Thursday 31 January 2019


The summer's going to be really great this year.

Emily laughs

Wednesday 30 January 2019


Until she turned seven on Christmas Eve 2001, Promise Grene loved her name.

I Promise!

Tuesday 29 January 2019


From the age of nineteen,  Kendra and Frances were in the same romantic boat.

She and Frances were back in the same romantic boat.

Monday 28 January 2019


Melinda looked wistfully at the bull's tail.

"Thank you," said Sarah, "but I'll cut it myself."

Sunday 27 January 2019


Flori was trawling the Hook-Up website when the bell tinkled and a woman stepped through the door of BB Blossoms.

And if their own lips touched in the middle there was love there too.

Saturday 26 January 2019


It all started on April the 1st.

Remember,  it all started on April the 1st.

Friday 25 January 2019


When I first met Dolphin, she  was small and ragged with skin pale as milk.

But she sometimes comes to visit me and our children play together while we talk about old times.

Thursday 24 January 2019

First Line Last Line CHAT


This year, I'm going to be cool.

The squidizzies are turning purple and one of the stars is about to go supernova...

Wednesday 23 January 2019

First Line Last Line Boy Down Under

Ro to Mahalia Thomas.

"And why have you got rose petals in your hair?"

Tuesday 22 January 2019

First Line Last Line Anna's Own

First Line: Anna's Own

Miss Verity, a vision in a modish crinoline of powder blue, had finally departed for her evening party.

Last Line:

"Pat McNamarra is me love," she said softly, and found to her delight that it was so.

Monday 21 January 2019

Fee Kaffee

Place Post 17
Fee Kaffee

Where? In Patterdale
Who Went There? Tab and Josefa frequented it in Sunshower and half the cast went there in Court in Between and the two Counterpoint books
Fee Kaffee was built at some time after the 1980s. For the past several years it has been owned and run by Martina Bless, a handsome alpenfee m├Ądchen in her thirties. Martina has a round face and dimples and wears her luxuriant brown hair in a milkmaid braid. She dresses for work in a dirndl and blouse.
Martina has a touch of the sight which makes some of Fee Kaffee’s patrons nervous. Others go there especially to pick up any insight Martina might be willing to share.

As its name implies, Fee Kaffee specialises in coffee. Martina serves kaffee schnapps and gives her favoured fay customers a particularly good coffee. She won’t say where it comes from. She has expressed regret that she doesn’t have a hob baker, but she does serve some interesting cakes. A popular one is alpenkuchen, a confection of chocolate cake covered with a shiny white coat to represent snow. Even fancier is alpentorte which Court Leopold passes on when eating a late supper. One with the wafer layers and staggering clouds of cream must be the alpentorte, but he wasn’t going to cut into that. It was such an undisciplined cake. Cut a slice of that and it might prove impossible to get his mouth around it.

Apart from the fancy cake, more homely fare such as soup, sturdy ryebread and herb-speckled cheese can be ordered.
Martina is quite likely to conjure orders and menus when she’s in a hurry, and she will also provide a glamour if she thinks patrons need privacy.
The cafe has some open-air seating it the pretty garden, which has room for a temporary stage. Martina lives in a cottage behind it.

Sunday 20 January 2019

Tim Merriweather's Ubiquitous Holly

Object Post 159

Tim Merriweather’s
Ubiquitous Holly
From I Promise
Source: A Bless cousin, who would have been a descendant of Johan or Hugo, and who would thus be closely related to Martina from Fee Kaffee. This cousin either grew it for the Christmas market or simply had it and provided it for friends
Significance: It was all over the tower when Promise Grene reluctantly returned for her brother’s wedding.
Author’s inspiration: I like holly, and since I Promise is a Christmas release, I added some to the story
“What’s changed here this time?” Prom asked Corin.
She was angry with him, but wary curiosity overcame sulkiness.
 “The tower is full of holly and tinsel.”
Prom winced. “Of course it is. What else?”

Christmas had uneasy connotations for Promise so she didn’t like reminders. Holly also reminded her uncomfortably of herself; shiny and colourful, but also prickly and defensive.

The studio was where the old school room used to be. No one was there, but it brimmed with woodlins, keyboards, flutes and various drums lying in wait for their owners. It was also full of Christmas bells and real holly with wavy sharp-edged leaves.
Peck must have seen her staring because he said, “Tim got that from one of the Bless cousins. There’s mistletoe in with it, so don’t stand about up here near random men unless you want to be kissed.”

