12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it



Going For A Walk (March Pictonaut Challenge)

Going for a walkIt’s Thursday, it’s 7.30pm, it’s Top of the Pops Pictonaut Challenge!

This month, The Rogue Verbumancer (or Glempy, if you prefer) challenges the internet to write a thousand words on the topic of going for a walk over a bridge.  Or y’know, anything else that springs to mind on seeing this picture…  But as you will discover, my brain opted for a fairly literal interpretation.


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National Novel Writing Month

On this day last year, I was coming towards the end of book ten – a book of short horror stories in honour of Halloween – and I was gearing up to attempt a piece of literary fiction (fnar) for NaNoWriMo. Where has the time gone?


Time visual for you, there.

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Call for Submissions

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might be aware that when I’m not writing I sometimes act as Media Officer for Homespun, a new children’s theatre company.  Now I am cannily combining the two in the interests of raising cash to send our show, East of the Sun West of the Moon (which was pretty well received at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year) on tour in 2013.  I am putting together an eBook of folk and fairy stories, with all proceeds going towards redevelopment and production costs.  I am therefore looking for bright young things to donate their stories in the interests of supporting new children’s theatre.  If you or someone you know is a bright young thing, please read on for more information…

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The Journey – September’s Pictonaut Challenge

And lo, it is the end of September, and time for another Pictonaut Challenge.  This is a very early draft (as in I started it at 18:54 and finished it about 10 minutes ago) and lacks my usual levels of whimsy.  And that is all I can think to say about that.

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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.

Je Ne Regrette Rien

I wrote a short story about a French orphan called Elodie Laroche, and the nice people at Outside Thoughts (a fiction podcast) got an actor called Amy Hall to read it out at an event in Glasgow.  You can listen to it at this link:

Short Story Performance

Yesterday’s post has been rendered slightly redundant by the fact that the writing classes I was looking at are all full.  That’s what happens when you haver…  However, I’ll be more on the ball for the next round. Thanks to everyone who left me advice, you’re all stars!

In the meantime, can you access Glasgow with ease?  Do you like listening to stories?  Well then you should head along to The Old Hairdressers tomorrow (Thursday 13th) at 7pm to hear the recording of Outside Thoughts, a short story podcast.  The very first story, Je Ne Regrette Rien, was written by me and is being performed by ‘a great young actress’ according to the people behind the project, which I’m sure you will agree is excitingly cryptic.

Unfortunately I have a prior engagement (seeing A Dream on a Midsummer’s Night as performed by the wondrous Wee Stories in Portobello) so I will have to listen online later, and of course I will stick up a link when it goes live – but if you want to soak up the ambience as it happens then you should very much do so.  It’s only £2!

Find Outside Thoughts on Twitter @ShortFictionPod and on Facebook here.

Pictonaut Challenge – Any Direction

This month’s Pictonaut Challenge is Sci Fi, in honour of the release of Mass Effect 3. That’s a computer game, for those not in the know, and to be brutally honest it is of little significance in my life. My gaming habits are restricted to endless Tetris and getting stuck on Monkey Island, with a bit of Wii Bowling/MarioKart for luck. Mass Effect 3, meanwhile, ‘plunges you into an all-out galactic war to take Earth back from a nearly unstoppable foe.’ No coloured blocks or weak puns, then.

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Pictonaut Challenge – Faces in the Woods

I have some lunchtime reading for you in the form of February’s Pictonaut Challenge, hooray!  This picture screams fantasy, I’m sure you will agree, so I cracked out some silly names and had at it.  Enjoy.

“Fancy a bit of banana loaf?” Razir said hopefully.  He really wasn’t looking forward to trying to cross the ravine, but the other two were eager to press on.  There again, both of them could swim. 

“It’s got nuts in,” he added lamely.

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