Tag Archives: books


Six word Saturday button

.For several years, along with many other bloggers, I used to write a post each Saturday entitled “Six Word Saturday”. The idea was to describe your life in six words. So each Saturday I would do just that.

I wrote about a Disaster and a Ruined Pot; Sweeping the Patio – Clearing the Leaves; Only Barbecue this Summer with Friends; I asked Is Life Better with a G&T? and also Are We Having Any Fun – No! I even mentioned Trump and his phobia. What is it you ask – Trump’s Phobia is Fear of Sharks, Unfortunately, Six Word Saturday and it’s originator ceased to exist a few years ago.

I obviously enjoyed this challenge as there were so many more Six Word Saturday posts. But one of my favourites was written on June 30, 2012 – Please Do Not Disturb – I’m Reading. I described how it was a miserable winter Saturday and having started a new book in the morning, after lunch I settled down to read more. it was a book by one of my favourite authors, Zoe Sharp.

Have you come across this writer and the protagonist in her first series? Note – in 2012 there was only one series. So, Charlie Fox is the protagonist and on that day I was reading “First Drop” book No 4 in. the series. If you click on the Zoe Sharp link above, you will see how many books she has written since then.

Lee Child has been quoted as saying “If I were a woman, I would be Zoe Sharp . If Jack Reacher were a woman, he would be Charlie Fox.”

As I said, she is a favourite author and I have read and reviewed all of her books.

Harking back to my Six Word Saturday post, if you read the post all through and down to the comments – you will see that Zoe commented a couple of times (blatant self promotion here):

Zoe Sharp | July 5, 2012 at 01:59 

Hi Judith
Thank you so much for a fabulous review of FIRST DROP. I’m delighted that you enjoyed the book. There is a full list of the Charlie Fox books, in order, on my website – http://www.zoesharp.com – and I’ve tried to include the order of the books as part of the titles on Amazon. Sorry for the confusion – it’s a long story. Thank you to everyone who’s commented, too, and I hope you’ll give Charlie a whirl.
Pass on my apologies to Lotte and I hope she enjoyed her belated walk 🙂

Perhaps I will continue Six Word Saturday posts, if not every Saturday, maybe some. Something to think about.

“She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).”
Lewis Carroll,’Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’.


Traipsing Around on Tuesday

“What day is it? asked Winnie the Pooh. It’s today, squeaked Piglet.
My favourite day, said Pooh”

Yesterday was a blah day on which I did nothing. The family rallied round this ancient soul and generally took over.

But today – all is well, and I am back to normal (or as normal as I will ever be).

The sun was shining brightly so after washing the towels which my grandson hung out for me, I sallied forth with my list of things to do.

But…Not everyone is back at work and so many shops have not yet opened again.  

My first stop was to the other side of town to have a lamp repaired.  The other night when lounging in bed watching television, I turned suddenly, and a pillow knocked the lamp onto the floor.  The lamp is unbroken, but the wiring is adrift. Electrical repairers – well repairers of any sort – are few and far between nowadays.  Do you remember the little man in the village who could repair anything?  Those days and those men are long gone. There was no sign on the door to indicate when the shop would reopen.

The next stop was the drycleaners and yes, they are closed until January 17, so the clothes, together with the broken lamp came home with me.

Then a trip to pick up an ordered top – unfortunately they had ordered the wrong size; another wasted trip.  They did say that when the correct size is available, it will be delivered to me.  That is great customer service.

So to the supermarket. And wouldn’t you know it, several of the things I wanted were out of stock, so I had to go to another one.

So, my list of things to do is still long.  I am putting it away until next week.

But the sun continues to shine so all is well. I sat outside. in the sun for a while finishing my book. Have you read State of Terror by Hilary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny? Fascinating and well worth reading. And that grandson brought in the towels for his Granma. Lucky me 

We are told by NIWA (National Institute of Water and Air) that last year was the hottest on record for New Zealand –  An average of 1.09 degrees warmer overall. And if you are still with me, and not dozing off during the weather report we are also told  “”Of the six main centres in 2021, Auckland was the warmest, Dunedin was the coolest, Wellington was the wettest, Dunedin was the driest, Tauranga was the sunniest and Hamilton was the least sunny.”  

