Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Review: A Glimmer of Guile by Mary Patterson Thornburg

I was first introduced to Mary Patterson Thornburg’s work by my excellent friend, Jenny Twist, so I already knew I was onto a winner.  I wasn’t wrong.  The author totally captivated me with her writing in Uncle Bud’s Health Mine and the Girl Who’s Going to Fix the World and I couldn’t wait to read more from this exceptionally talented writer.

When I received A Glimmer of Guile, I got stuck in immediately and lost myself in a new fictional world.  What an adventure.  Here is my review:

Having thoroughly enjoyed the short story ‘Uncle Bud's Health Mine and the Girl Who's Going to Fix the World’ by this author, I was delighted to receive ‘A Glimmer of Guile’ as a gift.

To start with, I found the title intriguing, as I’m sure was intended, and although I don’t read a great deal in the fantasy genre, this story held me entranced throughout.  This was partly due to Thornburg’s excellent writing, which has a beautiful lyricism to it compared to most modern writers, but without superfluity.  It makes me think of painting on silk as opposed to board or canvas – full of delicate and smoothly flowing lines.

It’s impossible not to love the colourful characters with their exotic names who parade the pages of the story.  Vivia, young heroine is sent out on a daunting quest which few would be brave enough to face.  The friends (and enemies) she meets on her journey are so interesting, they could each command their own story, but they all help move Vivia’s dangerous quest – and the story - forward to its satisfying and tightly-woven conclusion.  At its heart is a quiet, but sincere, love story complicated by the life decisions Vivia has to make involving her mentor, Raym. 

By the time I’d finished reading, I’d become so immersed in the fictional world and the characters, that I felt quite bereft to leave them.  There was a hint of sadness about the determined Vivia that made her endearing – a worthy heroine. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this story; it will appeal to readers of all ages, and I highly recommend it.


So no prizes for guessing how many cute cats I gave it!


About Mary Patterson Thornburg
Mary Patterson Thornburg has been a reader of science fiction and fantasy for decades, and her writing hero is Ursula K. Le Guin, who towers over those genres in her great gift of invention, her beautiful and lucid style, and her moral wisdom and courage. In addition to A Glimmer of Guile, Thornburg has published a second novel (The Kura), short fiction, poems, and literary criticism. Her short story Niam's Tale won the 2011 SCBWI Magazine Merit Honor Certificate, and two of her stories received honorable mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, 2008). 
She lives in Montana with her husband, Thomas Thornburg.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Earth Mother Rules! Guest Author Post by @JennyTwist1

In the beginning God was . . . a woman. At least according to the great classicist, Robert Graves.
Very little evidence for prehistoric religion has survived into the 21st century. What there is consists mostly of small figurines, assumed to be votive offerings, and of these many are too worn to ascertain the gender, but where we can they are invariably female. Nevertheless, this is hardly enough evidence to be confident that we are interpreting it correctly.
There is, however, another source, as Graves pointed out. There are the myths.

It is unfortunate that in modern usage the word myth has become acquainted with falsehood. In reality it doesn’t mean that at all. Myth is, broadly speaking, the history of the tribe.
Most bodies of myth contain a creation myth, usually wildly imaginative, some rules for living and some explanations for why things are as they are. The rest, as they say, is history.
It is easy to suppose that stories passed down by word of mouth in illiterate societies must inevitably be changed beyond all recognition through a process of ‘Chinese Whispers’. Not so. Illiterate societies have strategies for remembering which we have lost, the main one being to put the story in poetry or song. It is no coincidence that the Greek myths are in rhyme.
There have been many studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this, but one proof familiar to most of us is that of Schliemann's discovery of the ancient site of Troy through following the ‘directions’ in Homer’s Iliad, itself a rendition of an ancient myth.

Graves’ comprehensive study of Greek myth concluded that prehistoric Greek society was not only matrilineal but matriarchal. Helen was abducted not because she was the most beautiful woman in the world, but because she was the queen of Sparta. Paris was attempting to lay claim to her kingdom.
Graves postulated a system where the queen, priestess to the Earth Mother, rules the tribe with her consort, the sacred king. He points out how often in Greek myth the king is killed. He is slain accidently by a discus, he is torn apart by hounds, he throws himself off the cliff, he is murdered by his own son or his wife’s lover. Graves believed this represents an annual ritual sacrifice of the old king and his replacement with a new king, chosen by foot race. This new king undergoes a rite of rebirth, which involves him appearing as if newborn, from under the skirts of the queen. Sometimes the new king is himself responsible for the sacrifice of the old king. Thus Oedipus is the epitome of the sacred king in that he kills his father and marries his mother.
For a demonstration that the sovereignty lies with the queen and not the king, we need only refer to the myth of Odysseus, who returns home after the battle of Troy to find his wife besieged by suitors. If this were a patriarchal society, there is no sensible reason for them to want to marry the queen. We know she and Odysseus have an adult son, Telemachus, who would naturally inherit the throne. In a patriarchal society she would have no wealth of her own, nor would she have much worth as a wife, since she must surely be past child-bearing age. Therefore we must deduce that her value lies in the fact that she is the queen. The next king will not be her son, but her consort.

