A Trippy Tale for children age six to sixty.

In a secret wet valley called Deeply Dell by locals, live a race of creatures spoken of in whispers by those who have ventured here. If you walk here at dawn or dusk and are silent and soft and look very carefully, you might spot a deeply or even a whole family.

Deeply Dell

The entrance to the Dell is always guarded by the special cast of deeply known as… Samurai . No sorry Salami.

Guard Pep

Here we can spy a guard on duty. His name is Pep Eroni and he is the chief of the Salami cast.  He is watching over a family out gathering food.

If you look really hard you can see them moving through the grass.

This is papa Chip Olata and his mate/wife, An Douille.  Their children, called links in Deeply, are behind. Young deeply are called links because they spend their early lives literally linked one behind the other. They even feed this way.

The oldest eats and some food is passed down the line to the youngest at the back. Yucky you might think, but baby deeply links don’t mind, they know no other way.

Here we can see a family of Deeply in their nest den. The links sleep curled up in circle so they can pass food along even as they sleep. This is why Deeply grow so fast. As a deeply grows they break their links one at time.

They grow bigger but they keep their yellow legs until after they get old enough to begin the mating rituals.

Here are Ba Nger and Mor Tadella flirting and telling each other lies about their adventures. They might decide to be mates and then their legs turn light blue. Once they’ve had baby links their legs turn dark blue.

The life of a deeply is filled with peril and danger. Like all teens, blue leg deeply are adventurous and they go places they shouldn’t.  Here we see some in a part of Deeply Dell called death valley. They are forbidden to go here by the elders. The elders are known as Skinless. When a deeply reaches old age they shed their skin and grow extra eyes. They need them because as Skinless Deeplies they are in great danger. The monster of Deeply Dell hunts all Deeply but it especially likes Skinless Deeply. The skins of blue legs and links stick in it’s fangs so it hunts mostly the Skinless cast.

A family out feeding near death valley see some blue legs down in the valley and call to them.

But one slips on the slimy sides and falls. This why it’s called death valley.

The story continues on the page marked Deeply Dell.

Wooing with food.

As Christmas once more approaches, my thoughts turn once again to gastronomy and feasting. I was browsing one of our photo albums and found a menu tucked in it from Christmas 1999. We had taken the Bristol down to Nice for two weeks intending to get away from the usual family chores. As the person known as the  chef; I could rarely escape the cooking duties. If truth be told, I preferred it that way. I was always appalled by the cremated over-cooked dry flaking turkey served up if I didn’t cook. This year we plan to have our indulgence at home alone. Goose is planned. We will have recently returned from a seven-day break with B’s mother in Madeira. I’m looking forward to that. I have no mother in law issues. I get on well with Jean… mostly.

1999 was perhaps out most memorable Christmas holiday. We took the, then new to us, Bristol 412 for its first long trip. We had booked into a modest Nice city centre hotel, intending to spend on eating and travel rather than fancy sleeping arrangements. The hotel unfortunately did not have parking, I was appalled at the idea of leaving the precious Bristol in the chaotic anarchy that passes for parking there.  In the event I found a safe place for it, parked up and hired a little crappy Korean runabout for the city battle.

B and Bristol 412

This picture is B outside a splendid Château in Burgundy we spent a night in on the way down.

B, Christmas 1999

The main picture here is B at dinner on Christmas day in the Negresco. The menu is reproduced here and is fascinating for being priced in Franks. Remember those? There were about ten per pound sterling as I recall. This menu was 380F. I can’t recall which of these I had but have ideas it was the Capon for main. I do remember being amused and a little appalled by the shocking pinkness of the room, the old ladies in furs that smelled of moth-balls and the shaggy ancient French poodles under their tables!

 La Rotonde Hôtel Negresco. Samedi 25 Décembre 1999

Déjeuner de Noël

La Direction et les Collaborateurs de Hôtel Negresco vous souhaitent de merveilleuses fêtes de Noël.


Ballotine de canard, gelée au Porto

Cappuccino de coquillages et croûtons aillés

Six Hutîtres spéciales à l’échlote et vinaigre.

Chapon de Méditerranée rôti, pommes écrasées à la fourchette, persil frit et jus de bouillabaisse.

Lotte rôti, boullion de champignobs des sous-bois, lard croustillant.

Loup crit sur la peau, ragoût d’artichauts au romarin, parfumé à l’orange.

Chapon fermier, gratin de côtes de blettes à la moelle, grosses frites au poivre noir.

Filet de bœuf rôti, gnocchis et cépes poêlés, sauce au vin rouge.

Bûche jivara lactée, créme légére au café

 Bûche praliné, créme brûlée aux agrumes du pays

Bûche chocolat, noisettes du Piémont caramélisées.

 Food and it’s enjoyment has been a great bond between B and I. She was wooed with food when first we met. Thai prawn red-curry and Tom-yam soup were the first things I cooked for her. As a wooing aid it was wildly successful!  Food, wooing, travel and loving are much used themes in my novels. I wonder why that could be?



The review maze.



