Sunday, September 30, 2012


Coasting Along

After years of trying I finally managed to reach Paviland Cave yesterday. This is the site of the first human 'fossil' ever found (a paleolithic body 33,000 years old) by William Buckland in 1823. It had been buried with a mammoth tusk. Before this discovery, the concept of the 'caveman' simply hadn't existed.

Perhaps this was the first moment that the story of Adam and Eve began to be seriously doubted.

The coastline of the Gower between Rhossili and Port Eynon is one of the most spectacular in South Wales. There are lots of bays and coves and inlets that are quite inaccessible. To get to the 'beach' where Paviland Cave is located requires some nimble rock hopping and an awareness of the tide (unless you don't mind getting cut off for many hours).

After visiting this cave I went on the search for Culver Hole, a curious structure that I had heard about but never seen with my own eyes. It turned out to be even stranger and more impressive than I imagined. No one really knows what the purpose of this edifice is, but I've heard various suggestions, including a dove cote and a place where smugglers kept their contraband hidden.

The only access to the entrance is up a ropy rope. After making the attempt, I retired as gracefully as a gorilla and went to the Port Eynon chilli festival to recover. I was pleased to obtain a ghost chilli (or naga bhut jolokia), supposedly the hottest chilli in the world, which I intend to eat tonight, with potentially volcanic consequences...

Now then... I require your help! The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange requires a certain number of pre-orders in order to be respectable. So far it has acquired one quarter of that number, so it clearly needs a boost. To pre-order your signed limited edition of this book (my best novel, I reckon!) please click on this link where you will find details about the book and a paypal button. Everyone who pre-orders gets mentioned in the book itself as a spectator to the gladiatorial battles that form a crucial part of the text. Thanks!!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Free Ebook!

Today is my birthday. It is also approximately a year since I created my first self-published ebook, The Tellmenow Isitsöornot.To celebrate the occasion I have therefore decided to make this collection free, but only for three days.100 stories incorporating 150,000 words of fiction! To download this ebook for zero pennies please click on this link and use the following coupon-code: AC37A  (and if you do download it, I would appreciate a review in return; an honest review, don't feel obliged to say you like it if you don't... Thanks!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Stop the Badger Cull

The government of the United Kingdom is preparing to embark upon a cull of badgers. Supposedly this is to reduce the spread of Bovine TB, but in fact the scientific evidence in favour of a cull for this reason is inadequate. The proposed cull is therefore pointless as well as cruel, and it seems to be a bizarre political decision rather than an objective one. Fortunately a high-profile campaign has been launched by Team Badger to protest and halt the cull. What it requires is your signature... If you live in the UK, please consider adding your name to this e-petition. So far the petition has collected 88,794 signatures. The more the better! Click on this link to help save this beautiful and innocent animal! Thanks.

Meanwhile, this is the last blog post of my 45th year. Tomorrow I'll be 46. How did that happen? Yesterday I celebrated my birthday early by going climbing in Mewslade Bay. I have started to improve, I think. I also went swimming and had the joy of facing waves bigger than myself.

Today I will be getting back into writing... I have written the first of the special gladiator scenes, a furious battle against Beatrix Potter, and now I need to crack on with the other six. This should all be done and dusted at the end of the coming week; and with luck it won't be too long before The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange is a real book; I mean a physical object that can be slotted into an empty space on a bookshelf.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Auction is Over!

The charity auction connected with my new novel is now over. Many thanks to everyone who made a bid and raised $584. I'm delighted with this figure! I will now do my best to give each of the six chosen gladiators the most entertaining scene I can devise... But even though the auction is finished, you can still get involved, either by pre-ordering the book and appearing as a spectator in the stadium during the fights, or by appearing in a 'deleted scene' that you can slot into the book at the relevant page. More details about all this are on the publisher's website and I'll talk about it here in future blogs too. Thanks again!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Strange Auction: Last Day

Today is the final day of the auction, so the last chance to make a bid!

If you want to be a gladiator in The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange then you now need to make a minimum bid of $51.

For this sum of money, you will appear with six other lucky bidders fighting the author of your choice to the death. Plus you'll get a signed copy of the limited edition book.

