Monthly Archives: May 2018

“The best club in the world”

“I had a card from a close friend who is a granny which said, ‘Welcome to the best club in the world!’ And it’s just how it felt.

You have the best deal because you have the pleasure of the children without that relentlessness and anxiety and responsibility. It’s such a privilege – you feel such an important part of a team, you are a necessary support. It gives your life shape and meaning.”
from Celebrating Grandmothers

These are the words of a thoughtful grandmother of two. And she sums up the situation for me very well. Yes, being a grandmother means being in one of the best clubs in the world. As well as, in my case, a surprise as I had no such expectation.

She is right about the pleasure of the children – and what a pleasure it is. My two grandsons are as different as they could be, but each is a delight in his own way. I always look forward to my time with them, whether for an afternoon or a sleepover. I love to hear their thoughts and views of the world.

But it is also wonderful not to have the principal responsibility. You do worry from time to time, but mostly you enjoy them and then give them back. You can even indulge them if you are in the mood.

And yes, it is about the family being a team. The role of grandparent often brings the role of advisor, supporter and general helper to the parents. This is highly important for all concerned.

And finally, yes it gives life a meaning that it didn’t have before. Of course, you may have many other interests, but you certainly think a lot about the grandchildren.

Aren’t we grandparents lucky!


Would you like to read Celebrating Grandmothers?  Go to:


This was originally published on the website of The GrandparentHub (



Does NetGalley Work?

We all want reviews – lots of them and good ones. Some of us write in popular genres, have long email lists and no problem getting reviews in their many tens or more. The rest of us struggle – we ask our friends, our dentist and anyone we can think of until they look a bit bored.

That’s why I want to tell you about my experiences on NetGalley. I decided, as a micro-publisher, to place one of my books on it earlier this year as it has serious reviewers – librarians, journalists, academics and others who love to read – and, from my experience, they write thoughtful reviews.

I write books that don’t fit easily in any genre – based on confidential interviews, they enable people to talk about their lives in their own words and from the heart. The one I placed with NetGalley through BooksGoSocial, Life in a Hospice, is about nurses and others working in end-of-life care. And what happened? In one month, I received 12 reviews, of which 10 were 5 star.

But best of all, they were perceptive – not dashed off to meet a need, but aiming to communicate what the book is about and what it did for them. Here are just a few excerpts, to give you a ‘feel’:

“A brave book – not afraid to confront both the sadness and opportunity that comes from working with people at the end of their lives.”

“As the child of two elderly parents, this is a subject I think of almost daily: this book will make it a LOT EASIER to deal with.”

“As a hospice volunteer, I know well the beauty that can occur at the end of life…beautifully written and thoughtful…”

“It makes you realize that the troubles in your own life are not as important as those dealing with their own mortality…You take an inventory of your own life.”

“I was moved and overwhelmed by the care, compassion and honesty portrayed…This amazing book truly demonstrates the wondrous gift of a good death.”

BGS offers a placement with NetGalley at a bargain price. Why not have a go?

Find out more:
On Amazon |  At the Apple iBooksetc |  

This was originally published on the BooksGoSocial website (

Life in a Hospice – Hey, you!

Hey you – yes you! I see you rushing off. You see the word ‘hospice’ and you think death, gloomy, morbid – not for me. You search for a good crime novel instead. No death there, of course.

But Life in a Hospice is anything but gloomy. It is a book of stories, told from the heart. And from all sorts of viewpoints. Perhaps the most important word is “life”.

You want a story with a bit of love? There’s more love in a hospice than anywhere in the world. You have an urge to be moved? Yes, of course, when talking about the end of life, that goes without question.

You want to see the complexity of human relationships? For sure, that is there in abundance. Some humour? You won’t be disappointed. You may be surprised.

Life in a hospice shows what it is like to work in a hospice and, by extension, what it is like to be a hospice patient or visiting relative. It is told in their own words by nurses, assistants, chaplains, doctors, managers and even a very thoughtful hospice cook.

They tell of the withdrawn woman who blossomed under the care of the day centre. There is the man who asked to die under a tree – and they arranged it. There are the two young daughters who asked for their father to be buried with some cigarettes and a can of lager. Throughout, there is the enormous sense of ‘privilege’ to be working in a hospice.

Yes, it is about death and dying, but as you’ve never seen it before. Hospices are teeming with life – with love, laughter, arguments and tears. To quote a cliché, “all life is there”.

And if, perchance, you are wondering where you should go when your last days or near – or, indeed, are helping a relative or friend to find such a place – you will be enormously reassured.

Reviews? You can bet they were excellent.

Now maybe that was worth staying for.


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