Happy Anniversary to Me!

 Well, here we are, folks – the fourth anniversary of the initial publication of The Disposable! Happy Anniversary to me! :) I honestly can’t stress enough how proud I am to have all four books of my “trilogy” out there in the world for people to read and (hopefully) enjoy. Though those people are currently rather few in number – spread the word! Tell your friends! Write a review! Please? ;p – I appreciate every single person who has taken a chance on reading my daft but serious books and have their own versions of Fodder, Flirt, Shoulders, Dullard and Pleasance lurking in the Realm of their own imagination. I’m so happy to know they now live outside of just mine. :) And despite the fact I’m hardly winning any awards, I would like to do a few thank yous. I would like to thank my lovely family for simply existing, because by doing so they make my world a much better place. I would very much like to thank my best friend, who has lived these stories with me from the day I started plan

On the Matter of Romance

  On the Matter of Romance Following on from the month of Sad-Singles-Sod-Off day (otherwise known as Valentine’s Day to the masses, though quite what a Roman bishop ministering to persecuted Christians would make of what’s become of his day is an interesting thought), I thought I might address my own feelings on the matter of romantic entanglement in fiction. As I suspect may be obvious from the previous sentence, I think it’s fair to say I am not, and never will be, one of life’s hopeless romantics. In fact, I verge on not being a romantic at all and it is certainly not my favoured genre. I mean, I have written romance. I wrote a number of couple-based fanfics around my favourite characters in the Harry Potter series, though they were definitely more character pieces than anything, and of course, there’s Dullard and Pleasance. And I did to write a purely passion-based attraction in a previous novel attempt that will probably never see the light of day now, but it was mostly to pr

On the Matter of Inhumanity

  On the Matter of Inhumanity I feel the time has come to set out my stall on the ever growing issue of AI and its use in society. And my stall is very simple. I HATE it. Why so dramatic a statement you may ask? Surely it’s just a harmless tool to aid in creativity and productivity? But as someone who lives her life positively vibrating with frustration at the injustices and unkindnesses of modern society, what I see is something that heavily magnifies both. Let me explain. I shall start with injustice. A very basic fact of AI that people seem to forget is that is draws its knowledge from pre-existing information that it has been fed. Everything it creates and produces is taken from previous human endeavour – but often, it has been taken without the permission or even the knowledge of the original creators and is now being used to undercut and undermine their own ability to make a living by creating free knock off copies of their work. And worse, much worse – it is even being

Unboxing Society

  Unboxing Society Anyone who has read my books (and if not, why not?) may have noticed I’m not a fan of stereotyping. I am in fact strongly in favour people breaking free of the expectations society places on them on the basis of their birth and upbringing and (within reasonable legal bounds obviously!) being exactly who they are. Some people might even describe my characters as “living their best life” or “being their true selves.” However – I wouldn’t . Because, dear reader, I despise those two phrases as they are used in this day and age. To me, they are merely an emphatically stated gateway for stepping straight from one stereotype box and into another. To me they represent not freedom but a whole new set of rules. They represent that society is boxed up. Allow me to explain. Society has always come in boxes. Historically, there was the male box and the female box, the rich box and the poor box, different ethnic boxes and cultural boxes and each one came with its own set

Short Story - Ever After

A slightly longer short story for you to celebrate the coming of a certain season, written for a long ago Christmas writing challenge with a large variety of cliches prompts to work in. My take was this - that h appily ever after depends on your point of view…;) Ever After  “You’re sure they don’t know about this?” Lord Arthek stared at the gaunt, anxious face of his old friend and neighbour Baron Tewdar and gave as much of a reassuring smile as he could under the circumstances.   “As sure as you can be with… them ,” he said, his voice betraying the slightest tremor of anxiety as he glanced once more at the vast double doors at the head of his feasting chamber. “I made everyone I invited promise not to mention this at court in case word got back and I only told those that I truly trust that we’re doing this. If we’re lucky…”   He did not finish the sentence. He didn’t have to. The hope hung in the air like waft of sweet perfume.   Baron Tewdar gazed around the hall, his long