And now as my day is coming to a close, may I add this.  This was a particular favourite of my sister. She died in California last year and today would have been her birthday:

“If I should die, think only this of me:
 That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. 
There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust concealed
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air, 
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home
Rupert Brooke, English Poet. 1867 – 1915



Sauntering on Sunday

Sauntering on Sunday

Chris has been busily writing thought provoking posts, while I have been just writing.

So to Sunday; a day for sauntering around.  Saunter – don’t you like that word? 

“I have met with but one or persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking,
that is, of taking walks — who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering,
which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country,
in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land,
till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander
David Henry Thoreau. American naturalist, essayist, and philosopher. 1817-1862 

I like Thoreau’s definition of saunter but sadly, all dictionaries and linguists are united in rejecting this notion, but it’s an appealing idea.

So today’s saunter.

I have just returned from brunch with my daughter and her two big, strapping, delightful sons.  They have both been in Wellington this past week as their other grandmother sadly died on the December 30.  After falling, a few days in hospital and a few days at home, she went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up. A shock to her two sons and grandchildren, but what a way to go! 

Of course, the brunch was a happy, cheerful hour or so in the company of three of my favourite people.  One grandson Drew the eldest, is constantly making fun of his Granma in the nicest possible way. We all laugh at his nonsense. He left us for a long walk back over the hills to our home.

Then Jae, the other son, accompanied me to a used bookshop where I purchased a copy of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook.  This was not what I was looking for in the shop.  However, there was no copy of Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room and the store owner suggested I might like this instead.  The Women’s Room had a major impact on/in my life so many years ago and I really wanted to reread it to discover why.  Instead and in keeping with my determination to support local businesses, in particular book shops, I purchased and will read the Doris Lessing book and continue in my hunt for the other.

Then home again and the first post I read was from Debbie at Domermom.com.  A lovely post about a happy dog.  Of course, this led me directly to thoughts about Lotte my sadly missed, little Tibetan Spaniel.  She was my friend and companion for a short but happy time some years ago.

Then looking back to January 8, 2012 I note that I posted Dancing with Skeletons.  Here I mused about a Creative Writing Course (one of many) that I had attended many years before

One task we were given early in the course was to “Write about your Skeletons”.  We were told we all had them and if we could put them onto paper it would be a good place to start.  We were required to write them down, not type them into the computer.  The tutor reiterated the “known fact”  (well accepted fact) that transferring the words from your mind, through your hand to the page gave them power.

Note – Research has shown that hand-writing stimulates a bunch of cells at the base of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS acts as a filter for everything your brain needs to process, giving more importance to the stuff that you’re actively focusing on at the moment—the physical act of writing brings it to the forefront.

This was proven to me in the years that followed, particularly when wearing my Life Coach hat and when running my courses, always encouraging people to do Morning Pages.

Do  you know about Morning Pages? This is the act of writing first thing in the morning. Strictly consciousness writing any and all thoughts that come to mind. I discovered this in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It’s a very powerful tool to help you sort out what you want to do and then, how to do it.

And so now, after that long and rambling saunter, there is little else to say – although that’s not true.  I have much more to say, but for another day.

And yet another thought for today

If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.” 
― Wes Nisker author, radio commentator, comedian,
and Buddhist meditation instructor.
1942 –

Waiting for the sun to drop so that the dry garden beds may be watered.

JB January 9, 2022




Filling Time

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I’ve walked, I’ve read, I’ve cooked and I’ve brought out the vacuum cleaner and rapidly replaced it.  Now, what to do?  My sister Christine has the word “noodling’ which she uses to describe moving around on the internet, just looking and maybe learning something new.

So noodling was what I have been doing this afternoon.  Merriam Webster is, of course, a favourite site as I am a Word Junkie (the description my DYS gave me so many years ago). Today I found this on the site.  Go and see what the staff are reading under the heading

M-W Picks: Books for When
You’re Hunkered Down
You too can read like a dictionary staffer.

There’s a good selection and I am sure you will find something to your liking. A new author or protagonist perhaps?

