Wednesday word of the week – Monologue

monolgue is is either a long speech by one person, a dramatic work for one performer or a scene within a longer piece where just one person speaks. I’m not sure if that means anyone who talks to themselves is a monologist whose monological habits cause them to monogolize from time to time, but I expect it’s something like that.

I tried chatting to this chap, but that turned into a monologue.

Wednesday word of the week – Pie

A pie is a baked dish with pastry on the top and bottom (just on the bottom is a tart, just on the top is a gastro pub cheat). Easy as pie means very easy (so why can’t those over-priced pubs get it right?). A pie chart is a representative circle divided into sections.

Pie in the sky* is unrealistic expectations or promises (possibly made when pie-eyed which means drunk) A pie can also be a piebald (black and white) animal or bird, a chaotic mess of printers’ type or a former currency unit in India.

*Not to be confused with pie in Skye which is a picnic on a Scottish island.

Friday phrase – Balls up

Saying someone has made a balls up is a rather rude of saying they’ve made a terrible mess of things. You might well have known that, but do you know the origin of the phrase?

When ships do pretty much anything, intentional or otherwise, they’re supposed to let other vessels know. Often this information is signalled through the ship’s horn and by displaying the appropriate flag(s). In the case of running aground, which really is messing things up, one signal is to display three balls in a vertical line.

A lovely review

Someone has posted a lovely review of my novel Paint Me A Picture, over on Facebook. I particularly like the phrase ‘beautifully undulating’ in the post – at least I do when it’s about my book. I might not be so keen if it referred to the author!

Paint Me A Picture is available here as a paperback, ebook or audio book. You can also request it in libraries.

Wednesday word of the week – Clarigation


My writer friend Sheila Crosby shares my enthusiasm for unusual and interesting words, and suggested a few for this blog, including today’s. A clarigation, is a demand for restitution of a wrong or injury. If that wasn’t received, war would be declared! Sounds as though it should be something friendlier, doesn’t it?

Apparently clarigations were particularly popular with the Romans. Strangely I don’t have any photos of roman wars, so you’ll need to make do with a picture of some more modern fighty stuff. I’m sure we’re not going to fall out over it!

Can’t choose your family

Can’t Choose Your Family, my collection of 25 ‘related’ stories, is currently reduced to 99p / 99c

Chloe’s dad wishes she’d talk to him. How can he help her without knowing what’s wrong? There’s a way he can find out, but not without losing her trust. He can’t risk that. Doug’s dad would rather not have heard what his son, or rather step-son, had to say. He’d destroyed his family’s trust; perhaps broken up the family too. Why must an innocent boy and rescue dog suffer for his selfishness?

Paula listens to her family, when she can hear them over the TV, but doesn’t like what they say. Drastic action is needed. Maybe she’ll go so far as to miss a few of her favourite shows? Jeremy’s good at listening to his mother. It’s easy when she talks so much sense. He remembers her advice and dishes it out to his friends, helping solve their problems. When will he take that advice himself?

Martha cares for Billy, willing him to talk at last. That would give her one more thing to be grateful for. Children often talk to their mothers, sometimes saying such cute things, but those women don’t always have time to listen. When they do, will they jump to the wrong conclusions and repeat the mistakes of the past just as Karen does?

Communication, done right, can bring families together. It made friends of Sally and her cousin, and ensured she got to the church on time. Talking about the past brought Frederick and Georgina together. Can they ever be more than kissing cousins? Talking to his wife about the fox might perhaps bring Duncan a step closer to having the family they’ve always wanted.

Families, whether we’re born or married into them, or choose them for ourselves all have stories to tell. This collection contains 25 of them. Get it here.

A double bouquet of free stories

Two of my short story collections are currently free to download.

In The Garden Air

Dorothy used to hate the noise of lawnmowers starting up, like a kind of horticultural Mexican sound wave, but that was before Luke was the one in charge of the machine. Betsie used to hate the awful Valentine’s gimmicks people used to impress friends and colleagues rather than showing their feelings to one special person. Actually she still dislikes those, but she loves the genuine sign of affection Tim gave her – almost as much as she loves the man himself.

Maria is desperate for it not to rain, she’ll die if it does, or at least thinks so. Suzie wants to gather those she cares about close to her as though assembling a posie and Hilary feels as though her new neighbours are like the lily of the valley creeping from their garden to hers; neither use nor ornament. Then they learn to look below the surface and see what’s truly important.

When Primrose retired, her colleagues showed they cared about her with gifts of primroses, items decorated in her favourite flowers, or in primrose yellow. Trudie was thanked, and maybe apologised to, with the purchase of flowers. For others the perfect way to get their message across is less obvious and they resort to sharp thorned roses, daisy chains or floral portraits.

Gardens, plants and people all have their stories. Breathe in the garden air and let me tell you a few.

Beyond The Garden Wall

Mike accuses Chloe of jumping to conclusions, creating chaos and dragging others along with her. Annoyingly he’s right. Geoff’s in no rush to tackle the wisteria. They’ve got all the time in the world for that – which is precisely what’s worrying his wife. Freya’s broken arm means she can’t enter the flower arranging competition herself. Even so, she’s not going to let Celia get away with her usual tricks.

Barbara gives her step-granddaughter a gift which just might give her a lifetime of happiness. Hospital rules mean Henry can’t take flowers to Millie, so how can he carry out The Idea? Colin is quiet and doesn’t really do much, but he has the gift of getting Cynthia out of unwanted situations.

Rhonda is a little sad to be leaving the garden she’s developed for over fifty years, but discovers a perfect alternative. Maria’s garden is looking better than ever – but who or what answered her plea for help with the design? The conservatory is as much of a wreck as Ginny, restoring one brings back the other’s joy.

Gardens, flowers, plants and people all have their stories. Beyond the garden wall is where you’ll find these tales.

Wednesday Word Of The Week – Idyll

An idyll is a simple, happy and peaceful situation or period of time, or picturesque scene or incident. Often they’re rustic, rural or romantic (or all three). It can also mean a poem or other artwork which describes something so idyllic. Some of the places we visit with our van are idyllically suited to my becoming an idyllist.

A Change

My story A Change Of Outlook is in the current (April) edition of Take A Break’s Fiction Feast.

It’s not unusual for editors to change the title the author gave the story. In this case that hasn’t happened, but a character’s name has been changed – form Edith to Patricia. I’ve no idea why, although I’m sure there will have been a logical reason. Perhaps there’s another character called Edith in this issue. As I’ve not read it all I’m not sure. Such changes don’t matter, and don’t bother me, but I do wonder why they’ve been made.