PeterKaul / Pixabay

Exercise…His daughter was fixated. As if it was the only word she knew! And now she’d given him this diet magazine to inspire him…full of waffle about what to eat, what made you fat, what didn’t, Joe thought, flicking the pages as his knees pumped up and down. Left, right, left, right, left right. Quicker now, higher, higher! Feel the burn!

He imagined he was running in a marathon, leading the pack, or perhaps he was a greyhound on the home straight, or better still a jockey in the Grand National..let the animal make the effort…

Effort…he managed to lift his knee a fraction higher. Left, right, left, right… His daughter had told him that if he didn’t feel the burn, it wasn’t doing him good.

He didn’t know about burn, but his legs felt like jelly…his heels were barely leaving the floor now. He just hoped to God that all this exercise was registering on the fancy gadget his daughter had bought him. It looked like a wristwatch, but in some magical way it could measure his activity, and calculate how many calories he’d used, how much weight he’d lost. He extended his arm to squint at it. He didn’t understand electronics. He thought of it is more of a spy than a help.

He’d foolishly told his daughter that his doc had classed him as morbidly obese. Bi—ig mistake. Exercise, she’d said firmly Exercise, exercise, exercise…it didn’t matter how many times he told her that it was a only posh way of saying fat. But it wasn’t him at all…he was big-boned, well-built, a fine figure of  man and as for morbid. Poppycock! Morbid meant miserable and moody. You look it up, he’d told her. I’m of a cheerful disposition, ask anybody!

She wasn’t convinced, so he’d agreed to this exercise lark to please her, to shut her up. Although, between you, me and the doorpost, he had to admit that his midriff had a bit of a wobble… and his trousers were a smidgeon tight…

She’d be home from work soon. Time for one last burst…left, right, left, right, and his arms…Up down, up down…Know-it-all-George at the pub had said arm movements counted as steps…He’d better be a few pounds lighter after all this effort or she’d grumble for Britain!

At the sound of her key in the lock, Joe flopped back in his chair, knackered. All this running-on-the-spot while he sat in his armchair watching TV was exhausting—his legs felt all wobbly…

“All right, Dad?” Chloe asked. “You look hot….”

“Just all this exercise,” Joe said,managing to sound badly done by. “I hope I don’t end up looking gaunt….D’you think I can have a beer from the fridge. Cool me down…”

“Water would be best! Well, just this once,” she said when he pulled a face. “Have you any idea how many calories are in that can? Just a minute…How far have you run?”

“Miles and miles,” Joe lied. “Just got back.”

“How odd!” his daughter said and ripped the can from his hands. “It’s drizzling. You’re bone dry and you’ve still got your slippers on. “You’ve  not moved an inch from that chair all afternoon, have you?”

“Busted!” Joe muttered. “But the thought was there, Chloe…

Copyright © 2018 Betty Woodcock







Gofti / Pixabay

Emily was a morning person. There was nothing she liked better than the birth of a new day. To watch the vapour trails holiday planes left in the sky…Mug of tea in hand, she opened the door, eager to breathe in the fresh unsullied air while she drank her first cuppa of the day.  She gave a little oomph of dismay when her breath misted in front of her face and her arms rippled with gooselumps.
Steam rose from her mug to fog her glasses.
“Shut that ruddy door,” her father bellowed from the kitchen. “Letting all the hot out. Getting older hasn’t made you wiser, that’s for sure!”
She hurriedly backed into the house and closed the door.
“Sorry, Dad,” she muttered, counting to ten under her breath.
“Are you going to let breakfast go cold, after all the trouble I’ve gone to?” he called.
“Sorry, Dad,” she said again, sidling into the kitchen to take her place at the table.
He humphed in reply, folded the morning paper to the Sports page, propped it on the sauce bottle, and left her to her thoughts…
Which weren’t happy ones. It had been a mistake to ask him to stay with her while her mother was in hospital…a big mistake. Her poor mother had sadly passed away—Emily’s eyes welled with tears, but her father was still here, six months on.
Every day he cooked a full-English breakfast; doing his bit, he called it, pulling his weight.
She called it driving her mad.
Once she had hinted that he should tidy the kitchen after his cooking spree. He’d waved a dismissive hand over the clutter of pans and dishes. ‘That’s your mother’s job,’ he had told her. ‘She likes looking after me…’ He hadn’t appeared to realise that this wasn’t going to happen…
Poor old Dad, Emily thought, clinging to the past…She must be patient. Grief took people different ways…but she hadn’t expected to be treated like a child in her own house, that was for sure. She was sixty-two next week, dammit! Things had got to change—
Grief….Was that why she had developed a thirst for murder mysteries?
Reading book after book after book…
Was she subconsciously seeking a way out?
She stole glance at her father.
A fool-proof way of…disposal—

Copyright © 2018 Betty Woodcock






BibBornem / Pixabay

I love reading, have done ever since I was a child and cannot remember a time when I was unable to read. When the stories continued in my head after I’d finished the book, I thought I can do this—and proved that I could! However, there is a drawback to being a writer, a story-teller—I automatically read the novel on two levels. Firstly for enjoyment, of course, and like you, I try to second guess the villain, but my mind also takes a branch line and corrects errors, cuts unneeded words .and bits that don’t move the story on…and established writers are sometimes guilty, too. Or perhaps their editors!
You must all have heard the phrase “Show, don’t tell!” You know the kind of thing. Page after tedious page of description of surroundings, the heroine’s appearance and the hero’s feelings, when a few carefully chosen words of conversation would bring the most wooden of characters to life and set the scene. I sometimes wonder if the author has been told to get the word count up, hence all the padding!

