Friday, 3 December 2010


So I decided to do the NaNoWriMo this year. And I won! It's pretty hard work, having to write 1667 words a day, especially when you have a puppy chewing on you. I fell behind a few times but managed to catch up.

I now know that I can and should be writing every day. When I finished on November the 30th I vowed to write every single day.

Do you know how much writing I've done since then?


Friday, 15 October 2010

The Mind of a Horror Writer

Today I walked the dog around the fields and lanes at the top of the town where I live.

There was nobody else around at all, and as I was walking through the harvested sweetcorn field, which was looking particularly apocalyptic with buzzards wheeling overhead and calling out to one another, I wondered what I would do if a horde of the undead suddenly came towards me across the field.

I figured I'd take photos. And then probably run.


Monday, 11 October 2010

The Beast

I grow my own veg. At the moment I've got parsnips, broccoli and brussel sprouts in my veggie patch. The parsnips have been in for a very long time and the foliage has taken over a lot of the space! They swamped my poor leeks, causing them not to grow. Well, I'm going to blame the parsnips anyway.

I wanted the parsnips for Christmas. Apparently they taste better after a frost, but my mum wanted some for a roast on Sunday. So I went out there to pull some up...

The first one I pulled up was a decent size, the second was deformed with split roots. The third was sitting next to The Beast.

This is the biggest parsnip I've ever seen in my life. And this is coming from someone who's been to shows where they have giant vegetables. I watered the ground to make it soft and then pulled out the little one (which was still pretty big) next to it.

Then I spent a very long time trying to pull up The Beast. I didn't want this thing to break so I had my hands up to my wrists in the ground, covered in wet, cement-like mud. I broke the smaller roots with my fingers, used a trowel to clear some of the earth and then just pulled until the bloody thing came up.

I've been in pain since. But it was worth it. Lookit!

18" long, 14.5" round.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

75 Words

I'm a member of the SFF Chronicles website, and every month they run a writing challenge. Tell a story in 75 words or less. There's a set theme and the winner of the month gets to pick the theme for the next month. I won it in August and so picked September's theme of the Seven Deadly Sins.

For now, I'll share my first ever entry which was back in April. The theme was 'visit another world.'  I came second.

The Dilemma

I asked for the world and he gave it. It’s been sitting in its box on the table for two days now. I know he’s expecting something in return. I don’t even like him but what can I do? I could open the box, I suppose. I wonder if I can squeeze inside and escape. Then I don’t have to make any decisions. I’d feel guilty though...

Screw it. It’s not even a nice box.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

My plants part 2

Well, I have the memory of a goldfish. I missed out my little split rock plant in my other post! How rude of me. Here it is then. Otherwise known as Pleiospilos Nelii.

These plants like the sun and will rot quickly if watered too much, or if water gets between their cracks. As I found out, as this is my second split rock.

I water it from the bottom so I avoid getting the fleshy leaves wet and this one has lasted quite a while now!

I think it's pretty cool looking.

In other plant news, my polka dot plant (which I thought was just a foliage plant) has flowered! It has pretty little purple flowers on. Lookit!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Writing Contradictions

That's contradicting writing advice, not writing about contradictions...

I've been told my sentences should be longer, then told they should be shorter. My paragraphs are too short. No wait, short paragraphs up the tension. Don't info dump. Do info dump sometimes. Don't start sentences with 'then.' Apart from when you want to.

Don't call your character a silly name. Do call your character a silly name. But don't ever use that name because it doesn't work.

Don't use passive sentences. Except that sometimes they work quite well.

Don't come out of your character's viewpoint... Unless you have to come out of your character's viewpoint. Are you writing in close third person? Narrative? First person? What? It all depends on the POV!

Take that bit out. No wait... put it back in again, I liked it.

Don't use repetition. Apart from here, here and here.

Don't write how you speak! Unless you're writing dialogue. Or first person. Or close third person where the character would talk like you speak...

You need to describe more! But take out this, this and this because it's overly descriptive.

Writing, eh? Easy.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

My plants

I love pretty things. And you can't get anything prettier than flowers. (Apart from Ben Barnes. Have you seen him? Super pretty!)

Bromeliad (Guzmania)
I have quite a few house plants, and several plants in the garden that I'm pretty pleased with too. I'll just show off my house plants here though, in case anybody would like one similar and wants to know how to look after it!

The plant on the right is one that I'm particularly pleased with because I grew it from a pup. Yes, a pup. It's a type of bromeliad and these plants grow tiny offsets known as pups. My mother plant sent out a load of these little pups and I set about trying to get a few of them to root. The one of the right did!

