Do blogs just happen?

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Blogs happen in my head when I am miles away from a keyboard, or any kind of modern writing contraption,  and sometimes not even near a pen and paper. More than once I have thought how useful it would be if the fashion for wearing a chatelaine on an elegant chain at one’s belt came back – you know, those wonderful jangling bunches of useful things worn by Victorian housekeepers, useful things which included little gilded pencils and tiny notebooks.

My equivalent used to be, I suppose, the canvas shoulder bag I took on my walks across the fields and woods with my dogs, the contents too heavy for my pockets even in winter when wearing enveloping waterproof garments. Two dog leads for a start, for emergencies. Then poo bags also for emergencies when out and about in town. And always pens and pencils. Notebooks. I am frequently moved to think up brilliant compositions when out walking! Prose and poetry. Especially poetry. If I write them down at the time I still have them when I get home so I can make a judgement as to whether they were as brilliant as I thought they were at the time (rather like stuff one thinks up at 3 a.m).

I also have in the bag a a pair of scissors for freeing dog tails from brambles and some small light binoculars for spotting birds and hares and foxes and occasional early morning badgers. That last, by the way, apparently labels me a nerd. There was a passionate defence of the nerdish in the Times a couple of weeks ago by Simon Barnes. He was so right. As he concluded, the people who shout nerd at other people who study and quietly enjoy whatever their particular passion may be, merely reveal their own impoverishment. (Same goes, to my mind, for people, including some but thankfully not all scientists, who don’t believe in anything supernatural. Be it God or ghosts  Their tragic loss.)

So, anything else in the bag, nerdish or otherwise? It contains the interesting things I have picked up on previous walks. Intriguing stones and feathers mostly. I have found four jays’ feathers this year, those exquisite jewel-bright little blue feathers from their square wing patches. I have a collection of them in a little pot on my mantelpiece and I can’t get rid of the feeling that to find one is more than lucky, it is a small breath of magic. OK, nerd haters, you might think that sad. As I said, your loss! (Come to think of it, no one like that would read my books or my blogs. It goes without saying. So, welcome to the magic, folks. Just keep your eyes open.)

When my old dogs died, so did the bag;   without leads there was room in my pockets for all  I needed, but I found it again a few weeks ago. I have a new dog so I need all the paraphernalia of leads and poo bags again. I have a new notebook and I have sharpened my pencils so now my blogs will get written down before they get blown away in the wind. And you might even get to read them!





Jane Gilyatt on 26/08/11

I've just read Time's Legacy and wanted to say thankyou. It's a wonderful
story and I want to go to Glastonbury just to feel the atmosphere.
You make your characters so real.

SMS on 16/04/11

Happily I am saying that entire topics what you have discussed above, is going to help me from time to time. The idea and drafting of this post is going to be proved as an excellent guideline for those who are trying to start their writing career.And yes i have bookmarked your site .

Henry Anderson on 31/01/11

Im a Chef who runs his own Company and I train catering staff at sea and I am away from home for 3-months at a time, I picked up one of her books in an airport on-route to a ship many years ago, since then im hooked ive read every book she has written. There is nothing like reading one of her books when in bed and the ships in bad weather and rolling heavily, you cant sleep in such weather so its good for reading and I find it difficult to lay her books down when I start one.

Jo Lizoraga on 19/01/11

Hello, The first little needlepoint project I ever made was a chatelaine it was a little white goose that kept everything together invaluable when my children were growing up. I don't have dogs but I do have a rucksack that I'd be lost without when I escape into the countryside especially on those long summer days.
I've been fascinated by your books ever since Lady of Hay first came out, I'm not a fast reader and I couldn't put it down I must have gone around in a dream like state at the time. Since then I have waited eagerly and somewhat impatiently for the next book and have four in hardback, but found that they are not so easy to travel even with the rucksack, so I'm now waiting for the new paperback release, your stories have got me though some difficult times in my life it is wonderful to be able to switch off for a few precious hours of me time and come back refreshed with such interesting images still in your head. Thank goodness for your wonderful short stories on here when I discovered the site I spent a week catching up which was lovely. I have your Twitter and Facebook sites too and it's great to hear what you get up to. So looking forward to Times Legacy.
Thank You

