Friday, 22 March 2019

Invented words

I dearly love florid invented words in the mouths of some of my characters. I first took to language making in a story called New World. It took place in the future, and characters spoke in a clipped manner, eliding some words. I don't have any samples of dialogue from the 1970s story, because it was published in a kind of magazine and I only ever had one copy which has vanished long ago.
My next attempt was in the book CD and the Giant Cat, in which my co-writer and I invented terms to match the science fiction setting. A YAD was a young adult, a SENCIT a senior citizen and so on. Next came Trinity Street, set mostly in the 1990s, but with a character from the far future masquerading as a college student. He tended to throw in bits of German, French and Fijian mixed with his English. His name was DHQ49, which was blurred to Daichqu-forn, but for the purposes of his masquerade he was known as Gerhardt Watchman.
Sir Humphrey Bookerstaff, in the Reluctant Knight trilogy had his own dialect, mostly compounded of insults.
 ‘Thou idiot indebocket, thou clocketting cloche, thou nasty, nardly knight!' is just one sample of the comments he levelled at poor young Simon Knight.
Flax Lilykicker, from Flax the Feral Fairy, also had an interesting vocabulary...

“Lassie, do you know–” the hags began.
Flax picked up Butterfly’s second-best slipper and threw it at Maggie’s head. “Go away, you clackety slopper!”
The bluebird dropped the envelope, and flew away with an angry twitter. “Come back!” howled Flax. “Give me that invitation, or I’ll use your claws to comb my hair!”
Auld Anni picked up the envelope the bird had dropped, and opened it. “Miss Kisses informs Flax Lilykicker that she is not—”

Flax threw a hairbrush at Anni. “That’s my invitation, you tatty old haggis!” She jumped out the window, snatched the card from Anni and raced away.

 My most recent venture into florid-speak is with Tress, who appears in Court in Between. Tress is in love with a character named d'Chevalier, but that doesn't stop her calling him names.

Thou cockle-headed, purple-knickered, long-nosed corby. 

She keeps her real venom for Court Leopold who looks like d'Chevalier and whom she blames, with some justice, for depriving her of her favourite person...

“I’m not him,” Court said quickly.

She swept her gaze over him without pleasure. “Nay, thou’rt t’other one,” she said. “Thou’rt t’ skimpy unfeathered fowl,” she mentioned.

Tress has a lot more to say, much of it too highly coloured to be mentioned in polite company. As d'Chevalier himself says, 'And how does that sweet mouth form such words?' That's for Tress to know and for him to discover. 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Colours in Titles

Colours in titles evoke emotion immediately. It's so much so I wonder why I haven't used them more often! Here are the ones I have used... I see one black, three blue, three gold, three silver and one green.  Where are the yellows, pinks, reds, oranges, greys...?

Beyond the Black Stump (2002)

Blue Gold (1999)
Blue Moon Animal Day (1987)
The Blue Stealer (2009)

Fools' Gold (2000)
Gold and Mud (2008)
​Gold Team (2009)

Green Balls (2017) (Fairy in the Bed series)

The Silver Egg (1999)
The Silvering (2018) (Elydian Dawn 2)
​The Silver Skateboard (2016)

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Names in the Title

After the look at animals in the titles yesterday, I decided to have a look at names in my book titles. As with animals, there are a few... Here are most of the names. I've missed out names such as Blinky Bill and Skippy and so on where I didn't invent the character.

Where a name is repeated (such as Maria/Maria) it refers to two different books about two different people. (Maria's Diary and Maria and the Pocket in this case.) The two Kates are from A Crew for Captain Kate and Rosina and Kate. Series characters such as Pearl the unicorn and Rosina Paul appear  just once, even though their names are on more than one book. In a handful of cases the name in the book title is a nickname. In these cases the full first name is given in brackets. Obviously, I've used some initial letters more than once... and QUYZ don't appear all. Hmmm. There's just one N and the only O to date is actually a surname... All this must mean something or other, but I don't know what!

Ace (a dog)
Amy Claire
Aurora (an alien)

Bastet (a cat goddess)
Beauty (a cat)
Bob (a dog)
Bobbi (a dog)

Calico (a cat)
CD (Calista)
Court (Delacourt)

Drummond (a teddy bear)

Effie (an elf)
Ella (a parrot)
Emma Jane

Flax (a fairy)

George (a camel)

Hector (a centaur)
Henry (a dog)
Hugo’s Reward (a calf)

Ink (a cat)

Jacques (a dog)
Joe (a horse)

Kanga-Who? (a kangaroo)

Lamburger (a lamb)
Lilly (Lillianda)

Mal (a mermaid)
Matt (Paramatta)

Nanda (a gnome)

O’Connor (Flynn O’Connor)

Parroty (a parrot)
Pearl (a unicorn)
Pepper (a pony)

Raffina (a werewolf)
Ramses (a rat)
Ratty (a rat)

Selka (a selkie)
Snickers (a duck)

Tikki (a pixie)
Timothy Whuffenpuffen-Whippersnapper (a dragon)



Weava (a witch)

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Animals in the Titles

Animals appear in a lot of my books, but I wasn't sure how many appeared in the actual titles... Here they are (well, most of them)... Mind you, all is not always what it seems. There's no actual lion in Lion in the Night...


Animals in Silhouette (2018)  
​Animal Twist (2016)                
Blue Moon Animal Day (1987)  

Zoo-thology (2015)


Budgie Rock (2001)
​The Ducktators (2007-2017)
​Ella (1997)  (A parrot)
​Fowl Play (2008)
Killer Ducks (2001)
Parrot Seed (1997)
Parroty (1999)
The Peacock's Pearl (2016) (Cat Mahal is Magic 1)
Snickers (1997) (duck)

The Awful Pawful (2006)            
Bathing Beauty (2000)               

Calico Calypso (2018) (Fairy in the Bed series)
The Cat and the King (1987)
The Cat Burglar of Pethaven Drive (1996)
CD and the Giant Cat (1997)

Cranky Paws (2008)
The Game of Cat and Lucy (1999)
The Kitnapped Creature (2008)
The Kitten's Tale (2010)

Pen and Ink (2017) (Fairy in the Bed series)
Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet (2015)
There Were Cats (1987)

Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet (2015)
Minipigs (1995)
​Ratty (1998)

The Blue Stealer (2009)             
Bobbi's Gone (2002)
​A Boy's Best Friend? (2000)
The Case of the Disappearing Dog (2001)
Dog Den Mystery (2005)
Dog Went for a Walk (1994)

The Follow Dog (1991)
The Haunting of Ace (1987)
Henry's Ears (1987)
Inspector Jacques (2009)
Motorbike Bob (2009)
The Mugged Pug (2005)

The Pup's Tale (2010)
Soggy Doggy Dot Com (2004)
Swag-Dog (2002)

Aunt Victoria's Monster (2001)  
Bunyips Don't (1996)
The Bunyip's Lair (2001)
The Bunyip Wakes (1984)

​Creature Cottage (1999)
The Dragon's Coming After You (1994)
Dragon Mode (2007)

Fantastic Creatures (2009)
Hector's Garden (1999) (Centaur)
​The Hoop Snake (2001)
Kallie Fetches the Dragon (1998)
The Lonely Dragon (1997)
Monster Bait (2001)
The Monsters (2001)
​Monster Minder (2001)
​Monster Planet (2007)

Pearl the Flying Unicorn (2018) (Pearl 2)
Pearl the Magical Unicorn (2018) (Pearl 1)
Pearl the Proper Unicorn (2018) (Pearl 3)

The Pocket Unicorn (2000)
Raffina (1999) (werewolf)
​Timothy Whuffenpuffen-Whippersnapper (1995) dragon
The Way of the Dragon (2012)
Selka (2004) (SELKIE)

Click! (1995)
Shoo Spider (2001)

Crocodiles Swim in the Swamp (1999)
The Python Problem (2009)
Where Did the Dinosaurs Go? (2013)

The Day the Cows Slept In (1979)
Hugo's Reward (2002)
Rosina and Her Calf (1983)
The Lamburger Emergency (2002)

Dave and Joe (1989)

Her Kingdom for a Pony (1977)
Looking After Pepper (1999)
The Mare's Tale (2008)
The Mares of Merryland Chase (2017)
​X and the Pony (2018)
Hairy George (2001) (camel)
Silly Ass (1993)

The Heavy Hippo (2006)
The Lion in the Night (1997)
Wolfmaster (2001)
​Yaks of the Mountains (2006)

The Story of Kanga-Who? (2014)
That Bothersome Bandiscoot (2003)
Tiger Trail (2001)

Monday, 18 March 2019

A-Books The Ancient Hare

The Ancient Hare is one of the poems in the book ANIMALS IN SILHOUETTE. I wrote it after I found a wonderful old engraving on a free graphics site.

The Ancient Hare

This ancient hare was drawn
In 1754
Think about that for a minute
That was the time
The word serendipity came into use
That was when George Washington was 22
But the dodo had been extinct for 70 years
No one had flown a plane
Or even a hot air balloon
Or (clearly) been to the moon
The most famous hare in literature
Mad March Hare from Alice
Wouldn’t appear for 111 years
If you were a girl you’d probably wear
A long stiff dress to your ankles
If you were a little boy
You’d feel fine in petticoats
You might have played with dolls
Toy soldiers, or ridden a hobby horse
You could even have had a board game!
You might have had a book called
A Little Pretty Pocket Book
And you wouldn’t have had to bother
Learning your left shoe from your right
‘cos they were both the same.
So this hare
                 Is very

Don’t be silly, of course he never saw a dinosaur. Now those are seriously old.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

St Patrick's Day

I'm not Irish (though some of my ancestors were) but I am rather fond of St Patrick. I wrote a play about him way back in the 1970s, and I have quite a few Irish characters, including leprechauns who aren't Irish, but who, like me, have Irish ancestry. It being Sunday, I rang the local St Patrick's Primary school and got permission to go into their grounds today to take St Pat's photo. This is what happened.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Future Books

Future Books in this case are books that exist in my mind, and as notes, and which may exist as printed books sometime in the future. I have so many crowding my brain waiting to be written that it's difficult to know which to write first. Some of them have names but others are more concepts.

Books I hope to get out of my brain and onto paper in 2019 include (but are not limited to)
Northern Lights, Rachel Outward Bound, Jetsam, Seeking Joy and The Pisky Maid.

Somehow I don't like my chances since it's already mid-March!

Friday, 15 March 2019

nineteen pages

I just signed a nineteen-page contract for a little book-to-be that is 12 pp in manuscript and comes in at not much over 1500 words. It doesn't have a title yet.
The contract I signed before that was for a story of 19000 words or so. It was a two-page document.
I'm baffled.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Books that are Friends

In childhood, it's easy for books to become friends (for those who like reading, anyway). Some parents object when their children want the same books over and over, but it's not so different from enjoying the same music album several times, or hanging out with the same friends.
It's probably the over and over aspect that leads some books to become part of us. There are books I haven't read in forty years, but I still remember chunks of dialogue. Even if we never reread these childhood friends they are still part of our make-up.
The friend aspect doesn't go away for adult readers, but I think it becomes more difficult for books to win a place as part of us. Maybe this is because we tend not to re-read as much as when we were children, or maybe we become more critical.
I think over the past decade I've found only one series that has become a real friend (leaving aside books I've written, which are part of me anyway)...with one more that might qualify, but which needs a while to settle into my psyche first.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019


Once, there was almost a book called Borderline. It was written, accepted, contracted and then-- nothing. That happens sometimes. This one has haunted me for years, because I no longer have a copy of the manuscript. (It was written in the days of floppy disks and the disk corrupted.) I remember I dreamed the first chapter and it stuck in my mind so strongly that I wrote the book very quickly.
Now I can't even remember the names of any of the characters.