When the plant flowers it should look pretty awesome.

Regarding how to look after it, it's pretty easy. Just water into the well in the middle of the plant and make sure it stays filled.

Euphorbia Pentagoba

Next up I have a Euphorbia. I know, looks like a cactus, right? Apparently, it's not. If you break spines off, it oozes sap. This makes it not a cactus. I think.

Treat it like a cactus though. Lots of light, not much water. Mine is twice the size as it was in the picture now, and is sending off a load of babies. I've broken a couple off, so let's see if they'll grow...

Random cactus

Now this one is a cactus. I'm just not sure what sort of cactus. Good though, eh? Again, it's now a fair size.

Haworthia Tortuosa

My Haworthia is pretty new. I got it from a flower show but I can't actually remember which one. I'm now sure if it's classed as a cactus or a succulent. But it's pretty cool. Again, nice light, little water. It's tiny at the mo, but when it gets big it should look awesome.

Now, I know I said 'pretty flowers' and so far it's been all green. But the next lot are pretty.

Paphiopedilum (Slipper orchid)

 This one on the right is a slipper orchid. 'Slipper' because of the big pouch on the front of the flower. My brother thinks it looks like a bum. I prefer Triffid. The roots on this one go into the ground, unlike the orchids which grow on trees - the moth orchids etc.

No direct sunlight for this one, and let it dry out between waterings.

More orchids next, my moth orchids. Or 'phals' as they're called. Which is short for phalaenopsis. More light than the paph, but same with the water. I feed them with orchid food every now and then. Once they've finished flowering, cut off the spikes and wait for them to go again! They flower for months and months.

My other flower plants are the African violets. They also flower for ages! I got the purple and white one for my birthday and that was back in May. It's not stopped flowering yet. These like the light, and they also like to be watered, but make sure not to water from the top or they'll rot! Just a bit of water in the bottom of the pot until its sucked it all up is fine. They don't need to be soaking wet, so probably just water once a week. I feed mine too. Plant food, that is. I don't sit them down to meals or anything.

My last plant is a polka dot plant (below). Just lots of cool coloured leaves. They come in different colours I think, but I like my green and pink one. I'm not quite sure how to care for it, other than stick it in the window and water it every now and then. Mine has gone leggy, so I think it might have too much light. Or I should prune it or something. Anyway, it's not dead yet!

Hypoestes (Polka dot)

So that's all of them. I think. There's a peace lily too which belongs to my mum. But I water the bloody thing. What I really want is a bat plant... Go google it!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The West Country: Chard

Chard is a crappy town in Somerset. It's where I live. The shops here suck. The town centre is horrendously depressing.

But I'm allowed to say that. If anybody outside of Chard says it, you'll get a smack.

There are some nice places. The reservoir, for example, is very pretty. Nice bit of woodland, some meadows, some streams, the reservoir itself.

Plus Beau loves it there, which is good.

Then there's Forde Abbey. Which is really nice and again, dogs are allowed.

The abbey is really nice inside and the gardens are pretty. Plus there's a tearoom where you can get a proper cream tea. Yum.

If you visit their website, they usually do some sort of offer on the admission price.

Castle Neroche. Not in Chard, but pretty close. Great for dogs! There's also no castle there, but there used to be, though I've been there plenty of times and I've no idea where the castle was supposed to have been.

It's also quite easy to get lost wandering about!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary. Has animals. Including the cool pig on the left.

What more do you want?!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The West Country: Beaches

I am from Somerset in England. A county in an area known as the West Country. Now, I may be biased, but it's the best part of the UK.

Lyme Regis
If you ever get to come on holiday here, I'll give you some recommendations. There are some great beaches here. Particularly Lyme Regis, in Dorset. It's very pretty and there's a sandy beach and a pebbly beach. It's also pretty famous for its 'Cobb' and fossils. You can get the best ice cream at the Alcove.

It's a pound to park all day, provided you don't mind walking down through the gardens from the car park. You can park closer to the beach, but I never bother. If the sun is shining, it will be very, very busy.

There is also Beer in Devon. Which is lovely, but pretty small. Seaton in Devon, which I would avoid as it's pretty grim. And Minehead in Somerset. You can take a steam train to Minehead from Bishops Lydeard, which is very pretty. Minehead itself is not my cup of tea as it's very touristy. And it has a Butlins.

There's also West Bay in Dorset. I would recommend West Bay as it's not too busy and has some very pretty scenery - the cliffs are very photogenic. Pretty good ice creams too.

