Welcome to Dragonscale Clippings

Inside the mind of a writer...

My motto for 2012: Quality, not quantity

I am currently exploring the sensation of Sound...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Thank you ...

Thank you for following me here Dragonscale Clippings. 

I have now created a new blog for Clippings which you can find at 


I would love you to follow me there...

Friday, 8 June 2012

another small stone appearing at ...

I am very happy to announce that one of my small stones will be appearing at ahandfulofstones today. Please pop over and have a look. Let me know what you think!

Sound - 18

the high-pitched whine dropping to a drone as an areoplane emerges from dense cloud above the house

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sound - 17

the intermittent incredibly annoying high-pitched cheep of the smoke detector as its battery runs down
sounds like a demented sparrow who can only cheep once every 30 seconds

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wednesday Words - Gold Dust

Something a bit different for Wednesday Words. (I'm in the process of trying to move both my blogger accounts over to Wordpress and have limited time for creativity at the moment...)

Gold Dust Magazine have published a sonnet! Actually, I have to admit I've only ever written one sonnet in my entire life. They are very difficult to write and I have the greatest admiration for Shakespeare and people who write them because there is such a lot of skill involved.

Anyway, I wrote "A Sonnet To A Razor" a while ago for a competition, not realising that the judge was a man without a sense of humour. So the sonnet didn't even get a mention, let alone get placed...

I decided to try Gold Dust as they are a literary magazine and I would like to enter that genre. (I'm currently in the fantasy and science fiction genre, whilst dabbling in romance and thriller). So I was delighted that Gold Dust selected my sonnet to publish in issue 21.
The latest issue is out now and you can find more about it at Gold Dust

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sound - 16

moist munching as my partner eats my homemade fruit cake
silent laughter at the DIY website he's looking at
moist munching as more cake is consumed

Monday, 4 June 2012

Pure Haiku ...

Just to let you all know that I've moved my pure haiku site to


Please let me know what you think of the new look! And if you follow me there, it would be much appreciated.

Coming soon - new look and blogsite for Clippings as well...

Sound - 15

blinds rattling and billowing
making clattering noises that startle me from sleep
as the gale hits our shores

Friday, 1 June 2012

Sound - 14

wind shuddering through hedge and tree
sounds like the high sea in the woods on the hill above
incessant noise by invisible being

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sound - 13

continuous whirr of the computer's fan as we go through our multitude of photos
it's a mid-tone, half unnoticed until I feel relief in the silence when he turns the pc off

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Wednesday Words - Canyon Stones

I would like to introduce you all to Cynthia at canyonstones today.

Her blogsite is a mixture of words and images; beauty captured by camera and her imagination.

Her stones are calming and reflective and her poetry is always full of hope. Cynthia writes about real life and captures sensations and feelings in an intense, accessible way.

Here is a short poem that produced a feeling of calm in me earlier in the year...

cloud-gray rooftop
bathed in morning sunlight
under a sleeping dove


Visit her blog and see for yourself!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sound - 12

sweet-piercing call of the robin
drawing me from the kitchen or greenhouse
then liquid notes
still sad and yet joyful;
he's seen both sides of life

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sound - 11

muffled voices
blip of computer communicating with its slave
the TV chattering away to itself in the corner of the waiting room

Friday, 25 May 2012

Sound - 10

creaking of the washing line as the wind whips clothes around
the steady tick-tick-tick of plastic expanding in the hot sun
the droning buzz of bees, flies and wasps gathering nectar
a summer's daytime sounds

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sound - 9

the monotone drone of the neighbour's radio filters through double-glazing as he pretends to work in the garden and leaves the radio on by my hedge whilst fiddling around on the opposite side of his garden...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wednesday Words - my river of stones

This week I'd like you to meet Mavis Negroni, another small stoner that I met through

She has a beautiful blog site at myriverofstones Here you can read not only her small stones but her poetry also. Interspersed with her words are beautiful photographs.

This is truly a blog to make you slow down and notice real things. When I come back from reading her words and looking at the pictures, I am refreshed.

Here is one small stone that really spoke to me earlier this year...

i've hit a wall
do i go right or left?
this juncture,
i do not know the way.
both paths will offer something
worthy of my efforts.

To see the picture that accompanied these words, visit juncture

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sound - 8

the shrill shrieks of ill-behaved girls next door pierce shut window and door
why can't the parents control them?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Clippings #4 - more comments!

Nice new moody cover photo on Clippings #4. Is the herb sage? (Makes me think of that steamed pudding with onion, sage and bacon in the middle; very more-ish).

Particularly like moments 6 (weird how they can turn up so close like that) and 10 (with autumn already felt - so familiar).

Very evocative (atmospheric) opening to the excerpt. The whole is vividly alive, with Otta's experience in the glade of what seems to be an almost religious intensity. Great contrast between the concrete world, however beautiful it is in its autumnal shades, and the powerful presence without physical shape. Altogether tantalising. Nice poetry too! The repetition of "I am the one" has a mesmerizing effect, the all enveloping.

Dragon Wind and Grey Matter (back page) are good too.

These comments are from Penny Sylvester in England.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Poems in Dial 174 #89

Dial 174 has published my poem "Hope" in issue 89. And another poem, "Cosmic Riddles" was short listed in the U-Judge-It competition!

"Hope" is a series of rhyming couplets expressing hope in a number of ways. "Cosmic Riddles" are just that - riddles of cosmic dimensions.

