Notice for Leg Iron Books writers.

I have been looking up review sites. These matter. They have, on the whole, a dedicated following who listen to what they say and will most likely buy what they recommend. They’ll also tell other people if they find a good one.

The Top 10 contains a few that (as yet) Leg Iron Books can’t use, but also some that would be very useful.

I am, at this stage, looking for reviewers with a reasonably wide audience but who will do a review for a print copy of the book. I’ve written reviews on that basis in the past. It means the reviewer is not beholden to give an automatic good review because they aren’t getting cash. Leg Iron Books does not want, or need, paid-to-be-nice reviews. I’m fussy about what gets through here. I’d rather see an honest review than a paid-for gushing sycophant.

There are sites that charge for reviews. Fair enough, they claim a hell of a lot of readers but at nearly $100 per book, four months wait for a review and then it’s up for a week (the cheapest option), it’s going to need a big return to justify the investment. As I said with paid reviews, you can opt to have them not show one or two star reviews which feels like cheating. Maybe I’ll get back to them later.

I’m not going to blitz one site with the whole catalogue. One book per site, one at a time. After they review one I’ll send another. Reviews are not guaranteed by these sites but if they do like the book it’ll be a big boost.

If any author wants to try this themselves, great – but let me know so I don’t send the same book to the same site!



Something for writers

Leg Iron Books authors (and anyone else) might want to take a look at this :

I’ll have a go but it’s aimed at authors, not publishers, so I can’t do it for you.

The same is true of – you can have an author page (it’s a pain in the arse to set up but you can) but there is no provision for a publisher page.

Anyway. Smoky rant is due for tomorrow because I missed out on one pack of cigarettes due to antismoker pettiness.

I’m going to let the rage stew until it boils over. Won’t take long.

Back to work

Well, June has ended and so has my little break from work. Back to full steam ahead tomorrow. I have a Dutch version of Justin Sanebridge’s ‘The Goddess of Protruding Ears’ to put out first, which won’t take long because he’s done all the hard stuff and therefore I’m open for submissions.

There will be a Halloween anthology and a Christmas one, I’ll be looking for stories from the beginning of September and from late October for those respectively. September to Christmas is likely to be pretty busy on anthologies but before and after that, loads of time.

There is a short short stories book, a scientific treatise and a potential new novel on the way but I don’t have a definite time frame for those. Writing is like that, it happens when it happens.

Plus, of course, some of my own stuff.

I’ve been watching the world descend into madness this month and I am certain there are violent times ahead. Vigilantism is on the rise on all sides. The government doesn’t seem to want to even admit it’s happening, much less try to deal with the issues that are causing it. Oh they won’t deal with the issues of course. They’ll try to deal with the vigilantes and thereby make things far, far worse.

Tessie ‘Jackboots’ May is going to fuck up Brexit. It’s going to be an absolute shambles, neither one thing nor the other. Add that to the fizzing fury already on the streets and I, for one, will be glad I live way out in the wilds.

But, serious stuff is for tomorrow. My last few hours of relaxing (well, apart from dealing with a tax form that’s changed this year and confused the hell out of me – but that’s done now) are not going to be marred with politics.

Yesterday was an unusually warm and sunny day. The sky turned so blue I almost called the police to report the aberration but then they’d all be on Farcebok and Twatter so it seemed more useful to post pictures where they’d see them.

If I add one word here – Islam – it will flag this post for police attention and they’ll see the strange blue sky phenomenon and maybe do something about it. It’s causing serious eye strain.

Well, since it wasn’t raining, CStM and I ventured forth to visit something we’ve lived near for two years and never seen. Gight Castle. It’s a ruin and you have to walk maybe 20-30 minutes from the car park to find it. You could walk there in a lot less time if you don’t bother looking at the scenery but if you’re not looking at the scenery it’s a wasted walk. So we didn’t rush.

The path is pretty much a North of Scotland A-road – it certainly has fewer potholes than most of the other roads around here. Maybe because cars aren’t allowed on it.