Exmouth in Devon has a long sandy beach. It's a bit too far away for me so I tend not to go very often. Good for walking your dog along the beach, and if I remember rightly, the town's quite nice.

I think there's a lot of kite surfing at Exmouth, if you fancy that. 

Sidmouth, Devon again, also has a nice sandy beach. Although according to somebody I know from there, the town is 'pretentious.' I'd say give it a visit and make your own mind up!

And there you have it. Some of my local and not so local beaches. I'm from Somerset, but I'm from the south of the county, which means my local beaches are those in Devon and Dorset.

What's the best thing about beaches? Ice cream, of course.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Minced Frog

This is an old blog, taken from my Myspace page. Lazy? Yes.

Our garden was like a jungle. Weeds as tall as I am. Ok, I know I'm short but still, I'd say that's some impressive lazy gardening!

My mum refused to sit out there until it was sorted. I quite liked it all wild and jungle-esque. Especially the bee bush and the butterfly bush. Not so keen on the flying-ant paving step though.

So today we called on the garden man to come and sort it out for us. Took him a while but it's all sorted and looking lovely now. I've just realised how big our garden is!

The grass is. . . kinda brown now. And there's been no less than six ant nests uncovered. One big fat slug. One snail that's been through the mower. A baby bird (alive) and, the best part. . .

A minced frog! Now I was quite pleased with my discovery of the minced frog. If it didn't look so nasty, and I had a spade to hand, I would've scooped it up to show the whole family! As it was, with no spade to hand, I had to let my mum and brother know by describing it to them from across the garden. Kinda macabre, but I'm sure they loved it!

"Come and look at this frog!" I'm yelling excitedly like a hyper child. "It's been had by the mower, come and look!"

My mum tells me that she doesn't want to look at it. (Why not?!) And that she doesn't want to hear about it. (Crazy!)

"It's got a leg missing and everything!"

By this time mum's moved round the garden a bit, (she's inspecting garden man's work) and comes so very close to the minced frog.

I'm grinning inanely now. I really want to pick up this frog and show people. . .

"Look at its leg!" I'm just trying to share my joy with my mum, nothing wrong with that? She tells me to shut up. Charming. "You're gonna step on it!"

She looks. She groans. She doesn't share my morbid fascination.

My brother arrives. I give him a tour of the ants nests and show him the baby bird. We agree that it's fat and it's a robin.

"There's a frog too, come see!" So I lead him first to the mangled snail (got to start off slow, work up to these things) and then,

"Look!" I point. Wait for my brother's reaction.

He grins. "Gross!"

I nod, pleased. And return to the house.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Food (poem)


He dives into the reeds, nose first.
Pushes through the rushes and coots
startle and flee. Panic flies
and swarms ahead of him like fire.

Moorhens kipp kipp kipp and are gone.
The others still follow him,
his family, his brood.
Whiskers twitch. They all smell it.


He pauses and checks the coast is clear,
his ears swivel and listen, and
his tail flicks in anticipation…
He smells eggs ahead!

They swarm over him now, too eager
to wait or listen for danger
or his indignant squeaks. His family,
his brood. They smell eggs ahead!


None of them listen as they dive
through the reeds, spreading forwards
like fire through the rushes.
They swarm. He squeaks and warns.

Wait, just wait, don’t rush ahead.
Danger flies above ready to dive
for her family, her brood.
She smells rats swarm below her.


Monday, 30 August 2010

Glass Jars

This poem by me features in Casting Shadows, which, by the way, you can buy! Yay!

Glass Jars

He killed people and kept their eyes
in glass jars of various size.
He took out their brains and kept those too,
put some in jars and ate a few.
He peeled off their skins, cut their hair,
filled more jars and put them everywhere.
In his lab and in his room,
in the cupboard with the broom.
I couldn't move in that bloody place
for all the glass jars invading the space.
I wanted a normal house, I said.
Not one full of bits of the dead.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Ghost Busting

One of my interests involves walking around spooky places in the dark looking for ghosts. I'm not sure whether I believe in ghosts or not, I've certainly not seen one and I tend to try to explain away most of the weird experiences I've had.

But, ghost hunting in fun. It's nothing like you see on the TV, on Most Haunted and the like. You do get idiots who will scream at any little thing, or people who are highly suggestible and as soon as one person thinks they 'see' something, then they'll suddenly see it too. Or feel it. Or hear it. But you definitely don't get as much 'action' as they do on the telly. Or at least, I've never had that much happen.

My first 'hunt' was at Kents Cavern in Devon. Caves, basically. Bloody cold caves. It was disappointing, if I'm honest. I didn't feel spooked at all and was so tired I could've slept down there with the slugs.

