Wednesday, December 28, 2011


And Christmas is over.
Until next year when we do it all again.
Why is that every year I end up doing my shopping on Christmas eve?
I can't seem to face the crowds and the mania until my back is truly and firmly up against that wall.

The kids were happy with their gifts and seemed very contented - bickering at an all time low!
Hubster was pleased with his gift too.
All good no?

No actually.

Got the dinner cooked and nobody was poisoned by the 'frozen' turkey which refused to cook through in the allotted time.
I took it out the day before and left it in the kitchen to defrost.
I expected one day (24 hours ) to be enough ........
however when I went to carve up it was raw so
We had everything else instead.
and a few slices off the outside of the bird where it was cooked perfectly.
So I re-wrapped her in her magic cooking bag and banged her back in the oven for another hour and she was cooked fine .
Only now everyone was stuffed to the gills
What am I going to do with 4 lbs of turkey?
Cold cuts to the visitors and spaghetti with meatballs for lunch yesterday and its gone!
just like that.
It was an uneventful Christmas
and that's how I like it.
Hope yours was deadly boring too.
Without drama.
We don't need drama.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 'flu laid me low

And because of it I want to cancel Christmas.
I haven't gone shopping, I haven't sent cards and I have no appetite so Christmas dinner is looking dodgy at best.

In an attempt to get the old creative juices flowing I did a bit of surfing and came accross this article in 'Galley Cat' from 2009. So its 2 years old but I thought relevant.
The article that lead me to this one was a Bloomberg one called 'getting dirty in dutch'and was about the rise of Amish Romance fiction
While the article is judgemental and condesending (I kind of expected that) what I didn't expect was the analysis of each genre and how the interests (quilting and knitting ) contributed to the way the books were categorised.
What ever happened to saying 'I enjoyed that. It was a good story with characters I cared about'

10 Most Popular Professions for Romance Novel Heroes
In the upcoming book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam studied thousands of romance novels looking for clues about social expectations.
After analyzing 15,000 Harlequin books, they came up with the most popular professions for heroes in romance novels. The complete list follows below–

what do you think?
1. Doctor
2. Cowboy
3. Boss
4. Prince
5. Rancher
6. Knight
7. Surgeon
8. King
9. Bodyguard
10. Sheriff

I think I like the idea of a doctor cowboy who is the boss on the ranch!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Warring Women

Immediately Lilah shuffled in from the cold she knew something was up. As she waited for her glasses to clear from the instant blindness that plagued her whenever she stepped into a warm pub from the icy outdoors she was deafened by the silence. Tom, the owner, was in his usual spot behind the Guinness pumps and Jane his cheery plump wife was not looking cheery at all.
Everyone was staring at Mary Crowley: the bus driver’s wife. She was standing statue-still at the mouth of the snug. An empty glass in her right hand. Ann Kelly was facing her. The front of her sheer cotton blouse shining and slick and see through where Mary Crowley’s Gin and Tonic had connected.
The citizens of the Happy Shamrock were staring, waiting. Ann Kelly picked up a half pint of Guinness and emptied it over Mary Crowley’s head smacking her on the forehead at the same time. Tom made as if to launch his lanky frame from behind the bar. The glass didn’t break until it slipped from Ann’s hand and smashed on the cold granite tiles. The sound of the glass against the floor acted like the starter pistol at the local point to point.
Ann Kelly launched herself at Mary Crowley, Marys large girth and short body made her a difficult target, Ann’s tall frame and translucent blouse were no match. Mary buried her head in Ann’s stomach and drove her back into the snug upturning two small tables and landing her onto the couches. Tom grabbed Mary from behind and started to pull her back. No mean feat, his arms are long but she has a strong attachment to the ground. ‘Stay outta this Tom’ Mary bellowed at him. ‘It’s got nothing to do with you’. ‘It’s my pub Mary, when you’re on my turf it is my business’ Tom panted onto the top of her head. ‘I don’t want to have to bar you. Now go on home and cool off’. Ann started laughing from her couch. ‘you’d never manage to bar her on your own Tom, there’s not enough of you.’
The whole pub started sniggering like schoolboys smoking in the bike shed. Lilah felt her face burn, her mother and her aunt at it again. Getting drunk and making a show of themselves. She wasn’t in school anymore but she could hear the taunts of the other children ‘ your mammy’s a drunk, she’s a slut, she can’t hold her drink’ they were right. Almost. Ann Kelly only ever got drunk when she went drinking with her sister – in – law Mary Crowley and they always ended up fighting – they were married to two brothers and were the best of friends most of the time. Ann always ended up with drink down her front. ‘That was the best part of the show, seeing Ann Kelly’s underwear’ Lilah had heard an old man at the bar smirk to his drinking buddy.
Tom was still trying to move Mary out of the snug area ‘your Geoff wouldn’t want to hear you two’d been at it again Mary’ he reasoned ‘go on home and sleep it off’.
Ann hopped up from her position on the couch ‘no way are you sending her home, she’ll get an earful from Geoff. Let her go Tom or I swear I’ll swing for you’
Tom took her at her word and suddenly released his grip on Mary who tumbled forward two or three steps promptly fell on to Ann and the two of them ended up on top of the couch like lovers.
A roar went up from the bar and the men began to clap. Lilah was so embarrassed she thought of turning around and sneaking out the door but it was too late. Jane was beckoning her over to the bar ‘Lilah love can you not get your Mum to go home with you? She’s had a skin-ful and that was before she got here at all.’ Tom stood beside her at the bar his face like an undertakers. ‘They must have been hitting the shorts pretty hard at the hotel after Eamons funeral. He was only a neighbour what would they be like if he was a close relative I’d like to know.’ Jane nodded her head towards the snug that was Lilahs queue to go and intervene. She’s been doing this since she was ten years old and it never got any easier.
She looked at her mother in disgust. Her short black curls were plastered to her skin by a slick of sweat. There was a dark stain across her breasts where the Guinness had hit her top. And there was a smell of sweat from her clothes. ‘Lilah my darling girl. Will you have a drink with us?’
‘Dad sent me, he wants you to come home now, its late.’
‘ah your father is such a fuss pot. The night is young’
‘She’s like her father and her uncle’ Ann Kelly started ‘too uptight to know how to have a good time’
Mary Crowley was having none of it ‘What do you know about having a good time? You’re so uptight your idea of having a good time is to sit at home knitting and drinking tea’
A ‘you’re idea of a good time is to sit on the toilet waiting to pee’
M ‘You’re idea of a wild time is to pee on the seat’
A ‘You’re idea of a crazy time is to pee standing up like a boy’
M ‘You’re idea of a crazy time is to take a dump in the corner of my kitchen’
A ‘That wasn’t me’
M ‘On no, well prove it’
A ‘How can I prove it? That was months ago’.
M ‘Did you DNA test it? Did you keep samples for analysis? Hah thought not.’
A ‘I know it was you’
M ‘No it wasn’t’
A ‘Yes it was’
M ‘Shut up’
A ‘No you shut up’
M ‘Get out’
A ‘You get out’
M ‘This isn’t your house its a public place I can stay if I want to’
A ‘I said get out’
M ‘Make me’
Ann stood up but Mary was too quick for her. She lunged for Ann grabbing her blouse and pulling her across the bar tearing the flimsy fabric as she went
Ann trotted after her grinning like a lunatic
Lilah followed the circus that was her family, cheeks burning, head hanging.
‘See told you we’d get to see more of Ann Kelly’s underwear’ the old smirker by the bar said.
Lilah emptied the last of his drink over his head. Maybe she was more like her mother than she liked to think.

Clawing Back Time.

Sorry for not blogging on Friday last. It was a bit hectic getting both kids to the dentist, meeting Hubster after for some junk food and then shopping for a kindle with boy child. Needles to say it was very late when we got home and we were barely in the door when the Late Late Toy show started.
I know girl child and boy child are a little old for it all but they still get all excited about the prospect of watching it with us and maybe spotting the one good item which will really make Christmas this year (and give me a head ache cause its only sold in Dublin in a shop that is only open from noon til three and won’t accept any cards just cold hard cash but that’s another story).
So apologies but blogging was not on the list of things to do.

