Welcome to the Darkside...

...join me, Akasha Savage, as I brave the deepest dungeons and scale the misty mountains to achieve my dream: to see my novel Bathory in print. I will take you by the hand and keep you beside me as I cross this uncharted territory...

...let us step into the moonlit darkness together...

Friday, 24 December 2010




Sunday, 12 December 2010

Early New Year's Resolution!

I know it's a tad early to be making New Year resolutions, but I have anyway.

I have decided - again! - to up my writing and competition entries as 2011 beckons. To kick off I have just emailed a short story to be considered for the Writers' Forum magazine's monthly competition. The reason for my early resolution is because the story I have sent off is called resolutions.com and I am hoping it may be placed in the January issue as it is a seasonal story. Fingers crossed. I'll let you know the outcome.

And to keep my writing affairs in order I have ordered a writers diary from Mslexia Magazine. These diaries are excellent, they have lots of writing tips, exercises, advice and a whole section to record writing submissions.

Come 2011 I will be organised....

Friday, 10 December 2010



The lovely IT man at work has given me a disc that will run a programme that will retrieve my lost documents ~ and a brand new memory stick to store them on.

I love you Mr Last!


Friday, 3 December 2010

I think I may have done something really silly....

Today my new laptop arrived - how excited was I! - it is a Dell in a beautiful peacock blue colour (I'm a woman...colour is important), it also has a built in web cam, can play blu-ray discs & has a slot for my camera's memory card: none of which my old dinosaur had. I was well impressed.

So this afternoon I spent a lovely time personalising my desktop, choosing my computer theme and registering to Skype (although my only contact at the moment is my daughter who lives in the same house as me!). Once I had my laptop set up just how I wanted it I decided to transfer all my documents over from the dinosaur to my new Peacock Blue. I sent them all to my memory stick then (and here's the silly - very silly - thing I did) I deleted all my documents from my old laptop and emptied the trash can (Why...oh why?). When I opened my memory stick up in Peacock Blue, for some unknown reason, none of my documents were on it!!!


Can I retrieve stuff after I've emptied the trash can?

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Full Dark, No Stars

Every now and again I read back something I've written, be it a short story or a chapter from my novel-in-progress, and I actually think: Yay! That's good stuff, perhaps one day I will be a published author.

...and then I read the latest offer from the King of Horror himself...

I have just finished Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. It was excellent. If I can ever produce anything that is a fraction as good, as entertaining, as thought-provoking, as damn right scary, as unput-a-downable, I will be one happy chappy.

If you like King you will love this latest collection of four short stories - although three of them are not so very short. I will admit to being a bit disappointed by his recent novel Under The Dome, had doubts that ole Stevie himself had actually penned the book, but there are no doubts in my mind what so ever about Full Dark, No Stars. The man is back with a tremendous bang.

Be warned: these stories are not for the faint-heated!

Sunday, 14 November 2010


After a much heated debate with myself - I hate anything electronic - I have decided to embrace the 21st century.

As a reader I love 'real' books. I love the smell of them. I love the feel and weight of them in my hands. I love browsing through them in bookshops. I love the way I can flick through their pages. I love the ever-growing pile on the floor beside my bed. I love seeing all my 'friends' standing shoulder to shoulder on my many book shelves. If the day should ever come when books are extinct I will be bereft - probably mourn for the rest of my life.


As a new writer trying to enter the world of publishing I can see that ebooks is the way to go. I have decided to make an anthology of my short stories available to purchase and download electronically, probably through Amazon.

I am still going to try and get my novel published in book from, but while I am working on Bathory I decided I might as well take every opportunity open to me to get my work in print, to get my name 'out there'. Who knows, I might make a bit of money too.

It will mean having to put my wip to one side for a short time while I re-edit my stories, but I think in the long run it will - hopefully - help to establish me as a writer.

Let me know what you think.....

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pumpkin Jack

Ruth O’Connell clutched at the door frame as she staggered into the kitchen, her dirty gardening gloves leaving dark smudges on the paintwork. She swore beneath her breath as she negotiated the high step.
Damn and blast her cursed hip.
It was the same every year: as soon as the weather turned, her bones started singing the Hallelujah chorus; belting it out at the top of their lungs. The rest of the year the tune was kept to a constant hum, but as soon as Autumn showed its face her arthritis began singing.
She pulled the gloves from her hands and tossed them in the sink. All they needed was a long soak in detergent and they’d be as good as new. But that could wait. What she needed was a drink. A nice mug of cocoa; while there was boiling water in the kettle she’d fill the hot-water bottle and give her hip a treat. She took the bobble hat from her hair - last year’s Christmas present from her granddaughter Megan - and hung it on the peg beside the door.
She smiled.
The pumpkins were nice and ready. She’d start baking this afternoon.
As Ruth filled the kettle at the stone sink, she frowned and cocked her head. The warbling sound of a police siren could be heard passing by along the lane out front.
It was October the thirty-first.