My second hunt was at St Briavels Castle and that was much better! Castles are spookier than caves. And it felt creepy. On ghost hunts you get to use all the equipment, the dowsing rods, the EMF meters, the heat sensors, the pendulums. You also get to use planchettes and have a go at glass tipping - which is always my favourite thing.

The weirdest experience at the castle involved this one room that apparently only men ever used to go into. Our group all sat in there (several times) in the total pitch black and I was sat on a really comfy chair, the medium was talking about something and I could feel a breeze on my head so I kept brushing my head paranoid that there was a spider on me. Then when the lights came on and we went out the medium said to me that one of the men in the room liked me and had his arm around me. There was no way she could've seen me touching my head as the room was black.

St. Briavels is used as a youth hostel and in one room there is a rug covering an extremely creepy trapdoor where people used to get thrown down. Apparently they don't tell the people who stay in that room that it's there, yet people have woken up terrified in the room.


This photo is also from St. Briavels and is my first 'orb' picture. I don't know if you can see it, but in the middle of the black in the archway, just above the bench there is an orb. Ghost? Bug? Who knows.

My next hunt was at Haynes Motor Museum and I didn't think it would be scary at all. It turned out to be the best one so far. Lots of noises (which could've been the cars settling, or the roof creaking), lots of shadows, an 'umm' voice, some breezes... a bit of glass movement.

We went in the speedway room once and as soon as we got in there my heart was racing, but that might've been because of the mannequins in the room. I hate mannequins. We all know they come alive at night and eat people. We didn't go back in there again so I didn't get chance to see if it would happen again.

As on all ghost hunts, it's late and night and it's very, very dark. You walk around with torches and then turn them off to do seances and the like.

The photo on the left looks bright because of the camera flash. It shows, in between the two cars, a strange outline. Reflection? Or ghost? *spooky music*

The medium instructed me to take a photo there.

We went outside too, after we'd split into smaller groups, and the medium said she was going to get a spirit to walk through one of us. Everybody was being wusses so I volunteered. Apparently the spirit walked through me but I didn't really feel anything.

Other ghost hunts I've been on were to the Helyar Arms in East Coker, Somerset, and the Olde Forge Inn in Langport, also Somerset. The best things to happen in those two pubs were movements with the glass during the glass tipping.

Do ghosts exist? I hope so. Otherwise being dead is going to be rubbish!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Puppy School

I have just completed a six week puppy school. Well, with Beau. Half the time we learnt things that Beau already knew. Sit. Lie down. Then we leant things that I already knew. How to brush your dog. How to check for fleas.

But we did other things too, like 'stay' and walking on a lead and recalls. Beau loved it as he got to meet loads of people, who love him, and lots of other dogs, who he loves.

Plus, it usually tired him out for the evening. Bonus.

Anyway, we passed and have a little rosette and certificate to prove it. Beau is now a good dog citizen, according to the Kennel Club.

Still can't stop the little bugger from sleeping on the sofa though.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


So in the town where I live there's a large reservoir and nature reserve full of meadows and little streams and trees and whatnot.

As it's a Sunday and there's not a lot else to do, me and my mum took the dog for a walk down there. When we parked we saw a large people carrier full of people just sitting there. It looked like they'd been gassed. The two adults in the front were zonked out, two of the older kids in the back looked like they'd zoned out, and the little one was just staring forlornly out of the window.

Me and Mum exchanged glances and moved on. We had a nice walk around and met a gaggle of small children who descended on Beau exclaiming 'Aw midget puppy!' We met a border terrier, a couple of spaniels and a Jack Russell. We discovered that Beau does not like walking across those metal grids they put down over wooden bridges.

Then we headed back. The family were still in the car. The adults in the front were still asleep. The kids in the back looked bored as hell.

Now, is it just me or is that weird?! I wouldn't be sitting in the back of the car like that, I'd be giving the adults a prod and telling them to sleep at home!

