What These Vegans Eat…

DVDOMPSsmallThe first question I had when I heard about the vegan diet, was ‘But, what do these vegans eat?!’. This question changed and became edged with despair when we actually adopted a plant-based diet ourselves to ‘But, what the f*** do we eat now?’. In previous posts I’ve shared our joy at how we got to keep biscuits in our biscuit barrel, and my unease with fake meats, but now, 10 months in to this plant-based eating, and as it is ‘veganuary’, I thought it would be good to share the snacks and meals which have become part of our regular diet (most of them with recipes linked). If you’re vegan curious and fancy fooling around with some plants to see how you feel about it, then this post might be useful to you.


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Darkwood & Hobbs Live! & Plots Within Plots… Reflecting on November and December (2017)…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optAfter a long break from writing, 2017 saw me get back on the swivel chair at the desk and take some tentative taps at the keyboard as I eased my head back into writing. I won’t lie, the enthusiasm was hard to come by. Not writers block as such, but a big dose of ‘what’s the point’. Sales have flat-lined, and I was returning to write the next run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ short stories, which, when I did have regular sales, was never a strong seller. But, they were the ones I have had the most fun writing, and being short they seemed a good place to start this writing thing again. I was kind to myself and finished a project first, but then came the blank page under the opening of the next project, ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (13): The Ghosts of the Black Museum’…

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The Darkwood Mysteries: The Catalogue of Errors… Reflecting on October (2017)…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optOctober saw the release of a collection of all ‘The Darkwood Mysteries‘ currently available. Darkwood and Hobbs, the heroes of these Victorian tales of horror and adventure, can think themselves lucky. They only have to deal with criminals and the supernatural, and they have me to bail them out. I, on the other hand, have to write and then self-publish their exploits. I only have the staff of me to do this. And, as I have recently found… I can be f****** useless. Okay, that’s a little harsh, but within the three days of formatting and uploading this collection to Kindle I nurtured a red, hot, and smothering self-rage at the stupid mistakes I kept making.

Let me start my tale of torment at the very beginning. First, some context. I write. Frustrated with the traditional publishing approach of differing submission requirements and waiting forever to get nowhere, I decided to self-publish. Through a mixture of many people wanting my money to promote my books, and me not being one to shout about my work, they don’t get promoted. I guess I rely on the chance of readers stumbling across me. I’m no self-publishing guru. Of course, I am not actually relying on chance. I am relying on whatever algorithm on Kindle gets you seen. It’s akin to having every book in the whole history of the world in one place, and hoping the senile librarian leads a reader looking for ’50 Shades of Grey’ to the aisle with my book in it. Whilst I’m not on the bestseller list, I’ve enjoyed periods of (very) modest sales. And although they flat lined in the last year, ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, along with ‘Ivory’, have always had the least amount of sales. Bordering on being completely unseen.

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Meet Jack Hobbs…

Jack Hobbs

Jack Hobbs may be in service at Darkwood’s side, but he is her most trusted confidant, ally and companion. It is a position earned through his unwavering loyalty when faced with the shadowy, frightening and dangerous otherworld Darkwood skirts in her determined pursuit of justice and truth. Short, and slight, what he lacks in physicality he makes up for with scrappiness and a well swung cosh, and his extensive knowledge of London’s warren of lanes and alleys and their seamy life. Yet it is his openness, his acceptance of what others might dismiss or reject in Darkwood’s strange encounters, the way he speaks his mind, and his mischievous humour which Darkwood values the most in his company. These things prevent Hobbs from ever being ‘just’ a servant and maintains him always as a cherished companion.

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Meet Emily Darkwood…

Emily Darkwood

Emily Darkwood is the embodiment of an age where the new world questions the old, and which idealises new philosophies, philanthropy and self-determination. Yet she is conscious of only being able to do so from the luxury of her privileged position in society—and also the caveats and limitations the same society places upon her. With strong aspirations and a fierce defence of equality and justice, she is often at odds with the circles she moves within. Her warm personality and wit softens most, and her bullishness and startlingly quick intellect bewilders the rest, but she can be troubled by the knowledge that her character and the way she determines to live her life can make her an outsider, and could well be a barrier to her personal happiness. It is in those times she is emboldened by the memory of parents.

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Darkwood & the 7 Point Plot Structure… Reflecting on September (2017)…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optWhen it comes to writing, I’m a plotter. Actually, when it comes to most things I’m a plotter. I can’t understand how people write on the fly. How do you know where you’re going? I’ve always been a thinky person. Outside of writing I’m pretty sure I overthink, but behind the writing desk, there’s no such thing as overthinking. Thinking, for me, is the most time I spend on writing. I usually have a strong idea of what I want to happen in the story, and I build on it and build on it, while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, riding out a journey, half-watching something on the box, sometimes while talking to people (don’t tell people). Most of my writing happens in my head. All these ideas and beats are then gathered up and put in some order when I get some desk time.

When I sit down to put all these thoughts in order, my story structure is usually quite basic–establish the conflicts; work to a prologue, beginning, middle, end, epilogue; and ensuring characters progress or are in some way changed by the story. Then plot out each individual scene. I also write character bios and descriptions to refer to in the hope I won’t have sudden height changes, or changing eye colours! A while back though, at a convention, I heard some Star Trek writers talking about the 7 point story structure, and it struck me as being a much better framework to hang my plot on. It consists of a hook, 1st plot point, 1st pinch point, mid-point, 2nd plot point, 2nd pinch point, and conclusion. It doesn’t just apply to the whole overarching plot, but can apply to all the plot threads, and as many of the characters as you like that wind together to make the story whole.


1 Hook: the baited hook to keep the reader reading. Give incentive to read on. Make a thought-provoking statement. Pose an interesting question. Make a funny relatable comment.

See more, after the jump! (See what I did there?) 🙂 *hook*

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