While I was at the dentist I was leafing through a magazine and an article caught my eye. Really the gist of it was how to get everything done that needs to be done in the day. Simple enough theory but how to go about putting it into practice is the thorny question. Basically what this author was saying is there are ways to shave time off and stack it up for when you want to do something (in my case write a best seller and retire on the profits).

No 1) you want a tidy house? Pick up after yourself. Sounds easy enough but it means you don’t have to make special trips around the kitchen putting things away after yourself. If you do this then you can (bully) cajole the kids (and Hubster?) into doing the same. Simple isn’t it?

No 2) be organised. Have clothes laid out the night before. Heard that a million times already, do I do it? No. Will I do it from now on? Well I’m willing to give it a go. Always have enough fuel in the car to get to work and back. No last minute trips to fill up (often very busy in the morning with long queues here)

No 3) Cook the same dinners. Yuk. Not every day, have a rotation of meals you can do in your sleep. There are 2 spin off advantages of this 1 shopping is very easy and 2 your budget doesn’t sky rocket because you decided to do lobster this Wednesday. Your rotation can be for 2 or 3 weeks and only counts for work days – non work days you can knock your self out.

No 4) When you are doing some mundane task like cleaning the grout give it a time limit. Bathroom clean 25 minutes, can’t be done? Well do as much as you can and then Gasp! Horror! leave it. The world won’t end and it still looks better than when you started. Can’t resist just finishing off this corner? You’ll end up spending another 25 minutes at that and that’s your Saturday morning gone down the drain. Literally. To cure you of not sticking to your time table you must arrange to meet your friend for coffee. This has a twofold advantage, it gets you out of the house and away from the bathroom and it gets in the way of her finishing her housework and having a gleaming house for your mother to berate you over once again!

Now that you have clawed back all that time from housework and the kids and the telly and anything else that steals your time you will have loads of time to spend on plot, dialogue, character development. . .
Won’t you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All hail NaNo. NaNo is Dead.

Well for another year anyway.
The eleven months until the next NaNo is our opportunity to polish off the work we have on hand.

I am glad that I found my way into NaNo. I didn't win. But I didn't loose either.
I learned that
1) I need a routine. (Daawh!)
2) I need a computer that isn't used for surfing youtube and google translate by boy and girl child.
3) I need a place to write where my Hubster can't glance at the screen and shout from accross the room. 'Is that a monologue?'

I got stuck in and now I have an idea for a novel.
I have the beginning down on paper. I have the skeleton for the whole story in my head. Its just a matter of getting it all on paper.
Then I need to polish it up a bit. Make sure the characters are interesting enough to catch peoples interest (how do I do that?)
Its only a simple love story with a few twists and turns. I have my photo's of my leading men and my leading lady. So far so good.
I have to admit its the furthest I have gone yet with a story.
I have no where near the 50k word count. But I don't feel like a failure.
So go me.
Until next year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

National Car Test

I had to take the car for her NCT yesterday.
It's a necessary evil and one I could well live without.
I feel like I am re-sitting the oral Irish in the leaving cert every time the notice comes in the door.
Palpitations, butterflies, sweaty palms, breath catching in my throat, you name it I had it.
Not quite the full panic attack yet but well on the way.

I decided I had better take her to the doctor and get her the once over.
The Hubster did his bit and changed windscreen wipers and checked oil and water.
My garage man is a small set up and generally I think he treats me fairly well.
He gets me sorted and usually he doesn't charge the earth.

This time he gave me a bill for 300 euro
Shock, grabs chest, wants to vomit.
You can't be serious!
300 euro for changing a few light bulbs!
6 weeks (ish) before Christmas!
Are you going on a cruise or something.
Of course I don't say any of these things to him.
I mumble something about waiting to see if she passes and then I'll get him his filthy lucre.

My car runs on diesel so I was particularly worried about her emissions,
I was afraid her brakes were wonky.
Isn't there a timing belt that can explode and turn the whole car to dust?
(OK even I recognise that doesn't make any sense)

I got to the test centre in Little Island in plenty of time and pulled up into the queue.
A small wiry man in his 50's (lets call him Joe)
checks a clipboard and marches up to my open window
'Hello BJ' says Joe
'Aren't you clever' says I ripping open an envelope
(my tax disc which I'd bought and paid for at the start of November but kept forgetting to put up)
Who'd have thought my name would be on that clipboard.
Who'd have thought you could read.
'Don't worry about that ' says Joe 'We'll test it without tax, insurance anything'
'That's great' I say not really knowing what's so great about that. At that stage the butterflies were giving me a real problem and I had difficulty swallowing.
I had some selection boxes on the back seat which I thought I would have to lug into the test centre and out again because they are so touchy about leaving 'valuables' in the car.
But Joe reassured me they'd be fine. 'The lads might eat a few, but don't worry about that'
Ha Ha what a riot.

Inside there is a queue which the lads behind the counter chew through pretty nifty and before I know it I am in the waiting room.
It's stuffy in there and they have a huge TV screen high on the wall.
I can't help it, my eyes are continually drawn to it and my neck begins to creak.
They are showing Coronation Street Omnibus.
I hate it, its driving me crazy,
They won't break me I think. I'll stick it out.

Who am I kidding?
I'm off out the corridor heading for the fresh (as cold) air outside where the smokers are.
At least I don't have to watch any more Corrie.

I ring my friend who tells me about being sober at a birthday party the night before.
I can hardly concentrate on what she is saying , they have finally brought my car in to the warehouse test centre for testing.
A full 25 mins after my appointment time.
So much for being penalised if you're late.
They get you for being early too.

I watch as they check her lights (with their expensive bloody bulbs) in the mirrors.
Then they drive her on to some roller thingys and rev the hell out of the engine.
My friend is still talking but all I can manage is the odd hmm here and there.
They hoist my car up under the ceiling- people walk about and take no notice .
My baby is up in the air and nobody cares.
Something distracts me and I look away.
When I look back she is gone.
I hang up on my friend abruptly.
I need to find out what happened.
I see the skinny guy with glasses who's been abusing my baby.
She's Passed
Woo Hoo
I can't hardly believe it.
I can breath easy again for 2 years .

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Overheard Man on Phone

Hello Mam. It’s Jim here.
I just said I’d give you a quick buzz to say thanks for the card.
I got it this morning.
Yes you’re right. It’s my birthday today.
Thanks very much.
It was a bit of a surprise getting a mass card.
What’s that? You made a mistake?
You bought it for Mikey Kelly. I never knew he passed away.
Oh he didn’t you bought the card by mistake. I see.
Still. It gave me a bit of a start.
What’s that ? Louise Kelly is home. She has six kids! That’s a small army.
She was always a big girl. I can’t imagine what she is like now after six kids.
Oh Grand and slim you say.
You did what? You asked her for her diet so you could tell me!
How did she take being asked her private business?
Oh you were tactful. That’ll be a first.
No I don’t want to hear how she lost 8 stone in 6 months.
Well she was never as keen on me as you were on her.
She married a doctor. In New York.
Didn’t she do well for herself?
No Mam. I won’t call up. I don’t think she’d have any interest in meeting me. I’ll go and have a few pints for my birthday with some of the other bachelors and maybe some nice fat girl who doesn’t think she’s too good for me will give me a kiss for luck.
Good bye now Mam.
I’ll call again next Sunday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Somebody died.

Then somebody else died.

Then somebody else (a man and a woman) tried to hide the bodies.

Tried to float them off in the river.

But they were spotted by somebody else on the opposite bank.

So far we have five characters involved in this ‘in the dark of the night’ scene.

It sounds like a novel doesn’t it?

Like something James Patterson or Stephen King might write.

But its not fiction.

Its very real.

And it happened last Sunday night in the small town of Bandon in West Cork.

The whole community is upset and dismayed that this darkness could come to their town.

The woman involved is said to have psychiatric problems.

The man involved is Romanian and very little is known about him.

One of the victims (27 year old man) had problems as a youth and spent time in prison.

The second victim (English man) very little is known about him either.

The town is in mourning.
So much loss.
So little gain.
It’s all just too sad to think about.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Smug Writer before Fall.

