Hello! You’ve not heard from me in a while! This is due to illness and stress. Things are calming down a bit, and I am recovering well. But it might be another week before you get a proper post from me. Apologies – I will be back as soon as possible. And with many books and Tantamounts.

Take care!



Tales From Tantamount: Almost June of the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag

Being an ongoing record of various Happenings, Unhappenings, Persons and Ephemera from the town of Tantamount, most often found along the river Severn, and therefore by nature occassionally Welsh.



Headlines in Tantamount, around the 1st June
The Tantamount Herald
Yearly quota of sunlight almost entirely used already, p4
Safety warnings put out for roaming packs of feral children, now released from school p3
The-Mind-That-Lives-In-The-Soil is stirring, p4-6
Tantamount Life
Big Cats form historical guild, claim they have been misrepresented p2

This area, heretofore known as ‘the area’, is to be kept clear at all times. This is due to unpredictable manifestations. We recommend that, should strangely compelling food suddenly appear here, you do not eat it.
Tantamount District Council

Morris dancers sighted here. Take protective measures.

A discussion of the so-called Shadow Council, by Celeste Lupe Hildibjorgsdottir
Recent months have seen the abrupt emergence of a Shadow Council, complete with a re-spawned history and varied conspiracy theories. Although this in itself is not unusual for Tantamount, what is interesting is the secrecy. Most historical discoveries/tamings quickly become a matter of public record, and are just as quickly subsumed, unhappened, eaten or discarded. The Shadow Council, however, comes to us not through our vaunted historians but through scattered leaflets, whispered gossip and, most notably, the live blog of the recent elections (the writer of which has been permanently banned from the historian profession). So who, or what, is the Shadow Council?
There appears to be some connection with the Pinprick Cafe, and various whispers point to Thora Hope as a member. Thora Hope, as residents of Tantamount go, is remarkably interesting in that she is neither native, nor has she spent any time Out Of Town. She has made no comment on her supposed membership of the Shadow Council, and I was distracted from my questions by a truly excellent mocha. She also employs a chef, Laura Lovelace, who has spent time Out Of Town. Laura does not like to discuss it, and maintains that the outside was so confusing that it is barely comprehensible once returned.
But I have been sidetracked. It has been suggested that the Shadow Council are in direct opposition to the District Council, an idea which the District Council “oppose in the strongest terms, but in such a way as to not imply we really believe the Shadow Council to exist at all”. Perhaps an act of collective dreaming can highlight… From this point the essay has been heavily censored, with perhaps more vehemence than necessary, and the only other words that can be made out are hills, Hope, and reigniting.

Weather report
The weather today was a lowlevel growl, felt primarily in the base of the spine and tummy. It caused many people to believe they had a small animal living inside them (in some cases this was even true). Little showers of kindness fell throughout the day.

Tantamount is currently experiencing fluctuating levels of wilderness. Please take care when out in the wilderness, as it is easy to become lost in the depths of the within-without that is found there. We recommend you carry lucky charms, and try to avoid reflective surfaces. Instances of self-devouring have been linked to unsafe wilderness exposure, although equally many people return much happier than before, and with the added ability to sprout vines from interesting places.
Tantamount District Council

RE: Aquatic display
TO: management@pinprick.tan
FROM: lauralovelace@hotmail.tan

Dear Thora,
Please find attached the menu for the Aquatic Display night – I consulted with some nyads to make it a more authentic experience, and it actually works out cheaper for us. I’m not sure it will taste any good, but with the right marketing I think people will come anyway so that they can look good… Is it bad that I really hate some of our customers? You know, the bastards with all the money and entitlement?
Also, the Woman in the Well keeps leaving me these enigmatic little notes which I can’t quite read (they are too damp and the pen is smudged). I feel bad, because I have no idea what she is trying to say to me, but she puts so much effort in and always persuades the waitstaff to give me tips.
Hope you are recovered from the near miss with the Carrion the other day – so glad those magpies were on hand!

Best wishes,
Laura Lovelace

Lost Extremely sentimental scrying mirror, used for nostalgic memory-viewing. Reward offered! Eurydice xxxxx 872365

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WHEN THE LETTER COMES by Sara Fox — The Book Smugglers

Just a quick little re-post to recommend this story – it’s a lovely take on the “waiting for the magic letter” fantasy tale. Trans main character, and overall very interesting.

When the Letter Comes by Sara FoxPublished 5/22/2017 Henry believes that someday, something awesome will happen–everything will turn out all right and all her problems will disappear once her letter arrives, welcoming her to magic school. So even though puberty is already here with changes (like her voice deepening and hair growing in places she…

via WHEN THE LETTER COMES by Sara Fox — The Book Smugglers

Tales From Tantamount: Late May of the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag

Brief missives from the wandering town of Tantamount. It really is a lovely place, except for all the death…

Headlines in Tantamount, 26th?? May
The Tantamount Herald
Summer fashion recommendations for June: 18th century armour, breathing tanks, and hornets. P3
47 dead in longship collision. Sales of longships now restricted to people who know what they are doing. Full story p2
Six more Morris sides go rogue in dispute over health and safety rules, claim that ripping holes in time and space is “part of tradition” p5
Tantamount Life
Unrestful dead haunt the streets, make extremely boring demands. p3 Personal story “My mum turned up and kept berating me about lack of grandchildren” p3
Are health and safety rules killing our traditions? We had a secret meeting with the cat of the Tantamount Trickster’s leader to find out p7

Proverb for the day Many a mickle makes a muckle. We have found that this sounds like sufficiently wise nonsense that people will nod along, and then leave looking baffled. It is a good response to many things, especially if said threateningly enough.  We hope therefore, that when you come to the Council Offices demanding answers about our electoral procedures, you already know what response you are going to get.
And that’s only if you get past the wild boar.
Tantamount District Council

Have you considered urine? Well, have you?

Lost Small asteroid, containing octopus eggs. Please return to xXyyllrrgrgwiiuy
Lost Beloved chicken, name of Marshmallow, bantam. Quite talkative, if a little dim. xxxxx 771232 Mika
Found Dispersed memories, floating around Jasperine Road. Mostly sepia, some completely non-visual, all featuring a pair of very nice shoes. Latisha xxxxx 908 783
For Sale Carnivorous plant, very large, not yet sentient. Todd xxxxx 232 121

Weather Report
The weather today fell on everybody’s heads repeatedly, causing a lot of headaches and some property damage. There were pleasing trickles of mist between the buildings, which were oddly affectionate and not at all evil.

It has come to our attention that our esteemed town does not have a motto. After consulting with local hedgewitches and a few randomly selected members of the public, we have decided on a motto which we think everyone can enjoy: Keep Calm and Carrion

This bridge is false. It will tell you otherwise – do not listen! It is in some sort of mutually beneficial relationship with the siren living in the river below, and they will work together to drown and devour you. Please go the long way round, unless of course you don’t mind being tricked by a bridge and eaten by a siren.
Tantamount District Council
PS the siren is called Michael, and the bridge-that-is-not-here is called Angelo. Just in case you were curious.

Phew! A short one! May is a difficult month for me for various reasons, but hopefully I’ll be back on form in June.

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Tantamount Delay

Hello! Due to unavoidable life-stuff, Tales From Tantamount is going to be late this month. I should still be able to get you an installment later this week. In the meantime, please enjoy this artistic interpretation of the Carrion; it is of course not entirely accurate, as anyone who has actually seen the Carrion is in no fit state to do art afterwards…

Tales From Tantamount Carrion

Carrion will occur between nighmares and waking, every other Thursday.


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Poem: #07 25.07.2016 Somewhere Along the Severn by Meredith Debonnaire

This is from a series I wrote in 2016 called Letters From A Chained Place. I mostly don’t want to share it, because it is extremely personal, but I’ve performed this one out before and I feel okay sharing it. I realise that a lot of my poems (or at least, a lot of the ones I like) deal in imagery of decay, which is interesting I guess…

Somewhere along the Severn
there’s a place where wrecked boats rest:
timber and steel sinking into a nest of grass.
I’m glad you found me.
I’m glad you found me,
wracked among the ruins of ancient envy.
I only went there once,
and I lost the photographs.
There are no masts,
just rotting beams and sleeping dreams of steel,
strange submarines marooned on the edge of their element.
The water will not take them back.

I’m glad you found me, here, howling among the wrack.
I’m always howling somewhere,
and in the aftermath of havoc wreaked
I was glad to find you there.

This strange season washes tidewrack up on my shores;
breathing bones of beasts that came before.
I’d like to roar.
I’d like to feel that anger
shudder through the hollow of my chest.
I’d like to stand, a warrior,
defiant at the daybreak with a gleaming chainmail vest.
But I know what I like best,
and that is ruins.
The sublunary broken tombs of structures doomed to rot.
The hot forge of unmaking,
the shaking screech of separation and then…
the rest.

