More irresistible stuff

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Frosty Haiku

Join the fun!
You know ... that Blog?

Today's topic is Frost

Winter's soft caress
Seeps silently through the dawn
Laying crystal shroud

Fractal formations
Eternal repetitions
Fleetingly frozen

Christmas visiting
Black sheep of the family
Frosty reception

Monday, 27 December 2010

Microfiction Monday 27 Dec

Monday Microfiction is hosted by Susan at Stony River and requires an entry of no more than 140 characters.

I just about made it on Monday this week!

Look Woody, when they said "oh, you're so gull-ible, you ought to live at the seaside" - really are!

Ralph and Madge couldn't decide whether the beach or the promenade were better pickings. They preferred to sit on the fence.

Communication was a problem. They only spoke pigeon English.

P.S. Seeing Madeleine's MFM reminded me of an old joke (adapted to suit the picture):

Pigeon 1: The beaches are crowded today
Pigeon 2: yeah, takes the skill out of it.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Here's wishing you a very Happy Christmas!

I hope your day is blessed with joy and peace.

We have just enjoyed a lovely Christmas lunch with my wife's family and are eagerly awaiting our presents! As we attend church in the morning, we always wait until the afternoon before opening presents.

This morning I had the great privilege of preaching at the morning service. As it was a family oriented service, I asked what made Christmas special for the people there. As you might expect top of the list were presents, food, family and the Doctor Who Christmas Special. I asked the children why we celebrated Christmas this way and it wasn't long before one of them told me it was Jesus' birthday. So I asked them why we celebrated Jesus birthday at all, after all - do we celebrate other people's birthdays? I asked one of the children (about six years old) whether his mum and dad put up decorations to celebrate my birthday. He thought for a moment. "Sometimes" he said!
After we had established that we don't actually celebrate other people's birthdays, not even the vicar's or the Queen's, we thought about what was special about Jesus.
We celebrate because in Jesus God himself came down to live amongst us. Why? Because God loves us. We might expect that if God came to earth he would be angry - after all the reason he had to come at all was because we had messed up so badly, we had rejected God, turned away from him and failed to be everything he created us to be. But no! God came to be one of us, so that we might be one with him. He came to show us what love is, so that we might show love to one another. And that is the real meaning of Christmas.

Have a fantastic Christmas everyone - love and be loved this day. xxx

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Microfiction Monday on Tuesday

Monday Microfiction is hosted by Susan at Stony River and requires an entry of no more than 140 characters.

I'm sorry this is so late. Been quite a week so far!

Anne's was at the market, Bob was at home with his, Di's was full and Jon's was hungry. Why, thought Al, is mine weeing all the way home?

and because I can never limit myself to just the one!

Piglet's contract with Disney permitted a few luxuries: personal carrier and present bearer were the only essentials.

Martha had promised Will some special presents for saving her bacon.

Five had gone to the party, but then Frederick had made a pig of himself.

I'd better stop there!

I am serving sherry and mince pies on the Santa Special tomorrow.

Great way of getting into the Christmas mood!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Christmas Haiku

If you were looking for my Query Letter Blogfest entry - it's up there on its very own page!

My offerings are not your usual Christmas fair ...

Which one resonates most with you?

Christmas feast groaning
Presents heaped beneath the tree
Where is Bethlehem?

Homeless and hungry
Cold seeps through rags, stench and grime
Open heart and home

Excitement mounting
Soul deep joy transforming all
find the inner child

Thursday, 16 December 2010

King of the Mutants

Come and support Samantha Verant (can't do accents!)

Samantha's book "The King of Mutants" is an MG adventure about a boy who runs away from the circus. But don't take my word for it: "After Maverick discovers his mutations are the result of a billionaire's experiments, he sets off on a wild road trip to track the madman down."

Go read Samantha blog and find out all about her wonderful give away as she storms

Help Samantha propel The King of Mutants into the stratosphere. Well, the top 25 anyway!

Tell her I sent you!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Join the fun!
You know ... that Blog?

Today's topic is Harmonics

Simple harmonics
are oscillating waveforms
Art and science combined

The wind wuthering
Like a ghost that haunts the moors
Petrifying guests

Four vibrating strings
pinched just so and made to dance
Igniting the soul

My draft query letter is not just for Blogfest entrants!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Charity's 1 Year Giveaway

Charity Bradford at My Writing Journey is having a first anniversary give away. She is offering one free first chapter critique for every ten people who enter.

