“Earnestine” Finally Released!

The day has finally arrived! Earnestine,” a beloved short story which has taken far too long to find its way to print, is now available in e-book and a cute little 32 page paperback!

Earnestine is a dearly loved character in my family and I’m so thrilled she now gets to see the light of day and can become a part of your family too!

Earnestine is a consummate performer.

She lives for the roar of the audience: the waves of applause crashing down upon her as she entertains them, the ebb and flow of crowds coming and going from the Las Vegas stage she calls her own.

But as her audiences dwindle and her aching loneliness increases, Earnestine searches desperately for a solution to her problems.

Only one thing stands in her way.

One unavoidable fact.


…is a walrus.

To get your own copy, in e-book or paperback, go to Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, or other stores.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on my releases, you’re welcome to sign up to my fan list.

“The Guardian of Sunday Afternoons” Released!

I am releasing some of the short stories in Baverstock’s Allsorts Volume 1 as stand-alone e-books. You’ll see a number of these over the coming weeks.

Helen Summers spends every Sunday afternoon caring for small children, like little 5-year-old Peter who is intent on defying his mother’s instructions.

As Helen tries to inculcate a few life lessons in her little nephew, she’s reminded of the reasons why she has become the self-appointed guardian of Sunday afternoons.

To get your own copy, in e-book or paperback, go to Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, or other stores.

This story is also available in Baverstock’s Allsorts Volume 1 which is available in e-book and paperback.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on my releases, you’re welcome to sign up to my fan list.




My Doctor’s Solution to Allergies

Since moving across the continent a couple of years ago, my allergies have been increasing to the point where I seem to be in perpetual allergy season. My nose is running like a tap and some days I feel as if I’m battling jet lag. Antihistamines are not very effective and so I went to my doctor for advice on what more I could do.

Here was her suggestion… The result of which is that the heat of my breath is redirected up behind my glasses, leaving me now in a perpetual literal fog to add to the figurative mental fog I was trying to rid myself of.

Me wearing a dust mask which is causing my glasses to fog up.

Scrabble Tiles for Sale

As a Scrabble player myself, I appreciated the attention to detail this store paid to it’s imitation Scrabble tiles.

As products go, all of these tiles are made from exactly the same wood printed with exactly the same ink. The only difference being, of course, the letters themselves. So while the more common letters (such as O and G and P) are reduced to a nifty $1, the V (score of 4 in Scrabble), X (score of 8 in Scrabble), and J (also score of 8 in Scrabble) are more than double the price.

One must notice though that the Z (score of 10) and Q (score of 10) which are on the top row are themselves reduced to $1, which I think it’s an absolute steal! I can now contemplate words like “buzz” and “fuzzy” and “quartz” without blowing my budget.

Large squares of wood printed with letters and scores as if they were scrabble tiles are on a clearance sale. The tiles for V, X, and J are more expensive than the others.

“Baverstock’s Allsorts Volume 1, Second Edition” Released!

I have finally managed to re-release the first volume of Baverstock’s Allsorts, this time with more than double the stories!

The first version only had nine short pieces in it and was really too short to be a respectable paperback for the beginning of a series. So I went back and gathered together all my early short stories and packaged them up in a second edition which is now also available as a 190 page paperback.

I’ll be releasing a number of the short stories in this volume as stand-alone e-books over the coming weeks and will announce each here on the blog.

A trader on a distant planet discovers an impossible stone, an entirely pleasant kidnapping goes awry, and a young woman learns what it means to be a world nomad.

Now with more than double the stories, this second edition of Volume 1 contains an eclectic collection of twenty-one short-short pieces.

Showcasing the versatility, imagination, comic wit, and pathos of author Jessica Baverstock, this perfect companion to an afternoon tea break or a morning commute will tickle your funny bone and tug at your heartstrings.

Baverstock’s Allsorts Volume 1 draws together science-fiction, period fiction, comedy, poetry, romance, literary fiction, a children’s story, and even a newspaper article with a twist in a collection that has something for everyone.

To get your own copy, in e-book or paperback, go to Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, or other stores.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on my releases, you’re welcome to sign up to my fan list.