Peck, Promise’s brother, seemed to have mixed feelings about the holly too.

Peck looked at the decorations with disfavour. “Holly’s damned prickly stuff,” he said, conjuring a bundle of it onto the floor.

He mentioned it again when he was persuading Prom to stay on and be a bridesmaid at his wedding to Chloe.

“I hope you’ll stay for our wedding, and then for Christmas.”
“No promises.”
“At least get Skye to make you a dress? Just in case? Make it Christmassy. Something with holly berries maybe? Or you can use some of these holly leaves and prickle people properly instead of verbally.”

Not only the tower was full of holly. It spilled over into the Thymelines Gallery, though that was painted rather than actual, into Deek Caffrey’s conversation…

“Is that Christmas pudding I smell? Do people try to eat you?” Promise asked.
Deek grinned. “Well, hell! I guess I asked for that. Luckily Shar likes the smell of me. Likes the taste, too. And so far, she’s resisted the urge to tip brandy over me and crown me with a sprig of holly. Come to think of it…”

Holly also spilled into the Over Here B&B which Promise visited with Deek’s son, Valentine.

Her cousin Quinn was sitting in Reception, almost invisible behind swags of holly and ivy laced with Christmas lights. He was playing The Pixies’ Christmas on a sweetwood flute, but he stopped when he saw who it was.

Quinn evidently liked holly, because he provided Prom and Valentine with coffee…

steaming in a pale green pot decorated with sprigs of holly. A small round cake sat on a matching plate.

Saturday 19 January 2019

A Work in Progress: Gemma and Henry

Declarations of Love: Post 11. 
A Work in Progress: Gemma and Henry

Declarations of love are a staple in fiction and they vary enormously according to author, audience, characters and situation. We mostly think of such effusions as romantic. We hope they're truthful, and we hope (usually) that they'll be made and received in a positive manner. Love's not always romantic though, so not all the declarations in this sub-set will be between romantic partners. This one is a comment from a young man who has fallen for  his girl and who wants it to last forever.

Corin Peckerdale, who has been very much tried in this particular book, and just walked into the tea room where Henry and Gemma are having a bit of M-rated fun. Since this is his second loved-up couple in a tea room for the day, and since he sees no chance of a happy ever after for himself, Corin is exasperated. However, he's a kindly person, so he says:

"Shall I put up a Do Not Disturb sign so you can finish what you were doing?”
Sarcasm was lost on Henry. He said, “Thanks, but it’s not the sort of thing you finish. We’re a work in progress, and now we’d better go. We have a phone call to make.”
Corin closed his brilliant eyes and slowly shook his head.

This little scene is from Counterpoint Answers, which will be out, luck permitting, later in 2019.

Friday 18 January 2019

Tansy Thrift's Sip-About Tea

Object Post 158
Tansy Thrift’s
Sip-about Tea
From Court in Between

Tansy Thrift loved a good cup of tea. She not only liked the taste, but she associated it with company. When she set up house in the stable at d’Chevalier Manor, one of her few luxuries was a set of china cups decorated with tansy sprigs, given to her by her stepmother, Ruby. Later, she drank tea with her only regular visitor, Finn Rivers.
When Court Leopold arrived in her life he shattered her routine. His advent also shattered three of her cups, leaving her with just one. Therefore, when she made him a cup of tea…

She handed him the tea, steaming and fragrant. He looked down at the cup and recognised the design as a sprig of tansy herb. Of course.
He raised it to sip and closed his eyes with pleasure. “Aahhh.” He remembered the tea he’d had in Martina’s kitchen. It hadn’t been like this.
“Aren’t you having any?”
“I had one while I was waiting for you to finish thinking.”
“One’s never enough.”
“I know. I’ll have another one when you finish.”
He paused with the cup close to his lips. “Surely we can drink at the same time?”
“Not unless you care to take it sip about.” She let the silence stretch before she added, “I don’t have another cup.”

Later, when they were stranded on an island, they were still taking turns with the tea.

He reached past her and poured tea into the cup. “May I go first? All that talking is making me parched.”
“Go ahead,” she said.
He drank half the tea and handed the cup to her.

