Granny Knows Best – April Fools Day

Or April Fools to you semi-literate little webbies. It’s just around the corner and you need to listen up!

That day of all days when making bloody silly jokes is all right.

Only it isn’t. It isn’t funny to send your sister a photoshopped image of her boyfriend in bed with a blonde. It isn’t funny to put an announcement of your mother’s death in the local paper. It isn’t funny to befriend somebody online only to make them the but of your annual ‘humour’ fest.

Just stop it.

It’s not funny. You’re not funny. Leave humour to those who don’t equate being funny with making people cry. Stop being an asshat for ten minutes and consider how you would enjoy being the but of one of your own ‘jokes’.

For those of you who find themselves on the receiving end of one of these gems of sparkling ‘wit’ I have the following advice.

If the perpetrator is an online acquaintance, by all means retweet or reblog the offensive item adding one or more of the following hashtags:





I think you get the idea.

However, should the ‘joker’ be known to you outside cyberspace, vengeance is perfectly acceptable. Consider one of the following:

Itching powder in the underwear.

Chilli in the wine

Pepper in the chocolates

And the classic. A kipper wired to the exhaust pipe of their car

Soooooo. To recap. Don’t do personal April Fools jokes. They are seldom kindly and never funny. 


If you do. Expect vengeance…

Have fun until the next thing pisses me off.

Coffee Break Read – Crossing

Crossing had never been more than a one-horse town, but when the railway shut down and the boys got drafted into the army it stopped even being that. 
We women done our best, but with kids to raise and mouths to feed the soil become more important than the saloon bar, and the horse pretty well took over from the truck. Them few of us brave enough to drive a car pretty soon found that there warn’t any fuel to be had anyway. It was all going to the war effort – whatever in tarnation that meant.
And that’s pretty much how it looked right up until the boys come home, one dirt street with rusty trucks leaning drunkenly on their useless tyres and hosses picketed under the shade trees outside the deserted saloon. 

The winter of forty-five was hard and the men what drifted home warn’t nothin’ like the boys that went off to fight the old men’s war. They come home thinner, and harder, and somehow soured by what they seen and done. And that ain’t counting the ones that never come home.
I wasn’t expecting nobody to come home for me and mine. My durn fool of a husband got hisself killed bein’ a hero in some battle a whole ocean away. I think I musta shed a tear when they sent me a wire sayin’ he was gone, and I kinda had to look properly sad when a big fat man in a general’s uniform brung along his medals and pinned them on nine-year-old Jethro Junior’s chest. But, jest between you and me, all I was really thinkin’ was what a pigheaded eejit I had married. Jest couldn’t keep his head down and his nose clean and come home to me and the little ‘uns.

During the spring and summer of forty-six I looked about me and seen what war had done to our menfolks. I was almost glad that my Jethro never come home – him having been a hard sort of a customer even before the scars of war. Seemed to me that what the war broke there wasn’t no amount of lovin’ nor understandin’ gonna be able to put back together. Seein’ as how I was a nurse and worked in the hospital in Big Town (until Pa decided I had to come home and marry Jethro) I seen with my own eyes what the men hereabouts come home capable of. I tended broken bones, bruises in every colour you can imagine, and the ragged cuts caused by bullwhips bein’ wielded in drunken hands. All in all I reckoned I was better of alone.

The winter of forty-seven seen Pa called to his maker, but before the influenza took him he signed a lawyer’s paper leaving’ the property to me. That surprised me some, him settin’ so much store by the male line, but he smiles at me and says I’m more of a son than any man could ever be. Brung a lump to my throat that did, and as I nursed him through the cruel cold I kep’ myself warm with the knowin’ that me and the kids was safe.

Summer rolled around and I was milkin’ the most awkward of our three cows when I heard a engine. Something was toilin’ up the dirt track to the farmhouse. Now we never knew nobody with no truck, so I let the cow go and sneaked around back to where I could pick up Pa’s Colt and make sure she was loaded fer bear.

By the time a rusty rattler of a Holden scraped to a stop I was settin’ on the stoop watchin’ the yard from under the brim of my greasy old Stetson. The man what stepped out might a bin Jethro’s twin. Same handsome face. Same swagger. Same hard, cold little eyes. I pushed back my hat with two fingers.

