Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Thraxas Ebook Online Empire Thunders Into Life

Or lumbers slowly into life, perhaps. Thraxas is not keen on rushing things. Nonetheless, progress is being made. The Thraxas series, written under the pseudonym of Martin Scott, is going digital, and the first Thraxas novel is now available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle US and Kindle UK, the Apple iBookstore, and Copia. It will be on other ebook sites like Nook and Kobo soon. (It can take a few weeks for these stores to list the book after it's delivered.)

Somewhere in the process the ninth book will emerge. I'm expecting Thraxas and the Ice Dragon to be available in a month or two. (I may have said that before, but this time it's actually happening.) I have revamped, which has more details of all this.

If you don't have an ebook reader but want to read Thraxas, don't despair. You can download free apps from Kindle, Nook, Sony ebooks and Copia, and other places, that enable you to read them on your PC or Mac, and I give some links to these on the Thraxas website.

I was pleased to see two five-star reviews of Thraxas on only a few days after the first ebook appeared there. I appreciate these reviews.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Led Zeppelin, Agoraphobia

Last night BBC2 showed Celebration Day, the Led Zeppelin re-union concert, from their gig in London in 2007. I really enjoyed watching it, though I think it was a shortened version of the film. I was entranced at the sight of Led Zeppelin onstage again. 35 years after their heyday, and with their original drummer no longer around, Led Zeppelin were still brilliant. When Jimmy Page brought out the violin bow to make weird noises on his guitar - always one of my favourite moments - I had a strong vision of being very young again, and watching them live in Glasgow, as I did, in 1972.

Because of the concert on BBC, 'Led Zeppelin' was trending in Britain on Twitter. Most comments were favourable, of course, from people of all ages. I noticed one sub-strand of these tweets, from girls talking about their fathers, saying things like 'Just arrived home to find Dad blaring out Led Zeppelin in the living room' or 'Dad is downstairs playing air-guitar in front of Led Zeppelin on the TV.'

I thought that was funny, the image of fathers around the country still transfixed by the mighty Led Zeppelin, while their daughters looked on with amusement. Fortunately, all the daughters' tweets about their dads seemed sympathetic, if amused.

But the TV concert gave me a bad memory too. When Led Zeppelin played in London, in 2007, it sold out immediately, and it was hard to get a ticket. Only last month I was talking to someone who told me how difficult he'd found it to get to the gig. Well, I was offered a ticket by a journalist friend, but I couldn't go, because my agoraphobia was too severe at the time. At that point in 2007, I could hardly leave the house. So that's not a great memory. I wish I'd been able to go. My agoraphobia is not so bad these days, though it still troubles me quite a lot.

Watching the gig on TV, I almost fulfilled something from my book 'Suzy, Led Zeppelin and Me,' when I said that I planned, in later life, to get a DVD of Led Zeppelin, put it on, and pretend I was a teenager again, watching them in Glasgow. Last night I came quite close to doing just that, putting the lights off in the room so I could watch it like I was at a gig, and turning it up loud. I'd have lit some incense if I'd thought about it, and bought a load of cheap, strong, Scottish beer to get me in the right mood. But even without the beer and the incense, I felt very cheerful watching led Zeppelin, 35 years on.

Suzy, Led Zeppelin and Me -,, kindle

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dead Projects, Revived Projects

I like to be writing two things at once. Something I'm concentrating on, and something else for a change. Eventually these all overlap, meaning I can end up with a lot of projects, some of them alive, some of them dormant, some of them dead. 

I've more or less finished my third book about Kalix, provisionally entitled The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf. It still needs a little revision. I don't have any date for a publication and I haven't signed a publishing contract for it yet. 

Thraxas lumbers back to life. I've also more or less finished a new Thraxas book, Thraxas and the Ice Dragon. I still plan to have this published as an ebook before the end of the year. Simultaneously I'll be republishing all the other Thraxas novels as ebooks. I'll need to try out the ebook publishing process with some of the early books first, to see if it works OK, before publishing the new one. While this should ene up being widely available in English, I don't know if any of the foreign publishers who published Thraxas will want the book. Will need to ask my agent to investigate that.

Manga play. Am writing manga play for young people. Confidently expect no one ever to be interested in publishing or performing this. But I like it anyway. It's a good outlet for my manga/anime enthusiasm. An enthusiasm that will spill over into my next book, I'm sure, possibly in a career-killing manga-based novel which no one will like. 

Graphic novel set in Ancient Athens. I wrote an excellent script for this. However, the artist was unable to come up with the goods, and that pretty much killed the project. Failing the mysterious appearance of a new artist or a publisher willing to back the idea with some money, I don't see that going anywhere. Still, projects sometimes do revive unexpectedly when the time is right.

Ongoing plan to write more fetish stories. No progress. Became discouraged by massive success of Fifty Shades of Grey. Nothing I wrote would be that successful.  Hum. Will do something about this some time. I have more good ideas for fetish stories.

