Tuesday 29 December 2009

I've Moved!

A New Year calls for a New Start, so I have moved my blog to:


....so, remember to change your link to me, or click on my link to the right.

Come and find me....I'm waiting.....

Sunday 27 December 2009


What was your best pressie?

Mine was the latest copy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook that my hubby gets for me every Christmas. It always gives me that much needed kick-up-the-backside to start my writing year afresh.

(....closely follwed by the Dita Von Teese calendar I got from my daughter. Yes. I have a girlcrush for this sexy burlesque stripper...ssshhh... )

Sunday 20 December 2009

Coming out from Under The Dome!


What a hectic few weeks these past ones have been, but I have emerged unscathed at last from the horrors of a christmas-yet-to-be. I think working in a school must be one of the most busiest, stressful, time-consuming places to be at this time of year.
My head is still buzzing with the Nativity, carols, cards to make and glue, wall displays to create, and noisy classroom parties; all sprinkled heavily with a dusting of excited, hyper-active children! For four weeks I have barely had time to open my emails, let alone do anything productive in the writing field.

I did however manage to finish Under The Dome, so here - as promised - is my thoughts on Stephen King's latest offering:

The story is set in Maine, in a small township called Chester's Mill. One morning the residents of Chester's Mill wake up to find the town - and immediate surrounding countryside - trapped beneath an invisible barrier; a dome which rises thousands of feet up into the sky, and sinks thousands of feet down below the ground. No-one can get in, and no-one can get out. Before many hours have passed the residents of the town have already started to divide into Good and Bad. As the story trundles on it seems as if the Bad may very well take over the town, for their numbers are many; the Good have maybe two dozen in their ranks...but the Good have something the Bad do not: they believe they know what is causing their town to be held captive beneath this huge invisible barrier. The question is this - can they free the town from the confines of The Dome before the Bad rule the town with cruel dictatorship?
You will have to find that out for yourself.
I am not going to give away the ending here!
I will say this however: I did not think this one of King's finest novels; I am an avid reader of all SK's work, but found Under The Dome lacking the sparkle of his other books. There was something missing. The book itself boasts almost 900 pages and the story never falters from page to page, there is never a dull moment, but still I found myself able to put the book down - especially during the first 300 pages or so. It seemed to take me a good third of my way through the book before I started to care about the people in it.
Stephen King is well known for his tongue-in-cheek approach to horror, but here he seemed to take that a tad too far. I didn't like the way that nearly everybody in the story had a nickname - this started to annoy me after a while, and having read - and loved - The Stand, Under The Dome seemed like a distant relative of that epic tome: even The Chef, the villain of the piece, was a poor man's version of Trashcan Man from The Stand.
But. Having said all that I did enjoy the journey it took me on. The ending was a tiny bit lame, but the story came to a conclusion that I'm sure many of us have pondered on at some stage in our lives.
I would like to know your views on Under The Dome if I've not put you off reading it!

Sunday 22 November 2009

I will be back!

Hang in there folks, I will be posting again very soon, but I'm a bit bulimic at the moment: gorging myself on the words of Stephen King's new novel, then forcing myself to spew up the words of my own piece de resistance.

Bon appetite!

Wednesday 11 November 2009

The King is Back!!


The BEST THING in the world happened today - at least I think so anyway!

Stephen King's new book hit the shelves and in my lunch break I bought a copy.

Under The Dome is almost 900 pages in length.

Yummy Yummy!!

I will let you know what I think of it as soon as I reach the last page....

Sunday 8 November 2009

Random Musing #2

'Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.' Oscar Wilde.

As most of you know by now, I work in a school. Last week one of our teachers was off sick for three days. Each day a different supply teacher came in to take the class.
On Fridays the children have been learning about the history of the English monarchy. This week the lesson planned was all about how George VI came to be King after his brother Edward stepped down from the throne.
Just before the lesson began, the supply teacher came to me, lesson plans in hand, and asked me if I would help her. She wanted to know what the word abdicate meant and why did King George have the roman numeral VI after his name.
I was flabbergasted to say the least.
She was a qualified teacher in her thirties (although, admittedly, she was Australian!), surely as such she should know the meaning of abdicate and why King George VI was the sixth King George!
What chance do the children of today have?

