Ma’s Weird B****cks!

Normally I write books adventure stories, tales of daring-do with soldiers, woodsmen and assorted heroes and villains, but these are proper books with things like chapters and a large word count. They take me a while to write, mainly  because I am incapable of writing to a plan, I have enormous admiration and not a little envy of those authors who have a detailed guide to what they are going to write, it all set out chapter and verse  (yeah…sorry about that, I couldn’t help myself) , I know how my books start and I have a vague idea how they will end, but the journey from one to the other is an exciting adenture in re-writes as I try to make sense of the fun stuff my brain comes up with.

But. there is another side to my writing, what my darling children refer to as “Ma’s weird bollocks.”  Seriously, all those school holidays when I managed to keep my hands from their throats and this is the thanks I get, however  MWB as we shall now refer to it, is my short story addiction.

I love writing short fiction, for me it’s the petit fours with coffee part of the writing menu…. home made chocolate truffles, tiny macaroons, smooth soft fudge….damn, now I’ve got to wipe the drool off the keyboard….back to short fiction, sometime it’s serious, if you look around this blog you will find some of it, but mainly it’s MWB, my tales of the paranormal, of ghosts and mediums. of the fae and the shadow you see out of the corner of your eye, but is gone when you turn around.

I blame J. , I sure it was him who gave me the Dracula graphic novel to read before I got into double digits, frightened the life out of me and left me with a supernatural itch I have to scratch. I got the Wiccan bug as well, but that is another story.

Back to MWB…I like to plant the weird in the every day, in the kitchen and in the garden, with the jobs women have done down the centuries, the dairy, the laundry and the still room and with the bobbin, the needle and the loom.

Not to decry these jobs, with the exception of laundry which I most definitely don’t love, I enjoy the rest, I like to cook and make jams and pickles,  and I like to sew and about once every five years I convince myself I like to knit, it usually doesn’t last long, but like flu, I have to odd attack. I’ve even had a go at the dairy stuff, I can make a nice soft cheese, butter and yoghurt and I have an enormous fancy to make my own clotted cream.

All these things go into MWB stories. I’ve set one in a diary, another in a kitchen and two involve gardening, Someone once said food and water are a regular theme…quite right I say, you can’t live without either.

You can find those stories here in “A Solemn Curfew and Other Dark Tales”. Title “A Solemn Curfew” is about mushrooms and the name comes from Shakespeare “….to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew; ..”

https://tinyurl.com/y4e3oxny

I have recently branched out and taken MWB to another arena, the 1930’s. That gloriously named organisation The Occult Detective Quarterly have given a home to Mrs Lillicrop, a mysterious and elegant lady with a talent for the weird and dealing with the unsettling. Her first appearance c.1934 “Mrs Lillicrop Investigates” appears here

https://tinyurl.com/yxemgvrn

Mine is just one of many in this book and I am both proud and humbled to be amongst such talent.

The next instalment will be “Mrs Lillicrop’s Trip to the Highlands“, it is still 1934, but “Mrs Lillicrop Intervenes” is underway, the year in 1935 and war is coming. I will let you know when Mrs L. comes to the light.

In the mean time, I’ve a couple of novels in my head, I suppose I better get on with things.

 

 

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The Occult Detective Quarterly

Hi everyone, sorry I haven’t been around for a while, but here we are again.

There are in this wicked old world some publications with the most delicious names, but few can match the delightfully named “Occult Detective Quarterly”.  This journal makes no attempt to hide its content, it does exactly what it says on the cover.

To quote its own web site

OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE is devoted to those intrepid investigators who investigate the weird, exotic and bizarre. These are the people who explore the darkness, both within and beyond, often to their own peril and the expense of their very lives and sanity.”

As some of you know, when not writing scific/fantasy novels packed with soldiers and young heroes of dubious morality, I like to indulge in writing short stories of the weird and wild and wicked, some of you will remember the man who had sex with his garden pond and the one about the mushrooms.

If you also feel the need to have fingers crawl up your spine and to check behind the curtains every time a draft makes them move, I’m sure the contents of the quarterly will be just the thing to interfere with your sleep pattern.

If you are interested, may I direct you to John Linwood Grant’s excellent blog where he talks about the OCD and about his beloved long dogs (lurchers). There are links to were to obtain copies of The ODQ as well.

greydogtales.com

 

So far I’ve not had the honour of being published in the journal, but I am to have the privilege of being part of their first anthology.

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There I am, first on the list 🙂

I’ve mentioned before my occult detective, Mrs Lillicrop, and this will be her first outing. I hope it won’t be her last. The story is set in the 1930s and Mrs. Lillicrop may or may not be, a war widow. She lives in Chelsea and it is important to note that she doesn’t knit.

 

 

 

Occult or Not To Occult

Recently a friend suggested to me that I should write a short occult detective story.

I, not unnaturally, recoiled in horror. I know I can and do write some weird stuff (See “A Solemn Curfew and Other Dark Tales”), but by and large I write fantasy/scific adventure books laced with rebellious youth, a modicum of soldiers and/or eco-warriors.

The trouble was, having put the idea in my head (I will get you Dave), it wouldn’t go away. I read a lot, I mean a huge amount, some of it is social history, but I do like a good mystery. preferably the cosy sort or the 1930s country house party sort, and my brain went off on one of its side trips and came up with a possible plot for a 1930s Occult Detective Country House Mystery...I really, really will have to cut back on the coffee.

I decide I might as well write a few pages, just to see where it might go and suddenly I am having more writing fun than I have had in ages. If you ever want to make yourself feel tickety boo and full of the joys of spring, fill a respectable English manor house with unsuitable fiancées, mediums, wobbly tables, difficult domestic staff and the occasional reptile. I promise you, it will cheer you up faster than a jug full of Pimms on a hot day.

Research has been great, I have salivated over the most stunning clothes, the fashion at the time was for curvy, but slender women, which means I can only look, because while I can do curvy, slender is a boat which sailed a long time ago and is never going to return to harbour.

I’ve looked at cars as well. Why did the running board go out of style? I’ve given the afore said unsatisfactory fiancée a red 1934 MG Midget, the bounder doesn’t deserve it, but I had to make the sacrifice.

The daughter of the house is Cissie and I think she probably looks very like this young lady, he doesn’t serve her either, but I have plans.

Best of all, a delightful Occult Detective presented herself for my approval and I do very much approve of her. I definitely did not want a Miss Marple or a Miss Silver or a Mrs Bradley and, much as I love him, I didn’t want a Lord Peter Wimsey type, so Mrs Lillicrop was an answer to a prayer. She is tall and elegant, dresses well and is armed with a pince-nez.

I intended the story to run for no more than 7000 words, but I am hitting 10k already and while the end is in sight, I think it may need a little more.

Will I sell it? Who knows, I think it may not be yucky enough for the Occult market, but I don’t really mind, because I have a feeling I will want to write more Mrs Lillicrop stories and one day there may very well be an anthology called “Mrs Lillicrop Investigates”.

Watch this space and check out my Solemn Curfew stories if you need to know where my idea of yucky begins and ends.