I am now offering a critique and manuscript assessment service. For further details, please e mail me at

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Starstruck is released - rush out and buy it - now with added Dalek!

Today I have to focus.  I've twiddled the special little knob at the back of my head which enables me to bring everything into sharp relief and...ooh, did I tell you about my walk along the beach at Bamburgh?  Oh.  I did.  Right.  Even that bit about the...oh.  That too, eh?  Okay.  Right.  In that case there's nothing else for it.
I am going to have to talk about my book.

 Yep, this one.

On Thursday this week, being the first of the month and the month of its being, Starstruck is released upon the public like a big shiny thing being launched.  No, not the Titanic, you at the back.  It is, even now, poised upon the slipway, straining at the taut ropes with an expression of eager arousal...hang on, is this still the book?  Oh, it is.  All right then.  Some very kind people have already read it and they appear to like it quite a lot, using such words as 'pink', 'Nevada', 'laughed', and 'effulgent'.  All right, I made that last one up, no-one said it was effulgent, although it might well be, who am I to comment?

Are you sure I told you about the beach at Bamburgh?  Oh.

It looks like this.  The beach at Bamburgh, not the book. 

So. In honour of its being allowed out into the public domain with its big-boy pants on, I want you all (yes, even you at the back who made the 'Titanic' remark) to rush out and buy it.  It is an excellent read, with only one Dalek in - and that's inflatable - which will make you both laugh and hurry to the biscuit tin.  That's the book, not the Dalek.  I don't think Daleks have ever made anyone hurry to the biscuit tin, if you don't count that bit with the Jammy Dodger.  Daleks have no HobNob appreciation skills, and for that reason alone they should be wiped from the Universe.

 I bet they pick out all the chocolate ones.  You can tell from their faces that's the sort of thing they'd do.

  Anyway.  You will like it, I promise.  Or your money back.  Oh, no, hang on a minute, I've just got the electricity bill so I need the money, so you can't have it back, but if you don't like it I will...ummm... be quite sorry.  I might even do 'sad face'.  And you don't want that on your conscience, do you, and anyway I am quite convinced that you will like the book, which has some very funny bits in.  So buy it.

Are you absolutely positive that I didn't tell you about the beach at Bamburgh?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

If they let me sing, you might have to bring your tomatoes indoors.

This week, purely in the interests of research you understand, I had a bit of an outbreak of castles - everywhere I went, there they were, looming on the horizon in much the same way as a sore throat looms when you have a singing engagement.  Not that I ever do, of course, on account of singing like the sound of a nail file being slowly drawn over the edge of a piece of paper, but you know what I mean.  This is not to say that I don't sing, I sing a lot.  All the time.  But only under very strictly controlled conditions, ie, soundproof ones.  My rendition of 'Sugar, We're Going Down' can bring tears to the eyes of a budgie and can cause unrestrained vomiting in the susceptible, so I tend not to do it when there are humans (or budgies) present.  Which is causing me a small problem because, for my interview on Radio York tomorrow (2pm Russell Walker's show, just thought you might like to know...) I had to choose two pieces of music to go along with the interview and I've chosen two that I can't help but sing along to.  They might have to pull the plug.  Or adopt some kind of 'scorched earth' policy, sowing the ground with salt when I've left, burning anything I've touched, spraying the city with hydrochloric acid, that sort of thing.  If you live in York and your tomatoes are outside, I'd bring them in around lunchtime on Monday, just in case.  Oh, and cover the budgie, it's for the best.

And this is only one chorus in.  Imagine if they'd let me get to the end of the song!  The horror!

Hang on.  Where was I?  Oh, castles, yes.  Well, what can I tell you about castles that you don't already know?  They're big, built of stone, full of ornamentation,  are absolute buggers to dust (oh.  That applies to all  mantelpieces as well), have staircases full of Americans (probably not original features, but you can never be sure with castles) and are designed with maximum loomage in mind.

There is a castle here.  It's creeping off the side of the picture to hide.  They do that, castles.  Hide and then creep around behind you just when you least expect it, wait until you're watching TV, innocently drinking a cup of tea and then WHAM!  Out they leap and run over your foot and all you can do is jump into the air spilling your tea and hope that it gets eaten by the cat.

 Or that might be spiders.  I forget.

Anyway.  That one is Bamburgh, on the Northumberland coast.  The beach is also lovely, as am I.

 Alnwick, caught in the act of creeping closer, every time I turned around, it was a little bit bigger.  Like Grandmother's Footsteps only with crenellations.

Also, in a moment of total surrealism, I found myself tiptoeing around the moat of Warkworth castle in the dark and a small rainstorm. It's probably best if we keep that between ourselves though, since I'm not convinced I should have been there and besides, I have no idea how to pronounce it.  Is it 'Waaaark worth' like the sound of a duck being trodden on?  Or 'Walk worth' like the sound of a duck with a speech impediment being trodden on?  It could be important if I have to make a statement to the police.