“Howdy,” I said. “Help ya?” 
“I sincerely hope so. I’m looking for Dorothy, widow to my Cousin Jethro Tomkins.” He smiled at me, but his smile never reached his eyes. “Might that be you.”
“Might be.” I offered him a grin. “Set a spell and tell me what brings you to these hyar parts.”
“I come to look over my property.”
“Your property?”
“Yes. Mine. Cousin Jethro done left it to me in his will.” 
“That’d be a trick, seeing as how he never owned it in the first place.”
I settled my hat back down over my eyes and leaned back in my chair.
He was just stupid enough not to go for his gun. Instead he made a grab for me.
“Smart-mouth woman needs slapping down hard.”
He fisted his hand in the front of my shirt and I shot his fool head off.
Me and the kids buried him back aways in the scrubland before the mesquite starts.
We keeps chickens in the Holden in his memory…

Jane Jago

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë reviewed by Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

I first happened upon this book courtesy of Mumsie, who threw it at my head in a spirit of joyous playfulness.

“Here, you fuckwit,” she declared in lovingly honeyed tones, “read this and find out how to write a proper hero”.

After I had treated the suppurating wound on my cranium with arnica, I looked with some disfavour at the dog-eared and gravy-besmirched volume, wondering idly why it was peppered with what looked like boils. However, it was a perishing cold day, and the central heating boiler had noisily breathed its last, and I was made painfully aware that if I wished to be seated beside the fire in the withdrawing room I had better be doing something of which Mumsie approved. Thus it was that I made the acquaintance of the wild moorland, and of the orphan Heathcliff, and the cruelly beautiful Catherine.

Oh my goodness me. What power lurked beneath those broken-backed and besmirched covers. What majesty did one find in a flawed hero! How one sobbed as life turned against one so noble – and all for the foolishness that is the love of a female. How one felt for an orphaned boy treated worse than a dog, and how one railed against the fate that brought him to his knees. And how beauteous was his vengeance.

In essence, a man falls for a vile femme fatale and is betrayed unto his death.

Five stars and a tear on one’s unblemished cheek.

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

You can find more of IVy’s profound thoughts in How To Start Writing A Book courtesy of E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago.

Coffee Break Read – An Untried Woman

In the scented air of the pavilion, Alexa settled back on her couch, closed her eyes and let her body relax, whilst her mind wandered. The two girls tended her, one combing through the glistening dark red waves of her hair and the other painting her finger and toenails with vermilion. She wanted to look her best this evening.
She could never allow herself to forget that for a woman to be a caravansi was rare – so rare Alexa had never heard of another. It was the only way of life she had ever known and one that she loved passionately. Much too passionately to give up for settled life or for any man. But whilst she recognised it was strange to others, to her it was the most natural of things. She had inherited the caravan, its animals, slaves, wagons and pavilion from her father as his only child and his apprentice.
When she thought of her father, she would always see him as he had been before he fell ill: tall and proud, his face animated as he told her stories of the past; or still and focused as he poured over ledgers, eyes skimming each page as he calculated the amounts faster than most could even count the numbers. His death had been the most painful event of her life – but the caravan gave her comfort. In the dust of travel, the shouts of the Zoukai and the rumble of wagons, she could sometimes imagine he was still there with her and nothing had changed.
But everything had changed after his death at the end of last summer. The merchants, including those who knew her personally and had been clients of long standing with her father, were very uneasy with the idea of entrusting their precious trade goods to one they saw as an untried woman. Merchants, it seemed, were superstitious when it came to such things. It had been a bitter blow to Alexa since she knew she was a tough, good and honest caravansi – and she knew that they knew it too. Undeterred she had spent everything she had on trade goods she could carry and sell for herself. It was not much but would be just enough to pay her way and make a small profit – if she could sell in Alfor.
Then her father’s Captain of Zoukai, had left the caravan. He had been old by Zoukai standards, past his fortieth season, and he had said he wanted to settle down and raise a family before it was too late. That had been just the beginning. All except a handful of the very oldest Zoukai, those who would have been hard pressed to be taken on elsewhere, took it as an excuse to leave too. Like the merchants, the Zoukai had a superstitious distrust of a caravansi who was a woman.
Alexa had spent most of the long winter scouring the city of Ratzal and sending messages to other nearby cities, seeking a Zoukai captain who would ride with her caravan. But as the first signs of thaw began and the bigger caravans took to the roads across Temsevar, she had faced the bleak prospect of being unable to go with them. If she did not make the Alfor Fair, her trade goods would be worth, at best, half their purchase value and she would have no choice but to sell up everything. That dread had sat colder in her heart than the bitterest winter blizzard.
With just two days left before the departure deadline – the latest they could leave Ratzal and still hope to arrive in time for the Alfor Fair – Caer had presented himself at her pavilion and promised her forty men if she would hire him as her Captain. If Alexa had not been so desperate she would have never given him serious consideration. Caer was not just too young, he was much too young. A good Zoukai captain, it was said, should have seen twenty seasons with the caravans under another’s leadership and Caer had clearly seen no more than half that. Besides, he offered her only forty men when she needed nearer twice that number to be truly secure.
But she had been desperate and Caer, young as he was, was the only chance she had of getting the caravan on the road in time to make the Alfor Fair. Even knowing that, when she had seen the Zoukai he brought with him, her heart had sunk. Almost half were so old that it was obviously going to be their final year riding with the brotherhood and most of the rest were very young – scarcely men at all – their heads newly shaven: boys who had never ridden with a caravan before. Less than a handful were experienced Zoukai of full fighting fitness. It was hardly surprising, though, Caer was no more any good Zoukai’s choice of captain than she was any good captain’s choice of caravansi.
So they had set out for Alfor many days later than the last of the other caravans that had wintered in the city, guarded by a scant force of children and old men, with a woman caravansi and no trade goods aside from the caravan’s own. It was not surprising that the good citizens of Ratzal were laughing behind their shutters as the caravan passed by on its way through the gates.

