Sunday, 15 July 2012

Oh god, it burns.

Finally found the time to answer the lovely Devin Berglund's Buccaneer Blogfest questions (sorry they're late! Two of the three full-time staff of CQ are currently out of commission so I'm holding the fort. Badly.) I get to the question 'what do you like to write about?' and there is a strange cracking coming from the kitchen. My confusion lasts about two seconds, before being replaced by a facepalm and swearing.

Yes, in an example of grand failure of multitasking, the pasta I put on the boil an hour ago boiled dry, sizzling away quietly as it seared itself to the bottom of the plan.

As an extra bonus, filling a cleaned pan with new pasta and newly boiled water, I managed to pour said boiling water over my foot. More swearing ensued.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest: Yes, but WHY?

Why you did you start blogging? What are your goals for your blog?

This blog at least, is a purely frivilous affair. The main reason it exists is for myself and Mat to post things that make us giggle and for me to share behind-the-scenes snippets of the indie publishing business (there aren't as many of those, but there'll be more as time goes on).

The blog does feature occasional reviews, but I also post these, along with interviews and more offically posts, under my ID at the Curiosity Quills blog. These are mostly to share my thoughts on the books and blogs I read and enjoy. You know. Serious things. Valuable things. I cross post them sometimes, to show y'all that something of worth occurs inside my skull.

The things exclusive to this blog though?


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

We are living in a material world

Every now and then, you look back through Blogger or Wordpress, and find a post your wrote, drafted, decided to come back to - then never did. This is one such, a 'traumatic' (in self-depricating inerverted-commas) experience that some with a small number of viciously guarded presious possessions might appreciate.

This is from a few years ago, as I've now had my own house for coming up five years, and while things are still Hard Work as a single female with a household to run, I at last have gathered a few more precious objectject to my person to hiss around, tail thrashing, the mortal embodiment of Smaug. In number comes security, the knowledge that the the loss of one such Precious is a small part of several valued personal treasures, no a whole hoard lost.

Early on, however, each item was an icon, a sliver of pride encased in glass or metal or plastic, each a talisman against desitituation. These were the items that proved my worth and, as such, I applied far more emotional weight to these scant Objects than I do now, at a stage in my life where it's possible to (with the correct, deliberate act of psychological force) gain distance from these objects, and remind myself I am more than my possessions, that I can have succeeded without their presence as a reminded.

It's not an easy thing. I'm still not good at it. I still cling to the beautiful, special, loved objects I have aquired.

Here, in testament to how 'not good' I truely was at it, and how 'not good' I remain at it on the inside when I'm not looking:

I am a materialistic person. Not in a grabby way, I feel, but things and stuff make me happy. They do not have to be big or expensive, they do not have the be plasma televisions or sports cars or big diamonds, but purchases of nice, good quality things please me, for a long time after their purchase as well; every time they are picked up or used or even dusted, I enjoy them, lining my nest with them like some courting bird.

Since buying my house, I have not had much money spare. Bits here and there spent on projects and things, but I work a modest job and it does not leave huge sums sloshing about. As a result, the majority of my household things were begged, borrowed, old, or bought from Ikea, and the idea was to systematically replace them with nice things, one by one, as presents or as and when I could afford a little treat.

In my kitchen is (or, not to ruin the plot, was) a shelf, on which I kept the few 'replaced with nice things' items in my kitchen, a modest enough assortment of some hand made water glasses with little glass watermelon slices in and matching jug, two bone china mugs and a set of six etched wine glasses my Mum and her husband gave me for Christmas.

Friday while I was at work, this shelf crashed from the wall.

My nicest things in their little display spot where I could smile at them when I went past, reduced to a couple of kilos of shattered glass (which of course had to be meticulously cleared up from all over the kitchen and hallway).

It is only stuff. Things. I feel like it says something unpleasant about me that I was not simply disappointed but really very in-tears upset. It is not so much a silver lining as a 'that could have been worse', but I am frantically glad this happened now instead of in three weeks time when my kitten would have been home alone (Moden-day-Verity note: the kitten refered to here is now 3 years old and a fat, fluffy, gorgeous grandmother, Lily.) It looked like a bomb in a glass factory. If she had been in the kitchen when it fell she would have been horrifically injured, possibly killed, and even walking through that room after it fell she would probably have been badly hurt from the huge amount of glass on the floor. That would have been something to be in tears over. But indeed, here I am, a materialistic little person drinking out of her chipped Ikea mugs with snobbish distain, and crying over broken trinkets.

