Archive for the ‘Pearls’ Category

Pearls part 2 and a wee explanation!

Posted: 16/09/2016 by Alternate Celt in Pearls, writing

Part 2 of Pearls is now up at FTP magazine, mosey on over to see what mischief Keri and Ami are up to now. 

I feel that a little bit more background to the story could be good for folk, especially anyone who might find the language a wee bit challenging to get into. No, I’m not writing a glossary, I just think that a bit of explanation might just help you persevere. Sorry, Ah’m no that kind ūüėČ
Pearls on the Road is a Rock n Roll adventureÕĺ a wild ride across America and a dedication to the spirit of Janis Joplin. It‚Äôs two wild Glasgow women, one psychedelic car and a life changing road trip. Beginning with the theft of Janis Joplin‚Äôs porsche from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, we follow our two main characters, Keri and Ami, as they meet a wide selection of colourful people, take a large amount of psychoactive substances and burn up thousands of miles of road, all while trying to stay ahead of the Law and not go out like Thelma and Louise. The book‚Äôs plot centres around Keri, who narrates and Ami, who is Keri‚Äôs best friend and partner in crime. After they steal Janis Joplin’s Porsche, they go on the run in the car headed south to New Orleans on a pilgrimage in honour of Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat. Although sceptical at first, Keri and Ami come to believe they are on a mission to free Janis’s spirit from the car. In New Orleans, a voodoo ritual sets them off on a car chase with the Devil and a race against time to get the porsche to Stinson Beach in California where Janis’s ashes.
Keri narrates in her own voice, which is definitely Glaswegian, and certainly outspoken and confident. She believes in herself, and even though she‚Äôs aware she’s not taking the moral high ground in much of the story, she follows her instincts and her heart. Ami is also outspoken and able to articulate her beliefs with passion and  eloquence. I put a great deal of myself and my own interests into Pearls, as it’s something of a personal homage to America and Americana. Like Keri, I‚Äôve practiced Martial Arts, gone to Metal gigs, dreamed of visiting Lestat‚Äôs New Orleans and been a singer. I was a teen of the 90‚Äôs and the music of that decade is as important to me musically as the music of the 60‚Äôs. The story is littered with references to songs I both loved or simply found appropriate to the girls in that moment. It ranges from Guns n Roses through to Painters, back via Motley Crew and then deep down into Janis’s discography. It makes a rather tasty playlist, or at least, I reckon so.
I play a little locally down here in Galloway, which keeps music part of my lifeblood, and I currently work as the Librarian in the Library where I discovered Interview with a Vampire as a teen. Other literary influences for the story are from Hunter S Thompson and Jack Kerouac, as well as great Scottish writers like Irvine Welsh and Iain Banks. I am also rather aware of a lack female authors writing in Scots and a lack of non romance adventure stories with female protagonists, so my aim when I write is to fill a bit of that gap.
I really enjoyed writing Pearls. The characters are vivid to me, and their adventure really kept me rolling along quickly as they explained it to me. Although there is a lot of darkness in the story, my aim was to write something fun and uplifting, which I believe I achieved quite well. 


Submission. …

Posted: 01/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in Extracts, Pearls, writing
Tags: ,

Ok, so this weekend has twisted my brain completely out of shape. My lad has been terribly ill, the boiler for the central heating is on the fritz again and I’ve been desperately trying to pull together my Submission for Xponorth. Somehow,¬† in between all that I managed to organise a recording date for my music (more on that at a later date) and baked some experimental oatcakes (in Black Pepper and Garlic and Herb flavours ).
Well, this morning the boy is better, the boiler isn’t and I have managed to get my submission together!


After a touch of wrangling with filenames; they were longer than my tablet’s 50 character limit, I managed to get them uploaded!¬† *fingers crossed * and all that superstitious jazz.

A trip in the forest

Posted: 29/04/2016 by Alternate Celt in Extracts, Pearls, writing

This is one of my favourite moments in Pearls. I’m working away at it, hope to have the first 50 pages edited by tomorrow for a competition. Warning : scene contains excessive,  lengthy description due to the narrator’s consumption of class a hallucinogens.


