Why do the gods love the insecure?

I’m in serious danger of meeting the deadline for this Easter anthology. I only missed the deadline for ‘Ransom’ by a few days, this one could be the one that makes it. Eight stories edited, six approved by the authors, it’s really only me who’s stopping it getting published today. I’m writing a Dume story with Romulus Crowe and those two are hard to control.

Anyway, some of the comments on the last post got me wondering. Why is it that those who profess to be God’s chosen ones – of any religion – seem to be so damn touchy about it? Come on, if you’re the chosen people of whichever God you follow, surely you don’t give as much as a fly-blown gerbil’s testicle what I or anyone else believe?

You can relax in the knowledge that I, and everyone who does not follow your religion, is going to Hell and you’ll be able to laugh at them while looking down from Heaven.

Okay, I know, some (very few) religions don’t like the idea of people going to Hell. I can’t remember who said it, but a wise man once pointed out that no true Christian would accept entry to Heaven as long as there was one soul suffering in Hell. If they are as compassionate as they say, they could not stand the idea of a fellow human enduring such torture.

That’s being a bit harsh, I suppose. A Christian could argue, quite fairly, that we heretics had a choice.

Still,we see religious groups claiming victim status all over the place. Not all of them, some are actually grown up, but most act like God’s spoiled children. Christians, for example, no longer play Kill the Unbeliever! Others do, and it’s not just the Muslims.

I don’t get it. I have never felt the need for a religion. Many people do and I have no problem with that. If your life feels better because you believe someone is watching everything you do, you have a good time. I prefer to work alone. I don’t need a supervisor.

But why do you care what I think? If you are in one of the currently militant religions, why does it matter if I’m alive right now? I’m not interested in de-converting you. I have no rival religion to suck away your followers. I genuinely don’t care.

You believe you will go to paradise and I will go to Hell. Looking around at the world, I think I’m already there to be honest. Still, why kill me now? Why not revel in the knowledge that I will enjoy a life of drink and debauchery and then suffer for all eternity?

Further, if you have the slightest trace of compassion for humanity and you know I face an eternity of having little red laughing demons poking hot pitchforks up my bum, shouldn’t you let me enjoy the brief time I have here? You can laugh at me later, while you share God’s basement with those 72 pasty white gamer guy virgins you’re so looking forward to.

Incidentally, if you’re a Muslim woman, what do you look forward to? I’m genuinely interested because we’ve never been told.

If you are God’s chosen ones then surely you have nothing to fear. No reason for the killing sprees. No reason for Hindus or Muslims or anyone else to wipe out the opposition. We’re not going to be taking your seat in Heaven’s coffee shop. We’ll be suffering the booze-fuelled smoking area downstairs.

I wonder if Satan makes us go outside the gates of Hell for smoke breaks? Somehow I doubt it. I bet there’s one of those stainless steel ashtrays outside the Pearly Gates though.

Look, religious people. You claim to be the superior ones. God’s chosen. The ones to get eternal pleasure while everyone not of your religion gets eternal pain.

So if you have this God-given superiority, why do so many of you act like total dicks?

It’s a question that really needs an answer. Is there one?

When reality falls apart

Browsing the news is strange now. You might as well treat Viz comic as your major source of information. Some of the characters in there wouldn’t be out of place in the pages of a ‘real’ news source. ‘Spoilt Bastard’ is definitely modern MP material. The stories I’m currently editing for the anthology feel more ‘real’ than the stuff coming at me from the news. They are certainly better written and make a lot more sense.

This, of course, assumes there is a ‘real’ news source left on the planet. Most of them seem to print their own versions of reality, often with no regard to the reality of what is really happening in the world. The times they are a-changing, and lately the pace of change has quickened.

Not for the better. Not from where I’m sitting.

Currently, the House of Lards is trying to impose its own will on the people of this country. The House of Lards was meant to be a check on the House of Commons. It was supposed to be full of wise old fogeys who would look at the lunatic proposals of the whippersnappers in government and say ‘Hang on a minute…’

Not any more. Successive governments have stuffed that place with cronies. The Lards are appointed, not elected. We can’t vote for them and we can’t get them out of office. Lately they have their heads so far up their own orifices they are looking out from behind their own teeth. They are not supposed to make decisions, they are supposed to be there to temper the decisions made by the elected monkeys in the silly place we call Commons.