My first pick is from Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor. She chooses – Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
“This is a psychological thriller about a young woman from London who decides to trade apartments with a distant cousin in Boston. When she arrives at her cousin’s apartment building, she discovers his neighbor has been murdered. There are some huge and unexpected plot twists that kept me completely hooked until the end. Without giving away anything, I’ll just say this book is super murdery, and if that’s your thing, I can’t recommend it enough.”

I can’t get to a bookstore and deliveries of books are on hold, so I went to the local library online, and joy, it’s available in both hard copy and ebook. The library is, of course, closed so the ebook is now downloaded and on my TBR list.

She also recommends The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent and The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman. Both are added to my want to read list.

I am sure I will go back again during this locked-down time to refresh and just to see what others are reading.

Neil Serven, Associate Editor offers The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai.
‘This novel was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2018, and feels relevant at time when the specter of contagion casts a shadow over us and fear and uncertainty inflame our discourse. The disease in this book is AIDS, and the story concerns its impact on Chicago’s gay community in the 1980s, as well as its lasting impact on the survivors of that community thirty years later.
At the center of the story is Yale Tishman, a young gallery worker who is close to making a major advance in his career by acquiring a valuable collection of art from an elderly, eccentric prospective donor. Yale’s friend Nico has just died of AIDS-related illness, and other friends within their circle are becoming infected. Yale’s strongest support comes from Nico’s younger sister, Fiona; in an interwoven narrative, we follow Fiona thirty years later as she tracks down her estranged daughter in Paris.”

And On the Beach by Nevil Shute. Of this book, he says “When I read this book for the first time, I was a high schooler laid up with my own serious illness, so perhaps I have always associated it with infirmity. I decided to read it again last year, before the thought of being confined against a scourge became reality.
What is striking about this book is how the characters strive to live as though things are normal. Even as fate comes knocking, there are attempts to cultivate relationships, and efforts to live in the hopes of seeing lost loved ones who are almost certainly dead. The story reaches a mood of strange and patient optimism even in the face of annihilation.”

So when you find yourself with nothing left on your To-Do list, take a look at this site. I hope you find something to amuse you while we all stay home and safe

“I have to be alone very often.
I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning
alone in my apartment.
That’s how I refuel.”
Audrey Hepburn: Many-Sided Charmer, LIFE Magazine, December 7, 1953.


We talk about being locked-in but are you aware there is a medical condition of being locked in?

Medically known as Pseudocoma, “it is a rare neurological disorder in which there is complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movements of the eyes. Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and awake but have no ability to produce movements (outside of eye movement) or to speak (aphonia). Cognitive function is usually unaffected.” NORD (National Organisation for Rare Disorders

I first came across this disorder while reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby the editor-in-chief of French Elle and the father of two young children, At the end of 1995, he was the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem and after 20 days in a coma, he awoke and found his body had almost stopped working.  One eye only was still functioning.

This is a book showing man’s desire and ability to overcome almost anything.  It’s well worth a read. I am going to reread it while sitting in so-called locked-in.

Interestingly, again according to NORD

“The first description of the locked-in syndrome can be found in The Count of Monte Cristo authored by Alexandre Dumas. To describe a patient with a locked-in syndrome, the author used the following words:

‘Sight and hearing were the only senses remaining…. It was only, however, by means of one of these senses that he could reveal the thoughts and feelings that still occupied his mind, and the look by which he gave expression to his inner life was like the distant gleam of a candle which a traveler sees by night across some desert place, and knows that a living being dwells beyond the silence and obscurity. In his eyes, shaded by thick black lashes, was concentrated, as it often happens with an organ which is used to the exclusion of the others, all the activity, address, force, and intelligence which were formerly diffused over his whole body; and so although the movement of the arm, the sound of the voice, and the agility of the body, were wanting, the speaking eye sufficed for all’.

In this way, he brilliantly highlighted the potential that these patients have to maintain a meaningful life despite their extreme disability.

It is amazing where our mind goes when we are looking for things to occupy us.


Even More to Think About

Those of you who have followed my blog know that I was fortunate to be brought up in a a caring, loving family where domestic violence wasn’t even hinted at. In fact, it wasn’t until I started to post on my blog that I found so many of my followers/readers hadn’t been so lucky.

And in reading others’ blogs and the daily news reports I know that domestic violence is prevalent in our society, and to my mind, more of a threat than even terrorism.

