Books, CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, Faith, Lessons from life, Medieval Fiction, New Author


I took this shot whilst visiting the building site that is our home this last week. As I looked at the photo, the word that came to mind was ‘juxtaposition’. I love it as a word – juxtaposition – the way it rolls off the tongue. It starts with a hard, almost jarring, ‘jux’ and then tapers into a soft ‘tion’ at the end. Which is apt when you consider what the word means

Juxtaposition:  ‘The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.’

So things or images placed together that create a startling contrast: hard with soft, light with dark, gloomy with cheerful.

I guess my photo is an example of the juxtaposition of two views. There is the pile of slabs, the mess, the indication of the upheaval of the demolition that is going on out of shot, against the calm serenity and unspoilt beauty of the coast, sea, sky and mountains beyond. In fact the whole building site is one great juxtaposition. There are instances of it all over the place – the period windows against the new plasterboard walls, the glorious view looking out of the window, against the not so glorious view looking back in through the same windows!

It got me thinking. We are surrounded in life with juxtaposition. This last year or so has highlighted that more than ever. We live among contrasts and conflicts. There is joy and there is grief – like a sovereign celebrating her birthday within days of burying her beloved consort. There is laughter and there is tears, often in the same day, or at the same occasion. We are socially distanced, and separated by miles, but perhaps closer in some ways via Zoom, than we ever have been before. We celebrate life events and walk through our days of work and family life, and yet around us the world is still in turmoil. Perhaps it is all just one big juxtaposition.

As Christians we know all too well what it means to live in tension. We know the reality of the Kingdom and all that God promises and yet somehow the reality of life, as we perceive it, doesn’t always seem to fit with what we believe. We sometimes have to choose to look beyond the things we see, feel, and understand, and hold on to the truth His word promises and declares. We can have hope because of what Jesus did on the cross and because of what is promised us, in eternity, and in the here and now.

When you look at that photo, or at this one, where are your eyes drawn? I’d like to guess that you don’t focus on the mess in the foreground but instead your eyes are instinctively drawn to the beauty beyond. That’s how it should be with us. We need to learn to live in the juxtaposition that life throws at us, by not focussing on the mess that seems to be closest to us, but by focussing our eyes, hearts and minds on the expansive, light filled, beauty that is Him.

God knows and understands. The cross was perhaps the biggest juxtaposition of them all. Love hung bleeding, for the sins of us all, the righteous for the unrighteous. Separated from God so that we could draw near. Death bringing life. Our reason to hope.

The Healing, my debut novel is described this way ‘impossible to read without encountering hope.’ Part of my healing journey was learning to choose hope in the face of despair and you can read more about it in the book. It was published by Instant Apostle on 19th March 2021, and is now widely available in both paperback and kindle format.

Signed paperback copies are also available direct from me at for £9.99 including UK postage.

Books, Christian Writer, Dealing with Fear, Faith, Lessons from life, Medieval Fiction, New Author


It has been incredibly busy week. We have packed up our lives, and moved lock, stock and dog into my parents’ house, so that the builders can start the much anticipated reconstruction of our home. It has been stressful, and exhausting, and frustrating at times. There have been moments of hilarity and also the odd raised voice. We are so grateful for the use of the self- contained flat at the top of Mother’s seafront Victorian house, but that means stairs – lots of them – and that is a challenge for both me, with my limited mobility, and for the old, confused, arthritic dog!

Mother’s seafront flat

The feeling that has been there in the background, for me, during the whole of this process, and finally came to the forefront last night, is fear. I know, as a ‘good’ Christian I shouldn’t let fear overwhelm me (I even wrote about it in my book!) but honestly, it does sometimes. Before I had ME I was pretty fearless about most things, but one of the by- products of my condition is fear (mostly irrational). In the early stages of my illness I became hypersensitive and had strange reactions to things like shampoos, body lotions and some foodstuffs. It has left me very careful and controlling about what I use on, or let into, my body! It is not as a controlling fear as it was – it is one of the things God has been working on with me. A couple of years ago I would not have contemplated the huge changes that are happening in our lives right now. So that is good! Really good.

So what got me so fearful? The jab. Yep, the Covid vaccination. Not facing the needle – as an ex- nurse, they don’t faze me – but actually having a foreign substance injected into my arm. The rational me knows the facts – how safe and important the vaccine is. The irrational fear panicked me about what effect the vaccine might have on my body – would I have a severe reaction, or long lasting side effects? ‘You may feel tired, experience headaches, have flu-like symptoms’ – well that just about describes every day living with ME! I don’t need any more of those type of symptoms, thank you!

Empty house, confused dog

Fear is real. Even irrational fear. And it can very easily overwhelm our minds, hearts and emotions. It is not wrong to be fearful. It is a natural human response and I refuse to be condemned, as though experiencing fear is some sort of sin or failure. Instead I need to learn how to respond to that fear. I knew that I needed to get some God truth in me to build my faith and fight back. Funnily enough I was prompted to read something I had written myself…

It’s amazing how the things around us can either make us feel at peace inside, or can steal our peace. Storms without can cause storms within.’

‘It is true,’ Hywel replied. ‘The kind of peace I want more and more is the kind that Jesus had, that He promises can be ours. A peace that stays true despite our circumstances.’

‘The peace that Jesus experienced during that storm; how do you think He came by that?’ Philip was keen to know the answer. Was that a kind of peace available to him, he wondered?

‘Several things, I think. It was a gift from God, obviously, but I believe Jesus accessed it by His own will. He trusted God to protect them. He knew enough about God’s plan for His life to know that it wasn’t His time to die, and also that God had a reason for wanting Him on the other side of the lake. He had a God-designed destiny, and a God-arranged destination, and an appointment with a demon-possessed man needing to be freed. He also knew who He was, and that He had the God-given authority to calm the storm. He chose to believe in those things, and not the evidence to the contrary that the storm seemed to present.’

‘So,’ Philip thought out loud, ‘inner peace comes from faith in God.’

‘Yes, I would say so. We choose to have faith in who God says He is, and what He is capable of. We can also take courage from who He says we are, His sons. We can trust that He has plans for our lives, and He has the power to accomplish those things for us.’

‘Were you afraid on the ship?’

‘Honestly? Yes. Fear in itself is a normal human reaction. You would expect to feel fear every time you entered a battle?’ He glanced over at Philip who nodded in response. ‘I was afraid, but I have learned to do the things God requires me to do, even when I feel fear. He promises to ride the storm with me, every time.’ He continued, ‘I prayed the whole time that God would help me, to not let my fear become greater than the faith I had in Him to keep us safe. My mind was eventually able to find a degree of peace, unlike my stomach.’ He smiled wryly.

The Healing , Chapter 7, pp 94-95

I wrote that because I know it is the truth, but it is a truth that I am still learning! Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t. Today I read it again before we left for our appointments, and His peace went with us. We got our jabs, all is well, and even if it gets a bit rough over the next day or two, I know that He will be with us. That fear thing? It’s not going to win.

The Healing was published by Instant Apostle on 19th March 2021, and is now widely available in both paperback and kindle format.

Signed paperback copies are also available direct from me at for £9 including UK postage.

The website also has more about me, the story behind my books, and some historic background which you might find of interest.

Books, Christian Writer, Faith, Lessons from life, Medieval Fiction, New Author, Uncategorized


We’re still packing and shifting, sorting and skip filling, and the date the builders are due to start is getting uncomfortably close. I’m also still trying to keep up with my book marketing and writing. I have written two guest blogs this week; one that will appear on my wonderful publishers’ website later this week, and one for the ICFW (International Christian Fiction Writers) which is due out in April sometime. What a great privilege to be asked to write about my book! I have uploaded the fabulously edited video recording of my Book Launch Party (if you missed it – the link to the video is on my website), and sent a few more signed copies of the book out. But probably the most exciting thing I have done this week is published another book!

I know! How awesome is that? If a bit greedy, I guess, when I have only just launched the first one! But actually this one has been ready to go for some time, and I so wanted it to be out there as a companion book to The Healing. So I am really pleased to announce that THE BELOVED is now also available, and I am over the moon to introduce you to it.

The Beloved is a novella, and a short one at that. Just four chapters. It is a love story, but not your typical romance. Set in the years following the events of The Healing, it does feature some of the same characters, and a similar setting, without giving too much away. This is the blurb I wrote for it:

When love whispers, will the heart respond?

A young woman unsure of herself and not ready to open her heart. A young man sure of his feelings but clumsy in his approach. Both have a lot to learn about the true nature of love. This story takes them on a journey of discovery, which causes them both to come to a place of understanding, that will ultimately alter the direction of their lives. It isn’t only an understanding of human love that needs to touch their souls, but the realisation of the unconditional love that God offers them.

