Friday, 25 October 2013

Precipice 13

My good friend and invaluable support, Thomas Marlowe, is published in the latest anthology from Write on Edge. 

Anyone interested can find it on Smashwords for any ebook format, Amazon UK in print and kindle and Amazon US also in print and kindle. 

I am so hoping I can persuade him to expand his idea, he has such great talent. 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

English Disco Lovers

English Disco Lovers are a group that are hoping to reclaim the letters EDL for anti-racist, anti-fascist good people.  I believe they are trying to get their site higher up the Google list.

Their link is here

I was always more punk than disco, but I would force myself for this.  Here's their statement.  Please support if you are on facebook/twitter or just in general

http://www.edl.me/

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

An Old Elfen


This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge and Trifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.

"...of course the word 'petrichor' means the song of the stone.  I think that is a word that is underused in these times.  So much of the language of Shakespeare has been lost.  Mind you, I only met him when he was drunk..."
Elaine and Steve exchanged glances.  As the elfen lord carried on with his pedantic monologue Steve whispered, 'He's got it wrong, you know.  It means 'blood of the stone'.  I looked it up once.  It's all the same with the older elfen.  They get odder with age.  The trouble is that as the elfen get older they get more and more powerful.   They get better at controlling weather and seem to know more magic.  I'm just grateful that they get a bit more caught up in the old stories."
Elaine looked around the room.  It had radiators but no central heating.  There was a television in one corner but it was surrounded by what looked like a lattice of hawthorn twigs.  What looked like a silk cloth was neatly folded over the top of the television.  Over the fireplace was an empty frame where a mirror would normally hang and the wallpaper, while new, was a pattern that hadn't been current for fifty years or more.  "So that's why we couldn't bring in anything made of iron."
Steve nodded.  "And why we have some clothes inside out.  It's a sort of protection."
"...of course nowadays the language changes so quickly.  That is why I watch my television, through a scry glass of course, and I am quite concerned about some of the things I see.  I noticed a programme on Tinkerbell, for one serious example..."
As the old elfen droned on, Elaine looked with concern at Steve.  "But he wants us to buy what without iron!?"

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Eurovision

Unless you are British you have no idea of the impact of Eurovision.  My view is, c'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre and best seen through large amounts of alcohol.

Some really good songs.  I sometimes wish we were a bit less insular with music.  Then again I choked on my gin after watching the Romanian entry.

Tom Marlowe has just sent me a note saying that some of the entries do not accurately reflect centuries of proud warrior tradition.  On the other hand I think that some of the ladies' dresses show courage worthy of the finest military tradition.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Haunting Music

This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge and Trifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.


Image from Write on Edge
DELIBERATE
1: characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration <a deliberate decision>
2: characterized by awareness of the consequences<deliberate falsehood>
3: slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved <a deliberate pace>


Elaine slow, deliberate and with great care checked and rechecked her internet banking.  The money was there.  It was a lot of money and that made it a lot easier.  Cancelling a wedding with a month to go was very expensive.  Selling her late grandfather's piano was a bit of a wrench, but it was time to let go of things.  If she had been less attached to her home, her keepsakes, her things then perhaps she would have listened to the little voice warning her that her relationship was not going well.  Being forced to look at evidence of Keith's affair had been a shock and it had made her look at a lot of things in a whole new light.  She was going to sell everything and travel the world.  She was going to sell everything and go back to college.  She was going to sell everything and, well, do something to change her life around. 
She looked at Steve.  Steve Adderson was once again acting as an agent for someone else. 
"You have the money?" he asked.
Elaine nodded.  "The piano is haunted, you know." She said.  "I've heard it sometimes at night."
Steve looked out of the window and gestured to the very specialist movers.  "It's not haunted, it's enchanted." he said. 
"Can I come with you?" Elaine asked impulsively. 
Steve looked at her thoughtfully.  "I need to check something anyway."  He rummaged in his pocket.  The small, dusty button looked incongruous coming out of the pocket of such a sharp suit.  Steve lifted the lid to show the keys and placed the button on top of the upright piano.  There was a click.  He pressed the button and suddenly a pair of ghostly hands were playing a wild, Hungarian waltz.  Steve nodded and removed the button.  The hands vanished. "Still want to come?"
"So the stories about my grandfather were true?" Elaine stared at the piano as the movers started to wrap it carefully.  "I am definitely coming!"

