cat_hellisen: (Default)
2017-06-19 02:11 pm

hot and tired

yeah. hot. In Scotland.

Tbf it's cooler outside the house because there's a breeze but even so it's muggy and draining. Scotland, Y U so weird?

I thought I was doing better on the anemia front with all those pills the doc is making me take, but wow did i crash hard this afternoon. Getting out of bed was an ordeal (I had to have an afternoon nap from the deadness). Still, despite that, I know things are improving because my house is clean and I've gone to the shops and the bread is in the oven. i tweaked this recipe a bit so it has rye and oats in it - will see if it's edible.

Today I'm just doing stretches for post-weekend recovery. Gah, I wish I were more flexible. i mean, (I am workign on flexibility but it's crazy to see how tight my hips are. All the people in my aikido class seem to just casually settle into a wide straddle for stretches and my centre split is more like this < hahaha)

Okay, I should go do some work. But first I'll go fetch the Younger Spawn from school and mop up my puddles of sweat. :P
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2017-06-07 07:21 pm

Swallows, a flash fiction

A flash about family, funerals, migration, and birds. Some of this true, some of it is almost true, some of it isn't true at all. That's the nature of fiction.

swallows title

you can read it online at my Patreon, free of charge.

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2017-05-21 05:44 pm
Entry tags:

"He was trapped in a haircut he no longer believed in."

I did not run this weekend, but I feel good about that because my right knee (the one that always fucks out) was giving me pain all through Saturday, until eventually i took painkillers to get to sleep that night.

The new library in Dunfermline, which we went to go see, looks pretty amazing, and they've really done a wonderful job of old meeting new, with the old buildings joined by glass and modern extensions, and the history of Dunfermline both trade (looms, silk spinners, miner's lamps etc,) and modern life (Nazareth, advertising, scooters and other items of the recent past) sitting shoulder to shoulder. One of the cool things is the recorded interviews you can listen to, which really gives a warmth to the voices of the past.

Despite technically not being there to take out books, I still ended up grabbing Charlie Jane Ander's All the Birds of the Sky (which ended up winning a Nebula later that evening), Alex Bledsoe's The Hum and the Shiver, and Emma Bull's War for the Oaks. So a pretty neat haul. Also the SF section looked like it had almost every Culture novel, so I may do a massive reread of North Queensferry's most famous.

Here's Younger Spawn in the renovated library garden, with Dunfermline Abbey looming behind. You can see the esplaniered trees on their stakes there in the background. YS is standing in what is currently a very small labyrinth. I really hope they grow the hedges a bit taller, as i do love the peace of walking though one.

Every time I think about where i live now, i am awed by the history and beauty. i still miss South Africa badly, but I appreciate the wonder I have here too.

Younger Spawn in Dunfermline

Today I got told I'm moving up a grade at skating, which is cool, but set the YS off in tears as she wants me to stay with her. I actually think me not being in her class will be better for her and give her more confidence, but she does not see it that way. Ah well, hopefully she'll adjust to the idea by next week. We still do warm-up and after-class together so, she doesn't have to feel totally alone.

I've been purposefully meditating for the past week and I really feel like the combo of meds and meditating is giving me a lot of peace I needed in my life. Part of it is that I can just let go of stupid and not let it affect me. Letting other people bug me is my choice, and I'm never going to change them, so why get frustrated by it? This is a little easier to ruminate on than put into practice, but I shall try!

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2017-05-19 05:57 pm
Entry tags:

"Tell me we both matter, don't we?"

I'm feeling rather antsy and restless tonight. I was planning to skip parkrun tomorrow, but think I need to go and burn off some of my excess nerves.

The new Dunfermline Carnegie museum/gallery/library opened on Thursday, so we're going in anyway to have a look at it, so I might as well trek in a little earlier for the run. I better burn off all that chocolate bread I made and ate. *pats very round stomach gently* My pizza was amazing, btw. I don't think I'll do stretch and fold doughs very often because they take forever, but wooh did it make a spectacularly crispy and airy pizza crust.


The cheese was a mix of mozzarella and very mature cheddar, with onion, beefsteak toms, and mushrooms for topping. It was sooooooo moreish. And now I have the last dregs of a red wine bottle, and I'm listening to Placebo so this is a pleasant Friday.

