Bah Humbug #1 – We’re All Mugs!

I’m mad as hell, etc…

As the home-made paper hearts flutter down after Mother’s Day and we prepare for the chocolate siege of Easter, I can’t help feeling like a mealy-mouthed curmudgeon in my creaky middle age. The thing is: I’m bah humbug about this constant need to celebrate something!

Just look at our calendar now. Before we’ve recovered from Christmas, we’re headlong into Valentine’s Day, and then the shops are cleared for Mother’s Day before St Patrick’s Day (since when did we all become Irish!?) and a now extended Easter followed by Father’s Day – thankfully a blessed break over the summer – then we’re already forced to start our Christmas shopping in September, although there’s a fortnight hiatus over Halloween when we all briefly become Pagans. It won’t be long before Comic Relief Day and Graham Norton’s Birthday are declared public holidays. And why are we constantly being forced back into the shops for more greetings cards, fluffy tat, chocolate, booze and frozen canapes?

Because we’re mugs!

If the British people are told to spend money, they just cannot resist. And in an era when the high street resembles an old Western ghost town with old crumpled till receipts floating like tumbleweed past the boarded shopping malls of our retail past – and we sit hunched over our mobile devices clicking the free delivery option before parcelling up yet another item to return, the greeting cards companies and inventors of useless gifts are desperately scrabbling to stay in business. So they convince us to celebrate these modern versions of the high holy day and we lap it up. We love it. I do understand the need to grab an opportunity to celebrate and have fun with the world on the brink of either environmental catastrophe or political annihilation but can’t they just lay off the hard sell? Give us a break!

As my precociously teenage son James has just asked me: “What has a flat screen TV got to do with Easter?” What indeed!

Last minute shopping in Ipswich before Valerie Singleton Day, 2016

See you next week for some more humbug – unless I’ve cheered up of course. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Kraitt out!

PS Just a quick reminder that my brilliant novel Black Moon is available to download now! So why not buy it as a gift to yourself to celebrate the clocks going back next weekend! Follow the link below…


Black Moon for FREE! Time is ticking…

Regular readers will know that I returned to the blogosphere this week with news of an AMAZING FREE GIFT! Well, it’s here and it’s now so if you want a sparkly free download of my epic fantasy action horror novel Black Moon, please click on the cover image above and TAKE WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY YOURS!!

This astounding offer only lasts until Sunday 4th March, so go ahead – make your weekend! These people did and they’re clearly delighted…

Just look at those happy faces!

There’ll be a new blog next week so see you then. In the meantime, here are the wonderful Cowboy Junkies singing a tenuously linked song…

Kraitt Out!

Black Moon TONIGHT!!


Last time, Rob self-published his YA novel BLACK MOON on Kindle. He has been a little busy since so this is his first blog for several weeks. So far, the book has been selling like hot cakes that not very many people are aware of but selling nonetheless….

In an amazing twist of good publicity, the people of Britain will be able to experience the glory (or not) of a Black Moon this very evening! Click here for a full explanation from those nice people at the Daily Telegraph.

SO this gives me the opportunity to remind every single one of you that my YA novel BLACK MOON is OUT and available on Amazon. You can visit the official website here or go straight to Amazon for a downloadable copy. Here are some glowing review quotes:

A fantastic book.” P Courtney

Highly recommended if the long summer days are starting to send any parents potty!” RG

A beautifully written, captivating story.” SuSu

These reviews may or may not be written by people I know!

Judge for yourself. Buy it now! And check out the Black Moon tonight but it may be underwhelming as it will likely be a dark circle against a dark sky – but then you can’t have everything!

Oh and watch out for mad men on the moors!

In other news, I hope to have something exciting to tell you about the book very soon. I’m working on making it available in actual book form! Not just as an e-book! Exciting times so watch this space.

Kraitt out!

An actual astronaut digs into his copy of Black Moon

It’s business time (almost).

Last time, Rob’s novel BLACK MOON was sent out to publishers…and sent straight back! Yes, he received the nicest of rejections and huge encouragement but no mainstream publishers accepted his work. So here we are…

Hello, everyone. Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been busy.