Her critiques consist of a lot of comments. She generally writes whatever pops into my head as she reads. For instance:

  • what she likes
  • if something is confusing
  • questions that she's asking
  • passive voice
  • anything that throws me out of the story
  • telling when you could show
  • grammar and mechanical issues

The goal is to give you a glimpse into the mind of your reader. 

  • Is she asking the questions you WANT her to be asking?
  • Is she hooked on your characters? Setting? Premise?
  • Would she like to read more?
This is a great offer. 


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Monday Microfiction 13 Dec 2010

Monday Microfiction is hosted by Susan at Stony River and requires an entry of no more than 140 characters.

Sally had been excited about her new role in "Scrubs"


CRIME SCHOOL: "First fleece your marks then launder the takings."
Bo-Peep hadn't quite got the hang of it yet.

Have a happy Monday!

Query Letter Blogfest

Click to read on the Query Letter Blogfest page.

Don't forget to check out the answer to my Through the Kehole Blogfest entry and see who came closest!

In case you missed it, here is my Harry Potter Blogfest entry.

Results for the Through the Keyhole Blogfest



So who slept in the pink bedroom?
A flamboyant extrovert, one who makes sure she is as attractive as possible, with expensive make up and perfume. A lady of the night? No, only one side of the bed is slept on. So lets look deeper. She reads Jazz magazine and has a used book of matches from Ronnie Scott's, the most famous Jazz club in London. The sugar, lemon and honey is a great favourite with singers. The alarm is set for noon, so someone used to staying up until the early hours, someone who doesn't have to get up for work in the morning, so she works at night. The coloured, un-natural hair suggests someone who creates a persona - a performer. But the most subtle clue is the nicotine free air. Not a smoker then, and yet the used book of matches. I agree that she might have just visited the club, but perhaps she actually works there as a jazz singer!

Madeleine was the first to mention a singer, but Stu got that little bit closer by saying a Jazz singer! Well done Stu - the coveted Through the Keyhole Key is yours!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Harry Potter Blogfest

Michael is hosting the great Harry Potter Blogfest. Here is my entry.

I have often been told that I look just like Mr Weasley, but until last Christmas I hadn’t realised how true it was. I was walking down a street in Shoreditch on Christmas Eve, one of those lanes that seem impossibly narrow, lined with shops full of curiosity, when I caught a glimpse of myself. I turned to look and, there, on the other side of the glass, was a version of me, resplendent in floor length robes and a purple velvet hat.
I couldn’t help myself. I grinned and went into the shop.
“You look just like Arthur Weasley” I said, sure that it would be a great compliment. “From the Harry Potter books,” I added when the man stared at me in surprise.
“He is Arthur Weasley,” the ancient man behind the counter said. It was more of a cackle, to be honest. He had a white beard that disappeared below the counter, probably all the way to the floor. “You’re the one what looks like Arthur Weasley.”
I held out my hand. “I’m Dominic,” I said. “It’s amazing to meet you actually, you know, in reality.”
Arthur shook my hand warmly enough but he seemed puzzled. “I don’t think I know you,” he said. “I think I would know if I had met myself before.”
“You’re famous, Arthur,” I said. “Everyone knows you.”
The old man laughed, slapping his hand on the counter, took a wheezing breath and collapsed into a fit of coughing.
“Are you alright Pestival?” Arthur said. He strode across the room to slap the old man on the back and catapulted him halfway across shop. I helped Arthur hoist the old man to his feet, Arthur apologising all the while. The old man grinned and waved away Arthur’s apologies.
“There you are Arthur, just what I been saying. You’re forever tinkering with them muggly things but you don’t know nothing about what’s happening in the muggle world.”
Just then the door opened and a little girl with a mass of red hair bounded into the shop, followed by a couple in their late twenties. The girl ran up to Arthur, but stopped when she caught sight of me. She looked quizzically backwards and forwards between us, and then grinned.
“Grandpa One,” she said, pointing at Arthur “and Grandpa Two.” She pointed at me.
“Bloody hell,” the young man said looking at me. “How did you do that, Dad?”
“You must be Ron then,” I said, “and Hermione,” as the young woman joined us. “And this must be little Rose!” Seriously I know those books too well.
Rose beamed up at me. “Where’s Grandma Two?” she said.
Ron put his father’s hat on my head. “What do you reckon, Hermione?”
“Ron, I can read you like a book, and I think you are very mean to your mother.”
Ron grinned. “Oh come on, Hermione – two Dads! Let’s see if Mum can tell the difference!”
And that was how I came to spend a magical Christmas Eve in the best house in the world.

Friday, 10 December 2010


I read this story about Steven Neary and was appalled.