So here we have a picture of prehistoric Greek society. It is a society ruled by women and presided over by a Goddess, the great Earth Mother. Women make all the decisions. Women perform the magic rites. Women speak to the all-powerful goddess.

So what happened?

The general consensus of opinion is that for thousands of years women were believed to be magical because they brought forth life and nobody knew how they did it! We think that mankind’s discovery that there was a connection between sex and the creation of children (not that obvious when you think about it) changed everything. The knowledge a man was also essential to the creation of a child meant woman was stripped of her magic. It also meant that if a man was to be certain that his children were his own, he had to strictly control his woman’s sexuality. She must be prevented at all costs from having sex with any man but him. And so the subjugation of women began.

The Dorian Greeks ruthlessly suppressed the cult of the Earth Mother, supplanting her with their own Sky gods, the Olympians. They went to such lengths as to make the priestesses wear beards or the new priests wear women’s clothing in an attempt to smooth the transition. The Earth Mother, however, refused to die.
Classicists have pointed out the many similarities between the Sky Goddess Athena and the Earth Mother, most telling being her affinity with snakes. Her cloak has snakes running inside the hem; and she is often depicted holding one of the snakes by the head as she goes into battle. She wears the head of Medusa, the snake-haired Goddess, on her shield, and many of her statues show a snake at her feet or coiled behind her shield. Furthermore, despite Zeus being supposedly Top God, Athena seems to hold far more interest for the myth makers. She has far more interaction with mankind and gives them many of the skills to promote civilisation. She has also taken to herself attributes that rightfully ought to belong to other, male, gods. She is the Goddess of War, despite there already being a God of War, Ares. Indeed, she has taken on so many functions that we would expect to be the province of the Top God that Zeus seems to be reduced to having no special function at all, apart from being able to wield a thunderbolt.
It is not difficult to imagine which deity was most revered by the people.

You could make a case for all the Sky goddesses being one or another aspect of the Mother. Hestia, in particular, Goddess of the Hearth, has many attributes of the Mother; as does Demeter, the giver of corn and presider over the cycle of life and death. But these are all really just aspects of the same goddess. The Earth Mother is often represented in triad – virgin, nymph and crone. Of the six Olympian goddesses, Athena and Artemis are virgins, Demeter and Aphrodite are nymphs and Hera and Hestia are crones.

And there is yet more evidence to link the beliefs of Classical Greece to those of the prehistoric era.
The oracles were the most magical of the human agencies in the classical world, prophesying what was to come and guiding the Greeks in all their affairs. You would imagine the Sky gods would have been keen to wrest control of the oracles from the Earth Mother. Yet the most important oracle, that of Delphi, was not a man, but a woman. The oracle was nominally dedicated to Apollo, but she herself was a woman, and she was called the Pythoness.
It seems the Earth Mother was not entirely dead.

But these days, surely, I hear you say, the Sky gods reign supreme with Jehovah and Allah dominating. Well, on the surface, yes. But you need only scratch the surface to find a different story. I live in Spain, a Catholic country. Ostensibly we believe in God the father; his son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost (a being of such little substance that I suspect it was invented just as a way of making up the triad). Not a female in sight.
Yet there is a holy figure of far more apparent importance than these. I know of no boys in Spain named Jehovah (although there are a few named Jesús). Yet more than half of the little girls born in Spain are called after the Virgin Mary. If they are not actually called Maria, then by one of her other titles. Dolores, for instance, comes from Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, Our Lady of Sorrows; Carmen is from Nuestra Señora del Carmen; the name of my own friend and neighbour, Reme, is short for Remedios, Our Lady of the Remedies.

It is our tradition to carry holy statues through the streets as part of the celebrations for religious holidays.
Yet Jehovah, the supposed Top God, is noticeable by his absence. I have never seen a statue of him in any Spanish church. What about Jesus, then, so beloved of modern Christian cults? Well, he has a presence, but it is insignificant compared to the omnipresence of Mary. Even at Easter, the most important event of the whole ecclesiastical year, and one which is entirely dedicated to the sacrifice and rebirth of Christ, you would be forgiven for failing to notice Him. Visit any Spanish city during Holy Week and you will see umpteen statues of the Virgin paraded through the streets, with just the occasional statue of Jesus.

