Why?

Can anyone offer a plausible explanation why it is that books which their authors don’t rate do so well?
Both myself, and my good friend and fellow writer Derek Haines, are perplexed to say the least by this conundrum. Both of us have a book that is selling well. Yet in each case, neither of us actually likes the book in question. Derek and I both puzzled over this the other night. Neither of us could come up with one good reason why the books in question were doing so well.
The other thing which totally baffles us is exactly where the books are selling the most copies. In Derek’s case, his book is selling well in the US, while mine is selling the most copies here in the UK.
What is it about these two books that completely grabs the public’s attention and imagination? Which two books am I on about? In Derek’s case it is his Vandalism of Words. In my own, it is The Seventh Age.
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Notes on Glob and Goblindom

 Globular Van der Graff
For all those who have, or are considering reading Glob’s Tales, here is some additional information:
A Brief Description of the Goblins and Bejuss
All southern wood goblins have green leathery skin to blend in with their surroundings and are very short in stature – barely 3 foot tall. Their ears are pointed and broad. Their mouths contain sharp pointed teeth. They all wear jerkins, and willow bark boots stuffed with dry grass for warmth. In winter they wear squirrel fur mittens. Their eyes are normally chestnut brown. But when enraged, turn blood red.
None of them look old, despite their great age.
Glob is the oldest of the goblin brothers and their leader. He is slim, long suffering, dependable and worldly wise. His favourite pastime is fishing.
Byz is the youngest at barely five hundred summers, and the skinniest. Put simply he is a gentle idiot. His face has that look all simpletons have. He is apt to wander off if not tethered to his bed or one of his brothers. Easily distracted, Byz plays beautiful music on his reed pipes and loves playing with spiders and all other kinds of creepy crawlies under his bed.
Mous is the accident prone member of the household and plump due to his love of honeycomb. His speech impediment forces him to substitute z for s when he speaks. He is prone to sulking. He is the unofficial cook in the household. He often has bitter arguments with his best friend Make.
Make is the pipe smoking, laid back, fat and jolly member of the household. Normally content with his lot, not much phases him. Make loves honeysuckle flavoured tobacco. His most prized possession is his briar pipe, or as he refers to it, his bestest briar pipe. Often, despite Mous being his best friend in the whole world, and the butt of his jokes, from time to time he does accuse poor Mous of stealing his possessions when he mislays them.
Neo is the upright, no nonsense member of the household with a tendency to explode when angered, who does not tolerate foolish behaviour. Severely cross eyed, extremely bad tempered, and wiry, he makes an excellent mead and is responsible for manufacturing their willow bark boots, neatly sewing them together using a bodkin and thread made from the best spider silk, despite his crossed eyes. When the chips are down, Neo is the one who will always guard your back. While he barely tolerates most kinds, he absolutely loves the old mare Miranda and the humin child Ylesse.
Bejuss is a one eyed, battle scarred, old lisping raven with a twisted beak and tatty feathers, who is absolutely devoted to Glob. His favourite pastime is pecking simpleminded Byz who he can barely tolerate. His beak is twisted like a piece of rope. It happened when his mother accidentally stood on him just after he hatched from his egg. He later lost one eye on a twig sticking out of the inside of the nest, during a scrap for food with his brothers and sisters when he was a chick.

Goblindom

Glob Goes Live

Glob’s anthology has just gone live on Amazon. The price in the US is $3.08, while the price in the UK is £1.95. Here is the Reader’s Intro which you will see on the Amazon site nearest to you:

A very long time ago, there once was a land called Goblindom hidden behind a magic barrier to protect its inhabitants from mankind. Man’s ancestors the humins lived there quietly alongside wyverns, griffins, trolls, witches and wizards as well as woods, mountain and plains goblins, ravens, eagles and many more creatures.
This anthology is a collection of thirty tales, which I have translated from goblin into English thanks to Globular Van der Graff, a friendly southern woods goblin who told them to me not long ago. They are not my tales, they are his, hence the title – Globular Van der Graff’s “Goblin Tales for Adults”.
For a long time, like most human children I disbelieved the stories read to me by my parents of goblins, witches and wizards, wyverns and griffins, believing them to be nothing more than tales designed to entertain, until that first fateful early morning visit several months ago, when Glob physically sought me out and deliberately entered my life.
I hope and pray that like me, you will all open your hearts and minds to the fact that goblins, especially of the noble and friendly southern woods kind, do still actually exist today. Through necessity for their own protection they have to hide from the modern world you and I live in. If you are fortunate as I undoubtedly am, some may even be living in an oak wood near you.
Lastly, may I just say on behalf of Glob whose anthology this is, not forgetting for one moment his good friend Bejuss, and his goblin brothers, Make, Mous, Neo, Byz, and myself, how much we thank you for taking the time to read this, the first ever written record of the once magical land of Goblindom.

