Morality – a writer’s best friend

As my novels tend to dabble in the psychology of moral issues, this good article by Dylan Hearn really grabbed my attention.

Suffolk Scribblings

moral-compass Image source:

One of the things I enjoy most about writing is exploring morality. At its most basic level, morality is just a question of right and wrong. It’s a black and white issue. Take theft, for example. The definition of theft is:


The dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession

Not many of us would disagree that theft is wrong, but is it always wrong?

To punish a thief?

A young woman is caught stealing from a store. Theft is wrong and she should be punished. But what if it was food she was stealing for her hungry children? Is it still wrong? What if she had recently lost her job and had no way of feeding her children? What if the job she’d lost was at the store and the sore owner owed her a month’s…

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The dreaded genre label

I sometimes have ‘Genre Issues’ too – if you think it’s a good story it’s a good story, isn’t it?

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Girl reading, Francesso Bartolozzi Girl reading, Francesso Bartolozzi

It was one of those air-punching moments that brought with it a sense of justification for the countless shelves and the innumerable hours ‘wasted’ with my nose in a book. Reading fiction is good for you. Officially and scientifically. According to a recently published study reading fiction increases empathy by opening a door on human experience. It transports the reader to situations beyond their own sphere, allows them to predict the characters’ responses and attunes them to the emotional reactions of their fellow man. Basically it says that reading fiction teaches you to read life and people.

Not that the report was needed by those of us who enjoy such works… we’ve known that all along; but there is a peculiar literary coterie who have always looked down bespectacled noses at the readers of fiction and a critical snobbery that renders the escapism of a good…

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Pay it forward – 6 weeks on

Suffolk Scribblings

Pay it forward

When I wrote my original Pay It Forward post, I had little idea of the reaction it would cause. It was largely written as a statement of intent for myself. Why should I, as a self-published author, expect people to buy my work when I didn’t buy books from other self-published authors myself? I decided to change my behaviour, with the aim of purchasing and reading the work of those I had met since beginning this journey and promoting those books I’d enjoyed.

At the same time, I wondered how many other self-published authors bought work from their peers.  The final paragraph – where do you come in – was written in the hope that one or two of my fellow authors would be converted to the cause of paying it forward. It was added mostly as an afterthought. My think was that maybe my thoughts would influence one or two others to join…

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The Life Coach Less Travelled

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The Life Coach Less Travelled


I think I can remember a time when I was happy, before my sister was born. My clearest memory of her is when I was five, going on six.

My saliva was dribbling onto the skin which tickled my lip gently, just at the moment I breathed in fiercely, then sandwiched a chunk of forearm flesh between my teeth, gripping hard, counting one, two, three. I howled protractedly before deciding to lie down and writhe on the rug, rewarded by the sound of the legs of kitchen chairs scraping the parquet and startled, questioning voices already approaching.

Lucia, who had been chattering incoherently, insouciantly and clumsily building bright colourful towers and knocking them down to build higher or more interesting ones, jumped at the noise. Instantly she amplified it with her own shocked and frightened wailing, her huge, brown eyes like rain-washed, precious stones.

My parents flung through the…

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5 More 5 Star Reviews for ‘The Life Coach Less Travelled’

The Life Coach Less Travelled

A very big thank you to these readers who have posted reviews on my Amazon pages. Read more of what they had to say by clicking the links under the comments:


“Couldn’t put this book down!”


“Absolutely loved this!”


 “A gripping, dark page turner”


“Excellent read. Couldn’t put it down”


“I enjoyed this book and recommend it”

faces at stripfeest

At an annual comic books festival in Brussels, Belgium, it could be said, judging by their total immersion captured by this amazing photographer, that some of these readers, browsers and artists were in a state of ‘Flow’. The wooden man’s face is a witty, charming touch.


“People are strange when you’re a stranger
Faces look ugly when you’re alone
Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted”

– The Doors









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6 of the Most Beautiful Writings from and for Gaza


Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, of Gaza, “We are unfair to her when we search for her poems.” We are certainly unfair when we scrabble anywhere for poems, searching for aesthetic pleasure in others’ suffering. But here, poetry seems to have welled up from the need to speak, to create, to defy silence: 

Zuabi speaking at an Edinburgh cultural summit. Zuabi speaking at an Edinburgh cultural summit.

Most of the Arabic writing about Gaza that came out of the last month was first-person reportage on events. But some of it mixed together with other elements to create otherworldly or impassioned prose.

The piece that most stunned me in the last month was not by a Gazan, but by Jerusalem-based playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi. His The underground ghetto city of Gaza ran in Haaretz on August 4. Zuabi has said elsewhere that he would prefer people to see “dreamlike poetry in his work rather than political…

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