The House of Lards is becoming a de facto dictatorship. It’s no longer fit for purpose. Time to ditch it.

Or maybe replace the Lards with those guys in flat caps who used to sit in the corner of pubs (remember pubs?) with a whippet at their feet, smoking a pipe and sipping a black-and-tan. They’d do a much better job. Just keep them supplied with that dried horse manure they like to smoke and the beer that could legitimately be called a cocktail and that’s all they need. No £300 a day, they don’t need that much a week, and they don’t need to be supplied with big red Santa suits trimmed with dead ferrets either. We’d save a fortune and the country would be run better.

What about our elected leaders? What a bunch of shining little wits they are! Bickering like children and pushing their own personal prejudices and agendas as if the people who voted for them just don’t matter at all.

Which, of course, they don’t. Once they have been elected they are elevated to a degree of status that makes God scowl with envy and they can do whatever they please. Just because you voted for them doesn’t mean they have any intention of doing what they said they would do. You just vote. Once you’ve done that, fuck off home and keep out of the way. Important People have Important Things to do and you get to do what you are told by the people you elected to do what you wanted them to do.

Did you want them to totally screw up your life with ever-deeper control? Did you want them to take all the money you worked for and throw it away on their own pet projects? You didn’t? What a shame. That’s what they’re going to do anyway.

It is a constant comfort to me to know that nobody I’ve ever voted for has ever won an election. That might be because I vote based on the person, not the party. I vote for the one who sounds like they make sense. Those people are unlikely to get anywhere near government.

Again, the times they are a-changing. Turkey might be the fulcrum that tips this lever.

Donnie Trumpton won the election to be King of America. He’s not a career politician, he doesn’t speak like a politician, and that’s both good and bad. He does what he says he will do but the flip side is, if he’s said it he feels obliged to do it. Unlike politicians, he doesn’t think hard before speaking and then come out with some platitude that can be translated either way later on. He just Does Things.

He has declared war on Islam in a business fashion, not a political fashion. Not just the extreme Islam, all of it. Well okay, the extremists don’t wear a uniform so it’s hard to tell but this is a sledgehammer approach and while I personally don’t like it, it is in fact the only viable option left. The extremists have made it so. The moderates, the ordinary Muslims, aren’t dobbing in their crazy mates and are not reforming their religion to get rid of the nutters. They will be really surprised when they are rounded up and sent to camps. Ask the American Japanese about the last world war. It is happening again.

Christianity did have a Reformation. Oh there are still violent Christian nutters but you won’t find a single church anywhere who recognises them as part of their religion. Modern Christianity is all tea and cakes and when they speak to you, you’ll really believe they have no bones in their arms.

I used to be visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses often. Nice enough people. They invited me to events I never went to. They gave me their comics and I gave them mine. They were particularly keen on the New Scientist copy I gave them that spoke of blood transfusions and how they had never actually been clinically tested. It was the one describing artificial blood, quite a few years back.

Yet they never threatened me in any way at all. They invited me to join. I declined. That was fine by them. They’d ask again, I’d decline again. I never, ever saw a JW shriek and declare all unbelievers must be beheaded. You don’t want to join, they believe you’re losing out but the point is they give you the choice.

Oh I know the stories of what happens if you leave that group but basically it amounts to ‘Shun the non-believer!’. They don’t issue death threats or throw you off tall buildings and stone your splattered remains to be on the safe side.

Islam, however, is at the stage Christianity was at in the 15th century. When the Inquisition killed, in horrible ways, anyone who didn’t agree with them. Their courts were rigged. If you were accused then you must be guilty of something and punishment of some kind was inevitable and always brutal.

Turkey is an Islamic nation but the government is secular. At least that was the idea. Kamal Ataturk, the country’s founder, was a visionary and I would go so far as to say he was one of the great men of history. He separated State and religion from the outset. He must be so ashamed of what has happened to destroy his vision.