Novel-wise, i decided I needed a new character in the book What I Just Kinda Finished. I mean, partly I'm kicking myself, and partly I'm going "Oh, yeah, this makes so much more sense." So she will be stitched in, and add to the texture of the story.

Why do I need her? Well, this is a story about mothers, daughters, sisters and step-mothers, but I realised I'd ignored the grandmother. And there was this AHA! moment, which made me realise I was on the right thought track there.

How I took the vaguest outline of Snow White and made it a story about female relationships (and all the ways they twist and support and tangle), I have no idea. I wouldn't say I set out to write any kind of lady manifesto, and it's not. it's just about people, and hearts. And the people happen to mainly be women because Snow White.

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2017-05-15 10:45 am

"this revolution has just begun."

After 2+ weeks of no rain, it's finally drizzling. Feels a wee bit more Scottish in the rain. Of course, it did have to rain the day I washed bedding so now my house is filled with damp sheets.

Yesterday Younger Spawn and I went in to Murrayfield - the first time she's been able to go in about three weekends, thanks to illness and injury. She did pretty well considering her long break, although we did have to deal with some sulking. (yay :P). It was a stunning day and we reveled in the walk there and back - filled with bird song and dappled sun through green boughs. The sides of the pathways are steep slopes covered with wild garlic and bluebells and bracken under the trees, so everything is looking very lush.

After that I went with The Boy for a walk in the small woods near our house. There's something very otherworldly about the place. Makes me totally understand why Scotland has so much fairy lore. you can picture nature spirits and strange things haunting the place.

I'm finally meditating again. Made the decision to swap 30 aimless minutes getting pissed off with idiots on twitter, to spending 30 focused minutes with my breath. Can only be for the good. :D No running today as i need a recovery day, but I'll be back on the road on Tuesday. Running is another kind of meditation, though I run with music, so that isn't very meditative, I guess. I don;t care, i love my music time on the run.

And in good news, I should finish that beta read today - I lost the notes on about half the read a week ago when my computer crashed and did not have the energy to face it all again. But, yay, I am making progress and the end is in sight again. ;)


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2017-05-11 07:13 pm
Entry tags:

"baby's on fire, and all the laughing boys are bitching."

It's only Thursday? Yeeesh.

I haven't done much running this week, but that's because in an attempt to save some cash (bus fare being more than my actual lesson fees) I decided to cycle with B into Edinburgh. Googlemaps is all like "13 miles, will take you about 1:20" THIS IS A COMPLETE FABRICATION. It actually took 16.7 miles, and 1:50. Because getting to Edinburgh is only 2/3 of the (long) battle. Then you have to navigate the million and one road closures and diversions. Still, I'm pretty proud of myself. I didn't walk once on the way in, and though I did stop to walk a few hills on the way back, I'm okay with that, It was only a little. Cycling back in the gloaming (and night) was so peaceful and beautiful. i saw pipistrelle bats and a fox while we were on the greenway part of the cycle track1

building in Edinburgh

Aikido class (the reason for the biking) was really great. I am so glad to be back on the mat, It just feels so right, even though I have forgotten everything and feel all uncoordinated. It's slowly coming back to me though, and I'm in the beginner's class so I don't have to stress too much because I'm relearning stuff I have done. It is weird because, obviously, different sensei means slightly different technique and style (and instructions) so sometimes I do things very differently because of muscle memory. I do try adjust my technique to be more like class style though.

This week I took the chance to start arting again, and painted a little study of a pygmy nuthatch. I love painting birds, so I decided I'll stick to them. I asked my friend and fellow writer person Lynne Jamneck if I could use her images as source material because she takes the most amazing pictures of New Zealand birds, and she was happy to let me.

pygmy nuthatch painting

And in the lats bit of news, I took Elder Spawn to Dunfermline today so she could have an orthodontist appointment, and while we were there I found this cool-looking kid's book of folk tales in a charity shop. All of 50p Bargain!

book cover

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2017-05-01 04:31 pm

"Oh, make me over, I'm all i wanna be."

It's a dreich Monday, but despite the grey and gloom, I have cleaned the lounge carpet, done laundry, some beta reading, so proper reading, and managed another 1000 words on the WiP. 1000 seems to be my sweet spot, so if I could just focus on daily writing, I can finish this draft pretty soonish.

I know I did plan to finish it for April but eh well, progress is progress.

