Monthly Archives: November 2012

Friday Fictioneers – Tisn’t the Season

I’m delighted to be able to post another Friday Fiction story today. I missed InMon yesterday and if I get chance I’ll catch that up later, but for now, Rochelle’s picture is below and the links to other stories are on her site. Your comments on my response are welcome, as ever.

And at the risk of sounding Scrooge-like, it’s still November, so as far as I’m concerned, the title is particularly apt. Bah, humbug!


‘Tisn’t the Season

They appeared overnight: a light frosting of lights around the eaves and gables of homes, shops and temples. In the twilight hours of dawn, walking the quiet streets to work, I marvelled at their beauty and wondered whether the City had suddenly found some unspent budget for Christmas lights in June.

The local newspapers sported their usual split, with half decrying the waste and half expounding the benefits of adding a little sparkle. But when the journalists interviewed councillors, they were met with confusion and denials. Noone knew where the lights had come from.

And then they began to fall.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Not a Reading Blog

This is not a reading blog. There are lots of reasons for that – not least that I don’t read enough to keep up regular posting about books. That might change now, because one of the few adult things I’ve found it possible to do while keeping Sebastian calm is read. At the moment, he doesn’t mind what I read, provided I am reading it out loud. So we have already shared the car seat manual, my previous blog post and various emails.

We have also shared a book. And just as I reserve the right to post about Sebastian occasionally despite this not being a parenting blog, and about the cats despite it not being a pet-lovers blog, this post is about a book I’ve read.

Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper

Mitch Albom is one of my favourite modern authors. His is one of the names I search for occasionally to see if they’ve released anything new. The last time I did that, I had a nice surprise and a few days later, The Time Keeper dropped through my letter box.

Like most of his books, it’s a work of fiction but with a strong moral compass, and elements of the old-fashioned fable. The story is relatively short, there is not much by way of description, character depth or action, and if you don’t happen to agree with the author’s world view, you should probably steer clear of all his books. But I do happen to agree with a lot of Mitch Albom’s world view, and I find his books both moving and inspiring. He has a simple, easy-to-read style and I believe the lack of detail he gives is one of the things that allows readers to feel so much for the characters – they are a backcloth on which to impose our own self-image.

If you haven’t read any of his books, I would strongly recommend you do. My favourite remains The Five People You Meet In Heaven, but others, like For One More Day and The Time Keeper are also strong. Tuesdays With Morrie is probably his most famous, but it’s a slightly different type of book, being based on a true story, and isn’t where I’d suggest starting.

If you’ve read any of his books, let me know what you think in the comments. Or, if you like Mitch Albom’s writing and can recommend anything similar you think I’d enjoy, please let me know.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and I are wondering whether to go for H G Wells or Dorothy Koomson next…


Filed under Uncategorized

Friday Fiction – Choices

After 50 posts to the Friday Fictioneers, I did wonder if I should find a new writing challenge, move on. But I’ve come to enjoy my weekly forays into the FF world, I value the friendships and feedback of the group and I enjoy reading the stories – so why mess with a winning formula? Besides, Sebastian is providing me with plenty of new challenges right now, so an old challenge makes a welcome change!

Life is settling into a new kind of normal with my little boy up front and centre in the new world order, but I’m hoping he allows me to continue the writing commitments I’ve enjoyed so much over the last few years. Right now, my muse seems to be suffering a bit under the weight of insufficient sleep and lots of distractions, so please be gentle with this week’s piece, but as ever I welcome your feedback, good and bad.

Here’s the photo, courtesy of Joyce Johnson. You can see the other responses linked from Rochelle’s page.


It wasn’t at all like she’d expected. There was no bright light, no beckoning figures; just two doors and apparently a free decision which to enter.

Each door was marked with a bronze face. One was serene and placid: its features unmarked by emotion. The other was twisted into a laugh or a grimace; she couldn’t tell which.  Either way, it was ugly. The other was more … angelic.

But her eyes kept coming back to the twisted visage. Even if it was a grimace, was that really worse than a world without emotion?

She paused, then pushed the door.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Inspiration Monday – Back in the saddle


Thanks for bearing with me during my break. I’m hoping to slide back into frequent postings as Sebastian and I settle into our new life together, and I thought I’d start with a contribution to Inspiration Monday this week. It’s not my favourite piece – I am slightly dissatisfied with it as it stands, and if I have chance over the day I might come back and tweak it (or start all over again), but I wanted to get something put up, so here’s the first draft.

As ever, I’d love to hear what you think – good or bad.

The End of the World

The sky was bright and amber, the setting sun glowing  like a blazing fire consuming the city. It reflected in office windows and blinded commuters on the freeway. To Owen, lifting his head briefly from the latest comic to land in his mailbox, it looked like the end of the world, and he glanced over his shoulder to look for the alien spacecraft bringing forth the apocalypse.

But there were no aliens, and the world was no more ending today than it had any other autumn evening in the age of mankind. The world would keep turning and the sun would keep burning and comics would keep arriving as long as there was money in his father’s account to pay the subscriptions.

Distracted now from his fantasies, he stood up and walked over to the armchair where his father’s body lay slumped, as though he had just fallen asleep after a long argument with his son.

“I’ll have to move you eventually, Dad. I need that space for when the back copies of 2000 AD arrive.”


Filed under Inspiration Monday, Writing

Writing anew

Two weeks ago Sebastian arrived in our world and as all parents (or witnesses of parenting) will know, he’s turned it upside down. In a wonderful way, but completely and utterly nevertheless.

I do want to get back to my regular blogging soon – I miss the challenges and camaraderie of the Friday Fictioneers and InMon, and the routine of writing here or elsewhere every day. I have had to put down NaNoWriMo for this year – I expected I would, but I wanted to keep the option open in case he was a couple of weeks late and I was waiting around in need of distraction.

But in the meantime, I’m practising my creativity in other ways. Like making up new verses for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (stars are so passe – Sebastian and I deal in bats, prawns, the sun and a wide variety of sea creatures) and stories about the wind to entertain my little boy in the middle of the night. None of it is ever going to leave the walls of my house, and it’s certainly not the beginnings of my JK Rowling-esque rise to stardom, but it keeps my brain ticking and gives me something to do in the wee small hours.

How do you write when you can’t write? When do you exercise your creative brain away from pen and paper, or keyboard and screen? And anyone want to place a bet on whether I’ll make it back to FF / IM this side of Christmas?!

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Filed under Friday Fiction, Inspiration Monday, NaNoWriMo, Writing

We interrupt normal programming…

… to bring you this special announcement:

Sebastian Joshua Pendergast was born on 4th November at 1.01am weighing 7lbs6oz and absolutely perfect. He and I are recovering well and enjoying getting to know each other!


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Friday Fiction #50 – How Time Flies

According to my records, this is my fiftieth foray into the Friday Fictioneers. My records may be wrong, but I’m going with them and celebrating anyway. It’s also NaNoWriMo, so I’ve sneakily written this on Wednesday in advance, although it’ll post automatically on Friday morning, because I’m picky like that!

Rochelle is now our leader, and this photo comes from Ted. Thanks to both for the inspiration. As ever, critique and comments are the food that fuels this writer; please leave them below.

How Time Flies

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” my old man used to say; “Toys fly then you’re having fun,” is my catchphrase. I guess it’s a bad pun, so bad most people don’t even get it. They just stare when I shout it at fairs.

They buy the toys, though, and that’s all I really care about. One in every household in America. That’s my dream. Of course, sometimes they buy more than one, but one is all I need. One little, flying bug toy in every house on every street of every state.

That’s when the fun will really start.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

First of November

It’s the first of November. Many of you will be setting out on the path that is NaNoWriMo. Some will be clutching a map for this terrain, in the form of an outline you’ve written, detailed character sketches, a calendar filled with targets and rewards or whatever else it is you believe will carry you across the line. Many will have a backpack stuffed with tools and equipment – everything from a special notebook to a thermos filled with coffee. A few will be setting out alone, most will be part of a team of other writers – all battling their own writing challenge, but supported by the company of others in the same boat.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve done this before. But even if you have, each year it is new in as many ways as it is old. Each November brings its own challenges, each plot has different stumbling blocks. And that’s before you’ve changed the goal posts by increasing your target word count, challenging yourself to write a new genre, or changing the way you plan.

Everyone wants something different out of NaNoWriMo, and nobody can tell you that what you want is wrong. That’s why I think it’s a good thing there’s no prizes for winning, and I think it’s a good thing that the only one who can really validate your achievement is you. There are a million ways to win – technically you can write the same word 50,000 times and call it a win. No-one will know. Wrimos set their own goals and determine their own rules. Ultimately, we take part because it is something we want to do and we stand or fall on that basis alone.

At the time of writing, my 2012 NaNoWriMo document doesn’t even exist yet, let alone have 50,000 fresh-pressed words of fiction on it. But my goal is that in 30 days, it will. And I’m going to try to post every Thursday this month with an update on how that’s going, in the face of everything else this month holds. InMon and the Submission series will be taking a backseat until December, but I’d love it if you could stop by and cheer me on!


Filed under NaNoWriMo, Writing