Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Small Problem

The thirteenth isn't always unlucky. It was the 13th Feb when I heard my latest story had been accepted (The Boyfriend From Hell), and now Issue 13 of Gay Flash Fiction is playing host to A Small Problem.

This little story is a real tease. It's only short but it packs quite a punch as the crew of a manned mission to Mars suffer equipment failure and have to take matters, quite literally, into their own hands, much to the consternation of the mission chief engineer.

You can read it at Gay Flash Fiction and I very much hope you enjoy it.

Monday, March 30, 2009


It's good to know, sometimes, that I'm not the only writer to make the occasional howler.

We were watching an episode of CSI:Crime Scene Investigation the other night that involved a young woman who'd been killed. A male friend of hers had played a prank on her shortly before she died and this helped lead the CSI team to him (although he turned out not to be the murderer). The prank involved getting her to stick her hand in a bag of elephant dung, and the clue was that she still had traces of the dung under her fingernails.

This is a blooper of the first order. How many women do you know who would put even a fingertip in any kind of dung and not wash their hands immediately afterwards? And not just wash, but soap and scrub and practically use sandpaper to get the stuff off their skin? They certainly wouldn't stand around for hours afterwards enjoying drinks at a party, knowing that they smelled of elephant poop, as this girl was supposed to have done.

So, even the professionals get it wrong from time to time...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My tiny hand is frozen

Our (pretty well brand new) boiler went paf last night and stopped giving us either heating or hot water. After much fiddling my husband managed to get the hot water back on (phew, I hate not being able to have baths) but the heating is stubbornly refusing to work. At this time of year we only have it on for an hour or so in the morning just to warm the house through, but it's amazing how uncomfortable it still is without. I'm sitting at my desk in umpteen layers, with woolly socks and a scarf, and my fingers are so numb I can hardly type.

I wonder how people managed to write before central heating was invented...


Another entry in my occasional 'you couldn't make it up if you tried' files.

We were out walking in our local park the other Saturday and were passed by a very smartly dressed older couple who looked as though they were on their way to church. As they passed us the man was saying, "They can't stand the sight of each other, so they just go cruising all the time."

We're still wondering who he was talking about, why they hate each other, and whether he meant cruising on a ship, or in the clubbing sense....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Currently reading...

Strange Tunnels Disappearing by Gary Ley. This is a rather, um, strange book. Set in Peru in the 1980s but written by a Welshman, it tells the story of Jose, an academic with communist leanings, who goes on the run after hearing that his life is in danger. Every review I've seen of it is absolutely glowing but so far I'm finding it terribly slow and packed with the sort of meaningless, introspective, navel-gazing dialogue where the characters vocalise their thoughts to one another rather than holding proper conversations. I can't help thinking some of these vocalisations are actually of the author's thoughts, not the characters', since in one place he has a Spanish-speaking character muse on the sound of the word 'gringo' - in English!

I shall persevere in the hope that the characters stop musing on the meaning of life and actually do something, but I'm not hopeful...

Gorgeous cover, though!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Currently working on...

...the fourth re-write of a novel set in the Lake District. It's early days yet - I'm still only on the first chapter and setting up the characters, the situation and the backstory - but it seems to be going quite well.

This novel has gradually developed from a ghost story to a character-driven mystery with a hint of paranormal to a character-driven mystery with no paranormal at all. And for a complete change, I'm writing about a family with *gasp* children, which I've never tried before. Although I don't have kids myself, enough of our friends do that I know the sort of things they say and do. It's very different, but lots of fun. The very first line is "Are we nearly there yet?", which will hopefully strike a chord with parents everywhere!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Best childrens' books

This week's Radio Times has a list of author Ursula Le Guin's favourite childrens' books. It's an interesting list, at least as much for what isn't on it as what is - no Peter Pan, no Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, no Alice in Wonderland, no Wind in the Willows. But lots of Rudyard Kipling.

1. The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book
2. Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf
3. Any book by Beatrix Potter
4. The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
5. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
6. The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
7. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
8. The Once and Future King by T H White
9. The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
10. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

I'd agree with many of the choices (with the exception of Black Beauty, which I hated, and Ferdinand the Bull which I've never heard of) but my own list of books which had a big impact on me and/or have stayed with me for life would have to include:

1. The Andrew Lang 'colour' fairy tale books
2. A A Milne's Winne the Pooh books
3. Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce (quite possibly my favourite childrens' book of all time).

Does anyone else have any favourites they'd have to include? Or books they hated so much they'd rather pay money than put them on a list? :) I'd love to know.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Radgie on Amazon

Just a brief line to say that 'Radgepacket Volume 2' is now available on Amazon UK, which means you can take advantage of any special offers, free postage, vouchers etc if you want to order it and already have an Amazon account.

You can buy from Amazon here.