The novel has been proofed and corrected (thanks to Jodie Hatley for your sterling work). My brilliant brother Steve has designed an eye-catching cover for me. So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks building a website. If you’d like to see it, follow this link: There, you’ll find the cover design and a blurb for the book. There’s also a place for visitors to make contact so feel free to send a message. Either way, please do check it out so the visitor counter looks a bit more respectable. In advance, here’s a sneaky peak at the cover design…

Black Moon Variations-1

Publication is coming. I haven’t set the date yet but it’s looking very much like early July. My next post will announce the day. Until then…

Kraitt out!


That’s just, like, your opinion…

overcoming-writers-block-nonprofit-bloggingLast time, I was drunk on the heady euphoria of completing  a crazy challenge to post every day for a month! Previous to that, I was telling you about my writing process prior to self-publishing a bottom-drawer novel called Black Moon. Now, read on…

Having been hit by the notion of writing a novel back in early 2008, and after a rigorous editing process under the intense scrutiny of literary agent Elinor Cooper, my novel was as ready as it was ever going to be.

Elinor is a good friend and, at the time, was my colleague at A P Watt literary agency (she is now flying high at Diamond Khan & Woods). She was a young book agent with a host of contacts and really believed in my book. She had supported me throughout the writing process with some superb editorial commentary. I felt like a real author! We were a dream team and ready to unleash this undoubted blockbuster on to the publishing scene.

So out it went! Elinor compiled a list of amazing editors at the great publishers in the land and fired Black Moon at their reading piles on May 22nd 2009.

I’m very excited about this book; BLACK MOON is taut, fast-paced, incredibly inventive, but also moving and richly detailed. Thanks, Coop!

For the next few weeks and months, I waited with breath that wasn’t just baited, it was caught and held tight like I was a free diver torpedoing to the bottom of the ocean! Try holding your breath for the time it takes an average publisher to respond to a submission – even metaphorically!

And then the responses – or should I say rejections – rolled in…

The premise is great (of course it is) but that the execution isn’t developed enough…too heavy on introspection but also lacking the emotional depth to make it convincing and involving. Oh dear!

I did enjoy BLACK MOON. Hurrah! You have an urgency in the narrative that makes the action fast-paced and readable and I did begin to care about Cat. Too kind! Having said that, I do have reservations. Here it comes. As it stands at the moment it feels unsatisfactory with nothing resolved and no glimpse at where Cat may go next, leaving the reader unsatisfied and not necessarily wanting more… Drat!

I enjoyed it a lot – you are absolutely right about the pace and action, and the voice is nice too. I have a nice voice! It sounds like the author would be brilliantly promotable. Only if you shoot my good side, of course. However, we’ve seen rather a spate of books with werewolf themes recently BUT IT’S NOT A WEREWOLF BOOK!  combined with the fact that Puffin’s list is very strong on the boys’ side of things already, means that I’m afraid I don’t think it’s something for us. Double drat! 

This book got me, I’ll admit it. Now, this is more like it! I was definitely carried along for the ride by Cat’s witty descriptions of what is happening, but I did find it quite hard at points to identify with Cat. That’s because you’re not a teenage boy with super powers.  The story also felt a little thin without other points of view and voices. Well, it is deliberately written in the first personElinor I did really like Rob’s writing style and think he has great talent. We have something that we are currently trying to acquire that feels a little bit similar to this and so I would feel uncomfortable to take this forward as well. If what we are trying to acquire doesn’t work out, I’ll be in touch but I’m sure you will have sold this by then anyway! Needless to say, she never did get back in touch but it was mighty encouraging all the same. 

This one has certainly sparked a lot of talk! I aim to please. We enjoyed the immediacy of Rob’s writing, and were all completely hooked into the pacy and unexpected developments of the opening chapters. There is no question that the mysterious premise of this book is terribly alluring. With the accent on alluring rather than terribly, I hope. I’m afraid, though, that we have decided not to pursue this. We felt that, after such a strong, dynamic opening the second half became rather unwieldy and overcomplicated. Another one bites the dust!

I struggled with it as it starts off as a very realistic story and then suddenly becomes a sci-fi book. I almost felt disappointed when Cat found out what had happened to him; it’s so unexpected it almost seems farcical. This sounds very negative, I didn’t think it was all bad by any means! The very faintest praise, I guess!

