Who are your all time favourite authors?

You may be wondering why I have started this post with a picture of Joanne Harris. Well, the reason is that I have been probably the most boring person in the world this week – my life has been filled with writing, reading and housework (ie no change) – and I decided that filling you in on aforementioned boring-ness would not be a good idea. So I am dedicating this blog to some of the writers who are not only my favourites, but who have had a profound effect on me as a reader and a writer.

I am going to start with the ladies. Joanne Harris (already pictured) is one of my all time favourite writers. I LOVE her books. I think she writes beautifully and her stories are wonderful. They are full of excitement and darkness and joy. Sorry for sounding so gushy, but her books are superb.

Other female writers I am a huge fan of are much less contemporary. In fact, they date back a lot of years. They are:

Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte (above) for Wuthering Heights. I still cry when Cathy and Heathcliff die.

Charlotte Bronte (above) for Jane Eyre. One of the best books I have ever read. I never tire of it. I am afraid I have only read one of Anne Bronte’s books The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I didn’t like it…sorry.

E Nesbit, below, whose Bastable books and her fantasy books such as the Phoenix and the Carpet, and Five Children & It, made me want to become a writer at a very young age.


E Nesbit

I also loved…

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton. My favourite books of her were The Faraway Tree and The Magic Wishing Chair. Amazing books to read when you are very young.

Now the boys…

Male authors I love include:

Terry Pratchett, above, was a wonderful writer of amazing books. I don’t have them all, but am still collecting them. One day I will have the full set. 🙂

Sir Walter Scott – I have read Ivanhoe five times and Rob Roy at least seven. I now have collection of most of his books and aim to spend this summer reading Waverley.

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is superb: funny, exciting and full of tongue in cheek good humour. Excellent writer. Also loved his Dirk Gently books. So funny.

Charles Dickens

The grizzled old bear Charles Dickens. I do love his books, although some of his heroines annoy me with their simpering goodness. His bad women are far more interesting. My favourite books of his include Bleak House and Oliver Twist.

C S Lewis

C S Lewis’ Narnia books were my absolute favourite books from childhood. I have two copies of the full sets: one set is hardback and not to be touched by my kids (cos they will damage them) and the other can be read by my kids and were bought specifically for that purpose.

Okay, I’ve shared mine, now you share yours…who are your favourite authors of all time? Please comment below, I’d love to hear about them.

Til next time,


The white stuff, Bagpuss and Enid

I am not going to state the obvious and talk too much about the amazing weather we’ve been experiencing, so I thought I’d let the photos speak for themselves.  Above, my dogs have been loving the snow…well Millie and Casper have. The pug, Bonya, hasn’t been too keen on going out but as you can see from the photo above she has been out.

She prefers to lie on the back of our sofa against the radiator snoozing and snoring, dreaming happy pug dreams.

A wistful pic of Casper as he watches Millie from the comfort of our living room.

Footsteps in the snow last night. These are my kids’ footsteps and the trenches the dogs made.

Anyway enough about that, how are you? And what’s been happening in our household? Well, the extension is still ongoing and its finishing date has been further put back thanks to the snow. The flooring was supposed to go down yesterday (Thursday), but unfortunately the company couldn’t get here. Their van was stuck outside their office. They couldn’t have gotten into the house anyway as our estate is unpassable for cars. There have been a fair few drivers getting stuck trying to get out of the estate yesterday and today. One wonders: having witnessed others getting stuck why they bothered even trying? Didn’t they think it would happen to them?

Our local shops have already run out of about everything…once folk realised they were open there was a stampede (well okay not literally a stampede, but you know what I mean). We were okay because I had stocked up before the weather hit, but one of my neighbours popped round this morning with a loaf of bread and some milk anyway. I thought that was really, really nice of her. She stayed for a cuppa and we had a good blether. Every school in Scotland (just about) has been shut because of the weather since Wednesday, so it was nice to see and speak to an adult instead of my darling kiddies. Not that I don’t find my darling kiddies adorable and interesting (they read this blog), but it’s nice to have a conversation with someone who is nearer my age.

Me and the kids braved  the weather and walked to the local shops yesterday to get out of the house for a bit (we were a bit stir crazy although the boy had been in and out all day playing with his friend in the snow…they were soaking!) and to pick up additional supplies (crisps and sweets for them, crisps and wine for me). It took us a wee bit longer (we had to fight our way out of knee high snow to get to the main road which was, thankfully, cleared although the pavements weren’t), but we got there and back without injury or frostbite. There were quite a few folk out and about, but the village did seem a little too quiet and a bit eery.

Apparently, to combat the feeling of being stuck inside (and stuck in the village – the roads  in and out were all closed due to snow drifts today and yesterday), some of the villagers have organised a party in our local hall tonight…all welcome. BYOB. We would go if we lived closer, but we are at the other end of the village and I don’t fancy the walk at night, in the freezing cold.