We dinnae find picnic tables and a car park, but we dae find a big forest clearin at the end ov a dirt track.  We dinnae hav tae look far fur firewood so we’ve soon got a wee blaze gaun in the centre ov the clearin.  Above us the stars are bright, although the edges ov the sky are tinged yellow on maist sides.  There’s a lot ov towns and cities aroun here, and that’s their sodium glare.  We take out the Acid bottle and carefully tear off two bits ov blotter paper frae yin o the sheets.  On the bonnet ov the car, while Ami is busy constructing a joint from a very dry but otherwise well preserved bit ov bud, Ah very carefully put jist yin tiny drop ov the acid on each ov the wee tabs.  It might be pish, dilutit tae water aw maist, but Ah know there’s enough ov a chance ov it bein quite the opposite that Ah want tae be careful.  Ah don’t really fancy havin a freak out in the middle ov a forest in a totally foreign country.  Let’s no even think about bein on the run frae the polis on top ov that.    Ma teenage experimentation did teach me somethin efter aw.  We take the tabs, Ami lights the spliff and Ah open the bottle ov whisky, and then we sit on the bonnet ov the car tae wait, watchin the fire burn and the stars shine.  The fire fascinates me, fire aways dis.  Ah love the way the flames are  curlin aroun the bits ov wood as they burn them, almost like liquid flowin in reverse.  Ah move oer and squat down beside the wee fire tae watch them closer efter a wee while, clutchin mah bottle ov whiskey but forgettin about it.  Ah hear Ami rumblin aroun in the boot ov the car, and then the radio comes on again, White Rabbit playin softly.  A great song for the come up.  Ami comes swannin roun the car wi the headdress on her head and mair scarves wrapped aroun her shoulders and airms.  She’s found flowers frae somewhere, dried roses and carnations, and wound them through the heid dress.  In the light ov the fire the raven black feathers ov the heid dress gleam and steal mah attention frae the flames.  Ah’m startin tae get that light, bubbly feelin inside, and there’s an extra layer ov sparkle descendin on the night.  Ah might burst out laughin any minute, in sheer relief tae be alive and intact tae see such a beautiful night.  Ah start singin along wi Grace Slick, fallin down the rabbit hole wi Alice even as Ah’m comin up.  Ami starts spinnin aroun, makin the heid dress flare out and the scarves trail.  The moon, as near as damn it tae fu, peaks o’er the top ov the trees and there’s silver threads and tassels, and silver bangles on Ami’s wrists; they flash and sparkle like the stars above us  in the moonlight.  Ah’m still singin, beltin out the words in a loose free way Ah havnae achieved in years.  The twinklin stars above start to fall like silver snow frae the sky.  We baith start laughin, spinnin aroun under the rain ov silver and trying to catch them on our tongues like we did wi flakes ov snow as weans. That’s when Ah realise Ah am totally trippin mah tits off.  The apocalyptic flourish at the end ov White Rabbit rings out through the night an frae mah lungs. 
Time changes, it stops flowin in a straight line frae minute to minute and jumps about so Ah get flashes ov things we are dain out here under the stars.  We’re dancin and singing roun the fire; we’re lyin on our backs on the bonnet ov the Porsche starin at the stars; we’re flopped inside drinkin and smokin and talkin animatedly about everythin; we’re pokin the dyin flames ov the fire and watchin the sparks fly up like little fiery imps escapin out intae the world tae dae mischief; we’re walkin through the trees, layin our hands on the trunks and feelin the life rush through them; we’re crouchin in the shadows ov the trees watchin the patterns on the cars paintwork move and swirl and animate while the car breaths gently in the night; we’re lying on the bonnet again, watchin feathered pink clouds stretch out through a silverin sky as the sun begins to come up; we’re crashin out inside the car, noddin, as the birds in the trees begin tae really sing for the mornin. 
Ah feel like utter shite when Ah wake up, an when Ah see whit’s left ov the whisky, (nuthin), the tequila, (also nuthin), and the rum, (a wee bit at the bottom ov the bottle), Ah realise why.  The day is well gone awready, Ah’ve been sleepin sprawled on the very cramped back seat while Ami has wound back the passenger seat and curled up on that as best as she can.  That’s another reason Ah feel terrible.  Aw ma limbs are stiff and aching frae lying curled up in this position, and ma spine feels twisted out ov shape.  Ah have tae crawl intae the driver seat tae get out and stretch, and this is a painful process made worse by Ami swearin at me an hittin me as Ah squeeze by her.  She’s still maistly sleepin  and has nae idea whit’s goin on.  Ah practically fall out ov the car, stumbling into the afternoon light with mah hands oer mah een.  Mah hair is aw oer the place, bleached blond waves that are  irritatingly bright in the sunshine.  With aw the bangles Ah seem to have accumulatit, and the scarves, the waistcoat, ma black skinny fit jeans and high heeled boots Ah know Ah look like a casualty frae a Glam rock band efter gig pairty, and Ah sure as fuck feel like wan.  As if on cue, the radio comes oan and Motley Crue’s ‚ÄúGirls,Girls,Girls‚ÄĚ rudely awakens Ami frae her slumber.  She escapes the car as fast as her sore limbs and hangover will let her, slammin the door and cursing the car for wakin her up.  She’s still wearing the heiddress, and wi the long grey felt coat she usually wears she looks more hippy than glam.  She’s pullin off the casualty look as good as me though.  She staggers oer tae where Ah’m stanin, tryin to light a cigarette wi a shaky hand while still shieldin mah een frae the sunlight.