From The Fated Sky part one of Fortune’s Fools Transgressor Trilogy by E.M. Swift-Hook

Lucida’s Lifestyle – Rites of Passage

Namaste you wonderful, desirable and aspiring individual! This bijou blog is here to help you achieve your best ever ‘you’. Here, I offer my help and assistance in reshaping your shape and doctoring your decor internally and externally, to bring your lifestyle into line with your aspirations.

Rites of Passage

It has been shown that celebrating rites of passage, such as entering teenage, leaving school, starting to drive and so on has a profound and healthy effect on the psyche. It enables the individual to recognise themselves and their place in their community and facilitates the community in recognising the individual and their transition from one stage of life to another.
Rites of passage have an outward, external, community oriented side and an inner, transformative and profoundly personal side.
They are good for you and good for those around you.
Having established that, it is time to consider how you can add to the rites of passage at present practiced and so reap an even greater harvest of benefit from them. What other profound and meaningful transitions occur in your life that you can use as pivot points in your personal and social growth?
In many ways the best approach is to make your own list. After all you know yourself what these meaningful moments might be better than anyone else. But here are a couple of suggestions for rites of passage we could all adopt more widely in the modern world.

Ordering a first take-out
This is a truly life-altering moment for any growing individual. It carries with it the awareness that from now on one is no longer tied to the apron strings of home provision. One is now free to sally forth and hungrily devour the entire world of exotic food. I will assume if you are reading this you have already crossed this threshold, but here is advice for any you might be inducting into this stage of their life.
How to mark the moment: Make sure the moment is perfect by ensuring the candidate approaches it with virginal purity. Do not allow them to so much as peek at a site prior to the event Invite at least half a dozen of your young postulants chosen companions to attend the event. They should all sit in a circle and chant their chosen order whilst the celebratee sits in the middle with their phone app and has to get every order right before they can order their own.
It will be one of the most memorable events of their life!

The first major relationship argument
We are all left battered – yet bettered, by this transformational moment. When we realise the most adored life-partner with whom we are soul to soul, has in fact some major imperfection that has led to a major crisis between you.
How to mark the moment: Embrace that it has happened and once the dust has settled summon your closest and most individually partisan friends and family.
Whilst the principles are withdrawn, individually and apart, to better focus on regenerating the acrimony that spurred the real event, be sure that everyone has a good glass of their preferred alcoholic beverage inside them and one in hand. Then when all is ready, have the assembled companions draw to either side of the room, to stand behind the individual to whom they are most closely aligned.
Then the couple should act out the events again, being sure to not neglect even the most hurtful and hateful things said so they can be purified and transmuted by the rite of passage into a new energy each will take forward with them in life. The gathered supporters can cheer and boo to make the reenactment even more potent.
At the end there will be an utter catharsis and a truly life-changing resolution!

You begin, I am sure, to see the many promising and poignant possible prospects for such rites of passage.

