Sunday, 27 February 2011


Coming back to writing fiction after a 20+ year break was pure serendipity.

In 2006/7 I became completely hooked on 'The West Wing'. For various reasons I'd missed most of it when it was shown on TV, but I bought the first season - and then the whole set.

In early 2007 I discovered a couple of yahoo groups devoted to 'The West Wing' and then got into lengthy emails with another 'fan'. We discussed the episodes and characters, and she also introduced me to the world of fan-fiction. This,according to wikipedia, is defined as "stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work" and is "both related to its subject's canonical fictional universe and simultaneously existing outside the canon of that universe". I read a lot of 'West Wing' fanfiction, some extremely good, some so bizarre that they bore no relation to the characters or 'canon' of TWW.

Following an email conversation with my friend about the lives of the fictional President and First Lady (Jed and Abbey Bartlet) after they left the White House,
I wrote a short scenario which followed on from the very last scene of the series. In this, instead of flying back to their home in New Hampshire (canonical version), I had them flying across to Ireland for a short break.

It was only intended to be a short story - but somehow it grew. It ended up with 40 chapters and 80,000 words and its title was 'Tomorrow' - the very last word spoken by Jed in the series. My muse had returned, I was writing fiction again! But, at this stage, solely for my friend.

Fate intervened later in the year when I got to know another TWW fan, this time someone who also wrote fanfic. stories. I sent her mine, and she persuaded me to start posting it on one of the yahoo groups which were devoted to Jed and Abbey.

Before I did that, however, I wanted to make sure that my facts and descriptions of Ireland were authentic, so in October 2007 I went across to Galway for a few days. Just for basic research, you understand, but I fell in love with Ireland and have been back about 8 times since then. But that's another story.
That first time, I wanted to see the places I'd used in my story - Galway City, a small Irish town in Tipperary,a typical Irish pub, and of course the view across Galway Bay.

In November 2007 I started posting my 'instalments' on the yahoo group. I must admit I was nervous because a lot of the members of the group were far more knowledgeable about TWW and about Jed and Abbey than I was. To my relief, everyone liked it, even when I shocked them with an unexpected twist in the story!

Later, another friend posted the story for me at, and I started getting reviews from complete strangers. This was my favourite: I started reading this because I love The West Wing, and just couldn't stop reading. You did an amazing job with the characters, I could hear Martin and Stockard saying everything you wrote. Congratulations on writing something so amazing.
If you're interested, you can read it here:

I went on to write (and post) three more fanfiction stories, this time all based on specific episodes in TWW, where I 'filled in' the scenes that we didn't see on the screen. Again I got good reviews e.g.I just totally adored this story - I'm so glad I read it! You got both Abbey and Jed's character perfectly.

Of course, with fanfiction, all the characters are already there for you, you just have to pick them up and run with them! I did invent some of my own in my 'Tomorrow' story and again when I started to write a follow-up about the first year after Jed's Presidency. In the latter, I highlighted specific days - Valentine's Day, St Patrick's Day, Easter Day, Memorial Day and Wedding Anniversary. I followed some of the threads from 'Tomorrow' and introduced others. This became more like writing original fiction.

In June 2008, fate stepped in again. As a result, I left Jed and Abbey enjoying an 'extended' anniversary celebration in Provence and went on to other things.  More about that next time!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Kick-starting this Blog again!

I've decided to give this blog more attention - which won't be difficult since I added nothing at all last year! But I'm going to make an effort to add something each weekend, either an update on my writing, some other writing related topic, or maybe a guest blogger from time to time.
Think I need to start with an update!
'His Leading Lady' was accepted by Whiskey Creek Press last May, and is scheduled for release in June, 2011. So far, I've not heard anything about the cover or about any edits, but I've been told that will happen about 3 months before release date. I understand that once the ball starts rolling, it rolls pretty fast!
My second novel, 'Fragrance of Violets' is the one I wasn't happy with in December 2009.  I started a re-write, and it was accepted by Whiskey Creek about three weeks ago.  Release date will probably be early 2012.
I continue to struggle with 'Measure of Love' which, as expected, was rejected by Mills and Boon last year.  I'm still not happy with it and have put it to one side for the moment.
Meantime, during my visit to Egypt in October, I was inspired to start 'A Nile Romance' which is my current 'work in progress'.  Of course, I didn't anticipate a revolution in Egypt!  I'm now hoping things will settle down there again so that tourism will continue, as my story is about a cruise ship tour guide and an archaeologist who works in the Valley of the Kings.
Our 'Heroines with Hearts' blog goes from strength to strength.  We've had a change in membership and there are now five of us. We decide on a different writing topic each week and each of us contributes something each day.  We also have guest bloggers each week as our 'Friday Friends'.  Visit us at