The Sirens Call – Issue 25 – Things That Go Bump in the Night

I was very flattered to be offered the chance to showcase my photography in this month’s issue of The Sirens Call eZine. There’s a little interview with me as well. Thanks very much to Nina for thinking of me when it came to the artwork for this issue.
The eZine also features poetry, flash fiction, and short stories from an all female line-up, in honour of Women in Horror Recognition Month.

Click here to download your free copy!

Insect Aerobics

I love this drawing!

I love this drawing!

 

Insect aerobics
Is a cat’s fitness routine
(And a diet plan)

**********

Had this haiku and pic floating around, thought I’d share for a bit of fun. The haiku was prompted by a conversation with a friend, about our cats’ lovely eating habits. 🙂

Is This What My Cat Sees At Night?

I haven’t fallen off the planet – or been eaten by demons. To prove it, here’s a haiku that goes very well with this pic. I suspect this is indeed the world our feline friends inhabit when they roam at night.

 

Pic courtesy of Weird Tales Magazine

Pic courtesy of Weird Tales Magazine

 

He sees what you can’t
 As he joins them in the dark
To prowl and to feast

 

More bloggy goodness coming next week, some of it featuring the reason I didn’t post at the beginning of this week as usual… 🙂

In The Library

Do any of you visit the library anymore? I confess I don’t go often. Why not? The accessibility of online book ordering, plus the fortunate circumstance of disposable income. I have, for a while now, been able to afford to buy books – digital or ‘real’. Plus, I’ve lived in a village without a library for the last ten years, which means I have to drive there.

How different from my childhood. Our local library was a five minute walk away. I was there ALL THE TIME. My mum was (is) an avid reader and visited at least weekly, and I went with her, as far back as I can remember. While she chose her adult books, I browsed the children’s section. My library introduced me to many of my favourite books: The Moomins, The Famous Five, The Hobbit…and eventually, to The Dark Is Rising and what would become my favourite type of book, to this day. Legends, witches, magic – everything I read and write about now. 😉

I know fellow writers who use the library to work in, as it gets them away from the disturbances of everyday life. I’m fortunate in that, if I can make the cats go away, I have peace and quiet in my little office/reading room/den. (I currently do have a cat here, but he’s asleep. I can blank out the snores). With the advent of the internet, I don’t need to go to the library to do research – I have everything I need at my Googling fingertips.

This isn’t a comment piece on the decline of libraries, but just looking over what I’ve written, I can see why it’s happening. It does make me sad. Maybe that’s just nostalgia? Anyway, a few weeks ago I resolved to visit my library. I had a long gap between giving driving lessons, but decided not to go home and veg on the couch. Instead, I went to the library, and did some people watching, and writing. It was useful, and fun! I made some notes on what I observed. They turned into a little poem, which I have included below.

My library didn't look like this. This is a posh Edinburgh one. ;-) Pic courtesy of iccinfocentre.com

My library didn’t look like this. This is a posh Edinburgh one. 😉
Pic courtesy of iccinfocentre.com

In the library

The urge to tell people to stop talking…
Especially all those old people pretending to use the computers
But just really having a blether out of the rain.
A young man on his phone. Naughty!
Drip, drip, drip of rain from the leaky roof.
The lady muttering at the computer screen.
The wean crying in the kiddie section.
The window cleaner’s squeegee knocking on the glass.
Beeps and squeals from the computer system.
The librarian filing books back onto the shelves. Yes, real books!
Me wondering if I should learn to type properly.
Voices in the background discussing books.
People glimpsed through shelves – what are they choosing?
Lots to inspire me.
It’s a good place to write.
But now I’m getting hungry.
Time to go home and get some lunch.
No eating in the library, remember!

wean: a child or baby
blether: idle or foolish and irrelevant talk

My Writing Process (I’m supposed to have a process??)

Pic courtesy of freelancedream.com

Pic courtesy of freelancedream.com

Today I’m talking about my writing process as part of a Blog Tour on the subject. My friend Margaret K Johnson talked about hers last week. You can check out what she said here. Margaret mainly writes women’s fiction, romance, and readers for people learning to speak English, and has been known to go to great lengths to research what she wants to write about. In 2012 she completed the Go Ape Tree Top Challenge and also performed stand-up comedy in London. You can read about these challenges on her blog!

Okay, so here’s my writing process (if it can be described as a process 😉 ):

What am I working on?

Multiple projects! I’m mainly concentrating on short fiction at the moment: for my blog, for other bloggers, and for submission to magazines and anthologies. In addition, I’m taking a Creative Writing course with the Open University. This means I have deadlines for pieces of work to be handed in, so I’m trying to stay on top of that. My neglected work-in-progress novel is on the back burner just now!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love stories of vampires and werewolves, but why is it always the guy who’s the undead, and who rescues/falls in love with/seduces the lady? Why not the other way round? WITHOUT said lady being the evil seductress and villain of the piece? I like to twist things a bit and tell stories where the human boy falls for the strange girl.

Why do I write what I do?

