Mrs Jago’s Handy Guide to the Meaning Behind Typographical Errors. Part XXV

…. or ‘How To Speak Typo’ by Jane Jago

agroculture (noun) – the ethos of young men with assault weapons

beave (descriptive noun) – semi-shaven lady garden

cicksure (adjective) – bolshie and liable for fall over one’s own feet – often the result of the injudicious application of alcohol to the cakehole

denenter (noun) – word guaranteed to enrage a large man waving an axe.

emmory (adjective) – of men, having not shaved

endge (noun) – the bit of a car engine that whizzes round for no apparent reason

goid (noun) – swelling of the great toe caused by kicking the backside of an eejit

holarious (adjective) – so funny that you laugh until you all but get a prolapse

lierary (adverb) – of speech sounding as if it might be untrue

orgsam (noun – impolite) – self-generated sexual pleasure

sdie (noun) – bottle genie with a weird sense of humour

shre (adjective) – of yummy mummies to have special clothing for every activity

snutan (noun) – a peculiarly unappealing side of orange

touprt (noun) – ill-fitting hairpiece

Disclaimer: all these words are genuine typos defined by Jane Jago. The source of each is withheld to protect the guilty.

EM-Drabbles – Forty-Six

Brother Benedict loved the time he was permitted in the cloister.There he felt more spiritual. It was the one place he never doubted his vocation. 

When the King ordered the destruction of the monasteries, Brother Benedict became Roger Smith again. He was fortunate finding work in the household of the new owner who used the monastery as a house. So when he overheard the new lord arguing with his son they should demolish the cloister he was able to act.

Ever after, standing in the cloister, he was sure the blood that stained his hands left his soul untouched.

E.M. Swift-Hook

Coffee Break Read – Encounter

Just for a moment Durban ran a check over the whole event and was pleased to see that all was running smoothly. He was careful not to disturb Jaz but eavesdropped, briefly, on the security channel. So far there was nothing untoward and despite all Jaz’s very pertinent concerns, it seemed the glitterati of the ‘City were content to party at Voltz without wanting to cut each other’s throats for one evening.
Satisfied that all was being arranged as well as it could be, Durban returned his focus to his immediate guests. He singled out those he most wanted to impress or influence, as he was circulating amongst them. There were one or two here he might never get another chance to meet in the flesh — such as the syndicate leaders or whichever senior representative they had delegated to attend. These he needed to hive off from the main gathering, one at a time, and take them into the room he had filled with examples of Temsevaran art so as to offer the perfect excuse for quiet conversation. 
It was just as he rejoined the main room after one of the last such excursions that he found himself robbed of both breath and rational thought. He stared, against his will. Then reminded himself first to breathe, then to move and finally to remember that he was not the only clever bastard who could play people. But the damage was done and he wasn’t surprised when a few moments later he was presented to the young man who had come on behalf of Eritch Dragure. The vivid blue eyes held a hunger and a question. Durban smiled politely and passed the guest off to one of the handful of escorts he had employed, hoping the impact he had made wasn’t too visible.
He should have known it was never going to be enough. The next time he had a gap between conversations, there was a presence beside him and turning, the blue eyes met and held his own. They were set in a face of beautiful proportions beneath a sweep of blue-black hair. This time Durban looked and had to control his breathing.
“Vor Chola?”
“I normally wear a name tag, but I thought tonight I’d manage without,” he said lightly. “You come with a ‘property of’ label though. How is Eritch? I’m so sorry he was unable to be here.”
The blue eyes registered amusement and the beautiful face smiled.
“Vor Dragure is well, I believe, and I am sure regrets he is unable to attend tonight. But yes, he asked me to be his ambassador. To offer you what good will I may on his behalf.”
“I wouldn’t have thought he had the taste or the imagination.”
He could feel the heat of this other man’s body so close they almost touched. He could feel his own body’s response to it, urgent and uncontrollable and had to make a conscious effort to keep his breathing steady.
“I’m not sure he has.”
“You have a name?”
“I do. Does that surprise you?” The smile was there again, with a silent laughter. Durban found his own smile responding.
“I’m Durban. Vor Chola is for my staff.”
“I’m Roeul. Vor Ritsun to my staff.”
“You have staff? I thought — you were — “
“Working for Eritch Dragure? No. I’m not his employee. Just returning the loan of a favour by accepting the grim and arduous task of attending this event on his behalf.”
Durban knew he should excuse himself and go back with the rest of his guests, where he had work to do. But instead, he asked:
“So you are ‘City?”
“That’s right.”
The blue eyes lit up with humour at Durban’s obvious discomfiture. There was no fear or calculation there, just a silent laughter. Durban smiled and shook his head.
“It has been a pleasure to meet you, but you must excuse me.”
“For now, of course. Maybe you’ll be in touch, I’d like that.”
Durban didn’t reply and pushed himself physically away, using the few moments it took him to rejoin the main swirl of his guests to fight his emotions and perceptions back into some kind of controlled order. And because, of a sudden, he didn’t trust himself at all, he decided that he must link out to Jaz at the earliest opportunity and ask for a full security check on one Roeul Ritsun.

