Friday 6 December 2013

Pic of the Week . . . New Mordor

It appears Mordor, the dark home of Sauron, is not a place of fiction anymore.  Worlds are converging.  Middle Earth is becoming a place of reality.

Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a colleague about places in Middle Earth and who Tolkien may have based them on.  We were thinking the Shire is Britain because we have a lot of shires over here, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, etc, and how Isengard could be based on Germany.  Gondor was likened to America, Rivendell was Switzerland, and then there were arguments about where the Dwarves and men of Rohan originated.  Feel free to add your ideas on this.

Then, low and behold, a few news articles popped up on Google.  The first google news article tells of how scientists have likened the Shires to Leicestershire and Lincolnshire (fair enough...ish.  That's basically what we said) but how Mordor is more like Los Angeles and Western Texas.  I don't entirely agree with this.  We put Mordor over in Russia - and with good reason. And this is proven with yet another google news article.

This week's Pic of the Week is from the second article.  It's a picture of Kamchatka volcano in Eastern Russia taken during its most recent eruption.  When compared against a picture of Mordor itself, it proves the convergence of this world and Middle Earth, making Eastern Russia the 'New Mordor'.  Lord of the Ring fanatics must be leaping with joy at the moment :) 

Kamchatka volcano in Eastern Russia


So, in this Festive Season To Be Jolly, not only do we have to be good in case Santa is watching, we also have to be aware of the 'Eye of Sauron'.  If you're naughty he'll know, don't you know...

Friday 29 November 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Thor: The Dark Work

I watched Thor: The Dark World in the cinema the other night and I loved it!  Yeah, just like the first one I felt they may have skimmed over a few things that would have been better explained, but I couldn't fault the over-all movie itself, plus the eye-candy that went with it in the form of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.  And give credit where credit is due, the graphics are spectacular.  I'm so glad we're living in an age where anything can be created for the big screen and look real - depending on budget, of course.  Sadly I only got to see it in 2D, but I can only imagine how great it would have seemed in 3D.

Asgard stunned me.  For any Fantasy or Sci-Fi writer out there, any creator of cities or worlds, Asgard sits on a visual level that we dream of.  If you create a city that's huge, spectacular and beautiful all at the same time, sometimes it can be hard to portray that in words.  You can see it, but can you write it and do it justice?  I only hope that should anyone choose to create my cities for the big screen (thinking widely here lol ) that they do it just as much justice as what they did for Asgard.

So for those who have yet to see it, do so, and do it before it disappears from the big screens.  Nothing compares to watching something on that scale (and a word of advice?  Stay until the very end of the credits, and I mean the VERY end) :)  And for Pic of the Week??  Well, I've given enough already, haven't I?  Or maybe I'll just post one more of the Bifrost...


Friday 22 November 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Seven Deadly Sins

I've been tagged (can I say 'tagged'?) By Mina Lobo over at Some Dark Romantic. Now, because of that I have to list my Seven Deadly Sins. Mina's post definitely raised a few chuckles and I have a lot to live up to, so here goes:

Gluttony: Just one more...It's always just one more with me. I don't watch much TV and don't keep up with all the good series that are out there. Instead, if I want to watch a series, I buy the DVD or watch it on Netflix. That way the button on the controller is always close enough to tempt me with just one more episode. I've lost whole evenings simply by watching just one more...

Greed: Achilles's Heel. Books, CD's, DVDs (although this one has dwindled slightly since the introduction of Netflix in my house. Man, I love Netflix) and marvel memorabilia... Oh, and socks. Weird socks. Love 'em.

Wrath: I may think dark thoughts, may write dark things, but I rarely flare up at people. I'm usually pretty good at curbing my anger and then going off and seething in my own space. If I'm angry or upset, I go silent. Not too sure if this is a good thing or not...It certainly isn't when it comes to writing arguments.  How the hell do my characters respond to that??

Sloth: Ooh, sloth. Another Achilles's Heel. I usually struggle to get out of bed in the mornings and then can't wait to get back in it at night. I love my bed just as much as I love weird socks.

Pride: I'm proud.  I'm proud of being a creative.  I'm proud of my writing, of my drawing, and of being me. Should this be a sin?? Oh, and I'm a proud owner of a Persian Cat :)

Lust: Meh! I'll let Lust and Sloth battle that one out :) (What goes on the bedroom remains there...)

Envy: I confess. When one of my writer friends email round pieces of their work for us to read and critique, sometimes I find myself thinking that this is soooo good and why can't I write something like that. And when you're envious over someone else's work, it doesn't actually do your own confidence any good. That's a battle that insecure writers face every day.

I think I'm supposed to list seven unlucky bloggers who then have to list their seven deadly sins, but you know what?  Sloth comes into play here.  So if you fancy joining in then TAG - you're it!!

