Welcome, Patsy Collins

It makes me so happy to welcome my writing buddy and one of my favourite short story writers, Patsy Collins to my blog this week.

Patsy Collins
Welcome to my blog, Patsy, and as I’ve just finished reading Over the garden fence, I’d like to talk to you about your latest collection.

Thanks for inviting me, Suzy … and for the very green milkshake. It looks … different.

Suzy/  The first story is unusual, almost like two stories in one – it works well; what gave you the idea to do that, as it’s something I haven’t seen before?

Patsy/  I’m interested in the way one small action, or a slight change of attitude can have a big impact on our lives because they influence everything which happens next. With Black and White, I was able to watch as Felicity made one bad decision which gradually resulted in tragedy and then to give her another chance to do things differently.

Suzy/  So far, this is the third collection of short stories you’ve published. How do you choose which to include?

Patsy/ Having a theme helps. I do write a lot of stories which involve plants, gardens or gardeners in some way, but sticking with those narrows down the choice a little. Some of the stories in this collection are favourites from those published in magazines or placed in competitions. Others were written specially with the collection in mind. I wanted to provide a good variety of subjects so that the reader didn’t need green fingers to enjoy it.

Suzy/ Some of these stories are a bit scary, others funny, and some happy or sad. One of my favourites is Picture Perfect, and they’re all lovely stories in their own way. How long does it take you to get a story ready to be published?

Patsy/ That varies a lot! I have come up with an idea in the morning, written it the same day and sent it off the next after a quick read through for typos. I don’t like to rush them like that though (I only did it because the story was topical – and it paid off!)
Often I have most of an idea, but it takes a few sessions to work everything out. However long it takes to write, I usually wait until I’ve written something else, then read through it again. That gives me enough distance to be a bit more objective. If I’m still not entirely sure, I put it up for our lovely review group to have a look at.

I’m glad you like Picture Perfect. That was inspired by real events. Gary, my lovely husband, is a professional photographer. Quite often peculiar things happen when he picks up a camera. On one job someone parked right in his way and began unloading piano pieces from a car. I can’t witness something like that and not note it down for a story.

Suzy/ Which is your favourite magazine to write short stories for and why?

Patsy/ That’s a totally unfair question! I absolutely love them all … but I love whichever one last accepted a story the most.

Suzy/ I like the quirky covers of the story collections. Do you design them yourself?

Patsy/ No, I have a man for that! Gary produces all my book covers, either from stock images we buy, or from his own photographs. The purple writing was my idea though. (You’d already worked that out, hadn’t you?)

Suzy/ Have you any more collections in the pipeline?

Patsy/ There will be more in the Garden series. Through the Garden Gate is next. I’ve considered doing a romance collection, but at the moment I’m working on another novel.

Thanks, Patsy for popping in for the interview. It’s great to learn more about you and your lovely stories.

You’re welcome, Suzy and I’m so sorry about spilling my drink … I hope it comes out of the carpet. No, no please don’t worry about mixing me another. I’m fine honest!

You can buy Over the Garden Fence here

To find out more about Patsy, visit her website gardenfenceGo on, go on, I know you’d like another,  here you go now, drink it up…..

spirulinaAnother author interview next month.

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Latest Redington story, and a new look blog.

Hello on this rainy Monday to all my lovely followers.

village shop

Good news is, I’ve finished my morning shift, and my latest Redington story is up on Creative Frontiers for you to read. I’ve missed that make-believe village and all the characters, and with this story we have a new one – Jasmine – Claire’s long-lost daughter. I’ll leave you to read the rest, if you want to.

Part Two is here on Tuesday

Part Three, Wednesday.


You might also notice, that I’ve learned how to add blogs that aren’t WordPress ones, to the right of my post. If you’re a follower, and you aren’t on there, drop me a line, and I can correct that.

I’m still drinking the green whoosh up’s and amazingly they’re smashing. Maybe my taste buds have changed as I take a flask of green tea with me in the mornings and drink that. Also, I feel like Granny Fairfax in the Terry Pratchett story, drinking a big glass of green froth.

spirulinaIn mine, I put soya milk, a banana, soya yoghurt, flax seeds, two teaspoons of lecithin (for lowering cholesterol) half a teaspoon of turmeric (for aching joints) and a heaped teaspoon, which began as half a t.spn, then progressed to two-thirds of a tsp. and now it’s a heaped one of spirulina.

Whoosh all of those up for about three minutes and you’ve got an odd shade of green milk shake. Oh, forgot to say, the thing that I think is making it yummshious, is three leaves of apple mint that I keep on the kitchen shelf, out of the garden. The blood pressure reading is almost normal, not sure about cholesterol, and I think a bit more chub has gone. I’ll find out on Wednesday when I check in at the Doctor’s.

Stand by for the weight loss announcement, I’ve lost eleven (11) pounds in eight weeks. Whoopie, but the blood pressure is still on the high side, so now I have to go for one of those ecg’s and a blood test. So, green smoothie coming up to celebrate the weight loss.

