Monthly Archives: November 2012


Sword in wraparound cover size

A snippet from the first draft of my forthcoming novel, edited to remove spoilers. Enjoy, and feel free to criticise. Be gentle is you do, however. It is only the first draft after all.

“Whoa, feller! Take it easy. You OK?”
Greythorne stood over me, looking concerned. I was back on my arse, sitting on the chair.
“What? Oh. Yes. That was one of my episodes.”
“You dreamt? How interesting! What did you see this time?”
“It’s not interesting. It’s dodgy. The visions give me a headache and make me woozy. I saw… oh, I don’t know. A corridor. Red corridor, paintings. Some sort of panel with diagrams on. A man pressed some.”
“Maybe if these really are memories from Crabtree, you should write them down? They might be useful later.”
“That makes sense. There were other things too – a painting and a clock… not sure, it’s fading away.”
I made a note of the icons that had been chosen from the wall panel, as close as I could remember them. Mountain, flame, cloud, wave.
“Hmmm,” commented Greythorne, “Earth, fire, air and water. The four classical elements.”
“I haven’t the faintest idea, I’m afraid. Those four elements appear all over the world, and throughout history. Sometimes there’s a fifth element, literally a quintessence, which the Greeks called Aether. Represented by a circle.”
“Leeloo Dallas mul-ti-pass.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Nothing. A quote from a film, ‘The Fifth Element’.”
“I can’t imagine that helps us in the slightest. Come on, finish your doodling and let’s get moving. We’ll take my car. I’m not sitting on that fanny freezer of yours.”
I swiftly jotted down the little more that I could remember about the clock and the painting (had it been a lion or a leopard?), and stood up. We left the Refreshment Room to a darkening sky. Greythorne led me past my bike to a blue BMW estate car. We got in.
“So where are we going?” I asked.
“Nowhere, until you put your seatbelt on, feller.”
“Oh, come one, do I have to? It’ll hurt my wounded arm. I did tell you I was shot? In the arm? With a crossbow?”
“This car is not moving one inch until you put that seatbelt on, young man.”
“You’re not my real Mum,” I grumbled. Then I obediently fastened the seatbelt across me. It didn’t hurt my arm at all. She turned on the headlights as we drove out of the car park.
“So, Greythorne. Where are we going?”
“Cumbria. The Vixens are your only hope now.”
“OK, you’ve lost me again, sorry. Are The Vixens some sort of rock band?”
Greythorne snorted with derision.
“That’s a very unattractive sound,” I complained, grumpily.
“Oh cheer up,” said my companion, “The Vixens are… well, that’s my collective name for a small group of friends. Between them they possess a range of extremely valuable skills. I find jobs for them from time to time, too. You’re not my only client, you know.”
She glanced across at me.
“Do you remember when I said that my girlfriend was more than capable of killing you?” she asked.
“I thought you were joking.”
“Ah, no. She’s a bit deadly, literally so, when roused to anger.”
“And she’s one of these Vixens?”
“Stop guessing stuff. No, she isn’t. She is however being trained by The Vixens. Or, to be more accurate, by one of The Vixens. Motoko. She’s… well, she’s the most skilled assassin that I have on my books. Deadly, fast, invisible
“I’ll warn you now, though. The women I’m about to take you to see are unique. You might think them peculiar, bizarre even, but I love them and their odd ways to bits. They’ve done more in the last few years to earn my respect than you have ever done. So don’t you dare embarrass me by being crass.”
“What on earth do you mean?”
“You’ll see.”
An hour later, we turned off a dark road into a darker farmyard. I know, I know, I just blithely skipped ahead in the space of a sentence there, but not much happened during the drive up. We talked about cheese, and what I now knew of amnesia, and farting. You don’t need to know any of that.
Lights came on in the yard as we drew to a halt. We got out of the BMW and walked towards the farmhouse door. As we neared, it was opened by a petite young blonde woman smiling broadly. She was wearing a figure-hugging, red catsuit. The figure it hugged was slim and trim. She also had what appeared to be a horse’s tail emerging from her posterior. I gawped.
“Don’t gawp,” said Greythorne, then “Hi, Sam Mia, I thought Friday was Catsuit Day?”
“It is,” smiled the blonde, “This is simply because I felt frisky. How are you, Greythorne?”
She had an accent I couldn’t recognise. I made a mental note to ask Greythorne about it later. The two made small talk, and I tried to stop staring at the blonde’s tight body. I dragged my eyes over to a lighted window in the farmhouse. I’ll swear I saw a red-haired woman in full pirate outfit gazing back at me. I blinked and she’d gone. Peculiar people indeed. I tried to remain nonchalant.
“Motoko shall see you in the barn,” the blonde girl was saying, “She is training in there. Follow me.”
We trailed her across the yard. The tail rising from her bottom bounced cheerfully with every step. It was an eye-catching addition to her attractive posterior.
“You shall wait here,” we were told as we reached the barn door, and the blonde girl stepped inside. A horse whinnied somewhere nearby.