Some years ago, visiting one of my mother’s many aunts, she told us of her daughter who was stabbed by her husband, and left to die, alone on the kitchen floor. So in some way, it does impinge on all of us.

Today I received the advance copy of Charlie Gallagher’s latest Book –

He Will Kill You.

I haven’t started to read it, but with Charlie’s agreement, I am posting his author’s note here.

“There is a strong theme of domestic violence throughout this book. Some scenes describe actions that are brutal, inexcusable and shocking, and may be harrowing or traumatic to read.

They are based on unequivocal fact. Two out of three murder victims in the UK are killed by an intimate partner. Most victims of domestic violence take years to seek help, if at all.

This book carries a message; if you recognise even a small part of your situation or yourself in these pages, any part of it, then know that you don’t have to suffer it; you don’t have to live it. You’re worth so much more.

Tell someone. Tell the police or a mate or one of the many domestic violence charities that can be found on the internet, or whoever you can.

Get yourself safe.”

Charlie is a serving, front-line police detective. He obviously, comes into contact with victims of domestic violence more often than most of us. He doesn’t appear to have a website but tells a little about himself – https://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/charlie-gallagher-bodily-harm-1027718.html.

Apologies. I’m now told by Charlie that he has a website – http://www.writercharliegallagher.com.

The book – He Will Kill You will be published on March 15 and is currently available to preorder on Amazon .

Look out for my review in the next couple of days on my other site – https://booksandmorebooks2017.wordpress.com


Tis Christmas, Again!

I had a lovely surprise today. A parcel arrived bearing three books from one of my proofreading clients, Evan Graver. Thank you, Evan.

I haven’t reviewed any of them as I hadn’t read the final copies. I shall do soon and review each of them. But from what I read while proofreading, Ryan Weller is a protagonist well worth following.

Go over to Evan’s website – www.EvanGraver.com to sign up for his newsletter and receive a free Ryan Weller short story. And the books are of course, available on Amazon.

Receiving the parcel by mail, which is very unusual for me these days, took me back to when we lived in Scotland. The mail was delivered every day except Sunday and at this time of year, there were two deliveries each day. Parcels were delivered separately, again every day, Now, here in New Zealand, we get three deliveries a week. Well, of course, many moons ago when I was a young wife living in Scotland, there was no internet, no emails and everybody sent Christmas cards and presents. And when I came to live here in NZ, we had to post mail early in November to be assured that it would arrive on time. Now mail and the odd parcel take days instead of weeks.

Pohutakawa tree

Pohutakawa tree -Image via Wikipedia

And here in the southern hemisphere, it is, of course, summer. And once again, I am showing our NZ Christmas tree, the Pohutakawa. Isn’t it lovely? At this time of year, it is in full bloom. It lines the streets around our neighbourhood and the main thoroughfares in town. And while we enjoy summer days I know that many of you are ‘enjoying’ snow. But then, you have a real Christmas with all the trimmings. We enjoy barbecues and swims in the pool.

So on this day, three days before Christmas, may I wish you all a very happy Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or in whatever way you celebrate this time of the year. And may you have a healthy and joyful New Year.


A Blog Tour

Those of you who have followed my blog for some time, know that I am a fan of Zoe Sharp,  and particularly her protagonist Charlie Fox. Well, now Zoe has created and published a stand-alone novel, “Dancing on the Grave” If you would like to read an excerpt from the book, click here.

Dancing on the grave

I looked forward to reading this book and must thank Ayo Onatade for inviting me to join the tour and to Zoe for providing an advance copy of the book for review

There are 11 other bloggers in the tour. Here’s the programme.


All of these bloggers are new to me, but won’t be for long. What a good group Zoe and Ayo have put together.

Note – If you are having problems reading the sites, here’s a link to Zoe’s site where the blog tour is listed.

My review of the book will be available on July 20 my other site, Books&morebooks.

Meantime, because I have a need to know, I asked Zoe a few questions about this book and some other things.

JB        Hello Zoe, and thanks for agreeing to answer my questions. I hope they are not too intrusive.

After the series on Charlie Fox, was it time to take a break and write another stand alone?