Well I am feeling very smug about my WIP.
I have got an idea of how I want the story to pan out.
My Megan Fox character is broken hearted because of her ill treatment by her husband (he doesn't beat her or anything...)
I didn't want people to not like her husband he couldn't help himself really so I wanted some inspiration for someone very likeable and then I found this pic of Ryan Reynolds.

Who could hold a grudge against some one as cute at that!
You'd have to be made of stone.

I just look at him and all I want to do is sigh.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hello Friday

Well I am feeling much better today about my writing. I have a first (draft) first chapter which has my 'meet cute' in it. (anyone see 'The holiday'? where Kate Winslet meets Eli Wallach and he expains how when the hero meets his girl for the first time in the movie it was called a 'meet cute')
So I am a bit delighted with it. My hero is blonde and gorgeous so for inspiration I am using this photo of the late Heath Ledger.
For my female lead I am using this photo of Megan Fox. I really like her glasses. Really she is a bit too thin for my character but she is doing fine inspiring me to write which this exercise is all about.

I am now ruminating on my next chapter and how I will get my characters to over come their conflict and finally live the happy ever after dream.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quote stolen from Chuck Wendig.

'You know the difference between the two groups? The big herd never finished a thing. Endless novels begun, and just as many never completed. The smaller group — the ones breathing rarefied air — are those writers who have finished something. Most don’t. That’s the big separation. Most never finish what they start. And you cannot ever be a successful writer if you don’t complete the stories you begin.

It’s the first and most critical step.'

I am having trouble keeping my word count up to NaNo's rigourous standards. However after reading that post of Chucks, that quote above in particular I feel re-energised. Its a case of so NaNo says 50k in 30 days, but what if I set myself a goal of getting to the end of each chapter until I have 10-12 good ones and maybe the beginnings of a good first draft. I like my story and the characters its just a time problem I have at the moment.
So I shall carry on and pursue my dream.
If I get this novel to the place where I can say its finished and I am moderately happy then I will have won this particular battle.
Good luck people.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life Collides

This is what I am calling my NaNoWriMo.
I think its a good title because this is whats been happening to me all weekend.

Instead of being roughly 14000 words on the page I am at 3213, only 223 up from Fri.
You would think the weekend would have offered up more productivity than that.
Ah well thats what happens when you are stretched too far.
Must do better.
Good luck to everyone who is attempting this.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oopps only at 2190

Well. If you are following the whole idea of NaNo I should be at 7 to 8 THOUSAND words.
I'm a little behind.
Life gets in the way as somebody famous once said.
So back to the grind stone.
I am enjoying the attempted disipline of it.
I am liking my characters in my head at the moment getting them to flesh out on the paper is not as easy. I'll drive on and see what happens.
There are huge plot holes and bits not quite write.
However as those in the know are saying December is NaNoEdMo.
(National Novel Editing Month)
Or else because Christmas will probably elbow it out of the way I'll be doing all that in January.
Oh never mind!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

OKay So I've missed the boat a bit.

I decided last night in the middle of feeling terrible because I have the 'flu. And boychild's phone was set to cuckoo everytime it hit the hour and woke me up twice. At 3am and 4am. So I got up and switched it off! Had to be done.
Then I dozed a bit until Hubster woke up at half past six cause the extra hour thanks to daylight savings hasn't kicked in to his head yet.
I am going to attempt the NaNo challenge and write 50k in 30days (less now cause I am 2 days behind.
wish me luck!!
Oh and I will be trying something in romance with a bit of comedy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Secret Lives of Wives

Last Sunday I came across an article by John Masterson about a new book by Iris Krasnow called The Secret Lives of Wives.
And while a lot of the themes in the article resonated with me I couldn't help but think this is so middle class.
Or alternatively this is so me!

While I get the whole concept of not depending on one person in our home to fulfil all our needs.
I think every other adult female of reasonable intelligence has figured that out long ago.

Remember when you were in your teens and your best friend suddenly preferred going out with Susie
cause she was wild and willing to pretend she was 18 so they could sneak into the latest hippest club
and you were left home cause you were too scaredy cat.
So you had to find someone else to spend Saturday nights with and she was usually called Doris and only ever wanted to play scrabble?

Well it seems Iris Krasnow has interviewed a bunch of people (women) about being married (for many years) and they have opened up and told her the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And shock horror the truth is ... the romance is gone, and the husband is more of a useful companion (meal ticket).
And they wouldn't dream of leaving him because they are quite comfortable and its a case of better the devil you know.

Iris is the author of many very successful books.
I took a quick look over at her website and she gives tips on a happy marriage.

My favourite 'say you're sorry even if you're not one little bit'
So simple.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Write Something People Want to Read

OK time for a bit of a mental shake up.
I can't expect people to drop by and read any old drivel.
Its got to be something that means something to someone.


Let me think.

I could write about the weather we had over the weekend.
It was shocking bad, high winds, lots of heavy rain, flooding.
But unless I want to expand my expository skill and transplant you to an old house (built pre 1846)
And the goings on of a middle class family in the south of Ireland I'm not going to get anything there.
(One plus was my brother -in-law drove into a flood and had to wade through the flood water to get help -
I know I'm sick, but you have to get your kicks when you can!)
I like the rest of my in-laws but he is unkind to all his family and his mother (my mother-in-law) and I can't forgive that.
She is a lovely woman and doesn't deserve that.
So what do I do?
She won't hear a word against him and I am after all only family through marriage.
Keep schtum!
And hope for the best.

I could write about New Zealand winning the Rugby but that would have me falling asleep.
And there are thousands of sports writers who are paid to do just this.

I could write about Jane Eyre, starring Michael Fassbender.
He is hunky isn't he.
But his character Mr.Rochester is not a sympathetic one.
Also Jane is so silent for much of the movie that I really didn't care one way or another what happened next.
It was a good translation of the novel on to the big screen.
I was glad when the final credits rolled.
Maybe it was the dark brooding house.
It matched too closely my mood and the dark brooding storm we were enduring all Sunday?

I don't know.
All I do know is I am left uninspired.
I want to write something that catches my attention.
Something that somehow entertains you.
Today the well is empty.
The Ink bottle is dry.
My quill is broken.
I will try again tomorrow because not to write is the crime.

And to quote Louise Sorensen who commented on my 'Life Sucks' blog
"If we don't write the stories that live in our heads they will never exist."
Thanks Louise for that gem.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Writing Tips from Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle said:

1 Do not place a photograph of your ­favourite author on your desk,
especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.

2 Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space,
or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph ­–

3 Until you get to Page 50. Then calm down, and start worrying about the
quality. Do feel anxiety – it's the job.

4 Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it.
Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he
started writing it. The rest must have been easy.

5 Do restrict your browsing to a few websites a day. Don't go near the
online bookies – unless it's research.

6 Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind
the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words
that come into your head will do fine, eg "horse", "ran", "said".

7 Do, occasionally, give in to temptation. Wash the kitchen floor, hang out
the washing. It's research.

8 Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. I was
working on a novel about a band called the Partitions. Then I decided to
call them the Commitments.

9 Do not search for the book you haven't written yet.

10 Do spend a few minutes a day working on the cover biog – "He divides his
time between Kabul and Tierra del Fuego." But then get back to work.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Put another log on the fire

Hubster was rocking back and forth in his chair.
He had shimmied forward so his bum was on the edge and had his hands palm down on the arms.
In other words he was in his just about to launch position.
But he looked liked he wasn't able to get vertical (this is a common problem of his). And usually he avoids getting vertical if he can get girlchild or boychild to fetch n' carry for him.
If that fails he'll try me and if that fails he will stand up and do what ever with the maximum amount of grumbling he can get away with.
So last night fearing he had actually some injury that was preventing him rising I asked 'Is something wrong?'
He replied in sing song 'Put another log on the fire dah de dah de dah de dum '
'Don't you know that song?' he asks.
He looks at me then like I am putting up a front and that quizzical confused look on my face is false.
Full sure he was making it up I said ' No. Who're you trying to kid?'
Then he added another line 'boil me up another cup of tea'.
Now I was definite he was making it up but no he insisted it was a song and he wasn't making it up.
Boychild was dispatched to Youtube to prove he wasn't telling big fat fibs.
Suddenly the room filled with honky-tonk (or a version of it).
Hubster started to dance in a very kind of 'I broke my back falling off a horse but I can still walk kind of way.
A bit jerky and not at all slick. But he knew his audience.
Girlchild was on the couch watching her father in stunned amazement and trying not to fall off the couch she was laughing so hard.
All told we had a good laugh and he did eventually get the firewood himself.
Score Mom!

