One of my grand plans has come apart at the seams. Who cares? Well, probably nobody but I’m going to tell you about it anyway.  Very quickly. So as not to bore you, whoever you may be out there in cyber world.

I took a photo of a squirrel. It was awesome. And poetic. I had plans to write a blog around said squirrel.  Here is where the plan nose-dives. I took a really shit photo.

Not only is the dark lump barely recognisable as a potentially rabid critter sitting at the end of a very metaphorically important stumpy tree branch, I somehow managed to turn the shot into a gif. So it is not your eyes, dear reader, the picture is indeed moving. Just a fraction. For no apparent reason. Thank you, Google Pixel phone, you are amazing and pretty and all that shit but if I wanted the world’s lamest gif I would have done it intentionally.

Back to my mate the squirrel. In my defense (of bad photography) he is halfway up a massive tree and I am on the ground,  pointing my phone to the heavens and gathering stares from other walkers on the rail trail, wondering what the hell I’m finding so bloody interesting up there.

But look at the little guy. He was just sitting there, gazing out into oblivion at the end of the short stump of a branch, like he was thinking ‘Well fuck, that was unexpected. This seemed like a really solid tree, nice truck, good grip. thick branches leading out in all directions, leading me on to further squirrel adventures in the wild. And I ended up here. On this stumpy bit. End of the line. Too far from the next tree to even think about jumping.  The only branch on the tree that’s broken, cut off in its prime. But I really, really wanted to go that way. That branch would have been so awesome, I can feel it in my squirrel nuts. Damn you tree gods, why you gotta be such asshats? What did this branch ever do to you?” At which point his squirrel buddies tell him to stop being a dick and just turn around (they call him other names that I can’t repeat here cause squirrels are mean sons of bitches sometimes) but they had a valid point. By the time I got to the other side of the tree, Ruben the Rabies-Carrying-Rodent had done just that.

Kept going, another way.  Maybe not quite as awesome a way as that branch would have been, but the view was still good.

What’s this got to do with writing? Everything, nothing, does it need to? Can’t I just sound like a lunatic every now and then whilst actually trying to sound philosophical and shit?

I dunno, Ruben just intrigued me. Righto, back to the writing.

PS – I did develop a ‘squirrels in trees’ fetish while I was away at Christmas. Is there therapy for that?

Exhibit A (Ten points if you can actually spot the squirrel in this one.)

Exhibit B (Go to an optometrist if you can’t spot the squirrel in this one.)

Well. That wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Life just threw me a dung-encrusted curve ball. If I had gonads, I’d be that guy rolling round on the ground, screaming  in unadulterated misery. What happened has got me all doubled over and I’m not sure I’ll ever be upright again. Methinks this kind of life-changer puts scoliosis in your spine and you walk with a permanent tilt.

You and me, life, we ain’t friends no more. I don’t like you. HE liked you, hell, HE loved and adored you, sucked the…well, the marrow out of you. And your reward for the dedication? Banish him to the permanent time-out corner.

Big mistake. Big, big mistake. You slammed your hand down on one of the good bugs. I know you don’t give a shit. I envy you that. Feeling nothing is perhaps the ultimate nirvana. But there’s time enough for oblivion, as you so kindly showed me.

So, do you see my one-fingered salute? Get used to it. It’s not coming down. Sure, I’ll smile and grin, maybe laugh and love. Heck, I’ll probably even move on, like I was in some god-damn fucking pop-up store to begin with. Shop is closed now, ma’am. Time to leave. Please take your business – your heart and soul and guts – elsewhere.

Well, my foot is in that door, life. Slam it as much as you like, break every bone in my foot. I’m keeping HIS shop open. Until the sweep of your hand claims this little bug. We’re resilient little sons-of-bitches, us humans. And clever too. We are immortal, in tiny ways, despite you. For now at least I’ll try to outrun you. With words. Written, spoken, whichever, they are all tiny defiant daggers raised to your throat. And I’ve got a few. He wanted me to put them down and send them out into the ether. Pushed me all the way to a book release but you took him before we could even raise a glass. No, life we are not friends anymore.

Oh, I found another tiny, immortal dagger recently. While you rained a shit-storm, I found out that I could jettison the one you took from me into deep space. Send the ashes out far, far away. So far in fact that you, dear life, may not have even been there yourself.


But in the meantime, I will sit here, waiting. Cry here, scream here and use ridiculous amounts of tissues here. I will feel myself hollow out every time something reminds me of him, which means I’m hollow a good portion of every day.  Including now. He should be bugging me about what my next blog is going to be. He should be driving me nuts with questions about how much writing I did today, and about where I’m at with the next project.

But he’s not, nor ever will be. So I sit here waiting. Waiting for an even more obscure brush of immortality, in the form of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collectible figurine. The last in the set of four. A set he ordered for me for my birthday in February. The final piece in a collection that has taken its sweet time to be completed. I got Donatello and Leonardo a month ago, Raphael arrived two days ago. Michelangelo is the last to arrive. I don’t know when he will be here. But he will be. For all your power, life, it would take the apocalypse of all mankind to stop the chain of delivery of a stupid plastic turtle. Addressed to the one you took from me.

