Jun 30th

Why not Whynot?

By John Taylor

If I look over my right shoulder as I write this, (not where I write most of the time, that's out the back, and not connected to the interwebby-thing) I can see the pub across the road. It’s called The Chestnut Tree, and belongs to the sort of chain that sells traditional microwaved food and traditional microwaved beer in front of big TV screens.

When I first moved to the town, over twenty years ago, the pub was called The Whynot. It was known throughout the area by a simple, but effective sign, a black question mark on a white ground.

Just beside Andover station is a little stub of a lane called Whynot Lane, and once upon a time, maybe a hundred years ago, it ran the full mile to the pub. Walk a mile from the station, and, well, Why Not? It makes sense – after all, they sold real beer.

There’s something strange about The Chestnut Tree pub. Not only has it lost its distinctiveness, but I’d love to know the company’s thoughts when they rebranded the pub in the nineteen nineties. Outside the front of the pub are three magnificent trees, at least eighty feet high, and currently in full flower with a glorious smell that conquers even the traffic fumes. Lime trees.

Jun 30th

My show

By Tenacityflux
I thought that I would finally get round to uploading some images from my trade fair. This is up setting up the stand, with the mannequines I made, which all look like my company logo.IMAG0379.jpg

I made all the funky green clothes railes as well, amazing what one can achieve with a jigsaw and some paint!
We were kindly given possibly the worst spot in the whole venue, though it's hard to see from here - and that was the problem, so were we! Right on the very end of the smallest row in the furthest level away from the main floor. Oh well, everyone up there had a pretty bad show, so I'm not trying to take it personally.

If you want to be curious, you can see the rest of my collection on my website, www.kappuke-ki-kidswear.co.uk - and if you have a website, a link to mine would make me very smiley!
Jun 30th


By TonyGetsLost
Hey folks! Well, here we are again... or here I am. I've slept for nearly two whole hours since my last posting. Man, this launch stuff is brutal. Bloody hell, what a pansy I am! Brutal... better not tell that to an Iraqi war veteran or a firefighter...
Anyway, the point is I'm knackered. I thought I'd nip on to say a quick Hi! to y'all, and to post a link to my blog about the Pre-Launch Process. No, it's not an informative, useful guide for anyone looking to do the same. You may have noticed, my writing mostly centers around me screwing things up royally. Couldn't disappoint my regulars now could I? Either of them.
So here it is, a brief description of the scene in my house at Launch Minus Forty-Eight Hours And Counting... come to think of it, that would have made a damn good title for this post. Bugger.

Jun 30th


By tono
Hi,  i'm thinking about signing up to a mentoring scheme, i was wondering if anyone one had any experience of these, were they worth the money? Did their writing improve? Did it lead to publication etc.
Jun 29th

Hello Again

By Gerry


Hello everyone, I’ve not been contributing to the Word Cloud for some time as I’ve been wiped out with a flat battery. Consciousness, however, seems to be seeping back into portions of the brain, so I’ll have a go at getting back in touch. For the sake of ease I’ll start by reviving a blog I first posted back on 4th August 2010. It occasioned quite a bit of reaction at the time (89 comments, often very substantial) and as many people have joined the Cloud since then it may be worth a second glance.

I’ll be posting it simultaneously to my own blog at
http://dimensionsbeyond.typepad.com/ (because blogs apparently that need visitors – so please call in). Darn it, I might even post it on my website at http://gerryfenge.com/page29.htm (Thinks: blogs and websites, now there’s a topic to consider – and a good way of flattening your battery if stamina is in short supply.) Anyway, here we go. It was called Mind and Matter.



Mind and Matter

This for me is the Big One. Mind and brain, inner and outer, subjective and objective. Science does not start with numbers. It does not start with observations. It starts with the person doing the numbers and the observations.

But which part of the person? The mind or the brain? Are they the same or are they different? There are three basic options:

Mind is an aspect of matter. Whenever the mind does something so does the brain (portions light up in scans). The two are therefore identical.
2.     Mind is an aspect of matter but in ways we cannot precisely define.
3.     Mind is not an aspect of matter. It can behave independently.