It gets into some deep woodland. Bright and sunny day, but stray six feet off the path and you’re in darkness. I bet it’s fantastic at night.

Anyway, we got to the castle and… it’s a bit of a shithole. Could do with a gardener, could have done with one 40 years ago at least and if I was selling it I’d have to come up with something more appealing than ‘a fixer-upper’.

It does have some interesting features and it would be worth restoring – although you’d have to be a major lottery winner to even get started. Would it be worth doing?

You’d have this view:

And this:

But you probably wouldn’t get any mail delivered. No postman is going to take a 40 minute walk to drop a bank statement through your door. In winter you would need your own snow plough to get  to the main road (which is itself an unlit winding country road) so you’d probably be best to stock up with food and hole up until the snow melts.

Oh, and you’ll need a generator. It’s several miles to the nearest electricity supply. Also a well pump and a septic tank. Or get used to walking down to the river with a bucket and/or a roll of paper.

It would be a fantastic place to live. The darkness in this farmhouse is total on a moonless night but out there it would be positively primeval. But, you know, we’ve gone a bit soft these days. I recall shivering until the coal fire got going enough to melt the ice on the inside of the windows. Now I set the central heating to come on half an hour before I have to get up and do I want to go back? Well… no, not really.

We do save on our heating bills with the wood burning stove but would I want to go back to having to shiver out of bed and light it, then wait until it warms up the one room it’s in? The beauty of granite of course is that it warms up a lot more than that one room as the heat spreads through the stone, but that’s also the downside of granite.

When it’s cold outside, those stones are very cold. Sustained sunshine and it’s like living inside a storage heater. The granite holds the heat of the sun and lets it out all night.

Gight Castle is made of granite. No surprise, pretty much everything in this part of Scotland is made of granite. We have loads of it. The castle would have had huge fireplaces and plebs to light them before Lord Byron felt a hint of a shiver. Bringing it back to life in the modern world would be massively expensive and seriously hard work.

It would be great though, wouldn’t it? I think I could only do it with a massive rollover lottery win where I was the only winner and even then it would be a tight budget.

But then, since I never buy lottery tickets, my chances of winning are slightly less than someone who does buy them.

If you look this place up and want to visit you will see options for getting there by public transport. Do not fall for this. Two buses a day pass the entrance, one at 6 am and one at 5 pm. There are no other buses, no trains and the nearest taxi rank is in Ellon, about 12 miles away. You drive or walk here.

And if you walk, you will walk from Methlick (about 6 buses a day, it’s a teeming metropolis – it has a shop! And a tractor dealership) for about an hour along a winding unlit country road with no pavements that is used by Audi driving madmen as a race track.

If you survive to almost-there you could call in on CStM and me for a cuppa.

If you arrive in the morning you can wait in the garage.

Politically correct suicides

Well, the woeful tales of the Sugaria-compliant soft drinks industry is well known by now. Ribena, Lucozade, Irn Bru… they all had sugar free versions on sale anyway so there was no need to meddle with the originals.

They caved in to the Sugaria Police and are pretending customer complaints and lost sales aren’t happening.

It was heartening to see in Lidl today that their own brand energy drink had almost sold out but the sugar free version still had a full shelf. Anyone buying a sugar free or zero-calorie energy drink needs a forceful lesson in the basic concept of energy as applied to foodstuffs and biology.

So do the idiots making it.

Give in to single issue pompous arses, apply rules your customers don’t want and you will wreck your business. Didn’t the pub trade give enough of a clue there?

Coca-Cola and Pepsi told the Sugaria Police to fuck off. There are two untampered drinks on the market at least. They also make sugar free versions for those who want them.

Of course, it is possible to wreck your business without outside interference by applying political correctness all on your own. You still get to blame the customers you excluded for your lack of business success, naturally…

Oh there are others. Many others.

Now Big Publishing, in the shape of Penguin Random House, is getting in on the act. This article caused such uproar among So-called Justice Wankers that the Spectator took it out of the paywall to let the world see it in context.

Basically, this major publisher is dumbing down its staff and actively looking for authors who fit Diversity Criteria over authors who can actually write. It won’t matter because reading ability is no longer a criterion for staff selection.