My Upcoming Titles for Early 2018

Thanks to the stresses and sudden figurative tumbles of life, I am way behind in keeping up with my publishing news! Below is a glimpse at the cover art for some releases which are coming soon. The paper proofs for the second edition of Baverstock’s Allsorts Volume 1 and Earnestine are winging their way to me at this very moment so hopefully I’ll have them up for purchase soon and will be updating things here.

All the titles are short stories, except for Baverstock’s Allsorts Volume 1, which is a re-release of the short story collection volume with more short stories than the first edition. I’ll provide more information about all the releases when they’re available for purchase.

Covers for Baverstock's Allsorts Volume 1, The Guardian of Sunday Afternoons, Kidnapping with Scruples, Lines, Pie!, Roast Chicken for Dinner, The Surname Club, and Earnestine.


When Dreams Make Sense: “You Have a Dog? That’s Incredible!”

I am notorious for having excellent dream recall and having dreams worth recalling (which is always the trick, isn’t it?).

I won’t bore you with a brief retelling of previous dreams, though some of them are crackups in and of themselves. I write this because of one particular dream I had recently which stunned me in its lucidity and punchline.

Sometimes these kinds of dreams do actually make their way into stories, and this one has the potential to. But I’m so swamped with other writing projects at the moment that I just know the only way this will see the light of day is if I retell it here. And I would hate a perfectly good dream to go to waste!

The dream started with me wandering through an incredibly large indoor shopping mall, the kind which also has quirky shops around its outside. I had a vague idea that my purpose in being there was to meet someone and yet when I finally did bump into the person in question I had never met him before.

I was standing in a surprisingly quiet food court, surrounded by odorless meal vendors with tastefully colorful counter displays, when he approached.

He was a handsome man, with a laid-back disposition, an easy smile, and a slightly nervous habit of moving his weight from one foot to the other as he spoke. We fell easily into conversation and it was obvious from the get-go that there was an attraction between us.

In fact, the conversation was going so well that I found myself suddenly feeling very uneasy. I wanted to keep talking but I realized that too much talking when first meeting someone could lead to their sudden need to be anywhere but here with the understanding that they will likely never talk to me or acknowledge me in a crowded room again (I can be an epic conversationalist in real life, and in dreamland everything is intensified and my dream self seemed to see the inevitable problem on the horizon). I wanted the friendship to continue and I figured–in my sudden insecurity–that the best way for that to happen was for me to end the current conversation as soon as possible.

But how?

In my panic, I blurted out, “I really must go now and check on my dog.”

Which seemed, on the surface, a logical segue into a natural conversational conclusion.

Only, I had no dog. None.

Obviously, when awake, I would never have descended into such a dishonest ruse, but to my dream self it seemed like the best way to end the conversation, since it would appear that circumstances beyond my control were tearing us apart, rather than my sudden panic wanting me to be anywhere but here.

And so I barreled on with my deception, inserting gusto and detail with every sentence.

“He’s waiting outside,” I said, pointing to a nearby exit. “Tied up to a pole. I have to go check he’s okay.”

The man’s eyes widened with surprise. “You have a dog?” he cried in excitement. “That’s incredible!”

I laughed, in an attempt at nonchalance. “Really?”

“Yeah,” he said. “What kind of a dog?”

And as he said this I realized the utter idiocy of my mistake.

This was a person I wished to get to know better. Over an extended period of time, all going to plan. And I had just inserted a pet who did not actually exist into my life.

“Oh, you know,” I waffled. “A smallish kind of big dog.”

“Amazing,” he said, shaking his head. “I’d love to meet him.”

Here I swallowed, my dreamy mind frantically trying to figure out how I was going to make such a thing happen.

Now you would think it would be the easiest thing to suddenly alter reality (dream reality that is) to insert a canine companion at this point and backdate its insertion so that it existed long before this conversation ever took place, but it seemed in this case that was not an option. Instead I suddenly remembered a friend of mine who ran one of the little shops on the outside of the mall. He had a dog. I was sure of it. All I had to do was find the dog in question and enlist its help for a bit.

