Tuesday, 9 December 2014


I was upstairs on a double-decker bus journeying through the Aberdeenshire countryside, sunshine flashing like a strobe light through the trees as we buzzed along the road, when I felt something on the tip of my little finger. Curious about this new phenomenon, I explored the area with my other hand, thoughts of weird growths and incurable diseases flickering through my mind before I examined the spot. And there, on the top of my pinkie I spotted a hardened patch of skin. Yes, there wasn’t any doubt – it was a callus.

The bus trundled along depositing and picking up passengers, and I watched horses running in frost laced fields as I ruminated on how I acquired this phenomenon. Then it hit me. It had to be the QWERTY keyboard.  This tiny toughened patch on my pinkie is a writer’s badge of honour gained through hours of keyboard bashing the letter ‘a’ (I’m wondering is it the most used letter in the language?). I smiled to myself and still haven’t decided whether to pumice it into oblivion or let this toughened tip remain as a reminder of my passion.

I do yogalates every day in an effort to keep fit - well most days - after all, what’s a duvet day for if you can’t ditch your exercise regime for a bar of chocolate and a book? Another health/body related issue arose when one day a few weeks ago, I started my daily yogalates regime. As I breathed in and out, I noticed a band of flashing black and white horizontal bars on the right edge of my vision. I tried to look at them and ended up in a corkscrew head twist not included in the usual postures. So I put an eye mask on over one eye to hide this distracting display, and it helped, but kept slipping (downward facing dog while trying to keep an eye mask in place isn’t the best way to hold the position). Finally I decided to ignore the optical display and finish my workout.

The next morning I had the first migraine I’ve ever suffered. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a new, and unpleasant, experience. I would say from the reading I’ve done the pain was moderate, especially if you consider some people are hospitalized by the ferocity of their migraine attacks. I took a couple of pain killers, rested and by lunchtime had recovered, although I was tired for the rest of the day.

Research into the cause has led me to believe that the trigger is related to the time I spend staring at a computer screen. Upon reflection, I realized that there had been a sense of pressure building in the left side of my brain for maybe up to a week before the attack - which was unusual as I’m not normally subject to headaches - but I’d not understood its relevance. Now I’m aware of what to look out for, and work on the computer for half hour sessions making sure I take long enough breaks.

I know there are people who write their novels, blog, tweet, facebook etc., etc., and I think they’re amazing, and they have my utmost admiration. But currently this isn’t working well for me. After almost two years (a blip in time compared to many) of social media activities, it appears the universe, Fate or whatever you want to call it, is sending me a message – of course it may just be my body is disintegrating. I’ve spent time thinking about my writing priorities, and decided I have to cut back on social media as clearly I’m not keeping all the balls I’m juggling in the air. As I compromise, I thought I’d try to write a post once a month. This way, I can focus more on writing my novel, and stay sane and migraine free.

This leaves me swinging between relief at my new freedom (I'll still tweet - what else do you do when the ads are on?) and missing the social contact with the good friends I’ve made. I also miss the sense of excitement which accompanies writing and posting a blog post. But a little distance from a weekly blog will also give me time to ponder questions such as where my blog is going; is it writing advice, self promotion, or am I’m attempting to be an essayist?

If my computer time is limited I want to spend it doing what I love best, and this is writing stories. The impact of the migraine was more than its physical effects as it has caused me to stop and consider every aspect of my writing, which has been an invaluable lesson. I won’t stop writing, but life happens. And you learn to adapt and be flexible, keep your goals and figure out another way to achieve them. 

Writing Update
I was unable to participate in the nano this year - for various reasons - and have mainly been free writing and working on haikus. Giving birth to my debut novel was a difficult process; my second whooshed out in a flood, but my third (Book Two of the Samsara Trilogy – no working title yet) is waiting and ready. I’m going to set myself a daily word target, lower than the nano, and see how it goes.

Today’s Haiku
homeless person squats
holds a cardboard cup - he hopes
for rain of mercy

Useful links:
A great post on writing sequels and series:
A humorous take on finding inspiration:

I’d love it if you checked out either of my novels, or popped over to Wattpad and read any of my posted stories ... just click on the links to the right.

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku 

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


I hope you enjoy this sci-fi flash fiction, chosen by Wattpad for its 'Quickies List'. 


'Senior Pilot Markson, prepare for immediate evacuation.'

The control centre’s electronic voice (aka Betsy) resonated with firm command. Markson stared, eyes blank, back rigid, as the space transport’s control panel volunteered a lurid display of flashing lights for his consideration.

‘No can do,’ he yelled at the invisible presence. ‘This. Is. Fixable.’

The flickering lights notched up from fast to frantic. Betsy, the Company’s epitome of implacable efficiency, continued her update.

‘The warp core has gone into overdrive. It is in need of service or else the ship will no longer be able to perform in an appropriate way.’

That was Betsy speak for the ship was going to be blown to smithereens, and, by implication, he too would cease to exist unless he obeyed. The voice now oozed patience and understanding of the difficulties which the human was undergoing.

‘I’m not leaving!’ Markson retorted, grinding his teeth.

Irate beyond measure, his hands twitched as he desperately stabbed here and there at various buttons in a wild effort to find a solution. In dismay he banged his hand down on the largest green light which he noticed with dread was beginning to fade.

