Friday 4 December 2015

Pic of the Week . . . DareDevil

So, what does a writer do when they're not writing - or blogging? Well, watching a lot more TV, that's for sure. I've taken a very keen liking to the Netflix series Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and since finding out that the second series of Daredevil AND The Defenders, which bring them all together, are all on the cards, plus more, I'm am so excited. More time to spend not writing. Yay!

So what makes them different to the usual Marvel stuff that's out or in progress - which I also absolutely love? For starters, the writing. I don't know how they do it, but at some point they make you start routing for the bad guy - and you don't even realise it until you find yourself wishing they could have their happy ending (and question what the hell you're doing!). But in the words of Wilson Fisk, "Not everyone deserves a happy ending."

This week's Pic of the Week goes to NLMDA for his mind-blowing depiction of Charlie Cox as Daredevil. So go check out his other awesome pieces on his Tumblr website or like him on Facebook (which he deserves). He also does commissions too if his work can sway you.


Daredevil by NLMDA

Tuesday 1 December 2015

A Front Cover Of Inspiration . . .

Where has 2015 gone! One month left and I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I've blogged.

A lot has happened since I last visited - some good, some bad. The worse? My feline friend, Daisy, passed away. To say I was heart broken is an understatement. I was ridiculously attached to that cat so it's no surprise I took it hard. BUT, I now have not four, but eight little paws pattering around here now.

Meet Doyle and Bodie, two of the most handsome brothers I know. They're 5 months old now and such joys to have. And I'm now lucky enough to be working full time form home so I'm thoroughly enjoying their kittenhood - even if I do have to battle for rights over the laptop.

The flow of creativity is still strangely slow. I really need to buck my ideas up to get over this lull. I'm not sure what it is - a mixture of laziness coupled with anxiety maybe. Who knows. But it has to come to an end sometime. So here's a short piece I wrote the other night for a small exercise in hope that it would get those juices flowing again.

A Front Cover of Inspiration

Writing Exercise: We took a random book cover and let the inspiration flow, to see what it spoke to us. The Book? Under the Dome by Stephen King.

Out of everything, the one thing I wish for most is for the heat to go. The sun bears down on me continuously. I see clouds but they provide no shade, and the more I look at the them, the more I'm convinced they're not moving. 

I don't know where I am. I know I've been here for a long time though. The straight road runs for miles ahead of me, and as I turn, it runs for equal miles behind, splitting though the mountain range on the horizon. The hills in front aren't as severe in sight as the mountains, but they're still menacing. 

I honestly don't know how long I've been standing on this road. Definitely not days or weeks. Years? I can't tell how many. It feels like an eternity. I feel I should be old now, but I'm still the same twenty-four year old I was when it happened. I'm talking about the accident. Memories of it are few and far between but I do know that it happened quick. One minute I was reaching for a bottle of water sitting on the passenger seat of my car, the next I'm peering into the piercing eyes of a wild dog, followed by the sound of shattering glass, crunching metal and a blinding white light. That was it. Now I'm standing in the middle of this road, in the middle of nowhere - alone.

Everyday I walk. I walk for miles. I look at the hills ahead of me and walk towards them. Maybe civilisation lies beyond those peaks, people who can help me, hot food I can eat and cold drinks - not that I feel hungry or thirsty any more. I long to see what lies over the horizon and I walk all day but it never gets any closer. And as if in mockery, the mountain range behind follows me, stalking me and matching my every step. They never shrink in size, never grow any further away, yet I walk from them every day.

I have even ventured off the road. I look to the flat horizons either side, littered with half dead bushes and dry, cracked dirt, but no matter how long or how far I stray, the tarmac road follows. It's never further than twenty feet behind me. 

I don't know where I am. I don't know how long I've been here, and I don't know why I can't leave. In frustration, I yell at the sun above me, always glowing and never giving in to night. The days are one, the stars extinct. I hate it. Did I die in that accident? Is this purgatory or hell? Will I ever be able to leave?

