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In every day life, John Jackson, a former Ship's Captain now retired. He still retains an avid interest in the Hash House Harriers, Rugby, Food, Romantic Fiction, Philately, etc etc etc.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

If a Change is as Good as a Rest…

I've been stuck - not just with Writer's Block, but with a nagging worry about Book 1 - to all intents and purposes finished. A flash of inspiration came last night – it must have been all the drugs I am taking for this cold and chest infection, but – I have changed the title!

I have never been happy with "The Jealous Wall" as a final title anyway, although it has been fine as a work-in-progress, and, if you Google "Jealous Wall" you will be led to several sites about the facts behind the story.

So The Jealous Wall has become………

A Heart of Stone.

My friends in one of the Critique groups I belong to ALL think it's much better, and also "fits the story". In today's day and age, it only takes a few keystrokes and some minor edits and additions to make it make a lot more sense, as well. Feel free to comment, of course.

I am still on the hunt for an agent. No luck yet, but I'm by no means getting desperate. I'll keep plugging away until after the conference season, then widen the search to include publishers.

Socially, its been a busy year so far, (compared to our normal quiet existence). It has had its moments though.

The Romantic Novelists Awards – the RoNAs was a great night in a great venue. I had several friends who were up for awards; only one, unfortunately, won her class; the blisteringly funny Milly Johnson, in (unsurprisingly) the Romantic comedy section. A big hand, though to all those nominated and to Iona Grey who took home the top award for Letters to the Lost.

Old Friends

A Super Venue & A Great Crowd.

Funny Lady!! (and a Winner)

Iona Grey - the Overall Winner

ALL the Winners, and Fern Britten.

I made my annual spring trip to Belgium to meet many old friends, as per normal. This time, we were in Antwerp, a city I used to know well. The old seaman's area next to the River Scheldt has been cleaned up and is replete with chi-chi restaurants and boutique lighting shops. It still retains a small area devoted to the traditional seaman's wants, apparently – but I DIDN'T SEE IT!! I was helping with the beer-van so had the luxury of being driven around.

Some old friends from my days in Holland!

Antwerp also produces some spectacular beers, and I duly filled the car. On the way back, I stopped off at the legendary (to beer lovers) St. Sixtus Abbey near Poperinge, and managed to get 12 bottles of Westvleteren 12, considered by many to be the very best beer in the world – and I'm not arguing.

The following weekend saw me in Edinburgh for another weekend away. More friends, more beer and a great time.

Lots of old friends of many years standing(!!)

Abi and aud on the right hosted and arranged everything, so kudos and thanks to them,!

Now I'm trying to throw off a real "summer streamer" of a cold AND a chest infection before heading to London for the RNA Summer Party.

See you there – or somewhere!


  1. I love the new title, John. It's a strong title, and a memorable one. Mega sympathy about your cold and chest infection. Hopefully, both will be gone by the RNA party next week. See you there!:-)

    1. Thanks, Liz. Both Pam and I thought the same.

  2. Great blog John. Thanks for all the info and advice on twitterand facebook etc. Twitter is certainly something I have difficulty getting to grips with. Hope you are feeling much better soon.

  3. Great post, John. While I liked the old title, I much prefer "A Heart Of Stone". Talking of seamen's (ahem) needs, do you remember Frank Finlay having a "long felt want" in the Morecambe and Wise show, once upon a time? ;) Hope you feel better soon.

  4. Hey, #JJ!
    Definitely prefer the new title - assuming it's a romantic novel.
    Get well soon.

  5. New title sounds great - can't wait to buy and read the book. Hope your cold disappears quickly!