Internet Friendships


Is there anything more unusual, or indeed as unlikely as an internet friendship? I prefer to think of the phenomena as being a classic Claytons situation. If you are wondering what I’m wittering on about, bear with me.

Years ago, in the nineteen-seventies, a southern hemisphere company whose name totally escapes me now, marketed a non-alcoholic beverage resembling bottled whisky in Australia and New Zealand, advertising it as the drink you have when you’re not having a drink, under the brand name Claytons.

The word soon entered the Australian and New Zealand vernacular. No matter whether you are an Aussie, or a kiwi like myself, we use it to describe all kinds of things that are obviously not what they seem. For example, a common-law couple might be described as having a Claytons marriage.

So, now you know. To me, an internet friendship is the kind you participate in when you are not participating in one. Or is it?

Strictly speaking, at best we can only ever say that we are acquainted with one another. To become true friends requires that we physically meet or have met at some time during our lifetimes, spending time together. Think about it.

All we have to go on when engaging via the internet, to help us decide if we like one another, are the totally sterile typed words on the screen in front of us, just like these ones. What we cannot do is pick up on each other’s tells, such as audible inflection, avoiding or making eye contact, etc, etc.

While we may enjoy reading what each other has to say, chances are that if we ever actually met we might find we have absolutely nothing in common, or worse, that we instantly dislike each other.

Yes, you can use applications like Skype or similar video call systems to contact one another, but all that does is let us see each other, warts and all, as well as putting an actual voice to someone we know through uploaded photographs and by what they type.

Even then there is no guarantee that we might actually want to meet. Take the use of our everyday speech patterns. Some people’s voices can, and do, get on your nerves. Especially if they are of the whining variety. Some people tend towards the endless use of expletives, seeing nothing wrong in peppering every sentence they utter with them.

In a way its a blessing that we are separated by the many miles between us. If we ever did actually meet, chances are that after we had sized one another up in the first thirty seconds, that one or both of us would turn on our heels and head back home. Humans are funny like that. Some would say that we can and do act irrationally when it comes to meeting one another for the first time. Remember, when we actually meet, we don’t just use our eyes and ears to size one another up. Our other senses along with our inbuilt intuition comes into play. A few thousand years ago it used to be known as our fear or flight response.

Our typed conversations hide a multitude of sins. For instance – it might be that one of us has a body odour problem. Or perhaps one of us is inclined to pick their nose. It might even be (god forbid) that one of us spits, or doesn’t use a handkerchief when clearing our nose! The point is, how would you or I know? We wouldn’t. No one would. And yet, despite all of that, we do become friends in the completely artificial unfeeling world of the internet.

At best maybe what we are is the electronic twenty-first century equivalent of nineteenth and twentieth century pen pals, destined never to meet, but happy to communicate with one another, maybe not every day, but certainly several times each week…

PS – If memory serves, a glass of Claytons tasted positively foul – bleh! No make that double bleh!!

Reflecting On Circumstances

More from Peter…


Do you know how often you were loved? I do; once, though not by my own mother, As children, and as a family, we lived in a sea of wreckage, trying to make sense of our own experiences, and at a loss for feelings or words. Love was not on the menu, but in time, under her direction, I left my childhood home.

Later, during one of those brief periods when I enjoyed something like perspective, a girl’s eyes fell on me, polite, shy in the company of strangers, yet gradually filling with interest, then warmth ,and finally love, as she saw in me all that a girl could wish for in a man or so she thought. I married her, because not to do so would have been unkind or so I thought: I was wrong!

As what I called “Awareness” returned to me, I looked at what I…

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The loud knock on his front door insured his heart rate increased dangerously. He signed for his large consignment. Thanked the delivery driver. Then closed and locked the door, before dropping to his knees in a state of anxiety. Doubts began to multiply in Ansell’s mind. Whatever possessed him to buy such a thing in the first place? Did he dare open the package? What if his neighbors found out what it contained?

Worse, what if his relatives became aware of his secret desire? His aunts had always thought he had deviant leanings! If they only knew?

Because of its size, it would not be easy to hide from view once activated. For months he had been debating with himself whether or not to purchase the thoroughly desirable contents of the box that now stood against one wall of his hallway almost as tall as him. In the end, the reason he decided to go for it was simply because he lived on his own. He needed companionship. Yet when it came to a normal relationship with a living breathing human being, he was terrified!

