Directly to my left is a wrought Iron, wall mounted candle sconce, the design is Celtic arched at the top with swirling patterns of intertwining herons,snakes and Celtic knots above two curved dishes, which hold two large cream candles. Sadly those candles, wide still at the base have burned often as I sit writing on dark winters nights and so have become squat and ruffled only a couple of inches above the dishes. There is a matching set further back into the room and just in front of the window but I cannot see them from where I sit facing the screen.

I often sit here on dark winter's nights on my black fake leather computer chair facing my black desk and black keyboard writing dark tales with only the candles in the sconces to see by. The flickering light, the wind howling and the north Atlantic ocean thundering in distance. I rarely turn to see the roughly chalked pentacle on the floor behind me or the salt heaped at each pinnacle, I am not sure that I wish to see what is taking shape in the centre. Rather, I stand, forcing myself to ignore the rude and demented noises behind me and walk to each of the candle sconces blowing each out, the smoke, paraffin and stench from the circle rancid. Closing the door to the nice I walk the short hallway to my bedroom and there weep.


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I loved animal characters as a child. Flicka, Even though I am allergic to horses. Buck and white fang from Jack London, Hazel from watership down, Shardick the polar bear, ring of bright water etc.

As I grew I left all those tales behind and started writing my own few of which involved animals in any but the most cursory of ways. Then just two years ago I thought some of my stories and books were becoming rather samey, formulaic and I had always prided myself on originality. Still making me money and not copies but common themes and ideas. I asked a few author friends about this and one suggested writing something that was totally against type and the farthest thing from my wheelhouse I could think of was Fables. So I started writing of philosophical goats who worshiped the god of farming only to forget who he was, Stoats scenting prey on the wind but deciding that their lives could be better spent stargazing, Moon children (a large vole) who wished to see and understand the world and ants that thought the Ivy they lived on was the world. Best thing that I could ever have done, it revitalized me.

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It is very easy to just "enjoy" a Terry Pratchett novel. The general mayhem and giggles hiding a deeper truth. I have read most of Mr Pratchett's novels and enjoyed almost every one. This, one of later novels, darker than most but still clever and enthralling gave me pause to recall all the good things about them. When you put aside the good nature, the enjoyment, the silly asides and the overall bewilderment you remember why "Terry" of all comedy fiction writers holds such high esteem among readers. He could really write, pulling you from horror to hilarity in a paragraph, this novel is another classic. Dark, dreadful, deliberate and deliriously funny. Another cracker in Terry's tin.

What a great writer.


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