Oct 31st

Seasonal writing

By Tony
I wonder how many of us are at this moment working on a short story based around Hallowe'en. I started writing mine last night and I probably won't get it finished in time to post it here before midnight. I certainly won't be able to send it off to any magazine, not for another eight months or so, ready for next year's October issues.

My one success so far was a seasonally inspired piece written last spring - too late for publication then, but resubmitted in September and due to be published next March or April.

The obvious solution is to write your Christmas short stories in March, your summer holiday stories in November and your Easter stories when lying on a beach somewhere enjoying your summer break. But it's actually living through the season that I find inspires me to put finger to keyboard. I've concluded that I need to start a filing system. Write the stories when inspired to do so, file them away in their appropriate 'selling' month and then send off each month's archived material as the dates come round.

This can't be an original idea, but I'd be interested to hear what others do about their seasonally inspired writing.

Write on, everyone.
Oct 31st

The Saga of a table

By Weens
Three and a half months ago, I ordered a side table from a catalogue company. It matches a corner table that I had previously bought from the same company. I was told that it came direct from the manufacturers, and would not be delivered until September. The September date came and went, and no table. I called them, and they told me that the delivery date had been moved back to October, and it was a replacement table, not the original. I was rather annoyed. a I had to contact them to find this out and b) the table was not what I had ordered. The operator disappeared and on her return, informed me that it was the original table and gave me the October date by which it should be delivered.

The October date came and went. So I called them again. This time I was told that it had been dispatched and should be with me by the following Friday or Saturday. Saturday came, and guess what? You've got it in one, no table. So it was back on the phone, at ten pence a minute I hasten to add. This time I got an obliging young man, who rang around the whole building (at my ten pence per minute) to find out what had happened to my table. He came back to me to tell me that it had inadvertently been delivered to them. It was going straight onto the van, and would be delivered one day in the following week.

Yesterday, yup, still no table, I called them again. I explained the whole story AGAIN and the operator went to talk to dispatch. He came back to tell me he couldn't make contact with them, and he would ring me back. In fairness to this young man, he rang back fifteen minutes later, to say that dispatch had to make a phone call and would call me back that afternoon. At tea time, I rang again, and asked to speak to a supervisor. The operator wanted to know the full story before she would transfer me.This time the operator said that it had been dispatched, and if I bothered to read the small print, delivery takes up to 28 days. You mean three and a half months I said. I kept telling her what the other operator had said, but she was having none of it and kept repeating the twenty eight day rule. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Now I am normally a very laid back and placid person but, at this point I exploded and asked to speak to a supervisor or a Manager. She went away and came back to tell me they were all in a meeting. Very convenient. I asked if she would get someone to call me back. I can pass a message on, says she, but it will be anything up to 48 hours. I said under the circumstances don't you think they should get back to me sooner. She kept repeating the 48 hour rule, by which time, I wanted to scratch her eyes out. In that case, said I, let me speak to dispatch. She went away, AGAIN (remember at 10p per minute) and came back to say dispatch was busy. She would pass a message on, but it could take anything up to 48 hours.  Again with the 48 hours. But they were supposed to ring me this afternoon, I told her. Then, she kept repeating the 48 hour rule at which point I hung up on her and wrote a letter of complaint. Phew! In my letter, I put not to send me any vouchers for money off future purchases, as there wouldn't be any further purchases. AND I'M STILL WAITING FOR THE TABLE.
Oct 31st

possible fantasy and SF publisher

By Malcolm
I came across this site and it would seem like a possibility as a place for newbie fantasy and SF authors to submit their work.

http://www.baen.com/FAQS.htm

I know as much about it as you can read here so use at your own discrection.
Oct 30th

A Wee Spooky

By Barb


Living in Scotland and writing about murder and general all-round nastiness, is a marriage made in hell. In other words, perfect!

At this time of the year, it is considered that the veil between the living and dead is very thin. The way to keep dead people from coming to your house by mistake was to use a living flame. This is by employing candles, especially when placed in a carved "living" face. In Scotland, it is the carving of turnips, not pumpkins. If you're never carved a turnip, be pleased about this - it's somewhat similar to a concrete slab.

