Items for the Cosmic Dustbin, please!


Hi, Pearl here! Thanks to Millie’s excellent tuition I am now a thoroughly sophisticated and literate Greyhound in my own right, so I’d like to tell you a bit about Annabelle’s work in progress.

In the third book of the Bad Boy Wizard series, Charlie (the Bad Boy of the title) visits the Cosmic Dustbin. This is the part of the astral plane where Bad Ideas live – everything from plastic packaging to wicked war weapons, not to mention all manner of evil pranks and scams.

Here Charlie meets the Cosmic Trickster, lounging on a MFC (Made For Christmas) sofa. MFC sofas are specially designed to fall apart after a year so humans can have the pleasure of buying a new couch every Christmas.

Dog on exploding couch

Not my image

I get very attached to a cosy couch, so naturally I want it to last. I can’t understand people who replace their sofa every year. In my view, a couch that goes wrong after one year is a really rubbish idea, and definitely belongs in the Cosmic Dustbin.

What would you put in the Cosmic Dustbin? Maybe you could ask your kids what they would put in – it would really help Annabelle with her book.

Pearl House 02

I hope you have a fabulous Yuletide, whatever you’re sitting on!

Santa Pearl pic Debra Allen Photography


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Sponsor a Greyhound for Christmas

Guess what? I’ve been selected to be the face of Greyhound Rescue Wales’s Sponsor a Dog Christmas appeal!

Pearl Castle 02

This time last year, wise little Millie wrote a post about Christmas presents. She pointed out that most humans have too much stuff already, without buying each other more. If you feel the same, you might prefer to sponsor a dog as a present for a friend. Your friend will get a Christmas card from yours truly to say thank you, and twice yearly updates from their chosen sponsor dog.

I can tell you now, a card from moi is not to be sniffed at. It’ll be worth a lot of money one day when I’m a world famous supermodel, and it’ll make a much better present than a unicorn shoe horn or an owl tea towel.

Pearl House 01

So go on – you know you want to! You can find out more about GRW sponsor dogs HERE

Photos Debra Allen Photography

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Pearl’s Tribute to Millie

As you know, Millie crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week. I didn’t realise what had happened at first – she looked just like she usually does when she flies off to the astral plane to hunt down ideas for stories. She ‘s been spending more and more time on the astral this year, so I didn’t think anything was wrong. It was only when I sniffed her body and realised it was as empty as an old coat that I suspected she’d left it for good.

My first instinct was to try and get her back. I lay down on the couch, left my own body and went after her. I could see her in the distance, running faster than she ever ran on Earth, towards a vast swirling tunnel of multicoloured light. I couldn’t keep up and soon lost sight of her. I had to come back alone.

The next day, the humans put her body to bed in the earth. Snip and Frieda came to the burial. It was a day of sunshine and showers, and the sky was full of rainbows. I knew then that she’d crossed the Bridge and wouldn’t be coming back.

There was something magical about Millie. Everyone who knew her fell in love with her. I used to get jealous, and I wasn’t always nice. Sometimes I would fart in her face, or push her aside if she was in my way. I used to wind her up and steal her boyfriends. I wish I hadn’t now; I should have appreciated her more. She was so kind to me when I first came here. I’d had a bad time and I was frightened of all sorts of things. Millie reassured me and helped me settle in. Most of all, she helped me realise the outside world isn’t always dangerous, so I learned to enjoy going for a walk instead of being terrified every time the lead was produced.

Millie was always on hand with wise advice, even if I didn’t always listen. When I stole Snip from her, she said, ‘If he can leave me for you, he could just as easily leave you for someone else.’  But when he did leave me (for Frieda), she didn’t say ‘I told you so’. She said I was so beautiful, I’d soon meet someone else – and she was right. But more of that another time.

Millie and I used to argue a lot, but we never fought. She was the best big sister I could have asked for, and it’s going to be lonely without her.

Dogs resting 3

I wish I hadn’t hogged all the toys



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Run Free, Millie

I’m sorry to have to tell you that Millie crossed the Bridge earlier this week. She was a very special girl, and she’ll be sadly missed by her family and friends. Her playful, fun-loving spirit lives on and will continue to be the inspiration behind this blog.

Goodnight, sweet Millie.

