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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Nano Week 2

NaNoWriMo Day 12
(as DominicSFF)

(Buddies welcome!)

I have passed the 20,000 mark, which is a great psychological milestone and hope to break the half way point today (or maybe tomorrow because writing has slowed appreciably since the plot line got a bit more hazy!)

Here is a tiny excerpt from the very latest bit of writing

“Terrible things are happening at the hall, Mistress Tarvi.”
The older woman clicked her tongue and gently laid her hand on Kari’s. “Mynah, dear.”
Kari swallowed, how could she repay this woman’s kind and generous heart by breaking it?
“The Magister Rector has been murdered, Mynah, and evil men seek to take control.”
“You know this, do you, dear?” It was said kindly, but with not unreasonable scepticism, given that scullery maids are not known for being at the centre of power.
“Sometimes people find themselves somewhere unexpected and hear things they shouldn’t. I was one and ...” She fought against the tears that pricked her eyes and the grief that seized her throat. “Rashad was another.”
Mynah, grew still, her face pale.
“I escaped,” Kari said. “The Power saved me; I don’t know why.” She couldn’t go on.
“and Rashad?” Mynah voice was barely a whisper.
Words fled and the tears that rolled silently down Kari’s cheeks spoke for her.

This is just before she blows up the tavern.

As you do.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

In Love with Nano

NaNoWriMo Day 6
(as DominicSFF)

(Buddies welcome!)

Ok, it's official. I am addicted. I LOVE writing!

I know everyone says, "just write don't edit", but I couldn't help myself. I just had to re-read everything I had written virtually every time I sat down to write. It's hardly surprising that I never got anywhere and my stories became tired and boring (to me at least). Now WriMo has set me free! I have no time for reading through once, let alone many times. No time for editing, I just have to write, and enjoy the story as it unfolds. I am absolutely loving it, and I just can't get enough of writing! I have reached the 16,000 word mark, so have a comfortable little margin for those days I won't be able to write.

I'll share a little teaser with you - it's the excerpt on the NaNoWriMo site.

“Kill her,” he said through clenched teeth.
One of the guard raised his sword and lunged forward.
“No!” Kari screamed and then she was free. The guards in front of her were hurled high into the air. A splintering behind her told her that Borsten had been flung backwards into the lectern. She did not wait to work out what had happened but ran like the wind towards the doors. She leapt over Rashad’s crumpled body, tears blinding her, anger seething in her heart. The Magisters were in uproar, but no-one unleashed the Power against her. The guards, scattered across the chamber floor, were struggling to their feet. She ran past the dining hall and past the stairs to the kitchens, she ran blindly and without thought. She ran into the great entrance hall and towards the great bronze doors of the entrance tower, the first and greatest part of the Loremaster’s Hall. She ran at the doors even though they were closed against her, and barely noticed the guards, tossed before her fury like autumn leaves. She screamed defiance at the doors, and they burst outwards in a shower of twisted shards. Half the tower wall blew out at the force of her will. She stood at the centre of a maelstrom of Power and felt it tearing her apart. Then with a massive groan the great tower above fell in upon itself and Kari looked up as a mountain of stone rained down upon her.

A (hopefully) unexpected end to Chapter 5. Would I kill off my MC? How could she possibly survive?

Remember that this is unpolished and unlikely to remain in this form through editing

Sunday, 30 October 2011


As part of my preparation for starting NaNoWriMo on Tuesday, I have sketched out an outline for my story. This seemed like a good place to share it!

Ella Purnell would make a good Kira - short and slim, pretty (but desperately trying to hide it) allowing her to blossom when she wins her freedom. When the story starts Kira is pretending to be several years younger than she really is.

***SPOILER WARNING*** Well you never know - I might even finish it!

*Insert Title Here*

Kira is nothing, the most lowly servant, overlooked and insignificant – until now.

