Posted in About Writing, Writing

Three reasons to love podcasting

There are so many reasons to love pod fiction – both from the perspective of making it and of listening to it. I could write a LOT about it, but instead I’m going to take you on a whistle-stop tour around three of my top reasons.

1. The community:

I’m a big fan of communities. When you give people a chance, they are pretty much brilliant. But there are spaces that cater more towards the dark side of human nature. I think social media is very often one of those spaces. There’s quite a bit of research about this, but I’m going to distil it into two distinct issues:

  • The anonymous element increases the bystander effect;
  • The shortened/limited form of communication lends itself to polarised arguments.

I tend to avoid arguments on the Internet because of these two things… But let me get back to why podcasting is so blooming wonderful. In a world where app-based-conversation is often pretty awful, the podcasting community stands out as being lovely. Really, really lovely. People are encouraging and kind in this space. Everyone is welcome and no one is dismissed from discussion. It is genuinely uplifting to be part of this community – both as a listener and a maker.

2. The relative ease with which one can join in:

I started making my podcast (Diary of a Space Archivist) because I wanted to show some of my students how they could make audio content. So my whole approach was about keeping any expense to the minimum.

I have a laptop, audacity and an inexpensive mic. Ok… a cheap mic. This may be obvious if you listen to my show, but I hope you don’t care too much about that because I’m turning out, what I think, is pretty decent content.

Incidentally, I have launched a Patreon site to try and begin putting some cash into the show – but that’s not the point, the point is it’s relatively easy for lots of folk to become part of the pod fiction story.

3. The range of amazing shows:

There are so many great shows out there. They are, largely, available to listen to for free. They are well made, well written and they are more diverse than anything you’ll find on the radio. There really is something for everyone in pod fiction – or there will be soon! If you don’t already listen, I encourage you to take a little dip. I promise you – you won’t regret it.

Closing thoughts on listening to audio fiction…

Posted in Writing

Welcome to the Geekygirl update!

Geekygirl is changing. This is ok I suppose – though none of us really like change. Change is effort. And who likes effort? That’s why Netflix works – we don’t have to do anything to change what’s happening, we can remain inert and the next episode of our latest binge-watch will just… play.

But here it is. Change. Staring right at me and, therefore, right at you too.

Not fair is it?

Ah well.

Game of Thrones is over and Geekygirl has been re-vamped. Now it’s Geekygirl Productions – and reading past bedtime, whilst still badass, is no longer the tagline.

Much like winter, this change has been coming.

I’ve changed. What I need this site for, what I do, how I make things… it’s all changed. And so – here it is – Geekygirl Productions. A one-stop-shop for my podcasts and books and stuff.

I hope you continue to enjoy it…

Posted in Writing

When you forget to do something that you really should have done… that.

I make a podcast.

That’s right. You heard me. Well, technically you didn’t hear me unless you’re using a screen reader… so, you read me/heard my text via a screen reader.

I am brilliant at this!

Anyway – back to it.

I make a podcast. It’s called Diary of a Space Archivist and I rather like it. You can listen to it here or via whichever pod-catcher you like including iTunes and, I used to believe, Spotify.

Except it turn out that I never submitted it to Spotify. I thought I had. But I hadn’t.

Think of the lost opportunities.

Think of the data that could have been gathered over the past 8 or so months!

Garg!

So yeah. I’ve submitted it now. You might even be able to find it there now. I’m gonna go find a tiny violin to play for my woes…

Posted in Fiction, Intergalactic Fly-Fishing, Novel, Writing

The Wattpad Experiment

Not long before Christmas, I learnt about Wattpad.  Granted, I’m pretty late to the party since Wattpad has been around for well over ten years.  That said, if your reaction is a lot like mine:

‘What now, what pad?’

Then allow me to enlighten you…

Wattpad is a site where writers post their stories – for free – and members read them – for free.

Margaret Atwood wrote a really moving article about it for the Guardian – so if you want to know more I encourage you to head there.

Anyway, the point of this post is to declare that I have decided to make my novel available on Wattpad – at least for a short while.

I am uploading around three chapters a week.  So – if you would like to read my odd little sci-fi novel then come and join the party 🙂

You can find my book here: Intergalactic Fly-Fishing

Posted in Intergalactic Fly-Fishing, Novel, scribble explores the world, Writing

Happy 2019

Happy New Year folks!

I’m not one for resolutions as such… but I do like to reflect a bit on the year gone by. And it’s been a year alright.

Started blogging regularly. Well. Mostly regularly.

  • https://youtu.be/00GPAMbgvtw
    • Made a few text-adventure games
      Finally built my Lego Millennium Falcon:
  • https://youtu.be/SL9MAKi_arY
  • So… for 2019?

