Censor-monkey see, censor-monkey do

Yes, I think it’s a record. Normally it takes a while for the Somervilles (I’ve turned Ann into a derogatory noun; I reckon she’s earned that) to hit the prude button on Amazon, but the cover for DANNY 2.3 has already riled a See-no-evil-monkey, and Amazon – bless their censorious little hearts – has pulled the cover.

Well, we knew that it was only a matter of time, but really, do these Somervilles just sit about all day, studying my every move? Do you ever pee, any of you?

Anyhow, we have used one of our splendid fans’ quotes, from one Mr Martyn Deedes, to censor it. So now it looks even more forbidden and intriguing, plus the book now has praise plastered right across it. What’s not to love?

My love goes out to Somervilles everywhere. What would great writers such as myself do without you? Bless……


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The Book of Your Enemy Has Been Compacted

Oh mine enemies, here is your moment of sublime schadenfreude: this morning at exactly 10.15 a.m. I was awoken by the sound of a large truck rolling up at my house.

The Moment of Death had arrived.

I pulled the duvet over my head and tried not to listen, but it was no good. I could hear the hearty comedians of waste disposal hefting the trembling volumes. I could hear the giant engine of Armageddon munching my words. Yes, my books were fed into a compactor. Yes I could hear Danny’s screams as he was crushed in iron jaws. All 1,290 of him (we kept two boxes).

Oh the tragedy, oh the pain.

We tried everything in the months beforehand to avoid this waste, but after many disappointments (at one time Healthy Planet was going to take them and give them away in shopping malls throughout Britain; oh joyous escape, that was, sadly, dashed), we had to admit defeat and arrange for them to be pulped.

To add further indignity to this miserable story of dashed hopes and broken dreams, we had to PAY £75 to the council for said comedians to destroy my work, figuratively, right in front of my face. Or at least within my hearing.

I am going to sit here and lick my wounds, but to all my enemies who have worked their damndest to get DANNY, and me, banned in as many places as possible, I dedicate this poem. My (books’) fate may have been worse than that of Clive James’ enemy, but the sentiments remain the same.


THE BOOK OF MY ENEMY HAS BEEN REMAINDERED

By Clive James


The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered.
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy’s much-praised effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life’s vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one’s enemy’s book—
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and the banks of duds,
These ponderous and seemingly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.


The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I rejoice.
It has gone with bowed head like a defeated legion
Beneath the yoke.
What avail him now his awards and prizes,
The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,
His individual new voice?
Knocked into the middle of next week
His brainchild now consorts with the bad buys,
The sinkers, clinkers, dogs and dregs,
The Edsels of the world of movable type,
The bummers that no amount of hype could shift,
The unbudgeable turkeys.


Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
Bathes in the glare of the brightly jacketed Hitler’s War Machine,
His unmistakably individual new voice
Shares the same scrapyard with a forlorn skyscraper
Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed in by others,
His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretence,
Is there with Pertwee’s Promenades and Pierrots—
One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
With Barbara Windsor’s Book of Boobs,
A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
‘My boobs will give everyone hours of fun’.


Soon now a book of mine could be remaindered also,
Though not to the monumental extent
In which the chastisement of remaindering has been meted out
To the book of my enemy,
Since in the case of my own book it will be due
To a miscalculated print run, a marketing error—
Nothing to do with merit.
But just supposing that such an event should hold
Some slight element of sadness, it will be offset
By the memory of this sweet moment.
Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets!
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am glad.


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FREE NOVEL! (Sort of…)

You lot never get to see the magazines and promos that we use on genre sites to sell Poison Pixie’s books. Max has been beating me about the head with a broom and insisting I give him all/any of my unfinished pieces so that he can use them as ‘free reads’ in our promotional giveaways. He’s just run Hansard and Greta; the starts of a novel I never finished, but always kind of liked.

I realised some of you hardcore I-only-read-DANNY-in-print fans would probably enjoy it too. So here is a link to the latest free sampler magazine so you can go and read it.

Enjoy…



HOT SUMMER READS! (God, genre marketing is naff…)


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REJECT!


Max has been rummaging around in the archives, looking for ideas for covers for the DANNNY books being put into (smaller) parts. As he truly appreciates his own genius, and knows you will too, he has kindly made a little book for you all to see a few of the covers that were rejected for various volumes of DANNY over the years.

Now’s your chance to proclaim loudly, “That would have been a much better cover for Volume 1″ to anyone who will listen. Which is not me, of course. Oh, I’m teasing, of course I’ll listen. I am known for listening to my fans (okay, Max’s fans, in this instance). Hell, I’m famous for it.

To view it just put your mouse over the image below and it will come up “click to view full screen” or some such shit like that. Click it and it will come up full-size. You will then see a little arrow on the right hand side. Click on that and it will turn the pages for you. Isn’t science wonderful?

