Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Many Thanks to The Smoking Poet

My story, Jack Kerouac Eats Here, has been published in a fabulous Winter 2010 -2011 issue of The Smoking Poet. What a treat.

The story started out years ago as a 3000 worder about a man with a mystery wasting illness who inherited his grandfather's collection of sea horses and then goes on a bad behaviour spree. The sea horses went, the characters became Sal and Moriarty, and the homage went to Jack Kerouac writer of the Beat classic On the Road. This is the way with a lot of my stories. They all pay homage to someone in the end, whether it's Chandler or Ballard.

There's a lot of comfort in acknowledging the greats and making them speak again. Christ knows we need them now. There isn't a lot of confidence out there embracing anything new. People are intimidated, browbeaten, scared and frightened understandably. But art leads society, so I'm very pleased that the great icon of humanity, Dean Moriarty, has taken to the road one last time to espouse his simple ideas, to remind the world of a few absolutes. Long live Dean Moriarty!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Timeless Mr Thelwall at Bewildering Stories

My story The Timeless Mr Thelwall has been published at Bewildering Stories issue 409.

Update: The man who inspired the story, who I only knew as Jim, died this year. His claim to fame was creating the character of Jim McDonald in Coronation Street for which he never received credit.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Friday's and Monday's Forthcoming Stories

The New Flesh publishes my story For Murder, Just Add Water on Friday (19th). There's an X-Factory style readers' voting system in place and a pop-pickers' story top ten so I'll be busy on Friday voting for myself. ;->

Issue 409 of Bewildering Stories is out on Monday (22nd Nov 10) containing my story Nobody Knows a Damned Thing. The eagle-eyed amongst you may spot it's a reprint of the story that first appeared in 07 on paper in what we writers used to think of as a 'real magazine', the now-sadly-defunct Transmission. Oh dear, this seems a bit mean to all those doing great work with paper magazines, Attack!!!, The Front View, and so on, but I am still sore about Manchester's Independent Voice going under, "a sturdy ship on the turbulent water" and so on. It was my aim to see the story on Bewildering Stories with archival, portable link and wide readership. Many thanks to the great people at Bewildering Stories for accepting it.

I'm reaching the end of my second novel yet again hence the lack of blogging. I'm sure it's in no way complete, but it's good to see an end in sight even if it's only a false one.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Forgetting to Update Duotrope

Many writers 'forget' to update Duotrope, the story submission website, especially when they've had a story rejected. Who wouldn't? It's human nature. Writers hate rejection, so why go and update Duotrope when you feel like murder. Screw the accuracy of the data. They can go and shove it sort of thing

Last week I forgot to update Duotrope when I had Jack Kerouac Eats Here ACCEPTED by the great people at The Smoking Poet. Due date December 2010. I started it about five years ago and shortened it and altered it until hardly any of the original idea remained. It used to be something odd about seahorses according to my diary. Now it's a rework of Kerouac's masterpiece with echoes of the great man. Although I think it's the perfect flash fiction and the greatest thing I've ever written, I'd got used to seeing, "We see thousands of submissions a week and unfortunately yours was the thousand and tenth....." Except that I ALWAYS update Duotrope success or failure.

Another odd email in the 192 spams after holiday was Paypal saying that Duotrope had cancelled my annual donation. I'm not going to ask them why. Okay maybe I will. They survive on donations although it seems they don't want my donation.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Weirdyear: 10/3/10

My story How I Came to Light Up the Universe in Weirdyear: 10/3/10

Friday, 3 September 2010

Special Offer On My Novel At

While the impostor Tony Blair turns the knife in the backs of his adversaries, the real Tony Blair is quietly rebuilding his political career by taking stewardship of a large Scottish construction company, at least according to my first novel, Tony Blair the Wilderness Years, (Booksurge May 2005).

Deepa Kandaswamy wrote: “After reading the book, not only does one realize that British humor is still alive and kicking, but one is also amazed at the freedom with which the author pokes fun at prominent leaders without fear of reprisal. I wonder if the Americans can come up with a similar book [ ] without being accused of being unpatriotic or being sued for libel. Even Michael Moore's work and films pale in comparison to this book, which I hope will be made into a rollicking, fun movie.” You can read her full review here.

It’s also received rave reviews at Authonomy, where you can read quite a few chapters. Tony Blair: The Wilderness Years is a wickedly funny tale of political satire and delusion. Tony “Bono” Blair is a bit confused. He believes he is the famed British Prime Minister of the same name, deposed after winning a third term. Things begin to look up for Tony when a letter arrives offering a position with McCreedie construction. Thinking he is taking over as CEO of a powerful NASDAQ company, Tony accepts the offer and travels to Scotland, hoping to meet the people, regain their trust, and use his new career as a springboard back into high office. But things aren’t as they seem…

I decided to self-publish with Booksurge in 2005 believing that it would always be for sale through Amazon because that was the contract I signed with them. Then Amazon bought Booksurge, renamed it CreateSpace and reneged on the contract. They only sell my novel through their reseller marketplace at an astronomical £25 thus ensuring sales achieve zero.

Self-publish with Amazon's CreateSpace? Absolutely not.