ZS        Well, this is not so much ‘after’ as ‘in between’. I’m currently writing the next Charlie Fox, which will be book #13 in the series. Plus, I have the prequel waiting in the wings, so Charlie Fox is still very much alive and kicking. But, it certainly makes you appreciate the familiar more when you take a break from it, I think. It’s been lovely getting back inside Charlie’s head. She has a dry, somewhat laconic sense of humour that makes her voice so distinctive for me as I’m writing.

All the Charlie Fox books, with the exception of a couple of the short stories, are told from first-person Point Of View. Being able to get inside the heads of other characters to tell the story from another perspective is very appealing at times. There are quite a few stories percolating through my brain that can’t be told within the framework of the series, so for those I need to step outside. I couldn’t have told Kelly Jacks’ story in THE BLOOD WHISPERER any other way than third-person POV, and although having a sniper on the loose might have worked very well as a threat for Charlie Fox to face in her capacity as a bodyguard, I would certainly not have been able to go into the mind-set of the peripheral characters as deeply as I’ve been able to do in DANCING ON THE GRAVE.

JB        You have said that you were intrigued by the so-called Washington Snipers’ attacks; what motivated you to use these actions or similar actions as the basis for your story?

ZS        What always intrigues me most about true crime stories is how rarely most of us get to hear the whole story. Sometimes the snippets we do hear linger in the mind and the only thing you can do, as an author, is to write your own ending or fill in the blanks. I think most writers find the basis for their ideas in fact, which they extrapolate to the nth degree. I love to take an idea and go, “Well, what if…”

I was fascinated following the news reports of the sniper attacks in the States—indeed, at one point I was over there in that area while they were taking place. Snipers provoke a particular kind of fear in people. The fear of being watched, of being preyed upon, of never knowing who’s next, or where death is going to strike. It’s why they are such an effective weapon in war. As much for the psychological effects on the population as the physical effects.

But at the same time, I wanted to explore the psychological fallout for the sniper, and what happens when the Powers That Be decide that they’re no longer an effective tool. How do you simply switch off that skill, that training, and return to civilian life? We are very bad at re-acclimatising our ex-army personnel in the UK, particularly those who have fallen foul of the military system. There doesn’t seem to be an effective safety net and many simply fall through the cracks. I wanted to look at what might happen to one of those people.

JB       Can you tell me why you chose to set this story in such a peaceful and lovely area of Britain? No doubt no area is totally free of horrendous crime, but this seems to be an almost idyllic area.

ZS        Having lived and built a house in the English Lake District, I can vouch for the fact it can be idyllic. At the time I first conceived the idea for this book—shortly after the Washington Sniper attacks in 2002—it probably was almost unthinkable that something of that nature could happen there. But then a man called Derrick Bird ran amok in the west of the county in 2010. He shot twenty-two people, thirteen of whom died (including himself, last of all). Suddenly the unthinkable was not only possible, but a reality. It made me put the book aside for a long time. When I picked it up again and began a rewrite, I included references to the Bird case. It would have been unnatural for the police characters involved not to think of it, as soon as the first victim is killed.

And sometimes the contrast of gritty crime in a rural setting can be very effective. Just because something is beautiful on the surface, it doesn’t mean there isn’t vast ugliness lurking beneath the skin. Besides, I’ve always liked playing with the reader’s perceptions in a story. I’ve done it throughout the Charlie Fox books, and it felt natural to continue doing so here.

JB        As I said to you earlier, the characters in the book are totally believable, in particular, the two leads, Nick and Grace. May we expect to hear/read more of these two?

ZS        Well, having said at the outset that DANCING ON THE GRAVE was a standalone, the overwhelming reaction to the book so far is that it should be the start of a new series. I confess that I do have several other plotlines worked out for Grace and Nick, most of which are specifically linked to the Lake District. I’ve always thought a plot is stronger if there is a definite reason for it to take place where it does. That way, the location becomes almost another character in the book. So, yes, there is the possibility of more from those two, although there are other stories I’d like to tell first…

JB        And what a great character Edith is. Did you have a certain person in mind when you started writing about her? Is she based on someone you read about or knew, even remotely?

