Wild Jester Press’s End of July Sale

To celebrate the coming of summer and the end of school, and also to give the Amazon recommendation algorithms the slight “Hey! Remember me!” kick that they appear to require every now and again, I’m currently running a sale of both Game Night and If Pigs Could Fly though my Wild Jester Press imprint.

July-2016 Animated Advert

You can pick up the books here:

UK

Game Night: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Night-Jonny-Nexus-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

If Pigs Could Fly: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Could-Kensington-Paranormal-Detective-Agency-ebook/dp/B0116IBO8G

Both priced at £0.99 (regular price £2.99)

US

Game Night: https://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-Jonny-Nexus-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

If Pigs Could Fly: https://www.amazon.com/Could-Kensington-Paranormal-Detective-Agency-ebook/dp/B0116IBO8G

Both priced at $0.99 (regular price $3.99)

(Note: both books are also available in paperback, but they’re not included in the sale, as the margins I have on them are already low enough that I literally can’t discount).

Mugs For Discworld Convention Charity Auction

The last weekend in August will see me at the Discworld Convention in Warwick to sell copies of Game Night and If Pigs Could Fly in the trade hall. I had a really good time at last year’s Irish Discworld Convention, and sold 50+ books, and had an equally good time selling just Game Night at the Discworld Convention in 2008, selling 70+ books on that occasion. (Mainly though word of mouth, to people who arrived at my table saying: “[Chris|Kris|Brian] said I had to go and buy your book”).

At each convention there’s a charity auction. I generally donate a copy of each book, but I thought that this time, it would be nice to do something a little extra. So I’ve come up with a pair of mugs:

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Each mug has the full wraparound book cover. These are completely custom and unique items, as they’re tagged to this charity auction at this event. I will literally never make another pair of mugs quite like these again. I’ll be offering along with signed copies of Game Night and If Pigs Could Fly. I’m hoping someone will like them enough to bid on them.

David Cameron Might Just Have Saved The UK

The most important news from yesterday, other than the referendum result, was David Cameron’s decision to not immediately trigger Article 50, but instead leave that decision to his successor to take, in October at the earliest. Had he triggered it yesterday, as he’d said during the campaign he would, he would have committed the UK to a hard and full Brexit within two years.

As a result, three further options have opened up: a soft, though still full Brexit taking longer than two years; a partial, Norwegian style, Brexit; or some sort of supposed renegotiation that concludes with the UK remaining an EU member.

This is huge. I’d think this will eventually be seen as the most crucial decision taken by him during his entire political career. I’m mystified as to why it wasn’t the lead item in every news piece.

It’s About Identity, Not Democracy

Brexit supporters often attack the EU for its supposed lack of democracy, saying things like: “What about that President of the Commission? We didn’t elect him!”

I’ve heard this time and time again, and I’ve only just realised that I’ve misunderstood it every time. Pro-Europeans such as myself hear it as:

We didn’t elect him!

And each time we hear that, we point out that we did elect him. And then we patiently, and as it turns out pointlessly, explain the particular electoral mechanism involved. (Essentially, the people of Europe elect MEPs belonging to various factions, and then the leader of the faction that wins the most seats gets to be a sort of “European Prime Minister”).

But what they actually meant was this:

We didn’t elect him!

…where “we” refers not to the people of Europe, but the people of the United Kingdom. It’s just like when a Scottish Nationalist complains that: “We didn’t elect David Cameron!”

He or she is not complaining about the system by which David Cameron was elected PM (a First Past the Post election to a UK parliament, followed by a ” virtual election” among the MPs to select a PM from amongst their number). He or she is not advocating an arguably more democratic system, where the PM is elected by a direct presidential style election. In fact, since such an election would arguably give the British PM more power over Scotland, that would probably be the last thing our Scottish Nationalist would want.

His complaint is not in the “elect” part of his sentence, but in the “we”. He doesn’t like the fact that since English voters outnumber Scottish voters by about 10 to 1, essentially, Scottish voters have only a minor say in who rules them. When he says that “we” didn’t elect David Cameron, he means the people of Scotland. His problem is not that the UK is undemocratic. He just doesn’t want what he identifies as his country, Scotland, to be ruled by the English.

The EU is actually quite democratic, and where it isn’t democratic, that’s usually to preserve the rights of individual member countries (the national veto, for example). It’s not about democracy. It’s about identity. Are you happy to elect leaders as part of a European election, accepting that sometimes you won’t get who you voted for?

Which basically comes down to: do you feel European?

