Writing is a dirty business…


First arrival of 2016!

Our first arrival of the season has just been born to Hyacinth. A lovely little grey girl – our little Pinterry Princess!

Source: First arrival of 2016!

Driving Miss Maisy…

Photo post.

Source: Driving Miss Maisy…

Killing Magpies

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My eight year old nephew looked at my to-do list (a blackboard in the kitchen) on which I’d put a large tick next to ‘KILLING MAGPIES’. I quickly allayed his fears at what I’d been doing to explain that it was the title of a recently completed novel. Needless to say, he was very relieved (as am I at having finished it!) Set on a farmstead dominated by a Queen Anne house built onto the remains of a medieval priory (the fictitious Rattledown Priory) which is run as bed & breakfast/farmshop/alpaca farm/glamping site & wedding venue, it tells the story of a failed actress who falls in love with the place before being drawn into a plot involving an ancient curse, murder and mystery.

Where, he asked, did I get my inspiration? I luckily hadn’t gone into detail about the curse and murders, so was able to wave a hand casually over the surrounding Great Ground Farm – with its alpacas, reindeer and shepherds hut and tell him that I was writing about what I know and experience daily.




‘So,’ he asked sagely, looking at the next entry on my to-do list, ‘I suppose that means I won’t come next time to find you walking on eggshells?’

The Skipperess’s Tale


PUBLICATION DATE 21st February 2017

This means THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER tetralogy is now complete…














New arrival at Arkadia Alpacas

Friday 26th June – Electra gave birth to our first cria at Arkadia Alpacas.

Orpheus came into the world jet black, fit & healthy.




If you go down to the woods today…

What we thought would be ‘a little bit of tidying up’ in the woodland became a quite extensive operation – removing an ancient pheasant pen made of twisted mesh half buried in the mud and numerous fallen trees (33 to be precise). At least there will be a plentiful supply of logs for the log burner in the new house (when it’s built). Then began the task of building a 7 foot high perimeter fence. In case you’re about to ask why, the photographs should answer the question…


Yes – the reindeer have arrived and settled well into their new home.


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The Great Wall of…



“…200 bricks and 2000 words a day” —Winston Churchill to Stanley Baldwin, 1928
Agonising, back-breaking but very therapeutic and ultimately rewarding. For a change, I’m not talking about wrestling to capture and organise disparate words to form a novel, but piecing more than 13000 separate bricks to make a wall to surround the new garden. Bricklaying was Winston Churchill’s favoured way of keeping the ‘black dog’ of depression at bay. In fact, he wrote that an ideal day would include “the laying of hundreds of bricks”.
As with many tasks (especially writing a novel), it was as well to be somewhat ignorant of quite how arduous and daunting it was going to be. Several months later, it’s almost finished…
“There are four kinds of people in the world, Ms. Harper. Those who build walls. Those who protect walls. Those who breach walls. And those who tear down walls. Much of life is discovering who you are. When you find out, you also realize there are places you can no longer go, things you can no longer do, words you can no longer say.”
― P.S. BaberCassie Draws the Universe
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First Amelia Wilde novel is (really) finished now…

Even though I put my MacBook down for a while to go on an extensive camel ride on Christmas Day, I picked it up again as soon as I’d got off to continue with putting the finishing touches to an extensive rewrite of the first Amelia Wilde novel (which I thought I’d finished in July, but such is the nature of the creative process).


Anyway, it’s really finished now – retitled RING OF DECEIT and the four following stories are underway, provisional titles being

2)  ILLUSION OF MURDER (which might still be called SLAUGHTER IN THE COTSWOLDS)




Any guesses which one I was researching on the camel in the Moroccan desert?!

Back to RING OF DECEIT, I thought this photo really gives a flavour of Amelia Wilde’s talents. Of course, it isn’t Amelia as she’s a figment of my imagination – it’s actually my good friend Amanda Sandow.


Personally, I’ll stick to riding camels…

First novel in THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER series on special offer this week…



KINDLE EDITION reduced to 99p this week only….