Wednesday 28 December 2016


A tribulation is a great affliction or oppression, or the cause of that. The occupants of many abbeys suffered tribulations during the reformation ordered by Henry VIII.

It's a good thing I looked it up before using it anywhere as I'd always imagined it meant a minor source of annoyance. Perhaps I was associating it with trivial?

Did you know what the word meant?

Wednesday 21 December 2016


To rootle is to dig with a snout, to poke about or search. Whilst you're doing it you're rootling and afterwards you'll have rootled.

Somewhere I have a photo of pigs rootling, but when I rootled through my hardrve I got distracted, so here are some steps instead. Do you know where they are? Have you climbed them?

What were you looking for last time you rootled – and did you find it?

Wednesday 14 December 2016


A launch is a type of motor boat e.g. a pilot launch.

To launch, is to hurl forward, set in motion or make a start. Traditionally when a ship was launched, it would be sent speeding down a ramp into the water. Nowadays they're more usually floated out, a safer and more sedate process, which is still referred to as launching the vessel.

In the case of a book launch, the word means to introduce a new product. My latest book was launched just two weeks ago.

Have you launched anything lately, or perhaps you're planning on launching in the near future?

Wednesday 30 November 2016


Whee! is an expression of delight. The exclamation mark isn't compulsory, but I feel it's justified.

Whee! is the sort of thing a person might say either because it was the launch day of their first ever co-written non-fiction book, or to show how thrilled they are to have purchased a copy of the rather excellent From Story Idea to Reader. (Wheeeeeeee! is what you squeal when being spun round on a children's roundabout in the park after a celebratory glass of something bubbly. Apparently.)

From Story Idea to Reader is available from Amazon as a paperback (£9.99) or ebook (£3.99). If you'd like it in a different format, such as pdf, you can obtain them direct from the publisher.

For a full list of contents, click here.

Wednesday 23 November 2016


Estimation is the process or result of making an estimate, an opinion or judgement of worth, or an old term for esteem.

By my estimation it's time for another plug for my books. You'd all go up in my estimation if you bought one ;-) Or read it on Kindle Unlimited, or borrowed it from the library ...

Wednesday 16 November 2016


The word keep has a variety of meanings.

To keep is to retain or preserve – I keep food fresh by keeping it in the fridge. Or it can mean detain or prevent – Don't let reading this blog keep you from writing. Or to guard or protect – keep yourself safe on the internet by keeping your passwords secret. It's also part of a castle!

There are other uses for the word, but I'm not going to keep on typing as that's kept me away from my stories long enough. Maybe some of you would like to keep on with the definitions or examples?

Wednesday 9 November 2016


Tantamount, which is almost always followed by 'to' means equivalent.

Clicking on my blog is tantamount to agreeing to see more of my photos!

Wednesday 26 October 2016


Staffage is the visual arts equivalent of minor characters in a novel. They're animals or people in the background. Part of the scene, but not the subject.

As I can't draw, I'm attempting to illustrate this through photos of a crow. In one he's the central character, the subject - in the other he's really just staffage. See what I mean?

Wednesday 19 October 2016


hobbledehoy is a clumsy or awkward youth. I was one of them a loooong time ago, though I don't recall being referred to as such.

Is there a term for a similar adult? If so, that'll be me now.

Wednesday 28 September 2016


To misremember is to remember incorrectly or imperfectly, or to forget. I misremember if I've shown you these pictures before ...

Wednesday 21 September 2016


Zymology is the scientific study of fermentation.

I don't do this, but I do sometimes study the results in a very unscientific way.


Wednesday 31 August 2016


Something which is mellow is soft, rich and free from harshness, particularly where our senses are involved. If we're mellow, we're either softened by age and experience - or by alcohol! (A nice mellow shiraz, perhaps?)

When describing fruit it meand soft, sweet and juicy. Mellow soil is rich and loamy.

I took this picture of my and Gary's shadows in the mellow evening light. (That's not snow but chalk - the light breeze was mellow too.) I *may* have drunk some wine when we returned to the van after our walk.

Wednesday 17 August 2016


Tumultuousness is a long word, so I'll build up to it ...

