22 August 2013


Joe and I normally do the big weekly shop together but for one reason or another he wasn’t able to go for two to three weeks. In view of that don’t you think it’s disgraceful that there was no red carpet or flying banners next time we went?

One of my recent purchases was a packet of wild pink pacific salmon, all ready to cook-in-the-bag. Even though it cost an arm and a leg it was delicious. The size of the box made me wonder if we’d got the whole fish but it was just a well sized portion. So thank you to the guy who waded into the pacific with his fishing line. You can do that again, with my blessing.

People often ask how I write short stories and where I get my ideas from. The main thing they want to know is if I start off with a plot’ and they look aghast when I say no. Most of the time it’s true. Usually I start with an opening sentence and take it from there. As I have tried explaining, and this is endorsed by many famous writers (one such being Lee Childs), it is the characters who dictate the story. When I wrote the longer stuff I did have scenarios to work on but never finished the way I intended because the characters wouldn’t allow it. The story had to go their way. It had to suit their temperament, their ideas. For example, I might have dreamed up a storyline that was completely alien to the character I invented ... which inevitably meant I had to change the original idea. It’s uncanny, though, not knowing where a story will end.  I have learned not to dwell on things, just to let them happen ... it suits paranormal since anything can happen when writing in that genre. 

Why is it that these days a collection of women are referred to as guys? Why don’t waitresses and the like address us as gals? I can (almost) understand it if the company is mixed but not when it’s a gathering of just one sex. I wonder what would happen if members of a men-only group were referred to as gals?

There is such an incidence of child murder these days, in particular parents murdering their own children.  It is acutely worrying since the various agencies don’t seem able to prevent it. Whenever I do some ironing I frequently remember my mother, who taught me to do that particular chore. Woe betide me if I got a crease in the wrong place, or missed a bit, or wrongly folded a sheet or tablecloth so that diamond patterns appeared when the article was opened out. I wasn’t just told off, I was beaten to an inch of my life. Or so it seemed. One of my punishments was to have my head continually bashed against a Welsh dresser by repeated punches to the chin. Yes, my mother would have made a good boxer. I was lucky, I guess, that she didn’t go the whole hog and kill me off.

In mother’s defence, she was a sick woman, forever taking overdoses and slimming tablets and driving my dad to distraction. Later it was discovered that she had a thyroid problem. I owe her something, though, since life with her provided fodder for some of my tales.

Being the age I am I can afford to be flippant about my upbringing, but if the scenes could have moved forward several decades my mother could well have become a killer. That statement suggests society is to blame, although I fail to see how that can be so ... surely we are all responsible for our own actions?


  1. Sounds like you had a good meal. I like to get some wild salmon once in awhile. I like to get the wild salmon. I do not want the farmed salmon. I hope you can trust it is wild when the package says it is wild.

  2. I wonder why you think your mum could have become a killer if she had lived in a different period? She might have become a killer then, if one of her punches had injured you in some unexpected but lethal way. In those days, beating kids was thought of as OK though, so there was less social disapproval of it than there is now.

  3. dang. i dont even want to think about parents killing their own children...ugh....salmon sounds good...i like your approach to writing as well...i usually start with a general idea and then let it go from there as the story will tell itself....

  4. We're not fish eaters, but I can imagine it was delicious! Parents killing their own children is an awful thought.

  5. Valerie, it was so interesting to read about your process of writing. It's funny because your process of writing is how I approached my acting - the characters dictated ME. My job was to step aside and just allow them to move THROUGH me.

    "I wonder what would happen if members of a men-only group were referred to as gals?"

    HA! NOT! But what really kills me now-a-days is when I hear girls refer to other girls as "Dude." Here in the States that is very common.

    "That statement suggests society is to blame, although I fail to see how that can be so ... surely we are all responsible for our own actions?"

    I agree!

    Great post, Valerie!


  6. Jenny, I'm afraid murder does evolve. It has become the in-thing, certainly here in the UK. Yes, my mother could have struck once too hard and too often but the view then would be that it was an accidental blow.

  7. Brian, I'm afraid murdering children is all-too-common these days. I wish I knew the answer to it all.

  8. ' My job was to step aside and just allow them to move THROUGH me.'

    That's a great way to put it, Ron. It's good that you know what I meant about writing.

    Dude? OMG that's going too far. I hope it doesn't catch on here.

  9. I love when an idea just comes to me and I go with it, sounds like you do the same thing. Your stories are so diverse Val, I like that. You aren't stuck in just one genre.

    Speaking of stories, hope you're enjoying Third Chapter, Second Chance. Starting to climb the charts over at Amazon, woohooo...

    who says romance is dead! LOL

    I'm in a goofey mood, can you tell.

    Hugs my friend, G

  10. I sounds like a miracle your mother didn't kill you! I'm sorry you had to endure that as a child Valerie, I find it so sad. xx

    I love salmon, I have discovered a lovely recipe for fresh salmon from the Hairy Dieter's book with ginger and chilli.

  11. Hi Pearl, I love ginger so I imagine I woild enjoy it with salmon. My cookbook deals with every fish except salmon.

  12. Geraldine, I haven't started your book yet, my Joe is in hospital so I can't settle to read. It is at the top of the Kindle books to be read, though.

  13. Just read the above comment Valerie, do hope Joe gets out of the hospital soon.

    I am sad that you had such an abusive mother, sick as she was yes but so sad all the same. You seem to have become a very strong woman because of it. I have a dear friend who suffered from both mother and father, and has a crushed personality. She is a wonderful friend but when I think of how children are still being abused to this day, it's heartbreaking.

  14. Val, how did you turn out so well after your mother's tirades. Keep in mind, mental illness wasn't part of a doctors repertoire years ago.

    On a happier note, the salmon sounds marvelous. I love fish, especially salmon. Now I'm hungry.

  15. Yummm on the salmon find!
    And I'm not surprised the story finds you once you put pen to paper.
    Sending healing thoughts for the hubsband...make sure you take care of you in all this.
    And the statistics are not getting better when it comes to children being abused, abandoned or killed by their parents hands. We don't seem to be getting 'weller' as a society, huh? All the advances we make and none are in the field of 'human services'.
    Makes me sad you had to live that...and grateful you chose to not let it define you. *hugs*

  16. Hi Mel. Thank you for your kind words. I am fine and Joe may be coming home today so I can practice my bedside manner again. I'm told by others that my upbringing made me a reasonably strong adult and for that I am grateful.

    Hi Pam, yes the medical profession has made great strides, thankfully. Unfortunately there is still a long path to tread for some poor souls.

  17. Hi Denise, I wish there was something we could do because now the children seem to be scapegoats for adults who can't control their emotions. It is getting too common.

  18. I love me some salmon and I am also grateful for the fisherman who takes care of business so I can just pick it up at the store. Your approach to writing is great and that would explain why your stories are always so wonderful. Enjoy your weekend Val.

  19. Shame your mother's thyroid problem couldn't have been diagnosed earlier.
    My husband and son really enjoy salmon. I don't like it as much as they do. Maybe I need to try a few different recipes?

  20. You truly had a troubling childhood and you triumphed.
    I wished I liked salmon more but I prefer white fish so that is what we eat. Mr BC would like more salmon.


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