But then as I walk the same tarmac I've trodden for what feels like an eternity, a strange feeling comes over me. Something feels different. As I turn back towards the imprisoning mountains, I see it, a ghost emerging from the heat waves off the road. A car, speeding along towards me, ever closer. After spending so long on my own, with not one living thing scampering my path, I begin to feel something I haven't felt for a long time. Fear... 

Sunday 26 April 2015

Quick Check In . . .

Wow!  Has it really been over a month since I last posted?  I guess it has.  Sorry people...

I'm also shocked to see the A-Z challenge now on V.  When did that happen?  And where did that time go?  How's that working out for you participants?

Only a quick post to check in and to say that my cruise ship didn't sink out in the Caribbean, and that we didn't get hauled up by pirates (although it would have been cool to meet Captain Jack Sparrow).  The holiday was lovely and the Caribbean is a beautiful place - and hot :)  Slightly disappointed that I didn't see any dolphins or whales - or other such sights - but I DID see flying fish.  They were interesting.

And after two weeks of relaxation and a relative calm crossing across the Atlantic, I enjoyed a short Easter break before delving straight into a new job, so my mind has been on over-load recently.  Been three weeks now since I started and I'm settling in nicely.  And the best part?  Working from home.  But the huge upside to this new job is I'll have more time to concentrate on writing.  Yeah, the whole 'working from home' thing appealed due to health reasons, but the opportunity to give more time to writing was what won me over.  I'll go into it in more detail in a later post.

In the meantime I'm striving to finish the piece I started for Nano, the same Nano piece I failed due to a car accident two weeks in.  Writing's been slow for the last few months which has been killing me, but it's picking up and I'm now right at the end of Tunnel.  It's only a Novella that I'm planning to launch on Amazon and so far it stands at 41k.  It's going to be around the 45-50k mark once done.  I don't think that's too bad for a novella.

But more on all this later.  I'm now off to kill a few characters in a story climax :)     

Tuesday 17 March 2015

And We're Off To Barbados . . .

Woohoo!!! As from Friday, I'll officially be on holiday (and officially unemployed until Monday 6th).  What a way to leave a job?!  My last day is on Thursday, and then to celebrate, I'll be jetting off to Barbados and then lounging around on this!

For two whole weeks I'll be sunning myself in Barbados, St Lucia, St Maarten (seeing the planes hopefullies) Antigua and the Azores, and doing my Titanic impression yelling "I'm the King of the World!!" - or Queen, but that doesn't have the same ring to it, somehow...  Bliss.

So if I don't post between now and then, I'll be seeing you all after Easter.  Have a good one and may the Easter Bunny bring chocolate pressies :)

Friday 13 March 2015

Pic of the Week . . . 'At Last, Sir Terry, We Must Walk Together...'

The Literary World suffered a major blow yesterday following the death of the great Terry Pratchett.

I've only ever read one of his books (shocking, I know) but I know people who absolutely adore him, and rightfully so.  He was brilliant at what he did.

I remember my first run-in with Pratchett - well, not him in person, but his work.  I was still at school and we were celebrating some kind of book week (I can't remember what) but they had a poster of Soul Music by Terry Pratchett on their wall.  I fell in love with this poster and asked if I could have it after, which they let me, and it sat on my bedroom wall for years.  It depicts Death on his bike.

If there's one thing you can say about Pratchett, it's that you could tell one of his books a mile away.  Their covers and illustrations by Paul Kidby are so unique.  They're busy, colourful, and manages to capture the style of his work to a T.  Even those who don't read Pratchett can recognise his work by the style of the covers.  They're so imaginative.

With the sad news of Pratchett's recent departure, I thought I'd dedicate this week's Pic of the Week to him, and I've chosen piece by Kidby himself.

So, in memory of Sir Terry Pratchett.  Rest in Piece.

