Waiting in antici- pation!

Just a quickie.

Finished work this evening and not back until Monday now. This will be my first ‘holiday’ since Christmas. (The parenthesis are because this isn’t technically a holiday. I’ve worked six days on the trot so I can tie three day’s off together. Still, a break’s a break.) Very much looking forward to a bit of time off, which yes, will include some much deserved time with my mac. Not sure if it’s because I’ve been at work, but had some brilliant ideas for book two, as well as a couple of the short story concepts currently bubbling away in my head.

My librarian’s been a busy girl. Kudos to the girl in black.

Quite aside from the above, however, the primary highlight of the coming weekend for me will be my very own Rocky Horror (sorry JC, no offence meant). Promise to post some pics if there are any I deem suitable for public consumption.

Happy ‘dawning of spring’ to y’all x



Picture time again this week.

As well as Valentine’s Day, I recently celebrated my husband’s Birthday with him. Which meant the production of another pair of cards to honour the occasion.

I ought to explain at this point that I decided, some time ago, that as a marginally talented artist I found myself wondering a few years ago ‘why do I buy cards, when I have the skills to make my own?’ From that day onwards (with a couple of exceptions) I’ve produced and illustrated my own greetings cards, where practical and possible.

Valentines first, which you can view here. Entitled ‘My Dark Knight’, I took my inspiration from a piece poster I saw on Bond Street a couple of years ago, whilst on a trip to London with friends (that featured proof positive that the Victoria and Albert Museum is not the place to go with a hangover). I’ve seen various versions of this sort of image, so I can in no way claim credit of any sort here, it’s just my take on a well trodden theme (though I will say that it’s usually Robin with him).

My birthday offering featured an exterior and interior and is based on a running joke between the two of us regarding the Earth, and whether it is, in fact, gaining weight as the population grows and we build more and more across it’s surface. The original – the first Christmas card I did for him – featured the Earth in trainers and a sweat band on a running machine.

Seem appropriate to do something to honour the recently past Mayan Apocalypse that grabbed everyone’s imagination.

For those of you who haven’t before, please do also check out the (as yet quite small) gallery of concept art for The Orphans Revolt, as well as my various other doodlings.

Have a good week y’all. Rocky Horror for me on Friday. Obviously, I’m filled with antici… pation 😉

Musical cue

I was at work on Saturday, doing my thing, when the following thought train came through my station:

‘Music provides an auditory cue, in instances where a group of strangers find themselves sharing space, as to how you should feel. It allows such a group to be comfortable together in such a communal space, without the need to look to each other for emotional cues.’

I feel like I should elucidate a little.

While I was at University I did some work on looking at the role music plays in our lives. It, unlike any other art form, speaks directly to your emotions. There is a long and complicated bit here that I ought to go in to regards musical language, and what that language has come to mean to use, within western society, that affects the way we interpret the sounds we hear. I’m not going to do that, largely as I don’t currently have access to the relevant resources to back up said information (my dissertation lurks on a floppy disk as we speak, along with – I hope – the later part of my second attempt at novel writing, from way back in the noughties).

For those of you experiencing skepticism, I direct you to the reaction (most) people have to film music. It being the most obvious, and culturally pandemic instance of what I’m talking about.

I was thinking in terms of shop music here, obviously, given I work in one. But music in any such ‘public’ situation would function the same. Think of that old cliche, elevator music. What’s it there for, if not to stop everyone in that confined space from feeling uncomfortable? It gives you all something to focus on that isn’t the proximity of so many strangers, even if that focus could be roughly summed up as ‘what is this awful racket?!?’ (A sentiment I hear repeated often where I work – it’s a surprisingly effective ice breaker).

To sum up, the point I’m making here is that the suggestion of how you ‘should feel’ mentioned above is not a personal one. That would be brain washing, and unless I’m missing a trick we’ve not come that far yet. This is not Doll House, or The Happiness Patrol. No, the cue is more of an atmospheric one, intended to suggest an overall mood for the room, discreet from your own state of mind, and (more importantly) buffering it from everybody else’s.

Think of it like an emotional entourage. They keep the riff-raff off, and give you space to do as you please. But you can still engage if you choose to, with a nod to your head of security.

Handy stuff.


