Around the garden in June

Hello to all my followers, and hope all is well in your worlds. The garden is looking colourful at the moment, so thought I’d pop out and take some pics for you to enjoy.

I always thought the red valarian was sea pink, until I looked it up just now. I’ve done some pink geranium hanging baskets, with lovely green moss. They need to grow on a bit yet though, so I’ll post a pic when they’re lovely and lush. Normally I put lots of bits and pieces in, but I wanted only the geranium this time.

pink geranium basketPurple pansiesYou may have gathered that I like pink and purple. Now I’m off to write more of my romantic novel. Happy gardening, or writing, or whatever you’re doing. I now have a link on kishboo links page.

They run a story competition every issue, and also want book reviews, and letters or articles.


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.

Spring is on it’s way.

Digital imageDigital image

It’s great to get up early and have it light for going out to work. And the eclipse was great looking at it through a welding mask that a passing welder happened to lend me. There are lots of advantages to an early morning cleaning job, the main one being money in the bank at the end of the week of course, and also having the rest of the day after morning coffee to yourself.

Another benefit is saving on gym membership, as the physical nature of the job keeps you more than fit. Also, and this one should come first really, I work with a merry mix of colleagues who are delightful, and great fun. Today I was with my Sunderland buddy, and we’re more like Sisters than work mates, as we laugh at the same things, which is mostly everything, and we work hard together to make the places shine like sunshine on a sea=shore…. she says something else, but I’ll leave that to your own imagination.

I’ve almost finished decorating the writing space, and we took more books to the charity shop today. I’ve made more space, and soon there will be a funky desk in place, and a new computer. Photos will appear soon, and I still want to do Sheila Crosby’s interview, and also Patsy Collins has a new story collection out, so hoping to talk to her about that on here soon as well.

Enjoy the springtime sunshine, and keep smiling, you know it makes sense.

March Giggle blog.

I do realise I’m a bit late with this, but now I’m here and have a couple of giggles for you this merry month of March.

Our little grandaughter, loves looking at her mummy while she’s drinking her milk, and dropping off to sleep. So this one night, she was studying Ann’s face, and then she looked up to her hair where she’d tied a huge bow, after having a bath. The little girl looked at those two big flowery ears on her mum’s head and frowned as if to say, ‘why has my mummy sprouted ears…. it was so funny, Ann had to turn her face away so as not to burst out laughing at the cute expression.

Me and my Sunderland work colleague turned up to clean a house. Nothing funny in that, as it’s what we do. They have a three legged cat who wouldn’t move out of the way, so I mopped round him and he was playing chase the mop…. then I leaned the mop up against a cupboard, while I bent down to unplug the hoover. When the mop banged on my back, I thought it was the cat attacking me for teasing him and screamed out loud. Too bad there was a chap asleep upstairs after working night duty somewhere. Then she cleaned the gas cooker and set the gas off. Such a good job we’d blown out the candle that the house-holder had left burning in the kitchen to disguise the smell…. We lived to tell the tale, and such fun, I’m out with her again tomorrow.

If you want to read a story that has a touch of humour, tune into Creative Frontiers, all this week to read Three Little Words. Hope you enjoy it if you read it, and what’s been making you smile lately?


February Giggle blog.

Recently, on a walk around the block; (it’s cold, so long walks can wait until springtime), we bumped into a lady with a bijon frise dog.  I’ve seen pictures of cakes that look like these dogs, they’re cute.

So when I said in my doggie talking voice, ‘Oh, you look like a cake’ the owner and dog jumped back. The dog started barking at me, and the lady looked at me as if I’d landed off another planet. It wasn’t until me and Ann were walking away that we realised I’d just called her lovely dog a cake and she hadn’t a clue what I meant. We knew though, and it was funny.

Another funny thing happened lately. Someone called Glamour forever started following me on twitter. How nice, and it’s a beauty lounge in Sutton, so maybe it’s because they saw my latest header on twitter. Boy/girl nails blue/pink. Anyway, from now on, maybe I’ll have a glam blog going on once a month. I haven’t forgotten Sheila, just that I’m a bit topsy turvy at the mo, and reinventing my writing room, and Annie Sloaning things. Pictures will follow later.