Turkey was once a great place to go for a holiday. Personally I won’t go to any country that even borders that place now. It’s fast turning into another North Korea.

If you believe the news.

If you do, then 30-year-old ‘refugees’ are children. There is no problem in Sweden, Malmo being the rape capital of Europe is an honour and they have put up a gold plaque to commemorate it. There are no cases of female genital mutilation in the UK, no beheadings in the UK, no riots in France or anywhere else, nothing is happening. Nothing to see here, move along, keep your head down and keep paying those taxes. All is well, your daughter’s grooming for a life of being gang raped while drunk is just part of their culture, innit?

The political demigods might be awakening to reality at last. In the Netherlands it looks like Geert Wilders is in with a real chance of winning next Wednesday’s election. The Turkish riots in that country might have secured his victory. The current bunch of feeble minded kowtowing Dhimmis have known this for a while and decided to ban Turkish politicians from campaigning in their country.

Turkey declares this as a Nazi-style move. Turkey allows no foreign politics to be campaigned in Turkey. Pot… Kettle… Politically Correct Very Dark Grey?

Or is that doubleplusgrey in Newspeak?

All this ramble, all this post, all these words, depend upon the veracity of sources. The news. Eye witness accounts, assuming they didn’t dream it after a bottle of whisky and a kebab. It could all be entirely wrong.

It could all be entirely right.

It could all be fantasy.

But look, the Leftie governments are clamping down on Islamic immigration and their general behaving like dicks just before elections that would pretty definitely see them all out of work. All over Europe.

Why? Because the opposition are promising to do something about the things real people in the real world are utterly sick of. The things all the Leftie governments pretend aren’t happening.

Sure, they want Trump discredited. He started it by breaking the first rule of politics – actually doing what he said he would do.

Now every country out there is looking for politicians who will do what they said they would do, and none of them are among the current elected monkeys. People want something new. Something true.

We want reality again. It’s been a long time.

But Muslims beware. You’ve had a really easy time in the West so far. It’s about to change and your life is going to get hard. Those countries you escaped from will seem like Utopia compared to what’s coming, I’d like to be sympathetic but you did nothing while evil people used your religion for their own ends. It’s probably too late to fix it now.

You can try. If you can be bothered.

It’s up to you now.

 

 

We’re going to need a bigger van…

…for those trips to Europe.

Cigarettes are to rise in price again and there is now a system in place whereby no pack of cigarettes can cost less than £7.24. You can get a pack for less than half that in any other country in Europe.

Assuming we do eventually leave the EU, there will be a limit imposed on how many cigarettes we can bring back per person. There is no limit on how many you can bring back for your own use at the moment due to the EU’s free movement of goods rules but if you have loads, expect to have them stolen by border control anyway. So the imposition of a limit isn’t any reason to stay in the EU.

If the limit is, say, 300 (15 packs) then if you have a weekend in Europe you’ll save about £54 per person by stocking up while there.

The tobacco story is an old one. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t cheaper everywhere outside the UK. Even as a child, if we went to France or Spain my dad would take the limit home and so would my mum (who never smoked). Lately my parents often went to Portugal and brought me home five 50g packs of rolling baccy. At the time it was a gift worth at least £75 at UK prices. They paid half that. Unfortunately they are getting too old for those trips.

Oh yes, my parents are still alive. My father, a lifelong smoker and my mother, a lifelong passive smoker, are both still alive. Neither have experienced cancer. It’s not just me who defies NHS statistics. It’s the whole family.

Alcohol is also a lot cheaper in most EU countries. I noticed, in Germany, that whiskies like Famous Grouse were the same price in little corner shops as they are in big supermarkets here. I also noticed that only the idiots in charge of the UK have fallen for hiding tobacco behind doors and putting them in plain packs. Nobody else has fallen for this one.

Nobody else will fall for the utterly cretinous notion of putting all booze, including fine malt whiskies, into plain packs and hiding them behind shutters. Oh it’s coming. Plain packs for ‘non-approved’ foods is already being talked about as the Next Logical Step in the bullying of the entire nation. These thugs are never satisfied. Never. When they have total control they will start telling you how many steps you have to take every day – oh wait, that one’s already out there.