From Haruspex Trilogy Edge of Doom a Fortune’s Fools book by E.M. Swift-Hook.

Random Rumination – twenty-three

The collected ‘wisdom’ of seven decades on this planet condensed into poetic form. Certainly not philosophy to live your life by…

It ain’t all beer and skittles 
The sun don’t always shine
Some days winter dribbles
And you run fresh out of wine
It ain’t champagne and chocolate 
Coz them things make you fat
You’re gonna have the odd regret
You can be sure of that
It ain’t all beer and skittles
And I ain’t the perfect wife
And if the sweet brings bitter
Well, that’s just the way of life



Author Feature: The Chronicles of Aaspa, by Jane Jago

Author Feature: The Chronicles of Aaspa – Aaspa’s Eyes and Aaspa’s Imps, by Jane Jago

What if there was a race of beings that spoke with angels and hunted evil? What if they watched over the worlds and were charged with riding the balance between good and evil? And what if one of them was a ‘blue-eyed abomination’ named Aaspa?
Aaspa’s Eyes and Aaspa’s Imps tell some of the stories of life in Aaspa’s brutal but essentially moral world.
In this extract, Aaspa meets her Mate for the first time…

When Aascko son of Aasgo became a fully fledged Hunter his pride knew no bounds. He had learned diligently, and his Teacher had even managed to shake some of the moral certainties that a rigid and unimaginative upbringing had rooted in his head. He was no longer the arrogant youngling who had reported for training, and he knew that his further development would depend on who had been chosen to partner the greenest rookie in the pack. His first winter saw him paired with a stolid oldster, who steadied him and taught him who might be trusted and who he should be wary of. 
Then the old Hunter retired, leaving Aascko partnerless and vulnerable. He went on a couple of low grade jobs before being called to the home of the Master Hunter to meet his permanent partner. He found himself more nervous than he had been since his first day of training and was forced to wipe sweaty palms on his trousers before knocking on the door of the Master’s office. The old Hunter stood up to greet him.
‘Welcome Aascko. Come and meet Aaspa.’
Aascko felt a cold finger on his spine. Of all the Hunters in the pack,  he was to be paired with the Abomination. He steeled himself and held out a hand. A slight figure uncoiled itself from the chair in the corner of the room and he beheld her for the first time. She was beautiful, slender and strong, with silver-grey skin, aristocratic features, and a crest of night black curls. Then he saw her eyes and it was all he could do not to recoil. He held firm, and kept a smile of polite greeting on his face. Even so, she saw the revulsion in him and the pleasant smile on her own face faded.
‘Forget it’ she said shortly. ‘This one has too much baggage.’
The Master a Hunter held up a hand. ‘Please Aaspa. Do this for me. Aascko deserves a chance.’
‘With respect, Master, I don’t think he wants a chance. He can barely bring himself to touch my hand. What sort of a partnership will that be? How should I trust a partner who thinks my very existence violates the rules of being? The first chance he gets he’ll betray me.’
Aascko felt his cheeks flame with embarrassment. ‘No lady. I would not sink so low.’
She turned to look at him and he saw the hurt that lurked in those blue eyes. It hit him like a hammer blow.
‘The eyes of The People are brown and no other colour’ she said bitterly. ‘I expect you were brought up reciting that alongside the other commandments.’
‘I was. But I’ve already had most of my certainties shaken. That one is about due to be amended too.’
‘Why should I believe you?’
‘I can give you no reason, save my oath.’
‘And why would you give your oath to Abomination?’
He met her gaze straightforwardly. ‘Because I need a partner and so do you. Also, I have heard of your skill and I would learn from the best. I would not offer friendship to anyone on first meeting, but I would promise my loyalty. Will you accept my word?’
She regarded him solemnly for a moment then nodded. He bent his knee before her.
‘Huntress Aaspa I pledge my fealty from this day forward.’ 
Then he stood up and offered his hand. She took it, and he noticed how finely boned she was. 
‘I’m sorry’ he said honestly. ‘I find myself ashamed.’
She favoured him with a twisted grin.
‘Forget it. It happens all the time.’
‘I dare say. But that don’t make it right. It makes it worse.’
‘Maybe we do have a chance at forging a partnership’ she bumped knuckles with him. ‘We’ll give it a go.’   

