Friday, 13 July 2018

The secret of the soup!

I'm pleased to announce my latest children's book, Grynbad And The Seven Soups, is out now on Amazon!

http://mybook.to/Grynbad


This one has a bit of a story behind it, as I wrote it some years back whilst suffering from writer's block. I say 'writer's block' though it was more like 'writer's repetition'; I was attempting to finish my Navel Navigators novel at the time, and instead found myself writing the same darned chapter over and over again for about a year, never able to get it quite right (I can always tell when the writing's not going so well, as my document naming convention goes out the window; instead of using something along the lines of 'NavelNavigatorsDraft28' I end up going with 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaarggggghhhh!', 'Whhhhhhhyyyyyyyyy?????' or a terribly rude swear word).

When it comes down to it, the book is all my old line manager Peter Lancaster's fault. I was sat in the staff room, trying to figure out how to get my writing mojo back, when Pete sidled up to me and from out of the blue said: 'Did you know it's actually possible to run across the surface of custard?'

He then showed me a youtube video to prove it (it wasn't this particular video, but it's the best example I could find...).



Now, most people would've edged away at this point whilst attempting to avoid eye contact, but not me (I do like a good custard video). My brain was suddenly whirring away with ideas. Custard...a land of custard...what a great setting for a children's novel! But must it only be custard? Could get a bit samey. What other liquids are there plenty of? Soups! Seven soups...yes, just like Sinbad might have sailed, if he'd gone a bit off course! Hmm, perhaps custard could act as the portal to a whole world of soup related adventures? Now we're cooking!

I rushed down to the local supermarket and did some hefty research in the soup aisle (it's alright, it was Sainsbury's - they're used to nutters in there) trying to imagine what foul creatures might inhabit the various soups.

A terrifying Man-Eating Manotaur, which inhabits Oxtail Soup.


Once I'd got home from my little expedition and finished shaking my wife vigorously by the shoulders whilst yelling 'The soups, Jenny! The sooooouuuups!!!', I set to work.

The book was finished in less than a month (it's quite a short one, as it's aimed at 7-9 year olds), and I was so pleased with the end result that I sent it straight out to an agent (The Eve White agency, who handle the Mr Gum books). I was quite surprised when they got back to me within the week, asking if they could read the full manuscript exclusively. They said a lot of complimentary things about it; compared my dialogue to the likes of Roald Dahl, said the characters were likeable and that it was very funny. Ultimately they chose not to go with it, but at least they gave me a lot of helpful feedback to work with (and the confidence and gusto to tackle the Navel Navigators novel afresh).

And now, new and improved, and sporting over 20 illustrations drawn by my own fair fingers (with one illustration secretly sketched by the mighty Brett Burbridge. I'll let anyone who reads it try to figure out which one), it is out exclusively on Amazon's Kindle Select. This means that if you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime you can give the book a read for free. So please, get stuck in. All support is hugely appreciated (even if it's just shares with people you think might enjoy the book, or gold bullion sent to my usual Swiss bank account, every little helps) as I've entered it into Kindle's Storyteller 2018 competition, which is partially judged on the book's popularity.

A bunch of lolly-loving lily-livered pirates, who inhabit Pea soup.

For the first week that Grynbad's on sale I've reduced the price to just 99p/$0.99 in digital: http://mybook.to/Grynbad

and £3.99/$5.99 in print (illustrations in B/W to keep costs down): http://mybook.to/GrynbadPaperback 

So, there you have it...the secret of the soup, and the answer to how to avoid writers block. Find yourself a bald man armed with a custard video!

Sunday, 24 June 2018

The penultimate issue of 100% Biodegradable is out NOW!


Issue 21 of 100% Biodegradable has finally landed, and it's a big 'un, featuring an extra ten pages of content.