So there you go. My Seven Deadly Sins. And to coincide with these, I'm going to remind you all of an artist I've visited once or twice before.  Marta Dahlig over at Deviant Art.  This piece depicts Wrath, but if you want to see the rest of her collection check out her Sins Gallery and then move on to the rest.  You seriously won't be disappointed.

Monday 18 November 2013

The World Is An Awesome Place For Inspiration. . .

My lunch breaks at work mostly comprise of eating while flicking through Google news to find out what's going on around the world, followed by a quick browse through the Entertainment section, followed by a study of the Science section.  I admit that most sciencey stuff goes over my head, but there are still some amazing things going on out there, especially when they post articles about the Mars Rover and it's discoveries.  I follow as Nasa track comets, shooting stars, when satellites come crashing back down (I've often contemplated walking around with an umbrella in case something wants to hit me on the head... lol).  At the moment I'm following news on the sun's poles shifting and wondering what impact it will have on us.  Apparently it's an 11 year cycle and results in some amazing Northern Lights - which I would absolutely love to see.

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are a classic example of how this world alone - forgetting all the amazing things that are being discovered among the skies - is over-flowing with inspiration.  I've used the Aurora Borealis in my pieces before.  It's a spectacular phenomena that isn't used enough.

Or how an Albatross can travel 10,000 miles without landing or using any energy reserves.  It lives on its 3.5m wingspan...

Another thing that's captured my attention today is the eruption of Mount Etna.  Did you know volcanoes can blow smoke rings...???  National Geographic published some spectacular photos of Mount Etna.  It reminded me of world building and the landscapes you can include.  Imagine something like this becoming a daily occurrence.  Imagine the backdrop you'd give your story?  I love it all :)  So if you're looking for inspiration on world building and what to include, just read the Science Section on Google News...


Friday 15 November 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Jon Sullivan

I come across this piece completely by chance and fell in love it.  Then when I checked the artist and his website, I was blown away!

Introducing Jon Sullivan.

If you like this piece, check out the rest of his gallery on his website.  Fans of Fantasy and Sci-Fi won't be disappointed.

Have a great weekend :)

Thursday 14 November 2013

Balloon In Memory Of Andrew

As many of you in the Blogosphere have already heard, Nick Wilford's brave step-son, Andrew McNaughton, passed away at the weekend.

A little while back, the heart of the Blogosphere revealed itself by helping Nick create an Anthology in aid of raising enough money for Andrew's education.  Andrew suffered with Celebral Palsy.  The huge success of the Anthology proved how great this community really is and made me feel proud to be a part of it.

And it continues.

This virtual red balloon is now floating around the blogosphere in honour of the life and legacy of this amazing young man, and I'm giving it a little blow to help spread it just that little bit further. Thanks to Mark Koopman for spreading the word.  

Sunday 10 November 2013

In Remembrance

In Remembrance

Never Forgotten

Thursday 7 November 2013

Resurrection Blogfest II: Over-coming Adversity

I'm taking part in the 'Resurrection blogfest II' today. Many thanks to Mino Lobo for hosting.

The premise is to re-post a past blog between the date ranges of November 8th 2012 to November 6th 2013.  Sounds easy right?  I thought that but I was wrong.  Because of my lack of blogging this year I had a hard time trying to find one within this time frame that was suitable.  Then I came across this one posted on the 4th March 2013.

Okay, it may not be exactly helpful in many ways, and it may not be an interesting read, but it is a post I thought worthy of a re-post. One blogger held a blogfest where you wrote a short piece about over-coming adversity.  He then collated all these pieces and created a superb anthology that is available on Amazon. And that's not all.  All the money made from this book goes to helping a special someone in his life who suffers with Cerebral Palsy.  It's such a worthy cause, and so many others out there thought so too, so I thought it would nice to continue with spreading the love (and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I designed the front cover...)

Original post can be found here:

And if you want to read some of the other posts in this fantastic Resurrection Blogfest II, simply hop over to Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic and take your pick.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed :)


It's here! It's here!!!

The 4th and 5th of February of this year (2013) saw a bloghop hosted by Nick Wilford.  This hop? The 'Overcoming Adversity' bloghop.

Bloggers from all over the blogasphere found themselves writing short pieces and taking part, pieces to move and uplift you.  These wonderful pieces were then collected and have now been published together in one amazing anthology to help raise money for one specific good cause.  Read on to find out more:


A collection of seventy moving and uplifting original pieces - real life, flash fiction, and poetry - about battling against the odds and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The contributors include Amazon bestselling authors Alex J. Cavanaugh and Kyra Lennon, and the cream of upcoming talent.

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:



Editor Bio:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also co-running a campaign to get a dedicated specialist college built in Scotland. Visit him at

*As a side note, I'd just like to thank Nick for the wonderful opportunity given me to work on the cover for 'Overcoming Adversity', following the wonderful and interesting concepts of Ella over at Ella's Edge.

