Book Review: I Promised Not to Tell, by Cheryl B. Evans


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I was interested to read this book, as my husband has a similar situation now occurring in his family; his adopted brother has decided to go through a male to female transition at the age of 52.  His 88 year old mother will never come to terms with it, and continues to regard him as male.

Mrs  Evans’ son Jordan was born a girl, but knew at a very early age that he felt male inside.  One paragraph stood out where Jordan’s teacher asked the schoolchildren to line up – boys in one line and girls in the other, and Jordan stood in the middle.

I cannot begin to really understand the trauma of finding out your body is in a gender that your brain does not associate with.  Jordan was a typical tomboy, happy playing with other boys and dressing as a boy. The anguish started at puberty, when he could no longer hide his female body.  However, he has a very understanding mother and father who did their best to accommodate Jordan’s early transition starting when he was 13 years of age.  Unfortunately, his sister Mariah took some time to come to terms with it.

We learn from the book that there are many suicides amongst transgender teenagers, who are desperately unhappy at their plight when puberty strikes.  We also learn of the various treatments available to transgender people to help them to transition to their preferred gender.  It is quite informative although a relatively short read, but my only quibble is that I thought the price was a little too high at £6.42.

I will give this book 5 stars because of the authenticity of the information – from the author’s own experience of raising a transgender child.  I’m not sure how our own family drama is going to pan out; I rather think that 52 is a little late, but hey, so long as there’s a happy outcome in the end that’s all that matters.



An Unexpected Visit to A&E


Well, last night wasn’t really what I’d had planned.  Let me fill you in on the background a little bit:

Since the age of about 15 I’ve had glossopharyngeal neuralgia, which usually I can cope with.  The symptoms come and go; sometimes they’re present for weeks at a time, and sometimes they disappear. However the 30 sessions of radiotherapy have made them much worse, and I saw a neurologist recently who prescribed me a low dose of Carbamazepine (Tegretol).

I took the first tablet last night before going to bed when the symptoms returned.  The tablet worked very well at controlling the symptoms almost straight away, but around 2am this morning, I woke up with a pounding heart and felt my throat swelling up on the inside.  I’ve never had this symptom before, and it was horrible.

I didn’t want to wait for an ambulance, so Sam drove me at breakneck speed to A&E, where they kept me in until 10am this morning.  I was given IV steroids and anti-histamine, which reduced the swelling.  I think I’m back to my old self, but unfortunately too late to attend the Bloggers’ Bash, as it’s a 2 hour + drive to Chiswick from our home in Suffolk.

So, sorry Sacha and Hugh, but I’ll definitely be there next year.  If anybody else suffers from glossopharyngeal neuralgia and takes anything other than Carbamazepine for it, please let me know.


Friday Roundup – 18th May

Thanks to those listed below for their useful tips for writers and bloggers:

1.  Author Marketing Experts for these 7 ways authors can sell more books:

And how to ramp up your Amazon author page:

2.  Just Publishing Advice with tips on selling more books on Amazon:

3. Writing Mad with how you can learn from your rejection letters:

5 Types Of Rejection Letters And What You Can Learn From Them

4. Writings by Ender on adding details to a story:

Writing Tips: How to Add Details to Your Story

5.  Myths of the Mirror on how to increase blog comments:

Blogging: How to Increase Comments

6.  Hugh’s Views & News for these blogging tips:

13 Free Blogging Tips For Every New Blogger

7.  Lisa Brown on how to make blog posts more engaging:

8.  Jean M. Cogdell with tips for a successful book signing:

How to prepare for a successful book signing?

9.  Kristina Stanley for this info on connecting with other authors in your genre:

11 Steps to Find and Connect with Other Authors in Your Genre #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

10.  Janice Hardy for this info on selling your books direct from your website:

11.  Michael Kozlowski for this info on how to self-publish an audio book:

How to Self-Publish an Audiobook – The Best PC Apps

12.  Book Design Made Simple for this info on copyright:

Meet The Bloggers Who Are Attending The 2018 Annual Bloggers Bash #BloggersBash

Looking forward to attending!

