Ice-cube Tray Hacks. Random Post 3

Here are my favourite ice-cube tray hacks:

  • Freeze fruit juice and add it to sparkling water.
  • Freeze greens to add to smoothies.
  • Freeze homemade stock for future use.
  • Freeze homemade pesto for future use.
  • Freeze leftover wine in portions – I use these in risotto.
  • Freeze homemade sauces.
  • Freeze chopped herbs in olive oil.
  • Freeze yogurt to add to smoothies
  • Freeze fruit in yogurt and add a stick for instant mini ice-lollies

Hot chocolate on a stick –

16 oz. chocolate (melted) and 1.5 oz cocoa

In a bowl, mix together cocoa and melted chocolate. Spoon into an ice cube tray then insert a lolly stick. Place in the fridge to set.

Heat a cup of milk, or nut milk, and stir in the chocolate on a stick until dissolved.


Just eat it off the stick!



No Holds Bard

Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by the works of William Shakespeare

I’m delighted that I have a short story in the No Holds Bard anthology published by Manifold Press.

My contribution is called Lost in which Jonas has given up everything in his relentless search for William Shakespeare’s lost plays. Now, in the tunnels under the Kremlin, they are within his grasp. Or are they?

Cup of espresso and coffee beans on a Shabby background, top vie

 From a novel solution to the Plantagenet succession crisis to revelations about the private lives of Prince Hal and – separately! – Brutus and Cassius, plus a surprise ending for Twelfth Night, no play is safe. We have marriage proposals and murder; subtle scheming villainy; a missing manuscript; a haunting… Whether set within the framework of a play, or spotlighting actors, characters, or the Bard himself, these stories will have you viewing Shakespeare in a whole new light. It’s definitely not the kind of thing they taught us in school…

Take a deep breath. Dive in. Prepare to be astonished!

An anthology edited by Fiona Pickles and featuring authors:

  • Julie Bozza
  • Siobhan Dunlop
  • Adam Fitzroy
  • Bryn Hammond
  • Erin Horáková
  • Molly Katz
  • Vanessa Mulberry
  • Eleanor Musgrove
  • Michelle Peart
  • Jay Lewis Taylor

67000 words/TBC pages

Publication 1 May 2018

Amazon US pre-order link

Amazon UK pre-order link 

Smashwords link

Barnes & Noble pre-order link

Kobo pre-order link

20 small things that make me happy…

In Fearne Cotton’s book, Happy, she writes that jotting down the small things that make you happy focuses the mind on embracing the joy in everyday life.

Here are my 20 small things:

Freshly brewed coffee

Bright Colours

The smell of wild garlic


History programmes

Clean bedding

Cookery books

Arthur’s smile (my dog)

Lola’s purr (my dog)

My camera

The wind in the trees

The view from my living room

Harry’s music

Cold clear days

Our old VW campervan

When words flow

My friends

Listening to rain on the caravan roof

The sound of a waterfall

A clutter-free desk



You’d think, as a writer, I have the ‘Classics’ in this list, but they’ve never appealed to me. And it doesn’t matter, words are words and appeal to many different people on many different levels.

In Alphabetical Order:

A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

Caroline Stoessinger (Author)

The pianist Alice Herz-Sommer survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp, attended Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem, and along the way befriended some of the most fascinating historical figures of our time, from Franz Kafka to Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein and Golda Meir.

A Century of Wisdom is her story: a testament to the bonds of friendship, the power of music, and the importance of leading a life of maternal simplicity, intellectual curiosity, and never-ending optimism.


Butterfly Hunter

Julie Bozza (Author)

It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Adult Edition)

JK Rowling (Author)

As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is now broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves, and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin – Harry must stand and face his enemy.


The Feast of the Drowned (Doctor Who)

Stephen Cole (Author)

When a naval cruiser sinks in mysterious circumstances in the North Sea, all aboard are lost. Rose is saddened to learn that the brother of her friend, Keisha, was among the dead. And yet he appears to them as a ghostly apparition, begging to be saved from the coming feast… the feast of the drowned.
As the dead crew haunt loved ones all over London, the Doctor and Rose are drawn into a chilling mystery. What sank the ship, and why? When the cruiser’s wreckage was towed up the Thames, what sinister force came with it? The river’s dark waters are hiding an even darker secret, as preparations for the feast near their conclusion.

dr w

The Crystal Cave (Merlin Trilogy)

Mary Stewart (Author)

This is what happened. I saw it, and it is a true tale.

So begins the story of Merlin, born the illegitimate son of a Welsh princess in fifth century Britain, a world ravaged by war. Small and neglected, with his mother unwilling to reveal his father’s identity, Merlin must disguise his intelligence – and hide his occasional ability to know things before they happen – in order to keep himself safe.

One beautiful afternoon, while exploring the countryside near his home, Merlin stumbles across a cave filled with books and papers and hiding a room lined with crystals. It is the home of Galapas, who becomes Merlin’s tutor and friend, and who teaches Merlin to understand the world around him… and to harness the power of the crystal cave to see the future.

Merlin will rise to power and enter history – and legend – as advisor to King Arthur. But all stories must begin somewhere. And this is his.

The Crystal Cave is the first of Mary Stewart’s brilliant Arthurian Saga, telling the story of King Arthur from the perspective of the extraordinary, mysterious Merlin.