Millie aged 14 weeks


MILLIE 2003-2018

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Reblog: A New Puppy for the Holidays

A timely reminder from author Tricia Drammeh on not giving puppies as presents…


We’re all familiar with the classic Holiday movie scene where a small child joyfully discovers his most cherished gift beneath the Christmas tree: an adorable puppy (or kitten) with a big red bow around its neck. A new puppy for Christmas!

I’ve always wondered, when watching such a scene play out on television or the big screen, how the parents managed to pull off such a feat. Now that I have dogs and cats of my own, I view this type of scene from an increasingly skeptical point of view.

Here’s the reality: Once that big red bow is removed, that adorable kitten is going to run to the top of your Christmas tree, sending ornaments crashing to the ground. The cute puppy will likely piddle on the Christmas tree skirt or chew up one of Junior’s brand new toys. The challenges of adopting a new animal, especially around the holidays when life is already chaotic and busy, can sometimes prove to be too much to handle….

Click HERE to read more…


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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a book for Christmas #Children – Andrea Balsara, Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Annabelle Franklin and Jemima Pett.

If you’re looking off the beaten track for children’s books this Christmas, you might like to check out this excellent selection on Sally Cronin’s blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Another group of books that are suitable for children and would make great gifts this Christmas. I am sharing these books first as most are in print as well as eBook and will need to be posted.

The first author today is Andrea Torrey Balsara with Greenbeard the Pirate Pig… which Andrea wrote and illustrated. She is also the illustrator for other lovely children’s books that you can find on her Amazon author page and I have that link for you later.

About the story

Ahoy, my Piggywinkles!

Sail into adventure with GREENBEARD the guinea pig pirate, as Snug Rumkin, Greenbeard’s ratty first mate, tries to teach him how to be a “proper” pirate!…

One of the reviews for the story

A guinea pig takes to the high seas for treasure and adventure.. Greenbeard the Pirate…

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#Halloween: The Attention-Seeking Shapeshifter

Fairyland is full of shapeshifters; they’re part of the natural balance.  But occasionally you’ll come across a shapeshifter who has gone out of control.


Image found here

Such a one is Nigel the Nuisance, who uses his shapeshifting to show off.  He practises for hours every day, like a human who’s addicted to the gym.  His aim is twofold: to be more interesting than all the other shapeshifters, and to achieve more changes per minute. He gets a tremendous buzz from these workouts and can’t bring himself to give them up.

Nigel has been through so many changes he’s forgotten his original shape.  He sometimes finds himself changing shape when he doesn’t want to, or turning into things he doesn’t want to be.  This can cause a lot of trouble, for himself and for anyone who hangs out with him.

Shapeshifters generally change into plants or animals, to trick unsuspecting humans or to blend into the background when they don’t want to be seen…


…but Nigel keeps changing into stupid things that just don’t belong in Fairyland.various-styles-toilet-article-sets-household-items-vector-ic-icon-series-30497935

This is giving the other shapeshifters a bad name, and they’ve disowned him.

Nigel also has a problem with telling the truth. Many fairies will mislead humans with the odd tall tale; but Nigel tells stories all the time, to humans and fairies alike, and his fellow fairies have had enough.  As far as they’re concerned, Nigel has overstepped the mark.

Poor Nigel!  He only wanted a bit of attention, but instead he’s become like the goofy kid in school that no one wants to play with.  Because of his disruptive behaviour, the Fairy Queen has made him live on a lonely little island in the middle of a lake, away from everyone.  This is hard for Nigel, because shapeshifters are sociable by nature and enjoy each other’s company.???????????????????????????????

When Steven arrives in Fairyland, alone, friendless and homesick, Nigel latches onto him straight away.  He knows a true friend would help Steven get home, but he doesn’t want to lose the boy’s companionship; so, after one halfhearted and unsuccessful attempt to help Steven find the way out of Fairyland, he does all he can to convince the lad that going home is impossible.

Nigel truly wants to be Steven’s friend, but unfortunately he’s not that good at it.  He can’t resist the urge to tease and play tricks on Steven, and his uncontrolled shape-changing gets them both into terrible danger.

Read more about Steven and Nigel’s misadventures in Gateway to Magic , a spooky fairy story for kids age 7+

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Pearly Practises Blogging

Hi, Pearl here. Millie has said I need to practise my blogging skills, so I’m doing today’s post.

