (as I discovered when I googled it) as “snowbell”.

The reading mentioned a booklet by someone I’d never heard of before, Lilias Trotter, entitled “The Glory of the Impossible”, in which she ‘traced the power of this fragile plant to melt its way through the icy covering into the sunshine overhead.’

"The Glory of the Impossible"

“The Glory of the Impossible”

Of course we all have our own “icy coverings” that can make belief in any sort of warmth and sunshine almost impossible, we all face or have faced personal heartaches or challenges that tell us the only place left for us is cold and dark and hopeless. Many Beautiful Things official trailer

As I have listened to the news emerging over the past couple of weeks, it’s painfully evident that globally there are pockets of such unimaginable darkness, where evil seems to have triumphed so spectacularly, that light might never have been real. But light is no myth, and for every heart that responds to evil, that chooses destruction and hatred as its course, there are others that do not, others that, despite their own icy coverings, find a way to melt their way through.

All it takes is the tiniest spark of light to overpower the darkest of dark places, just one glimpse of light, and that is where hope lives.

If you want to find out more about Lilias Trotter, check out this blog:


How does your garden grow?

Rain, rain Go away

Rain, rain
Go away

It’s midsummer, days at their longest, nights at their shortest, sun-showered days when the garden bursts with blooms and buzzes with the hum of honey bees … Good job I have such a vivid imagination – the build up to my midsummer has included downpours (hailstones being a peculiar feature this June) and blustery breezes that have no right to show their faces between April and October. And it’s so chilly. The time of the year that’s supposed to help you forgive the cold, dark mornings and early nights of Winter just isn’t doing its job in 2015. The only clue that it’s summer is my garden, which, even though it has been battered and blown, continues to grow.

Picnic in June

Picnic in June

Perhaps it’s the unseasonal weather, but there’s one border, lying under the shade of a silver birch, that is shooting out some unidentifiable flowers. Or are they weeds? Neither I nor my husband can tell. Every time I walk past it, I pause and wonder: weed or bloom? Pull it out, or leave it to see what happens? Wait and see, my husband says. A weed is only a flower growing in the wrong place, my daughter advises.

Second edition cover

Second edition cover

After publishing the second edition of ‘Strong as Death’ earlier this year and ‘Selkie’ in May, I turned my thoughts to my next project. I have notes on at least four ideas that I hope to develop at some stage, so which to choose? None of them.

After lying dormant for over four years, I have gone back to the first novel I ever wrote, the first of a trilogy for 11-14 year olds. The space and experience I’ve gained in the intervening years has shown me just where the ‘weeds’ are in this novel, and I’m not afraid to pull them out by the roots, even though that may result in some major disruption to the perfectly lovely flowers around them.

Pink poppies June 2015

Pink poppies June 2015

Currently, I am reworking the first few chapters. At first, I tried vigorous snipping round the edges and careful pruning in the middle – there were parts I didn’t want to lose – but the result was a sort of lopsided, badly-trimmed hedge. So, with a huge dose of potent weed killer (aka the delete button) I have cleared the first twelve thousand words and have fertile, uncontaminated pages to sew with new life. My husband tells me that gardening is hard work, but I bet it’s got nothing on the proverbial blood, sweat and (not so proverbial) tears that writers shed.

As for those unidentified flowers, should they prove themselves undesirable, I will have no trouble telling my husband to pull them out – I’ll be far too busy growing my own new garden …



Selkie_CoverAfter all the dreaming, all the planning, all the writing, all the re-writing, it’s arrived – the day anyone with the will (and a Kindle, or a device that will download the free Kindle app) can read my new novel, Selkie. If you give it a go, please let me know what you think by leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads and/or contacting me here, on my Facebook page or via Twitter (links to the left of this post).

Selkie on Amazon UK

Selkie on

What’s Selkie about?

One unforgettable summer, sixteen year old Sam Harris is drawn into the mystery of the ghost-girl who wanders the cove below Tigh-Creag, the cliff top house that legend says was built with selkie gold. Who is she? And how is she linked to the ancient Miss McCulloch, owner of Tigh-Creag, who, with her talk of sea husbands and selkies, watches the cove from her bedroom window?
As Sam’s life becomes tangled in the history of the McCullochs, the free-spirited Seb Calhoun, whose family have told selkie stories for generations, and the brooding Sneddon Henderson, descendent of those with their reasons to hate the sea people, she falls in love for the first time. But the feuds that stem from the selkie legends of the past reach out to touch the present in ways that have devastating consequences.