Dating from 4,500 years ago, the Celtic people have been celebrating Samhain here, and it's a love for the spooky that is reflected in the imaginations of creators of books, short stories and poetry.

There is a tradition of great horror and macabre stories coming from this wonderful country, such as Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The inspiration for Dracula (Stoker) came from from Slains Castle, and the strange Dr Lind who wanted to use electricity to animate dead tissue: his main student - a certain Mr Shelley who married Mary.

Then there is Ian Rankin, who with his Rebus series and other books, has developed his own genre: Tartan Noir. But is it any wonder? Edinburgh is a stunning city, but she has some nasty secrets hidden in her depths. Long closed up vaults that housed body snatchers, plague victims and murderers.

Nicola Morgan is another amazing Scottish author who writes sinister young adult fiction. She also has a fabulous blog with excellent information for writers and can be a bit spooky herself at times, but only because she tells it like it is.

Scotland has a long Halloween tradition of celebrating by eating treacle covered scones because... err... they taste good?
Oct 30th

The House at Pooh Corner by AA Gill

By Alice

The House at Pooh Corner by AA Gill.

Pooh was just settling down for some tea and honey when Christopher Robin’s smiling face appeared in the entrance to his burrow.

‘Hello Pooh,’ said Christopher Robin.

‘Hello Christopher Robin,’ said Pooh.

‘Tigger and I are going on an expotition.  Would you like to come?’

‘That sounds fun,’ said the bear.  ‘What sort of an expotition?’

‘We’re going hunting big game.  Come out and have a look.’

Pooh Bear stepped out of his burrow to be met by Christopher Robin and Tigger.

‘Hello Tigger,’ said Pooh.

‘Hi there Pooh,’ said Tigger, who was balancing on his springy tail.

‘Look what I’ve got,’ said Christopher Robin, swinging an big gun off his shoulder.  ‘It’s Daddy’s.’  He screwed up his face as he tried to remember its name. ‘It’s a Remington Semi-Auto 7400.’

‘With a Catseye 5” Hunting Scope with push/pull wind and elevation turrets,’ added Tigger helpfully.

‘I’ll make a packed lunch.’  And with that Pooh nipped back inside and emerged a few minutes later with a flask of tea and some honey sandwiches all wrapped up in a red Gingham cloth tied to a stick which he swung over his shoulder.  Christopher Robin hefted the gun on to his back and the happy trio set off into Hundred Acre Wood to hunt some big game.

Pooh made up a Hum to pass the time;

‘A rum-te-tiddly, tum-te-tiddly

We’re off to hunt big game

A tum-te-tiddly, rum-te-tiddly

I hope it’s not too tame

A pom-te-tiddle, a tiddle-te-pom

Christopher Robin’s got a big gun

A tiddle-te-pom, a pom-te-tiddle

See how the little animals run.’

‘Very good,’ said Christopher Robin and then Tigger struck up his own song;

'A wonderful thing is a Tigger

A Tigger’s a wonderful thing.....’

Just then Christopher Robin held up his closed fist just like Commandos did in the jungle as a silent signal for the hunting party to stop.  Pooh and Tigger stood very still.  Then Christopher Robin did that thing where Commandos point to their eye and then out to the meadow before holding up one finger.  Pooh and Tigger took that to mean he had spotted a lone prey out in the meadow.

He signalled them to lie flat and crawl up behind a grassy knoll.  But Pooh was too fat and when he lay down his arms and legs couldn’t reach the ground for him to crawl so Tigger rolled him into position.  They peered over the mound and in the distance they could see Piglet sitting in the meadow making a daisy chain.

Silently Christopher Robin slid the hunting rifle into the firing position, closed one eye and squinted into the sight.

‘Go for a head shot,’ whispered Pooh.

‘No, aim for the body.  That way if you don’t kill at least you maim,’ hissed Tigger.

‘He’s too far,’ said Christopher Robin.  ‘Tigger, go up on to the knoll and make yourself seen.  You can be the decoy.  He’ll come closer when he sees you.’