Yesterday I went for a run with Lynn from the school and two of her running buddies. We did a 5km through Pattiesmuir and the graveyard and woods. It was really beautiful. Fife farmlands are stunning; there are fields of electric yellow flowers in bloom at the moment. No idea what they are. They look a little like when cabbage goes to seed? Uh, a farmer I am not hahaha.

After that I headed to Edinburgh for the Robin Hobb signing. It was meant to start at 12:30, and I got there at 11:30 and a queue was already forming so I grabbed a copy and got in line. Good thing too, as they actually ran out of copies before 12. I was going to buy 2 copies (one for me and one for Nerine) but the book was £25! and I need to pay for aikido and skating and guides and life.... :P

So I just got Nerine a copy. It's the third book in a series that I haven't read yet, though I did enjoy her Liveship Traders books muchly, but people looked at me funny for saying that. I have so many books on my TBR pile, and I am so behind in all things readerly. My biggest fear is I'm going to die before I read everything. ;)

 The 5-minute-queue friends were pretty cool - Some arty Welsh girls who were art and lit students, and behind me an adorable couple who drove up from Newcastle for the signing, and stayed overnight in a hotel. Robin Hobb fans are DEDICATED, yo. She is charming and lovely, and ended up signing for 2 + hours instead of the 1 hour she was booked for. She also very kindly listened when I explained the book was a for a huge South African fan of hers who was also a writer, and if she could just write a message to keep writing (if possible) that it would be so appreciated.

After that, I recognised writer Laura Lam, whose book Pantomime I really enjoyed (still need to read the rest of the series though, cause I am a slacker of note). We had tea in the Waterstones coffee shop and a bit of a natter over The State Of Publishing, and I bought her newest book False Hearts and got it signed. Bizarre and random connection is that False Hearts is blurbed by Sarah Lotz, who is a fabulous writer human person, and also one of the most prolific people I know. I want her dedication to work when I grow up.

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2017-04-27 09:45 am

Cats and martial arts

it's been a weird week. This time last week the vet was putting down our beloved staffiexpittie girl, Pudge.

I got Pudge as a fat little grunting puppy when i was pregnant with Noa. That was over 14 years ago, and i was living in a ground floor flat in Sea Point (Cape Town), where my neighbours grew different strains of weed in the apartment gardens. Good times.

We used to walk her along the Sea Point promenade, and lmty, if ever you want to have the ultimate pick-up weapon: puppies. Just. Puppies. Complete strangers suddenly want to stop and talk to you just for the chance to play with your puppy.

She moved with us through (I think) around ten houses. that included two long car journeys - once from cape Town to jo'burg, and once back. She bore this with patience and her wonderful good nature. Cape Town was good for her - no thunder, and long walks on the riverfront and beach and sometimes up the mountains, but slowly our walks grew shorter, and half the time she had no idea where we were. her eyesight was going along with her hearing, and she was weaker all the time.

When we left for Scotland, i knew it would be the last time I saw her. She was far too old to risk a long oceanic flight, and she spent the last of her days in her old house, looked after by my mother and sister (who lived with us). I got to Skype her before she went, and she was barely the dog I remember. All her strength gone, she looked like she had no idea where she was, and she could no longer stand. She had a good life, but keeping her longer was cruel.

Logic doesn't make heartbreak easier, though, does it?


I am almost 14 so I am allowed to sleep all day on a chair meant for humans because the 2 legs have given up the fight

A post shared by Cat Hellisen (@cat_hellisen) on

The next day was the introduction of a new life into our house. Please welcome, Small Furry Son, Murphy, who is all tiggery and chirrupy and sweet but also has a shoe fetish...


I have missed the chirruping purrs of a happy cat. #happiness

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Another thing that happened was I finally got off my arse and made the attempt to mission into Edinburgh at night to find the beginner aikido class there. I definitely left it too long - my body and mind are blank slates again :D But wow, did it feel good to be there. I could kick myself for not going sooner.

My body could kick me too, as it felt a bit like it had been run over by a steamroller. I haven't fallen down in a year, basically. my body was like...whoah crap! hahaha FALLING IS FUN. FALL MORE. FALL GRACEFULLY. JUST FALL.

