A jog with a view

I’ve been going to the gym most days over the last week. On Thursday, me and my gym buddy got to the reception. I’d love to blog about what happened next, but on a scale of 1 – 10 it comes around about 9 and a half, so I have to send it off to my favorite laughter pages of That’s Life. They seem to like my funnies and have printed quite a few so far and are always asking me for more. Seeing as they pay well, must give it a chance. He spent the next five minutes texting everyone to tell them about it. I couldn’t exercise for laughing either for quite a while.

His brother was one of the text recipients, and he happened to be going for a run on the same morning; outdoors around Torbay where he lives. This is the picture he sent me of early morning sun shining over my little Brixham bay.



The picture on the right was taken last September, looking across to where he took this one from.

It’s been a cold but fresh day here today, so I’ve been chopping up the wood from our old shed that’s been stored in the greenhouse. Now we’ve got tons of firesticks, and the greenhouse is a bit clearer than it was. Next I’m going to make a base for a half shed so that we can clear out the shed that’s so full you can’t get in it. And, we have a bathroom booked. It’ll be a while before the busy plumber can come and sort it all out, but it will be done some time before the summer. And I’ve made up two spring baskets. It was so chilly at tea time though, they’re in the greenhouse with the sticks until it warms up a bit.

Now I’m off for a cup of tea and to watch the voice. And I forgot to mention that I got head hunted the other day. I was about to start cleaning in one of the cabin offices at the building site when a man approached. I said, “Did  you want Ray, or Jim?”

He said, “Neither of them, you.” Oh, I had a quick think as to what I might have done wrong, like go the wrong way round the site, or not wearing my hard hat. Then he handed me a card and told me he needed good workers as he’s the director of a cleaning company. I started saying, “Oh, yes, I do this that and the other.”

He said, “I know, I’ve seen you.” Wonder if that was when I slopped water up my jeans, or did a twirl with the mop. Either way, I’ll keep the number handy.

Have a great rest of the weekend, and a good week ahead.


Knitting and a tea party

Sophie 1st BirthdaySophie & taidSophie's birthdaySophie in pink

We’re quite a family of knitters, so when a little girl is having a birthday, she ended up with a peach cardigan from great-grandma, and a pink one from Gran, and a knitted mouse from Aunty. She looks quite happy with things and likes tuna sandwiches and salad, and cake of course.

And it’s always good to make time for a tea party, even if we had frothy coffee instead.

Sophie & Gran

And seeing as it was a lovely day, but a bit cold, we went for a swingalong in our local park.

Special guest

This week I have a special guest appearance on the blog. Sophie is busy pressing buttons on her favourite toy and making lots of animal noises appear.



Writing News…

Early chapters of Redington book 2 are getting underway, and the locals in the village are speculating about the new nursery school that’s been built at the end of the village by the new houses.

Here’s the first few paragraphs.


Janice pushed a mug of hot chocolate across the counter for the milkman as she sorted out early morning papers and magazines for delivery.
“You’re not telling me they’ve rushed that new school through for only a handful of Redington nippers!” Stanley delivered milk along with orange juice and other essentials like digestive biscuits and bread, yoghurts or cakes to elderly residents in the village. He took a huge swallow of his drink and raised his bushy eyebrows in Janice’s direction. “I mean, fair enough, the old school was in a state of ruin, but the way they’ve gone to town. Makes you wonder.”
Janice took a deep breath, and wiggled her shoulders when she’d bagged up two sacks full of papers ready for delivery, she’d done the job for so long she could have done it with her eyes closed. “Mm, I wouldn’t be sure. There’s all those new houses going up on the estate remember. People are already moving in over there now. The way it’s going, Redington will be double in size before long. It’s only from being in the shop that I get to know the new ones. It’s a good thing, building that new estate; you have to go with changes. I know a lot don’t agree though.”


word count is now around 2,500 so almost at the beginning of chapter 1. Details are being published on the blog to keep me motivated. That’s the plan anyway.

Have a great week, and watch this space for the wordcount next weekend.


It’s wedding week

If you’re a follower of my stories set in the fictional village of Redington, in the middle of North Norfolk, then tune in to Creative Frontiers all this week to read the serial,

Betty’s big Meringue

It’s all about the build up to the wedding, and whether they will actually get to tie the knot.

To warn you, it’s a long one, and comes in lots of parts.

Hope you enjoy the story if you read it.

Please log in to Creative Frontiers and leave a comment. Also, editor Martin West is

always on the lookout for stories and articles for the site. Details are on there.

Now I’m off to find the biggest hat I can, and a blue flowery dress and some high heels.

They’re quite a flamboyant lot over there, so don’t want to look like an old frump for Betty.

Betty's big meringue



October giggle blog.