One point of significance about the sip-about tea was that Court had been used to living with humans, and he couldn’t picture them sharing this way, whereas Tansy had been over there almost all her life and so she had little concept of the dangers of sharing cups.

“We’ll share it then.” He drained half the tea, although it was hot, and gave her the cup. He thought she might object, but she thanked him and drank.
He found himself smiling at a ridiculous thought.
“What?” she asked.
“I was trying to imagine sharing a cup of tea with Jordy or Gem. They’d think it was most insanitary.”
He waited for her to get the joke, but she looked blank.
“Jordana is the other half of Courtesan. Gem is her sister, who acts as our roadie. I mean, she travels with us and helps out at performances. They’re human.”
 “Oh. Human. They’re afraid they might catch something from you. Don’t they know they can’t?”

This wasn’t the last conversation Tansy and Court had over sip-about tea. Even when they acquired some extra cups they probably shared one now and again, just for old time’s sake.

Thursday 17 January 2019

Pearl the Proper Unicorn

Pearl the Proper Unicorn (2019)

Pearl the Proper Unicorn is the third in the series about Pearl, Olive and Tweet and their adventures in the Kingdom. In this story, Pearl is astonished when she meets another unicorn. She's always been the only one in the Kingdom! Percy is passing through on a quest, and he magnanimously agrees to help Pearl to master her magic. The problem is, Percy is convinced there's only one way to do things- his! Naturally, Pearl and her friends come out on top, but Percy's not a bad sort- at least he can admit it when he's wrong.

Pearl the Proper Unicorn is my second published book for 2019... The purple cover joins the blue and pink ones of the first two books.

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Melinda's Hair Collection

Object Post 157

Hair Collection
From The Ghost Collector
Source: From various people and animals
Significance: It made people nervous and got Melinda into so much trouble that she was glad to accept an invitation to escape
Author’s inspiration: I had one myself, with the samples sticky-taped to yellow x-ray paper

“But why, Melinda?” asked Mum as they drove away from the agricultural show. “Why did  you cut off the bull’s tail?” …

… “Melinda cut the tail off a bull,” said Mum.
Melinda wished people would stop saying that.
“It was only a bit of hair from the end,” she said. “The bull didn’t mind.”
“The owner did,” said Mum.

Melinda had a lot of collections. She had china animals, pot plants and books. All these collections were flourishing…

but so far her collection of hair covered only the first two pages of a scrapbook.

Hair of the family had a nice long piece of Melinda’s hair, which she’d brought back after her last haircut. That was where she’d got the idea. She had a curl from her sister Felicity, and two pieces from her cousins.
The hair from the bull’s tail started a new section called Hair of Animals, but after the incident at the show it seemed unlikely to be a big section.
Fortunately, Melinda’s three uncles turned up… and when they invited her to stay at a haunted-guesthouse-to-be with them and their great aunt, things were looking up!
By the end of the story, Uncle Christopher was engaged to his girlfriend Sarah, who was willing to sacrifice a piece of her hair… as long as Melinda wasn’t planning to use it for anything nefarious.

What do you want it for?” Sarah asked when reassured that Melinda wasn’t taking up witchcraft.

My hair collection, of course! I’ve still only got six people and the bull’s tail…”
“Make sure you cut off a nice big bit,” said Uncle Christopher, snipping air.
Sarah had at least this much sense. “Thank you,” said Sarah,’ but I’ll cut it myself!”

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Gentian Grene’s Hospitable Soups

Object Post 156

Gentian Grene’s
Hospitable Soups
From The Fairy in the Bed series

Source: The founders of Peckerdale Grene Community Tower made it a tradition
Significance: Residents, friends or visitors were all welcome to partake. Most of the residents took shifts in the kitchen

“I suggest you come down to the public lounge and get some soup or a coffee. Shall I call you a taxi?”
Peckerdale Grene Community Tower was built in the mid-1980s. It was the brainchild of two couples;  Peter and Pia Peckerdale and Peter and Gentian Grene. The two Peters were distant cousins and they and their wives developed the tower for their extended family and other congenial people. By 2016, it was a thriving home for families traditional and not.
One of the initiatives from the start was the public lounge and kitchen which took up much of the ground floor. This communal area provided a place to entertain and anyone who didn’t feel like cooking could eat there. The basic menu was soup, speciality bread, cheese, preserves and tea and coffee. Most of the inhabitants took shifts in the kitchen and there was always a giant pot of soup simmering on the stove. Gentian Grene had an extensive vegetable garden, and she was also an inventive cook, so she provided most of the recipes. When Chloe Fraser first dined there with Gentian’s grandson Peck Grene, she was feeling both rattled and suspicious. They’d had a misunderstanding of Everestian proportions and the only thing Peck could think of was to offer her soup. That was the way things were done at the tower.

He opened the private door into the kitchen and filled two bowls with leek and potato soup, which he carried through to the community lounge.
He was tucking in when the young woman edged through the door. She looked about as if puzzled. Peck gave her a formal smile and indicated the steaming soup. “This other bowl is for you if you want it.”

The second time he offered her soup, Chloe was exasperated.

“What is it with you and soup?”
“It’s not me and soup. That’s what’s on offer in the Peckerdale Grene community lounge. There’s always soup, for anyone who needs it. My grandfathers and grandmothers think it’s a nice thing to do.”

Chloe got over her unease and was soon a regular visitor to the tower. She called the community lounge the souper room and the name stuck.
Later, Peck’s cousin Ryl…

…held out a bowl of soup so yellow it was clear to Peck it held a dangerous amount of curry.
He nodded his thanks and raised the bowl to his lips. It was curry and rice, hot and fragrant with ginger, and he felt it warming him from the inside out.

All sorts of soup was consumed in the souper room. The family shared the recipes, but most of them originated with Gentian and when she did the cooking it was something of a treat.

When Pen Swan was invited to supper by Ryl and her friend Skye…

Pen sat between them and ladled out some soup. It was divine, with hints of ginger, coconut, and coriander. She also detected lemongrass. Pen closed her eyes in appreciation as she sipped.
“Seriously, Ryl,” she said when she’d cleared the bowl. “This stuff is magic.”
“It ought to be since it’s Grandma Grene’s recipe.”

Pen’s bridesmaid Flori heard a bit more about it from Hamish, one of the best men…

“If things go to pot, we get out the pots—and cook.”
“Food has a soothing effect, and it’s giving, my bonnie. It’s difficult for a woman to think about mayhem and violence when she has a meek fairy man feeding her soup.”

So, lemongrass, curry, potato and leek, parsnip… all kinds of soup were consumed in the souper room.  As Ryl said, when she was still in her teens…

“We can get something in the kitchen here. Gentie makes good soup.”

Monday 14 January 2019

Foxie’s Sausages by Right

Object Post 155

Sausages by Right
From The Sausage Situation
Source: Originally from the sausage factory not far from Doggeroo
Significance: Foxie was devoted to food, and he also had a strong possessive streak

‘Sausages!’ said Foxie. He jumped up and scooted back to his own yard.
Foxie was an expert at scenting food, especially sausages. When Mr Beale the butcher delivered a consignment of sausages to Auntie Tidge, Foxie caused mayhem. As Jack put it;

There were boxes scattered on the ground. One had burst open. Foxie had his head right inside it, and I could hear him guzzling and gulping.
I didn’t need a nose map to tell me Foxie was feasting on sausages.

The sausages were intended for the Doggeroo Dog and Sausage Day, but Foxie strongly believed that any food on the ground was his by right. Since the boxes of sausages had landed on the ground, Foxie was convinced they all belonged to him.
Foxie was still grumbling about the sausage situation two days later.
‘Those sausages are mine by right,’ he kept saying. ‘They were on the ground in my terrier-tory!’
‘I know. You were guzzling them,’ I said.
‘I only had three. Auntie Tidge hid the rest before she let me out of the shed.’
‘That’s so you wouldn’t eat them all at once and be sick.’ I was tired of hearing about the sausage situation. I had other things on my mind.

Since the sausages were taken away, Foxie started plotting… The Dog and Sausage Day turned into a full-blown sausage situation, complete with thefts, rumours, suspected dognapping and a mad plan that only Foxie could have conceived.

After all, the sausages were his by right.