'Check Mort' by Paul Kidby


Wednesday 11 March 2015

Just A Little More Paper Mache . . .


Just a quickie today.  Something I thought worthy of a share.  Now I've said this before, but I'll say it again.  I LOVE this guy...

Check Dan Reeder out at

Friday 6 March 2015

Pic of the Week . . . On This Day

A bit of Renaissance for you...

On this day in 1475, one of the greatest artists in history was born.  Michelangelo. Talented in many fields, including architecture, poetry and engineering, he is better recognised for his contributions as an artist and sculptor.  When reminded of the greats, my favourite has to Da Vinci, but you can't deny the brilliance of Michelangelo.  You only have to look at the Sistine Chapel in Rome to be reminded of that.

'The Last Judgement'
by Michelangelo
The ceiling alone took Michelangelo four years to complete, from 1508 to 1512, and stretches some 500 meters with over 300 figures.  But it's not the ceiling I've chosen for this week's Pic of the Week. Instead it's a section on the alter wall that contains a piece called 'The Last Judgement', which he worked on between 1536 to 1541.  It depicts the Second Coming of Christ and the rising of the dead as they are judged and consigned to either Heaven or Hell.

Apparently after its completion, the naked impressions of Christ and Mary were said to be sacrilegious and a campaign rose to either strip the whole piece from the wall or at least censor it.  This time round the plea was denied by the Pope, but soon after Michelangelo's death, nudity in religious art was condemned by the Council of Trent, and artist Daniele da Volterra was hired to cover-up the indecencies.  He even went as far as chiseling away and repainting part of Saint Catherine and Saint Blaise after it was observed their bodies were engaged in sexual intercourse.

I've not seen the Sistine Chapel in person but would love to one day pay it a visit, and not just to see the Sistine Chapel, but the other pieces that make Rome what it is today.

Anyway, there's a lot going on in the 'The Last Judgement' but there was one section that caught my eye.  The effigy of Christ is surrounded by saints, including that of Saint Bartholomew holding a drooping skin.  The likeness of this skin is said to be that of Michelangelo himself.  Whoever originally thought that, I don't know (and judging by this, I dread to think what the man actually looked like) but if it were true, it would be interesting to know why he decided to depict himself as a hollow, empty shell, so to speak...

Saint Bartholomew, 'The Last Judgement'
by Michelangelo

Monday 2 March 2015

Trick of the Light . . .

White & Gold? Or Blue &
Last week a certain dress took the Internet by storm.  It was an innocent dress captured in an innocent photo that soon went viral.  Why?  It offered the perfect optical illusion.

People from all over the globe were debating what colour the actual dress was.  Was it Blue & Black or was it White & Gold?  Many took to Twitter, joining in with the great colour debate, including Kanye West, who saw White & Gold, and Kim Kardashian, who saw Blue.  All were adamant with what they saw.  We were even having debates in our office as just over half were seeing white & gold and the other half blue & black.  Read the full article here:  

Certain stats revealed that around 75% of people saw White & Gold while the other 25% saw Blue & Black.  This was all put down to the the level of brightness behind the dress in the image and how our individual minds are wired to see certain colours.

It's all a trick of the light.

And it amazes me how easily it can deceive you.  The day before this dress went viral, I was driving home and had a similar experience.  I live in a village and at a certain point on my route I turn off the main road and am faced with fields and a mass of trees in the distance.  Among those trees sits a peaceful water tower.  It's been there for years and you can just make out the top of it between the leafy layers.

However, on this one particular day the setting sun was quite strong and coming in from roughly behind me.  This transformed the landscape in front of me and suddenly I was faced with a castle peeking from the tree lines.  I almost stopped the car and to stare in amazement.  When did this castle appear?  And only half a mile away from my house?

Then I twigged.

It was the way the sun was shining on it, casting shadows and completely changing the way the water tower looked from a distance - or rather the way I perceived it in a quick glance.  It was all a trick of the light.  But it amazes me how a little bit of light can transform this...