If you would like to read the poems, please contact

john (dot) claypole (at) btinternet (dot) com

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sound - 7

the high drone of an areoplane as it descends through the air towards Gatwick many miles hence; don't dump your fuel in MY garden thank you!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Wednesday Words - My Small Stones

This week I'd like to introduce you to Inger-Marie. She has an amazing blogsite at My Small Stones

What I love about Inger's blog is the honesty and sheer real to life guts. Her words are inspiring and genuine. And her photographs are awesome!

Don't just take my word for it, hop over and take a look for yourself!

Here is an excerpt from one of her blogs that truly inspired me...
In that small, tantalizing moment when you realize
that the tiny flame is back in your heart,
you feel the familiar contentment,
and the relief of being out of the doldrums.

You know that the light is back in your life.
That is also truly a Most Beautiful Thing!

To view the accompanying photograph visit my most beautiful thing

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Sound - 6

chirp-rasp in a secret rhythm;
unseen insect calls
hidden in dry grass
cricket crys

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Sound - 5

irregular bang and knock as next door's builders take down old weather boards and replace with new

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Elfje by JulesPaige

Blackbird's call
Grabs my attention
- search for the cause

by JulesPaige/davh

I found this in the comments for Sound 4 - thank you Jules! A lovely gift!

Wednesday Words - Jules' Gem Stones

It's Wednesday again already and this week I'd like to introduce you to my friend JulesPaige.

She really does write jewels on the page...

Her main blog can be found at julesgemstones and it's a feast of small stones including a form I've only recently come across - the Dutch Elfje.

If you are short of time and need a few moments to relax and escape, I highly recommend her blog; it will help you focus and breathe normally, particularly if you feel stressed.

My favourite small stone of Jules' is still: -

The Samurai has sheathed his beloved sword
Perhaps he spends the day in careful meditation watching rain drops fall
Over his aging koi and into his private pond while he sits quietly unadorned
His fine battle garments and helmet set upon a fine display near an inner rice-paper wall
As the dull grey sky waits to be carefully opened – perhaps not at all this day

For more delights such as this please visit her blog site.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sound - 4

repetitive klaxon
a blackbird's call
warning of death in striped coat and soft feet
jarring call
that grabs my attention
makes me search for the cause
- cat!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Sound - 3

high-pitched repetitive call of an unseen bird near the house;

Sound - 2

harsh screams of hunting owls circling the house at night
across the valley the eerie call of a vixen echoes
darkness trembles

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Wednesday Words - Tagged!

Something a bit different for Wednesday Words this week...

In the last couple of months I've been both book and blog tagged as well as nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award again by four different people! So I'm going to amalgamate them all into one Tag.

Thank you to : -

Please visit their blogs - they are all different and inspiring!

First - The Rules
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 5 fun facts about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and create 5 more to ask the ones you tag.
4. Tag however many bloggers or books you wish.
5. Let them know they are tagged.

Facts About Me
1. I hear voices in my head - they help me write stories
2. I can't stand being around boring people
3. I like being by myself and reading...
4. I like making fruit cake
5. When I'm having a bad day I pretend I'm Dracomagan and scare people...

Answers (I've selected different questions from the 4 who tagged me)
1. Definitely the country - towns are too full of noise, people and traffic. I need peace and quiet and space to breathe and think.
2. Oh I would never drink tea or coffee - they're pure poison. I drink herbal tea and make my own from my garden.
3. The historical event I'd most like to see is the Resurrection.
4. My favourite movie is The Lord of The Rings.
5. Definitely barefoot - I like to be rooted in reality!

OK, now my questions to those I've tagged: -
1. What age were you when you first started writing?
2. Where would you like to be buried/cremated?
3. Do you think space is full of darkness or light? Why?
4. Do you believe the universe is random or do you think there is a great pattern? Why?
5. Do you think butter is bad for you? Why?

Sound - 1

ceaseless sighing sorrowful sounds of the endlessly rolling ocean;
hissing and tumbling, inhaling and pouring,
water on sand, water on stone

Monday, 30 April 2012

Scent - 30

sweet sugariness of chopped date mingled with bright tartness of kiwi
a sweet and piquant fruit pudding

Friday, 27 April 2012

Ends of the Earth....

I am so pleased! EOTE have published not just my musing and an abridged version of my review of "Better Off Dead" by Matt Rowe, but they've also printed my poem "Phantom"!

It is a sumptuous issue about Masks & Mirrors, viewed from all angles...

And my friends Claudia, Libby & JulesPaige also feature in this issue.

To find out more, visit EOTE Masks & Mirrors

I'm going to be offline for a few days but hope to be back in action mid-week. The scheduling for this blogsite has gone to pot (not ideal when I've been offline so much recently!) but at the moment, Pure Haiku seems to be working OK. So if you don't receive an email from Clippings, just hop over to Pure Haiku to see what I'm posting there!

Circle Spinner & Other Tales by Elizabeth Baxter

If you have a Kindle you may like to check out this collection of short stories by Elizabeth Baxter. Set in fantasy worlds conceived in Baxter's fertile imagination this is one to get if you enjoy exotic worlds and strong characters.

The Kindle version will be released on 29th April 2012. Don't miss out!

For more information, please visit Small Blonde Hippy

Scent - 24

evening dew tickles my nose, fills my throat with dampness
so quickly does the year turn

Scent - 23

nose running, oesophagus cleansing smell of chilli flaked heated, heating as I stir and cook con carne

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Being versus Doing...

I think I have been trying to do too much.

My motto for this year was supposed to be quality, not quantity...

But I feel as though I've been trying to cram too much in.

Life is meant to be lived, not crammed.

I am a human being, not a human doing.

I do too much doing and hardly any being.

And now all my scheduling for Clippings won’t work... Is someone somewhere saying something to me?

