The Turning Of The Year

It’s Thursday, which usually means a door. But it’s also New Year’s Eve, and a chance to look back over the past year.

2015 has been an extraordinary year for me, both in life and in blogging. I published the first two books in my Ambeth series, visited Spain, Andorra, Canada and the US, welcomed a new sister-in-law and nephew and underwent life changing surgery, among other things.

I also took a chance and attended the first Blogger’s Bash in London, and I’m so glad I did! I met so many wonderful bloggers, all of whom were as lovely in person as they appeared on their blogs. And, since then, my blog has grown in leaps and bounds as I discovered more lovely blogging people and they discovered me.

My report came through from WordPress yesterday – you know the one I mean 🙂 I won’t publish it here, but I will share my top five posts for the year. And here they are:

Ghosts of My Grandfather

This post was one of those ones which I wasn’t sure about sharing. It felt very personal, plus I wasn’t sure if people would think I was a bit mad, with my orbs and ghostly figures. How wrong I was! It was my most popular post of the year 🙂

The Gratitude Challenge

This post was a challenge set by blogger Dee, to write about something for which I’m grateful. If I remember correctly, I wrote this very quickly and in one sitting, and certainly didn’t expect it to have the response it did! Another thing to be grateful for.


This post was not to celebrate my own birthday, but rather my first blogiversary. So it was nice to see so many people come along to celebrate with me 🙂

Before You Publish

This post came about through a link posted by The Story Reading Ape, about a blogger who was fined for using images without permission. I used to work in advertising negotiating image usage rights, so I was aware of the pitfalls in sharing work and decided to write a post about it. Once again, a surprising response!

Night Scribbles

This post rounded out my top five, and was a musing on the way that ideas which come to us in the middle of the night can appear quite silly in the morning, just dream ravings. It seemed to strike a chord with quite a few of you 😉

Looking back at my top five for the year, I think the main lesson I’ve learned is that I just need to post whatever comes to mind, for it is often those posts I don’t think will do so well that resonate the most. That, and the fact that I’m part of a wonderful community of bloggers – thanks to all of you for reading and sharing this year!

And here is my door, because it is Thursday, after all 🙂


I’ve chosen a doorway, rather than a door (though I assume a door may have hung here many centuries ago). It seemed appropriate, on the turning of the year, to consider the idea that we stand at the threshold of a new year and all it brings.

This door is from Criccieth Castle in North Wales. The castle is 12th century and ruined now, but has a rich and varied history, as well as a beautiful setting, looking across the bay to mountains. It’s one of my favourite places in the world.

And with that I will finish by wishing you a Happy New Year! See you in 2016…

City Of Dreams

IMG_0219Last night I visited the city again.

A city without a name, yet one which I visit often and know well. Where a river runs through to the ocean and killer whales beach themselves on the shore, where a walk can leave you hanging at the edge of a perilous drop, and the only way forward is to let go. Where familiar streets from other cities join together into a strange new whole, where I know the way but am often lost.

This time was no different. I had a job, and on the way home the subway did the thing it does so often, the track peeling away to turn along an unfamiliar route, leaving me stranded far from where I wanted to be. I knew how to get back, so my faceless companion and I took the walkway through the Asian market, past scented wood and spice and flowers, to end up dangling above city streets before letting go, fear and exhilaration screaming through us as we sailed down to the streets below.

I woke to the yowl of a cat in the street outside, the familiar humped shape of my husband warm comfort as I shuddered with the aftermath of the dream. Then I went to find sleep again. And I was back in my city, though this time twenty five stories up in a building that may or may not have been burning, with people who, for some unfathomable reason, wouldn’t take the stairs with me.

I woke once more, this time to my alarm.

It’s a strange place, my city of dreams, and yet I know it well. I know if I am driving that the road will be endlessly circuitous and choked with cars, never getting me to my destination. That the buildings are a mix of ancient and modern, that whales call in the blue water nearby, salt spray dashing against the stone walls and railings. If I go out of the city to the nearby mountains, another town awaits. One of stone and twisting streets, castellated walls and golden lit windows, shops filled with gleaming merchandise.

It is a place of fear and beauty, my city of dreams.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.