Did you just say...?

We're a bunch of deaf buggers in this house. Here's a selection of recent mishearings, which yes, even in real life, are always "did you just say...?"

Mat: ... and you're silent
Adam: Did you just say "and you're a salmon"?

Song 'Open Book' on Rabbid Rabbids: I just need something to focus on
Adam: Did that lyric really just say "I need something to fuck your son"?
Mat: You're doing better than me and Verity, we hear "something to fuck us up."

Francis: ...and if that guy has a blood clotting problem
Verity: Did you just say "blood cotton flotsom"?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cat-related high-horse

I trry to avoid getting on my high-horse.

This is part because I have the self-worth of a slug, and therefore struggle to get into the moral high-ground even when it is clearly mine, but also in part before people who declare possession of the said 'moral high ground' are largely amoral, sycophanic lice feasting on the corpses of fallen saviours far more virtuous than themselves, and being grouped with them them makes my stomach heave.

Occasionally, however, a cause is so simple, so clean and clear and unambiguous, that I can stand beside it, puff myself up, point at it, and declare;

this is a thing worth being enraged about. Be enraged, oh ye masses.

My ability to be socially responsible is thus expended. I am spent. Don't let it be in vain. Spread the word; tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell the multitide about which you couldn't usualy give a shit.

Casual, thoughtless cruelty is beneath us. Don't let anyone, president or pauper, think their callous actions affect no one.

That awkward moment

The awkward moment when you realise that, as professional you might be in relation to the work of others, that when it comes to your own writing, you write 5000 word in a caffine and booze fueled fervor, then pare it back to 3-4000, rediting whille sober.

Not entirely certain how common this is.

An alarming realisation

A little context here (for once).

I use Chrome on my PC (desktop computer, as used for gaming and large-scale stuff) and Safari on my mac (laptop, used for travelling, and those days when getting out of bed or off the sofa is just... to hard). As a rule, I do not use IE. It is made of offal, and occasionally sacrifices the children of grieving widows. It is not a web browser to which I feel any great loyalty or companionship.

There is, however, an exception to this, a strange anachronism born of Google's unique quirks, which is to say, that multiple sign-in does not work on Blogger at all, nor properly on Google+.

I have three google IDs: a ID, used for any CQ related correspondance (AKA most email-related things); a ID, left over from old days when that domain meant something to me, and still attached to various legacy items, such as my G+ ID; and a address, used for my freelance work and, importantly, for my blogging. This blog.

The important point is that both Blogger and G+ use your 'primary login' when clicking links that use their services. So which, good people, which to have as my primary?, so I can use G+ links, or, so I can use Blogger? Or sign out and back in to each ID (not to mention re-signing-in to my address as a secondary sign in Every Damn Time) every time I want to use one or the other? No, that last option does not pander to my innate laziness. What to do, dear readers? What to do?

Simple. I keep Chrome, my main browser, logged in to as primary, with and as secondaries, so I can read my mail, and then, I in my sneakiness, I in my creative ways to be lazy, keep IE as a secondary brower. This, this is logged in to the address as primary ID and, in fact, only ID, allowing me to open what is essentially 'my Blogger program' in the form of IE, with Blogger as its homepage, existing only to blog.

Which extended preamble brings me, at last, to the reason, the gripe, for this post:

Dear god in Heaven, my blog looks like Hell under IE.

Seriously, where are my title fonts? Why is the text column too narrow? Why, infinate, blurry, cosmic deity of the unrepentantly atheistic, but who still want something to swear at when they're annoyed, does nothing work properly?

Hot damn I hate Internet Explorer.

Sapping your shit stores

I... I... I'm feeling some weird shit. I feel like I'm starting to give a shit!

(Yes, Loading Ready Run amuses the shit out me me)

Buccaneer Blogfest post: the introduction

Buccaneed Blogfest post prompt:

Introduction: Tell us a little bit about you and your blog. Post the sign up linky for this blogfest in your post. Include your other social media links so we can follow.

