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Spent the last few days in a caravan in the Ayrshire Hills, waking to the cry of a cockerel – about the most gentle alarm clock you could ask for, if perhaps not the most reliable as it only emerged when the weather cleared.

I don’t want to complain at length about the weather as fun was still had, peace was gained and contemplation acquired, but… This was the view I became the most familiar with at the wheel of the car –

Apocalyptic rain and wind, leading eventually to blizzards and driving through a surreal landscape back to Edinburgh that felt more like Lapland.

Writing-wise, it gave me a few new ideas and injected a little life into some old ones. I also had the time to finish some reading – in particular China Mieville’s ‘The City and The City‘, which was superb. It was also nice to be separated from technology for a little while – cut off from internet and mobile phone reception, just fresh air, a peacock for a neighbour and a 10 mile drive down a frightening road to civilisation. Lorries seem much larger and more solid when speeding past you with not much more than an inch of separation. On the way home, after being passed by a fleet of certain blue trucks, I had the thought that there could no more ignominious an end as to be flattened by an Argos truck.

Projects for the writing now include a continuation of the blitz on my completed first draft short stories to make some mass submissions very soon. Then, for a new writing project, I may finally write ‘The Grandmaster’s Ghost‘ – a possibly quite conventional horror tale, in terms of my normal ‘edge-of-genre’ stuff – this will have a ghost, demonic possession, murder and blitz chess. Leaning towards a novella in terms of length if I want it to play it out the way I foresee, with concentration on strong character relationships and scene-setting. Hell, it may even end up longer… But it’s calling to me, and I had an epiphany about the main character which has solved my central issue with writing it in the first place. Who am I trying to convince here?