Friday, January 29, 2010

The smallest library in the world?

I think I've found a library that's even smaller than mine is! There's an interesting article about it over at Offbeat Earth

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Win a book

There's a chance to win a book over at Shelby Dupree's blog.

Shelby visited here to comment the other day and I've only just found her blog. It looks interesting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rabbit Hole Day is Today!

In honour of Lewis Carroll's birthday, a number of us are celebrating Rabbit Hole Day with weird, wild, or out-of-character posts. Visit our blogs (and Richard's forum) and join us down the rabbit hole!

Here are the people taking part with links to their Rabbit Hole Day posts:
If I've missed you out, please comment below and I'll add you to the list.

*Richard explains: I've been openly pagan for the last 30 years or so, so this latest revelation will come as something of a shock to those who know me... Don't navigate away from that thread if you are any kind of prude, the forum is unmoderated and contains 'adult humour' among other things your boss won't like...

Consult The Oracle

The Magic Fortune Teller

You are about to consult the magic oracle. Think hard about your question. Allow the numbers one to seven to swirl around in your head. Which number is calling to you? Settle the number firmly in your mind.

Find the card below that bears your number. This is the future that will befall.

Remember, the cards never lie!

If your number is 1

Your card is: The Night Out

Do not let your dog out during the full moon. Beware shellfish! Do not have sushi tonight.

If your number is 2

Your card is The Naturists

This is a good time for that holiday somewhere warm where you can enjoy sun, sea, sand and other delights beginning with s.

Do not overdo the sangria or you could end up seeing things that are not there.

If your number is 3

Your card is The Fool on the Hill

It's time to make a choice: woo your lover or go mountain climbing. You can not do both at once. Remember, the mountains are no place for family pets. Email me at for a kennel brochure.

If your number is 4

Your card is The Bar Tender

Beware of mixing your drinks. You don't want to end up in a Roman toga, barefoot and falling in the gutter with no idea how you got there. Stick to Cola.

If your number is 5

Your card is The Veterinary Assistant

If your cat needs the dentist, do not try and treat him at home. He may look a sweetie but once you get your hand in his mouth it will be a different matter. Email me at for for details of vets in your area.

If your number is 6

Your card is The Seeker

Watch out for lost contact lenses. Trying to find them in the dark is no joke whatever anyone says. If you do not wear contact lenses, then take care not to lose glasses, watches,  pens or frying pans.

If your number is 7

Your card is The Star.

If you are trying to become a centrefold model you will succeed. Success is also foretold for all projects involving nudity, water, and photography. If your project combines all three then email me at for a brochure.

For entertainment purposes only. The future is not guaranteed.

For a more detailed forecast at a very low fee contact

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time waster

Love means never having to say you're fairyhedgehog.
Which movie was this quote from?
Get your own quotes:

As if you can't procrastinate enough without my help.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Help Haiti with a story

The 100 Stories for Haiti website is calling for 1,000 word submissions for a short story publication that will be sold to raise money for Haiti. The money will go to the Red Cross.

You only have till midnight on 25th January 2010 to get your story in so if you're interested you'll need to pop over to the website now.

You can read more about it on the I really should be writing blog.

The crystal cave

BBC article with video

It's a very beautiful cave. What struck me was the conditions inside it:

It's about 50C in there, but it's the virtually 100% humidity added on top that makes it a potential killer.

That combination means that when you breathe air into your body, the surface of your lungs is actually the coolest surface the air encounters. That means the fluid starts to condense inside your lungs - and that's really not good news. Link

Now there's a story waiting to be told.

Thanks to Derek at Our-Local for finding this.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rabbit hole day January 27th

Last year several of us celebrated Rabbit Hole Day (Lewis Carroll's birthday) by writing strange and unusual posts. More so than usual, I mean.

I think I may have gone overboard; certainly my post Star Struck left many readers slightly bemused. 

I'm not sure how many other bloggers are going to be doing it this year, although it is in the Geeklet calendar, but we don't have to wait for anyone else to join in to have fun.
Let's all fall down the Rabbit Hole for 24 hours and see what's there. It will be beautiful.
So, are you in? If you are, let us know in the comments here and we'll visit you on the 27th. We have only four days to prepare a post because I forgot to post this earlier but I'm sure we can all come up with something.

The travelling book: the next adventure

Ars Memoriae by Beth Bernobich has now been reviewed at Stacy's Cafe and is up for grabs again. Why not pop over and see what Stacy thought of it?

