Off the grid

Making the most of the last few days before the schools go back, for galleries, shopping, go-kart racing, horse-riding, making stuff, reading stuff, painting stuff, building stuff – and that’s just my entertainment ?

Here’s one of the places we visited. Once known as ‘the Dark Arches’, this used to be an area of Leeds that no sane person would wander around in daylight, let alone at night. Now it is one of the entrances to Leeds City station, as well as a cut through to the trendy and fashionable Granary Wharf. Brilliantly and imaginatively lit, with security cameras every few yards, it adds a touch of fun to a safe walk in an area that was once a creepy, smelly no-go zone. Let’s hear it for Leeds Council and British Rail ?

And if you haven’t visited Salts Mill in Saltaire yet, get yourself down there to see the David Hockney exhibits and a whole lot more.

In praise of pets day today.

Something different – my clan badge: Macintosh. Yep, I have some Celtic blood, if you hadn’t guessed that already from the red hair and freckles!

‘Touch not the cat bot (or without) a glove.’

Hmm. I couldn’t possibly comment!

I hope to be celebrating my Scottish heritage some time soon in ways that will be clear before long!

Meanwhile, stay safe and happy, and we’ll speak again soon








Lazy Bank Holiday Monday – at least that’s the theory…

It’s Bank holiday Monday here in the UK, which means more work for most authors, as they write and spend valuable family time with friends and family. Personally, I love nothing more than seeing my tribe, and I love the challenge of fitting everything in too. Up at the crack, I made a start on at least the first part of my day – taming that reprehensible alpha who has taken up residence in my PC. Then I walked. And can you blame me?!

The summer colours have faded a little, but it’s still lush.


Next up: her Royal Bettiness wishes to know, ‘What is it with cats? Don’t you feed me enough already?’

Good point Betster. But don’t worry. No other faithful furry friend could ever replace you in my heart – it’s just that I have a really big heart when it comes to furry friends.

And now, as I have more writing to do before the hoards descend, I’m going to leave you with another really beautiful shot from the adopted county I love.

Beautiful, beautiful Yorkshire.

Have a good one, ladies.

Love to all,

Susan xx

Thank you cat lovers everywhere!!!

Look what I got!!!!

First up from Jan – thank you so much for this imperial cat. Utterly scrumptious and rather imposing, I’m sure you’ll all agree!!!

Secondly, from the Sailor, who, like Jan, understands my longing for a feline friend, and who has two lovely cats – Mia and Kittensies. Here is Kittensies, making full use of the bed…


And here’s my cushion. Nuff said!

Motivation on Sunday? Just gearing up for my walk. Every day. Must walk. Stride out ladies. We sit in front of that monitor screen for far too many hours each day. WE NEED OUR EXERCISE.

And to get you in the mood – here’s my favourite recipe for that ‘stiff gin’ I talked about, which you can reward yourself with when you arrive home. If mobility is a problem, do chair exercises until you know you’ve done enough – no shirking either way!!!! You know better than me when enough is enough, but get those muscles working every single day.

GIN DELIGHT: Elderflower cordial over ice – and plenty of it. A good slug of gin. A slice of lime. Don’t be mean – squeeze that sucker -( just don’t suck it, unless bitter’s your thing)…then top with soda water and stir. Pop a straw into the glass and siphon it up.

You can use fancy gin, but unless I’m mixing a martini, of which more another time, I use a bog standard gin, as the elderflower, or whatever I happen to be using in a long drink, tends to overpower the subtlety of an expensive gin (of which more in another post)

Love to all on this fabulous Sunday up here on the Yorkshire moors,

Susan xx

Wishing all my friends in Texas safe and well

I don’t even want to talk about the weather in the UK when my friends in the US are enduring such a nightmare.
Please know that I’m thinking about you and hoping you stay safe and this terrible storm passes quickly.

In case you do have chance to hunker down with a good book – wherever you are today – I enjoyed this book by Tina Seskis. A thriller with some surprises, it made me smile when these were sprung on me, quite artfully I thought, and then I had a good laugh (not a bad laugh, or a nasty laugh, but a wholehearted chortle) at the end of the book when all was revealed, and I thought/hope you might enjoy it too 🙂

As for dreams on Saturday, I can only say again, my thoughts are with my wonderful reader friends in the US, and my dreams are confined to wishing you speedy relief from nature’s fury.