Carry on reading about Aaspa in Aaspa’s Eyes and Aaspa’s Imps

A Bite of… Jane Jago

(1) Would you rather be a hero or a villain?

Well. I’m certainly not hero material. So maybe I’d be a villain. But then again with my sense of humour I’d more probably be somebody’s sidekick. The one that effs everything up.

(2)  If you could have a dinner party with any three people, living or dead, who would you invite?

I’d get my dad, Bill Bryson, and Spike Milligan. Then I’d just sit back and listen to three very witty men doing their schtick.
I’d probably laugh until my sides hurt.

(3) What is your favourite quote? And why?

“It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.” ― Terry Pratchett.  And because it’s pretty much my own philosophy 

Jane Jago is a multi-genre maniac who could no more stop writing than stop breathing. She lives in a quiet corner of England’s west county with her beloved Dog and her favourite human being in the whole world. When she isn’t writing, Jane is to be found walking with Dog, baking, drawing, or doing very small amounts of light housework.

You can follow the tortured genius, all round superhero, and truly modest human bean that is Jane Jago on Twitter and Facebook.


EM-Drabbles – Forty-Five

The king of Fronark had five brave sons, the most worthy of whom would inherit the kingdom.

The five spent their time seeking to impress, riding out to jousts and tourneys, annexing land into the kingdom, and rescuing princesses. As the king aged they became more competitive travelling far and wide to win renown.

In the hour when the enemy attacked the king was on his deathbed and there were no princes on hand. Only the overlooked princess who ran the country while her brothers were at play. She organised the defence, defeated the invaders – and became Queen of Fronark.

E.M. Swift-Hook

Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 7

‘Much Dithering in Little Botheringham’ is an everyday tale of village life and vampires, from Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.