Pearl's blog pic

Recently, Annabelle has been putting extra bits of cold chicken and turkey on Millie’s dinner. She doesn’t think I’ve noticed, but I have, and I think it sucks that I’m not getting it too. According to Annabelle, it’s because Millie is old and frail and losing her appetite, and she needs encouragement to eat. She won’t touch her food unless it’s garnished with treats. I don’t think she’s losing her appetite at all, she just knows she’ll get extra treats if she refuses to eat her dinner without them.

Millie is old, though, and she can’t come for long walks anymore. She gets tired quickly and starts lurching all over the place, living up to the name of her breed, so Annabelle takes her home and I go on with Snip and Frieda and their humans. I didn’t like this arrangement at first because Snip and Frieda kept leaving me out of their games. ‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd,’ Frieda kept saying. It was mainly Frieda excluding me, she’s always wanted Snip to herself. But I think Snip must have had a word in her pointy little ear, because now they’re letting me join in more.

Frieda likes to play rough, and the other day she made a huge hole in Snip’s shoulder. He had to go to the vet and have stitches.

Snip's stitches

Frieda claims she didn’t mean to do it. ‘Could I help it if he bumped into my teeth while we were playing?’ she says. ‘Snip’s my bestie, I wouldn’t hurt him for the world.’  With friends like her, who needs enemies? She’d better not try anything like that with me!

Hard work, this blogging, isn’t it? I don’t know how some of you manage to do it every day. Hopefully Millie will be back for the next post. Right now she’s on a lot of pain pills, which makes it hard for her to transmit her thoughts to the cyberplane, but I heard she’s going to have acupuncture, which should mean fewer tablets and a clearer head.

I can’t wait to see how she copes with having pins stuck in her!

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Faeries and Aliens: A Review of ‘Thieves in the Night’ by Joshua Cutchin

I don’t believe aliens are physical beings, but I’ve often thought they might be from inner space rather than outer. It makes sense to me that astral entities evolve along with us and reflect the culture of the times, the fairies of yesterday becoming the aliens of today. Joshua Cutchin’s book Thieves in the Night explores this possibility in depth, linking the abduction of children by ‘aliens’ with the old tales about changelings. (This is of particular interest to me, as I’ve based my children’s novel Gateway to Magic on the changeling phenomenon.) Hop on over to Neil Rushton’s blog to find out more about Cutchin’s book and the link between fairies and aliens.


THIEVES IN THE NIGHT: A Brief History of Supernatural Child Abductions by Joshua Cutchin (Anomalist Books, 2018) ISBN: 9781938398957

This book comes just at the right time. The debate about the possible connections between the folkloric representations of faeries abducting children and modern alien abductions has reached the point where there seems to be a divide between writers who have been highlighting the connection for decades, and (mostly) folklorists who have been reacting against the proposition, with the view that the phenomena are not related. Likewise, there are UFOlogists who do not want to engage with the possibility that alien intervention into consensus reality has anything to do with the amorphous storytelling about folkloric faeries. Joshua Cutchin approaches the issue in an extremely even-handed manner, made all the more incisive by his ability to speak in the language of folklorists, while still retaining a left field Fortean perspective. Thieves in the…

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September Sunflower

I can’t believe it’s a month since my last post! I know I only post once a month, but time seems to be speeding up. Maybe it’s something to do with being an old dog.


Another problem of old age is losing your words, and sometimes it’s hard for me to transmit my thoughts to Annabelle for typing, so please forgive me if the posts are short.

On a lighter note, the fairies have forgiven Annabelle for cutting down the conifers in the front garden. They’ve helped her grow a magnificent sunflower by one of the stumps, much to the delight of various flying insects in black and yellow jackets.

I’ve tried to get Pearl to write a post about it, but this was all she could come up with:

Look wot we growed!


I know she can do better than this, she is just being silly. I wish she would start pulling her weight a bit; it would help me out, and she’ll need to improve her blogging skills when she has to take over from me.

Pearl, you’re not a teen anymore, and it’s high time you took some responsibility. You can’t spend the rest of your days vegging out in your pit!

G2M and Pearl 001

Must have been some party!!


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