I think they might be...

So, what am I going to do about it?

I'm going to take some small steps towards feeling as though I have enough space in my head for everything that matters.

That means, not doing so much...

I'm still going to blog, because I enjoy it so much and meet such interesting and fascinating people.

But I won't maybe blog quite as much as I have been.

And for a couple of weeks I’m going to be on and offline so my posts won’t appear as regularly as they have been.

If you want to, you can pop over to PureHaiku and see what I'm doing there.

Here's to being!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wednesday Words - A Stream of Small Stones

Today's Wednesday Words is a stream of small stones by Claudia Messelodi. 

If you follow PureHaiku you will already have come across Claudia as she kindly allowed me to publish some of her haiku earlier this year. Her haiku also appear regularly at a handful of stones and recently she has had a collection of her poetry published in Italy as well as winning an award. 

If you haven't yet visited her blog, I would encourage you to. a stream of small stones is utterly delightful. Each haiku is perfectly composed and acts as a small stone, allowing the reader to pause, think and meditate. Claudia's observations are a delight to read and I love mulling over her phrases, lingering on the words she's chosen. 

Pop over and see for yourself!

One of my favourite haiku by Claudia is: -

Swirls of autumn leaves
the wind urge stirs up the hill;
scrawls on a blank page.

You can read more like this at  a stream of small stones and at PureHaiku

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My Most Beautiful Thing...

My most beautiful thing is light. 

I've only REALLY noticed light since moving into this little house on the side of a hill looking out over the undulating countryside that stretches south to the English Channel on the far horizon.  I noticed sunlight through trees and moonlight before but since I've been here...

It's the quality of light that impresses me. Here we are open to the prevailing wind and overhead the sky is huge. Even on a dull day there is light somewhere. When the clouds cluster thickly over our ridge sometimes the curtain lifts to reveal the flat silver sea on a winter's afternoon and I can see the hidden sunlight reflecting off the seemingly still surface of the Channel. 

And in the summer when the clouds clear, the sun pours out of the blue sky, raining heat upon the earth. The light is intense then, rich and vibrant; it's as if you could touch it with your hands... 

But at night, when the swelling moon lifts herself above the tree tops, the pale light drenches not only the ground but the air as well, making the familiar landscape a mystery....

Today I'm taking part in the My Most Beautiful Thing Blogsplash to celebrate beautiful things - inspired by Fiona Robyn's new novel, The Most Beautiful Thing. Bloggers from all over the world are taking part and writing or posting pictures of their most beautiful things today. Find out more here and see everyone else's blog posts here.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Scent - 19

that warm comforting smell of bread becoming toast beneath the grill
the paleness of homemade white bread slowly turning golden brown
below the red-hot grill lines
becoming crunchy and toasty

Scent - 20

the hot-house smell of tomato plants gorwn together in a small greenhouse
the scent encapsulates livingness, greennes and ripening

Friday, 20 April 2012

Scent - 18

freshly turned earth
moist, rich, kind of dusty
with an overtone of onion
where I've stepped on the chives

Scent - 17

the rich meaty scent of chicken and bean casserole;
meaty without actually being meaty
chicken flesh saturated with vegetable flavours

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wednesday Words - Wrensong

Today is Wednesday which means it's Wednesday Words day!

Today I would like to introduce you to Wrensong, an amazing writer. Her words are lyrical and honest, they flow from her pen like a stream in full spate. 

This excerpt is one of my favourite pieces she's written - Wandering

"Where am I going in such a hurry I should miss the flock of red breasted robins in the snow, or the mass of pink spring beauties blooming suddenly over the February grass?  Am I in such a rush for sleep I should fail to hear the soft petals of rain falling thru the cold night? ..."

Another beautiful piece of prose can be found here at Full Listening Moon

"The half moon was rising last week when I drove out to the Ozark hills for a few days of solitude in the woods. I went out to listen to the earth whose stories are slow and faithful. I went to find stillness and maybe to write if some words were given..."

Please visit her blog at Wild Soul and read her words for yourself.

Scent - 16

approaching rain; sudden gusts of cold-wetness brought to me on the south west wind
promising showers
interupting my precious garden time

Scent - 15

the harsh-sweet smell of vanish as I rub it gently into my fleece where the oil drops stained the pale, pink material
makes my nose itch!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Scent - 14

sweet-sharpness of a hot honey and lemon drink
richness of "bee jam" as my niece calls it
with the bitterness of lemon
a perfect combination

Scent - 13

artificial flower scent dries out my nostrils and throat
a clean smell but chemically laden
what damage is it doing to my body?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Better Off Dead - Free on Kindle!

For those of you with Kindles, you might be interested to know that Matt Rowe is offering his novel Better Off Dead free of charge on Amazon this weekend - 14th & 15th April.

What he says about this generous offer...

"'Better Off Dead' is free on Kindle this weekend (by the US EST). Remember that most smartphones have a free kindle app so download that and get a free book too.

Plus, if you tweet a pic of BOD on your kindle device, I'll gift you my next title when it's released. You can't say better than that."

If you would like to find out more, please visit BOD Event and mattcannotwrite

To find out more about the novel you can read my review either by scrolling down to the previous blog, clicking on Older Post or by visiting Review

Review of Better Off Dead

Better off Dead by Matthew Rowe

Reviewed by Freya Pickard

Reading Better Off Dead was a bit like getting on a roller-coaster ride.... Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

It's a riot of colourful characters and fast-paced action. Don't blink, because you'll miss something.

Better Off Dead is a young adult fantasy with hints of science fiction and totally different from anything else I have ever read!