At work the other day, it came to the time of cleaning the canteen in a factory where we have to enter a code to get through the door. Most places have codes now, and it’s a task in itself to remember them all.

On this particular morning, I marched up to the door, hoover in hand and hose wrapped round my neck, confident I’d remembered the order of numbers. Plonking Henry down, I said to my friend from Sunderland; “I know this code,” tapped it in, then added, “The door is really stiff.” Another time, I had the right code, and couldn’t open it, and a chap had told me it was stiff, and you have to give it a really good shove.

So I leaned back, and threw all my weight behind it and shoved. Now somebody must have oiled the door, because I shot through it like Peter Sellers and Kato in one of the Pink Panther films, and almost fell up the stairs that are a good ten feet on from the door. Good job nobody was on the other side, and I wish they’d let you know when they oil the doors.

Peter Sellers charging through a door….

I fancied eating a gingerbread man, so after looking in my recipe books, (I’m old fashioned like that) I googled a recipe, and found a good one on the bbc website. It made 16, though the recipe said 20. Mine were slightly thicker than they should have been, but I won’t hold that against them, I made them that way. So a few days later, I had a dream that I was in one of the places we clean, another factory, different from the above, and a giant gingerbread man came walking out of the gents toilets. He said to me, “Do you think it’s right, what you’re doing?” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “You’re eating all of my friends.” I said, “Well, I fancied one.” Then he plodded off into the factory. It wasn’t easy eating all the rest after that.

gingermenLittle gingerbread chaps, tasty and soft.

Do you want to join the growing list of gigglers? All you have to do is post at the beginning of each month, something that’s made you laugh lately. If nothing has, then you’re not looking hard enough.

Here are the other lovely gigglers, and welcome Jacqueline King to the giggle list.

Lynne Hackles, and on Lynne’s blog you get a giggle from Sue Blackburn.

Teresa Ashby, who always has something to make us giggle.

A lady who joined the gigglers from Teresa’s blog is also a giggler. I need to find her and add her link here.

Jacqueline King. Who gave me the idea for giggle blog, as she said I made her giggle.

Mrs Teapot on the busy teapot blog. Hope the kettle’s on.


Coming soon, Author interview with writing treasure, Lynne Hackles.


RNA Award Ceremony.

On Saturday, we went to Leighton Buzzard so that I could attend the Award Ceremony. Here’s the list for the new talent section.

Jan in a hatTo celebrate me getting on to the shortlist of 11, here’s my writing buddy Jan, modeling her stylish hat, in support for Hats off to Love… Click on the picture to go to Jan’s blog.

New Talent Award Shortlist
An Infamous Seduction by Glenda Cooper

Country Strife by Debbie Fuller-White

Fancy Cakes and Skinny Lattes by Melanie Griffiths

For One Last Time by Louise Hall

The Gossamer Trail by Brenda Hawkey

Who Does He Think He Is? by Emily Kerr

Hats Off To Love by Susan Jones

Meeting Halfway by Mairibeth MacMillan

The Perfect Blend by Catherine Meadows

True Colours by Caroline Rayner

Maggie’s Child by Glynis Smy

It was lovely to meet the others on the shortlist. Brenda had traveled all the way from Cornwall, and I thought we’d had quite a journey. Her story sounded interesting, and so did lots of others, like Louise’s One Last TIme, and Glynis’s Maggie’s Child. Then I met Debbie Fuller White, who told me about Country Strife.

Congratulations to Caroline Rayner who won with True Colours. She told me it’s a story about second chances, because everyone deserves a second chance. Look forward to reading that.

The children dancing before and in between the awards were a real treat, and some brought a tear to the eye. I especially liked the lad dancing to ‘why do fools fall in love’ and the little girl singing ‘where is love’ from Oliver Twist, and dressed in rags.

Click on Samantha’s photo to go to her website.


I met Samantha Tonge, who was also shortlisted for her e-book, and two lovely Irish ladies, Carmel Harrington who won last years e-book category, she was presenting an award; and Louise Hall who was on the same shortlist as me. The editors from Carina are lovely as well. They won their section.

Sophie, in the middle of the two lovely Irish ladies, Carmel and Louise, won the blogger award for reviewedthebook blog.

shortlisted pals

So now I’m busy getting the novel finished, edited, polished and up to scratch to send in… also I’m working on The Ghost of Windmill Walk for Creative Frontiers.

Right after the award ceremony, we had a visit to Wales to visit Alan’s mum. She was her usual welcoming self, and more about that on my giggle blog in a week or so…

Even though I didn’t win, (in some ways I’m glad as I’d have been a nervous wreck going up on the stage) I know now that the story of Denise will be published one day. She is waiting for me to get fingers on keyboard, and put the whole thing together…..