For the first time in his life, he had made a decision completely out of character. A nagging doubt still bothered him. What if someone at the bank he used noticed the abnormally high purchase price among his normal weekly income and bill payments on his account?

Ansell had never spent so much money in his entire life!

After cutting the packaging tape sealing the box, he began removing the lid of the innocuous cardboard outer packaging, checking its surface for any incriminating stickers or labels from the manufacturer. The clear molded plastic inner cover was a dead giveaway when it came to what it contained.

He would have to cut the two halves of the inner cover into small pieces, feeding them gradually into the garbage bin over the next few weeks. Possibly even months. Ansell dreaded the thought, but if the bin men guessed what he had bought, he was certain he would die of embarrassment! The very thought of the inevitable knowing glances, nods and winks, and comments about his choice of partner made him feel ill…

He gently picked up his purchase and took it to the spare chair directly opposite his in the living room, before putting it down equally gently. He was surprised by how heavy it was. He sat mesmerized by its beauty and shape; noting how soft and cold it felt to the touch when he carried it in his arms.

Unlike his usual practice in the past, this was the one time when he needed to pay attention to the instruction manual. One wrong move on his part and he may make a costly mistake.

At the very least, inattention to the very specific instructions may in all probability void the guarantee. Ansell put down the instruction manual. His head was beginning to ache from sheer concentration. He sat back and briefly closed his eyes.

In his mind’s eye, he could see his purchase in all its sensual glory. His first thought about it was correct. It is beautiful. Still not comfortable with it being there with him in his home, he decided to wait before going any further. He knew there was no going back once he activated it. Unable to bring himself to do it, he drifted off once again, this time dreaming about the many hours of secret pleasure that lay ahead of him if he kept it.

The instruction manual included an extensive list of things which under no circumstances must his purchase ever be subjected to. Some brought a wry smile to his face. Others simply left him completely dumbfounded! Surely no one had done the things mentioned, had they? The adage ‘there’s nowt as queer as folk’ occurred to him.

The list of what could be done positively boggled his mind. Ansell had always shied away from anything like this before because the whole idea of what this represented was frightening, mixed with a tinge of self-disgust on his part…

Should he throw caution to the wind and activate it? He began imagining holding a conversation with it. Then dismissed the idea from his mind as an utterly preposterous notion! It was bad enough that he talked to himself! So what would he do with it? For now, just looking at its undoubted feminine beauty was enough. The more he looked the more his animal desire for it grew. The voice in his head taunted him, “Go on Ansell. You know you want to. Who’s going to know you’ve got it?” The last question was his chief worry in a nutshell!

What if someone in authority came to the door demanding to be let in? Should he hide it? If so where? Despite its desirability and the thought of the hours of pleasure with it, if Ansell wanted peace of mind to return to his sheltered existence, he decided that his recent purchase had to be returned to the manufacturer.

Once again he had learned a valuable lesson. Reality dictates that you must always be careful what you wish for.

So, what’s next?

It had been two days since Ansell’s consignment had been delivered to him. His heart rate dropped back to its normal rate as his paranoia died away.

Every time he looked at its beautiful face, he convinced himself that it was pleading with him to be allowed to stay. So, what’s next? The world had not invaded his home. Unless he took it outside, his secret was safe. No one beyond his front door knew what he had bought. He never had visitors. Ansell decided not to go on torturing himself any longer…

Having made up his mind to keep it, he spent several hours studying the instruction manual once again. This time with it sat on his lap with its head resting on his shoulder. As he read and re-read each part of the instruction manual, absentmindedly he began stroking its hair. He almost had a heart attack when it softly moaned in ecstasy! Ansell dropped the instruction manual. As he rose from his chair in a blind panic, his purchase fell against the coffee table, letting out a cry of pain. How could this be? As far as he knew he hadn’t activated it…

Regaining his composure he picked it up and sat it in his chair. “I don’t understand,” he began. “I haven’t activated you?”

Then she turned towards him. Gone was the vacant stare of a lifelike doll. Life itself shone in her bewitching green eyes. “I self-activated when you removed me from the package and carried me so gently in your arms. I just knew you would always be kind Ansell.”

“Good god you can talk!”

“Of course I can.”

“How did you know my name?”

“While you were sleeping last night I accessed your laptop. By checking every internet site you frequent I was able to learn a lot about you, including your name.”