Right.  I'm off now to brush up my scales, polish my fur and try to make myself presentable for my radio appearance, since I know you'll all be peering at me through the little grill effort at the front. 

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Apocalypse Never Waits ...

I’m doing something I’ve never done before here.  Look. Good, isn’t it?  Who would have thought a hang glider would dunk so satisfactorily...  But.  Apart from that, I’m doing something else for the first time – I am preparing this post in advance.
Don’t think I didn’t hear your indrawn breath of shock and horror, you thought all my posts were carefully handcrafted, erased, rewritten, corrected, edited and finally, when the polish was almost worn away with the constant buffing, placed with the utmost care upon this humble website of mine.  Ho, as they say, ho.  My posts are usually hastily scribbled down, most often as I scrunch myself further under the duvet in the attempt to deny that another day has dawned.  Yep, there I lie in my Enid Blytonesque pyjamas (they look, apparently, like something one of Enid Blyton’s characters would wear, they aren’t Blytonesque because they are covered in rabbits in clothes, or cats doing needlework or anything, because that would be odd),
                                                      (yep, I look exactly like this...)
 my eyes half closed and my hands clenched into fists like a couple of legs of lamb, punching away at the keyboard in much the same fashion as an infinite number of monkeys.  And sometimes words appear in an order which manages to convince readers that I have some idea of what I am writing.
But today... ah, today, gentle reader (I am making huge assumptions about your gentleness here, you realise, you might have all the digital finesse of a troll attempting to eat beans from a can), yes, today I am approaching forethought from the right direction!  Although, now I come to think of it, there might be some huge, world changing event between now (Thursday), and my posting of this blog (Sunday).   If the world is annihilated by a meteor strike which turns those surviving members of the human race into flesh-devouring zombies, hunted to eventual extinction by the aliens that rode the meteor into our atmosphere for the purposes of using our planet as a breeding zone – well, then I’m going to be wasting my time, aren’t I?  Always assuming that any zombies with internet access can be bothered to access my blog for purposes other than trying to locate me in order to eat my brains, are they really going to pay close attention to my words of wisdomish?  Or are they simply going to try to eat the keyboard?
This is how I'm thinking of you right now.  In my Enid Blyton pyjamas.  Makes you weep, doesn't it?

So, on second thoughts, I don’t think I’ll bother.  By the time I post this you’ll be too busy being hunted by aliens to read it.
Oh, and.. RUN!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Blog Pelmets - why I don't have one - and my Last Words. Or not.

Dear Interested Party

Hello.  Can I call you Interested?  Or do you prefer Mr Party?  No, I suppose that does make you sound a bit like the local drug supplier, all right, I shall call you Interested.  Or Inter?  How about that?  Or, since we know each other (or it feels as if I know you, we've spent so long together - well, I suppose together is stretching things a bit, you've been reading my blog whilst I've been lounging around eating Walnut Whips and painting my toenails)  I could call you Int.

Anyway.  Dear Int. 

You might have noticed that my blog post last week was... well, absent.  Missing.  Lost in Action. 

Oh.  You didn't notice.  All right then, ignore all of the above.  Honestly, I only came by here to explain why I wasn't around last week, and you don't even seem to have registered my absence!  Here I am, slaving, typing my fingers to the bone, and you can't even be bothered to notice that I wasn't here!  Okay, noticing that I wasn't here is hard, I'll admit that, it's a bit tricky to see something that's missing.  Perhaps I should have informed you that I'd be 'not there' instead of expecting you to find me gone; a bit like a form of Blog Pelmanism ( "what's the missing item?"   Er, is it a plastic pig?).  Oh come on, Pelmanism?  That game where you cover the tray and take one item away?  No, it's nothing to do with curtains, that's pelmets.  Why would I have a blog pelmet?  That would be like having a Facebook valence.  Or Twitter trim.

Well anyway.  I wasn't here.  But I am now, not that you care.  I could have been lying dead in a ditch, my last words going unregistered and unheard apart from half a dozen water beetles and a passing hedgehog (weak cough Tell them I did it all for them cough cough And don't forget it's recycling day on Wednesday... cough choke splutter expire).  What?  I never said my last words would be interesting, I just said that you wouldn't have heard them because you didn't even notice that I wasn't here to say them.  In fact I'm thinking about saying my last words right now, even though I don't intend on going anywhere - I've heard that you can't take it with you when you go, so in that case I'm not going - just so that you can be forced to hear them.

I just need some good Last Words now.  'I told you I was ill'?  'The winning lottery ticket is hidden in the...'?
'Luke, I am your father'? (probably can't carry that one off, since I only know one person called Luke and we're both pretty sure that I'm not his father, for various reasons, me being female being only one of them.)

Any suggestions?  No, Int, I'm not talking to you.  Ever Again.  You didn't even notice I wasn't here...  Next time I'll give you a hint...