Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Fascination of Magic (and other things that go bump in the night)

Voldemort and Harry
I've been reading some blogs and articles recently, about why we enjoy magic.

I like stories about magic. And horror stories, urban fantasy, speculative fiction, paranormal romance, the occult, fantastika etc. et al, ad infinitum.

The big question is, why?

No one else in my family shared this fascination, nor my desire to spend my free time immersed in vampires, ghosts and magic. Nor did any of my childhood friends. I was reading Dean Koontz then, my peers had never heard of him. Nor my English teacher, who declared horror books to be "pap" and so I wasn't allowed to do a book report on Hideaway. My interest has never been encouraged in the slightest, yet it continued to grow and prosper within me.

Why? I think the main reason is because the stories are just that, stories.

An American Werewolf in London
When I was 6 or 7 saw my first horror film, American Werewolf in London, which i think is rated 15 (possibly 18). Without parental permission, I must add. My sister (who is 5 years older) had nightmares; I slept like a baby.

I believe that a part of me has always known that those kinds of stories aren't real, and so I can simply enjoy the story without worring about a spell being cast on me, or a gremlin climbing in through my window at night (though that would be very cool) or Freddie Kruger hiding under my bed. Indeed, my favourite insomnia company is a horror film, because they keep you entertained, usually without requiring much effort on the viewers part.

I was also exposed to a lot of true crime movies in my childhood as my mother was a fan (still is). Now some of those films, even the PG rates ones, they terrified me.

The daughter in Small Sacrifices
There are some scenes that are seared into my brain to this day. A murdered wife being wrapped in carpet and dumped by the side of a road. The scene in Fatal Vision, where Gary Cole's* movements around his house could be tracked, long before the days of DNA, because his family all had different blood types. The Deliberate Stranger looking for victims at a lake and at the end of the day, a group of friends, frantically calling the name of their missing friend. A woman being stabbed in broad daylight, and no one lifting a finger to help her. Farrah Fawcett's** little girl, finally admitting the truth to herself by writing down the name of her attacker. (She was mute. And the attacker was her Mom).

My sister still claims that she cannot throw a pair of curtains open thanks to American Werewolf; she has to pull back one curtain, then the other, whereas I can't even remember that scene.

Damon Slavatore trying to escape an animal trap
Just today I saw Damon Salvatore trying to rip his hand out of an animal trap and it didn't bother me in the slightest. 127 hours though? I'm afraid to watch it because I know that suffering was real, and that someone actually endured what I'm seeing.

I think that real life is hard enough. I don't want to spend my leisure time immersed in real suffering and unimaginable cruelty that will haunt me. I'll stick to pretend bogeymen, thank you, because deep down, they don't frighten me at all.

So are you a fan of the fantastic? If so, what draw does it hold for you.

* I would like to add that Gary Cole was the actor playing the murderer and did not actually kill his own family
** Same for Farrah Fawcett, she played the murderous mom.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Mason and Me - Life with a Teacup Dragon (4)

Oh Dear!  
Well, it seems that Mason has found his spark! Casualties so far seem to be my favourite pair of shoes, my friends mobile (cell) phone and the morning post.
Of course, we fireproofed the house when we got him, everything is flame and fire retardant, but there's some things you just don't think of. We have a letter cage because Andy chews the post; we never considered that Mason would enjoy burning it!
He looks very contrite each time we catch him, of course, so it's hard to stay mad at him. I think the dogs have been giving him lessons on how to give the best puppy-dog-eyes because he's a master at looking pitiful. So much so, my friend made me a sketch called “Mason Sorry”. You'll have to trust me when I say that the real thing is even harder to stay mad at!
Look Ma, it's almost edible!
Instead, we are trying to focus his flame towards more productive avenues, with varying degrees of success. The cupcakes are probably best not mentioned, as are the sausages.
My friends "Mason, Sorry" sketch
Now we are focusing on toast and we're making real improvements. This is our latest attempt.

Follow Mason's facebook page for regular updates.

Intro | Feeding | Other Breeds |

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Mason and Me - Life with a Teacup Dragon (3)

Miniature Flat Dragon
Other breeds of Dragon  
(click pictures to enlarge)

The Miniature Flat Dragon. Named for their slightly flat body shape, this dragon is known for it's sweet temperament and intelligence. They commonly grow to between 10 and 20cm in length. Their flame is especially hot so they arent good for cooking, but they are wonderful at lighting fires.

The Red Dragon

The Red Dragon generally grows up to 25cm in length. This dragon is not for first time owners as they are prone to be a but nasty in temperament and need careful handling. Having said that, when trained well, they are extremely loyal and intelligent, capable of handling complex tasks. However, poor training or any mis treatment could lose you a finger.

The Leaf-winged dragon
The Leaf-winged Dragon. One of the few dragons that can still be found in the wild, thanks to the camouflage offered by it's leaf-like wings. It is distinctive because of it's green coloured flame and smoke. Depending on the climate they can grow up to 30cm in length, though 15 to 20 is more normal. They are responsible for many brush and forest fires, which sadly also claim the lives of many leaf-winged dragons each year. Of all remaining dragons breeds, they are the most endangered. If you do manage to spot and catch one, they can me very loving pets, but they will retain their independent streak.