“I tell you what,” I said, the mental gears churning, “how about we meet up in half an hour?”

“Okay,” he said, not at all suspicious of why it would take me half an hour to locate a dog I supposedly had tied up just beyond the nearest exit. (Don’t ya love it when dreams cooperate? I doesn’t happen often, but when it does…you start to wonder what your dream has around the corner.)

With a hurried goodbye and a promise of meeting him in half an hour, I rushed out the exit into the intensity of sunlight bouncing off the mottled grey pavement and bounded along the row of shops facing the outside until I came upon the shop in question. It was a leather store, it’s bright yellow walls displaying bags and shoes and jackets and other leather-related what-nots. I dodged a few display tables laden with wallets and purses and then found myself breathless at the long, curved pay counter.

Where, it so happens, Jack Nicholson was standing.

Now while I do occasionally have cameo appearances from celebrities in my dreams, this was the first time Jack Nicholson had ever appeared. He was playing a wrinkled curmudgeon, yanked out of retirement to pay off a gambling debt, and who had long since lost interest in life. His character showed no hint of mental instability or sudden murderous intent so I counted myself fortunate and rushed headlong into the purpose of my visit.

“Say, Jack,” I began. “Could I borrow that dog of yours?”

The pooch in question suddenly appeared from behind the counter, a stocky, black Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a beautiful face, as far as Bull Terriers go.

Nicholson raised an eyebrow like he was about to ask a question, but then remembered his complete lack of interest in life. And so he filled in an invoice paper for a hundred dollars and pushed it across the counter to me.

“You’re selling me your dog?” I asked, simply for clarification.

“A hundred dollars. Want the dog or not?” was all he croaked.

I glanced down at the dog, seeing possibilities stretching out before me. After all, if I were to manage an ongoing relationship with the guy I’d just met (whose name had apparently never crossed my radar, something I would have to clear up pretty quick smart on further acquaintance) I would need the ongoing use of the dog. I wasn’t particularly au fait with the going rate for a canine, especially one who had already outgrown its puppy-ness (which I would have thought was worth half the price of purchase for most dog transactions) but one hundred dollars for the chance of getting to know dream-guy better was certainly hard cash I was willing to part with.

I signed the deal and promised the dough, since I didn’t have it on me at the time.

He nodded and said, “Just have her back by dinner.”

I blinked at him. “A hundred dollars for half a day?” I spluttered.

He nodded. “You signed it.”

My mind boggled for a moment at how I could have been stupid enough to not have asked for further details before committing myself to a transaction. But still, a hundred dollars to produce a dog before my future boyfriend in half an hour (or much, much less than half an hour now) was still worth doing and so I said, “No problem. I’ll kill her off before the day is out.” A spot of grief could certainly cement a relationship, I figured. And the guy might buy me a puppy to make up for it and I’d be on the winning side of everything.

“Kill her off?” said Nicholson, showing an interest in life for the first time in fifty years.

“Metaphorically speaking,” I added hastily. “This dog I’ll return in one piece before dinner. Promise.”

And with that I grabbed the lead of the dog in question (a lead which had just conveniently appeared, as leads often do in dreams) and we set off out of the shop.

As we meandered our way along the gray pavement which skirted a one way street, it quickly became apparent that the dog was not in any way trained. She yanked me from pillar to post and once or twice straight out into oncoming traffic. I quickly returned to the shop and asked Jack, “Is this thing house trained?”

He grunted. “Why would I have put that much effort in?”

“Right,” I said, remembering his complete disinterest in life. “Great. Home by dinner it is.”

And so we meandered in a zigzag pattern once again along the pavement, dodging the occasional car as I made a mental note of how easy it was going to be to create a plausible story of the doggie’s demise.

At one point the terrier got her paw somehow caught in her collar. I bent down to remove the limb from its constraint and when I straightened up again I found myself almost face to face with my future beau, he appearing just as handsome and easy-going as I remembered.

“Hi,” I said with a flustered grin.

“Hi,” he said, staring down at the dog.

The dog looked up at him with a fascination of her own.