One thing that stayed in my mind from the weekend, is that the lady who won, Caroline, had a lovely smile and she turned to me and said, ‘what lovely friendly people romantic novelists are.’ She is truly smashing, and looking forward to reading her story.

September Giggle blog.

So we’re in to September and time for a giggle….. erm…… that wasn’t funny, no, nor that, and that wasn’t brilliant either. Hang on, things aren’t that bad…………

I work with a lady from Sunderland why aye man I do, yeah sure hinny, away man, yer naw, I’m canny and all I am on a Tuesday morning, and she always makes me laugh. She loves her bleach, and air freshener, and when she jokingly asked a chap if he was making us a cup of tea, he ended up doing us one each, so that was canny, why eye…..

Everything’s champion, doll, yes it is, bright and shiny, quicky dooo daah, if we’re running late, which we never are, of course.

Thing is, I find doo dah, coming into my speech, and why eye man is easy to pick up…. And, she’s not a Geordie, she’s from Sunderland. Completely different.


blue vanI start off driving, and then she takes over after that. One day last week, we were bombing along the road, full blast ahead, and changing gear, she rammed the van into reverse…. only for a nano second, that made me smile.

Boys alive, have a look at this for accents…. La plue de la tente avec petit pois sil vous plais.


Until next time……..


Welcome Della Galton.

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It’s a massive pleasure to welcome Della Galton on to the People’s Friend author page for June. I’ve been following Della’s stories for a long while, so now let’s get a cup of tea, and hear from one of our greatest story writers.

It’s a pleasure to welcome Della Galton to my blog today. I’ve heard you described as Queen of magazine fiction, Della, but for me you’re more like the girl next door. Although perhaps a good thing for you that you don’t live next door to me, or I’d be popping my head in every day asking, ‘what do you think of this?’ It’s lovely that you always find time to help people who are trying to write a saleable story.

I’m definitely more of a girl next door than a queen, tee hee! And thank you for asking me to visit.

S/ You’re always busy on workshops and giving helpful advice, I wonder how you find time for your own writing?

D/ To be honest, Susan, it’s with difficulty. It’s not just the talks and the workshops – I love doing these – it’s the promotion of books I find is a real time eater. As well as doing my own blog I do Twitter and Facebook. I do at least one full day a week purely on PR – possibly more. If I know I want to write a story – as I did today (well half of one) I need to start with that and not even look at social media.

S/ When you had your first acceptance for People’s Friend, how long had you been sending stories in to them?
D/ Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that it didn’t work like that. I had been writing for My Weekly for a long time and my editor there, who was Angela Gilchrist, moved over to People’s Friend. She then wrote to me and asked if I would like to try my hand at writing for the Friend. Not to say that she accepted my first story or anything, but it was what prompted me to try.

S/  You have a clear and crisp style of story writing. Not a word too many, and often the ending isn’t what I thought it would be. So how do you get away with an unpredictable ending for People’s Friend, like ‘moving in the right direction’ with June, who should have gone to Canada, to her family, then pleased herself and stayed in England?


D/ Thank you for saying so but I’m not sure my endings are that unpredictable really – not too much for The Friend anyway. I tend to write with a universal truth (something we can all relate to) in my mind and the universal truth of that particular story was that it’s OK to make a major decision and then change your mind.

S/  I enjoyed the article in the ‘Friend,’ with you, at Battersea Dogs home. Was this your idea, or did People’s Friend ask you to go there, and any plans to visit again? I hope so. Did you get your dogs from there?

D/  They asked me to go – and I must say I was absolutely delighted. I love dogs. I couldn’t go there again unless I had a vacancy for another dog though because I would fall in love with someone with four paws and that would be that. It wouldn’t matter that I didn’t have a vacancy – this has happened before. I once had three dogs and then I brought one back from Greece! I am learning to be more moderate. And no I haven’t ever got a dog from Battersea but there’s plenty of time 🙂

S/  I enjoyed the story ‘walking a tightrope’ with the girl who went back to her parents’ home. How long would you say it takes you to get a story just right for the People’s Friend?

D/ Probably about two hours to write the beginning and then two days to get the end and polish it. That’s how long it takes me to get a story right for most mags. I know that people say The Friend can be hard to write for because they have a lot of restrictions, but actually I find that it’s the opposite. I think more restrictions make for easier writing because it’s clear what you can and can’t do.

S/  Writing as you do, for a range of magazines, how would you compare writing for People’s Friend, in relation to the other women’s magazine markets?

D/ I think there can be a perception that the Friend is very cosy and won’t take anything sad, but I haven’t found that to be the case. I’ve written plenty of sad stories for them. I don’t like twee stories – I like something to happen, I like a bit of pain – that sounds awful, doesn’t it, but it’s also important to make sure the ending is hopeful and upbeat. And the other key thing to remember is that the characters have to be warm. They don’t like baddie characters very much, tee hee!