(ps if anyone can tell me why my instagram pics don't show in dreamwidth, and how to fix that, I would be a grateful cat)

cat_hellisen: (Default)
2017-04-17 05:46 pm

Is heaven a place where nothing ever happens

I feel like I'm making the sloooowest progress ever on this book I swore was going to be done by the end of the month. LOLLERSKATES.

On the plus side I did actually work today despite not wanting to and hating everything etc. Several someones posted a Stephen King inspo thing on facebook and It was one I kinda needed to see today because I feel like I've been shovelling shit on this particular book for longer than I would like. Maybe I'm secretly doing good. :D At the very least I am inching closer to The End, so that is something to be happy about.

stephen king

In other exciting news I ran 3.2 miles this morning, but I am dead like whoa today. Yesterday T and I were at MIR and she was determined to spend the whole session skating backwards. Very Freaking Slowly. And I had to stay with her the whole time to watch that she didn't crash into anyone. But I'm proud of her for setting a goal and sticking to it even though it was pretty tough on her. She's just a wee thing.

cat_hellisen: (pic#176129)
2017-04-15 03:31 pm

Floral stuff

Today was pretty good weather though very windy and I took the opportunity to plant some flowers in the bare and somewhat depressing front yard.

I planted three roses (white, yellow, and pink.) A yellow potentilla (cinquefoil), a deep pink weigela and Noa's choice of a raspberry bush. Hopefully they take and I can have a pretty front garden this summer.

UK people are obsessed with their gardens, many of which are filled with cheesy sculptures (bunnies, birds, and gnomes....), or they hate gardens and tarmac everything. Very odd. Personally I want to keep hedges and plants because HEDGEHOGS!!!! And birds etc but mainly hedgehogs.

Anyway now I have a blister. I rewarded myself with sloe gin and water, and The Boy kindly bought me some beers so I may have one of those soon. Woooh living the wild life lmty!
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2017-04-14 12:12 pm

I was born to underachieve

This is a bit of a test run using eljay for dreamwidth. The app looks spotty and I can't see my friends feed which is a bit odd but I just want something I can post from my phone.

So...what news?

I ran 8.5 miles this morning which is (I believe) my longest run so far. Considering how sick I was last week I'm incredibly impressed with my body's ability to Do Shit. Well done, meat sack.

I ran out to Limekilns on the Forth and on the way I saw bluebells, bluetits, blackbirds and bunnies. (Also 2 swans flying overhead but that would have broken my B fun.)

I also made my pickled fish but it seems less awesome than last year's.

Hmm I planned to add pics but I don't see an option so will have to look for another app. The LJ app lets me upload pics from my phone so there is hopefully one that will do the same for dreamwidth.
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2017-04-10 03:00 pm
Entry tags:

On the off-chance

I tried a password and Lo and Holy Shit! A Dreamwidth account that i have not used since 2009. COMPLETE WITH OLD AND TERRIBLE WRITING OMG THE SHAME. Also already set up to cross-post. Hmmm.

Okay, this is a quick test to see if everything is working. If it isn't, tough. I'm not bothering to shut down my LJ and I still use it, but might be worth keeping both active and see how things go. i'll respond to comments on dreamwidth or live journal, so no need to switch accounts.
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2009-08-04 07:03 am
Entry tags:

Day 7 Prompt

Yeah there was a day 5 and 6 but I was too lazy to actually write them...




"Don't you hear how the trumpets sound?"

Nothing particularly exciting here. But my brain obviously needs to warm up a bit.

The Night King

It's out again, moving across the floor. There's a hiss-thump as it makes its way over the old-floorboards.




She doesn't answer, so I yell again, pulling the duvet up over my head and screaming so loud for her that I sound like my sister.


The door bangs open, and even through the thick blanket, I can see the light is on. Carefully, I pull the cover from my face.


"What is it this time?" My mother's face is mottled white and red, and there are deep black circles around her eyes. I peer down at the floor, but there's nothing out of place. The only thing still not packed away is a Lego castle that I've been building. At the moment, there are dinosaurs manning the castle walls. A T-rex grins from the highest tower, while his raptor lieutenants guard the lowered drawbridge.


"I - I thought I heard something," I say. "Like -" like a thing with thousands of legs crawling through the darkness "Like..." I stare down at my pillow. There are two wet patches where I've been crying. I turn the pillow over so my mother doesn't spot it.