“Pumpkin Jack?”
DI Peter Harrison looked across at the young female police constable sitting next to him in the unmarked patrol car and nodded. “Yes. Not very original is it? Thought up by some bright spark in the local newspaper office five years ago, when the first child disappeared.”
“The first child? Five years ago? This has happened before?”
Harrison faced the front, concentrating on the twists and turns of the narrow lane. He nodded again. “I forgot. You’re not from around here are you?”
“And you’ve not read about it in the papers? The national papers?”
“Oh my god.You don’t mean that Pumpkin Jack? The one that strikes every Halloween?”
Harrison nodded for the third time. "The one and the same."
The police constable’s shoulders sagged. “Oh my god.” She repeated.
“And we’re still no nearer to catching him now than we were five years ago. He never leaves a single trace of himself behind - not a hair, not a flake of skin, not a thread of clothing. Nothing. It’s so frustrating. Parents dread Halloween around here. Children are kept under lock and key. There’s no trick or treating. All Hallows Eve goes uncelebrated.”
The WPC looked out of the window. They were passing a lone white cottage half-hidden behind a screening of rowan trees. “Are you not stopping?” She said. “Don’t you want to question whoever lives there?”
Harrison chortled. “No. That’s Ruthie O’Connell’s place. She’s been a widow these last few years. Lovely lady. Her husband was a police officer. One of the best. No doubt you're meet her tomorrow.”
The young woman raised her eyebrows. "Oh?"
“She makes the best pumpkin pie for miles around and she always brings one into the station every year." DI Harrison licked his lips. "Deeelicious.”

The O’Connell garden was surrounded by a shoulder-high brick wall, but there was no fear of anyone peering in. The nearest house was over a mile away, and nobody came walking in these parts.
The vegetable patch was nestled against the wall furthest from the house,where it could take full advantage of the mellow autumn sunshine. Eleven plump orange pumpkins took pride of place; their long green tendrils snaking along the ground. Some of them still entwined around the remains of the young boy. Feeding on his flesh, sucking up his blood. The child’s eyes had gone; empty sockets stared upwards into the dull October sky. Bloated pink earthworms crawled in and out of the holes.
Soon the pumpkins were replete.

Bright and early the next morning, just as she did every November the first, Ruth O’Connell walked into the small village police station, limping slightly. In her arms she carried a big white cardboard box. A cheer went up and thanks resounded all round.
She smiled. Dimples dancing at the corners of her mouth.
She set the box down.
“Enjoy.” She said.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

So you want to tread the boards?

My writing is skulking in the shadows...and it's not a happy bunny.

I've had to put my daughter, Katy, to the very top of my priorities list for the next few weeks. Her ambition in life is to become an actress. Next September she is hoping to start Drama School, which means we've been visiting prospective places in London: Guildhall, The Rose Bruford School of Acting, Central School for Speech & Movement, et cetera, et cetara, et cetera...all very exciting, but time consuming. Now she has to apply and attend audition after audition after audition to try and gain entry. I am lucky if I sit at my laptop for more than a handful of hours a week.
My Writers' Hat is hanging over the back of my chair gathering dust while I don my Mummy Hat.

...and I'm loving every minute...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

I've been Depped!


I've met Johnny Depp.

Actually met Johnny Depp. He held my hand and spoke to me.

Me and my daughter, Katy, drove to Greenwich for the third time yesterday in the vain hope of meeting our screen idol Johnny Depp, this would be our last chance as the production company for Pirates 4 was moving on to their next location at the end of the week. The other two times we had come away disheartened; Saturday he hadn't been on set and on Sunday the filming had been rained off.

It was third time lucky all round. Not only did we get to watch scenes being filmed with Captain Jack Sparrow in them (he waved at us and blew kisses!), but later on in the evening he came out as himself to thank his fans for their support. He walked around talking and holding hands with us all in turn. My daughter burst into tears, she was so overcome. I managed to be a bit more calm and collected and had a nice little chat with him. He seems such a lovely person, not a bit pretentious, if anything a little shy.

Who says dreams don't come true?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Yo Ho. Yo Ho. A pirates life for me.....

Johnny Depp is in Greenwich, London, filming for the new Pirates film. Me and my daughter went along yesterday to do a bit of Captain Jack Sparrow stalking, only to find out he wasn't actually on set that day! It was all very exciting though, we watched a scene being filmed and walked around all the luxury trailers with their blacked-out windows trying to guess which one was Johnny's.


Captain Jack Sparrow is on set today.

Guess where me and my daughter are aheading.......

Friday, 1 October 2010

Police Procedure...

I've been recommanded a helpful book: The Crime Writers Guide to Police Procedure and Practise by Mike O'Bryne.

Monday, 27 September 2010

To TV or not to TV, that is the question.....

Can it still be classed as research if I have a night off from writing and watch a police drama on TV instead?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

What's going on 'ere then?