Here are the lyrics.

From the Outlaws

Put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.

Now don't I let you wash the car on Sunday?
Don't I warn you when you're gettin fat?
Ain't I a-gonna take you fishin' with me someday?
Well, a man can't love a woman more than that.
Ain't I always nice to your kid sister?
Don't I take her driving every night?
So, sit here at my feet 'cos I like you when you're sweet,
And you know it ain't feminine to fight.

So, put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
Go out to the car and lift it up and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction

The Challenge: use 3 of the following 5 words in a story about a vampire - word limit 1000.






My Big Date That Didn't Happen.

In Twilight (the book) the vampires are good looking, well dressed, clean and for the most part youngish and according to Bella Swan really really attractive.
So when this dirty, scruffy, small, old and pale ‘hobo’ grabbed me from behind and bit my neck I was... unprepared. It was late yesterday afternoon, so the only thing he has in common with Stephanie Meyers vamps is the whole being out and about in the daylight thing.
Oh! and the feeding off human blood to survive bit as well.
I was horrified and in typical weak female virgin style I fainted. I don’t know if it was from the loss of blood or the fright or from his smell (rank) but everything went all black and blurry and then wham I hit the pavement.

And I was having such a good afternoon too. Tt was bright and autumnal, dry and a bit breezy with beautiful golden crunchy leaves everywhere underfoot. I was going to meet Derek and I was so excited I could hardly breathe which probably explains why I didn’t see Mr. Hobo sneaking up behind me or notice that he was following me across the park.

I was heading to my one bed little apartment to change. I had wanted to be all cleaned up and showered for my first date with Derek.

After he had his first good suck (god doesn’t that sound disgusting?) right there on the pathway he dragged me into some bushes which I’d only been admiring a few minutes before because of their lovely colours.
What a fool? Why didn’t I see them as potential camouflage for feeding vampires? The obvious always escapes me.

Anyway he had a good old feed once he got me in the bushes and I got very weak. I mean when you go to donate blood for the blood bank they tell you take it easy and they only take a couple of pints, this fellow had himself a few more than that. Then he stopped all of a sudden like he’d hit a switch. He wiped the blood from around his mouth and asked me if I was thirsty. Just like that. ‘Are you thirsty?’ Could things get any more surreal? I was past caring if I lived or died right then but the thought of some cool clean spring water made me realise just how thirsty I was. So I nodded and managed to mumble ‘water’.

He hoisted me up and darted (yes darted) real fast or maybe it just seemed that way cause I was so bleary eyed from lack of blood. He carried me across the whole park thrown across his shoulder in a fireman’s lift. He dropped me on to a stone bench which cracked my skull pretty painfully. I recognised where he had brought me, it was one of the old buildings at the back of the college. There was an old fountain there and the sound of the water splashing against the old stone was wonderful. It was full of leaves and a dead cockroach. I know this because Mr Hobo cleared the surface of the water on to the flagstone next to my foot. He filled an old plastic bottle and gave it to me. ‘Drink, you’ll feel better’
I tried not to think about the cockroach or I would end up gagging.
‘When will I change’ I asked curious to know when I was going to change into a vampire. ‘What? He started to laugh. ‘You are not going to die today and you’re not going to change into a vampire’ His voice sounded funny, like it was rusty. ‘I just needed to feed real bad and getting in Derek’s way was too good an opportunity to miss’ what did that mean. I looked at him and he must have seen I didn’t follow.
‘Derek is one of us – the walking dead no that’s zombies – anyway he was going to kill you’
I shrank back ‘no I don’t believe you’
He leaned real close then and I could see his skin, it was grey and blemished ‘why don’t you believe me? Because he’s so cute? Because he still looks human?’ I saved your life you should be grateful’
I nodded. I was still alive that was true. The water made me feel less weak but my neck hurt like hell.
‘About that why?’
It was his turn to look surprised. ‘Why did I let you live? I’m not some mindless animal, I can control myself, all vampires can, Derek just doesn’t choose to and when the body count goes up he moves on. Then the place will be crawling with police and sniffer dogs and vampires like me who have been living in this college since it was built suddenly have to move out of town. Its not easy finding somewhere to be for endless time without being noticed by a neighbour or something. Derek and his kind ruin it for the rest of us.’

‘What happens now?’ I couldn’t believe I was sitting on a stone bench in the late afternoon having this conversation.

‘I let you go but you can’t tell anyone what happened. No one will believe you. You told all the girls in your dorm about meeting Derek today so that explains the hickey on your neck. And Derek was warned last night not to kill again so if he knows what’s good for him he’ll leave town today. I had to keep you away from him this afternoon and keep you out of sight so you and I will just stay here and chat tonight’
My eyes must have been like saucers, a whole night on my own? With him? Who just sucked the living daylights out of me. A woman walked in to the couryard and I just knew she was one of them. ‘Well Master how are we getting along’ and she sat next to me on the stone bench.
‘Just fine sister’ he replied.
‘Derek has left. I think when you didn’t show he freaked’ she smiled at me ‘take my cloak it will stop you freezing to death tonight’

‘Oh’ was all I could manage.

Wednesday I cracked.

That wonderful man I live with my husband often referred to here as the
hubster - I should change that to The Hubster - Make it his title for no
other reason than he seems to think he deserves one. And when I say that
wonderful man I being ironic cause the shine has definitely wore off him
since last night.

What happened?
What upset me?
What cast a pall over my otherwise picture perfect existence?
Well let me clear away the spiders webs and dust and sleepers in my eyes
and get thinking.

It all began innocently enough.
He said 'will you build my web page for me'
I said 'no'
(Can I just explain I am not a web builder person although I probably could
do it with time and effort and lots of patience.
However the thought of doing anything along the lines of 'working for The
Hubster' fills me with dread because he has no patience with me.
He will deny this vehemently.)

On with my story - one week later
He said 'will you build my web page for me'
I said 'no'
He then upped the pressure to 'I need help, if you don't help me the earths
crust is going to crack open and the end will come'
And if you think I'm kidding and being over dramatic? You weren't there.
That's exactly how it was.
So over the course of three years this has being going on.
He's been applying the pressure and I have been ignoring him.

Until Wednesday night I cracked. Like the earths core , I gave up the
battle, his magma was just too powerful to contain any longer and out all
manner of damage spewed.
So because I cracked I spent last night at the kitchen table with him as he
explained at a rate of knots how the software works.
An hour has passed and we still hadn't 'done' anything.
Eventually he decides he must redo the whole Master page.
This is no small job because this page is the background for every other
page on the site.
We got very little done.
I am at a loss just how I am going to take over this project which he seems
to have such an intimate knowledge of.
How can I possibly succeed when he communicates his needs so badly?

Anyhow what got me really riled was his comment last night when he was
going to sleep.
He called me too tough and too hard.
Is this because I didn't jump for joy when he asked, coerced, bullied me
until I agreed to do his website.
I feel I am getting lost under the weight of his personality.
I resist.
He resents.
Its a bit of a viscous cycle.
So I asked his falling asleep mind would he prefer me if I was all soft and
His answer didn't offer me much comfort.
I am still wondering what the F$%k is going on.
And after that rant I am still rankled.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesdays Witterings.

Today I thought I would give all your writers out there the benefit of some
writerly advice from the sage herself Anne Enright

This was previously published somewhere else and I just thought it was very
good. I thought I would put that disclaimer in there before anyone decided
to sue.

It's not like Anne and I go to have coffee and a cake and she said let me
give you some writerly tips.

1 The first 12 years are the worst.

2 The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful,
typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page.

3 Only bad writers think that their work is really good.

4 Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about
the world. Find a place to stand.

5 Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality
is made of something else. It doesn't matter how "real" your story is, or
how "made up": what matters is its necessity.