Simply because I love it. I got hooked on reading fantasy of all kinds when I was about nine, and it has remained my favourite thing to read and write. Obviously I started reading erotica a bit later, but I enjoy writing that with a strong, often dominant 😉 , female character as well.

How does your writing process work?

Ha ha, well, that is the question, isn’t it? As some of you know I’m a driving instructor by day, so what I try to do is conduct the majority of my driving tuition in the morning and afternoon, and write for a couple of hours in the evening. Doesn’t always work! I don’t set myself a minimum number of words per day or anything like that. However, my Creative Writing course has been great in that respect, as in order to keep up with the coursework I really have to write something every day – I usually do at least 500 words per day, often lots more.
Depending on my mood and also if there’s a deadline, I can complete a first draft of a short story in a couple of days – but I have drafts I’ve still not completed after more than a year! The first draft is followed by editing and usually three or four revised drafts before the final one. So of an evening I can be working on a first draft of one or two pieces, and editing a couple more.
I am a serial procrastinator and am easily distracted by computer games, pics of hot men, and my cats being cute. So I’m fighting against my nature to get stuff done all the time!

The tour continues next week with J E Nice, a fellow blogger, who was one of the first people to support and encourage me when I started putting my writing ‘out there’ last year:
J E Nice is a speculative writer of fantasy, sci-fi and horror, and a lover of books, films, TV and all things geek. Her blog is predominantly about writing, with a smattering of film reviews and the odd off at a tangent.
You can see why we hit it off when we met online! Please check out her post next week.

Here Be Dragons

Why are there dragons on my blog today? Because, that’s why. Because I like ‘em. Because there are lots of them in books. And because another lady with the superb name of Karen nominated me for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award, amongst others. Big thanks to her! Check out her blog at My train of thoughts on…

There are lots of these bloggy awards and I just recently did a Versatile Blogger one ‘properly’, ie: nominating other people and stuff. So instead of all that I decided to do a dragony post. Just because.

Dragons are probably my favourite mythical creature. You can keep fairies and unicorns and soppy stuff. I want a dragon! I’ve always thought that they’re misunderstood, like my witches. Okay, yes, some of them are bad, but most of them are just trying to get on with life, when some idiot with a sword and a flame-proof shield turns up and tries to chop off their head. I’d incinerate first and not ask questions later, too. 😉

I’ve been trying to remember the first dragon I read about in books. I’ve come to the conclusion it was more than likely Smaug, from The Hobbit. All right, he was a bad ‘un. But since then I’ve read plenty more stories where dragons are a bit less evil. Some favourite books include:

Magician by Raymond E. Feist. Rhuagh is the first of the great dragons we meet, a wise old soul, who forces an equally wise old dwarf to rethink his opinion of dragons.

Guards! Guards! (And all the other books with the swamp dragons in them) by Terry Pratchett. Although there is a great dragon in this book as well, Mr Pratchett as usual stands things on their head with the little swamp dragons, which are bred by ladies as mad as my cat breeding friend. 😉

And for younger readers as well…How to Train Your Dragon, and its sequels, by Cressida Cowell. This was also made into a brilliant animated film by Dreamworks. Whoever designed Toothless, the main dragon character, should be given an award. The mixture of reptilian and feline characteristics and movements is amazing.

Hubby also likes dragons. He has three tattooed on him already, and is about to get a fourth.

Dragons are intelligent, beautiful and deadly. They breathe fire, and if you make friends with them, you can ride them! What’s not to love?

For my Creative Writing course, we were asked to write an alliterative love poem to something unusual. The verse below was inspired by this picture.

I can't remember where I found this image, so credits to whoever created it.

I can’t remember where I found this image, so credits to whoever created it.

Winged and wild and unwanted
Wreathed in red and russet and gold
Power to make the proudest warrior tremble
Flames from your jaws flare the night
None can doubt your nobility
Though they fear your fire
See me, serpent…
I dare to doubt the danger
Let me fly in your flames
Your friend for eternity and more

Industrial Inspiration

I’ve wanted to use this photo for a while. I took it when I was at The Hydro, Glasgow’s new arena, which is down on the riverside. This is the Finnieston Crane, no longer in use but now an amazing landmark and reminder of Glasgow’s industrial heritage. It is the largest of four remaining cantilever cranes along the river Clyde, and was used to lift heavy locomotives. (If you like engineering stuff and want to know more about it, click the link). 😉

Finnieston Crane, Glasgow, on a rare sunny autumn day

Finnieston Crane, Glasgow, on a rare sunny autumn day

Here’s a haiku I wrote when looking at this photograph:

Shipyard sentinel
His day gone and forgotten
Still proud in the sun

I’m getting into this poetry thing! I actually wrote this haiku ages ago, when I took the photo back in October. I hope to share some longer poems with you soon. I’ve got a few in progress.

Strange thing: writing poetry has also inspired me to start drawing again, something I haven’t done in years. One of my work-in-progress poems conjured up an image which I just had to draw. Weird, huh?

Also, just to show I’ve not gone completely poetry-daft, I’ll be sharing a new story on Mari Wells‘s blog in February. Mari is celebrating the festival of Lupercalia with stories of werewolves, so watch out for me there…