Thursday 31 October 2019

Happy Halloween

Or Happy Samhain, or just Hi! 

I haven't managed to get much done today. I've been hanging out with bear and trying to keep myself from fretting. Grumpy Old Gods Vol 3 came out today (details below), including an entry from yours truly and I always feel out of it when something like that happens.

We haven't had any trick or treaters today. I'm okay with that as I hadn't remembered to get any treats. We've had a few fireworks let off down the street this morning, and there was much entertainment as the car that was causing so much parking issues for me and DH utterly failed to start, even for the RAC, and had to be towed, flat tyre and all. I'm really glad it has gone. If it was even six inches further back, it would have made a real difference, but what is drama if they can't have drama? I am sure there were people panting at the thought of us knocking on doors, but we just worked around it.

Bear has spent most of the day on the steering wheel but is currently doing homework which isn't due in yet - voluntarily! I may need an early night from the shock.

Writing stuff - As I said above, Grumpy Old Gods Vol 3 has been published. It's an anthology of 13 stories of gods and deities that have past their sell by date and are cantankerous with it. One of my stories is included, and I feel very lucky to be part of it.

My last story of October is here, and I hope it is a suitably spooky end to the month. And if you are looking for more spooky stories that include something from me, check out the promotion on Story Origin here that lasts until 9th November. And finally, for the last time, here is a link to Timothy Bateson's blog, where he is listing his prequels free on Smashwords - but only until 2nd November!

Spooky hugs to all!

Grumpy Old Gods: Volume 3 by [Wells, Vanessa, Key, Juneta, Nagler, Greg, Bruce, Mark, Medana, Lyssa, Janse van Vuuren, Ronel, Wade, Aletha, Shaffer, Elizabeth, Masters, K. A.]

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Is it Only Wednesday?

I kept forgetting, my brain is mush at the moment. Thank you to Helen who suggested making pfeffenusse (scary thought) and to Heather who let me know that they have gluten free Lebkuchen at Asda. I shall have to pay a visit. It's a scary drive, but perfectly possible.

It can wait until after half term, though. I feel scattered in a dozen directions. I took bear and his pal to the Royal Armouries today. The drive there was okay but the multistory car park was truly scary. It was really full and all the cars were parked right to the edge, so every corner was incredibly tight. Red is only a little car, and she's great on corners, but I was hanging on to the steering wheel like it was the last lifebelt on the Titanic. I really thought I would ding something, but we ended up on the roof and, as it was lovely and bright, that wasn't so bad. Then I got incredibly lost on the way home, as I still haven't got the hang of how far '300 metres' is. It's longer than I keep thinking.

The Armouries was fun. They had fun firing crossbows - real ones! There is a crossbow shooting range and they took advantage of it. The food there was incredibly expensive, though, and we ended up getting something from the local corner Tesco.

Writing stuff - there is a very short story from me here and Timothy Bateson has a guest post from Stacy Overby about Halloween traditions here.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Pity Party

I have a cold. It is a very minor issue in the general scheme of things. So many dreadful things are going on, including the dreadful fires in California, so my cold is something of a non event. It has left me feeling less likely to take on the world and more likely to hibernate. Also, I am getting through a lot of tissues and I'm glad that I get the presto ones from Amazon on Subscribe and Save. They are more expensive, but I don't forget them and I get to stock up over the summer for the inevitable winter sniff season.

I managed a trip to the tip, which was scary as it was really full and had only one space when I got there - which you are required to reverse into! Fortunately one of the men there helped me out, as he recognised me and I always joke about my parking with him, so he guided me in.

Then I was keeping bear and his pal company while completely failing to get anything productive done. Bear persuaded us to get him an early Christmas + birthday present and get him a steering wheel for his driving games, as he had worn out the last one. I whimpered a little as I paid for it as it was nearly £200! It was still at a very reasonable price, compared to the other ones out there. That is pretty much his big presents for Christmas and birthday, and it will just be little stuff when the actual dates come. To be fair, I was racking my brains for what to get as the 'big' presents this year, so as long as I stick to my guns and just get a few bits (okay, a lot of bits, but less spends), then it's a relief. Bear has asked for books, which I can usually pick up at a reasonable price. The Book People are on Topcashback, and they do very reasonable books, and now I have a car, I can rummage around the charity shops with gusto. It will be a good reason for me to go out and about. Bear has also asked for classical music CDs (which are usually incredibly inexpensive and abundant in charity shops) and sheet music for piano and violin. I have no idea what I am looking for, but I know bear will appreciate the thought. He doesn't mind having secondhand books or CDs either, which is a blessing. I'm also glad that he got it early, as that has taken the pressure off me for all this week. I can sit, sniff and sneeze and know that for at least a while he will be able to lose himself making imaginary journeys across Europe. His geography could do with a refresher anyway.

Writing stuff - we are coming to the end of October, so things should be quietening down soon. I have a new story in response to this week's Writing Challenge, with an appearance from Steve Adderson, here. It was written to the background of an intense discussion of the Liverpool-Tottenham match, conducted at length, and I'm proud of any words I got in the right order. Timothy Bateson has a brief article about historical witches here, and it's worth a further google if any of them catch your attention as they are all fascinated studies in what people thought was witchcraft and how it was treated.

Sniffly hugs to all.

Monday 28 October 2019

Satisfactory Start to the Week

I dropped off a few bags at the Salvation Army this morning. I absolutely nailed the parking. It's a small, cramped car park and I reverse parked into a slot first time and landed perfectly between the lines. It was immaculate! I wish I knew how I did it, because I haven't got a clue. Then I made an utter dog's dinner of the parking at Tesco, but I was still smug.

And I came home past the IKEA roundabout and intersection. Going out isn't too bad, but coming home is complicated. My driving instructor (who is awesome) described it as confusing. I was in the wrong lane at every intersection, but because it was quiet, it was okay. I think I will come back that way a few times when I haven't got passengers (to hear the language) to get the hang of it. It's a useful route to take to and from school. It's certainly longer, and definitely busier, but worth knowing. Also, I need to be able to get to IKEA.