Sunday 1 November 2009

Happy Samhain.

October 31

They came for her just before midnight.
The darkened sky stained orange by the burning torches clutched in their calloused work-worn hands. Voices unified as one. Chanting: ...burn the witch...burn the witch...burn the witch....
For a time she couldn't move, paralysed by her fear, then of a sudden she sprang into action, grey skirts and petticoats swirling around her legs. Her eyes darted frantically, looking in every direction at once, hunting for somewhere to hide. But there was nowhere. Her dwelling was too small. She knew if she made a run for it, a mad dash into the woods, they would see her.
She was trapped.
Hastily she doused the candles, the smell of wax and smoke permeated the air like a musk. Above her fireplace, suspended from the beams, was a wooden rack. It was here she hung her herbs to dry, and it was here now she scrambled, balancing precariously on her table as she wriggled her body into the shadows between ceiling and thin boards.
The whole rack creaked as it took her weight. She prayed through trembling lips that it would hold, that it wouldn't tip her to the floor like a corpse.
She froze.
The chanting had stopped.
Her door burst open. It hit the wall with a thud and rebounded with a groan of warped wood.
Her breath caught in her throat.
A huge dark figure was standing in the doorway: a black shadow silhouetted against the orange firelight without. It was the village blacksmith. A mean looking forging iron hung down from his right fist.
His eyes glinted white as he eyed up the single-roomed dwelling.
He grunted: "She's not here. The bitch must have heard us coming."
Other voices joined his: "The wood! She must be hiding in the wood!"
And they were gone. As swiftly as they had come.
She waited until the orange had left the sky. Until the last of the footfalls had faded to a whisper. Then, and only then, she slipped from her hiding place.
She gasped. A sharp intake of thin breath.
A small girl, no more than seven or eight years old, was standing just over the threshold.
She knew the child. Only two days ago she had removed a splinter of green poisoned wood from the girl's finger, soothed it with the salve she always kept in the pocket of her petticoat.
She smiled.
She was safe.
She held out a hand towards the child.
The girl held her gaze for two whole seconds, then turned on her tiny heels and stepped out into the night. Her voice belied her size: "She's here. The witch is here. Come back. Come back. The witch is here."
A cry of triumph exploded from the trees in a blaze of orange flames.

Two weeks ago when I was at school, one of the children came up to me and asked why we celebrated Halloween? What was it all about?
I was stumped. I sort of knew the reason. Vaguely. But not in any great detail. So the pair of us went to the nearest computer and hit google.
I was fascinated with all the facts me and my ten year old sidekick found out.
I will share -
2,000 years ago Ireland, Great Britain and France, celebrated their New Year not on January 1, but on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest, and the beginning of the dark, cold, harshness of winter. It was a time of year that was often associated with human death and sacrifices. It was believed that on the eve of the New Year: Oct 31st, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred; overlapped. It was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth for one night only(this is where I became interested!). During this time the evil spirits would cause all sort of damage to crops and animals, but also, it was thought, that these spirits made it easier for the Druids and Celts to predict the future; gifts were given for 'good' prophecies (Trick or Treat!).

To commemorate October 31st, New Year's Eve - which was then known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in) - huge sacred bonfires were built, where the people gathered to burn crops, animals, and witches, as sacrifices (gifts) to the Celtic deities.

During this celebration the people often wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each others fortunes. When the celebrations were over, they re-lit their hearth fires (which they had extinguished earlier that evening), from the sacred bonfire, to help protect them during the coming winter months.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into the Celtic lands. November 1 was declared All Saints' Day. A time to honor saints and martyrs. It is believed that the pope of the day was attempting to replace the old Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration became known as All-hallows (Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day in Middle English), thus the day before became known as All-hallows Eve, and eventually Halloween. It was still celebrated with big bonfires, but now the people dressed up as saints, angels and devils.

Thus ends my lesson for today.

Happy Samhain!