She has lived all her young life in fear of the abuse and corruption in the hall of the Loremasters, the (misogynist, arrogant and cruel) mages who rule Herendia. While the Lormasters’ greed plunges the country into the turmoil of war, an avalanche of events brings Kira to the unwanted attention of the Ruling Council. She resolves to flee, taking with her the Telling, the holy book and source of the Power of Herendia, in the hope that this would stop the war.

She is caught in the attempt and is excommunicated; a punishment worse than death. She manages to escape but her world continues to unravel. The Power is lost to the Loremasters, and without it, Herendia’s armies are routed. With the neighbouring countries intent on obliterating the Loremasters and taking the people of Herendia into slavery, Kira is crushed by a feeling of responsibility.

The only manifestation of the Power in the whole of Herendia seems to be from Kira herself, in the form of wild, uncontrollable bursts. She returns the Telling to the Lormasters, but they remain cut off from the power. In desperation she sets off to meet the advancing armies - one young woman against the hordes. Soon she discovers that the few who choose to follow her become emPowered. Together they re-take a castle captured by the enemies, in order to provide a refuge for the fleeing Herendian troops. As more and more soldiers join them and become emPowered, Kira finds herself with a small but formidable army. In a series of spectacular victories they beat back the invaders and forge a new treaty, sealed by the Power.

The Ruling Council pretend to welcome Kira back and renounce the excommunication. The Loremasters regain their Power, but in so doing, Kira loses it. She is taken and handed over to the guard for execution. The guard however secretly want to be emPowered and pledge allegiance to Kira, helping her to escape. In a flash of inspiration, she realises that the Telling is not the source of the Power, but a corrupt leeching of it. In a daring raid, under the very noses of the Loremasters, she seizes and destroys the Telling.

Kira realises too that the more people who are emPowered the weaker each person’s Power becomes. To prevent the Power ever being abused again, she encourages the whole population to pledge allegiance and to become emPowered. Without meaning to, Kira has become queen and we are left with a hint that life is not going to become any easier!

So there you have it. Lots of detail omitted of course.

My big problem right now is that a Title has not yet materialised out of the ether. How do you go about finding your book title?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Getting Ready

I'm back after a six week sabbatical and have a lot of catching up to do!

I find that I cannot spend a few hours a week each on a variety of different activities, such as blogging, contributing to forums, reading, writing, games, as well as the non-negotiable parts of my life, such as church commitments, family commitments, making a success of my business. So I rotate. I tend to pour all my spare time into one interest at a time and make a success of it, then when I start to miss the enjoyment I had in one of my other interests, I abandon the one interest in favour of the other. It's not an ideal way to live ones life, but I find that I cannot bear to be mediocre and that means dedication and practice.

So am I returning to my passion for blogging? Well, yes and no. Actually I am returning to my passion for writing and have decided to give NaNowriMo a go this year. That means every spare moment will be dedicated to writing. I do however intend to post here regularly to update progress, perhaps share a few snippets, share some plot dilemmas or beg for inspiration for that elusive character name!

So wish me luck (I'll need it!) and if you are also taking part (or know someone who is), be sure to leave me a comment. I am looking for people to share this adventure and with whom I can encourage and commiserate.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Watching Willow Watts Launch Party!

It's really great to see so many blogs out there celebrating the Launch of Talli Rolland's Watching Willow Watts - her fabulous second novel.

I have my copy already and if you're so inclined, you can buy a copy of Willow for yourself on Amazon UK for £1.71, or on for $2.99.
Paperback coming in November!

So ... If I could be anyone, who would I be?

There are so many choices, as there are so many people that I admire (and envy just a little bit). But the person I'm going to choose is Bertie Wooster.

Bertie Wooster was a fiction character created by the inimitable PG Wodehouse. He is a gentleman of independent means (in other words sufficiently wealthy that doesn't have to work for a living) and is looked after by the utterly brilliant Jeeves - his "gentleman's gentleman". If you ever get a chance to read any of the PG Wodehouse stories or watch any of the TV series episodes broadcast between 1990 and 1993, staring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, take it with both hands.
I can only hope I wouldn't be such a silly ass as poor old Bertie!