“So tell me a bit about this Motoko,” I told Greythorne, “I’d rather be prepared, if you don’t mind. Or do you enjoy springing your odd, eye-candy friends on me?”
“I did quite enjoy your expression, yes,” she grinned, “Your eyeballs almost left your head. But I’ll be kind, this time. Motoko is ex-Japanese air-force, a top shibari model…”
“Literally ‘the beauty of tight binding’. A sort of Japanese bondage appreciated for the aesthetics of the binding.”
“Um,” was all I could think of to say. Greythorne looked at me, frowning.
“You’re not shocked, surely? You used to take this sort of thing in your stride. Did you lose your open mind as well as your memory?”
“Sorry. In the last couple of days I‘ve had to learn all the things in the world. Well, except for old films and television for some stupid reason. It all gets a bit overwhelming sometimes.”
A smile appeared on Greythorne’s lips along with a twinkle in her eye.
“I understand,” she said, “It must be difficult for you. But only films and television? What an odd thing to stay in your head.
“Anyway, concerning Motoko: do not take her lightly. Among assassination circles her name alone invokes awe. The dark slayer. A lethal combination of beauty, power, and death. For years and years, or to be more accurate months, she fought on the side of good, terrorizing the evil community. But like so many tragic heroes, she was seduced by the lure of the dark side. She wrapped evil around her like a large, evil Mexican serape. She became a cold-blooded killer. Nobody was immune to her trail of destruction….”
“Stop testing me,” I interrupted, “You’re quoting from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The episode ‘Dirty Girls’, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Correct. You’re good! Mind you, that’s the only quote I know. I learned it for a speech. I’m not a pathetically sad trivia buff like you. No offence. As it happens, every word of that quote is true of Motoko, anyway. She’s a specialist in covert, unorthodox infiltration and assassination, and an expert in unarmed combat. She’s kunoichi, a female ninja if you like.”
“Then she sounds like someone I definitely want on my side. I’m glad we came, thanks. How about your friend, Sam? What’s her story?”
“Don’t ever call her that, it makes her angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. Oh look, I was wrong. I do know more than one quote. Yay me. The point is, always use her full name; Sam Mia.”
“Noted. Interesting accent she has,” I observed.
“Icelandic,” Greythorne informed me. “She comes from the only town in the world with a Penis Museum.”
“I swear, woman, if you’re making any of this up I will fong you until your insides are out, your outsides are in, your entrails will become your extrails…”
“Honestly, it’s true!” she reassured me. “Look it up later, when you and Dawbes have time to relax in a library once more.”
“Don’t think I won’t. And what’s with the tail?” I asked.
“The Vixens have interesting…. interests,” she told me, “And they like playing.”
She glanced at the door before speaking again, in a quieter voice.
“You know how they attach the tails, don’t you? They…”
The barn door creaked open, and Sam Mia invited us inside. The interior was brightly lit, and although the stone floor was scattered with straw, it looked little like you might expect a barn to look. Gym equipment filled the space; vaulting horses, trampolines, beams, weights, and all manner of other apparatus. Wall bars covered much of the perimeter and ropes of varying width dangled from the beams above, and from the darkness above that.
I could see no sign of the expected Motoko, however. The place was empty. Perhaps we were wasting our time here, time that I could not afford to squander.
“So, you want someone killed?”
There was but a faint trace of accent in the voice that emerged from the dark roof space beyond the beams above our heads. I peered up there, but could see nothing.
“Motoko, hello!” called Greythorne, up into the air above us, “This man is also on my books. He has a big problem. He also has a big bank balance. Come down and talk.”
A small part of the shadow above detached itself from the rest, and a rope trembled. A girl – no, a woman – descended rapidly, twisting down the rope using her legs more than her arms, and performing manoeuvres that seemed physically impossible. She released the rope and somersaulted the last ten feet, landing unmoving on the balls of her feet.
She was fit in all senses of the word; lithe, slim, and apparently ever so bendy. Only faintly eastern eyes gazed out of an elfin face that was framed by a mop of hair that was dyed both red and blue. She wore dark leggings and a baggy T shirt, across the front of which was scrawled “Nightwish”. She grinned hugely and cutely.
“Hello, rich man. I’m yours, if you want me. Tell me your story.”
So once again I had to relate my recent history. This was the fourth time, now, so I had the reciting of it down quite well. What’s that? No, it’s four, I’m sure. I told Dawbes, then I told Greythorne, then I told Motoko. And then there’s you, dear reader. That’s four. Gotcha.
When my story was finally told, Motoko looked me up and down appraisingly. Her mouth curved upwards.
“Honourable man,” she decided, “I’m in.”

Title Doubts

Sword in wraparound cover sizeJust having a ponder about the title of the new book. Is it too simple? Are there too many other books with the same title? Is it way too bland to interest the average punter? “Hey, Wombie!” I thought, “Why not ask your loyal fans?” I always obey myself, so tell me – what do you think? Which of these titles do you prefer?

  • Amnesia
  • Retrograde
  • WTF?
  • The Tip of My Tongue
  • Who The What Now?

You can vote for the ones you like up on the right there. I’ll not be bound by the result, naturellement, being a free spirit and all, but it should prove interesting and useful. Thank you, sexpots all.

Oh, hang on a tick, I’ll just remind you that you can read drafts of the first two Chapters here:

Click to read CHAPTER ONE

Click to read CHAPTER TWO


A fine example of an EPISTLETOEHaving trouble separating your twanta from your twantee? Completed your trifecta yet? Got no bloody idea what I’m talking about? Then this blog post will save you from social embarrassment akin to leaving the Ladies with your skirt tucked into the back of your knickers.

Gift with a bow  TWANTA – this word has two meanings. Firstly it is the all-encompassing name for the whole cosy event itself, although usually with the relevant year attached to its tail. Secondly, the Twanta is the person sending a gift. It is the Twanta’s own choice whether or not to remain secret.

Gift with a bow  TWANTEE – the person receiving said gift, with a smile and a song.

Gift with a bow  TWANTADOR – general term for anyone taking part.

Gift with a bow  TRIFECTA – the magic three milestones achieved by a Twantador who has sent a gift, learned that it has arrived, and received their own.

Gift with a bow  TWUMBUG – a dirty rapscallion who fails to send a gift as promised (see last year).

Gift with a bow  TWAT – see TWUMBUG.

Gift with a bow  FAIRY – a good-hearted TWANTADOR who volunteers to step in and provide a gift at short notice for anyone who falls victim to a TWUMBUG.

Gift with a bow  TWANTAVERSE – every bloody thing to do with Twanta. Constantly expanding.

Gift with a bow  EPISTLETOE – a hand-written letter included with the gift (see above) to add a virtual Christmas kiss and a personal touch. Not to be confused with Camel Toe, which is something else completely.

Finally, here’s a hat tip to @mrsactive for the blog title, and to @captain_doodle for the inspiration for this post.

No Shenanigans

quitezone_blueMany writers will tell you that the hardest thing to write is a convincing sex scene. It isn’t easy to convey eroticism and arousal without straying into the risible. Take these examples, for instance:

“she took him by the wrist and moved the base of his hand into her pubic hair until his middle fingertip settled on the no-man’s-land between her ‘front parlor’ and ‘back door’” – David Guterson’s “Ed King”

“It’s okay, I whispered … I was immersed in the slush of her moist meat … Her body stiffened but I forced her legs apart and pushed my face into her groin” – Christos Tsiolkas “Dead Europe”

However, although I do have a sex scene yet to write for “Amnesia” (coming soonish to a Lulu shop near you), that’s not the passage* that I’m most nervous of attempting. Oh no, what fills me full of dread is that I need to write about my protagonist doing a lot of heavy research in a library. How the frilly wiggins do I make that interesting, and not send the reader to sleep? “I took down another book. To my horror, this time the cover was red. The red of a freshly-slit throat…”. Hmmm, maybe not.

Wait – maybe if he does his research while having sex in the library? As long it’s quiet sex that should be OK, shouldn’t it?

* unintentional punnage, sorry.

Jingle balls, jingle balls

aa_thumb1It’s time for #TWANTA2012 to hitch up the reindeer to the jingly sleigh and decorate his shiny balls. Here’s a reminder of how it all works.

Star I must have confirmed that you’re taking part. This is an attempt to avoid the slight wobble that happened last year for two of our lovely twantadors. There is a list of confirmed Twantadors at the foot of this post. I just made that word up. Cool innit?

47nyncompoop-And thank you #twanta! For hat and chocStar Make sure to DM your address  to @twanta2012 so that I can pass it on to your own Secret Twanta. I do remember some of your addresses from last year, but obviously I deleted all the addresses of those who asked me so to do. If the Twitter Unfollow Bug has caused @twanta2012 to unfollow you, let me know so that I can correct that.

Star Tell me if there’s anyone in the list below that you want to avoid. I don’t want to be responsible for any “INCIDENTS”.

Star I’ll DM you over the course of the next few days to let you know for whom you are buying a gift (grammar), together with their address. You might want to spend a little while researching their timeline to find out a little bit about them. Yes, that’s a bit stalkery, but you’ll be able to make your gift a bit more personalised.

61em_and_lola-thank you @EnglishKirsty 'something to bring out every year'Star Buy a pressie for your twantee (as the recipients have somehow come to be known) and send it to them. Mark the envelope #TWANTA so they know what it is. Let @twanta2012 know that you’ve posted it (so I can keep track in case anything goes missing). It’s up to you whether you remain anonymous or not, but I rather think it’s more fun that way. You can always send messages through me if you need to chat.

Star Do NOT buy hugely expensive pressies (unless you’re buying for me, obv). Small, fun and imaginative is the rule of thumb, but don’t send an actual thumb. That would be hideous. I recommend spending no more than a fiver, though that of course is up to you.

99cRachamuffin-My replacement #twanta gift turned up today! A new mug to drink my wine out of! Star When you receive your #TWANTA pressie, again let @twanta2012 know. Challenge yourself to wait until Christmas Eve or Day to open the thing. Harness your willpower.

Star When your willpower fails, take a photo ready to post for the special #WOMBATPICS theme which will be probably be on Sunday 30th, j_thumbas I’ll be away for a couple of days at Yuletide. That date’s not absolutely set in stone, though; I’ll let you know if it changes. I’ll put all the pictures in a blog, in which I’ll reveal who sent what to whom.

If it all goes tits up, remember that it was all the idea of that @captain_doodle originally, and castigate him mercilessly. Here’s a list of all those confirmed to take part. (It’s in four columns, phone users, so scroll across). If you want to play and your name’s not here, let me know faster than sugar off a shovel.























…and her emily






















































@dutch_bitch @warnhopepark @hallmork @sciencewitch
@hols1983 @smp1972 @macjude @kaPOWed

That’s 76 twantadors, compared with 52 the first year and 115 last. Seventy-six, I reckon, is just about the right number for both twantadors and trombones. Oh wait – a few more have been added now, which ruins my trombone jokette. Ah well, there’ll probably be a few more stragglers as usual, but I won’t let it get out of hand. Finally, remember this from two years ago?


Twanta 2012 as of November 1st

100_0081It’s about to get exciting! Here’s the latest list, kiddiewinks. In the next two or three days I’ll be closing #Twanta to new entries, gathering addresses and assigning Twantees. If you’re not on the list and want to be, remember to ask me specifically. You also need to follow me on both the @wombat37 and @twanta2012 accts, to be sure that you don’t miss any announcements. I am vetting entrants, in an attempt to avoid last year’s glitch when a tiny few turdbaskets failed to send a gift.

Won’t be long now! In the meantime, if you have any questions at all, just ask. Here’s the company so far….

@_gail__ @alexbrightsmith @alezed
@alicestronaut @alliterative @andromedababe
@ariadnes_web @avensarah @azzathepirate
@belmsie @butmadnnw @chickenprincess
@davidtims @dawbes @dbrereton
@ericafairs @eversnanajules @fuckimfortytwo
@greythorne @hinnyhlw @hugeshark
@IainLJ @cara_erin @JimTheSG
@kimnmilward @lardychap @leontia2001
@little_mavis @littlebit_bod @louisehector
@luciemr @luggermatt @matcochr
@missmuchly @mrsactive @mrsashboroscat
@notmetaltax @nyncompoop @rachamuffin
@sammartin58 @sarahhanner @sarahtregear
@scullyscully @secretstef @shysarah2009
@smiler1313 @smp1972 @starlitwolf
@superblouse @teddy_red @theflossietp
@tonihill79 @waywardlou @widget73
@wombat37 @xkylet @yorkshire_rosie
@julieanon @captain_doodle @sjnewton
@och23 @flylilypad @nomdetwume
@mrpeterwood @gemmajoobjoob @richlieu_uk


@shrewuntamed @lilianlouvaine
@cornettofairy @ceee_j @37ellie
@doodledawne @doodledawne’s Emily
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