Septimity – The Blood Brotherhood

Septimity - The Blood Brotherhood

Long after HAL and February The Fifth, the Gregorian Royal Family gene pool has degenerated so badly that the next Supreme Potentate of Gloth is destined to be be a boy idiot, whose father died racing him to the Palace garden. His father won the race by jumping from the Palace roof screaming, ‘I win! I win!’ just before meeting his death on a brick pathway alongside a beautiful bed of roses.

The death however, finally provides Septimity and his six brothers the chance to enact Ichor. Planned for eons, their dream is to return a pure blood Glothian to the position of Supreme Potentate and rid Gloth of all the embarrassing Erdean monkey genes that had infected their planet for almost ever.

However as is the way with plans, not everything goes as it was envisaged and as Septimity discovers, the very best way to handle major plan problems is to leave them all until tomorrow and get on with enjoying breakfast.

Join Septimity in this third and final Glothic Tale and have a fun filled giggle around the galaxy.

This is the third and final in Derek Haines’ Gloth trilogy. Now available on Amazon.

Glob goes forward!

After many months, at long last I can say that Glob’s anthology is almost ready for publishing. I first saw the picture above months ago. Finally, thanks to my good friend Derek Haines, he tracked down the artist in question – Alexey Kuznetsov. I emailed him to ask his permission to use his picture. This morning I received his answer:

Hello Jack
That’s OK, no problem.
You can use it as you want, there’s no terms.
Thanks for the interest to my old Goblin.

So, with a last run through on my part to tweak some of the thirty tales, plus the fact that it is being beta-read by both Derek and another beta-reader he suggested, Mary Crocco, Glob’s tales are not very far off being published.

More later…

Some Opinions May Kill

Is it any wonder so many people are joining the independent publishing ranks these days? If you are with a mainstream publisher, no matter whether they are one of the so-called big six houses, or a small press, your future hangs on the opinion of just one person, maybe two if you use an agent. The world of literature is an unpredictable one, littered with great stories that will never be read, purely because of the opinion of an editor or literary agent.

As the writer, you come up with the idea for a story and spend months, years even, writing it. Very occasionally you know that with a specific story you are onto a winner. However, if your agent and/or your editor do not like it, they won’t publish. Simply put, the future of your story is dependent on the personal opinion of one or two people.
The rubbish bins of many an editor’s desk are full to overflowing with rejected manuscripts; the same can be said for literary agents as well, all as a result of their personal opinion. Wait, I hear you cry. They are in the industry and know what sells, so how can you make such a scathing statement? Simple – they are human. Therefore their own particular tastes will colour their decisions. An editor should do just that – edit, not decide its future, while an agent should sell your manuscript and nothing else.
By all means employ an editor to polish your work, or failing that, get beta-readers to read it through. While it is true that many excellently written ‘indie’ published books will be lucky to sell more than a couple of dozen copies, occasionally one or two will break the mould. If you genuinely believe that you have a winner sitting on your computer – be brave. Stand up for your story; defend it to the hilt when the so-called experts tell you it is a load of rubbish.
The sales figures of my latest novel fully vindicate my own decision to independently publish. If a story appeals, it will be taken up by the reading public, despite what the experts may say about it.

The Simplest Pleasures

Whoever it was that said the simplest pleasures are the best was quite right. Each day I’m visited by dozens of garden birds, or rather my bird feeder and the ground beneath it is. I get an inordinate amount of pleasure looking out of my window to see what species has just turned up.

Mostly its Sparrows and Blackbirds. But, every now and then I get Robins, Blue Tits, Ring-necked Doves, Wood Pigeons, Long-tailed Tits, to name but seven species – the list is endless. For the price of a 5kg bag of seed, to which I add Suet Sprinkles and dry Meal worms, I get endless hours of entertainment for virtually nothing. Plus, their plumage adds much needed colour to an otherwise drab and neglected green garden.

Who needs to spend thousands searching the world seeking pleasure when nature supplies such a spectacle on your own doorstep, certainly not me…