Recovering, but slowly

I’m gradually getting over the op, still on painkillers and still pretty sore. I don’t sleep well, being forced to lie on my back, and I get up and sit at the computer in the middle of the night, just to change position. The wound’s managed to get infected on one side, so I have antibiotics to add to my daily handful of tablets.

On the up side, my consultant rang me with the preliminary histology results, which were good. I apparently had endometrial cancer at an early stage, confined to the lining and inner layer of the womb, and as that was removed, I’m probably cured. Hurrah!

Now I just need some patience to cope with being housebound for the next five weeks, and some space to relax and heal. I can’t concentrate at one thing for very long, so I’ve been reading a bit, watching TV and even doing a little writing.

Still Alive!

Back from the hospital after major surgery, a hysterectomy plus a few extra bits. One of the extras was a free tummy tuck on the NHS, which they did to make the rest of the procedure easier. I have an amazing scar across my stomach – it looks like I’ve been sawn in half or attacked by a shark! Why anyone would choose to do this just for cosmetic reasons is beyond me! Amazingly I was totally pain-free after surgery – I spent three days with an epidural that made me numb – and I’m now just on OTC painkillers, paracetamol and diclofenac. All of the staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital were wonderful – so friendly, caring and professional. My consultant visited me every day. Even the staff who delivered the meals and brought round drinks were great – always concerned that each patient had exactly what they ordered and ready to chat to cheer us all up. Obviously the meals weren’t up to gourmet standards, but given the budget for feeding us, they did well and I enjoyed what I ate.

I’m now at home, not doing much and resting. I can manage to climb the stairs and walk around a bit in the house. Won’t be driving for four to six weeks, so there’ll be much reading, TV watching and other relaxing stuff.

Just had a visit from two of my ex-colleagues from the lab with flowers, and a delivery of gourmet chocolate brownies in the mail. Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes and love.


I’m writing this post in full-on drama queen mode, so do be aware that I may delete it later, when normal life has been resumed.

I won’t be around much on this blog and other Internet places for a week or two. I’m having surgery on Monday and I’ll be in hospital for about a week afterwards. I’m expecting a fair amount of pain and I’ll be stuck at home, as I can’t drive for about six weeks. I’ve had a lot of support and good wishes – thank you for that, all of you.

I’ve never had a general anaesthetic, so I’m pretty terrified. I’ve been coping with the wait before the op with a combination of denial and abject panic – I am such a coward! I spent a long time working in the NHS, but being at the sharp end, on the patient side, is scary. So, although I’m sure I’ll be fine, I want to say this to my family, my friends, all my old colleagues at the lab and everyone else who’s touched my life – thanks.

Before I get too maudlin, here’s a little treat, a chapter from my SF/space opera Work in Progress, Warbird.  If I do need an epitaph, I could do worse than borrow the one I wrote for Rachel* – “She loved the Earth, but dreamt of stars; now she is amongst them.”


* not  a spoiler. Rachel doesn’t die in this book, but in its unwritten sequel.

Free Promo

JILLY PADDOCK: The big FREE kindle promotion!!

All four of Jilly’s books will be free for five days, from September 28, 2012 through October 2, 2012! You can find all four books at the link above, or use the UK & USA amazon links for the individual books below.

This is a great chance to familiarise yourself with the world-building of Jilly Paddock. It’s character driven science fiction adventure which harks back to the classic SF of the past.

What people are saying about Jilly Paddock…

This book is wonderful! I have re-discovered that old enchantment of my youth with Ms Paddock’s writing. Though she has her own unique voice, I was reminded of the pleasure from reading work by Ray Bradbury, Anne MacCaffrey and Ursula Leguin.

This is storytelling of the highest quality, gripping and tense at times, lyrical and beautiful at others with three dimensional characters and convincing world building.

— Raven Dane

This story would more than hold its own in Asimov’s or Fantasy & Science Fiction magazines. Recommended.

— Phillip Spencer (

Her prose is smooth, stylish, sensual and occasionally beautiful. The characters are convincing and engaging. Importantly her science is spot on… the internal logic of the story is well thought out and completely believable.

— Stewart Horn (British Fantasy Society –

Jilly’s talent with words ranks her among the likes of Bradbury, Card and Heinlein… The quality of work here is a true mastery of the craft.