I put a baby reminder on my phone, and on Sunday at half past three, when I switched on, a message came up telling me, Ann’s baby is due between 16:00 and 17:00. which gave us quite a shock as she was sitting on the settee, eating sausage rolls at half past three, so that was a bit of a howler, and baby is quite happy where he/she is.

Last giggle, was that for our Sunday tea, we had salad and home-made sausage rolls and all things that go with it. I used plastic disposable plates, that we had left over from Christmas. Alan collected them up, and I said, ‘Don’t wash up remember, they’re disposables.’ He replied, ‘They’ll be alright to use again, they’ll rinse off, and they aren’t dirty.’ Ann suggested that as a giggle, because not only do we wash up in the traditional way, we re-use disposable plates……..

Until next time, keep on giggling……. you know it makes sense.

The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

Another fan of Wodehouse


As it happens, right now my wife and I are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our second child. In fact, the little chap / lady was due on Tuesday, so is already three days late as I write this. Anyway, the reason I mention this personal detail is that after finishing Pride and Prejudice and considering what to read next, I decided that a short, light-hearted yarn was in order; something to help me relax and take my mind off the seemingly endless waiting. (My wife, having similar thoughts, is currently enjoying the latest Bridget Jones instalment.)

And what could be better under such circumstances, I asked myself, than a P. G. Wodehouse novel?

The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

In the past, I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry television series of Jeeves and Wooster, but I had not, before now, ever read one of the books.

I cannot quite remember…

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Books I’m reading.

I’m reading a great book at the moment.  ‘Snuff’ by Terry Pratchett.  Extremely funny in an unassuming kind of way.  Another one I’m reading is, by Alexander McCall Smith – A Conspiracy of friends.  This too is witty and cleverly written in everyday sort of way.  Rosemary Gemmell’s Dangerous Deceit is thoroughly gripping, so I’m turning the pages on that rather quickly.  Now I’m working on another entry to Emerald writing competition.  My story is slightly whacky, but then reading Terry Pratchett makes me realise whacky is great fun sometimes.

Looking back through my records, something sent out last January hadn’t been replied to, though I’d put the usual sae.  After making an enquiry, they hadn’t a clue what I was talking about.  They asked me to send the same story again.  Trouble is, there were three photographs included.  I put my name and address on the back of the photos, so hopefully they may surface.  Goes to show that keeping dates of what’s gone where is of utmost importance, and could be vital for an editor chasing up something that otherwise could be lost.  Also, lets me realise that I may mark this publication as *not great in taking care of precious photos and stories*** though saying that, I’m hopeful, as this same magazine kept an article and photos for two years once, then sent them back;  I’d forgotten about that submission.

One of the funny lines in ‘Snuff’ goes like this.   Police Inspector Vimes, notices the expression on a face of one of the Goblins, and says to himself,

“Just goes to show that you never know, though what it is we never know, we’ll never know, because we don’t know it.”  He is a brilliant writer, and I feel sorry that he has the onset of alzheimer’s disease; but what a brave man to speak out and make us all more aware of this awful condition that can strike anyone.  May he continue to write and write…..

Creative Cafe.

My story is published on the Creative Cafe website and can be found here.  Hope you enjoy reading.  I’m quite attatched to Glynis and Geraint now, so I’m planning their story before they came to that point.  Also, I had a story shortlisted in the Emerald Writing Workshop.  It was the one where we could write about anything we like, so that was good fun.  Looking forward to the book of short stories from Eddie Walsh, and planning my next entry.

I have been studying the People’s Friend in great depth as anyone who reads this blog will know.  Now, an important thing with P.F. stories is that they like atmosphere and tons of description.  You really are there, with a great emphasis on the senses, smells, tastes, mood of the characters etc.  So:  here is my opening line for my next attempt for them.

Arthur watched Margaret pouring his favourite thick vanilla custard over the homemade apple pie.  Not just any pie, one she’d made that morning from the windfalls he’d collected while morning dew glistened on the grass.

I can almost smell that yummie apple pie, or maybe it’s my tomato chutney simmering on the hob.  So many tomatoes, so hopefully they’ll transform into some lovely savoury relishy type of mixture for on cheese sandwiches over the winter months.  Happy writing everyone.