I don't think I've seen anything so bizarre since the parrot in the backpack incident in Glastonbury.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

How to Talk to Children

I suck at talking to children. I don’t particularly like them and they are, quite possibly, scared of me. I’m also a really bad judge of age. I have no idea how old a kid is just by looking at them.
I remember going to a car boot sale with my brother. He was trying to flog some of our old crap to a couple of kids and we got talking to them. They asked us to guess how old they were. I know that children, unlike adults, like you to think they’re older than they actually are. Being kind (I thought) I said seven. I thought these kids had to be about five in reality.
They laughed and said no. Turns out they were ten.
Yeah. Like I said.
So, I’m walking the puppy and we come across a tiny child out with her grandmother. I couldn’t tell you how old she was. See reasons above. But she was tiny. She was scared of Beau. My little midget puppy.
I crouched down to her and the puppy’s level and tried to get them to say hello nicely. Beau wanted to get cuddles and I could see the little girl wanted to pet him. Unfortunately she would only touch him when his back was turned and of course, as soon as he felt her touching him, he turned around. So that kinda didn’t work.
Her grandmother (I’m presuming here, but I really hope it was her grandmother) asked me what the dog’s name was. I replied. Her response was “Bone?!”
“No. Beau.”
When they walked away I heard the little girl saying, “I liked Bone.”
We carried on our way. Around the bend there was two little girls, a westie puppy, and their grandparents all stood outside their house. I stopped to say hello to the cute puppy and let Beau have a sniff.
The child, stupid child, holding the westie puppy proceeds to roar and force her dog to come at Beau. He freaks out. Thanks, vile child, for scaring my dog and now making him weary of puppies smaller than him. Her grandparents (again, a presumption) did nothing to stop her.
Beau barked. The child said something unintelligible. Me, being rubbish with children and also lacking the ability to patronise them, just asked her outright what she’s just said.
She replies in a perfectly normal, understandable voice. Yes, children can talk like normal people! They don’t need to be patronised.
The moral of this story? Parents, grandparents, please don’t talk to your kids like they’re idiots or they’ll start to talk and act like idiots. We have enough idiots in the world. Thanks.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

General Musings

Beau the psycho pup is being quiet... he's wandered off so technically I should get up and go and see what he's doing, but instead I'm here. Writing about nothing. I should also be working on The Barbarians' Key, the third book in the Power of Malinas trilogy. I should be working on it... but I'm not.

Instead I'm messing about online and pondering my likes and dislikes.

  • I like chocolate brownies. Especially home made gooey ones.
  • I like frilly tops and shoes with bows on.
  • I like biscuits. Any biscuits. Apart from ginger nuts.
  • I like gardening.
  • I like eating. 
  • I like sleeping.
  • I like it when Beau is sleeping and I can write nonsensical blog posts which nobody will read.
  • I like it when people say my writing is fantastic
  • I like rats.
  • I like Ben Barnes.
  • I like really weird music. The weirder the better. Strange instruments are the best.
  • I like Hayao Miyazaki. But not in that way.
 What I do not like:
  • Cheese.
  • Wine. Well, any alcohol really, but wine especially.
  • Drunk people.
  • Coriander.
  • Baby carrots.
  • Babies crying.
  • Poor grammar.
  • Beau eating my shoes.
  • Monobrows.
I'm sure there is a lot more in both categories, but really, I can't be arsed to write any more. I'll finish with my favourite joke.

What's the boss of the hankies called?

The hanky-chief.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

In the words of Samwise Gamgee: Get off the road!

Seriously, tractors, bikes, horses, cows, chicken chasers... Basically anything slower than me, should get the hell off the road. I'm trying to drive here, people!

I drive a Rover. As anybody who drives a Rover will know, we lack the ability to accelerate. Therefore, unless we have a long run up, overtaking is difficult. I do not appreciate being stuck behind something slow moving because I can't put my foot down to get past it.

I need a sign in the back of my car. "Warning: no acceleration." I swear people think I'm driving slowly on purpose. You should see the looks I get.

The looks I get when driving through a couple of my local towns when I'm playing my music loudly is also worth a mention. Because they're great. The look of total confusion on the people's faces when they hear the 1950s version of 'In da club,' or the 1920s version of 'sex bomb' or even the operatic thrash metal of Diablo Swing Orchestra, or the good old fashioned classical Waltz played extremely loudly, is hilarious. 

What is this? No R&B? No drum and bass? No dance music or cheesy pop? I can hear... what's that? Violins? Washboards?! An accordion??

I once got out of my car and had a guy ask me for a light. When I said I didn't have one, he called me a liar. "You can't listen to music like that and not have a light."

I'm not quite sure what he was getting at.

Saturday, 17 July 2010


Beauregard, AKA Beau, Beau-dog, Bodelay, Beau Jangles, Bo-face, Poodlehead, LeBeau, Git and Little Sod, is my Jack Russell cross Poodle puppy.

He's smart but God he's annoying sometimes! Puppy classes for us! I can't write a longer blog about the ins and outs of a jackapoo because I currently have one sleeping on my feet and I need to somehow remove him so that I can get up to pee. But, I will post a photo.