So Tigger hopped up on to his tail and, holding his toes, bounced up to the top of the mound – boingy, boingy, boingy.  He was in clear view of Piglet who soon spotted him and waved.  Tigger waved back and Piglet started skipping towards him.

Click, click, click went the scope on the sight as Christopher Robin made adjustments for distance and elevation.  ‘That’s it.....closer.....closer......’

Pooh shoved his paws in his ears, ready for the big bang.

Piglet was centred nicely in the cross-hairs of the sight when Christopher Robin held his breath and squeezed the trigger....gently....gently.

The crack of the rifle resounded around the meadow and Piglet flopped sideways; no dramatic flinging of arms in the air, no pirouettes......he just fell.  One instant he was alive, an instant later he was dead.

Christopher Robin let out a loud Red Indian ‘Whoop!’ and ran bounding down to the meadow with Pooh tumbling behind and Tigger bouncing along on his tail.  The stood around Piglet who lay, spread-eagled in the grass, with his eyes half closed and rivulets of blood trickling from his mouth and his little piggy nostrils.  There was a neat little entrance wound just under his armpit and a gaping exit wound on the opposite side of his chest.  Christopher Robin patted the rifle with satisfaction; ‘Point 397 soft-nosed ammunition.  Gets the job done.  Blew his lungs out.  Didn’t stand a chance.’

Pooh and Tigger felt a small round of applause was appropriate.  ‘Come on,’ said Christopher Robin, ‘Let’s string him up and take him home.  It’ll soon be time for tea.’  They found a long branch and tied Piglet’s arms and legs to it and Pooh and Tigger carried him between them as Christopher Robin led the way.

Pooh made up another Hum on the way home;

‘A rump-a-pom-pom,

The three brave hunters, Christopher Robin, Tigger and Pooh

Blew Piglet’s lungs out with a shot clean through,

But there’s plenty more adventures to do

Tomorrow we’ll be hunting Rabbit, Kanga and Roo

A-rump-a-pom-pom.’

Back at Pooh Corner they all sat round celebrating with honey and tea.  Later, Christopher Robin had Piglet stuffed and mounted, with his little trotters raised and his face in a piggy snarl, as a reminder of the day they went hunting big game in Hundred Acre Wood.

Oct 30th

Climbing the book charts

By Chinch
I've been pretty busy on another site the past six days. Reading, reading, reading and commenting and backing. The site is Authonomy.com. My goal was to get on their home page. Have I done it? Yes, this morning I woke up to find I was number five in the weekly books charts! It will probably slip up and down a bit, but I am delighted.

I don't intend to stay on there for too long. It can take over your life, and it is oh so hard when someone backs your book and you don't like theirs. I always try to tell them why, but it has really pulled at my heart strings. Of course, I could back them regardless, but if everyone did that then it wouldn't be a fair judge of quality. Harper Collins asks one thing when you put a book on your shelf; 'would you buy it?' and sadly, usually the answer is 'no'. The site has many faults, and it is possible for a poor book to make it to the editor's desk just through networking and back scratching, which is why I don't intend to stay on there too long. Ahhmm, I hope!

My book is called Gods Inc and if you get time, please check it out.  Oh and check out AW's book, Chained Chaos too, it's an excellent piece of writing and still on my shelf! Thanks Chinch.
Oct 29th

Family research

By mike

If you are interested in family history - or biographical research -anything elderly relations scribble down is invaluable.   I have posted this for a ‘Word Clouder’  who shall be nameless - well she is nameless!!

Exrtract from Great Aunt Nell’s  Notebooks.   (Her adventures in Germany circa 1912 which followed on her adventures in Paris and the artist studios of ‘Le Belle Epoche’ - in the late 1890’s)    


 I went out with Iris and Marianne.    Iris was six years old and Marianne was three.   We picked many flowers and walked up a bank studied with violets.    There were mountains of gold flowers and everywhere looked like coloured hills.    We could see  all the way to Frieburg.   

The tempo of life was far gentler than Paris.   I seemed to be flung into the fourth dimension - head first.   ‘Un beau plongen!’   The houses which looked like small white palaces were scattered.   Some were  so high up  that their lights at night looked like stars.   One night I told Edmund the stars were rather low.    He laughed and said, “They are lights from various windows up and down the valley.” 