ZS        As far as I’m aware (and I freely admit my subconscious could be playing tricks on me here) Edith isn’t based on anyone I know or have ever met. She was simply one of those characters who appear out of nowhere and utterly own the show. For me, she stepped onto the page, fully formed, in much the way Charlie Fox did originally. All I had to do was write down what she did and what she told me. Although, in Edith’s case, you can take much of what she says with a pinch of salt. The most important lies are the ones she tells herself.

JB         The story touches on fame in today’s society. Do you think many young people are looking for a way or ways to become famous?

ZS        Absolutely, I do. Not only are people looking for a way to become a ‘celebrity’ however you interpret the meaning of that word, but they’re looking for the easiest, fastest way to get where they want to go. I mean, everybody knows, deep down, that the only way to successfully lose weight and to keep it off is to reduce your food intake below the level of your energy expenditure, and to maintain that balance over time to make slow and steady progress. That doesn’t stop the proliferation of books and articles offering myriad ways to ‘Halve Your Body Size in a Month!’, ‘Lose Weight Without Dieting!’, ‘Get Six-Pack Abs Without Ever Leaving Your Couch!’, ‘Drop Three Dress Sizes by Tomorrow!’ Nor does it dent the popularity of such advice. Everybody wants a shortcut. In the book, Edith dreams of fame and fortune but has no idea how to achieve it, until fate apparently steps in and offers her what she believes she’s looking for.

JB        What is the best time for you to write?

ZS        Er, when I’m awake. Seriously, I tend to work any time of the day now. When I first started, and it was very much a case of working around the cracks of the day job, I used to get up early in the morning to write, but these days I can often work late into the evening and into the following morning again. The only problem I face is actually falling asleep at my keyboard. I can tell when I’ve done this, as the next time I open up the file, the last paragraph or so will be utter nonsensical gibberish.

JB        Where do you call home these days?

ZS        Good question. I do officially own a house again after a gap of about four years, but I’m not actually living in it at the moment. Instead, I’ve been moving around, house and pet-sitting or travelling. I spend the winters in an old stone farmhouse in the Derbyshire Peak District, stoking the wood-burning stove and minding a couple of very demanding cats while their owner goes to Italy to escape the British weather and work on his latest novel. As I write this, I’m cat-sitting in the south of France. So, where do I call home? Anywhere I can plug in a laptop and access the internet. Animal company preferred.

JB        I know you can write anywhere, is it in longhand initially or straight on to your computer?

ZS        I like to rough out a scene in pencil using what I laughingly call my neck-top computer, (still haven’t made the leap to an iBrain) maybe the bones of the dialogue, or the run of the action, then I go to my laptop. As I write up my notes, everything gets filled out and expanded. I experimented with dictation software, but to be honest I fiddle around quite a bit as I put the words on the page and, because I touch-type, it was quicker just to do it manually.

JB         I’ve always thought it must be particularly hard, if fun, to write about a crime scene investigator’s role. Do you have a friendly CSI to help you?

ZS        I was lucky enough to spend some time with CSIs from Cumbria Constabulary when I was first planning and writing the book, and I also talked to their Firearms officers, did a ride-along with one of the Motorway Patrols, and talked to Special Constables—part-time volunteers, now called Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). I read extensively, of course, including the textbooks that are used to train crime-scene technicians in the UK, and went over to see Ian and Helen Pepper, a husband and wife team of former CSIs who now write and teach on the subject.

It was helpful for Grace’s character, as well, that I spent twenty-five years as a photojournalist, so the photography side was second nature to me. As is always the case, though, you do a LOT of research and then leave the majority of that information out of the book, otherwise it reads more like a textbook or travel guide than a novel. Having said that, everyone likes to feel they’ve gleaned a piece of inside info, a trick-of-the-trade, a secret that only those in the know might know. It’s a fine balance.

I write first and foremost to tell a good tale—to allow a reader to make a journey inside their own head that they might never make otherwise, to take them out of themselves. If I manage to sneak in a few valid points about the state of modern society, and people absorb those elements as a contextual part of the story and—just maybe—agree with me, then that’s a bonus, isn’t it?

JB       Thank you Zoe for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Enjoy your time in France and I look forward to the next book.

Zoe is currently on holiday in France, house/cat-sitting for a friend. She sent this photo of the cats, Inky and Spatz, to share with you.