If you missed my review, it's here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The victory of the Scottish Marsupial

McKoala has won Reader's Choice in the Clarity of Night contest: first out of 237. Congratulations McK! A lot of writers are hoping this has put you in a mellow mood.

Chris Eldin got an honourable mention.

Visitors to this blog who scored 40 or more out of 45, showing they were proficient in pacing, entertainment value, technical use of language, storytelling, and voice were:

Chris Eldin
Peter Dudley
Aerin Rose

Well done all of you!

The standard was very high and those who didn't make it to the magic forties club should still be congratulating themselves on their entries.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mythical creatures

Thanks to writtenwyrdd for the link to this quiz. You might want to pop over there and join in the discussion about which mythical creature you'd like to be.

What Mythical Creature are you?
Your Result: Nymph

Nymphs are known for being extraordinarily beautiful. Unlike other mythical creatures, Nymphs are completely unselfish and do not always realize their beauty. Because of this naivette, they are easily taken advantage of. Nymphs are quite innocent and devoted. They have one main passion in life, and devote themselves to it. As a Nymph, you are pure of heart, playful, and very free spirited.

What Mythical Creature are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I read fantasy, in fact I'm currently reading a book with Dragons in it (The Door into Sunset), but so far I haven't written anything like that. I wonder if it would be fun.

Do you write about fantasy creatures?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lost in an alternate reality

I've been drawn into a murky world of intrigue in an old London that has been stolen away from our own. I am playing as a charming and watchful individual of mysterious and indistinct gender. I have seduced a painter and his model, I am trying to find a card game that may cost me my soul, and I need someone to help me with the nightmares.

I blame Sylvia myself. (She tweeted about it and I couldn't resist.) If you enjoy language or steampunk or interactive stories you might like it. You need a Twitter account to log in and it's worth setting one up just for this game.

I can't stop now, I need to catch a tabby cat in the alleys of the city. I'll be in Echo Bazaar if you need me!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The cat hammock

If you saw my post about the travelling book then you'll have seen Rufus' hammock empty. I thought you might like to see the same scene with him in his hammock.

Here's a close-up of him stretching out in it.

His yawn is positively terrifying.

I have no idea why he feels safe there. Anyone can poke him as they go up the stairs and the taller members of the family have to take care not to head butt him by mistake but he loves it there.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Reading-Slut's Confession: I Slept With 12,775 Books!

No, not me. I found this amusing article through Babs on Our-Local.

Stephen J. Gertz tells us that
over the course of fifty-two years of reading in bed (since age 6), I've slept with 12,775 books
I did so shamelessly, with little regard for the books as individuals. When I get an itch, I reach for a b**ch of a book. 'Might as well face it, I'm addicted to livre.

I wonder how many books I've read since I was six. Probably enough to stock a small library.

Thanks, Babs, for finding the article.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Death penalty for gays?

Uganda is considering bringing in the death penalty for gay people. You can read about it in this New York Times article which was brought to my notice by Lee Wind.

It's bad enough denying gay people the right to marriage but this is an order of magnitude worse. We need as many people as possible to say so.

Lee has links to petitions you can sign. I'm not sure that they're open to non-US residents: you have to choose a US state as part of your address.

Whether or not we can sign those petitions we need to make our voices heard. It doesn't matter if you're gay or not. Living in a world where people are killed because of who they are isn't good for any of us.

Edited to add: The UK petition is here. Thanks to Old Kitty for the link.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The travelling book

Thanks to Polenth I have a copy of Ars Memoriae by Beth Bernobich for you to review while it's on tour. It goes to the first person replying to this post who asks to review it, provided they meet the following criteria:

1. You have a blog and you're not afraid to use it.
2. You're willing to read the book.
3. You'll photograph the book somewhere... in your home, on a rollercoaster, by your pet cat. Somewhere. Only one photo is needed but you can take more.
4. You'll post a review, and your book photograph, to your blog.
5. You send it along to the first person who replies to you, as long as they're willing to review/photograph/pass it on.

I've been very slow in reading it, partly because it's a  beautiful book and I didn't want to get soup on it. Let's not go there.

Here's the book in the wild at my house:

(The netting is Rufus's hammock. It was originally part of a scheme to stop the kittens falling off the landing onto the stone floor below but Rufus has made it his own. He is not spoilt.)