Why do you blog? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What is-

Okay, I'm just not this existential. Let's start over.

House of Pixie exists for one of reason, and one reason only. My life is utterly ridiculous, and I need a place in which to chronicle its bizarity. This blog provides structure.

For those of you who reached this blog through devious means (read: via the Buccaneer Blogfest or such related social media antics), my name is Verity. I am one of the directors of indie publishing house Curiosity Quills, the sponsor of this blogfest, and the only one of the 'core team' based in the UK. I live with my wife, Francis, my housemate of a year plus, Mat, and his boyfriend, Adam.

On this blog you are likely to find a curious mix of publishing tidbits (tales from the front line of editing, or behind the curtain of book production), and ridiculous snippits of life with me, Mat, Francis and Adam. Many of these posts are very short, slivers of out-of-context conversation which we think might amuse you, or might make you roll your eyes in baffled disapproval. Some are funny. Some are obscene. Some are informative.

These tangy, colourful, mixed bites of professional and domestic life are the core of existing in the House of Pixie. I hope you enjoy them.

Verity's posts for Curiosity Quills:
Verity: G+ - Facebook - Twitter
Mat: Facebook - Twitter

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest

Yarrrr, I'm a pirate-stereotype, matey! Cucumber sandwich?
Banner by Cody Underwood

Well now, if there ain't a first time for everything! This July I'll be taking part in a blogging event run by the fabulous Sharon Bayliss and Coutney Young - the Buccaneer Blogfest. Four weeks of (largely book-related) post-promts and questions, inter-blogger interviews and general amusement.

Click on the banner at the top to find out more.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The return of Dripping Cunt

A friend and I, discussing this quote from a previous House of Pixie post:
To anyone out there, male or female, who writes erotica. Cunt, is not a sexy word. A reference to "her dripping cunt" in the middle of a sex scene does not evoke 'hot and visceral'. It makes me curl my lip in disgust and read something else.
Trey: The word 'cunt' doesn't bother me. It's just 'enh'. The 'dripping' part does. WAUGH.

Verity: Really? Interesting! See, for me, 'dripping cunt'; bleugh, twitch. 'Juicy pussy'; gawf at the cheesey writing.

Trey: I have a visual mind. I hear 'cunt' and it doesn't bother me. Unless it's being used to describe the woman and not the woman's part. ;) But imagine what images come up with 'dripping cunt'. To me, 'juicy' doesn't describe sexual parts. It describes food.

Verity: Indeed!

Trey: I read 'juicy cunt' or 'juicy cock', and all I envision is Dolcett.
(Can't unsee now; you're welcome)"

Verity: Nah, I translate 'juicy' as 'food', too, tbh. Specifically, jello in a vagina-shaped mold.

The attraction of salad

While at the London Book Fair this year, I had the pleasure to talk to a bunch of the ladies from Ellora's Cave. They also gave me a big pile of books. For anyone who doesn't knew, Ellora's Cave publish utterly shameless porn. Yum!

A friend was visiting and, as if often the case when people visit, I attempted to foist books upon her, as I cannot read all the review copies I get, and would rather someone review it. So, I give away books to people who promise to post at least an Amazon review.

I hand her a two Ellora's Cave books, tell her what they are, at which point we do what any normal person would.

We open the books to random pages, and start reading passages of fuckery to one another in deadpan voices.

Important aside! To anyone out there, male or female, who writes erotica. Cunt, is not a sexy word. A reference to "her dripping cunt" in the middle of a sex scene does not evoke 'hot and visceral'. It makes me curl my lip in disgust and read something else.

Half an hour of childish giggling later, Carly, the friend, opens Tempting Demons to a random page.

Carly: Oh! This page doesn't have sex on.

Verity: ... really? What's happening.

Carly: Some chick eating a salad.

Verity: Awesome. Alright, you have can have these two, I'll read that one.

Cause I mean, really. Who doesn't love a good salad?

Friday, 29 June 2012

Deliciously Moist (Scrotum?)