“This is fantastic,” he said, his gaze locked with hers.

“She is great, isn’t she?” I said, feeling that a plug for the pet was definitely an appropriate thing to say at this point.

“I can’t believe you’ve got a dog,” he continued.

“Like dogs, do you?” I said. I was getting that warm glow you get when everything seems to be completely settling into place and you know you’re absolutely meant to be with this person.

“Not in the slightest,” he said, still staring at her. “I’m usually extremely allergic. But then I was talking to you for all that time and nothing happened and you suddenly told me you had a dog and I thought, ‘goodness, that’s a dog I absolutely have to meet!'”

I stared at him, my jaw having dropped. “You’re allergic to dogs?”

“Usually,” he said, finally glancing up at me. “Highly allergic.”

I looked at the dog.

Then I looked at him.

Then I looked back at the dog and wondered if I let her lead go right now whether she would meander in front of some oncoming truck.

And then I was rocked by an almighty sneeze emanating from my future beloved.

And when I looked back at him his eyes had swelled completely shut.

“Ah,” I said.

And at that moment my alarm went off and I woke up with a terrible feeling of disappointment which stuck with me until breakfast.

Random Fact of the Day: Helsinki’s Airport Toilets Go Chirp Chirp

Have you ever had one of those experiences where something surreal happens to you and you think to yourself, “My goodness, this is phenomenal. I really must tell someone about this at my earliest convenience,” and then the very next moment the thing which was going to make you the center of every party or gathering you attended for the next year just zips clean out of your head?

Yes, well, this happens to me often–as I have no doubt it happens to you too, no? I mean, you and I could be world-renowned comic thespians if only our memories would play ball, couldn’t we?–and with the topic of this particular blog post I have had this mind-wiping experience several times.

The first time this piece of factual gold was whipped straight out of the noggin I was coming to terms with having stepped off a twelve hour red-eye flight from Singapore to Helsinki, which had been preceded by an eight hour flight from Sydney to Singapore, which itself had been preceded by a train journey into Sydney, and all of which was about to be followed by a bus ride, and a walk of several city blocks before reaching accommodation where I would then be expected to remain completely wide awake for at least ten–preferably twelve–hours to get myself into a brand new time zone.

So, obviously, not functioning at anything near peek efficiency.

That I was not dribbling from every orifice was an accomplishment.

I was, however, already experiencing my own personal earthquake zone, due to jet lag. I got continual, sudden jolts of dizziness and for days afterwards I was forever asking my husband if he was experiencing the same aftershocks as I was, convinced that there must be some seismic activity involved.

There wasn’t.

But I digress. (Which is completely out of character for me, I assure you.)

The next time I came across this shareable tidbit, I had just made the mistake of believing I had enough time to nip in to use the facilities in the same building before hopping a red eye flight in the opposite direction–to be followed, in case you’re interested, by an equally hellish combination of flights and eye-watering sleep deprivation, including a layover of something like eight hours in the middle.

My mind had registered the interesting fact I wished to share and was just clicking into “I must file this away for future ref–” when my name was called through an almost unintelligible ceiling speaker and I found my thought processes immediately diverted elsewhere.

It was not until a few months later, when the fact was mentioned on a BBC news podcast my husband was listening to, that I suddenly remembered what it was I had wished to share with you all.

And after such a verbose and unconnected buildup, I’m concerned the topic in question will be rather a let down…if you’re still reading at all, that is.

The fact is that in the toilets at Helsinki airport, in Finland, they play birdsong over the speakers.

Yes, during your time in the washroom, you will be serenaded by nature’s own feathered composers.

Here’s an article as proof.

The birdsong seems to serve a dual purpose.

The purpose the Manager of Customer Experience leads with in the article is the use of gentle sounds to reduce stress. After all, is not international travel often a stressful event?

And I can, now that I am safely ensconced back in my own home and my own time zone, see her point. Gentle birdsong is indeed a very relaxing thing to listen to.

When you’re expecting it.