Monday 4 November 2013

Resurrection Blogfest II

Hi all

I'm participating in the Resurrection Blogfest II which is happening on Thursday 7th November (this Thursday people)...So I thought I'd write a quick post to help promote it.  There's still time to sign up and join in the fun - and there be prizes too :)

So click over to Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic (<< either via this link or the button on the side >>) and check out the details :) If anything, sign up in appreciation of what she went through to get the image of the gravestones for her button (and what a great button it is too...)

You can read about that here...

Friday 1 November 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone.  Hope you all had a scary time, mwah ha ha haaa...

Pic: 'The Evil Within' but Jcdow3 on Deviant Art.  Go check out their gallery.  There's some awesome stuff going on over there :)

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Nick Wilford: Guest Post About Editing Service

*Put your hands together for Nick Wilford...

With the unstoppable rise of self-publishing, it’s easier than ever to put your words and stories out there in the world. This is a great thing, and I’m all for it. However, it’s not just about the story - although of course, that is the most important part - but the way it’s presented. After spending months or years on a novel, building an incredible world and honing your characters and storylines to perfection, the last thing you want is to be let down by a lack of editing. It’s just as important as an arresting cover image.

Nick Wilford, Freelance Editor is a one-stop shop for affordable editing, proofreading and formatting services. With professional training and ten years of experience as a journalist and editor, the time has come to transfer these skills in order to help out the fellow authors I have come to love.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’m ready to edit anything; from a crucial term paper, to memoirs and other non-fiction books, short stories, articles or job application letters. Let me put that finishing touch on your masterpiece.

Feel free to take a look at my website for further details of my services and prices.


Nick Wilford is a writer, freelance editor and stay-at-home dad. Fascinated by words from a young age, he trained as a journalist before embracing the calling of fiction. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also co-running a campaign to get a dedicated specialist college built in Scotland.



Saturday 28 September 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Saryth

Sitting here thinking about my new WIP, trying to bridge gaps, etc, and I suddenly come up with a brilliant idea. It fits in so well with my whole fantasy series, especially with one of the main books that tells the tale of a major event in my world's history, 'The Calming Of Gorthian'.

So, what's this idea?


For years I've seen this but never really twigged what it meant. Recently I read 'Prince of Thorns' by Mark Lawrence and the art of necromancy plays an important role, and as I read the bridges between my gaps began to form.

So, for this week's Pic of the Week, I've chosen a piece called 'Necromancer' by an artist called Saryth over on Deviant Art. If you like this, check out his other pieces. You won't be disappointed :)

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

The Other Thing...

So, what was the other thing I needed to announce?  Oh yeah!

I finished my latest manuscript.

This piece has been somewhat interesting to write.  It wasn't that I had to do a lot of research in order to pull it off, it was the fact that it took me so long to finish - as opposed to the usual length of time it takes me.  This is through no fault of its own.  The poor thing wanted to be written, screamed at me and haunted my dreams, but I let it down.  I made it wait, and I think by the time the end come round, it had just run out of steam.

It took me just over two years.  That's outrageous for me!  Never mind the fact I wrote another novel and a collection of short stories in between times - that my life felt like it crumbled and was teetering on edges before slowly being patched together.  Taking over two years to write one novel is something I haven't done since my 'writerly pottering' back in the days of yore.

Since finding my comfort niche with my fantasy series, I've churned one novel a year, which I think is average when balancing work and social lives too, and it was something I thought to be good if I were to look at my writing seriously - producing a steady stream of work.  This one didn't turn out quite on time.

Then there's the fact that I broke my rule:  One novel at a time.  You need to focus, to get to know your characters and allow yourself deep into the story in order to get to know it well enough to do a good job.  For me, having a second project on the side - or even projects - broke the flow of things and had an effect on the overall outcome.

Anyway, my piece, Lady of the Seas, is finished - that is, the first draft.  Editing stages are well under way.  I feel a mile stone has been reached with this one, and there's been a weight lifted from my shoulders.  My characters are no longer screaming at me to finished their tale.  It's done.

And what does a writer do when it's done?  They start another one :)    

Tuesday 10 September 2013

First Big Announcement . . .

What can I say.  It's been a while since I graced you with a post (feel free to slap me and punish me as you will) and whereas not much has really happened, when I actually think about it, there's been some pretty big things that do need announcing.  Why I've not done this sooner I don't know.  (That big, one-eyed monster called 'Life' has kept me locked up and has been feeding off my creativity, leaving me with not much to go around.)


The first big announcement is that I've been published!  Yes!  Not a novel, but a short story.

Before I went to New York (jeez, that was a lifetime ago - 4-5 months) I entered a competition called Fairly Wicked Tales, hosted by Angelic Knight Press.  The idea was to take a fairy tale and put a spin on it, for example, making the heroine the bad guy: Cinderella being a b@*!h to her two stepsisters, Little Red Riding Hood beating up that poor wolf, which in turn invoked it to savage her; you get the gist.  And because Angelic Knight Press deal with everything dark, the competition was right up my ally :)

I chose an almost unheard-of tale called 'The Glass Coffin' - and no, it has nothing to do with the glass coffin the seven dwarfs put Snow White in - although the Grimm Brothers did like their glass coffins.  It involved a hunter saving a brilliant stag from a bull, and in return the stag showed him the way to a hidden cave where a fair maiden was kept imprisoned in a glass coffin. The rest is nothing unusual; he kisses her; he rescues her, the stag transforms back into her brothter, they fall in love; live happily ever after...yada yada.

But then I twisted it.

The maiden in the coffin was a witch who needed the kiss and the heart of a man in order to break the curse over her and her brother - and when I say heart, I don't mean what someone gives as a token of their love.  I mean a real heart, still beating and full of blood.  It turns out the bull he killed in order to rescue the stag, her cursed brother, was the sorcerer charged with keeping their dark secret sleeping...and the disillusioned hunter slayed him and was then lead to his doom.

Worked well as a Grimm Tale, I thought - and others must have thought so too because it's now part of an anthology that's being published by Angelic Knight Press around Halloween.  What apt timing :)

I'll keep you all posted.

As for my second lot of big news (well, maybe not as big as this lot), I'll save that for another post.  It may help get me back into the habit :)

So until next time...               

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Always Do Something That Scares You Blogfest


In celebration of Mila Ferrera's new book, Spiral, I'm participating with her 'Always Do Something That Scares You' Blogfest. Mila is also hosting a giveaway today too.  I've posted details of this and her book at the bottom.

The gist of the blogfest that sinks with her book is: "In SPIRAL, Nessa confronts her fears about getting close to Aron by reminding herself of her father's motto: "Always do the thing that scares you."  It's probably a saying all of us could use from time to time, so for this blogfest post about a time that you decided to do something even though it scared you, either to get over that fear or because you knew it would be good for you."

For those who have known me for while, you'll know I don't like spiders.  As a kid I would scream and run from the tiniest of spids.  Now I've reached adulthood (don't ask me when that happened.  I'm still in denial at the age of 32) I've grown to tolerate the smaller ones, but once they're past a certain size, the panic button in me gets pressed, I feel physically sick in my stomach, and I have to squeal and back track pretty fast.

However, I don't have this problem when I'm outside.  It's like spiders are outside creatures, and they should be outside and not in my house!  So, if there's one in the room with me, it has to go.

I'm not a mean person, and don't like to kill unnecessarily, so I tend to try and catch spiders in a glass and let them out.  And with the larger ones that I can't catch myself, I have to call upon my trusty hubby to come to my rescue.  But trust me to pick a long-distance lorry driver who is away from home most of the week and who isn't there to help when I need him.

Because of this I've had to conquer my fear.  I can't see a spider and then turn away thinking 'out-of-sight-out-of-mind'.  I know it's still in the house.  I may not be able to see it, but I know it's there, and therefore it has to go there and then.  No if's or buts.  And because I'm often here alone, it's down to me to do it.  Battling this fear is still a work in progress, but I feel I'm winning.  And here's proof!!!

Below are pics of a spider I was nearly mauled to death by the other week. She was in my bathroom hanging off a jumper - EYELEVEL!!!!  The jumper has hanging on the cupboard door for which I had been in and out of for the past ten minutes.  She was probably sitting there with her front legs in the air every time I opened the door screaming "Weeeeeee....!!! Look, no hands....!!!!"

Then I clocked her, and let's just say a squeal wasn't the only thing that come out of my mouth!! I'll leave that to your imagination.  This beast was the largest I've seen in a hell of a long time (as UK spiders go, this was a dinosaur!).  So I battled my fear, and whilst sqweeming and shuddering, and saying many pleasent things to myself, spent another 10 minutes trying to usher this thing off the top of the hanger where she had perched - yes, PERCHED - until she got onto a flat area where I could put a glass over her.

I then succumbed her to some humiliating photos just for scaring the bejezzus outta me, before letting her go as far away from my house as a pjamma'd woman could get it.  All in all, I'd say it was definitely a step towards conquering my fear - and a step worthy to include in this blogfest. 

Now, I've warned all those who don't like spiders to not read on, but if you're still here, you've been warned...mwah ha ha ha...and to confirm, the glass used was a coca-cola pint glass!  I was pretty proud of this achievement :)


Spiral by Mila Ferrera

Nessa Cavanaugh, psychology student, knows how to stay on an even keel. Despite the urging of her mother and her academic advisor to get a life and have some fun, “all work and no play” sums up her plan to survive her grueling internship year at a children's hospital. She doesn't want to end up like her father, whose constant ups and downs broke her family, and avoiding unnecessary emotional entanglements is a must.
Then she (literally) runs into Dr. Aron Lindstrom in the middle of her disastrous first day on the job. The attraction is instant—and terrifying. Nessa knows she should stay away—especially when she finds out he has a reputation for being a player—but Aron is brilliant, intense, and as sexy as they come. When he challenges her to take a chance on him, her plans to stay focused on work start to crumble.