S/ Any other information you can share with us about writing for People’s Friend would be great, thank you. That little blue book is my short-story writing bible as well, and the toolbox series is fabulous. Thank you, Della, for taking time out to pop over today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY…. (Sorry, just had to say it!!)

Thank you for having me, Susan. And thanks for saying such nice things about my books. And for the birthday wishes – don’t tell anyone how old I am!

More on writing for The Friend

One day a couple of years ago I was feeling quite poorly and it was all I could do to struggle to the settee. I wanted something to read but not just any old thing. I wanted something comforting ¬¬- something that wouldn’t tax me too much, something that would make me smile and definitely nothing distressing. I had several magazines around the place as I always do, but it was The Friend that I reached for. Now that is a very good thing to bear in mind if you’re writing for them. Ask yourself these questions:

Is my story comforting? Is it easy reading? And is someone likely to be cheered and/or inspired when they have read it?
If you would like to know more about writing short stories I’d be delighted if you’d take a look at my latest book, The Short Story Writer’s Toolshed. Click here to buy or find out more.
Also, my latest novel, which is definitely not a suitable story for the People’s Friend is called Ice and a Slice. Click here to buy or find out more.

Della’s website is here


Her blog is here….http://www.dellagalton.co.uk/?page_id=28




Thank you Della for spending time to chat on the blog, I’m reading Ice and a Slice at the moment…..



Have a lovely Easter

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Enjoy Easter weekend, whichever way you’re going to. We’re still on painting the fence, in-between relaxing, reading, chatting to family who will be popping in. Also, I want to plant the garden with something from the local farm shop. The doughnut man is hoping to be busy, but I’m busy at the gym now, so I’ll be having one of my chocolate cornflake cakes instead. I do realise, they’re not diet food, but I’m not on a diet, only eating less. So instead of 5 cornflake cakes, I’ll have 2, and they’re small.

My on-line writing group who have helped enormously with my fiction writing over the last couple of years have now got a website. You can check us out here.

It’s great fun, and I know I’ll be telling you about my latest story published soon, thanks to all the help from my friends. And if I don’t, it’s good to be having fun along the way.

Woman’s Weekly have changed the magazine quite a lot lately. This weeks is great with a page on fiction editor Gaynor Davies, who writes in such a funny style, I’d like her to have a column of her own. Maybe I’ll write and let her know. I love the bit where she says her Gran looked back at her in the mirror. Mine has been doing that for ages, but luckily I longed to be like her one day, so be careful what you wish for. Also, the stories are brilliant as usual. Me and hubby are going to do the crossword, it’s a good excuse to sit down with a coffee. (Not that we need one:)

I’m reading ‘We that are Left’ Juliet Greenwood. And, ‘Call it Pretending’ Frances Di Plino, so I know I’m in for a treat.

Whether it’s gardening, knitting, reading or writing, or good old fashioned sitting around doing nothing….. Have a great weekend.

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November giggle blog

It’s time for a giggle on my blog. Well, the first one is I’m doing nano, http://nanowrimo.org/participants/suzydoodling
I was going to add buddies, but not sure how, and I’m quite busy writing as you all probably are… We were having a family gathering last Sunday, as daughter Ann popped over from Melton. Whenever I’m with our grown up children, there’s always a giggle around.
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We got to talking about when our eldest son came up from Torquay in his latest car; he’s not really a car fanatic, and has one with wheels that gets him from a – b. Now, he always parks on the road, and we made a huge fuss about, ‘put it up on the drive’ so that he wouldn’t get a scratch on it. Thing is, he was here for a few days, and once when I took our car out, I reversed in and ‘phew’ just at the last minute remembered his car was there. Then, later his dad popped out, and whizzed back in, and only remembered his car was there when he felt the slight bump of our tyre on the bonnet. He felt bad of course, and our Son wasn’t overly bothered, but they were having a great giggle at the way their dad made light of it. (Really of course, he was devastated, but tried to hide it) So, they were having a laugh at that, then youngest Son added, ‘he did the same to me, and then made out it was me, by saying, oh you don’t normally park there.) It was funny to laugh at that, so never park behind us. Then Alan went on to tell us about when his Dad taught him to drive. Doing a hill start, backwards, and through a gate, half way up a mountain….. so we blame that for his reversing habits.
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Just finished work for the weekend, and on Monday, I’m in a different department. But good news is that I’ve gone past three months, and nobody’s tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘oi, what are you still doing here’ so I keep turning up, and answering the calls.

Now, I’m writing the novel. If anyone knows how to add buddies, let me know, thanks. More news soon.