A little Bolg

A little snippet from the WIP, where a Bank – or its minion – has swindled two retired little old ladies out of their life savings. Unfortunately they are retired fertility goddesses, and have called on the services of the redoubtable PI Bolg to get their money back or at least release a large fly agaric maddened berserker with a double headed axe in the Bank…


Instead, armed with a little knowledge – always a dangerous thing, and without my Glock, or even a suitable double bladed axe — they have metal detectors — I went to the bank.

The woman at reception, when I got to the head of the queue, looked down on me. I’m used to that, at my height, even with the high heels and latex mask. None-the less, coming from a bank employee it could possibly have made me little more gruff than usual. “I want see a Mr Philip Dally. About an investment product.”

“Do you have an appointment?”
“Yes.” I have been given quite a lot, and never returned any. Royal ones too, and they’re supposed to last better. I was appointed holder of the royal trousers once, but only once.

She frowned at her screen. “I don’t have a record of it. What is your name please?”

“Dickson.” I’d been told there were a lot of them, and in a way we all are.

She shook her head. “Sorry. You can’t see Mr. Dally without an appointment.” She sounded very pleased about that.

“But my friend Mr. Jasmin” – I had the Vice President (Investments) name from the ever informative internet – “assured me he would see to it that I got an appointment.”

That plainly was a different matter entirely. “I’ll just see if he’s free, Mr Dickson.”

And indeed, he was. How surprising. I was escorted up to his office.

Given the timing – and the night before, he was drinking coffee and trying to look awake and enthusiastic. He failed at both. Poor fellow looked as if he could use a purge, so I helped him along in that direction. They scan you for firearms, but not rapid and violent laxatives. Fintan had needed elephant dung in a hurry at one stage of some of his experiments, and had run a little batch of this stuff up. It had almost destroyed the circus I’d been working at, at the time. I kept some for other people’s emergencies.

A little misdirection, a few minutes small talk about Mr. Jasmin and our acquaintanceship at the Country Club and wonders of hunting golfs together, a pastime that Dally seemed to envy, and the vast amounts of money coming out of my real-estate venture… and an expression of extreme distress suddenly delightfully enlivened his beautifully shaven and rather pallid face. It was a thing of joy that I was sorry not to record for my clients. It wasn’t quite as devastating as a berserker with an axe that Gersemi had wished for, although I had a feeling Dally’s underwear might not agree with me.

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Twisty Christmas Tales is free

for the 8th and 9th so get in quick


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Makers and breakers

You can find a new guest post here on L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Superversive Blog

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Joy Cometh with the Mourning

(yes, the picture is a link, if you buy via it we get extra from Amazon, and it costs you no extra.)

I am known, principally, as a writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy. To a lesser extent perhaps as a satirist, particularly fond of amorality in his aliens (or dragons… or rats) to question human mores and worldviews. A fool who takes on hell with a fire-bucket, a friend of battlers and lost causes, the old, the weak, the underdog, and indeed dogs in general. And marginally, a contrairian and philosophical fellow, who is mildly barking mad, living in the remotest of quiet backwaters, if one surrounded entirely by extremely turbulent ocean waters.

Humans are complex creatures, and some of us have more small moveable parts than others. I suppose the book above is an example of how different I can be from your preconceptions. It’s not what you expect. It has no elements of fantasy or science fiction in its plot. It is what is commonly called a ‘cozy’. A murder-mystery, with no on-scene blood, gore, or sex. Down the lines of Agatha Christie, with a touch of Miss Read. Oddly such a thing is much harder to write than my normal genre, at least for me. It is set in a small coastal village, more or less present day. The lead character is a rather timid lady-priest from an urban background sent out to hold the fort on the sudden death – in the aisle of the church – of her predecessor, under somewhat mysterious circumstances.

No I did not choose to have a female priest for doctrinal reasons, or because of any deeply held belief on my part. I wrote her as the lead character for two simple reasons – that it is a common de facto situation in the Anglican Church in Tasmania, and I wanted the least suitable character for the problems of a remote rural church and its congregation. That’s what authors do to make a good story: they put their characters in the most difficult situations, and let them dig themselves out. You know, Superman would be really boring without kryptonite. Joy finds ways to turn her weaknesses into strength and, well, she has help.

I wrote this book as a fundraiser for the tiny little Parish of Furneux Islands. I have donated it entirely to them, because they’re in strife and do good things in my community.

And because the image isn’t showing in some browsers…

Final 3

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And it is only the giving…

That makes you what you are…” (Wond’ring Aloud, Jethro Tull)
This is not intended as a homily, or a ‘holier-than-thou’ (because I am not) but a curious observation. Some people are born (or made into by their growing-up environment. I don’t seriously know which, and it may be both) givers. Others, it seems, expect it to be given to them. The precious few are those who know how to receive graciously, and give good value for it. The latter is the hardest, and is a skill I have never learned well. I was raised (and possibly born) to be one who gives. My father certainly was. Nothing delighted him more. I remember an endless giving of fish, or crayfish, or avocados, or lychees or paw-paws – often to the extent he’d give more than he kept for his family. I derive pleasure in giving (especially to the latter group), and I struggle to receive, let alone graciously. I try, with indifferent success. I cope best by paying it forward, if I can’t pay it back, because to me a gift that is received as if it were ‘due’ sours right there – which is why I pay my dues to other wannabe writers, to people who wish to climb, or dive, or fish or learn more of living off the land. There is of course a considerable quid pro quo situation which is not barter, but an aspect of gracious receiving, among the various self-sufficiency folk.

To my mind many of the demands ‘rights’ and ‘reparations’ come from a way of making giving have no reciprocal requirement of gratitude, pay-back or even pay-forward. It appears based on fostering feelings of guilt, an interesting and complex product of social evolution, and rests quite heavily on Judeo-Christian history and philosophy. The reward for the giver, is per se is in theory amelioration of that guilt, which oddly is always temporary. It is certainly something which can be exploited, and I believe often is. I don’t see that ending well, myself. It’s hard, certainly in game theory (where those who do not reciprocate are considered ‘cheaters’ – to be detected and punished or excluded) to see how this could work, otherwise. Of course children are given a lot of lee-way, possibly in the assumption that one is training them to be givers themselves as adults. And possibly because their obvious delight is a reward enough.

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Lying with Memes

For all of those who have looked at those cute/clever pictures and a few word things on the internet – and forwarded the link…

(the picture’s a link) can I recommend this.

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Comfort food for the winter of the soul

Originally posted on madgeniusclub:

I’m sure there are writers who walk through life is if it was their personal bowl of bloop-berries (no it’s not a typo, it’s a reference to a comfort-food book. Anyone recognize it?) I’ve never met one of these authors, but then I don’t know many people. And for some reason (maybe because for most of us it is a very tough row to hoe.) bleakness, despair are things I’ve encountered in many a writer. Maybe it’s the flip side of the creative coin. I don’t know. I just know dealing with it is important to me, and, methinks also for many of my writer-friends. Obviously there are many other reasons for depression and despair, but writing seems to do well at providing extra (and yes, a lot of it has to do with the movement of small bits of green paper.). It also comes down to sheer tired a…

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