Bear was awesome today. While I was out he unplugged every bit of cable involved with his computer, labelled everything, and re-plugged the lot, taping the wires together and to the desk and generally turning a rats' nest into a place of order. I was so impressed. He is why I need to go to the tip tomorrow. He got rid of so much rubbish. And then he had an amazing music lesson. He was far from perfect, but he was having a serious go at stuff and he gave all his attention.

Writing Stuff - Today is Monday so that means the writing challenge, which is here. Timothy Bateson, in his 31 Days of Halloween has an article about his top ten horror movies here. I'm not sure I agree with all of them, but it encouraged me to bookmark a few for the next few days.

Hugs to all.

Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

Sunday 27 October 2019

Highs and Lows and Happy Diwali

One of DH's friends sent me an early Sinterklaas gift, complete with a poem. It was gluten free pfeffernusse which for those who have never been blessed with them are spicy little biscuit type, not quite cake cookies. My late mother always used to get them in for Christmas, as they were only generally available at that time of year, and when I was young you could only get them in a few places. She also used to get lebkuchen. They are a delicacy that I always associate with places like Germany, and obviously they are in the Netherlands, and I seriously recommend them if you can get them. I've never found gluten free ones in the UK, so this was such a massive hug.

Some of the drama on the street has moved away, but they've left a car on the street which has an over active car alarm. I am unimpressed.

Speaking of unimpressed, I had a message on my author facebook from someone offering publicity at reasonable rates. I dithered, but I would would want to know if I was in their shoes, so I messaged back and pointed out the typo in their message. I was nice, and they were lovely as well, when they messaged back saying that they didn't bother with unimportant details. That message had a typo in as well. To be fair, they work mainly with radio, apparently, so a typo isn't the same thing for them as it is for me, and I don't like to criticise someone else's spelling and grammar. I am too aware that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I'm still not grabbed by it, but if I ever manage to finish my next novel, I'll think about it.

Writing stuff - Today I've posted a review. I've recently had a story accepted to Grumpy Old Gods Vol 3. It's an anthology of stories about retired, elderly and cantankerous deities, and it comes out on Halloween. I will be posting loads about that next week. I thought I really ought to see what other works have been like. If you are a writer, and submitting, then the advice is to do your research and read the stuff already published to get a feel for things. I got around to that yesterday, several weeks after the acceptance. I'm a bad example. Anyway Grumpy Old Gods Vol 1 is on Kindle Unlimited so I dipped in and I loved it. I really genuinely loved it. Obviously I would have found something nice to say even if I didn't, but I was relieved that I could be not only honest, but full of enthusiastic praise. I seriously recommend it. It's a book with thirteen, decent length stories and you can find my review here. Timothy Bateson has a reading from his book, Under a Hunters Moon on his 31 Days of Halloween here.

Happy Diwali and Hugs to all.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Completely Meh!

I really, really, really felt that I could do with a good run out in the car. I'm getting so much better and building confidence - and I'm hitting a whole new range of mistakes. I went to B&Q because the bathroom sink is now about an inch away from the wall and I don't know when it will be fixed. So I picked up some Gorilla Tape and some No Nails glue on the advice of the very kind man there and I'm waiting for DH to go home.

I would normally be nervous about driving to B&Q because while it is only a few minutes drive from us, it involves a busy road, a complicated roundabout and changing lanes. Today I just did it. It helped that the road was relatively quiet, but I managed without stress. It was raining soooo heavily, though, and there were some serious areas of rainwater that I suppose could be called puddles in the same way that large lakes could be called ponds, so I decided to just go to Tesco the long way around. So I went through the complicated IKEA roundabout section and got it right! Last time I tried it, I nearly ended up in Hull, but today I did it!!! Then I pulled out in front of a car at Tesco car park which was completely my fault. I'm getting there, but far from perfect.

I feel out of sorts and fed up, though, and would have been better seeing the awesomeness at Trawden.

Writing stuff - After the end of October, I'll be doing a weekly round up on my blog and just leave a link to that once a week, so you can get a little peace and quiet. Today I have a new story following on from yesterday here, and Timothy Bateson has the schedule for the Fantasy and SciFi Readers Lounge takeovers here.

Hugs to all.

Friday 25 October 2019

The First Day of the Holiday

Bear has today off and all next week. I couldn't get through to the school, so I am somewhat apprehensive about what might happen to my lovely dish! I'm sending him in with a re-used ice cream tub next time.

It's been a fairly odd day. The man coming about the rewiring and the bathroom had to reschedule, which worried me as the bathroom sink is now at least half an inch away from the wall. I was fine going on to the bypass with the fast slip road but made some hideous mistakes on roundabouts getting there.

Bear has been chilling out with his pal. One is playing FIFA 19, the other is playing some racing game and they just talk and hang out. I've had some proof reading for a story I submitted to an anthology, which is quite interesting when done to a background of car engines and complaints about other players and the offside rule.

I was planning on trying to get to Trawden tomorrow, but the weather forecast is particularly grim. I may manage a mile or so on the ring road to B&Q to see what I can get for the sink.

Writing stuff - Timothy Bateson has a disturbingly dark short story on his 31 Days of Halloween here and I have re-posted a story from a while ago here.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 24 October 2019


Some incredibly kind people wrote some lovely comments with a lot of good advice and I have to sincerely apologise, because I accidentally deleted the comments. I am so annoyed. I shall be looking into lists, Vitamin D, self care and being grateful for the lovely people who come on here. Thank you.

This morning I dropped bear and his pal off, then came home through some of the back roads. I was hitting the speed limit of 40 down a narrow, winding country lane and a fox walked out in front of me. He (possibly) wasn't very big, so perhaps not much more than a cub, and he slowed down as he saw me! I was really worried, because I was driving a ton of metal at 40mph and he was just looking at me and judging! It was a sort of baffled disbelief that I was troubling him. Fortunately there was no-one behind me, and no-one near coming the other way (the road was just about wide enough for two cars to pass) so I managed to miss him. I hope he learns about cars without any further incident! It was a lovely start to the day, though, a meeting with a condescending fox.

Bear has left his bolognese at school again. I am making a note in a notebook (thank you Barb) to ring them tomorrow as bear isn't in school and I do not want a dish of bolognese sauce walking home by itself. I sent a good dish into school because I didn't want bear to look like a poor relation (there is money in that school!) and now my good dish is festering somewhere. Words have been said, though I don't suppose they did any good.

Writing Stuff - Today's post from me is a short story from a while ago which I very much enjoyed writing - here. Timothy Bateson in his 31 Days of Halloween is reading an extract from Moon Warriors by Kayla Krantz here. And last but not least is the Promotion by Fantasy and SciFi Readers lounge with an anthology of short stories and short stories and excerpts from 29 separate authors (including me), all free until 9th November! - find it here.

Hugs to all

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Trying to Plan

You are all awesome. I've had some lovely comments and I really appreciate the support and suggestions. It's made me step back and have a long look at how I am.

I am not in a good place. I suspect clinical depression. I don't feel sad, particularly, but as I am writing this, my brain feels like it is mired in treacle, and you would not credit the typos I make before I correct everything. It isn't working very well at all. I've been here before and it feels like I am shutting down. I've had issues with this clinical depression all of my adult life, and have been hospitalised in the past, so I am a little irritated that it has sneaked up on me. So I need to take control, once and for all, and tackle sleep, diet, and exercise. I'll probably witter on about them as I go on, but it will be a long haul and I think I have to take it a teaspoon at a time.

I also think that I need to boost my writing. I always feel better after writing, and I have worked out that with 1000 words a day I can keep a decent home. I need a little more than that at the moment, as I need to get to a place where I am maintaining. Besides, I earned £6.96 from my writing this month and I haven't published since 2016. I just need to get moving.

I'm not sure how much sense I'm making. Bear has just explained his computer programming to me, and I feel like I've been repeatedly hit over the head with the baffling stick. He has also left his bolognese sauce at school. I sincerely hope that he remembers it tomorrow. Otherwise I dread to think what the state of my good dish will be when it possibly walks home by itself. If he forgets it tomorrow, he is off until 4th November.

Bear has been ticking a lot of 'teenage' boxes lately. He may be only twelve but he has just rediscovered spray deodorant and going into his room in the morning is like a chemical attack. He also left it until he was going into his 'overdraft' on his school lunch account, found he was 'overdrawn' when he tried to get a breakfast snack this morning (he had cereal at home, btw), and I ended up cancelling the plans to go to Dewsbury Market and instead went home to top up his account before his break.

Writing stuff - Today I have a story set in Kirkstall Abbey, a ruined medieval abbey within ten minutes of a city centre, here. Timothy Bateson has another book spotlight here,

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Could be Worse

On the plus side, bear's pal's dad took bear in to school today. On the minus side, I had a little cry in the car park at Aldi because I couldn't get the parking right.

I'm going through something of a doldrums at the moment. I am under pressure to clear the house for the urgent rewire (epic fail) and also to finish a novel (also epic fail). And I rather foolishly decided to try and post something spooky on my writing blog every day in October, which I have more or less managed (apart from the days that have writing challenges), but has added a certain something to the stress.

I think this is reflected in the driving, because I don't seem to have any confidence at all. I drive through a lot of narrow, double parked places on the school run and it isn't helping. I am flinching at some of the gaps I'm squeezing through, although normally I just get on with it. I think I will say, the heck with it, and try and go somewhere on Saturday. I know there's an artists exhibition and generally wonderful event happening in Trawden (near Colne, between Burnley and Keighley), link here  -

No photo description available.

K J Sutcliffe will be exhibiting there (Kate, your stuff is exquisite!) and I was thinking about trying to get there. The trouble is, while I am less frightened of narrow country roads over the Pennines than I should be, it would be very hard to avoid Bradford. Bradford is scary. In fact, it's notorious. However, come Saturday, regardless of the weather, I'm going to do something.

Bear is doing his best impression of a wounded soldier at the brink of collapse every time I ask him to do anything. He has food tech tomorrow. I have to provide him with the ingredients for bolognese sauce. The total flavourings are 5g of mixed herbs, a twist of black pepper and a clove of garlic for a pound of mince. There is no worcestershire sauce, no hint of extra basil, and it all seems very inadequate to me. I usually go for the Italian herbs or pizza seasoning, with a lot of extra oregano and I certainly don't put a scant teaspoon of the stuff in. He's cooking it first thing, and while it's apparently kept chilled, I have little faith in this and I think I will get bear to recreate the dish rather than actually eat it tomorrow.

Writing stuff - A new story from me on my blog, in response to the Writing Challenge, which is here. And Timothy Bateson has a book spotlight on The Ghosts of Lock Tower by Jack Massa.

Hugs to all.

Monday 21 October 2019


Bear felt that his joints were good enough for games today, so went for it with gusto. He fell over and took all the skin off one knee. When he was a kid, every time he went out, he came back with lumps, bruises or missing skin. I remember far too well the time he went without a shirt and basically bodysurfed the stoney, gravel covered street. He was pebble-dashed. That took some work getting clean, which DH heroically undertook. I thought he had somewhat grown out of it, but apparently not. According to bear, they didn't have a plaster big enough. I find that hard to believe, although he did lose a few square inches of skin. Anyway, the school now have experience of what bear can manage. I feel for the teacher - bear bled all over him from all accounts. It is okay now. It is stiff, sore and uncomfortable, but just a graze.

Also, it was a lovely school run today as one of the schools on the route wasn't in. Bear has Friday and next week off. I'm sort of looking forward to it. I'm particulary looking forward to not getting up far too early. Bear has some views on what he wants to happen. These mainly involve computer games, so I'll let him get on with it. I was talking about taking him and his pal out for the day, but neither seem particularly keen and I thought it would be cheaper staying home and treating them to take-out pizza one day. The original Addams Family series, the old black and white shows, are on YouTube in full, so we may indulge.

Writing stuff - Today is Monday, so it's the writing challenge here. All are welcome, on the strict condition that you have fun. Timothy Bateson has an interview with Joseph Carrabis about writing horror fiction here.

There is also something else today. If you remember, I had some issues with Story Origin, and I'm not sure I'm entirely recovered, but I think they were worth it. The Fantasy SciFi Readers Lounge are running a group promotion on Story Origin. They have got together a selection of stories from the authors in the group (including one from me) and collected them in an anthology. There are also what they referred to as Reader Magnets, or short stories or tasters of their work, all free! You can have a look here, which should take you to the page with the anthology and all the authors involved. There are thirty entries, including the anthology and my Reader Magnet, which is Across a Misty Bridge, which you may well have read. Please let me know if there are any issues, and I'll do my best to get it sorted out. I'll be mentioning it again later, especially if I find out any more info.

Hugs to all.

Photo by Austin Wade on Unsplash

Sunday 20 October 2019

A Quiet Sunday

It's been a quiet, lovely Sunday. I've been hanging out with bear, chatting about all the stuff he needs to be doing, and generally recharging before next week.

This afternoon we changed things up and all sat together while we took turns to read aloud. We've decided to start with Arthur Conan Doyle's 'A Study in Scarlet' for a dabble in Sherlock Holmes. I have suggested we go through some of the old classics, like Five Children and It, and stuff from Jules Verne and HG Wells. I think bear is up for that, and possibly we could include stuff like The Jungle Book and King Solomon's Mines. I know we read extracts when bear was much younger, and he was quite keen, but the language was a problem for him. I think he is much better equipped to deal with the more involved structure now. We read another chapter after dinner. And while the others were reading and when it wasn't my turn, I got on with some knitting.

The atmosphere of peace has cracked slightly as bear discovered twelve tasks he needs to do by tomorrow, having assured me that he didn't need to do any homework today.

Writing stuff - this will calm down soon. Today I have a short story here, and there is an audio recording from Timothy Bateman here.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 19 October 2019

So That's Where it Went!

Sharon - I am so sorry that the roadworks have migrated to your area. Take comfort - I'm sure that they'll be back here soon.

I'm continuing to pootle on with clearing stuff out. I'm not moving at speed, but at least I'm moving. I moved a stack of stuff and found the sweater I was looking for!

I've actually found quite a few bits that I've wondered about, so that is a bonus. I have to deal with bear's room soon, and that is a worry. I wonder what marvels I'll find there!

Writing stuff - something short but new from me here. Timothy Bateson has posted a schedule of the authors takeover on Facebook of the Fantasy and SciFi Readers Lounge on his blog here, so if you think it's your sort of thing, have a look!

Hugs to all.

Friday 18 October 2019

One Step Forward

I was doing really well today. I was positive, I was almost organised and I felt I could actually get somewhere. Then drama parked outside the front door and I fell apart. I'm a little disappointed with myself, but it is what it is. I need to find a way to get through it.

On a more positive note - no roadworks! For the first time ever I drove the run without problems with roadworks. Bear and his pal were really pleased, so I didn't have the heart to tell them that I saw someone in a hi-vis vest and marking spray having a go at one of the pavements. Fingers crossed it won't affect the traffic.

Writing stuff - I've posted a short story here. I've been planning on posting every day during October and trying to get something spooky in place, and so far, so good. I don't know if I'll do the same next year, as I'm not sure I've got the material to really make it rock, but we will see. A lot can happen in twelve months and I may have loads of good stuff to share.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 17 October 2019

A Clear Road!

Did I mention that the big roadworks, the ones big enough for elephant traps, had gone leaving only a badly scarred road surface that will no doubt end in a gazillion potholes? This left only one, small roadworks that wasn't nearly as much trouble - and there were no holes there tonight! For the first time since I started driving lessons, it looks like there may be no roadworks on the school run.

The only other thing of interest today was a cat, also on the school run. When I drop bear's pal off, there is a particularly tricky stretch of road that curves sharply and steeply, is almost exactly two car widths across from kerb to kerb, and normally has lots and lots and lots of cars parked so you have to inch your way up, peering desperately round the corner just in case (double decker buses are scheduled every ten minutes during the day), ducking in and out of gaps in the parked cars and, occasionally, reversing to somehow work out a solution. It's also quite busy as it's near a school and it's a large estate. It is a challenge. Today, as I crept up the hill, there was a ginger tom crouched in the middle of the road. He was watching the hedge and completely oblivious to the metric tonne of car beeping madly at him. Eventually he noticed, and it was very clear that he wasn't sure that he could be bothered or not. I was staring in disbelief and I had bear and his pal falling about laughing in the back as the cat casually sauntered out of the way, taking his own sweet time. And then there were a train of cars trying to get down the hill I was going up so we had to dodge each other and manoeuvre and I would have been up already if it hadn't been for the dratted cat.

Writing stuff - another quiet day. I have posted a poem here and Timothy Bateson has posted a book teaser for one of his own awesome stories on his 31 Days of Halloween here.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

October Buds

This is a very poor picture of some buds on my rosebush. To be fair, it was raining when I took it. I thought it was worth noting that the rosebush that was very medium throughout the summer is now going into overdrive, just in time for the first frosts. I don't know how many of these will flower. I would consider bringing some into the house if I wasn't working overtime to declutter (and failing).

After some work, I had enough rubbish for a tip run, so I got out early and went to the tip before picking up bear. I would have had plenty of time if there hadn't been a hold up. I turned into the tip and immediately came to a halt. They were moving huge containers around and there was this weird machine like a digger, but instead of a digging bucket it had a huge round spiked thing which it was walloping the contents of the containers. I was stuck there for half an hour. I had my knitting in the next seat, and I was really tempted to get it out. What worried me the most was that I would have to reverse park in a tight space under pressure to get my stuff out of the boot. I managed to get reasonably in, but I was still too far forward really. I dumped the stuff and got out.

I managed to have a few minutes peace before bear got to the car with his pal, and I watched the squirrel playing. I know that they can be dreadful pests, but they look so cute that I was actually considering squirrel food.

Dinner was meatballs and mash. It went well, which was a relief.

