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I mentioned earlier my daily need to moderate despair, well in that vein here is something I want to share that puts a smile on my face. Every year we try pumpkins, butternut squashes, Ichi Kuri (Hokkaido) squashes (yeah, that Hokkaido that just had the scare of its life). Every year, given that we live in the Western Monsoon they do terribly… apart from one. The Rouge d-Etempes, or “Red Princess” Pumpkin, which is the source, so the story goes, of the whole Cinderella pumpkin thing.

I love the sheer exuberence of it. I love the vitality that the vine has (leaves measuring easily 30cm/1″, vines stretching 2-4 metres, completely eclipsing the rest of our little eco-garden), I love the color. The singular Rouge weighs, we think just under 10kg – that’s a weighty old gourd! This is also an opportunity to share with you a scratch of another passion – photography + form, complexity and texture. The pictures below are close-ups of the leaf structure.

Big lady pumpkin
Rouge d’Etempes “Princess” Pumpkin
Pumpkin leaf close up
Pumpkin Geometries
Pumpkin leaf close-up
Pumpkin Tributaries

Sometimes, all of the things

Sometimes in the online writing lark, all of the things happen in no short order and with too little time to do anything but mainline coffee and keep your head down. These last few months have been like that for this writer and my associate comrades…

So, without further ado my Kittlings and newsbeasts, here is my news round-up for all of the things that have been happening in ianland:


The City of Kings

  • Rising Blades is go! Frank West Games, the adorable peeps behind The City of Kings are pleased to publically announce Rising Blades, their next follow-on game set in the same fantasy universe as The City of Kings. It’s a shorter, fast-and-furious game, where players take on the roles of the anti-hero Champions of Vesh! Look-ee, there’s even a press release and everything.
  • The City of Kings has been at Gen Con 2017! [More photos, Frank!]
  • And last but certainly not least, Frank West will be delivering the inaugural Board Games Developer session over at EGX this year, so, if you’re free late Sept and are in the Birmingham area, then have a wander over and say hi.


Ravendesk Games

  • Lee and the team have also been in sunny Indiana for Gen Con 2017 [did they swap notes about miscreant writers, one wonders XD]!
  • Take a look at one of their pretty sweet playing card perks for the Herald Game (get ’em while you can, folks). Art by the super-talented Tom Rogers.



With much pricking of thumbs and gnashing of teeth, The Novel of Great (and shiny) Worth is over the dead waters of the Middles, and is now racing ahead, with the multiple plot lines starting to bear fruit and tell me what is happening, rather than the other way around*



  • Bramble Bee, the new kitten in the household, continues to terrorize our other two cats but at least they aren’t freaking out every time they see it.
  • A mighty shed was erected.
The Mighty Shed
The Mighty Shed (before completion)


[*This is really a thing that should be talked about, probably; the planting and growing of a novel. At the start there is lots of groundwork. Sinking down plot lines and character motivations, weaving them together into a timeline to make a glorious, chaotic mess – but hopefully, after a while, those shoots start to sprout all by themselves, bearing strange mutant fruit all of their own devising… and that is when you’re into the harvesting stage…]


Wake up, bleary-minded. Bed is warm with the press of bodies (wife and cats) and the light is just ’round the corner from arrived. Pray. Water. Then strong coffee. Try not to trip over the cats now chirruping about the kitchen floor. Get washed, open the windows. Take a moment to be an outside creature; wordlessly snuffing at the ozone and looking at the plants. More nicotine and caffeine in equal measures. Make sure that everything and everyone is fed and watered before the business of the day starts properly. Later I’ll boot up the laptop and check the world hasn’t done anything stupid while the sun hasn’t been around this side of the hemisphere. Morning injections of data supplied through the crackling radio, or from the email lists. At some point stretches, and a (very) brief attempt at some yoga.

And lastly; a little white pill.


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