"It's an old house," my mother says. She sighs and sits down at the edge of the bed. Her feet are on the floor, right next to the Space, and I imagine the Night King lashing out, and grabbing her ankles and pulling her under my bed, into its nest. I shiver. Would it eat her? Is that what it wants? "I think we might have a rat problem."


I hate this house, I hate that we had to move here, away from my old school, that I have to wear second-hand clothing now, and eat spaghetti with cheese for every supper.


"I'll call the exterminator in the morning, see what they quote me."


Whatever it is, it'll be too much. "I'm fine now," I say. I want her to leave, but I don't want her to leave. I wonder if she'll think I'm a baby if I ask to go sleep in her bed with her. Maybe she wouldn't mind. Maybe she's hates being the only person in that big bed. Then I remember that her mattress is on the floor, and there's no way to escape the Night King.


"Good," my mom says, and leans over to wipe at my hair, pushing it back from my eyes. "You need a hair cut, James." Then she smiles. "Go to sleep, I promise I'll sort this all out in the morning."


She leaves, and the light clicks off, and everything is dark again.


For a long time I lie listening, waiting. The only sound is my breathing, and the wind outside knocking a tree branch against the wall. There's nothing out there.


In the morning, I wake with sun coming through my curtains. It feels late. I'm supposed to be going to my new school today, and I don;t need a tardy on my first day. Worse, I don't want to walk in to a classroom late, and have everyone looking at me. There's no way to just blend in if I'm going to be late.


"Mom!" She doesn't answer, but I hear clinking coming from the big drafty kitchen, so she's making me breakfast. I get dressed in jeans and a hoodie, jam my feet into the trainers dad bought for me before he left, and head to the kitchen.


There's no mother in the kitchen. The Night King turns around to look at me, his tails all tangled, making him slow and awkward. In one little paw he's holding an egg lifter. From the pan comes the smell of bacon, eggs.


I'm frozen. The Night King has many faces, all the same - little rats' faces, with their sharp teeth and black round eyes. But the head that's looking at me is wearing my mother's face, sewn over his with large rough stitches. The face is all out of shape, lopsided and bulging in the wrong places.


"Hush," says the Night King in my mother's voice. "Sit down for breakfast, before your eggs get cold. You don't want to be late on your first day do you?"


I shake my head, and sit down at the breakfast table.

cat_hellisen: (Default)
2009-07-30 09:42 am
Entry tags:

Thursday Prompt

If you're doing any of these prompts, please link me to them. I'd love to see what people are up to.

Some people have asked that I do text prompts, so from now on there'll be two to choose from

Today's image is from Fuco Ueda

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and the other option is

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun

a line from Funeral Blues (W. H. Auden)

On the Altar of Arabelle

The damn thing was always precocious, and naturally, spoiled by her position as the Eater. Something had to be done. It wasn't as if she was safe under any one person's control. Especially not *hers*, Prince Embick told himself.

When the royal couple finally declared their divorce (Scandal! Horror! The populace had been confused and angry and ultimately bitter at this failure of their perfect romance) and all the properties and duties divided between them, like chips on a land-board, there was still the problem of Arabelle.

"She's mine, of course. It goes without saying." The Queen held out her hand, and one of her thousand maids darted forward with a pen, a second with paper, a third crouched before her as a writing desk.

Prince Embick the third coughed delicately into one fist, and darted a glance at his company of stockinged lawyers. The first nodded. "Perhaps," said the Prince, after the glance had gone on a second too long, "once." He cleared his throat, swallowed, and dropped his hands to his sides, as if suddenly aware of how it made him look. "It has, however, been brought to my attention, by various parties - who, I must insist, are not prejudiced in any way-"

"Oh dear Godsclaw, Embick, get to the point." She stabbed her pen down, hard enough to make the bowed girl squeak. "I have things to do."

Embick spluttered, then ran his thin hands down over the front of his embroidered frock coat. "Very well. The point. Yes, ahem, I shall get to it."

"This century." The Queen didn't look up from her writing. Her fingers flew across the page, the black feather bobbing with each punctuated squeak.

"Arabelle was in fact, given to me -"

"She was not!"

He continued, speaking louder, over the Queen's protests. "Given to me, I might add, by the very Poisoner himself." He smiled. A smug little fattening of his mouth.

The Queen flicked her quill over to the nearest maid, who caught it, tossed the paper to another, who began to blow earnestly on the drying ink, and kicked the writing desk. "Off with you," she said. The girl brushed tears from her face and ran off to join the others.