Writing stuff - a quiet day today. There is an article by me here and a book spotlight from Timothy Bateson's 31 Days of Halloween here.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Could be Worse

I managed to oversleep by ten minutes again and bear gave me a shout. Until a year or so ago, bear was always awake before me, but recently he has been sleeping a little heavier. I suspect the teenage years are pressing. However, as always, everything was ready and we still had an hour before we had to leave the house. As it was, bear got a text from his pal who's dad offered a lift for them. I was incredibly grateful. This meant I had a slight head start on the day.

So today I did several loads of washing, cleared a few sacks of rubbish, wrote fifteen hundred words and left the house just before 2pm. This gave me enough time to dive quickly around Aldi for some ingredients for dinner and then up to pick up bear and his pal. Bear very much approved of his pal's dad's car, and I suspect he deeply regrets that I continue with my lowly Citroen (which I love!).

Dinner was not a success. I had the fishcakes in, and they cooked without any problem. They were the fancy, gluten free ones and extremely pleasant. Unfortunately I did a sort of veggie recipe to go with it and it failed on an epic scale. You cook potato, carrot, onion and cabbage together with spices and the reviews were excellent - you can find the recipe here. Regrettably the potatoes completely failed to cook, even though I cut them a lot smaller than suggested. I am cursed with potato recipes, and the only one I can rely on is mash. On the bright side, the fishcakes were extremely substantial, so we didn't starve. Tomorrow is meatballs which I shall do with mash. Until then, I think I am looking at an early night.

Writing stuff - Timothy Bateson has an article about the role of were creatures in a story here. It's a good reminder to me as an author that every sentence has to have a purpose. I have a new and slightly longer story here which is totally over the 500 word limit and I am comfortable with that. It's the last of the October Frights Blog Hop posts, so feel free to check out the other blogs listed at the end for the end of Blog Hop round up.

Hugs to all.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Monday 14 October 2019

I Failed at Monday

The big reason I've failed at Monday is because I never really managed to try anything. I seem to have been blown around without taking charge. I feel very disappointed with myself.

I don't know how I dragged myself out of bed this morning as I had a bad night, but I was ten minutes later than usual and it put me on the back foot. I get everything I can ready the night before, but I felt off balance right from the get go. I managed to unblock the toilet, but it was a naff raff I could have done without. Then bear's pal was a little early for the lift to school so there was a scramble to pile into the car.

This is why bear forgot to hand me my keys. So I dropped him and pal off at school, drove the eight miles home and realised what had happened and had to do the sixteen mile round trip to pick them up from reception (and I made a right mess of parking in the school car park).

Then I seemed to get sidetracked every time I moved, and I got sucked along into some questionnable research  (working on a novel with something supernatural in the Victorian East End that is not Jack the Ripper) before diving out for pick up. While I was out I found that the music teacher couldn't make it due to illness for the second week running. I completely sympathise, and she is utterly awesome, but bear was devastated.

When we got home, I found that the former drama of the street had parked their oversized so-called car so I couldn't park in front of my home. My instinct was to lock myself in the bathroom and have hysterics, but bear was there so we snuggled down to mope in unison. Bear decided to utterly reject the pasta bake that DH was looking forward to, so I broke out one of the emergency ready meals I had stashed. Bear didn't really enjoy that either, but he finished it, which was something.

On the bright side, I saw a squirrel today while waiting for bear which was so cute and really cheered me up. I also found a slightly different way back to a junction which avoids a really tricky corner, so that was good.

I made the pasta bake, but discovered that I was short of the cheese needed for the topping. I had Wensleydale with ginger, and Wensleydale with cranberry, but I don't think either of those go with creamy tomato and bacon. I'm waiting for poor DH to get home and be disappointed. He is a sweetie, but I hate letting him down when he's looking forward to something. I have no idea what I'm having.

Writing Stuff - Today it's just the Writing challenge, but if you scroll down you can still get the links to the other members of the October Frights blog hop. And feel free to join in if you like. You don't have to share if you don't want to, you don't have to stick to the limit of 500 words and you certainly aren't on a timetable. You are, however, required to have fun. And on the 31 Days of Halloween, Timothy Bateson has a wonderul, imaginative interview between two were creatures on his blog today here.

Hugs to all.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Sunday 13 October 2019


I've been rummaging around various recipes over the last few days. I'm trying to shake things up a little. Every time I think I have a meal plan sorted out, something dreadful happens and it all goes wrong, but I'm going to risk it and say that it is pasta bake tomorrow, at the request of DH and bear. It's the jar stuff, to my shame, and from Aldi, but they like it (and I will be having something else, due to cheese). Tuesday will be fishcakes and something, Wednesday will be meatballs and something and Thursday will be an attempt at the recipe for Mandarin and lentil curry from Jack Monroe's Tin Can Cook Book. Friday is a catch as catch can, as bear and I will be dashing out to fencing before DH gets home so he is likely to have frozen pizza and I can imagine bear making a passionate appeal for a McDonalds, although I am going to try and sell him on some home-made soup. Saturday is soup and Sunday we are back to a type of buffet dinner with nice bread, cooked meat and coleslaw.

I've been looking at 'somethings' to go with the fish cakes and meatballs, and it is surprising how many include cheese. It seems to be heaped on all sorts of things. I keep seeing things for potatoes that look amazing, but scattered with cheese, or veggies with added cheese, or sauces with cheese and it's very depressing. I'm not allergic to cheese, it just makes me severely vomit. I'm not going into details, but a small scattering of grated cheese can take me out for the day. I really miss cheese. DH and bear had Wendesleydale and ginger cheese with their dinner tonight, and I envied them. I grew up in Cheshire, home to amazing cheese, and we would get our cheese from Chester market, where the farmers brought cheese produced on the farm. Now I can just watch from the sidelines.

I'm still looking at the side dishes, as I think that the men will get sick of mash after a while, despite their protests, and I'll share when if I find anything good. So far I've been looking on the Tesco recipe site, the BBC Food page and All Recipes UK. I may have a browse through some cookbooks.

Writing stuff - Quite a big one for me today. I've posted a story on my blog that was originally posted in 2014, which I had a lot of fun writing and it's here. At the bottom is a list of all the other participants of October Frights Blog Hop. However the big one for me is an extract from 'Digging up the Past read by Timothy Bateson here. I feel incredibly flattered and sort of giddy. Thank you Timothy!

