Tag Archives: blog

Wolf Hats and Noodly Boobs


Thank you Chuck Wendig for reminding me how much fun I had last year doing a blog about the bizarre search terms people key into their computers which bring them to phraseandfable. You may recall that deep sea racing mullet and the mysterious spelling glove. It’s time for a few more.

wolf hat Wolf Hats and Noodly Boobs

In the natural order of things, these items presumably go together. I’m off to Sainsburys, do I have everything? Wolf hat, check. Noodly boobs, gotcha. Yay, I’m off to the supermarket in my wolf hat and noodly boobs, everybody sing! The wolf hat has furry earflaps and maybe some beading on the chin strap to get that Native American vibe. The noodly boobs are an add-on, an afterthought, perhaps they even jingle shortly before you douse them in chilli sauce and slurp.

Ponsonable Poams

Hot patooties, that poam’s ponsonable. It’s got ponsons coursing through it, pulsing with promise in iambic pentameter. Poams should be groaned in the gloaming, coated in foal foam for maximum ponsonability. Don’t you find?


Not quite the look I wanted

Squirrel in a Sarong

This South East Asian rodent may be shy, but it instinctively knows its way around several metres of batik. It says ‘nuts’ to man-made fibres because they chafe. Here it comes now, sashaying shamelessly down the beach at Phuket, flicking its tail in such a way that its tiny, brightly coloured garment sways and swings behind it. Go forth and hula, small skirted creature.

And stay off my droll yankee or I’ll shoot you and turn your bottom half into a napkin.

Paperclip Chainmail

I’m off down the Hundred Years War, love. You seen my chainmail?


The one in paperclip chainmail’s MINE

Think I washed it.

You washed my chainmail? How am I supposed to charge down the enemy now?

We’ll use these paperclips the tax collector left behind last time he came collecting our tithes. Link them up and voila: Henry V’s your uncle.

Don’t go using French words at me.

You look great. Dead macho. Just promise you’ll move around a lot. They mow you down when you’re stationery.


Here Endeth the End


There’s a great new blog entry from my super-lovely agent Stephanie Thwaites over on www.childrensliteraryagent.co.uk, all about starting books with that all-important opening. That hook that gets right into your mouth and tugs.

wildtiger-1My first sentence for WILD #1: TIGER TROUBLE is:

‘When a tiger lands on you first thing in the morning, even when they’re four months old, you know about it.’

Did I land you? You at the back, stop chortling.

Steph’s blog made me think about ending stuff with bangs too. Nothing muted, nothing neat. Something that goes boom. Literally in the case of TIGER TROUBLE:

‘Did… our house just blow up?’

I confess that this was designed as a springboard into the next book, where it returns as the first sentence. What a cop out. My favourite example of a real, no-hidden-agenda-or-follow-up-book BANG of an ending is Joseph Heller’s CATCH-22.

‘The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.’

wileDoes anyone produce endings like that any more? Endings that revel in inconclusiveness? I haven’t noticed Wile E. Coyote running off his cliff lately. These days he invests in better footwear, makes friends with Road Runner and stops subscribing to all those hopeless Acme products.


In my picture book text, the main character is eaten and NOT regurgitated in a fit of penitence and stomach acid. Yay for that. Now I’m reaching the end of my teenage novel and the scent of challenge is in my nostrils. How best to bring all the strings of my hormonal balloons together and ignite them in such a way that the balloons explode in a synchronised blast of shredded rubber? As it were? (Is that guy at the back still laughing?)

Any breathtaking endings out there that you love?



Pop the goodies on the trestle, / Don’t you think this lovely dress’ll / Find a home as soon as Lynn / Lets the plastic baggers in? / What’s the entrance fee we’re charging?/ Got to stop them all from barging / Past the nearly newish rack / Straight towards the bric-a-brac.

Jumble sales. Jumbling to those in the know. It’s like being a millionaire with a gold credit card. I’ll take that, and that. Maybe even that, despite the crackling manmade fibres. Oh, I’m so buying that full-length velour ball gown. And I know I’ll give the asymmetrical jumper a go even though I’m not entirely sure which way is up. Put your elbows and your capacious flat-bottomed shopper away, Madam. I saw the embroidered biker jacket first.

Now they’ve formed a decent queue, / Pull the bolt back, let them through! / Ready with your plastic tubs, / Guard those raffle-ticket stubs, / Here’s a lovely summer two-piece, / Child’s pyjamas stamped with Snoopys, / Janet Reger, I declare! / (Doesn’t seem to be much there.)

No other retail experience comes close. We’re talking armfuls. We’re talking endless plastic bags filled to the brim. A blissful half an hour of trying things on back at home, weeping with laughter and gasping with delight, sorting out what to keep and what to pass on to next week’s Scouts event. Best buy of the day: the dress which shall henceforth be known as Princess Margaret 1976. Elmoor of London, it says on the label. Elmoor. It speaks of tweed, smoky coffee houses, talcum powder and Bri-Nylon. It’s time-travel boiled into a frock. If I’m not invited to a vintage garden party very soon, I shall have to host one.

Truffle hunt among the blouses, / 20p? You’re safe as houses, / Not a waste of cash, I swear it, / If you never get to wear it. / Love the Pierrot lustreware! / Got to have a bust to wear / This trouser-suit, it’s cut so low / (It once was mine, I ought to know).

Bric-a-brac has never appealed as much as those mountains of over-washed jumpers, the long collars on psychedelic drip-dry shirts, the rail of bling-button Jaeger suits, the occasional item which produces a mystified silence followed by: “Oh well, I’ll buy it anyway and find out what it is when I get it home.” In the world of jumbling there’s no such thing as buyer’s remorse.

Have a cuppa now we’re done. / Wasn’t that a lot of fun? / Take a slice of lardy cake. / Hope I never have to bake / Another batch of home-made scones, / They weren’t as good as dear Yvonne’s.

Off to dance the night away with Lord Lichfield now. But before I put on my dancing slippers, I must alert you to my guest blog slot on the lovely Girls Heart Books tomorrow, March 12. www.girlsheartbooks.com. And there will be giveaways of WILD #1: TIGER TROUBLE. See you there!

Time to parcel up what’s left, / Village hall looks quite bereft, What’s this object lying here? / Absolutely no idea.