Cover Art


I’ve tried my hand at cover art already, although if sales are anything to go by it isn’t my strong suit. The flowers are from the Munstead Wood rose in the garden (affectionately known as Mundungus).


The Hajj cover went through several iterations, eventually the beveling on the text helped it stand out while giving me a colour I could use for both the title and author.


There was a meme that did the rounds on the book of faces in 2009 which was a bit of fun. If you are stuck for ideas try this:

1 – Go to “Wikipedia” and hit Random Article or click

The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. 2 – Go to “Random quotations” or click

The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. 3 – … Read moreGo to “flickr” and explore the last seven days or click

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Remember to watermark the picture to credit the original artist!


Art and Light

I love Bloomsbury. In between the tree lined streets and the garden squares you come across the oddest of shops. In that magical way of the best odd shops you feel like you have never seen them before, and that they have been there forever.

This time is was L Cornellison and Son an art supplier for the very serious painter. It had an air of Ollivanders, and the costume shop from Mr Ben, where turning a corner could take you into another world.

It also struck  me as an interesting place to study light - that essential medium for both the artist and the photographer.

v2-1157The staff were a little bemused that I wanted to take pictures, but kindly let me do so as long as I didn’t snap them or any of the customers, which was fine, my interest was in objects not people.


A case in point was this case, which I half expected to fly open with a selection of wands ready to choose me.


I kept the light deliberately low on these brushes, there was something about the auburn bristles that was very compelling.


I liked the play of light against the different colours in the bottles, the only slight change to the setting of the shelf was to twist the Copaiba Balsam to hide the price, because that cheapened the whole composition (although it was ruinously expensive).v2-1159

A drawer full of pastels to round things off.v2-1160


Wayward Women

The Queen of the Night Possibly Ishtar the Goddess of Sexual Love and War, or her sister and rival Ereshkigal, ruler of the underworld.  From the reign of Hammurabi - Babylon c1792-1750 BC

The Queen of the Night
Possibly Ishtar the Goddess of Sexual Love and War, or her sister and rival Ereshkigal, ruler of the underworld.
From the reign of Hammurabi – Babylon c1792-1750 BC

A canter today through the British Museum (including the Mesopotamia room) culminated in a brief look at the Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibition. Halloween writing deadlines are pressing and I needed inspiration.

The focus of the exhibition is the representation of women as the source of evil, deviance and misdirection of the virtuous. There was a preachy part of this post linking this representation of women to modern day trolling, but as my blog followers are smarter than me, you’ll have made the link yourselves.

Click the pictures for higher res versions.


The Temptation of St Anthony – Jost de Negker – Woodcut 1500-20


Battle of the Sea Gods Andrea Mantegna – Engraving 1470-1500

The one below is innocent at first glance, but note the devil peaking out of the fire. OGH on the globe apparently stands for O Gott hute – O God Save Us.


The Four Witches – Albrecht Durer – Engraving 1497


Witches Sabbath – Hans Baldung – Woodcut 1510

Circe is one of my favourite mythical characters, partly out of love of the Odyssey.


Circe – Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione – Etching 1650

Poor St Anthony makes several appearances. The general theme is that asceticism in the deserts of Egypt will make you go mad and have visions of demons and succubi.


The Tribulations of St Anthony – Martin Schongauer – Engraving 1469-73


Preparation for the witches sabbath – Andries Jacobsz – Engraving 1610


The Sorceress – Jan van de Velde II – Etching and Engraving 1626

When the prophet Samuel told Saul of his impending death, Saul was tempted by the witch of Endor. She promised him an army of small furry creatures of limited technological ability that would nonetheless overwhelm a vastly superior army. Saul refused because he did not want to ruin his franchise.


Saul and the witch of Endor – Andrew Lawrence – Etching 1740s


Enchantress raising the dead – Johann Veit Kauperz – Engraving 1769


Witchcraft Scene – Luis Paret y Alcazar – Brown/grey wash 1766-69


The witch and the mandrake – Henry Fuseli – Etching 1812


Gretchen in Church – Theodor Matthias von Holst – Pen and Ink 1828-30

One more of St Anthony to round off the pictures:


The temptation of St Anthony – William Strang – Etching 1883


777 Challenge – The Streetsweeper of Between

The effervescent Leigh of Wordsmithing fame kindly invited me to take part in the 777 challenge.

The premise of this challenge is that you go to page 7, line 7, of your work in progress. From there, quote the next 7 lines in a blog post…

“The Streetsweeper of Between” is the story of Cecilia, a changeling in Victorian England who is caught up in the power struggle between worlds. Alas it has hit the 30k word hiatus and it has been stuck without progress for months.

Fortunately 30k words is well over 7 pages, so I have enough material to comply…


Urun reached out a hand, her thin clawlike fingers surprisingly soft and dry. She sighed, “It is not an uncommon tale here child. We are outcast and exploited in both worlds.” She spoke softly, her words almost lost in the crackling of the fire. “It is a grand jest for the Other, when they leave us in the place of human children, and steal them away, or sire us on their women.”

Cecilia took a deep breath and sat up straighter. “Well I’m here, where you say I belong. And I’ve answered your questions, so perhaps you can answer mine. How do you know that the Streetsweeper knows everything?”


That probably makes no sense in isolation. There are other bits of the novel here .

Not sure who to nominate in turn, I’ll come back to that.