What I enjoyed about Rowe’s writing was the freshness of his approach. His novel does not conform to what is commonly (and I believe mistakenly) considered “correct form of writing”. And for this I am grateful. I don’t like reading “samey” novels and I certainly have never read anything like this before.

His style is quirky and comical. He enables the reader to see things his characters see. He doesn't tell at all. He shows. And boy, there is a lot to show in this novel.
He does things to the vampire and werewolf myths that no-one else has even thought of yet. His heroes are, on the whole, despicable and the tale rattles along at break-neck speeds. But there's something about his heroes that keeps you reading, makes you want them to win and come out on top.

What stops this from becoming pure teenage fantasy, is the character of Kenempti. Hers is a fully rounded character (in all senses) as a woman–goddess in a world of sex-mad, cat-hating, blood-sucking and human-slaying maniacs. Kenempti is the character I enjoyed reading about most; she can't remember things, she is the reason why everything goes wrong, she falls in love, she gets captured and frees herself, she is willing to die in order to put the world to rights...
I also found Rameses, the main character, to be of great interest and as the story developed I found myself laughing more and more as I discovered WHY he hates cats so much. He has a very good reason indeed…
Rowe has a strong narrative voice and I enjoyed his quirky use of language; so refreshing after reading too many books by people who’ve attended creative writing courses. I also liked his observations on plot and story development through Sergeant Bob.

Totally mad and totally readable, this one is definitely going to be re-read many times. If you're feeling down, tired or depressed you need to read this; it will make you laugh. And even if you're feeling fine and happy, read it, it will make you even happier!

Probably not suitable for hardcore feminists or cat-lovers without a sense of humour.

You can buy Better Off Dead at

And Matt always welcomes visitors at his website mattcannotwrite

Scent - 12

clean, dry smell of washing flapping in a hot wind
breeze-scented, sun-warmed cleanness surrounds me

Scent - 11

sweetness lingering in the kitchen and dining room
firm dough baked slowly to produce
crumbly, sugar scented, melt-on-your-mouth

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wednesday Words - EOTE

Welcome to my second Wednesday Words!

Today I'd like to introduce you to EOTE. It stand for Ends of the Earth because it goes out all over the world. 

EOTE is a free 'zine aiming to promote emerging artists, writers, photographers, painters; anyone creative in fact! Each issue is different and offers beautiful pictures, intriguing poetry and an entertaining story. 

I want to promote this 'zine because I have had a fair amount of poetry published in it. The blogsite is quite new but it is definitely worth signing up for the 'zine which comes out in April, August and December. And in April's issue they have printed one of my musings...

Pop over and have a look and see what you think. (They're always looking for new people to promote...)


Scent - 10

fresh compost smelling of greenness despite its dark appearance
scenting what it has been;
food, tree, plant and wormery leavings

Scent - 9

ripe tomatoes slowly cooking down with garlic, basil and oregano to make a rich, tomato sauce
sweetness induces mouth-watering hunger

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles Giveaway - Winner Announced

Once again, I invited Dracomagan to select the winner for the Giveaway and once again, she got distracted. This time she had words with our neighbour who insists on playing his radio in his garden, very loudly. There seemed to be a lot of gesticulating with the giant potato peeler, so I'm waiting for a visit from the police...

However, Sir Peagreen was again on hand to randomly draw the winner's name out of a spare helmet and I am please to announce that the winner of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles is: -

Sue Bunting

Congratulations Sue! I have sent you an email requesting that you send me your address before midday on Thursday, 12th April. 

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in my second ever giveaway. It was, once again, a truly international giveaway - just take a look at all the comments  here

Due to work committments I'm taking a break from giveaways for now, but hope to have some more to promote in the autumn!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Comments on Clippings #4 from Linda Turner

Moments: I wish I could find the Paul Weller poem Ten Times Something Empty which had the same feel to this. Oh gosh, the hollow, beautiful lonelines he captures in that, which you manage too in this. Captivating depth of thought. Yours, I mean. 

The Kaerling; A really good choice of excerpt. The human emotions mingle in perfect harmony with the nature descriptions of where she is. The chant, as I would call it, slides in well into the pattern and feel of the narrative. And it finished at a very satisfactory point. 

Dragon Wind: What fabulous energy and vivacity this has. So effective in capturing the ferocity of the storm. 

Grey Matter: This has such dignity. I would in fact say, majesty. Such an unusual subject. Immediately attention-grabbing. Lovely. 

Aromatic Leaves: This is so sensually evocative that I could smell everything she describes. In fact, I nearly sneezed! What a beautiful background it is set against too. 

In fact, all the artwork is superb. Well done to all concerned. 

from Linda Turner

If you haven't yet read Clippings #4 please email me at
with Subscribe Clippings in the subject line

Scent - 8

hot sun on cut grass 
the fresh juices drying, dying
the scent of hay without the dust irritating me

Scent - 7

decaying corpse, rotting, waterlogged
not stagnant water but polluted by corruption
bloated flesh poisoning that which supports it

Friday, 6 April 2012

Giveaway ends today at midnight...!

Giveaway of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles by Elizabeth Leaper (Libby) ends today (6th April) at midnight, British Summer Time.

To enter the Giveaway please visit Giveaway  and follow the instructions.

To find out more about Libby you can read her blog tour at this site starting here

And to read my review of her book click here

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Golden Visions # 17 – A Review

My short story The Rusalka Ritual was published in issue 17 of Golden Visions Magazine in February this year. Beautiful produced and professionally finished this is a magazine to support. If you like fantastical tales (whether in the past, present or future) then you should seriously consider subscribing when they come back online in September 2012.