Changing the subject, I have finally worked out who it is that Bonya reminds me of…

Bonya (above, lying on the back of the sofa as usual…I think she thinks she’s a cat) reminds me of….that saggy old, baggy old cat…

Bagpuss! Yup the resemblance is astounding especially the way she moves and gives me those sleepy eyes a la Bagpuss. Can’t understand why I didn’t see it before!

I sent in my first assignment for my degree course on Wednesday. I don’t know why but I was nervous about doing it. Hope I get a good mark. I really want to do well in it. Have started the second part of the module. The first part was about Reputations, this one is Traditions and Dissent. I’m reading about Plato and Socrates, philosophy and deductive arguments. It’s really interesting, very thought provoking.

For leisure reading I’ve been reading Looking for Enid: The Mysterious and Inventive Life of Enid Blyton by Duncan McLaren. It’s really quite different from normal biographies. It’s done in a part dreamy way, but it’s amusing. I didn’t know boys liked Enid Blyton too…I’ve never met anyone who read Enid when they were kids who wasn’t female, but evidently Enid fans were males too. Duncan is a huge fan and he goes to where she lived and fantasies what the Five Finder Outers would have made of the real life theft of two of Enid’s own first editions which were taken from her house. As a major fan of Enid, I’m really enjoying the book.

Quick flashback…

Here I am at the Enid Blyton exhibition at the Seven Stories Storytelling Centre in Newcastle a few years ago…I loved it!!


Right, on that note, I am going to end this blog here and go upstairs with a glass of milk (#livingawildlife) to continue reading aforementioned book. Keep safe in the snow. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Just watching ParaNorman…


…and it’s great. The one thing I’ve found about being a mum is that you can watch kids’ movies without feeling awkward. And I love kids’ movies. The kids are at summer club just now, so am having a rare couple of hours of peace so decided to catch up on ParaNorman – about making of the film. We watched it as a family the other day, but I always miss bits because inevitably the boy always wants to talk through it or the girl – if she’s already seen it – will fill you in on the plot.

Anyway, am still off on annual leave and have been busy – between runny eyes and the sneezing that have been a major part of my life recently thanks to hay fever – marketing Dusting Down Alcudia and working on my new book Ham, which is due out next month. I’m also doing the final final tweaks to the third DarkIsle book which is due out later this year. It’s really exciting.

NB free copy of first three chapters of Dusting Down Alcudia can be found at the right-hand column under My Books. If you like the book, I’d appreciate a review on Amazon or Kobo.

I’ve also just finished that biography of Enid Blyton and am all inspired, despite the fact I didn’t feel she came out of the book as being a particularly warm individual. Anyway, I still love her books and, as I said, I am all inspired.

Right, am off to continue enjoying the peace. At the moment, it’s cool outside, which is great after the high temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately…I may just get some weeding done after all today!!

Til next time

Dawn xx

Enid Blyton and the Seven Stories Centre

M'cester Seven Stories Centre  1

You know how in the film Julie and Julia when Julie goes to see an exhibition of her heroine, Julia Childs, and she’s a bit in awe of it all? Well that’s how I felt when we went to Newcastle on Thursday so that I could attend the Enid Blyton exhibition at the Seven Stories Centre – the National Centre for Children’s Books. I was in my element anyway, being in a place that celebrated children’s books, writers and illustrators, but being so close to Enid’s diaries and typewriter and stuff, and seeing all those lovely and familiar illustrations from her books, just made my day.

I am a huge fan of Enid Blyton and have read a lot of her books. My favourites were The Faraway Tree stories closely followed by The Wishing Chair.

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 2

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 3

Anyway, I just loved being there and seeing her things and reminiscing about books I had read as a child and just loving every moment. The Enid Blyton exhibition was on one floor of the centre and once my family had prized me away from it, we explored the other floors.

Seven Stories is housed in a lovely old building several stories high and on each storey there is something different. Above the Enid Blyton exhibition was one on Cressida Cowell who wrote How to Train Your Dragon, amongst many other titles. There were original texts and sketches and lots of Viking costumes for my kids (and their parents) to try on. It was fun.

Above that, the kids made dragon masks in an area for making stuff. Above that is the attic (above) where I think authors go and read to children and children can try on different costumes and sit in the big wooden chair (below).

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 4

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 5

We ate lunch there in the little cafĂ© (which was really good – we had panninis and they were excellent), perused the shop, bought some books (I of course bought the biography of Enid Blyton which I am just reading now) and it was a lovely afternoon. I was sad to leave the centre, but we had to get home and we headed north after that – well after a brief stop at a scooter place for hubby.

It was a hot and dry drive home. The day was muggy and the car was really hot, but the kids did really well, not complaining too much. We had a couple of stops en route to stretch our legs and use the toilet and got home in the evening.

En route, we stopped off at Marks and Spencer’s and I picked up some snacky things for dinner. We were, by now, heartily sick of deep fried or chips-with-everything food so I bought some nice picnic type things and a salad, which we ate at home.

It was lovely waking up in our house the next morning. I like going away and visiting new places, but I like coming home more. We had a great few days away in Manchester and I would recommend it for a short break.

We had a great time, but I’m glad to be home.

Dawn xxx