Editing Language and Janis

Posted: 19/04/2016 by Alternate Celt in musings, Pearls, writing


So, I’m like so busy at work today that I’ve been doing a bit of work on the language of Pearls on the Road.  I got inspired to look at it again after hearing a bit about how the story behind the film The Martian came about, because I would love more than anything to turn Pearls into a film. It’s a road trip with a bright and colourful cast, it’s rather feminist and wild, it’s face paced and has plenty of action that ought to make for a great film.   One step at a time though!
It’s actually good that I’ve taken so long to come back to it, because I have fresh eyes and a better sense of the difference between Weegie and the rest of Scots.  I am considering serialising the edited version just to get more eyes on the text though, and self publishing hard copies of the finished thing for anyone who would like one.  The question remains whether or not this is actually a good idea.  It might have worked well for The Martian, but I’ve been told so many times that Pearls is very “niche” I can’t decide if that will inhibit any following it might get. 
Anyway, I’m not ready yet to commit to the idea, I’m just starting to iron the text out a little.  If you fancy a wee bit of a taster, though, you can find the opening of the story here.

Real Pearls!

Posted: 19/05/2015 by Alternate Celt in Pearls, writing


Two copies of Pearls on the Road arrived this morning ready for an intensive editing week! Such dinky wee copies too. Now all I need is a publisher mad enough to take it on.
You can read an extract here!

Pearls on the Road, the Map.

Posted: 18/04/2015 by Alternate Celt in Pearls, writing

I’ve started a map board on pinterest which follows the girls’ little roadtrip. I won’t be posting direct spoilers, but you can get some idea of what’s  in store with this board.
I’ve decided to take a couple of weeks this coming summer to hothouse a final draft of Pearls. Anybody interested in helping with that, particularly  with the language work that needs doing, can contact me via either this page or twitter.
Once I’ve got my final draft, I’m either going to find someone mad enough to publish it for me, or publish it myself. Watch this space, cos I hope something exciting happens either way!

Pearls on the Road –

Pearls on the Road

Posted: 18/10/2013 by Alternate Celt in Extracts, Pearls
Tags: ,
Janis and her Porsche

Janis and her Porsche

This story is my baby, my honey chile and my proudest moment in writing to date. ¬†It’s written in a hybrid form of Lallands and Glaswegian – one of the things I still need to iron out. ¬†People tell me I should write it in plain old English, but I think personally it would lose too much of it’s character. ¬†What do you think?


Pearls on the Road

Part One

New Orleans or Bust


If Ah said we didnae really hav a clue why we decided tae do it, then that would definitely be true. ¬†Ah know part o it wis boredom. ¬†Masel, Ah felt like ma life was grindin tae a halt an aw ma best years were behind me, at thirty fuckin four, which jist isnae right. ¬†Ami, ma best pal in the whole world, wis the same. ¬†We’d been runnin thegither since we were teenagers, gettin up tae all kinds o crazy shit, but then we’d baith got tangled up wi’ men that screwed us up, an we baith ended up dying inside as housewives, hatin’ our lives, our men an ourselves. ¬†Things happened in our 20’s, we drifted apart a bit, we stopped sharin’ all our pain thegither, our men stood in our way an’ it felt like bein’ buried alive.