Sometimes I really love being a writer and doing the research thing. Today I've spoken to a really helpful Police Sergeant and a just as helpful Head of Police Media Services.

A big THANK YOU to both these guys for helping me get my policey facts right!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Getting the facts right.

So. I have hit a bit of a brick wall in my writing; it's not that I have writers block or have run out of ideas for what happens next. It's simply that I now have to check out some facts to make it appear that I actually know what I am writing about. Because I didn't want to stop the flow of my story once it had actually started to flow, I glossed over the bits I wasn't quite sure of - mainly police and forensic detail - so I could complete the story as a whole. Now I need to get those bits right. The only way to do this, is, I think, to pay a visit to my local police station. There is some pretty gory, and it has to be said, sick stuff I need to find out, all to do with abused and mutilated teenage girls.

Let's hope they don't lock me up as the local fruit and nut case!

I'll keep you posted....

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

For anyone who's interested - and even those of you who aren't - Bathory has gone up four positions in the YouWriteOn.com charts.

It is now at number 25!


Friday, 27 August 2010

Into the running.....

My novel Bathory has received eight positive reviews at YouWriteOn.com. It is now in the running for the top ten best rated pieces of writing.
Whoop! Whoop!


A letter I sent to Writers' Forum magazine has been published.
A moleskin notebook is winging it's way to me.
Yay! Yay!

Saturday, 21 August 2010


I have recently downloaded the first few chapters of my novel, Bathory, onto the website youwriteon.com. This is a brilliant site that lets new writers get their work 'out there'. The trick is to read and review other writers work, the more you do this, the more readers your own work will be sent to; which they in turn can rate and review.
When you have received eight reviews your work has a chance of going into a monthly top ten list, the ten short stories/novels that reach this list are then read by mainstream publishers. If these publishers see anything they like they may offer a publishing contract.
Cool eh?
To date I have six very positive reviews for my novel.

On a down note, this morning I was sent an email from the British Fantasy Society. A short story I had entered for one of their competitions was rejected!
Another dodgy rung on the ladder of success.

Monday, 16 August 2010

A Blogger Virgin....

I'd like to extend a big bloggery welcome to a good friend of mine Sarahcilla.

Check her out at Sarahcilla.blogspot.com


Sunday, 1 August 2010

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy....

I've taken a well-earned break from my writing this evening to catch up on my blogging activities.
I've not visited my favourite blogs or posted a decent post in weeks...or so it seems. And in all honesty, I've not missed it over much; when the writing fog descends I welcome it and let myself get lost in it. But. To quote Jack Torrence from The Shining: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Speaking of which, check out the Typewriter Scene from The Shining on YouTube. That's been me over the last few weeks. Woebetide anyone who disturbs my flow!
And exactly how is Bathory coming along?
But it is coming along.
It's helped that school is now out for summer. In theory I have five weeks - I repeat five weeks - to concentrate on my novel. In practise: I am taxi driver to a seventeen year old daughter who wants taking to BBQ's, sleepovers, shopping expeditions and parties; I have major renovations going on in my living room: walls coming down, plaster going up, and decorating in progress. My writing space has been reduced to approximately two foot by one foot of space on the kitchen table. The rest of the table is piled high with stuff from the room being knocked about: hundreds of CDs, thousands of DVDs, and millions of books! Anybody walking into the kitchen can't actually see me behind the heaps of 'stuff'!
Despite all that, I am still writing. And enjoying it!

PS. Today is the witches festival of Lammas.
Have a good one!

Thursday, 29 July 2010


All you aspiring authors out there....take a look:


Akasha x

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Kat at Crooked Tales (see links at the side of my blog) has got a writing competition up and running.

Take a look......

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Darkness was all she knew.
Once, long ago, in another time and another place, she had known light. Light and laughter. Now that light had been extinguished. The laughter silenced. Now all she knew was darkness. Darkness and fear. Darkness and fear and pain. Her whole world had become a hot pulsating mass of darkness and fear and pain. She no longer knew who she was, where she was, or how she had got here. For a long while pain was her constant companion: faithful and true; enfolding her body in its tight searing embrace. Then, somewhere deep within her a door had swung open, revealing a room where pain and fear could not enter. She had slipped soundlessly inside and ran the bolt.
Here she could hide.
Here she was safe.
Here she could drift.
And she did.
For a while.
But pain was determined. It followed her tracks. Hunted her down. And, like the Big Bad Wolf came knocking at her door:
- Little Alison. Little Alison. Let me come in.
- No. Not by the acne on my chinny chin chin. I'll not let you in.
- Then I'll rant and I'll rave, and I'll smash your door in.

Pain had charged at her door with a battering ram.
Just seconds before the wood exploded in a rain of shards and splinters, the bolt holding it fast buckled and snapped in two.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


....my son's wedding....


Monday, 21 June 2010


At least there's nothing on TV to distract me from my writing...except the England games of course!