Debra Ashton on 08/01/11

Dear Barbara, Thank you Thank you for sharing your talent and your stories with us. I discovered you quite by accident at the begining of 1995, when i read "The Kingom of Shadows" and instantly I was enthralled, not only with the story and the history, but the concept ofyour stories. My next read was "The Lady of Hay" and again I could not put the book down.. I just had to know what happend next.. infact, i have to admit, that when one of your books, lands in my hands.. the world generally disappears for at least 24 hours. I've just finished Time's Legacy and as always have been left clamouring for your next installment. You have such a wonderful way of communicating with the reader, bringing us into your world, allowing us to visit, get comfy, and for a little while live in anothers shoes... even here in your blog, I can see myself, rooting around in my bag for poo bags for my dog. I agree completely that one always gets the best ideas when there is no chance to record them. Hence I always keep pen and note book handy, and now.. getting in on the modern techobaubles - i have voice recording on my iphone... because i always know it is the one thing i always have with me.. when perchance I don't have time to stop and write or at 3 am when all the good thoughts come through.. a turn of phrase, a spark of an idea that might lead to that story - the one you just have to follow.. i can quickly murmur it into that handy little contraption for later. I love the depth of your writing, I love the experience of reading your stories.. sparked me thinking.. ever been to Australia?.. Not a long history here.. but there are certainly some bitey stories I think you would have a field day with :)
I hope one day to have a good long cuppa and a chat with you
Warmest Regards
Blessed Be ;)

Maggie Gold on 06/01/11

Dear Barbara: I have all of your wonderful books and have just read Time's Legacy. I just wanted to tell you that I just loved it and could hardly bear to put it down. For my tastes, it is your best ever.
I have long been fascinated by the knowledge and wisdom of the druids and their healing abilities. I am just in the process of buying a resort in the Cariboo of BC, Canada, and am turning it into a complete wellness resort. It would be wonderful to be able to incorporate more ancient healing techniques into the ethos of the ranch.
Thank you so very much for inspiring me, and for continuing to write such amazing books. Have a truly blessed 2011.
Sincerely, Maggie Gold,
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Meg on 28/12/10

Hello Barbara, (my sisters name too),
Just wanted to leave a note to say, when i first seen the book,House of Echoes, my daughters,it was actually the first book i'd read since i was little, and set me on the road to becoming a huge fan of yours, not to mention an avid reader . I haven't read all your books, yet.... but strive to do so. My good friend has also became one of your many fans, after passing on my praise for you, and she too has her mother enthralled. Keep up the good work, and i always look forward to hearing and reading another of your fabulous stories!!

rejcka on 11/12/10

I love your books. I live in Prague and your books are very amazing.

Lori on 18/11/10

Hi Barbara
My daughter and I love your books, she lives in Dublin, Ireland and I in Vancovuer, Canada. We always talk about how great it would be to see the movie Lady of Hay, do you think this would ever be a possibility? I think Cate Blanchette would be the best person to play Lady of Hay. :)
I just picked up Daughters of Fire and look forward to reading it.
take care

Nadine on 05/11/10

I was just wondering why there was never a movie about child of the phoenix. I read that book so many times, I thought it would be an interesting movie

Stacy on 26/10/10

I am entirely sure where this comment should go because I do not use Facebook or Twitter, but I recently purchased Lady of Hay from Barnes & Noble, and I love it! The book was published when I was only four years old so this is my first time reading it. It is so refreshing to find books about historical figures who are hardly ever written about and so well researched, even though only part of the book is about the past. I also enjoyed how the modern characters of the book went to the different places where events took place. I hope to do that myself someday. This book has inspired me to plan for that.

Matilda de Braose and the de Braose family hold a special place for me. About six years ago, my aunt (my mother's older sister) started looking into our family roots. Matilda and the de Braose family were in the very first ancestral lines that we found. I directly descend from four of Matilda de Braose's children on my grandfather's side and the same exact four on my grandmother's side (both my mother's parents). I also directly descendent from four of King John's children and both of
Richard de Clare's children.

