Three Things I’m Proud of.


Can’t help feeling proud – my little novella is just out in paperback format. Don’t you just love the cover? Go on – treat yourself! Here’s the link to  and

And my two-volume African saga will soon be complete, with the launch of GRASS SHOOTS on 30th March. Don’t forget to look out for it on amazon! If you sign up to my irregular Newsletters, HERE, you won’t be left out.

Many apologies for this short post. Life seems to have caught up with me, while my husband, Roy – to whom I LIFT UP MY EYES is dedicated – is in hospital. He is no tecchie, eschews a kindle, and as soon as I get my hands on a “real” copy, he can read it for the first time!

Time gets very short while I try to jiggle with the multiple departments responsible for his multiple ailments, and attempt to convince our severely stretched local hospital that surely it is logical for him to remain in their care instead of sending him home, and back again, and again. And anyway, the physio, OT, and ultimately social care need to be involved to ensure all is as it should be at home…  Sorry – must fly!



Posted in Breath of Africa, Grass Shoots, I Lift Up My Eyes | Tagged , ,

Going It Alone

You’re not Dragons’ Den material – yet.

You have the secret glimmer of an idea which just might turn into a brainwave. It’s been recurring in your mind and wont go away. The more you think of it, the more ideas and ways to go about it come to mind. Enthusiasm builds. You’re sure it would succeed.

If only… and then your heart takes a dive. This is all pie in the sky. It will never work, because you have no money. You’re deep in debt, life has kicked you in the teeth, you’re at rock bottom. Or you’ve tried so many different ideas which have come to nought, you wonder if you have the get-go to do it all over again.

It’s no use even dreaming…

Dreaming! That is the magic word!

I am in my mid seventies, and life has not been easy. But I can assure you from personal experience, that if you really want something, you can really have it. However long it takes. And it’s never too late to start.

You just need to know how to go about it, one step at a time.

Of course, not everybody is cut out to have their own business. But if you don’t think about it seriously, you’ll never know.

I’ve been a businesswoman most of my life, and for the past fifteen years my business has been to mentor people who want to start their own. I introduce them to business planning. A business plan is dynamic, it never ends. It can be done in any order. It should be re-visited at least once a year. And it is no use “having it in your head.” It must be written down as a formal document. There is an amazing finality and power in committing something to paper.

I love my work so much, that when I could no longer be paid for my services, I opted to do it voluntarily. In the dark of the night an idea has just blossomed:

  1. Are you wondering if you’re the right sort of person to have your own business?
  2. Do you have a business idea?
  3. Want to teach yourself how to clamber onto the first rung?

Then come with me! Follow my blog, and I’ll see you next Tuesday.



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Another One Bites The Dust

And thank goodness! Roll on 2017. The last year is best forgotten for a myriad of reasons.

But… there have been some compensations in 2016 amidst the predomination of matters medical in our lives.

Four good friends hosted me on their blogs during the year, (I must make a new resolution to accept more invitations in future). And the content reveals a pretty accurate picture of what happened to me in the past year.

O'Brien Creek

Thank you Lela Markham, the aurorawatcher from Alaska, for having me last April, and posing some interesting questions:

In June I visited two fellow authors from Crooked Cat Books:

Letters from Elsewhere

Miriam Drori invited me to her tumbling-down wall, with a challenge to speak as Charles Omari Ondiek. If you want to know more about him, head off to her blog:

African dancer

And no year is complete without exchanging visits with my lovely friend in France, Ailsa Abraham, who is also launching a new book in 2017. Dont miss it. We had a cosy virtual chat at her Bingerbread Cottage.

Finally, in July, I was privileged to meet up with my favourite historian, Tim Taylor. I just love his books.



Don’t forget to subscribe to my NEWSLETTER!

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Under The Spotlight


I know there is a slight greenish tinge on some of us, but at least it was colourful at the Eastbourne Book Festival on Saturday 19th November. Five Crooked Cats were given prime position at center stage. With me, were – from my left  – Lizzie Koch, Jeff Gardiner, Susan Lodge and Sarah Stevenson, and there was another feline colleague at stage left, (or is it right?) Marcia Wolf, manning her own table. If you follow the links, you’ll see that we are a healthy, eclectic group.

We delighted in getting to know, and learning from, each other. Lizzie, on my left, taught me a thing or two about selling. She never stops talking, she admits – except when she’s nervous – and successfully drew people in with her animated pitch, then passed the punters along the line. Jeff provided the colourful posters which we tacked to the front of our table; seeing Susan’s professional display of merchandise motivated me to order stands for my books for future events; and I couldn’t resist buying a signed copy of Sarah’s amusing take on a dog’s life. You can see my review HERE.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the weather closed in, the public retired home, and we socialised with other authors in the theatre. It took a while to convince them that Crooked Cat Books was not a self-publishing medium, but an independent publisher (which has just celebrated its fifth birthday); and none of us had paid out a single penny to be published. We wished we’d brought some literature to hand out about Crooked Cat… we had not even a card between us. Next year, we wont forget.

I know I’m not all that experienced, but I do believe our publishers are exceptional. Who else provides free regular webinars for their authors? Who else has had annual get-togethers, which have resulted in geographical groups meeting around the countryside, exchanging tips and information? We enjoy great camaraderie, and our “secret” Facebook group is a buzzing hive of questions, answers, and delightful banter. But you can read more in my previous blog,

Meanwhile, a HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON to you all.

You can subscribe to my Newsletter by leaving your email address on my website:


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My First Book Festival

We had good fun – and thank you for your excellent example when pitching your book, Lizzie!

Lizzie Koch

screenshot_2016-11-20-13-15-24-1 With the Cats and our novels; LtoR- Jane, me, Jeff, Susan  (Sarah taking pic)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a teeny bit nervous about attending the book festival with my novel. The fact that I sat in silence on the way to Eastbourne was enough to convince my Hubby; “I know you’re nervous as you’re not talking,” he said. This was true as my stomach was churning and I always have something to say. Talking is a skill of mine so the silence was unusual but I think a blessing to Hubby and his ears. I think the silence made it worse as I kept looking at the clock and worrying I would be late every time we stopped at traffic lights. It was a stressful journey.

But I wasn’t late and  I needn’t have worried about anything. Upon arrival, I met my fellow Cats and immediately felt…

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Limited Offer … FREE!

Is it really a whole month since I blogged? Can’t think how the time has gone…

Oh yes – how could I forget that we have a brand new bathroom! After three long days of dust, sweat and tears, the bath – in which I loved to wallow and dream in relaxed stupor – has been removed. In its place lies a smart bristling shower, tuned beautifully to emit just the right temperature. And what’s more, a fold-up seat is included for our convenience. Neither of us has admitted to sitting on it yet. But I’ve discovered a good use: I can prop my foot on it while soaping between my toes, thus saving my back and avoiding twinges of vertigo. I wish I could include a photo – but the space is too cramped for a complete look, and who wants to see a dull shower, anyway.

Instead, here’s a piece from a diary I wrote 18 months ago on a visit to Kenya to research for my new book, Grass Shoots.

I am in Maanzoni – a true haven twenty odd miles south of Nairobi  – communing with nature. Every morning the animals pass through the not-quite-dried-up dam. A herd of fifty impala, zebra, giraffe, gazelles. The island is no longer an island because of the severe drought, but a family of hyenas still live there, and if I’m quick at dusk and dawn, I catch a glimpse of them sneaking in and out.

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The birds occupy most of my time, distracting me from writing my new novel and causing me to make daily forays into the bush by car and on foot, armed with binoculars. It is decades since I’ve seen the majestic kori bustard, or a secretary bird, that eater of snakes. I watch a goshawk make many fruitless tries to catch a partridge, before changing focus to a rabbit. The silly bird falls at least three feet short at every dive.

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But all is not completely well in Africa – we are in the real world, after all. Poachers snare an eland and get away with the meat. A hyena runs amok and bites a night guard. And opportunist contractors anxious to make as much money as possible out of the booming Nairobi construction industry, send in lorries to steal away the sand. Great gashes have been made in an area of pristine thorn bush. Tunnels undermine the roots.

This gives you a little taster of what’s to come in my new book, which dares to provide a way forward. My editor is the wonderful Sue Barnard, whose book The Ghostly Father, is one of my favourite reads. I feel so honoured. We have already completed the first edit, and I’ll let you know as soon as there is further news.

To reiterate what I said last month, I’m starting a Newsletter. There’s a limited offer of a FREE short story, which bridges the gap between Breath of Africa (have you noticed the new cover?) and Grass Shoots. It is guaranteed to whet your appetite.

To earn this gift, you will of course need to let me have your email address. Please click on my website, and subscribe to my newsletter.

The offer closes on 31st October, so don’t delay!

The short story CRADLE OF MAN will wing its way to you once you have answered a simple question.


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Amazon Author Page.



Posted in Authors, Breath of Africa, Grass Shoots | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Three Things I’ll Give You…

Two, you’ll have to earn –

I have some exciting news. My new book is coming out next year. There’s still a long way to go. Things like the allocation of an editor, agreeing the cover, and settling the launch date.


And if you haven’t yet read Breath of Africa, there’s still time!

You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for ages. It’s partly because personal matters, advancing age and illness have intruded on our lives, and we have been gaining insight into the mysterious machinations of the National Health Service, which is creaking at the seams through sheer volume of use. Hospital corridors are the norm, as are the vagaries of wheel chairs, which can only easily be wielded when pulled backwards, unless one has the strength and the knack to push them forwards, which I haven’t.

Hours of waiting for appointments provide opportunities to bring out the faithful kindle, so long as I’ve remembered to charge it up and bring it. My mobile phone lies forgotten between handbags, and when I need it, the battery is flat or I can’t remember how to use the wretched thing.

Technology is creeping in. You can now tap on a screen to check in for appointments at some hospitals, but unless you’ve remembered to bring your letter or take note of the instructions which flash briefly before your eyes, you don’t know where to go and there’s nobody to ask anymore.

But at least we have the luxury of a Blue Badge. It is amazingly uplifting being able to park on yellow lines or grab a disabled space near the entrance. Although my conscience twinges at the thought of missed opportunities to walk. My life has become more sedentary these days and those hills not quite so inviting.

But back to those three things…

Because a significant portion of my readership really don’t like to bother with websites and social media, I’ve decided to reach out in a different direction.

I’m starting a Newsletter delivered to your email in-boxes. I’m also offering a FREE short story to subscribers, which bridges the gap between Breath of Africa and Grass Shoots. It is guaranteed to wet your appetite. And there will be a chance of another surprise nearer to Christmas.

To earn these gifts, you will of course need to let me have your email address – and please tell your friends. Click HERE, and on the right-hand margin of my website, SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter.

The short story CRADLE OF MAN will wing its way to you once you have answered a simple question.



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