Ginny was getting ready to go to the brutalist designed village hall for the meeting of the Ladies Association. She had decided she should go in disguise – as a normal middle-aged woman. 
This would have two advantages both anonymising her as she walked through the village and maybe allowing her to blend in better with the Ladies Association. Turning up dressed in her usual kind of outfit, looking very much like the slightly out-of-date lifestyle guru she really was, would be bound to cause issues. 
What if someone recognised her?
The horror of that thought sent her back to her wardrobe for her flattest of flat shoes and the once-upon-a-time ‘office smart’ black trousers she had been contemplating donating to charity for the last year but which had still somehow made it into the packing boxes when she moved. A suitable slightly baggy blouse-top with fake buttons and a slate grey thigh-length cardigan completed the ensemble.
Makeup was a minimum. Then she recalled Lucinda’s pithy comment and sighed.
“At a certain age you have to cake it to fake it, darling, or just throw in the towel and give up.”
Should she?
Did she even have time?
As she dithered over that, there was a sharp rap on the front door. Which was odd as she had a very visible doorbell.
The man who stood on her threshold was somewhere in his sixties at a guess, close to six foot tall, his grey hair a bristle on his scalp and his eyes pulled into a slight squint. His posture was severe, as if he had something uncomfortable pushing in the small of his spine and forcing his shoulders back. In one hand he held a large manilla envelope and under the other arm was a short cane with a silver ferrule. Ginny found herself staring at the cane.
“Doorknocker,” he said in a clipped tenor. Then proceeded to demonstrate by fluidly reversing the cane into his hand and rapping on her door with the ferrule. “Major Sidney Harmsley-Gunn at your service. Please don’t ask about my military service, hush-hush and all that.”
“I wasn’t…” She stopped herself, hearing in her head how rude that might sound so she changed it quickly. “I wasn’t expecting anyone.”
“No. I didn’t send ahead. On a sort of recon, you see. Recruiting.”
“Recruiting?” Ginny echoed weakly, desperately thinking what he could mean. “I think I’m a bit old to be eligible for the army – even the reserves.”
That made his squint turn into a frown. It occurred to Ginny that he probably couldn’t see very well. Too proud to wear specs and not suited for contacts. She had met a few of those in London.
“Recruiting for the PC. We have a vacancy and I thought with your metropolitan – er – heritage, you’d bring some much needed common sense about progress in the village.”
“Parish council.” He thrust the manila envelope into her hands. “Just fill these in and bring them along and we’ll co-opt you. Village hall. Second Tuesday.” He stepped back almost clicking his heels then spun on the spot and marched back towards the gate. He paused and lifted the cane as he reached the corner of the cottage. “That’s next week.” 
Then he was gone. Ginny caught a glimpse of the clock and realised there was no time to think about her makeup, she had to go or risk being late and having to sneak in and hope no one noticed. She grabbed her shoulder bag, the one she had chosen as it looked most like a regular kind of handbag, plain faux-suede with tagged zips. All her bags had shoulder straps so that was not something she could choose to do anything about.
There was something happening at the church, but she didn’t have time to find out what, although she was sure there was an outside broadcast van from the local TV in the car park partly concealed from view by the trees. 
The doors of the ugly hall were open as she arrived. Inside the room was cavernous and steel-strutted rafters gave the whole a very grunge feel. There were three doors at one end, the two on either side marked with representations of male and female and the one in the middle labelled ‘Kitchen’. At the other end was a small stage and three rows of chairs were set in a horseshoe facing it. But their focus was not the stage. Someone had set a small table with a laptop in the middle of the horseshoe and a woman sat there who looked to be about the same age as Major Harmsley-Gunn. She was short and comfortably rounded with a neatly cropped head of snowy waves, a pair of hugely trendy horn-rimmed spectacles and a determined chin. She was dressed from head to toe in eye-wateringly bright colours culminating in a ‘pair’ of hand-painted DMs, one of which was orange while the other was violet.
