Blown Away

February 9, 2020
At the moment Storm Ciara is bringing havoc to the gardens and rooftops in the neighbourhood, which reminded me of my favourite piece of 'windy' writing. Many writers include storms or hurricanes in their novels, which may or may not have a symbolic function–the chaos of the weather matching the turmoil experienced by one or more characters, or they might simply be a vehicle for fun. They feature in everything from James Clavell's Tai Pan to A. A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner, but the one that really sticks in my memory is in The Candle in the Wind, the fourth novel in T. H. White's The Once and Future King (William Collins and Sons Co. Ltd., 1973). Here's an extract:

'It was blowing round the castle on all the organ stops. The noises it made sounded like inchoate masses of silk being pulled through trees, as we pull hair through a comb–like heaps of sand pouring on fine sand from a scoop–like gigantic linens being torn–like drums in distant battle–like an endless snake switching through the world's undergrowth of trees and houses–like old men sighing, and women howling and wolves running...
'...Under the doors of the castle the piercing blasts tortured the flapping rushes of the floors. They boo'ed in the tubes of the corkscrew stairs, rattled the wooden shutters, whined shrilly through the shot windows, stirred the cold tapestries in frigid undulations, searched for backbones.'

If you can find a copy of this edition, the quotes are from pages 659 to 660, but the whole four novels are a complete delight that can make me laugh out loud or cry. Blowing '... on all the organ stops', 'boo'ed in the tubes of the corkscrew stairs', 'searched for backbones' ... how I wish I'd thought of those, not that I haven't had a try at writing about windy days. Here's an extract from my attempt, titled 'Weather or Not', which won the fantasy section of 2016's The Binnacle Ultra-shorts Annual Competition:

'He did not go to marvel at nature. Titus walked in defiance of wind and rain to exercise his control in the face of chaos, armed only with a neatly furled umbrella that opened with a snap of civilisation. The weather had no power to send him scurrying.
'The shipping forecast played itself in his head as a gusty wind spat rain against his cheek. Titus shook out his umbrella. A moment later a hill-walker watched the suited figure gain height over the sea.'


Okay, it isn't King Lear raging against the storm, but I never did claim to be Shakespeare. I hope you get a chance to enjoy this blustery day with a good book.

 

Doggy Diary

January 27, 2020
Does anyone remember 'Urban Dog'? It was a column in The Telegraph about the real life 'adventures' of a Scottie dog, Parker, and its owner, Will Cohu. I used to love it, and when my husband and I brought home two Bichon Frisé puppies, it prompted me to start a puppy diary.
Our previous canine companion had died two years earlier, and while I had many wonderful memories of what she used to get up to, I was sure there was much that I'd forgotten. I didn't want that to happen with Harry and So...
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Map-reading

January 8, 2020
It's strange how things can be under your nose for months without you noticing them. It wasn't until I logged-on to my dashboard at Smashwords last week that I noticed it has a facility for checking which country your sales have come from. I've never noticed it before, but now I've looked at it, I think I'm hooked.
It turns out that most of the people who downloaded my books in the end of year sale came from the US. No surprises there, although I'm based in the UK. The sales in Canada and Aus...
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Presents Galore!

December 28, 2019
For a writer, one of the best Christmas presents of all is hearing their work read by a professional voice-over artist. I was thrilled on Christmas Day to open my emails and find that the podcast of my prizewinning story in the Remastered Words contest is now available at http://www.remasteredwords.com. For a limited time, you can listen to it FREE. There's also an interview with me about the story and my writing. I have to say that Sam Burns @Wysiwyg88 has really done the story proud
If poet...
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Play Time

December 24, 2019
How did it get to be Christmas time? So many things still undone and the days so short! Never mind, they are going to get longer again now–time to look ahead to what 2020 might bring.
It seems a lot of theatre companies agree with me, because there are some excellent opportunities coming up for playwrights. In addition to the BBC's annual call-out for dramas, which can be for stage, radio, film or television, which ends on 6th January (https://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/send-a-script), there...
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The Third Good Thing

November 10, 2019
Who says that folklore and sayings are rubbish? Not me. Last time I wrote this blog I'd had two pieces of good news (the publication of Poetry Nook's anthology with my poem 'Eternal Summer' in it, and 'In Cold Blood', a noir crime poem, selected for the Cozy Cat anthology due out on 1st December), and I was waiting for the third. Now, I have proof that good things do come in threes.
'The Enchantress's Pets' came third in the Remastered Words contest, and will soon be available in this year's ...
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More Reasons to Be Cheerful

October 6, 2019
In a world that seems to have gone a bit bonkers lately, I have two pieces of good news to share.
The latest Poetry Nook anthology, containing my sonnet 'Eternal Summer' is now available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1939832152. 'Eternal Summer' was second in the Northampton Literature Group competition in 2010, and gained an honourable mention and publication online in Poetry Nook's weekly contest in 2016. I hadn't given it much thought since then, and was pleasantly surprised when I heard fr...
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Up the Garden Path

September 23, 2019
I'm amazed there aren't cobwebs and half an inch of dust over everything. Two weeks away from home and I find the spiders have taken over when I get back, and it's been longer than that since my last blog. I apologise. You've often been in my thoughts, even if I haven't been sitting with my fingers poised over my keyboard.
The fact is that when daily life hasn't muscled its way in to what I laughingly call my writing routine, I've succeeded in tripping myself up. With the only deadline for th...
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Not Such Bad Guys

August 5, 2019
Writers are prone to complain about the treatment they get from editors, but sometimes they keep their promises and more.
Take Brad McNaughton, Kain Massin and Sarah Knight, editors of The Blend, a new anthology from Altair Australia Pty Ld. I have the privilege of having a story, 'No Man's Land', in the first issue. I wasn't kept hanging around for months, or even weeks, waiting for an acceptance or rejection. I received the proofs in good time, was paid in advance, and even though the publi...
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Happy Accidents

July 27, 2019
I have to say thank you to all the people who listened to my attempts to speak Spanish with such patience and good humour while I as in Bilbao. As always, while I was away I jotted down a diary of what we did. It wasn't intended for publication, only to jog my memory, but the friend I was with said ominously that she would like to see it. I'm not sure about that, but maybe it wouldn't hurt to put an extract on here, so be warned. What follows is the written equivalent of being invited to a sl...
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About Me


My writing career began as a freelance feature writer for the local press, businesses and organisations. Now a prize-winning playwright and short story writer, my work has appeared in numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic. I write as K. S. Dearsley because it saves having to keep repeating my forename, and specialise in fantasy and other speculative genres.

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