The Prickly Dragon
The Prickly Dragon is named more for it's temperament than it's looks. It's the smallest of all dragons, growing to a maximum of 15cm, but more usually 7-12cms. Despite it;s size, it packs the biggest fire power of any dragon. The only specimens are owned by hardened breeders and when not working, are kept in specialist dragon houses, made from the same material as a kiln. They do not like people and they will not form a bond with you, or any other living creature. However, if you are willing to put up with their temper, they can be very useful workmates. Many incinerator's and crematoriums employ Prickly's as they are able to create fires that burn at temperatures of up to 1000 degreed Celsius. Plus, they love making fires.

Intro | Feeding |

Mason and Me - Life with a Teacup Dragon (2)

I've been receiving a lot of questions about this on FB so I thought I'd post this a little early.


He's a messy eater!
Hand feeding an orphaned Dragon actually isn't as difficult as one might assume. The basic feed is liquid puppy food but with a tablespoon of CaJohns Select Red Savina Habanero Puree added.
Yes, I know how awful it sounds to give an infant Habanero peppers, and I confess he coughed and spluttered a little, but their mothers milk is hot, see, because the lining of the throat and oesophagus must be toughened up. Otherwise, the first time he coughs in the middle of a flame, he'll get serious burns!
And it really is amazing how quickly Mason got used to it. He coughed a little the first time, sneezed the second but he's been fine ever since.
Liquid puppy food
And it keeps the dogs away from his food, just a sniff was enough for them to turn tail and run!
Mason is smoking regularly now, and while I have yet to see the spark that signifies that he's about to flame, I'm sure it will be any day now.
I really enjoy feeding him, though I confess, the nighttime feeds were getting to me. He goes through the night now, thankfully. 
Farley's Rusks
He gets through about three 10ml syringes at a time now and he gets this really content look in his eyes when he feeds; it's our bonding time! When he's done, he usually wants to sleep, so he settles down with the dogs for a nap!

When it's time to wean him, he'll have Farley's Rusks, soaked in the liquid food to soften them first, then baby food.

When fully grown, Whiptailed Green dragons are omnivores so should have a varied diet that includes meat, carbohydrates and fibre. I'm told that their favourite treat is waffles or pancakes with maple syrup.

Do you have a teacup dragon? Share your stories with me, I'm kind of feeling alone here.  

Follow Mason's facebook page for regular updates.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mason and Me - Life with a Teacup Dragon

Mason, my teacup dragon
Well, Mason was born 4 weeks ago now and we're getting on swimmingly together. Even the dogs love him. Of course, he hasn't really learned how to breath fire just yet, so he may go out of favour once we have a few scorched whiskers.
Now, before I go any further, I want to pre-empt all the people who will no doubt be saying how awful it is to inbreed dragons until they're this tiny. Teacup dragons aren't inbreed, they are naturally that small (which is how they managed to survive the human/dragon war. More on that some other time)
The war is also why you won't see many, they are incredibly shy creatures, unless they know you well. Thankfully Mason imprinted on me at birth, so he trusts me.
A few facts.
Mason is a Whiptailed green (They are bright green just after birth but get browner as they age)
Whiptailed Greens grow to between 8cm and 20cm, though I suspect Mason will be on the smaller side.
Mason's mother, Vera, had an unfortunate accident with a freezer, so Mason and his brother were incubated in my fireplace.
Mason snuggling with Lucy when he was 4 days old. Usually you cant see him because he's hiding under her ears, he seems to like it there.
Contrary to popular belief, dragons are actually very tactile creatures and especially when they're young, they love to snuggle. The experts tell me it's because they need to keep warm, but I don't care why.
If you bond with a dragon when it's young, they will be your friend for life and make surprisingly loyal and obedient pets.

Monday, 12 March 2012


Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen to my newest offering, Bemused!

When self-made property developer, Niall, is attacked by vampires on his way home, his neat and ordered life soon begins to fall apart. His rescuer, the effervescent Mel, declares herself to be his Muse - better known in modern times as a Guardian Angel - and offers him a business proposition; she wants them to go into business as supernatural detectives.

Slightly sceptical to say the least, Niall eventually agrees to try working one case with her - helped in no small part by his rather strong attraction to Mel.

Mrs Hart's house has been plagued by a series of deadly and unexplainable events, culminating in the death of a local boy. As they look into possible causes, Niall finds himself growing even more fond of Mel, although she seems determined to keep him at arm's length.

He discovers why she she is so reticent but that is soon overshadowed by the cause of Mrs Hart's problems; a foe so powerful that even the immortal Mel seems terrified!
This is hopefully the start of a new series about the adventures of Niall and Mel. It's a slight departure from my usual fair of vampire books and historical romances, it's lighter and a wee bit fluffier than a lot of my stuff, but I hope you enjoy it.

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Paperback coming soon!

And that's your lot for a while. Seriously, that's three books this year and it's only the 12th of March! I need a break!