— Richard Flores, IV (Plasma Frequency Magazine –

Here’s the details on the books…

First was, ‘No Earthly Shore

Amazon US
Amazon UK

On Yemitzov Five live sea-quilts – mats of greyish tissue that undulate through the shallow coastal waters, some as large as two metres square, sans eyes, ears, legs and teeth, in fact sans most of the things considered as basic essentials to life. Thirty years ago, the survey team said they were dumb animals. Now three squilts save a girl from drowning and Earth must send an expedition to investigate the claims that the beasts are sentient.

Dr Zuzana Aaron-Jones, a marine biologist, is recruited to the team. She’s befriended by the enigmatic Mooney, and together they try and prove that squilts are intelligent. If they’re right, the colonists must leave their beautiful world, so it would be easier if they were wrong.

Boodie Nantucket, the rescued girl, is sure that squilts are smart and telepathic as well. Nobody believes her – she’s just a kid.

And what about the squilts? What are their plans for Zuzana and Mooney, not to mention all of the colonists? Just how dangerous can giant sea-slugs be?

Mooney works for EI (Earth Intelligence).

This was followed by ‘The Spook and the Spirit in the Stone‘.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

A nine year-old girl is abducted on a backwater colony world. Bad enough, but Sophie Crispianou is the daughter of the Terran Ambassador and the step-niece of Earth’s President, and the kidnapper has struck before, leaving his victim dead.

Finding the child falls to Detective Inspector A. Afton Lamont and her new partner, Jerome. The Earth authorities don’t trust the local police to solve such a high-profile case and send in some help from Terrapol, an agent with psionic abilities – a spook. Giselle is beautiful but deadly, a mind-reader and possibly much more, and her only goal is rescuing the lost child, regardless of the consequences. Can this unlikely team find Sophie and save her before tragedy strikes?

Deep in an abandoned mine at the edge of the city, something lurks, something old and evil, woken by the tears of a scared little girl and the cruelty of her captors. Jerome crosses its path, but Jerome has his own secrets and he isn’t exactly human. Can he defeat the Spirit in the Stone?

Here we have our first introduction to an “Agent Pair”, a top secret EI operative.

Following these two novellas comes Jilly’s first full-length novel, ‘To Die a Stranger‘.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Anna-Marie has it all – a pretty face and a life of leisure backed by the wealth and status of the family business, the Delany Computer Corporation. It’s not enough. Anna’s bored, so she dabbles in showbiz as the holo-actress Amaranth Dusk. She gains some success, then loses it all in an aircar accident that almost claims her life.

Scarred and severely injured, Anna struggles back to health. As her memory clears, she realises that the accident was a deliberate attack and tries to discover who wanted her dead. Her investigations take her to Delany Corp, which has a secret at its core, a hidden conspiracy of government-funded technology and espionage. Anna unwittingly stumbles into a top secret project that takes ordinary humans and pairs them with computers to create spies who can read minds and walk through walls. These agent-pairs are used by Earth Intelligence, Mother Terra’s primary security force, as powerful weapons to keep her empire of colony worlds under control.

Zenith-alpha 4013 is part of the project, a flawed computer who has failed to find a partner. It chooses Anna, and together they must outwit all of Earth Intelligence to escape and survive.

Here we finally find out more about the mysterious ‘Agent-pairs’.

Most recently she released her short story collection, ‘The Dragon, Fly and other flights of fancy‘.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Dragon, Fly

She sits on a pillar of stone, a hermit in the desert, on a world called Teusza. Dragons live there too, beautiful, mystical creatures who cannot be harmed or killed by any weapons, and they feed and care for her. Who is she? Tyagi must climb that pinnacle if he wants an answer, risking falling or attack by the dragons.

Playing Possum

Melloney was a dancer, until she fell from a cliff and broke her back. Now paralysed and confined to a wheelchair, she has technology to be her hands and work all the house’s equipment. Alone, in a storm, is it enough to save her from the secret buried in her past?

The Omnidirectional Woman

Dr Lawrence Valentine has a new patient, Judith von Thal, who’s sent to him for psychological help after the death of her husband. He becomes obsessed with her, and when she tells him there are holes in space and she can walk through them, he thinks it’s just a symptom of her madness.

Death and Cai-Lee McGeoghan

Lost in a blizzard, Cai-Lee and her companions stumble into a system of caves. In a locked and forbidden room, Cai-Lee meets Death and makes a bargain with Her. Such things never end well!

The Serpent’s Claw

Rebekkah is rescued from slavery and becomes a novice in the Sisterhood of Grace, a feared religious order of assassins, but she has visions and has seen the order’s destruction. This is the story of Rebekkah’s life, her journey to the rank of Grand-Mother, leader of the Sisterhood.

