Things have been quite quiet on the blog front here at Verbumancer Towers. This is because I has been away being industrious. For the past several months I have been slowly editing, proof-reading, type-setting, and generally tweaking my pictonaut wordascope back-catalogue. Last month, without much fanfare I released the results of my work into the wild.
“Exercises in Verbumancy” is a short story anthology which contains all 42 of my original wordascopes covering September 2011 until February 2015, as well as 2 bonus stories which were also posted here during that time. That is a grand total of 44 short stories, weighing in at 60,590 words, and it is yours to download at Smashwords.com for no cost. That’s right, I am literally giving my work away. You will be charged nothing. No money shall leave your possession. It’s free. Devoid of cost. I will receive no remuneration. It is yours to take or not take as you see fit.
I͕͖̘͔̩̩̖T͚̼̜̬͙͈͆̽̇̽ͅ ͉̣͕̽̓I̜̤̤͎̗͋ͧ̂S̻͔̦͉̻̪̓̍ ͈ͪ̑̒̏ͦ͋̚F͇͚̽̍ͪRÈ̲̮̦͙E̦̹ͫ͊ͤ̊ͫ̅͒
I would be filled with sunshine and rainbows if you could download it and have a read. I would also appreciate reviews and comments (it can also be found on Goodreads) even if said reviews are “John, what are you even doing? What the fuck is this shit? – 0 stars.” Obviously I’d prefer it if everyone enjoyed it and thought it was wonderful. (I mean, if I don’t hate it, it can’t be all bad.) But everyone has their own tastes and opinions. Even if they are objectively wrong! (I’m really proud of my book, okay?)
At the start of November I mentioned that I was writing a fairy tale to submit for inclusion in an eBook being put together by Homespun Theatre. All funds going into what I like to image is a big cast iron cauldron with the words “CASH” stencilled on the side in white spray-paint. When the cauldron is overflowing with cash-moneys they’ll cart it off to the local witch who will then take it as payment for casting a spell, a magical spell which will let them take their Edinburgh Fringe show on a national tour. It’s like a more capitalist version of Cinderella. This may however not been entirely accurate in its specifics. It’s near enough though, It’ll do.
The eBook went on sale late on Friday afternoon. My monstrously long fairy tale was accepted. I guess this makes me a real and proper writer now. Whoa…
Remember, remember the fifth of November; gunpowder treason and derp. A quintessentially British celebration of the complete and utter failure to instigate revolution. You’ve got to feel a bit sorry for Guy Fawkes. Most of us only have to deal with our mistakes for a couple of years at most, but poor old Guy is still being burnt in effigy over 400 years after his particular little misstep. On the up side it has become a marvellous excuse to set things on fire and dick about with what are essentially improvised explosives. When I was a kid we even used to cook jacket-tetties by wrapping them in tin-foil and just hoying them into the base of a bonfire. We were very sophisticated up north. I’ll be spending this Bonfire Night as I do may others, occasionally peering out the window at other people’s fireworks and dearly hoping that none of the bangs are actually gunshots. They rest of my time will be spent beavering away at a new short story I’m writing. It’s a fairy tale for submission to Homespun Theatre’s upcoming eBook.
In the waning hours of the fifth of September I received an email from a contact in deepest, darkest Scotland. I do not usually get emails from this contact. Our communication is usually limited to bizarre and esoteric insults on twitter, which despite our best efforts are likely to come across to outsiders as either vaguely homoerotic or evidence that we will very shortly be festooned in the innards of our latest victim. The contact in question is the venerably bearded Andrew of Blair, known to twitternauts as aagb1884. A screen name which begins with a collection of letters more reminiscent of a dying wail (or confused jizz-noise) and ending with the year Colchester was hit by a magnitude 4.8 earthquake.
Mister Andrew has recently completed work on an eBook with an associate by the name of Danile Lilley. He was curious as to whether I would be interested in reviewing or plugging his most recent fictional endeavour. Since agreement would result in me getting a book for free I could hardly refuse. I told him I would whore, pimp, sell, flog, wax-lyrical, preach and praise it and that I might even, if push came to shove, think about reading it. So this blog post constitutes me being all professional, reviewing the fictional works of others. After being called an asshole by a comedian who didn’t like my negative bloggings about his show I’m becoming dangerously professional. Well, at least as professional as you can get while wearing jim-jams stained with bits of last night’s dinner and perching on the corpse of what used to be a chair.
In the past I have made my opinions on eBooks very clear, I’ve waxed lyrical about the virtues of bookmarksand my joy and delight in all things solid and real. This love for solidity and realism has made me realise something about which I didn’t bring up in my initial tirade against them, something which in essence is far removed from a simple personal preference, something which has slightly sinister overtones. The rise of the internet and the relentless march of technology and data which followed has made a profound impact on modern life, it has changed the very way we view the world. This change isn’t static either, it’s a change that continues to evolve and shape society. I’m just not entirely sure if it’s a good thing any more.