Fifty Shades of Hot Flush

English: Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye Oil on can...
English: Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye Oil on canvas, 45 1/2 x 71 1/2 inches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s review Tuesday here on the blog and I have to confess I’ve not read a book in the last two or three weeks. The last book I read was about a month ago – and yes, it was ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. I’d resisted reading it as I’m a contrary wee madam (as my late mama often described me). I tend to be either an early adopter of things, trends and technology or I fiercely resist burgeoning bandwagons.

However, in the case of ‘Fifty Shades’, and most unusually for me, I caved into peer pressure. The book was the talk of the predominantly female staffroom. I just had to be able to join in. So the book was duly kindled – and so were what remain of my post-menopausal hormones. Phew! Hot flushes did break through the HRT barrier. Blimey – I had no idea – vanilla sex?! Who knew that’s not all there is – must try some of Ben & Jerry’s more adventurous flavours – caramel chew chew, anyone…

I did actually enjoy the book. It is an erotic read – although the orgasmic does eventually give way to the tedious. However,it did keep me reading to the end. Yes, I know it’s not literary, not beautifully written and a wee bit amateurish here and there. But hey, author, E.L. James probably didn’t set out to win literary prizes and I’d settle for the teeniest, tiniest percentage of her sales. And it was good fun discussing it with my colleagues over a tuna sandwich and a cuppa at lunchtime – much more fun than curriculum development or timetable tweaking.

English: Am Basteir, a mountain in the norther...
English: Am Basteir, a mountain in the northern Cuillin on the Isle of Skye. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And, I’m now considering my next novel – set here on the misty Isle of Skye and entitled ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Mist’. My main character, crofter, Jeannie Macteuchter discovers new uses for the cattle crush when she is swept out of her wellies by big Willy Sporranshoogler, when he comes to inseminate her heifers – no not a euphemism – he’s the local A.I. (artificial insemination) dude. Blog readers – you heard it here first…

In other reading news – I’ve just devoured the latest edition of Mslexia magazine – the magazine aimed at women writers. I’ve been a subscriber for eight years and it has never disappointed. This latest volume had much of interest – including some fabulous poetry amongst the winning entries in the poetry competition. It was, as usual, also full of great writing advice and tips. And it has an excellent section of information on all sorts of writing competitions, opportunities and courses. I commend this magazine to all writers – even men.

And that’s the review post for another month.

Cheerio for now.


Subversive rants and grateful raves

It’s the second Tuesday of the month so it’s whine and whoop time. I’ll start with my gripes and save the goodies till later.

The grumpy, cynical and subversive bits of my old bat personality are well and truly stirred up this month. I hardly know where to start. So deep breath, focus and here goes…

Politics – or rather UK politicians – when did they stop being political? Was it in the 1980s? Did Thatcher strangle the passion out of them? And by naming the blessed Margaret, I’m not trying to be party political. I’m getting at the whole blooming lot of them, regardless of affiliation.

Being a politician is now, more than ever before, a career. Politicians are no longer driven by a passionate commitment to change or preserve things for the greater good – whatever their perception of that greater good might be. Now it seems to be about personal ambition, promotion, power and fame. Of course these ‘perks’ have always been part of the motivation and reward for success in politics – but it seems to me that they’re now the sole motivation. Posh boys dominate on all sides and it’s all more X-Factor than solid apprenticeship and hard slog. All of them take the short-term view, basing decisions on what will work for them during their short tenure – and to hang with the long view of what will be best for their constituents in the long run.

As for Scottish politics – good grief! It’s embarrassing. There’s wee Eck Salmond’s vanity project a.k.a. the campaign for independence. In Scotland we are subjected to a cynically controlled trundle towards the 2014 referendum. Meanwhile almost one in four Scottish children live in poverty. Yes, it’s relative poverty and not the absolute poverty of a child in famine hit country in Africa. But that doesn’t make it acceptable. Some of our youngsters eat only one meal a day i.e. their free school lunch – with some having nothing between the Friday one and the Monday one. Some parents are going without food themselves in order to feed their children.

And local politics are no better. I live in the local government area with the most scattered population in the UK i.e. the Highland Council area. The council is currently holding a series of budget consultation meetings which the public are invited to attend.  However these meetings have been poorly advertised and held in the evenings at a wet and windy time of year in places with no public transport during the day, never mind in the evening. They have also been held on only one evening in each location. Oh, and in an area where the council is a major employer, employees like myself aren’t allowed to express an opinion in public about council business. So I can’t comment personally on what is up for discussion but I’m told that’s what’s causing the most consternation is the proposal to save money by cutting the school day for primary children. Draw your own conclusions on this one.

And breathe…

So to the good bits – my wee granddaughter continues to be a joy. Nine months old already and what a privilege it is to see her every day. She and her Ma and Pa are living with me and Mr Writeanne as they’ve relocated to Skye and are awaiting the sale of their flat before they can get a place of their own here. It’s so fascinating watch her develop – something new every day. I wonder anew at the amazingness of the human brain and its capacity to learn and develop.

This weekend me and Seanair (Grandad) will be in sole charge of the grandbaby as her parents are away for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary. Can’t wait.

In other good news stuff – On the writing front – I got my entry sent off for the Mslexia magazine children’s novel competition. I feel a great sense of achievement just to have got it to this point. I’ll know in November if it’s got to the shortlist. I’ve also completed my contribution to the October issue of Words with Jam, the writers’ magazine. I’m proud to have contributed to every issue of this magazine since its inception. I also just received my second royalty cheque for the kindle version of my novel. That’s quite a buzz. And now the competition deadline for the children’s novel is past, I can leave it to one side for a while and get back to my second adult novel. My writing keeps me sane and is my anti-stress drug of choice. I love my day job teaching children with special needs but it is exhausting at times. However, I always find the energy to write no matter how tired I am.

Another positive is that autumn is my favourite season and I am enjoying the softer light, the turning of the leaves, the nip in the air. This year the heather is particularly magnificent with all the hills sporting a gorgeous purple blanket. And a wee robin has taken to visiting the garden feeder on a regular basis – so that and the selection boxes in the co-op gives an intimation of end of year festivities.

And that’s it. Gosh that feels better. Thanks for listening.

Tioraidh till next week!


Writing Magazines – Mslexia is Number One

There are many magazines produced for writers. Of the monthlies, my favourite is probably Writing Magazine which usually has at least a couple of useful pieces of information. However, I think the quarterly publication, Mslexia is in a league of  its own. It has interviews with experienced and well-established authors. There are features on all aspects of writing. The ‘ Inspirations’ section lives up to its name with motivational pieces, tuition pieces and the very useful ‘first draft’ section where a writer shows a first and final draft of a part of their published work. There is also the ‘Guidelines’ section where you can find out about anything from online magazines to writing poetry for children. There are several and varied opportunities to submit your own work to the magazine – in the form of competitons and short features. And then there’s the directory section with its ‘What’s On’ and competition listings. Visit the mslexia website at and the blog at  

I have gleaned a lot of extremely useful information from Mslexia over the years and can recommend taking out a subscription 

Mslexia is described as being a magazine for women who write but I think it would be just as entertaining and informative for the other lot as well.