Feeling a little uncomfortable about her background investigation of him, he asked “but why didn’t you say anything before I dropped you? I hope you weren’t hurt when you fell. How can you self-activate? Do you have a name?”

“I was given the name Siri on the day you ordered me. Yes I do feel physical pain. As for how I self-activated, let me explain.” For the next two hours Ansell listened totally enthralled by what Siri revealed about herself. What really blew his mind was when she explained that while most high-end sexbots are pre-programmed only with vocal responses due to physical contact, in her case she is a virtual intelligence, fully self-aware. “There is one other thing Ansell.”


“I would like clothes to wear other than what I’m nearly wearing at the moment, except when we are in bed. But you must choose them. It would not be appropriate for me to choose a wardrobe.”

“Why not?”

“I am your sexbot. You must cloth me in what you would like me to wear.”

“But you’re not my sexbot are you? You are a sentient being.” Ansell replied with a smile on his face. “Why don’t we choose what you want to wear together. I promise, no one will ever know.” With Siri seated on his lap once more he opened his laptop and between them they internet shopped. In a few days, the clothing would arrive. For the rest of the day they got to know each other.

The next morning when Ansell opened his eyes, Siri lay with her head on his chest and her arms wrapped around him while she continued to recharge from her plug-in power supply. Ansell was thinking about when they made love hours earlier before he fell asleep in her arms utterly exhausted, but deliriously happy for the first time in his life. He hoped she felt the same way. “To answer your unspoken thought my love – yes I do. Can I get you breakfast? What would you like?”

“How about you on toast?” Siri giggled and kissed his cheek as she rose out of bed and went to the kitchen. The sight of her perfect naked rear rhythmically swaying as she walked through their bedroom door and down the hallway to the kitchen, reignited his initial physical reaction when she began to make love to him hours earlier by exploring his body.

A year went by. Because of her, Ansell had come out of his shell. Siri was everything he had ever wanted. He worshipped the ground she walked on. He often encountered her humming to herself with a smile on her beautiful face. The only thing that truly mattered to either one of them was that they loved each other…

Local Facebooker takes long hard look at himself

The things we do for others’ sake…

The Whitechapel Whelk

fbA 54-year-old Whitechapel man has taken a good, long hard look at himself after he spotted the instruction on the timeline of one of his Facebook friends.

Toby Dell, a gravity die-caster from Berner Street, told The East London Gazette: ‘There’s a woman on my list who is constantly saying that some people should take a good, long hard look at themselves.

‘She never aims this at any specific person, it’s just random and could apply to anyone.

‘To be honest, she’s a bit of a pain in the arse and seems to think everybody’s gunning for her but I thought I’d have a quick check in case she meant me.

‘I stood in front of the hall mirror and looked really hard at myself for around five minutes.

‘To be honest, I didn’t spot anything particularly shocking or even interesting.

‘I noticed I’d missed a bit under my lower…

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How many more times must I state that when it comes to love scenes, it’s always better to suggest than describe!!!


Ok, so does this stunningly beautiful young woman meet with your approval? She does? Good, now that I have your complete and undivided attention, let’s get on with what I want to talk about today.


I know I tend to bang on about what’s acceptable in literature and what’s not when it comes to sex scenes. But let’s face it, the vast majority of writers don’t think before they write! When it comes to a lot of the books on offer under the heading of romance, what you get these days is pure porn. If only the authors concerned had taken the time and trouble to think things through first. Instead of being in such a blinding hurry to get themselves noticed for all the wrong reasons. There really is no need to resort to spelling out every detail in such an explicit manner as some writers tend to do, when describing what’s going on…

Suggestion is always the key to writing any and all scenes of a sexual nature, never full on description.

In the first draft of any such scene, I start by spelling it out, leaving absolutely nothing whatsoever to the imagination, merely to get the scene firmly fixed in my mind. Then by taking the sentences one at a time as I go back over what I initially wrote, carefully choosing my words. I then rewrite each one until they still say what I originally intended. I do this purely by changing the wording so as not to give offence. That way I leave it entirely up to the often over fertile imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks for themselves.

In other words, unless you have been living in a cave, cut off from the rest of humanity for your entire life, you will know exactly what is happening in the particular scene without my having to spell it out for you.

The art of suggestion is not a difficult technique to master, providing you are prepared to think about how you want the scene to finally end up looking on the page. In other words, take your time to ensure that the reader will totally ‘get’ what you are saying without being shocked or disgusted by what they have just read.

Not too many years ago, the way I currently write love scenes would definitely have enraged some narrow-minded individuals, while the romance lovers back then would simply enjoy them for what they are, as they still do today…


An unreliable epitomator

Lock up you women, Tallis is lurking!!!

Tallis Steelyard


It is one of the paltry niceties of modern literary life that somehow irritate me. Have you noticed how long novels can be! They go on for ever, and nothing ever happens. Not only that but if by some oversight the novelist allows themselves the frisson of excitement that comes from allowing something to happen, it always happens slowly. I despair!

A poem is fugacious



A novel is interminable



But the hero of my tale, as Anthony reminded me, is a fine fellow who set out, single-handedly, to remedy this. Only he did so by accident.

Port Naain has a few epitomators, nobody really knows how many. Most epitomes are written for students. Faced with reading the dozen thick volumes recommended for their course the average student panics and turns to drink. But just as they’re sobering up along comes the accomplished epitomator. They’ll clap the…

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Yet Another Timeless Tale


Greencloth Mikkleweasel (Red Eye or Red)

Once again for your reading pleasure, here is another timeless tale from my anthology Goblin Tales


Madness and Misadventure

In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), and Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, are plunged into a nightmare situation.

To the casual observer everything appeared normal in Goblindom. And yet ever since the first light of dawn had peered gently through the window at the waking brothers, Glob’s ninth sense, backed up by his eight others, told him some form of disaster would surly descend on their household before nightfall. There were times when he simply wished he had never woken up. Today would prove to be one such day.
After breakfast Neo went to feed and groom Miranda the mare, and spend time with his much loved honorary humin niece Ylesse, Mica and Agnitha’s pretty young daughter.
While simpleminded Byz played happily with spiders, snails, slugs, woodlice and caterpillars under his bed after he had helped Glob with the washing up, Make sat outside the door with his back to the old oak’s trunk smoking his bestest briar pipe, contentedly blowing honeysuckle flavoured smoke rings, which drifted slowly upward through the leaves above his head.
Accident prone Mous yelped and sucked furiously at the latest nasty cut on his thumb, after he sliced it open on a particularly sharp splinter while clearing up the debris from the carved wooden pots and dishes he had just dropped on the floor.
As for Glob, he settled himself down on his chair by the window while he digested his breakfast. His faithful friend, Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, perched on his shoulder. Between them, they quietly discussed their plan to go fishing in the stream beyond the woods.

On the valley’s northern border, no one took the least bit of notice as three goblins sat beneath an oak. After all, there was nothing out of the ordinary about this. All kinds of creatures travel back and forth across Goblindom every day, making camp, or simply taking a break as these three did.
Greencloth Mikkleweasel, otherwise known as Red Eye to those who greatly feared him, because of the fiery red colour of his eyes, sat with his back to the gnarled trunk of an ancient oak, chewing on a dried mushroom. No one, not even his two companions dare to use his familiar name of Mikk. Calling him Red, or Red Eye, was acceptable to this most evil of goblins.
Red had sent one of his companions, Smiddle Banfook, a tall yellow skinned goblin with green hair tied back in a ponytail, on a mission into the northernmost limit of the southern woods.
Opposite Red sat the third member of the group, the diminutive goblin Glormfist Bezeldrop, lovingly caressing his metal mace. He carefully tested the tip of each of its spikes with his finger as he finished sharpening them with a piece of sandstone, while they both awaited Ban’s return from his reconnoitre of the woods.
Red had recently been released from gaol. His cellmate was none other than the northern plains goblin Grimsdyke Mugwurzle, who, before being incarcerated had been a purveyor of seeds.
When Bejuss had gripped the black hairs sticking out of the orange pumpkin shaped wart on Mug’s nose with his beak, tugging hard, the cantankerous goblin had sworn revenge on all who were against him. They had all laughed uncontrollably at his painful and bloody experience, angering him. The court case Mug had brought against Bejuss, for assault with a deadly beak, had backfired on him when he tried to strangle the old bird in court. When Mug told his tale to Red, he jumped at the chance for some sport with wood goblins on his release.
Ban soon reappeared from the gloom of the oak forest. “Well – is they livin where Mug says they is?” Red demanded to know.
“Aye Red,” Ban replied. He grinned nervously as he deliberately seated himself well away from Fist, not daring to make eye contact with either of his companions, and began pulling twigs from his ponytail. The brown blotches on his yellow skin glowed brightly, a sure sign of his extreme fear when in the company of these two most dangerous goblins.
“Whens I’s goin ter bash wood goblin brains out Red? Me mace is hungry for green blood agin.” Fist demanded, with murder on his mind.
Red’s homicidal eyes and green leathery face showed no sign of emotion as he replied quietly to Fist’s demand. “Easy lad, alls in goods time, they’s goin nowhere is they,” he replied, smiling crookedly as he scratched the tip of one of his long ears with a twig.
Fist removed his horned metal helmet, spat on it, and began polishing it with his sleeve. “I’s needs ter smash brains outs I’s tells yer!” the tiny insane goblin growled, fast losing control and baring his yellow fangs. Ever since birth, Fist had steadily grown more and more unhinged, making him the perfect goblin warrior in a battle. He knew no fear. When he was in one of his insane rages, he carved huge holes in the ranks of the opposition with his vicious spiked mace. He was worth far more than a warrior three times his size and build to any goblin leader. The way he left nothing but broken bloody bodies and smashed skulls behind him was chilling. The only leader he had ever known, let alone taken notice of, was Red who had taken him under his wing soon after he was born. Red looked after, fed and cared for him. In turn, Fist looked upon Red as his older brother, a goblin to be respected.
While Red was in gaol, he commanded Ban to look after Fist until his release on pain of death, a task that he reluctantly agreed to. It was like looking after a dangerous unpredictable wild animal. To make a living, and to keep Fist occupied until Red’s release, the pair ambushed passing strangers. While Fist terrified or maimed them, Ban stole their wares.
Both Red and Ban knew the fine line Fist trod between anger and sheer murderous insanity, and what it took to control him. “We’s aint here ter bash brains Fist, at least not jus yet. We’s here ter kidnap us a wood goblin, so calm yerself little brother!” Red replied, passing a piece of dried mushroom to him.