And here are some more that show I was close but no one was offering that elusive cigar…

We did think it was a really interesting and intriguing concept and the writing was pacy but we just didn’t think the writing was quite strong enough to really make this a stand-out title.

I thought it was really well written and atmospheric. However, after some thought, the team felt the conspiracy/mystery element was a little too similar in theme to another book we are publishing next year, so it’s unfortunately not one for our list.

I’m torn on this one. More torn than I thought I’d be when I first started reading it to be honest…I just don’t think there’s quite enough there for a compelling book. I think it has huge potential but needs a lot of work to whip it into shape and I don’t think I’m the editor to do that. 

I admit I’ve been very on the fence about it. I love the set up and the conceit but I’m not sure it’s quite doing enough that’s different. Really sorry, but I don’t think it’s going to be one for us.


Battered and bruised, Elinor and I discussed making changes to address some of the comments but, to be honest, I had run out of steam. The editing process started to feel like moving furniture. Black Moon is what it is, and we needed to find someone that loved it enough to get right behind it.

None of this means that there won’t be readers out there who’ll dig my shtick. We just failed to find a publisher excited enough to find out. In those dark days of endless rejection, I couldn’t help summoning the spirit of the Dude…


SO, in an e-publishing industry in which (as of September last year) 60% of e-books sold are self-published, why not have a crack at it?!

It would be rude not to.

Next time, I unveil my book cover and treat you to a blurb. D-Day is upon us, people. Not long now…

Kraitt out!

Zappa #atozchallenge


You could say the music of Frank Vincent Zappa is an acquired taste but there really is something for everyone in this undoubted genius’s huge back catalogue.

I have to thank my brother Steve for introducing me to Frank, and he certainly made the eyes pop out of my pre-teen head with those filthy lyrics (you actually get swearing in songs?!); unforgettably catchy tunes; incredible musicianship from band members like George Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Steve Vai; and, of course, epic guitar solos.

Zappa’s oeuvre is so diverse and seemingly impenetrable, I couldn’t even begin to point you in the right direction to sample what he has to offer, but the AV Club’s Gateways to Geekery series offers a good beginner’s guide in the article Where to dive into Frank Zappa’s weird, unwieldy discography. Check it out but I wouldn’t blame you for approaching with caution a man who called his children Dweezil and Moon Unit; built a music studio called the Utility Research Muffin Kitchen; and wrote songs with titles like Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow and Theme From The Third Movement of Sinister Footwear.

Zappa was a man who wore many hats: musician, composer, arranger, innovator, satirist and political activist, to name a few. He was also a great story-teller through his songs. I started this blog to showcase my own story-telling so it seems fitting to end this crazy month of daily posting with a story. Today’s link is one of my favourites but I would urge you to seek out the brilliant Joe’s Garage or the galactic Inca Roads.

And, by the way, I DID IT! This is the last post of the darned A to Z Challenge. I now plan to take a week off and return to weekly posts chronicling my self-publishing adventure. The countdown to publication of my novel BLACK MOON begins soon so watch this space.

In the meantime, thanks for reading. Over to Frank…

Kraitt out!

Yessss! #atozchallenge

YOkay, I admit it. I tried really hard but I couldn’t think of a good subject for my Y post. And then I thought, there’s nothing wrong with a little self-pattage on the back…because I’VE ALMOST DONE IT!


That’s right! Twenty- five posts in the last four weeks. I actually posted every day for a month. Crikey! I can’t believe it either. Just one left after today. Let’s have another fist pump…


And, if I may say so myself, there’s some pretty good stuff there, right? If you haven’t had a chance yet, why not check out some of my A to Z Challenge posts?!

A for Anaerobic Digester was a nice start. I’m pretty happy with D for David (Bowie) and You’re Kind of Magic (Q for Queen). There’s also some creative writing on P for Pox, and the latest instalment of my self publishing adventure in J for Jack Dixon. Along the way, you can discover my favourite films, listen to some great music and hear about my bad driving. There’s something for everyone. How does that feel, Dennis?!


So in honour of this day of positivity and generally feeling good about ourselves,  fellow bloggers, here’s an oldie and a goodie…oh and one more fist pump – YESSSS!

Is that blood on the walls?!

See you tomorrow for some musical story-time to celebrate the end of the A to Z Challenge.

Kraitt out.