Anyway, I tend to be a nerd about this too and could go on forever. The purpose of my comment is to say that I really enjoyed the book and will definitely read more of your other books in the future.

Diane on 09/10/10

Love the idea of a chatelaine. Think we should reinvent them.

Dianea on 08/10/10

well said - for myself, I embrace the nerd in me - in fact, I see that everything and everyone has a bit of nerd in them; it is the 'charming' quality. it is just that, most people hide their inner nerd, and they are the ones that tend to shout out 'NERD'....and that is because their inner nerd is so trying to get out. lol

Dianne Jones on 05/10/10


I recommended your book house of Echoes to my book group so we are all now reading it. I love it even though it scares me half to death! I need discussions questions to discuss the book at our next meeting, any recommendations? Sorry I know this is nothing tio do with your blog!!

June Dolman on 26/09/10

I have read all of your books and thoroughly enjoy them, even 2nd and 3rd time around. But I have to say a huge big, big, big thank you for Time's Legacy, it is the most thought provoking book I have read in a long time. I think I can safely say it will remain one of my most treasured and favourite books.

Cathy Pearson on 25/09/10

This is not related to your blog above. I just couldn't find any other way to contact you.

I have read several of your books and enjoy them greatly. I have just purchased Daughters of Fire but I am unable to read it because the print is so small and seems cramed together.

I have had a look at your other books that I've read (yes I stll have them) and the print is much larger.

I would so much like to continue reading your books but will be unable to unless your books are printed with larger print.

Thank you
Cathy Pearson
Alberta, Canada

Dear Cathy,
I am so sorry about this. I don't quite understand - I have checked all the editions I have and they are printed in the same size font. I wonder if you have a Canadian version I haven't seen?
I will try and find out what has happened.

Emma on 16/09/10

Well Barbara, I don't think that you're a nerd. I think that you're one very cool lady! You have certainly inspired me - I have just plucked up the courage to sign up for my first ever creative writing course!

Despite having two literature degrees, including an M.A. in Medieval Literature, I have never actually produced any fictional work of my own before but you convey such a strong enthusiasm for your interests through your writing that it 's infectious! You're a brilliant role-model. So, you just keep on keeping on!

By the way, I really am enjoying Time's Legacy. Wonderful setting!

Best wishes and sincere thanks,

Emma B

Caroline Soper on 15/09/10

Hello Barbara, you probably wont remember me but I wrote to you years ago before I was married or had children ! I felt compelled to write after you first book Lady of Hay and you wrote back to me several times.
I have rushed to get each of your books as soon as they come out and I have loved each one! they get passed to my sister who also loves them.WE have read every one of your books !!
I have just finished ,Times Legacy about ten minutes ago! and I loved it!!! I even travelled to Glastonbury while reading the book and spent a wonderful day there with a old friend who I hadn't seen for a couple of years! she now lives in Gloucester and I am in Devon.We took some of our children and my dog and spent a few hours in the Abbey and then a wonderful walk up the Torr! We had lunch in one of the restaurants and I told her about the book!
I also wanted to apologise because a couple of years ago I called you and I must have sounded soo awful ! Four years ago my husband was killed in a motorbike crash and I was left traumatised ,I think I felt somehow you would understand especially as I had many strange things happen on that day and around that time.....Lots has happened to me since and sooo many people have told me I should write it down!! but I have three children and the only time I ever relax and take time out is to read...
Anyway I am about to go on a huge adventure as we are moving to California,and I am getting married again! Nathaniel is an ex pro American football player ,he is of African American decent and I have never known anyone like him ,we have been brought together by fate if you like and had soo much happen to us, he is beautiful and I am sooo happy ,but it has been three years of lots of emotional turmoil to get here! My mother died in March this year too...
Anyway maybe I will write this book one day!!
I cant wait for the next book! and I would love to tell you more about my life sometime ,especially the historical past in my family too,its fascinating and again I have been told many times to writeabout it but just have no idea how to start!.... Anyway take care and much love to you,
Caroline Soper

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