Ah, the chaos, the glorious chaos

I have considered looking in on the Tory leadership race but meh, I’m not a member so I can’t vote anyway. If they vote in a Remainer who tries to keep Tessie’s surrender document, there won’t even be a Tory party by Christmas. If they vote in a Brexiter who will keep ‘no deal’ as an option (saying you aren’t going to walk away under any circumstances is the most ridiculous approach to a negotiation imaginable) they might keep their MPs in double figures.

I’ve been busy with my own chaos. Rain has stopped me keeping the grass in check and parts of the garden are now only accessible by scythe. Well that’s okay because I have one. The garden is old enough to remember when that was the only option available. I wonder if it sighs in fond remembrance whenever I bring out the long razor blade on a stick?

I have also been editing Marsha Webb’s book, now done and sent back to the author for checking, and I have another Mark Ellott tale to look over, then I’m going to need to make cover images. There is a possibility (in negotiation) of a short story collection of dark tales by a new author and I have the opportunity to place an ad for Leg Iron Books in a podcast.

I had never before listened to a podcast. I had no idea what it was. It’s like a sort of radio show you download and listen to. Anyway, the League of Villains puts one out each Monday and I didn’t have time to get it ready by this Monday. I have to write it and then record myself speaking it. It should be around 30 seconds or so and it’s amazing how long that is when you have to say something.

What should be in it? I have narrowed it down to ‘for writers and readers’. ‘short stories and novels’. ‘three anthologies a year’ but it has to flow and it has to make sense and it has to be engaging all at once. Okay, I was a lecturer for 13 years but then I had an hour, sometimes two, to make my case. I now have to get it all into about 30 seconds – and I can’t even remember the last time I recorded my own voice. I just hope I don’t turn out to sound like Joe Pasquale or Peter Lorre…

Well I have a week, I’l try out a few samples and get something ready for next Monday.

The whole podcast idea is interesting though. It can be video or just audio. Longrider has suggested book readings on YouTube but the podcast idea means I can stay in control, without worrying about one of YouTube’s perpetually-offended making a complaint and taking down the whole channel. That might not even be neccessary. YouTube added an algorithm to combat ‘hate speech’ and took down a few thousand channels overnight. Most of them had nothing to do with any kind of hate speech.

So if I could load podcasts onto a separate site where they won’t be spontaneously wiped out by an overzealous algorithm, it would feel more secure. I know, YouTube has ‘monetization’ where you can get paid if your audience is big enough but the recent purge has demonstrated that that is far from a reliable income. It can stop in an instant for any reason YouTube care to apply, so it’s actually as bad as a zero hours contract.

Maybe I could put them on YouTube as well but I need a secure backup for them all. YouTube could shut down the lot on a whim.

Short stories are likely to be the best option. I will of course need the authors’ permission to use theirs in this way but I have plenty of my own to get started with – and Mark Ellott has said he’s happy for me to record spoken versions of his short stories. It would be better if the authors recorded their stories in their own voices though. As Martyn K. Jones did with his story from ‘Christmas Lights… and Darks‘. Then if we can put them all in one place, that would be ideal. It could even develop into audiobooks. You never know.

So it’s time to get out the recording gear and see what I can come up with. I’ll most likely go for audio-only at first, since I have a face made for radio, The transition to video might come later.

Meanwhile… back to work.

Car crash politics

Well, royalties are done and will be sent out shortly. I’ve decided to put future competitions on the Leg Iron Books site and link to them when they’re ready because advertising and shit…

So, this week Donnie Trumpton is visiting the UK and the Very British Whining is at full volume. No matter what you think of the huge orange arse, he is the duly elected President of the United States of America and we have a lot of trade going on there. They also, let’s be honest, saved our arses in WWII. They didn’t do it for free, it cost us a lot, but we don’t speak German. Well. I don’t. Nicht sprechen Germanian ici. Or words to that effect.