Hugh's Views & News

On behalf of the committee of the Bloggers Bash, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to everyone who has confirmed their attendance for the 4th Annual Bloggers Bash. Bags are packed, votes have been counted, cakes baked, envelopes sealed, outfits chosen, and the fun starts at 10:30 when Sacha flings opens the doors, and the hugging begins. (Please – no screaming this year when you see Geoff’s beard!)

#bloggersbash #bloggers #awardsWhere & When?

Saturday 19th, May 2018 at The George IV pub in Chiswick, London. Click here for full details on how to get there.

We’ve lots going on during the day, including two speakers, a panel debate and, of course, the announcements of this year’s bloggers bash award winners. We’ll also be announcing the winners of The Bloggers Bash Blog Post competition. Click here to see the agenda.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you all to this year’s attendees who have…

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Smorgasbord Short Stories – Flights of Fancy – Getting Away with Murder by Sally Cronin

A short story from Sally Cronin. Enjoy!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Flights of Fancy was my first short story collection published in 2009 in paperback and audio with a later ebook edition. The stories were written over twenty years and scribbled down on odd pieces of paper… Over the next five weeks I will be sharing them on Saturday and Sunday whilst I get on with editing the next book.. I hope you will enjoy my early efforts.

Getting Away with Murder.

On my forty-third birthday, I murdered a woman. She made me do it. For over fifteen years, she had made my very life, a misery and a mockery. This woman had bullied and forced me into behaviour that had made me ashamed, fearful for my life and sanity. She jeopardized my health and destroyed my self-esteem.

As I stand before you, I freely admit to this killing. I realise that this is my chance to have my say, to…

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Are you Stressed?



Thanks to Clive at Take it Easy for the information that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.  I hopped over to their website to have a look, and found this test below to gauge stress levels.  Maybe have a go and check your own level?

My stress score came out ‘low’ at 11.  I must admit I’m quite lucky in that I don’t have much stress in my life.  I only feel nervous and stressed just before check-up scans and before any visits to my dentist, who I think is the grumpiest dentist in the world (well you would be, wouldn’t you, if you had to look in people’s mouths all day!).

I think my most stressful days were the first 5 years of my eldest son’s life, when I was trying to deal with his hyperactivity and then look after a newborn baby as well.  Fortunately that was over 30 years ago, and now my days are relatively stress-free.

Stress does impact on our lives, interfering with our ability to maybe do our jobs properly or even care for our families.  If we haven’t got our minds right, then we are not in a good place.

Thanks again, Clive, for the information on Mental Health Awareness Week.


Inside My Head

Thanks to SELRES_a4c1df2e-a803-4ae9-ad55-4fec2c8515cbSELRES_031ea956-33cc-4644-a1e1-cdbeb7377369The Militant NegroSELRES_031ea956-33cc-4644-a1e1-cdbeb7377369SELRES_a4c1df2e-a803-4ae9-ad55-4fec2c8515cb for tagging ‘everyone’ at the end of his ‘Inside My Head’ blog.  I have decided to answer all the questions, and like Mr MN, I also tag ‘everybody’ who would like to take part.  The rules are as follows:


  • Thank & tag the person that has tagged you (that’s me, folks!).
  • Attach the tag photo
  • Answer the questions
  • Tag 10-20 friends.


1.  How do I feel at the moment?

Great!  I’ve just had my hair cut and styled, and last week I had another clear scan (the third in a row).

2.  What do I need more in my life?

More time.  The days are going by so quickly, and sometimes it’s a rush to get everything done.  We’re already nearly halfway through the year.

3.  What would make me happy right now?

If my mum could walk through my front door again.  She died a year ago, and I miss her.

4.  What is going right in my life?

My health has improved dramatically since last year.  My new novel is complete (just awaiting ARC readers’ comments), and all my family are healthy and happy.

