This is a picture of the inspiration for Murphy’s pub in ASHES ON THE TONGUE. Glad to say it’s still going strong today.
“Silence permeates the house, broken only by the crackling of the Sunday newspaper in the parlour and the small sounds of Ruby going about her chores. She black-leads the stove, rakes the ashes and sweeps the hearth before getting the fire started. While the kitchen heats up, she lays a cast iron frying pan on the electric cooker in the scullery, a knob of lard set to melt. Victor expects his fry-up and soda bread to be on the table before noon to set him up for his day’s drinking in Murphy’s pub at the bottom of the street. “


It’s getting near the publication date for my cosy mystery, Albert’s Garden – not written in stone yet (excuse the unintentional pun) but definitely well before Christmas.
I’m thinking of a minimal feel for the cover design, as it’s under a pen name and quite different to my previous books.
This is my first effort and I know it will change quite a few times before I reach the final version.


When I first photographed fifteen-year-old Devonn three years ago, I hadn’t even an inkling that I would start a secondary career as a self-publishing author. Having cut my literary teeth on my first novel, Circles of Confusion, I embarked on the much longer, more complicated Ashes on the Tongue which tells the story of Fen, a young girl in Northern Ireland in the 1950s, just before The Troubles really took hold. I always saw Devonn as Fen and a quick look through my archives revealed the first picture on the left which I thought was perfect. The strip below shows the progression from the original photograph to the processed version to the cover design and, finally, to the first advertisement after the book was published. The font used for the title is called Requiem and I liked it so much, I have used it for all my covers. As the sequel to AshesThen Sings My Soul – is well under way, it looks like I’ll soon be having another trawl through the archives.



With a publication date of 1st June firmly established, I really need to settle my mind on a cover. This is the latest (not the last) version and has a (sort of) blurb. Although I love the picture of the old farmhouse, I had quite a bit of feedback saying it wouldn’t have any impact at thumbnail size.
One person said she’d love to read the book but would have passed over the thumbnail. So I’ve reintroduced Devonn, who is so like Fen in my mind’s eye.

ashes on the tongue