Monday, 20 October 2014

Margate, ghosts, mermaids

I am pleased to say that I have a story included in The Day Death Wore Boots, a collection of ghost stories from Alfie Dog Fiction. Mine was originally published in Writing Magazine in 2007, after winning the summer ghost story competition the previous year.



There is also a story from writing friend, Angela Pickering. Last month Angela and I spent a lovely weekend in Kent. Here we are, windblown in Margate.  (Thanks to Biddy for the photo and for showing us the sights.)
 
And here is the Folkestone mermaid, who has the most wonderful view, but must feel a bit chilly in the winter. However, I still rather wish I could spend every day gazing at the sea, like her. It's not a bad life, is it?
 


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Harvey's sponsored bark

Arrff! Harvey here again.

Mrs Boss says she's going to put me into a sponsored bark. She's figured out how to do it. One day, not so long ago, I wandered innocently into the dining room. Lo and behold, there was a new door in there. And standing inside this door was a golden retriever, about my size, but not as handsome.

The other dog barked at me. I barked back.

The other dog's hackles rose. So did mine.

The other dog growled, and snarled, and got fiercer and fiercer. So did I!

Then Mrs Boss ran down the stairs, asking where the burglars were. Burglars? There was only me - and the mystery dog, of course.

Then Mrs Boss picked up the new door - which wasn't a door at all! She said it was a full length mirror. She'd just bought it, on account of doing more dressmaking and needing to keep her hems straight. She said the other dog was only me reflected in the mirror. I didn't believe her. I'm much better looking than that other dog. But I had to admit I couldn't find that dog anywhere in the house. Not even a sniff of him.

Mrs Boss hid the mirror down the side of the bookcase. She says if she ever wants me to bark and bark and bark, she'll get it out again. And perhaps people could sponsor me to raise money for dogs who don't have nice gardens to dig up, or plenty of windfall apples to gorge themselves silly on.

So on Tuesday I was just having a little practice bark outside. I didn't think anyone would notice over the din of Mr Boss mowing the lawn. And then... silence. Mr Boss had run over the electric cable with the mower! And he had the nerve to blame me for distracting him! He's gone to buy a new mower now. Mrs Boss is reviewing the life insurance.

Since the nights began to draw in, Mrs Boss has been knitting. I don't know what's happened to her writing. She says neither does she.

She did have a little piece published for National Flash Fiction Day in June. It's right here.

But she is optimistic about having some writing news next month. It's September, you see, which is one of her favourite months. A time for new plans, she says. And new slippers too. On Wednesday she went to the park in her old ones. Talk about embarrassing. I had to laaarrrrfffff!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Even when the road is bumpy...

Some pot holes are heart shaped!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter

Sorry I have been away from my blog so long. For several weeks during winter everyone was ill, one after another, myself included. Writing was the last thing on my mind, and it took a while for things to settle back down.

Anyway, here I am to tell the tale. Writing again, gardening, sewing, walking the Big H, and trying to catch up with all your news. I sold a couple of stories to My Weekly, and every so often I go back to my historical 'thing' and do a bit on that.

For Christmas I decided to replace my forty year old sewing machine. My new one didn't come with a cover, and the ones you can buy aren't very pretty, so I made my own. I have a book on how to make patchwork bags, so adapted a pattern out of that. Please note the two polka dot buttons I found on the market, to finish off the handle! They were a perfect match with the red polka dot fabric, and I was so pleased with them

Then I stitched twenty-one patchwork stars and Christmas trees to make into a garland. It took me until April to make all the little shapes! Here are some of them.

To make sure all the shapes were hanging evenly on the cord, I strung it up across the beam in our lounge before stitching them on. My newish neighbour was cutting her grass at the time, and had a wonderful view of me from her garden. So now she thinks I put my Christmas decorations up for Easter. As if she needed further evidence of my oddness.