She stood up as Ginny walked in and smiled a welcome.
“Hello there! You must be Virginia Cropper? Em mentioned you might be along. I’m Agnes Millman. Do take a seat. Wherever you like.” She accompanied the final words with a sweeping gesture to the rows of empty chairs. ”Oh and don’t worry, everyone will be here in a few minutes. I asked them to be ten minutes late today so I could brief you first. It’s always a bit daunting walking into a room full of people who all know each other I find.”
Ginny felt a sharp prick behind her eyes and blinked. This was another heritage of the depression. Simple acts of understanding and kindness aimed her way always made her feel teary. But gone was her plan to hide at the back and hope not to be noticed – to observe quietly and see how she might fit in. She took a reluctant seat in the front and to the side mumbling her thanks.
“The Ladies Association is a very venerable institution in the village,” Agnes told her, sitting down again. “We can trace our organisation back to the middle of the Eighteenth Century, but we have always kept up with the times and changed our remit accordingly. In fact, part of our AGM is reviewing the charter so we can discard the outdated and update the dated.”
Ginny nodded and when silence followed she risked a question.
“So what is it the Ladies Association actually does?”
Agnes laughed.
“Oh, everything. We do everything. From organising the annual fete to raising funds for village causes. You’ll soon gather what we’re all about when the meeting starts. Please don’t feel pressured to take anything on first time out. It’s very hard not to, but you’ve barely been here a couple of weeks and I’m sure you’ll still be settling in.” She leaned forward over the table her voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper. “I’d just try and learn a couple of names and accept a few invitations for coffee. Everyone is going to want to have you over as you’re new here, so be careful not to overfill your diary.”
Agnes sat back and her voice changed to a cheerful bellow that resembled a roll call.
“Adriana! Stacey! Parminder! Rose! Charlotte! Lilian!” There were a number more and Ginny had turned to see a parade of women most in middle age or older with a scattering of those under forty, before Agnes finished with “Wonderful to see you all. This is Virginia And now let’s get started.” She beamed at one arrival who had a large plastic tub in their hands “Oh Cathy you remembered it was your turn and brought cake. How very kind.”
Ginny found herself shaking hands and trying to put names to faces for a confusing few minutes before Agnes cleared her throat loudly and the room settled down. There were apologies from Emmeline Vanderbilt and the minutes of the last meeting which were approved unread. Everyone seemed to know the agenda and it must have been obvious she was a little a lost as the woman sitting next to her – who had to be around eighty and Ginny recalled was Lilian – whispered “Emailed out – except for Brenda and Clarice as they have no idea about technology, they still think a tablet is what you take for arthritis and a mouse is something you keep cats to prevent.”  
Unfortunately, it was a stage whisper and some sharp looks and the odd giggle came their way.
“Now, let’s get on with the business in hand, ladies.”
For the next half hour they talked fetes and sharing school runs for children and grand-children, charity pushes and knitting bees, bake-ins and who should get the annual award for their garden in bloom. Then the room fell into a kind of expectant hush and Agnes finished making some notes on the laptop. When she looked up and there was something different about the atmosphere in the hall.
“Has anyone got any new problems to report?” Agnes looked around and must have spotted something. “Chloe?”
Chloe turned out to be one of the few younger members.
“Well some of us on the Brownfield Estate is getting eviction notices. The housing association saying we’ve not met some cry-tear-thing what’s on the contract. Me and some of the other single mums has nowhere to go. Kylie’s scared she moves back to her parents and her ex’ll find her again and old Jack Pleasance has been getting sick with his heart after they told him he’d not get his renewed.”
Agnes had become very still and she tapped away on the keyboard of the laptop into a suddenly silent hall. Then she looked up again and smiled warmly at Chloe.
“Thank you for bringing that to our attention. Now, ladies, it’s tea, coffee and some of Cathy’s wonderful cake!”