Now we have a tax on sugar. Initially on sugary drinks but if you think it will end there you really haven’t been paying attention at all. Imagine a world where Coke and Pepsi are in the same olive drab packaging with photos of meth mouth and Cyril Smith on every bottle. The company name relegated to 10-point Times New Roman. It’s all behind doors and you have to ask for it. Imagine it well because if you are under 50 you’ll see it in your lifetime.

Fancy a burger? You’ll get it with MACDONALDS on the olive green box in 10-point Times New Roman with a picture of someone syringing lard through an artery on the top. Actually not hard to copy. I like liver and it often has a large artery or two going through it.

Fancy fish and chips? It’ll be a lot smaller and cost more, not least because the chip shop has to buy olive green wrapping paper with pictures of Bernard Manning nude and a warning that all fish are so full of mercury that they will roll off the table if left unattended.

Oh I know. You’re scoffing. You don’t believe it can happen.

Go back to 2004 and tell the pub customers that soon they will be banned from smoking in there. Tell them they will buy cigarettes in drab green packs from behind doors and they will pay £7.24 for the cheapest brand. Listen to them scoff at you.

You’re going to need a van for a lot more than tobacco on future visits abroad. If you fly it will very likely be well worth paying an excess baggage charge.

As for smugglers, they’re likely to steal Mr. MacDonald’s favourite line.

‘I’m lovin’ it’.

Time to light the writing candle

Enough decorating for the day. I don’t like painting. I don’t like ladders. I have to paint a room with 10-foot high walls. It’s the decorating apocalypse. It would be a bigger room on its side. This is the room I designated ‘office’ because it has a north facing window so will only get the sun’s glare in midsummer. It was in need of serious decorating. It looked like it last saw a paintbrush before I was born.

It also looked like someone had kept the ‘family secret’ in it judging by it having three locks on the outside and all the scratch marks in the wall. Ideal for writing my kind of stories.

Anyway, it’s three-quarters done and I can’t do any more until I move the sofa bed into the corner it’s destined to stay in. It’s a heavy beast. I only intend moving it once. The paint in that corner is currently drying. Tomorrow, or the next day, it will move. I still have to seal the base of the skirting board where the floor has sunk a little in the corner but that’s a short job.

The office will double as a guest room. There are spare rooms upstairs but there’s a very low rail along the landing and it’s a ten-foot drop if you fall over it. Scares the crap out of me. Also the upstairs rooms don’t have heating. Aaand… I am not carrying a bed up a long, steep curved staircase! You want to sleep upstairs, I’ll get you an inflatable mattress.

My parents are visiting in three weeks. Another deadline. This room must be complete and not stinking of paint by then. I still have to do a little bit of wall, varnish the door (someone previously stripped off the paint and I intend to keep it that way) and paint the floor-length architrave around the window.

Then put the pelmet back up, properly this time.

There is some fixing to do around the window. Whoever put the pelmet up attached the bracket to the outer moulding of the architrave with short screws. So that moulding has started to pull away from the main frame. I don’t know how long that pelmet was in place but since they went out of fashion in the 60’s, it has to have been there for at least 60 years – and that’s if it was one of the last to be installed. Given the age of this house that seems unlikely.

It will go back with brackets fixed to the wall, not the wood. It won’t have a curtain rail installed because I put up a more modern pole. It’s really only going back up to hold a large model truck – and to be an interesting feature point in this old place.

I had hoped to get away with delaying the paint on the window woodwork. It looked reasonably white – until I painted the skirting board. Sigh.

I have three weeks to complete this and to complete the ‘Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell’ anthology. I need that book in its final stages before the parental visit as well as getting this place into a shape worth visiting. Pah. Hardly a challenge at all.

At least, no challenge if I get organised. That’s the real challenge – setting a routine for work for the first time in 56 years.

So the writing candle is lit. I have my back to the latest paint so I’m not tempted to watch it dry instead of writing. Writers know what I mean.

To work, then. I have a glass of Writing Lubricant to hand (Auchentoshan tonight, it was at reduced price in Tesco today) and I have put the ladder safely out of temptation’s way. Whisky and ladders – never a good ending.