    • The second season of Diary of a Space Archivist
    • The next picture book, and maybe another after that
    • Another novel…

    That’s probably enough to be going on with…

    Here’s hoping.

    Here’s to you all. Here’s to 2019.

    Posted in Fiction, scribble explores the world, Video, Writing

    Scribble Explores The World: a Christmas treat amongst the chaos

    How was your morning?

    Mine was pretty hectic.

    It began with me trying to sew a Santa hat to one of my daughter’s jumpers, because it’s Christmas jumper day at school and we didn’t have time to buy her one.

    I had to sew.  In the morning. Chugging breakfast and sewing, whilst reminding my daughter to stay on target and eat her breakfast too…

    I hate sewing.

    Ask me to build a window seat and I’m your woman.  But ask me to sew… and it is pure hell.

    I had to start over three times.  Three times.  It was probably one of the simplest sewing tasks in the world… It took me three goes.

    Anyway, eventually I wrestled the newly minted Christmas jumper into submission. Then I grabbed all the presents for the teachers and bagged them appropriately.  Helped my daughter to dress (she’s three and still needs some help with this and other important things like brushing teeth). Got the dog in the car (to take her to the vet), took child-face to school. Gave the teachers their gifts.  Took my dog for a quick walk.  Got a call from husband-face.  Had to go home to get something husband-face needed and meet him with said thing. Then rush off to the vet.  Got to the vet ten-minutes late.

    Finally – I am home and writing this.

    That’s this time of year – sudden bursts of mania and a bonkers to-do-list.

    So, if you also have toddlers and you find yourself desperate for 5-minutes of calm amidst it all… please take advantage of this little Christmas gift from me to you!

    Scribble Explores the World is available to buy via Amazon.

    If you’ve enjoyed it – please remember leave a review on amazon 🙂

    Posted in Fiction, scribble explores the world, Writing

    Scribble Explores The World is here!

    And just in time for Christmas!

    I’ve done it.  My lovely new picture-book, Scribble Explores The World, is finished, published and available to buy!

    I sit here now, writing this, in an odd state of shock and joy.

    I have loved writing and re-writing this story.  I’ve loved woking with the remarkably talented illustrator, Gillian Marriott.  I’ve even loved formatting the thing about eight times till I got it right!  Well… maybe I didn’t love that bit…

    But the upshot is that here, at last, is something that I am very proud of.  It has been a pleasure to work on it.  And I am humbled by all the folk that have encouraged me, and helped me to get it to this point.

    So… if you know any toddlers that would enjoy a story about exploration, friendship and accepting yourself just the way you are… then why not treat them this Christmas?

    01

    Posted in Fiction, scribble explores the world, Writing

    Two sides of a coin…

    I haven’t posted for a few weeks.

    It’s been a difficult time with work and… all that jazz.  The upshot is that I have found myself not quite able to write.

    I think that happens for folks – or certainly for me.  It’s not ideal, but if you have to spend all your emotional energy on other stuff then creative things can fall to the wayside.  Not because you want them to.  Not because you aren’t bothered.  You just don’t have any more to give.

    I’m making myself write this now.  It’s hard.  Writing when you feel empty inside.  Like searching for water in the desert.

    So.

    That was cheery.

    Despite this I have been plugging away on my picture book, Scribble Explores the World.

    It had already been written so I haven’t had to be ‘creative’ as such.  I just needed to get the formatting and layout right.  That might not sound like much, and it isn’t particularly demanding to the creative juices or the brain-machine.  But it is time consuming.

    So time consuming.

    Anyway.

    I received the first proof of my book yesterday.

    This was one of those really brilliant moments when you feel like a kid at Christmas.

    The proof was good, but I felt it could be a little better, so I made a few little tweaks and then – late last night – I  approved publication.

    Just like that.

    Now I need to wait for the final checks which shouldn’t take more than a few days.

    And then… then my first picture book will be available and – hopefully – just before Christmas!

    So if you know any 2-5 year-olds and have room in your budget to get them another little gift (for £6.99), please consider Scribble Explores the World 🙂

    Coming soon…

    Posted in Fiction, Writing

    There’s More to Life than Boxes: a fable

    Robot_BoyRobot Boy would have sighed if he could.  But as a sigh necessitates breath he was unable. Instead he opened what passed for a mouth and emitted a high-pitched sound, audible only to bats and the like. Robot Boy had been sighing in this fashion for months.  He was unsatisfied with life.  There must be something more than programming.  These were dangerous thoughts.  He had to hide them deep inside.

     

    The_Overseer

    Every evening The Overseer checked his memory functions.  She was a hard taskmaster and if she were to find even a hint that he was utilising unused space to dream, she would render him obsolete.  To throw off suspicion he worked harder than ever before.