It is to Mary that the old ladies pray. They only pay lip service to the Sky God.
They pray to Mary, the Virgin, the Queen of Heaven; Mother Mary, the woman who brought forth a son without the benefit of man; Mary, whose son was sacrificed for the good of mankind and who was reborn as the immortal king. Surely Mary is none other than the Earth Mother, who survives despite thousands of years of suppression.
And perhaps it is no coincidence that the priests of the Christian church still put on women’s clothing to perform their sacred rituals.

The Queen is dead! Long live the Queen!

About Jenny Twist:
Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and an escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
In 2001 she and her husband moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.
Her published novels are Domingo's Angel – a romance set in Spain, Take One At Bedtime – an anthology of short stories, All in the Mind –  about an old woman getting younger and The Owl Goddess – a fantasy/SciFi about how the Greek gods were actually spacemen. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How do we Stop Terrorism? By Guest Author @JennyTwist1



In the wake of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester the thrust of the election campaign has changed. The media are beating Theresa May over the head for her lack of foresight in cutting the numbers of police and re-examining Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on terrorism.
These attacks have made it clear how vital our police force is in dealing with terrorism, and the general consensus of opinion seems to be that we should increase their numbers as soon as possible.
What is less clear is what we should be doing to try to prevent these attacks in the first place. More of us are coming to believe that the policy of waging war in the Middle East is not working and is very likely exacerbating the situation. As the extremists are driven out of their bases they seem to be concentrating their focus on radicalising young people and persuading them to wage these attacks on their host countries.  It is difficult if not impossible to completely prevent these attacks, although the security forces have done a sterling job in identifying and preventing a substantial number.
We should also see what we can do to change the reasons for terrorism.
In the first place, let’s re-examine our foreign policy. Since warfare isn’t working, maybe we should withdraw. Furthermore we should surely stop the supply of arms to the Middle East. The UK is the world’s second biggest arms dealer, and delivers its bombs and guns to 22 of the 30 countries on our government’s own human rights watch list. Time to stop. These weapons are being used against our own forces.
I know that many have expressed the view that it makes no difference to the terrorists. That they will hate us and want to exterminate our culture whatever we do, but common sense dictates that our policy of beating them into submission is unlikely to endear us to them. And what is the logical conclusion. Genocide? Do we go on bombing them until there are none left?
Hundreds of thousands of innocents are being killed in this tragedy. Let’s stop it now.
There is one other point. We know that warfare doesn’t work but we have very little evidence that anything else works either. The only case I can think of is that of the IRA, which was largely funded by America. When America was itself hit by terrorists, the funding dried up. We tried talking to the IRA instead of shooting and imprisoning them. The terrorism stopped.
Statistically one case is useless, but maybe it demonstrates that this approach is at least worth a try.

Please bear this is mind when you go to the polls on Thursday. And for God’s sake DO go to the polls. We need every vote we can get if our people are to be safe. 

About Jenny Twist

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.

She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history, at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.

She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.

In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.

She has written three novels - Domingo’s Angel – a love story set in Franco’s Spain and harking back to the Spanish Civil War and beyond - and All in the Mind – a contemporary novel about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger and The Owl Goddess.

She has contributed short stories to many other anthologies, of which two – Doppelganger and Uncle Vernon have been released as short ebooks.

Other works include the Mantequero series: novellas about a Spanish mythological figure, and An Open Letter to Stephen King & Other Essays, a compilation of non-fiction essays and articles.  Her latest novella, The Minstrel Boy, was published in the anthology Letters from Europe in 2016.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

We are Under Attack (in More Ways Than One) by Guest Author @JennyTwist1

We live in a golden age. Ah, yes; I can hear your bitter laugh as you contemplate your mortgage, the price of petrol, the bloody awful British weather – but trust me (I’m a historian) it used to be a LOT worse.

In the sixteenth century, my own special period, even the King of England did not have such a comfortable life as most of us enjoy these days. Those quaint four-poster beds are not designed to be cute and old-fashioned. Tudor houses were so cold that you had to sleep in what amounted to an indoor tent in order to protect yourself from hypothermia. It had the added advantage of providing a modicum of privacy in buildings that usually had no corridors, so that you might be subjected to people traipsing through your bedroom to get to the next room. Imagine that! Just when you were trying to enjoy some quality time with your chosen bedfellow!

