On No Account, My Love

Re-read Elizabeth Jenkins’ short story, On No Account, My Love yesterday.  Published in 1955, it’s short, well-written ghost story, ideal if you like creepy atmospheric writing rather than full-on horror.  It’s about a young woman who visits the now-empty house in which her grandmother – a battleaxe, according to family lore – ran a girl’s school, with the proverbial rod of iron.  There are hints that the young woman possesses untapped mediumistic tendencies, as yet untapped, and while there she is keen to a connection with the matriarch, whom she never met.

It might be a bit tame for modern tastes, but I really like the tone of the story, which is one of those tales that’s ideal for a rainy winter’s afternoon when the shadows are getting longer.  (I know spring is on the way, but it didn’t feel like that yesterday with all hail hammering on the windows.) Its also about getting in touch with the past and facing up to preconceptions – and also maybe about the potential danger of trying to take peek ‘behind the curtain’.  If you get a chance to read this story, I hope you like it as much as I do.


Maddy and George

Maddy cover

So, Maddy and George are finally out there.  I’d promised my daughter a while back that I’d write something she could read, ie something not involving murder, dead bodies, creatures from your nightmares, etc.  I had fun writing it (and she seemed to like it, too, which was a bonus!)  It’s aimed roughly at 8-12 year-olds but, as ever with kids’ books, that’s just a guide.  I’d like to do a sequel at some point, but at the moment I’m busy working on a ‘Hilary Darke part 2’.  Yes, I know what they say about sequels, but I’m going ahead and doing it anyway…


The Author Exploitation Business

Lots of interesting stuff in this article by David Gaughran and I also enjoyed the comments it generated.

David Gaughran

penguin (1)Writing is a glamorous occupation – at least from the outside. Popular depictions of our profession tend to leave out all the other stuff that comes with the territory: carpal tunnel syndrome, liver failure, penury, and madness.

Okay, okay, I jest. I love being a writer. Sharing stories with the world and getting paid for it is bloody brilliant. It’s a dream job, and like any profession with a horde of neophytes seeking to break in, there are plenty of sharks waiting to chew them to bits.

Publishing is a screwed up business. The often labyrinthine path to success makes it much easier for those with nefarious intentions to scam the unsuspecting. But it doesn’t help that so many organizations who claim to help writers, to respect them, to assist them along the path to publication are actually screwing them over.

Before the digital revolution made self-publishing viable on a…

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Gerkins, be gone!

I took my daughter to McDonald’s yesterday lunchtime for a treat.  (Make of that what you will.)  As I was waiting for our order, a very cross customer came and complained to the manager.  Someone had made a mistake with his order.  To add insult to injury, he said (more or less), someone had also written a rude message on the wrapper.  What was this rude message?  I began to wonder.  I was imagining all kinds of things, but was disappointed to hear that it actually said, “Gerkins, be gone!” 

I don’t know what gherkins have done to justify his anger, but the customer was really not happy.  Rectifying the order wasn’t enough.  What compensation could he expect for this?  Compensation?  Compensation for what?  Loss of his sense of humour?  McDonald’s may be a multi-trillion global conglomerate, but I think that was beyond even them.

Actually I felt sorry for the poor guy or gal who’d written the message – probably in an attempt to make the job of dishing hundreds of burgers in a hot kitchen on a sunny day a little more bearable.  What price a little humour?