Ah ¬†remember wakin’ up yin mornin’ with the radio blarin’ out Janis Joplin’s Piece o My Heart an realisin’ that Ah couldnae do it any mair. ¬†Ah wisnae the person Ah used tae be, Ah wisnae a happy person at a an listenin to Janis singin’ about givin everythin away tae her man made me realise whit the fuck Ah wis up tae. ¬†By that time, Ami wis already livin oan her ane. ¬†Her man had ditched her for something younger an less angry a coupla years before, an when Ah got up outta bed that mornin an packed my bag before that fuckin lazy bastard even opened his eyes, it wis Ami’s doorstep I wis headin for. ¬†Before Ah left I drained the last bottle o whiskey in the house dry so that lazy shite would hav to go an get his ane when he got up.

So Ah turned up oan Ami’s doorstep, reekin o whiskey an cryin my fuckin een out cuz Ah felt mair lost than ever. ¬†She didnae say ocht, she jist let me in an made me a strong cup o coffee. ¬†Then she listened, for bloody ages, while Ah poured out ma hairt like the fuckin drunk Ah wis, wailin’ an gnashing ma teeth an callin’ that bastard every shitey wurd Ah could think o. When she wis sure Ah wis done, she got up an put on aw the loudest, hardest, heaviest music she had in the house, an we jumped aroun like a pair o daft teenagers, heidbangin an screamin tae aw the music we’d loved back when we really were teenagers. ¬†That was such a fuckin’ release, screamin alang tae Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” an Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile” like we were at the Barra’s again in the mosh pit.

But that wisnae when we decided tae dae it. ¬†That wis only when we baith started again, when we baith decided that we couldnae keep on livin’ stuck in the same shite groove we’d been in for mair as ten year. ¬†Ah moved in wi Ami then, an the prick that Ah’d been livin wi’ tried a coupla times tae change ma mind, but wi twae o us it wis easy tae tell him tae get tae fuck.

No, it wisnae until ma Auntie Maggie passed away that we decided tae dae it. ¬†Ah’d become obsessed wi Janis’s life, an we’d both gone through a big stage o re-reading Anne Rice’s Vampire books cuz we were sick o all the Sparkly Vampire shite that wis bein churned out. ¬†Ye know, the Twilight books an fuckin Sookie Stackhouse (the TV series is fuckin ace though, but only cos it’s much meaner an dirtier than the books!). ¬†Don’t get me fucking started on Anita Blake, fuckin dirty slut that cannae make up her fuckin mind. ¬†Naw, Lestat wis, an is, the only vampire for us.

So when Ah got a dirty great big cheque in Auntie Maggie’s will we decided almost straight away we wanted tae go oan a road trip o the places that Lestat had been in America. ¬†New Orleans wis a place baith o us had wanted tae visit since we were teenagers readin’ Interview With A Vampire. ¬†Then Ah found a picture o Janis’s car an fell in love. Aw man, that car, it’s beautiful. ¬†A Porsche 356 cabriolet that wis decoratit fir her by her roadie. ¬†God, it wis an amazin machine, a sports car, the best o it’s generation an painted up tae be like a spirit o the sixties an Janis. ¬†Mebbe ma brain wis fried, mebbe aw the junk an drink had shorted ¬†ma circuits, but Ah couldnae get that fuckin car out o my brain. ¬†Ah’d fall asleep wi it in ma mind, dream o it an wake up thinkin about it. ¬†Fuck it, no even Leo Di Negro frae Cougar, ma favourite band and ma maist perfect man, ¬†had done that tae me, an this wis jist a fuckin car! The thing that fuckin bothered me the maist wis that it wis sitting at the Rock an Roll hall o Fame dain nothin when Ah jist knew, somehow, that it should be roamin the highways o America an raisin’ hell in her memory. ¬†An the mair Ah thought about it, the mair Ah wanted tae free the car. ¬†Ami thought Ah wis jist bein crazy at first, but Ah forced her tae watch The Rose, an Ah forced her tae read about Janis, an Ah widnae stop talkin about it until yin day Ah think she cracked.