Easy to read with a whole range of styles and content. I spent several, very happy hours devouring the contents – mentally, not physically. From dark tales of childhood nightmares to an Ice Queen besotted by power, the subjects also included a modern day Castle Frankenstein, a dreamscape story and an intriguing tale of weight and chocolate…

My favourite story in this issue was Neptune Rising by Edmund Wells. It was hilarious right from the start, he draws pictures of his characters with amazingly few words and I got to know the protagonist immediately. The scenes were vivid and I’d even got the Australian accent before he used the word cobber. Loved the play on Norse legend which melded well with the futuristic setting. And as for David…! He was the perfect side-kick, or was he actually the main man? Perhaps Logan was the side-kick after all… Whichever, it was a rollicking good tale and my only criticism of it was that it ended too soon. Hey, maybe that’s not a crit after all!

If you’d like to read my story The Rusalka Ritual  please contact Golden Visions

Scent - 6

cleanness; lung piercingly strong, surfaces scrubbed with detergent and warm water
staleness gone

Scent - 5

heavy dew; fresh, moist, promise of sunshine later and heat to relax me
cold smell that hints at the mist over the marshes and autumn

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Only 2 days to go...

Only 2 days to go until the Giveaway of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles by Elizabeth Leaper (Libby) ends...

To enter the Giveaway please visit Giveaway  and follow the instructions.

To find out more about Libby you can read her blog tour at this site starting here

And to read my review of her book click here

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Wednesday Words - Pure Haiku

Wednesday Words is a new venture for me. Each week I am going to write a little bit about a blog / website that I enjoy reading and feel strongly that I should share with you. 

I'm going to cheat on this first Wednesday though and unashamedly publicise the other blog that I write; PureHaiku

I set PureHaiku up after my traditional (5-7-5) haiku were rejected by a magazine that specialised in haiku. The reason given for the rejection was that my haiku were too traditional. After I'd stopped laughing in disbelief I fell to thinking about this statement. If a haiku isn't traditional, shouldn't it be called something different? And if we let other forms of haiku supersede the traditional form, what happens to the skill of writing traditional haik?

Yes, traditional haiku are hard to write. That's the point! It's a discipline! So here we are; PureHaiku. What do you think of it?

Not only do I share my own haiku on this site but I also show case other people's haiku also, including Claudia Messelodi and JulesPaige. Pop over and have a look - let me know what you think of it!

Scent - 4

rain, cool and moist on the prevailing wind
high clouds threaten but do not release the promise
the wind increases, scent of rain grows stronger

Scent - 3

thick, musty, warm smell of gorwing tomato plants, leaves and stalks jumbled, jungle-like against the greenhouse glass

Monday, 2 April 2012

Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles...

Only 4 days to go until the Giveaway of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles by Elizabeth Leaper (Libby) ends...

To enter the Giveaway please visit Giveaway  and follow the instructions.

To find out more about Libby you can read her blog tour at this site starting here

And to read my review of her book click here

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Comments on Clippings #4 from Claudia & Jules

Thank you very much for the link for Clippings! I enjoyed reading it very much. I'm so glad you put my poem on the cover page!!!! I think the new look suits perfectly to the name of the 'zine, it's really lovely. Well done! I particularly loved Freya's excerpt about Otta: descriptions there are so thrilling, exciting and, I would say, highly involving, you feel in a sense emotionally captured and moved.

Claudia Messelodi

I really enjoyed reading the different pieces.


Want to read Clippings#4 for yourself? All you have to do is email Freya with Subscribe Clippings in the subject line. 

Scent - 2

that yeasty smell of feshly baked bread, a warm and comforting aroma that makes you feel as though you're being hugged

Scent - 1

salt wind harsh on the air, cracks my lips, fills my nose with brine, seaweed and dead fish scents

Friday, 30 March 2012

Review of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles...

Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles
by Elizabeth Leaper & Jack Williamson

Reviewed by Freya Pickard

This is a beautiful, eclectic collection of poetry.

The first half of the book contains Libby's poetry and the second half contains poems written by her uncle Jack Williamson. There is a wide variety of poetry within these pages ranging from blank verse to highly structured forms including a villanelle.

This is a book I will re-read again and again. Every time I dip into it there is something new to discover, even in my favourite poems that I have read many times now.

The themes are as varied as the styles employed by both writers but the overwhelming sense one receives is that these poets are rooted in the soil that bred them. There is a fertile quality about these poems that they appear to have drawn out of the land around them, using it to fuel their own creativity.

For me, rhythm and atmosphere are the important things when reading poetry. I do enjoying rhyming schemes but prefer to be surprised by rhymes, not to expect them. This collection provided me with great pleasure as there is nothing twee or predictable about any of the poetry.

For instance, the rhyming in Frost Art is all part of the sound and the vision: -

I used to greet with such delight,
after a cold and frosty night,
the fronds and ferns of filigree
that he had drawn exquisitely...

In contrast, On The Hill is written in blank verse but is as equally powerful in its rhythm and description:-

wind-angled, on the hill
the tree stands desolate...

Libby's mood fluctuates between playful (Indecision) and poking fun (Ladies Gym), observational (Winter Rain) and epic (Ondine and Immortal).

My favourite poems by Libby include Solstice and The Old Songs. Solstice is illustrated with a beautiful pencil drawing of Stonehenge and when I read the poem it summed up my thoughts and feelings on the one occasion I have visited that ancient place.

In their timeless circle
the ancient stones once more mark
the passing of the seasons.
All is well.