Sunday, 13 June 2010


A couple of people have been asking where I am.

I'm taking a bit of a 'time-out' to get down and serious with my novel. I want it finished and ready for sending out into the big bad world by the end of the summer.
So far, so good. I've done some good work on it lately and my word count is on the up.

A random little fact: my 's' key seems to not want to work properly. I have to give it quite a hard little press whenever I use it, which is a bit of a pain if I forget...I've suddenly realised just how many words contained the letter 's'!! My number '6' key is doing it too!!!

Ah, the trials of being a writer....


Thursday, 27 May 2010

A Good Rejection!

Last month I sent off my short story: Calling 666, to a magazine. It wasn't chosen for publication, but someone had taken the trouble to write this on my rejection slip:
Your writing style is good, as is your command of language. Please send us more of your work.
I had a smile on my face all day!

My novel is rolling along nicely.
My word count is going up up up.......


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

How to make a writer's blood boil.....

I know. I know.
I said I wouldn't be posting much at the mo, but I had to share this one with you all because it made me see red....
A 'colleague' at work found out I was in the throes of writing a novel, and then came out with that old familiar chestnut:

He's always thought he would write a book one day. When he has time he's going to 'give it a go'.

When does ANYONE EVER have time to write a book? I know I don't. I have to make time.
Squishing my writing in between all the hundred and one other things I have to do in my life.

Then he said:
I have a title. Cos that's the important part isn't it?

Oh, that'll be where I'm getting it wrong then! Sod the research, the characters, the dialogue, the plot...it's the title you have to sort out first!
For months my work-in-progress was simply called Untitled, since then it's had about four titles before I settled on 'Bathory', and who knows if that will be the final choice.
When I said this to him, the person in question looked at me like I was a bug on his shoe, and that look said:
You might be writing a book, but at least I've got a title!

I told him to come and see me when he's written the first 50,000 words!


Rant over...pass me a bottle of wine!


Saturday, 15 May 2010

Time out.....

The deadline I gave myself to have my novel polished and dusted and ready to be sent off to agents/publishers is fast approaching, and my MS is nowhere near as ready as I would have liked it to be by now; mid-May.

So, I have reached a decision: for a while(...days...weeks...months...?), I am going to focus all my energy and spare time towards my work-in-progress. I am determined to finish it by the end of the summer, and the only way to do this is to cull from my life - just for a while - all the things that get in my way. I am going to become a 'passive' blogger. I will still be reading your blogs once a week - and leaving a comment or two - but I will not be updating my own so often.

I may leave a twitter type comment now and again, just to keep you up to date on my progress.

For the time being, here's a sonnet I wrote inspired by my novel:

The night is still, the moonlight bright,
The midnight sky a deep blue velvet shroud.
A raven, startled from its sleep, takes flight.
Wings a solitary path across the misty cloud.
A woman's scream rips through the air,
Hands reach up to the blackened skies.
She has been trapped within her lair,
Caught in a web of self-inflicted lies.
With darkest venom in her callous heart,
She vows cruel revenge on all.
She'll never rest until the start
Of her murderous bloodlust ball.
With these words so forcefully spoken,
She falls to her knees. A woman broken.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A Bitesize Snippet.

The coffin lid creaks.
The vampyre awakes.
Sharp fangs glisten
In the dead of night.

What's the shortest poem you can write?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Writing Exercise #2

This month the task set by the writing group I attend is to write a short story, max 500 words, including four sentences picked at random from four different fiction novels. The four sentences are:

If you saw everything when your eye flicked from one point to another you'd feel giddy.

Rounding a bend in the path they'd met a group of girls on their way to school.

A vague memory flashed into his mind.

They arrived at Stoichev's gate the next afternoon.

Here is my offering....

He was watching the early morning news when the first stone hit his window with a resounding crack. Quickly followed by a second, then a third. His heart jolted and stuttered painfully in his chest, making him feel curiously light-headed, and as he grabbed at the arms of the comfy chair he was sitting in, his gnarled arthritic fingers groaned in unison. He stumbled to his feet, fumbled for his zimmer frame and began lurching his body across the room towards the window.
Buggering kids. He'd show them. Old he might be, feeble-minded he was not.
Another stone hit the pane, this time with enough force to chip the glass.
A red mist clouded his vision.
He'd had enough. He changed course. Turned his back on the window and headed for his bedroom.

...if you saw everything when your eye flicked from one point to another you'd feel giddy. That's what they told you at basic training. You must concentrate instead on one thing: your target. Focus your soul. Focus your mind. Focus your eye. Aim. Shoot. Kill. And he did. Relentlessly. His weapon - his MP 43 - became more than his friend. The heavy combination of wood and steel became an extension of his own body. He was revered. A respected member of the SS. A true Nazi...