Margam Abbey

 So where did the inspiration come from for the story? I wanted to write a short story to provide a snapshot of the world of The Healing, perhaps to encourage new readers, definitely to satisfy those clamouring for more, and to give me a bit of breathing space to finish the other novel (more on that another time!) Who to base it on? A character barely mentioned in The Healing caught my attention, and they became my person to build a story around. I knew what the person looked like and their character traits already, because of their parentage. And I saw a great deal of myself in them too, as writers often do in their character creations. I knew it was going to be a love story, but I’m not a romance writer, and I didn’t want it to be sloppy or fluffy. I also knew I wanted it to teach spiritual truths, as The Healing does.

Then the idea began to formulate, because again it was based on my own life experience, and the convoluted courtship my now husband and I embarked on many moons ago. The feelings and the frustrations, the questioning and the confusion, as described in the book, are true to life, if the setting and exact events differ somewhat! I will leave it there to not too give much more away. I wrote it some months ago, and then got the manuscript copy edited by the incredible Sheila Jacobs, and a stunning cover designed by David Salmon. The same people who had worked on The Healing were kind enough to invest in The Beloved too. So the two books sit really well together.

I do hope you will get yourself a copy of The Beloved and enjoy reading my little love story. It is currently only available in Kindle format. It is free to download if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, and will cost you less than the price of a cup of coffee if not. You will find it here

It is also available on Amazon sites worldwide.

If you do read and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review of the book on Amazon.

I am still taking orders for signed paperback copies of The Healing via my website, where you can also sign up to receive my email newsletter.

The Healing was published by Instant Apostle on 19th March 2021 and is also available on Amazon, in paperback and kindle formats, and from other online book sellers worldwide.

Books, Christian Writer, Faith, Lessons from life, Medieval Fiction, New Author


I realise with horror that it is over two weeks since I last wrote a blog post! Needless to say, life has been hectic. The last two weeks, leading up to and including my book launch were a roller coaster ride, in the sense that each day seemed to hurtle by, sweeping me along with excitement, a definite adrenaline rush. It all went so well! The blog tour was AMAZING and I am so grateful to all of those who wrote such glowing reviews, and designed such creative interviews. And the Book Launch went better than I could have imagined, with my high class tech team beside me. It was a truly lovely evening and so many came! I was left feeling well and truly launched!

This week is a whole other kettle of fish. We have long planned to have extensive building work done to the house, but as with most things recently there have been delays, and more delays. Suddenly, and unexpectedly, a builder was available and willing to start at Easter! So panic stations have ensued. We agreed… ‘let’s get the book launch out of the way, and then it is all systems go’. The whole ground floor has to be emptied or packed away. So we have been hurriedly packing, and sorting and shifting. Yesterday we finally emptied the kitchen cupboards and hubby started to demolish them…with relish! It is a very old kitchen and desperately in need of updating.

I hastily took some pictures so that we could have some for the obligatory before and after pictures, once the work is completed. The reality is that will be some weeks before I have a proper kitchen back. It has been a dilapidated kitchen, and a quirky one, but it was my kitchen, and I have managed to feed my family from it successfully for over 10 years (we thought we would be replacing it long before now!) Now the kitchen is a true mess, and the next few days before we are forced to move out, will be a bit like cooking whilst camping.

Transformation is always an unsettling and often uncomfortable process. It can get very messy in the middle. It might be that we know that change is necessary, and it will be worth it, but the pain of the process can be daunting, off putting even. So it is spiritually. God is in the business of transformation. We come to Him with all our imperfections, functioning ok maybe, but definitely with room for improvement. And He begins a transformation process that bit by bit makes us more and more like Him. And this process can be messy, painful, unsettling, but we need to allow Him to make those changes, and not resist or hold back out of fear of the process. We need to trust Him and allow Him to do what He needs to do in us. The mess will be worth it.

Another thought struck me as I took those photos of my half demolished mess of a kitchen. I can picture what the new kitchen will look like, imagine the shiny new cupboard doors and silky smooth worktops, the flashy new stove and the wood effect floor. I am trusting that what I picture in my mind WILL actually become a reality. When God looks at messy old me, He doesn’t see the flaws and imperfections that I see, instead He already sees me as He has designed me to be. In His eyes I am already perfect. The finished article. Because when He looks at me, He sees Jesus.