Providence, RI

“Where are you going next?”
“Providence, Rhode Island.”

With one exception, every person I said that to made a face that meant ‘ew, why would you want to go there?’

So I wasn’t expecting to like Providence, which was fine because I wasn’t planning to explore it. I’d be arriving late Saturday night and going straight to bed, then working until I got into a cab to go back to the airport on Wednesday afternoon. Work was a conference, and I was staying in the conference hotel, so I’d planned to just spend the whole time in that single building.  Read more

I’d forgotten how much I love it here

Hello, I’m in South Carolina, as you may have guessed from my constant ecstatic updates. Actually, since I queue up blog posts two weeks in advance, by the time this is posted I’ll be in the air on my way home again, mourning the lack of beaches and palm trees and humidity.

I knew it was my favourite place in the world, and I remembered almost crying in the airport when I had to come home, but remembering a feeling isn’t the same as feeling it, and when I arrived I realised what I’d remembered was just a shadow of how I’d actually felt.  Read more

I have been a total idiot but luckily this month’s travel link up is here to make me feel better

On Saturday I went for dinner with Emma and Becca, and once we’d Instagrammed our food we started talking about blogging, because even offline life is lived semi-online in 2017.

Emma mentioned the Travel Link Up, which is this brilliant thing that a load of people do each month, where there’s a specific topic chosen and then everyone writes a blog post about it, and then they all go and comment on each other’s posts, and it’s basically a big travel-related blog love-in.

I’ve been meaning to participate for aaaages but I’m rubbish at getting my act together and doing it.

But this month, it’s about fucking things up, and we all know that’s one of my fortes. So, here goes.


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Book Review: Being Christian


A couple of weeks ago, I received an email asking if I’d like to review a “dark psychological novel that takes a voyeuristic look at the sex, lies, violence and debauchery behind one pastor’s ascent in the world of today’s mega-churches”. I find the concept of worshipping as part of a community fascinating, and I’m skeptical about hierarchical organisations where members aren’t allowed to challenge their authorities. The novel therefore sounded right up my street. I asked for a copy. When it arrived, the blurb was also pretty promising:

The product of a violent home, John Christian Hillcox overcomes long odds to build a Texas megachurch where he preaches the gospels of prosperity and End Times, and pulls the political strings of a key voting bloc. A man of enormous appetites and inadequate self-control, Pastor Hillcox rallies his flock to oppose everything he considers immoral and detrimental to the United States being a godly, Christian nation.

Being Christian is a gripping psychological tale of a man who uses religion to justify his own sins and lies, heedless of the consequences for his loved ones, his community, and the world at large. The story of this larger-than-life, but familiar, character follows him from his crime-ridden early adulthood to the prime of his ministry in post-9/11 America.

The storyline was fairly gripping: pastor with a dark past and probably less of a holy world view than he claims to have uses his powers to increase his own riches, but never manages to rid himself of his old demons. A plotline I like.

The book fell into a lot of the first-novel/independently-published traps, though. I can’t really blame it for that, because it’s normal, but it did make it harder to read. A few of these included: the writing of dialogue in the accent in which it is spoken, throughout the whole book; the lack of an editor to direct, chop and change the storyline; a back story that attempted to be too complicated and ended up with too many plot holes.

But it was still quite good. If you like reading independent novels, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s a story that has a lot of potential, and I think that if it got into the right hands and republished, it’d be a solid novel. It just needs a bit more finessing.


Being Christian is out now as both an ebook and a hard copy, and you can find out more about the story and follow the author’s blog here