I have no direction.
Even on reflection the paths are deep and murky
as an unfamiliar whale-road.
Voices goad me on, to rashness or inaction
and there are no easy choices supplied.
There is no balm for the soul that died lost.
There is only the comfort
of moss growing thicker each year upon the stones,
there is only the comfort
of becoming part of a sea of unknowns, drifting.
A tide is shifting somewhere in the deeps,
down in the keep of the sea-beast,
Where the darkness forms solid against sight.
Where the darkness is thicker than night.

And the might of the ocean ripples
through all that it has touched –
a hushed whisper,
a glistening promise to those who call the water home.
It shivers through my bones and I am alone.
I am always alone with ghosts.
With a host of empty ships,
with iron teeth scraping my lips
and a body that shifts like rolling hills.
A mermay without gills,
drowning on the land and in the sea,
trying to find home in the places where they meet;
in the wrecked ships,
a haunted fleet stationed on land,
stuck where they stand, beached.

And I am glad you found me,
truly glad.
I still love the time we had but I am changed.
I cannot stay the same.
I’m here upon uncertain ground,
among my temple of lost and unfound
and I am biting my nails to the quick to build a ship
that will carry me over the lip of the world
and up from the realm of the dead.
I cannot recall what the wrecks said
but they spoke when I was there.
They spoke like water upon air
and their voices billowed into mist.

Everything we’ve built is dust.
Everything we’ve made will rust,
this beating heart of mine can only take so much
before it bursts and brine pours out to soak my veins,
saturated with the names of all the things that I forgot.
I am so very skilled at forgetting.
I make an art out of letting memory decay.
I forget the words I say
before they’ve fully left my mouth –
they taste of salt and the desire for south
and they burn my tongue.
They burn my still-young flesh.
They burn the fresh soil of my skin.
They burn the thoughts I keep within.
And if I speak too soon my words will burn
the ship-graveyard in which I turn
and turn
as I try to decide
if it’s the sea or the deep blue skies that I desire –
if this wreckage will be my funeral pyre.

And the grass on my feet
is cool and sweet and draped in dew.
I admit that I came here searching for you…
But the tide only brought memories that I thought lost,
and as ever I’m left paying the cost
of life inbetween;
of having one foot on the land
and one in the sea.
Knowing that oceans are deadly
and land stultifying.
And the horrifying fear of never belonging to either
is slowly becoming a comfort again:
like that moss over stone,
like the wave polishing bone.

The water won’t have me,
the earth will not either.
If I cannot have both then I will have neither and
somewhere along the Severn
there’s a place where wrecked boats rest
with salt in their bones and mud on their beams.
And there,
there I’ll make my nest.

Back next week, probably with book reviews.

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Wednesday update and welcome to new followers

Hello and welcome! I’ve had some new followers lately – lovely to know you’re here 🙂 This blog is a mix of book reviews, Tales From Tantamount, and poetry. Tales From Tantamount is a sort-of story that I write as I go along, and I aim to get two installments done every month (1st and 15th, or as close as possible). I have a catch up page on my website, or you can search through my archives. Book reviews are a bit haphazard, and happen as and when I have both read a book and had time to write a review. Mainly I review fantasy and sci-fi, but I do wander outside the genre. Poetry is even more random, and I just post that whenever I’ve found something that I am not COMPLETELY TERRIFIED to share with people…

I also have a novella, which you can buy in eBook form for less than a coffee. It’s called The Life and Times of Angel Evans, and it is about trying to find a life after prophecy is fulfilled. Contains magic, jokes, queer protagonist with ghostly girlfriend, and terrible cleaning jobs.

Also, you will notice the Ko-Fi button at the bottom of my posts. Think of it like a tip jar  – if you want to and can afford to, go for it. If you don’t want to or can’t afford to, there is no pressure.

Anyway, onto the update!

Reading: Wild Fire by Anna McKerrow, What is not yours is not yours by Helen Oyeyemi, and Penny Blackfeather by Francesca Dare. Yes, all at the same time.

Writing: I’m still fighting the accounts, so not writing as much as I want. I’m getting Tantamount done and very little else. But I know what I want to start working on as soon as I have time to :D:D:D:D

Pondering: favourite words. I think this is because I re-read The Goblin Emperor by Katherin Addison, and the language in that is just so well used. But really I need to read it with a dictionary next time, because I am only guessing the meaning of a lot of the words. Anyway, current favourite word is canst, which is an archaic form of can used when speaking informally, which would also have used thou – English did used to have dialogue that depended on how well you knew someone, with thee thou etc used when someone was well known, and you used for plurals and more formal relationships. Something I will probably poke at greater length.

Listening to: Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae. I will be buying this CD once the tax returns are done; it is my bribe. In the meantime, watch this film/concept album/music video:

That’s all for now, take care everyone!

Here’s the button I meant 🙂

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