Ouch. My eyeballs hurt. And so does my brain. I think one or two of the synapses have extinguished themselves in protest at the amount of  peering at computer screens I’ve done over the past few weeks while editing. Or, as I like to call it, trying-to-make-something-I-wrote-less-shit. But me and my first world problem will manage. Brains are totes over-rated I say. Some of the most powerful and famous people in the world don’t have them so I don’t see why it should be compulsory for me.

But one thing that is not over-rated is the amazeballs thing we call-


(Well thank you, yes, that was a seamless segue. I do agree.) But it’s TRUE. People are so bloody creatively talented, in so many different ways and this whole book-writing deal means I get to play in their sandpits every now and then. Until they inevitably drive me out with pitchforks and spitballs…

I mean, perhaps I can string a few words together and possibly form a story that won’t have people wanting to scratch their eyes out. We will find out for sure on 15th December when my little baby shoots out into the cruel, cruel world. Oh wait, was that a plug? Yup, I just plugged myself. giphy-13

But point is (and god knows my editor has told me to stick to it) getting this book ready for launch has been rather eye-opening for many reasons. One thing that has been really interesting is discovering how utter crap I am at visualisation. Kinda weird I guess, considering I hope to create imaginary people and worlds for a living, but there you go. Take for example, designing a cover. I booked these guys, Deranged Doctor Designs to do the dirty work for me.  And they dutifully sent me a creative brief to fill out. With my confounding literacy skills I told  them I didn’t want a picture of the protaganist on the cover, that there is lots of blue and violet mentioned in the story and that there is a lot of mention of a thin armour called elthar. Armed with this detailed and intricate summary go forth and be AMAZING. Make me go –


with the final result. And don’t ask me any more questions cause I have no freekin clue what I actually want. Just do it.

Well, they did have a few more questions. Surprise, surprise. Like, what are you talking about crazy woman and can you be a little less vague. (Not in those exact words, but I’m guessing that’s what it sounded like before the email was written.) But I just truly had no clue. I knew that when I saw it I would know, but don’t ask me to know what it is before I see it. Okay? Got it?

Even with characters in my stories, I prowl the internet searching out pics of (usually) celebs that kind of capture the half-drawn watercolour in my mind’s eye. I do the same with location too. My mind’s eye needs glasses. Thankfully those glasses are attached to the faces of far more artistically endowed people than I.  People who, I suspect, recoil at the approach of those such as myself. I wonder if the Visual Arts community has some kind of code, you know like they do in hospitals, so they can warn everyone without sending the public into a panicked meltdown. Code Kind-of-Bluish, this is a Code Kind-of-Bluish – Exercise extreme caution when questioning them about their own work and how they want it represented. May implode with indecision and lack-of-clueness.

I’m betting my website designer is putting this protocol into place as we speak. There’s another gem of the creative world – website design. I pity the poor fool who took me on, cause I’ll be damned if I know whether I want scrolling, clicking, landing page, buy links, hover-over, hover-under, round stuff, straight stuff. Can’t you just make me something amazing that I’ll  love the moment I look at it without any direction whatsoever? Sheesh. What is with you people?

My brief to my designer goes something like this – make it pretty and with green in it. Thanks,  Magpie Design Co.

Thing is, these Creatives have some kind of voodoo going on because they actually ARE pulling amazing stuff out of their butts, despite the fact they are working with me. What Deranged Doctor came up with for the cover popped my mind-eyes out of their sockets.  It is really good shit. Hell, it’s probably even better than the book. what-excuse-me-say-what-gif

Nah, just checking to see if you were still awake. But it is bloody good. And the website is going to make me look like a god damn professional. A proper adult-like personage of writerly writerness. Like I know what the hell I’m doing, and that I’m doing it well. Even better, working with these people has got new juices flowing. Not the disgusting kale and watercress puke served in overpriced juice bars, but those unicorn-farts of goodness that are CREATIVE juices. Imagined stuff being made real –


And for that I say to you wonderful, marvellous, incredible, creative masterminds of the visual arts –



Words. Dang, there are a lot of them. Many, many, many. And therein lies my problem. I don’t know enough of them. Case in point, I’ve just repeated the same word to describe how many (bastard!) words there are to use.

images (15)


*Tap tap*

This thing on?



Holy Sweet Jeebus, what the hell just happened over the past two weeks? Who was that masked man? The one who swooped in, picked up my quiet little writing life and slung it over his broad shoulders (but not too broad though, and they have that nice definition of muscle that catches all the droplets of water in the shower and directs them down over his hairless, heaving chest and onto the greatness that lies below….) Sorry, drifted off a little there in between my brackets. (more…)