Steven Neary is a young man with autism who went into respite care while his father was ill. He just wanted to be with his father and the circumstances upset him. The staff did not know how to treat him properly and he was sent into even more unfamiliar settings, where he was understandably confused and agitated. ONE YEAR on he is fighting against being detained FOR LIFE because the authorities cannot see that shutting him up for a year away from his family is the cause of his "difficult" behaviour. (Stephen has all his life tapped people on the shoulder to attract their attention and this was logged by the staff as "assault").

Read the story for yourself here

Please take a look and PLEASE sign the petition.

Anyone in the world can sign this, and the London Borough of Hillingdon needs to know that the eyes of the world is on it!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

You recognise the picture already!

Many thanks to

for my Fair Dinkum award!

Having received the highest accolade possible (to an Australian) I can now bask in the appreciation!

I think it would only be fair to have to do a bit of work for this award, so here are three things that are Fair Dinkum in my life

  • Faith - I cannot think of anything more real or more defining of true character
  • Family - The love and support of my family are very precious to me - I hope they keep me real!
  • Fiction - Yes, I know it's a contradiction in terms - how can fiction be real / genuine? It is through fiction that the real me is finally emerging!

I would like to award the L'Aussie Fair Dinkum award to:

Elaine AM Smith at Wordsmithing for a really interesting series of articles about writing, and for having a really great blog

Clarissa Draper at Listen to the Voices for her fascinating series on poisons (if you have to ask - go see for yourself!) and for a wonderful variety of interesting posts

Joanna st James at Bionic Writer for being incredibly un-boring!! Fabulous blog, interesting and varied, fun and witty.

Ok .... over to you and let's hear three things that are "Fair Dinkum" in your lives!


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Haiku Wednesday 8 Dec 10

Today is Sensational Haiku Wednesday at Jen's Blog and today's theme is ... CRABBY

OK ... so someone likes a challenge!


Christmas: Peace on Earth,
Goodwill to all men, except
Ebenezer Scrooge.

Winter makes me SAD
Fused light means shorter day,
Mean days and short fuse


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Find of the Week

Today's Find of the Week is Neelz Expressionz

Neil Walker is amazingly creative and his work really has to be seen. That is an unsubtle hint to get yourself over to Neil's blog and see for yourself!

Here are a few of the creations that particularly caught my eye:

There are plenty more where these came from!

Creativity is something we all value, whether it be in the written word, crafts, the visual arts, music. We should show our appreciation to the one who creates!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Microfiction Monday 6 Dec 2010

Welcome to another round of Microfiction Monday courtesy of Susan at Stony River. Each week Susan posts a new picture and invites us to write a story in 140 characters or less.

Today's picture:

Time robs the heart of grief
and leaches from the cluttered mind
memories of a fading past.
Cold stone,
standing tall,
Semper In Memoriam

An Unexpected Tale - Round 2

Round 2 of the Unexpected tale game (see what it's all about here.)
saw us writing with:
Paragraph 1 - Poor man, in a forest, during Victorian times
Paragraph 2 - meets a rich woman
Paragraph 3 - being trapped
Paragraph 4 - Fate is confirmed

This time we dispensed with the 100 word limit and just made it "a paragraph"

Edwin Carbolly shuffled along the forest path, dragging his foraging sack behind him. The gleanings were sparse at this time of year and Edwin feared for the health of his children. From the path he could see the wall that ran around the Earl’s parkland and he thought of the damaged culvert where the winding stream passed through. A man could squeeze through undetected at night if he were of a mind, and if his belly were empty enough, and his children sickening. From the broken culvert a heart pounding creep through the trees brought the trespasser to the rear of the walled garden, the rabbit hutches, the hatcheries and vegetable stores. His brother had passed that way and his brother had hanged.

Edwin shouldered his sack and trudged on through the trees. He had not walked for more than a few hundred paces when he became aware of the drumming of hoof beats. He moved off the track and waited, resting on a stump. Within a few moments two riders, a richly dressed man and woman, came into view dashing through the trees, laughing with exhilaration at their race. He stood as they neared, preparing to continue his journey, but the movement snagged the woman’s attention and as they passed him a low branch caught the woman across the chest. With a shriek she tumbled from her horse and crashed into the undergrowth. Edwin leapt forward with a cry of alarm and hurried towards her.

As Edwin neared the woman he could see that her face was scratched and her riding jacket badly torn.
“Are you alright, my Lady?” he asked, pulling at the brambles into which she had fallen. She gave a sharp cry as the tangled brambles tugged at a fallen branch into which her foot was unnaturally lodged.
He heard a bellow from behind him and as he turned he saw the man, his face twisted in rage, swing a stout stick. He opened his mouth in surprise, then the world crashed down upon him and went dark.
When he woke, his head throbbed and a stench of filth and corruption filled his nostrils. He sat up and the waves of nausea that convulsed him would have emptied his stomach if there had been anything in it. At last his head stopped spinning and vision cleared. He lay upon a hard bunk in a filthy cell with no other furniture. A tiny barred window high up on the wall showed that it was already twilight. Night would soon fall and he would be without light.

He hauled himself off the bunk and staggered to the door of the cell. He thumped on it and waited. After what seemed to be an eternity, with the light fading, he heard the scrape of a key in the lock. A large man in a peeler’s uniform, carrying a lantern, pushed his way into the cell, and shoved Edwin back onto the bunk.
“What’s all the noise about?” the peeler asked
“Why am I here, what is going on?” Edwin asked, a sick panic rising in his chest.
“Attempted murder of Lady Isabella,” the peeler said. “No doubt as a revenge for the just punishment of your brother.” He seemed satisfied.
“No! It wasn’t like that, you have to believe me,” Edwin said, fear and anguish cracking his voice.
The peeler looked at him unmoved. “Criminality runs in the family, mark my words.”
He moved back to the cell door and opened it again. “They will try you in the morning and you’ll swing by sunset,” he said as he closed the door behind him. The cell was plunged into utter darkness.

This is a fun way of stretching one's creative muscles, especially in a group of writers. It's fascinating to see the very different takes on the same basic ingredients!

Perhaps this is an idea for a blogfest - what do you think?

The Unexpected Tale - Round 1

Emma created a creative writing game for us to play. The rules are here. In summary we used dice to decide on a MC, location and time. We then wrote one paragraph. Next we used dice to create a second character that our MC had to meet in the second paragraph. After completing the second paragraph, we used the die to create an event for our third paragraph. Only then did we use the die to determine what sort of ending our story was to have in the final paragraph.

So here is my version of Round 1

Paragraph 1 - Male, Fighter, Mountains, World Wars
Paragraph 2 - Small boy
Paragraph 3 - Explosion
Paragraph 4 - Joy

Hans Brinkmann stubbed out his cigarette and blew on his hands to warm them as the cold night air of the French Alps bit deep. He was only a few miles from border with Switzerland and half a day’s drive from his homeland. Below him in the darkness stretched the fields of the Bas-Rhin, with their vineyards, wineries and deadly partisans. He ran his hand through his close cropped fair hair and settled his uniform cap more snugly on his head. He sighed and thought of Claus and Heidi starting school and Kahren probably on night duty at the hospital.

Hans hitched his rifle and continued his patrol back towards the mountain road guardhouse. He stopped as a furtive rustle snagged his attention. Heart hammering in his chest, he levelled his rifle at the darkness.
Arrettez. Qui va la?” he shouted, in bad French.
Silence greeted his challenge.
He fished out his flashlight and shone it towards the bushes. The beam caught a pale flash, and the shiver of leaves as a figure retreated into the shadow.
Hans sprinted towards the bush, and within a few strides caught up with the small dark haired boy that had burst from hiding.

Even as Hans grabbed the boy’s arm and yanked him to a halt, a massive explosion cracked open the guard house and sent Hans and the boy spinning into the deep shadows. Rifle fire cracked and whistled overhead. The boy struggled but Hans held him tightly.
Arrettez,” he whispered harshly. “Restez en bas. C’est dangereux
A siren began to wail and answering fire from the German outpost flashed in the night. The main partisan assault seemed to be away to his left, but silent shadows also crept up the hill to his right. He had to warn his comrades.

Abruptly, the partisan assault faltered and the fighting retreated from the ruined guardhouse. Surely his Hauptmann would realise it was a ruse? Hans crept into the bushes, pulling the boy with him. As he made his way up the hill, ears straining, he suddenly became aware of dozens of small bodies huddled into a deep rill and understanding burst upon him.
He pushed the boy forward, and the child beamed with joy. "Merci, oh merci." Then the boy disappeared into the shadows.
Hans backed away. Let the children find a new life over the border, this war was not theirs.

This story had the added complication that we had set a maximum of 100 words per paragraph and that requires incredible discipline!

Emma's version ratchetted up the tension somewhat and in my (unbiased!) opinion is excellent. Go check it out!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Through the Keyhole Blogfest - Updated!

Madeleine at Scribble and Edit is hosting a blogfest until 11th December.
The object is to "Describe someone's living space in no more than 500 words so that we can vividly imagine the absent person. Then guess from the descriptions posted the type of person who might live in a room like this.
It could be a policeman, assylum seeker, a housewife, an author, a foster child, a Vicar who likes DIY, an axe murderer (!) anyone you like, really, but no-one famous."

So here is my entry:

Doug Jarvis, Private Eye.

I went into the bedroom and looked around. First impressions? Pink.
The air was sweet, Boss Femme and nicotine free.
There was a double bed, the duvet with a bold pink and purple floral design, Evelyn by Seymours. To either side of the bed, narrow shelves held matching table lamps. There was a built in wardrobe down one side of the room, a full length mirror on one door. A well lit dressing table stood next to an unused fireplace with mantel shelf over. An easy chair with a pink throw over it completed the furniture. There were empty hooks on the walls.
I checked the mantel shelf and sure enough lines in the dust showed where someone had cleaned out the photos and momentos that might give away the identity of the room’s occupant. Yeah well, they figured without Doug Jarvis.
I checked the bed; the set of pillows on the right, furthest from the window, was marked by makeup, the other was clean. A copy of Jazz magazine lay on the right hand shelf and an alarm clock. I pressed the alarm button and found the time was set for noon. I walked around the bed to check the other shelf, but it was empty with no marks in the fine layer of dust.
The dressing table was littered with makeup: bright lipsticks, neon eye shadow, volumizing mascara, expensive foundation and concealer. The hairbrush contained strands of dark hair, but also blonde and red, but they didn’t look natural. There was a used book of matches on the dressing table from Ronnie Scott’s.
A white substance on the surface dressing table aroused my suspicions, but it turned out to sugar. There was a small packet of it next to a bottle of lemon juice and a jar of honey.
I was sure I knew who slept in this room.

How about you – who sleeps here?


Thursday, 2 December 2010


The view from my front door The road outside my house
My front garden My back garden
Looking at the ... ... neighbours!

Ok I know that this nothing if you live in the snow belt south of Michigan, but for the UK this is serious stuff! :D

How is the weather where you are?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Advice wanted!

OK .. so here is the dilemma:

I am from three worlds. I guess that makes me into an alien or something, but this is what I mean...

As D.J. de Mattos, I am Managing Director of a Civil and Structural Engineering consultancy. As such I am a professional, a problem solver, a businessman. I am an employer and my aim is to be successful in order to provide stable employment, therefore I must win and keep the respect and trust of my clients

As Dom de Mattos I am a Reader in the Church of England (that is effectively a lay minister). I preach about once a month and often take part in leading the services. My focus is on people, on their needs and concerns. My aim is to understand, and help others to make sense of, the human world that we can see around us in the light of one we cannot see.

You are getting to know me as Dominic de Mattos, blogger and occasional tweeter. I also have a facebook presence (although not visited for quite some months). I also have a presence on a couple of forums (fora?), so I guess I can say that I am not a complete stranger to social media.

So far so good, but now I am developing as a writer with very serious ambitions of becoming published, I need to think carefully about my identity. My daughter told me that she had googled her name "to see what it's up to these days" - which made me laugh. I tried it myself, of course, and realised that my multiple identities are spread over a couple of pages of google, to be viewed by everyone, from clients, to parishioners, to potential readers.

So after all that ramble, the question - should I create a new name and social media presence as a writer? That way I can control what my clients are able to read about my creative side, whilst also controlling what readers can find out about me and my other lives. Part of me thinks it is a good idea, but my heart baulks. My name is an essential part of who I am, as is the writer within. To separate the two seems an alien concept. In fifty years time, if I am remembered at all, it is my writing that I would wish to be my legacy. My work in the church is not about me, or making my mark, my legacy there is the joy and peace that I see in the lives of others. My company is not about me, it is about each and every employee on whose hard work the company's success has been built.

Do I separate myself, or do I say I am who I am and all the parts of my life are what feeds my writing?
... or am I over-blowing my ego, because no-one is going to care one way or the other?

What do you think?

Haiku Wednesday 1 Dec 10

Join the fun!

Thanks to Jen at You know ... that blog for hosting our Wednesday Haiku treat. This week the theme is Antique

My entry is inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Ozymandias which (you may remember :P) goes

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Irrefutable ruler
Lost and forgotten

Ozymandias was one of only two poems that I learnt off by heart. Don't ask me why!

A more light hearted one for good measure

Found in the attic,
The kids gasp at the antique.
Just boyhood treasures.

Why not write your own and visit Jen!