Part 8 of Much Dithering in Little Botheringham by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook, will be here next week.

Beach Fever

I must go down to the beach again, to the crowded beach and the sun
And all I ask is a wide-brimmed hat and a towel to lie upon
And an ice cream van playing nursery rhymes and sand in the sunshine baking
And a deckchair for Auntie Clair and the sound of the donkeys braying.

I must go down to the beach again for a walk on the promenade
Is a wide prom and a clear prom which is seen in every postcard
And all I ask is a sunny day with no grey clouds a-trying
To spoil the queues of endless folks, cold drinks all a-buying.

I must go down to the beach again to the chippy by the pier
To taste the salt – and the vinegar – just like yesteryear.
And all I ask is a seafront pub called ‘The Wild Rover’
To welcome us in with beer and gin when the sunbathing day is over.

E.M. Swift-Hook

Weekend Wind Down – A Secret Meeting

Dai waited until the two women had taken the last seats and Edbert moved to lean against the wall behind Julia. Then he lifted a hand to quiet the low murmurs of conversation and spoke into the ensuing silence.
“My friends, family, fellow Citizens and fellow Britons, we are gathered here today to plot the downfall of Magistratus Sextus Catus Bestia.”
A collective tension seemed to seep through the room. It was as if by naming the evil they had come to fight he had in some way upped the ante. Dai paused, both to allow his words to settle and to allow the chance for anyone to protest or respond. But there was a solid, supportive silence and those faces which had looked relaxed a few moments before seemed to grow more cold and stern. No one here was taking this lightly. They all had too much at stake.
“I thank you all for coming here today and taking time from the celebration to meet. I know I don’t need to do any introductions, there may be a couple of faces unfamiliar to you but we don’t have much time and I doubt we will be able to meet like this again – all in one place. We also can’t use regular channels.” He tapped his new wristphone. “Given the authority he wields, Bestia can have any or all of us monitored. SI Gaius has an idea to set up secure lines of communication and will tell us about those later. For now, it’s enough to know that we will all be able to keep in touch and to be aware that we mustn’t communicate anything outside this room any other way.”
He stopped talking and looked around at the sixteen other people in the room, for a moment, remembering too vividly the place challenging Bestia’s power had left him. An underground prison cell with its bleak despair and hopeless doom. He could not allow anyone else here to wind up in that place.
“But first I need to be sure everyone understands the stakes here. This is not a game where if we lose we get a screen turning black and a ‘play again’ button. If we mess this up it’s game over for good, for all of us, because don’t doubt for a moment we’d be made to betray each other.”
 Enya looked as if she was about to deny that, but Dai could see the moment she noticed even the hard faces of Decimus and Gallus, both veterans of Praetorian battlefields, were not disagreeing with him.
“We know this,” Aoife said, sounding impatient. “So let’s get to what we don’t know.”
Dai nodded to acknowledge both her words and her right to say them.
“I just wanted to give everyone the chance to walk away from this and not get involved any deeper,” he explained, which provoked a throaty laugh from Lavinia
“I don’t think we could really be in any less deep than having agreed to be here in the first place. I can tell you don’t read much crime fiction. Remind me to gift you my back catalogue.”
Dai managed a weak smile.
“Um. Thank you.” He could see the meeting beginning to slip away from him already. “So, if no one wants to leave…?”
No one moved. Dai had not really expected anyone would, but he still experienced a relaxing of muscles he hadn’t realised he’d been holding tense.
“In brief,” he went on, feeling more confident now, “where as we know Bestia is the man who has been behind the headless murders last autumn, the killing of street women this spring and the attempt to have me condemned for treason last month, we have no hard evidence to back up our knowledge. What we now need to do is find solid proof that he did these things. And much as I would like to tie him to all three crimes as all those affected are equally deserving of justice, we have to keep in mind that we only need incontrovertible proof that he was responsible for one in order to have him arrested and condemned and thus stop him doing more and probably worse.”
It was not a thought he liked and he could see a few faces become a shade grimmer as people reflected on how they would feel if their own need for justice wasn’t met. Surprisingly, it was someone he thought would be the most urgent in their need for personal retribution who spoke up.
“What matters most is stopping this man,” Agrippina Julius said, her voice firm. “If that means SI Calvus or others have to take their justice at second hand then so be it.”
There were nods of assent from around the room, even if some such as Brangwen Broanan were more reluctant than others and Dai felt another lurch of relief. This was, as yet, an untried alliance and he knew it was down to him to somehow weave it together into a strong rope with which to hang Bestia.

Dying to Find Proof by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook is the tenth Dai and Julia Mystery. You can keep reading if you snag a copy of the novella which is FREE until 22 July.

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