When you’re sleep deprived, staggering along believing the earth is shifting continually beneath your feet, presented with signage in multiple languages you’ve never spoken, and have just caught sight of yourself in a mirror appearing for all the world as if you have recently been swallowed and then regurgitated out of the belly of some strange sky beast who has plastered your hair about your head in an extremely unpleasant manner and left you smelling uncommonly foul, sudden birdsong emanating from the ceiling of a pristinely tiled white room where there are no birds in sight and birds certainly have no place being is not at all stress-relieving.

It is, I can tell you from personal experience, surreal at best and a possible trigger for psychotic hallucination at worst.

Birds. I hear birds. But I don’t see birds. Where are the birds?!

And the idea that the birdsong could be emanating from an actual bird (as is the usual experience) rather than through less-than-obvious ceiling speakers (a situation never previously encountered) is, you have to admit, not a stretch.

Even the idea that birds could be in an airport is also not out of the realms of possibility, as this photo taken in Malaga airport by yours truly proves.

Photo snapped by me (on my phone, thus the spectacular quality), of birds sitting on a wire close to the ceiling of the international terminal of Malaga Airport.

I have also recently been swooped by a magpie in the biscuit aisle of a supermarket, so I do have quite the record of encountering birds indoors. And so you can see how the sudden production of bird noises within a confined space could cause a modicum of distress, for me, and any other birds which might happen to be trapped in the facility at the time.

Still, upon my second encounter with the sound effect within the WC of the Helsinki airport, I did rather see its effectiveness. The calming force of soft tweeting washed over me, removing all sense of panic and worry from my travel-addled mind. Until it was drowned out by an announcement asking me to make my way immediately to my gate as my plane was just about to leave. Then when the birdsong returned I found it not at all stress-relieving.

But then that wasn’t the birds’ fault, was it? Though I don’t think it was entirely my imagination that made their twitterings sound accusatory, as if they blamed my tardiness for the interruption to their airtime.

The second purpose for the playing of birdsong in a public toilet is to politely cover over (and here I quote the article mentioned above) “somewhat embarrassing toilet noises.”

I believe no more needs to be said on that particular subject.

The use of sounds in the bathroom is not, of course, a new thing. The Japanese have been building music into their toilet features for quite some time now for pretty much the same reasons covered above. Though, as mentioned in the article, one has to be careful that when playing music in a washroom you don’t inadvertently give the impression that one is actually in an elevator, where the use of mind-numbing music is used to cover the somewhat embarrassing possibility of starting conversations with strangers.

Anyway, now that I am home–and the local public toilet cubicles are not at all relaxing, nor to they in any way block out somewhat embarrassing toilet noises–I do find I miss the feature of Helsinki airport toilets. It is a delightful and thoughtful touch when one is prepared for it.

Though I will point out that at home I currently have sparrows nesting in the wall cavities and so my home bathroom does indeed chirp. All day long, in fact.

A sound which does not relax me in the slightest, funnily enough…

The Clean Reads List

I’ve added a new page to my site called The Clean Reads List. It’s tucked away under About Jessica on the menu bar above (which, granted, isn’t the most intuitive place to put it, but I couldn’t think where else it would fit).

That list mentions three other authors I know personally who also write stories along similar lines to the ones I do. If you like my work, then you might like theirs too.

I intend to gradually add to the list as time passes, and I will notify you all here when I add a name.

So pop over there and take a look at the list as it currently stands.

Millennial Musings: Why Do Cold Countries Love Ice Cream?


My personalized Magnum, with raspberries, coconut flakes, and cinnamon almonds. Yum!

As an Australian, I have always equated ice cream with summer. There’s nothing better than eating an ice cold Magnum in forty degree heat (Celsius, that is). And so when I would hear about people eating ice cream in the dead of winter (such as during the Ice Festival in Harbin, China) I would shudder at the thought. How could you eat something that cold when it’s below the temperature of your ice cream outside?

The purpose of ice creams after all, in my mind, was to cool you down. And wasn’t that the last thing on your mind in sub-zero?

But I never gave the subject too much thought until my recent visit to Helsinki, Finland.

It all started when I came across this store…

Magnum Helsinki store welcome poster.