Saturday 12 October 2019

Successful Soup

Kate - I'm with you. I'm still surprised I managed the driving. I don't know that I'll ever get used to it. The Armouries is amazing, though, I agree, and one of my favourite places. Now I can drive there - if I have the nerve.

Sharon - I'm really glad you liked the story. Thank you.

That is the highlight of my day - I made a successful soup. It was the old favourite butternut and sweet potato soup with extra garlic.  Bear and his pal devoured the soup, DH had two helpings, and I enjoyed it myself. Otherwise it was pretty quiet.

Writing Stuff - October continues, and so do the stories. My contribution to October Frights Blog Hop Day 3 is a story from a while ago, here. Timothy Bateson has links to events happening in the Readers Lounge for Were-creatures week here.

Hugs to all.

Friday 11 October 2019

Somewhat Stunned

I parked in a multistory car park! I can't believe I did it! I not only drove into Leeds, but I parked in a multistory carpark!

I took bear to an introduction to fencing. It was something of a fail. We got there an hour and a half too early. I navigated the car park, but then we wandered around. The classes are at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, which are completely worth a visit, and there was a VIP thingy on as well, which didn't help, as we had to navigate past the red carpet, which as bear was in his school uniform and I was decidedly scruffy, was somewhat embarrassing.

It wasn't too bad wandering around. The Armouries is near the canal basin, so there is plenty to see. We saw a heron land on one of these boats, just out of sight. I completely failed to get a pic of the heron, but managed the boats.

You can get a water taxi from the Armouries to the Station (or near there) for £1.

The above is a very out of focus and poor pic of the water taxis. We couldn't get one to kill time today, as they had been cancelled.

The Armouries are, if I understand it, at the meeting of the Leeds Liverpool canal and the River Aire, and there is a lot of water in there at the moment. I could tell the levels were a lot higher than normal. Here is a pic of a michaelmas daisy and a welsh poppy, both of which are definitely found on dry land only - unless the river rises a lot.

Bear didn't stay for the training as he was still in school uniform. We are trying again next week, when we know the score a little better.

Writing stuff - still lots! I've got a new story called, Never Get Drunk with a Stranger, quite long and something I had a lot of fun writing, which is here. There are other posts from the lovely people of the October Frights Blog Hop and the links are at the bottom. And in his 31 Days of Halloween, Timothy Bateman has an article about the different types of vampires in the books of author Selene Kallan here

Hugs to all.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Sort of Meh, Sort of Awesome

I didn't get that much housewifery done, and I'm disappointed. I need to up my game to get the house ready for rewiring. I am not sure about what to do first, and that is causing problems. However I scored with dinner. I made the lentil and chestnut soup from Jack Monroe's Tin Can Cookbook. Next time I make it, I think I will add a little garlic next time, but otherwise it was very pleasant, and DH had second helpings. Bear, who has a finicky appetite and had been snacking earlier, demolished a huge bowl of it. I'm putting it on the 'to try again' list. It may include ready roasted chestnuts at £2.40 for a packet, but I added up the other ingredients, and (give or take) it came to £3.60 for four generous portions. Even if you add a slice or two of bread, it's not too bad, and it's a healthy meal as well.

I drove a new route today, to visit my brother. Normally, when I go somewhere new, I'm not aiming at anything too specific so it doesn't matter where I end up exactly, but I was worried about finding my brother's house. The sat nav had it's moments, but I was able to call in there for a few moments drop off some dog treats and a couple of dog toys. Woody, the eldest dog, has Views and, when he thought we weren't looking, stuck his head in the bag and discreetly took one of the toys upstairs and out of the way. Then he came back as if nothing had happened and begged for treats. He is an utter sweetie. I was also able to bring back some goodies my brother had got for bear, which bear completely appreciated.

Writing Stuff - lots of it today! It's the first day of October Frights Blog Hop, where a number of authors get together and share links to blogs while putting up some fun reads that are themed around horror or paranormal stories. I posted an old poem, Shadow in the Corner, and the links to the other blogs taking part are at the bottom. I've got a few new pieces lined up, as well as the writing challenge and a couple of old favourites.

Connected with October Frights is a link to a page on Story Origin. I will be honest, I am still picking up how to use the site. It seems aimed more at authors than readers. However, it has mechanisms to host giveaways, share tasters (I have Across a Misty Bridge listed on there, but you could also have a look for free on At the Sign of the White Hart. However the Story Origin version is downloadable and can be on a kindle and I think a few other things). There seems to be a lot about newsletters if you like them. Anita Steward, who runs the October Frights and who is awesome and lovely, has put together a page for the group, here, which has a large selection of books on offer, so you may like to take a look.

Timothy Bateson continues with his 31 Days of Halloween with a short story from Michael V Wilson called 'The Earth Bound' which I enjoyed. It's a great time of year to pick up all sorts of bargains and stories.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Not a Brilliant Day

I couldn't sleep last night. I was ready to zonk out at 9pm, but I had a few issues where I couldn't breathe properly, so I was awake at 2am. I don't know how I crawled out of bed at 6am, as I am someone who needs their sleep, and I swallowed down gallons of caffeine to get me awake enough for the school run. I am pathetic when I'm short on sleep.

I wrote off the day. I decided I would just slump in front of mindless internet, collect bear and pick up again tomorrow. I would just do the bare minimum. Having decided to do the bare minimum, I then scheduled every one of my posts for the October Frights Blog Hop, which starts tomorrow, including all the links and pics.

Then I went to pick up bear. The school run was awful. The elephant traps masquerading as road works appear to be half filled in, but I suspect that they will end up as superior quality pot holes. It still took over ten minutes to get through the road works and then I hit a traffic jam outside a school on the way to pick up bear. I try and avoid this stretch of road at pick up/drop off time for this school as it is a nightmare, with cars coming from all directions, zooming out of side roads into the tiniest gap in the crawling traffic and parked cars deciding that they were going to re-join the traffic now.