That Cold, Terrible Place Filled with Stars

Dory is a Pilot, her body and mind Altered to link with her ship. She takes a passenger on what starts as a simple interplanetary trip and ends in an attack that almost kills her.

The Bride carried Tigers

Anji and Venn live on Earth, in a city that covers the whole world. They have food, shelter, freedom from disease and a simple, untroubled life – but is the cost of their utopia too high?

La Belle Epoque and Twisting the Dragon’s Tail

Two excerpts from forthcoming novels about Anna-Marie Delany, an ex-actress turned spy, and her computer partner, Zenith Alpha 4013.

That’s it. Now go grab ’em, read ’em & please give us some feedback, or honest reviews.
Afton and Jerome, Anna and Zenni and the sinister Sisterhood of Grace will all be back in future books.

Just a Reminder

All four of my books will be free to celebrate the Fantasycon weekend, for five days from 28th September to 2nd October. Choose from – or grab all of –

No Earthly Shore, (US link) an SF novella about first contact with invertebrate aliens, with a side-order of synaesthesia, marine biology and patchwork patterns.

The Spook & the Spirit in the Stone, (US link) an SF/detective novella about  a kidnapped child, a spy who can read minds and teleport, a ghostly guardian and the two police detectives who have to untangle the mess.

The Dragon, Fly, (US link) a collection of SF and fantasy short fiction.

To Die A Stranger, (US link) an SF novel about an actress who almost dies in a crash, becomes a spy with psionic powers by mistake and has to run for her life, pursued by the intelligence organisation who runs such agents.

I shall be in Brighton, trying to avoid the rain, looking forward to eating at some nice restaurants and talking to all the interesting folks there.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows

I had to drive across the heart of England this weekend, to attend the wedding of the daughter of one of my oldest friends. In April the hedgerows were full of white blossom, blackthorn and wild cherry, with a touch of pink from crab-apples and escaped ornamental cherry, but in May the main colour is yellow. I don’t remember ever seeing so many cowslips in the verges, great drifts of them along the roadside banks. They’re such a gentle, fluffy yellow, not as pale as primroses nor as bright as dandelions. The rape was in full flower as well, fields of vivid, fluorescent yellow, turning the landscape into a green and yellow patchwork quilt. I stayed in a Travelodge next to the town’s bypass, which should have been noisy, but was so quiet that I was woken by birdsong and the sharp calls of pheasants in the woods behind the building. More yellow here, with the gorse in flower.

The wedding? The weather was unkind, grey and overcast, with occasional rain, although it did stay away during the photographs. We went to the church in a red London bus, decked out with flowers. The bride was stunning, so beautiful she might have stepped out of the pages of Vogue or Country Life. The groom wore black and white co-respondent shoes, and the bridesmaids were in purple satin shot through with black.

The reception was a delight. Each table had a cake-stand full of sweets at its centre – flying saucers, penny chews, Love hearts and the like – and there were paper bags for the guests to take some home. The tables were named for superheroes – I sat at Wolverine – and those not in the know struggled to find Aquaman, the Beast and the Martian Manhunter. The room was decorated with bunting, made by the bride and a group of loyal friends, and there was heart-shaped confetti on the tables, painstakingly cut out of books* by the groom, which started a game as the guests tried to find rude or silly bits in the text. We ate fish and chips, with ice-cream cones for dessert. The cake was a triumph, four tiers adorned with Batman logos and silver stars (are you starting to see a theme here?). The bride and groom cut the cake with a Batman-handled knife, while the audience spontaneously sang “Dinna dinna dinna dinna, Batman!”. I had the lemon drizzle cake layer. which was gorgeous. Wish I’d tried the sticky toffee pudding layer!

I had a wonderful time. I wish Libby and Pete all the best in their married life together.


*He used three books – a Star Wars title, one by David Eddings and a Mills & Boon. I found one heart with ‘bastard’ on and another with the phrase ‘I stabbed him in the heart’.


Good Friday and a full moon. Seems like an appropriate day to raise this blog from the dead. Take up thy keyboard and walk!

We didn’t mean to go to sea…

This is an unintentional blog. I didn’t mean to sign up for one – I was just trying to find a friend’s site here. So I pressed a few buttons and – abracadabra! – this blog appeared.

What to say? Hmmm? I’ll get back to you…

Hello world!

I have a secret – I’m not really a cat!

Well, you knew that, didn’t you?

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