Lonely Werewolf Girl Film - still negotiating its way through the Byzantine corridors of the film world. Not much to report, but project still alive. And indeed, there are currently film options in place for Suzy, Led Zeppelin and Me, and Lux the Poet, but these are in very early stages. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My life while writing Ruby and the Stone Age Diet

Piatkus issued their new edition of Ruby and the Stone Age Diet this month. The book was first published in 1989 and I was living in a bedsit when I wrote it. It's the only time I've lived in a bedsit (Do they even have bedsits any more? I don't recall hearing the word for a while) I ended up there because I had to move out of the flat I was living in very quickly, when the two alcoholic tenants I shared it with invited a third, equally unpleasant person to stay, and it rapidly became too much for me. An immediate move was required, and I ended up in that bedsit in Clapham. It was tiny. All it was really, was a room in a house which the landlord had 'converted' by putting a small cooker. So there was me, a tiny cooker, an uncomfortable bed, my comic collection, and my Amstrad Word Processor, all struggling for space. I did however have a nice girlfriend at the time, and I remember having a lot of sex in that uncomfortable bed, so things weren't all bad, though I did end up with a sore back.

I gave up work around this time, believing that having two books published meant I could now earn my living from my writing. A foolish mistake, as it turned out. But I was still working as a clerk for the council while writing Ruby and the Stone Age Diet, as far as I remember.

The Amstrad Word processor would seem very primitive now, but at the time I thought it was great. I bought that just before I wrote Lux the Poet, and it was a big step up from the broken down typewriter I'd used to write Milk, Sulphate and Alby Starvation. The carriage return was broken, and every time I finished typing a line, I had to take hold of the roller, and click it up a line, and move it back into position. So the Amstrad was an improvement, apart from from printing, which was always a nightmare. It was so noisy, and took so long. I don't think there was a spell checker on the Amstrad either, which, with me, is a problem. I'm not such a bad speller, but I do have sausage fingers at the keyboard.

What else was going on when I was writing the book? I'm scanning my memory. I suffered a bad spell of anxiety, which has troubled me, on and off, for long periods in my life. I remember going to see a therapist at St Thomas's Hospital, after being referred there by my doctor. I also suffered quite a lot of IBS, which has also troubled me at times. I remember some good gigs around that time, including the Pixies, who were fantastic live. I emerged from the auditorium dripping with sweat. The Gaye Bykers on Acid were excellent too, they were so colourful. I remember enjoying the Senseless Things, and I was at a good Jesus and Mary Chain gig around that time.

By the time Ruby and the Stone Age Diet was published, I'd stopped working, I'd moved out of the bedsit, and was sharing a flat with my friend Andi Sex Gang in Rushcroft Road in Brixton. That was a nice old flat, I liked living there. I seem to have mislaid my girlfriend along the way, which was a pity, although after I started getting my books published, I did feel more confident, so it wasn't the crushing blow it might otherwise have been. Before I was published I had no confidence whatsoever. I was hopeless at talking to women, among other things. But after my first book came out, I liked myself better. Hmm. Probably you should like yourself no matter what, and not be dependent on achievements. But anyway, that's how I felt.

Ruby and the Stone Age Diet is published by Piatkus in Britain, ISBN-13: 978-0749957827

Friday, May 18, 2012

Relationships between cousins. Are they taboo? I never noticed.

I've recently been puzzling about relationships, or sex, between cousins. And why has this popped into my head? It's not normally a subject I'd give much through to. But I recently noticed, as part of some USA citizens' protest against the prohibition of gay marriage, the following slogan: 'North Carolina. Where you can marry your cousin. Just not your gay cousin.'
I was surprised to see this. The implication seems to be that marrying a cousin is shocking, or shameful.  As in 'How ridiculous is North Carolina, it won't allow gay marriage, but it actually allows cousins to marry!'
Hum. Well, apart from the fact that I'm not sure mocking people who want to have one particular kind of relationship is the best way of promoting another kind of relationship, it made me realise that I've never thought it taboo for cousins to be together. It's not illegal here in Britain and I didn't realise it was illegal in parts of the USA. I didn't actually think it was even regarded as strange here, but I might be wrong about this. For all I know, everyone else in Britain might think it's really bad, and I just never noticed. I can be quite unobservant.
I don't recall ever meeting any cousins who were in a relationship together, but I wouldn't care if I did. I had a lot of cousins in Scotland. They all lived far away, and there was never the slightest chance of me forming a relationship with any of them. But if I had, I don't think society would have frowned on it. But again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe everyone would have been horrified.
I know it's said that continual breeding between close relatives can cause genetic problems. I suppose that might be a problem if relatives were marrying all the time. I don't imagine that the occasional child born to cousins wouldn't make the slightest difference. (Although I don't know that for certain, not being a geneticist.)
There are some relationships between cousins in Lonely Werewolf Girl. Possibly, even people who would normally think such relationships were taboo, would not mind this in the book, because it involves a werwolf clan, where such pairings are more or less inevitable, given the relatively small size of the clan. But really, while writing the book, I never gave it any thought, because it never seemed strange to me in the first place.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Lame, Half-Hearted Search for Justice in Sainsbury's

