Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Lugubrious means, doleful, mornful or dismal. It sounds as though it should be something fun, doesn't it?

As far as I can recall I've only ever come across it in relation to speech, but characters needn't just speak lugubriously, the could show their inner lugubriousness through a sad expression and dejected manner.

Much as I like the sound of foghorns, I think it would be fair to describe the noise they make as lugubrious.

Thanks to Beatrice!!!!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Published paragraphs

Here's an opportunity to get a short piece of work published. It can be a short story, novel extract, story opening ... anything really as long as there's ony 75 words of it. It can be on any subject too - even fishy ones.

I'm over at Misha's blog today, hopefully not floundering, or carping on ...

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A lot of competitions

Gayle Beveridge has compiled a list of almost 100 competitions (some of which are free to enter) which you can download here.

Here are a lot of crocus (my picture but not my garden)

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Over The Garden Fence

My latest book, another short story collection, will be launched on 3rd April. That's Good Friday which is a traditional gardening day. The stories all have some connection to gardens, gardeners, plants or flowers, so it seemed appropriate. The kindle version is ready for 'pre-order' now.

They'll be a launch party here and on my facebook author page on release date.

If anyone would like me to do a guest post on their blog, or would like to interview me, or is able to tweet or do a facebook share or practically anything else in the way of publicity, that'd be great. *flutters eyelashes*

Over The Garden Fence

Sue fills a room with white carnations to celebrate her twenty-first wedding anniversary. Yvonne looks forward to the garden party and gets hot and bothered by charming Dr Mathews' bedside manner. Maria dreads Valentine's Day with all those red roses to remind her of past hurts.

Maddie longs to visit her brother's wonderful English garden. Dare she go? Luisha Summer was once Lucy Winterbottom, almost everything about her has changed. Does she still love flowers and remember those who aided her success? Old Myrtle promises the kids a trick along with their treats, but they're too greedy to hear the warning.

Adam has the chance to help his hero, PC Mark, and prove himself a worthy deputy if he can only discover who's responsible for stealing a prize-winning marrow and three old roller skates. Will the mystery caller persuade Beverley to make time to smell the flowers? Gran's forget-me-not brooch will lead Mazie to true love... eventually.

Gardens, plants and people all have their stories. Lean over my garden fence and I'll tell you a few.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


According to my dictionary, hyperbole (pronounced hyperbollee) is 'an exaggerated statement not meant to be taken literally'. I wish someone would tell the media (especially the local news) and marketeers that.

People are never a bit upset and mildly inconvenienced when a bus service changes or the lift is out of order, they're devastated, trapped and stranded. When there's a mistake on their gas bill they're not a bit surprised and then glad when it's sorted out, they're shocked, dismayed and horrified then hugely relieved.

Food manufacturers don't release a new flavour, instead it's an exciting new recipe or unique taste sensation. Products are never quite a good idea which might be useful, they're innovative and life changing.

TV programmes are never quite amusing, they're always hilarious and slide-splittingly funny. Presumably 'they' watch the director's cut, leaving me with the version which got slightly lost in translation ... either that or I'm just a complete and total misery. Yeah, could be that.

Here's a picture of a deadly poisonous fungi I risked life and limb to photograph for you. Or, without the hyperbole, here's a fungi which might not be good to eat and which was growing on a slope of wet grass, meaning that had I not been careful I could have slipped a bit as I walked up to it.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Six word stories

Writing a story in six words isn't easy, but if you come up with a good one you could win £100 in this competition. Thanks to Beatrice Charles for telling me about it.

Here are six strawberries - not sure they'll actually help. You could, if you like, get into the mood by leaving a six word comment.

Monday, 16 March 2015


Arts Council England are running this competition for 'disabled and marginalised' writers offering financial, and other, help. There's quite a list of ways in which a person could be considered 'marginalised' being over aged over 65, acting as a carer or being long term unemployed for example, so it might be having a look to see if you qualify. Flash fiction or poetry can be submitted.

Thanks to Sandy Walker for letting me know about this competition. I'm very sorry about the terrible pictorial pun on her name.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Weekly poetry competition.

This site runs a weekly poetry competition. There's no entry fee and no prize other than online publication and a warm fuzzy feeling. Still, if you write poetry just for the glory and money, you're on a rocky path and have a steep climb ahead of you.

(I climbed up to the top of this rock - then had to slide back down on my bum thanks to a lack of railings and sudden attack of scaredycatness. )

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


A stopple is a stopper or plug, usually for a bottle. We seem to have quite a few. I've no idea if they work - once our wine is open, we drink it rather than go round stoppling it.

Actually stopple is the verb as well as the noun, but however you say it, it seems an odd thing to do.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

For those who doubted ...

See, sometimes I do real, proper work!

The ship is P&O Cruises' latest addition - Britannia. It's huge. I know because I carried tripods all over it.  And yes, it was windy up there on the top deck, though I can't think why you'd ask. You can see the results of our efforts here.

How about you, have you been working? If you have either a short story or novel ready to submit, you might be interested in this.

If you're a blogger, or thinking of becoming one, then this competition might appeal.

You'll have realised by now that I'm a blogger, but here's something you might not have been aware of.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Perfect prize?

This poetry competition offers chocolate and book tokens amongst the prize package. There's no entry fee, you have until 1st May to enter and there's a chocolatey theme. The whole thing sounds pretty perfect ... except for the bit about it being a poetry competition!

Research is going well - I've got through about 3 1/2 lbs of that ...

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time again.

My current security is 'Over the Garden Fence' a collection of 24 short stories I'm in the process of putting together. The writing/editing part is mostly done and it's due to be sent of to the proofreader in a few days. They'll be typos, I know, but they can be fixed.

What's making me insecure is a) dealing with all the formatting and the sfotware to make it available through Createspace and on Kindle. Mirrored margins, non embedded text and weird reactions to section breaks are enough to make anyone, other than computer whizzes, insecure. I'm not a computer whizz.

An b) is the video question. I made this mad one for my last collection. Should I do another? Before you answer, consider the title and the fact I might have to cartwheel, or at least leap, over a garden fence.

Oh and obviously c) will anyone buy it?