Categories
Books

Darkness

I’m delighted to welcome the author Tim Taylor to the blog. Tim has been a friend of mine for several years. His blog is full of his brilliant short stories and poems. Today, he’s here to tell us about something a bit different. Over to you, Tim.

Hello Miriam, thank you very much for hosting me today.

I’d like to talk about a new anthology of speculative fiction that I’ve been involved in. Darkness, published by Twisted Fate Publishing on 10 October, is a mix of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, by a group of previously published writers who have come together to make a book in aid of the mental health charity, MIND. All the stories relate to the theme of darkness, in many different literal and metaphorical ways.

The book is available on Amazon (via this link) for £9.99 in paperback or £3.99 on Kindle. All profits go to MIND. One of my two stories in the anthology is the first outing in print for a long-term sci-fi project I’ve been working at, on and off, for quite a while, in parallel with other writing. It involves a human community on a distant planet, ruled by a theocracy which diverts the resources of society towards the needs of its God. The people have lost their technology, and their history has been rewritten. However, as my story, Delving, explores, adventurous individuals may find bits of both in the ruins of ancient cities. Here is a short excerpt:

At last, they reached a tall wooden fence. It was twice the height of a man: Peiku wondered how they were going to get over it. But Ravakinu showed no inclination to do so, instead slowly following the fence to the left. At length they came upon a large bush. Ravakinu crouched down and motioned for the others to do so as well. The pale light illuminated his face once again.

“This is where we cross,” he whispered. “We can get under the fence here. Any second thoughts? It’s not too late to go back. If you get caught out here, it’s a breach of curfew and a slap on the wrist. Beyond the fence is forbidden ground. Get caught there and you are in major trouble. The Guardians are within their rights to execute anybody they find delving in the Old City, and sometimes they do. People I knew have died there.”

He looked pointedly at Peiku. “Still sure you want to go in?”

Peiku was not sure at all, but when he looked over at Vahe, her face had an uncharacteristic expression of grim determination. He couldn’t back out now.

“I’m sure.”

“OK.” Ravakinu pulled aside some foliage to reveal a small space under the fence. It hardly seemed big enough to get through. “I’ll go first and make sure the coast is clear. Peiku, wait a few seconds and then follow me. Vahe, you go last and do a final check that we’re not being followed.”

He turned to Peiku. “You go through feet first. It’s tight, but you’re skinnier than me so you should be okay. Watch me. There’s another bush on the other side, so it’s a bit tricky getting out, but I’ll help you.” Ravakinu lay on the ground and put his feet through the hole. First pushing with his hands against the earth and then pulling upon the planks of the fence itself, he eased himself through. There was a rustle of branches on the far side, then silence. Peiku looked at Vahe. She nodded. He lay down and tried to copy what Ravakinu had done. He put his feet through the hole and found that his legs slipped through easily enough as he pushed against the ground. He could feel branches on the other side of the fence. Now his hips were beneath the fence and his body was hard against the ground. He pushed again and moved another few centimetres. But his clothing was snagged on the fence – he was stuck! He fumbled with the cloth, trying to pull it free, but that seemed to make things worse. Remembering what Ravakinu had done, he grabbed the bottom of the fence and tried to lever himself through, but to no avail. The hard wood was pressing down on his chest, biting into his ribs with every breath. He was trapped!

Many thanks once again for hosting me, Miriam!

Ooh, what a cliffhanger to end on! Thank you, Tim.

Tim (T. E.) Taylor grew up near Leek in Staffordshire and now lives in Meltham, West Yorkshire, at the opposite end of the Peak District, with his wife Rosa and 14 guitars. Having previously been a civil servant, he now divides his time between creative writing, academic research and teaching Ethics part-time at Leeds University.

Tim’s first two novels: Zeus of Ithome, which retells the real-life struggle of the ancient Messenian People to free themselves from Sparta; and Revolution Day, about an ageing dictator clinging on to power, were published by Crooked Cat. His first poetry collection, Sea Without a Shore, was published in 2019 by Maytree Press. Tim is currently working on a science fiction project.

Connect with Tim on his website, blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Categories
Holidays

Land of Gods, Pharaohs and Baba Ghanoush

Last week, we joined a trip to our neighbouring country.