It had been the boys idea to throw stones at Hitler's window. Of course his name wasn't really Hitler; that's just what they'd nicknamed him, the stupid old German bastard. The boys had stuffed their pockets with stones and big pebbles from the bit of a beach just down the road, and rounding the bend in the path they'd met a group of girls on their way to school. It hadn't taken much persuasion for the two groups to join forces.

He stood in front of his mirror: a skinny, stoop-shouldered, white-haired old man - eleven days away from his eigthy-ninth birthday - yet the grey uniform made him stand that little bit straighter. Made him lift his shoulders that little bit squarer. Made him push out his chest that little bit further. He grinned and brought the peak of his cap down until it almost touched the bridge of his nose. He clicked his heels together, then grabbed at the zimmer frame as he stumbled backwards, unbalanced. He gave the Nazi salute. A vague memory flashed into his mind...

...they arrived at Stoichev's gate the next afternoon, promptly at 1.30. A band of eager young Nazi's. Ready for orders. Ready to defend. Ready to kill. Ready to die for their Fuhrer. And many did...

He hoisted the gun up - all twelve pounds of it - he'd forgotten just how heavy and unyielding it was. He fumbled a magazine into his hand and clicked it into position. 30 rounds. That should be enough; he slipped another magazine into the deep pocket of his jacket. Just in case.
The MP 43 was set for single fire. Without hesitation he flicked the lever into automatic. He place the rifle with infinite care down on the tray attached to his zimmer frame.
With tight-lipped concentration he shuffled along the narrow hallway. His soul, his mind, and his eye, were focussed on what lay beyond the front door.
His target.

Aim. Shoot. Kill.

Friday, 9 April 2010

A Dark Interlude...

The silver beam of moonlight poured through the raggedy hole punched high in the castle's wall, splashing its brilliance down onto the skeleton laid out on the mouldering mattress far below, soaking the fleshless form - skull to toes - with a reviving plethora of life; washing away the scum of death.
Sinews and muscles twisted and writhed over the bones. Skin formed. . crept. . .gave contour and shape to the glistening wet embryonic mass. Fingers nails as sharp and clear as slivers of glass unsheathed with a deadly whisper. Hair, midnight black, sprouted from the bare scalp: grew, grew, grew. Thick and rich. Lips parted, a pink tongue flickered out, wetted away the parchness.
And the eyes - scarlet eyes, dripping with hatred, tainted with revenge - opened...

Monday, 29 March 2010

I would just like to say.....

"So? What did you think of the book?"
"The book. The one I got you for your birthday? What did you think of it?"
"Mmmmm...it was okay I suppose."
"Okay? That's it? Okay?"
"To be honest, I didn't actually finish it."
"You didn't?"
"Why on earth not?"
"Well, the dialogue put me off if you must know. All the time nobody was speaking it was fine, but as soon as the charcters started talking it fell flat on its face. The people came across really stilted...not a bit natural."
"Duh. It's a book...not a movie. They're not real people."
"But that's just it, they should be real people...in your head. But these didn't feel like that. It really spoilt the book for me; the storyline was fantastic, the characters believable, but the dialogue...diabolical."
"Does it really matter that much?"
"God yes! The characters bring the story alive, without good dialogue they just come across flat and, quite frankly, unreal."
"So you're saying, that one little thing, can murder a story."
"Completely. Dialogue has to be realistic or it lets the whole thing down."
"Suffocates it dead in its bed."

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Separating the wheat from the chaff!

A couple of evenings ago I was invited to attend a local writers group: The Sheppey Scribblers, and I was amazed by how talented some of the members work was. It made me question - not for the first time in my life - just how much undiscovered talent there is 'out there' in the big blue yonder...and whenever I start to think along these lines, I start to wonder how publishers actually decide what they publish and what they toss aside.

Many a time I have bought a book on the strength of its eye-catching front cover, its enticing blurb, and even its gripping hook of a first line, only to get it home and discover that the writer can't write for toffee! The plot is wafer thin, the characters unformed, the dialogue stilted and the prose uninspiring. And I'm not talking just the self-published novels, but also the ones taken on by mainstream publishing houses.

It is so disheartening. There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

I've lost count of the times I have sent off my short stories to this magazine or that one, only to have them rejected with no explanation, then the next month to read a weak tale with no proper plot or satisfying storyline in these selfsame publications.

It's enough to make a saint swear!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I am here my love. I am here.
I have made this journey unhindered.
What pleasure I take from this darkness, enriching.
What grief I can lift from your soul, tormented.
I am here my love.
Let me in.
Come to me my sweet. Come to me.
Come sit by my side at this stream.
Hold me tight, let us bide here together.
Hold me close in these flowery fields of cruel pleasure.
Come to me my sweet.
Let me in.
Let me kiss you my pet. Let me kiss you.
Let my lips pulse with lust on your throat.
I'll remove all the hurt you are feeling.
I'll replace all the sadness with joy.
Let me kiss you my pet.
Let me in.