I also have a pack of Henri Winterman’s half coronas, since it was national no smoking day. An annual treat. It was also Gobblement Money Stealing Day and to top it all, National Wimmin Day. That’s three days in one so I hope you managed to eat fifteen portions of vegetables. If you did, warn me before I get into a lift or any enclosed space with you.

I still don’t know what a ‘wimmin’ is and since the day has now passed, I don’t have to care about that for another year.

Procrastination has peaked. I have to Do Something now.

Spider Solitaire, tempt me not…

 

The Communist Tories

Many have said, for many years, that there is no longer any difference in Left or Right. No difference between Tory and Labour, no difference between Republican and Democrat, no difference in the type of dictatorships at all. They are now finally proved, without a shadow of doubt, entirely correct.

I admit to laughing, at first, at the Socialists in America insisting that their new ‘right-wing’ government is all pally with, of all places, Soviet Russia. Isn’t that what they’d want? A deeply socialist influence on the mop-haired madman they’ve just put in power? Well, apparently Russia is now ‘right wing’ which leads us to imagine that the future they want for America is far left of Russia.

That is scarier than any story I could ever write. Even Kim Jong Jingly-Jangly would balk at that idea.

Anyway, this one is about the UK. About the alleged Conservative government (we call them Tories, which is what the Irish used to call highway robbers and it seems they were somewhat prophetic).

Their new Chancer is about to kill new startup businesses even faster than the Brown Gorgon ever did.

The Brown Gorgon brought in the idea of ‘tax on account’ whereby you pay this year’s tax and next year’s tax too. It was phased in for businesses that already existed but start one now and you pay double tax in your first year. This is why I am not keen to make a profit in this first year. You have to build your business slowly. If you are an overnight success in your first year you are dead in the water in your second year.

The Tories have done nothing to change this. Not a goddamn thing. They won’t, they are Redder than their opponent’s rosettes these days. Corbyn is probably in awe of the shit they are coming up with.

Now they want to hit the self-employed (their natural voter base) with a massive hike in tax. Oh they call it ‘National Insurance’ and claim it’s not income tax but it all falls into the same black hole of profligate waste. It’s just extra income tax.

These are the champions of entrepreneurs? Really? Not only are they happy to continue taking double tax from every attempt at a new business and kill them after their first year, those that survive will have to survive on less. Which means most will end up on benefits. That is modern Conservatism. More benefit drones, no more new startup businesses. Suits their masters.

There has been much bleating from Lefties about ‘Tory cuts’. There have been no cuts. The NHS budget has never, ever gone down. Only up. The ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’ never happened. The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ never happened. ‘Austerity’ never happened. I no longer believe any of it ever will.

‘Brexit’ isn’t really going to happen either, is it? Does anyone out there believe a single word any current politician utters? If you do, I have bad news. 100 is not the top of the IQ scale. You are not near the top.

You can whine about Trump all you want but at least he is doing what he said he would do. No other politician can say that. Didn’t O’Blimey promise to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison on his first election? It’s still there.

If you are not voting for UKIP or Marine le Pen or any other so-called ‘far right’ candidate then you are voting to live in North Korea. Oh they are ‘far right’ for sure. The ones telling you that are so ‘far left’ even Chairman Mao would have widened his eyes. No mean feat…

When the current batch of lefties talk about ‘far right’, they mean ‘normal’. Middle of the road stuff, where the laws make sense and government isn’t trying to live in riches while everyone else scrabbles for the crumbs on their bird feeders. That is where ‘far right’ is now.

I am self-employed. I have no paid holidays. If I stop work for two weeks I stop earning for two weeks. I have no pension other than what I paid into while an employee. I cannot spare the money for a pension plan.

There is no ‘maternity leave’ nor ‘paternity leave’ in my work. Okay, I’m too old to be a father again but a 20-year-old setting up a business will find that part hurts.

I have just started up a business – Leg Iron Books – and if it made so much that I was in the 40% tax bracket in the first year, then at the end of the first year I would pay 80% tax on that year. Tories have done nothing – NOTHING AT ALL – to change that. Second year, I’d be bust and on benefits. How does that help the economy?