I offer anyone passing (in the family, of course) a sip. Then they guess what’s in it. Kiwi was one answer, on that day I’d put a kiwi yoghurt in there. Until next time, have a good week, and I’ll add links to the story each day………………………

Ivy in the storyWhat’s Ivy worried about, and will Edna Bailey have any answers for her and Janice?


© Arenaphotouk | Dreamstime.com – Village Store In Muker, Yorkshire Dales. Photo

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Glam gran’s blog

Hello followers, new ones and favourite ones. Hope all is well in your worlds. I’d lost four and a half pounds last week with the mediterranean diet. And today, I’ve made some lentil burgers, with onions and garlic, mustard and extra bits and bobs.

olive oil

I’ve got this little machine from the doctors, to check my blood pressure. I’m sure they do that so that when you see the reading, it shocks you into sticking to the new way of eating. Today though, it was almost normal, so that’s good.

Every morning, now, I take a canister of green tea with jasmine to work, or there’s one with pineapple and grapefruit. It’s a taste you need to get used to, but when you do, you’ll love it. The good thing is that it tastes alright cold as well.

green tea

Lowers blood pressure and regulates metabolism

Another superfood I’ve been told about, by a man who knows, is Spirulina. It’s a type of plant algae, and it goes into a smoothie... you mix other things with it to disguise the taste apparently, so I’ve ordered some of that.


think of the health benefits, and don’t mind the taste.

I’ll be mixing it with soya milk, banana, and maybe a kiwi fruit, and some soya yoghurt. It’s a 200g bag, and you only use a teaspoonful at a time so it should last a while.

Flax seeds are a great way to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure as well. When you read up on them, it makes you wonder why they aren’t on the checkouts at all supermarkets…

This is a good book —- skeleton in the closet by M.C. Beaton. The usual mix of great characters, good fun and lots of adventure. Also still reading other books on my kindle, which is great for in the garden.

ATT00042This is going to be my hideous before picture. By the way, it’s not me, it’s my older uglier fatter dafter sister, who sells tat on markets. I try to avoid her if I can. Haven’t seen her for quite a while, so maybe she’s emigrated with a bit of luck. Meanwhile, I’m off to make a cup of green tea.

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Operation bric-a-brac

Following on from the last post, I’ve just heard that ‘Operation-bric-a-brac’ will be published on 18th May, on Creative Frontiers. I’ll put a link when it’s up.

Earl greybuddahThe Buddah is in the story… I’ve got a blue one in the garden, which explains a lot.

Here’s my favourite drink in my special cup; a topic on #writingchat tonight is ‘writing rituals. Most people like their drink of choice nearby, and spells and pens are important it seems. Tune in every Wednesday at 8 o’clock if you want to join in the conversations on twitter.

Now I’m continuing with chapters of my novel, Hats off to Love. Other things have distracted me for too long. This story was on the shortlist of the RNA new talent awards in 2012, and again in 2014, so that lets me know that it has the shapings of a romantic novel.

My main focus now is Hats, and maybe some more Redington stories. Will put the link up

on Monday the 18th May…

For my kindle, I’ve now got Over the garden fence, Patsy Collins, and A theatrical Murder, by David Robinson

Reviews on those, and interview with Patsy coming soon.

Do you fancy a milk-shake; if so, which is your favourite?

Or is a special Earl Grey more your thing?

Posted in A Redington Tale, Latest News, Lovely people, operation bric-a-brac, Romantic Writing, Todays news, Update, What I'm reading. | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

May brings bluebells, and glam gran goes a walk.

bluebell woodLook what we stumbled across on our walk yesterday. Such a vivid colour blue they’re almost purple.

We walked around the golf-course, and watched some great shots, and some duffers as well. Loud thwacks, that skimmed the trees, and others that got lost in the brambles.


Do you think I’m able, MableL?

These golfers go proper moody if they lose a ball. I like those golfing buggies that remind me of Columbo. Remember him with his cigar, ‘just one more thing.’


Ah, just one more thing…

Speaking of which, just one more thing, I’ve sent my latest Redington story in to Creative Frontiers, hoping it gets published. Will let you know here if it does.

This is the poster above my computer, for inspiration, and to prove that I’m a glam gran… (in my mind, anyway:) My glam gran tip for May is to wear a smile as often as you can, and let it come from within, mean it. No good smiling if it’s false. I’m smiling on this picture, because Alan took it, in my writing room, and I said, ‘oh It’ll do, it’s not going to get any better than that.’ Little did I know then it would be on the front cover of Writers’ Forum.

pictue on wallThis reminds me that last year, I was on the cover of Writers’ Forum, and interviewed with, Teresa Ashby, Della Galton, and Glynis Skrivens. Now where am I going for this year…

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Author Interview with Sheila Crosby.

Welcome, Sheila Crosby.