However, I have six new signed copies to sell myself through the reseller scheme (aka woolfysmith) for a fiver each plus £2.75 P+P (UK only). Just click here. While offer lasts.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

New Story at Ink, Sweat and Tears

I started this story on May 17th 2009 after reading about pyroclastic flow. Ballard’s final story The Dying Fall had just been published about the leaning tower of pisa collapsing, and I put two and two together and came up with Glowing Cloud, and then The Day The Pope Caught Fire, finally The Day Rome Died, and then more recently Roman Holiday Blues.

It's here at @

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

New Story at

My bizarro piece Mr-Croc-in-a-Blanket is online now

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Weirdyear to publish my piece

My piece titled How I Came to Light Up the Universe has been accepted into WEIRDYEAR and will be published on their front page on 10/3/10.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Rooney Strike Hits Blind Boy Who Sees Again

Chief Sports Writer, John Dildo - True to form, Wayne Rooney’s stunning 30-yard header in the tenth minute of time added-on sealed Manchester United's triumphal victory over Aston Villa in Sunday’s league cup final.

But it was more than just an ordinary net-ripper by the greatest living scouser because the ball struck lifelong red Damian Nobble, (2) blind since birth, who was in his mother’s arms behind the goal. Damian’s mother Chantelle was amazed when Damian announced he could see for the first time in his life.

“I was gobsmackerooneyed,” said Chantelle (14). “It was a rooning miracle,” she went on and on. “Comparisons between Wayne Rooney, Christiano Ronaldo and Christ are completely justified.”

Wayne Rooney is close to discovering a cure for cancer and is hoping to be fit for the World Cup.

As news of the miracle goal reached the Vatican, the Pope described it as one of the finest moments in the history of the western world and said that Rooney was a really good bloke.

Sections of the ball struck by the great Rooon, a Nike Total 90 Aerow II Hi-Vis ball with six-Wing carbon latex bladder sponsored by Durex, will be available from the Manchester United shop for distribution to missions in Africa.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Incwriters 1000 Writers on Facebook

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Friday, 12 February 2010

Christmas Backlog Times Are Changing

October, November and December used to be the perfect time to send story submissions to the editors of magazines. Writers are supposed to have other things to do. They're supposed to be busy with their high-powered day jobs, spending hard-earned credit on presents, and partying so they aren't in a position to weigh down depressed editors with their 500000 words tomes such as, Harry Trotter, He's Not At All Like Harry Potter.

The time to spare editors used to be the end of summer, when all those wannabeeJKs return from homes in France with tomes such as, Gone With the Mistral, A Book Not Unlike Gone With the Wind But Set in France. It's a seasonal thing, but not any more.

Here in Strange Story HQ, a divided packet of chicken chips shared around a single unlit candle invoked the proper spirit of Christmas, and writing continued unabated in the hope of catching the editors in relaxed mood with their feet up, mince pie in hand.

It's always worked before. Maybe it's the credit crunch, but during the last festive season, (which started on Oct 30th), I sent out eight submissions. How many responses have I received? Three! And one submission went red on Duotrope last week, indicating a query was due. Now I haven't had a response to the query. The other editors must still be sitting on top of a pile of emails, or having babies, or both. What is going on?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Britain to Recall Billions of Crap Cars

By Ray Flatulent

The reputation of the dead British motor industry took another hammering yesterday with the recall of billions of crap cars manufactured in the UK before they became part of China's Nanjing Automobile company in 2005. Models affected are the Morris Ital, Marina, Austin Allegro, Maxi and Princess.

The move comes after a series of rose-tinted sentimental journeys into the past revealed incompetent British management and woeful under-investment battered the standing of the world's oldest car maker.

Britain’s worldwide problems have caused much hand-wringing and consternation. The British transport minister yesterday blamed everyone else especially the EU for reacting too slowly to the unfolding crisis by several decades.

Read more@

Monday, 8 February 2010

Tabloid Watch and the End of the Quiche As We Know It

Essential reading for anyone still sane is Tabloid Watch which looks suspiciously like The Guardian's Media Monkey.

I love the history behind the pathetic Tesco Quiche non-story that the Daily Mail carried for no known reason and turned into it's-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it. I think Tescos Quiche causes cancer too. (That's an in-joke about the Daily Mail BTW)

So, please after reading this if you still think it's important that The Daily Mail brings us a story about one person who was asked for ID in error when buying a quiche in Tescos you have officially lost the plot.

Friday, 29 January 2010

The night sky was clear...

Closely linked to my story Telescopes, or possibly even in support of it, who knows, there is a chance to see the full moon and Mars together on the big stage at 9pm tonight. Skies are set to be clear. The moon is certainly looking magnificent at 17:30.

Yahoo: Mars and moon in heavenly show.

Rate my artwork here.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Story Published

Those great people at Rainy City Stories chose to publish a story I submitted months ago, In-Car Valeting. Look, it's a giant metaphor, which is like a semaphore but meta.

Here's my artwork that accompanies the story (Watercolour, 17.8 x 25.4cm)

PS PS I'm spreading the word about the Veterans in Prison Association, VIPA. Their website is and they're also on Facebook.