Glob picked up his willow wand fishing pole and his batwing leather tackle bag. “Who’s comin fishin?” he asked as he and Bejuss headed for the door.
Make and Byz held up their hands. “Ooh, ooh, I’s comin please Glob,” Byz suddenly volunteered from under his bed, much to Bejuss’ great annoyance. The last thing he wanted was the simpleminded idiot tagging along and spoiling the peaceful day. Mous reluctantly declined the invitation. He wanted to make up for his clumsiness and had decided to stay behind and carve some new mugs and bowls. He sighed as he watched the fishing party leave.

Neo sat on the bench beside Mica’s door happily playing pat-a-cake with little Ylesse, while talking with her mother, fair Agnitha. His friend Miranda the mare grazed contentedly on the fresh grass beside Mica’s roundhouse tethered to a stake.
A terrible bloodcurdling goblin war cry rang out from the direction of the goblin brother’s home. Neo instantly took off, running as fast as his short legs would allow. When he entered through the splintered door of their home a few minutes later, he was greeted by a scene of utter destruction. It looked as if a violent whirlwind had struck. Every piece of furniture – chairs, stools, table, and beds, was smashed to pieces. The kitchen was reduced to a pile of broken pots, mugs and bowls. The cupboard doors hung on their leather hinges at crazy angles. Worse – the floor was spattered with pools of green goblin blood!
Who or what had done this?
Mica soon entered behind Neo, shocked at the scene of utter senseless destruction. “Where are your brothers Neo? What happened here? Who did this?”
“I’s fears sum terribles monster has takens em Mica,” the old cross eyed goblin muttered as uncharacteristic tears filled his eyes, “why wud anyones does this – why?”
Mica blew his battle horn summoning his fellow humin warriors. Within a few minutes they began following Neo as he tracked a trail of tiny goblin footprints leading towards the stream beyond the forest.

After tethering simpleminded Byz to a sapling, where the young goblin immediately began playing with tiny blue butterflies that fed on the nectar of the wildflowers, Make sat next to Glob on the bank of the stream, smoking his bestest briar pipe. He idly watched the damsel fly tied on the end of Glob’s fishing line dance just above the stream’s surface. Bejuss closed his one eye and spread his wings to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, as well as the peace and quiet. He had perched on a branch of the willow overlooking the scene below, mainly to get out of the way of Byz.
Their tranquillity was soon shattered when Neo and Mica suddenly burst into view at the head of a heavily armed search party. Neo ran forward hugging his three brothers, relieved that they were alive and well. He told them about the destruction of their home. The fact that Neo had shown such emotional concern for their welfare, and his obvious relief that they were unharmed shook all of them, Bejuss included. Clearly something must have happened to Mous, but what? Had he gone mad and destroyed their home then run off?