Spread the cuteness.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Stuff... and that.

I feel like I should be writing. I've had Beau, the pup, for just over a week now. I'm existing on very little sleep. My life revolves around when the pup sleeps. When he sleeps I can get things done.

He's sleeping now.

And I'm not doing anything productive. My head's got that 'writer' thing going on. I can feel it. Half formed sentences and ideas keep drifting into my brain and then drifting out again. I should be working on my third novel. Or a short story. Or a poem even. I should be submitting stories to magazines or chasing things already submitted. I should be doing something.

I'm listening to the radio and getting distracted by songs that aren't even very good. I'm dancing as there's nobody home.

It's possible that I've gone a bit mad.

In other news, I went to Hampton Court Palace flower show on Sunday and someone stole my camera. I hope they're very happy with it.

Actually, I hope they take a self portrait and the camera steals their soul.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Designer Dogs

First off, and nothing at all to do with anything I'm about to say, there's an alarm going off outside and it's making me very irritable. Grr.


So, after wanting and debating over whether or not to get a puppy for a long time, I'm now getting a designer dog. I had wanted a greyhound, a lurcher, or a whippet. Something that likes walking, but will be lazy in the house and sprawl out and go to sleep. Perfect. But then I kept noticing adverts for 'Jackapoos,' that's a Jack Russell crossed with a poodle. They're also known as Jackadoodles, but people seem to like naming these breeds to have the word 'poo' in them, for whatever reason. (Jackapoo, cavapoo, cockapoo etc.)

I thought these pups looked too cute. And I found a litter close to where I live. This wasn't a quick decision, I'd been pondering this for a long, long time, but when I saw the pups I fell in love. Even then, when I got home I was umming and aahing over whether or not to get a dog at all.

The Jackapoo isn't a breed. Not really. It's a crossbreed. But, now that there's a word for it - 'designer dogs,' people can charge a lot of money for these non-breeds. Which I think is wrong. My pup (which I'm bringing home soon) was the cheapest in the litter because he was black and the others were brown (chocolate). You might think that's puppy racism, but apparently chocolate is just more desirable. Anyway, that's not the reason I chose him. I chose him because he was the prettiest. And obviously, that's the best reason for choosing anything, right? Boyfriends etc... (I jest!)

It's the designer dog label that irritates me a little. My puppy is a crossbreed. I don't mind that. My last dog was a crossbreed, a Jack Russell crossed with a spaniel (perhaps she should've been a Janiel, or a Sprussel?!) But now, people are breeding any two dogs together, giving them a silly name (labradoodle?!) and calling them 'designer' so that they can charge a lot of money.

Do you know what the worst one is?


I'm pretty sure that's a cross between a pug, and a muggle. Which is bestiality, surely? 

Saturday, 26 June 2010


So for the past few days I've been in the Czech Republic on holiday with my mum. I've always wanted to go to Prague - it looked gothicky and old and medieval and I love all that stuff. Plus, there's a town nearby called Kutna Hora and well... I'll talk about that later.

It was my mum's 50th birthday on the Wednesday (but shh, don't tell anyone!) and we wanted to do something special for it. Being in a foreign country for your birthday is pretty special so there we were.

We stayed in a 'botel.' That's a boat... hotel, geddit? It was called the Botel Racek (left) and when we first booked the holiday we thought 'a boat? Cool!' After reading the reviews about the boat, mostly bad, we were rather less enthused. The rooms looked tiny, people had complained that the food was bad, that the staff were unfriendly, that it was too far from the centre of the city...

I try to be optimistic. I was thinking it couldn't possibly be as bad as people were making out.  When we got there, we saw that it kinda was as bad as we had heard. The staff were very friendly and helpful, apart from the guy who checked us in who, for some reason, thought we hadn't paid and wanted 28 euros a night up front. Um... no, mister! We asked for a non-smoking room which, luckily, had a river view. So that was nice. But the beds were tiny, I have no idea how anybody bigger than me coped in those rooms, and I'm 5'4 and a size 6. The beds were also rock hard and had one super soft pillow. A pillow which needed to be folded at least four times before your head would stop sinking through it. The bathroom stank. It smelled like a very large, very wet dog had crawled in there and died. And it was tiny. The toilet was inches from the door, the sink and shower also. The photo on the right was taken from outside the bathroom.

It also happened to be several miles from the centre of Prague. And we walked it almost every day (I say almost, there was one day when I had heels on and refused to walk any farther, so we let the Czech taxi drivers rip us off and drive us back.) On the plus side, I'm way fitter than I thought I was. We probably walked around five miles a day and not once was I out of breath or had aching legs. Aching feet, yes, but my legs were fine.

