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…

Article 13 and Russian servers

I now have all but one of the author contracts back for Underdog Anthology 8, I have started assembling the book and have a cover image. This one was a lot of work – 12 authors, 21 stories and 12 poems! RooBeeDoo and I have finished editing, all authors’ edits are back and it’s still going to take a few days to assemble it. It will be out on time.

Also I have a new toy. A tiny 2 cm cube that holds a 32Gb memory card and takes HD video with the option of infrared for low light. It came from a Chinese seller on eBay and cost less than a tenner. I’ve had it clipped to an OO scale truck and run it around my little test track. I don’t seem to be able to put the video directly on here so I’ll probably have to upload it to YouTube…

if the new EU rules will let me. A lot of the models are copyright of Hornby, Wrenn, Lima and many others. The video copyright belongs to me, yes, but the copyright of the things in it do not.

Article 13 is so far reaching that if I were to quote any part of the linked article I would have to pay. I’m not clear on whether I would have to pay just for the link but if so, articles, newspapers etc won’t get any more traffic from bloggers. We don’t get paid for this and we can’t afford the expense.

What if I were to link to, and quote, an article from outside the EU? Is that covered by the silly new law? I’m not clear on that either so wouldn’t risk it. As long as we are inside the EU, we’re going to have an internet the Chinese will laugh at.

And let’s face it, our government has absolutely no intention of leaving the EU. All those banners from the March of Rejects saying ‘Tory Brexit’ are total bollocks. It has nothing to do with the Tories. None of them want to do what the referendum said, despite so many of them at the time claiming they would. It’s a stitch up, and that was clear from the start.

Will Article 13 change Tessie Maybe’s mind? Hahaha! Total control of the internet is her sweatiest wet dream and has been since she was in the Home Orifice. She already has the ‘porn filters’ coming (ooer missus) that we know will filter far more than porn. We also know they will not work. In fact they will do a lot worse than just not working – the youth of today know all about VPN and TOR and will descend into the Hell of the Underweb where they will see a lot more than a bit of rumpy-pumpy.

The political morons already have the Great Data Protection Racket (GDPR) that means a lot of non-EU news and other sites have to either comply with it, or more often, simply block EU access. You need a VPN to use the real internet already, more rules won’t change that at all, and will only have the effect of driving more and more people onto VPN and TOR.

I’ve seen people on Twitter claiming that Article 13 passed because there are too many UKIP MEPs. I’ve seen the list of UK MEPs who voted for it. Not one of them is UKIP. If there had been more UKIP MEPs it might not have passed. ‘Stay in,’ they say, ‘and fix it from within’. Cameron tried that and was sent home with a very sore arse. When will they grasp this? It cannot be fixed!

Well, if we stay in, TOR and the VPN providers will make a fortune. On the Euternet, YouTube will be worthless. No point even clicking on it, and you might as well delete the app. The same will be true of Farcebok and Twatter and most other sharing sites because they have taken the smoking-ban approach.

Instead of going after the copyright-infringer, they will go after the platform. The host will have to act as unpaid police to ensure none of their visitors break the law – or the host gets sued. Just like that pub landlord who gets prosecuted for ‘allowing smoking’ on his premises. So all those sites will take the easy option and just block pretty much anything within the EU.

They have to. They are dealing in millions of uploads per month. They can’t check every single one. They’ll use an algorithm and it will be set to overkill to make sure they don’t get sued. Smaller ones will simply cease operating within the EU altogether. Only the blandest of the bland will get onto YouTube when this takes effect.

Will this affect Leg Iron Books? Maybe. I’ll still be able to load books onto legironbooks.com but if the cover image was made by someone else I’ll have to get their permission to show it. In writing. If the story description was written by the author I’ll need written permission to show that too. I will have to police comments, here and on the Leg Iron Books site, in case someone posts an image or snippet of text from someone else’s copyright. How to easily wreck a site you don’t like? Just post a comment containing some fanfiction or a copyrighted image and they’re fined out of business and probably in jail too.

Potentially worse – will Amazon etc refuse to load books or at least refuse to show them in the EU in case of copyright infringement? They cannot possibly check with every uploader. Besides, I can’t put in a block-licence on copyright because, like any other reputable publisher, I don’t own other authors’ copyrights. Every author would have to do it individually and even Amazon would find it hard to cope with that. It will make anthologies a nightmare.

I expect ‘Click to look inside’ to vanish from every EU version of Amazon. No more teaser samples. If your title is picked out by the algorithm as similar to someone else’s, or could be fanfiction, you’ll get no sales in the EU because nobody will see it. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and the rest cannot check every single book and they will take no chances.

There are books in my catalogue in Dutch and in French. They don’t sell much but whern they do, it’s in the EU. As you would expect. If the Dutch and the French can’t see them, who will buy them?

Well, they’ll still sell to those who have VPNs that make them look like they are in Russia, which is rapidly becoming hte most free nation on the planet. If Kim Jong Jinglejangle gets a brainwave, he could make his country very rich indeed. All he needs is a couple of geeks and some servers and his people need never know. Imagine that world, where you circumvent the EU restrictions by routing through North Korea. It could happen.

This is only the beginning. The EU will make the internet unusable. We won’t even go back to Compuserve forums, it’ll be used for email only unless you want to read EU propaganda. Those who bought Amstrad’s daft email phones will be laughing, they will be more useful than any smart phone or tablet soon.

Until they start checking email content. Then it’s time to get back to snail mail because it’s still a bit faster than a pigeon…

…until it isn’t.

The psycho and the baby

I am keeping up with the work for Anthology 8. It’s going to be a big one and submissions don’t close until the 25th. I am keeping up with edits, with Roobee’s help, and contracts. It’ll be fine. I have, naturally, chosen this time to redecorate the bathroom, inspired by a Government who have chosen the time of the biggest job they have ever had to ban the advertising of cheese, jam, and tiny chocolate frogs.

I haven’t forgotten the Freddo competition. I thought I had a lull in anthology submissions but even more stories arrived last weekend. Also a new toy – a ten quid Chinese video camera small enough to fit on OO scale trains. I am resisting playing with it until after the book and competition. It’ll happen.

So, Tessie Maybe gave a speech earlier in which she blamed everyone but herself for the Brexit Balls-up, and left some subliminal threats to her MPs concerning an upcoming vote on the same deal that has been given a most emphatic ‘fuck no’ by the House of Conmen twice already.

Squeaker Grumpy (he once declared he was not Happy so I’m guessing which one he is) has said that No-mates May cannot keep putting the same thing up for votes, especially when it keeps getting ‘fuck no’ results every time. The EU has overruled him, or tried to. We’ll have to wait and see.

In her speech she has, most likely, alienated the last of her supporters and brought the country together in a way no Prime Monster has ever managed before. Absolutely everyone wants her to resign now.

There was a Meeting of the Big Cheeses (am I still allowed to use that phrase under the New Food Rules? Cheese is full of fat and often slippery, so it seems accurate) aka the leaders of the parties in government.

Chukkus Yermoney was there as leader of the Rebel Loonies. Jerry Cordite took one look at him, declared he wasn’t a real party leader and stomped out in a huff.

Well, Jerry did have a point in that the Rebel Loonies were elected due to their party manifestos. They have ditched those manifestos and the party they were elected under so they don’t even have a mandate to be MPs any more. They also aren’t a ‘party’, just a gang. The gang of kids in the schoolyard whose only common factor is that none of the other kids want to play with them.

But throwing a tantrum and storming out of a meeting that could decide the UK’s future in just over a week?

This man is supposed to be the leader of one of the two biggest parties in the UK. He has had many meetings with HAMAS and the IRA and the reason he gave was that ‘sometimes, you have to talk with people you fundamentally disagree with in order to solve problems’ or words to that effect.

Chukkus Yermoney is a British Moocher of Parliament still and someone Jerry Cordite agreed with on most things until recently. He might be an idiot but he’s not HAMAS nor is he the IRA. He’s never killed anyone. As far as I’m aware, he’s never even so much as poked anyone in an aggressive manner. And yet Jerry can’t be in the same room as him, when he has palled up with mass murderers in the past.

Did Tessie, Empress of the Eternal Failure, deliberately invite Chukkus just to wind up Jerry? Well, I’m no psychologist but her manipulative ways, constant reiteration of lies and devious aggression do look like a narcissistic personality bordering on the sociopath. We knew she was a control freak when she was in the Home Office (remember her slavering over internet control and the DNA database of everyone?). She’s nasty enough to have done it for that reason.

If Jerry Cordite was an actual adult, he would have shrugged and taken his seat, then used every opportunity to dig at Chukkus whenever he opened his non-mandated mouth. That’s what I would have done.

Instead, he did what every toddler would do. Screamed ‘NONONO! I DON’T LIKE IT’ and stomped out of the room.

So. At the next election, you have a choice. You can vote for one of the two big parties and end up being ruled by either a psychotic habitual-liar deranged bint or a reality-denying habitual-liar man-child. Or you could vote for someone based on the person, not the party.

Just remember that manifestos mean nothing. Labour proved that under Blair anyway, but any residual doubt has now been removed by both Tories and Labour. You can safely put any manifesto straight into recycling. It was a waste of ink and paper.

And to think, I thought the Brown Gorgon was bad. I’d rather have him back now. That says a lot about the current options.

As for the Lib Dems, I hear that Vinnie the Wire is stepping down. A pity they don’t have Lemsip ‘oblong-eyes’ O’Pick, that jaunty Irish labourer with the persistent cough, in their MPs any more. I didn’t agree with him on much but I have to admit I quite liked the guy. I have no idea who they will pick as Vinnie’s replacement because I can’t name a single one of their current MPs. It’s like trying to name separate parts of a blancmange.

Greens will kill us all. It’s in their DNA. They want massive population reduction and they will achieve it by moving most of Africa and the Middle East north so they can become corpsicles when the grand solar minimum really gets going. It’s already started, but probably won’t become clear to the dopes of the Green God of Climatology for a few more years. Too late guys, you should have prepared. Maybe you shouldn’t have shut down all those power stations. Oh dear. What a shame. Never mind. Africa is slated to be a nature reserve. All humans will be deleted. They didn’t tell you that when they sold you the boat tickets, did they? Oh and did you notice that most Green policies, despite them being a minor party, are also EU policies?

Who do you vote for? You can refuse to vote, that’s a valid and perfectly understandable response in the current climate, but you know the drones will vote for all of the above and if you abstain, one of them will win.

I’m not telling you who to vote into Wastemonster. I’d rather see it burned to the ground to be honest. That isn’t going to happen so we have to make the best of what we can do.

What can we do? Not much really. I’d like to see a Parliament made up of independents and the lunatic fringe candidates. It won’t last long but it will give the actual politicians one massive kick up the arse. And they really do need that right now. With steel toecaps and hobnails and a good run-up.

Will they get it? I doubt it. Most constituencies are made up of morons who will vote for a mollusc with the right colour rosette and often have. It will take a seismic shift to make them vote differently.

Tessie and Jerry might have just made it happen. We shall see.

(Is it bad that I wish the current Tory Prime Monster was called Tom?)