My Amazon Author Page

Find my Amazon author page via this link

"A Scottish Wind in the Willows on high end skunk."

"I enjoy Kate's stories..."
"A fun and spooky read..."

"The characters are so involving and
loveable that you do want them to really exist. It does read like you've
stumbled across someone's long lost diary from and alternate timeline/universe.
I quickly got into the story and loved every second of reading it...
total gem of a read by an author who deserves a lot more recognition."


SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE TO FIND LINKS TO ALL FOUR BOOKS

Monday, 31 December 2012

My Year on the Blog

.....started off badly, and has improved, steadily, since.

I didn't think I could do it - didn't think I wanted to do it - but I've got my head back into Rocky Outcrop mode, which is a reassuring place to be.

Aims for 2013?  To stay alive, mainly, and, hopefully, well.  And to find some form of writing-related "income generation", no matter how minor.

I hope to grow some leeks this year, and I'd like a different car.

Resolutions? None. 

Thank you to all who have purchased my books.  I hope you enjoyed them.  I hope to produce more, in due course.



That is all.

Monday, 24 December 2012

I Believe in Father Christmas



Terrible sound quality, but it is the original version.

Wishing all blog readers, past, present, and future, a merry, magical Christmas - and a Brave New Year.

"May all anguish, pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear."

Friday, 21 December 2012

Jethro Tull Rare Promo Vid for Solstice bells 1976



I blog this every year - because it's my favourite.  Happy Solstice!  light a gigantic fire, mull some ale, roast someone you don't like on a spit....rejoice, at the returning of the sun!
Beats going to Markies.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Interview (the only COMPLETE version)



Hadn't seen this before.  I don't like the recent spin-offs, devised by other people - just doesn't seem right, at all.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012

Quote of the day: from TS Eliot's The Journey of the Magi

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey,  and such a long journey:
The ways deep, and the weather sharp,
winter 7/12/12 by sea penguin
The very dead of winter.'

Thursday, 6 December 2012

winter walk 5.12.12 by sea penguin

winter walk 5.12.12 by sea penguin

I nearly get crushed by a ceiling in the Starship BUM

.....the ceiling appeared to be patterned by a series of black and white dots, which, as the whole thing descended with a hideous metallic clanking and grinding, I recognised as tiny newsprint.
I glanced to my right.   The hand-written sign "Arrivals Lownge" and the portrait it concealed were vanishing with a splintering of wood and glass.
I glanced upwards again.  I could now decipher the letters.
There were only three, repeated in a relentless pattern that had a strangely dazzling, yet hypnotic effect on my eyes. BUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMB
BUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMB
BUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUMBUM
Despite my appalling predicament viz a viz the ceiling that was about to flatten me into some kind of awful Spam, and although I sensed that I'd be saved if only I could find out what BUM meant, or stood for,  I felt my eyes grow heavy and the idea of having forty or indeed fifty winks became irresistible.....
"Tuppy!  TUPPY!  WAKE UP!"
"Wh-what?"  I muttered thickly, "Oh good!  has this all been a horrible dream, after me having over-eaten my supper-time cheese on toast again?  Am I really at home, by my own fireside, tucked up by a roaring blaze with my favourite rather smelly but cosy tartan knee-rug and a glass of steaming Madeira? Pass me the Black Bogey and a - "
"No," snapped Geoffrey ,(for it was he), " It's all true, and real, and here I am, come to rescue you.  I managed to wedge the space doors open with a crowbar and hacksaw my way into the Arrivals Lownge -  if you're quick - "
"Geoffrey!" I sobbed.
"No time for that now," said Geofrey crisply. "I know you're naked, and shocked and everything, and I know this isn't your particular forte, but Keep it Together Tuppy.  Come on - follow me."

But to where - and how?  And where was Tuppence, the cause of my doom?  And what did BUM stand for?  More Later.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Link to article on Saturn.

Here's a link to an article I just saw on Saturn - happy coincidence! http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2012/11/26/saturn_and_its_moon_tethys_in_a_cassini_picture_of_the_planet_and_its_rings.html