I managed to get back for bear's doctor's appointment in the nick of time, but it was running late, so I didn't have time to make the chestnut and lentil soup that I had promised DH, so I have scrabbled stuff from the freezer together for the men and now I'm wondering what I can eat. Tomorrow will be better.

Writing stuff - I'm continuing to post something every day of October, focusing on the supernatural and spooky. Today isn't so spooky, but it's sort of supernatural, and is here. Timothy Bateson has a book spotlight on a novel by Michael W Huard, Count Rothschild. Tomorrow is the start of the October Frights blog hop, so I will be linking to that.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

I Can't Drive in Socks

Pam - I'm going to go over what is in the freezer and see what I can use. I've got an idea of what meals will be on the table (theoretically) until next Tuesday, but then I think I may start by using up a chicken joint that I got at a really good price and it will cover a couple of meals.

Sharon - I think that sometimes the roadworks are just to add new pot holes.

Barb - The peak time for roadworks here is usually March, when they are desperately trying to use up the budget before it resets in April. They seem to have got in early this year.

Today I wore socks with my shoes. Normally it's bare feet, because I just wear slippers in the house, and can just slot into shoes and get going. It is getting cooler, however, and I thought it would keep my feet cosy. However I ended up completely misjudging the revs and I must have sounded very aggressive in first gear. As the car has an excellent heater, I'll stick to just shoes for now and hope it doesn't get too cold!

I had a Tesco delivery today. I got a thank you card. Apparently I have done 450 online shops with them. My instinctive reaction was, 'is that all?' Inside was a scratch off panel and I won 250 extra clubcard points, which will go towards something. I may use all my points to pay for goodies over Christmas. 

Apart from that, it was a quiet day. I took some stuff to the tip, and managed to join the busy bypass without much incident, even in socks!

Writing Stuff - I have something new in response to this week's writing challenge here. Timothy Bateson has a book spotlight about 'Vampire Detective Midnight' which sounds intriguing. And don't forget, The October Frights Blog Hop, with all sorts of posts from all sorts of people, starts on Thursday.

Hugs to all.

Monday 7 October 2019

I Loathe Road Works

There has been a change at the road works that started 10 September and were scheduled to last two weeks. There are no longer pits on either side of the road, so I'm not swerving past the barriers as if I was in a video game. Instead, they have now a series of pits deep enough for elephant traps and the lights take some time to change. It's ridiculous, and I've been spending around ten minutes each way, handbrake on, neutral gear, practising my positive thinking. Ten minutes may not seem much, but it can mean the difference between getting caught up in the worst of the school traffic and having an easy run. Darn it to heck!

There are currently two roadworks on the run, though one is a fairly straightforward one that isn't too bad, especially if a huge white van doesn't sit so close to you that you are worried that his number plate will scratch my paintwork and we are waiting on a hill so I had better nail the hill start. If the weather is half way decent, I can go along some back roads, but not only was it tipping down this morning, but the dratted road is closed, darn it. I may end up going through the scary IKEA roundabout if it doesn't clear up.

Writing stuff - Timothy Bateson has a brief article about vampires here, written by his guest author Carmilla Voiez. I confess that my post today on my blog is the Writing Challenge here - and I haven't got a clue! And keep a look out for the October Frights, which will be starting on the tenth.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 6 October 2019

I Like a Quiet Sunday

I am now three more bin bags towards getting the house ready for re-wiring. Only a gazillion and four left to go. I'm still taking it as a win, though, and I've had a good rummage through the tin cupboard. I'm going to start working through some of the older stock and building meals around them.

I also need to run down the freezer, which is a job in itself. I think I am going to bite the bullet and just throw everything that has been lurking for a while and that I can't see me making in the future. Either that or force myself to actually eat the dratted stuff. There are some fish fillets in there, which I promised myself I would use and I've avoided every since. I can make a parsley sauce and just have them with home made chips and some of the frozen broccoli that I've been pretending I can't see in the bottom drawer. Fortunately, the weather is getting cooler and a multitude of sins can be hidden in spicy soup.

Apart from pottering in the kitchen, it's been lovely and quiet. We have hung out together this afternoon and had hot chocolate. It's been good. This evening I think will involve knitting and some quiet music.

Writing stuff - I forgot to share Timothy's post from yesterday, which was a preview of what is coming up in the Reader's Lounge. Today is a reading from Immortal Kiss by Laura Daleo, here. I'm keeping up the momentum on a 'post a day' during October with a poem first published around this time last year, here.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 5 October 2019

My Computer Hates Me

You know when it seems like a good idea, so you add yourself to said good idea and all of a sudden you are up to your neck in alligators? Not actual alligators, just alligator-like problems (though I feel a little snappy).

I'm a member of the Reader's Lounge on Facebook. They do a lot of events and promotions, and if you are into reading (or writing) it is an interesting place. There are some utterly wonderful, kind and generous people involved, who have helped me out in all sorts of ways. I added a short story to a call out they had.

I truly love the people in the Reader's Lounge and the associated Author Support Group, but I am somewhat regretting it. I have now had to get entangled with Story Origin. That is another place that may be of interest, as it is aimed mainly at authors but has what they call reader magnets set up where you can get tasters of the author's work and there is a lot of stuff about newsletters. Apparently you can run promotions through there. I will almost certainly be posting links under writing stuff later on, and not just to my stuff, but to other stuff I come across.

This meant that I have spent hours over the last few days trying to sort out the dratted Story Origin Account, and then convert files and upload things and lose things and use harsh language and my laptop was crawling along as I tried to work out how the heck I had managed to get to that part of the file and how the chuff I was supposed to get back from it. My brain feels like it is leaking out of my ears.

I'm not sure about the whole newsletter stuff. At the moment, it's the last thing I need to deal with. Story Origin seem to share the lists around, and I feel uncomfortable about that. If I do, by some miracle, get a newsletter out, then I wouldn't feel right sharing a mailing list. How do I know that someone who signed up to my newsletter would want newsletters from someone else? I guarantee that I will not knowingly and willingly share mailing lists without enthusiastic consent.

Also, darn it to heck, the whole lot of it.

In a more positive mood, I've sorted out the cutlery draw, disposed of a lot of extra stuff and made a very small amount of space. I've also got a little washing done, which is something.