Despite my best intentions I am getting recurring characters.  You can check out more about them on the side bar here.  I hope you enjoy this story.  

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Strange Inheritance

This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge andTrifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.

Picture from the Write on the Edge Website


3
Elaine stood under the cherry blossom trees folding and unfolding the message that had brought her here.  Keith had proposed to her under a tree full of cherry blossom.  It was cherry blossom time again but today it seemed colder.
A BMW pulled up a few yards away.  Elaine watched a slim man get out of the car carrying a large brown envelope.  Cherry blossom petals fell around her. 
The man looked around, saw Elaine and walked over to her.  "Hi, I'm Steve Adderson.  We emailed about meeting, I'm glad you can make it."
"Why did you contact me?" Elaine asked.  She hadn't meant to say it.  She had planned quiet dignity but the words spilled out.
"Your grandfather was Herbert Pettigrew.  He did a favour for someone who..." Steve searched for the words.  "My client takes the matter of debts of honour very seriously.  Your grandfather died before he could repay that debt.  My client felt that the debt carried on in the blood, a strange inheritance.  As you are on the cusp of marriage he thought you should see this."
Elaine barely heard the words as she stared at the envelope Steve was holding out to her.  She had suspected but she didn't want to have proof.  Her fingers felt almost numb as she opened it and pulled out the pictures.
There were a lot of pictures.  One stood out, one burned itself into her eyes.  Keith was having a quiet drink in a bar with the fair haired woman who was in all the pictures with him.  It was the least graphic of them all.  They were not physically close, they were not touching, but the love in their eyes said more than any picture taken through a bedroom window.  Cherry blossom petals fell onto the pictures.
"Wait, who sent you?" Elaine called after Steve but he had walked briskly away and climbed into the car.  Elaine leant against the cherry tree and started to cry. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

When one Door Closes...

This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge and Trifecta which are writing communities who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.

Door 3: a means of access or participation : opportunity <opens new doors> <door to success>



"It's just different ways of working, that's all."
Steven Adderson looked at the man from Headquarters and wondered why he was faking polite interest.  "Really?" he said.
"Did you know that once society ladies had maids who had to dress them?  Look at this."
Steve looked at the fake advert for automated closets.  "Hmm."
"So it isn't that you've been replaced by new machines, just by a different way of working, just like them.  We have to let you go.  It's nothing personal."
The plastic phrase was the final straw.  "Thanks for this chat." Steve stood and held out his hand.  "I appreciate your time."  Five minutes later he was in the car park next to his BMW and wondering what he was going to do now.
Steve looked down at the his key fob.  He loved this car, but how long would an unemployed man be allowed to keep a three week old prestige car?  He had only had it two of those weeks but he loved it with a passion.  A motorbike drove up behind him.  Steve turned round automatically and then froze as the biker took off his helmet.
"Steven Adderson, call centre worker, do you remember me?"
Steve nodded carefully.  "I remember you, Lord Marius.  You are one of the..." Steve searched for the right words. 
"I am one of the elfen, or faerie if you must, and you provided a coveted gift for Lord Cerdig."  Lord Marius put down his helmet and pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket.  "News of your sale has travelled.  I have further requests from a number of powerful elfen Lords.  Lord Lothar requires a new variety of tea.  Lord Karum has requested that you find some wedgewood china.  Lord Laurentius has asked about your knowledge of mobile phones..."
As Lord Marius read the growing list Steve could feel his smile growing.  What was it they said?  As one door shuts another one opens.  It was time for a career change.  

Friday, 26 April 2013

Writing is educational

Writing is sometimes as educational as reading.  I've been struggling to remember what flowers when, as during the last twelve months in the UK the weather has been cold, damp and unpromising and things haven't grown as they should.  A tv show 'The Wartime Farm' struggled to reconstruct farming during WWII because, as the presenter put it, even the weeds weren't growing.  As I have been pottering around this week I have thought the flowers are doing well for the beginning of March.  However I am typing this at the end of April.

So as ever, when everything else fails I turn to google.  I found this site - English Wildflowers, a Seasonal Guide - and I had a good look round.

While I was trying to find the right plants to add to a descriptive passage in 'Digging up the Past' I found a small entry called 'Chickweed Willowherb'.  I had a bit of a look out of curiosity and I found a plant that I had known from childhood as a very common weed that was easy to pull up when weeding and that had pretty flowers.

picture by martinjohnbishop and posted on iSpot

So while I've known what this plant looks like since I was old enough to toddle, I only now know its name.  I probably won't drop it into the middle of a block of description, but I will remember it.

