Nearly time to rest…

Well, the Christmas anthology is all loaded up and all I have to do now is wait until the print, Kindle and Smashwords versions report some problem or other. They will all be different problems and they won’t be the same as the ones they’ve reported before. This one has something new – all the authors have photos on their bio pages. That’s a first and if there is going to be a problem, that’s where they will most likely find it.

There are a couple of previous anthologies on Smashwords I need to ‘fix’ to get full distribution. I have not prioritised that because of late, Smashwords has sold bugger all. All the books are selling far better on Amazon. Still, I persist with Smashwords because it costs me nothing and, as long as you get past all the problems, they do have very wide distribution and they convert the book to pretty much every eBook format including the one for PalmPilots!.

Smashwords do insist on having all the author names on the cover which I personally feel looks a bit cluttered, but well, if you want to play in their yard, you have to play by their rules. One big plus is that anything loaded on there goes live at once, but it can take a few days (sometimes a few tries) to get it onto their distribution list.

As I was writing this I received an email telling me the print version is now live on Amazon. With no problems at all! All I’ll need now is an update to this post when the Kindle version goes live and when (if) it gets onto Smashwords’ distribution lists. I should have print copies – to send  to those authors who elected to be paid in books –  early next week. For now I leave you with the whole cover image for the print book.

And I’m really looking forward to taking the rest of the month off.

Sneak preview

Well, the interior of the book is done, PDFs of that are now with all authors for final checking and that just leaves the cover. It’s going to be a framed image this time. What it’s framed with, I have yet to decide, but here’s the image –

The contents page looks like this –

The Baker Boy, The Runner and Death  Mark Ellott
Not So Silent Night  Daniel Royer
Moonlit Shadow  Martyn K. Jones
Collection Day H. K. Hillman
Caesar’s Wife Roo B. Doo
The Affair Marsha Webb
Waking Santa H. K. Hillman
Tinsel Tattle Daniel Royer
The Brush-Off Cade F.O.N Apollyon
A Christmas Contract H. K. Hillman
About the Authors

And just for fun, here’s the foreword –

Here we go again. Anthology Seven, and so far each anthology has introduced at least one new author. This time we are joined by Martyn K. Jones, along with returning authors Marsha Webb and Daniel Royer. Of course, some names are regular appearances. Mark Ellott, myself and Roo B.Doo show up a lot. Increasingly, Cade F.O.N Apollyon is becoming a regular contributor.
It’s always good to see new authors. Giving exposure to new authors was the original aim of Leg Iron Books and although we haven’t managed to make anyone famous yet, we have definitely found some new talent.
This anthology is filled with tales of Christmas. Some light reading and some… really quite dark. In some of our heads, the old gods still rumble at this time of year and the tales we tell are not always tales of light and joy.
However, we do have some authors who have not succumbed to the Dark Side of Writing as yet, and their work somewhat ameliorates the work of those of us that even Dr. Seuss’ Grinch would say are grumpy.
Which stories are light and which are dark? I won’t say. I don’t want to spoil the surprises. Oh, there are surprises. I could name a story that seems dark and gloomy but has a happy ending. Or a story that seems perfectly ordinary until near the end. I won’t.
There are a few you will have to categorise for yourself. They may appear light to some and dark to others. You won’t know until you read them.
I won’t delay you further. Delve into Christmas, delight in the Lights and maybe shiver a little in the Darks.
Always remember that Santa is watching.


Light stories and dark stories and some that really could be taken either way.

If all goes according to plan, it should be on Amazon by Friday.


Strange times

Busy here at Underdog Swamp. The car goes in for MOT tomorrow, author payments are slightly delayed because I’m concentrating on finishing the Christmas book (it’s assembled, just needs formatting and final meddling with the cover) and I’m still emptying that lab. However, I do find a few spare moments to wonder at the madness of our government.

Tessie Maybe’s Brexit plan is an utter mess. It does not matter whether you voted Leave or Remain any more. She has utterly fucked it up. We stand to lose everything – and there is now the threat that we might not leave the EU at all.

