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I am moving house and as I pack a frightening amount of books into boxes I have been reflecting on our enduring and intimate relationship with them. I shuffle through the pile I know I will probably not read again. I find an inscription from a long ago friend or a dead aunt and memories surface like bubbles. I am back in a childhood garden reading on the grass and enraptured by the author. Into the box it goes.

Inside a book called Color of the Sea by John Hamamura, I find an unsent bluey addressed to my son in Iraq in 2008. Beside it is a cutting from a newspaper about a young American Marine called Merlin German.

A bomb exploded on a dusty road in Iraq leaving him with burns over 97 percent of his body. He is flown home to Texas so his family can say farewell.

But he does not die as everyone expects, he fights and fights and fights. He endures over a 100 operations and inspires other burn patients to fight their pain too.

He even goes home for a while, then, just when everyone thinks he is over the worst, he goes in for a small routine operation and he quietly dies.

‘I think all of us believed in some way, shape or form he was invincible,’ says his surgeon and friend. ‘He had beaten so many other operations… It just reminds us, he, too, was human.’

On the top of the cutting my son has written ‘How cruel life can be.’

Indeed. In a Cornish house full of boxes I shiver. I am back to the times of blueys and sleeplessness and prayers in the night for a son in uniform who also walked a dusty road in Iraq.

Then there is the old Beverley Nichols book of my mother’s called ‘Down the Garden Path’

It begins…I bought my cottage by sending a wireless to Timbuctoo from the Mauritania, at midnight, with a fierce storm lashing the decks…

Wonderful! Into the box it goes.

My packing is agonizingly slow as I re-acquaint myself with books as precious as friends. Books that have sustained me in unlikely places, warmed me on cold nights, saved me in bad times and given me joy and the excitement of discovery. I am afraid I am taking far more books than I am leaving…img_2622img_2617

The end of summer is always hard to bear, but the lovely thing about autumn is the thought of log fires and tucking in with books…

There is a wonderful one day promotion for COME AWAY WITH ME on Kindle today.
amazon.co.uk/Come-Away-Me-S… @HarperCollinsUK fb.me/4p0lDjXfO

Two mothers, a life-long friendship and a lie that will tear them apart…
Thanks so much to all of you who have discovered my books on Kindle and written such lovely emails.
Happy reading!

It is post referendum and a changed world. Take a break from twitter and Facebook, work for a few hours and a new dramatic saga has unfolded. Never have more people been engaged with politics or glued to screens big and small. Deep gloom is tempered by morbid fascination. What the hell is going to happen next!

The summer seems also strange; as if it is hanging there not quite making up its mind whether to blow in or blow past. Into this strange, uneasy July came the Penzance Litfest and very welcome it was too.

Writing is solitary and it is wonderful to spend time with other writers, listening to their work and sharing the same concerns. It does not seem to matter how successful or popular a writer is, we all seem to suffer from imposter syndrome.

I particularly enjoyed listening to Katharine Norbury talking about her first book THE FISH LADDER. She was a compelling speaker and I am absolutely devouring her poignant and beautifully written book.

It was fun meeting Amanda Jennings and I’m really looking forward to her latest book ‘in her wake.’ Her parents live in Zennor so she isn’t a stranger to Cornwall.

Lastly, but not least, I bought Andrew Miller’s THE CROSSING. He was an engaging speaker and spoke with charm but gave little away about his latest novel. This makes it all the more intriguing and I cannot wait to read.

What is more delicious than three crispy books on your bedside table…

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As I am talking about books…  ANOTHER LIFE and SEA MUSIC have a special promotion going from July 8th until the end of August. So if you have not yet chosen your summer reads head to Amazon. This is the link.http://amzn.to/29aIeae

Have a lovely summer reading wonderful books!

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June 22nd 2016.

The day before the EU Referendum. The day before we know if our world is going to change for ever. Remain or Leave? Are we going to be precipitated into an unknown and scary future or are we all going to settle back into a tentative and nervous normality.

I cannot think of a time in my life when political debate has been so raw, vicious, passionate and sometimes destructive. It has brought out all the very worst in human nature. Smug certitude; an inability to listen or respect an apposing view; well versed mantras clutched at, rather than explored.

This referendum has brought to the fore incipient racism, personal insult,  uninformed argument, unedifying anger and violence, based on emotion not facts.

Democracy is the freedom to have a voice and the ability to cast a vote  for an outcome you believe in.  It is a wonderful and precious thing. We are all united  in our fear of  losing it. It is one of the many reasons it has not been a simple decision for many of us to choose to remain or leave.

Feeling passionate about your beliefs combined with an ability to put them across articulately and coherently, changes opinions. Insulting and shouting down a person with an apposing view, does not.

Watching politicians and people on the street verbally abusing each other over this vote has been a daunting and upsetting experience. This debate has divided friends and families. It has driven wedges between communities and colleagphotoues.

Many of us feel their democratic rights are threatened and eroded by people with power and an agenda that is not the same as ours. There is bewildering acknowledgement that we are not at the heart of our own destiny anymore.

I wish this referendum had had some moral issues at the heart of it. I wish we had had more of a debate about who and what we want our country to stand up for. But, I fear this government has only one God. The Economy. Humanitarian issues, refugees, the horror and plight of Syria seem peripheral.

Britain and the world have stood by and watched a nation decimated, watched families  flee for safety and we have given them little. We could have given them so much at so little cost to ourselves.

The tragic killing of Jo Cox, a young and passionately involved MP stunned the world and made us all step back in horror. I watched her husband, Brendon Cox,  being interviewed last night. He was articulate, powerful and searingly dignified. It was heartbreaking.

Jo Cox believed in fighting every inch for a better world, not just for us, here, on this island  but for everyone without a voice, a home, a country. That means Remaining In.

It is far too long since I posted here. I am not sure where the time goes. Christmas came and I planned to post some New Year thoughts, but somehow time slipped… Now it is March and I realise how bad I am at fitting in writing with social media and blogs and answering emails and all the other stuff of modern life. Each year I start with good intentions. One morning for this. One afternoon for that… but it never seems to quite work out as I planned.

There is a two week FREE kindle promotion on Amazon at the moment for ANOTHER LIFE so if you have not read it or are looking for a holiday read, do head for Amazon and download.

It has been an endlessly grey wet winter but here in Cornwall spring comes early and colour is everywhere. As the daffodils begin to fade the magnolias and Azaleas are bursting with life in the gardens. It feels like emerging from a long hibernation. Life suddenly feels full of possibilities…

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