I was disturbed by events in my local supermarket yesterday. There's a woman I've seen often in there. She's quite elderly, grey-haired, frail, bent over as if with osteoporosis, and also, she's handicapped in some way. If that's the right word. No doubt I will be using the wrong term. Anyway, sometimes you see her in the street, talking loudly to her shopping trolley, and in the supermarket she mumbles, and shuffles around, and stares into space. I'm probably not describing this very well, but if you saw her, you would realise immediately that she's mentally not quite normal.

I was waiting behind her at the kiosk. She had a bag of items she'd just bought, and she was trying to return one of these items. I think it was a small packet of cheese. (I'm a little short-sighted but I don't like to wear my glasses in public because I'm vain.) Probably the cheese was worth about £1.50. But for some reason the staff were giving her a rather hard time. The assistant called over a supervisor and both informed her that she couldn't have a refund if she couldn't produce her receipt.

I thought this was a little hard. The staff in Sainsbury's must have seen her very often, and would know full well that she wasn't the sort of person who was going to be easily able to produce a receipt. (Half the times in my life I've needed to find a receipt, I've been unable to.) They blankly, and quite rudely, refused to refund her £1.50 and sent her on her way. She wandered off looking very old, frail and unhappy.

I wasn't very pleased at their insensitivity. They certainly hadn't been polite to her. Anyway, it might be Sainsbury's policy not to refund for an item if you don't have a receipt, but it's not the law. They might act like it is, but it isn't. It's just their policy. I know this protects them against shoplifting, but I really don't believe this woman is a shoplifter, and no one who regularly saw her shuffling slowly around would either. She had other items she'd paid for. I think they just wanted rid of her because she was annoying them with her loud voice, and staring into space.

I did ask the assistant why she'd refused the refund but she didn't want to answer. I thought I'd like to take it further but you know, sometimes things seem like a lot of trouble. So I left the shop, feeling quite grumpy about it all.

About fifty yards down the road I realised I'd left my gloves in the shop. (It wasn't that cold outside, but my hands are often cold anyway, no doubt due to my frozen heart) So I went back, retrieved my gloves and then, still angry, asked to see the manager so I could complain. You will note I only did this because I had to return to the shop. I did say it was a lame and half-hearted attempt at justice.

The duty manager arrived, a much older man. I complained to him. He was quite insistent that assistants were trained not to refund for an item without the receipt. Which, he said, was OK, because if there was a real problem, the shopper could ask to see a manager, and the manager would sort it out. But this, as I pointed out, was part of the problem. This frail, elderly, handicapped woman was quite obviously not capable of demanding to see a manger. She'd just shuffled off, looking disappointed and unhappy.

I told him I wasn't pleased at the way I'd seen her spoken to, which had been, I thought, rude and unhelpful. I really didn't see why a massive store like Sainsbury's couldn't just give her the £1.50 back and be done with it. He seemed moderately sympathetic, and said in the case of someone who was obviously frail - his word - they would normally use more sensitivity. He said he'd speak to the assistant and supervisor involved. I left the shop, feeling slightly better. And with my gloves.

I expect the total result of this will be nothing, except that all the assistants in this shop, which I visit most days, will now dislike me for complaining, and point me out as a trouble-maker. Ho Hum. Normally I'm sympathetic to shop assistants. It probably wears you out having to deal with customers all day, many of whom are no doubt rude and annoying. Still, I really didn't like the way they just brusquely dismissed this old handicapped woman's request.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Write something in your blog again. Well all right.

The blog has suffered recently, there's no two ways about it. Partly this is because I've been writing books - slowly - but mainly I've been playing Skyrim. You'll be thrilled to know that my mighty warrior is now capable of beating every enemy encountered, including some very fierce dragons. As a means of avoiding reality, Skyrim is really excellent. So good in fact that I haven't even got round to playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 yet, and I'm really keen to play that.

My only other activity of note has been reading all five issues of Star Magazine - Foxy Entertainment for 1973. This publication being more proof - as if any were needed - of the stupendous greatness of the 70s. It ran for only five issues before being cancelled due to its unbridled enthusiasm for the Hollywood teenage groupie scene. Apparently this didn't go down well with everyone.

Star manages to use the word Foxy four times on the cover, topping it off with Superfox. It's quality journalism. There are interviews with Marc Bolan. And adverts for portable handbag-sized 45rpm record players. So I have been reading this quite enthusiastically, in between long sessions at my playstation.

All five issues of Star Magazine are online at

And talking of Hollywood, progress continues to be made with the Lonely Werewolf Girl film option. Slow progress, but things are still moving.