It doesn’t. Like vampires, they suck you dry and move on to the next mug who thinks he can challenge their big-business paymasters. Try to start a business under a Tory government and they will smack you down faster than the darkest of the Communist regimes. They are not Tories. Calling them ‘right wing’ means you must be so far to the ‘left’ that Stalin needs binoculars to see you.

If you plan to start a new business, for pity’s sake don’t do it in the UK. No matter what government we get here, they will do their damnedest to slap you down.

Finally, why is America so keen to slap down Trump?

He’s not a career politician. He hasn’t been indoctrinated in ‘the way to best control the tax cattle’. He’s making mistakes but the whole of the job is new to him. I think he might turn out to be the best thing to happen to America… if they let him.

That’s really why they don’t like him.

 

Rule by thuggery and threat

The Dreadful Arnott and her minions don’t like dissent. Not even a hint of it. Question the Righteous Ones at your peril!

It’s really not too surprising that the Politically Correct and Lifestyle Controllers never have a bad word to say about terrorists. They work in much the same way. Say the wrong thing and they turn on you. They’ll insult you, abuse you, even physically attack you. Try to defend yourself and they’ll claim you’re bullying them.

Oh they haven’t blown up smokers yet, but they’d like to. They did once come up with a computer game where you were a sniper on a rooftop, picking off smokers in the street. They have also encouraged children to snatch cigarettes from people smoking in the street. Really. All officially sanctioned.

Should any smoker dare to respond to these attacks, we are ‘being unreasonable’. They are ‘only trying to help’.

No they aren’t. They are being themselves. Their natural selves. Vicious, spiteful thugs.

They will say ‘smokers want the ‘right’ to smoke anywhere!’

No we don’t. We would quite like the right to smoke in our homes and cars – you know, our own property – but the antismokers don’t want to allow that. We smokers only want to be left alone. We don’t demand every establishment allows us to smoke. We never have. You can have nonsmoking pubs and restaurants, as many as you like. We won’t smoke in them.

Nut we can’t have even one smoking establishment. Not one. We are to be banned from smoking in the grounds of hospitals, in our own cars, and there are moves to ban it in private homes.

So who is being unreasonable? The smokers, who just want to be left alone, or the antismokers who want total control over everyone’s lives at all times?

I know, there are antismokers nudging each other and saying ‘Another bleating smoker’ but it’s not just the smokers.

Vapers are getting the same treatment. Booze is to be restricted and plain-packaged – warning labels will be first. As with smoking. Any non-approved foods (it’s not what you approve of that matters, it’s what your Masters approve for you) are going to be hiked in price soon, and what you can have will be so bland that you won’t feel like eating it.

That, of course, will solve the imaginary ‘obesity epidemic’.

It’s never going to stop. The control freaks will enlist your help to beat up a group they don;t like. They’ll tell you you can get bacterial infections from the residue of something that’s been burned, that you can get cancer from second hand steam, that one daily glass of sherry will make your liver die a slow and agonising death… it’s all lies.

People believe lies. They believe them no matter how ridiculously absurd you make them.

Every lie controls your life just that little bit more. Whether you smoke or not, whether you drink or not,. whether you live on burgers and chips or tofu and hand-knitted yoghourt.

These people do not want to control one group. They want to control everyone. Everyone.

Bit by bit, they’re getting there. Don’t think it can happen? It’s happened before, more than once.

Pass out the overalls, we’re about to become old style communist China. Or North Korea.

It can happen.

It’s happening right now. It’s so blatant that if you can’t see it, there’s only one reason.

You don’t want to.

 

Just to clarify…

logobasicLeg Iron Books is not a ‘vanity publisher’.

I don’t have my own printing press, I can’t get onto the bookshelves at Tesco or Asda, I don’t have a marketing department and I can’t take out full page ads in magazines. The entire company is just me with a few helpers now and then when it all gets too much. I am not Random House.

Yet.

I only thought of becoming a publisher a year ago this month. So far there are four books in the catalogue, two more in active preparation and a backlog of submissions. I think I’m not doing too bad for a one man band. Hover over ‘Leg Iron Books’ in the menu bar and you should get a drop down list. It’s new, and developing, but it’s started.