I would like to talk about the toilets in Prague. Toilet paper in the Czech Republic is grey. A bit like cardboard. Also, like cardboard, it's pretty rough. But hey, it's better than nothing, right? Toilet doors rarely seem to have locks on them either, which makes visiting the bathroom a pretty nerve racking experience. I need to pee, but what do I do? Do I wait? Do I hope we find another loo soon? Do I sit with one leg outstretched to keep the door shut? Do I ask someone to stand guard? (Someone did once, a nice English lady who now lived in New Zealand.)

Speaking of the English, we seem to end up doing similar things on holiday. If you see someone doing the same as you, they're probably English. We went into Debenhams (yes, not very Czech, I know) to use the loo (go when you can, seriously!) and after finding the loos after a while, discovered that it cost 10 crowns to go. I went and peered at the door and the sign saying how to pay, then I backed off. As I was hovering around I saw two older women go and do the same. Clearly, they had as much idea of how to work it as I did and I figured they were English. I had another look as they retreated and after finding a 10 coin in my purse, I unlocked the bathroom. I called the ladies back as there was more than one toilet in there. Why one person has to pay, yet there is more than one toilet in the room is beyond me, but there you go. As we left the bathroom we held the door open for another English lady. I'm just nice like that.

I'm talking about toilets too much aren't I? Sorry.

So, Prague. We had several excursions. A couple of city tours and two trips out of the city, one to Karlovy Vary and one to Kutna Hora. Kutna Hora has an Ossuary, a 'bone church.' Basically, this was my reason for wanting to visit the Czech Republic. Decorations made from the remains of 40,000 humans? Awesome. All the bones were from people who died naturally, apart from some skulls you can see in glass cases, which were from soldiers - you can see the wounds to their heads.

I loved it. Apparently, not to everybody's liking though. Strange that.

Finally, I'll talk about the shops. Mostly, they sell crap. Touristy crap. Just like Seaton (a seaside town near to where I live). Some sell interesting things and I suppose the farther away from the tourist centre you go, the less crap gets sold. Makes sense. In one shop, where I'd just gone to buy a present for my friend back home who was kindly looking after my plants for me, I had one of the sales guys telling me about how Absinth is like Viagara. Then he kept winking at me. And then, after I'd bought my gift, he asked me to come back later. Of course I said yes and of course I never went back. What, do you think I'm crazy?!

I'll finish with a picture of me on holiday, to prove I was there.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Death at a Funeral

I'm talking about the film here, not something that's actually happened to me. Although I have been to a funeral where somebody was dead.

Anyway, I saw the trailer for the 2010 film (or as the Americans say 'movie') on the tellybox a while ago. My first thought was 'Yay, James Marsden!' The bloke who is the highlight of 'Enchanted.' Because the dude looks so pretty dressed as a prince.

My second thought was 'ooh, James Marsden gets nekkid in this film!' Because... well, who doesn't want to see that?

(Weirdly, James Marsden in leather à la Cyclops in X Men does nothing for me...)

So, I'm looking for information about the film and come across an interview with Chris Rock. That funny fella. He plays the lead in the film. I read what he has to say for himself and find out that this film is actually a remake. And that the original film was British.

Now, why do Americans have to make an American version of British stuff? Seriously? I don't get it. I can only think of one instance where there's been a British remake of an American show. And it wasn't actually a remake. It was a spoof. And that was on SMTV. Yes, I'm talking about Ant and Dec's version of Friends: 'Chums.' And as far as I'm concerned, that was a thousand times better than Friends.

I digress. I can't really even remember what I was getting at now.

Where was I? James Marsden, pretty, American remakes, Chris Rock... Oh yeah. I'm reading Chris Rock's comments on the original film and he's making it sound pretty terrible. I'm thinking it's got to be an old film. From the 50s or earlier. So I look it up on IMDB, just because I'm nosy like that.

2007. That's when the original 'Death at a Funeral' was released. 2007. That's a mere three years ago.

I read the cast list. And I see Alan Tudyk's name. I love Alan Tudyk. I adore Alpha and who doesn't love Steve the Pirate? Wat from A Knight's Tale anyone? The dude is just awesome. I watched Serenity for the second time recently. "I am a leaf on the wind..." *blubs*

So I have to watch the original version now. So today I did.

And it was fricking funny!! I rarely laugh out loud at films (though Run, Fatboy, Run got me the other day) but this film had me laughing so much that my brother stops what he's doing to ask me what the hell I was watching.

