Friday, August 30, 2013

Curious Curiosity Cabinets

Join me over on The History Girls, talking about The National Museum of Scotland's Window on the World and Eduardo Paolozzi's amazing statue/display cases.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Slightly Competition!

It's competition time!  Come on over to Girls Heart Books for a chance to win a copy of Slightly Jones and the Case of the Hidden City!

(You've got until Friday 30 September at 7 p.m. to have a go.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Surprising Belfast

This week I've been in Belfast with family who have just moved there.  I went with a pretty clear picture of the problems and no idea of the delights - a) the architecture, b) the Botanic Gardens, c) the Ulster Museum, and d) the wordplay!  I saw, in big black letters, scrawled across the side of a building, the word Graffiti!  I saw a sign on a house for sale with the added banner Too Late.  I didn't go to the Titanic Museum but apparently you can buy t-shirts from there that say She Was Fine When She Left Here.  There was a restaurant selling food from Thailand called Thai Tanic.  I heard a voice marshaling a group of children in the museum saying, "Hands up, anyone who's not here."  And those are just the ones I can remember at the moment.  I'm sure the entire city isn't populated by pleasant, helpful, nicely-spoken, funny people, but that seemed to be all I met.  And although my writer's feet are as sore as anything from walking on all that pavement, I'm feeling ready for some good work with my writer's hands in the week to come.  So, thank you, Belfast! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Flyering Fame

Snippet of the day:  Check out paragraph two in Kate Copstick's Fringe Diary today!  That's my boy -

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Poetry Tree and an Unfamiliar Stringed Instrument

Two things I wanted to say: 

 1.) Five lines of mine are hanging from a Poetry Tree in a walled garden in Logan Botanical Gardens, in good company. Have a look here.

(photo from the Walking with Poets blog)

And 2.) I need help.  

A character who has decided I am writing about her appears to be a viola player. At the moment, however, I don't know anything about violas or viola music.  I need to learn, so that the inside of this viola-playing character's head can be properly dressed, so I'm turning to you.  From the ones who are practising hours a day to the ones whose viola has been gathering dust in their cupboard since the Norman Conquest.  Talk to me.  Tell me why you love the viola.  Tell me what your favourite viola music is.  Who your favourite violist is.  Tell me stuff only a viola player would know.  (There's a secret society, right?)  I look forward to hearing all and sundry!

And 3.) (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition) thank you for reading!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Hidden City's Page is Live!

Please come and find out lots about Slightly Jones' 4th and final adventure - The Case of the Hidden City now has its very own web page!  You can get to it by clicking on the cover in the What's New box, or on the My Books page, or just cut to the chase and click here


Saturday, August 10, 2013


Two things arrived to brighten the day - the author copies of The Hidden City, an even more beautiful blue than the version I showed you earlier -

- and the announcement that the 26 Norwich Writers' website is finally live!  Start with the map of "who is or who was who in this literary exploration of Norwich, England's first City of Literature."  This is a jam-packed site but may I nudge you gently in the direction of 2?  It's a lovely number, and the fact that it will lead you to Harriet Martineau, Alex Hodson (in the UEA section) and me is simply by-the-by.

It's been well worth waiting for, so off you go - have a wander.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Don't Blame the Tempestarii!

Well, the book is still out in the night someplace, so I've turned my attention to something shorter, a sci-fi story about weather witches trying to terraform a new world.  Tempestarii, they were called in medieval times.  What a great name.*

Co-incidentally, I struggled to think what on earth to cook for dinner tonight.  Preparing this blog has really helped.

* Having told me that, good old Wikipedia then went on to describe the belief of the parishioners of Bishop Agobard of Lyons (ca. 779-840 CE) that ...

... tempestarii were in league with a mythical race of cloud-dwellers who came from a land named 'Magonia' ("Land of Magic", "Land of Thieves"). The Magonians were supposed to sail the skies in storm clouds; they would then pay Frankish tempestarii to summon up storms over farmlands, during which the Magonians could swoop down and steal the corn from the fields. On the particular occasion which prompted Agobard to write, several supposed Magonians had been taken prisoner by irate villagers shortly after a bad storm; the Bishop had been forced to intervene and debate with the villagers in order to save the prisoners' lives.

Well, now you know.