My Heart Bleeds

This past week it seems that my Twitter feed, Facebook posts, even email has been bombarded with news about the latest computer virus – Heartbleed. Initially some posts contained lists of the most important sites where it was imperative to change your password to avoid security issues, but as the week progressed the news appeared to gain momentum and the last piece of advice I read was to change all your passwords on every site you’ve ever used on the internet. I’m not sure I’d remember every site I’d ever used even if I had a spare day to work on it!

So, I sat down on my day off in the spare twenty minutes I had between walking the dog and mum taxi-ing my daughter to her friend’s and thought I’ll have a go.  First, I wrote a list of all the sites I could remember. Within five minutes I’d filled a page and was already starting to feel weary. Then, realising I only had fifteen minutes left, I set about prioritising and changing the key ones I used most days. Hmmm. Easier said than done.

It appears that many sites like to tidy the ‘change password’ option away into little folders or behind flaps in the corner of the screen. By the time you’ve searched for them, you’re already feeling rather stressed. The next problem is that we are told we should use different passwords for each site. As I have a job to remember my pin number in supermarkets – must a fortysomething thing – how the hell am I supposed to remember a million and one different passwords? (Well, okay a minute exaggeration on the figures there.) I read somewhere that if you ‘have’ to write them down then encode them somehow. This is fine as long as you manage to remember the coding system you use!

Anyway, my precious twenty minutes passed  - with another five added on because daughter is always late – and not only had I just changed three of my ‘key’ sites, but my face had adopted a scarlet glow, my neck blotchy and I had resorted to yelling at the screen.

By evening time, I had calmed down suitably to try again. It took me almost two hours, and a bit more ranting, to work my way through the list before hubby suggested a film and a glass of wine to calm my frayed nerves. It has to be said that I didn’t enjoy the film much, as new internet sites kept popping into my brain that I hadn’t thought of earlier.

I have to say the experience left me slightly exhausted, more than a little inebriated and with a hankering for working in cash notes stored in the gap between my mattress and bed base. Who decided that we all use cards, bank online, and enter our personal details into all the websites we visit to purchase everything from a book to a food spatula? A part of me wishes I could wind back the years and be like my gran with her brown envelope of weekly wages and her jars of savings dotted around the house. I’m not sure whether I’m more secure now, but can’t help feeling that there is someone sitting somewhere in the corner of the globe having a little chuckle to themselves at my expense.

Okay, rant over. I have to say Heartbleed, the joke this time is most definitely on me.

The Character Mug

This week I’d like to share a photo of this delightful mug that one of my friends gave me as a present at my book launch. I should probably say that she is really my husband’s friend as although we had spoken several times via Facebook and email in the past, my book launch party was the first time we actually met face to face. And what a thoroughly lovely lady she is.

Her name (I don’t think she’ll mind) is Kate Anderson and she is an English Literature graduate and great reader, so my husband suggested her as a beta reader for The Truth Will Out when it was in its very raw state. She did a wonderful job and gave me valuable feedback on the plot and characters and I’m immensely grateful for her input.

But the mug was a great surprise! It contains all the key characters from both my first and second books. What makes it especially dear is that it was completed during the drafting stage of book two, and later, as often happens during editing, some characters were withdrawn and others changed names. Continue reading

Book Launch Party for The Truth Will Out

Okay everybody, I’ll apologise in advance because this post is going to be swamped with pics.

From release day last Tuesday right through to the launch party last Friday evening, this has undoubtedly been the most exhilarating week in my writing career to date. The support from friends, family, readers and other writers has been truly overwhelming. Continue reading

It’s Release Day!

I am so excited! After a run up that seems like forever, my second novel is finally released today.

I’d like to thank all the early reviewers who left such lovely comments about the book on Goodreads, who described it as ‘captivating’ and selected it as one of their ‘Thrillers of the month – April 2014′; and top crime writers Alison Bruce, Phil Rickman and Mari Hannah who enjoyed it enough to endorse it.

But most of all I’d like to thank all the readers of my blog and my first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, who have been so supportive of my work. Writing can be such a solitary pastime and the lovely messages, emails, tweets and comments I received from readers certainly spurred me on to write more. Without you this second book wouldn’t be here. Continue reading

My Girl

We are celebrating in our household today as my daughter reaches the grand age of thirteen. She’s been ‘nearly a teenager’ for so long now that it feels like a momentous occasion.

The day has induced a wave of nostalgia as we remember the little girl who used to prance about the garden collecting feathers, snail shells and pretty stones in her long dresses and wellington boots. It’s funny how things change as the years pass. We no longer put a paddling pool out in summer; the slide disappeared years ago. My day doesn’t end with clearing the floor of toys. Continue reading