A Tight One on Titan, and the Perils of Moon-o-centricity

Who knew?
Geoffrey and I are in the same section of the solar system after all.  Not only that - we're on the same ring!
It only goes to show that you can't make assumptions about where you really are in life. For example, I assumed that because I was on a Moon that it was THE Moon.  Our familiar companion on silent, frosty midnights.  A pale, slender sickle, a silvery gleam, a reminder of darkness on an indigo summer evening.  A sudden light as the wind blows the clouds away in an equinoctial gale, and ships toil across a stormy sea.
How wrong could I be?
No. I'm on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.  Not to be outdone, Geoffrey's also on a moon of Saturn. Or rather, a "moonlet".  He's not on a ring, after all.
Or rather I was, and he was. We've been rescued, and are now - well, more of that later.
"Saturn's rings are made of dust particles and gas Uncle Tuppy.  I read it in the Tupfinder General's Giant Book of Useful Knowledge, which he lent me when I was recovering from my latest dose of 'flu," said Tuppence as he circled me in his space rocket. "You can't possibly sit on them.  You'd fall through."
"Tuppence!  But how did you know we were here?"
"The Tupfinder General happened to be watching for smugglers through his hi-powered telescope at the exact moment you were sneezed out of Kevin Bacon's nose. He saw you as you were blasted into the stratosphere, out of the Earth's atmosphere and indeed orbit.  He said the screaming was terrible and he'll never forget it. After a quick cup of tea, a pipeful of Black Bogey, a brief snooze, a read of the paper and a plate of korn bif sandwiches to revive himself, he flew into action and sent word to me via the heliograph to fire up my rocket toot sweet and head for Saturn with a knee rug and a flask of Madeira.  And here I am!"
"Never mind all that. Do you have the medical chest?" I asked urgently, as my nephew "looped the loop" and fired a salvo from the Bren gun he had fitted to the front of the rocket.
"Ha ha ha!" he laughed, as the "moonlet" on which Geoffrey had been perched was blown to smithereens. "That's for me to know and you to wonder!"
"Nooooo!" I wailed, as Geoffrey plummeted Saturn-wards.
"Why isn't he flying uncle Tuppy?" cried Tuppence, coming to his senses.
"His wings were welded shut by the G force when we were blasted out of Kevin's nose," I snapped.  "I'm surprised the Tupfinder General failed to inform you of that part.  Do something, Tuppence!"
Luckily Geoffrey's wings fluttered into life just in time, and he landed beside me on Titan.  Tuppence threw us a line and, using a mechanical winch, he hauled me on board.
"Good grief Uncle Tuppy.  Even without your fleece you weigh, well, a bit much actually. I haven't allowed for that in my calculations."
"What calculations?" I demanded.
"My time-space continuum calculations.  Essential to our safe return.  We could run out of fuel before we reach home due to the excess weight.  Sorry Uncle Tuppy.  Sheep overboard!"
And with that, a trap door flipped opened beneath me and I dropped into the bottomless pit of Space.
Well, nearly.  Just as the trap door snapped shut I managed to grab hold of the outside handle, and here I still am - clinging on for dear life as Tuppence steers for home.  He keeps looping the loop in an effort to get rid of me but to no avail.  I can hear the engine struggling a bit and I know that I'm threatening the lives of my companions, but I don't care.  All I want is to get home and put my feet up in front of a blazing fire with a massive mug of steaming Madeira and quite possibly a couple of opium tabloids to take the edge off after this humungous ordeal.
Geoffrey's peering at me anxiously from the tiny triangular window - he's just written - "HANG ON TUPY" on the steamed-up glass.

More later.......

(If you like the Tuppy & Geoffrey stories, there are many more in e-book form which you can find here on my Amazon page via this link)



Sunday, 25 November 2012

I'm spinning in the Void and Geoffrey's stuck on Saturn's Ring - but which one?

It's not nice on the moon.  It's cold and there's nothing to eat.  I thought the Moon was made of cheese - it's not.  It's solid rock.  It's even harder than one of Granny Sooker's Rock Buns - and that's Hard.
I'm all alone and there's no-one to moan to, except myself.  Oh for my tartan knee rug and a hot steaming mug of Madeira partaken in front of a roaring driftwood fire.  Maybe a few packets of Doritos and a pipeful of - oh what's the point if I'm all alone.  Where oh where is Geoffrey?
"GEOFFREY!!!" I shrieked, into the ghastly void.
There was no response.  Of course there wasn't.  I was all alone on the dark side of the Moon, spinning like an unlighted lamp in the chilling blackness of the -
"TUPPY!  It's me - Geoffrey - I'm Over Here!"
"Over WHERE?"  I choked back my sobs and sat up.  Geoffrey's voice echoed as if from a great distance. 
"I'm stuck on Saturn's ring.  I've been here for ages and I can't get the frig off.  My wings were welded shut by the G Force when we got sneezed out of Kevin Bacon's nose. Do something Tuppy. I'm frightened."
Saturn's ring? But surely Saturn has more than one ring? I remembered that from one All Hallow's Eve, when the Tupfinder General gave us one of his unforgettable mind-expansion lectures instead of allowing us out guising. "You're just doing it for the sweets Tuppy. Besides, there's an upper age limit for guising and you passed it eons ago. "
"Who says?" I argued.  But I knew he was right. Hereabouts, if you grow taller than the fourth branch of the third rowan tree on the right as you head north south north on the clifftop path, you can no longer "Guise".  In fact, you can no longer do quite a few things, but that's another story. 
"Which ring are you stuck on, Geoffrey?" I shouted, knowing full well that it was pointless to ask because even if we could identify the ring, I had no means of getting there.