 

 

My Panel At Mancunicon (Eastercon 2016)

As well as having a stall in the trade hall to sell by books Game Night and If Pigs Could Fly, I am appearing on a panel at Eastercon on the subject of self-publishing.

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Hopefully, I’ll have something reasonably sensible and informative to say, on what not to do, if not necessarily on what to do! The panel’s on Sunday morning, at 11:30. If you’re around, it would be great to see you. And if you’d fancy a chat afterwards, please, please approach me at the end of the session. I’m always happy to chat, about self-publishing or anything else.

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The River

Before moving here, I’ve only ever visited Hebden Bridge in the summer. The Hebden Water river I saw was a gentle stream, a few inches of water tumbling gently over its rocky bed, frequently braiding into rivulets that left much of the channel free of water. When people talked about the town being vulnerable to flooding, I couldn’t believe it. That! That tiny stream can cause flooding! Hell, I thought, I’ve pissed stronger streams than that.

But then came the devastating Boxing Day floods. I wasn’t here for those, but the river I see now is an angry beast, filling its channel to the very brim. This is no gentle stream; this is the sort of foaming torrent Kevin Keegan and his perm might have been found kayaking up in the mid-1970s, accompanied by a bevy of fellow sporting personalities, somewhere between the cycle race and the gym test.

Each morning, when I take the dog for her morning walk, I look at the river, and hope that today it won’t rain, and the river might get a little less angry.

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Ducks swimming over a flooded riverside platform, that leads to a set of submerged steps

A Belated Announcement of a Geographical Nature

I have news, that news being that I’m not in Brighton anymore, but am in fact… well actually I’m currently in a hotel room in Mumbai on a trip with the day job, which is why I’ve found myself with the time to type this announcement, an announcement I’m making a shockingly bad fist of.

Let me start again.

We have moved, last week, from Brighton, to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. In some ways this is a big move. I now find myself, a Southerner, in a sort of internal exile in my own country, adrift among a people who think engaging a complete stranger in conversation is a reasonable thing to do. In other ways, this isn’t such a big move. Brighton is an arty, cultural, cosmopolitan place famous for being a haven to gay people, and those who follow alternative lifestyles. Hebden Bridge, while smaller, is also an arty, cultural, cosmopolitan place famous for being a haven to gay people (Lesbian capital of Europe, apparently!), and those who follow alternative lifestyles. So we’ve exchanged one vegan enclave for another, albeit one with cleaner air and different, if not better views.

If you’re wondering why we’ve made the move, the capsule summary is that we’ve moved to West Yorkshire to be near my wife’s family, but have moved to Hebden Bridge specifically because we were looking for somewhere vegan friendly.

It’s a little battered still from the appalling floods that hit the whole area on Boxing Day, but it’s getting back on its feet, and we’d like to think that by moving here, and spending our money here, we’re helping just a little bit with that.

We’re really enjoying being here (or there, given that for me, now, here is the aforementioned hotel room in Mumbai) and I’m looking forward to building a new life here, for myself, and my family. If any of you are in the area, please drop me a line, especially if you’re into board gaming or roleplaying, two hobbies that I’d like to get back into.

And for no particularly reason, here’s a couple of pictures I’ve taken of the town.

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Ducks swimming over a spot where two days earlier, we’d been standing

(The river is still pretty swollen, and on this particular morning, it had risen back up a bit).

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A very steep footpath, with the town centre beyond

Feedback Of The Nicest Kind

Yesterday, a reader tweeted to say that she’d enjoyed If Pigs Could Fly, and hoped there would be a sequel.

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I RTed that with a replying comment and was really happy to then find the Dublin 2019 Worldcon bid account RTing that to its followers:

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And to complete my day, the Irish Discworld Convention account (this was the con where the book was launched) tweeted this:

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As a writer of sometimes fluctuating confidence, this sort of thing is awesome. Thank you all.

Dragonmeet 2015

Just a quick post to say that I will be at Dragonmeet 2015 on Saturday 5th December selling my books Game Night and If Pigs Could Fly. Dragonmeet’s a one day, London gaming convention. It’s a great con, that I’d strongly recommend. And if you do come, please drop by my table and say hi.

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I Know I’m Biased, But…

So I was playing Lego Duplo with the little one the other day and I made her a twin-jet, medium bomber, as you do.

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She was very happy with it, and was playing “flying” with it, and then she picked up a discarded piece of assembly from a previous build, and announced that she was going to add it to the plane.

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Now nonsensical as this was, I’m always very concerned to not ever make her feel stupid, so I said something like, “Oh that’s a really good idea!” as she did it. And then I looked at what she’d done. And I realised.

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She’d only gone and built the bloody AWACS version! How clever is that?