A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Friday, September 9, 2016


I’m always fascinated to hear writers talking about their craft. Of course, what works for one writer won’t work for another but I firmly believe we’re always learning and any tips are gratefully received.

What caught my interest this time was a writer discussing characterisation and, in particular, characters’ phobias. This particular writer insisted that every person has a phobia of some sort. My first reaction was: “Actually, I don’t have any phobias…” I don’t. Truly. 

Unless you count…


My office looks out at the tree in the garden when the bird feeders hang and I spend hours watching sparrows, starlings, blue tits, pigeons, magpies, and even a spotted woodpecker now and again. Birds give me great pleasure - so long as they’re in their space and I’m in mine. The problems start when they invade my space.  A couple of weeks ago, a swallow flew into the house. I raced outside in a blind panic and we ended up with a stand off. The swallow was sitting on the kitchen window sill looking out at me and I was outside looking at him. I did the only thing I could and phoned hubby who was in a meeting 20 miles away. I had to wait for his meeting to finish and him to drive home and rescue me. He calmly walked into the bathroom where said swallow had taken up residence and opened the window. It took him about 10 seconds to release the bird and it took me days to recover from the trauma of it all.

The genius that was Alfred Hitchcock might have made a certain film for me. Birds taking over the planet is my nightmare come true.

As for peacocks, the thought of them brings me out in a cold sweat.


The rational part of me knows that an ambulance is merely a vehicle that takes someone to hospital if a taxi isn’t viable but the sight of them banishes all rational thought. I think this stems from walking down our street with my mother when I was three or four years old and seeing an elderly neighbour being carried on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance. My mother, naturally enough, told me that he was being taken to hospital to be made better. Hmm. I never saw the neighbour again and decided that, if you ventured inside an ambulance, you vanished into thin air. 

Truthfully, I’m not good with anything medical - needles, drips, blood. The whole medical thing gives me the creeps but ambulances really freak me out.

Easy. If there’s a hint of thunder, I don’t go outside. I close blinds so I can’t see those awful flashes of lightning. 

As for everything else, I’m fine. If you need a spider removing, I’m your woman. I don’t like them, but I’m happy to deal with them. 

I’m not keen on snakes, but there aren’t any to worry about in Lancashire, thank goodness.

I’m okay with heights, open spaces, enclosed spaces, flying… Really, I’m perfectly normal. ;o)

What about you? Do you have any irrational fears? (If so, I may have put them in my next book!)


Rita said...

O. Shirley. Peacocks, roosters and turkeys are mean. I have stories. As for lightning-I grew up in FLorida-I know everyone should be afraid of storms. I've been within 10 feet of being struck 3 times burning away hair. I also have a fear of UFOs.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I'm not sure I'd call it an irrational fear , but I detest mosquitoes. I loathe them. Fear them. Can feel them on me when I'm out walking in the evening. Yuck. But it's not irrational because they carry nasty viruses, right?

(And remind me never to stand next to Rita during a thunderstorm.) ;)

Shirley Wells said...

Rita, a mention of turkeys will give me nightmares for weeks. :o) I certainly couldn't do Florida. But I love the idea of UFOs with their nice friendly crews. They would be friendly, right?

Anne Marie, you have every right to fear mosquitoes. Nasty little things that can do all sorts of damage to us humans. And yes, Rita's on her own during a thunderstorm. :o)

Daryl Anderson said...


Balloons scare the crap out of me! They're squeaky, nasty things that go pop in your face.

Growing up, birthdays were a nightmare, as you might imagine.

Shirley Wells said...

Oh my goodness, I've never heard of anyone scared of balloons, Daryl. They are nasty though, and yes, that squeaky sound before they go pop is pretty awful. :) Thanks for sharing!

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