Followed by:

The Hollow Hills (Merlin Trilogy 2)

The Last Enchantment (Merlin Trilogy 3)


The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III

Philippa Langley (Author)

On 22 August 1485 Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field, the last king of England to die in battle. His victorious opponent, Henry Tudor, went on to found one of our most famous ruling dynasties. Richard’s body was hurriedly buried in the church of the Greyfriars. Fifty years later, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, the king’s grave was lost – its contents believed to be emptied into the river Soar and Richard III’s reputation buried under a mound of Tudor propaganda. Its culmination was Shakespeare’s compelling portrayal of a deformed and murderous villain, written over a hundred years after Richard’s death.

Now – in an incredible find – Richard III’s remains have been uncovered beneath a car park in Leicester. The King’s Grave traces this remarkable journey. In alternate chapters, Philippa Langley, whose years of research and belief that she would find Richard in this exact spot inspired the project, reveals the inside story of the search for the king’s grave, and historian Michael Jones tells of Richard’s fifteenth-century life and death. The result is a compelling portrayal of one of our greatest archaeological discoveries, allowing a complete re-evaluation of our most controversial monarch – one that discards the distortions of later Tudor histories and puts the man firmly back into the context of his times.


Walking Home

Simon Armitage (Author)

In summer 2010, Simon Armitage decided to walk the Pennine Way. The challenging 256-mile route is usually approached from south to north, from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm, the other side of the Scottish border. He resolved to tackle it the other way round: through beautiful and bleak terrain, across lonely fells and into the howling wind, he would be walking home, towards the Yorkshire village where he was born.

Travelling as a ‘modern troubadour’ without a penny in his pocket, he stopped along the way to give poetry readings in village halls, churches, pubs, and living rooms. His audiences varied from the passionate to the indifferent, and the clacking of pool balls, the drumming of rain and the bleating of sheep accompanied his readings.

WALKING HOME describes this extraordinary, yet ordinary, journey. It’s a story about Britain’s remote and overlooked interior – the wildness of its landscape and the generosity of the locals who sustained him on his journey. It’s about facing emotional and physical challenges, and sometimes overcoming them. It’s nature writing, but with people at its heart. Contemplative, moving, and droll, it is a unique narrative from one of our most beloved writers.


And number 8 is a little self-indulgent. To the Left of Your North Star by Michelle Peart.

To the Left of Your North Star

Michelle Peart (Author)

My novel is an adventure set on another planet called Abaytor. Edward, son of the famous explorer Herb Kemp, is popular, self-assured, and spoilt. During his time on the notorious Copper River, amongst the perilous lands of Abaytor, Edward discovers he’s not who he thought he was.

Burn, an off-kilter Abaytorian, with hair the colour of polished bronze and a desire for change, is charged with the task of escorting Edward back to civilisation. As they travel the crashing waters on a makeshift raft called the Copper Queen, they are in a constant battle with the river, the unknown, and each other. Edward’s deep-seated problems with his father are laid bare as they are hunted, almost drowned, starved, and face difficult choices. Both men struggle with loss, fear, and themselves. Amongst the star nursery skies, striking landscapes and colourful people of Abaytor, Edward slowly learns about trust, love, and self-acceptance.


My top eight reference books for writers to follow.


Pesto Formula. Random Post 2

Pesto formula:

Green + Nut + Cheese + Citrus + Oil + Garlic + Salt = Pesto


Basil. Spinach. Watercress. Beetroot tops. Kale (blanched). Wild garlic. Spring cabbage (blanched). Peas. Carrots tops. Advocado. Asparagus.


Pine nuts. Walnuts. Cashew nuts. Almonds. Pecans. Pumpkin seeds. Pistachio.


Parmesan. Pecorino. Feta. Grana Padano. Cheddar. Gouda. Manchego.


Lemon. Lime. Apple Cider Vinegar.


Walnut. Pumpkin seed. Olive.

One minced garlic clove and a pinch of salt.

Basic Pesto recipe:

  • 2 cups of greens
  • 1/4 cup of nuts
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese
  • 2 good splashes of citrus.
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • Pinch of salt.

Blitz all of the above in a food processor.

The more you make Pesto the more you can adapt this recipe to suit the ingredients you have to hand.

Genealogy and WW1

A recent interest in Genealogy has led me to discover that my great-grandma was married before she married my great-grandfather. Her first husband, William D Brophy, died in November 1916 fighting in the Battle of the Somme. He is buried in the Munich Trench British Cemetery in Beaumont-Hamel in France.

Beaumont-Hamel was captured in November 1916 in the Battle of the Ancre, the last stage of the Battle of the Somme, and the graves in this cemetery are largely those of men who died at that time. The burials were carried out by the V Corps in the spring of 1917, after the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line.

Munich Trench British Cemetery was named from a German trench captured by the 7th Division on 11 January 1917. The cemetery contains 126 First World War burials, 28 of them unidentified.

The drive to our yearly skiing holiday takes us very near to Beaumont-Hamel so this year I decided to visit my great-grandma’s first husband, and even though we are not blood related, I wished to pay my respects.





a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor.

  1. “the genealogies of the kings of Mercia”
    synonyms: pedigreeancestrydescentlineageline, line of descent,
    family treeextractionderivationoriginheritageparentagepaternity,
    historybackground, roots.

Five online tools I find useful.

This is brill for assessing your writing for clarity and simplicity. It highlights adverbs, passive voice, and complicated words and sentences.

The Cliché Finder highlights ‘that old chestnut’ in your writing so you can avoid overused expressions.

Thesauruses are essential tools for every writer.

I could play with this name generator all day. There’s a myriad of fun name and description generators.

This website, and the author’s six thesaurus books, has helped me enormously in the past and currently.