Lucida the Liminal Lifestyle Coach

Mad March Hare

We ran today through budding flowers
The Mad March Hare and I
O’er meadows green, through wooded bowers
We danced beneath the springtime showers
And counted not the passing hours
The Mad March Hare and I

We strode the primrose path together
The Mad March Hare and I
And didn’t mind the changing weather
We just ran on hell for leather
Through rain and wind and both together
The Mad March Hare and I

We picked the daffodillies lightly
The Mad March Hare and I
And when the spring sun shone down brightly
We bounded on our way so sprightly
And didn’t mind it even slightly
The Mad March Hare and I

E.M. Swift-Hook

Weekend Wind Down – The Tribune Calls

It was an unseasonably cold, wet August morning, and Julia was in her sitting room watching the sun try to break through a veil of black cloud, with her two wolfhounds Canis and Lupo asleep in a twitching heap by a small simmering fire. Their usual keeper, her personal bodyguard Edbert, was busy about some other business, so the dogs stayed close to her. Julia was breaking her fast in the British manner, seated on a chair with both feet on the floor. As she had a sneaking preference for that manner of dining, she wasn’t making an issue of it. Instead, she smiled sunnily at her beloved who sat opposite her eating bread and honey.
“You,” she remarked with mock severity “have honey on your chin.”
“Do I?” he asked. “It’s probably because I was looking as well as eating.” His startling blue eyes met hers. “Isn’t the love of my life sitting opposite me dressed in silk and looking good enough to eat?”
She felt the blush running up from her throat to her face and he leaned across the table and placed a chaste kiss on one burning cheek, then he chuckled.
To her intense irritation, the sitting room door banged open and the burly, hook-nosed figure of Decimus Lucius Didero, Tribune in charge of the praetorian guard in Britain, stomped into the room.
“Do come in, Decimus,” Julia said coolly.
“I appear to be in,” the big man spoke mildly. “And now I am, I will have some of that bread and honey and some words with your man.”
Julia gave up the attempt to bring her foster brother to a sense of his own impropriety and spread honey on a hunk of crusty bread. She handed Decimus the bread and grinned at him.
“What do you want with my betrothed?”
Decimus masticated carefully before answering her.
“I’m in the nature of a supplicant. Being as how your man is now, thanks to his deeds of extraordinary valour, a Roman Citizen and a submagistratus-in-waiting to boot, the civilian authorities in general, and that stupid cunnus of a prefect in particular, can’t just order him to look into something. They have to ask. And it goes against the grain. They’d sooner lick my arse than his. So I get to ask.”
“Ask what?” Julia didn’t like the sound of this at all. “Today and tomorrow are public holidays and Dai and I had plans on how we wanted to spend them.”
Dai patted her hand.
“Hush, love. Let the man explain.”
She snarled at him, but subsided.
“Dai, do you remember Lugh Tasgo’s designs?”
Julia looked into Dai’s eyes and saw a slow flare of anger in their depths.
“Oh yes. I remember. I remember a dead Briton and a fat Roman bastard. And an investigation called off because nobody cared that a woman died.”
Decimus met his eyes.
“So you wouldn’t mind another look at the case?”
“That depends.”
“On what?”
Dai got up and went around the table to where Julia sat. He lifted her out of her chair and sat down with her in his lap. She could feel the tension in his lean body and turned her face into his neck. He wrapped his arms around her and hugged tightly.
“Grainne Cathan died trying to protect those designs for her employer and he called the investigation off. So it depends,” he said harshly, “on me being permitted to actually investigate no matter what the outcome.”

From Dying to Alter History a Dai and Julia mystery by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook, one of the fourteen alternate history short stories in Tales From Alternate Earths III from Inklings Press.

Fortune’s Fools

It began on the most primitive and insignificant planet in the galaxy and finished at the very heart of galactic civilisation.

It began with the fate of one planet in the balance and ended with the fate of all humanity at stake.

It began as an supreme struggle against the odds and ended with the ultimate gamble.

Fortune’s Fools – Three Trilogies. Nine Books. One Story.

This weekend only you can pick up the first two trilogies (in their single-volume versions) for free.

And you can snag the three individual books of the final trilogy for just 99p/c each.

There has never been a better time to undertake this epic adventure…

Transgressor – Fortune’s Fools first trilogy in one volume.

Haruspex – Fortune’s Fools second trilogy in one volume.

Mistrust and Treason – Book One of Iconoclast, Fortune’s Fools final trilogy.

Not To Be – Book Two of Iconoclast, Fortunes Fool’s final trilogy.

A Necessary End – Book three of Iconoclast, Fortune Fool’s final trilogy.


