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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Change of Seasons

While those of you in the Northern Hemisphere are getting ready for winter, or experiencing extreme weather conditions of hurricans and other fierce attacks of mother nature, we in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for summer. It appears summer 2022/2023 is going to be a scorcher. Good in some ways – not in others.

Lovely summer days mean going to the beach and enjoying the warm weather. However, in New Zealand we have to be careful as the ozone layer is quite thin above us and this means sunburn and heatstroke. A lot of houses have heatpumps which give us warmth in winter and coolness in summer so that's good, but  when the humidity is high we suffer.

During the winter and autumn I have been writing, editing and preparing the prequel to Blitz for publication. Ditty Box is the fictionalised story of my grandparents love story. They both died before I was born so I only have the stories told to me by my mother as a reference but I hope I have done them justice.

What on earth is a Ditty Box I hear you say? It's a box sailors, in particular Royal Navy sailors, used to take to sea with them to keep their precious documents and other special things with them. Letters from wives or sweethearts would be kept in these boxes and sometimes special items such as a lock of hair.

Both books are available in ebook and print from Amazon and ebook only from other online bookstores. I hope to have another book out before Christmas but it really depends on how much life interferes with writing.

To all of you in New Zealand I hope you have a good Labour Weekend and to those overseas I hope you have a good celebration for your country's national holidays.




Phil is left unemployed when his boss sells his fishing boat. He attempts to drown his sorrows with alcohol, but he is attacked and left unconscious on the side of the road.
Enid wonders why no one ever ask her out on a date? How do other women find the men in their lives?
She finds Phil unconscious on the side of the road, and takes him to her nearby flat where he recovers. They meet occasionally as friends until Phil joins the Royal Navy. Enid agrees to write to him and keep him company when he’s home. Although Phil is pleased he doesn't realize Enid has She pushes her feelings to the back of her mind, and enjoys the time they spend together, but World War 1 casts a shadow over their relationship. Will Enid reveal her love for Phil before he goes off to war?
This story is loosely based on my grandparents love story, although names have been changed. The boxes sailors took to sea for their personal belongings was a ditty box, hence the title.



Twenty-four-year-old Velma longs to be treated as an adult, but her older sisters insist they know what is best for her future. Tall, dark, and handsome, Jack is a soldier distantly connected to Velma's family. He sweeps Velma off her feet and asks her to marry him. War looms on the horizon and Jack must go to face the enemy. Will their love survive the family and the war –or will their parting be forever?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


 Surprise. This post is the same month as the last one so I'm definitely getting better at this. This post is about what I've been doing since the last one.

We had family from overseas come to visit and decided to have trip on the Trans Alpine train. For those of you who don't know New Zealand, the South Island has a range of mountains down the middle which are called the Southern Alps. The Trans Alpine train goes from Christchurch on the East Coast to Greymouth on the West Coast and back again. In the middle is Arthurs Pass. 

Our family took the train from Greymouth and it rained all the way to the tunnel through the mountains. The tunnel comes out at Arthurs Pass Station and when we emerged it was snowing! Almost a blizzard but a bit gentler. On the way back the next day the sun shone and the snow was thick on the ground. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend this journey to anyone, especially if you're a tourist.

Attached are some photos of the snow. 

Hopefully I'll keep this blog up to date in future. 


Have a good week.


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Crafting a Novel

People often ask me how I get my ideas for books. I have to tell you there is no one way. For instance once I saw an unusual name on a boat and it brought to mind a fantasy story of moons linked together by the Moon Goddess. I enjoyed writing the book but immediately after it was released I found I'd misread the boat's name. The book was obviously meant to be written, hence my not reading the name properly.
Photos often play a part in my book ideas. Going through photos of my parents I suddenly thought - why not write their love story. I knew the basics of the story but had to fictionalise a lot of it. I also found if I called them by their real names I couldn't get the story to flow. Changing them to fictitious names made the work flow much faster.
Often a work in progress will stir the mind with ideas for a second, third or even fourth book, but there I have to be careful. I must finish the work in progress first and get it ready for release before I attempt the next volume. If I don't I end up with a lot of unfinished manuscripts.
Writers block can often still the writer's muse. The best way I find to get around this problem is to jump the hole in the story. Ignore it completely and go on to a part of the book where you know what happens. Often the filling for the part I've missed will pop into my mind before I go too far forward. Although I enjoy writing all my books, I also enjoy editing them. It's surprising how your brain fills in gaps with words you wouldn't normally dream of using. Plus there's the aspect of you mentioning something that hasn't actually happened. Quick backtrack to mention this in the appropriate part of the novel. 
If the novel is a first for you, remember the first attempt is only a draft. The hard work comes once you've finished the first draft. Now you have to put it all together and make sense of all those words. Good luck!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Spirit Stealer - Ghosts in the Library


Spirit Stealer: Ghosts in the Library
In 1908, Fader, a street urchin, takes shelter in the newly opened library to escape the cold winter. Months pass and the book characters emerge as playful phantoms in the nighttime library – all except for the green Spirit Stealer. This evil phantom steals the spirits of children who are accidentally locked in the library at night. Fader has to dodge the Spirit Stealer or his spirit will be taken. 
A century later, Tyler is trapped by accident and tries to help a wraith called Amelia who still has half her spirit. Will they succeed in getting rid of the Spirit Stealer? If they do what will happen to the girl with half a spirit?

Available in ebook from Amazon and various other online outlets
Available in paperback from Copy Press, Nelson

Review by Alyahna (aged 10 years)

"I loved the book!"
I thought it was very believable. I liked how you never knew what would happen next ... spirit stealer with his ugly soul and menacing character. I was so not ready for it to finish. ... The book was AMAZING!

Fury's Island - A fantasy book suitable for teenagers


Fury's Island
On holiday in Nelson, New Zealand, Fury meets Eion
who offers to teach her to paddle board. Immediately attracted to
him, she accepts. After basic instruction, he takes her out
to Skull Island, a creepy looking rock some distance
from the beach. No one has ever discovered a way up to
the caves which look like eyes, but Fury finds a secret
entrance and convinces Eion they should investigate.
Their excitement rises as they discover tunnels and caves 
hidden beneath the ground, but neither is prepared for the
arrival of ghostly pirates bringing their treasure chests to
bury in one of the underground caves.

Review by Chrissie W
Just finished 'Fury's Island' and really enjoyed it, despite being (a lot!) older than the target readership. The plot is intriguing, Fury is a very likeable heroine, and the teen romance is nicely handled. It's always interesting to read a story set somewhere one knows well, and Sue Perkins does Nelson and environs proud. Recommended.

June 2022