6 Try to be accurate about stuff.

7 Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­
finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self
is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with
yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.

8 You can also do all that with whiskey.

9 Have fun.

10 Remember, if you sit at your desk for 15 or 20 years, every day, not ­
counting weekends, it changes you. It just does. It may not improve your
temper, but it fixes something else. It makes you more free.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge - Create new Monster.

Well - I didn't really create a monster here but its a kind of monstrous idea.

Angel Taker

The lake mirrors the night sky.
The moon is weaving silver light through the trees and brambles.
Leaves are transformed to priceless silver leaf.
Clouds pass concentrating the night in the shadows.
Holly leaves glisten, their thorny carcasses menacing in the twilight.
Standing in a clearing where the grass is covered in dew and glinting, I
can see a beautiful young girl dressed in a white gown.
Her hair is white and flows down her back, purity glows from her pale skin.
Her arms are slender, thin; she is no match for Ali.
He is wearing a black city suit, and his skin is polished ebony. It shines
with strength and health under the moon.
His eyes are pools of black ink. His mouth is parted slightly, he is
breathing in the scent of her.
I see her struggle against him. Her wings flap uselessly as she tries to
free herself from his grip.
He hits her one punishing blow to the side of the head. She goes limp and
falls against him.
Then he scoops her up in to his arms and carries her like a sleeping child
towards the lake.
Her head lolls with each step he takes and the brambles scratch her bare
feet cruelly.
Her beautiful white hair catches on low branches.
I try to scream to wake her but my voice is strangled in my throat.
I am powerless.
All I can do is watch.
He walks to a low bank.
The moon has disappeared behind grey clouds;
she refuses to witness the murder of this angel.
My angel. My guardian angel.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Life sucks.

I read Chuck Wendigs piece on NaNoWriMo.
Did you?
Now I just want to give up.
The stats he laid out before us are pretty stark.
Especially the one about only 0.04% of the people who complete the
NaNoWriMo challenge ever actually getting published.
That's so bleak.

Double Sigh.

But I seem unable to get rid of this urge to tell stories to sheets of
Cause lets face it I've never published anything. Not really. Not for
(Does reading out loud to my own private very small very select group of
writers count?)

The white reams of paper are always so accepting.
So happy to hear what I say.
They rarely send me away with a flea in my ear.
I could just say I write for myself but I know that's not true and rings
I started off doing this because I thought I could make an income as a stay
at home Mom...but that didn't happen.
Because I never finished anything.
There it is in black and white.
I never finished anything. How can you sell a half arsed attempt at
Then I realised I needed help to polish up my craft. So I did a few
classes at the local 'creative writing' place.
Then global meltdown and money for my CW classes seemed a bit frivolous.
Then Chuck stamps all over my head and my heart telling me that even if I
finished something and even if I continued getting tutoring and even if it
was any good chances of getting published are still at 0.04%

life sucks.

Monday, October 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 coming soon.

Its that time of year again.
The month before NaNoWriMo when we budding novelists try our hand at
belting out 50k in 30 days.
Or over 1600 words a day.
So far so peachy.

Except I've never done it before.

AND I know I won't be able to get to it every day because............

I have a day job,
I have 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 dog, 1 rabbit , a leaky roof and a demanding
mother (not entirely true).

And while these people (and creatures) profess to support my writing
endeavours some of it rings hollow.

Take the dog for instance; while he doesn't actively discourage me from
writing he does actively encourage me to take him for walks (by nudging my
elbow repeatedly so I can't type and ignore him any longer)
And feeding him only takes seconds -really - as he can manage it all by
There is no need to do the airplane flying into the cave routine with him
(mothers of small boys nod with immediate understanding)

My husband feels unloved and ignored if I don't make time for him in the
evening (which usually ends up being over an hour).

And my kids- well the kids are a different story. I am afraid of missing
the 'something is wrong' signs so I pester them to talk to me and spend
time with me.
So in reverse I am stopping me writing.
I am the cause of me not getting down to do the nasty business of putting a
first draft together.

And finally I'm not sure November is the month for me to start something
like this. Am I at my most productive at this time of the year. NO!
But as Nike says 'just do it'

And before anyone decides to point it out YES I KNOW I AM THE ONE WHO IS CAUSING ALL THE TROUBLE.
Thank you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Life on my planet.

Last night I was hosting a dinner party.
Nothing too fancy just my husbands family.

So... to start at the beginning.... way back in the mists of time ie Monday
Hubster got the brain wave of inviting his brother (home from LA for the
50th wedding anniversary of Ma and Pa Hubster) to dinner.
To keep him company he asks Ma and Pa, the other single brother so he won't
feel left out and his sister just to balance the sexes a bit.
Hangs up the phone and his face falls.
'Oh my gosh!' he says (or something very like that) I'm in Dublin all day
Thursday on a course.
'What'll I do?' he asks me.
'Ring back and cancel?' says I helpfully/hopefully.
'Nah. It'll be fine. The course is over at 4pm I'll be home in plenty of
time' says he delighted with himself now that he has organised everything
to happen when he is out of reach and can't be asked to help with the

Then Boychild pipes up 'we are having an open night in school and I am
helping out until 7.30'
There goes any help from him.

Girlchild has a piano lesson but its only 30mins so I figure we can manage
that. And she is game to help with planning the menu and making (and
eating) the desserts.

Then Wednesday night - DISASTER STRIKES - my tooth parts company with my gum. Its a premolar so not very prominent but still causing a serious gap in my smile. Nothing for it but to get a dental appointment as soon as
possible Thursday morning. Phew. Couldn't have people calling to the
house and seeing my pipe smokers gap.

Everyone was asked to arrive at 8pm.
At a quarter to eight my mobile rang - it was the Hubster 'my car has
broken down. What will I do?' GIANT PAUSE from me.
He was a good hour away.
I was tempted to tell him - stick out your thumb and hitch, but it was dark
and wet and I was sure he would be knocked down and killed and I would
spend the rest of my life grieving and feeling guilty. So instead I did the
supportive wife thing asked him about the car - where was it? what was its
symptoms? and almost instantly 'we' detected the problem -
Petrol! in a diesel engine that is.
On his journey home he filled up with the wrong fuel and a few miles from the
filling station the car gave up the struggle and died.
All hail the car the car is dead
Well it did struggle valiantly until he was well beyond walking distance
from the filling station before deciding to die. You've got to admire its
Anyway I managed to get hold of a friend who galloped off to the rescue and
saved the day.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Ma and Pa Hubster arrived bang on time ' your
son is er.... missing.. as in not here yet' I mumbled. But they didn't seem to
mind and weren't a bit surprised Hubster was missing.
They arrived without LA brother who had decided to go to the open night at
boychilds school (being a past pupil he was curious to see the place). He
didn't arrive until 9pm a full hour late.
Sister Hubster arrived at 9.20 but she brought wine so was instantly

I decided we would begin without Hubster (anyone who puts petrol in a
diesel car doesn't deserve waiting for).
Hubster arrived at 9.55. So between the jigs and the reels he wasn't
actually that late. We were only half way through our main course. His
timing was not that off.

But I still think he should be punished. Don't you?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A quick word borrowed from 'terrible minds -Chuck Wendig'

I was reading a post by Chuck Wendig over on terrible minds about self doubt and it rang a bell. Well it made me sit up and pay attention. Its all fantastic but I really liked his last line and I hope it speaks to you too!

'External validation isn’t a bad thing. It just isn’t what you need. Because it matters little that they believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Confidence must blossom from within, a corpse-flower redolent with your delightful stink, a stink you find captivating, enlightening, empowering. The confidence you find elsewhere is hollow, a ladder made of brittle twigs. At the end of the day you’ll never be sure if those around you are just wrong — or maybe they’re lying! — or maybe they’re suffering under the depredations of some wretched brain parasite that tricks them into liking mediocre things! — and that just means you’re opening yourself to other forms of doubt.

And doubt needs to go suck a pipe. Doubt needs to take a dirt-nap.

And the way you do that is by finding your own way. By fostering your own confidence.

Because just as doubt is one of the writer’s greatest enemies…'

…confidence is one of the writer’s most powerful friends.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Engage Arts Festival Bandon - Follow-up

Well to the follow up.
I had a great time at the Engage Arts Festival.
The Organisers made such an effort.
And so many things were free (important when you are bring kids along).
All the shops and business's on the main street got involved. Paintings
and sculptures in their windows displacing their own stock.
There was music most of which I missed (sob sob)
And the green village was a huge success again this year.

I went to see Catch the Moon - It was fantastic.
I have to say that again Fantastic!
Four women poets and a harpist in the Methodist Church.
The read pieces on love, exile, autumn and home.
They blew me away.
They are such talented women. (And all such attractive people - Wow how do
they do it?)
I especially loved every poem by Afric McGlinchy.
Tina Pisco's poem on exile had me laughing she has such a witty take on
Jane Clarke read a poem called 'Michael' about her friend. It was just
Kathy D'Arcy is so young and vibrant her poems seem to come from deep
within her.
Each woman is an award winning published poet.
Their words inspired me and made me want to be a better writer.
To be like them.
Taking my art seriously.

Also I want to tell you about Philip O'Ceallaigh. (I am a bit obsessed
aren't I?)
He was doing a reading from his latest collection of short stories 'the
pleasant light of day'.
When he walked into the room (loose-limbed, athletic, comfortable in my own
skin kind of guy) I thought 'he's not half bad'.
If someone is going to read depressing black stories it helps if he is easy
on the eye.
Matthew Geden introduced him quoting a glowing review from Ann Enright.
Which must be true - after all she won the Booker so she must know what she
is talking about.
Then Philip introduced the piece he was going to read 'this is a story
about nothing really' and we all giggled
cause we thought he was messing about - being a bit self effacing.
'there is no sex or jokes in it' he says.
Ah funny guy we all snorted into our hankies
Er No. It really was about nothing- he was having a joke but not the one
we thought.
It was like listening to a child reading out of his diary about an outing
with the scouts.
Detail after detail was given _ every time a new scene was described I was
hoping something would happen
But no. Nothing did. The main character progressed through his day and
into his night and not even his musings were very interesting.
My friend said later a woman could not have gotten published writing
something like that.

So that put me wondering about this man.
Was it because editors and agents had the same response as me 'he's not
half bad' that he could submit any old tosh and call it literature.
Or was it as my sister-in-law suggested 'its over your head, you just don't
understand it'
Is it a case of the Emperors New Clothes?

Can somebody tell me please?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Engage Arts Festival

Bandon is again hosting its Arts festival this weekend - 4 years in a row.
Not Bad.

I had toyed with the idea of going to the Short story workshop with Phillip
O'Ceallaigh (Rooney Prize winner).
Its described as 'explore the different ways a story can be written up,
examine how it finds its form,
how it might be cut,
or how the narrative can be approached from a more fertile angle' and then

I thought to myself this could be really exciting.
Cost of the workshop €30 from 10am to 1pm.
Not so expensive if it delivers on all it promises -

HOWEVER (and this was the first thing that stopped me)
participants in the workshop are expected to bring a copy of
'Sharp sticks, driven nails' edited by POC and 'the pleasant light of day'
POC's last collection of stories.

Hmmmmmm. Nothing wrong with a bit of self promotion but COME ON!
These two books come together for the princely sum of €20.
Total cost of the workshop to me €50.
In other word beyond my price range.

Then I read a review of his last collection of short stories 'notes from a
turkish whore house'.
The reviewer said POC never misses an opportunity to point out the
bleakness of life even in nature the birds in the trees aren't just having
the odd squawk or battle over territory they are raping one another (this
is not the exact quote but you get the drift).

At this point I thought 'Wait a minute, hold the fort, was I going to pay
€50 to be told how bad things are really if only I would open my eyes and
see it?
No way Jose!

Then the fair and reasonable side of my brain got in on the act and said maybe this review you read is written by some sad and mean old hag and you should actually take the time to read some of this man's work yourself. So I did. I read 'My secret War' and its bleak and sparse and scary as a story. As a piece of writing its clear precise talented etc.


I'll go see some of the many other good things on offer this weekend.
And I'll write about them here and see what you think.

But I am disappointed that the workshop didn't work out. Phillip O'Ceallaig is a talented writer No one is arguing that.

I want my writing to help people escape the mundane drabness of reality not highlight it and drive it home with a six inch nail through their heads.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today is a good day.

Yesterday was not a good day.
I was in a puddle of mud - upset and emotional.
I was confused, angry and lost.
I didn't want to write.
I couldn't write.
It was like having a limb removed.
Hacked off by some manic axe wielding woodsman.
And there was all that mud to drag my weary self through.

Today is a good day.
I feel like writing again.
I feel alive again.
I feel in control again.
What happened in the middle?

Did some handsome stranger ride up on a white stallion and whisk me off?
Did anybody in my small personal community notice and treat me kindly - take some
time out from their busy schedule to spend with me?

Picture this.
I drove to the supermarket to get some food for my empty cupboards.
I sat in the rain looking at the shopping trolleys thinking nothing.
Thinking everything.
While I was sitting there sighing feeling very sorry for myself I noticed a
small yellow book sitting on the dashboard.
The kids had swiped it from some charity donation bin at the local
recycling centre.
(Don't comment on my parenting please)
It was 'The little book of confidence' by Susan Jeffers who also wrote
'Feel the fear and do it anyway'
And each tiny page had words of encouragement and it seemed like she was
speaking to me.
Telling me to pick myself up, dust myself off and 'take back my power'.
Words that I would have been scoffing at 24 hours earlier.
Scoff if you must but I feel better.
Explain that.

So if you are sitting somewhere sighing and feeling sorry for yourself you
know what to do!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge - the numbers game in 100 words.

The numbers game. Bishop, Lollipop, Blister.

'Bishop McAuley was parish priest in Fethard when I was a boy' Malcolm said
concentrating on injecting a tiny drop of fluid into the blister pack of
the strawberry lollipop I was holding for him.

'You knew him quite well then.' I said '

'You could say that'

'What if he shares his lollipops with his latest...........boy?' I

'He never shares and he always has one sticking out his big fat gob.'

I'm going to send him on the trip of a life time.' Finally Malcolm smiled.

Cork International Short Story Festival

For those who are serious about their writing craft:
The Munster Literature Centre is once again running the Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Festival.
It's been renamed the Cork International Short Story Festival.
Any one who is any one in the Cork / Ireland writing scene will be there so
I won't be there.
Not yet. But Soon I will have my day.
(I have to come clean and admit that I am heading to Kerry to cheer on the boys on Sunday against Dublin so I can't be hanging about in Cork)
They are having some very heavy hitters headlining the show.
Colm Tobín (nominated for a Booker prize several times)
Edna O'Brien whose writing was considered radical in the 60's when she
described women's sex lives and the internal workings of their minds.
Some of her books were burned at the time.
Wouldn't you just love that kind of publicity!
It promises to be a very enjoyable event for all.

Check out the festival here
Check out Munster Literature Centre here

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flash Fiction - The torch - Chuck Wendig Challenge

Here is my entry to the Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge 'The Torch'
I don't usually write about zombies and spy bots but seeing as its my first entry I thought I'd throw in a few to keep Chuck sweet!