At last, I’m so glad to bring you the interview with the lovely Sheila, the one which should have been published in January. Here it is, and hope you enjoy it and find it, like all good things, well worth waiting for.

Blog about La Palma: http://lapalma-island.com
Main site: http://sheilacrosby.com (which should be getting some love in the new year.)
Online shop: http://dragontree.sheilacrosby.com/blog/products-page/ They make great Christmas gifts!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome author and my also, one of my writing group friends to my blog today. Sheila Crosby has written stories set on the Island of La Palma, where she lives, and also, Dragon stories, and stargazing tales from the observatory.

Sue/ Congratulations on making it to the shortlist of Alfie dog international story competition recently, Sheila. Where did the idea of the April fool story come from?

Sheila/ Thanks. And thanks for inviting me to your blog. It’s often hard to remember afterwards, but I think that one started off as a conversation with my adult son about how mobile phones have changed things. These days you can take a selfie with whatever-it-was and people are much more likely to believe you. Then I got to thinking about when it would be really important and really hard to be believed, and the answer was an alien invasion on April fool’s day. I mentioned the idea to a few friends, and got great snorts of laughter every time, so I knew I was onto a good one.

Sue/ You write a lot about La Palma in the Canary Islands where you live. How did you wind up living there?

Sheila/ I originally came to the island with a six-month contract to work as a software engineer in the astronomical observatory here. That was in 1990 and I’m still here! You see, I met a tall dark handsome local in the Isaac Newton Telescope and we wound up getting married. Luckily for me, the island is beautiful and inspiring.

Sue/ I especially love your dragon stories, and you have a book called….The Dodo Dragon and other stories. What is it that draws you towards dragons?

Sheila/ Actually, I don’t think I write many dragon stories. The Dodo Dragon is the only story in the anthology about a dragon (although it’s one that keeps selling) and it’s a very unusual dragon. Although everybody knows what to expect of a dragon, and I do enjoy subverting that. Dragons don’t have to be baddies.


Sue/  You have Thrice upon a Time, in the book of the same name, published by Alfie Dog. I’ve read that story, and I’d describe it as fairy-tale with humour. Is this a genre in which you would write more stories? Or was that a one off?


Sheila/  I’ve written a few humorous fairy tales. For example, “Some Day My Prince Will Go”is a parody of Rapunzel. Rapunzel is ridiculous – so the prince finally manages to climb up into her tower – that doesn’t mean that she’s rescued. She’s still up a tower for pete’s sake. Why didn’t she cut off her hair and climb down it herself, years ago? I’d definitely like to write more – I suppose it’s partly that fairy tales make a lot of assumptions which strike me as daft. I mean, what if a gay man slays the dragon? Does he still have to marry the princess? What’s she going to think about that? What if the dairy maid rescued the prince?


Sue/  Where did you have your first story published? And how did you celebrate?


Sheila/ My first sale was “The Dodo Dragon” to Jackhammer ezine in 1998, and they paid me $19. I was at work when I got the email (text only emails in those days) so I went into the ladies where I could literally jump up and down without anybody seeing me.


Sue/  You’re busy showing tourists round the observatory, on La Palma. When do you find time to write?

Sheila/ For the last few weeks I’ve had extra guiding work and I’ve been very busy trying to market books. So I haven’t had time to write anything except blog posts and it’s making me bad tempered. But I don’t work as a guide full time – I probably average about four days mornings a week. Then there’s housework, dammit, (I have a very messy family, and that includes me.) But for most of the year I probably get anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours a day, squeezed in wherever I can manage. It’s completely chaotic, but it sort-of works. And occasionally I get a fit of enthusiasm, ignore all my responsibilities and just write for a couple of days.


Sue/ I know you send stories to Women’s Weekly, People’s Friend and other magazines. Which magazine to you find easiest to write for?


Sheila/ Actually the easiest places to get published for me are SF and fantasy webzines, but of course they pay a lot less. It helps that there’s a lot of them, so when your story’s rejected from one place, you still have plenty of others to try. If any of your readers write speculative fiction, I recommend http://ralan.com/ as a great list of potential markets.


Thank you Sheila for a glimpse into your world, which looks exciting and great fun. Glad that you’re a critique buddy as well.


Next month, interview with Patsy Collins…


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Beginning a new story.

Some of my followers will know I’ve been away from the computer for a while. Now I’m starting a new Redington story, and it begins with Ivy running up the street to talk to Janice who works in the local grocery story. She has some disturbing news to tell her.

This is a bit different to my normal Redington stories, and I’m now getting in to part two.

It’s great to be back writing, as I don’t feel right when I don’t write. I’m grumpy and it feels like something is wrong. So, I’m at that fabby desk, and if you missed it last time, here it is again, along with some pictures I took on a country walk the other day. It was quite a brisk walk, to help lower the cholesterol, in between admiring the scenery. Shame I almost walked in on a transaction of the dodgy kind, but that’s another story.

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