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‘Sir Galahad’s ghast wasn’t just flabbered. If his strength was of ten men, why on earth was he being asked to waste it doing something as mediocre as photo-shopping a picture of some bloody awful looking cakes? Instead of galloping about the land on his milky white steed, looking for damsels to rescue? But lo, he was a gent and after all, it was only so many shopping days till Christmas.’

Yes look, my pal Ross did come to my rescue. Just like in olden times when I would give him some bloody awful looking illustration to sort. Or clamber about ruins getting some shot at an angle, whereby one slip and he’d be the one needing sorted. Now I can share my tempting cakes with you all. Like all these other writers do.   

ShehannecakesAll right. Despite Christmas scooting up the tracks like an express train towards me, I am doubly thrilled today. Firstly last month’s guest blogger, Catherine Cavendish’s book was released on Friday and is availble from Amazon. And let me tell you it’s a corker, a great blend of gothic and gruesome. Ideal for being scared over the Christmas season, when we all like a scary story. MsAbigailsRoom_ByCatherineCavenish_200x300 ‘As the lowest ranking parlor maid at Stonefleet Hall, Becky gets all the dirtiest jobs. But the one she hates the most is cleaning Miss Abigail’s room.There’s a strange, empty smell to the place, and a feeling that nothing right or Christian resides there in the mistress’s absence. And then there’s the blood, the spot that comes back no matter often Becky scrubs it clean.

Cue scary music. Dare you enter?

I’m also thrilled, not just because Incy Black is  here to guest blog today, and we keep each other sane at times – quite difficult really, when we’re not –  but because Incy has landed a two book contract. Happy dance. Talking scary things she doesn’t want to jinx it by saying more. So, let go my arm. All I will say it this. I am thrilled for her. She both deserves it and has waited a long time. So, big fanfare for Incy.  

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Before I hand you over to Incy, and what I think is a fabulous blog,  and things we have giggled about so many times – we actually used to pass bits and pieces of prose back and forward, adding to them.

Careless talk cost lives…and, apparently, so too can sex! By Incy Black

Rather than thank Shehanne for inviting me to post on her blog, I prefer to commend her.  For her bravery.  All sense of the ridiculous and the inevitable traces of smut are entirely my own. Shehanne cannot be held responsible for the shameless ramblings of my psyche from which I offer a tongue-in-cheek caution against using trite phrases when writing. Yup, we are all guilty and we need to try harder.  Why? Because some images just don’t bare thinking about.  For example, take the following:

She exploded in his arms, rocking them both with the violence of her response.

Seems innocuous enough, we’ve all read similar variations on this description of hitting orgasm, male or female. But take a closer look at the word ‘exploded’ and consider the ramifications of what this would mean in actuality.  To illustrate, I’ll add a sentence.

She exploded in his arms, rocking them both with the violence of her response. Stunned, he watched her head roll across the floorboards, her lovely limbs fly left and right, her ribs scatter as if tossed by a shaman divining the future.

Hmm…not quite the sexy image intended.  Here’s another, my current favourite, the grossly over used, ‘shattered’. 

She shattered in his arms…  Well hell, every time I read this phrase (way too often for my liking), I want to chime in and add to the inevitable wails of ecstasy, ‘Mind the frigging shards of glass!’

And in case you need more:

He dropped his hand/head/foot… (how very unfortunate, and not a little disconcerting)

She rolled her eyes…(not doing this one, it has been done before, but think game of marbles)

Without breathing… (so she’s dead then?)

He felt his rod/staff grow hard…(umm, rods & staffs are already hard, ‘tis why they are used as supports or for reinforcement)

He ploughed her lady-garden planting seed…nope, not even gonna comment, because I found one even worse. Her secret inner canal…this one is so bad, I feel no guilt at dissecting it. For a start, a canal is a man-made feat of engineering, a trench dug with the toil and sweat of navvies—how very romantic. Two: given the way he was strumming a Hendrix solo in said canal, there was precious little’ secret’ about it. Three, and here I am really plumbing the absurd, how many people have you encountered with ‘canals’ on the outside, let alone the inside? 

And the point of this lecture? Well, bore your reader with sloppy phrasing and trite images or paint a spade purple because wood/steel is too prosaic, and the hole you dig might just be big enough in which to bury yourself.  For good. Because the reader won’t be coming back for more, no matter how gripping the plot or how fascinating the characters.

Thanks for thinking, and as an aside, if you are easily riled by statements/suggestions that women are a bimbo-brained, sub-species, avoid researching the ‘Careless talk costs lives’ propaganda campaign used in Britain during WWII.  Took me ages to find the image below which at least acknowledged men could be equally ‘loose-lipped’—umm, I’ve yet to kiss anyone with loose lips.

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