As eagle-eyed readers might be able to deduce from Mo Ali's trippy Funguys cover, we have another explosive 'Funguys' adventure this issue, written by the legendary Ian Edginton (X-Force, 2000ad, Aliens) and illustrated by Alan Burrows (Eagle, Red Dwarf). Ian wrote the strip over 26 years ago (on a typewriter, no less!), and it's a pleasure to be able to bring this self contained 16 pager back into the limelight.

Next up, a young cyborg seeks bloody vengeance for the death of his parents in Mark Bertolini and Gary O’ Donnell’sWith A Vengeance’.



A group of unwary space scavengers find themselves trapped in the midst of a battle between two superior intellects in ‘Catch’ by Mikael Lopez and N G Williams.

You’ll never be able to look at a Jellybaby in quite the same way after reading ‘Squeaky Treats’ by Stu Smith and Tony Suleri.


The return of an old adversary spells trouble for the crew of Skow 709 in 'Skowdogs' by John Freeman (Dr Who, Judge Dredd Megazine), David Hailwood, Dave Thomson and Ken Reynolds.
Synthetic eyes helplessly watch the downfall of humanity in 'Lifeboats’ by Stu Smith, Scott Twells and Ken Reynolds.

A hapless photographer puts his soul on the line to get the perfect shot in ‘Photo Op’ by Steven Fraser and Edward R. Norden. 


And finally, a gigantic 50 foot tall lizard has a bad day at the supermarket in ‘Supermarket Monster’ by the ever amusing Ben Peter Johnson (Viz, Hallowscream).

Issue 21 is available at the following digital stores for just 69p/$0.99:

Comicsy:


Drivethru:


A ComiXology release will happen at a later date. Previous issues are available here: https://www.comixology.co.uk/100-Biodegradable/comics-series/17594

If you've yet to read the earlier editions, you can get issues 1-3 completely FREE when you sign up to our comics Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/90a01deb4768/biopressfreebie

So...that's almost 5 years and 21 issues done...But we're not finished yet! Tune in September for the final apocalyptic edition of 100% Biodegradable.


Monday, 21 May 2018

Heaps of FREE books!

More delicious Instafreebie book giveaways for avid/rabid readers to sink their teeth into!

First up, there's an absolute belter of a sci-fi, fantasy and horror giveaway containing over 120 books from the cream of the indie crop.  Some are previews, but most are the full novel.  Give 'em a download at the following link: https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/r1Y0FxTjBmiAboAIU7yY


Next, we have a young adult book fest!  70 books for a youthful audience, which are jam-packed with magic, mystery and mayhem (and some have zombies, too.  Gotta love zombies).  Here's the link: https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/zNwQsaMqTD64xNpHweig


Finally, mostly aimed at the Middle Grade range, there's 50 books about friendship, honesty, integrity and loyalty. Admittedly, one of the main characters in my Navel Navigators novel is the antithesis of all those qualities (good ol' Caspian Thrall - he does like a good spot of thieving!) but at it's core my book is a tale of friendship and loyalty...'twixt boy and goat.  The link doth go thusly (sorry - I woke in a Shakespearian mood): https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/xA5avznPt4CIZFoisfFx


The 5 chapter preview of The Last Of The Navel Navigators is available in all the giveaways above.  Should you be inclined to check out the finished novel, it's currently on sale until the end of the month on Amazon for just 99p/$0.99:

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Navel-Navigators-David-Hailwood-ebook/dp/B07BJ7SBN1
US: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Navel-Navigators-David-Hailwood-ebook/dp/B07BJ7SBN1

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Free Comic Book Day Goodies!

Today is Free Comic Book Day, and you know what that means...FREE COMICS! 


From today until next week the digital version of 100% Biodegradable Collection 1 (collecting the best strips from issues 1-6 of the digital sci-fi anthology) is FREE on Drivethru Comics

The first 100% Biodegradable Collection features 30 strips from professional creators, indie regulars and promising newcomers across the UK and abroad, including Jim Alexander (2000ad, Judge Dredd Megazine), Neill Cameron (The Pirates of Pangaea, Mega Robo Bros), Graeme Neil Reid (2000ad, Meanwhile), Paul H. Birch (Toxic, Creepy Kofy Movie Time), Tony Suleri (Slumdroid, Bulletproof), Mark Bertolini (Breakneck, Scum Of The Earth), Stewart Moore (Zarjaz, Sliced Quarterly) and many more.
Whether it's giant rampaging rodents, paranormal ice cream salesmen, hard boiled detectives, adulterous martians or kung-fu kitchen antics you're after, there's a little something for everyone in this 140 page collection!

Here's the link:

http://www.drivethrucomics.com/product/156020/100-Biodegradable-Collection-1

And don't forget, if you live near a comic shop, pop in and grab yourself some bargains!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Heaps Of Free Fantasy Books!

I decided to kick off May in style, and you can now grab a 5 chapter preview of The Last Of The Navel Navigators in 3 different Instafreebie Book Giveaways.

Navel Navigators...a feast for the senses!

See!  A young boy with a magic bellybutton get adopted by eleven-fingered banjo-strumming hillbillies.

Hear!  The unsettling noise of air escaping, as one of the young boy's travelling companions accidentally punctures a giant inflatable planet.

Touch!  An unsightly witchy-fingered pumpkin-clad Thingimagist (though don't blame me if you suddenly sprout extra eyeballs in unexpected places)

Taste!  Hideous hunchback cuisine, served from the waiters glistening humps.

Smell!  Brian the goat.  He's very, very stinky.

And if a Navel Navigators Sampler isn't enough to wet your whistle/grab your goat/prop up your under-inflated pudding, this is a great opportunity to read hundreds of indie fantasy novels for free (they're all available in epub/mobi/pdf format).  Heck, there's even a free 'Vikings Versus Unicorns' comic up for grabs, which comes with its own youtube Death Rock Anthem!  Some, like mine, are previews, but the majority are the full novel.

First up on the giveaways list we have the Fantasy Extravaganza, which features over 130 fantasy books.



You can check out the Fantasy Extravaganza, which runs between May 1- May 15 here:  https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/Z11V5Ao0Ck0gZBcH8HM4

Next up, it's the Once Upon A Time Giveaway with fantasy books that feature fairy tales and magical creatures (though I'll warrant that my book is probably the only one to feature Beard Pixies)



This particular giveaway features over a hundred books, runs until the end of May and can be scrutinised here: https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/ezy52GT0l9qPOjjgo9QZ

And finally we have the Clean Fantasy Creatures Reads, featuring over 70 fantasy books which are suitable for younger readers (as well as adults, in most cases).



This giveaway lasts until the end of June, so plenty of time to check out the link: https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/m2qxBohIaW3I5NEbNG3d

Incidentally, the full version of The Last Of The Navel Navigators is currently on sale for just 99p in almost every digital store, including Kindle, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play.  Here's the stores link: books2read.com/navelnavigators1

Monday, 30 April 2018

Death! Zombies! Cannibalism! Grapefruits!

My new free to read short story and narrative poetry collection 'Dead Short' has just launched on Wattpad, kicking off with the zombie comedy 'Death After Life'. 

If you think you're having a bad day, spare a thought for poor Tony the supermarket shelf stacker, who chokes to death on a peanut during a zombie virus outbreak and is disappointed to learn he still has to go in to work the next day.

A new story or narrative poem will be published every Monday, until the collection is full enough for me to wrangle a Createspace print collection together (which may also contain some of my three panel Wormfood cartoons).

Here's an outline for a few of the stories and poems you can look forward to reading over the coming months, most of which were written whilst I was on the University of Chichester Creative Writing BA and MA.

In 'Blue Murder', a shipwrecked Englishman learns there's only one thing worse than being stranded alone in the middle of the ocean, and that's being stranded in the middle of the ocean with a ravenous American.

In the deeply romantic love ballad 'Butt Ugly' a man attempts to come to terms with the fact that his girlfriend's not quite the looker she used to be, since she lost her face in an office shredder.

In 'The Devil In The Dole Queue', Satan realises that mankind’s far superior at creating death, misery and destruction, and decides to call it a day and join the unemployment line (I've been reliably informed that this particular poem used to adorn the walls of the back office in Hastings DWP).

So, if you get a free moment please head along to the following link and give the first story in the collection a read/vote/comment. I'm hoping to enter into into the Wattys 2018 Competition in June, so all support is greatly appreciated.

https://www.wattpad.com/story/146532958-dead-short

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Quite A Lot Of People Know That

Whilst I'm scrabbling around for reviews for my recently released 'Navel Navigators' novel, I thought it might be handy to come armed with some sales figures for my previous book 'Not A Lot Of People Know That' (written by myself and Frank Burton/F.J. Riley).

Up until this week, I hadn't a clue how many copies of the free humorous 'facts' book had been downloaded, and I don't think Frank had really looked into it either.  So it came as something of a surprise to discover that, to this date, we've had over a quarter of a million downloads.  That's, uh, rather a lot isn't it?  Especially since we did very little to promote it (my main attempt at promotion involved hollering 'Squirrels don't have knees!!!' out of a bus window at passers by).  Most of the downloads occurred in 2011/2012, which we like to call our 'viral' period, when we were getting around 100,000 downloads a year.  It's now slowed to a thin trickle, but the book still remains in the top ten 'free humour' books chart on iBooks.

Much as I'd love to share our recipe for success, I think a lot of it comes down to luck.  When Frank (who was the driving force behind the book, even though my name comes first) came up with the idea of writing a made up fact book, he wanted the majority of the facts to be almost believable (eg: 'The Amazon contains at least five lost tribes of television documentary crews, three of which were originally sent in to document the lives of the other two').  This created a very polarised audience for the book (as anyone who's read the praise/death threats on iBooks and B&N will be aware) and resulted in hundreds of reviews from people who were keen to either vent their frustration at the facts not actually being true, or praise the book for making them laugh.  NLPKT (as I shall abbreviate the title from now on) has received over 80 five star reviews, and just as many one star reviews; the front page for NLPKT on iBooks at this moment begins with a 5 star review that states 'The funniest book I have ever read', immediately followed by a 1 star review that states 'Worth reading - if you are five, or an idiot'.  There were people who stated they felt 'a little bit more knowledgable' after reading the book, and others who mentioned it was being used by teachers in certain US schools (huge apologies if we're in any way responsible for the rise of Donald Trump!).



We tried to leave many clues that the facts inside the book were blatant falsehoods; categorising it as 'fiction' and 'humour' was certainly a rather large hint (though I've noticed it's been accidentally categorised as 'factual' in some digital stores, which may have helped fan the flames of reader discontent).  The front cover has a picture of some 'pants' on fire, and many of the facts were just too damned ridiculous to be true (seriously, if you have a headache, please do not try and coax a monkey to urinate directly into your mouth.  This will NOT cure it).  Then again, life does have a habit of imitating art, and some of the more outlandish facts in the book - such as the one about the surgeon who keeps leaving rude messages on patients internal organs - have actually come true.

I'm curious as to whether NLPKT would have been such a success if we'd gone with the books original title of 'Made Up Facts' (which we sadly had to change, once we realised the abbreviation was 'MUF').  I mean, you can't really give the readers a bigger hint than that, can you?

Anyway, given the success of NLPKT, I've suggested to Frank that we perhaps get working on a special Amazon collected version which would combine the best 'facts' from books 1 and 2, and add a lot of new material (possibly illustrations, if I can find an artist who's up for the challenge).  I doubt the print version will be quite as successful as the free digital book, but it'll be nice to see how far we can push it.  With any luck we'll manage to get the collected works out before all the facts inside come true!

In the meantime, Frank has a 'Ragbag' comedy podcast that he's currently producing, which has a similar flavour to NLPKT (he's already successfully managed to enrage Bono fans, so he must be doing something right).  You can check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/frank-burton-912417543