Embick shuffled backwards as the Queen stalked toward him. "He's my poisoner, you idiot. Therefore, any gifts he gives, are in fact, also mine." She narrowed her eyes. "or do you think that if you don't have the Eater, that I might," she drew back slightly, widening her eyes in mock surprise. "poison you? At the very dinner table, perhaps?"

"Well." He flushed. "It hadn't occured to me as such-"

"Take her." The Queen turned away and clicked her fingers for the maids to come scurrying. The one who had been drying the letter, folded it neatly into thirds and at a nod from her mistress, pressed the writing paper into Embick's hands.

He glanced down. A Deed of Transfer. "What?" said the Prince, to his once-consort's retreating back. "J-just like that?"

There was no answer. The last of the maids left, dipping a brief (far-too-brief, to the Prince's mind) curtsey as she shut the door softly behind her.

Embick looked down at the tall child sprawled in the altar-throne. "Well then," he said. A warm glow of satisfaction went through him, all the way to his very toes. With the royal Eater now his, there was no chance that he could actually be poisoned at the dinner table, as it were.

"You're too late," said the child, kicking one stockinged foot against the black wood of the altar-throne.

Unnerved by her sudden proclamation, Embick shuddered. "What do you mean?"

"I could Eat every morsel put before you," she said, still slamming her heel against the wood, fingers twirling through the ribbons in her hair, "and it would make not a lick of difference."

"Is that so?" He pulled himself taller, not wanting Arabelle to see just how much she flustered him. "And why is that, pray tell?"

"Come closer and I'll tell you." She grinned, an oddly adult look on her round face. "We don't want them hearing how she tricked you now, do we?"

A glance at the lawyers in their powdered wigs and baby blue vestments, and Embick could see how they were leaning forward, despite the studious expression of disinterest they cultivated.

He crossed the space, and kneeled next to the throne. Her right leg was flung over one armrest, and there were pie-stains on her frock.

"Closer," she said.

"Just tell me." He was beginning to grow more than irritated, especially since it now seemed that his charming ex-wife had tricked him again, just like she always did. Just as she'd tricked him into marrying her in the first place. He sighed and leaned close enough to her that any whisper between them would always be secret.

"Good," said Arabelle.

And ate him.
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2009-07-29 01:13 pm
Entry tags:

Wednesday Prompt

Found this one via leontine greenberg

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My story was made of all kinds of fail, but it sparked a germ of an idea (which was kinda the point of this whole exercise) so I'm just posting a snippet while I figure out where I'm going with this.

Next to her, Madeline had felt the warmth of her father's tweed jacket give way to a new cold emptiness. The Bird Girl, perched on her swing, had stared out at the suddenly vanishing crowd. One by one, the adults had shimmered and faded out of existence. All that were left were the sugar-spackled children, and Old Gregory, who was seven foot tall and almost thirty, but still couldn't tie his own shoe laces.

"Oh dear," the Bird Girl had said, clear as a little flute. "Not again."
cat_hellisen: (Default)
2009-07-28 12:19 pm
Entry tags:

Tuesday Prompt

This is just to kick start my writing brain (it's been a tad sluggish lately)

If you feel like participating Feel free to go anywhere you want with this. I'm doing 15 minute sprints, and trying to keep it under or close to about 500 words. It doesn't matter if it's a poem or a story or just a piece of descriptive writing.

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Setting Free The Mills  (An ode to John Irving)*

"We'll need longer poles," Ivan said, watching gloomily as the farm's powermill floated off for the third time that day. "To anchor it."


Mark didn't listen, he swung his hand out automatically to snatch at a pebble that whizzed past his nose, but missed.  When a spray of gravel shot upward like grey fireworks as an old iron bolt popped free of the ground, he gave it up as a bad job. "No point."


The powermill had reached its maximum floatation height, and was now spinning aimlessly above their heads. The cables, like torn roots, flailed about, spraying them with clumps of loose sod. "It'll be the houses next," Ivan mused, as the sheep's water trough pulled and bucked at its concrete bindings. A small ungainly pony, it reared up, sending clods and pebbles flying; water spilled, and the fat orange float bounced eagerly.


