Review: T. E. Lawrence Tormented Hero

The only things I knew (prior to reading this book) about Lawrence of Arabia were that he was a soldier in the Arab Campaign during World War I and that there is a Peter O'Toole film about him. There is also a copy of his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom on the family bookshelves.  Yes, [...]


What I’ve learned from my wonderful writing students …

Teaching is terrific, but learning is better. I'm totally thrilled that my super students have taught me so many things, for learning is what I love; it is a two-way process.  Sitting here, as my naked hand wipes away some cobwebs, I hammer out some words of wisdom instead of getting a duster. It's called being [...]

The War Poets

Poetry expresses a huge depth of meaning in very concise language. It has always intrigued me that the horror of World War I, where around ten million people lost their lives, delivered to us such very fine poets whose impact has been immense and possibly eternal. In a hellhole punctuated by the incessant racket of [...]

Improve your English

Sure, we all make occasional errors, usually typos, when tapping away on phones or tablets using 'auto-correct'. However, if you are making lots of regular writing errors, it soon becomes embarrassing for the adult you. Your grammar lessons at school were probably boring and incomprehensible (mine were) but you only need to know rudimentary punctuation [...]

Are magazine articles SE-centric?

I used to write magazine articles as a freelance feature writer. 1000-1500 words with pictures, and interviews with experts and parents (yes, experts). I was once even shipped down from Lancashire to London (Hampstead) to interview Penelope Leach. My subject matter was parenting: fertility, miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, childcare, being a parent. It was, at that [...]

The Cornish Retribution – review

By Amanda James, A Cornish Retribution was an introductory free Kindle Unlimited title I could reach the end of. So many I can't. Genre? It is 'domestic noir' or 'psychological fiction', call it what you will, but it is not too terrifying, so that suited me. Samantha, the protagonist, is something like a Joanna Trollope-style heroine, starting [...]

Considering Charlotte

Fiction is fun but there is something about real life that is better, stranger, compulsive, compelling. I know when I become obsessed by something or someone that I have to follow it through. That woman is currently Charlotte Payne-Townshend. Photo credit: LSE. Charlotte was the companionably celibate wife of George Bernard Shaw, and a keen [...]

Is everyone creative?

  Science seems to accept that everyone has an element of creativity.  However, there seem to be links between the spontaneous brain and the evaluative brain, the rational side which asks: will this mega idea work? This is perhaps where some writers fall down. We all enjoy the spontaneity of creativity, the brainstorming of ideas, [...]

Hello sleepyhead!

Once upon a time, I read my horoscope: Others are in awe of how much you manage to do. She laughs – out loud. Writing this, it was 1.06 am. The previous day, I woke at 4 am. I rolled over and dropped back into a light sleep. Then, by 4.30, the sky was turning [...]