I am enjoying my retirement by writing. My favourite genres are science fiction and horror and I have have had some success with my short stories.
I began reading Ray Bradbury while still at school and became besotted with Dr Who from the first moment I watched the programme back in November 1963. Each incarnation is my favourite until the next one but I have to admit to preferring Matt Smith's version to any other.
My specialist subject on Mastermind would most likely be 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'.
You would think that living alone in an old house would cause me a few uneasy moments. My home has been around since Cromwell’s Commonwealth and has the obligatory ghost who prowls the old path to the side of the house and disappears when he reaches the spot where the original door used to be.
I’m not afraid of him or being alone, day or night. Precious is the moment as you drift awake, warm and comfortable; those seconds before you are fully aware of life and its vagaries; before the gods realise you actually have a plan for the day – before someone sneezes close to your ear …
Despite sitting on the motorway for an age last Friday I have just had a brilliant weekend in Northampton. It feels like I’ve had a complete holiday. Even the motorway bit was not as bad as it sounds as no one could reach me as I sat there for an hour in the sunshine. A legitimate reason for not answering my phone!
It was the Festival of Books at Delapre Abbey and as I was born at the hospital nearby I took the opportunity to join Corona Books on their stall. It also meant I was able to visit with relatives while I was there. All for the price of one journey.
It turned out to be a fantastic weekend visiting mum, my sister and brother-in-law as well as joining friends at the festival. Even the sun put in an appearance.
I didn’t arrive home until yesterday which means I start the week on a Tuesday. This is so going to upset my small brain by Friday. I have enough trouble keeping up with the days as it is.
I’m finding it difficult to get back into routine but as my magnus opus won’t write itself I suppose I’d better make a start.
See what happens should you find a strange box on your window sill.
Gardening is brilliant. It provides exercise in the fresh air and sunshine and leaves you with a glow of satisfaction of a job well done. That is until you turn on the hose you haven’t used since last year. For some reason a split has appeared in the nozzle and cold water sprayed all over me rather than the garden. I now look as if I’ve wet myself and I do have to say that a wet t-shirt on someone a tad over, shall we say, 21 really isn’t the sort of picture I need to show anyone.
To add insult to injury the cold wet leg of my trousers upset the arthritis in my knee and it gave way leaving me stuck for a moment or two.
I did manage to plant out the magic beans as well as some peas and cauliflowers. I also cleared the path down the side of the labyrinth so it looks much tidier and I feel happier.
I had planned to use the time to think about a story I’m working on. (Translation of ‘working’ – thinking about.) Instead I became discouraged by the amount of work there is to do in the garden. So, I gave up and came inside to write. It may not be any easier but it’s certainly a lot drier.
We are encouraged to write reviews about everything today. As a writer I understand the importance of reviews. They are the life-blood of our existence pointing people to new and exciting adventures hidden in the pages of our books. They massage our egos with glowing comments – or not, as the case may be. They are essential to promoting our work.
But what about butter dishes? Should we be expected to write a review about a common-or-garden butter dish?
1. Does it come up to expectations? What do you expect from a butter dish? I expect that it will sit in my fridge/kitchen counter and not do anything that would be to the detriment of my butter. Is it likely to? Will it expel the butter all over the floor? Not without help and I have no intention of helping it.
2. Is it pleasing to the eye? I would not have bought it if I didn’t like the look of it. Anyway, it matches the toaster.
3. Would I recommend it to my friends? If they were asking my opinion on butter dishes, I suppose I might. It’s not really a topic that comes up when I’m socialising, truth be told. We chat about literature, politics, aches and pains, the weather but I can’t remember the last time my friends and I explored the merits of a butter dish.
We are all different with opposing opinions, likes and dislikes various. Book, film and television programme reviews give a range of opinions that shape peoples’ ideas and encourage them to decide whether they should investigate further. Butter dishes? Most of my friends use stuff already in tubs and give me old-fashioned looks if I mention I have actually own one.
I use a teapot as well but don’t tell anyone. Folk already think I’m related to Jacob Rees Mogg.
See what happens should you find a strange box on your window sill.
February is usually bitterly cold here, with a prevailing east wind that blows right through a body and frost enough to shatter anything optimistically left outside on the washing line. No need to thaw the underpinnings this year!
The conservatory became summer hot, so I left the doors open in order for the scents wafting from my early-burgeoning herb garden to fill the house with fragrance.
Unfortunately, the farmer thought that it was a good idea to spread his fields with muck so what the house actually smells of is eau de cowshed/pigsty.
I forget who wanted to live in the country. I’m told it was me but I’m not sure I believe everything I’m told.
As soon as the smell cleared I took my work outside. I do wonder if that and the fact I dug out the parasol has anything to do with the change in the weather.
It’s raining today and I have no excuse but to sit down and get on with some writing. Books do not write themselves. they need blood, sweat and tears as well as a pain in the nether region from sitting too long. Oh, and copious amounts of tea.
Corona Books has just put out a call for submissions for their third anthology of horror stories. It’s time to get tweaking and polishing.
My novel ‘The Woman Who Is Not His Wife’ is science fiction. the male protagonist is an alien so what can be more scary than receiving an email from him.
I was happily writing away – or playing cards – one or the other but my mind was not on emails when I was notified of a message from a Deryn. My protagonist is named Deryn. (Okay, it’s Welsh and the Welsh aren’t alien but I liked it.)
While seeing a glowing box in the dark late one night did not particularly scare me the email did.
I could avoid a ravenous box. I could hit it with a hammer if needs be. (Not that that did much good in the story.)
What if I was living in a nightmare of my own making? Had I inadvertently created a new life form? New life forms are usually up to no good. Its the main plot of all the sci-fi/horror films I’ve ever seen.
Was he coming to take his revenge, angry with what I’d put him through in the book? He didn’t have much luck, come to think of it.
Scary was beginning to be replaced by a sense of adventure until I opened the email. I help out with the local parish magazine and it was from someone with the same name enquiring about placing an advert.
The adventure was over before it had even started.
I had a bit of a moment the other night. I was just settling down in bed with my kindle, which was providing the only light at the time. As I turned over to make myself comfortable, I noticed something square glowing on top of the chest of drawers.
For those of you who don’t yet know, I wrote a story entitled ‘The Box’ a couple of years ago. If you wish to read it you’ll need to get yourself a copy of ‘The Corona Book of Horror Stories’. Well worth a read, if I do say so myself. (www.coronabooks.com / http://www.amazon.co.uk).
The box in the story is not very nice, (I’ll not spoil things by telling you more as I know you’ll want to get your own copy) and I suppose I should have been frightened. However, 1, I don’t frighten very easily, and 2, I wrote ‘The Box’ and know it isn’t real. Or is it?
In this case, the glowing box turned out to be a gold painted presentation box which had held some jewellery I had been given some years before. I rather like it and so still have it. Those of you who know me well will understand that this is perfectly normal. I may have forgotten what jewellery was in it but the box is shiny and very useful for keeping things in.
The light from the kindle was shining on it and making it glow like some spectral entity – which it was not.
So, there was no chance of being involved in some scary adventure, more’s the pity.
I shall just have to lose myself in writing such tales instead.