However, as with those Ribena and Lucozade customers, the evil white men who aren’t allowed in feminist bookshops and those smokers who once regarded a pub as their second home, Penguin Random House will find their paying customers actually want to read good books. They don’t want to buy a book just because the author is a transexual Bedouin single mother with one leg and a speech impediment.

If she can write a good book, no problem. The point is, book buyers are by and large not the coffee-table virtue-signallers if Islington and will not buy a book just because of the author. They buy a book because of the words inside it and don’t care that much who wrote them.

This is not to say that only straight white perfectly fit folk can write. Stephen Hawking has written some very interesting books while being as disabled as it’s possible to get without being dead. Anyone can write. Religion, ethnicity, skin colour, waist size, number of functioning limbs, height, shoe size, colour and quantity of eyes, nobody who reads books gives a damn. Is it a good story, well told? That is all a reader is looking for. They do not care who wrote it beyond (hopefully) looking for more books by the same author.

So, look out for some Diversity Suicide from Penguin Random House soon. Identity Publishing is a thing now. Doesn’t matter if the book is any good as long as you tick a box they haven’t ticked yet. If you’re a straight black guy with a family, get in quick.They’ll fill that quota quickly. If you’re a one-armed Eskimo lesbian with Tourettes and a criminal record, take your fucking time. That one is pretty niche. The big publishers will fight over your 20,000 word treatise about types of snow as they relate to igloo architecture. You’ll be able to buy your own iceberg within a week.

If you are white, well, you’re bottom of the list. Since Penguin Random House operate in predominately white countries they will fill the white, especially straight white, quota in minutes. Once it’s filled, even Stephen King won’t get in.

Some will consider this a disaster but I don’t think it matters at all. If Penguin Random House start selling crap books, nobody will buy them. There are many small publishers trying to get a start at the big time. If the big boys want to commit their self-righteous suicides, let them. Why cry when businesses deserve to die? Replacements are waiting in the wings. That’s how it has always worked and always will. Nothing is forever. Ask the Roman Empire, KwikSave or Woolworth’s.

There will be no author or staff quotas of any kind at Leg Iron Books, ever. It is all about the writing here. If you have been typing for ten years using only one functional finger and it’s a good book, we’ll edit it and fix it and publish it. I do not care about any of that identity-politics bollocks. I do not care if you are white or black or green. I do not care if you are male or female or if you identify as one of the new Fahrenheit scale of genders. I don’t even care if you think you are a badger. If your book is good I’ll publish it.

Leg Iron Books will never be a big publishing house because it was never meant to be. It was set up as, and will remain as, a place for good authors who can’t get the attention of the big boys to get a foot in the door. I don’t want to be rich enough to pay high rate tax. I won’t work for half pay and I don’t need that much money. I need enough to  feed me, CStM and my train habit. She has income for her own habits 😉

If any SJWs have managed to get this far without passing out, this should finish them.

The staff of Leg Iron Books is entirely white and straight. It is, at least, 50% female so we can tick that one.

Penguin Random House has about 2000 employees. Leg Iron Books has two. Me and Roo B. Doo. I earn pennies, Roo works for extra copies of the anthologies and rare bonuses. For the moment. The determined self-destruction of the big names is good news for this tiny startup publisher, and for all the others too.

There are no plans to extend the staffing although I have been in touch with a very good artist who might do some freelance cover art if I can afford his work. No prices discussed yet but oh boy, he’s good. He’s also largely unknown so getting a credit on a book will help him as much as it helps both Leg Iron Books and the authors.

And he’ll get paid too.

Let the virtue signalling suicides roll. We little businesses, so far pressed down by the big boys, are loving it.

We’d never have had a chance if the big ones were intelligent.



you’ll be fine (Lee Bidgood)

Print version

Amazon Kindle

Most other eBook formats

…and the eBook will soon be appearing at all these places too:

Barnes & Noble
Inktera (formerly Page Foundry)
Baker & Taylor/Follett
Library Direct
Baker-Taylor Axis360
Gardners Extended Retail
Gardners Library

Here’s the back cover text in case it’s not visible on the graphic…

It was supposed to be a quiet night out.