“Puts him in there for now,” Red ordered, indicating a large tangle of briar. Its vicious thorns would ensure that their prisoner did not escape. Ban threw the unconscious goblin into the centre of the briar patch.
“Can I’s beats him Red, huh can I’s?” Fist pleaded, dribbling constantly, hoping that the answer would be yes, while he glared insanely through the tangle of briar at the still unconscious Mous. All thoughts of the wanton destruction he had meted out inside the goblin brother’s home an hour earlier had completely evaporated from his frenzied mind.
“Why’d ya have ter hit him so hard Red?” Ban nervously inquired, “yer only needed ter taps him on is bonce wiv yer club ter knock im senseless while Fist smashed up the place.”
Red turned on Ban, seizing his throat in a vicelike grip, half choking him. No one ever challenged him. “I’sll let Fist enjoy hisself smashing yer brains out if yer question me ever agin, d’yer hear me! Now shuddup n go n keep watch for truble yer spineless fragwizzle!” Ban slunk fearfully away into the shadows, massaging his throat and gasping for breath. Fist grinned insanely after him, licking his lips at the thought of giving his mace a drink of goblin blood, not caring which one – Ban or Mous.

Glob hesitantly entered through their shattered door, shaking his head. “There is the unmistakeable marks on madness n misadventure bout this,” he muttered sadly with tears in his old eyes, while he absentmindedly picked up the shattered pieces of his chair from amongst the destruction.
“Come away Glob. You and your brothers must stay with us until we have found Mous and got to the bottom of this,” Mica declared, throwing a reassuring arm around his old goblin friend. “Besides, your home needs to be rebuilt and your furniture renewed. This is no fit place to live in.”

Bejuss flew away on a mission of his own. He quickly vanished into the gloom of the woods in search of Mous. When he caught up with him, he had made up his mind to peck the obviously insane goblin’s eyes out. In the gloom his one eye soon detected a trembling goblin hiding behind a tree stump.
Ban in his haste to be well out of sight of Fist and Red Eye had not realised how far he had wandered into the southern woods. He temporarily hid himself, trying to decide whether or not to run away. At the back of his mind he knew full well that if he did, Red would surely find him and set the diminutive insane goblin upon him.
“Rarrk – hath yer theen a mad goblin hereaboutth?” Bejuss noisily demanded; stabbing his razor sharp beak into the tree stump just above Ban’s head, making him quiver in fear. “Me’th lookin for the one wot broke our home. Tell me or me’ll peck yer eyeth out yer grotkin – thpeak up!”
Ban was on the point of a total nervous breakdown when Bejuss suddenly appeared and confronted him. He grovelled on the ground in front of the old bird crying and soiling himself. “Please master raven, don’t hurts me I’s begs yer. Twerent me wot smashed yer home. Twas Fist wot done it after our chief Red Eye hit the goblin we’s found inside on the head, n gave him ter me ter carry away.”
After viciously pecking the top of Ban’s head in revenge, Bejuss convinced him that for his own good he had better return with him to the humin village and explain all to Glob and the rest. Ban tearfully agreed. Anything, even gaol, was better than looking over his shoulder in fear of Fist’s vicious mace.
Ban soon blurted out all he knew without any further persuasion. Mica insisted he lead them to where Red and Fist were camped. His reluctance to do so quickly vanished when Neo angrily struck him between the shoulders with his war club, knocking him to the ground.

So, whats we’s goin ter do wiv him Red?” Fist asked, momentarily returned to sanity.
“We’s goin ter demand ransom lad,” Red winked his reply, as a seldom seen crooked smile spread across his evil green face.
Mous began to stir within his briar prison. “Urgh, where iz I’z; me head achez zummink terrible?” As his eyes slowly cleared he saw Fist peering insanely at him through the tangle of briar.
“He’s awake. Can I’s bash him now Red, huh, can I’s?”
Red got up and joined Fist outside the tangle of briar glaring at Mous. “Wot’s yer worth I’s wunders, eh scum?”
“Begz pardonz yer worzhip, I’z aint worth nothin, I’z juz a clumzy wood goblin,” Mous replied truthfully, rubbing the lump on the back of his head. Like lightning, Fist began smashing his way through the tangle of briar with his mace in a blind insane rage. When he was in this state, not even Red could halt him.