The King himself, of course, had plenty to eat and even a fireplace in his bedroom and servants to keep it alight. His parents had been able to afford a very good education for him and he could afford the best medical care. Unfortunately even the best medical care was pretty useless at a time when nobody understood how disease was communicated, when the most common practice to help recovery was to bleed your patient, when the only anaesthetic was alcohol. I don’t think any amount of gin and tonic would inure me to having my leg sawn off!


Even the greatest in the land could die in childbirth or of complications soon after. Jane Seymour, the King’s third wife, died of milk-leg fever. (Don’t ask. I don’t know. Only that it was something to do with post-partum complications.) And money and power were no protection against child death. The King’s first wife; Katherine of Aragon had something in the region of twenty pregnancies, of which all but one resulted in miscarriage, still birth or infant death.

The first Elizabeth almost died of smallpox; her recovery was a matter of luck rather than the result of medical knowledge.

And as for ordinary poor people like you and me (if you’re rich you shouldn’t be reading this; you won’t like the end) - we lived in hovels hardly better than mud huts, or in dreadful city slums, rife with disease. We suffered regular famines. If we lived in the country we were practically owned by the local lord of the manor.

And we STILL had to contend with the bloody awful British weather!

For thousands of years the set-up generally, was that a few rich and powerful people or, if you prefer, thugs who took everything they wanted by brute force, dominated a great many impoverished and defenceless people: a set-up that, once established, is terribly difficult to dislodge. Despite a couple of worrying peasant rebellions, this situation persisted well into the nineteenth century during which the only government response to social care was the workhouse and we all know how popular that was.

The British people only really began to experience a modicum of comfort when the government launched a welfare programme which became the envy of the world.

Beginning with the introduction of free state education for 5 to 10 year olds in 1891 the Welfare State was slowly and painfully introduced, culminating gloriously in 1948 (incidentally, the year I was born, but I don’t suppose there’s any connection) when the NHS was launched. This was partly funded through nationalising the utility industries, which strangely managed to make a profit at that time, and by taxing the rich at a level which forced them to make a realistic contribution to the welfare of the people.

Since then we have become accustomed to the idea that we have a right to free education, health care and a state pension. We expect the government to ensure that the destitute are cared for, that in times of need we should have the ‘safety net’ of benefits.

We don’t have a right to it. It can be taken away by the next rich thug who doesn’t see why they should spend some of their money on the poor. All these things people fought and died for can be taken away at the drop of a hat by any government dominated by millionaires.

To demonstrate this, I have only to point out that Thatcher sold off the remaining state-owned businesses - British Telecom, British Airways, Rolls-Royce, British Airports Authority, steel (which had been renationalised by Labour in the 1960s), the British Gas Corporation, water and electricity. John Major’s government sold off the remains of the coal industry and the railways.

All these had been providing a good income for the British people but the profits now went to line the pockets of the rich.

May is now continuing the practice with her hell-bent determination to destroy the NHS and state education by selling them off to private suppliers.

We can just let this go on as we did for thousands of years, submitting to rule by individuals whose only claim to power and wealth is that one of their ancestors was handy with a sword, or we can do something about it.

For the first time in decades we have a genuine alternative to rule by the rich. Whatever you think of the individuals involved, consider the difference in policies.

If we allow Theresa May one more term there is a very good chance we will no longer have an NHS at the end of it.  And we can kiss goodbye to the golden age.

About Jenny Twist

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.

She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history, at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.

She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.

In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.

She has written three novels - Domingo’s Angel – a love story set in Franco’s Spain and harking back to the Spanish Civil War and beyond - and All in the Mind – a contemporary novel about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger and The Owl Goddess.
She has contributed short stories to many other anthologies, of which two –Doppelganger and Uncle Vernon have been released as short ebooks.

Other works include the Mantequero series: novellas about a Spanish mythological figure, and An Open Letter to Stephen King & Other Essays, a compilation of non-fiction essays and articles.  Her latest novella, The Minstrel Boy, was published in the anthology Letters from Europe in 2016.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Guest Post: Meet the Characters with Jennifer Lowery (@JLoweryauthor)



Hi Manic Scribblerand all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! I’m super excited to be here! I have a couple giveaways and a free book to offer you so read on to find out how to take advantage of fun, free books!