At last we are joined here together.
At last I draw blood from your skin.
Our union so dark and fulfilling.
Our pleasure so deep core and true.
At last we are joined here together.

I thank you for letting me in.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

All is revealed....

1 ~ Sadly, I have not one single tattoo on my body. I would love to have one done
...I'm just not quite brave enough. They hurt, don't they?

2 ~ I would love to be able to fly aeroplanes...but can't. The nearest I got was a
two hour flying lesson for my 40th birthday.

3 ~ I hate boiled eggs. I wouldn't put one in my mouth, let alone five!

4 ~ As I have never tried to trim down my waistline with a corset, I have no idea
what inches I could squeeze my figure down to. One day though.....

5 ~ When I was younger I had horses and was rather a reckless rider; I was always
pushing the animals to their limits and many a time they got their own back by
throwing me to the ground.I broke two toes, my nose, a finger, a thumb and my
left arm all in horsey related incidents.
For a few years in my twenties I had a motorbike - which I also took risks on: I
had a 'fight' with a BMW car and came away with a broken right arm and
right leg!

6 ~ One day, when I am a rich and famous writer I WILL own a metallic purple TVR
Griffiths. They are my dream cars.

7 ~ Also, one day when I am a rich and famous writer I WILL meet my hero, Stephen
King. I will invite him round for tea and we can discuss books and writing all
afternoon long.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth....

Jaramara Falconer over at So You Wannabe a Writer challenged me to the following:

I have to tell up to six outrageous lies about myself and one outrageous truth.

Here goes....

1 ~ I have a tattoo of a snake winding itself around my left leg.

2 ~ I hold a license for flying small aircraft.

3 ~ I can stuff five boiled eggs into my mouth all at the same time.

4 ~ I can trim by waist down to sixteen inches when wearing a corset.

5 ~ In total I have broken eight different bones in my body.

6 ~ I am the proud owner of a metallic purple TVR Griffiths.

7 ~ I have met and spoken to my hero, Stephen King.

So...over to you...which are the lies and which is the truth?

Monday, 1 March 2010

I name this book....er.....mmmm...ah....

Firstly, I must apologise for my lack of posts these last couple of weeks, but I am a bit of a Winter Olympics fan. I'm not really into sport in a heavy way (apart from motorbike racing and show jumping and World Cup Football), but I LOVE the Winter Olympics: I think it's because I would really love to participate in the sports themselves. I really regret not being able to skate or ski...or snowboard come to that...and from a very early age I always wanted to be part of a bob-sleigh team!
Anyway, as exciting as it's been, the Olympics is over for another four years and I can concentrate on my writing once more.

A few blog posts ago I was bemoaning how difficult I thought it was, deciding whereabouts in the timeline my novel should begin; it took me three or four attempts before I settled on a first chapter I was happy with.

The other thorn in my side is the title.

I think finding the right title is so important.When I'm shopping around for a new book, it is, nine times out of ten, the title that draws me in. But how do you know if the title you choose for your work-in-progress is the right one? What defines a good title?

When I first started writing Bathory I simply christened my wip Vampire; I hadn't given the title much real thought. As I worked more and more on the novel I began to think more and more about a name for my creation. In the story Erzsebet Bathory and her side kick can transform themselves into ravens. A flock of ravens is known as an 'unkindness', so for a while The Unkindness became my working title.

A few weeks later I read an article about James Herbert. In the article the author explained the reasoning behind some of the titles he'd given his novels. Mr Herbert said how people (readers) always like to feel included in some sort of secret: books with the word 'secret' in their titles, always sold well.
Mmmmm. My book became Dark Secrets at Ravens' End.

I still wasn't thoroughly convinced. I still wasn't completely happy with the title of my novel. I'm still not.

I have finally settled on Bathory. It is the title I feel most comfortable with.

At the moment.

And of course, it still has to go through the hands of an agent and a publisher...

...they will most probably have ideas of their own......

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sexy Wolf Guy.

Last Wednesday evening me and my daughter went to see Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. I had read a few reviews about the film - none of them very favorable - but I wanted to see it for myself.

It tells the story (don't worry I won't give away the ending!) of Lawrence Talbot, who returns to the family home after his brother is found in a ditch mauled to death by, what can only be, some sort of awful monster.

Lawrance (Del Toro) sets out to track down the beast and very soon finds himself attacked and 'infected'. Then the true horror really begins as Lawrance relises he now is a werewolf.

Beware the full moon and the silver bullet!

The rest of the film is Del Toro trying to find a way to break the curse, in between running through the night, howling, snarling and ripping people, quite literally, to pieces, and getting chased by the local villagers and Detective Aberline from London (Hugo Weaving).

Anthony Hopkins plays the widowed father of the two brothers, and himself hides a dark and ancient secret.

I will admit the film holds no surprises. There is no long complicated storyline running through the plot. But if you are a fan of a good ole traditional werewolf movie - as I am - you will love it.

There is plenty of gothic moonlight action, old creepy buildings, blood and gore splattering all over the place...so be warned...and lots of squirming in your seat moments: especially during the transformation scenes where Lawrence mutates into the beast.

The ending holds no really surprises either, and I did find it a little bit of an anti-climax.

The down sides. Well, there seemed to be a full moon every night - and I mean every night. No waxing and waning in sight! And a couple of times, in true horror movie tradition, Lawrence's clothes came through the change unscathed.

But I still loved it. So much so that I going with my son this coming Wednesday!

Plus me and my daughter both agree that Benicio Del Toro made for one hell of a sexy Wolfman. Claws, fangs, hair and all!!


Friday, 12 February 2010

The Exquisite Corpse #2

In an earlier blog I mentioned an exercise I took part in at the writers group I attend. The exercise was entitled The Exquisite Corpse. At the end of that exercise I ended up with this sentence: The delicate carpet grumpily meandered the black underpass. I had to make-up a story based on that sentence.

This is what I came up with ~

Long, long ago, in a time and land now forgotten, there lived a maker of carpets. He was a pale weak individual with a delicate disposition. If he had ever possessed a birth name that too had been erased by the mists of time. He was simply known as Carpetta.

Carpetta had forged for himself throughout the years a healthy reputation. He may not have been strong in mind, body or spirit, but his moral up-standing and the pride he bestowed on his work shone through. All who knew him, loved him.

All except one.

Zachariah Tognetti.

Zachariah was a necromancer, an evil enchanter who spent his days trying to conjure up the souls of the dead. It was not uncommon for blood-curdling screams and flashes of light from yet undiscovered worlds, to burst forth from Castle Tognetti.

The castle stood on the northernmost point of Carpetta's village, brooding at the bottom of the Ochre Mountains. None who had ever entered the castle had come out alive.

All except one.


Many years before, when the earth was young, and the sun shone bright and true, a pedlar wandered into the village. He had for sale many wondrous items of magic and mystery. Zachariah purchased a flying carpet: a carpet ~ the pedlar proclaimed ~ that would take the enchanter to the edge of the world and beyond.

But how gullible can be even the most sharp-minded.

It did not take Zachariah many hours to discover he had been deceived. The carpet could fly, but only round and round in ever increasing circles; giving the evil necromancer giddy head-rush and nauseous stomach cramps.

Zachariah Tognetti was furious. He mounted his mighty steed and galloped after the departed pedlar, bound him in chains and dragged him back to the castle. Once there the poor pedlar was thrown in the deepest, darkest dungeon and Zachariah cast a spell over him. A spell that turned the seller of magic goods into a walking, talking carpet. A shoddy carpet. Thin and threadbare. Delicate and fragile.

Zachariah laughed at the pedlar's misfortune. Declared the only way to reverse the enchantment was for the carpet to escape from Castle Tognetti. He nicknamed the living carpet: Carpetta.

Carpetta paced the dungeon night and day. Plotting his escape. But all to no avail.

Fifteen years passed by.

Each year Carpetta grew ever more threadbare, ever more delicate, ever more grumpy hearted: thinking he would never leave the confines of Castle Tognetti.

But fifteen years of pacing had worn the dungeon floor thin. One day it caved in beneath Carpetta's endlessly pacing feet. Carpetta fell through to a narrow dark tunnel.

The delicate carpet grumpily meandered the black underpass. Second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, the tunnel beneath the castle began to grow lighter, as it did, so did Carpetta's mood.

After two hours of walking, the carpet stepped out into bright dazzling sunlight. Zachariah's spell slippedfrom his shoulders. Carpetta was a man once more. He made his way to the village and told his tale to all who would listen. The villagers recieved Carpetta with welcoming arms, rejoicing in the fact that he'd escaped from the evil clutches of Zachariah Tognetti.

But some of the enchantment remained. Carpetta was ever pale and delicate, a fragile shell of the man he'd once been. He also found he now had a skill, a skill that out shone any other, the skill of carpet-making.

Carpetta was declared the best carpet-maker of the land. People travelled from far and wide to purchase his wares.

In his dark castle at the foot of the Ochre Mountains, the evil necromancer rants and raves, plots and schemes, awaiting his chance to re-capture the travelling pedlar: Carpetta.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Bathory wins an award!

My novel Bathory has won me an award.
I entered the first two chapters into a local Bursary Award run by the Swale Arts Forum, and yesterday I was invited along to the presentation evening where I was presented with one of the runner-up prizes for my work-in-progress.
I was well chuffed!
My prize was a book voucher to spend in Waterstones bookstore...very welcome.
I found the evening an immensely enjoyable one; as an entrant I appeared briefly on stage to read out some of my work (that was a bit nerve-racking: there was the local newspaper, radio & TV there!), but it was also a chance to meet other authors in my area and exchange details, all good social networking. I had a very lengthy conversation with a lovely lady who is in the throes of writing her third crime novel. She gave me lots of advice and tips on how to approach agents and publishers.
It has really given me a boost. As you all know, writing can be a lonely occupation, so it's nice to get a Well Done and a pat on the back at times.
It has made me all the more determined to get Bathory in print and out there.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Rituals, Routine and Writing.