But what begins as passion takes on a dangerous edge, becoming an emotional roller coaster that’s frighteningly familiar. As things spiral out of control, Nessa must decide whether she should hold on for the ride or run … even if it means leaving her heart behind.

Check out Mila's giveaway

And check out the other participants in this brave blogfest :)  Enjoy

Friday 5 July 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Saara Makinen


Quick post this Friday for Pic of the Week.

Introducing Saara Makinen Arsinoes from Finland and her fabulous piece, the Dark Elf Summoner. 

So enjoy and have a grand weekend.  For those in the UK, enjoy the sun while it lasts :)

Wednesday 3 July 2013

A Writer's Companion...

What is it about writers and their writerly companions? 

Every writer I know - baring one or two - have companions that sit and watch them along their writers' journey.  I'm talking about pets - or even cats to be more specific.  They sit back and silently watch your struggles, your pains, your joys, before deciding that they're going to practise their feline-mind tricks in that jedi style in order to distract you and demand your attention.  Be it a simple, under-rated little chirp that does yet somehow doesn't sound like a meow, to the full 'roll-on-the-back-love-me-defy-me' mode, all writers/owners will find themselves looking from their monitors and 'awwing' whilst kitty simulates something that sounds like a purr in order to keep you in their grip.

I know many writers out there don't own cats.  They may prefer dogs, rabbits, hamsters or rats - or even horses (and some, none of the above) - but for the majority I know, it's cats.  What is it about cats and they're mystic ways?  And to prove my point, my own feline companion has just strolled in and sat on the floor.  She's done nothing else - she hasn't even looked up at me - yet I'm distracted.  Oh, and there's the meow!!! See!!  My cat is a master in the feline-jedi mind tricks.  But I digress...

So let's celebrate of all those feline writerly companions.  Here's a few piccies of mine :)

Here's Madam Daisy herself...

Here she is keeping close tabs on what I'm doing with my laptop...

Here she is pondering how I can improve...

And obviously here she is absolutely exhausted after her efforts.  It's a hard life...

Saturday 22 June 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Mario Wibisono

I've discovered a treasure.  Honestly, go and check out the gallery of Mario Wibisono.  His work took my breath away.  The way he uses soft and bold colours, his attention to detail...his imagination...!!! 

So introducing Mario Wibisono and his piece 'Redemption'.

But seriously now, spare a few minutes this weekend - if not now - and browse his gallery.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday 20 June 2013

The 11.11 Phenomenon...

I seem to have developed a new obsession.  It's not quite fully formed yet; it's not keeping me awake at nights, but at the moment it's sitting at the forefront of my mind.  What is this?  It's the 11.11 phenomena.

So, what is this, I hear you ask.  Well, it first come to my attention a few years ago when a work colleague of mine explained that at the same time every day she would look at the clock on her monitor and it would be 11.11.  Every day.  Didn't matter where she was.  She would even look at her watch to see the same numbers displaying with pride.  Eleven eleven; one one one one.  Naturally I thought it strange but put it down to the human body clock, the same for people who automatically wake up at certain times.  It becomes routine, habit.

But then, just the other day, I discovered that a new colleague, someone who has never met my other friend, suffers with the same phenomena.  11.11.  Every day.

Now the cloggs in my over-active mind are beginning to turn.  Two people tuned in to the same time.  Of course I had to google this and discovered that this phenomena doesn't end with my two colleagues.  It's world wide with millions of people tuning in to look at their clocks as it clicks over to 11.11 - be it morning or evening.  Some people even find it goes one step further, with them being booked into hotel rooms, the 11th room on the 11th floor.  Why???  Why are these numbers so significant?  Why are these people so sensitive to them?

The skeptic in me wants to just continue believing that it's our biological clock, and that once we're aware of what's happening we begin to search for these things, thus beginning to see them everywhere, but the creative author in me wants to come up with a bigger theory, one that's far larger than we can understand, one that's ruled by forces beyond our reasoning and control.  The possibilities are endless...

With this fresh in my mind, we thought it would be good to write a short exercise on it in our writers' group.
Here's what I come up with:

The 11.11 Phenomena

It started of as merely looking at the clock at the same time everyday.  11.11.  The only reason why it stood out so much at first was simply the two elevens.  Four ones.  Who wouldn't spot that and smile?  But then it kept happening.  Every day, no matter where I was.  11.11/

I had explained this to my friends and received nothing but shrugs and jokes thrown in my direction.  But they didn't understand.  Unless it was happening to them, they couldn't.  So I laughed with them.  What else could I do?  They didn't realise how unsettling it was becoming.