My review:

This is a story of intrigue set in an alternate history which gave me the sense of a steampunk novel without the steam. It begins with mathematics and theories abut time and we're told that Adrian Dee, the main character, is remembering things that haven't happened. That made me want to read on and there are snippets of his other memories dropped in from time to time.

I found the beginning rather slow, as the politics of the situation were laid out and Dee's mission for the queen put before him, but the action speeded up as the story went on and there were some tense action scenes which I enjoyed. The descriptions of places and people were very vivid and I found the ending satisfying.

Edited to add: it looks like stacy is the next reviewer.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I was looking for fun things for writers to do when they want to procrastinate relax from their labours and I found the Madlib site for generating poetry.

I had a go at it and it produced this:

slow park's slow park 
rhythmically i have never walked, majestically beyond
any flower, your door has their pink:
in your most slimy skater are things which spread me,
or which i cannot procrastinate because they are too quick

- fairyhedgehog & e.e. cummings

(I tidied up a few verb endings etc.)

What gets to me is that this is no worse than any poetry I could  write. Except for the title. I could do better than that.

For me, writing poetry is a whole other thing, not even slightly related to writing prose and I wouldn't know where to begin. If you write poetry, how do you do it?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Crabbit Old Bat's Birthday Bash

Scottish children's author Nicola Morgan, aka The Crabbit Old Bat, is having a blog birthday party today over at Help! I Need A Publisher! She's offering the chance to advertise your blog in her comments trail and encouraging people to visit each other's blogs. If you've got a blog about writing you might like to pop over there and have a look.

Her byline reads
It's a very good blog.


I've got a couple of short stories on the go at the moment but I can't talk about them. As soon as I tell you what I'm writing I'll lose impetus and stop.

I've lost track of the number of stories I've started. It's possible that telling someone about my work in progress isn't the problem. Maybe keeping my writing secret is like touching a rabbit's foot for luck, and what I really need to do is to get the end of the story clear in my head before I start so I don't get bogged down in the middle.

Even so, I'm not going to tell you what I'm working on till it's a lot further on than it is now. I need all the help I can get.

That's my theory today. I may change my mind next week!

Do you keep your writing secret?

Friday, January 08, 2010


This was the UK yesterday. Picture courtesy of NASA.

I live under the swirl of clouds on the bottom right of the country.


I have been a very bad hedgehog. I entered a blog competition and I forgot to post about it here so you could all join in. It was over at Free the Princess and we were invited to write a story in ten words or less.

If you like flash fiction then you might want to pop across and have a look. All the entries are in the comments on this post and the results are here.

What makes it embarrassing is that I was one of the two winners. Matthew Delman, the blog owner, generously offered any book of the winners' choosing as a prize. If only I'd posted earlier.

It took me nearly a week to come up with my eight-word entry. At that rate, an eighty thousand word novel would take over 200 years. Maybe I'm not cut out for novel writing.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Have you read these?

Over Christmas I read:

The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick
Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby
Transition by Ian Banks
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Simon's Cat by Simon Tofield

and I'm now reading The Complaints by Ian Rankin.

I've enjoyed all of them.

Many of them were Christmas presents. I admit I did drop the odd hint, like "I'd like The Complaints for Christmas, please. It's half price on amazon." Some I just bought for myself. Well, it's keeping the publishing industry going, isn't it? What a great excuse.

It's surprising I had time to talk to any of my family. I seem to remember I did speak to one or two of them now and again.

Have you read any of these? I'd love to talk about them to someone else who's read them.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

If even one leaf falls on the line...

We have snow again. My Beloved attempted to go in to work. After nearly three hours and four miles the train broke down. I'm hoping he finds a taxi to bring him home, otherwise it's a long, cold walk.

The post title comes from the British comedy show Goodness, Gracious Me! where one character says of the English rail network

The people here believe the tree to be sacred, so that even if one leaf falls onto the track, the whole line is immediately shut down.
That isn't in this episode but there is a section about trains at around 23.00 minutes in that is pretty apt.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

My idea of a great New Year is to get to bed early the night before, then be up bright and early and go ice skating. We've done that in the past when the boys were young.

I'm not up to skating now but My Beloved and I did get out for a walk by the river. Glorious sunshine and rushing water that filled the ear so nothing else could be heard. Plus a chocolate brownie at lovely English pub. (Sensible eating starts again on Monday.)

I hope you're having a good New Year's Day and my best wishes to you for the coming year.
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