12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it



Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

This week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post is perspective. The idea is to show a close up of something and then pan out to reveal not all is as it seems. This is my one.

Because what dalek wouldn’t want to ride a bottle of Irn Bru.

Book Six Revisited

Book 6 in my mind.
Book 6 in my mind.

So, I was re-reading Book Six because in my mind there were sections of it that I might be able to remove and adapt into a story for a magazine submission.  It turns out I was wrong – those bits existed in my head, but I neglected to write them down.

Here’s what I discovered on revisiting that draft.

  1. I didn’t write anywhere near as much of the story as I had previously imagined – which is sad because I thought about it a lot and had tons of ideas.
  2. Most of what I did write was background stuff that happened about 5 years before the story actually begins.  It’s not badly written, but it’s not relevant to the book either.
  3. About 2000 words of what I did write consisted of a folk tale about an evil brooch, the justification being that one of my characters reads said story at a difficult time in his life and goes a bit wrong.
  4. I wish I was making that up, but I am completely not.
  5. See:

Continue reading “Book Six Revisited”

What’s in a name

The Registrar blinked owlishly over the rims of unnaturally vivid fuschia glasses.

“Are you absolutely sure, Mr and Mrs McBevis?”

“Actually I’m Ms,” said Ms McBevis, “I kept my own name when we married.”

“But it says here that you’re both McBevis.”

“Yes, funny coincidence really – we were both called McBevis already. We met at a social event for people with the surname McBevis. But we aren’t related.”

“We checked the family trees to be sure,” Mr McBevis added, “genealogy is quite fascinating. It turned out my great great aunt Mavis McBevis was actually a tree.”

“A great lusty oak,” his wife added enthusiastically.

“I see,” said the registrar, who didn’t really see, but was beginning to find the whole conversation rather tiring. “Well, it’s a small world I suppose.”

The McBevis’s nodded vigorously, so the registrar got in there before they started talking again –

“And you are absolutely sure about the baby’s name?”

“Of course we’re sure,” Ms McBevis said, “why shouldn’t we be?”

“You want to call the baby Horace McBevis?”


The registrar coughed in an embarrassed sort of way.

“It’s just that… Well. Horace seems a slightly unusual choice for a little girl.”

The new parents rolled their eyes at one another.

“We don’t want to force gender roles on our children,” Mr McBevis said, in the tones one might use to address a small dog. “This is the 21st century, you know.”

“I understand that, Mr McBevis,” she began, “but -”

“But what?”

Many thoughts went through the registrar’s head.

But couldn’t you choose a unisex name, like Madison or Jo?

But don’t you realise that poor little girl is going to be bullied within an inch of her life?

But it’s 5.05pm and I am off the clock.

“Nothing,” said the registrar, handing over the certificate and pulling on her anorak in one deft move, “it’s lovely. Goodbye.”

And that, dear reader, is the tale of how Horace McBevis got her name.

How Not To Write A Blog Comment

I received the following helpful comment on the Blogs You Should Read post and thought I might highlight it so others would feel the benefit.  I’ve written about spam on a few occasions (here, for instance), but this one is just perplexing.  Also I’ve had a busy weekend so don’t have anything meatier to talk about today.

Continue reading “How Not To Write A Blog Comment”

A Place In The Country (Pictonaut Challenge)

As you can from the accompanying illustration, the town of Bishop’s Wallop was a little bit unusual.

Continue reading “A Place In The Country (Pictonaut Challenge)”

The Other McShay

Not long after I started writing this I realised it was not going to be a traditional horror story.  But on the plus side, it’s quite short. 

pic found here

Nobody ever had anything nice to say about Batty McShay.  But there again, Batty McShay didn’t have anything nice to say about anyone either, and they do say that you ought to lead by example.

The example Batty set was not a great one.  She ate her food in an obnoxious sort of a way, chewing with her mouth wide open and never cleaning her teeth after.  She sat and pleated her leg hair when you were trying to tell her something, or sometimes she just fell asleep then and there and would claim later on it was your fault for having such a monotonous voice.  She had a necklace made out of garlic and onions which she wore only when visiting quiet places full of people too polite to tell her to go away – mainly libraries and monasteries.  And she always took a pad of post-it notes wherever she went so that she could make ‘kick me’ signs to plant on people’s backs.

There were several reasons why Batty was the way she was, but the main one was probably the fact that her dead father lived in the attic and sang her jingoistic songs of the old times at the top of his voice.  That sort of thing will drive anyone to distraction if it goes on for long enough, and the old duffer had been dead for twenty years.

Continue reading “The Other McShay”

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