Some remainers are delighted. However, we won’t be going back to how it was before. The EU will make an example of us to deter Italy and others from leaving. Basically, unless we clean break with no deal (WTO rules) we are fucked. May’s deal will screw us. Going back to the EU will screw us. This is very clear and if you want to pretend it’s all going back to the way it was before, then frankly you’re an idiot. There is no going back.

This is where Tessie Maybe’s ‘negotiations’ have got us. She has absolutely and completely buggered this country no matter what we do now. Why?

People like to blame her EU stooge, Oily Rubbings, for this stupid deal. Even he has said it’s a bad idea. Now if Oily himself thinks this is bad, that only leaves Tessie pushing it. Oh and Arselicker Gove, the eternal smiling potato.

Now there is talk of another referendum. Oh they’d love that. Leave with Tessie’s insane surrender deal, leave with no deal, or remain. That will split the Leave vote because there will be enough anencephalics out there who think surrender is a good idea. Reaming will win, and reaming is what we’ll get.

It’s standard EU practice. You had a referendum. We don’t like the result so do it again until you get it right. This is just a sneaky way of doing it – Tessie has offered us eternal servitude as the only option unless we vote to stay in the totalitarian state they are creating.


Why would any Prime Monster, or indeed any sane person, push for a deal that leaves their country in an utterly disastrous situation? When even her EUrophile pal, Oily Rubbings, says it goes way too far? Why would a Prime Monster seek to hide the legal analysis of her crazed document even from Parliament (she can’t legally do that by the way, and anyway it was leaked to the Sunday Times so we now know there will be no way out).

I must admit I am left with only one conclusion. The EU mandarins know something she doesn’t want to become public knowledge. Probably linked to her taking down webpages, as soon as she had the power, that refer to a certain person. There are a lot of people digging this information now and the internet never really loses anything.

Something is going to come out. Something that could be very nasty. If she doesn’t wreck this country over Brexit, the EU will release it.

Whether she does or not, someone out there will find it and release it. There is no escape, Tessie. No going back.

Whatever it is, it would have been better to face it rather than have it added to all the things you have done in the last two years. Your greatest achievement in the history books of the future will now be the enslavement of the United Kingdom and the absolute destruction of the Conservative party. To keep a secret everyone with basic hacker skills is now looking for, and will find. It was all for nothing.

Nothing, Tessie, is what you will end up with. I cannot find any sympathy in me for you.

You have done this all to yourself.


One more day

The deadline for the Christmas anthology is midnight on December 1st.

I have to be pretty strict with this one. It’s also time for quarterly payments to authors and I’ll have to have the anthology assembled and published within a week – it’s going to be a rough week.

Next year I’ll set open and close dates for these anthologies earlier. I know it’s hard to write a seasonal story out of season but I really am cutting it very close to get those books out on time. So, next year, Halloween will close mid-September and Christmas will close mid-November.

The Easter anthology isn’t themed, it’s ‘anything goes’ so although it’s slated to be ready for Easter it doesn’t really matter too much if it’s a few days over. The themed ones have to be out in time for the holiday they follow.

Underdog Anthology 7, ‘Christmas Lights… and Darks’ is about ready to roll. There is no fixed size to these books, they need to reach 100 pages or the cost of the book will be too much for its size, but there is no upper limit. If it ever gets way too big, of course, it could be in two volumes. There’s no danger of that so far.

We have another new author – I’m pleased to note that every anthology has had at least one new author so far. This time, one of the authors has included a photo of themselves. I’m tempted to do that too. Mine are horror stories, after all, so it would be appropriate. Actually, I have been photographed. I’m on the cover of the first Underdog Anthology and on the cover of Margo Jackson’s ‘The Mark’. I’m in ‘Treeskull Stories’ with my trusty scythe, opposite the opening page of Roo B. Doo’s ‘Trick or Treat’. This time I might show my face. Best cover the mirrors…

There’s still time to send in a story, I placed a deadline and I’m sticking to it. I wish I’d placed that deadline earlier but I didn’t and as a hideous goblin of my word, I’m not changing it now. All the stories in so far have been edited, there is no backlog, so all I’m doing now is assembling it. This means I have time to lumber my co-editor with any late stories. She has a day job but the deadline is tomorrow night so it’s a weekend.