In this past few weeks I have been touring the literature blogs looking for inspiration and ideas about how to do blogging well. In particular I’ve been actively seeking reviewers that I might respect. I’ve been asking, politely, not in a pushy way, if they would consider reviewing one of my novels. All the reviews I’ve had on Amazon and so on have been genuine buyers opinions. No sneaky stuff. (Oh by the way, being based in Ireland, I find I have a problem. My readership is either UK, US or Irish. But reviews from UK based readers will not show up on Amazon.com, only on .co.uk. Many Irish readers get caught between the two since they can purchase paper books from the UK but Kindle only from .com. Therefore I have fewer reviews showing on either site than I actually have.)

Back to reviewers. I have yet to find anyone willing to review. There are extracts of the novels on this blog and they’re not dreadful, in fact they’re rather good. The literary fiction genre tag seems to be a problem for some but no other genre really fits.

I find my self asking what is putting people off.  One kind soul did say he was swamped and didn’t really like to read eBooks. Fair enough but what about the other ten or so? One does not like to ask directly, that seems rude. If anyone I’ve asked to review sees this, please let me know what’s going on? I’d really love to know what, if anything, I’m doing wrong?

Any advice from other writers on how to negotiate the maze of getting eBooks reviewed without begging or undignified tactics would be very welcome.



The 11th

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month it ended. At least the first one ended then. Today is for remembrance.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

From Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, written in September 1914.

 Irishmen of a certain colour do not wear poppy’s to remember. They deny their forefathers who fell in Flanders fields because it became politically incorrect to do so. In recent times there has been moves to change this and memorials to the Irish dead are being honoured now. Irishmen of the orange tint do remember and in fact they drape their remembrance in sectarian colours. Both tribes have done it badly in the past.

Beloved Warrior.

I remember because my heritage demands it. Both my grandfathers were wounded several times but survived the slaughter. My remembrance is taking shape in the form of the novel I’m writing now. It is the next in the history trilogy: Beloved Warriors and it follows on from The Prairie Companions.  (This is the cover design for that)

My remembrance is not uncritical or nationalistic but personal and empathetic for the pain of the lost and those whose loved ones didn’t come home to make life possible for later generations. If my grandfather’s had not come home and my father had not come home from Burma then I’d not be blogging this. So yes I give thanks and do them honour.

This poem was written as a response to those who protest at soldiers funerals.

Taking a Stand

I ask you to stand with me

For both the injured and the lost

I ask you to keep count with me

Of all the wars and what they cost

I ask you to be silent with me

Quietly grateful for our lot

As I expect you’re as thankful as me

For the health and life we’ve got

I ask that you wish them well with me

All those still risking their all

And I ask that you remember with me

The names of those that fall

I expect that you are proud like me

Of this great nation of ours too

So enjoying all its freedoms like me

Support those upholding them for you

I hope that you are hopeful like me

That we’ll soon bring an end to wars

So you’ll have to stand no more with me

And mourning families no different from yours

‘Til then be thankful you can stand with me

Thinking of those who now cannot

For standing here today with me

At least we show they’re not forgot

John Bailey 
© Copyright May 2011 From http:www.warpoetry.co.uk

Radical perhaps?

panicwings by Ria. Creativefluxmedia.

On my tours of book and writing blogs in search of inspiration, I am struck by the difference not the similarity. They may all be about literature but that is a stunningly wide church it seems. I have worried endlessly about genre and self promotion. For one who chooses the freedom of small scale semi-inde eBook publishing there is a clarion call to use all the social-media. I have tried Twitter and retired wounded and with a bad taste in my mouth. Facebook remains un-trodden ground. As far as I’m concerned: ‘here be monsters.’ The call to shout into the social media wilderness seems overwhelming and deafening. I have real doubts about its effectiveness based on what I see and read. There appears to be huge raft of very loud unrelenting presences whose work seems to be to be… well let’s be kind and call it genre-pap. They claim it works. But I ask myself how much time they spend twitting and facing and shouting into the void.

I have little time for anything but writing my novels. Even this blog takes up more time than I feel I should give but… and here I come to the one bright spot in the social media morass, blogs. Here I feel comfortable and I’m meeting other bloggers who don’t make me feel queasy. One such is here: http://ravingmadscientists.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/what-i-choose-is-my-choice/

Sincere thanks for the ammunition I need to support my aversion.

Another here: http://andewallscametumblindown.wordpress.com/  my editorial angel Miriam.

I keep coming back to the idea that the work should speak for me. Getting a swell of supportive readers is a task that I feel needs time. It’s not instant and one can’t shout ‘read my work’ into the void without sounding like a twat. A tweeting twat perhaps.  So I have a Kindle readers sponsorship coming soon that I hope will bring my work to a wider audience and I plan a few adds on Goodreads. Once enough people have read the work, I’m sure the sales will pick up by means of recommendation and referral. The only meaningful measure of success for any non-celebrity, non-main stream writer.  These are realistic expectations with a degree of self-respect that seems to be old fashioned now. Or in the modern social-media world perhaps radical?