Interestingly enough, as I was looking for a picture for this I found a site called iSpot, which has all sorts of nature sightings and records just sent in by the public.  I found a few bits that were local to me.  So I learned even more.

It's been a good day, I love learning new things.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Exchange on a Bridge


This story is written as a response to a prompt from Write on the Edge which is a writing community who set a prompt every week to encourage people to put finger to keyboard and engage in their imagination.  I thought I would have a go, as I need an encouragement to keep writing.  Here is the prompt and the story that followed.  I hope you enjoy it.


pinhole 970, bridge © Darius Kuzmickas via Flickr
Steve Adderson, call centre worker and now dealer with the Faerie Realm stepped nervously onto the bridge.  It was the same concrete bridge it had always been, however now there was a tall man in a motorcycle helmet standing next to his dark motorbike in the centre of the bridge.
The motorcycle rider removed his helmet.  "Are you Mr Steve Adderson?" He asked. 
Steve swallowed nervously.  What had possessed him to deal with someone who described themselves as elfen?  "I'm Steve Adderson." He said, his voice almost breaking with fear.  "Are you Lord Marius?"
"I am indeed." There was a hint of impatience. "Have you brought it with you?"
Steve swallowed again.  "Yes, I have."
"And payment has cleared in your account?" Lord Marius asked.
"No  offence, but when I was first contacted I read up a bit and they mentioned fairy gold..." Steve took a deep breath.  Lord Marius was a lot taller than him, and he had a dangerous edge that went beyond the trappings of a biker.
"As a kindness, and hoping for a speedy transaction, I will share some small information." Lord Marius leant casually against the railings of the bridge.  "If you are dealing with the elfen, never take food, or drink or cash.  Cheques are usually safe enough, though nothing in any path is guaranteed.  And this treasure that you bring me, which has been bartered hard for, well, that is an illustration of elfen foolishness.  You were contacted by Lord Cerdig." Lord Marius sighed.  "He does not see a great deal of the sunlight realm.  He ventures here rarely and his influence is waning, particularly amongst the younger members of his court.  He seeks to bolster his position so he finds something that his more powerful neighbouring prince covets to buy aid and support." Lord Marius shrugged.  "However this neighbour is in the grip of a strange obsession.  It is a curse of our kind.  He is quite desperate for treasure such as you carry, no matter how odd it seems to others, he pines for it.  So Lord Cerdig offered highly for it, lest another find it first and win it from you."
"I was a bit surprised." Steve said.
"Your treasure has some value in your world, but it is not the same value as that to a desperate elfen prince, buying the heart's desire of a much needed ally." Lord Marius sighed.  "Please give it to me."
Steve hesitantly handed it over.  Lord Marius took out the object, examined it with careful fingers and then finally nodded. 
"It is exactly as described." Lord Marius said.  "Here is a bonus from Lord Cerdig, all the papers are in order."
Steve's reflexes caught the car keys that Lord Marius threw at him.  The very new BMW car keys.  And then he watched Lord Marius ride off into the mist carrying with him a package that would cost, at the best valuation, one fiftieth of the price of the second hand BMW he had been looking at longingly in the local showroom.  And some elfen was now the owner of a 1936 Rupert Bear Annual, mint condition.  He held up the keys to the growing light.  What was the car equivalent of fairy gold? 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

My lion


My Lion

My little lovely tabby is looking rather sweet
The elegant and tabby tail is curled around her feet
Expressionless she looks at me with bland and secret eyes
Assured the plate of sausages was dinner in disguise

I want to read the paper but my lap is occupied
A tabby cat is dozing so I've put my read aside
And though it's really painful as the claws are sinking in
The sound of cat contentment keeps me tickling her chin

It's as if a dozen devils are fighting on the floor
And a screwed up piece of paper is tossed from paw to paw
It's thrown, bit and fought and then chased across the stairs
Then the tabby runs in panic from a fright that isn't there

My cat lies soft in sunlight and her fur is golden bright
Her eyes are slits of slumber as she turns into the light
She stretches like a lion sprawled who drowses in the heat
And dreams of Serengeti mice are twitching at her feet

My tabby's meditating and her limbs are all tucked in
Her head is nodding forward as she draws herself within
And who knows if she meditates to the fire's gentle hum
Her focus will reward her and a lion she'll become.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

I follow in the footsteps of giants

There is a story here on the BBC news website about a ring that inspired Tolkien and a curse tablet linked to it.

I love finding things like this!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Nature Notes

A few years ago I bought one of those diaries that weren't specific to a year.  They had a date like March 15th but no day of the week or year.  The plan was that I would make notes in there of when I observed stuff in nature like the first time I really noticed the leaves turning or the first really warm day.  Then over the years I could leaf through and look at the dates and see what flowers were out and what was around, especially the wild flowers which sometimes have a shorter season.  I have absolutely no idea where that is but I may dig it out or create an electronic alternative.

I remembered that this morning as I noticed forsythia starting to bloom for the first time this morning.  Even without the diary I knew that it was around a month later than it was last year.  This time last year we were knee deep in dandelions and early blossom.  At the moment it is looking far more like January than March through my window.  Of course, this time last year many parts of the UK were under drought warnings.  Now we are all under flood warnings.

It does beg the question - if I am describing a natural scene in a temperate environment, how do I know what is going to be there?  I am currently writing about June, at the time when Wimbledon normally starts.  A huge, overgrown privet that is now tree sized is normally in bloom at this time and the scent is very distinctive when I go and fetch my father's paper.  Last year it was almost a month late as the awful wet and gloomy weather had begun.

I am currently relying on wikipedia.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Read an Ebook Week

Read an Ebook Week kicks off at Smashwords.com next week - linky here.

I have registered for Cats in the Bible to be free that week, so if you haven't read the stories, then now might be a good time to pick it up.  And if you have read all I have put up so far, it is still worth looking at Smashwords.  They are a great publisher and have a really wide range of stuff.  Now is as good a time as any to pick up a free or inexpensive ebook.

Just to add, if you are new to the idea of ebooks, Smashwords is a great place to register as a first stop.  You can get apps or programmes to use on a pc or smartphone to read a book and Smashwords has books compatible with Kobo, sony, Apple and Kindle.  You can download books as text or as a pdf.  It is really, really easy to get inexpensive books to read on the device that connects to the internet.

They also make it extremely easy to give the books as gifts, though I think the recipient needs to be registered as well.  There has been a hiccup or two when I've tried it, but I am sure nothing that can't be worked out.

Spread the word - good books at Smashwords!


Do your bit for Bees


I stumbled onto this site here which is run by the Friends of the Earth, Do Your Bit for Bees.

Our bees are still there.  I saw them hovering around a week ago despite the cold.  I don't know why they are out so early as there is a shortage of flowers around, but hopefully they know what they are doing.



The thing about having a colony of bees in the chimney is that they actually don't cause any trouble.  We don't have a fire in the hearth under the chimney, and when they installed the new gas fire the smoke test was unaffected.  The bees aren't blocking fumes and presumably are unaffected.  Obviously they do benefit from the warmth which may be drifting up there, and the fact that it is on a south facing slope.  And that there is a lot of waste land around full of plants.  And some gardens around here have flowers (some don't!).  And there is farmland, and some attempts at woodland.  There is also a lot of factory/warehouse type places that have lots of buddleia growing around the edges which are heaven for bees and butterflies.  I live in a bit of a hodge podge area, and it does have its benefits.

The bees have been around for years, and have never been any bother.  They have hardly been in the house over the years.  They haven't stung anyone to my knowledge.  They keep themselves to themselves and all is fine.  I do get a bit stressed if they swarm, but that isn't common and they haven't caused any trouble then either.

I am wondering about buying some bee-friendly seeds.  They can't go in the garden.  Darling father has Views about what goes in the garden and while it does include some very bee friendly stuff, no-one had better mess with his roses.  I could scatter them on the wasteland and hope the local starlings and sparrows don't get them, and it would make it a lot prettier.  As I haven't done much to look after the bees so far perhaps I ought to make an effort.

I just wish I got some honey out of it.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A New Cover!

Tom (Thomas Marlowe) has kindly designed an amazing, exactly what I want, brilliant cover for the next book.

All I need to do now is write something that lives up to it!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Bible quotes

It's amazing how you can find the Word in all sorts of contexts...

I am not sure who originally posted this, as it is in a few places on the net - but that is such a brave, or very stupid cat.