Something was going on.  Something was happening.  It could have just been coincidence.  It could have just been my matural body clock in a routine that told me to look at precisely the same time everyday, but to me it felt more.  I felt like there was something bigger at play here and deep down it frightened me. 

Then, after a while, the dreams started.  I saw myself climbing to the eleventh floor of a building and opening a heavy fire door with two large ones painted on it.  Beyond stood people, so many people, crammed on what appeared to be a roof.  Who were these people?  What were they all doing here?

The dreams continued for sometime, accompanied by the ever continuous glances at a clock flashing 11.11.  And still I had the constant feeling that something big was happening. 

Today everything fell into place.  Something inside snapped.

As the clock clicked over to 11.11 an alarm bell rang inside my head.  I had to leave.  I had to go somewhere, but I didn't know where.  I had a feeling, however, that something was going to guide me.  I stood from my work desk, and without saying a word to my colleagues or my boss, I walked out of the building and headed down the street.  I walked until I reached the street corner and then waited, unsure.  A taxi crawled up the road, a white plastic sign on it's roof displaying its office number.  111 111.  Again the feeling roared inside me and I threw my hand in the air, beckoning it to a stop.  

I climbed in the back.

"Where are you off too?" the driver asked.  Truthfully, I answered that I didn't know.  "How about I just drive around until you do know?"

It sounded good to me so I sat in the back and enjoyed the ride, still questioning myself about what I was doing.  Five minutes went by.  Ten minutes.  I looked between the tow front seats and caught the metre just as it flicked over to £11.11p.  Andrenaline surged through me.

"Stop the car!" I yelled. 

The driver done so without argument.  I paid him the fare, thanked him and clkimbed out.  Looking around, I wondered where I had been brought.  I knew where I was but I didn't know why.

Then I saw the building I stood in front of.  It stood tall, towering over me, and with a bar located on its ground floor.  Its name screamed out to me like a huge neon light.  'The Eleventh Sea'. 

Coincidence?  I was beginning to think not.  I entered the bar and instantly recognised where I was.  It was the place from my dreams.  Over at the back there should have been a door leading to stairs that climbed up, and sure enough there it was.  FRowning and feeling somewhat frightened now, I headed for the door, and before anyone could call be back, I slipped through and began the ascent.  I knew where I was going now - up to the eleventh floor where I would be greeted bythe number eleven on a heavy fire door, and one that lead to a roof that was packed with people.

The door stood proud at the top of the stairs, and just as predicted on the other side stood the people, all facing towards the west, a direction I myself felt drawn to.  I looked, becoming part of the chosen crowd who were all drawn to this one spot, and saw it.  I saw the huge tidal wave, the tsuami, as it crept closer, crushing and drowning everything in its wake, and wiping out most of the human existance.  

From that moment I believed in fate, ruled by higher forces.  Those on the roof were destined to survive, lead by unseen hands, and trusted with the task of rebuilding after the chaos that was left behind...    

Friday 14 June 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Ghost Ship's been a while since I last partook in Pic of the Week.  Why?  I was in a routine and something interrupted it.  When routine get's interrupted it's often hard to get back into it.  But I'm trying - I really am - and I'm determined to get everything back on track, because it isn't just blogging that's been affected.

Writing is slow...soooo slow at the moment.  I'm near the end of my WIP but every time I set out to work on it, it just doesn't go anywhere.  The 'zone' alludes me.  I may get a paragraph typed up, which is better than nothing, but after spending an hour at your computer and all you've achieved is a few lines, it's pretty disheartening.  I curse life for getting in the way of creativity :)

Anyway, in a bid to get myself back on course, I've gone for another Galleon Inspired piece this week, seeing as my characters have been trying to flee their burning Galleon for the last month or so now.  This piece is a free wallpaper, but unfortunately I didn't see who the artist was (Artist: if you're reading this, let me know and I'll happily give credit where credit is due...).

So enjoy, and hope you have a productive weekend...


Thursday 6 June 2013

Heroes & Villains Blogfest

Today I'm participating in the 'Heroes and Villains Blogfest', hosted by Jackie over at Bouquet of Books and Dani at Entertaining Interests. Check 'em out.
The objective:
  •  Post who your favourite Heroes, and yes, your favourite Villains are.
  • List as many, or as little, as you like.
  • Be creative with it: videos, art, pictures, lists, etc.
  • And most of all - HAVE FUN!
So here goes:

How can you define a hero? Someone - or something - who comes along and saves the day? Someone people look up to for hope and inspiration? Someone who makes us feel good and confident about ourselves in hard times? All of the above and many more...

And how do you define a villain? Someone who's the complete opposite of the above; who strives to destroy hope and inspiration; someone to kick you when you're down...

