Monday, 26 March 2012

New Me

The smart serious new me is now over at

and there are details up about the redux version of Mean Mode Median, my story and interview for Smokelong, and some other exciting bits. So if you're looking for me, me is there. Come on over and sign up to my feed.

Okay, not that serious. Just a bit more serious. And definitely no vegetables. Apart from one aubergine that snuck in there.

Monday, 20 February 2012

And That's That

Writing The Veggiebox has been lots of fun, but now I'm done.

Lots of things are changing. I'm no longer writing stuff like Light Reading and Three Things About Me. I don't produce articles as the blue pootle. I have an inkling that my writing future lies in a different direction. And I really can't scour one more book for mentions of vegetables. It was a niche market at the best of times.

I'll still pop up on the MNW blog with writing-related news.

And so all that remains to say is thanks for reading. I've left up some of my favourite posts, including the Veggie Books, in case you fancy a trawl through the archives. I wish you lots of love, luck, and happiness. And the occasional interestingly-shaped carrot. Cheerio.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Veggiebooks: What was I scared of?

It's been a good while since I did a veggiebook post, but whilst reading to the sick scratchy Munchie I came across a story that's long been a favourite of mine, and is now a favourite of hers. I had forgotten that a vegetable was involved. Okay, it's not a pivotal role in the story, but it's there, and it gives me the opportunity to quote Dr Seuss, so let's do it.

In The Sneetches and Other Stories, you get the star-bellied Sneetches. You get the North-going Zax and the South-going Zax. You get Mrs McCabe, who named all her sons Dave. And, finally, you get to the best story in the collection, to my mind - What Was I Scared Of?

You're out walking at night, because you're not the nervous kind, and suddenly, there they are.

A pair of pale green pants with nobody inside.

This might be funnier for UK children, because they're all picturing floating Y-fronts, but the pictures show us floating trousers, and that's pretty good too.

It's a scary experience. You run home. But there comes a time when you must leave the house again....

Well, the person and the pants continue to bump into each other until things reach a climax and we discover... I won't spoil it, in case you don't know it. But how could you not know it? It's an absolute classic. Still.

By the way, Dr Seuss, and particular his take on things you find in the park in the dark, influenced my poem on Resident Evil that will be published in Coin Opera 2 at some point. I'll let you know more details when I have them.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Why aren't Vampires Earthy Any More?

When Bram Stoker created Dracula, he made a monster that needed its native soil. Images of Dracula crouched in his soil in Carfax Abbey are disturbing ones. Yeah, okay, Francis Ford Coppola's film isn't always the greatest, but showing Dracula as a kind of white maggot as he crosses the ocean, pupating and writing in the earth... brrrrrrr. And I like that connection to the soil, to power, to the animalistic side of the vampire.

Modern vampires are usually not so big on soil. Christopher Lee's Dracula wouldn't have got his fingernails dirty, and since Anne Rice made vamps sophisticated they tend to be more ethereal creatures. Like in Poppy Z Brite's Dead Souls - they don't have a particular connection to nature. In fact, their powers are mind powers. The poor women in that novel - they just have to glance at vampire Zillah's green eyes and they're shedding their underwear. He has psychic abilities, see, that overwhelm all reason, to the extent of being prepared to have vampire babies that will eat your womb while they're still inside you. It would have to be one hell of a mind-trick to make me sign up for that.

I'm not keen on these monsters who are all head and no feet. I want rooted, natural vampires. I want their connection to be with the earth. I want DH Lawrence vampires.

So here's my attempt at a DH Lawrence vampire story. Well, two paragraphs, anyway:

She held her loosening face to the full moon, felt the moon inside her, filling her stomach, her womb, ah! The joy of the fecundity, the ripeness, as his teeth came to her throat and she spilled her blood into his mouth. He forced her down to her knees with his beast strength, overpowering, and yet he could not master her, could not bend her backwards into the ears of white corn, could not break their stalks. She was beyond him yet, even as he sucked at her, demanded her attention, and he was no more than an annoyance between her and her moon; she reached for it, begged it to claim her utterly, and fill her emptying veins with its light.

He took his teeth away, like a calm wave of the sea, a careful retreat in the face of her indifference. 'Do you not want get bit then, lass?' he said. 'Shouldn't come out t'field at night, then, should ee?' Every word hurt her more deeply than he could have known, and yet, how could he not know that they were locked together in this war, a war against her sex, and he was utterly intent on winning.

Actually, I quite like it. Throw in a rainbow and a miscarriage and I might be on to something.