Friday, 31 January 2014


Something new - I tried an hour of off-road Segwaying last weekend, because my in-laws bought us a session as a Xmas present.

Now I know it looks stupid. That's why everyone sneers at them. But when you're on one, suddenly 12mph seems plenty fast. Especially when you're going over tree roots and through muddy puddles. Especially especially when there's thunder and lightning and hail kicking off all around!

It feels like dog-sledding - or charioteering - with an invisible team.

It looks silly ... and yet it's awesome fun.
Much like sex, really :-)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

I, Android

I like them small.
I only use four fingers - why should I need bigger?

Every writer has their own preference for what they write on. It might be a weighty laptop with plenty of room for touch-typing, or a desktop where they have to sit up properly, or a tablet with no real keyboard at all. Some writers like to do it furtively in cafes or on the train. Some like to do it in seclusion. Many writers like their tools of the trade multi-functional with swift access to a world of internet research. And a very few even like them to still go "ching" and need the carriage returning manually at the end of every line!

I remember years ago asking people, "What can I buy that'll be really small and simple, and I can just type words on it and carry it around everywhere, and I don't need anything but a document writer on it?" To which the answer from my tech-savvy friends was, "Nothing. No one wants that."

Well, after my recent falling-out, I've gone and bought the next best thing :-)

My new netbook is small and, quite frankly, pug-ugly. It is faced with the nastiest red plastic and I'm guessing it was created for the domestic Chinese market - some of the pop-up tick boxes are in Chinese (WTF am I agreeing to?) and the weather widget rather charmingly says "sprinkles" instead of "showers". It is basically a 7" Android tablet which has been shoehorned into a keyboard frame. I am learning my way round an Android interface that was designed for touchscreen, but I have to use the keys.

I will NOT BE USING IT TO GO ONLINE ... which is only sensible given that every keystroke would probably be monitored by the Chinese secret service. And I will NOT BE USING IT TO PLAY GAMES! No Plant vs Zombies for me during work time. (That's what three in the morning is for, of course.)

But it's got OpenOffice and 3 USB ports and an SD card reader and live wallpaper and it rocks!

The leaves move! There are ripples! :-D

And it was £55. Did I mention that?
£55 brand new.

I hope this is the start of a beautiful working relationship. So long as it doesn't burst into flames anytime soon, I think it might be :-)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Eyecandy Monday


She has a fine beard, that woman.

What, have I just ruined the picture for you?

Sunday, 26 January 2014


It is now greatly troubling me that "scarf" may have been an anachronistic word in my last short story.

Friday, 24 January 2014


In the mood for some High Art?

This is "Kneeling Nun" (1731) by Martin Van Meytens

"verso" version

And so is this:

"recto" version!

They are, rather adorably, the same subject - just pictured from two different angles. I particularly like the other nun hoving into sight in the background and looking very happy at the view.

Alas, only the Swedes dare show this sort of thing.

If you want more nun porn of the period, you could try The Mild Punishment by Adam Johan Braun (1789):

And of course Heinrich Losslow's (1840-1897) The Sin:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Dandy Highwaymen

Do you remember the poem, The Highwayman? It was written in 1909  by Alfred Noyes and I first came across it, like many people, at school. It's a tragic, spooky, sexy narrative about sacrifice and love and death:

And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,   
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred.   
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there   
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
         Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

It's part of a long historical tradition of romanticising violent criminals, who are clearly way cooler and sexier than the rich bastards they prey upon - just ask Robin Hood and Jack Sparrow.

"Sir, you are so cool it's a privilege to be robbed at gunpoint by you"

Of course, real highwaymen - like real pirates - wouldn't have been in the least romantic. But don't let that get in the way of the story! Fantasy is, as usual, way better than the truth.

I mean, c'mon - who wouldn't?

"Flounce About and Deliver," I say - and this is fabulous in every sense of the word:

Although tastes change over even a few decades - anyone remember Richard O'Sullivan as Dick Turpin in the 1970s TV series?

Hmm. This was what passed for handsome and dashing in 1978.
Yeah, seriously...

I'm pondering all this because I've just subbed (and had accepted, yay!) a story about Dick Turpin, England's second most famous armed robber. It's involved reading up on the original trial records, and believe me he doesn't come out of it looking good (He was "very much mark'd with the Small Pox" for one thing!).  I'm fine with that, because I was writing a horror story, not smut or romance. In fact it's a horrible horrible story and I am quite proud of its vileness :-)

I just think that if I'm ever going to write something naughty about highwaymen, Noyes would be a better place to start looking for inspiration...

Sunday, 19 January 2014


XKCD have a cartoon for every life situation

And this is what you* do to haunted laptops:

When I buy a new notebook I intend to show it this picture and thus instill a proper sense of fear in it from the start.
Well, you've got to show them who's boss, don't you?