I have a note stuck to my fridge with a magnet. It says: My house is a hovel, cos I'm writng a novel. I pinched the idea from another female author who, like me, would rather concentrate on her writing than keeping her home spick and span. Obviously that is only true to a point; I do take care of the basics, although I have never been one for regimental housework - even when not writing - life's too short. But there is a flip side to that statement: I find I can't fully concentrate on my creative work if I know there is a sinkful of washing-up waiting in the kitchen downstairs, or dirty laundry that needs loading into the machine, or food that needs preparing for dinner. I have found that I need to have a more or less clutter free mind before I can sit down at my laptop.

Without realising it I have slipped into a routine.

Firstly I tend to any little jobs around the house, jobs that I know will niggle away in my head while I'm writing if I don't sort them out beforehand.

Then I check my emails and quickly check my blog, twitter and facebook comments. Again, this plays on my mind if I don't get it done and dusted. I don't answer or comment myself (that's my reward after I have done some serious writing), but I have to see what their status is!

And while I'm actually writing...?

Well. If it's during the day, I have to take a freshly brewed mug of coffee up to my room with me, and a couple of biscuits. In the evening (that's any time after seven o' clock) a glass (or two) of wine doesn't go amiss!

Finally, I find, I write better if I don my big old baggy navy blue dressing gown with a hood...think monks attire, it won't be far wrong!...I have had this gown for over ten years - and yes, it has seen better days! - but it is so comfy and slobby, that I love it.

I then, and only then, can close the door of my mind to reality and step into my own little world....

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Exquisite Corpse.

Back in the early 1900's, a technique was invented by the Surrealists of that time. It was very similar to that of Picture Consequences - which I'm sure at some time you've all played. I know I have. The techinique was given the name The Exquisite Corpse, for an obvious reason...as you will see!

A group of people are all given a sheet of paper.

On the very top they have to write 'The' and an adjective. Fold over the paper to hide the words, and pass it along to the person on the right.

Write a noun. Fold it over. Pass it on.

Write an adverb. Fold it over. Pass it on.

Write a verb. Fold it over. Pass it on.

Write 'The' and an adjective. Fold it and pass it.

Write a noun. Fold it and pass it.

Everyone reads out the sentence they've got.

The Surrealists first sentence read:

'The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.'

Pretty cool. Huh?

So. That was the exercise my writers group did this month. We also decided to come up with a short story based on the sentences we ended up with!

My sentences are:

The smoky classroom noisily grazed the colourful candlestick.
The delicate carpet grumpily meandered the black underpass. (I like this one best.)

Give it a go. It's a fun way to spend a cold winter's night.
With a glass of wine of course!

Today's Word Count ~ 675 :)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Once upon a time....

Is it just me or do other writers have a hard time finding a good beginning to their stories? I'm not talking short stories here - I've never had a problem when it comes to starting one of my short stories - it's my novel, Bathory, I'm talking about. It took me absoultely ages to find a beginning I was truly happy with. I rewrote my first chapter five times before settling on the one I have now. I either wasn't happy with the character I chose to start the story with. . .or the location it took place in . . .or the dialogue . . or where I picked up the action: was it too early in the story?...or too late?

Without a doubt Chapter One was the hardest chapter I have had to write so far. But I am finally happy with it.

Have any of you stumbled across the same problem?

Saturday, 9 January 2010


Today's word count~634

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A real-life Bathory!

Something amazing happened about three days ago. . .well, amazing to me anyway. I was online looking up something I needed to know about Erzsebet Bathory, when I stumbled across a website I'd never come across before: bathory.org. I could not believe it when I found out the website had been set up by an actual descendant of the evil countess herself, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, and not only that but what an interesting and informative site it turned out to be.

I believe Dennis lives in America, but he has visited Erzsebet Bathory's home: Castle Cachtice, Slovakia, three times. Each time he has kept a journal - parts of which can be read on his website - and he has downloaded lots of photos of the castle's ruins and the surrounding countryside. All of which I found so interesting and so helpful.

Also there was an email address at which Dennis could be contacted. So I sent him a letter. I introduced myself and told him of the novel I was writing. Within half an hour, much to my delight, Dennis had answered my email.

Dennis Bathory-Kitsz seems a lovely man. He offered to answer any questions I needed answering about the countess, he wished me luck in my project, and asked if he could read a couple of the chapters of my MS when it is ready for other eyes than my own.

This has made Erzsebet Bathory seem so much more real to me, and given me a boost to finish my novel. So, thank you Dennis.

Dennis is working on an exciting project of his own: producing an opera telling the life of Countess Bathory.

I wish him all the best :)

Today's word-count~487 :(