Enjoy.



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I finally actually DO quit

I have given up writing.

Just writing those words is fear inspiring. It’s like announcing I have decided to cut off my legs. On a whim. For no reason at all. Hell, legs nothing; like I’m giving up my personality to become a ghost. A non-person.

I have not rushed to share this news on here (I gave up about two months ago), wanting to be sure it was not some fit of pique, a bout of depression, a withholding due to injured pride. But it’s not. I still have no desire to write. I feel no overwhelming rush to dash back into the fold. I am out in the cold and soldiering grimly on, as directionless as a rudderless boat, but decidedly more banal and less romantic.

It has not felt the way I expected. There have been no tears, but no joy either. My expected feelings of loss or liberation failed to materialise, although I suspect that’s because I am doing this piecemeal. By necessity.

Do you know the experience of deciding to do something that isn’t possible in one stroke? Say, moving house. You can say the words, ‘I’ve decided to move house’, but it takes a while to do, and it involves many stages, some of them with stages all unto themselves. But the key to long haul decisions is there is always a point where you actually decide, where you let go of the old and climb onto the new. Well, that’s where I am, which is why I suspect the expected feelings have been muted and uncertain. I haven’t yet tilted into the full-time commitment of being a quitter.

Books on finding your calling, doing what you love so the money will follow, following your passion and finding your North star, are always big on trusting your gut, reading your feelings. If you decide to do something and you feel a sinking feeling, it must be wrong, do something else. Well, I can tell you, in the real world, these just don’t work. You may feel a thrill of excitement at the idea of being a professional hanglider, but your heart sinks when you think of telling your wife and kids, or of finding the money for a spanky new hanglider. So, is your heart telling you hangliding is the way to go, or are your doubts proving the idea is a disaster waiting to happen?

Sometimes the cleft stick is right up your arse.

I have been writing for a long time, just short of 30 years. I have virtually nothing to show for it. Four books in print (five if you count Delaney, which I don’t). But no career, no fame, no reputation and no money. It’s been a long, long time since I last enjoyed it, in an abstract sense, although I can still enjoy the act of writing when I’m actually doing it. As a concept though, no. Just the thought makes me feel tired and defeated. I am the Vincent van Gogh of writing, but I am embracing quitting rather than absinthe and ear-lopping.

But there is more to my dissatisfaction than sheer materialism, or an absence of professional (or public) regard. I have never felt like a ‘writer’, for example. By which I mean I have no idea how to go onto a web forum or into a writer’s group and mingle. I have nothing in common with other writers, and can, indeed, only find points of reference between me and – usually – dead geniuses. Does this mean I am a genius then rather than ‘a writer’? Well, normally I would say yes, because I like to keep up my reputation as a brittle and annoying narcissist, but this time, for the sake of truth and beauty, I will say, does it matter?

If being a genius is as relevant to publication as being Swiss, who cares? How does it, or would it, help me to know I was a genius? Can I put it on letter headings? Sell it on eBay? Demand attention from your dog? Of what practical use is it in a writing career to be a genius? Let’s stick to the real world.

I have no peers. And I’m far too old for a mentor. I can’t use my forum friends and writing buddies to get a step up the ladder, find contacts, feel loved. I’m assuming feeling loved is part of this, otherwise it makes no sense. I don’t feel loved when I’m with other writers, just irritated by their stupidity, slug-like devotion to genre and their endless rounds of amateurish back-patting. Instead of feeling loved I feel alienated and freakish, a constant outsider toiling up the mountain of publication like the world’s smallest ant rolling the biggest ball of dung.

DANNY may be a lot of things, but it isn’t dung. I need to quit, before I start thinking of it that way. I don’t want to hate it as much as everyone else does.

Constantly inserting yourself into a hole that you don’t fit is bound to lead to literary cystitis eventually, where you avoid the pain of intercourse because engaging no longer feels pleasurable. In fact, you wonder how anyone ever wants to do it in the first place. Meet my life.

What this means, practically, to you, is I will no longer be publishing the remaining volumes of DANNY, at least for now. In 2012 I will look at my situation again and see how I feel. Maybe time will have soothed my pains, and brightened my spirits – or at least revived my enthusiasm – or maybe I will have moved on entirely and left it – hoorah! – well behind, like the ghost of Christmas past. Only time will tell.

I will no longer be publishing Delaney on here, but I am still uncertain as to whether to start running DANNY Volume 1. At the moment it seems pointless, counter-productive, and I really don’t want to do it. I know it will ruin my hard-earned blog audience – and, peculiarly, and sadly, that’s the thing that frightens me most – but you can’t quit by halves, you know. I’ve tried.

