People Are All Kinds of Dumb #3…

Ladies, have you ever been browsing the aisles in your local Tesco, disappointed that your period wasn’t due for another couple of weeks? Well, here’s some advice, from a since deleted article in the UK edition of Marie Claire:

Parsley can help to soften the cervix and level out hormonal imbalances that could be delaying your cycle, helping your period come faster. If you’re struggling to find a dish based on parsley, don’t panic – the most effective forms are said to be parsley tea and parsley vaginal inserts.

Yes, you read that correctly – parsley vaginal inserts. Just stick it on up there, add a little seasoning to taste, and you should be flowing in no time at all. Fresh parsley, dried parsley. Organic parsley. The choices are plentiful. I would ask The Girlfriend© to try it out, but she always confuses parsley with coriander, and we don’t yet know what that does to the menstrual cycle.

“There are only a few things that should go in your vagina and vegetables generally aren’t one of them.”

Quote of the year, right there.


What I’ve Done This Week #2…

In terms of pushing a new story – that monster one on the train – I’ve probably written less this week than last, but what I have done over the past few days is start to throw my stories out to publishers again.

I tend to use Duotrope for my publication needs. There are others out there which I check out occasionally, but Duotrope covers the bases and is presented clearly and cleanly. It’s a fairly stacked database, with thousands of publications to choose from. It’s by no means exhaustive, but there is a lot of content to wade through.

And yes, it does cost $5 a month to access, but if you’re going to be sending stuff out there with any regularity it’s a bit of a no-brainer. Speculate to accumulate, as they say.

With a little luck something positive will result from my efforts, because it has been far too long since I’ve had an acceptance. Sure, I’ve not played the game nearly as much lately, but still…

Fingers crossed.

People Are All Kinds of Dumb #2…

Couples on the precipice of marriage can be strange beasts indeed. Maybe it’s the suffocating thought that they will soon (officially) be a we instead of just an I, or maybe it’s something a lot less tangible than that, but once that date looms on the calendar all of those not-so-perfect traits come out like cream from a freshly-baked profiterole.

It’s a long way down from that cliff-edge, so you have to forgive a little silliness along the way, but these guys are just asking for trouble.

For example, at the dinner, guests will be required to answer a mathematical question in order to find out where they sit. Every guest/couple will be presented with a unique, bespoke question: its difficulty and subject matter drawn directly from what we know their mathematical background to be.

So says the Facebook post.

All right, fine – maybe most of their guests play on a similar field and it will all be a bit of a laugh, but surely not everyone on their list has quadratic equations coursing through their veins. What about cousin Johnny who dropped out of college to pursue a career in the fast food industry; or that one friend who hasn’t put down his guitar since second grade because he always knew he was going to be the next Hendrix? What question do they get?

Everyone wants to feel clever, and absolutely nobody wants to be have their intelligence questioned, especially by people they would count as their friends and family…


…and I’m damn sure nobody wants to have to put in a study session before they shine their shoes and head off to the church.

What I’ve Done This Week #1…

Well, not very much as it happens – certainly not as much as the first week of last year, when I was burning both ends of that candle and kicking out my final draft of Slipwater, but definitely more than I wrote in the final week of last year. I’m going to take that as a positive and move forward from there.

The short story I’m writing at the moment has been on the books for several years, and has gone through a number of name changes along the way, but I have settled for The 07.43 to Blackford Station, which is of course, subject to change.

It’s an old-fashioned monster story – something I’ve wanted to write for a long time – and is centred on five teenage friends as they take the morning train to school. I have over 3000 words down, and I’m probably looking at twice that upon completion. I know the beats I want to hit, so hopefully I can finally put my mind to it and put this story to bed once and for all. .. by the end of February.

People Are All Kinds of Dumb #1…

Bird Box is a new Sandra Bullock movie, distributed by Netflix which you can find on the streaming platform right now. It’s an enjoyable take on the end of the world zombie trope that has been passé for longer than I have been around to document it.

In the film, people are forced to live out their days blind, as death comes to all those who see the virus or the thing that has arrived to destroy the species. Spoiler… there never is an explanation as to what it is, or why it’s here, but you know, that’s a minor plot quibble.

So it was, of course, only a matter of time before some bright spark landed on the idea of the Bird Box Challenge – a stupendously silly and irresponsible idea, where the object is to film yourself performing everyday tasks while blindfolded. It’s mostly harmless stuff like walking around the house and banging into your sofa, but then there are people driving cars or walking on top of buildings to balance things out at the crazy end of the scale.

Netflix even had to take to Twitter on the second day of 2019:

Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.

I can’t believe they had to say it either.

Fortunately there have been no recorded deaths as a result of this idiocy, but it’s only a matter of time. On second thoughts, I say fortunately, but perhaps these are exactly the kind of people the world could do with culling.

Natural selection and all that.


Hyperbole can be fun and in many instances, warranted. I’m certainly as guilty of it as the next guy, but sometimes it needs to be called out just the same… like the person who decided that this collection of inflammatory words was a good idea – scaremongering at its absolute finest:

A triple-vortex polar blast is threatening to thrust the UK into a snowy January as a plume of sub-zero air across Britain will lock the nation into Arctic misery until spring, forecasters have warned.

It’s the first paragraph from an article in the Daily Express last week, where language and journalistic integrity are seemingly secondary to sensationalism. It sounds like the blurb from a Hollywood summer blockbuster.

So basically, folks, we’re gonna get some snow.

It’s Been a…

Yes. Yes it has.

Another one is drawing to a close, and 2018 has been without question, the best I have seen for a long time – which feels a little odd to admit, considering the vast majority of the writing I did this year was finished by the time the calendar flipped to March. Granted, that writing was the completion of my novel Slipwater, but I have still to find that agent and/or publisher who is willing to give me a chance – something that this time last year I was absolutely convinced would no longer be a concern.

But, writing aside, my personal life is in a much more profitable place than it was twelve months ago. I have a better job with better hours and prospects, and a lovely home to go back to when I’m finished… none of which would mean anything if I didn’t have anyone to share my newly acquired happiness with, and I think I’ve got that too.

I have found a girl who makes me very happy – much happier than I ever expected to be. She makes me laugh every day, and is there to give me a hug or hold my hand when I need that as well. And with her children, she has also provided me with the family that I was sure I would never be a part of, and for that I too am grateful.

As I move into 2019, I do so with a smile and the knowledge that no matter what life throws at me, it will always be easier to handle with The Girlfriend© by my side.