Options 1 and 3 are both pretty extreme. Let’s get some aliens to explain.

These aliens, let us say, are studying life on Earth and, owing to peculiar limitations, must restrict themselves to a short section of the M1. They find as a consequence that ‘life’ is metallic, four wheeled and fast moving. On further scrutiny they find a four-limbed organic ‘thing’ within the metal frame. To clarify this they use jargon like ‘person’ and ‘vehicle’ before coming up with three options:

The person is an aspect of the vehicle. Whenever the person does something (turns the wheel, presses the brake) so does the vehicle. The two are therefore identical.
2.     The person is an aspect of the vehicle but in ways they cannot precisely define.
3.     The person is not an aspect of the vehicle. It can behave independently.

Option 3 is unpopular with alien orthodoxy. Nonetheless, some mavericks try extending the scope of their studies. They find a service station and observe the four-limbed organic things climbing out of the four-wheeled metallic ones. “Aha!” they announce. “Separate entities!”

“Not so,” reply the voices of orthodoxy. “Proper experiments require laboratory conditions. Our laboratory is the M1. Your observations cannot be admitted.”

“Excuse me,” suggests a hesitant junior, “I once saw a vehicle pull onto the verge and a person climb out.”

“Anecdotes cannot be admitted,” reply the voices of authority. “Proper experiments must be repeatable. We see no people climbing out of vehicles.”

And so on. The analogy is inexact as analogies inevitably must be, but is it fair? Does science place obstacles in the way of non-physical data? And if so, are we as a society being fooled into accepting the latest “faith”?



(There are just a couple of extra paragraphs you might like to look at, and they can be found at http://dimensionsbeyond.typepad.com/ Cheers, Gerry)

Jun 29th


By TonyGetsLost
Cloudie, HO!
Yes, I've been away for a bit. But now I'm back! I'm harder to get rid of than a fart in a spacesuit and twice as pungent - largely because I've not found enough time to wash recently...
So I thought I'd stick up the blurb for 'THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!' here and see what you guys thought about it. Too much? Not enough? Too... ahem, colourful, as my mother would say? Historically I'm really bad at putting my work 'out there' for others to see - but it's a bit past that point now, what with the imminent release of the eBook on 1st July! AAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!
There comes a time in every man’s life when he says to himself, “Holy Sh*t! I’m about to be eaten by a bear!”
Tony James Slater went to Ecuador, determined to become a man.
It never occurred to him that ‘or die trying’ might be an option...
The trouble with volunteering in a South American animal refuge is that everything wants a piece of you. And the trouble with being Tony, is that most of them got one.
Just how do you ‘look after’ something that’s trying it’s damnedest to kill you and eat you?
And how do you find love when you a) don’t speak the language, and b) are constantly covered in excrement and entrails?
If only he’d had some relevant experience. Other than owning a pet rabbit when he was nine. And if only he’d bought some travel insurance...
That Bear Ate My Pants is the hilarious tale of one man’s quest to better himself. Whether losing a machete fight with a tree, picking dead tarantulas out of a tank of live ones or sewing the head back on to a partially decapitated crocodile, Tony’s misadventures are ridiculous, unbelievable and always entertaining.
Long before Sky One got involved, there were already plenty of Idiots Abroad. This is the story of one of them...
Jun 28th

Celebrate with a free ebook!

By conjensen
I'd like to share my celebratory free download with fellow clouders. Read the story behind it here, then go to the Smashwords site and enter the code YH25N (not case sensitive) at the checkout.

Please download as many copies as you like and tell your friends, but hurry- the coupon ends on June 30th. Writer Kathleen Herbert struggled over many years to get this book published, to communicate with as many people as possible. Let's make this a toast to her!

My short story for children, Farmer Ted's Easy Day is always free, also from Smashwords.
Jun 28th

Novel competitions

By Weens
There are a number of novel competitions out there, that offer publication as a prize. I'm wary of them and not sure how genuine they are. Are they just a cover up of vanity publishing or are they genuine? I'd appreciate your thoughts peeps.
Jun 28th

Major US Agency Moves Into Publishing. Or Do They?

