The Wrap Around Cover

Underdog Anthology 6, ‘The Gallows Stone’, is just about ready for loading. Interiors for print and eBook versions are finished. I now have to do the hardest part of all, a roughly 100-word summary of the book. Everything else is on hold while I do this, including my new toy which arrived today (it’s a little laser engraver, I dare not take it out of the packaging until the book is completed).

This is going to be my first attempt at a wrap-around one piece cover. It has advantages – the printing process sometimes leaves a bit of spine on the front or back covers and vice versa. With a whole image that won’t matter. I can also have different fonts and different coloured texts on the spine which is not an option the ‘traditional’ way.

It has disadvantages. To get  the spine text lined up properly, I have to get the image size exactly right. There will be some drift in printing, I have noticed it already, but that text has to stay firmly on the spine. This is not as easy as the printer sites would have you believe.

Soon, CreateSpace will be no more. Everything going on to Amazon will go through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) including print books. Okay, that’s not a bad idea, it will make loading easier and quicker but… KDP’s cover creator is not compatible with the one CreateSpace used. I don’t yet know how serious this is but in a worst case scenario, I might have to redo the cover of every book in the Leg Iron Books catalogue.

I didn’t use their formatted covers, I loaded images that either I or the authors had produced. So it might not be a problem at all unless they have different cutoff points for cover text. That remains to be seen. If I do have to redo the covers I’d like to go for one piece wraparounds rather than separate front, back and spine images. Therefore I need the practice.

So, for Underdog Anthology 6, I have downloaded a template for a 130-page book (well, they have templates for 120 and 140 pages, so I will probably have to resize) and have begun the cover preparation. It’s a learning curve and I’d rather do it on an anthology where the authors get paid regardless of outcome than on a novel/story collection where the author is waiting for royalties. If I mess this up I’m the only one who loses out.

Anyway, the Gallows Stone cover has an image of, potentially, a real Gallows Stone that is built into the house I live in. I don’t know exactly where it is but I know which part of the house it’s in – the part added in the 1830s. And I now know where that is. It’s the part in the cover image. I can’t be sure of which of the stones are part of the original gallows stone but that’s part of the fun.

Well anyway. I have to write about 100 words, every one of which will be torn with fiery tongs from my bleeding soul because every one of them has to be exactly right. It was a damn sight easier to write the stories in the book. It’s going to take hours and whisky.

In the meantime, here’s the cover without the back cover words. I’m thinking graffiti style.

Coming together and falling apart

The Halloween anthology is ready to go. I’m just waiting for one author’s response to edits and it’ll load up. I’ll be glad to take a rest after this one – my sleeping pattern is now all over the place and I’m losing track of what day it is!

I’d like to get this one out before Theresa May gets kicked out. There’s a reason, and it has to do with the traditional corrupted poem at the end.

It has come to light that when CreateSpace merge with Kindle (Kindle will them make all the print and Kindle versions, which will save a bit of time), the CreateSpace cover creator is not compatible with the Kindle cover creator for print books. Since I load up cover images rather than use their templates, that might not be a problem – but it might mean I have to re-do all the covers. If I do, I’ll make them all one-piece covers.

Anyway, the book is coming together. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is falling apart.

Brexit is a shambles. Theresa May seems determined to put the Conservative party on a level with the Church of the Militant Elvis, aided by ‘Lurch’ Hammond, who intends to have a Brown Gorgon-style raid on pension funds and raise more taxes.  That’s right, Deep Socialism from what was once regarded as a ‘Conservative’ party. This is to pay for extra nannying from the NHS and their Public Health Stasi who are now at the stage of limiting the size of pizza. This is not parody. Parody is long dead now. If ‘Spitting Image’ tried to make a comeback they simply could not do it.

With the Tories now firmly on the Left, what of the original Left? Have they welcomed these totalitarian fuckwits into their fold? Not a bit of it. The Labour party is now so far to the Left, Stalin can’t see them. Ultra Leftie Students in Cambridge have voted to have nothing to do with Remembrance Day. The University has been on Twitter to denounce the abuse directed at their utterly moronic and worthless students even though the whole of Cambridge, if not the whole country, is brought into disrepute by their actions.

In Sheffield University, a visit by Nick Clegg has been cancelled because of threats of violent protest by ‘left wing’ students. Look, if you think Nick Clegg is in any way ‘right wing’, you really need to take a long hard look at your political stance. You’re in a place even Marx never dared venture into.

Police have been told they cannot display poppies on their police cars for Remembrance Day although expensive paint jobs to cover those cars in rainbow colours for the Poofs Parade is actively encouraged. As is dressing police officers in ridiculous outfits and setting them the task of policing online words rather than tackling actual crimes. All so that the oafs in charge can pretend they don’t have enough money. The general public, unsurprisingly, are not happy about this and the actual police officers aren’t happy about it either. Nobody in charge cares, because nobody in charge has the capacity to think ahead. Like Tessie May’s gang, they think about today and money. That’s it.

The EU is collapsing. If our government would only realise it they’d jump ship now with no deal – because we won’t need a deal. There won’t be an EU to deal with, we’d make deals with the individual European countries instead. Just like in the old days. As for Frau Merkel and her Fourth Reich, well even the Germans have had enough of that crap.

Italy will soon begin mass deportations. Austria will follow. Hungary, Poland and friends have avoided that issue by not letting them in in the first place. Denmark is bringing in tougher anti-Islamist laws, even Sweden is starting to drift towards nationalism although I doubt that will be a fast transition. It’s not in their nature, they’ve been driven to it and won’t like it, but they have been left with no choice.

The Middle East has entered a state of perpetual war in which nobody is going to back down. America is heading for a civil war in which people with lots of guns are provoked incessantly by people who can’t make up their minds what gender they are. That will be a short war. America is about to enter mid-term elections and looking at it from outside, it looks as if the Democrats are heading for oblivion. They are becoming increasingly violent and insane, and it is turning moderate and swing voters away from them in droves.

Meanwhile in the UK, we have a Conservative party that obviously does not want to be anywhere near Government for the best part of a century and the alternative is Stalin’s Little Helper and his gang of crazed and violent madmen.

Halloween is coming, and a few days afterwards, Earth gets a visit from a comet that’s shaped like a skull.

I’m not a great believer in cosmic signs but I’d say there’s something very, very big that’s about to change.

It’s not going to be an easy transition.



Now That’s What I Call Mucus

Within days of writing, in an answer on Quora, that I could not remember the last time I had a cold… I caught a cold.  I suppose that was my occasional reminder that if I get too smug, Karma is always waiting to kick my arse.

Anyway, it only slowed things down a little bit. I have passed Peak Mucus and am self-repairing rapidly with the help of Glen Keith.

I have set a final deadline of October 7th. By then, all the current stories will be editied, author contracts and payments done (unless the author opts to be paid in books) and the book assembled. I can still slot in one or two late ones but I have to have them by midnight GMT on the 7th. Oh don’t worry if you’re a minute past. I work at night mostly, I like it that way.

Back to it…

I am not ignoring politics and what is happening in the world generally. Something very big is happening and I’m not sure I trust any of the main players at this point. Someone is getting close to toppling a King somewhere, and it’s not clear who or where. I’ll devote more time to this once the book is done.

And… relax. That’s enough. Back to work.

Visitor season is over. Nearly two months of it this year. I’d set up a temporary office in one of the unused upstairs rooms, among the boxes full of crap I’ll get around to sorting out one day. It functioned, with a dodgy WiFi connection through the granite walls, but it’s good to be back in the real office again.

This room, my office, doubles as the guest room because both staircases are seriously difficult to navigate until you get used to them. The main one is a steep, curved, 17-step staircase with a frighteningly low banister. The other is narrow with a 90 degree bend halfway up and no handrails of any kind. None of the upstairs rooms have heating. My father is 80 and would take far too long to navigate those stairs now!

Also, all the upstairs rooms are full of those boxes of stuff…

Anyway, the bridge down the road is now fixed so the post office is accessible again. I have a backlog of things to post, and a lot of the boxed stuff can go on eBay and get turned back into money. Probably not much in most cases but there’s a lot I’ll never use again. Camping equipment comes to mind…

My little lab has been scheduled for demolition. This is not a surprise, it was set up as a temporary lab in the 1960s and should have been demolished 40 years ago. This has spurred me to officially retire from lab based science work although I’ll still take on consultancy and advisory work. I’m getting too old to deal with 60+ samples a day anyway. I’ll clear the lab in the coming weeks and sell off anything that’s still in regular use in other labs. Might keep a few bits for dabbling, you never know. All those 5-litre flasks and heat mats are likely to come in handy 😉

Even with all this madness, the Halloween anthology is on track to be ready in time. As long as Amazon don’t screw up the merging of CreateSpace and Kindle, it’ll be fine.

Six authors are confirmed so far, a couple more possible and there’s still roughly a week before this one closes. There’s enough to make a book, I’d be delighted to make it a thicker one though. More details closer to the release date – but there are a few interesting new twists this time.

Once this is in the bag I’ll start looking for stories for the Christmas anthology. I could leave it until November but there is the possibility of novels arriving soon so I should get that one started early. As always it’ll be a Christmas theme but no restrictions on genre (other than keeping it within legal boundaries). I’ll be developing the dystopia I’ve built over several Christmas stories in that one, and in the process I’ll solve how I get to a genderless, utterly compliant population for ‘Panoptica’. The real sticking point for that one was always the backstory. I needed a plausible answer for ‘How did it come to this?’ and I have one now.

One day this blog will return to its scheduled programming of whisky-fuelled rants against pretty much anything (but especially Puritans) but for now I have to build a business while having absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

It seems to be working out so far though.


De Godin van de Flaporen

The latest from Leg Iron Books is a Dutch translation of Justin Sanebridge’s ‘The Goddess of Protruding Ears‘ – which has, so far, accumulated three 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Yes, ‘Flaporen’ is Dutch for ‘protruding ears’. I think it sounds much better than the English version.

It’s freshly loaded so the print and Kindle versions have not yet blended into one. There was also a small issue with the Kindle version, the fixed version is now loaded but you might still see the glitch until the new one comes through.

Everything has to have one problem. In this case, the Kindle conversion stretched the back cover image over multiple pages. Kindle doesn’t seem to do too well with images in general but this one was really bad. Since the back cover isn’t necessary in an eBook I have simply removed it from the Kindle version. The Smashwords version, so far, seems unaffected.

It’s in Dutch, of course, so I guess that limits the audience somewhat – on the other hand, the original English version is now also available in Dutch so from that viewpoint, the audience base has increased.

The cover of the Dutch version

I am now working 100% on the Halloween anthology. Some stories are already in and several more are promised. The deadline is around October 1st, I can be a little flexible but not more than a few days.

Something always goes wrong and it’s different every time, so I need to allow for ‘blunder time’ between loading the book and having it on sale.

After this one is published I’ll start on the Christmas anthology. Starting early so that it can be a bit more leisurely, and also because there’s Christmas post to consider as well as the usual blunder time!

If you have a Halloween story, any genre, now is the time to send it.

If you don’t have one to hand but you have an idea, you have two weeks to write it.

Boycott Suicide

It’s all the rage now. Boycott this or that because they are connected, sometimes tenuously, with something or someone who is the current focus of today’s Two Minute Hate.

I’ve been feeling a bit left out. Everyone is boycotting things I’ve never bought anyway so I can’t join in.

Not that I would anyway. I can’t be bothered with boycotts, other than personal ones. The ones where I get shitty service in a business and simply go elsewhere. I’ve never demanded anyone else boycott that business. Maybe I was the only one to get shitty service. Maybe most people are happy with shitty service. I strike them off my list of shopping places and move on. Life is too short to get involved in organised boycotts and silly vendettas.

I’m not talking about the supposed ‘boycotts’ of reduced-sugar fizzy pop or breakfast cereals. People have stopped buying them because the new taste is awful, not because of any organised boycott.

I have also not boycotted pubs. I rarely visit since the smoking ban but it’s not a boycott. I just don’t feel welcome in them any more. It’s no longer an enjoyable experience so I don’t go there.

This has been made worse by the Spiteful Nannying Puritans of the Scottish government and their recent lowering of the alcohol limit for driving to where one beer puts you over the limit. The local pub is two miles away. I could take a 40-minute walk to a place I can’t smoke with my drink, or drive to a pub in which I can now neither smoke nor drink. What would be the point? The same drive takes me to Local Shop where I can buy a bottle of whisky, drive home, and then drink and smoke indoors in comfort.

The real boycotts are coming from howling Twatter/Farcebok mobs. None of them work and most seem to have the opposite effect to that intended. A recent one involved an American burger takeaway called ‘In and Out’ or some such. Sounds more like a brothel name to me but we don’t have that company in the UK so I couldn’t have boycotted them anyway. Apparently business has boomed since they got all that free Twitter advertising. They are now out of the shadow of MacDonald’s and the other really big franchises. Boycott? They’re lovin’ it.

I can’t remember what that boycott was about. It was, most likely, something very trivial. They usually are.

There was a call to boycott Amazon some time ago. Well I’m not going to do that. They sell Leg Iron Books! Boycott my biggest outlet? That would be as much of a commercial suicide as, say, Lucozade selling energy drinks in which they have reduced the sugar – the primary source of energy in the drink. It would be a stupid thing to do.

Incidentally, I have noticed some so called ‘energy’ drinks describing themselves as such, then boasting that the can of chemical fizz is sugar free and calorie free. So there is no energy in there at all. It’s just chemical fizz with caffeine. It’ll keep you awake and tired. I fail to see the advantage in this.

Back to Amazon. I live about 15 miles from the nearest town that’s big enough to have an Aldi and Tesco. Two miles away is Local Shop and it’s actually called that. Prices in there are not sky high. They are quite reasonable. Also they have cut price whisky sometimes and I’ve become quite partial to a drop of Glen Keith whenever they have it at £20 instead of £30. It’s one of the few places I’ve seen Glen Garioch on the shelves too. They don’t have a big range… of anything. It’s a small shop. You can’t really stock up your kitchen there without emptying their shelves.

Actually, as long as the bridge is out, Local Shop is 8 miles away along single track farm roads at harvest time, which is very inconvenient as it’s also the post office.

So if I need something that’s not stocked by Aldi or Tesco, I can drive all the way to Aberdeen (nightmare!) or I can bring up Amazon on the browser, click ‘buy’ and it’s delivered to my door. I don’t care what they’ve done to upset the perpetually offended. I am not boycotting them.

The most recent boycott involves some football bloke with big hair called Colin Kapplenapple or something like that. I wasn’t really paying attention. Seems he got fired from football for being useless and a pain in the arse, and lots of Americans despise him. So Nike, the sports mob, have taken him on to advertise shoes. Now, lots of Americans want to boycott Nike. I may be a bit sketchy on the details because I don’t actually give a shit. I don’t know anything about American football (it’s a bit like rugby for girls, I think), I’ve never bought anything by Nike and I have no interest in any sport that involves no sharp objects.

The bit that got my attention was all the idiots on Twitter videoing themselves burning their Nike shoes. What is that about? You do not hurt a shoe company by buying shoes from them and then burning the shoes. You still have no bloody shoes, have you? So now you have to go and buy more shoes. The shoe company doesn’t care. They have the money you gave them for the shoes. So you burned the shoes. You cannot cost them a sale by reselling yours.

If you don’t want your Nike shoes any more, give them to the homeless. They don’t care about fashion or politics or boycotts. Trust me on that, I’ve been there. You would wear Lady Gaga’s goat-hoof shoes if that was all you had.

I wonder if I can convince these maniacs to burn books. Get them to buy all the books I publish and burn them all. That would be fantastic. I’d get paid, the authors would get paid, and those books won’t be floating around the second hand shops cutting down sales of new ones.

The best part is they are all print on demand. Keep buying them and we keep printing them. And getting paid.

We make more per sale on the eBooks. Are there people stupid enough to buy fifty copies of an eBook and then burn their Kindle? There has to be at least one out there.

The search begins.

Underdog Anthology Six

Working title: The Gallows Stone. Inspired by a lump of rock in a wall of this house. The title may change if it doesn’t fit the content but as I have little idea of what the content will be at this stage, a working title will do.

Underdog Anthology Six is now open for submissions until October 1st. I will allow a day or two leeway on that deadline but no more than that. This is the Halloween anthology and I really want it available in plenty of time. So go for October 1st as your deadline and if it’s a day over, I’ll still consider the story. Best to warn me it’s coming though.

I am looking for Halloween themed stories in any genre – I know it’s traditionally a horror setting but it doesn’t have to be – of roughly 1000 – 2000 words. The word count is not at all set in stone, you can send as big a story as you like and if it’s far too long I’ll consider publishing it separately as a novella (that’s a different arrangement involving royalties rather than the one-off payment for a short story). Since I’m paying £10 per story, I’d rather not see 100-word flash fiction unless you’re willing to negotiate a lower payment.


Halloween theme, as I said. No child abuse or child porn. Adult themes are fine as long as only adults are involved. No violent rape scenes, other violence is fine. Absolutely no antismoking propaganda. Try to stay off politics, since that sets the story in a particular time frame and it’ll soon get dated. No fanfiction – if the characters in your story are from a copyrighted series or story, I can’t accept it. Be honest, you wouldn’t like it if someone took your characters and made money from writing them into stories, now would you?

Final rule – I’m not going to publish anything I could be legitimately sued over. Authors take full responsibility for their writings and if there are death threats or court cases, they get redirected back to the author.  Take the story right to the edge if you like, but not over it. These books have never yet made me a profit and I’m not going to jail for one of them.

Even so, every one of these anthologies so far has an 18+ rating due to one or more stories inside, so adult themes are okay.

Other information

Copyright remains with the author throughout. I never buy copyright. What I’m paying for is the right to include your story in this one anthology and as soon as it’s published, that publication right is completed. I cannot and will not use your story anywhere else and I cannot and will not stop you re-using your story anywhere you like. I would like it if you’d refer to the anthology if you do republish your story but it’s not a condition. I really don’t have the time or resources to check anyway.

The flipside is that once paid for and published, you can’t ask me to take it out of the anthology. I’m not doing eternal revisions of anthologies. There are three a year and the Christmas one is next up. Once I buy the right to publish, it’s in that anthology forever.


Don’t. No fancy stuff. It’s murder getting those borders and lines out. Italics, bold, underline, sure. No problem there. But don’t split it into sections and don’t have all kinds of fonts and heading styles because I’m going to change them all. The book will be Times New Roman, pitch 11, and I will format headings so they are consistent throughout.

Don’t send a PDF. I can’t do anything with it. Microsoft Word or OpenOffice are preferred but if you have a different word processor I might still be able to open it. If all else fails, send it as RTF with instructions if you need anything special.

Try to keep paragraphs short. It’s not too important in the print version but people read eBooks on their phones and long paragraphs become screen after screen of solid text. It puts people off.

Author page

Every author has a page, about 250 words or so, to give any information they want about themselves. It doesn’t have to be the whole truth. If you have published before you can list those on your page and even include links. In the eBook those links will be ‘live’. If you want a photo in there (nobody ever has, yet) I can do that – I need it at least 300 DPI or big enough that I can increase the DPI and shrink it. It will be monochrome, if you send colour I can convert it.

Submissions should be sent to legironbooks [at] gmail . com

I think that covers everything. If you have any questions, either drop me an email or ask in the comments below. If you want a taste of what kind of story shows up in these anthologies, you can ‘click to look inside’ the previous ones…

Underdog Anthology (1)

Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell (2)

Treeskull Stories (3)

The Good, the Bad and Santa (4)

Six in Five in Four (5)

Crank up those writing fingers, pour a glass of your favourite imagination lubricant and see what Hallowen inspires in you.