Sunday 13 January 2019

The Campbell Family Bible

Object Post 154

The Campbell Family
From Heather & Heath and Kissing Cousins

Source: Hector Campbell would have had it for his dynasty
Significance: It linked generations
Fate: At Glen Heather


She fetched the heavy Bible from the parlour and they pored over the names.
“If you’re a Garland,” said the man suddenly, “you’re a cousin of mine. Somewhat removed, and I can’t place the exact relationship. We’d have to check the Family Bible for that. How do you do, Cousin Garland?”

When Ness McCleod left Scotland to sail for New South Wales in 1837, she brought with her a limp little bible which she read from on Sundays. Ness’ bible wasn’t the Campbell Family Bible, though, because that was a heavy one. It is most likely that Hector Campbell, though not much of a one for religious observance, bought the larger one to record the growth of his dynasty. After her father Robert’s untimely death in 1919, Hector's great-granddaughter Alice Campbell used the bible to try to trace the new owner of the property Glen Heather.
In the 1990s, Alice’s great-great-niece Trina Garland visited Glen Heather, and met Alice’s great-grandson Alister McKenzie. Trina found the family bible.

 The sun’s rays fell dazzlingly on the large brass box on the mantel above the fireplace, and she picked it up. It was unexpectedly heavy, so she laid it on the polished table before she opened the lid. Inside was the Family Bible, its edges blurred with age and its black cover limp and greenish.

Trina and Alister also used the bible to seek out relationships, although their motive was simple curiosity. The last time the bible was sighted was when Alister used the box as a temporary resting place for one of Trina’s broken shoes.

Alister glanced uneasily at the shoe with the broken heel, just now perched skittishly on the box containing the Family Bible.

The Campbell-McKenzies being a traditional family, no doubt they still have it, now bearing the inked names and dates of a whole new generation.

Saturday 12 January 2019

Hanaka Moon’s W—I-one—I-two—I-three—D census

Object Post 153

Hanaka Moon’s
W—I-one—I-two—I-three—D census

Source: Moon caused it to be drawn up
Significance: It was an attempt to occupy three friends and also to impose order on chaos

“I have a job for you three. Find something to write with and start taking a ship census.

After the colony ship Elysian Dawn crashed on an unexplored planet, Hanaka Moon, the  ship’s healer, was at her wit’s end. She did what she could for the wounded, but it was difficult to get a clear picture of the situation. She gave three ambulatory friends the task of making a census.
As Moon explained it…

“It will be hard and sad work for you, but we need it done. In my cubicle is a list of families. I need you to seek out the members of each and make a note of the status.”
Marianne raised her head from her contemplation of the spiralling bandage. “What status?”
Moon, who was making it up as she went along, spoke clearly. “Divide people among the following notifications. W. That means well. This is for those with no obvious injuries beyond bruises or superficial cuts, who appear to be functioning normally. D. This is for deceased. That means the person is dead. In between, we have I-one, I-two and I-three. This is for injured. I-one people are obviously injured, but capable of functioning. I-two have worse injuries, but they are alert and able to eat and communicate. I-three are those who are badly hurt and who need someone else to help them with everything. Include those who look unharmed but who are unresponsive.”

The job was particularly difficult for Edsen and Jeremiah, who both had close family members in the D category, but they set about it.
Marianne located Moon’s family list in the cubicle. It was quite a large document, with each group of families set out on connected sheets. Paper aboard Elysian Dawn was recycled, as was just about everything else, but for this purpose Moon used permasheets, which could be amended and updated multiple times.
“We need a system for this,” Marianne said, leafing through the stiff document.
“Let’s start by putting in the ones we already know,” Jeremiah suggested.
“Arcadia, then.” Marianne located her family close to the beginning of the list, and she tagged her parents and brothers with W and herself with I-one. “I haven’t seen Mia and Olivia or my uncle and aunt, so I’ll leave them aside for now. Or should we look for them?”
“I think we should just enter people as we find them at first.” Jeremiah took the R sheaf and entered himself and his mother as W, his father as I-two and his brother Japh, sister-in-law Suki and baby niece Lilly as D. “I haven’t seen Jeb and his family, so that will wait.” He passed the B sheaf to Edsen, who inscribed a hasty W, I-one and D and passed it back as if it had burned him…
…The census took a great deal of time, and it was still not done when Marianne, worn down by others’ grief, suddenly sat down and crossed her arms over her face.

The work continued, but unfortunately, it was an ongoing task which became unimaginably difficult for Marianne.