Within a few hours, Matt had seen his girlfriend’s naked body on the internet, committed adultery with a psychopath and been attacked with an electric shaver to save him from an overdose he did not take.

And now he’s being hunted down by a psychiatric nurse with delusions of saving the world from itself.

It was turning out to be some weekend.

And it was only just beginning.

This one genuinely has some laugh out loud moments. I especially enjoyed a street interaction with a chugger and the conversation in a police cell. I can’t say more than that without giving away spoilers, but when the Amazon listing shows the ‘click to look inside’ option you’ll be able to get a free taster.

Fingers crossed that Amazon don’t link this to someone else’s book like they did with Mark Ellott’s ‘Rebellion’. That listing still isn’t right, even now, but at least it now shows the correct book cover. I’ll continue the nagging.

It seems that every time I load up a book I learn something new. This time I learned how to make a one piece wraparound cover. Previously I’d load the front and back covers and for the spine, I was limited to a few available fonts and colours. Spine font colour could not be varied between author name and book title and the background was a choice from a limited solid-colour range. This time the damn program messed around so much I was forced to try alternatives – and that’s how I found out how to do the wraparound cover.

Well, now the front image can extend around the spine to the back and the spine text can have every letter in a different font and colour or even be handwritten and scanned into the image if you like. This is something I am definitely going to play around with for the Halloween anthology. Might be best to let me practice on that before requesting such a cover for your own novel though. The first one might turn out to be a total OTT mess.

Well, there are no more novels in the queue so I have time to finish one of mine. I’m open to submissions but please hold off for a couple of weeks. I need a break, the garden needs a blitz, I have a load of G scale railway stuff I’m itching to try out and I promised not to do anything with it until I’d finished with these books. Well, it’s time.

And, of course, CStM has been feeling neglected these past weeks. Time for a little bit of attention and perhaps some pampering.

I might let her drive one of the trains.

Next Leg Iron Book

Lee Bidgood’s novel nears release at last. I really wanted to make the cover a Tom Sharpe-style one but my artistic skills are limited and I had not realised that art acrylics are not like model acrylics. They dry hard in days rather than minutes and will blend over borders much too easily. I’m going to have to practice this a lot more – and recognise that it will take some time to produce an image.

Instead, we will use an image produced by the author himself. Covers are ready, interior is ready, it will get loaded as soon as the author contract is signed and in time for summer reading.

It’s a fun summer read. Placed before the pub smoking ban and a wonderful catalogue of disasters over a single weekend. An excellent addition to an already impressive catalogue. I never expected, when I first set up Leg Iron Books, to find so many talented authors struggling to get into print. Hopefully the big boys will eventually notice and some of these authors will move on to bigger things.

That’s the whole point of this venture, you know. I’ll publish your books, you and I make a little money but the real aim is to get those authors into the big publishers’ eyes. Pure altruism? Hell no. If one author gets noticed, so does Leg Iron Books and all the others. Including me.

Maybe I’ll be rich one day. I doubt it and don’t really care. I wouldn’t know what to do with it all, I’d just end up buying dangerous things that might kill me. Enough money and I’d build a planet smasher and you just know I’d have to run that test. I would not be a safe billionaire.

This novel is the last current submission in the list. Someone money-oriented would be panicking. I’m looking forward to a bit of a rest. I need time to figure out marketing for the books already on the list and work on some of my own. Also, I need to spend some time with CStM who, although we live in the same (admittedly Tardis-like) house, has seen little of me for a while now.

So, by the end of this week (Amazon screwups permitting) Lee Bidgood’s book will be published and I’ll be back to playing for a while. I have a stack of G scale track and trains I have sworn not to do anything with until all the current publishing is done.

If you have a novel or short story collection you are itching to get published, I’m interested but I won’t do anything more until July. I’m the boss and only employee here (with RooBeeDoo as unpaid intern). She has a day job and I am overworking, as usual. So go through that story one more time and send it in July. Send it sooner if you wish but really, why rush when you don’t have to?

