Sunday, May 29, 2011


It's been absolutely ages since we last went to the cinema but there's a clutch of good films all coming out at the same time (like buses... typical) so last night we headed off to Solihull for a meal out and a movie.

The meal was at a newish restaurant called Giraffe, part of a chain that (like so many others) seems to be threatening world domination and springing up in towns and cities across the land. Luckily, it's very nice. We ate in one in London a few years back and were impressed, and were still impressed last night. They specialise in 'world cuisine', which basically means a little of everything, but with the emphasis on Tex-Mex.

The film was Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. We love the first two films in the series, disliked the third, but had heard good things about this one. And it was a blast. Not perhaps quite as good as the first one - too few main characters and a very slow start made it a little too dependent on Johnny Depp, and as good as he is, it's a tall order for one actor to 'carry' an entire film. But the special effects were great and once all the various parties were back at sea, chasing the elusive Fountain of Youth, the action took off and it was all great fun. And watch out for some amusing cameo roles - Keith Richards as Jack Sparrow's dad, and Dame Judy Dench in a carriage.

As usual if you sit through the telephone-directory length credits you get a hidden extra and in this case it seemed to hint that more 'episodes' could be on the way. If they're as entertaining as this I hope so... but perhaps they could come up with a couple more characters to replace Elizabeth, Will, Norrington, Davy Jones, Bootstrap Bill, the Governor, and the two idiotic pirates in the meantime?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shotgun Honey moves

Blogger got its knickers in a right old twist yesterday, logging members out of their own accounts at every opportunity and refusing to allow comments. One result is that Shotgun Honey, the nearly-new zine of crime and noir flash fiction, got fed up and moved. I'm busy updating the links to my story Gran Torino but the great news is that it's still fully available to read at its new home.

And Blogger? Well, it still seems to be buggering about but less so than it was. I live in hope...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Not having children myself, the 'agony and ecstasy of being a mother' isn't a subject I know a vast amount about. So when I saw that the theme for a forthcoming issue of Mslexia was 'motherhood', my heart sank. That's another issue I won't be able to write for, I thought. But then I surprised myself. This afternoon I sat down and wrote an emotional little piece about two neighbours' very different experiences of being a mother to a 20-something son. I'm still wondering where on earth the ideas for that came from...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ever decreasing circles

We finally got the go-ahead for both planning permission and building regulations for our extension, which will give us a second (if very tiny) bathroom and a bigger kitchen. On Friday our architect came over and we sat down round the dining table with a cuppa each to go through the full 'scope of work', ready to send tenders out to local builders.

My goodness, I had no idea it involved so much detail! We'd already planned our kitchen units, flooring, sink and taps but there's so much more. Wall tiles. Lighting. Light switches and sockets. A shower curtain or screen. The particular brand and pattern of obscured glass for the bathroom window. Even the paint colour has to be specified!

It's all very exciting, but it's also a huge amount of work. We spent the whole weekend dashing from one DIY store or supplier to another, deciding what we liked and what we could actually afford. (The two, sadly, seldom seem to meet.) And finally we have a list of just about everything, which I'm hoping to email to the architect later today. After that things should die down again for a while and I should be back to my usual schedule. I've done no work at all since Thursday. Bad Fiona.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gran Torino

I'm delighted to say Shotgun Honey have been true to their word and posted my short story Gran Torino today.

Pop along to this new zine of crime and noir flash to see how one old lady turns the tables on the thug who almost runs her over... You may never look at mobility scooters in quite the same way again!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Typing... re-typing

I always knew that touch-typing course I did at college would come in useful one day.

I wanted to nominate a story for the Watery Grave Invitational crime writing contest, to try to get myself on their list of invitees. When I came to look at my list of published stories only one met the bill, Lemon Sour which was published in Radgepacket 4. And I realised that I didn't have a copy on my laptop, or on the flash drive that I dash around the country with and never leave home without. In fact, the only copy I had was in a volume of the book that I'd brought with me to read months ago and popped back on a shelf.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work... to re-type the whole blinking story. Luckily it's only around 1800 words long so it could have been worse, but it still took me a couple of hours. Not least because I had to keep picking up the book, reading the next sentence, memorising it, putting the book down again to free my hands up to type, typing, then picking the book up again.... A long and frustrating process, but the submission went off to Watery Grave at lunchtime, well in time for the May 15th deadline. Now I just watch and wait. And thank the Lord that I learned to type at speed with all ten fingers and thumbs. If I'd still been using the old prod-and-poke method and two fingers, I'd have been at it all day!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ultimate I.D. available

As promised the new issue of Pulp Metal Magazine came out over the weekend complete with articles, reviews, and lots of new 'odd' fiction including my story The Ultimate I.D.

Since this is an evil piece featuring a pair of missing curtains, the Post Office and a nagging wife, it certainly lives up to the 'odd' label. It's also very tongue-in-cheek, though, so I hope everyone enjoys it.

You can find the story here, but don't forget to check out the other stories and content while you're on the Pulp Metal site.

And happy, if slightly hair-raising, reading. :)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Pulp Metal Magazine, a well respected publication in the world of noir and general darkness, has accepted The Ultimate I.D., an evil little tale about one man's answer to a missing pair of curtains and a nagging wife.

The story should be appearing over the weekend, but I'll pop a note on here as soon as I know for sure that it's available to read.

This is the third 'refugee' from the revenge anthology I've had accepted, which makes me a particularly happy bunny.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Hack splutter cough

This morning Dave gloss-painted the bathroom. It's going to look stunning when it's done but gloss paint takes ages to dry... and I'm allergic to the fumes. To get me out of the house and stop me wheezing we decided to head for the city centre and go for a walk.

The roads were busy (second sunny Bank Holiday Sunday in a row, plus a Birmingam City home match that had just finished) but we gritted our teeth and fought our way through - and even found a parking space. After a brief refuelling stop at the Museum & Art Gallery's so-called 'Edwardian tea rooms', we set off for the Jewellery Quarter on foot.

There weren't many shops open but it's always a fascinating area to explore with dozens of interesting old buildings, a heritage trail and a maze of half-hidden canals. The only trouble was, thanks to the dry sunny weather of the last few weeks there was masses of dust, and a strong-to-gale-force wind blew it into our faces no matter which way we turned. I'm allergic to dust too, and ended up coughing and spluttering just as much as if I'd stayed at home... but I did get a good walk (and a slice of cheesecake at the Museum) as a reward.