But not all heroes are heroes, and not all villains are villains. A fairytale princess may be rescued by her hero, a gallant knight, and after marrying him and expecting to live happily-ever-after discovers that he's a wife beater and a philanderer. And the man, the villain, who the knight battled against and killed, the man who kept the princess in the tower against her will, may merely have been keeping her there in order to protect her from the horrors that he knew this knight was capable of. This label is more often than not given from the eye of the beholder as opposed to the people themselves.

One of my all-time favourite heros/villains can be listed under both labels. Is he a villain or is he a hero? Only the watcher of this character can decide.

So who is this person?

Some know him as Eric Draven, but to others he's simply 'The Crow...'

I just love this character! But then is it the character that's loved or the curse? Without the Crow, Eric Draven would be just another face in the crowd. There are many films, books and comics that tell the Crow's tale, each with a different person but each with the same tragic premise; a victim of a murderous crime gets given the gift of resurrection for the purpose of justice. He then hunts down those involved, taking their lives one by one and exacting his revenge.

Usually it isn't just the protagonist that's a victim. Usually there's a loved one involved - a wife, a child, their lives cruelly ripped from them and from him - and for this you can feel his pain, your heart goes to him and you want him to exact his revenge on the evil that did this. You want him to kill those who killed him, who killed his family, and preventing them from inflicting the same pain on someone else, thus making him a hero. But this act of a vigilante is also seen as villainy in itself.

So, The Crow: Hero or Villain? I guess that's in the eye of the beholder...

Friday 26 April 2013

Pic of the Week . . . New York

This will be my last post for a week or two.  Why is that?  I'm off on holiday - yippee!!!

I'm cruising - a transatlantic cruise from Southampton UK to New York!  We'll then be spending a few days out there and then flying back to the UK.  I can't wait!  I've never been to New York - never been to America - and it's been on the top of my list of places to visit for ages.  I'm still in a state of disbelif that I'm actually going.  I can't wait!

So for this week's pic of the week, I've gone for an amazing picture of New york.  It's an old photo with the twin towers but the colours, I'm sure you'll agree, are stunning.

Beware New Yorkers.  I'm almost on my way :) 

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Writing Exercise: Stumbling Into Book Scenes...

It's been a while since I posted one of these, but here's a writing exercise that our writers' group done the other night.

The exercise was to pick a book - any book - and imagine that for some unknown reason you wake up and find yourself in the middle of a scene.  See how long it takes for you to guess which book I chose :)

Exercise: Stumbling into book scenes  


As soon as my vision came back all I could see was red.  Had I really hit my head that hard?

As my eyes began to come round I started to make out shapes in the redness, shadows, objects...a hand.  And as other colour began to bleed in around me, my hand remained its rosy shade.  I twiddled my fingers.  They felt fine and moved with ease, but why were they red?  Looking up, I stared at the scene that unfolded before me, like a coloured fog lifting from the ground.

I was in a garden.  The grass was green and lush, the sky crystal blue, and hedges surrounded me on all sides, all crisp and trimmed to form blocks that opened up for paths to lead off beyond them.  It reminded me of a maze.

A tree grew beside where I stood, a small tree just a little taller than I was, and I noticed the roses that grew on it, fully bloomed and beautiful against their leaves.  The fact that some were red and some were white didn't strike me as odd.  What struck me was why I was here.  One minute I had been painting my bathroom, slipping from the stool, falling and feeling my head make contact with the sink - and the next I was standing in this summer garden.  Where was I?

It could have been a dream, I thought, but the warmth from the sun and the feel of the cool breeze felt so real - and those roses!  Their smell!  That was real too.

"Who's been painting my roses red?"

The voice boomed from behind the hedges, deep and angry yet somewhat feminine.  I thrashed round to look across the way but no one was there.

"Who's been painting my roses red?"

Gasping I looked down at my hand again.  It was still red only it wasn't a fog.  It was paint.  Red paint.  I looked at the red roses on the tree.  They were dripping, bleeding their redness on the leaves about them and revealing patches of white petal beneath.

Was it me?  Had I been painting those roses red?

It dawned on me then.  This sounded familiar.  Where had I seen this before?  Where had I read it?  It involved a little girl; a little girl with blonde hair and a blue dress; a little girl named Alice and a cheshire cat and a...

"Who's been painting my roses red!"

A large form in a boulbous dress burst forth from a path, her face red with anger, and her wide eyes glared around the garden before falling on me and my hand.

The Queen of Hearts stared daggers at me.

I shook my head, unbelieving of the whole scene that was playing out before me.  Was I really in Alice in Wonderland?  No, I thought.  I couldn't be.  Must be a dream, but then the Queen raised her hand and stretched a fat stubby finger in my direction.  The fear I felt was very real.

"Off with her head!"

Before I could argue my defence, before I could plead my innocence, guards rushed towards me from behind her and seized me.  The grip I felt on my arms was just as real.  Too real.  I couldn't control the scream that emerged from my throat as they swept me off my feet and dragged me deep into the maze with the full intention of carrying out what they had been ordered to do.

