Sights Of London in 1951 …

London, my London! The West End buildings are still there (although Downing Street is a no-go area for tourists now), but the East End where I grew up has changed beyond all recognition. Now instead of slums are hundreds of ‘Yuppie’ flats along the river where the docks used to be.

1951 Club

Sights Of London in 1951 …

This is a British Pathé production from 1951 called Sights Of London. It was a film intended to promote tourism. Note that George VI was still the king at this time. All very British of course.

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Starting Monday 27th November – Smorgasbord FREE Christmas Book Promotions.

Thanks to Sally Cronin for this opportunity.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

From next Monday27th Novemberall the four general book promotion posts will come under a festive heading of Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair.

Rather than just open to new releases and recent reviews this is open to every author in the Cafe & Bookstore.

This is your chance to showcase any one of your books and its best review it has received.

I will still be checking for reviews and will include as many of the authors in the bookstore as possible but if you want to book a slot then please email me at

All new books that are released between now and Christmas will be posted in their own promotion… New books for Christmas. 

I know that some of you are releasing your latest books in the next month, so please get in touch with me so that I can reserve you a spot. It is…

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Talking about “A Writer’s Path Writers Club”

Thanks to Fictionophile for this info on Ryan Lanz’s new initiative: ‘A Writer’s Path Writer’s Club’.


Hello everyone! A fellow blogger of A Writer’s Path, Ryan Lanz, has announced the launch of his new initiative: A Writer’s Path Writers Club.

After looking at the writing market for years, he noticed a need for a Writers Club of this kind. Sure, there are Facebook groups, writers groups, etc., but there aren’t many associations that are more than just a gathering of writers.

He wanted to create a club where the sole purpose of it is to solve headaches for writers. Here are some of the headaches he’s looking to solve:

  • It’s hard to find reviewers for my book
  • Writing-related service providers (editors, book cover designers, etc.) are expensive
  • I don’t know if my writing is good enough and I need feedback
  • I need more promotion for my book
  • I don’t know if my blurb or summary is good enough
  • Not enough readers know my book exists

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Friday Roundup – 24th November

1.  Thanks to Kiefer at Mail Poet for this blog on writing memorable content (with some help from Oscar Wilde, master of wit):

2.   Chris Chalmers, guest on Linda’s Book Bag, writes about advertising/marketing books:

It Pays To Advertise? A Guest Post by Chris Chalmers, Author of Dinner at the Happy Skeleton

3.  Good guest post by Terry Tyler on Rosie Amber’s blog about giving reviews to other authors:

4. Thanks to Sheila M. Good for these editing tips:

Ask the Experts: Tips for Self-Editing

5.  Thanks to Jean M. Cogdell for these writing apps:

Writers, look at the apps I found

6.  Thanks to Dafne Wiswell for these 3 tips for writing good blog content:

7.  Yecheilyah reminds writers to set up an Amazon author page:

Self-Publishing: Don’t Forget to Set Up Your Author Central Page

8. Thanks to A Writer’s Path for this information on editing:

Which Kind(s) of Editing Does Your Novel Need?

9.  Finalize Your Writing gives some info on using an interrupter:

How to Use an Interrupter

10.  Thanks to Lizzie Chantree for this info on making a book trailer:

Making a book trailer.

11.  Thanks to Brigid Gallagher for these 20 marketing tips:

20 Marketing Tips for New Authors

12.  Belinda Griffin writes about how to overcome being overwhelmed by book marketing:


Thanks to  Chris, the Story Reading Ape, Don Massenzio, When Angels Fly, Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung,  for the re-blogs.

Out-Laws! Guest Post by Author Stevie Turner

Thanks to Christy B for publishing my article on her ‘When Women Inspire’ blog.

When Women Inspire

Thanks to Christy B. who has asked me if I’d like to write a guest post for When Women Inspire, based on my book The Daughter-in-law Syndrome. I had a little think and came up with this:

We as mothers spend years nurturing our children and trying to do our very best to give them a good childhood to remember, perhaps even better than ones we had ourselves.  Sons (and daughters too, but I am writing here of the mother/son relationship) are our moon and our stars. Of course there are exceptions, but I’m going to write on a general

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A Little Light Relief

While we’re on the subject of  Christmas traditions, Sam was brought up in a household where twinkling lights were not only on the tree, but festooned around all the rooms as well.  Naturally when we got married he carried on this tradition, which I didn’t mind as I quite liked their atmospheric effect and the direct contrast to my own childhood home which did not change all year round, as Dot and John did not give two hoots about whether the house was decorated at Christmastime or not.

In latter years Sam has branched out to give the grandchildren something to remember, and his lights have spread to the garden as well, as you can see here.  Thankfully he draws the line at nodding lighty-up reindeer though…

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Christmas lights 1


The neighbours have come to expect this luminescence, and at Christmas I’ve often seen some of them standing in our garden looking up and around at Sam’s efforts.  One year we even won a prize.  However, this year Sam can’t even walk about without the aid of two crutches, let alone get up and down ladders, and so our house and garden in December 2017 is going to look decidedly bleak in the coming mid-winter

Never mind.  He’s already planning what he’s going to do next year.  It seems to involve some kind of maypole…





Goodreads–Reading Rounds

Sounds good and I may join, although might have difficulty in finding the time to read 4 books in 8 weeks.

Cathleen Townsend

goodreadsReviews. Authors all need them, especially in the early days of our book launch. But what to do? We’ve already covered the ground we have control over–we’ve put out the best book we can.

So, what are our options? You can collect names of book bloggers. I’ve done that. But usually, even if they review indie authors, they’re backed up for months.

You can buy expensive software that’s supposed to sort through top reviewers on Amazon and contact them directly. But these reviewers also usually have an intimidating TBR pile.

Or you can join a goodreads Reading Round.

It works like this. Ten authors join, and everybody agrees to review four books. But the books you read won’t come from the authors you reviewed. Your book will be reviewed four times, and the moderator takes care that no reciprocal reviews happen. Reviews are posted on goodreads,, and Amazon…

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It’s That Time Again

Yes, it’s that time where we merrily skip around shopping centres, whistling those well-loved carols, and trying to think of Christmas presents to buy for people who’ve got it all and probably don’t need anything we’re going to spend our hard-earned money on.

When she was younger, my mother-in-law would positively revel in this occupation.  She’d have her list of people to buy for, and after each present bought she would lovingly record the purchase in her ‘Christmas Book’, pages of which dated back to at least 1956.  There would be an orgy of wrapping on  Christmas Eve, and each present put carefully under a huge tree groaning with every kind of bauble and bead you could imagine.  After a dinner with enough food to feed a starving nation on Christmas Day, the present opening would commence.  Everyone would be ooh-ing and ah-ing at the wondrous gifts before them, while personally I would think what a load of old cobblers it all was.  After present opening it would be goggling at the TV for the rest of the day and then eating snacks until you felt you might explode.

The ‘old cobbler’s’ bit is because I was brought up by Dot and John, whose idea of a good Christmas was to hurry up and get the dinner over with and cut to the evening party with the relatives and have a good old East End knees-up.  As a child, an unwrapped present would have been given to me round about the end of October with the terse comment “Here’s your Christmas present.”  Strangely for as long as she lived, Dot never wrapped up any presents, and when I lived with my parents, if I didn’t put up a Christmas tree and decorate it, then one would never have materialised.

Every Christmas I can remember consisted of Dot complaining about having to buy presents and write out Christmas cards.  It took her 90 years before she announced that she wasn’t going to send any cards at all.  The chore of it all seems to have rubbed off on me, because as far as I’m concerned, present buying is a total waste of money.  Have you ever seen the queues in Marks & Spencer’s on Boxing Day as people exchange their gifts for something they really want?  Yes, the queues stretch to the back of the shop sometimes!

