“It can, I promise you.”

“Book and reader, if they meet up at the right moment in a person’s life, it can make sparks fly, set you alight, change your life. It can, I promise you.”

I can attest to the truth of this quote from Sophie Divry‘s novella, The Library of Unrequited Love. Indeed, I’m highly qualified to speak on the subject.

11 years or so, a friend of mine thrust a book at me while I was on the toilet (yeah, a close friend, obviously) and ordered, “Read it.” I was ill and had nothing else to read, and seeing how much I enjoy a good fantasy, I decided I’d give it a go. Even though, close or not, this friend of mine and I were known to have differing tastes in books.  I was in need of an escape. Little did I know how far a turn of a page would take me.

Epic adventure… well, if anything, the readers of this book (and book series) ended up out epic-ing the story that brought us together. To make a very long (interesting, yes, but too long for me in my present state of health to write out again in detail – a lot of people already know the story and I have written it at other times and in other places) short, the reading of this one book got me a husband and caused me to move across an ocean.

Now, read that quote again. Is it any wonder that the celebration of World Book Day is pretty personal and important to me? And, not just me either! Because, the thing is, not only did this book bring me and my husband together, but I know of at least 4 or 5 other couples that ended up together because of this self-same series of books (and have stayed together). We are people who fought huge odds, battled masses of immigration red-tape, had to put up with the “well-meaning” frienemies who told us we were being ridiclous, etc. and we stand as testimony to the power of the written word and how far-reaching and impacting a story can have on individual human stories.

Happy World Book Day!


INDEED! I can promise you that.


Escape Versus Freedom


I’m really trying to stay in the present and “enjoy” reality. But…it isn’t easy when reality sucks and I suck and everything in my soul cries out for escape. But, escape is a band-aid on a gaping wound. I need saving, healing, deliverance and freedom, yes. But escape is none of those things. Delving into and entertaining my flights of fancy are not the answer, I know, but…

I guess, the gaping wound/band-aid analogy isn’t quite right. It’s more like cancer and morphine: fantasy (escape), the pain-killer…for a while – momentarily, but not a lasting cure. And, as morphine is addictive…

Thus, today, in pain, while my heart prays for freedom, my soul (and body) longs for escape…and everything in me pleads, “No more pain.”

Heart, Soul and Body Warmers (A "Recipe" for Winter)

I am NOT a domestic goddess. I don’t share recipes. I’m a lousy cook. I would consider myself a home-body (after all, I’m certainly NOT a social butterfly!), but I’m not what anyone would call a ‘home-maker’. I am generally pretty rubbish unless you need someone, of the female persuasion, to hit the D below Middle C (hit it with a voice, that is, and not a hammer…I am relatively sure that any woman, singer and non-singer alike, is capable of hitting said low note with a hammer (YOU’RE NOT GETTING ANYWHERE NEAR MY PIANO, LADY!)…but, I digress…I am very good at digressing…if you read my blog on a regular basis it is one of the things you expect and have come to look forward to). If you want to hear me hit that note you can, here.

However, today, I am going to share with you a recipe, of sorts. Well, there’s actually a recipe within a recipe, as you will see…but, perhaps, I am getting a wee bit ahead of myself. Oh, yes, I see me up there, ‘”Hello!” There I am. Right! Let’s get situated; first things first, and all; let’s lay a foundation, shall we?

Winter is upon us. The nights are long, and cold. Sometimes the cold doesn’t stay in our skin, but it creeps and seeps into the very fabric of our souls and frost begins to lay at the door of our hearts. Winter is often a depressing time for people who don’t even have a problem with depression. I dare say, I hear more ‘normal, happy’ people (sorry, did that sound sarcastic?) lament winter than I do my fellow clinically depressed. I suppose, we are used to it. I like winter. Not as much as I like the season I was named after. But, winter is a close second for favourite season. However, I will agree, winter needs help to be properly enjoyed – and it can be greatly enjoyed. I have three things to help us through those long, cold winter nights – not only to endure them, but to love them. You will need:


A Good Book

Specifically, you’ll need a good adventure. This is not the time for graphs, diagrams, psuedo-psychology or self-help books. I highly recommend  The Hobbit for winter reading, but, really, any good fantasy adventure story will do, especially any that contains at least one elf and a dragon or two. Escape! Get away from here (wherever your here is), and find yourself (which, perhaps somewhat ironically, you are more likely to do in the pages of a good fantasy novel than you are in any other type of book. Don’t believe me? Just try it). If you don’t like reading, I feel sorry for you. Go freeze (figuratively)!  Seriously, nothing feeds and warms the soul better than a good adventure story. I’m re-reading The Hobbit at the moment . It’s like visiting an old friend. I’m loving it more than I can begin to tell you.


A Good Drink  

Now, something that goes down well (ahem)! Hot, spiced, spiked milk.  This is delicious and will warm you down to your toes. (Here’s the recipe in the recipe…however, we aren’t going to get very technical, and we certainly aren’t going to have exact measurements here!)  What is required is: milk, cloves, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, a sauce pan, stove-top, something to stir with (spoon, twig, etc.), and – the best bit – Bailey’s Irish Cream. Heat the milk and spices, constantly stirring, for 5-6 minutes (do not let it boil!). I just dump the spices in there – as I said, no exact measurements, just do what feels right – a couple (or five) shakes of each spice will do. Pour the hot, spicey milk into a warm mug (straining the cloves, if you used whole cloves, that is) and add a half a shot (or so, you really don’t need a lot…unless you want a lot) of Bailey’s. Just a smidge is needed, for the flavour. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. So good. This is a real comfort drink, and it can chase the chill of winter away from your body and your mind. (If you really don’t want the alcohol for whatever reason, just add a touch of honey instead.)

Now, curl up with your book and hot, spiced, spiked milk… and love winter! But, there’s one more thing:



Music to soothe and warm and breathe hope to your winter heart. This is a time to listen to classics and favourites, it’s also a time to search out and listen to something new/different. And, there’s always the festive music of the season. Find music that speaks to you, and play it! Softly in the background while you read and sip, or loud and all-consuming while you just let it wash over you in waves. But, choose music that supports the theme – in that, it is dreamy, adventurous… this isn’t the time for music you can dance to necessarily, but time for music you can escape to!


So, there’s my little recipe for winter. It’s not technical, fancy, or domestic-goddessy, but, I can tell you, it is thoroughly enjoyable!




Some music to escape to: