"Sorry, what was the question?" asked the crimewriter. She'd been cooking, editing and preparing interview questions all at the same time all day and was a bit scattered.
"Which bits of writing come easy and which are tough?" asked the blog.
"Oh, okay. Well, let me see now . . . dialogue never seems that hard. You know, naturalistic sort of dialogue like people actually do?"
"As opposed to constructions which are too syntactically complex and contain overly formal vocabulary choices?'
"What about description?'
"We've all stopped description for a month in tribute to Elmore Leonard, haven't we?"
But Elmore Leonard seemed a world away from this kitchen, with its flagged floor, its Aga, its cheerful jumble of cats, cushions and courgettes from the garden.
Outside there was some weather too: rain plotching down, so that the sweetpeas and honeysuckle which had waved in greeting when she arrived the day before were sodden, hanging from their string supports like swooning maidens on the jacket of a bonkbuster.
"I think it's okay as long as there's similes," said the blog. "You know - Marlowe style."
"Coolio," said the crimewriter.
"And action?' the blog went on. "Do you find action sequences easy?"
Suddenly three things happened all at once. Maybe four. Lightning flashed, the house was plunged into darkness, behind her there was the sound of glass shattering and the cat on her lap dropped to the floor and streaked away through the catflap, crouched low with its ears flat back.
She leapt to her feet, knocking over her chair, and backed away from the door. Even in the darkness, she could see a humped shape and an arm reaching through the broken pane to scrabble at the handle.
Through her panic, she had time to realise that a flash of lightning shorting the electrics, just when an intruder was about to burst in, was a massive coincidence, but the cat was a nice touch.
"Don't come any closer," she said, the relief of returning to dialogue lending a steady and commanding air to her voice, although her pulse thrummed.
"Who's going to stop me?" The snarl in the voice turned her legs to jelly.
All day she had been boiling pork bones and herbs to make stock. She had been planning to use it as a jelly layer around the inside of a raised-crust pork pie. None of that mattered now. She tossed her head, trying to shake out the recipe nonsense. With the movement, her hand brushed against the measuring jug sitting ready for when the stock had cooled. She seized it, dipped it, and threw 500mls of scalding hot liquid, drained but unsalted (she shook her head again), right into his gleaming eyes.
Just then the lights came back on, for reasons which will have to be determined in the second draft and she looked down into the ugly and now blistering features of A Very Bad Man.
"How about characterisation?" the blog asked quietly.
"Never mind that,' said the crimewriter. "I still have enough stock left for my pie."