Anyway, before Sam’s foot ended up in its cast, we combed the shops at the end of October and bought the usual glut of Christmas presents, because tradition says that we’ve done so every year, it’s expected of us, and therefore we have to carry on doing it ad infinitum.  Ho-ho-ho-ing Santas were in the shops even then, and we merrily whistled wassailing songs as we wished each other a joyous Christmas whilst looking in vain for something that didn’t cost the earth.  One son had tried to help us out by requesting just money, and I silently thought what a good idea it was if only I could be that cheeky in order to follow in his mercenary footsteps.  His wife and their 2 children thought it was a good idea as well, and so that’s 4 presents we don’t have to find…

Do you think like me that Christmas is over-commercialised and all this present buying is a total waste of money, kept alive by the retailers and card manufacturers?  If you’re a Christian and want to think of Christ at Christmastime, then that’s all well and good and in fact it’s probably what you should be doing, but why all this present buying as well, plus over-eating and festooning the house with tacky decorations?  When did the razzmatazz all start?  There wasn’t any razzmatazz in our house as a child, except on Christmas night, when we all partied ‘because it was Christmas’!  John would start gyrating to ‘The Stripper’ until his mother told him to stop, and Dot would drink too many gins and one year was thrown over my uncle’s shoulder and ended upside down against the wall.  My cousins and I would dance the night away, and at the time I never wanted it to end.

I suppose the party was my parents’ way of celebrating Christmas.  We didn’t do all the other bits, like baking for weeks beforehand, decorating the house or lovingly wrapping presents.  But we could throw a good party!  Everyone celebrates it in their own way, and as I’ve grown older I realise it’s not for me to say what’s a load of old cobblers and what isn’t.  It’s what works for you.

To this day I still wish all those relatives were alive so that I could dance away Christmas night with them just one more time.  Now all we’ve got is a younger generation glued to their iPhones.  Somehow it’s not the same!






Just Read an Article on Addiction

Yes, absolutely true. Addicts will only stop when they themselves decide they do not want to be addicted anymore. Nobody else can do it for them.

Andrew Joyce

I just read your article and felt I had to respond. I hope that you don’t mind. And I do not expect a response. I just want to impart a bit of knowledge or maybe it might be called wisdom. I don’t know, you decide.

I was a junkie for thirty years—exactly thirty years. The only time I did not get high within that time-frame was the one time I shot some bad shit and lay in a coma for three days (I lived alone). I woke up and found that I had vomited upon myself and soiled myself (if you know what I mean). Then I went out and copped some more shit, but from a different source—hoping I wouldn’t kill myself. That is how much of a junkie I was. I got high every day for 10,950 days.

I do not know if you are ever going to…

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Now we own a holiday home (our ‘van’, to name it in its shortened form), we receive the holiday park’s monthly newsletter.  For the last 2 months newsletters have been urging all owners to pay £60 for the park’s maintenance team to ‘drain down’ their vans to prevent burst pipes during a possible winter freeze, and to pay £9 per litre for a top up of Fernox for the central heating system.  Apparently insurers will not pay out for repairs to pipes if the vans have not been drained down.

Sam is a qualified electrician and is super handy with a set of tools.  He looked into the ‘draining down’ system and found out that all that’s needed is to disconnect the water supply and open all the inside taps, thus removing any pressure in the system.  The weekend before last he had grovelled under the van lagging all the water pipes, and when we left on the Sunday the mains water was disconnected, the inside taps left open, and we had put salt in all the U-bends to prevent freezing.

Our son is a heating/air-conditioning engineer, and assured us that Fernox wasn’t needed to top up a heating system that had not had any work done to it, as it is a closed system and therefore would have had no leaks.  He assured us that a large container of Fernox is only about £20 and can be bought from any DIY store.

We wondered whether other owners have been conned into paying out for a draining down system that is so easy to do yourself, and for Fernox when it is not needed.  It seems as if the park’s staff are trying to frighten owners into parting with their money!  Oh really? Now there’s a thing…!

 Anyway, there we are eating our dinner at home yesterday, when it occurred to me that to shut the maintenance team up we had previously told them to jet wash the van’s guttering and roof, as Sam can’t get up a ladder at the moment due to having his foot in a cast.   I had a sudden heart-sink moment at the thought of the team reconnecting the water supply and causing all the inside taps to gush water all over the place.  I made a hurried phone call and told them to do the cleaning in March instead, while Sam made signs for me to cancel it because by then he’d be able to climb a ladder with ease.   Arrgh!

Sam goes out of his way to do all the jobs himself that the park’s maintenance team want to charge us for.  We have learned not to take too much notice of newsletters frightening us into paying for something that we don’t need, and we do seem to get a lot of newsletters!

Moral of the tale:  Investigate before paying out for something that might not be needed, or that you could do yourself.