The Old Songs struck a chord with me because the poem reminded me of that song in The Two Towers that the Rohirrim sing, Where now the horse the rider...? This poem contains a similar yearning and longing for the past, for something irretrievably lost.

Who will sing of the salmon
that leaps in the clear waters?
Who will sing of the hawk on the wing?

Sorrowful and inspiring this is one celtic type poem I return to again and again.

I want to review every single poem in the book but space and time prevents me here. I want now to talk about Jack Williamson's poetry.

Jack's poetry is subtly different to Libby's but there are many similarities in themes. His poetry has a sterner feel, but that's not to say it's not enjoyable to read. It is! It's as if he is confiding his deepest, darkest thoughts sometimes in his poetry. His use of words indicates an older generation to that of mine, one that knew how to use language correctly.

My favourite poems by Jack are Birch Trees and Lindow Man.

In Birch Trees the rhythm carries you along, the words are crisp and clear, painting vivid pictures. I particularly liked "Frondle trails of leafy green" and "Are tingle-teased by a fresh spring, Early morning breeze". The second stanza is full of motion and destrution leaving the last stanza to restore the peaceful landscape, describing it as "Tall white masts lying at anchor, On a neap tide of evening sylphid mist." This is one that evokes a real scene in mind's eye whenever I read it.

Lindow Man is a lush riot of description. I just love the way Jack describes things without even necessarily naming them. For instance, "a half Dozen hummocks of contentment, thoughtfully Chewing the cud in dumb doe-eyed bliss". In this poem the reader is taken from the "hard flint-eyed road with its sureness of arrival" to a "soft wandering way" that weaves through hedges, meadows, herds of cows, past flowering hawthorn. All the way you see and smell what the poet experiences and he even takes you into his memories of "Family Sunday visits to Grandad's lamplit cottage" and at the end he recalls the "fairy tales and misty legends" and the dead man who lay hidden until he reappeared as "a cameo of his time."

I have only mentioned a handful of the inspirational poems in this beautiful collection. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading and wants to be inspired.

Don't forget that the Giveaway of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles ends at midnight on 6th April 2012 British Summer Time. To be in with a chance of winning a copy for yourself, follow the instructions giveaway-ccgb

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Recent Blog Tours and Reviews...

A huge thank you to Matt, Katie and Libby for participating in this month's blog tours here at Clippings. And a huge thank you to all my followers who read / commented / enjoyed the tours!

In case you've missed out on any of the blog tours or are new to Clippings, you can find the three blog tours here: - 

You can read my reviews of Better Off Dead and Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles at Goodreads: -

Better Off Dead 

And if you need further encouragement to buy BOD, read what Matt Rowe has to say about it here at Goodreads

Collecting Cobwebs 

Katie Wood's book Girls for God is due to be reprinted at the end of April 2012 and you can find reviews of it here

Don't forget that Libby's giveway of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles will end at midnight on 6th April 2012. Click here to be in with a chance to win a free copy!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Better Off Dead Giveaway - Winners Announced

Thank you to everyone who entered the Giveaway for Better Off Dead. 

All the names were put into a helmet and Dracomagan was meant to draw out the winners. But she got bored and went off down the garden to look for dragons... So in the end it was Sir Peagreen who drew the names out of a spare helmet. 

As no-one entered their name for the Kindle, there will now be only 2 prize winners and they are...

Inger-M - has won a paperback copy of Better Off Dead
Ruty - has won a copy of the artwork for Better Off Dead

Congratulations to you both! Both winners now have 48 hours in which to let me know their postal addresses. 

Don't forget that a new giveaway is currently running and you can find the details of how to enter  here

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Giveaway for Better Off Dead has now closed...

Just to let you all know that the Giveaway for Better Off Dead by Matthew Rowe has now closed. 

Any comments made with regard to BOD and the Giveaway will now no longer be counted, but at least you haven't wasted your money on an expensive phonecall! (Sorry, couldn't resist taking the mickey out of all those public voted competition programmes that are like a rash on British TV...)

The winners will be announced this week...

Feel you've missed out? Don't worry! A new Giveaway has already begun and will run until 6th April. If you'd like to win a copy of Libby's collection of poetry click here and follow the instructions.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Better Off Dead Giveaway ends at midnight...

Don't forget that the Giveaway of Matt Rowe's novel Better Off Dead ends tonight at midnight. 

To enter the Giveaway and be in with a chance of winning: -
  • the paperback version
  • a kindle version
  • signed artwork

Please visit BOD Giveaway

A Small Stone...

One of my small stones appeared at a handful of stones yesterday!

What did you think of it?

Day 5 - Giveaway & excerpts from Elizabeth Leaper's writing...



Starting today, Libby is giving away a free copy of "Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles."

This is an international giveaway and runs from 23rd March 2012 until midnight on 6th April 2012.

If you would like to win a copy of her book, please follow these instructions: -
1 - Follow this site (Dragonscale Clippings)
2 - Leave me a message / comment on this site mentioning CCGB
3 - In the same message, leave me a way of contacting you eg a blog or web site where I can easily find your contact details.

Once the winner is selected I will contact them and they will have 48 hours in which to respond to me, providing a postal address. If, after 48 hours have passed, the selected winner has not responded to me, I will select a new winner. 

The winner will be announced during the week commencing 9th April 2012. 

To tempt you further, here are some extracts from Libby's published poetry...

Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles

Extracts from poetry by Libby
How I long to see again
the pictures Jack Frost used to draw
on my window pane.
I used to greet with such delight,
after a cold and frosty night,
the fronds and ferns of filigree
that he had drawn exquisitely……..
……..With a forked twig
we twisted round and round,
gathering in the cobwebs like a skein of silk,
first one, then the next, and the next…..