By dgaughran

It seems like the big news stories are coming every day now. That’s what happens when you combine the disruptive power of the internet with a revolutionary change like digital self-publishing.

In an announcement that is sure to cause some surprise, Dystel & Goderich – agents for Barack Obama, Judge Judy, John Locke, Joy Bauer, David Morell, and Richard Dreyfuss – have announced a move into publishing. Or have they?

I have made my feelings about agents moving into publishing quite clear on a number of occasions, and have always attempted to highlight the egregious practices that are becoming more common. However, before we grab the pitchforks and march on 5th Avenue, I’m going to ask for a moment to get a few things clear, and to take a closer look at what is actually being proposed.

First, I want to look at what this actually is, and then I will examine whether it is a good idea or not.


Jun 28th

The Writer's Library

By Writer

            A good writer is sometimes only as good as the reference books they have in their collection. Being one who wrote academic papers for nine years, I understand wholly the value of a well-stocked library. In that same vein, I also understand the value of a well-stocked literary library. I am not merely referring to novels and such here, but non fiction books that can be used as reference works. I good story is researched accurately and presented factually. In this blog I will share some of my “horror oriented” works of reference.


            As most of you know by now, I am a horror/dark drama writer, so my library will sway towards the horror field. I have been collecting the books on an as-needs basis, selecting the work when I had a definite need for it (you should also keep an eye out for any bargains at the book store!). I have, for horror, a wonderful encyclopedia on ghosts and hauntings, The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings, Theresa Cheung. It is a phenomenal book and alphabetically lists events, people and haunts for the past century. The book is great for research and inspiration. If you write any horror, it is a must have. While on ghosts, I also have Relax, It’s Only a Ghost, by “Ghostbuster” Echo Bodine. This little book is an easy read and covers some of her exploits in the real-life business of ghostbusting. Great for inspiration and knowledge on the supernatural, the book is also a pleasant read. The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena, Bob Rickard and John Michell, is a great text for all things supernatural. It covers everything from aliens and levitation and strange rains (frogs, ect.) to various swarms and spontaneous combustion. It is great for general knowledge and inspiration. On witchcraft, the books I used were The Truth about Witchcraft Today, Scott Cunningham and The Wicca Handbook, Eileen Holland. The former was a more general book and useful for gaining a general knowledge of that faith. The latter is more detailed and takes a slightly different perspective than the former, but is also adequate for understanding Wicca. I found both very helpful in understanding spells, sacred space and Wiccan theology (Look for this info to appear later in my second novel!) Those about cover the major horror books in my library now. I do, however, keep others on hand as well.


            I have eclectic interests, and have found those interests to be of value in my writing career. For one thing, I have several books on architecture which have proven invaluable in creating scenes and structures. I sway towards gothic architecture (no surprise there!) yet often utilize Romanesque as well. I keep on hand two books on art; one is a general text book covering art through the centuries, and the other is a book dealing with Northern Renaissance art. I have a flare for knowledge and sophistication in my works and these books have been helpful. Because of the nature of some of my works, I have found the study of anatomy to be beneficial, and have an encyclopedia of the human body. Classical music terminology often appears in my writings, so I have a book on the subject. I like it, and it is a good read.


            I won’t bore you with the rest of my library; I don’t have the energy to catalogue 1500 books, and you don’t have the stamina for such an endeavor. I’m trying to develop my blog here, not destroy it! Like any good work, however, a properly written story is going to be accurate and will reveal a certain knowledge about the given material. Know your story; know your sources. Don’t put Sherman Tanks in the middle of Pickett’s Charge, and don’t give Constantine an atomic bomb! Know the history and know the fields you are writing about. I utilize witchcraft in some of my works, so I took the time to study the field and portray an accurate scene. Bleodisian dealt exclusively with blood and the cardiovascular system, so I learned about veins and arteries; a lot about veins and arteries! (I’m glad that’s done). The stories have authenticity and realism, and that is what we are striving for with our works. Aim for realism.


            As always, good luck writing.


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