More later...............

Friday, 23 November 2012

"Tuppy?"
"WHAT????" I bellowed, hands on hips. "HONestly Geoffrey. Can't you shut up for five minutes?  Or is it Too Much to Ask?"  I whined the last bit in the whiniest voice I could manage.
"Bit tetchy aren't you?"
the moon by sea penguin
"Sorry Geoffrey. But wouldn't you be tetchy if you'd been stuck up Kevin Bacon's nose for thirty three years (see previous posts)?"
"I HAVE been stuck up his nose for thirty three years.  I've been right here next to you."
Geoffrey's my best friend in all the world, but sometimes he can be a right pain in the -
"ATISHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
And we were out. Free at last!
The blast of Kevin's sneeze was so powerful that we found ourselves launched into space.  For a few blissful light years we flew through the stars, blinded by tears of wonder and relief, hand in hand, or rather,  hoof in webbed foot. 
"Geoffrey! Look!  It's all so - so - marvellous...."
However, it didn't last.  The G force wrenched off my fleece and before I could say "footloose and fancy free" I found myself naked and shivering and alone.......on the Moon.......
But was I on the dark side, or the bright side, and where on earth is Geoffrey?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

I'm having a bit of a think about what to do with the blog (this one).  I want to keep the focus on the Rocky Outcrop characters for now, and the e-books that feature them.   So, I've archived recent posts.  But I also like to have somewhere to ramble on, about various things such as what books I'm reading.  I'm unsure if I should do that here (she rambles) or just keep it Rocky Outcrop specific.
I'm also on the verge of starting another Rocky Outcrop Tale, featuring Tuppy, Geoffrey, Tuppence, the Tupfinder General et al, with more illustrations by Barry, but I haven't yet decided whether or not to blog it.
Hmm...

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Old Asylum, part something or other. Bein' Deid's Barry Fun...

"Bein' deid's barry fun then, is it?" asked Stinkin' Maggie.
"Nobody has used that word since 1982," sneered corpse one.
"Weel it's rare fun then. Wicked fun, yeah?" she offered hopefully.
The three corpses rolled their dead eyes, which then fell out of their respective sockets and landed on the smoking ruins of the old asylum with a horrid splatting kind of noise.
Then they opened their cavernous mouths and let out a ghastly RAOAOAOAOAOAOAOARR!!!!!  The accompanying foul blast of breath was so powerful that it lifted Stinkin' Maggie into the air, and transported her back to the Black Hut, where Granny Mack waited patiently with a loaded shotgun, filling her time by biting the heads off kittens and spitting then into a pot for soup, while thinking up her latest homily with which to slowly but relentlessly bore her victims to death.
"Keep calm and...no, done that. If life gives you lemons...nope, done that too. If your glass looks half empty, cheer the fork up and pour yourself another...hmmmm...not quite there....It takes ninety five muscles to smile, and only one to frown...hmmm..noooo.....it's not what happens to you in life, it's how you deal with it....no, even I don't believe that...."
"STO-O-O-OP!!" shrieked Stinkin' Maggie, "I can't take any more positivity! Take me back to the dark lands where the spirits go...."
"All in good time, O Stinkin' One...now where was I? Oh yes. If you're down in the dumps, bake a cake! even better - a few hedgehogs.  Erm... what else? Have some Me-time...yes."
"SHUT UP!"
"Hark at you! Nobody's asking you to listen."
"Could you just help me get my leg out of the chimney stack then, and I'll be on my way?  thank you."

more later

 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Sea Penguin Tall Tales Part 9 002.AVI



The 9th reading from my e-books.  This only the tip of the 100,000 word iceberg.  I'd like to improve them, so I'm going to have to invest in a better camera, or maybe branch out and use my "webcam".  *gulp*

Friday, 12 October 2012

blaven isle of skye by sea penguin

dead tree st bride's church by sea penguin
 
Blaven sky-line, and a dead tree growing on St Bride's church wall, Isle of Skye.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

#Sod the lot of U,
I'm avvin a fag
Sod the lot of U
I'm avvin a drag#

(repeat ad nauseam)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Five star review on Amazon

detail from sea penguin painting by barry nicol all rights reserved
A five star review has just appeared on Amazon.com for the first of my series of four e-books. 
"...you can even smell salt of the Sea of the Hebrides..."

(No, it's not been written by a friend or anyone I've asked!  I should get on that actually....)
Here's the link.

A previous review in Scottish literary magazine Northwords Now (in Spring 2011) said the tales (which hadn't yet at that time been published as e-books) were " a fun and sometimes spooky read". 