Clive, the z's and me

Sweat was flowing down my forehead stinging my eyes and blinding me. The heat from the glow sword was almost unbearable. Clive was twisted in his genius. He gave you a sword samurai sharp to defend yourself but he added to it a fluorescent bar to attract the zombies. In a pitch black arena the light and the fresh smell of blood oozing from the back of my head kept their attention. The wound was throbbing and the sweat was making it sting. It was good though, the pain kept you alert. Clive knew what he was doing the fat bastard.
The Zombie Games, in the Zombatorium, remove the head or destroy the brains.
Me against five. They were closing in on me.
They moved slowly, in a straight line towards me. I was faster and more agile but they were strong, focused and there were five of them. Did I mention that?
The people out there in the blackness were absolutely silent. Z’s are not well trained circus animals; they’ll chase anything with a pulse.
I needed to separate them to have any chance of escape. Escape huh. Nobody’s escaped the Zombatorium yet. Snap! A bright flash momentarily blinded us.
Clive! Photographing me? I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t want to believe it. I took a chance and ran to the edge of the zombies where one man (white male, early forties) was dragging his right leg, it was slowing him down. The sound of him breathing reminded me of dishwater sucking down the plughole. I swung the sword high and severed his head from his shoulders. Neatly tossing it into the face of the old crone beside him. She staggered backwards and fell face first on to the blood soaked saw dust. It would take her approximately ten minutes to get standing again. How do I know this? Because this is the kind of useful information you pick up when you are married to Clive master of the Zombie Games.
The crowd cheered when I got Zombie 1 down, they laughed when Z- crone chewed the floor. The noise acted as distraction, the remaining z’s turned their heads slowly from side to side registering the sound but all the while staring at me with those milky blank eyes. I walked slowly putting the old crone struggling on the sawdust between me and the other z’s.
Two of the zombies watched the sword; they were young when they were infected, teenagers, brothers maybe. I could tell they had been infected a long time from their sluggish responses. I watched them watching the sword; they didn’t see where they were going and fell over Z - crone on the ground. The crowd roared. The last zombie, the one I was most cautious of approaching was a young woman in a nurse’s uniform. It was spotless. She was probably infected only a few hours, she still retained some brain function, enough to side step the old crone crawling around on her knees. She was not looking at the glow sword like the others but at the area of shadow and light next to it that was me.
I raised the sword to strike; she stepped back and to the side, drawing me towards the others, clever girl. All three were crawling on their hands and knees towards me having giving up on the complicated task of standing upright again.
She was going to let the others take me down and join afterwards. She had a plan.
The darkness smothered me, my head ached, the sword was very heavy and cumbersome to use. I had to keep an eye on the nurse. Goddamit! Where was she? Beautifully manicured nails on a lightly tanned arm grabbed my hand and tried to shove it between artificially white even teeth. Argh! I struggled and somehow managed to swing the sword close enough to cut her hand off, the other three were close behind, I could smell their putrid stench hunting me down. I shook off her severed arm and swung again. This time the sword glanced off her skull hacking out her left eye. It bobbed up and down on a grey slick tendril like some sort of eyeball yoyo. She staggered drunkenly spinning slightly so she was facing the audience. Snap! Spy bot flash. Clive you bastard. He’d timed the flash so she could see all the people sitting in the dark trapped like steak on a barbeque.
She lurched towards them. Like I said she still had some brain function, they were unarmed and there were an awful lot of them to choose from. I took a step forwards, but then I stopped dead in my tracks. Those bastards had paid to see me attacked they were getting what they deserved. The old crone was so slow now; I never understood why Clive used her in these games. Perhaps he still felt some loyalty to his mother. If I killed her he’d definitely have to get rid of me. Wait! Isn’t that what this is about?
People were clambering into the arena to get away from Z- nurse. Jerky body movements and glazed eyes marked the ones who had just been bitten. I held on to my sword. Its brightness wasn’t such a zombie attraction anymore. Z- crone was closing in on a man jittering on the sawdust. I raised my sword and decapitated my mother in law. Come on you’d do it too if you could.
Snap! Spy bot flash as I picked up her head and swung it up in the air at the closest spy bot. Old Ma made a direct hit, the spy bot blades scattered pink pulp all over the sawdust. I ducked to escape the worst of the Mom shower.
Z - nurse was chomping her way through the men cornered in the stalls. Clive is creating a zombie army. The thought struck me like the wrench he’d used earlier on my head.
I’ve got to stop him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seriously! I don't know what I'm doing. I think I know what I am doing.

A strange and beautiful thing happened last Wednesday.
Jo Eberhardt ( on my blog.
Such a simple thing really but it sent me wild with excitement.
Someone of Jo's calibre had taken the time out to read what I had written.
AND then gone to the trouble of adding her own comment.
I was orbiting the globe.
But then Gravity (that old kill joy) got busy and caught me by the ankles and started to pull.
I resisted of course. What true Rocket man wouldn't.
But I did crash land to earth some time about Fri noon.
It was too late to stop it happening.
I had been consumed by self doubt.
What am I doing on this blog page?
There are serious writers out there who blog about serious writer stuff.
If I were to run on to the pitch with the professional footballers I would get injured or worse still be shown up for the amateur that I am.
So with a nod to Jo and all the other serious writers I am going to take this blogging business more seriously.
There! I've said it. Now all I have to do is make it happen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Clichés. Don't you just love em?

"He's as gay as two planks" she said.
I was confused.
I mean I can understand the phrase thick as two planks.
A plank of wood is impenetrable, it is thick because lets face it if it
wasn't it wouldn't be much use and its stiff and unyielding.
It is very useful when trying to explain about people who are not as clever
as you (NACAY) to compare them to two (not one) sturdy pieces of timber.
However to use wood to describe someone's gayness
is ..................wrong.
Just plain wrong. And inaccurate. In my experience most people spending
the pink pound are witty, clever, stylish and because they have to be -
Not at all wooden, or oaken, they may be sturdy but they are not stiff.
So I begin to wonder about my friend, does she belong to the NACAY crowd.
And then I started to panic and sweat (at the same time- its possible)
Did I want to be seen hanging around with her?
After all birds of a feather are known by the company they keep.
Or is she just tired? Was she burning the midnight oil at both ends?
Or is it worse?
Is she not the sharpest tool in the basket?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sleep! I need sleep.

Hubster and I had a late night Saturday night (unheard of lately)
so we were determined to catch up on our sleep last night.
(because we needed to recover big time)
So got big boy and big girl up to bed at 9.40ish and lights out at 10ish.
I was very pleased with myself.
Then managed to get Hubster up and in to bed for 10.53 (very specific I
know but it was important to be horizontal before 11pm)
So far so successful.
Everyone in bed and lights out .................
Boy child came in to me after lights out to say 'Good night'
He gave me a hug and a kiss. Sweet!
(I am lying on my back in the dark looking up at him towering over me)
and then he lifts up the quilt, hops in and cuddles in beside me!
He's too big my head is screaming - what about catching up on all that
sleep my head is screaming.
Hubster is oblivious - contentedly sleeping on his face taking up the
entire 50% of mattress he is entitled to.
I am now trying to survive on less than 25% because as Boy child sleeps he
Legs go askew. Arms go up and over his head. And he still manages to
burrow in to me.
Hubster is hot, Boy child is hot, I am on fire.Will I get up and go sleep somewhere else?
Boy child's bed is up in the air and I see in my minds eye great chunks of
concrete dislodging from the wall and the bed crashing down if I attempt to sleep there.
The couch is too short really for good sleep and anyway how do you exit a
bed with two big lumps on either side of you.
So I managed to convince my self to stay put and try to sleep.
And I did drift off until some time in the early hours when the alarm on
Boy child's watch went off!
Waking Hubster(something of note) but not Boy child.
I am wide awake again and go through all the original mind whirring of will
I move won't I move ...............
So to cut a long story short I am tired this morning.
What about you?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

They don't need me anymore.

Its a beautiful beautiful morning.
I am sitting at my desk feeling relief and a small bit wobbly.
Both kids are now in secondary.
I am feeling a bit out of sorts over it all.
Girl child (the older) is starting second year which means she now is in
the exam cycle for Junior Cert. Argghh.
How am I supposed to cope with that.
It is just way way too adult for me right now.
Boy child (the younger) started in his secondary this week, Its all boys,
some of them are over 6 foot tall and built for God's sake!
I sound like a perv eyeing up the fresh meat just there - but its my little
precious one I am thinking of, surrounded by all that brawn.
In other circumstances I would be jealous but . . . . . . .

I am finding it increasing difficult to fill this role of parent.
Small kids are fine - feed, clothe, wash, bed or something like that. You
do it for them and then teach them how to do it for themselves.
But now with my preteens almost adults - Its like they really don't need me
I am the one insisting on continuing the charade.
I am the one doing all this extra stuff for them that they really would
prefer to do themselves.
How do I take a step back and let them

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What price bliss?