Very Short Story - The Eye of the Storm

As ever, this was a challenge piece written long ago for the prompt "storm".  It seems to have relevance at the moment, though to be fair these days the fashion is more to brazen it out than take one's medicine... The Eye of the Storm All around his home, the storm was raging. He could feel the windows rattle with the sheer force of its power, the tumultuous thunderous noise without deafening even through the glazing. He felt a man under siege, lost in the vast maelstrom from which he knew there could be no escape, flashes of vicious, vindictive light arching constantly towards him, towards his family and their last refuge. The force of it was shaking their very foundations.   They were trapped.   And only he could save them.   He glanced over his shoulder as he swallowed hard, turning away from the window and moving slowly, relentlessly towards the door with the gait of a man condemned. He saw his wife’s tight lips and sallow face, his son’s cross-armed defianc

A Bit of Music - The Maid of Mercy from The Disposable

Something a bit different for you this month - some time ago, I attempted to get the tune of that AFC classic hit, The Maid of Mercy, down by recording myself singing it while holding my phone over a very rough map of The Realm I drew to keep myself orientated. Now it's not exactly a piece of magnificent music - it's fair to say Dullard and the AFCs are way, way better singers than I am - but I thought people might be interested to know the tune I had in my head for what they were singing. :) I apologise profusely for it being my voice...;p  

The Art of Knowing Which Ship to Sail

 I shall precede this blog post with a warning - it contains SPOILERS for certain aspects of the plot of The Taskmaster and therefore if you haven't read it yet (and if not, why not?) and don't want certain elements to be revealed in advance, I wouldn't go any further if I were you: The Art of Knowing Which Ship to Sail I’m not one of life’s great writers of romance. I’m able to admit that. I’m willing to give it a go where plot and character demands, but, aside from a few fanfiction dabblings, I rarely write a story that could be said to based entirely around a romantic relationship. Relationships are a part of my work, but I never considered them to be central, woven in rather than the dominant force. I place them where I feel they are appropriate. Judging where they are appropriate however, can sometimes be an interesting challenge. For example – take my intentions towards the character’s personal relationships in the Plot Bandits books. When I first plotted out this

Fodder Story Plan - The Original Notes Part Two

 And here we go again, continuing from last month's blog with the second half of my behind the scenes original story plan for a single book called Fodder . Big fat warning here folks - this part of the plan does venture into territory covered by The Taskmaster so if you haven't finished reading it yet, this is an official SPOILER WARNING. It's not exactly as it turned out but it's close enough! This is also the section that reveals just exactly how out of control this story got - in case you think as you are reading through that I've missed a chunk of notes out somewhere, nope - it is indeed the case that the whole second half of The Merry Band , the entirety of The Narrative and a large chunk of The Taskmaster were not part of my original intentions. It's fair to say I may have got carried away. ;p Fodder Basic Story Plan - Continued [Part Five as go into mountains, pre crone and ruined city Official Taskmaster Summary: The Ring of Anthiphion: Part Five   An

Fodder Story Plan - The Original Notes Part One

 In honour of the release of The Taskmaster , the final book of my *ahem* "trilogy" the Plot Bandits, I'm offering up a little behind the scenes treat - my original story plan for a single book (believe it or not) called Fodder which was typed up circa 2007/2008 from even more original notes I'd scribbled in a recently rediscovered notebook. It offers some insight into how this beast started, which ideas were there in some form or another right from the start, which never made the final cut and which ideas, by their absence, can be shown to have invaded my brain and shot me off in a new direction at a later date. It was definitely a case of life imitating art in the writing of this - the characters completely took over in the middle! Because I'm aware people may not have finished reading The Taskmaster yet (honestly, what's wrong with you? ;p) I'm going to release this frankly massive haul of notes in two parts, saving the potentially spoilery final secti