Mat is reading 50 Shades and we were discussing its overuse of the word "Delicious". How this train of conversation lead to him pretending to lick my face, I leave to your imagination.

Verity: Ew, get off me you disgusting scrote

Mat: Please don't use that word.

Verity: What, scrote?

Mat: Urgh, yes. I don't know why, but I hate it, like a lot of people flinch at cunt.

Verity: At. It's okay, I understand. I know someone who can't bear the word moist.

Mat: .... I'm going to bed now.

Historical perspective

Talking to an American friend about TV.

 Michael: Also seriously why are your historical shows so much better than ours, Verity, why?

 Verity: Because we HAVE history. My garden has a hedgerow older than your country.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Editing facepalms: Adverbs

A chat between me and one of the directors at Curiosity Quills about a book I'm editing for them:

Verity: "Toxic chemicals blended underfoot with foul excrement, creating dangerous colors that twinkled with suspicious luminescence. " Adverb overkill! FATALITY! Also, 'foul excrement', not to be confused with that sweet-smelling, decorative excrement.

Eugene: Ah, decorative excrement... the poop of unicorns.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The real problem with homelessness

Sat around the table, we just finished a dinner of sausages, cauliflower, broccoli and baked beans. The only person with anything left on their plate is Adam, who has left a little cluster of baked beans. Mat leans over to steal them.

Adam: Oh god, you're not really eating cold beans?!

Verity: They can't be cold already, surely?

Mat: Luke warm.

Adam: Urgh, still horrible. See, this is why I could never be homeless. They eat cold beans out of cans.

Verity, deadpan sarcasm: ... I'm sorry, that's the only reason? Nothing about the sleeping in boxes, no showers, the freezing to death in winter?

This is about the point where Adam is collapsing into snorting giggles.

Verity: No clean clothes, able to pack everything you own into a Tesco's carrier bag, living in constant fear someone equally desperate will steal the little you still have - you can hack all that, but fuck my life, anything but cold beans!   

Silence, punctuated only by the sound of Adam giggling, complete with strange little squeaking noises.

Mat: I think you broke him.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fus Ro Dah

Verity: ... complete pointless fuss.

Mat: Fus!

Together: FUS RO DAH!

Mat: Mostly I just like the word 'Fus'. Sounds good. Fus. FUS. Sounds like a real word. Fus.

Verity: Maybe it is a real word. Perhaps something Eastern European.

Mat: Wonder what it means.

Verity: Probably something really boring. Like 'cabbage'.

Mat: I don't know. Fitting 'cabbage' into one syllable is pretty impressive.

Verity: And then you have like, 'Dro Fus' or similar, meaning small cabbage, to mean brussel sprouts.

Mat: Or Fus Ro, for 'cabbage small', work the grammar the French way.

Verity: And then 'Dah' would be like... 'in a white wine sauce'.

Mat: .... that's a lot of meaning for a very short word.

Verity: So the whole shout means 'brussel sprouts in a white wine sauce'. "FUS RO DAH!" "Oh, go on then, I was getting a bit peckish."

Sunday, 5 February 2012


So Verity was playing League of Legends with her friend, Andrew. There's these things in your base called Inhibitors which stop your enemy from spawning 'super minions' (as opposed to regular minions) which Verity was retreating to.

Andrew: Run away

Verity: I was running away

Andrew: That wasn't away, you ran across the Inhibitor. That's not away, that's parallel.

At this point both verity and I were crippld laughing.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Sorry, you're just wrong

Verity: What time is it?

Mat: Time Big Ben had babies

Verity: Why would I want a tiny bell?

Mat: A bell? If Big Ben had babies you'd have a watch

Verity: No, Big Ben is a bell

Mat: No, it's a clock tower

Verity: No it really isn't. Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the clock tower, not the name of
the tower itself or the clock

Mat: Oh well I'm so sorry Miss Politically Correct

Verity: Thats not politically correct, that's just correct

Monday, 30 January 2012

A bond of trust

Mat is borrowing my laptop to entertain himself while waiting for people to join him on Monster Hunter Tri on the wii.

Mat: Shall I sign you out of Facebook?

Verity: Frape me and I'll break you legs.

Mat: It was tempting...