Which brings me nicely back to my current novel Church Close, I’m still working through it again bearing all my advice in mind!

Another tip. Next time you’re on the bus, or in the supermarket, listen to the way people speak to avoid stilted conversation.

Regards, Betty.






Hi, Everyone, I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and New Year celebrations…

Now Christmas is behind me and the New Year is underway, I’ll give you a brief rundown of my January plans…I’ve crossed keeping a day-by-day Diary from my Resolutions list this year. I invariably fail, and after a couple of months the daily entries peter out and my Diary reverts to an appointments book. Shame on me!

I will however write something everyday…no problem at all. Either a continuation of a novel or a snippet for this Blog…

As you know, HELP ME is now in print form, and the intrepid trio of Chelsea, Hamid and Ken are already drifting around in my head looking for adventures…Then there’s CHURCH CLOSE on the cusp of becoming an e-book. Computer issues have held me up for a couple of weeks, and I’ll risk tempting fate and report that they’re solved now. Touch wood, fingers crossed, etc!

Church Close is currently being polished and re-edited and will be on Kindle this month…

Regards, Betty






ArtsyBee / Pixabay


My latest novel HELP ME was published yesterday as a paperback…
So, those of you who wanted to give it as a Christmas  present, it’s now available.

A very satisfying end to a horrendous week of unreliable broadband [local fault] and a central heating breakdown in sub-zero temperatures didn’t help!  All fixed now.

Are you all ready for Christmas? Presents bought, cards written?

Still checking address for a couple of cards…and then I must turn my mind to food. Who likes what? Which puts me in mind of a character floating around in my head…not sure if she’s going to join the cast of Church Close, my novel in progress, or plague Chelsea and Hamid in their follow-up book of Wallace Associates…

Meet Peculiar Mary who seems to have a different fad every time you see her. Last Christmas she took everyone by surprise when she announced she was a  vegetarian. She didn’t looked too pleased when her slices of turkey were replaced with Brussel sprouts and a carrot substituted the sausage wrapped in bacon. She likes to be the centre of attention and is a constant challenge to everyone she meets…

Where would you like to meet Mary?

Would you like to be in the book? Send me your name and your reason why…











Christmas IS coming, much faster than I realised…together with a flood of birthdays…so despite it being Sunday, a day of rest, I have to get up to speed!

When I’m concentrating on my writing, I live in my character’s imagined world of Church Close…and real-world days pass by unnoticed.

Until yesterday.

Someone asked me when the paperback edition of HELP ME will be available….they want to purchase it as a Christmas gift. Short answer, never…But then I hesitated…and had a rethink! HELP ME is longer than my other e-books, so the paperback idea is viable…

Soooo…I’m going to tear myself from CHURCH CLOSE for the time being and rejoin Ken and Chelsea and Hamid and prepare their adventures for the printed page — but first of all I must  deal with the birthdays…

Here’s hoping that your Sunday will be more relaxing than mine!

Cheers, Betty.







Good morning, friends, winter is sneaking in with a light dusting of snow. Pretty to look at through the window, but temperature is dropping below zero and I prefer to stay warm and cosy inside.

How age has changed me! When I was a child I loved playing in the snow, we got serious stuff then, not a few flakes, but waist high, and FUN! Building snowmen and romping with the dog, he loved it, too, first-footing and spoiling the smoothness of the garden. But, with hindsight, my parents must have loathed it. Wet clothes, snow-caked gloves and socks…and many times the bus couldn’t make it up the hill into the village. Happy days! Yes, they really were, for my friends and me…we didn’t even mind walking five miles to school when  the buses stopped running…it was an adventure, back in the day…

Anyway, enough of reminiscing…I’m deep in rewriting Church Close, the first book in a series…I’d thought it  finished, but preparing it for Kindle, I realised that there was room for improvement! So that is what I’m presently doing…adding bits here, rephrasing there, and giving more thought to how my characters react to the circumstances they are in. Which, in turn triggers how they interact with their friends…in other words it has a knock-on effect…and this carries through to book two in the series, which I’ve already started….

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to work!

Cheers. Betty.

PS.   Help Me is doing well.







Good morning… from a grey and wet UK.

I thought I would tell you about the new book I am working on…Well, not exactly new, I was writing it at the same time as HELP ME and switched from one to the other…But Ghost Ken took over and insisted that I concentrated only on his story. That is out of the way now, although a follow-up is simmering on the back burner…

I am now free to tell you about Gina. She is a well meaning do-gooder, a bit of a romantic, who wants to help everyone, She lives on Church Close, a small development of six houses on the edge of the fictitious town of Thorpefield. She takes a close interest in her neighbours and considers there are too many long faces, and decides that they need cheering up. They need the companionship of a pet. What could be better than something that loves you, never judges, never argues…

She makes Disney-like plans to deliver one secretly to each unsuspecting household—

Unfortunately, her plans go awry…but when did anything go without a hitch?

Cheers, Betty.