I know there is an ongoing feud between one of my authors and another blogger. I’m not totally insular, I do read other blogs even though I don’t comment much these days. Starting a new business tends to take up a lot of time.

The feud is nothing to do with me so I won’t name either party. I really don’t have time to get involved in that.  However, I don’t appreciate hints that I might be a vanity publisher. That’s a good way to kill this fledgling business before it even learns to fly. It’s also a good way to get me to use up my limited resources on legal action and I really don’t want to pay lawyers. They could clean me out in no time.

So, to clarify.

There is ‘self publishing’. I’ve done that with the short story books because it’s tough to get a publisher interested in those kinds of books. That’s where the writer does all the work but cost, these days, can be zero. If anyone fancies having a go, I’m happy to show them how.

Downsides of self publishing are that you have to do all your own editing, proofreading and cover art. The editing and proofreading of your own work is really hard because you tend to see what you think you wrote, not what you did write, and reading your own work over and over is beyond tedious. But it can be done, and it can be done with no money at all.

There is ‘vanity publishing’ where you pay someone to publish your stuff. You pay for editing and cover art and they make you a book. They sell you that book, they do no promotion, nothing, just what you’re willing to pay for. That is not what Leg Iron Books does.

The author is the originator of the product. As a publisher, the authors are the suppliers of the raw material for my business. What business charges a supplier for delivering their raw materials? Only a business that is a pure con trick.

I never charge any author anything. You will never get a bill from me for anything at all. I can spend a lot of time editing your book and currently I do that before you sign anything. I take the risk that you might take the edited manuscript and self-publish it without signing a contract. No matter what, I will never charge for editing.

If I get caught out that way I might go for a contract signed before I do any work on the book but still, it won’t cost you anything. So far, I work on the trust that after editing you’ll agree to a contract. So far, it’s worked. If I use someone else to do the editing and they want payment, it’s my problem, not yours.

If you have your own cover art, great. If not, I will find some or make some for you. Copyright on cover art belongs to the artist – if I make it myself, it costs you nothing. If I get someone else to do it, I pay them, not you.

No reputable publisher ever charges an author for anything at all. Never. Not ever. I take your stories and put the effort into getting them in print and eBooks in the hope I’ll make a profit on the deal. The profit comes from sales, not authors. Authors do not pay. Authors earn. That’s how it works – except for vanity publishers. They make money from writers, not readers. I’m doing it the right way. It might leave me broke (again!) but I’ll do it the right way anyway.

Here’s how it works. If you contribute to a short story anthology, I make a one-off payment in cash or books. All the editing and formatting and cover art is my problem. You pay nothing. I make a one-off payment because there are going to be a lot of anthologies and splitting royalties between lots of authors is a pain – especially as I price those anthologies at the bare minimum. They are a promotional tool, not an income generator. The main point is, I pay you to be in them. You do not pay me.

Copyright on shorts remains with the author at all times. You can re-sell or re-publish that story anywhere you like. It does not become ‘mine’, I’m just paying for permission to use it once in one anthology.

If you send in a novel we will have a five year contract in which we split the profit 50/50. There will be profit on every sale. It might be pennies but it will never be zero. I neither want nor need to get into the higher rate tax bracket so one day, if there are enough books making enough money, I will reduce my percentage across the board. But for now, it’s 50/50.

At the end of the contract you can sign a new one or tell me to piss off and send your book to one of the big boys or publish it yourself. Five years, fixed. After that I have no hold on you. Copyright remains with the author throughout, the contract only gives me an exclusive until it ends.

Okay, we won’t be in the bestseller lists for a while. Leg Iron Books is one year old this month and publishes unknown authors. Nobody has heard of any of us. That will change.

I will never ask any author for money for any service. I will bust a gut to get a story edited and proofread and published and you will never pay me a penny. Every book sale will get you a share. No exceptions. Even the one I buy for my own library (and I’ll get a copy of every one of them) will get you a royalty payment.

So, you decide. Is this ‘vanity publishing’?

If you think it is, you are free to go elsewhere.

Just try not to slander me, okay?