To make that crucial bid, please visit the publisher's website. Total money raised so far is $533 and I'm very pleased with this. A big thank you to everyone who has already got involved!

Today's photo isn't really about the gladiator but the dinosaur. The gladiatorial battles in the novel are arranged (and enjoyed) by dinosaurs. They are, in fact, telepathic winking dinosaurs.

To create this picture, I didn't use photoshop or any other image-manipulation software. I simply set the timer of the camera with the model dinosaur close to the lens and then legged it towards the sea so that I was further away (and therefore smaller). It's a pure perspective trick!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Strange Auction: Day Six

Tomorrow is the last day of this auction. Please bear this fact in mind! It ends at 10 PM eastern time on  Sunday 16th. I have no idea what 'eastern time' is. Is it that time when one wears a turban, eats dates and opens little bottles with genies in them? Maybe you know more about it than I do...

Anyway, this means that today is the penultimate day. I'm pleased to report that the total raised has now broken the $500 mark. I have made a bold and rash offer: if total money raised exceeds $666 by the end of this auction, I will do my next rock climb stark naked!!

To make a bid please visit the Meteor House website auction page.

The style of gladiator that we see depicted today is the "electro". He can generate almost 5 amps with his hot sex action! His lightning bolt is one of the most feared weapons in the arena!

Friday, September 14, 2012


Strange Auction: Day Five

Day Five of the auction is here already. Remember that the auction ends on Sunday and you won't be allowed to make a bid in the last hour unless you have already made one bid...

There have been six bids so far, which means that there are sufficient gladiators for the project. However, I personally don't think the publisher should be allowed to be one. Anyone out there willing to bid $41 or more in order to knock him off the list??

It's all for charity folks! How about all those publishers who still owe me money? You know who you are. Why not make a bid instead? It's for charity. And you get to be in a novel...

To make that crucial bid, please visit the relevant Meteor House webpage.

Today's featured gladiator is the type known as the "broom broom". Mounted on a trusty mechanical steed he is lightly armed but combines speed with an ability to sweep opponents off their feet!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


My 666th Story

Today is the fourth day of the Stringent Strange Auction, but I'm taking a break from talking about that to report that this very morning I finished writing my 666th short story. I must be some kind of beast! Attaining this total means I am exactly 2/3rds through my life's work. It has taken twenty-three years. The magical story in question wasn't the one I had planned it to be, but a different piece entirely. It is still about climbing though! I seem to be utterly obsessed with the sport at the moment!

It's called 'The Realisation of Vast Headgear' and tells the tale of how Mummery Tumble tried to climb to the top of the mighty Zen Bonce by using a snake as a rope...

Anyway, the most famous "beast" associated with the number 666 was Aleister Crowley, of course. Crowley was a daring and determined climber in his youth. Here we see him in a magical (or magickal) hat. To mark the occasion I decided to adopt similar garb. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the Teapot Crowley! "Brew what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." "Every man and every woman is a biscuit suitable for dunking."

If you are disappointed that the run of gladiators seems to have come to a premature end, soothe your brows! They will resume tomorrow. And you can even regard this photo as representing the style of gladiator known as the "spellbinder". You may still bid in the auction, and the way things stand at present your bid only needs to be $25 to secure yourself a place as a gladiator in my novel. Check out the publisher's website for more details.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Strange Auction: Day Three

The charity auction has now raised £396 for Animal Aid. I'm rather pleased with this sum and wish to extend my gratitude to those who have made bids so far!

But remember: you don't have to bid a sum higher than those already bid. A minimum bid of $25 will secure you a copy of the book and a place as a gladiator in the novel, provided nobody else comes along and trumps your bid. Only the six highest bids will become gladiators; if you are seventh you won't be a gladiator but you won't lose any money.

And if you have already pre-ordered the book, the sum you spent on buying it will be deducted from your bid, so you won't lose out!

Click on this link to Meteor House to get involved...

Today's style of gladiator is called the "existentialist". It's good at fighting itself. Here you can see me giving myself some stick. Even if I lose, I win! Conversely, if I win, I also lose! That's life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Strange Auction: Day Two

So the auction got off to a hopping start: a hopping start is like a flying start but further back in the history of evolution...