Yup, there’s an actual shop in Helsinki where you can go inside and watch them make a Magnum to your specifications. You say what type of chocolate your Magnum is dipped into (white, milk, or dark) and then choose three toppings from the sixteen options. After that you choose the type of chocolate that is drizzled over it and then you’re given the ice cream right there and then in a little tray to enjoy. You can see my personal creation at the beginning of this post.

As much as I loved so many things about my time in Helsinki, this was one of the highlights of my trip. I’ve been a Magnum tragic for so long that to actually make my own blew my mind.

Helsinki isn’t the only place where you can find one of these stores. Search for “Magnum Pleasure Store” in your country and see what comes up. (Sounds dodgy, I know, but Google tells me that’s what they’re called.)

Anyway, allow me to return to the point of this post. A little later in my visit to Helsinki (while I was still dreaming of the custom Magnum experience) I got talking with an American visitor and she described the Finns as “obsessed with ice cream.” Which got us talking about why it was that cold countries seemed to love ice cream so much when we always equated it with hot countries.

It took our Millennial brains a little while to come around to the perfectly logical conclusion.

Ice cream was a thing long before refrigerators. And in pre-refrigerator times the only place you could have an ice cream was in a cold country in the dead of winter.

Yeah, duh. Took me an embarrassingly long time to realise that, but then I do come from Australia and have only seen snow a couple of times in my whole life, so cut me some slack. 🙂

Once my brain clicked into that gear, I suddenly remembered reading one of the Little House on the Prairie books (I think it was in one of those, 1880’s Girl will correct me if I’m wrong) where she was snowed in and she was able to open a window, scoop up some snow, and make ice cream by hand. Ah, those were the days. What would Laura Ingalls Wilder have made of a Magnum Pleasure Store?

So it turns out that ice cream was not invented to cool down those of us who live in the baking heat (who knew?) but have simply come to fill that role thanks to the advent of refrigeration. Cold countries were on to the creamy goodness long before we desert dwellers were. (Or should that be dessert dwellers, as I could happily live in ice cream land. Couldn’t you?)

Random Fact of the Day: Iota

Throughout my life I have used the word iota (meaning “an extremely small amount”) liberally and without thinking about its origins. Until the other day when I came across in my reading the explanation of what an iota actually is.

Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet and the smallest letter of said alphabet.

It came into common use in English because of the Biblical phrase “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

I was well aware that the words “alpha” and “omega” were Greek (again brought into common usage in English because of Biblical phrasing, as have a surprising number of other words and phrases) but until this week I had no idea “iota” was also Greek.

While we’re on the subject of things I didn’t know (but most of you probably did) Ππ pi is also a Greek letter. Which I probably could have worked out if I’d thought about it, but it had never occurred to me to put the brain power in.

So anyway, that’s what’s going on in my brain at the moment. How about yours? Any random facts hit you this week?

New Release: Neville and the Arabian Luncheon

The big day has arrived! My latest novel, Neville and the Arabian Luncheon, is now available.

Thirty-seven-year-old Neville Hardencourt IV lives a life of leisure in the 21st century. But his core is forged from good old-fashioned British chivalry.

Unfortunately, this chivalry doesn’t exempt him from the burdens of a disapproving mother, an overbearing brother, and a girlfriend with strong views on their future together. All three threaten to “make something of him”—a prospect any man worth his salt would find highly offensive.

With beloved roadster and devoted valet in tow, Neville must discover a way to regain some semblance of control over his life while still maintaining his chivalrous standards—a balance which may prove beyond even his finely-honed abilities.

This comedic novel, reminiscent of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories, introduces the lovable hero of the Neville Hardencourt IV series.

This novel is available as an e-book and a paperback. You can purchase this title at AmazonKobo, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. Other stores will be available soon.

My fans on my e-mail list received discount codes for this release. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then sign up to my fan list now for future discounts.

Millennial Musings: Do Phones Still Go Ring Ring?