“We shoulds ave gots here sooner,” Make sobbed as he looked at his wounded brother.
Fist lay dead, tangled up in the briar. His tiny body was staked to the ground by humin flint tipped spears with Bejuss angrily pecking out his lifeless eyes.
Mica’s fellow humin warriors had quickly overpowered Red Eye, trussing him up on a pole with Ban, ensuring that neither would escape the justice of the wise council and the inevitable death sentence.
Neo and Glob gently laid the badly wounded Mous on the stretcher they had made to carry him home. Thankfully, the tough briar had helped to cushion the blows from Fist’s cruel mace. With a lot of gentle nursing by Brilith and Agnitha, his body would slowly mend. But, only time would tell if his mind would fully heal from the vicious beating he had endured that terrible day when madness entered the valley.

The Time Before Map

Smorgasbord Bookshelf 2022- Share an Extract from your latest book – #Action #Adventure SHE Who Returns by Audrey Driscoll.

Something from Sally…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase your latest book and sell some more copies.
  2. Gain more reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of your other books that are available.

Today an extract from the adventure SHE who returnsby Audrey Driscoll, on pre-order until May 1st. The book is the sequel to SHE who comes forth and both books are on offer during the pre-order period.

About the book

Every decision has consequences, and logic gets you every time.

France Leighton is studying Egyptology at Miskatonic University, hoping to return to Egypt via a field school offered by that institution. But France has a talent for rash decisions, and things are complicated by the arrival of her…

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Nothing is ever new…

…just endlessly rediscovered!!!


With the simple fact that these days your book will have an upward struggle to be seen on Amazon, considering there are slightly over 9 billion other books there already, each one vying for your attention. Does the product of all your hard work stand a chance? One thing is blindingly obvious. It must be an attention grabber, and no, I’m not talking about the damned cover!!!

There was a time when I used to write several thousand words per day. In fact I subscribed to the idea that unless I wrote at least five thousand words a day, I wasn’t really writing, merely dawdling. Oh how wrong I was! These days I barely write two hundred words in one day.


Simple – I spend the rest of the day and the one after, even the one after that, endlessly checking each word, often substituting a far better one. I lengthen or shorten sentences, move them around in the paragraph before me. All of this until I’m satisfied that the end product flows. Or to put it another way – unlike many of my fellow writers I prefer painting a picture with as few words as is necessary. In fact I’ve perfected the technique. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Bob Van Laerhoven’s editorial review of my latest – East Wind, on

Ask yourselves how many books have you started to read then discarded because they grind to a halt on nearly every page. Usually because the author in question favours endless detail over getting on with the story???

I recall watching the episode of Fry’s Planet Word back in 2012 on the subject of James Joyce and the written word. Steven Fry was discussing Joyce’s way of working with an enthusiastic aficionado in Dublin.

Imagine my total surprise when it was revealed that Joyce approached each work in progress in exactly the same way as myself. Some days he would write a chapter, some days a paragraph. But more often than not he would only write a sentence, spending hours poring over it to make sure that each word was the best possible choice to use, and that it was in just the right place within the sentence.

Don’t get me wrong now, I’m not claiming by any stretch of the imagination to be the 21st century version of writers like James Joyce, or George Orwell, or even my literary hero J.R.R Tolkien, who all used this method. But when I learn from programmes like Steven Fry’s that I have unknowingly adopted and employed the same writing techniques, all of a sudden I don’t feel alone anymore. More to the point I no longer think, or believe, that high daily word counts are the be all and end all.

Neither should you…

Finally; remember what I said at the conclusion of the first paragraph – Your book must be an attention grabber, Forget about the cover! 

If you’ve spent money on both content and cover, chances are you will never get your money back, if you’ve written something that doesn’t appeal to the mass market, people will not bother to read.

Above all – you must get the reader hooked within the first two pages!!!


May flowers and a debut book coming

May flowers and a debut book coming

A long awaited event is here -Chrissy’s book!!!

Before Sundown

Cover Reveal: Three Years of Her Life: C.E. Robinson

A stirring tale that rides the line between historical fiction and romance. Inspired by a famous musician's secret life, years ago in Germany. It is an indelible portrait of family love, trust, , and unrelenting prejudice.

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