So far four people have bid for the right to be gladiators... One of them is the publisher himself. Perhaps he mistakenly thinks it's an orc-shun (i.e. the avoidance of orcs) rather than an auction?

This means there is room for two more gladiators... But of course the more bids the better; the more money raised for Animal Aid the happier a bunny I'll be. But that's nothing compared to how happy the real bunnies will be!

To bid for the right to be a gladiator please click on this link to the Meteor House website.

In the photo you can see me demonstrating a style of gladiator known as the "dustup". The previous photograph shows me dressed as a "charladdie". There are many other kinds...

Monday, September 10, 2012


Strange Auction: Day One

Today is the first day of the STRINGENT STRANGE charity auction! If you want to be a gladiator in my new novel (due out soon from Meteor House) then why not bid for the chance?

The auction will continue until September 16th and the six highest bidders will appear in the book fighting a famous writer to the death (you may choose which writer you want to fight!)...

The monies raised from this auction will go to Animal Aid, so your fictional death will help to safeguard real life. For more details and the chance to make a bid please click on this link to the publisher's website.

In this photo you can see me dressed as a typical gladiator. With bin bag tunic; orange frisbee shield; bucket helmet; and mop lance... Total cost of outfit: about £3.50


Friday, September 07, 2012



I went climbing again yesterday. This time to Fall Bay. The cliffs and crags are spectacular; but as someone pointed out (it was the writer Tim Lebbon) climbing in a place called Fall Bay is like "swimming in Drown Lake". Yes, it's not the luckiest name for a climbing venue, is it? Many of the routes have names like 'Isis', 'Osiris', 'Seth', 'Horus', although there are a few with more quirky names such as 'Monkey See and Monkey Do' and 'Frantic Sunday Morning'. If I was good enough to pioneer routes and get the opportunity of naming them, I would certainly err on the quirky side. 'Don't Give the Aardvark Pepper', for instance, or 'Jumping into Paradoxical Custard'. But I'll probably never earn the right. I'm more like a hippo on the rockface than a gecko!

Anyway, in this second photograph you can see a little red speck halfway up the cliff known as 'Lewes Castle'. That's me. I found it a bit hairy, to be honest. At one point I felt the fear and hugged the rock as if it was my lover (hugging the rock is considered very wrong and asking for trouble). I learned that yes, I do have a fear of heights... Talking about cliffhangers, I would also like to announce today that my novel The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange is now taking pre-orders. Regular readers of this blog may remember the actual writing of this book, back in January 2010. It is full of cliffhangers and I believe that it's my best novel to date.

Anyway, there's a charity auction connected with this book. Readers are invited to bid for the chance to appear as a character in the text of the novel. The six highest bidders will feature in a gladiatorial scene, fighting against a famous writer (choose your own writer if you like) and dying on the point or edge of a variety of traditional weapons (pick your own weapon if you prefer). The money raised from this auction will go to Animal Aid. For more details please check out the publisher's webpage. I'll be blogging more about this in the coming days and weeks. Just remember: half man, half ape, half badly-added fraction, STRINGENT STRANGE WANTS YOU!!

Sunday, September 02, 2012


Walrus Tales

Many years ago (I think it was back in 2005) I was asked to contribute to a forthcoming anthology of walrus-themed fiction. I wrote a story about a walrus, a mermaid, an inventor, a group of bohemians and a giant spoon that was also a canoe and a catapult. I sent the story to the editor and it was accepted for publication. One thing about the writing world that newcomers often don't appreciate is how frequently projects fail to come to fruition. A really great idea might be mooted for an anthology; stories might be solicited, written, accepted and paid for; a cover might be created by a talented artist; all the preliminary promotional work might be done by the publisher; but something will fail somewhere along the line and the book never appears. This is an occupational hazard. I had assumed that Walrus Tales was another damp squib, but to my surprise it has suddenly appeared, a mere seven years after I was first approached to contribute! My copy arrived through the mail a few days ago. It's a delightful little book with a truly quirky theme and an eclectic set of contributors.

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