Monday, 14 April 2014

The Farthest Away Mountain: Feminist Fantasy

I first read The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks in about 1988 (it was first published in 1976). Many moons later, I just read it to my little girl - and found it even more fascinating than I did first time round. But before I tell you why, let's talk about the front cover of the 1988 Lions paperback edition.

It looks like some sort of Scandi-goddess tarot card! Or is the Book of Hours I'm thinking of?

Look at the verdant pagan symbolism in the border. Look at how Dakin's got the glowing magic ring levitating between her hands, powered no doubt by her sheer awesomeness. Even her hair glows white, no doubt scaring off witches with it's own gleaming purity.

And the mountain? It's dayglo.

Just cool. Like the book.

Most of the other covers of this book that I've seen  look like pastiches of Little Red Riding Hood, with Dakin staring up at the farthest-away mountain looking somewhat daunted. And Dakin is never daunted. Well, not much. So if you ever get the chance get this one. Anyhow, on to the book - and then an analysis of the book.

Get yourself a cup of tea... there's a lot in here....

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Horror Bites: A Bag of Heads

Lovely Scottish writer Laura James is hosting a brand new flash fiction challenge , Horror Bites, and it's all about HORROR. Now, I'm not much of a horror writer. Or reader. Or watcher. I had to leave the cinema three times during Dawn of the Dead and then sleep curled up on my flat mate's floor to keep away the nightmares.

I do not do horror. But inspired by writer Ruth Long's example, I wanted to join the party. So here's my effort. The prompt?  "A Bag of heads."

A Bag of Heads

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Pantsing Time Traveller or Ways to Stay Sane

I'm a reformed character. No really. All future novels will be planned, carefully and tightly plotted (with thanks to Sophie Moss and Ruth Long for their inspirational example).

Unfortunately that doesn't help me with the existing ones. Like the one I thought was pretty damn good, until I reread it and saw that the plot needed just a little tweak.

Have you ever tried to do just a little tweak to the plot of a novel? It's the literary equivalent of being Marty McFly going back in time and practically scoring with his own mom. Do you remember that sickening moment when poor Marty pulls out the photo of his family and sees his siblings disappearing?

Sunday, 2 March 2014

3 Ways Gaming Can Help us Write Better Novels

I haven't touched a computer game since the days when you'd load 'em up via a tape cassette and then play on a greenish coloured screen with a joy stick.  

A State of the Art bit of kit in the 80s... 

We're talking a long time ago. A long, long time ago. 

However, the quest for geekdom continues and this month Searching for SuperWomen leader Emmie Mears, issued a summons to Come All Ye Gamers. As a contributor to SfS I could hardly say no. You can find out what happened on The Day I Learned To Game

It's fair to say this was something of a revelation. Like living in the Truman Show and suddenly realising you could burst through the sky and find a whole new universe. Untrammelled creativity. Whether, Scribblenauts when a simple word can conjure any object you desire, or Skyrim, where you build yourself and your quest from the outside in. 

The more I thought about it, the more I think gaming and writing go together like apple pie and custard. For writers, they provide valuable lessons in how to immerse someone in the story you're creating.  So what lessons have I learnt in the 24 hours since I first disposed of my gaming virginity? 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Geek Love: a Valentine's Day special

Valentine's Day isn't for everyone. Oddly enough, despite loving to write romance, I get a bit squeamish about Valentine's Day itself. It's the intense scrutiny. The feeling that some people are getting left out. I like a more inclusive sort of festival.


It is also a cast iron excuse to Get Your Geek On. So for your viewing pleasure please find some of the finest Geek Themed Valentines Pinterest has to offer:

Follow Meg McNulty's board Geek Love on Pinterest.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Words are beautiful: Wordle

I heart Wordle so much. There is so much fun to be had in making art out of your wordsmithery: it brings out something quite unique.  Here is my Medea, rendered in Wordle:

Sunday, 19 January 2014


I've been watching Jason and the Argonauts. The 1963 one. Not once, but repeatedly because it's my daughter's current obsession.  I've got nothing against that. I love Ray Harryhausen (Clash of the Titans was the first and foremost reason I chose to study classics) and I love seeing how myths are retold in different generations.
No 60s film is complete without an exotic dance or two
Jason is of particular interest though because it features my Favourite Greek Myth Figure of all time: Medea, a woman I find endlessly fascinating. Not because she murders her kids. But because she crosses all sorts of boundaries between divine and human and no one seems to notice.