Success at Christmas


This will be my last post this side of Christmas. It’s the season of good tidings and I have some good news to share.


A few days ago I heard that my second novel Displacement has been selected by the IndieB.R.A.G. organisation to receive one of their medallions. Of all the  indie-published books submitted to them only 10% are selected for the medallion sign of approval and quality. Click on the link above to learn more about this organisation and to see my book displayed along with those of other honorees. Needless to say I’m delighted to have had my novel chosen.

The Silver Locket Cover MEDIUM WEB

As for the work in progress­––my children’s novel is almost at the end of the editing process. Once again I’ve used the services of John Hudspith, who I describe as an alchemist of prose. Editing this book with him has been as inspiring and instructive as always and the story is well polished and ready for readers. The equally talented Jane Dixon Smith has designed the cover for the book (she designed my other two book covers) and I’m very pleased with what she’s come up with. So, The Silver Locket is  on track for publication early in 2015.

Harris Tweed owl

In non-writing life there’s been more good news. I got a call last week from the local newspaper to let me know I’d won a Harris Tweed owl doorstop in a prize draw. Pretty cool! It will be much more attractive than the plastic wedge I currently use to prop the kitchen door open. I await its delivery.

And that’s it. I hope all my readers have a wonderful Christmas and see you on the other side.

Last four stones on the advent trail…

Christmas in the post-War United States
Image via Wikipedia

22. I babysit my tiny granddaughter while her parents register her birth. It’s official – we’ve all moved on, moved up. My girl marvels at her new status – mother to a daughter – and we slowly absorb our new roles. A personal advent is over.

23. A final push and we arrive at our Christmas destination. Settle in to our son’s small flat – cramped but cosy –  and warmly welcoming.

24. Each present wrapped in reflection and placed with love. Offerings in recognition and gratitude – for memories and for joy to come.

25. Moments to remember what is lost and to anticipate what’s to come. But, mostly, a day of being in light, love, hope. A happy Christmas.

A third cairn of small advent stones

Edinburgh Skyline at Sunset
Image by d.p.Hetteix via Flickr

17. Nightwatch – city fallen quiet. Exhausted new parents slumber. Just me and the snuffling baby and the quietly ticking clock.

English: Ice rink, Princes Street Gardens Ever...
Image via Wikipedia

18. A winter walk on Edinburgh‘s streets – raw east wind welcomes me back to childhood haunts. The grand old lady lets her hair down at Christmas – a yuletide market, a big wheel, an ice rink in the Gardens. I sip mulled wine and taste an overwhelming mix of memories.

christmas 2007
Image by paparutzi via Flickr

19. Cosy moments in my daughter’s flat. Soft, tree lights bathe a snoozing cat, sofa-dozing daughter and son-in-law and our tiny grandchild snuggles in her seanair’s* arms.        ( *seanair is the Gaelic for grandfather)

20. My father meets his great-granddaughter – four generations pose together for a happy photo. He seems momentarily happy and thoughtful. Minutes later he can’t remember the baby’s name.

English: Hanukkah menorah, known also as Hanuk...
Image via Wikipedia

21. Hanukkah moments – pancakes, doughnuts, latkes – menorah lit in remembrance  – candle flickers mingle with the Christmas lights of joy to come. And tomorrow we mark the solstice. A rich human heritage – an amazing beautiful planet.

Stones for Advent – small winter gems of writing

Looking down the croft and across the loch to Trotternish ridge

As I mentioned here on Nov 26th, I’ll be taking part in Writing Our Way Home’s  river of stones writing month in January. It was something I very much enjoyed doing last January and I’m looking forward to it.

But aside from that, I’ve also decided to do a collection of Advent stones and I’m publishing them daily on Twitter. I’m also going to post them here a week or so at a time. I may alter them slightly for the blog versions as I don’t have to be restricted to 140 characters but they’ll be mostly the same in both places. They won’t be of a particularly religious nature – although various festivals of light may be implied/referred to, but, I hope, they convey some of the sense of anticipation, of wonder, of light overcoming dark that a northern December inevitably brings. The ‘stones’ are meant to be a written record of a moment of stillness and observation – of mindfulness – experienced on that day.

So here goes – below are days 1 to 6 of my Advent stones. They can also be seen daily on Twitter with the hashtag #smallstone.

winter garden

One: Sun just up. Air crackles cold. A V-skein of greylags pass above, backed by the snow-topped Cuillin. Ravens line a roof ridge cawing complaints to the gannets opposite.

Two: Robin hopped in front of me on the hail-strewn pavement. I looked him in the eye, spirits lifted. Cheery wee bird.

Three: A Christmas baby. A scan of her in her liquid world. I anticipate my granddaughter’s birth – impatient to meet my little stranger.

Four: My  Magnificat – Love and loss; labour and rest; friends foes; ease challenge; children elders; sickness health; home and travel; want and plenty. A rich life lived and wisdom gained. Why me? Why not? Who knows? But I am grateful.

Five: Clouds, like smoke from a volcano, emerge from the top of Fingal’s Seat. Slats of light behind the hill. All that remains of the day.

Six: No fear of falling. No sense of a chill. Embracing the novelty, the season, the joy in the moment. Children and snow.