about writing and life and God

About Me and My Books

I love being a writer. I’ve been writing since childhood, and published since my teens. First a letter in a national Sunday paper, then a gap-year job as a trainee reporter on my local paper where I learnt to touch-type and stick to the point.

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To date, I have twelve published books to my name. The latest is The Mizpah Ring.

Mizpah-Ring cover final

Like its predecessor, When the Boats Come Home, it is a Christian historical novel and available direct from the publisher Zaccmedia, or on AmazonUK or AmazonUS in both e-book format and paperback.

When the Boats Come Home cover

Boats  was set amongst the herring fishing communities of the East Coast of Britain in 1921. It is the story of a family finding their way through the tough times at the end of the first world war and re-finding their faith in God and their love for one another. There’s family secrets, First World War tragedy, love and romance! It was a joy to write and a delight to research.

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The Mizpah Ring also begins in my home town, Wick in the far north-east of Scotland, but ranges much more widely across the globe – as Scots have always done. Canada provides the first port of call, with scenes in the Klondike gold rush, before characters move on to San Francisco and Buenos Aires amongst other places.

My children’s book, It’s Hard to Hurry When You’re a Snail (published by Lion and illustrated beautifully by Thomas Taylor) is now sadly out of print but still available from Amazon and other online and second-hand dealers. It tells the story of a snail on his way to Noah’s Ark… Children love it and it has been successfully used in schools and Sunday Schools.

All my previous books were non-fiction. Two derived from the trauma of my husband’s frontal lobe dementia: One Day at a Time was first, published by SPCK in 2010. One day I had settled down to a nice mug of coffee and Bible study. I was using a reputable set of Bible notes but I found myself erupting in anger and frustration. I flung the booklet across the room and did the mental equivalent of stamping my foot! The author of that day’s note was quite clearly perfect – and she had a perfect husband, perfect home, perfect children, perfect life. While I was mired in the horrendous day-to-day mess – both physical and emotional – of caring for someone with dementia. I sat back in my chair, furious.

Then it was as if I could hear God’s voice saying to me, ‘You’re a writer. Why don’t you write what you need?’

‘What I need? I know what I need…’ and I grabbed a pen and notepad and proceeded to pour out how I felt and what I needed. I thought of the passage of the Scripture that would help me. Wrote a little prayer. Put it aside and got on with my day.

Next day, He nudged me again. ‘No need to use those Bible reading notes. Write what you need today.’ And so I did every day for a month.

Still Caring, follows on from One Day at a Time because my husband and I had moved on. I am no longer an at-home carer. He is now in residential care. But once again I can tell it how it is. I know about the anxiety and the guilt, the pressures and the challenges, and I wrote the meditations and prayers while I was in the thick of it. I hope that they will come alongside others in the same situation and be of help and comfort to them.

Still Caring - web

And the other published titles?

  • two anthologies for SPCK:  a nice little Book of Graces (It has a totally scrumptious cover!) and a collection of prayers – some familiar, some specially written: Prayers for the NightIt’s designed as a bedside book. Dip in and find what you need to soothe your mind, calm your heart, and comfort you.
  • The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers – probably the most comprehensive collection of prayers between two covers! Over 1500 prayers, arranged by theme (Advent to Youth), drawn from the earliest Christian writers to the most up-to-date. It took 3 years of my life to research, compile, edit and index. Published by Westminster John Knox Press and available in both paperback and hardback.
  • Women of Prayer and Women of Spirit (UK) Women of Vision (US): These two books were published by Lion in the UK and very beautifully by Loyola Press in the US. Women of Prayer is a collection of prayers, while Women of Spirit/Vision is a collection of meditations, all written by women for women.

And I have two other books to my name:

Bluff Your Way in Publishing (Ravette) – after my foray into journalism and my MA (Social Sciences), I became an editor in book publishing, working my way up the ladder to Publishing Director, then writing this tell-it-like-is book about it. Now out of print and very out of date (but great fun for older publishers!)

One of my jobs was publishing Business and Management Books for McGraw-Hill Book Co. I made a lot of friends and good contacts which I drew on after I left to produce the kind of book I wished I’d had when I first stepped into management. The Gower Handbook of Management Skills is still available and generates good royalties from photocopying and lending in colleges and business schools!


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