I realise while I'm watching the film that James Marsden has the Alan Tudyk role. The guy who gets accidentally drugged. He even has Alan's 'massive hands' line in the trailer. Now, I'm sorry, James, you're so pretty but Alan Tudyk is like some sort of actor-genius there's no way you'll play the part better than him. And now I can't watch the 2010 version. Sorry, Chris Rock, your film can't compete with this:

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Exeter Comic Expo 2010

I was a guest at the Exeter Comic Expo yesterday, had my own little table where I could sell my books from. I'd not done anything like this before so it was a learning experience more than anything, but I did sell some books at least!

I set everything up and then got chatting to the guy on the next table to me who was an artist. I thought he looked vaguely familiar but couldn't place him and it turns out I used to go to school with him! Not seen him in over ten years. He was there selling some of his art prints, I remember that he was always drawing at school. At the end I swapped him a copy of my book for one of his Spiderman prints and we both signed each others work.

As for the actual event it was really busy in the morning, then not a lot went on in the afternoon. I had a few people stop and ask me questions but everybody was there for the comics and art. A few people took the freebies I was offering (postcards/bookmarks) and a guy came up and was asking me about writing as he said he wrote short stories and that.

I will be doing more of these events, hopefully, and my next one will be in Bristol in May. I think I'll make my table look more exciting next time to entice people over!

Just a couple of pics from the event. Darth Vader and my table of books.

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Field of Birds

This amazes me every single day. On my way to work I pass a field which is absolutely full of buzzards. Imagine a field full of sheep... then in your mind replace those sheep with buzzards. They just sit there! I have no idea why or what they're doing.

I tried to count them today as I passed, but they stretch well into the distance in this field. You'll see them sitting in trees along the road also, or on top of the telegraph poles.

In case you're having difficulty picturing this, here is an artist's extremely accurate representation:

Friday, 22 January 2010

Very bad grammar

I get a catalogue called Very. It used to be Littlewoods... I've no idea why they changed it. Anyway, my new catalogue came out the other day and just look. I feel like writing them a letter...

Dear Very,

Please could you explain to me what your extra apostrophe on the front cover of the new Spring/Summer 2010 catalogue is for? I thought maybe it was part of a prize. A 'spot the apostrophe' sort of thing. If so, have I won? I'd like the purple shoes on page 261 if I'm allowed to choose my prize. Thanks. 

If it's not part of a competition though, you should perhaps think about sacking your editor. I feel disinclined to purchase from your poorly constructed catalogue. After all, if this is what you do to your catalogue, what state are the clothes in? I don't want to buy anything with extra buttons. Buttons irritate me.

Yours faithfully,


On an entirely unrelated note, I had a dream last night that Dermot O'Leary was trying to kill me.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Anthologies and whatnot

I've just come home to find my copy of 'And Now the Nightmare Begins' the Horror Zine anthology on the kitchen table waiting for me. I'm in it. Alongside Simon Clark and Ramsey Campbell. How cool is that?!

My story is called Delete Contact? I wrote it after having a weird dream about mobile phones... You can buy the anthology from Amazon. Now-Nightmare-Begins-Horror-Zine

I'm also in an anthology called 'Old Magic in a New Age' published by Earlyworks Press. 
You can get this from here
And lastly, there's 'Casting Shadows' which I'm in rather a lot. Along with Joleen Kuyper, and Jo Robertson. You'll like this one. ;-)

You can buy Casting Shadows from various places. Most people prefer Amazon I think. Follow LINK for UK or LINK for USA.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Out Damn Spot!

Yesterday I kept treading in this soaking wet patch just in front of the sink in our bathroom. I thought nothing of it. It's a bathroom, things get wet.

As I have the memory of a goldfish, I trod in this damn patch every time I went to the bathroom. And every time it was absolutely soaking.

Thing is, this wet patch is foot shaped. A perfect wet foot shape, complete with toes, on our bathroom carpet.

And it wasn't getting any drier.

Today, after I'd trodden in it again, I decided to ask Mum what the hell it was. She did the same as me - look at the ceiling to see if anything was leaking. Nope, nothing. I freak her out by saying that we have a one-legged ghost. She says that it's only a small footprint.

There's only one thing worse than a one-legged ghost, and that's the one-legged ghost of a child.


Sunday, 10 January 2010

Exeter Comic Expo 2010

I am going to be a guest at Exeter Comic Expo. This is my first event so I'm quite excited! It's on the 13th of February and costs about £2 to get in. Come and see me!