New Year 2016

New Year 2016

It is very strange how life takes one by surprise. I had written, Breathless, a book about a family dealing with a long-term illness, and the stresses and strains that it put on the extended family. When wrote that book, I had happily never been in a similar situation so had to rely on imagination and talking to people who had, to try to get the right balance for the book.
On Christmas Eve last year, our family was thrown into turmoil with the diagnosis of Leukaemia for our five-year old grandson. Happily he is so far responding well to treatment. The treatment is a three year long round of medications, hospital visits, blood tests and all the stress that goes with it. For the family knowing he has to go through the same cycles of meds again and again for the next two years is tough.
As for the Patient, he has been a star. He was off school for 6 months, but desperate to get back to be with his friends. Once back, he threw himself into school life with such enthusiasm his teachers are in awe of his bravery.
His little sister is not sure what all the fuss is about. He is just normal as far as she is concerned. Initially she was a bit jealous of all the attention he was getting, but having a vaccination in her arm, convinced her he could keep that sort thing to himself.
His parents are exhausted, but trying to keep life as normal as possible for him and his sister. The stress is never far away. My part is small in comparison, plying them with tea and stepping in to fetch or carry one or other of the children as required.
With all that going on, as well as the usual Bed and Breakfast business, lots of building repairs being carried out, and keeping an eye on older members of the family, all hopes of getting a book out in 2015 vanished. But I am starting the year with fresh enthusiasm, and hopes for a book to be published within the next few months. So watch this space.

Christmas presenting new challenges.


“Now about Christmas…”

Clare gulped with surprise. Christmas had been a taboo topic all their married life, with every detail left to her, from the decorations to the food and also buying and wrapping all the presents, including her own.

“Christmas?” she asked, wondering why he should so suddenly be thinking so far ahead.

“I thought about taking the kids skiing. Do you think they’d like the idea?”  The uncertainty I his voice was new to her. She could only guess that the threat of having to spend time with his parents had prompted this sudden interest in winter sports.

“Skiing, versus Cornwalll with the grandparents, no contest,” she answered. “Have you asked them?”

“No. I wanted to check with you first. I’d like you to come too.”

“Sorry, Mike, I won’t be joining you, but I’m happy for the children to go if that’s what they want.”

“Had you anywhere in mind?” she asked, her mind running through a long list of things that needed consideration. How Hannah would cope with her exercises and medication was one thing, trusting Mike with the responsibility, quite another.



This year seems to have been filled with distractions from writing.

Builders fixed part of the roof and sorted out some major “Building” issues. So it became the summer of dodging scaffolding poles.


Followed by making new leaded windows for the end wall of the Coach house. Luckily there was not too much blood, but lots of sweat about whether they would fit. Tricky shape, much harder than all the rest of the house.


Thankfully all done and scaffolding removed before the weather decided to turn.

Maybe now I can get back to writing. Oh Christmas is coming… Perhaps the new year.

Interview with Author Caro Ayre

Savvy Writers & e-Books online



Today’s Author Interview is with the lovely, talented author Caro Ayre from Kenya, who lives now in Somerset, UK. She is the author of two books – and more to come.

Caro, how would you describe your books to someone who has not yet read it?

This book is not so much about an illness, but about how the members of a family deal with or fail to deal with knowing one of them suffers from a life threatening condition.
This is an action packed adventure set in Kenya with a touch of romance.
Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
I hope that reading Breathless will give readers an insight to the problems created by Cystic Fibrosis, not just to the person with the condition but to the extended family. I also hope to…

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Book sanctuary

Sanctuary for books.

Sometimes I look around and wonder where on earth all the books in our house came from. I know we live in a big house but even so the number of dusty tomes has reached an alarming level, one that has to be rebalanced before the weight of the books becomes dangerous.

My husband is a passionate book buyer. Soon after moving into the house, we had a conversation about cutting back on the randomness of his book buying. I even suggested that he focus on one subject. He took the suggestion to heart, and from then on the bulk of his purchases were books on East Africa. Eventually and inevitably he obtained duplicates, which in time formed the basis of his stock for his specialized book dealing business. Link to his books.

I foolishly imagined this would mean books leaving the property, but new stock had to be found, and the book population grew faster than before.

Meanwhile other people recognised us as book lovers and dumped their once loved books on us, adding to those from his father, his mother and those the children left behind. Some of the boxes of books given to us by friends moving to smaller homes, who wanted their books to go to a “good home”, have never been opened.

The trouble with all these bonus books is that now the good home is stretched to capacity and they need to move on, but where to? So many second hand bookshops have closed, and the charity shops only want modern paperbacks though they are sadly struggling with the flood of Shades of Grey novels that are swamping their valuable shop space.

Being booklovers at heart, the prospect of dumping them at the tip, or using them to fire a furnace is too hateful to contemplate. Maybe I can find some book carvers, who want material to carve to take them off my hands like the ones left in the Edinburgh library. Check the link below.

Any suggestions about what to do with my book mountain would be much appreciated.

Title matters.

What made you choose your book title? Did you have any regrets?

Cover2 600p AntlionI called my first book Feast of the Antlion. I thought it was different enough to make people look twice. Which has to be good, doesn’t it?

Well I am now not so sure that it was such a clever plan. I have discovered that a huge number of people misread the word Antlion pronounced Ant lion. They break it up as An – tlion or throw in an extra letter and pronounce it as Ant – ilion.

It never occurred to me that this little ant eating creature would be such an unusual critter that so few people would be familiar with it.

There is one other drawback to using an insect name in the title of a book. There is always the chance that it will be filed in the nature section of the library.

I had briefly considered changing the title, but have decided to stick with it for now, because it fits with the idea of the book of my main character being in a trap and unable to get out, just like the ant that has fallen into the Antlion’s tiny volcano shaped trap of fine sifted sand.

It will serve to remind me to be more careful with my future book titles.

Book titles. Library categories. Insect names.

Making it matter.

“What was the trigger for your book?”

This simple question has made a huge difference to my approach to writing as it made me think about what was important and how perhaps I could make my stories matter. More important, it prompted me to ask, could I write something that might make a difference to someone’s life?

My first book is a straightforward action, adventure novel with a touch of romance. Nothing wrong with that, a relaxing read, an introduction to the beauty of Kenya, the perfect holiday read.

But I wanted to do more than just write a story, I wanted to make people think, to learn something, to make a difference.

I’d had an idea about working on a book that covered how a family struggled to deal with someone in their midst suffering from a long term illness. I wanted to explore the pressures put on the family, and how an illness suffered by one person could impact the rest.