...Those buttons
are all that I remember of the man.
conker-brown and made of leather,
woven like a turks-head knot….

Extracts from poetry by Jack Williamson

I watch a workman build a wall
With stone strewn by a quarry blast.
To me they seemed to ill disposed,
Last remnants of some holcaust…..

….Up here on the mountain there is truth.
Sweet unfettered winds of honesty blow
Across purple tremulous heather, ……

                        …….cornfields stripped and left
Bristling with anticipation for the first
Sensual stroke of the ardent plough,……..

Barking At Nothing (all by Elizabeth Leaper)

……..The Farmer asked if I’d like to see
The pig before I have my tea.
Quick as a shot I said ‘Yes’,
In my lovely pale pink dress.
There was the pig as clean as a pin,
In his lovely pale pink skin
That matched with me in my Sunday Best,
My lovely pale pink dress……….

…..His Dad would hold him on,
Push him round the park,
Gripping on the saddle
Till it was getting dark,
But every time his Dad let go
And dropped behind he found
That he still wobbled over
And – wallop – hit the ground.

…They dig it up from where it’s found
In sticky globules underground,
They refine it and they ladle it
Into jars and label it,
And happily they’ll show you round…….

...Like a scene from Fairyland
The frost hangs on the trees
And decorates the branches
With feathered crystal leaves...
The following excerpt is from a poem that appears in both books:

...The mermaid sat on the high granite rock
Combing her long golden hair
And sighed as she thought of her long-lost love –
A man who breathed in the air……….
……She watched him swim back to the beach through the surf,
Then he turned and waved her farewell
And she knew that she’d never see him again.
Her heart broke as the salty tears fell………

Thank you for joining Libby this week here at Dragonscale Clippings!  

You can read my review of Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles here at  Goodreads

If you would like to read more of her work, please visit Libby You can also read one of her poems in my 'zine Clippings #4. If you would like to receive this 'zine, please contact me.

To buy her book please visit Silverburn Publishing

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Day 4 - More about Elizabeth Leaper...

If you could spend a day with anyone, living or dead, real or fictitious, who would it be?
While I can think of many real people, both dead and alive who it would be interesting to meet – such as Martin Luther King, Lawrence of Arabia, Ghandi, Sir David Attenborough to name but a few – I think that if I did meet them my brain would turn to jelly and I would be unable to think of anything sensible to say to them. I would probably also find them to be very different in person from what I would expect. Far safer to spend a day with a fictitious character, you know where you are then and they would be exactly as you expect. If I must choose someone I think I would choose Ellis Peters’ Cadfael. He seems a most likeable character, worldly wise for a monk, dependable and trust-worthy, knowledgeable with a great sense of justice and attention to detail and not easily swayed by others' prejudices. I would ask him about his time in the crusades and his knowledge of herbal remedies. I think it would be a most rewarding day.

What are the worst/best jobs you’ve ever had?
I don’t think I have ever had a bad job but I have had jobs where I have felt slightly inadequate. When I left school I first trained as a Secretary before going on to Teacher Training College. While at college I worked as a ‘Temp’. I had learnt to type on old-fashioned typewriters where you really had to press the keys quite hard. One of my first temping jobs was at an electrical appliance factory and I had to walk the length of the shop floor to get to my office. For a shy, self-conscious young girl this was quite an ordeal with the inevitable wolf-whistles, then, when I got into the office I found that I had to use an electric typewriter for the first time in my life. I touched the keys and got a long line all of the same letter. I had to learn very quickly to lighten my touch. Other temping jobs required me to use things like Fax machines that I had never been taught to use. Most of these jobs required me to learn new skills pretty quickly.

My best job is one I really don’t think of as a job at all, and this is the many years that I spent with the day-to-day responsibility for our small-holding where at various times we kept goats and chickens, pigs, sheep, horses and ponies and also grew organic vegetables to Soil Association standards. There is nothing to compare with sitting on a bale of straw in the lambing shed in the middle of a cold winter’s night watching the new born lambs with their mothers, listening to the chewing of hay, the gentle bleats of lambs, the ewes nickering replies, with the warmth of their breath and the steam rising from their woolly coats. Most of our lambing was done out in the open but, especially on very cold nights, the new family were immediately brought into a pen in the barn to make sure all was well.

What’s your favourite music?
Oh dear, a hard question as I don’t really have a favourite type of music. Depending on my mood I listen to most things. I enjoy the pop music I grew up with; The Beatles, Abba, Simon and Garfunkel, The Carpenters, The Beach Boys and so on.  I also enjoy the music my children introduced me to as they grew up, even including some heavy metal, but I also enjoy real oldies. My mother sang in a choir, my sister is a music teacher and I play around on the flute and piano so music has always been a part of my life. I tend to like specific songs and tunes rather than particular acts and I am fond of classical music and easy listening, especially in the evening and I like folk and country and western now and again as well as the rhythms of jazz, rap and drumming.  To sum up I prefer a recognisable tune that is well performed, I can’t stand unmusical noise posing as music.