A tumult is an uproar or noise, an angry demonstration or disturbance or a conflict of emotions in the mind.

Tumultuous is disorderly, noisily agitated or making a tumult. If you're being those things, you'll be acting tumultuously and demonstrating tumultuousness.

Waterfalls are a tumultuous torrent of water.

Can you imagine the tumult of emotions the pixies experienced when Gary knocked on their door? He only tapped gently, but to them it probably sounded like a tumultuous racket.

Wednesday 10 August 2016


Selective means, using or categorised by selection, or able to select. It can also mean able to tune into a particular frequency without interuption from others.

I've been selective in compiling this set of photos - and if anyone says they don't like them, I shall employ selective hearing!

Wednesday 27 July 2016


A proclivity is a tendency or an inclination. For example, I have a proclivity to eat cake and wear purple. So much so that I even did both at our wedding - which was a little over four years ago! Doesn't seem so long.

I was able to stand unaided, we were just pretending that even wearing heels I'm considerably shorter than Gary. Why we were doing that I have no idea. Perhaps we just have a proclivity to be daft?

Care to share any of your proclivities with me?

Wednesday 20 July 2016


A flintlock is an old type of gun which requires the spark from a flint to fire.  It can also mean the device used to produce that spark.

There were flintlock rifles as well as much larger guns which could fire shots weighing up to 32 lb on board HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar.

I didn't get to keep any description of gun (nor that hat, sadly) but I do have the jacket and a piece of flint just like those which would have been used in a flintlock.

Wednesday 29 June 2016


A heath is an area of flattish, uncultivated land with low shrubs. Heath can also be used to describe those shrubs and is generally used for Erica or Calluna (types of heather).

Wednesday 22 June 2016


A sphinx is a creature with a woman's head and lion's body. Sometimes it has wings too. Sphinx-like means an enigmatic or inscrutable person.

When people refer to The Sphinx, they generally mean this one at Giza.

Wednesday 15 June 2016


Concretize means to make something concrete rather than abstract. Concrete in this case meaning 'existing in material form' not a mix of sand and cement.

Actually getting on and writing your story, as opposed to just day dreaming about seeing it in a bookshop, will concretize your brilliant idea into something you can submit for publication.

Concretize may also be spelled as concretise.

(This is an old photo of the booksigning for my first ever published book. It's now available in a newer edition.)

Wednesday 8 June 2016


Altruism is unselfishness, concern for other people or regard for others. An altruist is a person who behaves altruistically.

Btw, running this blog isn't simply an altruistic action on my part. You're supposed to be suckered into buying my books!

p.s. I've switched over to summer weight hair. Don't blame if it now rains for two months.

Wednesday 25 May 2016


Stray can mean to wander from the right place (e.g. don't stray off the path) or to deviate morally (she promised to be faithful, but strayed with at least three of his golfing buddies, a caddy, the chaps in the pro shop and the club barmaid). In that case she could be described as straying or having gone astray (and no doubt called worse things by her husband!).

 It can also be a person or thing which has strayed or become lost (I think this dog was a a stray). Stray is also some weird sciency thing which interferes with radio reception, or it can be something isolated or unusual (e.g. most bluebells are blue, but sometimes you see a stray white one).

Wednesday 18 May 2016


Browse can mean either to read in a rather unmethodical manner or to look through items for sale or a collection in a similar manner. Imagine you're in a bookshop which has a massive sale on and you keep flitting between titles by your favourite authors and pretty, shiny notebooks.

Another meaning of the word browse is vegetation eaten by animals and their method of consuming it. A browser is someone who browses.

So, you could browse the library for a book on browsers browsing on browse, to browse through. (If that scrambled your brain, blame Hilary - the word was her suggestion.)

Wednesday 11 May 2016


Go on, guess what a yegg is ...

It's a travelling burglar or safe breaker. Didn't get it, did you?

We do a lot of travelling, but just about the only thing I take is photos. I like to think I do that with flare ;-)

Sunday 1 May 2016

Get drawn in.

If you'd like to win a place on a residential illustrating and writing for children course, take a look here.