Actually, if I were to give a more serious answer to this question, I would say that if I could be anyone, I would be me. For all the ups and downs of my life, I wouldn't want anyone else's, because I already have so much that I could not bear to let go.

Good luck Talli with launch day - I hope that Willow is the huge success that you deserve it to be!

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Pivotal Point

Last week I awoke from a hectic dream where I was the central character at a moment of high drama. I was aware that the world was fully formed in the background and the moment of the dream was a wonderful plot twist where the villain tried to destroy me but instead empowered me. There were four basic facts I needed to remember and I repeated them over and over in the hope that I would still remember them when I woke in the morning. Fortunately it worked.

As I re-imagined that scene from my dream, I realised that it was the key pivotal point in a much greater story. I could very easily trace backwards in time and see the steps that had to have occurred in order for me to arrive at that moment, indeed the pivotal moment practically dictated the starting point. I realised too that the rest of the story was simply playing out the inevitable consequences of that pivotal moment. I sat down for an hour and, seven pages later, I had mapped out the entire plot line for a high fantasy novel. The pivotal moment is not the climax, indeed it may not even be at a moment of crisis, neither is it just one of the key moments which joins a novel together like a dot to dot puzzle. It is the point to which the characters move from the beginning and from which the characters travel to the end.

For me the pivotal moment of JRR Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" was Frodo saying "I will take the ring to Mordor, though I do not know the way" Up to that moment the characters had been fleeing from a half understood evil, and were driven towards Rivendell. The rest of the novel related the consequences of that decision for each of the fellowship. Here the pivotal moment was comparatively early in the novel, but the pivotal moment could just as easily be nearer the end

Take an entirely different genre, say Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". For me the pivotal moment was not Elizabeth's visit to Pemberley, even though that was arguably the point at which Elizabeth's feelings changed from contempt to admiration, it was, I believe, the moment when Darcy declared Elizabeth to be "handsome" after she and the Gardiners had dined at Pemberly. Up to that point the characters words and actions had been controlled by their pride and prejudice, but this was the point after which the characters actions are controlled by their hearts rather than their heads and the story unfolds as a natural consequence of this.

Can you identify a pivotal moment in your favourite book. Can you identify one in your own book?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I'm Back!

Hello everyone - nice to be back.

We have just returned from a fortnight's holiday in the north of Wales in a little village called Llanaelhaearn (pronounced lan - eyel - hern apparantly) and am feeling much refreshed. The area we were staying in was essentially a farming area, as could be determined at the local newsagents - magazines about computers = 0, magazines about gaming = 0, magazines about knitting and stitching = 0, magazines about art = 0, magazines dedicated solely to tractors = 11! The holiday was biased towards walking and visiting ruined castles (which doubled up as some superb research for my fantasy series - I found the perfect setting and the perfect example of castle, as well as the perfect layout of medieval house as the Foresters Hall. I have been inspired!). We managed a couple of visits to the beach, but my complexion blushes at the mere mention of the sun, so I end up taking an umbrella and embarrassing everyone!

Here is the local beach with the almost mountain in the background which we climbed on our first day. I say 'almost mountain' because it is 50m shy of the official UK government definition of a mountain - ah well - you can't win 'em all.

Here is another view of the local beach / harbour. We managed a bar-b-q here one evening - had to light three of the portable ones before we got one that worked!

We visited Harlech castle when they were hosting a tournament. The castle was wonderfully situated and absolutely worth the visit, but the tourney was frankly a bit naff! Admittedly they might get into trouble if they injured each other mortally, but the participants merely knocked the swords together ponderously until one of them decided to fall over. Ah well, at least the show kept all the visitors in one place while I wandered around! Anyway, that's enough of photos. Suffice it to say that we did lots of things in a beautiful corner of the country.

Now I'm back to the internet I can go visiting and find out what you have all been up to while I've been away.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Friday Book Blurb - Chill Winds


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

Chill Winds


Meredith had grown up dreaming of raising cattle on her parents’ farm and marrying the boy next door. After ten years in the city, she realises it is still her dream. Arriving back home in the early morning, she finds her parents and her brother gone. Tracks in the snow lead away from the farm, and then simply vanish.

Farms for miles around have been abandoned overnight and soon childhood friends, and enemies, arrive from across the country, having all quit their jobs to return to their family homes. Meredith brings them together, but when arguments erupt over radically conflicting childhood memories, Meredith must keep the group together if they are to find their families before the authorities jump to the wrong conclusions.

Someone or something has tied their disparate realities together but to what end? As a ferocious snowstorm engulfs them, Meredith must make an impossible choice between realities.

150 words exactly

We leave for a fortnight's holiday in Wales tomorrow morning and do not know yet whether we will have usable internet. I may or may not be blogging for the rest of the month!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Friday Book Blurb - A Time in Paris


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

A Time in Paris


Rue de Bouvier

As children, the girls had giggled over the writing under the glaze of a genuine 18th century dish, and had wondered about their namesakes. But when Jacqui Bouvier disappears in Paris on 12th August 2011 sometime after 2pm, it is the only clue Kate has.

Afraid the police would laugh at her, she hires a handsome young private detective to fly with her to Paris and help her investigate. Ryan has just inherited his father’s PI business and is way out of his depth, but he is all Kate could afford. Besides, he’s cute.

In an apartment over the Rue de Bouvier, they find a high tech, illicit laboratory and are soon plunged into a world of industrial espionage and ruthless corporations searching for a maverick scientist. Somehow they must find him first, if they are to learn the truth about Jacqui.

149 words

I'm interested in how obscure you can be in a book blurb, but still give a general shape to the story. Is it obvious to you what's going on? Is it all a bit odd, but you'd be interested to find out? or is does it seem all too complicated, far fetched and too much effort to unravel?

Oh and sorry it's not Friday - I got a bit behind this week!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Friday Book Blurb - The Wrath of Storms


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

The Wrath of Storms


“Give her a chance, mother!”
“She is mortal, you are forbidden to see her again.”
“What are you going to do, rain at me?”

Now his words are coming back to haunt Kairos.
Ever since he stormed out of Olympus, his earthly home has been racked by torrential rain, and the mayhem is spreading. Should he tell his young love, Cassandra, that his mother is really Iris, the Goddess of Rain?

But his mother’s wrath is the least of his worries. Under cover of the chaos, someone is waking the enemies of the Gods. Kai must find a way to stop them before the Gigantes walk the earth again, but he is fast losing his immortal powers. Kai faces a desperate choice: return to immortality, save humanity, or embrace love as a human. But Cassandra has a few surprises of her own and Kai is soon running to keep up...

150 words exactly

Better late than never!

I managed to borrow a computer with a mouse - so at least I could fix my post!!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Novel Films Blogfest

Thanks to Madeleine at Scribble and Edit for hosting this blogfest. It has been quite a journey through the memory banks, a little dim and dusty at times, but here are a few highlights. There are, I have no doubt, many many more that I could have added to the list, and indeed many more that really ought to be on the list, but these are the ones that I can bring to mind. If your favourites are not here, then do remind me of them in your comments!

Books I have read whose Films I have seen:
(I have discounted films that spawn a “book of the film”)

Here they are as they occur to me!

Lord of the Rings                                JRR Tolkein
Narnia series                                      CS Lewis
Stardust                                               Neil Gaiman
Harry Potter series                             JK Rowling
The Hogfather                                     Terry Pratchett
Colour of Magic                                  Terry Pratchett
Going Postal                                       Terry Pratchett
James Bond Series                            Ian Fleming
Watership Down                                  Richard Adams
Pride and Prejudice                            Jane Austen
Emma                                                   Jane Austen
Northangar Abbey                               Jane Austen
Persuasion                                           Jane Austen
Jane Eyre                                             Charlotte Bronte
Many Dickens Novels                         Charles Dickens
Many Shakespeare Plays                  William Shakespeare
Swallows and Amazons                      Arthur Ransome
Moonfleet                                              J. Meade Falkner
Wind in the Willows                             Kenneth Grahame
2001: A Space Odyssey                    Arthur C Clarke
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang                      Ian Fleming
Sherlock Homes stories                     Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
My Family and Other Animals            Gerald Durrell
I Robot                                                   Isaac Asimov
War of the Worlds                                HG Wells
The Time Machine                               HG Wells
Many Agatha Christie crime novels   Agatha Christie
Many Alistair MacLean novels            Alistair MacLean

Books I have read (and loved) whose films I have not yet seen

Lovely Bones                                          Alice Sebold
The Hobbit (but soon, very soon!)        JRR Tolkein
Neverwhere                                            Neil Gaiman
Hornblower series                                 CS Forester
The Sword of Truth Series                   Terry Goodkind

Books I would love to see made into a film / films

Wheel of Time Series                         Robert Jordan / 
                                                              Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn series                                   Brandon Sanderson
Quantum Gravity series                     Justina Robson
Black Magician series                       Trudi Canavan
Vatta’s War series                             Elizabeth Moon
Riftwar Cycle                                      Raymond E Feist
The rest of the Discworld Series     Terry Pratchett
Dragonriders series                          Anne McCaffrey
The Belgariad                                    David Eddings
The Malorean                                     David Eddings
The Elenium                                       David Eddings
Ringworld                                           Larry Niven
Tower on the Rift Series                   Ian Irvine
The Player of Games                        Ian M Banks
(and other culture novels)

It will be of no surprise to you that the novels listed here display a distinct lean towards the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, with a healthy nod towards the crime/mystery/suspense genre. I shall have a look around some of your lists later - perhaps I might get some ideas to broaden my horizons!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Playing Catch-up

What a whirl the last few months have been. The day job has required a somewhat sharper focus and that has meant emptying my head of the many worlds that filled it previously. We are not out of the woods just yet, but I am feeling encouraged to slowly ease myself back into the writing harness.

This has been prompted by a few things.

One is the wonderful news that the short story that I co-authored with Simon Kewin has been accepted by
for publication in October 2011.

This piece is around 8400 words and I am delighted that it has found such a great home.

I have also had a couple of micro-fictions published by Trapeze Magazine recently (see my Published Works page for links) and it is always encouraging to see your work recognised. It would be even more encouraging if you, my friends, felt like visiting Trapeze's website and perhaps leave a comment! :)

I was also delighted to receive an award from Catherine Ensley at Words World and Wings. Thank you so much Catherine, it was very sweet of you.

One last thing - if you read yesterdays post and didn't twig that it was a mickey-take, I'm obviously hopeless! Take a look at my comment yesterday!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Book Blurb Friday - Spellbound


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.



Life is not easy for Garin as a trainee mage, not when his father is the arch-mage himself. Magic is serious business under the bushy eye-browed glower of the patriarch. But life takes an unexpected turn when a friend teaches Garin the Book of Faces spell which transforms his spell tablet into a communication portal.

Scrolling through the faces the spell conjures up, Garin is captivated by a girl with startling blue eyes, who is apparently called Cami94. Garin is heartbroken to learn she lives a kingdom away, but when he learns that she is to be married off to some ancient grandee, he is determined to save her.

Aided by his friends and pursued by his father’s mages, Garin must face fire, bogs and arachnids to reach his heart’s desire.

But all is not as it seems in Ternet...

140 words

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Book Blurb Friday - A Heart of Stone


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

A Heart of Stone


Abi had not always been made of stone. Once she had been a young woman with a bright future ahead of her, but like too many before her, she had vanished and in her place some sick person had left a perfect statue. Or so everyone thinks, including the police.

All too soon Abi is placed in a graveyard looking out over her own empty grave. From where she stands she can see a dozen or more victims, all frozen in a living death. Many friends come to Abi’s grave, but none break her heart more than Mike. She hadn’t even known he’d loved her.

When she realises that Mike could be the next victim, she is determined to find a way to warn him. Soon Mike is drawn into a world of impossibilities, but is too late to save himself? Is it too late to save Abi?

148 words

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Succinctly Yours - Water performance

Many thanks to at Grandma's Goulash for running the Monday Microfiction Meme. Grandma posts a photo and invites us to write a caption or story in either under 140 characters (tweet-length) or under 140 words. As an extra challenge we are given a word to insinuate into our offering.

Todays word: Obscure

Today's inspiration:

Hank stared in horror at Cheri's transformation into the black creature from the lagoon, unaware the piranhas had eaten his leg. Cert 18


Hank didn't know the meaning of "a black look" until he told Cheri he'd left the picnic in the car.


Hiding from Voldemort, Harry and Hermione ended up in some obscure locations.
"Can't you just put your glasses back on?" Hermione moaned

Sunday Reflection - Wheat and Tares

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Today, I have the privilege of sharing a contemplative reflection on Matthew 13:24-30 36-43 at church, and thought I'd share it here.

Imagine, if you will, a field of wheat. Close your eyes if it helps. Perhaps you have stood in the past on the edge of a field and looked at acre after golden acre stretching out into the distance, waves of light and shadow chasing each other in the gentle breeze. But turn around in your mind's eye and look out at a different field. This one is not yet ready for harvest. It looks like any other field of young wheat, but actually it is full of tares, or Bearded Darnel. Looking at the field now, you wouldn’t know – wheat and Darnel are both grasses and look the same in the early stages. It is only when they are full grown and bear fruit that the difference is plain to see. For the seeds of the Darnel cause symptoms like drunkenness, and they are prone to corruption by a fungus, making them poisonous.

Standing nearby is the Landowner, and around him his slaves are looking at the field. They are saddened by the state of the crop, and urge their master to allow them to clear the field of the tares. But with the wheat and tares looking so similar, many tares would be missed and much wheat would be destroyed, so their master says no, leave them be until the harvest.

Look at the master’s face. You can see how much he cares for the crop. You can see his anger at the enemy for what has been done. You can see how much his heart grieves that crop must struggle for water, nutrients and light. And you can see his joy that despite everything the crop continues to grow.

So he tells his slaves to wait, because he knows that there is always a chance that the stalks his slaves had dismissed as tares might yet turn out to be wheat. The master is patient and always hopeful, and always gives a second chance.

Let us reflect on the fruit we bear, and let us look again at the field through our master’s eyes.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Book Blurb Friday - Typecast


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.



When Cassie Drewe starts to decorate her dingy Victorian attic flat in Shoreditch, she is astonished to find a dusty old typewriter in a forgotten space, hidden behind decades of wallpaper.

She hadn’t meant to write a story, but as her fingers stroke the keys, it springs to life unbidden. Word by word it draws her in, grips her, demands to be written. In breathless excitement, she types the struggle of a young man caught in a clash between modern London and the demonic secret in the ancient heart of the city.

Listening to the news the next day, she is shocked to find it is all true. If her own, half written, story is to be believed, London is on the very brink of annihilation. Should she carry on typing, or enter the story and find the young man?

Write or be written?

London’s future is in her hands.

150 words exactly

Monday, 4 July 2011

Succinctly Yours - On the Fly

Many thanks to at Grandma's Goulash for running the Monday Microfiction Meme. Grandma posts a photo and invites us to write a caption or story in either under 140 characters (tweet-length) or under 140 words. As an extra challenge we are given a word to insinuate into our offering.

Todays word: Expedient

Today's inspiration:

Tom's venture into fly-on-the-wall peeping failed 
to take account of the corresponding 
reduction in brain power.


Jane's 1960 copy of  the first spiderman comic
was the most expedient, but how was
Peter going to explain the messy cover?


"Pretty Fly!" exclaimed Joyce,
adjusting her pince-nez
"Why, thank you," replied Reggie,
smoothing down his remaining hair.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Book Blurb Friday - Fatal Error


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

Fatal Error


August 6th
724th iteration

*** RESTART ***

August 6th
725th iteration


Dr John Hayman, project manager and chief analyst on the Terran Warp Drive programme regains consciousness in a bedroom at 06:44 on August 6th 1945 in downtown Hiroshima. His last conscious act was hitting the abort button in the test flight command centre orbiting the earth.

Aki Yoshida energises her Marconi radiotelegraph on which she had been experimenting in her Hiroshima bedroom, and finds herself thrown across the deck of a space station 365 years later.

With the energy of the feedback loop increasing exponentially at every iteration, John has 91 minutes to break the loop before Hiroshima is destroyed and, sooner or later, the universe with it.

143 words

Monday, 27 June 2011

Succinctly Yours, A Tribute

Many thanks to at Grandma's Goulash for running the Monday Microfiction Meme. Grandma posts a photo and invites us to write a caption or story in either under 140 characters (tweet-length) or under 140 words. As an extra challenge we are given a word to insinuate into our offering.

Todays word: Tribute

Today's inspiration:

Barbara was beginning to think that wearing her tribute to 
Lucian Matis' tissue paper dress wasn't such a good idea


Friday, 24 June 2011

Book Blurb Friday - Hell to Pay


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

Hell to Pay


Kim Grady is late for work; she is still single although it’s complicated, has a nightmare boss, is addicted to sushi and has a cobweb on her car. Except when she brushes it away, it turns out instead to be cracks in the Material Plane of Existence. Now her car has a hole to Somewhere Else, somewhere very dark and hot and smelling faintly of brimstone. She also has voices in her head that want her to be despicable, but the only thing they can agree on so far is to paint the bathroom black. Should be an interesting day; perhaps things are looking up.

104 words plus notebook!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day!

I'm not sure if it is Fathers Day anywhere other than the UK, but hey, Happy Fathers Day anyway!

It was my privilege to preach on the subject today, so I thought I would share it with you.

Today we are celebrating fatherhood, and in particular the ultimate role model for us dads, the one after whom we are named – God, our father in heaven.
But before I start I want to say one thing. Chambers dictionary defines a father as “a male parent”. Of course it does – what else would a father be? But when you think about it, why should the role of father, or the role of mother for that matter, be in any way tied to a person’s gender, apart from the "minor" issues of child birth and suckling that is?! In practice BOTH parents are called upon to fulfil the role of father on occasions and the role of mother at others. So we are thinking today about the role of a father rather than their gender and God therefore is a role model for ALL of us who have responsibility for nurturing others.

Now, I am sure you have all seen the posters, fridge magnets and greetings cards which say “any man can be a father but it takes a special person to be a dad”. So I’m going to talk about God being “Dad”. After all, that’s what Jesus called him – Abba – it means dad. God is “dad” to us too, as Paul wrote to the Romans and told them “you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.
So how is God “dad” to us?
In the words of the psalmist (Psalm 46): "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." God is an ever-present help in trouble.
Again the psalmist tells us (Psalm 18): "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

God does not promise that nothing bad will ever happen to us, he does not wrap us in cotton wool, but he does promise that when things are tough he will deliver us, that he will be that place of refuge, and that he will care for us. We cannot keep our children from hurt, however much we might want to, and through the knocks and the scrapes, the heartache and the disappointments, we can be “dad” by being there for them, by being dependable, loyal and understanding – an ever present help in trouble.

Our heavenly dad provides for us. As Jesus told the crowds in the sermon on the mount, and I use the New Living Translation here, “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
Jesus went on to tell the crowds “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
As fathers we don’t give our children everything they want – that just spoils them, but we do seek to give them everything they need, whatever the cost to ourselves. And do we not desire to give our children good gifts?

