Quick review: ‘The Shipping News’ by Annie Proulx

“Hive-spangled, gut roaring with gas and cramp, he survived childhood; at the state university, hand clapped over his chin, he camouflaged torment with smiles and silence.”

Quoyle is a loser who hates himself. After the death of his estranged wife he moves to his ancestral home in Newfoundland and begins a journey of self-discovery. He finds friendship, love and redemption in the bleakest place. Proulx’s creative punctuation and magnificent prose is addictive to read. It’s like poetic and breathtaking literary crack! The plot, characters and setting are honest, compelling and deliver on every level.

The Colours in Your Vials. FutureLearn ‘Start Writing Fiction’ course. Exercise 3.12 – Generate something new.

Written for the Future Learn ‘Start Writing Fiction’ course. Exercise 3.12 – Generate something new

Academics infuriate Amber Lewis and David Ramos is the worst of all...

 The Colours in Your Vials



“Stop. Right There!”

Hearing a male with a divine European accent made Amber Lewis jump. Spanish? Italian? Portuguese?


She turned to see the vision of glinting espresso eyes and jet hair. Perfect stubble surrounding a snarling mouth. Designer jeans, white T-shirt and probably a fragrance from an aspirational advertisement.

“What are you doing with my samples?” growled the Latino male model, clearly teleported by accident into the antiquity of British academia.

“Just admiring the colours in your vials.” Amber smoothed her blonde ponytail.

“Empty the bins and get out. I’m meeting that idiot from Zaxifor in here shortly.”

“Well, I better stay then,” Amber failed to suppress the flicker of anger. He thought she was the janitor. “Professor Ramos? I’m Amber Lewis from Zaxifor.”

“Who?” David Ramos grunted. “Where’s Doctor Portland? Is he coming?”

Amber felt her hackles rising. David Ramos might not look like the academics she usually met with, but he certainly had the social inadequacies and arrogance that she had become accustomed to lately.

“Call me Amber. I hate using formalities. I think Doctor should be reserved for medics, don’t you?” Amber hoped feigning ambivalence about her title would make his blood boil further.

“Where did you you read Doctor Lewis?”

“On the train this morning. I have a Kindle app on my mobile phone,” Amber smirked, not wanting to get into that game of one upmanship of academic establishments.

“I meant where did you study…” David tailed off in irritation.

“Somewhere good enough to get myself a real job.”

“You clearly have a low opinion of us academics, Miss Lewis,” David glared. “Which is surprising seeing as you need us to do your company’s research.”

“It’s called leverage,” Amber smiled. “My time is better spent on business critical activities. Not in the laboratory.”

“Come to my office,” David fumed. “I want to show you something.”

Amber felt a weakening in her stride as she followed him.

I saw the Story in the Manuscript and Edited until I set it free. #amediting

“I saw the Angel in the Marble and Carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

A version for writers could be “I saw the Story in the Manuscript and Edited until I set it free.”

It’s always a relief for me to get that first draft down and begin shaping, chiselling and crafting it into the story I envisage. I like to critically fork over every word, sentence and paragraph.

“Rewrite and edit until you achieve the most felicitous phrase / sentence / paragraph / page / story / chapter.” – Annie Proulx

Inspired by the prompt on The Daily Post blog and day eleven of the WordPress Blogging Course (Learning the Fundamentals).

WordPress blogging course: Learning the fundamentals. Days 2 to 8.


Here’s an update on my progress for the WordPress blogging course (Learning the Fundamentals):

Day Two: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline ✔️

Day Three: Visit the Neighbors – Follow five new tags & blogs ✔️

Day Four: Identify Your Audience – create a post you’d like your ideal reader to see, and include a new-to-you element. (*See below)

Day Five: Love Your Theme ✔️

Day Six: Make an Irresistible “About” Page ✔️

Day Seven: Start Personalizing Your Site ✔️

Day Eight: Introduce Yourself to the Neighbors! Leave comments on four different blogs. (** See below)

*This particular post is written for the Day four task of “creating a post that I’d like my ideal reader to see”. If you’re here and reading this then you’re likely my ideal reader – someone who is like me – passionate about the topics of writing, reading and blogging!

** My task for today (day eight) is to leave comments on four different blogs. Okay… I’m coming to say “Hi!”…

WordPress blogging course: Learning the fundamentals. Day 1


I’ve signed up to the WordPress blogging course Learning the Fundamentals. It’s a 2 week course with 1 task per day to complete.

Day 1 – I have to write about “who I am and why I’m here.”

In my first post and About page I describe how I’m a writer in England here to learn, share and blog about all things writing.

Mostly I write quirky short stories -romance and women’s fiction.

I read widely across many genres, including science fiction and psychological thrillers.

Who are you and why are you here?