5.  List 10 things I am grateful for:

  • Being cancer free.
  • The love of my husband and sons.
  • My family.
  • To be able to publish my stories.
  • My part-time job.
  • To be able to drive a car.
  • My holiday home.
  • Good mobility.
  • Sunshine.
  • Living in the countryside.

6.  When did I experience joy this week?

Today, when my hairdresser told me that my hair at the back of my head (after radiotherapy) has grown back thicker than ever!

7.  List a small victory:

My book ‘A House Without Windows’ was considered for filming by a New York media production company.  Okay, it wasn’t picked at the end of the day, but they sought me out because they liked the story.  I didn’t have to contact them to start with.

8.  What is bothering me, and why?

Having to undergo an anaesthetic in a month or so for some dental work.  I can’t get out of it, and I’ll be glad when it’s over.

9.  What are my priorities at the moment?

To get my latest book published on 6th July.

10.  What do I love about myself?

The fact that I can eat quite a lot and not put on any weight because of the amount of thyroxine I have to take!  Also that I never have to pay out any money to have my hair permed – it’s naturally curly.

11.  Who means the world to me, and why?

My husband.  We have shared so much joy and sorrow in the last 39 years.  Nobody knows me like he does, and vice versa.

12.  If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

This is only my opinion and I’m entitled to it, so here goes… it’s time to ban all religions!  No amount of praying can do for you what you can achieve yourself with a bit of will-power, stubbornness, and motivation.

13.  What advice would I give to my younger self?

Follow your heart and go and get that English degree.  You were never meant to do the job you started off doing when you left school.

14.  What lesson did I learn this week?

After its first rejection, that maybe my latest book is still not good enough to secure an agent (wipes brow in frustration – what the bloody hell will ever please them?).

15.  If I had all the time in the world, what would I do first?

Go and get that bloody English degree.

16.  What is draining my energy?

A watery and sore right eye from all that radiotherapy.  It makes me feel tired even if I’m not.

17.  What does my ideal morning look like?

Get up at 06:15 and be out walking in the sunshine by 08:00 for 45 minutes.  Then 15 minutes on the Bosu ball when I get back, and then 3 hours working on my latest book.

18.  What does my ideal day look like?

That would be a Saturday or a Sunday when I can do my walking and writing in the morning, and then see all the family in the afternoon for a get-together or BBQ in our garden.

19.  What makes me come alive?

Dancing to my favourite songs with good friends, or laughing to something my husband has said (he has a very dry sense of humour).  Being amongst my extended family.

20.  What/who inspires me most?

It’s got to be my little granddaughter.  She is autistic and very loving and kind.  She has had to overcome many hurdles in her young life, but is full of the joys of youth.  It’s lovely to see.  She is very musical, and when I watch her singing in her school choir it makes me cry.

21. Where does my pain originate?

In my neck after extensive treatment for thyroid cancer.  I shall have various pains and a strange altered sensation in my neck for the rest of my life.  But hey, I’m still alive!

22.  What are my strengths?

Fiercely loyal.  Reliable.  Punctual.  Conscientious.

23.  What is something I’ve always wanted but am too scared to get?

To be a doctor, but alas I’m too old and do not have a mathematical brain.

24.  What is something I would love to learn?

To learn French from a native speaker.  I was taught French at school by a Londoner, and when I met an actual French person I couldn’t understand a word they said!

25.  Where would I want to live my ideal life?

On the Isle of Wight -‘The Bright Side‘ where I have a holiday home.  Alas we’re not allowed to stay there all year round, and Sam and I also have to work over here on ‘The Dark Side’!

26.  Where would I like to travel in the next 5 years?

Nowhere.  I prefer to be either at my main home or my holiday home.  I’ve done enough travelling over the last 50 years, and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  I hate sitting in cramped aeroplanes breathing in everybody’s germs.  Wherever I travel to tends to be too hot, and unfortunately foreign food is generally too spicy for me, hurts my irradiated throat, and is not to my taste (which is very plain, and I’m dairy intolerant).  I don’t plan to leave the UK at all in the next 5 years – don’t really want to and that’s a fact Jack.