Love to all,
Susan xx

Round of sympathy please…

On no praise of no pet day – in fact, a pretty big boo-hoo-hoo for my lack of a cat.

(And don’t be surprised that I’m a day late with my topics already, and won’t even get around to saying which book I recommend this weekend until, well, probably some time after the weekend – but in time for next weekend. Yay! )

This my cat. To put it another way, this is the closest I’m going to come to sharing my home with a cat, as two family members are highly allergic to our feline friends. (or so they say) And I adore cats. So please feel very sorry for me, and understand why I love seeing pics of your beautiful cats/kittens on Facebook etc

More please!!!!

Love and hugs to all for a happy and peaceful, but fun weekend

Susan xx

Wednesday is surprising fact day

Weather report: My old grannie used to say, if there’s enough blue in the sky to make a pair of sailor’s trousers, the weather will remain fine. I think I get my optimism from my old grannie! 😉

My, maybe not so surprising fact, thanks to my sweetheart, who makes everything possible.

I’m a graduate (Singing and piano) of the Royal College of Music, and also have a Masters degree in  Music from the University of York University here in the UK.

I arrived at the Royal college age 17 feeling pretty pleased with myself, and totally naive . I soon discovered that instead of being top of the heap, all the students were top of the heap!  But that’s life, isn’t it? When you’re rubbing up against people who go on to be world class stars, you have to find a niche where you fit in.

My Masters was an amazing experience, because I was lucky enough to work with the lutenist Anthony Rooley, whose wife, Emma Kirkby, was practically the goddess of early music back in the day, and I’d go so far as to say that the divine Emma has never been surpassed.

York had just opened a creche when I arrived, so the Sailor was right there on campus with me the entire time, while Wiggy and the Cyclist were at school. Uni fit in perfectly with my home life. Being me, of course, I had to pile on the pressure, so I took a postal course in Montessori teaching at the same time as my MA to be sure I was supporting my children to the maximum, but I remember that time as being happy, chaotic, frantic, and absolutely wonderful. Plus I made some fantastic new friends.

What’s your surprising fact?

Love to all,

Susan xx

So here we go…

First up…

It’s 9am August in the UK. So what do we expect?

Why, this of course –

Sheeting rain, thunder booming, and poor old Betty hiding underneath my desk. She did try to get into bed with me, but I draw the line – and I had to get up to chat to you!

Compromise situation, and mournful looks


Next up – thank you so much to everyone who troubled to grab a copy of Christmas Tsar. You are seriously THE BEST


And if you want to get jiggy with Alexei, and haven’t yet, he’s free on all platforms, and here are a couple of Amazon links US UK

Now to the meat of this post – our schedule. Me planning? This has to be a first. But, I thought this might work – if it doesn’t, we’ll try something else.

(If you like the weather LOL – I’ll keep it in.)


Monday: Motivation

Tuesday: Jibber-jabber (could be anything!)

Wednesday: Surprising fact (yours too)

Thursday: In praise of pet day (don’t be shy to share your big love/s, even it/they are  tarantulas – just don’t post any pics!)

Friday: Books (let’s get tooled up for the weekend)

Saturday: Dreams (What do we dream about, and can we make those dreams a reality?) Of course we can!

Sunday: Prepare for the week ahead with enthusiasm and vigour. And a stiff gin.


Love to all



Goodness me, here I am!

When I first started writing, umpty-umph years ago – okay, okay, already, I was signed by Harlequin in 2002, but had written umpty-umph non-fiction books by then, as well as enjoyed several totally stonking, amazing and surprising (at least to me) careers, basically all of which involved entertainment of one sort or another – now now – don’t get any ideas – I never had the figure for that sort of career, though I did once audition as a Bunny girl and got turned down for my lack of boobs *sob* – anyway, back in the day, I had a Blog. I hesitate to say a popular blog, though it was, and I got a real blast out of interacting with readers who seemed to get my crazy, sometimes cynical take on life.

You see it – you live it – you mostly know what’s coming around that corner – though there are surprises, and that’s what we live for, right?

And now, thanks to – and only thanks to, my amazing guardian angel of every contact Susan Stephens makes, has, or will have in the future, the totally stunning Jo Piraneo of Glass Slipper Web Design, here I am again.

Where this will lead, I have no idea – probably around in circles, but let’s have some fun while we’re making ourselves dizzy.

Love to all,
Susan xx