...into this.

As for the dress??? I see Blue and Black (or lilac and olive to be precise).  What about you??

Friday 27 February 2015

Pic of the Week . . . Castle

I was just flicking through Google, looking for information on a post for next week when I come across this picture.  I haven't researched where it's from but I just loved it and so thought it deserved this week's spot.  The thing that drew me to it?  The way the dying light is playing across the actual castle.  And not forgetting the bright, autumn colours contrasting against the shadows.



Tuesday 24 February 2015

Inspiration: Creature Feature with a Difference...

I have a secret to share.  I actually love the TV show, River Monsters.  For those who have never seen this program it's about a marine biologist, Jeremy Wade, who scouts places like the Amazon in search for underwater predators that could explain particularly gruesome legends; people mysteriously dragged into the waters and never seen again; boats tipped and limbs bitten off; creatures rising to attack.  As with many cultures, monsters such as these become legendary and things to be feared, but at the end of the day explanations usually fall down to nature.

And in the uncharted Amazon, who knows what lurks out there.  

I'm not really into fishing, and this program features a lot of that, but I just love discovering some of the fish that he comes across, fish that I'd never heard of - and fish that will fit so well in any fantasy world.  Honestly, if you're world-building and have a river that you want to make dangerous, just give it life.  Give it catfish big enough to swallow a human, piranhas that hunt in packs and can clean a bone in seconds, 200lb Tarpons with solid bone heads that leap feet into the air and have been known to tip boats and kill people with a single, unfortunate blow, and, of course, Tiger Fish, also known as the demon fish with its mouth full of razor sharp teeth. 

And not forgetting the smaller creatures that skulk around in the bottom and finish off what others don't eat.  With the amount of flesh eating creatures in the Amazon it's no surprise that once someone goes in, you're lucky if you're ever found.

So with that in mind, why struggle to think of ways to make your world ferocious and dangerous?  Why always look to myth and legend to provide inspiration when all you have to do is look at the nature in our own world?  It can hold answers you never even dreamt of.

Friday 13 February 2015

Pic of the Week . . . Pastures New

What a week it's been.  First there was a dislocated jaw and an uncomfortable start to the week, next I've handed in my notice in my current job and am moving on to pastures new.

I'm hoping this is a good move creatively.  I'll be working at home again, and last time I was working at home my writing was soaring.  Since taking on a job in an office everything has suffered for some unknown reason; my writing, my art, reading, and even blogging (I'm sure many of you have noticed that).  I'm not blaming it on the job.  It's been a good job for the last two years, but I think it's stunted any creativity.  And so when I was offered this position to work at home again, I jumped at the chance, hoping it will give me more time to sink my teeth into the things I'm more passionate about and things I want to concentrate on going forward.  It's all about lifestyle change.

So, today's Pic of the Week has been inspired by Pastures New.  Unfortunately I don't know the artist, but the piece comes courtesy of

Enjoy and have an interesting weekend...

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Literally Taking On More Than I Can Chew...

Well, it’s been an interesting few days for me.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  Life just takes me in different directions – and Monday was certainly of no exception.  What was supposed to be an innocent, standard trip to the dentist turned out to be a long visit to A&E.  What happened, I hear you ask?

A dislocated Jaw.  Ouch!!

I didn’t feel it go or pop out, but when the dentist finished her clean I couldn’t shut my mouth.  It was locked.  She tried to manipulate it to go back in but failed.  She then got a second dentist to have a try, but she failed too.  Then she got on the phone to a specialist and they were giving her tips on what to try, but to no avail.  In the end, she looked at me with big apologetic eyes and said “I think you need to go to A&E.”

Whheeerrt???!!! (well, it came out as an “Ugh??” ‘cause my mouth was locked open and I couldn’t speak).

