Mending a Broken … Journal

Now that Prelude is out in the stratosphere, doing it’s own thing, I’ve been concentrating on my next great adventure.

This is a fanciful cover I did a while back for it, even before I began Prelude actually. I used this wonderful software called Pulp-O-mizer, and it creates the most wonderful ‘golden-age’ pulp fiction science fiction covers. It’s not for commercial use but it makes a wonderful placeholder to wrap around my new work until I finish the story and have a clearer idea of what the true cover will look like;

Bel and the Knight Whiskey Runners


I’ve had this ratty old spiral-bound notebook that I use as my writing workbook for, (first entry is dated, 4th March 2010, and still going strong) so, for a long time, and it’s starting to show its age.

I have a few journals going, for all sorts of aspects of my life. They help keep my thoughts organized on the task at hand, otherwise I’d be haring off in a gazillion different directions.

My writing journal is probably the simplest of them all. It’s just an abbreviated list of what writerly things I want to achieve in a day, and whether I’ve managed to achieve them, with a brief note or two if appropriate – hence it’s longevity.

But opening and closing a spiral-bound notebook over three thousand times has a price, and this is the price …

Worn out corners

Worn out corners

I thought it needed a new cover too, so I decided to do a two-fer upgrade.

But how was I supposed to reattach the separated  bit of the cover inside the spiral to the rest of it and still have it open and close?

First I measured the distance between the spirals. Turns out they’re exactly 8mm apart.

Checking out how it looks BEFORE I glue anything

Checking out how it looks BEFORE I glue anything

I had some business-card-weight sheets of paper stashed away, (we don’t throw away anything in this household!) that I measured up and cut into strips like this ….

Card strip on cutting board - I used a large needle to perforate the mid-point and cut and trimmed each bit where the spirals would go

Card strip on cutting board – I used a large needle to perforate the mid-point and cut and trimmed each bit where the spirals would go

Then, starting on the back cover, I carefully, and very patiently threaded the strip inside the spiral and pulled it in-between each turn of the wire spiral, and glued it in place with some PVA glue, thusly …

Back cover - Shades of dentistry

Back cover – Shades of dentistry

Having practiced on the back cover, I turned my attention to the front …

Front cover - The tricky bit was getting the completely separated bit of cover the old cover to stay in place while I glued it

Front cover – The tricky bit was getting the completely separated bit of cover the old cover to stay in place while I glued it

And here she is, all shiny and refurbished, albeit with well-worn pages within.

Final cover - Ready to go for another nine years

Final cover – Ready to go for another nine years


It seems that this week I’m all about D.I.Y. because I have a post up on my Widds The Shaman blog about making salves.


I Was There At The Beginning And I’ll Be The At The End – My One And Only Trailer For Star Wars: Episode IX

I only watch the first trailer for movies that I’m excited about, so this is it for me. Now comes eight months of an extended, excited kind of torture.

Me, as I'm watching this ...

Me, as I’m watching this …

They Don’t Write ‘Em Like This Anymore … Do They?

I usually have my favorite music streaming site playing in the background when I’m writing. It’s called AccuRadio, and this afternoon was no exception. I’d discovered one of their new ‘channels’ they’d put together called, ‘Melodies and Memories Plus Country’, a rather eclectic mix of songs from the 40’s through to the 70’s.

So, I’m typing away when the dulcet tones of Patsy Cline (I wonder why plane crashes took so many performers of her era?) drew my attention from the dire straights my characters were currently experiencing having been marooned on a derelict O’Neil Cylinder. (let’s be honest for a moment, they brought it on themselves)

It was something about the lyrics Patsy was warbling that prompted me to check out the song title, because I didn’t have my wizz-bang blue hearing aids in at the time and I mightn’t’ve heard correctly.

But no, I’d heard true.

I laughed out loud because Country Music might not have cornered the market in unusual song titles, but I’m fairly certain only Country Music could’ve produced a broken-hearted love song outta this…

For your listening pleasure, I now present Patsy Cline, singing, Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray!

At What Point

At what point, I wonder did humans killing humans become honorable, at least from the killers point of view?

The culture from which the killers arise are lionized and call them heroes, but they are killers none-the-less.

They think themselves protectors, the preservers of their way of life, but what is preserved in the slaughter and the blood and the broken bodies that breathe no more?

The world has heard of yet another angry, frightened, man choosing to murder … it was not a ‘mass-shooting’ … it was murder, just as they all are, no matter what the socially acceptable ‘objective’ phrase of the day is.

I find in my heart no compassion for the murderer. He made his choice. No compassion for the belief systems he espoused, or the culture that encouraged the demonization of the ‘other’. That too is a choice.

This is my choice. To reject them utterly. To condemn their enablers. To refuse the fence-sitters the luxury of their ambivalence. To deny them any place in my life, in my heart, in my world.

Well, It’s Star Anise Time Again …

…sung to Ray Charles’ ‘Crying Time’ … because allergy season is here at Widder Lake … and the snow hasn’t even finished melting.

My allergy face

My allergy face

If you’re wondering why, ‘star anise’, look no further than this post I did about it a while back. There’s something about the ‘star’ that mitigates the nastier symptoms of allergies.

Take it away Ray …

Star anise

Star anise

Glorious Sunbeams, and a Sale

The snow’s almost gone, except in the shady areas where it’s still as solid as … ice!.

Our compost bins have finally thawed out so I went to empty one of them yesterday, (I rotate between three big plastic garbage cans) and came across a huge clump of worms huddled together near the bottom. Feeling like an immanent mass-murderer I hurriedly buried them in the deepest part of the open compost pile and scuttled away feeling terribly guilty. I think they’ll be fine, once they get over the shock, and will have much more room there than in the bin that’s for sure.

We’re having a lovely stretch of bright sunny days and shivery-cold nights, and one of the benefits of us both being self-employed is that we can take time out of each day and absorb some of the glorious beams that grace the garden after midday, so long as we avoid the shadows. They’re cold.

The Wintertree ... waiting, waiting, for Spring

The Wintertree … waiting, waiting, for Spring


In other news, Smashwords is having its annual Read an Ebook Week Sale, from today, 3rd March, until the 9th March 2019, so I’ve added Prelude to the list. It’s on sale for $3USD for the next seven days.


The Dragon and the Phoenix, and Other Things

First there came a Great Dragon …

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

… who was soon joined by her good friend, the Emerald Phoenix …

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

I came across these two creatures today in my email inbox. They were featured in this article from the wonderful people at


Prelude has a review, read it HERE. Many thanks to Jaye.


And, I put my Shaman-y hat on and went visiting HERE, at Dropping Pennies. Many thanks to KT, for the invite.


The sun is shining so bright it’s almost impossible to look out my window without squinting as the gorgeous beams dance over and bounce off of the hard packed frozen snow. A brisk northerly wind has blown every cloud from the sky and the gusts howl through my, slightly open window, because who can resist such a harbinger of Spring.

The shy, and seldom seen, Spring Harbinger Owl

The shy, and seldom seen, Spring Harbinger Owl