Egypt 2020
Our happy guide

This was our second visit to Egypt. Thirty-five years ago, David and I toured the country on a limited budget and completely alone. This time, we travelled in style and with a group. Both trips were amazing, although they couldn’t have been more different; I’m still writing an article about the differences.

Karnak
One of the few photos from 1984. In Karnak.

Back at home, I caught up with a series of emails from people I was at school with. Some of them are retired and talk about having time on their hands. I’ve never been busier. Here are a few of the items on my to-do list:

  • Finish Egypt article.
  • Finish editing short story for darkstroke anthology.
  • Finish editing new version of Neither Here Nor There.
  • Choose new title for new version of Neither Here Nor There. (Hard)
  • Start submitting new version of Neither Here Nor There.
  • Work on new novel – crime genre.
  • Lots more.

Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Valley of the Kings

If you want to see any more of our photos, some of them are available on Facebook for all to see at:

The others will appear when we have time.

Categories
Blogging Books

Appreciation

It feels good to be appreciated. I don’t think I get a lot of appreciation at home. Generally, I’m taken for granted.

Yesterday, I received two signs of appreciation online.

The first was about a new short story anthology, which includes a story of mine: Reflections in Watercolour. It’s published by Stringybark Publishing and is called: Hitler Did It, a title I’m not too enamoured with, although the story with that title is a beautiful tale set in wartime London.

If you’re interested in reading the anthology, it’s available here as an ebook and there might be a print version soon.

Hitler Did It

The other sign was a blogging award:

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

which I received from Rachael of Honest Speaks. Thank you, Rachael!

So I’m supposed to list 7 things about me and 15 inspiring blogs.

  1. I have worked with computers all my working life. That doesn’t stop my son from telling me I know nothing about computers.
  2. There isn’t a lot of food I adore. Eggs, potatoes, white chocolate. I think that’s it.
  3. My favourite drink is cold borscht.
  4. I love the weather in Jerusalem. Cold, rain, sun, heat, snow, I love it all.
  5. I’ve never been to the Far East, but hope to rectify that soon.
  6. I’m not good at pronouncing Rs, which is unfortunate since there are three in my name.
  7. I love most classical music and pop, but not jazz.

Now for the blogs:

  1. http://jeandavisonwriter.wordpress.com/blog/
  2. http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/
  3. http://susanwritesprecise.com/
  4. http://davidrory.com/
  5. http://mythoughtsonthesubjectareasfollows.wordpress.com/
  6. http://fortyoneteen.wordpress.com/
  7. http://victoria-writes.com/

I think seven is enough.

This blog post has added 247 words to my word count for today. No – 256… 257…

Categories
Books Israel

Yesterday was a good day

Yesterday morning, I read Nicola Morgan’s blog post about  a tweetathon being organised by the Society of Authors as a protest against BBC Radio 4’s plan to cut the number of short stories it broadcasts. It seemed like a worthy idea and a fun activity, so at one o’clock my time I read the first line of the story and composed and tweeted my suggestion for the second line. At two o-clock I read the chosen second line and tried for the third line. Then the fourth. At four o’clock I tweeted my suggestion for the last line and took my laptop down to the kitchen to listen while I cleared up. Soon after five I thought I’d better check to make sure I hadn’t won  and discovered that I had. My last line was chosen to conclude the story.

Here’s the completed story. I’m thrilled.

Later on, I played Scrabble with my husband and my son, both good players, and I won easily.

Good things always come in threes, right? But there was no more time left yesterday. So, early this morning, I met my friend Marallyn and we sat outside in a quiet little cafe and discussed writing. We’ve often done this before, but not recently as Marallyn was away all summer. I’m looking forward to writing with her next week.

Categories
Books

First Times

First times are special, aren’t they. You remember them all your life. I remember my first day at school, aged five years and one week, even though ten… twenty… thirty… many years have passed since then. I remember my first boyfriend, my first baby and many other firsts.

Yesterday is also a day I’ll remember. The first time a story of mine has been published: http://www.metazen.ca/?p=915. A humorous story highlighting a pitfall of social media. And while I don’t want to turn this blog into one that brags about my achievements, this is the first time and I’m basking in the glory.

Categories
Books

Exciting News

I have been published for the first time at http://www.metazen.ca/?p=915.

I’ll write more about this tomorrow. For now, this is all I can manage.