Please be aware that you don't need a Kindle or an e-reader to read these.  When you order one you can download a FREE app. to your PC, phone, whatever that enables you to read.
That's what I did anyway, as I don't possess an e-reader.  Only problem I've had with it is, I had to re-install it twice, but it was very easy.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Soup made from the blood of our victims

soup by sea penguin 22./09/2012
This is just number one in an upcoming series  "how to dispose of your victims".

Liquidise them, make them into soup, and "enjoy".  Note the garnish of black bits floating on the top.

The Dumper Truck

dumper truck by sea penguin 22/09/2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Map of the Week


This is a detail from a map I bought from the National Library in Edinburgh recently.  It's a reproduction, obviously - a copy of Blaeu's Extima Scotiae, 1654.  The kind of map that gave me ideas for the original Sea Penguin characters and location.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Found items from the Bay #2 and #3

 A stone that looks like a whale,  and a stone that looks like a shark.  Magic wand in the foreground.
On the way to the Coral Beaches,  Isle of Skye.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Camus Malag and Blaven beyond.

Found Items from the Bay #1

It's not that unusual for items to make their way across the Atlantic to the shores of the west coast of Scotland.  I just haven't found any,  till now.  This is a "plant pot" - i.e. a receptacle in which one grows "plants", or "green-style things".  I was terribly excited when I spotted it on the shore at Camus Malag,  Isle of Skye (photo to follow).  That looks Mexican!  I shrieked, swiftly nipping my fag and breaking into a trot.
It isn't Mexican, but it does have "Made in the Dominican Republic" printed on the base.  Has it floated all the way from there, to the shores of Scotland?  I hope so.  On the other hand, it COULD be a souvenir that Kylie McGumphy brought back for her nan from her honeymoon, circa 1985, that got flung out when they were clearing her house after she went into the care home.......
I'll never know.  Either way,  I'm going to plant a heather in it,  and raise a glass to Kylie's nan, the late Mrs Effie McGumphy.  Yes, she died after going into the care home.....

Saturday, 18 August 2012

On the way to Suisnish, Isle of Skye



Top quality vid.,  as usual.  Taken on my recent trip to Skye.  Lovely views over the sea to Rum and Eigg (in the distance) and then the Cuillins and Bla Bheinn.   Scorching hot day - walked about eight miles, no shade, thought I might die of heatstroke, but didn't, obviously.
Walking boots now stink so horribly they will have to be binned.
More photos on way - some glorious ones of the Coral Beaches.
Skye was the inspiration for the original blog;  characters,  terrain, and so forth.  I had a good think when I was there this week, and have come back refreshed and with some pretty good ideas,  which I hope will emerge fully or at least partially-formed, in due course.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Bande à part - Run Through The Louvre



I think the Talbot Rice gallery in Edinburgh are doing a version of this during the festival.  Sadly won't be able to attend.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

New Author Page on Amazon

I now have an author page on Amazon.  Here is the link. https://www.amazon.com/author/katesmart Feel free to check it out and have a look at the e-books.  Prices stated are in dollars but if you "proceed to check-out" - which I hope you do! - they will be converted into the currency of your home country.  You can also borrow them for free, via the Kindle library.

Projects underway include another blog-based e-book (taking me AGES due to transcribing from handwritten notebooks), a short self-help book on agoraphobia (still very early stages),  a novel (eek), a few stories, a joint project with BW Nicol, and a couple of other things.  Multi-tasking, in fact.  I have a very active brain (considering my age), I hate to be bored, and I'll complete them all in time.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Yes - Yours Is No Disgrace



OK so Yes imploded and vanished up their own backsides eventually - but they made THIS.  Superb first album and I think it's their best by a mile.  What a cracking track.  Was listening to Starship Trooper earlier, and would've posted it too - but it's already on the blog.  Of course.  PROG!!!!

Friday, 18 May 2012

"Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
Of Belle Isle,  or running on the Horn,
White feathers in the snow,  the Gulf claims,
And an old man driven by the Trades
To a sleepy corner.
Tenants of the house,
Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season."

From TS Eliot's Gerontion

Thursday, 22 March 2012

"A strong smell of tobacco and tar rose from the interior,  but nothing was to be seen on the top except a suit of very good clothes, carefully brushed and folded.  They had never been worn, my mother said.  Under that, the miscellany began - a quadrant,  a tin canikin, several sticks of tobacco, two brace of very handsome pistols, a piece of bar silver, an old Spanish watch and some other trinkets of little value and mostly of foreign make, a pair of compasses mounted with brass, and five or six curious West Indian shells."
R.L. Stevenson, Treasure Island

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Shortbread Stories have now got a Wordpress blog, and my short piece on Inspiration is featured.    Here's the link.