    Robot Boy’s job was to make boxes: small boxes, tiny boxes, medium boxes, big boxes, large boxes and boxes the size of a house. He could make any box out of anything: cardboard, steel, glass, fabric, wood, anything.  He worked all alone in a factory high up a mountain and at the end of every day Robot Boy filled a huge warehouse with every kind of box.  He only ever saw The Overseer.  She locked him away every night and as the sun yawned below the horizon he dreamt of a boxless world and the space beyond the factory walls. Each morning The Overseer would wake him to begin again, all the previous day’s boxes mysteriously vanished. Robot Boy wondered where they went at night.

    The_MakerThe Overseer had won her robot in a game of chance, his Maker having foolishly bet more than he could afford.  Now The Overseer was the only box-maker left in the land; no one could compete with the quality and low, low prices that she offered.  The Overseer was a canny businesswoman when it came to boxes, but she had no idea what to invest her hard-earned cash in.  So she simply piled it up until she had a whole warehouse full of gold and jewels.  At night, after locking Robot Boy away, she would visit her storehouse and count every coin.  It gave her great pleasure to know that no one else was as rich as her, but despite that something was missing.  Robot Boy carried on making boxes and The Overseer carried on making a profit (especially since she did not pay him) but it was lonely on the mountain.

    Van_ManOne evening the Van Man arrived to collect the day’s boxes.  As always Robot Boy had been locked in his cupboard.  As always The Overseer greeted the Van Man. As always they shared a glass of ale before he began to load the boxes, and toasted their mutual success.  But this time was not the same as every other time. While the Van Man and The Overseer congratulated one another, a Strange Girl climbed out of the vehicle, unnoticed by either.  She glanced up and down and all around and when she was quite sure that no one would see, she skipped through the factory doors and passed the piles upon piles of boxes. She ran up the stairs, round the corner, down the corridor and in the farthest, darkest part of the building she found a very big, very strong door and knocked.

    Robot Boy was surprised to hear the knock.  The Overseer never knocked.  Then it happened a second time and he said, “Who is there?”

    Stange_GirlStrange Girl smiled strangely to herself and answered, “Oh good.  You’re there. I’ve come to get you out of here, could you let me in please?”

    “The door is locked,” said Robot Boy, “The Overseer always locks me in.”

    Strange Girl wondered what to do and then she had a bright idea. She stood on tiptoes and ran her fingertips along the top of the door and sure enough she found the key.

    When Strange Girl opened the door Robot Boy stared at her.  She was the first person he had seen for such a long time that he did not know he was being rude until she told him so.  Strange Girl took his hand and led him from the room.  They ran away from the door, down the corridor, round the corner and down the stairs.  Then they passed piles upon piles of boxes and it was at that precise moment that Robot Boy finally realised he was not dreaming.  He thought that he ought to know how the Strange Girl had come to save him.  When he asked she seemed surprised.

    “You’ve been calling me every day for months,” she said, “it was driving me crazy.”

    “I don’t understand,” Robot Boy sighed and just then Strange Girl covered her ears.

    “There you go again, I’m here now you can stop that.”

    “Stop what?”

    “That noise you make.”

    “I’m not making any noise,” said Robot Boy.

    “Oh yes you are,” said Strange Girl, “all of the bats can hear it and all of the dogs go wild when you sigh, and every time you do you’re asking me to save you.”

    “You can hear that?”

    “Of course.”

    When The Overseer and Van Man finished their ale, Strange Girl and Robot Boy jumped into one of the boxes and Van Man loaded them away.  The Van Man drove all the way down the mountain and through the town and the next and finally he stopped for something to eat and did not notice as Robot Boy and Strange Girl climbed out and away.

    They ran through a field and into the wood and only then did they dare to stop to make sure they weren’t being followed.

    A voice came from the darkness, “Is this the one?” it said.The_Wolf

    Robot Boy was surprised by the voice and turned to see a Wolf.  This surprised him even more and just as he was about to yell, Strange Girl put her hand across his mouth.

    “Please don’t,” she said, “you’ll hurt his ears.”

    The Wolf grinned a lopsided grin, “I am here to help you return to your Maker,” he said.  “He has been miserable all these years without you.”

    Robot Boy scanned all of his memory files and could not find a single reference to a ‘Maker’.  The Wolf and Strange Girl told him how the Maker had lost him to The Overseer when he was newly made and how every time the Maker saw a box he wept.

    The Wolf scratched behind his ear and said, “Between his weeping and your sighing there has been no rest for the likes of me over the past months.” He sat up straight and let them climb onto his back; first Strange Girl and then Robot Boy, “now perhaps I’ll get some peace.”  The Wolf bounded forward, carrying them to the Maker.