Then there is our dad the teacher, and what a wealth of teaching, advice, guidance and rules of life he has given us. There is the huge wisdom in the bible, there is the teaching and example of Jesus, and there is the Holy Spirit who guides us - as Jesus tells us, "the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father will guide us into all truth". With all that guidance, how can we possibly go wrong?! But we do don’t we?
And so we need discipline. The word has become synonymous with punishment, but in fact it means self control, it means doing the right thing at the right time, whether we feel like it or not. With great patience and understanding, God steers us towards the right path.
But does he punish us? Take the story of the prodigal son. He sins against his father by demanding his inheritance ahead of time, and he sins again by squandering that inheritance. Don’t we do exactly the same?
In the story the son suffers the consequence of his actions, and that in itself is a punishment. Those consequences make him come to his senses and bring him back to his father. Does his father punish him? No, instead he runs to greet him, hugs him and throws his cloak around his shoulders. The young man has suffered enough.
As dads we have a huge responsibility to teach our children not only how to live and thrive in this modern society, but also how to do so with honour and integrity, with compassion and tolerance and to reach them that in God can be found true joy and peace. And when they drive us up the wall with their disobedience, we need to remember that God is slow to anger and quick to bless.

Finally, the most important characteristic of our heavenly dad is his love for us. He loves us so much that when we were still far off in our sinful ways, like the prodigal son, he ran to meet us in his son Jesus, to welcome us home, and to make us his children. In Jesus’ death and in his resurrection, he declares God’s love for us and  reconciles us with him forever.
So what are the qualities of a dad? Compassion, dependability, loyalty, generosity, wisdom, understanding; but suffused through all of them is love.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Book Blurb Friday - The Last Geranium


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

The Last Geranium


On a crisp, clear night the skies over London are illuminated by eerie flashes and aurora-like pulses. Many believe them to be a son et lumiere show, until a mini-nova sears the heavens and devastates the city below. The discovery of an dying alien in an escape pod promises unprecedented technological advances, provided humanity can heal it.

In a race against time Derry Calahan, leader of a disparate group of the world’s leading scientists, learns to harness the alien database and finds that a cure may be found in the humble geranium. Unfortunately a mysterious blight has been decimating the world’s angiosperms for years. Particularly hard hit has been the Cranesbill family, and geraniums seem to be all but extinct.

Derry must protect his charge from the foe that hunts it, a foe that seems to be altering the past, and somehow he must find the last geranium.

148 words.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Succinctly Yours - Positively Glistening!

Many thanks to at Grandma's Goulash for running the Monday Microfiction Meme. Grandma posts a photo and invites us to write a caption or story in either under 140 characters (tweet-length) or under 140 words. As an extra challenge we are given a word to insinuate into our offering.

Todays word: Glisten

Today's inspiration:

She knew ladies were only meant to glow, 
but Hilda had broken out into a cold glisten as 
Mike the Moped Maniac sped towards her


Hilda's pet rattlesnake was as good as gold as she
carried him around in a shopping bag.
The bag snatcher was in for a bit of shock though. 


Friday, 27 May 2011

Book Blurb Friday - Awk Wood Landing


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

Awk Wood Landing


Snurg Druggleborf, Master of a Thousand Star Systems (uninhabited), Destroyer of the Dreaded Galactic Nim (accidental), Richest Being for a Billion Parsecs (it had been further, but then Garx Unglehesk the Acquisitive moved to the Vega System), is having problems.

He had identified the next target in his galactic conquest strategy – a minor planet orbiting an insignificant star, inhabited by low grade carbon based life forms with moderate technology and mountains of succulent organic waste. But then he crash landed and discovered his terrible mistake.

The sentient beings on the planet turn out not to be the multi-limbed and micro-tentacled species that look like him after all, but fat, blobby bi-pedal murderers that wield axes and chain saws.

He needs to replace the bi-phase dimension extrapolator but he’s lost his crew in the woods, and the bi-pedes are coming for them.

Now it’s snowing.

And he’s coming out in buds.....

150 words.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Haiku Wednesday - 100th Anniversary

Sensational Haiku Wednesday

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

Congratulations Jenn on 100 weeks of Haiku Wednesday

Today's topic is Anniversary

Re-create the joy
In remembrance of the day
Your world came alive

Time for reflection
Polish up the memories
Make them fresh again

Looking to the past
Acknowledging faithfulness
Hope for the future