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Shit that amuses us

We are not, in our house, what you might describe as up to date. We do not live on the bleeding edge of the internet. Thus, our household in-jokes generally originate from highly outdated internet memes and videos that people stopped laughing at in 2008. Here listed are some of our running jokes and their origin.

"You.." "You?!" "I totally don't remember your name" "I've lived here for like a year now, Karl!"
"I will not apologise for art."
"Do you hear that? That's the sound of forgiveness." "That's the sound of people drowning, Karl" "That is what forgiveness sounds like - screaming, and then silence"
"That hurt my feelings, now we're both in the wrong"
"Aww that's no fun" "This has become the norm for you Karl" "I'll have to try harder next time" "Please don't" "I feel like I've been issued a challenge here"

Almost every line in any of the Llamas with hats videos has potential to be a household meme. All too often, all too easily do we find ourselves reciting up to a whole episode.

Those crazy llamas!

You have a problem, I will solve it. Check out this beet, while the DJ revolves it.

Truly classic visual comedy from the Loading Ready Run team, needs to be watched to be appreciated.

End result is that any object that makes a 'beat' noise, gets turned over to make a noise on the other side on the cue "Ah!- revolve it."

'Gay Bacon and Sauce'
Epic Mealtime is another staple of ridiculous in-jokes. Current favourite is GAY BACON.

Although one can never turn their back on the eternal Big Mac SAUCE.

So. There are more. Many more. but that will do for now. We need to move a desk. Goodnight, sweethearts.

Carefully considered decision

Mat had bought two single glass sized bottles of wine from Tesco. We were deciding which one to use for the meal in the post below and which one to drink.

Verity: Which one shall we use?

Mat: They both look the same, really.

Verity: *looks at % value* Well this one's stronger..

Mat: *takes stronger wine* I'll drink this one.

Just turn it over

So Mat was doing the washing up while I cooked dinner and I gave him the chopping board to wash.

Verity: That needs to be washed

Mat: Just turn it over

Verity: I already have, now it needs washing

Mat: Well all you have to do in the future is spray some disinfectant on the worktop..

Verity: No

Mat: Just spray it where the chopping board goes and..

Verity: No

Mat: Then you can keep turning it over and get three maybe even four uses out of it

Verity: No

Mat: Well my own chopping board isn't much to look at really

Verity: Of course it isn't, it's yours

Mat: ...

Verity: :D

Mat: ¬¬

If you would like to try cooking the meal we were making at the time, here's the recipe!

Serves 4 (or in our case, 2 people, twice)

6 Rashers of heterosexual bacon
300g Chicken breast
1 Onion
1 Bell pepper
2 Handfuls of mixed frozen vegetables
2tbsp Pesto
180ml White wine
150ml Single cream
Enough pasta
Splash of olive oil

1) Chop chicken and bacon into small chunks. Fry on a high heat in the pesto and the olive oil until mostly cooked.

2) Add the onion (chopped) and the bell pepper (chopped). Continue to fry until the onion is softened and turn down to medium heat.

3) Add the frozen vegetables and continue on medium heat until completely defrosted.

4) Add wine and cream, simmer. You should probably start cooking the pasta now.

5) Once the pasta is cooked, combine and consume.

Not dead

You know that you live in a house full of bikers when the standard telephone greeting of your housemate to explain why he's not home yet is "Hi, I'm not dead..."

Thursday, 26 January 2012


So we were selecting new fonts for the blog.

Mat: The more I read the word 'House', the more I want to pronounce it 'Hoose'

Verity: Epic construction time. Big Mac HOUSE!


For a while, we had no recycling bin, and the glass, plastic etc was mounting up beside the normal bin. Now? Now we have a recycling bin.

Verity: Goddamnyou, huge pile of recycling.

Mat: Why don't you take it out? No excuse now.

Verity: Laziness.

Mat: Laziness is not an excuse!

Verity: I disagree. It's a very broad, effective excuse!

Improper videos

Verity: So, a friend downloaded a video off RedTube for me. Sent it over Skype. He could've changed the name - I now have 'Hard policeman likes horny young ass.avi' in my download history.

Mat: Yeah, should have made it 'porn video.wav'

Verity: 'Filthy pr0nz.MP4'