The next fixed point is September when I will start looking for stories for a Halloween anthology. Underdog Anthology 6. I never imagined it could go that far but it seems unstoppable now. In the meantime, everything is open.

But the rest of June, after this book, is mine.

UPDATE Loading it up now. ‘You’ll be Fine’ by Lee Bidgood should stoon start appearing on bookseller sites. Look for this –

Gammon, Amazon and a favour

It seems I am now a ‘gammon’, a middle aged straight white man who voted ‘leave’. At least I think that’s the definition.

It’s a sort of insult, you see. Not a particularly good one, there are far, far worse things I could be called and over the years I have indeed been called most of them. ‘Gammon’ does not leave me feeling insulted. It leaves me feeling perplexed.

I mean, If you’re going for meat-based insults surely ‘tripe’ is a better option? Pale, rubbery and bland. Or perhaps ‘chitterlings’. The intestinal offal that really, nobody wants to eat unless they absolutely have to. The latter has the added advantage that most of today’s youth have no idea what ‘chitterlings’ are, so you could greet them with ‘How are you, my little chitterlings?’ for days before one of them gets curious enough to look it up.

But.. gammon? I’m being compared to posh ham? Why not go the whole way and call me sirloin or T-bone? Those would be just as perplexing if used as insults. These SJWs have relied on the old ‘racist-Nazi-bigot’ mantra for a very long time, and this new ‘insult’ goes a long way to explaining why.

They clearly have no imagination. The little light that goes on above their heads when they have an idea must be like illuminating a cathedral with a five watt filament bulb.

Call me ‘gammon’ to my face and I will not be in the least bit insulted. I’m not going to call you racist or ageist or pork-product-ist. I am going to laugh and compare you to a recently defaecated tapeworm segment, in terms of both appearance and intelligence. I might respond by comparing you, unfavourably, to a suppurating pustule or to the back-end consequence of feeding an elephant a massive amount of Vindaloo.

Or I might just call you ‘lamb chop’, just so you can be as baffled as I am.

There is much hoo-ha on Twitter about this. One commenter even refers to it as the ‘G-word’. Yes, it’s already verboten! Brilliant! We can now go into Tesco and ask if they have any of the G-word ham. When they finally ‘get it’ and say ‘Oh, you mean gammon?’ we can then launch into faux-outrage and call the police. We can also take a permanent marker and black out ‘ammon’ on every packet. Oh, the fun to have…

Anyway… Amazon.

They have screwed up again. The print version of ‘Rebellion’ has been incorrectly linked to another novel by the same name, which is entirely dissimilar in every way to Mark Ellott’s book. Only the title is the same. Oh and the author’s first name. The Kindle version is unaffected. ‘Click to look inside’ the Kindle version and you get the right book. On the print version, it links to the other author’s content. They seem to be sending out the right print version though.

There are two reviews which are for the other book. At least they are 5 star reviews, might as well grab that silver lining while it’s there. I have informed Amazon of the blunder, of course nothing has happened so I will inform them again from another account.

This brings us to the favour. If you have time and the inclination, could you click the ‘report incorrect product information’ link on that page and tell them the ‘look inside’ links to the wrong book? Maybe if they get a few more reports they’ll actually take notice.

This is incredibly irritating. I swore not to play with the new G scale trains until this book and Lee Bidgood’s were done and there is a pile of track, two locomotives, three coaches (they are seriously big!) and five freight wagons waiting for me. I’m trying to finish the cover for Lee’s book and ‘Rebellion’ should have been clear by now. Still, it can’t be too easy, eh?

The cover is coming along. So many scenes from the book I wanted to depict but the orange Lada, the scene on the Fred Flintstone slide in the playground and the transsexual policeman really had to be in there. It’s testing my drawing skills to the limit but I think it’s going to be worth it in the end.

If you get the right book on ‘click to look inside’, it means they finally fixed it.

I hope so. It’s too good a story to get this kind of treatment.