Actually, one of the late stories is me. Yeah, I love the pressure pulse of a rapidly passing deadline. There’s nothing more motivating.

After this I won’t do much more publishing before Christmas. I have to spend time with CStM before she forgets what I look like and I have a granddaughter who is about to experience her first Christmas and who will be utterly spoiled. Also I need a rest. I’m just a frail old man who’s tired and slow, my legs are cramped, my arms are feeble, my nose is knackered…

If you have a novel raring to go, give it one more pass and send it in January. I’ll have finished clearing out the lab by then and I’ll have all the time in the world and should be almost hangover-free by the 5th.

Soon, I’ll put up the cover for this one and the contents page.

Then I’m going to try out this ‘sleep’ thing I’ve been hearing about.


There’s a lot of it about.

Brexit, of course, is a shambles and is likely to see the last days of the Tory party. If arch-liar Tessie Maybe and her sidekick, Oily Rubbings, manage to get this travesty of a ‘deal’ passed, the Tory voter base is all but gone. A lot of irreversible damage has already been done so if Tessie the Liar leads her party into the next general election then they will lose it.

If they stop this pantomime and deliver a proper, genuine Brexit then they will still have a party in opposition. But they cannot now win a general election. Too many blatant lies and broken promises, and we now know for sure that manifestos from either side are just recycle-bin fodder. No point reading them, they aren’t going to do what they say.

We have just had a ‘day of remembrance for trans people who were killed for being trans people’. Hot on the heels of the 100th Day of Remembrance for millions who were killed just for being unfortunate enough to be the right age to be dragged of to war, that seems a bit sick to me. Especially when, on this 100th anniversary of the end of that war, our current government plans to render all those lost lives, all of that war and fighting, a total waste of time.

Sure, it’s horrible that someone is killed just for being themselves, but this rarely happens to trans people in the West. The figure of several hundred killings is global and guess where it most often happens? They don’t want to say it. Can you guess why?

A female judge has ruled that FGM is perfectly legal in her country and that a law that was passed against it must be struck off the books because it is contrary to the constitution of that country. FGM is now a constitutional right in… America.

In London, street acupuncture is a daily occurrence now, although unlike the traditional acupuncturists who take their time placing small needles in various locations, this new breed of street acupuncturists favour a much quicker method. They use a big knife instead of lots of tiny needles and get the whole show over in a second. Unfortunately, their success rate for cures is really, really bad.

The police would very much like to deal with that, however they have been reallocated to ‘online hate crime’ and waste their days reading crap like this, looking for something to take offence at.

In Ireland, a judge has declared that a rape victim was asking for it because she was wearing a thong. You  know, those cheese-wire knickers that, if you give someone wearing one a wedgie, will cut them in half.

Presumably she was wearing it under other clothing that the rapist would have had to remove before getting to the cheese-wire, but in this judge’s mind, that is irrelevant. Soon, rape will be legal in Ireland.

In Sweden… oh forget it. Sweden is utterly fucked.

Half of America is drooling at the prospect of impeaching a President who doesn’t seem to be doing much wrong other than looking a bit of a boorish idiot. He’s not the one with street gangs trying to silence opposition and threaten people in their homes. He’s the one who has produced economic growth and jobs that Obama initially said could never happen and is now trying to claim the credit for. But they hate him with a passion. There is no reasoning behind this really, it started the moment he was elected and it has not abated at all since. Well, that’s for America to deal with. We have our own problems, we have absolute arseholes running the UK and while Trump’s motto is ‘Make America Great Again’, the UK government is doing its damndest to delete the ‘Great’ from Great Britain.

Italy is coming to its senses. They’re about to give the EU a dose of proper Italian swearing and might well be out of there before we are. Along with Poland, Hungary, and other eastern countries who only just got away from Russian communist control and who can see exactly what the EU is up to.

Spain has threatened to veto Brexit if they can’t have Gibraltar. Well, they can’t veto it. They might be able to scupper the ‘deal’ we don’t want anyway, I hope so, but they cannot stop Brexit.

Neither can Tessie Maybe, nor even Oily Rubbings and his gang of lawless madmen. It’s done. That part is over. Deal or no deal, we are leaving. With the ‘deal’ on offer, no deal is a better option.

Staying in is not an option, not least because the EU intend to trash this country as a warning to others. Oh yes, even if we go cap in hand and beg to stay they are going to hit us hard. No-deal Brexit is now, by far, the best option available. Besides, that ship is sinking and this particular rat is very happy to desert it.

There is still a place of sanity in the world. Those who live there will kill you if you try to visit because for the last 30,000 years they have lived on an idyllic, bountiful island while the rest of the world has gone to shit. They are keeping it as it is, and I don’t blame them at all.

No, don’t even think about trying to join them. Even the British gave up on trying to colonise that place. You cannot talk to them because no visitor has lived long enough to learn their language. They are not interested in discussion. They are not interested in hearing your side of any story. You want to migrate there? They will kill you and probably cook you up too.

They have no money. None. They have no nuclear weapons. No guns. No cars, not even horses. No electricity. They have not bothered to invent the wheel and yet for 30,000 years they have never been invaded. Everyone who has tried has soon decided “Whoa, leave these people alone”. India has put a five mile exclusion zone around their island and have an absolute ban on letting anyone visit. Not to protect the islanders – to protect idiots who try to go there.

We could learn a lot from them. Especially those who like to meddle in the lives of others.


In other news, the Christmas book will be called ‘Christmas Lights… and Darks’ because the stories are split between the whimsical and the diabolical. I’ll start sending author contracts shortly even though there is still a week to the deadline.

The end of November is also payment time for those on royalties and I have to clear out my lab by Christmas. It’s a hellish busy time.

So, I’m not immune to a bit of madness either.



Maybe, Tessie

Whether you voted Remain or Leave in the Brexit referendum, you cannot possibly be unaware of the utter shambles Tessie has made of the process. This ludicrous ‘deal’ is not what Leave voted for and it’s not what Remain voted for either. It’s a bloody mess.

It does not ‘leave the EU’ and it does not ‘remain in the EU’, which were the only two options on the ballot. It locks us into EU rules and the customs union and the ECHR with absolutely no way out, ever – and no say at all in anything the EU wants to impose on us. We will not be ‘in the EU’. We will be the EU’s bitch and they can bend us over and ream us for money any time they like. We will have no say at all. We will be Princess Leia in a brass bikini, with Juncker the Hutt holding our chain.

How can she even present this as a ‘deal’? We get nothing at all out of it. It’s an unconditional surrender and she should be on a boat heading for Traitor’s Gate even now.

Oh I don’t blame the rest of the Tories for this surrender. They had almost no say at all. I do, however, blame them for not doing anything about it. They could have ousted this jackbooted EU cuckoo long ago but no, they let her get deeper and deeper into political absurdity and tolerated her dictatorship.

I think ‘dictatorship’ is appropriate here. She has run this show alone, surrounded by yes-men (and women) and excluded her own MPs from the entire process. She set up a ‘Brexit minister’ who she then absolutely ignored. She’s on number 3 now, and he might as well spend his time on the golf course because he really has nothing to do.

She blackmailed her cabinet at Chequers, ran a behind-the-scenes plan with someone called Oily and conspired with the EU to wreck this country by dragging us into eternal servitude. The Tories saw this happening and did nothing. They don’t believe their party could ever end up like the Lib Dems, you know. Well guess what? Neither did the Lib Dems.

There is no ‘Leave the EU’ and no ‘Remain in the EU’ on the table in her world. There is only ‘Sell the people of the UK to the Juncker Drunk for a big bag of cash and a comfy retirement well away from the hellhole she wants to create’. We who voted Leave have often pointed out that Remain lost the referendum. It seems everyone who voted in that referendum lost. Neither of the options on the ballot are being enacted.

So what are the options now? WTO rules Brexit, no deal, out without paying billions and Juncker waving wine bottles at us from a park bench while shouting incoherently and making trade as difficult as possible seems the only option left. Still, we can trade with the rest of the world and spend our money in their countries, if the EU countries don’t want it. No more bloody Audis seems like a benefit, not a loss. Get yourself a Toyota Corolla if you want to look like a flash dickhead in future.

I hear they have finally sent in enough ‘Fuck off, Tin Tart, you’ll never be an Iron Lady’ letters in to trigger a no confidence vote. That might be true, it might not. I’ve been hearing this since she did the ‘sign this or walk home’ trick at Chequers and nothing has happened yet.

Maybe they will have that vote. Maybe she will lose and they’ll replace her with a) someone just like her or b) someone who has the first clue what they are doing. Someone who will tell the EU to call us when they have a sensible trade deal to offer, we’ll be having tea and tiffin while we wait.

Maybe she will win. Then there can be no new vote of no confidence for at least a year. That will destroy the Tory party for a very long time.

Consider: The DUP will withdraw their support because her plan leaves Northern Ireland behind. Without them, she has no government. Then it has to be a general election and having won the confidence vote the party cannot remove her as leader. They will have to fight a general election with the most hated woman on the planet as their leader.

If they end up at the current level of the Lib Dems they will have done very well indeed.

I’d predict a big shift to UKIP and maybe to the others, like Britain First, but not enough and the votes will split between actual right wing/centrist parties. Corbyn will win and face no effective opposition in the House.

If you were alive in the Harold Wilson years and you thought they were bad, well as they say in Yorkshire ‘Eee, lad, tha’s no idea’. You want to know what happened to Venezuela, until recently one of the world’s richest countries? Here it comes, right to your door.

Well maybe it’s time. Maybe the youth of today need to experience the full on socialism they crave. Three day weeks. Power cuts. Mass strikes. Huge taxes. All the rich people, the ones who run companies that provide jobs, leaving the country. It’s what they want. Give it to them.

To quote Mahogany’s last words in ‘Midnight Meat Train’, “Take it, and be welcome”.

We can, one day, vote out a loony Labour government.

If we let Treason May have her ‘deal’, there is no way out.

Okay, both options are shitty, but one is far shittier than the other.

If there is a general election and that bloody woman is leading the Tories, then for the first time in my life I will vote Labour.

Jerr Cordite will have five years to wreck the country. Under the Tories, the EU can stamp their boot on our faces forever.

I’ll take the temporary bastard.




No Exit Brexit

I am up to date on editing. Five authors so far in the Christmas anthology and the strong likelihood of more with two weeks to go. The Underdog Anthologies are now on book seven and still going. Okay, we don’t sell many so far but it did not follow my pessimism into the pit after the first one. This might actually get somewhere.

The end of November is also author payout time for this quarter, for novels and single author shorts collections. This links very badly, in business terms, with the need to get the Christmas book out in time. I will have to revise my Halloween and Christmas deadlines next year. Oh, I can do this thing, I did last year, but it’s knackering. Well, you know, live and learn and all that.

Live and especially learn no longer applies to the new generation of entitled drones. They do not learn. They declare what reality is, and reality must conform. There is a very, very nasty shock on the way.

It seems to not apply to most politicians either. The possibly living but definitely never learning Tessie the Tyrant cannot see, or will not see, or actually delights in the utter destruction of the Conservative party she is leading into places Oblivion doesn’t know about is more closed-minded than she could be if the Berlin Wall was built around whatever she uses for a brain.

I think it’s a Tamagotchi nobody has looked at for decades.

The country that abolished slavery over 200 years ago, the country that sent out the Navy to fuck up other slave trades, is about to become a country of slaves. Because of, not a woman, I would not be so sexist. Because of an idiot. A sad witch with delusions that she actually matters.

She does not matter. None of us do. We are ephemera. Temporary. I will die one day and so will you and what we did will be forgotten. What our children do is up to them, not to us. We won’t be here.

But what we do now can affect what those children have to deal with.

Do you want them to live as slaves in a vassal state? That is what Tessie (who has not reproduced, thankfully) wants. Or do you want your children to live on a little island at the rainy end of Europe that is full of hope and potential greatness and comfort.

Jack the Greasy  Moggie has children.

Someone with no future up against someone who cares about the future.

If you want someone who puts future over money to rule you, always pick the one with children.

The ones without have no reason to care.