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting near a very talkative 6-year-old during a long train journey. She wasn’t talking to me, thankfully. (Due to health, I don’t have the stamina to maintain a young child’s conversation level for more five minutes at a time. From six minutes onward I start looking out for any family member who can take over for me while I have a little lie down and a half hour of quiet.) She was chatting very happily to a teenager she had made friends with in the next row. They shared a window and so were conversing through the little gap between glass and seat.

One of the first things that occurred to me was how difficult it is to keep a child’s attention when in a fast-moving train, especially a child you have only just met. The usual stand-by game my grandmother always employed during times of tedium, I Spy, is completely useless in a speeding train. “I spy something beginning with–oh, never mind, we’ve passed it already.”

Thankfully the little girl I was eavesdropping on was a self-starter in the conversation topic department. She told personal details, stories, and so forth, as well as peppering the conversation with questions such as “What’s your name?” which was followed by an endearingly honest admission by the little girl that she wouldn’t remember the name in question and would just substitute one she found easier to recall.

The girl herself had bright, dancing blue eyes and a true “shock” of short red hair which was thick and curly and looked unlikely to be tamed for years to come. She was accompanied by a patient father who took advantage of the girl’s conversation with someone other than himself to get in a few games of Candy Crush on his smart phone while he had the time. Her other companion was a small brown and yellow stuffed toy dog, whose name seemed to continually change depending on the girl’s mood at the time (Spot, Gruff, Robbie, Squeal-something).

The dog’s usage also changed.

About halfway through the conversation, the little girl’s dog suddenly became a smart phone. “Excuse me,” she said to the girl in the next row mid-conversation, “I have to text. I have to work on my phone now but I can still talk to you while I do it.” And away she went pushing imaginary buttons on the dog’s fluffy little tummy as she continued her conversation with a teenager who had (ironically) never looked at her phone once in the entire time I’d been watching them.

A moment later, her texting presumably finished, she held up her dog and “took a picture” of the girl she was talking to and then verbally wondered who she could send the photo too. While she was busy with that, her “boyfriend” messaged her and she had to take care of further texting while the conversation continued.

I can only assume that the little girl has a teenage sister whom she has studied closely (as all children do) and was doing a perfect imitation of her.

I found the whole act fascinating. I have of course watched many children pretend to use telephones. My brother in his formative years used the dismembered tail of a wooden crocodile toy as a mobile phone. He also used to call bananas “hello hellos” because when distributing the fruit in question my mother would hold the banana up to her ear and say, “Hello, hello? Who is it? Oh! It’s for you!” and hand it to my brother. It must have been an earth-shattering day when he discovered she had been practicing on his credulous simplicity and that the signal strength of the banana is virtually nil.

So, as I say, children pretending to have phones is not new. But I had never seen a child imagine up a smart phone with such detail.

And yet, what really caught my attention, was that when her stuffed-dog-come-smart-phone rang, the little girl vocalized it as, “Ring, ring!”

It made me wonder when in the child’s living memory she would have come across a phone that went ring ring. Do mobile phones nowadays make that sound? And if they don’t (which I would have said they didn’t), what form of onomatopoeia will the next generation use to describe the actual noises our phones make? Brr brr when on silent? The shrill bing when receiving an sms?

Perhaps ring ring is becoming one of those sounds that we just use even though we know it’s nothing like the sound we’re trying to reproduce. After all, smart phone rings now are so numerous and melodic that there really isn’t a word we could form to properly do them justice.

Thoughts on a New Blog

Having now got my author website finally looking how I’ve always wanted, I can now turn my attention to starting a new blog.

I blogged for several years on my Creativity’s Workshop site, but had to stop back in 2014 due to health. The topic of creativity is one I’m passionate about and I did really enjoy my years blogging about it, but I eventually came to realise that I was spending all my time writing about writing and not actually writing the fiction I wanted to create. Rookie mistake, I know. But I made it and finally got wise to it.

So I don’t want to make the same mistake again. This blog isn’t going to be regular or scheduled. It’s not going to be filled with long, detailed posts about a unifying subject, though I’m  not ruling out the possibility of inserting a lengthy essay here or there if the mood takes me. It’s going to be different, but still very me. In fact, probably more me than my previous blog, if such a thing is possible.

