OK – it’s been a bit of a bad week – but I have prevailed.

On Monday, my laptop packed up. I walked to the shop in the driving rain and it was fixed. By the time I got home it had gone again. I rang the shop and we fixed it over the phone. That afternoon it went again. (For the more technically minded – the latest windows update had upset it.) I took it back the next day – in the even more driving rain – and it’s working again. Touch wood. And continues to do so. A small victory, I feel. Especially now I’ve dried out.

Also on Monday I had a pretty massive dental emergency. This was arising out the dental emergency the week before last. My lovely dentist managed to find me a spot. One hour later, heavily traumatised – I’m not brave – and with gouge marks in his expensive chair, things have been nailed back into place. I’m living off soup and soft white bread – just in case. But, that’s another trauma ticked off my list. I have successfully cancelled a contract with Sky – and trust me, that’s no small feat. It would appear they have no mechanism for cancelling a contract in the 14-day cooling off period. Four telephone calls and a total of three hours on the phone – at least half of which was spent listening to their dreadful music – contract cancelled. Yay me!

I’ve finished the edits for Another Time Another Place – including the tricky paragraph I had to re-write using the same number of words as the old para. It’s all detailed and ready to be sent back to Headline next week. Ditto with next year’s Christmas story which I finished yesterday. The Toast of Time will also be on its way to Headline next week. Aren’t I doing well? I’ve made a start on the next St Mary’s book – the one after Another Time Another Place – because it was burning in my brain and I couldn’t think about the book I should be writing so Saving Time is currently on the back burner while I think about the ending. I know how I want it to end – I’ve just got to get them all there. Actually, I suspect all I’ve done is clear a space ready for the edits for Long Shadows which I’m sure will be thudding on to my desk any moment now.

Administratively, I’ve paid my bills, replied to emails and sent out my last Christmas cards. I’d like to say, ‘All difficulties quietly overcome,’ but it would be much more accurate to say, ‘All difficulties overcome with a great deal of bad language, even more walking in the rain and giving up sleep at two in the morning to write down that cool bit of dialogue before I forget it. And make a cup of tea. And try to find my notes on that Egyptian bloke. And generators. And IEDs. And rams. And Tsarkoye Selo. And falling asleep just as it’s time to get up. However, I now consider I have done my duty so I have tea, I have chocolate, and I’m about to sit down with my kindle and sort out my Christmas reading. I’ve written so much this last month I feel the need to put the words back in again. If that makes sense.

It’s been a pretty shitty year for us all, I think. It’s hard to see how the next one could be any worse but I hesitate to say so in case 2021 regards that as some sort of challenge. To all my lovely readers – and you know who you are – I’d like to wish you the very best possible Christmas. And more than ever, a peaceful, prosperous and healthy New Year. Take care, everyone. Enjoy The Ordeal of the Haunted Room on Christmas Day and with good luck, and a following wind, we’ll see each other soon. Jodi.


  • Liz

    Has no one else noticed that The Ordeal of the Haunted Room begins with "Winter Solstice 1985. The longest night of the year. "
    Reading on, it becomes clear that it should say 1895 but it wasn’t immediately obvious. Anyway, these things happen, especially this year, 3020. ;)
    Happy New Year!

  • Lynda Tull

    The new story is fantastic! One of your best ever short stories – thank you so much! Although, erm…. am I the only person who was confused that the date at the start of the story is 1985, not 1895? That threw me for the first couple of paragraphs, I have to admit.

    You mentioned in one of your posts that you like to hear when and how people read your stories. My elderly mother has lived with me since my father died. I waited until Christmas night, finally managed to get her settled in bed, went to my own room with my laptop to finally be able to enjoy the story, and read until Henry Harewood started pounding on the door. At which point the battery on my laptop died. So I had to go and find my power cable. Which was downstairs, in the living room. And because I didn’t want to wake my mother, I didn’t put the light on. So there I was, in the living room, in the dark, rummaging in my bag for the cable… when something touched my back. Not what you need when you’re in the middle of reading a ghost story. I screamed, which made my dogs start barking, and span around to find that my mother had heard me creeping down the stairs and had got up to see what the problem was. Except that for some reason she hadn’t put the light on, either. I eventually persuaded my dogs to be quiet, but of course they’d been barking so loudly that the neighbour’s dog had joined in, which apparently didn’t amuse my neighbour. He even went to the trouble of texting me to tell me that he wasn’t amused. And then it was just the small matter of managing to convince my mother that I wasn’t mad and wasn’t trying to steal her bottle of Baileys, before I finally got to read the rest of the story…

  • Glen Day

    Merry Christmas, and I hope things look up pretty d*******d soon, cuz I think I’ve just about had it with 2020! And I was in a much better mood half an hour ago….oh well. Another cup of tea, and some chocolate should help no end, don’t you agree? And you have new books coming out, in a BOOK format, in January. Yay! Things are definitely looking up!

  • Nina
    I was waiting and holding Hard Time and finally devoured it all today. Thank you for bringing something interesting for my burned-out mommy brain to enjoy that’s not wondering which bit of the child is currently sticky.

  • Amy
    Merry Christmas, thank you for your wonderful writing that has kept me sane throughout this year. X

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