27.  What can I do to take better care of myself?

I’m doing as much as I can.  There’s nothing left to do that I’m not already doing.

28.  What hobbies would I like to try?

Learning to play the saxophone, but I haven’t got enough puff now…

29.  When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?

A year ago, when I endured 30 sessions of radiotherapy to the neck.  I have never felt as bad before or since.  After 15 sessions I was ready to give up, but my husband and family encouraged me to continue.  Now I am cancer-free.

30.  At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

That readers enjoy my books for years to come.







A Book Review of “Mind Games,” by Stevie Turner

Thanks to Cherie at ‘Thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany’ for her 4 star review of Mind Games

From Michigan to Germany

I received my free copy of Mind Games by Stevie Turner from The Book Gobbler in return for a fair and honest book review.  The book was published on October 27, 2017.

Mind Games is the story of the life of Frances and Martin Andrews.  Their story is one of a marriage that has been destroyed by Martin’s addiction to porn and the loss of trust that comes from addiction.

The story is told from both Frances and Martin’s perspectives. Throughout the story you begin to see life through the eyes of Frances, with occasional views through Martin’s eyes.  The character of Frances really grows throughout the tale, and I found myself really rooting for her.

It is a fast moving story, and I found myself making my way through the book in a short time.  Although the story is about porn addiction, it is not an erotic or sensual…

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Anyone Want a Burger?


I stood in the queue to buy my grandsons a beefburger at the BBQ we attended on Saturday evening as part of their village celebrations for the Royal wedding.  There were several people in front of me, and I could see that the burgers being offered were not quite cooked.  Somebody was biting into one next to me and to my horror the inside of it was pink.

In order for my son and his wife not to be up all night with a double whammy of Rameses Revenge, I plumped for sausages instead, which were the right colour and looked the safer option.

It occurred to me that the men cooking the burgers might have no idea of good food hygiene or practise, and there and then I thought of a question:

Why is it that only men cook the food on outside barbeques

These men may have never even seen the inside of a kitchen at home, but there they are serving up undercooked burgers to the best of their ‘ability’.

A friend of ours is one of those men who never cook at home, but is always in front of the BBQ in his garden.  His wife will take out a packet of frozen sausages from the freezer and chuck them on the BBQ.  He will ‘cook’ one side of the sausage until it’s covered in black charcoal, before turning it over.

Fortunately I’ve always managed to avoid eating anything he has ever cooked.  He and his wife have no idea that frozen sausages are not a good idea to place on a BBQ, and also that blackened food is carcinogenic.  Any food they cook is always left uncovered on a table for hours.

Perhaps I’m over-cautious, but first of all I will always keep any raw food at the bottom of the fridge so that it doesn’t drip on anything else.  Then I will smell any food I am going to cook – this is a sure-fire way of keeping Rameses Revenge at bay for starters, and then give it the nose test again when it is cooked. I also ensure nothing is ever blackened, as too much blackened food is inviting bowel cancer, and I’ve already had one dose of cancer and do not want a second! I also never leave any food uncovered.  If I’m visiting my youngest son and daughter-in-law, she will not cook anything without asking me if it’s ‘done’, and I have to laugh when I see both of them now smelling any food to be cooked.

Of course I learned it all from Dot, who also smelt any food she cooked.  She also told me never to cook with solid fat such as lard, and to keep off the cakes and biscuits (I never buy biscuits, but sorry Dot, I do like a piece of cake now and then.

Sam once bought a dodgy sandwich from a supermarket and was ill for a week.  Subsequently he always shoves any shop-bought sandwich under my nose before he eats it. According to my sons (and Sam), Mum’s nose test is the best!  But I still want to know…

Why is it that only men cook on outside barbeques?

Can you answer my question?