They were going to cut off my head.

And as they dragged me closer to the guillotine, one question sprang to my mind.

Where was Alice?

Friday 19 April 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Jonas Jakobsson

It's that time of week again.

In connection with my last post, I thought for this week's Pic of the Week I'd go along the line of trees (I feel like a bit of a tree

Introducing artist Jonas Jakobsson, or otherwise known as Yonaz on DeviantArt, and his piece 'TreeLife'.  I loved this piece.  I love the breathtaking beauty of the tree and the landscape, followed by the soft tones that give it an air of mysticism and fantasy.  Be sure to check out his gallery.  He has some magnificent work.

So until next week, enjoy and have a grand weekend :)

Thursday 18 April 2013

Pontfadog Oak

Random blog post inspired by a news article read during lunch:

Last night the UK was battered by high winds - we still are today - and unfortunately it managed to destroy an oak tree in Pontfadog near Wrexham, North Wales.  It's said that their recent spell of heavy snow didn't help matters, and these heavy gusts last night were obviously the last straw for this tree and it sadly toppled over.

But this tree wasn't just any old tree.  With a girth over 42ft wide, it was apparently the oldest in Britain and has reportedly been there since the year 802, making this tree over 1200 years old.

If leaves could talk.  Imagine the history this tree has seen.  It's said that under this exact tree was where Welsh Prince Owain Gwyness rallied his troops in the 12th century before marching into England and defeating Henry II. Just think of the amount of other battles it's survived and the reigns it's seen.  During the War of the Roses, it stood tall and proud.  Henry VIII, it was there. Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada....It survived World War I & II.  It's seen so many things, and if it could, imagine the tales this tree could tell.

And what should defeat this tree after all this time?  A gust of wind.

It's an end of an era.  Thought I'd share.

Friday 22 March 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Equinox

Wednesday this week saw the arrivial of our Spring Equinox, a day when there is the exact amount of daylight as there is darkness.  There are two of these a year, Spring and Autumn, and they fall in between the longest day and the shortest day of the year (my birthday.  If it's not enough that it's so close to Christmas I only get one lot of presents because people can't afford two, I also get the shortest birthday!  Lose lose situation,

Anyway, moving on.  I thought I'd help celebrate our Spring Equinox by showcasing a piece of art by the same name.  Introdusing Alexiuss on DevientArt, with their stunning piece, 'Equinox'.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend.  

Friday 15 March 2013

Pic of the Week . . . Saturn

Seeing as this weeks blog hop took on a sci-fi twist I've decided to continue with that theme. 

I'm not that clued up in Sci-Fi literature, but I've heard that the planet Saturn - or the image of a planet with rings - is very cliche.  It's been over used and has lost all originality.  But you know what?  Meh!  That's what I say to that.  I like Saturn.  It's the only planet in our solar system with a difference.  And that difference?  Yep, you guessed it.  Rings.

I love those rings.  And when you get a powerful enough telescope and actually get to see Saturn for yourself (I've only seen it this way on TV) it takes your breath away.  It really does.  I've seen Mars and Venus - and the moon pretty close up - but none has that certain factor that just captures you and mesmerises you.  It's those rings.  That's what makes it so special.

This week's Pic of the Week is Saturn, but imagine if this was a real photo.  Imagine if this is what greeted you every morning when the skies were clear, or at night alongside a full moon.  Wouldn't it be spectacular?  But then would we also begin to lose our love for it and take the sight for granted?

I'll let you decide that.  In the mean time, enjoy and have a great weekend.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

National Wormhole Day Blog Hop . . .

Today I'm taking part in the National Wormhole Day Blog Hop, hosted by Luanne Smith , Laura Eno and Stephen Tremp.

What would you do or where would you go if you could traverse a wormhole through space or time just once? One safe round trip passage. Would you go back in time and talk some sense into a younger you? Go five years into the future and bring back the Wall Street Journal? See just how the heck the Great Pyramids of Giza were really built? View what the other side of the universe looks like? Kill Hitler?

So, what would I do if I could travel through a wormhole and back again?  Hmmm...

I would jump in my wormhole and travel back billions and billions of years and then pay the Planet Mars a visit.  Why?  Well, for those who don't really follow the likes of Curiosity, astronomers have recently discovered gullies and valleys across the surface of Mars that looks like it was created by water.  Whether these were huge, deep lakes that carved their way across the land or whether they were just mere streams that, over the course of centuries, eroded deep fissures that snaked by, who knows.

But, if it was water, and as much as what they say it may have been, was it enough to sustain life?  If so, where is this life - and WHERE is this water?  Why is the planet so dry and barren now?  What happened to it?

Now that is something I'd like to know.


I could give Justine Beiber the key to my wormhole but forget to give him the return ticket (snigger snigger)...

Ahhh the possibilities are endless :)