What’s your favourite TV programme?
Another hard question. There seems to be so much rubbish on the television I don’t actually watch a great deal – it seems so dumbed down. I enjoy a good costume drama, adaptations of classic novels and so on. I like detective programmes as long as there is not too much blood and gore – a good Agatha Christie tale for example or things like Morse, Lewis, Frost, Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War etc. I also enjoy a good documentary, especially to do with science, history or the natural world, though even these seem exceptionally dumbed down at times, extending the programme unnecessarily by repeating the same information over and over. The commercial channels are the worst as after each Ad break they seem to think it necessary to give you a resume of the previous section as if you couldn’t possibly have retained the information in that five-minute break. I can’t stand soaps or so-called ‘reality TV’ and can’t understand how people get so gripped by them. I abhor the cult of celebrity and the way people can become famous simply for appearing on ‘Big Brother’ (which, along with ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’, I have never watched). I don’t watch things like ‘The X Factor’ though I will admit to enjoying ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Dancing On Ice’ for their relaxing entertainment value.

What’s your favourite food?
Oh dear, favourites again, I just don’t have favourites. Food is something I eat to stay alive. I prefer good plain English food although the occasional Chinese or Italian meal is nice. Neither my husband nor I are very fond of spicy foods and he won’t eat anything with peppers in, I also have to go easy on the garlic or not let on that I have used it. Nothing can better a nice salad on a hot summer’s day, followed by fresh fruit and cream.

Five words to describe yourself.
Truthfully? How about – private, disorganised, procrastinating, day-dreaming, perfectionist – I think that about sums it up! (Or is that six?)

Tomorrow Libby will be giving away a copy of Collecting Cobwebs. If you would like to read more of her work, please visit Libby To buy her book please visit Silverburn Publishing

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Day 3 - Why Write Small Stones?

When Freya asked me to write a blog post for today she suggested I write about small stones and that set me to thinking about why I enjoy writing them. It is a real pleasure to be here as I have enjoyed Freya’s own small stones every since I first came across this blog, attracted by the intriguing name, over a year ago.

So first of all, what is a small stone? Well basically it is an observation, a moment of awareness captured, condensed and polished into a few words. I like to define it as something short enough to physically fit on a small stone, though some may turn out to be a tight fit and require a stone of larger proportions!

I came across them first when I discovered Fiona’s blog “A Small Stone” at http://asmallstone.com/ and it’s companion blog “A Handful of Stones” at http://ahandfullofstones.com/.  When Fiona instigated the first January challenge, to write a small stone every day for a month I decided to join in the fun, so I set up my own blog “By The Wobbly Dum-Dum Tree” at http://bythewobblydumdumtree.wordpress.com/, joined The River (http://ariverofstones.blogspot.com/) and I have been writing a daily stone pretty well every day ever since.

I think of writing small stones as being rather like a musician practising their scales (though I have to say, having practised scales, that writing small stones is considerably less boring). Writers need to be looking all the time to find original ways of describing every-day happenings. Small stones are a wonderful way of doing this; they are short, to the point and don’t take very long to write, although they can sometimes be elusive and hard to find. Whether you find your stones along the way, as Fiona suggests, or by daily observations from your porch (see Dave Bonta’s blog “The Morning Porch” at http://morningporch.com/) is not important.

The trick is not to feel guilty if you can’t find one, don’t try too hard and you might find something will just jump up and grab you. There are many times when I have given up on finding one only for one to find me when I have gone off to do something else. Don’t expect every small stone you write to be a perfect little gem, it probably won’t be but it doesn’t matter. When you do find one that you are really pleased with, enjoy the moment.

To me, writing small stones is a rewarding daily exercise. There are of course other things one can do to serve the same purpose. Many writers like to write ‘Daily Pages’ and this is something I also used to do. Unfortunately, over time I found this exercise was just not helping my creativity; it was time for a break. Once I began writing stones I discovered a more creative means of expression so I gave up on the pages. If they work for you all well and good and I don’t rule out returning to them one day.

There are, of course, many simple exercises recommended to help your creativity, but for me nothing quite matches up to writing small stones. They are more than just an exercise, they lift you up into the poetic, speak to your soul.

There are no rules on how to write them, but if you want some hints on how to go about it check out http://wtitingourwayhome.com/p/small-stones.html. Small stones can take any form, prose, short poems, free verse or recognised poetic forms such as Haiku (see Freya’s Pure Haiku blog at http://purehaiku.blogspot.com/) or even Limericks. They can be on any subject you wish. If you so choose they can drift off into the realms of fantasy or even horror, they can be serious or amusing. All sorts of small stones are out there just waiting to be found.

One of the best aspects of writing small stones is sharing them with others. By writing your small stones on a blog such as this, or at the “Writing Our Way Home” Forum (http://writingourwayhome.ning.com/), on Facebook or on Twitter, you become part of the friendly small stone writing community where you will find there are many others also polishing their daily stones.

Reading the stones that other people have written is an additional bonus as I notice how they have treated a similar subject. Their interpretation and the imagery they use helps to open my mind, provide other ways of seeing things and inspire my own creativity. Once I have posted my own stone for the day I usually try to spend some time visiting other people’s blogs and reading their stones.

Check out some of the links I have included here to enjoy some of these little gems. There are far too many other interesting blogs to list, but on my own “Wobbly Dum-Dum Tree” blog I have a page dedicated to such links. By checking out these sites you will find still more links to investigate. To start you off try “A Stream of Small Stones” (http://claudiastones.blogspot.com/),  “Trail Mix” (http://jeanstrailmix.blogspot.com/), or “a gnarled oak” (http://gnarledoak.org/), maybe you’ll discover one or two that you haven’t looked at before and find that they ‘speak’ to you.

Writing small stones is addictive; it is my guilty pleasure and far less fattening than chocolate. If you are not already doing so, why not come and join the fun?

Tomorrow you can find out a bit more about Libby and at the end of the week she will be giving away a copy of Collecting Cobwebs. If you would like to read more of her work, please visit Libby To buy her book please visit Silverburn Publishing