How “Happy” Are You?

I must admit I’m in a pretty good mood this morning. My moment of “inspiration” on the road the other day has indeed led to what I had hoped it would. While still in its early stages, the new manuscript is up and running: I finally have the handle on it I desperately needed.

So I do now feel I can indeed write this “different” novel. I believe I should be able to take what had been up to now vague and disjointed story ideas that had been bouncing around in my head and slowly convert them into a form that might make readers, uh, “happy.” Does that make me “happy”?

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“A Frenchwoman in a car….”

During our La Clusaz chalet stay last week, my wife told me she had had a pre-ski chat with a Frenchwoman in the boot room. When my wife’s French finally proved unequal to the Frenchwoman’s, she admitted it. The woman broke into English and continued the conversation. Eventually I came up when the woman (who had seen us together at meals) asked, “Where is your husband?”

“He’s writing,” my wife said she’d explained. “He’s a writer and gets inspiration here.”

Yet “inspiration” sometimes appears from the strangest of directions. A couple of days later after we checked out, we were sort of surprised to find the driver waiting to take us back to Geneva Airport was not the limo guy who’d dropped us. Instead, it was a woman of about 40.

Screen capture: La Clusaz to Geneva.
Screen capture: La Clusaz to Geneva.

As we headed off in her immaculate, small SUV, softly spoken she too revealed she spoke English well. She became easily the chattiest airport driver we’d ever recalled having in France. Soon she was on about the region, the weather, the lack of snow, the scenery….

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“So who would you live with if I died tomorrow?”

My octogenarian in-laws have been thinking more than ever about what happens after one of them dies. After dinner last night, around the table a discussion arose among the four of us about their London house, and where would the survivor live, etc. My father now living without my mother in the same house they had bought together in Pennsylvania, and what he is going through as a widower, was the main immediate conversational catalyst.

However, my father-in-law insisted several times on taking matters too lightly for my mother-in-law’s taste. At one point, she put him on the spot: “Don’t joke,” she admonished him as he chuckled. “What will happen to you if I go first like Robert’s mum? You’re useless. You can’t do anything for yourself. You couldn’t live alone….”

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Recollections Of Spectre

I’ve seen all of the Daniel Craig James Bond films in cinemas. With Spectre, though, I hadn’t had a chance. Last night, we finally got to a showing before it finished its run.


If you haven’t seen it and are interested in what happens, the first thing I feel I must point out is that it went by so quickly I’m not sure I recall some of it. If you have seen it, you may double-check my recollection below – if *you* remember it any better than I do. ;-)


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Letter To 230 Years Ago

Outside of Bristol England 22nd January 2016


I write to you in the 18th century thinking I might dispatch this to you in Nantes post restrante, but we don’t do that commonly in our time & consigning it to the English mail is not what I wished to do either not because it will be opened and read by some scoundrel as in your time but because now the price of a letter has become so great as to cause one to need to secure a bank loan first & you are long dead anyway. I have decided it is best placed on our inter-net which is easily found & we accept our governments to-day read every thing we write on there. Centuries passing have not changed everything.

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South Gloucestershire At Dusk

We were in Chipping Sodbury earlier. Just prior to sunset (about 4:30), I grabbed this photo of the parish church:

Dusk over Chipping Sodbury. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Dusk over Chipping Sodbury. [Photo by me, 2016.]

I try to avoid acting too much like an American. I’ve been here for over 16 years, and I want to be a British citizen someday. Yet I admit I still do have an occasional “silly” moment….

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“International Relations”

I want to share a great find with you: Adele Archer’s blog. She is author of International Relations, and well-worth following:

Screen capture of
Screen capture of

Read the full book description. Of course, you’d suspect I’d like that. And considering you’re here, I figured you would as well. ;-)

An amusing coincidence: last year, although neither of us knew the other existed, we’d lived only a few miles apart in the West Country (in England). She’s in Bath:

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Treasure Those Around You

I’m sure you don’t begrudge me taking a few days off for Christmas…

Free Stock Photo: A house with Christmas lights at night.
Free Stock Photo: A house with Christmas lights at night.

Uh, that’s not my house, by the way. :-)

Before I vanish for a bit (I’ll still be – as the mood hits me – on Twitter), I thought I’d share some excerpts from the three novels – including (mostly) from the brand new one, Distances.

They are not comedies. However, there is naturally some light-heartedness in them as in real life. I hope you enjoy these…. and please pardon any coarse language – as you may know they are not children’s books:

Excerpt from "Passports," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

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Advice To Start Your Day

If you’re local – meaning you also visit the Catskills here in upstate New York – unfortunately there’s not much snow here yet. Windham Mountain had been making snow, but it rained yesterday. I grabbed this photo a little while ago from the lounge window:

Windham Mountain's ski trails. No appreciable snow yet. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Windham Mountain’s ski trails. No appreciable snow yet. [Photo by me, 2015.]

As we know, we can’t do anything about the weather. As we also know, though, social media is full of self-help suggestions and “gurus” sharing with us how we can be happier inside of ourselves. We stumble on them constantly.

But do we really take their sage advice to heart?

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