So I got my friend to pick me up and take me down to the hospital, and after an agonising two hour wait, drooling everywhere and sitting with wads of tissue, the doctors finally managed to make it to me.  I was drifting off to sleep so was a little startled when they popped their heads round the curtain.  It was my first time in A&E as a patient and for the non-emergancy things they have lounger chairs instead of beds.  I was happy with this, and found the most comfortable position was right back with my head up to take some of the pressure off the jaw, and there I dosed, sleeping away the pain and the headache and the sore, dry throat.

But oh, my god!  It took two doctors to get my jaw back in.  They tried me in different positions (sounds like a re-enactment of 50 Shades) and eventually had me sitting in a small chair with him behind me, both hands pulling at my jaw until slipped back in.  The relief was instant.  A working jaw is sooo under-rated!

Funny this should happen though.  I’ve been back and forth to the doctors for a while now with an issue in my ear. I went for four weeks without hearing in it back in November, and they flushed it and gave me drops but it’s still not right.  It comes and goes.  But I’ve just discovered how close the jaw bone actually is to the ear canal.  And if I have an underlying issue with my jaw – which is what they suspect – this could be the reason why I’ve been having problems with my ear.  It’s an issue that, unbeknown to me, has been getting progressively worse and this trip to the dentist was just enough to tip it over the edge.

So, I’ve gone from someone who has never broken a bone to a women with a dislocated jaw.  I don’t recommend that to anyone.  So let's just say, on my next trip to the dentist, both my nurse and I will takes things a little more

Tuesday 6 January 2015

A Visit From The Night Terrors...

I think I had my first brush with sleep paralysis last night. Somewhat of an interesting experience.

For those who don't know, sleep paralysis is a common thing. Some people experience it every night, but some will only have it once or twice in a lifetime – or even none at all.  It's happens during REM sleep (rapid eye movement) and in a nut shell, is where the brain comes into semi-consciousness but the body remains in sleep mode.  Because of this, sufferers feel like they're paralyzed with a crushing pressure on their chest, making it difficult to breath.  This is basically where the body is still shallow breathing, something it naturally does during sleep.  And because the mind is only semi-conscious, it brings forth elements of a dream state, causing hallucinations such as demons sitting on your chest or evil presences in the room.  It's all interesting stuff but at the time it's utterly terrifying.

I've read a lot about dream paralysis- or the Night Terrors - and even used it in a short story, but I've never experienced it - until last night.  At least I'm guessing that's what it was.  

I woke up during the night to a pitch black room.  Usually my alarm clock is bright enough to fight back some of the shadows but last night it was switched off.  My cat, as usual, was lying on my pillow next to my head, purring away, and I was on my back with my arms up, my hand stroking her.  But there was something else on the bed with us.  For some unknown reason I believed it was my parent's little dog, a yorkshire terrier, and I could even see him in the shadows.  At first he was standing over me, wagging his tail, and I'm not sure whether I actually moved but I thought I reached out to stroke him and he moved away from me, just out of reach, and passed his attention to the bedroom door.  

That's when I felt completely terrified.

I felt that something was outside in the hallway.  The hallway looked slightly illuminated - probably the moonlight through the window - and something was there.  It felt evil and I honestly thought someone had broken into my house.  Then I saw a shadowy figure walk by.  I could have screamed.  My other half works away and I was alone in the house.  The little dog was still wagging its tail at the door and my cat - a very real cat - was still purring at my head.  But instead of getting up and hiding - or fighting or doing whatever else you do when you realise someone is in your house - I thought the best thing to do was to close my eyes and don't look.  Just pretend I didn't see it and pray that it didn't come into my room.

Inevitably, I fell asleep again and woke this morning slightly confused.

I have some pretty vivid dreams, and nightmares rarely scare me, but last night!!!  I've never felt so terrified.  And if it was indeed the night terrors, I know there's a reasonable, scientific explanation for it, but I can't seem to shake this slight feeling of dread about going to sleep tonight and it happening again.

We'll see.

Has anyone else experienced sleep paralysis?