Which is why Trump is here. He is not here as a golf course owner or hotel magnate, he is here as President of the USA to commemorate the D-day landings in which thousands of British and American and other troops died so that the perpetually offended could complain at length about nothing that matters at all. Oh, and coincidentally, I’ve just built a British Airborne version of the Willys jeep in what could well be my last ever foray into 1/72 scale. It’s getting hard to see that stuff now.

I live fairly close (I have lived closer) to a place called Balmedie where Trump built a golf course, many years ago. He royally pissed off most of the local residents with his fences and bully-boy tactics, but since most of the residents there are Audi-driving dicks it was hard to decide which side to take. Then he fell out with his big pal of the time, Al the Oily Fish, when Al built a load of windmills in the sea and ruined the view from the golf course. Again, which side do you take? I wanted them all to lose.

I don’t play golf. It is a silly game.

Anyway. The duly elected Boss of America is in the UK, having a quiet sherry with Mrs. Queen, probably followed a whisky drinking and non-PC utterance contest with Phil the Greek, and several allegedly sensible politicians are all bent out of shape about it.

Does anyone care? Apparently a lot of people do. Some dick mowed a dick into a field in protest. Lots of people are out with placards and slogans to, as usual, protest about something no sensible person gives a toss about. Nobody minded when genuine dictators visited but an elected orange blimp-lookalike visits and everyone loses their minds.

There has been much talk of how Trump upset the diminutive Gimli Khan, without mentioning that Gimli used the standard Leftie playbook. Keep needling and needling until you get a response, then play victim. I’m amazed they still think that works but then we are talking about people who struggle to spell IQ.

We have a man-shaped hairy thing called Jerry Cordite who thinks he is Prime Monster material but who refuses to even look at the UK’s biggest ally and trading partner. Instead he is going on a protest march at which he will get all shouty and be listened to by people incapable of thinking. If he becomes Prime Monster, Brexit will be irrelevant. We’re going into bankruptcy when the Orange Sanctions and Tarrifs hit.

And of course, Tyrion Bercow is in the mix. He will not let Trump anywhere near Parliament because well, he doesn’t like him. He was happy enough with all those real dictators but they weren’t orange and didn’t have a blimp made of them.

It’s all very silly and childish, isn’t it? ‘He called me names and I called him names and now we’re going to have a fight in the playground’. Come on. Can’t we have a grown up leader like Russia has?

I think political battles like this should be settled in a Rollerball tournament. If you haven’t seen Rollerball, with James Caan, you should. I’ve seen it so many times I just fast forward to the games now. You want to shout insults? Get in the ring. Let’s see who comes out.

Rollerball is the ideal way to decide the current Tory leadership contest to decide who is Captain of the Oblivion Ship. There is only one way out of their death spiral and they won’t take it. The entire political class is in denial. In nearly 60 years I have never seen anything like it.

Almost all that is left of the Tory party want to be leader. Of what? Weren’t you lot paying attention at the EU elections we shouldn’t have had? The Tory party is over. Time to get your hat and coat, call a cab and go home.

There is to be a by-election in Peterborough this week because the incumbent MP, Fiona Ohwhatshername is a convicted criminal yet was allowed to vote in Parliament while wearing a curfew tag. It’s a safe Labour seat – or it was, when Labour was actually about working class people. Now it’s a straight fight between Brexit party and Lib Dems. The Tories are campaigning there of course but nobody is listening. I doubt anyone will ever listen to the Tories again.

Tessie is still Prime Monster for now. Most of the Tory Party are fighting to replace her as the leader of nothing. Oh, they’ll be Prime Monster until the next election and then there’ll be none of them left at all.

Out there, in space, is the asteroid that could destroy the planet.

I bet it’s thinking ‘Why bother?’

Book stuff

A quick book-related interlude.

It’s author payment time, and while payments are (as usual) small, nobody has a zero. The marketing learning curve is a steep one, but I’m getting there.

I’ll put up the Freddo competition in June with a copy of Lee Bidgood’s ‘You’ll be Fine’ as the prize, with something extra as a surprise prize. I won’t say what it is but it’s not whisky. I’m not giving that away 😉

I have looked into local book fairs. There is an Aberdeen books fairs page on Farcebok but they don’t seem to have posted since 2015. I was hoping for something reasonably local but I might have to go farther afield. The downside of living miles from anywhere, I suppose… still, CStM and I could do with a few days away somewhere.

I’m also going to need reviews of books, they don’t have to be on Amazon, they can be on your own blog as long as I can link to it from the author page on Leg Iron Books and all I’m offering is a free print copy of the book. I still have an aversion to paying for reviews, especially if the reviewer makes a living at it. Seems to me that if your income depends on people paying for reviews, then you’re going to pretty much always write positive ones – or people will stop sending you books to review. And, I suspect, most people reading the reviews think this too.

I don’t think there’s anything in the catalogue that would get a bad review – unless I were to send a book to someone who just doesn’t like that type of book. So sending ‘Samuel’s Girl’ to a deeply religious reviewer would be a bad idea. They really aren’t likely to enjoy it.

I’m only talking about single author books here. Not the anthologies – the sales of those trickle along and might eventually reach break-even but I won’t be putting those out for review yet. I need to push the single-author books.

Feel like having a bit of a summer read, and writing a review? Doesn’t matter where you put it as long as I can link to it. There are no restrictions, no bribes, no pushing you into anything. You get a book, read it, and then write what you honestly thought about it.

If you absolutely hate it, say so – but then I won’t link to your review 😉 That does not mean you have to send the book back or do anything else at all. If you review ‘Jessica’s Trap’ and you think it’s only good for propping up a wonky table, say so. Naturally I’m only going to link to reviews that will help sell the books but I will not take any action on bad reviews. Sometimes, that just happens and you have to get used to it.

Getting reviews on the Dutch and French books could be challenging, I don’t know how many Dutch and French speakers read this blog but if you’re one, you are first in line for those books.

If you feel like getting a free book, take a look at the options under ‘Books’ at Leg Iron Books. All you have to do in return is write a review somewhere I can link to – and, of course, send me the link. A long review, a short review, whatever you like. For this round, please ignore ‘Underdog Anthologies’ and ‘Nonfiction’ and just go with ‘Novels’ or ‘Short story collections’.

So that I don’t end up sending out a hundred copies of one book, this first round is limited to two of each book. The first two to request a book get it, and then it’s off the options list. If you read it, don’t like it and don’t want to post a bad review, just let me know. It’s no problem, I appreciate you at least looking at it.

If you’re outside the UK I’d prefer to send you the money by PayPal so you can order it from Amazon locally – it could end up saving me a fortune in postage!

Yeah, this is going to cost me but one thing I have found on this steep marketing learning curve is – bugger all happens for free. Investment is essential but it is, at least, tax-deductible.

Meanwhile I have to convert all those sales in euros, dollars etc into proper money and get it sent out to authors. Also I have a backlog of things to send to people. This is going to be a busy weekend but it’s raining so there’s no gardening going on anyway.

I know, but…

I said I’d keep the book stuff over on the LI Books site but I spent the evening assembling a montage of book covers. Considering this started as a wild idea in a tiny flat outside Aberdeen, and the first Underdog Anthology appeared in December 2016, I think I can allow myself a moment of smug…

Not bad for a one-man operation, assisted by an editor who is also beset by a day job, I think. There’s more to come. Seems there’s no stopping it now.

Chaos

The latest anthology is completed, so that’s one less stress to deal with. Tonight I find out whether I have to waste my time on jury service while leaving CStM and my parents in an isolated farmhouse with no means of going anywhere. Once all this is out of the way I’m going to have a good blast of whisky and sleep all the next day.

Actually I’ll do that on the 17th and CStM will probably join me. On the 18th we will have no electricity for the day. There is some major work planned on the local substation and there’ll be no power most of the day. Since our water supply is pumped through filters and UV treated (no chemicals, we get water from the tap here that is less processed than Perrier), no power means no water.

So we have bottled water in for the duration, just in case. We’ll fill a few buckets to flush the toilet and the cooker hob is gas (bottled supply) so that will still work. I suspect that having a wood burning stove could be a great thing on that day. Unless we manage to sleep right through it of course.

I wonder if, by the time we emerge from this madness, we will have actually left the EU? I have doubts. Tessie never wanted to succeed in any of her promises and now Parliament has deleted the constitutional Government so at any moment, expect Tiny Blur’s Enabling Act to be activated and then it’s a real dictatorship.

Tessie is still hell-bent on Internet censorship, as she was in the Home Orifice. Next up, censorship of social media. Soon there’ll be nothing left but the old Compuserve style forums and we’ll be issued with State approved 56K modems on dialup. Assuming we are ‘Approved Comrades’ of course.

How the Tories expect to win a single vote now is beyond me. Their only manifesto is based on ‘But… But… Corbyn will win if you don’t vote for us!’ Who the hell cares? It doesn’t matter who is in charge as Britannia slips quietly below the waves she once ruled. It doesn’t matter which politicians are in their little subsidised-booze Wastemonster bubble. Nobody cares any more, nobody trusts a single one of them.

I think this country needs a Corbyn government. I can just about remember the Harold Wilson one, the young have no idea what they are voting for. I say, let them have it. They love the shine of the flame, let them grasp it and feel the burn. They will not listen and they will not learn any other way.

I mean, the country is fucked under either of them now. Let Corbyn have a go. I can really see a lot of voters going for him on one basis and one basis alone.

‘At least he’s not Theresa May.’

Frustration

So Tessie Maybe is going for another extension. Surely even the EU is getting fed up with this now? Parliament voted ‘no’ to another extension, her own Cabinet said ‘no’, and most likely the Closet, the Cooker, Underbed Monster and the Ironing Board said ‘no’ too.

She’s not hearing the voters, not hearing Parliament and not hearing her own Cabinet. What voices is she hearing, and are they only in her head?

Looks like she’s planning to set up Corbyn to take the blame this time. She wants to talk to him about a way out of the web of lunacy she has created. He will make demands. She will refuse, so he will refuse to support her crazy deal. Then, when we go out with no deal, she can say it’s Labour’s fault.

No, Tessie. It’s your fault. All yours. You have had nearly three years to come to your senses and no amount of extension can help you now. You cannot blame Parliament or Labour or even your own MPs because you are not listening to any of them. You are doing this all on your own.

I think she really believed she could snap her fingers and all of Parliament would support the horrors in that lunatic deal she dreamed up. I think she really believes that being Prime Monster means she is in sole command, that everyone in the country must do as she says. A smack in the face from Reality awaits.

Can she really go to the EU and ask for things that her own government do not support? What are the EU thinking now?

If they have any sense, they are thinking about the upcoming EU elections. They are wondering how many Nigel Farages the UK will send them if they let this pissed-off population have a say in those elections. If they have any grasp on reality at all they will understand that more people voted in that referendum than ever before and at least 17 million of them are going to vote ‘screw you’ if they get a chance. If there is anyone sensible in the EU elite, they really won’t want the UK voting in those elections.

As for the Squeaker, Tyrion Bercow, I actually agree with him not allowing a vote on ‘no deal’. As he said, ‘no deal’ is the default if the exit date arrives and there is no deal. There is nothing to debate about it. They voted to take ‘no deal’ off the table but it was never on the table. It’s not an offer. It’s a default position. Pretending it’s anything else is like falling off a cliff and voting to not hit the ground.

Actually, this Parliament would take that vote and relax on the way down because they’ve solved the problem. Oh, and Tessie would demand an extension to the height of the cliff so they have longer to fall. Anyone saying ‘We fell off a cliff and we’re going to die’ would be declared to be Hitler and ignored.

Watching this government in action is alternately frustrating and comical. They really have no idea what they are doing and most of them have no idea how close to bursting the boiler of anger is getting in this country. We’ve seen even Boris the Spider and Jake the Greasy Moggie change positions recently. We’ve seen an MP deselected and that deselection overridden by Tessie. Stupid move, Tessie. Who is going to campaign for him at the next election, eh?

I never thought I’d see the day when every party in Wastemonster made Scotland’s Spiteful Nannying Party look not so bad after all. Well it doesn’t make them look better, it just means we can look at them now and think well, they aren’t really any worse than the rest of them. I still won’t vote for them, naturally. Never have and never will. Independence sounds okay, but with that lot in charge? Hell no.

Brexit might or might not happen on April 12th. It might have already happened since Tessie put it into law that it would happen on 29th March. I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen before the EU elections – if she hasn’t grown a brain by then, and the EU has, they’ll kick us out sharpish.

Of course, the EU is doomed anyway. France is going to send them a raft of Marine le Pens for their parliament. Italy is going to do something similar. Eastern Europe has experienced the Soviet nonsense they are trying to implement and they’re going to send a load of Lech Walesa clones. Greece is pretty pissed off and many other countries are too. Oh, in many countries the politicians are quite happy with the Hell they have foisted on their populations but the people living with this shit are not.

We are not leaving a thriving community of happy people. We are deserting a sinking ship.

As one whose Chinese horoscope is ‘rat’, I think that’s a good idea.

___

Book stuff – if you’re not interested, stop now.

The eighth Underdog Anthology awaits only one author’s response and it’s ready to go. The print cover is here, all set. The Kindle cover is just the front part of that one, the Smashwords cover will have to have all 12 authors’ names on the cover. It won’t look as neat but them’s the rules.

I hope to hear from that last author very soon. My parents will be here within 36 hours and that is going to eat heavily into my available time. Plus, I have the spectre of jury service on the 10th April which is going to mess things up even more. I did promise to get this book out in the first week of April and I intend to do just that.

Even if it needs to be revised after publication.

Nearly…

Well, we nearly had Brexit. And the Tory party nearly had a future. They will be spoken of in future as we now speak of the Whigs, once their opposing number in the two-main-party system we have, but now relegated to a bunch of irrelevancies. It took me a long time to work out who the Whigs were. It’ll take the next generation just as long to work out who the Tories were.

Now we have a new party. Change UK, which is going to be abbreviated to CUK because they really didn’t think it through. Naturally, they don’t plan to change anything at all including the modern politicians’ disregard for anything the public has to say. They certainly don’t plan to change their cushy jobs and their Marie Antoinette attitudes. But then, none of them do.

Well I won’t vote for CUK. I won’t vote for Conservatives ever again. I won’t vote Labour because they aren’t Labour any more. They are Catweasel’s Commies now. As for the Lib Dems and the SNP… no. Just no. The Church of the Militant Elvis makes more sense.

I’m going to vote though. If there is no realistic choice I will not vote ‘for’ anyone but ‘against’ whichever one is currently incumbent. As a last resort I will write ‘No thank you’ on the paper. There is nobody in favour of delivering the referendum result or of even slightly relaxing the smoking ban so my options are going to be limited to a ‘fuck you’ vote of some kind. Even Jake the Greasy Moggie turned tail and voted for the now thrice-thrashed Surrender Deal. Who is there left to trust?

It has all become very silly indeed but it did inspire a story – ‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage’ – which is in the next Underdog Anthology and which I will post here for entertainment purposes when the book is done. As I’ve said all along, those anthologies aren’t out there to make a profit – none of them have yet broken even – they are advertising. For me, for Leg Iron Books and of course for the starting-out authors in them. So yes, I’ll post that story here.

That book has occupied an awful lot of my time recently because it turned out to be a very big one. Details elsewhere – and Leg Iron Books authors should keep an eye on that site because that’s where the book details are now.

I have also not forgotten the Freddo contest. Just need this book out of the way first… I have a Fistful of Freddos ready to set it up.

What I need is an island where I can declare myself an independent country. But not off Scotland. The Grand Solar Minimum and the SNP’s insanity is going to cover this place in glaciers in a decade or so.

If only Australia was sane. But then, we did send them there…