    As always when day broke The Overseer went to wake Robot Boy.  But this was different to every other day; he was gone.  She looked all over for him: down every corridor, through every door, on the roof and in the cellar, in the garden and in the warehouse full of gold.  Finally she stood at the high gate and stared at the winding road and she knew that he had gone.  The Overseer brought out an old, old car and for the first time in a very long time she left the factory.

    She drove all the way down the mountain and into the town and asked everyone there if they had seen Robot Boy.  But no one had.  She carried on to the next town, and while she was in-between towns her old, old car spluttered and coughed and wheezed and stopped.  The Overseer got out and kicked the car; she stormed up and down, and shook her fist and cried and screamed and shouted and hollered until someone interrupted her.

    Horse_Woman
    “Do you mind?” said a voice.

    The Overseer looked up to see a woman sitting in a field with an easel and canvas and paints.  The Artist even had a floppy hat.  But it was not The Artist that had spoken, but the thing that she was painting: a creature the top half of which was human and the bottom half of which was a horse. The Overseer had heard of Horse People in fairy tales, but she had never seen one.

    The Horsewoman spoke again, “Why are you carrying on like that?”  At this point the Artist turned to hear the answer too.

    The Overseer shrugged, “My Robot has escaped, I won’t be able to make high quality boxes at low, low prices anymore and now my car has broken down.”  The artist shared a glance with the Horsewoman and they conferred.  Finally, they turned to the Overseer and agreed to help her.  The artist packed up her gear and climbed onto the Horsewoman’s back; The Overseer climbed up as well and, sitting rather uncomfortably, they began.

    As they trotted down the road together the Artist and Horsewoman asked The Overseer all about herself.  She had never really spoken with anyone much before and so she started by telling them what a good businesswoman she was and how marvellous her boxes were, and how reasonably priced and how she had beaten back any competition, and how she had so much gold and jewels it filled an entire warehouse and… it was then that the Artist and Horsewoman stopped.  They both looked at The Overseer and asked at once, “Why do you need to find your robot?”

    The Overseer blinked, “So that I can keep making boxes of course.”

    The Artist carried on, “And keep making money?”The_Artist

    “Of course.”

    Horsewoman continued, “With which you do nothing?”

    The Overseer paused and considered and finally she said, “I count it every night.”  The Artist and Horsewoman laughed.  The Overseer did not understand but she had the distinct impression that they were laughing at her, “If I do not find my robot and no longer make boxes, I’ll be ruined.”

    “That’s not entirely true is it?” said the Artist, “it sounds to me that you have more than enough – you probably don’t need anymore. You could live happily and well on the gold and jewels you already have for the rest of your life.”  The Overseer had never thought about stopping until now. She fell very quiet and Horsewoman carried on.

    As they reached the last town The Overseer thought there was something awfully familiar about the place.  A little swinging sign caught her attention.  She climbed down from Horsewoman’s back and approached the old shop.  The Overseer looked through the window into the dusty, old building and there she saw the Maker who had lost Robot Boy to her so many years before.

    The robot was there, and if robots could smile that’s what he seemed to be doing.  With them was a Strange Girl and a Wolf.  They all seemed so happy together that The Overseer stopped with her hand just above the door handle.  She stood there for a long time and the Artist and Horsewoman began to wonder if she had frozen.  When at last she moved it was away from the door.  She stepped back once, then twice and a third time.  The Overseer turned away and forced herself to walk one step at a time back to Horsewoman and the Artist.

    When she reached them she said, “I don’t know what to do with my money except count it and watch it grow.”  Horsewoman and the Artist glanced at one another again and assured The Overseer that they would help her.  And they left the little town having never confronted the Maker or Robot Boy or Strange Girl or the Wolf.  They returned together to the factory and turned it into a wonderful gallery and a sanctuary for horses, and The Overseer had never been happier.

    The Maker was delighted to have Robot Boy back and even more pleased that The Overseer had never tried to find him. Robot Boy never sighed again, which pleased the Strange Girl and the Wolf very much.  And none of them ever so much as thought of boxes ever again.

    Posted in Fiction, Writing

    There’s More to Life than Boxes: a fable

    The Artist

    The_Artist

     

    The Artist is well known for her skill and could probably charge top prices for her work; but she is more concerned that people simply enjoy her paintings. She often trades them for food or a place to stay, and never wants for anything.  She was thrilled to meet Horsewoman; travelling alone can be dull.

    The Artist takes each day as it comes and is happy to wander off and help others when she can.  One day she would like to open a gallery where anyone and everyone can come and enjoy art and one another.