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.

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:

Saturday, 7 April 2018

100% Biodegradable 20 is out now!

Well, slap me with a ten tonne trout and call me Kenneth!  We've only gone and reached our 20th issue.  Champiooooon!!!
To celebrate that particular milestone, issue 20 is an absolute whopper; 48 pages, at the same low price of 69p/$0.99.  And it's jam-packed with more than 20 creators, and lashings of wonderful carnage!

And who better to kick off the carnage-fest than Alan ruddy Grant himself, alongside Alan ruddy Burrows, with their legendary 'Funguys'.  Watch them gatecrash the Last Supper, with sobering consequences! (based on a true story, no doubt)

Also inside issue 20: A lowly cleaner deals with major abandonment issues after everyone in the entire world leaves for a different time line, in 'Time Waits' by David Hailwood, Gary O' Donnell, Anne-Marie-Webb and Ken Reynolds. 
An alcoholic orc and his overweight companion attempt to tap into the unexplored market of Beer Beards in 'Rubbernorc: Vital Delivery' by Paul Eldridge, Brett Burbridge and Ken Reynolds. 

A caveman discovers the future's not all it's cracked up to be in 'Wrong Time, Wrong Place' by Chris Sides, Rory Donald and Ken Reynolds. 
Steampunk scientists attempt to cook up a popular new alternative to the Pseudo Lab Rat in 'Pet Peeve' by Ken Reynolds and Jordi Perez Estevez. 

Up against a deadly alien peril, the crew of the Skow unleash the full might of their secret Scottish weapon in 'Skowdogs' by John Freeman, David Hailwood, Dave Thomson and Ken Reynolds. 
On a vastly overpopulated earth, two government agents attempt to keep the population in check and rack up a hefty kill bonus in 'Supply and Demand' by David Hailwood and Tony Suleri. 

An android underdog bites off more than he can chew in 'Rumblebot Rampage' by Tim West and Edward R. Norden. 

A security operative on the late shift begins to suspect strange things are afoot in 'Elevator' by Tomek Kontny and Mikolaj Ratka. 

A nervous rabbit fears the universe is out to get him in 'Tense' by Pablo Iten and Ktaiwanita.

The digital anthology is 48 pages, colour and B/W, and suitable for readers aged 15+ (due to a hint of blood and gore)

You can buy it at the following places (with ComiXology soon to follow):





"A "must read" for all lovers of sci-fi and fantasy comics." - Haydn Hades, AP2HYC

"The kind of smart script and stylish art that would feel right at home in the pages of the galaxys greatest comic!" Alex Thomas, Pipedream Comics

"Good old fashioned sci-fi escapism, and the art of Tony Suleri is worth the entrance fee alone" Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier