Thursday, 30 April 2009

Those Damned Photos

The Moose has had to send a photo of himself to Hannah Davies at The Bookseller for inclusion in a piece on Independent Publishing and Bluemoose for the May 8th issue. This proved difficult. Being a computer luddite, my immediate thoughts were directed at finding the photo album but you can't fire that down the cyber tubes to London. So, I called for help in the guise of my 14 year old son. He found a picture on the computer and emailed it to Hannah. I can relax. Then I have a vanity pang. Mirrors I can handle, because there's only one person looking at you. But having your physog in a national magazine is different because lots of people will see it. And whilst you thought you were some George Cluny look alike indy publisher, the reality is, you're not. You thought you carried gravitas, but all you carry is extra weight. The greying and excess hair in places that hair shouldn't grow, points to one thing and one thing only, you're getting on a bit. No you're getting on a lot. And everyone will see that time hasn't been kind and gravity has been even tougher. Bah to pills and potions, I'll have a bigger cup of coffee, do a press up tomorrow and hope my DNA takes me to at least the end of the year.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Happy Boithday.

Greetings again. The man in the White House shares a special day with The Moose. Yes, we are both celebrtating our 100 days in office. He's ruling the world and I'm not. However, this is my 100th blog, so I'be blown the candles out and made a wish. I can't tell you what I've wished for, needless to say there is a Literary Editor with pins sticking out of him. Things are rolling on a pace re: foreign rights for Steve's book and hopefully there will be news soon. Our Foreign Rights Agent is in receipt of 8 copies, which she will be firing off to all points East. She has also shown an interest our next publication, Falling Through Clouds.
Bluemoose has come a long way in 100 blogs, Bookfairs, Library talks, interviews, Radio , TV all mediums designed to get as many people as possible aware of what we're trying to do. I will tell you once again. It's all about getting great stories, beautifully written into the hands of readers who are not afraid of trying out bold and original fiction. There, that wasn't too hard, was it?
Now, back to the Ceck.

Quick Blog

I have now returned from my trip to Scotland and although I was in Glasgow, I don't think I've contracted Swine Flu, and that isn't the reason there was no blog yesterday. Due to circumstances beyond my control I couldn't access a computer. I will list Scotland's favourite books, or what Waterstones in Edinburgh and Glasgow list as their favourite books later on today. Have to dash off now. Will return later on today. Adios.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Driller Killer

Yesterday my neighbour started using his new Uber Drill. He was very excited and although not a great exponent of the DIY art myself, I can see that there may be some satisfaction in the realignment of a down pipe on your day off. The thing is, he started his DIY at 6.00am in the morning. Now I'm no party pooper but even the Dalai Llama would be a tad upset at the commencement of such activities at this hour. It took all the restraint in the world to stop me from picking up the family Crossbow and delivering my displeasure courtesy of bolt to his neck. Today I will have a considered word in his shell like and hopefully peace will return to Moose Shires.
Off to Caledonia with books to sell. Will update you on what they're buying in Scotland over the next few days.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Review disorder

I'm off selling books North of the border tomorrow in Scotland and have asked my youngest son, Cal, to prepare me a CD for the trip. Road trip music. The excitement is already building. Hip Hop Dad. How sad is that?
I know somebody who loves the curry from the Westmoreland Farm Shop motorway service station at Tebay, and goes there every Sunday for their lunch. A round trip of 160 miles for a Jalfrezi. Now that's what I call a foodie. Her Carbon Curry footprint is somewhat large, but when you've found somewhere special, the Polar Bears are on their own. Off to buy the Sunday Papers to see what the book reviews will be like. I always get excited before the event and then angry when I read that they've all just reviewed the same books that appeared in The Independent on Friday and Gaurdian yesterday. I do suffer from PSRCSD. Post Sunday Review Coverage Stress Disorder. Well, here goes.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

P.G's Tips

I've treated myself this week to a 'Week-End Wodehouse.' A collection of short stories from the master himself. There is an introduction from Hilaire Belloc, which sums up PG Wodehouse's writing beautifully. He says.
'His object is comedy in the most modern sense of that word: that is, his object is to present the laughable, and he does this with such mastery and skill that he nearly always approaches, and often reaches, perfection. To write prose so that your search for effect appears on the surface is to write bad prose. To write prose so that you get your effects by unusual words, deliberatley chosen for their oddity, is to write bad prose. To write prose so that the reader thinks more of the construction than of the image conveyed is to write bad prose.'
There are a lot of very famous writers who fall into the latter category, who win prizes and are lauded. The post modern, modern post modern style of literature has surely had its day and we can go back to storytelling, from gifted writers who write beautifully. Simples.

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Death Of Celebriture.

I found an interesting article yesterday in The New Statesman. Mind you, any article that concurs with your own ideas, always is. It was written by Nicolas Clee, ex editor of The Bookseller, whose premise is, Celebrities saved, then killed the book trade.
www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/04/book-judy-richard-publishing It was initiated at the Galaxy book awards when TV stars/Comedians came to the podium to present or receive an award and announced that they were writing or had been signed to write a biography for the 2009 Christmas market. Apparently a dull ache could be heard groaning its way around the auditorium. It's not merely the ludicrous advances payed to the likes of Ant and Dec, it's the time, energy , momentum and space that these book take up which leads to the stagnation of the book trade. In times of trouble I don't want to hear about the trials and tribulations of whether to choose between 'Crystal,' or Dom Perignon,' I want to be transported elsewhere by a book that has a great story and is beautifully told. Hackneyed Slebs yawning on about life death and the Green room, is not my idea of fun. Let's hope the public reaises that the future of books lies in the hands of new writers and not old comedians. Publishing for far too long has been forced through the star spangled stockings of Celebrity. Celebriture is hopefully on its way out, and I for one will raise a glass of Corporation pop to that.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Bard, Blair and Bono.

A day after the budget and it is now official. We are all going to Hell in a handcart. But there was some help for the publishing world. Hidden in the minutiae of 'The Red Book,' Alistair Darling announced that there will be a 17.5% Tax rebate for those celebrities who write their own biographies/novel and don't rely on ghost writers. Now, given this financial incentive will slebs turn to the Thesaurus or their Accountant? Only time will tell. I'm listening to the radio and Tony Blair is pontificating on religion, which is laughable. Now Pope Tony is joined by Bono, who has just been given the job of religious Op Ed journalist on The New York Times. Why do those people in power think that anybody will listen to these men, whose actions of late have made them morally bankrupt. Blair lies to the UK about the build up to the war in Iraq and Bono tells us to give more to Africa whilst slithering off the U2 accounts to Holland so as not to pay their alloted taxes. The Hypocrisy and Hubris of the serially deluded. Small minded men who just won't let go. Happy birthday Shakespeare.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Moose plays Abba.

The Moose had a very productive day at The London Bookfair yesterday. Through a superior circular breathing technique I managed to rant on for an hour and a half without interruption. Although I didn't drivel and foam at the mouth, there were times when I did veer off and point several small but perfectly formed fingers at the Big Publishing houses for buying space in the high street bookchains. Hannah Davies was very polite and smiled in all the right places and I thank her for her patience and understanding, although I was unnerved at the bald headed/goatee quotient of many of the male attendees.
My next appointment was with Jill Hughes who specialises in foreign rights and has decided to take on our latest publication, The art of being dead by Stephen Clayton. She told me they have already had some interest from Sweden. Which is great news.I love those Scandinavians.
Bluemoose is proud to announce it will be publishing Dan Brown's next novel as a pop up, paper engineered, part work, priced at £2.99 a chapter. Orders are now being taken for publication in October.
I also bumped into many friends and foes. I talked to the friends and scowled at the foes.
After a hectic 8 hours at the bookfair I was looking forward to a quiet trip back home on the train. It didn't happen. Why? I was interrupted by a chap behind me talking to his girlfriend/wife about the toilet habits of their cat. The conversation lasted five minutes and I was not spared a single detail of it's malfunctioning sphincter. Now, I'm not a callous person, but its a cat. Open the door and at night, throw it out. It has fur. Nature has provided it with protection. It will be all right. He got off at Peterborough and from thence forth my return to Hebden Bridge was blissful. Today I await news from our postie, Gary. If he's singing along to any Abba tunes I will know that the Scandinavian publishing gods are doing their Thor like thing.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The London Book Fair

Down to the London Bookfair today. I feel like Jack going to market with some beans and hoping that one of them will be magic. I'm seeing Hannah Davies at 2pm, she is a journalist at The Bookseller magazine, the organ of the booktrade as they like to say. I will be ranting about this and that, mostly that. The Moose will be going on about ,'CELIBRITURE,' you know, all the Celeb Lit that's out there at the moment. I've made the word up, trying to be profound like Martin Amis. Trying to create a new buzzword that will stick and then I can make a few quid out of it. Then its on to meet an author to have a chat about his book and at 4.45 I have an appointment with Jill Hughes who's a leading light on foreign rights. We'll be talking about selling the rights to The art of being dead by Stephen Clayton. Hopefully there is some enlightened European publishers out there who will be able to see what a brilliant book it is. I know there is a French film producer out there somewhere who wants to make a name for himself. And just before I get on the train home I'm catching up with Laura Brudenell, PR to the stars who will be doing all the PR for Bluemoose's next book, Falling through clouds by Anna Chilvers. I will sleep well on the train knowing that a magic bean has been bought and all will be well in Bluemoose Land. By Christmas The Bluemoose Antlers will be lit up in lights.

Monday, 20 April 2009

JG Ballard

It is a sad day as we here that JG Ballard has died at the age of 78 of prostate cancer. From 'Empire of the sun' through to 'Crash' and his memoirs last year, his apocolyptic take on the world made him one of the greatest writers of the late twentieth century. He also made multi storey car parks in Watford seem wonderful. In todays' branded, toothpaste tubed formulaic world of bling publishing, his writing may never have seen the light of day. Long may independent publishers take risks and bring writers with a different take of the world to the bookshelves.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Poison Ivy

When I won a national writing competion a few moons ago, I was invited down to Londinium to meet my agent. I was 41 but the agent told me I couldn't be a new writer and be over forty. The magazines and publishers wouldn't hack that, so she made me 39. I lost two years. Already I'd entered the strange world of publishing. They also told me that something like 60% of new fiction titles are bought by women aged between 25 and 55, which is astounding. Does that mean men don't buy books ?Did I then have to have a sex change to have some sort of relevance to this market? Now I wanted to be published but when it comes to recoupling the pipework, sorry, enoughs enough, which is obvious really as they are spelled the same. They took me out and wined and dined me. I went to the Ivy, you know, Happy Eater but for celebland types, all lippy, pout and papparazzi. I had lunch with an India and a Tristram and they both sounded like something out of a BBC costume drama. I was from Stockport, so good they named it once. This was the first place I'd seen people wearing sunglasses inside. No post modern irony here, they seemed so desperate to be seen not being seen, I wanted to go over and give them a cuddle. All so lonely and loud. More tales soon I have to make breakfast for Mooselings.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Tortology

I have just been speaking to the Cheshire tortoise society, they are having their annual show in Woodford. I picked up a flyer at Central Library in Manchester and emailed them. Their secretary Anne, had already read 'Gardening with tortoises,' by Pip Aspy, one of our backlist titles, her daughter had given it to her for christmas. She loved it. We're now just sorting out the finer details, but they'll be taking what David Bellamy said, 'was one of his books of the year.' Being a small publisher you have to find different markets to the traditional high street stores. It takes a bit of leg work, is just as rewarding and we make a bit more money. We don't have to set up accounts with wholesalers on the South Coast to deal with a bookshop ten miles away. We also don't have to deal with a distribution 'Hub,' which as far as we're concerned could be orbiting Jupiter as for the effect it has on us.
I'm off to London for the bookfair on Tuesday to be interviewed by The Bookseller and then I'm seeing a foreign rights agent to talk about Steve Clayton's book 'The art of being dead. Word has just reached me that a copy has been put into the hands of the rock and roll god, Johnny Marr, he of The Smiths, now playing with The Cribs. Apparently he now lives in Portland Oregan. I'll let you know what he thinks. If he doesn't say it's the best thing he's ever read, his vinyl will be despatched forthwith to the dustbin. Probably not.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Dirty Gold

I picked up a great book yesterday and for conspiracy theorists everywhere its manna from heaven. However, when I started reading The Rise of the Fourth Reich by Jim Marrs, I was immediately hooked. The basic premise is that Nazi loot, scientists and high ranking German offcials after the war were allowed into the USA and allowed to immerse themselves into business and scientific life. It is well known about how without the Nazi scientists the Amerian space programme wouldn't have happened but Marr lays out dispassionately his evidence and very compelling it is. It is very worrying how massive American banks looked the other way when tainted nazi money was cleared through their systems and it goes all the way down to George Dubbyas grandfather. Worth a read and there are certainly a slew of uncomfortable questions that need answering.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Carp Wars

I was in Manchester yesterday and popped into the Deansgate branch of Waterstones. Scouring the shelves I happened across great title, and perhaps already the leading contender for oddest title of the year.

CARP FISHING:

ADVANCED TACTICS

Fantastic. Piscine warfare writ large. Fishermen in body armour pitting their wits against scaly monsters of the deep armed to the gills with water bombs. This title pre-supposes that there was a first title called Carp fishing, Tactics, but I'll have to look into that. Now I know very little about fishing, and can understand communing with nature with rod in hand, but advanced tactical warfare against the finny haddock does seem rather extreme. There is a whole library of further titles out there to be published.
I can see George Lucas buying the film rights and producing 'Carp Wars.' You can already hear the John Williams soundtrack. Can't wait.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Tom Palmer

I spent a couple of hours yesterday morning having a chat with children's author Tom Palmer about books, reading, football and the North South divide. More of that later. Tom is tireless in his promotion of children's literacy and spends a vast majority of his waking hours racing up and down the country talking to schools and children about books and the joys of reading. He was nomintated for the Blue Peter Children's Fiction award. I would give him a gold badge for his dedication to national literacy, apart from writing accessable books young lads can read. He is published by Puffin. Please buy as many of his books as possible so he can continue his fantastic work. He has a young daughter to feed, and he supports Leeds United, but as we both detest Man United, we didn't come to blows. As the father of two lads myself, I know that once boys make the transition form junior to secondary school, it is so difficult to get them to read for pleasure. A combination of peer pressure, the onset of adolescence, other constraints on their time or perhaps unappealling books, means that many are lost to the wonders of reading for pleasure for years, if they are ever to return to books at all. It is up to writers and publishers to make sure that the books we are publishing are both relevant and entertaining to young teenagers otherwise we will lose them all to electronic games forever. Tom writes such books.
I could tell you a story about a Blue Peter presenter and his dissing of half the population but it would become a national scandal and I can't afford the legal fees. Needless to say, I've packed away my sticky backed plastic and The Moose will never again be watching the BBC's flagship children's programme. Shame on them. Biddy Baxter would be livid, as for Shep!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Stilts and Ducks

Hebden Bridge was invaded yesterday by the international duck race fraternity, as the town hosted its annual Easter Monday Duck Race. As befits such an event there were various people dressed up to promote all the fun and frolics. The Moose and a couple of friends were returning from having a coffee and a bun when we were confronted by two eight feet tall Easter bunnies on stilts. They nearly found themselves deposited in the river as the crowds pressed onto the bridge for a better look. However, with their excellent circus skills they managed to keep themselves upright and an Easter Bunnie massacre was avoided.
We went to see 'Fast and Furious' at the Pictures. If you like your films monosyllabic, action packed and with enough horse power to make Lewis Hamilton look impotent, it's the film for you. I did enjoy it, as did the family. I could go all Mark Kermode and say it was a 21 century take of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but with different horse power. But that would be prententious wouldn't it? Back to work today to see if the Easter hordes have bought lots of books.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Egg Free Publishing

Moose HQ is now a chocolate free zone. Official.
Tomorrow I'm meeting children's author Tom Palmer for a coffee and a chat about books, marketing them and how to get boys reading at Secondary school. Bluemoose is setting up a publishing programme with Calder High School and Calderdale Readers Groups. The intention is to get both these groups involved in how a manuscript evolves from 280 pages of A4 into an edited book sat on the shelves of your local bookshop and library. How will they market the book? Who is it aimed at? Book jacket design ? Blurb? The casual book browser has a fifth of a second to notice the jacket. How do you catch their eye? Tom is the author of Foul Play, published by Puffin. He's won many awards and is always doing reading events at schools. I want to pick his brains. Will tell you more on Wednesday.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The square root of Easter Eggs

Over the break I have managed not to do any DIY and the gravitational pull from B&Q has failed to pull me into their orbit and buy a ladder, but there is always today to contend with. However, I did re-pot a plant, so I am culpable to some extent.
I have just started reading Christopher Potter's, 'You are here,' a portable history of the universe. It is very interesting and unlike Mr Hawking's book, accessible to all. Everyone can get past page 14. There is a wonderful definition of time by the American Physicist John Wheeler, as that which,' keeps everything from happening at once,' which if it did happen ,would be very inconvenient. There are lots of big numbers and things and planets that I thought were planets but are now blobs of gas. But I'm with Winnie the Pooh about time and the world. When he says. 'A long time ago, probably about last Friday,' I think that's all we really need to know about time. There will be lots of you who think differently, but then all I have to worry about today is gettting the wrapping off my Easter egg. Big numbers are just that, big numbers. But a chocolate egg is life itself.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Friday, 10 April 2009

Moose et Orbe

It being Good Friday I want to address the universe before El Papa rants on about condom wearage in Africa or some other such nonsense. Happy Easter, although as an annual event it does seem to charge round the calendar at will, it being the first Friday after the moon rises in the fourth equinox on a cold Tuesday after the parish priest has eaten a Mars Bar, or some such like. We had some brethren round from the JW's yesterday, a delightful but slightly nervous lady who was a tad breathless, but then if you're spouting forth the word of God, you would be a bit nervous. She gave me a leaflet and I got to thinking that the JW's artists must have all learnt their trade from the sets of HG Wells' 'The Time machine.' It's a kind of Mills and Boon meets Sci Fi happening, all very surreal and too cosy. Like DFS adverts set in your back garden.
The Moose message for Easter 2009 is.

Enjoy your Hot Cross Buns and buy more books.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Queen and I

I got knocked up by the Queen this morning. She's eager I thought. But apparently her only thoughts were for pennies. Maundy Pence that is. She stood outside Moose HQ with a purple bag full of the Maundy monies. Of course I let her in, took the monies and offered her a cup of the finest tea Hebden can provide. And can that woman talk. She has problems. Not that I can divulge the essence of our conversation, needless to say, Moose Counsellors are on their way back to Buckingham Palace to have a quiet word with those upstairs who are causing the rift. The Maundy Pence will be being auctuioned at an opportune date so that Bluemoose can prosper in these desperate times. Off to buy some hot cross buns and a few Easter eggs, for tomorrow is the start of Easter proper. The trip to the gaol went without too many problems. There was no snapping of latex gloves and all the wardens seemed pleasant enough but then I am an innocent man, which Billy Joel isn't after penning that horrendous tune. They took my passport, photocopied it, returned it and then I was off back to Moose Towers. Like many of you out there no doubt, when confronted with the long arm of the law, even though I haven't done anything, I felt as though I had and if prodded would have confessed to every unsolved crime in the West of Yorkshire. I remain an innocent man. But for how long?

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Passport and Pooh

I had a phone call from Security yesterday. They want to see my passport. You see The Moose is appearing at a local gaol to do a reading event there in the not so distant. And although I have filled in every form you could possibly think of, they want to see my ten year passport, which is, I suppose, a good thing. They don't want somebody from the local branch of The Yorkshire Republican Army turning up , or The Real YRA, or The Hebden Bidge Branch of Al Quieda, so fingerprints all primed I will drive down today and present the necessary forms. I will be reading from my novel ANTHILLS AND STARS, which looks at hippies moving into the Calder Valley in 1968 and upsetting the locals. Scott Pack said it was .' A warm and beautifully observed comedy which is very funny. Kevin Duffy has Alan Bennett's fine ear for dialogue.' Apparently humorous titles are not in vogue. In times of economic doom the public don't do laughter, or so the big cheeses say. A publishing director recently told me that,' He got his fingers burned recently with humour titles and he wasn't minded to take a punt on any more.' Sad isn't it. I listened yesterday to Alan Bennett reading Winnie the Pooh and it made me smile. Such simple and amusing stories. It reminded me of one of my favourite books called, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, which looks at Winnie the Pooh from a Taoist perspective and is stunning in its simplicity. Pooh ambles through life and always seems to get the honey. Food for thought in these mad and troubled times.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The library and the tortoise

I was in Manchester yesterday and popped into the Central library. It is a massive rotunda of a building and was built with penny subscriptions from the people of the city in the mid nineteenth century. It is one of the finest buildings in the country and the councillors can't touch it, sell it off or close it. It is written in the charter that it belongs to the people of Manchester. Love it. However as the Moose was gliding through I noticed a leaflet, announcing Tortoise Day at Woodford Community Centre, so I popped it into my pocket. On the Moose backlist is a title called, 'Gardening with tortoises by P Aspy. It follows the trials and tribulations of Pip as she transports her 26 Indian Star tortoises, two parrots and a naturist husband from good old blighty to Spain and then France.There is an hilarious episode when a nun from the neighbouring convent pops round with the some Dandelion leaves for the tortoises and bumps into Pip's naked husband pruning. The book consists of letters written to her sister and they are very funny indeed. David Bellamy thought so and gave it a wonderful review. I gave The Chelonian society a ring, they're organising the event and Anne, who I spoke to, had been given the book for Christmas and loved it. Job done. Backlist hopefully sold and everyone is happy. Libraries, don't you just love them.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Sense at last

At last Andy Burnham, the culture secretary, has decided to look into the closure of libraries on the Wirral. Previously the foresighted councillors had decided to close 11 libraries in a cost cutting exercise and the secretary of state, 'wasn't minded,' to look into it. He 's finally seen sense. In these difficult economic times it is heartening to see that library use has risen by over 30% and long may this continue. Here in Hebden Bridge we have just seen our library undergo refurbishment and it is now a fantastic space. It has all the tinternet stuff and is very user friendly. My only one concern is that there seem to be less books.
Let us hope that common sense prevails and at a time when that well loved species of Homo Sapien , Bankus Corruptus, is being saved with billion pound bailouts, libraries and library budgets will merit similar consideration.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sex in a tiara

I was really disappointed to hear that Transworld had confirmed my suspicions and were now committing all their eggs into the 'Brand Authorship' basket. Messrs McNab and McKenna have been given seven book deals because Transworld think the way forward in a recession is to build their Brands. Nothing about writing. Just their Brands. The ex SAS soldier will be writing two detective novels, two childrens' books, a one off fiction title and two books on big boys guns and yomping. Now I have no problem with Mr McNab, he is trying to get the best for his and his own, but what about Transworld and their vision for the future. Scary branding times. Their MD Mr Finlay did say they were still going to invest 'in new writing with one off fiction'. Ta very much mate. That leaves the back door open to independent publishers. So reader if you want great new writing don't go near the big boys because all the writing will be by Mr McNab and Mr McKenna. From Cookery to Astral Physics. Brand Literature. Go to the independents. It all makes sense. The biggest brand in the country is THE QUEEN, and we at BLUEMOOSE are proud to announce that we have secured a seven book deal with the head of The Saxe- Coburg -Gotha family. There will be 3 fiction titles, one on Dysfunctional Families, two on Canine Corgi Care and the last will be How To Have Sex In A Tiara. The future's so bright I'll have to wear shades.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Life in the fast lane.