And don’t forget my review of Dancing on the Grave will be available on my other blog, Books&morebooks on July 20. Meantime, enjoy some of the other bloggers take on the book.



Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire but spent most of her formative years living aboard a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. After a promising start at a private girls’ school, she opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve in favour of correspondence courses at home.

Sharp went through a variety of jobs in her teenage years. In 1988, on the strength of one accepted article and a fascination with cars, she gave up her regular job to become a freelance motoring writer. She quickly picked up on the photography side of things and her photojournalism took her as far afield as Japan and the United States, as well as work all over Europe, Ireland, and the UK. She is now a full-time fiction author and creator of the Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.

Sharp wrote her first novel when she was fifteen, but success came in 2001 with the publication of KILLER INSTINCT—the first book to feature her ex-Special Forces turned bodyguard heroine, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox. The character evolved after Sharp received death-threat letters in the course of her photojournalism work.

As well as the Charlie Fox novels, Sharp has written several standalones, including collaborations with highly regarded espionage thriller author, John Lawton. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, and have been shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger by the UK Crime Writers’ Association. Her other writing has won or been nominated for numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic, been used in Danish school textbooks, inspired an original song and music video, and been optioned for TV and film.

A keen library supporter and public speaker, Sharp blogs regularly on her Blog page. She also witters on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fools about on Facebook (ZoeSharpAuthor). She was formerly a long-term contributor to the acclaimed Murderati blog. She’s a regular blogger at MURDER IS EVERYWHERE and also has a presence on goodreads.

Zoë Sharp leads a somewhat peripatetic lifestyle. When she isn’t crewing yachts, renovating houses, or improvising weapons out of everyday objects, she can often be found international pet-sitting in various corners of the world.


New Books

I have recently finished two great books, both by authors new to me.

The Third Rule is a gripping story of murder, deceit and absolute power.  Shades of 1984 here.

The Woman in the Window is a captivating tale of a woman living as a recluse following a major accident. This is pure Hitchcock.

Why not go over to my other site, Booksandmorebooks. Maybe you would like one or both of them.

A David Bishop Weekend

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again,
there is no use in reading it at all.” 

― Oscar Wilde

A winter weekend with nothing planned.  The family was all away and my son and his family had the dreaded lurgy, so what to do but settle down and read.

I decided to reread some of David Bishop’s books, in particular, the Linda Darby series.  I was introduced to this author last year when recuperating after my Adventure, and since then have read several of his books.  Isn’t it great how when you reread a book even one year later, you decide you like it even more than the first time round?

I won’t review these three books here but will do so on my other site in the next few days.  But as a taster – 

In the first book The Woman, we meet Linda Darby, a 30 something single woman.  She has been married to and divorced from a scoundrel about whom we know very little. She subsequently meets and marries her second husband who, unfortunately, is killed while on a secret operation somewhere.  

In an attempt to get over this loss, she settles in a small seaside town on the Oregan coast and here her adventures begin.  She is a day trader and this allows her to work from anywhere.  She keeps to herself and her only real friend in this town is an elderly widowed woman who runs a consulting business, which we later find out, has no visitors, is not listed in the phone book and sends and receives missives only by courier.  

Linda’s quiet uneventful life is disrupted when one night out walking she is attacked by two men but is saved by the intervention of a third man.  This third man disappears and the next day the newspaper reports the murders of the two men.   And then the day after that she learns that her close friend has been tortured and killed, leaving a letter for Linda that will change her life and her whole being, making her think and act in a completely different way.

And through it all,  she is helped, rescued and protected by the mystery man, Ryan Testler.

This is a fast moving and intriguing book, that makes one (or at least me) want to read more of this woman and her adventures.

The next book in the series is Hometown Secrets and it is followed by The First Lady’s Second Man.

I hope I have encouraged you to read some of Bishop’s stories.  There are two other series I have read – The Matt Kile Mysteries and Jack McCall Mysteries.  But I shall leave them to reread on another weekend with nothing planned and nobody home.

PS, Of course, all of these books are available from Amazon.  They are one-sitting reads and so good for a lazy weekend.

And I found this on Pinterest.  Thought Baldacci was spot on.


Thanks to pinterest.

PPS  We’ll get back to The Murderer and The Detective just as soon as I have worked out where to from there.