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Tossing your reader in the deep end

‘I am a watchdog. My name is Snuff. I live with my master Jack outside London now. I like Soho very much at night with its smelly fogs and dark streets. It is silent then and we go for long walks. Jack is under a curse from long ago and must do much of his work at night to keep worse things from happening. I keep watch while he is about it. If someone comes, I howl.

We are keepers of several curses and our work is very important. I have to keep watch on the Thing in the Circle, the Thing in the Wardrobe, and the Thing in the Steamer Trunk – not to mention the Things in the Mirror.’  A Night in the Lonesome October, Roger Zelazny, 1993

To some authors drowning one’s readers may have a certain attraction… I mean, if you think your customers are deplorable idiots who should read your work because it will help to ‘educate’ them on the correct attitude to the cause du jour, I can quite understand it. After all, they fail to respond correctly most of the time. But while it may well be a very fashionable desire these days, it’s got serious drawbacks, besides wet paper. Read more

Digital dilemma?

Apple is moving ahead with a new video streaming service for its customers, which looks likely to expand to affect books as well as visual entertainment.  In the excerpt below, bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

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Reading Authors


The customary idiocy is doing the rounds of Facebook again.  All about reading authors that aren’t white males.

I don’t know about you, but not being a roman augur, I don’t read authors, I read books.  I never learned to read entrails, and besides, it’s probably illegal.  Or at least would get me an angry letter from the SPCA.

Seriously now, don’t I think that the author’s biography and his and her background influence how and what they write? Don’t I want to read new and fresh things? Read more

Demons and the dreaded reaper-man

Image Pixabay

“ ’ad a problem with that supernatural stuff once, ” muttered Big Jim in the middle of my story. “Yer want to stay right clear of demons and them Exhaustists, young feller.” He shook a warning finger the size of my wrist at me.

I blinked. Big Jim, with tattoos weighing 200 pound… and him weighing another 250 more (It was heavy ink) six foot ten… wide, hands that weren’t like hams around his beer, more like entire pigs … him with a bald shaved head, and a Doberman called Killer, well, he wasn’t the sort of bloke you’d think would be inclined to take Halloween stories seriously. I thought the only spirits he believed in came in a 160 Stroh Rum bottle and he thought they were pretty weak, at that.  “My shout,” I said, getting us a couple more beers. “What happened, Big Jim?” Read more

Writing through the fog

In early August, I experienced a medical issue that necessitated a quick trip to the emergency room.  I wasn’t impressed with the doctor on duty, who took a very alarmist view of my symptoms and (rather dramatically) announced that she was going to admit me for treatment of a particularly nasty and life-threatening condition.  I didn’t believe her diagnosis, and didn’t think she was right, so I refused further treatment that day.  I had to sign the obligatory form, of course, acknowledging that I was leaving against her advice and accepted the risks involved.  It contained the rather dramatic warning that I risked death by doing so.  Having previously risked death in a rather large number of ways over many years, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the official histrionics…

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Scattered Blastiness From A Past

The Bugger-cat has started on kitty-chemo, which is helping to reduce the… erm… liquidity of his indiscretions. The frequency remains kind of variable (but still “too high”) but at least he’s not in imminent danger of immediate dehydration.

That said, I’m reaching levels of nasal paranoia and possibly hallucination which have me thinking I smell feline indiscretion regardless of whether there actually are any fresh deposits or not. I also get paranoid about scratchy noises because it could mean he’s got the urge and is getting ready to drop another stink bomb.

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A Writer’s Guide to Horses Part VIII

Feeding and Housing

There can be enormous difference between what a horse is supposed to eat, and what a horse will eat, given half a chance. One of my childhood horses ate a banana peel when it was offered. She was only supposed to sniff it, but apparently thought it smelled good enough to eat. I’ve also heard stories of horses eating cheeseburgers and drinking Diet Cokes, but most of a horse’s caloric intake comes from other, more normal sources. Read more