Books I loved reading.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

‘Oh, stop moaning and do some work.’




Thus was my reintroduction to the world after six days of what I considered to be agony. Such was my pain that I'd found eating to be impossible and subsequently lost 5kg, (about 11 lbs). I thought I’d born it stoically and even spent the previous week sleeping on the sofa lest my (muffled) screams of agony ruin the sleep of She.
     ‘You want to try giving birth. Now that’s real pain.’ And hitting me with such irrefutable logic my wife departed, leaving me a long list of things to accomplish whilst she was at work, and not giving me time to remind her that my alleged daughter was born by Caesarean. Not that it would have made any difference - and probably a bad idea from past experience. How dare I take a week off work whilst she had to continue drinking tea with the others whilst bemoaning the slothful ways of their husbands as wives are contractually obliged to spend their days. (I don’t really think that’s what she does but as she isn’t here, I can say what I like.)
     “Oh, daddy.” Notice the name, the one that’s only used when something onerous or just plain dirty is in the offing. The note affixed to the kitchen table had fallen off, swept aside by my wife’s sternwave of fury. “My saddle rack at the stable has come a bit loose and could you screw it back on again. Please, please XXXXXXXXXXXX SWALK.”
     Now I don’t have to tell any American how much a saddle weighs, and from dim experience I recall that English saddles weigh far less, so with that in mind, I removed an acre of dead undergrowth from the garden, and cleared up the pile of eviscerated wildlife, courtesy of my daughter’s two feline fiends, before heading towards the stable.
     ‘You said one saddle!’  Aforementioned spawn smiled sweetly, preparing to deliver the coup de grace.
     ‘Yes, my saddle is loose, but the rack holds twenty eight more. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes.’ And with that she was gone, presumably to compare jodhpurs or yet another pair of Uggs despite the entire place being knee deep in horse manure, or whatever it is teenagers do after being released from the drudgery of actually looking after their very own horses.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Disappointed but not really surprised.



A few months ago I posted my intention to give up all my avenues of publication and concentrate purely on Amazon and its affiliated programs. Since then I’ve done my bit, withdrawn from all business in direct competition with them and advertised all my wares with Amazon as their sole place of purchase. My sales were not great, and in fact it doesn’t even require two fingers to count them all: 5
     Reluctantly, only because I’d hoped for some improvement, I’ve now un-ticked the shackle boxes and on the 20th Jan 2015 I’ll be free once more. My sales weren’t exactly stellar before but at least people knew my name. These days, if someone Googles my name, all that comes up is a politician in the West Midlands of England, who is in all probability a really decent bloke – but not me.
     I know that Smashwords don’t have the sales figures of the mighty ‘A’ but at least with them I get a mention on Google for free. And although if I type in any of my books now the results will tumble out, it’s not the same as someone hearing of some geezer called (me) who might be a writer, then after typing in the name, receiving an entire list of my novels. That kind of coverage costs real money  - but not with Smashwords.
     It was worth the effort and I’m glad I did it but it’s time once more to saturate all avenues especially as I have two new novels about to hit the market. For all of you who prefer Amazon then good for you and I hope you sell millions. It’s just not for me, at least not as a sole vendor.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Orthodontry blues.



Forgive me for thinking this was the twenty first century but I thought dentistry techniques might have improved.
     I might have jokingly mentioned that I’d chosen a pair of pliers to remove my teeth if the dentist did not. And that’s exactly what she used. And although there’s probably some dentistic (did I just invent a word?) appellation for the other tool she used at the same time, I call it a screwdriver. Sixteen, yes sixteen injections in and the agony remained unabated. Pliers and a screwdriver!!
     Back in the safety of my house, a loud wind whistling through the cavern that is now my mouth I don’t regret it. Pain remains, albeit of a different kind, but at least my entire head doesn’t feel as if some Dalek just exterminated it.
     So that’s the final molar and pension-based complaint. I just discovered how much the government has deducted from my salary for this new pension scam, I mean scheme. Not the GDP of a small country but still taken without my approval or consent. I’m giving it two weeks. If they haven’t contacted me by then and given me the option of opting out and a promise of the money’s return I’m gonna start collecting empty vodka bottles, and there’s an old shirt I’ve been meaning to dump for some time.


     Another edit of Old Geezers done and I’m getting to the end of it. I’m glad but also a little sad. Still, Old Geezers three is well under way, as is Progeny of Kongomato: the third and final novel in my monster series. I’m going to have to find a suitably gruesome ending. My only real problem is deciding who wins, and what else I can destroy on the way. Oh the problems of a hooligan writer.
 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Pain and politicians - the same thing.



After twenty five years of searching I’ve finally discovered a painkiller that works on my strange excuse for a body. I won’t bother naming them since they’ll have different names in each country. Yet even though they’re not the strongest in the world – especially compared to the myriad drugs I’ve tried for all that time, they take away the pain immediately and keep it at bay for twelve hours at a time.
     That was the good news.
     Tomorrow I finally have my dentist’s appointment. Surely that’s good, you might say. Yes it is, but since I have two abscesses in my bouche and the dentist will only deal with one ailment at a time, I’ll have to secure another appointment. Surely Mark 2, I hear you say, you can just book another appointment?
     No, in the company for which I work death is the only excuse for not coming in. And after a week’s holiday what possible justification can I give for taking another day off?
     There is a chance, though. If I grovel and cry enough, which I’m more than willing to do, she might get me an emergency appointment at another clinic this week.
     And even if (God forbid) I was willing to pay for it myself instead of getting in on the NHS (for which I still have to pay, albeit less) I still can’t get another appointment with her, or anybody else, this week.
     I’m keeping the pliers handy.

     And that’s another thing. In a few days time, when I get paid, the government is going to extract money from my wages to pay for a new pension scheme even though I’ve been paying into one myself for over twenty years. What really galls me is that I’ve repeatedly expressed the opinion that I do not want another pension. “Don’t worry”, sayeth the pay person at work, “you’ll get it back once you’ve opted out.” I never opted in! And what about the millions in interest the govt will make this month from all the money they’ve taken without permission. Will they be repaying the interest?
     I don’t think so.