E.M. Swift-Hook

Coffee Break Read – Wolves

Somewhere in a Wild West that never was…

It was still full dark when Cuchilo reined Hombre in. “We’re right about there, but I’m thinking we need to pull back a ways so we can see without being seen. And we need to cover our tracks.”
“We do. I hadn’t thought it through, but we surely do.”
Cuchilo threw back his head and howled. He was answered almost immediately and he threw Hombre’s reins to Mir before slipping to the ground. In the fitful moonlight she saw him crouch down just as the wolf sprung. They wrestled and played for a moment before Cuchilo bent to the wolf’s ear. Whatever passed between them, the rest of the pack emerged from wherever they were hiding and rubbed around Cuchilo as if they were tame dogs. When he had communicated with each one he got back into the saddle and kneed Hombre forward.
“There’s a cave. It’s dry and overlooks the draw. We will be able to stable the horses and watch without being seen.”
Mir spotted the deer before anyone else, she touched Cuchilo on the thigh and he followed her eyes. In a second he had an arrow nocked. The buck had just lifted his head when an arrow ended life. Cuchilo roped the carcass and dragged it behind his horse.
“Well spotted.”
Mir managed a smile, although being with Cuchilo after nearly four years alone was coming close to killing her. “I remember how much this lot like deer meat.”
The cave was exactly what they needed. Even so, by the time everyone was fed and sorted dawn was just pinking the sky. Mir yawned and Cuchilo motioned to the pile of branches and horse blankets.
“Sleep. I’ll watch.”
She needed no second telling and with wolves huddled around her for warmth drifted into a refreshing sleep. Waking who knew how much later, the warmth of the wolves’ bodies had been replaced by the feeling of hard muscle at her back and a long arm draped over her waist. She knew the feel of him as intimately as she knew her own hands and the craving that had never subsided lifted its head. Without conscious thought she turned into his embrace, rubbing her face against the soft flannel of his shirt. His response was as swift as it was flattering and the seduction of his hands and mouth were as potent as ever.
When it was over and she lay in his arms, Mir made no attempt to hide the tears that ran almost unheeded from her eyes. He was instantly contrite.
“Miri. What is it? Did I hurt you?”
“No. But you will. When you discard me again.”
He pinned her to the makeshift bed and stared into her eyes.
“What do you mean, discard you?”
Anger was Mir’s only defence, and she wriggled and fought in his hands. “You know what I mean. Don’t pretend you don’t.”
“Miri. No. It wasn’t me…”
There was a second of fraught silence, before they spoke in unison – both having the same thought and both finding the same difficult words.
“Why didn’t you at least tell me yourself?”
Cuchilo stared down into her face. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“I guess I am. But who?”
“Your sister.” Mir felt that like a slap. She had always known that Yael didn’t love her, but to actively try and ruin her life… She looked into Cuchilo’s eyes and saw the truth in him. He cupped her cheek in one hand. “Who came to you?”
“A shaman called White Eagle. I didn’t want to believe him, but he had your wedding ring.”
“Yael had yours too.”
“Only she didn’t.” Mir put her hand to the neck of the undershirt that was all she currently wore and drew out a chain on which there hung two rings.
“White Eagle neither.” The rings around Cuchilo’s neck were on a leather thong.
Mir buried her face in the strong brown column of his throat. “Oh, love,” she murmured. “Oh my love.” And then she really started to cry. He was wise enough, and tender enough, to let her cry it out before drying her cheeks with his shirt sleeve and offering her a rag on which to blow her nose. She complied and leaned into his warmth. He wrapped her in a hug.
“Better now?” he asked.
“Better than I’ve been for a goodish while.”

From The Redhead, the Rogue and the Railroad by Jane Jago

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham reviewed by Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

One might never have read this book had it not been that Mumsie decreed it a winter project last year. One resisted as best one might, but in the end it is never wise to argue with one’s mater as a clout around one’s ear with whatever the woman has in her hand at the time can be injurious to both health and beauty.

One attempted to ask what particular merit the uninspiring looking volume was hiding under its brown paper dustcover. But Mumsie merely looked up from her copy of some other boring old book and slapped one large, square hand hard on the boards of the dining table.
“You,” she intoned in a doom-laden voice, “call yourself a writer. So you better effing well learn to write, and you just might do that by reading some people who actually can. Bloody read it. And don’t skip. There will be questions.”

Knowing when discretion is the better part of valour is just one of the things a public school education teaches. So I read it.

My Review of The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Précis: Something happens and lots of people go blind. Then some plants start walking about killing people. And there is a girl.

Review: This is absolutely black, plain and black. There is no artistry in the choice of words. No beauty in the language. No heroism. The story is told as colloquially as if the ‘hero’ (if one could call him such) was talking to his rough chums in some public house. There is no attempt to elevate the story of his struggle beyond the mundane and everyday.
There is not even a decent happy ever after. Does humanity triumph? Or do the plants win?  I couldn’t tell. I was left dissatisfied and unsettled. This is not a nice book.

Two stars. Awarded for proper spelling and punctuation.

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

You can find more of IVy’s profound thoughts in How To Start Writing A Book courtesy of E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago.

Start a Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: