12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it



Book Six Excerpt

This is an excerpt from what I’ve written for book six, but it’s really just background characterisation and I don’t think I’ll end up using much of it in the final draft.  Still, thought I should point out I’ve written something…

Nicola woke up with her face stuck to the cheap plastic keyboard of her work PC.  She rubbed her cheek to get rid of the indentations, but knew from experience it would take a while to return to normal.

The monitor in front of her stopped playing its screensaver, revealing a too-white document that was a mess of m’s and 8’s and ‘hn’s.

Still, at least she’d saved her story this time.

Continue reading “Book Six Excerpt”

#WIP: Book Five Excerpt

He hated the cousins.  They weren’t even first cousins, he muttered to himself indignantly, they were his mum’s cousin’s daughters.  Hardly even relations at all, really.

They were two sets of identical twins.  The oldest pair were Violet and Daisy, who were 9 and a half and enjoyed ballet, horse riding, and ‘accidentally’ setting things on fire.  The younger two were Jasmine and Lily, who were aged 7 and three quarters and mainly liked digging holes.  They looked exactly the same as their older sisters but for being a tiny bit shorter, and all four of them were the spitting image of their father – mum’s cousin Simon.  What this meant in practice was that they were broad shouldered, ginger haired, and decidedly abrasive.  They also liked to dress in various shades of shocking pink, which meant you could always see them coming.

Eric thought this was probably because they liked to give you a bit of time to start properly dreading their arrival.  When you saw the wall of pink tulle ahead in the distance, your stomach turned to lead and you wanted to run as fast as you could in the opposite direction.

“No wonder their mum works abroad,” he thought gloomily, lowering his head into his hands as they took it in turns to hurl insults through the door, “I’d leave the country too if they were my kids.”

A Link and a #WIP

Here is a piece of flash fiction you should read, particularly if you are a fan of fine literature.

And here is a snippet of what I have written today:

We sat like that for what seemed like hours – although I suspect it was only twenty minutes – before Cookie bounded in from his bath completely starkers.

“COOK,” I bellowed, mortified, “pit some claithes on!”

Baffled, he looked down at himself, but even then the realisation of what was wrong took a while to dawn on him.

Then he registered Mhairi, and all at once he seemed to understand.

“Good day,” he said to her with a polite bow. “You must be Mhairi.  Will you excuse me for a moment?  I appear to have forgotten my clothes.”

In case this needs explaining: Cookie is an old pal of Victor’s who is losing it a bit, and has run away from the nursing home his daughter stuck him in.

#WIP – Tandy

I looked around for a phone, but couldn’t see one anywhere.  It looked like I’d have to go all the way back down to the concierge’s office and call for help from there… but I didn’t fancy waiting around and having to admit that I’d lied to him in order to get up here.  Equally I didn’t want to keep up the pretense to the authorities, and wind up organizing a stranger’s funeral.

I turned away from Mrs Kerr and moved towards the doorway, when I thought I heard a door close.

“Wayne?” I said, “that you, son?”

“Wayne’s gone,” came a voice, as the door opposite this one creaked open.  “Mum kicked him out weeks ago and we’ve never seen him since.”

The voice belonged to a small girl, very skinny, who was clad in a ballerina tutu, pyjama bottoms, and a denim jacket.  Her hair hung lank about her shoulders and her face wore the remains of her last meal – which looked like it might’ve been chocolate and baked beans.

“And how long’s your mum been like that?”  I asked.

“Three days,” the girl replied.  “She gets like this, sometimes.  She’ll wake up soon though.”

#WIP – The Highrises

With no idea of how far up flat 159 would be, I pressed the button for the top floor and waited.  It took a few moments for the lift to creak into life, and when it did there was a horrible crunching of gears before it juddered asthmatically upwards.  I’d never been more grateful to live in a bungalow.

#WIP – Mhairi Mclennan

“It’s they kids,” she stated flatly.

I wondered whether Mhairi Mclennan could read minds.  It wouldn’t surprise me if she could.  Folk from up north are always more magical, I’ve noticed.

“I’ve seen them outside your house, throwing things,” she explained when I didn’t respond.  “They target me, too.  Ring the doorbell and run away.  Put things through my letterbox.”

She paused.

“Nasty things.”

#WIP – An Incident

My wife would’ve had me to call the polis in a situation like this.  She’d have been awake now, quivering with indignation on my behalf.  She’d head to the kitchen, ranting and raving about speaking to that boy’s parents and him being a bad influence on all the other kids in the neighbourhood, especially Julie.  She’d fix us a cup of tea – or something stronger – and start drafting a letter to our local councillor, whoever that was.

I did none of those things.

Instead, shaking my head in confusion, I climbed back in to bed and reopened my copy of Riders of the Purple Sage.  This would never have happened in Zane Grey’s Wild West.  If someone wanted to call you out, they would have just gone ahead and done it.


A snippet.

She regarded me with clear grey eyes that gave nothing away.

“Don’t you start making grandiose plans,” she commanded.

I shifted uncomfortably from right foot to left, like a child that has been caught out.

“Ah amnae,” I protested, which was true, really.  My plans weren’t grandiose, not by a long chalk.

She frowned.

“You can’t be the hero in this, Victor.”

Another Excerpt From Book Two

“What did she mean, we’re stuck?”  Mrs Shiers peered at Bob accusingly.

There was a pregnant pause, then:

“….what?” he said, in the worst feigning of ignorance ever showcased in the whole of Auchtergowrie Theatre’s long and painful history.

“That actor lassie said we were stuck,” Mrs Shiers reminded him, accidentally slipping into a broader accent in her concern.

“Ah,” Bob shrugged helplessly, looking about him for guidance but receiving none, “that.”

“The security system is jiggered, Mrs S,” Lauren volunteered after several long moments.  “We can’t get out of the building, and there’s a high chance nobody else can get in.”

“But we’d rather that it wasn’t common knowledge,” Bob interrupted, “because we don’t want people to panic.  And the police’ll probably want to talk to everyone that saw the show, we think.”

“Why would they want to do that?”

“Well, to get their eyewitness accounts,” Bob said vaguely.  “To find out exactly what happened.”

“Come on,” Elspeth encouraged, holding out her arm for Mrs Shiers, “let’s leave these lot to it and get a stiff drink.”

“In light of the situation,” Mrs Shiers conceded, “that doesn’t sound like a completely terrible idea.”

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