I’ve been considering for a while now exactly what kind of an author blog I want to have. For a few years I’ve been at a loss.

I’ve decided I don’t want to write a blog about writing. There are plenty of other great blogs on that topic out there written by people who are far better at explaining the subject than I.

I don’t write consistently in one genre or about one topic to have a blog to do with that subject. As much as I admire blogs like 1880’s Girl (which you should check out if you’re not familiar with it), I just can’t tie myself consistently down to one time period, subject, or genre.

So I got to thinking about the kind of author blogs which appeal to me, the ones I find myself happily spending half an hour scrolling through if the mood takes me. One of the blogs on that list is by John Finnemore who writes radio shows for the BBC. (If you’ve never heard of Cabin Pressure, John Finnemore’s Souvenir Program, or Double Acts then check them out, they’re heaps of fun. They can often be found as podcasts on the BBC Radio site, although you can *cough cough* find clips on Youtube *cough cough*. Though if you like his style, I recommend purchasing the box set of Cabin Pressure since the episodes are all gold and build on one another.)

In his blog he informs readers when one of his shows airs on the radio and how to hear the podcast of it. He also provides some backstory to where the idea came from or how he wrote it. But there are heaps of other cool things he adds in to do with crazy facts and interesting things he encounters. He also includes from time to time (especially in December) doodles from his notebooks which are interesting in their own right.

Which got me thinking about what kind of blog I could write.

The thing that defines my fiction is that they are all stories I’m passionate about. I write with wild abandon in any direction my Creativity wants to go. (Forgive the capitalization there, but my Creativity is a voice in her own right and so I capitalize accordingly.) And that’s what readers love about my work. They won’t love every story I write (because I write in so many random directions that the only person who is likely to love all my work is myself) but they do recognize that passion and come to trust that if they pick up a Jessica Baverstock story I’ll have put my heart and soul into its telling.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog. I am going to make this blog a collection of the random things I’m passionate about. The new words I learn, the interesting facts I discover, the people and experiences I encounter, the thoughts that flit across my mind. Because I figure if you love my fiction because of my passion in writing it, you might just love to know the other things I’m passionate about–the things grab my interest and make me think “Hey, I wanna share that!”

I want this to be a fun, random, interesting place to come. A place where you can pop past when you’ve got a minute, when you want a laugh, or when you’re looking for a little lighthearted distraction. I will naturally mention on my blog when I’ve got a new release coming out. I might also give some back story about why I wrote the story–what got me passionate about the subject or character. But peppered liberally between those posts will be interesting, random things that caught my attention.

I write stories because something pops into my head, setting off a rainbow of possibility or a niggly pre-pearl-irritant and won’t leave me alone until I write it. It’s something that hits a chord–almost literally, as I feel like my mind hums with the idea like someone has struck a tuning fork in the back of my brain. It is this bright, incessant rush of possibility which leads to my stories and it is that feeling that I want to share in this blog. Because some of those moments, those flashes, can’t or won’t make it into stories. It’s those things I want to share with you.

So what do you think? Do you want to follow along? I won’t be blogging to a schedule. I’ll only post when I have something I feel is worth sharing. I don’t want to tie myself down to having to produce things whether I’m ready or not. So if I’m passionate or intrigued or amused by something, I’ll post. If I don’t have anything, I won’t. In that way I plan to provide you with a stream of posts which you might just enjoy browsing for half an hour or so when the mood takes you every few months, or something that pops randomly into your inbox to lighten your day.

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, then sign up for e-mail notifications at the top of the page. And if I don’t have an option to follow this blog that you’d like to have, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to accommodate you. In fact, that goes for the whole site. If there’s something you’d like to see, or you think would improve things, leave a comment or contact me directly and I’ll give it some thought. 🙂

So, here we go! A new blog. What fun awaits!

Welcome to My Blog

Hi everyone,

I’m in the process of updating my website. The process is almost complete.

I’m also preparing my latest novel, Neville and the Arabian Luncheon, for release. I’ll have more information on that soon.

Thank you for your patience.