But I may change my mind; one quit at a time. I’m feeling my way here. If you care enough, you can buy Delaney to see how it ‘ends’. It will stay in print with the rest of my work. Other than the original Volume 1, which I am intending to withdraw/remainder, I have no intentions of removing any of my work from publication.

I did actually try, and did start, a new novel. When I finished work on Delaney, I swore that was my last project for Poison Pixie, and I was firmly determined to get in on some mainstream action; enough of doing what you love. But I found it wouldn’t come. Well, it would, but it was like I’d wound the clock back to 1984: I was manufacturing writing; I wasn’t writing. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s what 99% of writers do, but I don’t enjoy it. I’ve tasted the intoxicating joy of writing something that matters and I’m not going back to that meagre regurgitation known as storytelling. There are so many people who do that and love it with a passion. The world doesn’t need my half-hearted efforts at vampire detectives who save the world.

I don’t know what, if anything, will be running on this blog, so I can’t reassure you. Max will probably still use it for his books and so forth, and it will still be used for Poison Pixie news, but after that I can’t say for certain. Feel free to call back or not as you see fit. It will remain here because, like I say, I’m feeling my way here. I may take a mad turn and become a full-time blogger. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, from when I first thought of a ‘serious’ career (i.e. one that didn’t involve dancing or travelling the world), but I’ve never been certain whether I ever actually picked it. I always thought I had. After all, I had fought against academia and law to get it, sacrificed many things for it, wasted a horrendous amount of time learning it, perfecting it, and worrying about it. But maybe it was always my mother’s ambition, not mine. Well, the time has come to find out who I really am without it. Hey, maybe there’s no-one there. That would be the final irony, a writer of fiction who was a fiction herself.

Wish me luck………..


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I’m not crazy, it’s my neighbours… (honestly!)


While looking for photographs of Charles Saatchi, of all things, I came across this. (For those who worry about such things, it was in an article about CS complaining about his neighbous – hey, he has the same initials as me…)

As I am one of those sad/exciting souls who likes to move house a lot, and who is finally going to try moving country this year, I have had a LOT of neighbours. Those neighbours have done some very strange things, to which I have done strange things right back: posting a dog shit through someone’s door, throwing chocolate biscuits onto someone’s balcony, posting beer cans through someone’s letter-box, having knockdown fights about a vaccum cleaner, an outdoor toilet, a huge truck being parked in front of my window – I mean right in front, as in six inches, completely obliterating all light – to name but a few. Hey, I was provoked.

However, the list of my neighbours’ madness is even worse: seal woman’s outdoor orgasms (don’t ask), the lesbians who had sex in the bath while playing guitar, and the downstairs neighbour who used to beat her husband with his proshtetic leg while he was drunk (I actually liked those nutcases; good times).

As yes, a gypsy life is a wondrous thing.

Anyway, I found these gems at the bottom of said article and they make my collection of nutty neighbours look very tame indeed. I never thought I would laugh about annoying neighbours ever again, but I did.


CHATROOM COMPLAINERS

Neighbour complaints from Twitter: is this as bad as it gets?

@Cornettofairy My neighbours dug up my garden in the night, flattened it, and have put up a marquee which they use as a church.

@NadiaKamil I used to live beneath backpackers who at night threw themselves down the stairs & photographed it for fun.

@SoooooZee An ex-neighbour once stood outside & yelled “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY LOUNGE?” Then stood there looking embarrassed until I closed the blinds.

@dodgrile An old neighbour used to superglue cigarette butts to my house and car in the middle of the night. That was fun.

@clarehr A neighbour appeared at the window opposite with a sign: “HELP I’m hostage at gunpoint.” We called the police; when they arrived she denied all knowledge.

@jamescator I have a crazy preacher neighbour who rings a handbell at 4am for an hour whilst chanting religiously.

@karlhodge My neighbour bangs on my door at 6.30 in the morning shouting for “Andy”. No one in my house is called Andy.

@moonjam One neighbour tried to drunkenly open our front door with their key. And put an entire washing machine in the communal bin.

@stuartdredge I had a neighbour who took a boat-load of strange drugs and ended up being led away after shooting our milkman with a BB gun.


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I am an Enneagram Four

I am an ‘enneagram four’.

Don’t ask.

Until today I did not know what an enneagram was. I wish I still didn’t. Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks to use a dictionary. Especially an on-line one. If only I had got out my seat and used a ‘real’ dictionary. If only I did not have this burning curiosity, and this need, to know the meaning of obscure words. I suppose that’s an ‘enneagram four’ fault right there.

OH NO! THAT MEANS IT’S ALL TRUE! (Cough.)

I’m putting a link in. Here it is. If I can be seduced by the apple so can you. Let’s see how long you can resist…..


Enneagramfree enneagram test


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