* "I"

Monday, 13 January 2014

Eyecandy Monday

In my files this picture is entitled "from the depths", which seemed appropriate today. I've been struggling with tech going wrong - my PC and my writer's laptop both irretrievably died in one weekend - and I cope very badly indeed with tech going wrong. It taps into a black gusher of insecurity and rage because I can't fix it, and clearly at some point in my life I have picked up the conviction that I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO STUFF. So I tend to descend into a spiral of self-loathing in which I want to throw myself into a volcano for being a useless waste of space. It's a good job I'm not a supervillain with real minions, isn't it? - the volcanic attrition rate would be appalling.

Also probably a good thing I didn't go into Management.

Anyway, if you were under the impression that I am a reasonably nice person, that's only because you've never seen the Pure Evil that comes boiling out when, say, none of the USB ports are functioning.

Anyway, it's taken me hours to get this much up, so I may be taking a break from blogging until I get a decent functioning computer. Enjoy the pic :-)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

I've got worms

Gruddamnit. Through the whole of last week (writing, computer disaster, desperate shopping for new PC, and every other thing I've been up to ... yes, that too) these two earworms HAVE BEEN TAKING IT IN TURNS to stomp round the inside of my skull.

Will this exorcise them? I doubt it.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Guest Post: Princess in Chains

Yay, peeps - today the very wonderful and best-selling Justine Elyot has popped in to talk about her new release Princess in Chains. It's a proper fantasy/erotica novel so I jumped at the chance of featuring it here. We need more good erotica authors like Justine writing fantasy!

Here's the official blurb:

"Leonore, heiress to the Kingdom of Ystra, is promised in marriage to Corvin, unpopular monarch of the neighbouring Kingdom of Vala. When their first meeting ends in disaster, she is tempted to take her handmaiden, Asta, out of the castle to sample an evening of common delights in the city - but forces she hasn't reckoned with are against her, and Leonore finds her destiny taken from her hands.
She must embark on a quest to undo the wrong she has accidentally done, accompanied only by a handsome cooper's boy and the address of a mysterious alchemist whom, she hopes, will be the key to her success.

But nothing is as it seems, least of all Leonore's own heart."

I've bought my copy :-)
So ... over to you, Justine!

In A World Of My Own

Hello there! It's brilliant, if slightly intimidating, to be here at Janine's blog today, because I know that Janine is one of the very best writers of fantasy erotica working today, and I am a mere novice. So it's very kind of her to have me and I'll try not to spoil the look of the place too much. [Seriously? Have you seen the piles of dragon poop around here? - Janine ]

As a child and teenager (and, if I'm honest, an adult), one of the things said about me most often was, "She's in a world of her own." Yes, I was, and I still am, and I make no apology for it. When it came to writing, though, I was tentative about creating my own imaginary spaces. I started in fanfiction, where they are provided for you, and then moved on to stories set in the 'real world', albeit a heightened version of it.

This was odd, though, because a great deal of my fantasy life occurs in made-up places, so eventually it was inevitable that some of that would inform my writing. The world of Princess In Chains is both foreign and familiar, owing a lot to the cod-medieval world of Grimm tales, but I tried to make that landscape my own, and that was the fun part.

Leonore and her friends and foes exist in a place divided into different kingdoms, each kingdom having its distinct culture, aesthetic and philosophy. Ystra, Leonore's homeland, is an idealistic Ancient Greece – sunny, airy, tolerant of all beliefs, interested in the furthering of civilisation. Vala, where she travels to meet her betrothed, the King, is more rough and ready, living in a comparative dark age. The people there are practical and no-nonsense, unlike their neighbours in Thren whose heads are stuffed full of odd superstitions and rituals.

To write about completely made-up places is freeing and has given me a chance to think about how characters unconstrained by certain elements of our world culture might be different from us. There is one character, for instance, who comes from 'the southern lands', where men and women have always been equal and same sex relationships have never raised an eyebrow. I can't wait to tackle her story in more depth – but that might have to wait until book 3…

Princess In Chains is available now in both paperback and download format at Amazon UK and Amazon US

Monday, 6 January 2014

Eyecandy Monday

As it's the first Eyecandy of 2014, I thought I'd start y'all off with a happy smile.

Just to let you know; currently I've got the erotica on the back-burner and am writing a horror short story to appear in a Yorkshire-themed anthology next year.  I'm up to my neck in research and it's starting to look pretty good, I think. The panicky "oh-my-god-how-am-I-going-to-come-up-with-something-scary-enough?!" stage is over, anyway :-)

Friday, 3 January 2014

Vampires In Paperback!


After all those months as an e-book, Red Grow the Roses is now available in a glorious dead-tree version!

It's got floppy white pages and everything!

A bit of a pity Mischief Books didn't actually tell me ... but at least I found it. On Amazon UK only, I'm afraid - and the kindle version has currently vanished off Amazon US altogether. Publishing ...  it's a laugh, eh?

Still, the important thing is that the top/novel shelf on my Ego Bookcase is now finally complete :-)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!

 Here's one reason why:

It was so worth it.

I had a great Xmas break - you may have noticed that I've neglected my blog slightly, sorry mumble mumble - and I started the new year with a bang ;-)

Best wishes for 2014 to you all - may it be better than 2013 ever was!