Other half’s birthday this week, so there will be a short hiatus in the regular posting schedule whilst I do preparation-type things like present wrapping etc, like a good husband

(‘What regular schedule?!?’ I hear you cry. Yes, well, I think we’re all well aware by now that erratic should be one of my middle names. All I can say is I will endeavour to impart one post a week for your predilection, but no promises on when it will appear. I’m afraid my life simply doesn’t lend itself to a reliable schedule. Sorry people.)

In lieu of having time to write anything more involved, I’d like to share the following, which anyone who has been by my facebook page recently will have already seen. I drew it last December, in the run up to the release of The Hobbit, following my reacquaintance with one of John Howe’s pieces of Smaug the Golden. This is not he, but some other golden dragon (no, he’s not from the book I’m writing at the moment either).


Sleeping Gold

Colour me beautiful

So, this weekend just gone was a rare one off for me. Booked with a purpose, as my old housemate had invited me to join him at ‘the Tattoo Tea Party’, at Event City in Manchester. All curious (as I’ve never been to a tattoo event before), I agreed (after some prevarication) to go along. Event City is the conference centre they’ve put up next to the infamous Trafford Centre where I go to play Clark Kent five days a week (complete with glasses!).

They’d set the place up in a series of concentric rings, broken up by a grid of connecting walkways that housed what must have been in excess of three hundred separate stalls. The Ring Master (they had a boxing ring at the centre that hosted ‘Gentleman’s Death Matches’) mentioned on a number of occasions that there were around two hundred and forty (or it might have been fifty) of the countries finest tattoo artists present, showcasing their wares and offering their services. The remaining trade space was taken up by stands selling body jewellery, clothing and kids face painting, amongst other things (I thought that last a nice touch), as well as a group of very bored looking industry suppliers down one side selling ink, guns etc. There were also dodgems at the back, and a couple of cafes that included an ice cream van (genius, given how hot it was in there. Someone had clearly set the thermostat to ‘third circle of Hell). Distinct lack of teas on sale at the cafe however, which disappointed me a little, as I like my gun powder, sencha or lapsang souchong and had been looking forward to being able to tell people I’d had tea at the Tattoo Tea Party.

Sadly not to be.

Still, they did serve a passable americano (the fourth name in this post that the dictionary on here doesn’t recognise. Prize for the first person to guess the other three in comments below…).

The convention itself was amazing – the artwork on show… As I commented to my friend, if I were shameless and had a camera… Some of the pieces were just stunning, both existing, and being done at the time. Two in particular that caught my eye were a young man whose sleeve worked as a storyboard (continuous, no panels) spiralling down his left arm, done in the style of an old fifties sci-fi film (think The Forbidden Planet, or the original The Day the Earth Stood Still), with an army of approaching robots at the top treading the path towards you that then curled about his bicep, perspective shifting back as it dove into the UFO strafed city done across his lower arm.

The second was a woman, wearing a turquoise cocktail dress. Her sleeve featured a number of elements, but the one that stood out for me were the peacock feathers curled about the mid-section, as if they’d been gathered there in a bouquet about her arm. Each one, and indeed the rest of the piece, was picked out in minute detail, with the individual filaments of each feather drawn on as discreet lines, rather than the whole being created as a block of colour. Think pointillism, but with lines rather than dots. I have something similar – a sycamore leaf across my left shoulder – but this rather put mine to shame with the level of detail and the colours involved. Truly, truly stunning to behold.

Anyway, suffice to say it was a brilliant and well spent afternoon, though I did think my old housemate’s head was going to explode at various points from the amount of hot men in attendance. There was one in particular we inadvertently ended up following (honest!) whilst waiting for a friend of ours who was tattooing there to finish up so we could go talk to her. ‘What’s he doing, out on his own, unattended…?’ we wondered, unable to believe someone so beautiful could conceivably be walking around alone.

The words had barely left my mouth, before he reached one of the stands and sat down to chat to his (equally attractive) friend (we had only moments before been ogling him as well), who’s leg piece was just being finished.

C’est (as they say) la vie.

I believe my point here is ‘go to one’ regarding tat conventions, if you’re at all interested, or just like looking at scantily clad hot people. Well worth the money, regardless your intent. The only minor draw back is that if, like me, you’re that way inclined, you will come away wanting more ink.