‘I apologize, Senior Pilot Markson, but overriding the ship’s programs is no longer possible.’ Smooth sympathy dripped from the honeyed voice.

‘Damn the Company,’ he muttered in resentful frustration. ‘Those bastards should have known this old piece of junk couldn’t last more than a one way journey.’

Markson was furious. This was supposed to be a regular run - six months out to a mining planet in Outer Centauri, pick up the ore, and six months for the return. He was three months into the second leg, and had only taken the job out of desperation. Payment would be delayed until he returned to headquarters – and who knew how long that would take?  Recovery of Personnel from abandoned or, as in this case soon to be non-existent, space ships was never high on the Company’s list of must do’s.

The blast of a siren rent the air then ceased.

‘I am truly sorry for the distress this warning may cause you, Senior Pilot Markson, but I have no alternative. You have ten minutes before the warp drive implodes and this Jumbo Model 315689B space transport ship will no longer be a viable environment for human habitation.’

The meek remorseful tone had no effect on Markson, whose fingers continued a manic dance across the control board. Without warning, every single light on the panel, and on the bridge, went out except one large red light which pulsed eerily in time to the intermittent keening siren. Markson sat in a cheerless crimson gloom as tortured metal from various parts of the ship shrieked with ear-splitting volume.

‘Damn them and damn them to eternity,’ he cursed as the floor started to vibrate underneath him.

‘I do apologize for any upset this ship is causing you.’ The voice trembled with docile submissiveness. ‘The Company will generously compensate you for any inconvenience you may experience during this incident.’

Markson slumped in his chair, resigned to his fate, as the automatic escape pod walls rose out of the floor recesses either side of him, enclosing him in a slim metal ovoid.

‘I have informed Central Control of your situation and the process of recovering your pod has been initiated.’ Betsy’s voice had returned to a more business like mode overlaid with a hint of motherly concern for his comfort.’ ‘Your location signal is activated. And the cryogenic function of your life preservation vessel will start to operate 30 seconds after you are clear of the ship, and will maintain your current physical state of health until you are Retrieved.’

Markson didn’t reply. Unlike some pilots, who during long journeys through the vastness of space, began to relate with affection to their intangible companions, he never made the mistake of thinking his ship’s communication system was a real person.

A hissing sound indicated the opening of the ejection route via a panel in the ceiling, and the pod shot out, squeezing him back into his seat.

‘Good bye Senior Pilot Markson.’

Betsy’s farewell, laden with regret and sorrow, were the last words he heard as the anaesthetic delivered from his armrest rendered him unconscious. The pod sped away into the endless space of stars.


If you enjoyed this story, which seemed particularly appropriate considering the Philae lander's behaviour this week, you can pop over to Wattpad and check out my other posted stories ... just click on the links to the right.

Join me on Twitter at: @teagankearney

Thanks for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.  
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


My nano's on hold - life's taken over, as it does - so this week I'm offering a couple of poems which I hope you enjoy.

The Thrift Shop.
I enter.
A predator hunting
with sensory antennae stalking.
Eyes flash
on layers of crushed crimson velvet,
edged with luscious creamy Belgian lace.
A confection; a creation
once bought for a special occasion,
and later gracing many a dance
swirling through the night.
I picture myself,
embraced by dashing arms
dancing to rhythmic beats,
as rainbow lights refract.
I caress the cloth
snared by lingering remnants of indulgence
as it cascades across my flesh.
A shiver scours my soul as,
pregnant with ghost memories
    of honeyed kisses and broken promises,    
          of the march of young men’s lives,            
                       of love dead before its time,                       
past losses seep into the present.
I shrug off the shadows,
relinquishing my prey.
It wasn’t my colour anyway.


Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry with a phrase and fragment structure. The phrase sets up the image, and the fragment juxtaposes a second image which gives another layer of meaning. 

Japanese is a syllable oriented language and, in Japanese, haiku has a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5. English is a stress oriented language (think iambic pentameter) so there are discussions as to how to maintain the original purity of the form. 

I do sometimes write free verse poetry (see above) but I like haikus because they’re short, and I like the idea of creating an image in so few words. Composing haiku makes for good writing practice as you soon learn to cut excess words, and focus on condensing what you want to say down to its essence. 

The following set of haiku is for all chocolate lovers everywhere.

Flavours of Lindt chocolate as seen on a display shelf.

Cherry; dark red fruits
hanging like polished marbles
in Kentish orchards.

Crunchy Caramel;
explosions of sweet sugar
as sharp teeth bite down.

Extra Cremoso ;
brown eyes flirt , satin smooth skin;
a hint of Rio.

Irish Coffee; warms
like the Gulf Stream off the wild
west Atlantic coast

Pistachio; from
Persian plains; most pleasantly
Pleasing the palate

Orange Intense;  blood,
Sweet Valencian, Navel.
Ripened drops of gold.

Roasted Almond;  Rod
Of Aaron, brought forth sweet blooms.
Sweet and bitter fruit.

Strawberry; a rose,
With seeds on the outside.
Symbol of Venus.

Tart Citron Merangue;
Mediterranean glints
On high alpine peaks.


Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku  

Thanks for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.




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