Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Boagane and A Giveaway

My mother comes from a tiny village on the Isle of Man called Maughold (pronunciation Mack-uld). I grew up listening to the tales that she and my grandmother used to tell us – of the fairy folk and strange mythical creatures that prowled the cliffs and woodlands, the moorlands and the hills.

Over the years I’ve tried to track these legends down, but the names of these creatures are words I have only ever heard spoken and never seen written. And that is a problem with Manx words – how on Earth do I spell them to type them into google? Take Maughold for instance? See my point. (Okay, if you’re a Manx speaker it probably all makes sense. But in our family the language died with my Grandparents.)

However, at last I have managed to track one of these creatures down.

My Grandmother used to tell us about a horrible sprite that haunted the village with its screams – and this creature was called a Guv-Na-Scoot. A bit of imaginative googling later – and there it was! A Boagaine (or I believe more commonly Buggane) called a Gob-ny-Scuit.

Bugganes were demonic creatures said to be covered in black hair, with claws, tusks and a large red mouth. This particular one terrorized the inhabitants of Maughold with its terrible screeching when the wind blew in for a certain direction. However, a certain William Kinnish was determined to find the source of the periodic wailing that so worried his neighbours and did indeed  discover the source – a cleft in the cliff face that acted as an Aeolian harp when the wind blew in from a certain direction. And so the buggane was nothing more than a natural curiosity.

The cover art on my short story collection, The Scribbling Sea Serpent, relates to one of the stories inside called The Screechers. And the inspiration for this story was – yes, you’ve guessed it – the Gob-ny-Scuit.

And so on to the giveaway. I am offering up one signed copy of The Scribbling Sea Serpent and to enter please use the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Scribbling Sea Serpent – now out in paperback!

If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a paperback copy of The Scribbling Sea Serpent then I’m delighted to be able to tell you that now you can.

Yes – the paperback edition is now available both from Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US)

However, if you prefer the electronic format then I’m afraid you are going to have to wait a few weeks.

I’m planning a number of exciting launch events to coincide with the Kindle edition coming online – I’ll be hosting a facebook party and you can expect there to be a giveaway too!

I will also be appearing at the Yeovil Literary Festival at the end of October to launch it to the physical world – so if you are in the vicinity I hope to see you there!

But more on all this nearer the time…

In the meantime, if you want to know a bit more about CFZ Publishing and maybe check out some of the other titles available under the Fortean Fiction imprint then do visit their website.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cover Reveal - The Scribbling Sea Serpent

I am super delighted to be able to share this with you all today!

Here it is - the cover for my short story collection - coming soon from CFZ Publishing.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Creative Writing with Kate Kelly

Thursday evenings 18:00 - 20:00 at Dorchester Waterstones
Running from Thursday 4th June – Thursday 2nd July

Topics covered will include:

• Getting started – voice and setting
• Developing rounded characters
• Writing dialogue
• Point of View
• Plotting
• Getting published. Writing for a market.

The course will be suitable for all levels. Bring pen and paper and loads of enthusiasm. Participants will be encouraged to share their work.

Total cost: £80 per person

To book your place contact Kate at:

Places are limited so book now.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Guardian – Eco week and twitter chat

It’s Eco-Week over on the Guardian’s Children’s site, and a variety of authors have been contributing articles on all sorts of eco-related themes, from Piers Torday talking about why Cli-Fi isn’t Sci-Fi to Helen Skelton talking about how her kayaking expedition up the Amazon inspired her new book.

I was also fortunate enough to be invited to take part and today my top tips for writing an eco-adventure story goes live.

So do head over there and take a look – Here’s the link - and tonight why not join all the authors for a twitter chat #GdnEcoChat between 7 – 8 pm (UK time). I’ll be there and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may like to ask

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Why an Ouroboros?

It is an ancient symbol, the ouroboros, a serpent biting its own tail, as ancient as recorded history, and maybe older. It is a symbol common to many cultures, from the writings of ancient Egypt – where the snake god Mehen coils around the sun God Ra and protects him during his journey through the night - to the Norse legends of the serpent Jörmungandr; a creature so large it encircles the entire Earth, biting its own tail. When it lets go the world will end.

It is a global image, transcending cultures, found not just in Europe and the Middle East, India and China and Japan, but also in the art of Native American Indian tribes, and the Aztecs. The ouroboros truly is a symbol that encircles the world.

But what of its origins? What ancient mysteries does it seek to answer? Did our ancestors stare up at the marvels of the sky and see the Milky Way Spread above them like a serpent across the heavens? Did they wonder at the cyclical nature of the seasons, of day and night, of life itself? Does the ouroboros in some way encompass all these things; life and death, the universe, eternity?

I started keeping this blog shortly before I sold my first short story, to record my journey as a writer and share the things I learned along the way, celebrating each story sale and good review. So, as I bring my short stories together into one volume, it seems fitting that the title of this blog in turn has become the title of my collection – The Scribbling Sea Serpent has come full circle – a bit like the ouroboros!

So it is doubly fitting that this image of the serpent biting its tail, this ouroboros, symbolic on several different levels, should appear, not just on the cover of The Scribbling Sea Serpent, but also as a chapter heading at the start of each new story.

Expect to see the cover on here very soon. I can’t wait to share it with the world.

In the meantime do check out some of the other titles CFZ Publishing has out under its Fortean Fiction imprint.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Tides and Eclipses

Today the UK witnessed a partial eclipse. Where I was it was cloudy, too cloudy to see much, but I stood in the supermarket car park looking up at the sky as the world dimmed around me. It felt like it does on a stormy day as the thunder clouds gather, an odd brooding twilight. It was only as I drove home that the clouds thinned enough for me to glimpse a pale crescent through the haze.

Photo  © Ciara Kelly
The last eclipse, in 1999, down here in the west, was far more dramatic. We gathered round a friend’s house as the light faded and the gulls began to roost and toasted the darkness with champagne. There was the same strange gloomy twilight, but the dimming was much more pronounced since we were not far from totality. The light fell suddenly, as if some celestial being was turning down the dimmer switch. The birds fell silent, and over on Portland we could see the flashes from people’s cameras in the shadow. Then the light returned equally swiftly.

But more dramatic as far as I am concerned – and I am a Marine Scientist after all so perhaps this is not surprising - was the super low spring tide this morning. We walked right out, almost up to the Sea Life tower without getting our feet even slightly wet. I haven’t seen it out quite so far before – and tomorrow’s low tide will be even lower! Of course, there will be a corresponding high high tide in a few hours time, so I might pop down and see how the flood defences are holding up. In the meantime, here a couple of pictures.