Almost three years ago to the very day I put out my debut novel Spark. If my brother hadn’t convinced me to do it then it would never have happened because I presumed it was awful and that everyone would hate my guts. Fifty Goodreads reviews later and it’s still doing alright.
Since then I’ve released a number of stories under Guerrilla Fiction Publications. I’ve covered subjects such as the war against the poor, climate change, North Korea and talentless boybands. Each of them are intended to provide an alternative to likeminded people and to keep the spirit of counterculture alive when life online is becoming increasingly homogenised.
As far as independent releases go my stories have travelled a fair bit over the last three years and I’m eternally grateful for the support I’ve received. In a world of point-and-click disposability, I don’t take any of it for granted. Like my good friend Leo X. Robertson said in our podcast chat: there’s nothing less in demand than what we’re doing. He wasn’t being cynical. He was making a blinding observation.
Neoliberalism encourages people not to care about even our neighbours so having people on the other side of the world getting in touch has reassured me that the slog has been worthwhile. HMS Corporatewank is sinking and free expression is freer than it ever has been. Long may this continue for all of us.
During these three years I’ve reached numerous milestones which I’d like to brag about:
- I’ve received a positive review in a foreign language
- I’ve received positive professional reviews from national and international press
- I’ve been approached by independent bookshops to stock my books
- I’ve been approached by an independent translation company to translate Spark into Spanish (coming soon!)
- I managed to get a copy of The Rebel’s Sketchbook into the hands of Stewart Lee
- My blog has been visited by more than 50 countries
- The influential blog Politics and Insights has hosted my short anti-Tory bigot story Bedroom Max
- Spark briefly reached the top 10 spot on Amazon
- The Rebel’s Sketchbook was one of the Morning Star’s top reads of 2015
- I’ve upset rabid right-wingers enough to reduce them to babbling children (wish I could link you to the evidence…)
But more importantly than all of this I’ve connected with some fantastic writers, poets, journalists, artists and readers from around the world who are doing amazing things in their own corner; refusing to get side-tracked by the allure of bullshit popularity contests and whatever today’s yuppies are happening to sling their money at.
What does all of this tell us other than I like to boast about my achievements? It tells us that if I can do this then you can too. The world is in short supply of authors and artists who are using their craft to challenge abuses of power. But we exist and we’re creating a broader movement. Soon we’ll hammer that final nail in the coffin of a commercialised culture once and for all.
If there’s one message I try to convey to you all it’s to take a stand against the garbage life throws at us. I encourage all of you to pick up a pen and start mouthing off while we still have a chance to turn things around. The one thing our leaders can never take away is our creativity so in these desperate times we must use it wisely and responsibly. The world is in a massive pickle and people less fortunate than us need us to shout about these things louder than ever.
Once again a massive thanks to everyone who has connected with me over the last three years. It’s been a hoot and, daren’t I say, I have a sneaky feeling that the best is yet to come…
Peace be with you.
Good morning, good afternoon or good evening depending where you are when you read this. I have to say this because my blog now sees visits from as far away as South Korea. I hope that’s not Kim Jong-un officials sitting on the border, figuring out how to hack my website…
I’ve just been alerted to a new glowing review of The Rebel’s Sketchbook which you can read here. It’s always touching when you come across a new review of your books which captures what you’ve set out to achieve and Liz’s review has done this and more.
I remember piecing this collection together, slightly worried that it’d get misunderstood. People might enjoy the gallows humour, but would they read between the lines and see that there’s more important messages screaming at them to never accept that this is it and this all we can do about it; let’s just be docile consumers in a hostile environment?
The world is in a massive pickle. People are suffering right across the globe yet we’ve never been so sedated by our leaders who whisper sweet lullabies in our ears, bending truth into monstrous lies. We’ve never been so sidetracked by such an anodyne, stagnant culture; the sort of culture Archie talks about in Prezident Scumbag!.
But thankfully this isn’t the full picture. Behind laptop screens there are people as angry as I am; people who are calling out the world for what it is. People who, in their own corner, long for a good shake up. This is reassuring. The Rebel’s Sketchbook goes some way towards cementing our solidarity.
Next month will mark exactly three years since I first put Spark out there. I’m going to write a blog about those three years and hopefully inspire others to pick up a pen and use these words as weapons.
Meanwhile make sure that, wherever in the world you happen to find yourselves, you remain thoroughly disobedient.
Steve Topple has been kind enough to write up an article on my new novella Prezident Scumbag! You can find it here.
Shout out to Steve and the Canary for giving me some column space. At a time when it’s needed the most, not enough news sites are actively supporting independent counterculture.
Let me know what you think!
Greetings and tings’.
Massive, whopping thanks to all the people across the world who’ve read Prezident Scumbag!; particularly those folks who’ve left reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. At a time when genre drivel still has a stronghold on what many people read, it makes this slog against the tide worthwhile. I’m aiming to get the paperback out in autumn so I can start promoting it properly. This is likely to happen alongside the Spanish release of Spark.
So what’s next? I’m working on my second novel Broke which is one long anti-austerity rant; only this time the dirt poor get to turn the tables on the filthy rich. I have also begun to piece together a non-fiction piece which is called Hooked: A Memoir of Psychoactive Experiences. This is already about a third of the way there, but is beginning to turn into something else. It will explore the spiritual and creative side of recreational drug use and will give some insight into what has shaped my worldview. There’s another project which will hopefully be released before the end of the year. I can’t say what just yet, but if you’re into the sentiments of my oeuvre to date then you’re going to appreciate it.
For those who haven’t yet listened to my trainspotting voice, I was also featured on the Losing the Plot series with Leo X. Robertson which you can find here. Big thanks to Leo for giving me the time to chat with him about all sorts of interesting things. It’s great when you get to natter with somebody as laid back and as lovely as Leo. We need more people like him in the world.
I’ll be back before long to annoy you all.
Meanwhile peace be with you.
Just to say my good friend and fellow wordsmasher Leo X. Robertson has been kind enough to include me in his podcast series Losing the Plot.
Many thanks to Leo for the great chat about all things to do with writing!
Here it is: