Monthly Archives: January 2016

3-Citrus Marmalade


IMG_0279“Do it by the book,” she muttered as she stirred the three-citrus marmalade. Determined that today, this time, for once, she was going to follow the recipe exactly. Well, almost exactly.

She never did things by the book and was still disgruntled with that silly question she’d asked some friends, the one about the alarm clock in the opening lines. The writers’ remarks were all sensible and supportive, especially the one about “screaming in the face of the editors,” that brought a smile to her face as she stirred. Read the rest of this entry

Everything You Need To Know BEFORE You Start To Edit


Fictionpals is usually for stories, but this is such a helpful post I thought I’d share it with my writer pals

Sacha Black

Before EditingI finished the first draft of my novel in August last year. I was B.U.Z.Z.I.N.G I’d finally done what I said I’d do – write a book… Ok, I finished a draft.

I listened to the advice you gave on what I should do next, which was… Nothing – Lock the manuscript in a dark cupboard and throw away the key for months. I did. Sort of. I may have peaked at the first few chapters.

That was a mistake.

It was of course, total shit. More than shit, I wouldn’t have wiped my butt cheeks with it. Seriously. I may have cried, ok, I didn’t cry. But I did shed some tears on the inside. All those months of sweat and tapping, for what? A massive steaming pile of turd. A twitch formed on my eyelid as a heady mix of panic and fear set in. How was I ever…

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In search of material from the past one comes across a mood that suddenly finds resonance in the present. It’s not prophetic but it stirs an old emotion and I wrote it when I first knew we were going to Canada. I was apprehensive at the time, not knowing then, what I know now, that I was embarking on one of the best times of my life.

Having said that, I feel that those of us who come to the Middle East, even if we put down roots here, imbibe something from the shifting sands that enters our spirits and stirs a restlessness within us that eventually makes nomads of us all. Where, beneath this great dome of sky, will I eventually pitch that tent that never needs to be unpegged again? I have sand in my toes.

A Farewell

Goodbye people of this clime

It’s time to leave you

My watch is over

The grains of rice

Destined for me, are eaten.

No more grains on these plates

Come with my name written on them.


I have drunk deep

Of your waters, and long.

A thirst in my heart

Has been quenched.

And now a gnawing hunger

For other pastures

Feeds at my soul.


I must leave

The writ has been sent

Am I manumitted now?

Or do I go to another master

Another slavery?


The only freedom I yearn for

Is the final escape from life

When I will hunger no more,

Nor thirst.


I see your trees your wastelands

Your messy beaches, your prim hotels

I know your petty interests

Your magnanimous natures

I’ve grown to love them all

And I’ve grown to love them well.


But I must leave now

For I can hear the sirens calling

Midnight beckons

With its own sweet, soft music

Which I must follow

Towards the harsh light

The unforgiving break of day.

Short Story: Memories of the Rainwitch


Quirky and sweet! I am reblogging this one! And visit the site to read Part One!

The Bookwormery: A Positive Points Blog

The old lady sits and stares, rheumy eyed, out of the net-laden window. Her dining chair is pulled tightly up to the lace covered table on which she and her husband used to eat dinner together, laughing or crying over their daily tales. She watches the world go by, although the scene behind her eyes is something quite different. It’s the scene of her memories, of loves lost and adventures won, of friends and lovers and yes, even the odd enemy or two. She remembers, and she smiles, for nostalgia is always tinged with joy, despite the pain she may feel inside.

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Did you know? A beginners guide to reblogging on #WordPress


This is useful for me as I’m still (after many years) not savvy with regard to ‘working’ the blogging system…Many thanks to Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo


I’m no technical genius and when I first started blogging, I needed to learn my way around the WordPress system. It is pretty much common sense and easy enough to set up. If you get stuck, there are plenty of helpful articles and forums that show you how to do pretty much anything. Just type the question into your search engine.

The one thing they cannot do, though, is answer questions you didn’t know you should ask. Over the past few days I have become aware of how many of those little tweaks and tricks we learn about, then just take for granted. Reblogging was one area I found frustrating for a good while. It is a simple process, the press of a button, until the button is not there…

1. Can’t see the reblog button?
This took me ages to work out! Many blogs, including this one, have their…

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Seven dangers to virtue…


And five verses on one!

I have a very talented bunch of school friends and every day we exchange a rather large number of emails. Sometimes there are short little exchanges at other times we have long and serious discussions, we share jokes, tease each other, occasionally we have violent (and vociferous) differences of opinions and occasionally these take the form of impromptu verses.

Here’s the result of a recent exchange.

Our friend Rajpal, in the spirit of the passage of the past year when thoughts turn to introspection, sent a post that claimed there were Seven Dangers to Virtue attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.


This was accepted by the group with sage and solemn agreement. One friend, Pavan, decides he’d add one more danger to human virtue, claiming that, “One could add another. Desire without rationality.”

Well, I thought, desire is irrational.

And so I challenged him with the following comment, “My dear friend the trouble is Desire knows no reason; it is, and therein lies the sting.”

That last phrase set off my rhymester bells and before I could control myself, out came this verse:

Heart and head they will not meet

Heart responds just to the sweet

For often when the head says no

The heart, dear heart, it will say ‘go’.

And when the heart heads for a fall

The head it says, ‘I told you so’.

Philosopher friend Pavan bats this back at me within minutes:

Crave on dear heart, for life is short
Let not the head, thy zing abort.
To fall and hurt is also gain
For what is life without some pain.

A third friend nicknamed ‘Kandy’  jumps in with:

The head and heart are never in sync
But do not let your spirit sink
Go ahead with all your zest
Get what you want and like the best.

Now I had to respond to these two and at least try hold up my end of the argument. So…

Love it!
And therein speaks the heart
For versifying is an art
Well said dear Pavan you are right
And so say artists, with all their might
’tis better to have loved and lost
To have your heart in tempests tossed
To give your might, your main, your all
Than never to have loved at all…

That’s the crux of my lament
Love and desire know no reason
Nor do they follow any season
And so you prove my argument!

In leapt Avinash – not in verse – reminding us that in a battle of wills between head and heart, most times it is the heart that wins. Finally, Mallika, our master poet, counsellor and chorus all in one, rolled out the final poem in the series…

Rajpal is our conscience keeper, he
Brings us our daily homily!

To the seven evils the Mahatma bade
Us save ourselves from, Pavan could add
Another, and as is our wont, you’ll see
Our ever youthful gang of G&G
Concentrates our talent on the eighth
Far more meat in that one, i’faith.
But Avinash made the connexion plain
Desire and Pleasure are brethren twain!

But Love – that’s a whole other ball game;
And that’s the one Rohini’d blame
For the Human Condition (with apologies
to Hannah Arendt, for her treatise
Placed procreation at the level of Labour –
But Love’s a task none would abhor!)

Arun Kandy joins the team, with yours truly
Bringing up the rear, with many a rhyme unruly!

Twixt Head and Heart, both, we must agree
Are ruled by our chemical inputs; verily –
(Like Pavlov’s dogs) what we eat are we,
And our choices are really not that free!

Superb argument. Case adjourned… unless of course our readers wish to add their views here!