I have to confess to a senior moment last autumn, when I thoroughly embarrassed myself in front of her. Her garage is right next to ours. She had her garage doors open, because she was cleaning her car. I had just popped out to the front garden, for some reason that I now forget. And instead of walking back into my own garage - you guessed it - I walked straight into hers! After a second's confusion I realised why everything looked so different. I burst forth like Basil Fawlty, trying to find some plausible excuse for being in entirely the wrong place, but inwardly mortified. I still have to smile when I think of it. Oh well.

On another tack, I have never seen so many bats as I have this spring. Is it because we had a mild winter? They are very small and very fast. I sit on the sofa and watch them appear at twilight, zipping and swooping like swallows. Hope they are not roosting in our loft, but am too nervous to stick my head up through the hatch to investigate!

Isn't it lovely to have better weather? I've been gadding here and there, with a birthday trip to Evita, a canal walk, various lunches in various places, and lots of general pottering.

Wishing you all a happy Easter - and don't skimp on the chocolate.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Harvey: on the occasion of his tenth birthday

Arrrfff! Harvey here. I was ten last Thursday. Any gifts of tennis balls gratefully received. Total destruction guaranteed within twenty minutes.

What with one thing and another, Mrs Boss has had to join the ranks of the 6a.m. dogwalkers, traipsing the darkened streets with a torch. She says she doesn't mind clear mornings when the sky is all black and twinkly, but rain is not so much fun.

Also, while she is not the most social of persons (particularly at 6a.m) she is surprised to find the early morning joggers incapable of as much as a grunt of hello.

So anyway, while she may be too whacked to keep up the blogging right now, she just wants to say that she is still batting about. She was happy to have a poem commended in the Sentinel quarterly poetry competition. It has reminded her that she is supposed to be a writer, and therefore should be writing.

Before that, though, my next walk is due. Oooh look - it's raining!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

My favourite bookshop

 
This week I had a little trip to Derbyshire, mainly to visit my favourite bookshop, Scarthin Books at Cromford.

Here is a place where you really can get lost for hours. Three floors of rooms, passageways, and staircases all crammed with books. They have a good stock of new books, but the real fascination is with the old, out of print and obscure. If there is ever a book you are struggling to find, just email them and they will track it down if humanly possible.

I bought two in particular that will really help with my novel research.

There's a small cafe on the middle floor, serving vegetarian and vegan food.

Scarthin's even came in at number six in the Guardian's online list of the world's best bookshops. Note - not just Derbyshire's, or England's, or even the U.K's but the whole world's! 

Researching is thirsty work, you know. So I bought a new tea mug too. Like it?

Monday, 12 August 2013

August news

I was going to let Harvey tell you about his Great Escape this time, but I've elbowed him out of the way so I can share a few bits of writing news.

The most surprising thing of all was winning the monthly poetry contest in Writers' Forum magazine. My entry is printed in the current issue, number 142. Although I don't write much poetry I am enjoying it more and more, especially after my welcome win!

Since my interest in poetry seemed to be growing this year, I began looking for a small press poetry magazine to submit to. I came across The Dawntreader, published by Indigo Dreams and decided to subscribe. It's a quarterly magazine, focusing on poetry that relates to nature, spirituality, myth and legend. Right up my street! And so I also feel honoured that one of my poems is in the current issue of Dawntreader (issue 23)

Thirdly (because you know things always come in three) I was very happy to be shortlisted once again for the Flash 500 flash fiction competition - that's the one for the second quarter of 2013, in case you're looking for the results on the website.

Although I shall probably continue with flash fiction and poetry, I don't see myself writing as many mid-length stories in the next few months. I've been looking through the folder of research that I started with a view to writing a historical novel. I really want to spend some time on that now, and don't think I can cope with more than one narrative at a time.

I've been trying to post a gratuitous picture of Harvey, for anyone who's missing him, but I am having so many problems with Blogger today that I need to go into an empty room and scream!