Friday, February 28, 2014


You might remember some very good advice Simon Kewin gave a while back about writing. Well, today he's revealing the cover for his fantasy novel Hedge Witch which will be published later this year.

Simon has published a lot of excellent short, flash, and twitter fiction and had a novel Engn published by December House. Hedge Witch was accepted by a traditional publisher who was then so dilatory in getting the book out there that Simon has taken it back into his own hands.

Fifteen year-old Cait Weerd has no idea she's being sought by the undain: sorcerous creatures that feed off the spirit of the living. She doesn't know they need her blood to survive. She doesn't even know she's a witch, descended from a long line of witches. Cait Weerd doesn't know a lot, really, but all that's about to change.

At Manchester Central Library she's caught up in sudden violence. In the chaos she's given an old book that's been hidden there. Given it and told to run. Hide the book or destroy it. The book contains all the secrets of the undains' existence. They and their human servants want to find it as much as they want to find her.

Cait learns the fates of two worlds are at stake. Just what she needs. Along with definitely-not-a-boyfriend Danny, she has to decide what the hell to do. Run, fight or hope it all goes away.

It's only then she learns who she really is, along with the terrible truth of what the undain have been doing in our world all this time...

It sounds like something I really want to read. I can't wait for it to come out. Here are the links for finding out more:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Everybody Naked?

As a follow-up to my recent post Let's All Get Naked!, it seems that French booksellers decided to do just that to protest against the attempted censorship of the children's book Tous A Poil.

Good for them!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm sorry, Avatar!

I loved the film Avatar but I thought that it was rather spoilt by the choice of the name "unobtainium" for the mineral that was so precious to Earth but perhaps I was being rather hard on the film makers because did you know that element #118 in the periodic table has been given the (temporary) name "ununoctium"? That's not a million miles away from unobtainium, is it, so maybe I should let the film directors off the hook.

As to how I found out about ununoctium, well I came across these wonderful chopping boards on BoingBoing and you can customise the final element which just happens to be ununoctium. If P&P from the US was less exorbitant I'd be very tempted.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Let's all get naked!

Actually, let's not all get naked here in England while the cold winds blow and the flood waters rise. In France, though, in summer on the beach it sounds like a fun idea.

A charming French book for children called Tous à Poil, which translates as "Everyone (gets) Naked", is causing rather a stir  because it shows people doing just that. Its drawings of naked bodies aren't like the photos you see everywhere that are so heavily airbrushed and photoshopped that everyone looks like a Barbie doll. Instead they show children a more realistic picture of what people look like under their clothes and that sounds like a good idea to me. 

Interestingly, since politicians have denounced it on French tv, sales have rocketed. Nice work, French MPs!

Would I take it in to work? (At an after-school club for primary age children.) Probably not. I'd be too worried about the reaction from teachers and parents, which is a shame. Would I read it to my grandchildren (if I had any)? Almost certainly yes. What about you?

Friday, February 14, 2014

To Friends and Friendship!

Valentine's Wallpaper

It's Valentine's Day.

Every year I try to reclaim the day for friends and friendship, as opposed to "make single people unhappy day" or "sell more greetings cards day".

I've made some amazing friends online. Some I've met in meatspace, some I've not met there yet, and some I will never meet face-to-face because they are sadly deceased.

If you're reading this, then you're a friend and I'm very glad to know you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Houdini Cat

Last night I left Rufus safely asleep on his cat tree in the kitchen. The door to the conservatory was locked and the door to the rest of the house was closed. The only way out was through a cat flap into the locked garage, where the cat flap that leads to the outside world was firmly shut. There was no way out.

This morning, when I opened the kitchen door Rufus had gone. There was no cat yelling accusingly, telling me that he hadn't been fed for hours and that the service in this place is terrible you just can't get the staff these days. He didn't even come when I offered food. He'd vanished.

I checked the cat flap: still firmly shut. I checked on top of cupboards, inside the cupboards, all the (very many) cat hiding places in the junk in the garage. Still no Rufus. Panicking now, I woke my daughter-in-law to see if she had let the cat out overnight. No, she hadn't. I had visions of Ru lying injured in some inaccessible place after trying one spectacular leap too many off a cupboard.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an orange shape moving past the kitchen window catflapwards. Rufus had been out for a stroll and was now gracing us with his presence.

Rufus back from his travels

I still have no explanation for how he could escape from a locked room.

Rufus displaying his usual skill at opening the cat flap when it's NOT locked: 42 attempts before he can get it open
Do you think we should put him on the stage and charge admission?

Friday, February 07, 2014

Canada Poking Fun

When the text came up I snorted with laughter.

Google has got into the act as well, although rather more subtly. Apparently the rainbow background is meant to support gay sports people and has nothing to do with Noah's ark.

I just hope that Russia rethinks its anti-gay stance in the light of all this media attention.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Sexy Lady

If you like this comic there are more at Scandinavia and the World
I've just heard about Anything That Loves, which is a comic book that's just come out about being bi. I was surprised to realise that it's not just straight people who can be anti-bi, apparently gay people (who I'd have thought would know what it's like to suffer from other people's prejudice) can be firmly anti-bi too. It seems that we like to divide the world neatly into pairs of categories and if you don't fit one then you must fit the other. But reality is more complicated than that.

I do wish people wouldn't try to put us all into boxes. The only thing that should be in a box is a cat and that's because they like to be there.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Fun With Science

Just a couple of pictures that I thought were worth sharing.

And finally, I love this avatar used by one of the talented people on Ravelry. It took me a few moments to get it the first time I saw it*.

*If you don't get it, try googling for the scientific symbol for Potassium. Hint: it isn't P.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Reading With A Vengeance

Fifty Shades of Grey

I found an interesting blog that comments on books chapter by chapter and the posts on Fifty Shades of Grey are keeping me amused.

Ana tells us for the third time this chapter that Grey is, in fact, still sleeping. Riveting. I kind of wish I could join him, because at least then we’d both be unconscious.

I did try reading Fifty Shades but to me it reads like really bad fan-fiction. Strange that.
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