I've been married now for 15 years (pinch! pinch! I am not dreaming it really has been that long). Its important you know that to understand the rest of this blog. Hubster was out of town last night (no big deal he often is) and I managed to get rid of the kids (get them to bed) for 10.40pm which is very good in our house. I am losing that battle.
Any ole ho - the thing is- I was lying in bed earlyish and having the full double bed to myself was just bliss. Imagine lying there in silence sliding my legs out and in like some sort of synchronised swimmer. It was heavenly. I had uninterrupted access to the cool cotton sheets. There no hairy legs to impede my progress. There were no sneaky farts other than my own. No sudden outbursts from his side of the bed about bad driving, crooked politicians dwindling finances. I was alone with my thoughts.
And I was thinking 'I could get used to this!'
Then I thought 'Oops where does that leave us'.
So on that scary note I nodded off to sleep.
In the morning I realised 'who am I kidding'. I couldn't get used to this at all. It just wasn't right - there was an emptiness in the air that I can't describe. I wasn't alone wandering around the kitchen - my son was up and about doing his early morning grunt once for yes and twice for no. BUT. I had no pardner in crime to snicker with. My buddy was missing. My pal. The One (15 years ago he was anyway) Do I mind giving up all that cool cotton space - honestly - a little. But the alternative is .. . . . I don't even want to think about the alternative.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Holidays are not good when I am supposed to be writing every day! YIKES

Well. I knew when I went away for a few days to Kerry with the kids minus Hubster that I wouldn't get any writing done. But I was fairly confident that with the change of venue and fresh sea air I would have a few ideas floating about in my head. I wanted to do the 'must love guns' piece of flash fiction on CW's terrible minds - got absolutely no inspiration for that. I had wanted to do a bit of remodelling on the 2 previous pieces again nada and what about my WIP set in France? again nada. What happened was Jodi Picoult came to visit in the form of my sister lending me 'Plain Truth'. Wow it blew me away. Her writing is very good I mean we all know that. And she tackles big issues again no surprise there. However, the insider view of the Amish way of life and their way of thinking completly swallowed me up. The other parts of the story the paranormal and the courtroom drama all written excellently but for me it was all about the Amish Farm. Set in the summer how idyllic. What about when it is snowing outside and the cows still have to be milked? Well we don't have to worry because its set in the blistering dusty heat of the late summer.
I loved it. Must go back and re-read immediately.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writing: Just how do other people make it work (paid work)

I have been trying to write something each day.
This a new experience for me.
Just something to get in the habit of producing a word count of maybe 500
or so.
Nothing too frightening, but a solid bit of something all the same.
Instead of just talking about it.
Just get down to it and do it rather than talk all around.
The kind of thing people, published people otherwise known as authors tell
you to do.
It makes sense.
Eventually with lots of practise you see your mistakes as they appear on
the page and can jump on top of them and crush them like cockroaches.
Eventually you get in the habit of having a time assigned to your writing
that your husband, children, extended family and friends respect.
Eventually a few of the pieces you get out on to paper are good enough to
sew together to make a something.
Something that you might enter as a short story for a competition or
actually create a novel with?
I don't know the how BUT I am willing to try.
However I need routine to do this and for the next two weeks I am on
holidays with no access to PC's e-mail etc.
So to keep it up I am going to try and write long hand and see what
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's My Dirty Little Secret!

Chuck Wendig over on terrible minds
throws out the question 'What's it like being a writer?'

Why! Don't ya know? It's my dirty little secret.

He (CW) compares it to having a virus and he is spot on. People
{non-wannabe-writers} just don't get it. Much the same way I don't get why
you can't keep your red nosed weepy eyed germ laden breath at home today.
They don't understand the compulsion to turn words into sentences into
paragraphs into pages.

Why would you waste a perfectly good day doing that? She asks? Why did
you come to work today? I ask.

If you're not getting paid for it; it's worthless. If you live in the
west; where everything is measured in shekels; it's doubly worthless. So
if you haven't a published work(s) under your arm you can't call yourself a
writer. It's not allowed.

But if you have a hobby now that's a completely different animal. What do
you do? 'I fish' translation I sit on the bank being eaten by insects
getting drunk. That has validation. That has respect. But I don't know
many women who fish but lots who(want to) write.

Why do I torture myself like this - I can't help it. I see a beautiful
sunset I wonder how to describe it so someone can see it. I can't just
enjoy it the sunset for itself.

I eat a delicious meal I ask what the ingredients are so I can reproduce it
on paper. Not cause I'm going to treat my family.

I am exhausted lying under the covers and my mind is questioning the word
exhausted; it's too passive, it doesn't describe this bone weary, body
dragging sensation where I'm so tired even the blankets hurt.

And the guilt! Added to the Irish martyr mother guilt, it's almost (but not
quite) deadly. Every free moment or afternoon off is laden with guilt.
Wouldn't your time be better spent 'living'?
And what about the shame? Spending all that valuable quality time not on your family but selfishly totting up word counts, creating nothing out of nothing, hoping something will come of it? Hang your head NOW and do not look me in the eye. I have your number. I know what you've been doing under the sheets.

For me a lot of the time I feel like I am living once removed. I am not
really in the moment at all. And I worry I really do about how this is
effecting my children. Will they grow up into some kind of monsters
because their mother is some kind of addled wannabe writer who doesn't know
the saucepans on fire? Again.

It's a dream. To make my income from putting words together. Do I have a
right to dream that dream?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No Pony No Cry

For me any way.
Don't misunderstand - I like horses and ponies.
They are easy on the eye. Some of them are very smart.
But I just don't get it. I don't see the point. They are incredibly expensive.

They need their own house, complete with yard and garden.
They need their feet looked after (pedicure AND manicure)
They have vet bills every year.
Their clothing (saddles and rugs) are all either leather or pure new wool - I don't dress that well.
What's the return? I at least work for a living bringing in a wage which although meagre keeps some of the wolves from the door. So I ask -
'What is the point?'
'Why does my son want a pony so desperately?'
'What will it bring to my family?'

Trouble and strife is what.

Already I feel like a failure. We can't afford it.

Buying one is only the first step.

We don't live in the country so we have no where to put it. I am quite sure the urban council wouldn't allow me to keep it in my front garden. And the animal rights people would frown on me keeping it in the house. Next option is to HIRE space for it somewhere. Actually rent B and B space for it. My feeling - if I am going to spend on B and B it bloody well better be me that's is getting the benefit of it.

Since they were born my kids have been ferried everywhere by me. So if this animal isn't grazing on my lawn, or sleeping in my living room we will have to drive somewhere to feed, it water it, let roam free all before I've even had my brekkie, before school, before work begins for the day? Who's going to convince me to do that? Oh and before you ask 'Yes it will be me doing all the ferrying because their Dad is always too busy, not around or too grumpy so they just don't ask him to do stuff with them unless I push.

His Dad understands the pony thing. He gets the whole I must have a pony. Well then he can bloody well look after it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Miss Communication

Who said the foundation of a good relationship is based on communication?
Was it you down the back staring out the window?
Or you on the edge of your seat looking at the door?
Face this way the lot of you.

I ndde to know this because I don't know and I'd like to know. I find my relationship with the Hubster is based on miscommunication most of the time. And now I have to confess I use it to my advantage ALOT.
It was called a sin of omission if you forgot to tell someone the exact truth or failed to clear up a misunderstanding. And people worried about these things (seriously they did). No on bothers about these things anymore. The Seven deadly sins have been retired. Unless that is they want to invent a villain who goes around killing peole to prove a point. (That point being we are all lazy, gluttonous, vain, selfish, angry, greedy lustful sinners and - murdering us isn't a sin? I am going off point here.
My point is when you said 'I'm just having a bite to eat and then I'm heading back'. I thought you were on your own. Heading back to me. But you weren't alone were you? Oh no. You were not. You were keeping company with your evil woman hating oldest friend. So no not alone and not heading back to me - going to his. So when 3am rolled around and you still hadn't appeared on your side of the bed I rang you. Yes! I commited the ultimate sin. I rang my husband at 3am and said' where are you?' Only you didn't answer so I didn't get the chance. 5 seconds later you ring back. I can hear the sleep in your voice. So now we are both awake and 7 am is only around the corner. I guess we had better work on our communication. As in do more talking. Then maybe just maybe we will both manage to hear what the other is saying.