Across the sky, the smog smouldered orange and brown, like the very air itself was on fire. The horizon was jammed with floating machinery, thrust out from the earth, spat out like the taste of something foul.


Every now and again, one of the machines would float too high, and the clouds would belly down on them, pushing them back to earth, where they landed with a shuddering crash. It was rather like watching an immense, slow game of table tennis, played on the vertical, by madmen.


And it would be the houses next, Mark thought. Ivan was right. Already, the farm house was straining at its foundations, swaying like a giddy girl at a party, one who had unwisely sampled the punch one too many times. "They're sick of us," he said, sweeping his arm in a wide circle, to encompass the rocks, the stunted trees, the thin sheep.


"Who?" Ivan finally looked away from the bobbing powermill. His sun-rough face crumpled in confusion.


"The earth. The sky." Mark felt foolish almost as soon as he'd said it, but Ivan just nodded. He grunted, an animal sound of grudging agreement.


Mark dropped his arms to his side. "All the stuff we've made - they're getting rid of it." From behind came a terrible tearing sound. The crack of stone and wood and wire. He didn't have to turn around to know that the farm house had finally worked free of its moorings. Ivan's suddenly-pale face was all the confirmation he needed.


The sky darkened, as all around them, houses, shedding bricks and tiles and bad art, launched upwards, dancing in sudden freedom.


"And after the houses?" Mark whispered to himself. "The hospitals? The office towers?"


As if in answer, the sun glinted off a mirrored rocket of a building that shot across the low bricked in ceiling of the sky, shattering as it impacted against another similar structure. A slow trail of glitter-glass rained down on the distant city.


"And then?" he asked. "What then?"


Dust fell from the sky and kissed his head.


*okay, not really**, I just hate coming up with titles.

**needs more bears



cat_hellisen: (Default)
2009-07-01 08:28 am
Entry tags:

The Elevator pitch; or: It better be a long ride.

Over on AbsoluteWrite there's a thread about the elevator pitch - or how to describe your book in 20 seconds.

So there's all sorts of things cropping up; like Romeo and Juliet, with vampires, IN SPACE. Or Huckleberry Finn, with werewolves, IN SPACE. Or Romeo and Juliet meets Huckleberry Finn, with werebats, IN KENTUCKY.

I looked at my work and realised, damn this is hard.

And I couldn't do it.

All I got for Sea Rose Red is that it's about tea and anarchy and magic. WITH VAMPIRES. IN SPACE. THERE ARE LOVE TRIANGLES. ROCKS FALL EVERYONE DIES.

Only, none of that is true.

Well, there is a kind of lop-sided triangle, and there is tea, and a vampire who is more bookkeeper than doomed poet, and squatters and magic and revolution and class divides and stuff. Er, I have no idea how to squish that into a pitch.

Anyway, It's an interesting exercise - so lets hear yours.
cat_hellisen: (Default)
2009-05-29 02:09 pm

of beetles and radiohead

So I'm working on my present.

and it involves Radiohead, and beetles, and black ink.

Spot the connection?

Why yes you do.
cat_hellisen: (Default)
2009-05-15 12:31 pm
Entry tags:

I am not tubthumping.

It always kinda peeves me when a band I think are pretty damn good are known only for one song.

Case in point


No, that tubthumping song is not the be all and end all of their musical abilities.

In fact, it's a Chumbawamba song (or, cover, I suppose) that inspired a lot of the tone for SRR. Now, you may not be able to see it but I know it's there, and that's good enough for me.

The song:

cat_hellisen: (Default)
2009-05-06 03:54 pm


Inspiration for the Levelling Bridge in Sea Rose Red came while I was watching Perfume; a fairly boring, and yet visually quite arresting movie (yeah work that one out).

I saw the bridge houses and they stayed in my head. After a while, when I started on SRR I knew exactly what the bridge dividing Old and New town would look like.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This painting is of houses on the bridge over the river Exe. (A river I've actually walked along, kinda, in parts. I got my ancient and no longer working camera from a charity shop in Exeter. I also had a really nice baked potato with garlic mushrooms at a vegetarian restaurant there. Possibly this one? It certainly looks like it could be.)

When I finally began SRR, I knew the Levelling Bridge would play its part in the story, and seeing as how it served as a join between poor and the not-very-poor-at-all, it would be the focus of a couple of scenes. So there's a visual.

Just, picture it darker, yeah.