Writing stuff - today's contribution to my October is a new piece, here. That, at least, made me smile

Hugs to all

Photo by Jade Seok on Unsplash

Friday 4 October 2019

Thankfully it's Friday

I've had all sorts of weird issues with my computer, and I'm struggling to walk, so I'm just thankful that tomorrow I don't have to go anywhere or do anything.

Kate - bear is normally a furnace and has utterly rejected long sleeves. Now he is insisting. I suppose the wind will change and it will be something different.

The strangest thing today was a squirrel. I was driving along, mentally working out the next step in the plot I was working on, when I squirrel dashed across the road in front of me. It was far enough ahead that I didn't have to break suddenly but close enough so I could see it clearly. The stupid thing then shot straight in front of the car coming the other way. I don't know if the driver saw it, but the squirrel ran in front of one tyre (and the car was going at a reasonable speed) which must have missed it by a literal whisker and kept moving so that it went between the front and back tyres of the other side of the car and ran up a wall the other side of the road. I couldn't stop, but I was stunned. That was a ninja squirrel, or perhaps a stunt squirrel. It ran in front of one front tyre and behind the other and got away with it! It's one of those things where you couldn't put it in a story as it is too unbelievable.

Writing stuff - I've re-posted an old poem on my blog here. I remember writing it, and how it just flowed for me. Today Timothy Bateson has a short interview with Cheryllynn Dyess (who is lovely!) about her experiences with ghosts and spirits and you can read it here.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 3 October 2019

Feeling the Fail

I'm not feeling good about today. I didn't manage to make Hoppin John that I had promised for dinner, so the men had a quick, from the freezer biryani. I have done practically nothing of use at all today and I feel very low.

Bear, after utterly rejecting all long sleeved shirts since the start of his school career in 2010, has now urgently requested them on account of temperature. I offered to get him a school sweater, which was rejected firmly, and I offered to get him vests, which was rejected with extreme prejudice. I can see that I had it a lot easier when he was in primary school.

Bear's pal brought round some of his revision for English, and I was thrown back down memory lane. One of his set poems is Ozymandias by Shelley, which has always been one of my favourites. I think I helped by listening to him and asking him questions. I know it's not a popular opinion, but it sounds a lot harder for kids today. He told me that he had to learn all of his set poems by heart. I actually did learn all mine, on the bus to and from school, but it certainly wasn't expected. They also have to do 'iceberg paragraphs' which I had to google and found this. I'd rather suffer through Henry James again than deal with that sort of detail (I am not a fan of Henry James).

Writing stuff - Today I re-posted something from 2014, from the story of Steve Adderson here. Sometimes it's really encouraging to see stuff I wrote a while back and enjoy it almost fresh. There is also a post from Timothy Bateson here, which is a brief reading from 'Audition' by Naching T Kassa. I am also gearing up for October Frights, run by the amazing Anita Stewart, and I'll link you up to what's happening then.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Still Wonderfully Dull

Some of the drama has moved out. Some continues as I type. I wish it wasn't coming up to Mischief Night.

 I managed to get some stuff to the tip. I am looking around, thinking that I need to pack up everything ready for the whole rewire/redecorate/new bathroom stuff and I need to ask myself some hard questions. I keep seeing something else that I can throw out or donate, and I need to get a move on before it becomes super urgent. It's good for me. Perhaps I'll remember how much I'm going to throw out next time I'm tempted by eBay.

I think it's time for me to overhaul my wardrobe. I tend to suffer with my mistakes, wear stuff until it falls to pieces and then add bits at random. I think I will use Marie Kondo at least for that, and get rid of everything that doesn't bring me joy.

Writing stuff - Timothy Bateson continues with his 31 Days of October with a list of his favourite haunted locations, post here. I'm glad that I haven't any experiences to date with our home, but I've had a few iffy moments in stately homes. I'm also trying to post something every day, though nothing so ambitious as Timothy. I have a little fragment today, here. It is a very little fragment, though, so I won't be offended if you skip it.

Hugs to all.

Photo by Signée 2.s on Unsplash

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Weather Continues

Kate - that sounds just about my level at the moment.

We have been much luckier than many people, but we have still had steady rain all day. It's been depressing, and I put off going to the tip as I wasn't sure about driving the run in heavy rain.

Today I bought an extra large storage box. It is huge! It is 160 litres and sounded like a train was arriving at the supermarket when I dragged it to the till. It was empty, so the noise rattled really loud. It has wheels, so I could pull it by the extra handle, but then had to manhandle it onto the checkout so that the poor assistant could find the ridiculously small bar code. Then I couldn't get the dratted thing in the boot. At one point I thought I would have to take the monster back for a refund or walk home with it. However I did manage to squeeze it onto the back seat - after some effort. Bear thought it was hilarious when he got to the car and there was a huge black shape in the back. Bless him, he got the thing out and dragged it upstairs for me and I was very grateful.

Bear is feeling particularly upbeat at the moment. We have discovered that the more he practises music, the easier he finds homework and life in general. I very much approve of this. He looks so much better in himself.

I tentatively suggested that he try out some Tai Chi, as it would be a good exercise for him and wouldn't be too hard on his joints. He vetoed this and said that actually he wanted to do fencing. Apparently he had been asking for ages - possibly when I was in another room as this was news to me. I wanted him to do fencing a while back, and he had been quite good for a beginner, but he had complained that the protective gear made him too hot, and it was nothing at all to do with having to get two buses. Now I can drive, however, fencing is back on and of course he won't be too hot. So I nodded, smiled, and he starts again a week on Friday. I will have to park in a multistorey car park. I am terrified.

Writing stuff - there is something every day this month. I'm trying to put something in my blog most days. Some of it will be new, some of it will be stories I wrote a while back and I may look out for some of my favourite snippets from literature to share. Timothy Bateson is once again hosting 31 Days of Halloween, with lots of guest posts and October Frights starts on 10th October. Today I have my response to the writing challenge here. Timothy kicks off the month with an article from Jaq D Hawkins about why we are fascinated by dark spirits and you can find it here

Hugs to all.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash