Losing the plot, and finding it again

As you may know, I have hypergraphia. As far as I can tell, I’ve always had it. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t driven to write. I have never been diagnosed with any of the frequently associated conditions. While I will write on anything, if there is no other option, the relief valve only really opens properly if I’m able to use a very specific combination of pen and paper. What that combination is has changed over the years. The earliest preference I can remember was for wide ruled A4, and some sort of 0.5mm fibre tip. Years later, my preference moved onto a specific weight of narrow-ruled feint and margin A4, and a Bic cristal grip biro. I still have a stash of thirty or so of these pens in a ziplock bag, and find them in random places around the house, even though my preference had …

Pretty Little Vampires and Ludwig find homes

I’m delighted to report the sale of my dark modern fantasy Pretty Little Vampires to Rooster Republic Press for their Not All Monsters anthology: There are monsters in every woman’s life. And while maybe not ALL monsters are so bad, I want you to tell me about the dark and twisted ones. PLV is a twisted but fun little tale of what happens when a woman, tired of her mundane office existence, gets rather more than she bargains for after believing something she reads on the internet. I’m really happy it has found a home with RRP. Expect this one out sometime in 2020. I’m equally delighted to tell you that another story of mine, Ludwig, has sold to Mad Scientist Journal for their anthology I Didn’t Break the Lamp: Historical Accounts of Imaginary Acquaintances. This story is close to my heart: I was super excited by the open submissions …

Seasonal synaesthesia

We’re full into autumn now. The geese started flying in a few weeks ago, and Storm Callum took most of the leaves off our rowan trees. The berries have remained untouched by the starlings, who normally devour them before I can gather enough to make jelly. They may have suffered from this year’s prolonged drought. The dog is spending more time outdoors than in, which is our cue that winter is on its way. We have had days of phenomenal sunsets and dawns, which covered social media (if you happen to follow photography sites) with pictures of lenticular and mammatus clouds, as well as the more generally expected cirrus and cirrocumulus looking like lava. These apocalyptic skies are a result of Rayleigh Scattering in the high atmosphere, where dust is kept aloft by high pressure — hence the old saying, “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight.” The skies have coincided …

Book review: Mythos

Over Christmas I read, and very much enjoyed, Mythos — national treasure Stephen Fry’s retelling of the Greek myths. I love books about myths, and am lucky enough to have an extensive collection of myth and folklore gracing my shelves. My own introduction to the Greek myths was in the form of the classic Robert Graves, when I was young (so not that particular edition). I was fascinated by these all-too-human deities, who used their great power in the pursuit of goals and desires that seemed rather petty and trivial in the grand scheme of things; entirely self-serving and capricious. This depiction of deity as being similar to humans, but on a much larger scale with everything they did and felt; the idea of deity personifying aspects of human experience, was one I found fascinating, and still do. (Not that I would have been able to put that into words …

Anchor away

Two months ago, we adopted a five-and-a-half year-old Siberian Husky/Alaskan Malamute cross. We’d been looking for a dog for almost two years at that point, and had been unsuccessful in persuading the Rescue Centres that the dogs we liked were suitable for us, and us for them. But that was fine. We weren’t interested in any particular dog, we were interested in the right dog. We were about to register interest in yet another collie, only to be pipped at the last minute. I found out when I opened the website to show a work colleague who had also recently embarked on the dog ownership adventure. Although disappointed that our pick had gone, I spotted a dog that hadn’t been there even that morning. After a quick check with Frood, I filled out the form, and after that it all happened very quickly. They asked us if we were prepared …

On an absence of time

It’s hard to believe it’s November already. I don’t know where time has gone. I realise I haven’t updated this blog since May — it has been even longer since I did anything with my other one — and, for once, I’m not going to hold myself to task over it. A friend and I were having a glum discussion about boilers the other day, and the terrifying prospect of having to replace one. To give this some context, when Frood and I bought our house in early 2015, we knew it was going to be a bit of a project. We hadn’t realised how much of a project it would turn out to be. As my friend said, being an adult pretty much turns out to be a game of resource management. This house has taken up a lot of resource, in terms of time, energy and money, and …

Spotty raptors: not a moment’s peace

It’s fledgling time for the spotty raptors. “Oh hey wow. One of four, eh? Must be tough.” “Dude, you have no idea. It’s impossible to get any peace. It’s all ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. I can’t even have a bath without one of the others wanting to get in too. Just five minutes, you know? That’s all. That’s all I want. Just five minutes. Or two. I’d settle for two. Or even one. Hell. Yeah. Let’s say one. One damn minute of peace. To chill, have a drink. Get some water up under the feathers. There’s no way I’ll ever be able to eat in peace, I’m not going to torture myself imagining being able. To eat. By myself. Without one of THEM trying to get in on the act. But a bath? You’d think I could manage one godsdamned freaking minute by myself to …

Brief link round-up

Now both have launched, reviews of both Best of Apex Magazine Volume 1 and Clockwork Phoenix 5 are available. Here are a few links for the interested: 365shortstories has posted reviews for all of the CP5 stories. Mike Allen has rounded them up over at Also at Mythic Delirium, Mike has posted links to a review from Andrea Johnson and to a livestream of the busy launch party. There are a number of reviews of Best of Apex Volume 1 up at Goodreads, including a 4/5 star review for She Gave Her Heart, He Took Her Marrow from one reviewer (thanks, Althea Ann!). CP5 could use some reviews up at Amazon, so if you’ve read it please consider posting a review. Every one helps!

Spring cleaning

Spring means the return of communal bathing season. The birds didn’t do much bathing over winter, unsurprisingly. Now the sun forays forth occasionally and Floralia is upon us, they are back at it. It’s also baby-making time, so our garden is a flurry of frantic feathered fauna doing their best to put ALL THE FOOD into their beaky faces to take back to the nest. While chatting with a colleague at work over a break, looking out the window at some seagulls, I voiced aloud my imaginings of what the birds might be thinking. She expressed surprise that anyone would do this — I have no idea whether this habit results from a childhood of indoctrination by Johnny Morris, or simply my constantly hyper-active imagination. I can only assume there’s something instinctive about it, though; since being exposed to the concept, my colleague tells me the habit has caught on. …

Semi-obligatory 2016 awards post

I’ve noticed that it’s the time of year for award eligibility, so here is what I’ve got in the running for 2016 awards. This isn’t Skook, but it looks like him. I had a slow year on the writing front, but She Gave Her Heart, He Took Her Marrow is eligible in the short story category and available to read for free (or you can listen to the podcast). Should you wish to cast some love in the direction of Hedron, Chancery and Skook, I could bathe in the warm fuzzies like a happy baby sea flap flap. It also turns out this marks my first year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer. My thanks to the moderators, especially