Ever since I picked up my first Suzanne Brockmann Navy SEAL book I’ve been in love with these tough, incredibly intelligent men. I knew I had to write my own series with my own SEAL team. A SEAL’s Song is the first book in my SEAL Team Alpha series and what an incredible journey it was for both me and my characters! Today, I’m bringing you a special interview with the hero and heroine from A SEAL’s Song. I hope you enjoy meeting Jack and Darci as much as I enjoyed writing them. 
P.S. A SEAL’s Song is FREE on Amazon May 23-25 so be sure to grab your free copy HERE!
Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
Jack: Hell, no.
Darci: No, but it’s flattering.
What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
Darci: *smiles* The romance. I already know what Jack is going to say.
Jack: *grins* Sorry, hun. The action. And the sex.
*Darci rolls her eyes*
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Jack: Take my sailboat out deep-sea fishing.
Darci: I’m not much for fishing, that’s Jack’s thing. I’m usually in my studio writing and composing songs. But, when he gets home… *she smiles at Jack who grins back*
Do you like the way the book ended?
Jack and Darci in unison: Yes.
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
Jack: Not if it means putting Darci in more danger.
Darci: Agreed. Although, with Jack at my side, I wouldn’t be as afraid of what Jennifer threw at us. *leans in and whispers* She likes to torment us.
What do you do for a living?
Darci: *laces her fingers through Jacks* Jack is a Navy SEAL and the bravest, strongest man I know. I’m a singer.
What is your most prized possession?
Darci: A Celtic necklace given to me by my grandmother. Had it not been for that necklace, I never would have met Jack.
What do you like most about where you live?
Jack: Darci approved of my house. That’s all that matters to me.
Darci: He lives in this cute gingerbread house on the ocean. I adore it.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy Sunday?
Jack: *grins* Stay in bed.
Darci: *nods* Definitely.
What is your least favorite word?
Darci: Classified.
What sound or noise do you love?
Jack: Sorry, that’s between me and my wife. *an intimate look passes between Jack and Darci*
What other profession would you like to try?
Darci: I’ve considered becoming a music teacher. Jack, he’s right where he was meant to be.
Jack: *nods*
Did you get your FREE copy of A SEAL’s Song? Yay and thank you! Want a chance to win an e-book off my backlist? (told you I like to give stuff away!) Just click on the rafflecopter link below and enter to win!! Good luck! Oh, and keep reading for a BONUS offer!
Meet Jennifer:
NY Times & USA Today bestselling author, Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer. Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.
Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers. She loves everything there is about romance. Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines. She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love. 
Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Connect with Jennifer:
Read more about her books on her website: http://jenniferloweryauthor.com/
Please "like" her Facebook author page! https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferLowery/
Sign up for Jennifer’s Newsletter and get a FREE book: http://jenniferloweryauthor.com/join-my-newsletter/

***BONUS***
For everyone who signs up for my NEWSLETTER you will receive an e-book copy of my short story, Taking Chances ($.99 value) for FREE!

Thank you for having me today, Lynette!! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one-day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 
All my best, 
Jennifer



Friday, May 19, 2017

Charisma - Who Needs It? By Guest Author @JennyTwist1

The BBC news reporter was interviewing a woman about the upcoming general election and she said she would not vote for Corbyn because he had ‘no charisma’.

It’s a sentiment I’ve heard before, of course but this time it suddenly struck me what an extraordinary thing it was to say.

I don’t agree with that woman’s opinion – I don’t suppose for one moment that a man with no charisma could win landslide victories in two leadership elections and then go on to increase the Labour Party membership by more than double, making it the largest political party in Europe. Maybe that lady has not seen footage of his rallies. Corbyn is pulling in crowds of thousands.

But I digress. How extraordinary is it that charisma should be considered the most important asset in a politician? I would have thought experience and competence should carry more weight. Surely his ability to do the job is the most important thing here.

If charisma is what makes a good politician, why don’t we just elect film stars and talk show hosts?
There have, of course, been great charismatic leaders in the past – Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, to name but a few. And right now we seem to have more than our share springing up throughout the world – Trump, Putin, Kim Jong-Un. Yet, somehow, I am not reassured by their charisma. It seems to me that too much charisma breeds a desire to start wars rather than a desire to make the world a better place for the people who elected you.

Personally, I’d rather my leader spent the budget on health care, housing and education than on nuclear bombs. I’d rather my sons live to collect their pensions than that they should die gloriously in battle.

But if charisma is what you want, by all means vote for May. I’ll see you in the fallout shelter. 


About Jenny Twist

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.
She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history, at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
She has written three novels - Domingo’s Angel – a love story set in Franco’s Spain and harking back to the Spanish Civil War and beyond - and All in the Mind – a contemporary novel about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger and The Owl Goddess.
She has contributed short stories to many other anthologies, of which two –Doppelganger and Uncle Vernon have been released as short ebooks.

Other works include the Mantequero series: novellas about a Spanish mythological figure, and An Open Letter to Stephen King & Other Essays, a compilation of non-fiction essays and articles.  Her latest novella, The Minstrel Boy, was published in the anthology Letters from Europe in 2016.