The fir trees reminded me of the fir trees far away on Brasted Chart.

A musician named Iga Kertov - the pianist - came one evening.   He was handsome and his voice was his charm.

“Sprechen sie Deutch,  Fraulein?” 

“Nein - nein,”   I said.

He looked disappointed  as he was not good at English and would not attempt it.

He played Chopin’s ‘Mazurka in B Flat’.   The gay and restless beauty enchanted me.   The delicacy and ease going from one master to another.   He played the  ‘The Moonlight Sonata’.    Echoes of beauty sank and died away.    I was asked to play but I dared not.   My spirit sank within me.    How could I?    After Iga Kertov?

Stephani’s garden was an enormous one.   The house itself  was built like an old farm and there was an exquisite green, smooth lawn - like velvet. ....  There were clumps of Christmas trees with very high points. 

Oct 28th

Courses in the Bristol area of uk?

By Alexlouise25

If anyone is aware of any courses that are recommended in the Bristol area, or if there are any other writers in the same area wishing to form a group please do let me know, this would be good. I am a newbie so have posted a few things in the wrong area (i think!) a couple of times, am so sorry. Thankyou for a warm welcome and have been reading a lot of threads on here and is very helpful and inspiring. If only people knew what actually went into writing a book, for many it must seem like a doddle but its actually a whole lot of work. Well done everyone thats what I say, and keep writing : )

Oct 28th

Blogging again!

By Alexlouise25
Just a quick check-in on my blog. Kiddywinks nice and clean after their baths, tucked up warm and cosy, fast asleep in their beds, and i am now sat in bed too. Still to turn the lights out downstairs but im pretty much set for the night now. Few things I need to do tomorrow, few things I need to get, but if can get it all out of the way then can have a day in on Friday and carve a pumpkin with the boys Friday eve, followed by roasting my peppered pumpkin seeds-lovely! Mega busy day Saturday, lots of make-ups and special fx works to be done, will even miss the Xfactor on Sat. Will be glad when Sat is out of the way. I am doing nothing atall on Sunday, am certain of that! Mr J wants me round at his on Friday evening to cook me spaghetti bolognese, but to be honest, apart from not seeing him for ages, even though we do keep in touch by text occasionally, I would much rather spend the evening with the kids, carving a pumpkin. Think am going to have to fake the sickness bug at some point tomorrow-doubt I will have my appetite back by Friday 'eh. Oh what a shame!! One laughs to herself!
Oct 28th

Intelligent Design: Irony:

By Meta Tam When Hi Non
The universe is billion of years old, it's expanding into something that isn't entirely certain and all the sand on one beach doesn't equal the number of stars scattered among the night sky--into the vastness of existences and we're only fraction of what existences. Not even a fraction, not even a fragment, not even anything--we're that minute in the scheme of things, but people of a more Christian or retardation background want to make our existences seem like the most importanting thing to come about instead of it being from stupid unprovable evolution.

Intelligent Design seem quite ironic for a fake science sounding title, since it's only the most retarded idea to come out from the mouths of someone with a stupid or religious background--though I find myself laughing on what that means for whoever they think created us. Take Will Wright's: The Sims, anyone can be some sort of semi-cruel-epic-god and as we're aware of most gamers who devote more then half their life to gaming, they're overweight social outcasts living in a basement. Now, think about the comparison of Intelligent Design and The Sims; what do you get from it?

Mega-Epic-LULZ of course! People who want Intelligent Design or Creationlism to be fact, might have to accept a very real and funny possibility that their bearded dude of unconditional love God--ironic how he loves you and yet casts you into the pit of hell--is nothing more then the already mentioned stereotype gamer.

Think about the hillarity--Intelligent (retard) Design is reducing our existences to that of The Sims and that they're hoping for some all knowing God to be a bearded dude in the sky. Thank Thor for science being fact and religion nothing more then Fairy Tales that people actually find a way to believe in--personally I follow the bible of Little Red Riding Hood. Real lessons to be learnt from that.