The Moose is off to London again. I got a call from 'The Bookseller' magazine which is the organ of the trade. They want to do a profile of me. So I'm going to meet them at the London Bookfair, buy them a coffee and a bun and give them an antlers' view of life from the 'other side.' Life death and publishing. It will be my chance to enter the Big Brother House of Publishing for a bit. I can run around and lob the odd chair at them and then exit left. They want to know about my life as a publishers rep for a zillion years, why I remortgaged the house and started Bluemoose and what I think about publishing as a small independent. Whilst I'm down at the book fair I will get a chance to saunter through the alleways of international publishing tapping my silver topped cane whilst whistling an independent tune. I will try to catch the flavour of what goes on, canapes and all. May even flog a few Bluemoose T shirts while I'm at it. I may not be able to do a blog tomorrow as I'm running in the Grand National at Aintree this afternoon. You can't miss me. I'm the one with the antlers and the worried jockey aboard. What my dear wife Hetha has to do to earn a crust.

Friday, 3 April 2009

To the World and Beyond

Cambridge may have lost the boat race at the weekend, but there are compensations. The Moose and Stephen Clayton arrived in the unversity town yesterday to raise some cheer and enlighten both town and gown to the delights of 'The art of being dead, and what Bluemoose Books can offer. And that is bold and original fiction from a new voice that doesn't pander to the generic and formulaic styles subscribed to by the 'Bling' Publishing houses that reside in the metropolis. Steve was interviewed on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and delivered a bravaura performation. We then went onto The Borders Readers Group which is run by Cambridgeshire Libraries, and a lively and robust debate was had, as the politicians say. Some people didn't enjoy the book although they did say it was beautifully written and compelling. That is the beauty of what we're trying to do. All fiction doesn't have to be redemptive, because life isn't. Life is hard and difficult and can be enjoyable and uplifting. The beauty of literature is that if you want it in literary chocolate form, it's there for you in every 3for 2 section on the high street. If you want something that gets the synapses buzzing and disturbs the equilibrium, then The art of being dead is for you. It is a brilliant novel written buy a significant new writer who should be hailed as such. No puff piece from The Moose but the words of a publisher who used to buy all the books for Waterstones.
The Moose wheels are now coolling off for a while, the boots and shirt have been put away, Easter is upon us and now we await if The art of being dead will be bought by some enlightened foreign publishers at The London Book Fair. I don't believe in prayer, but the Moose Reiki machine will be pointing all points south.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Cambridge

'Tis the last day that the Moose and Steve Clayton, author of 'The art of being dead,' are on the road. Today we are in Cambridge.I've contacted the university types and spoke to a very polite chap who sounded as though he were straight out of a PG Wodehouse novel, but you won't get me casting the odd aspert about a classless society and how things haven't changed much in the past fifity years. No class warrior I. Tomorrow I'm off to hurl some prose at the G20 wallers. I will be the fifth scarf to the left. I digress.First stop is BBC Radio Cambridge for the Sue Dougan afternoon show at 3.00pm. Steve is being interviewed about life on the road as a professional musician, having his art exhibited at The Royal Academy and finally having a book published. Then it's down the road to Borders Bookshop where Steve will be signing copies of his book at 6.30pm, doing a reading and then answering questions from readers groups from Cambridgeshire libraries. I usually get asked questions from the attendees about publishing ,the fight for bookshelf space and yes, there is the odd rant about how the big houses pay for space, but we live in the real world of retail and that's how it is, so we just hope that our books are good enough to get noticed. Which of course they are. With the odd nudge from the Bluemoose cattle prod of course. And then there's the blackmail. You don't sell books for over twenty years and not find things out about booksellers. All these management types started out on the shopfloor somewhere and the Moose never forgets a face and he has many, many pictures. Off to put some air in the tyres and iron a shirt. After today, my publishers shirt will go back into its drawer only to be worn again when Steve wins the Booker. Or another prize. Or we start again with our double act in the autumn.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Potter Mania

Bloomsbury have just announced that there will, after all, be another Harry Potter title. This news, coming as it does a day after the Wizard's publisher announced profits down by nearly a third, will delight the City and the millions of Potter fans. The final Potter book, a prequel called Harry Potter and The Magic Abacus will be published next year 2010. JK Rowling was unavailable for comment, but Nigel Newtown CEO of Bloomsbury said he was,' delighted that at last Potter fans had another book to look forward to.' Bloomsbury's shareholders too, will be looking for a bumper payout.
Barack Obama visits Moose Towers today. Security is at an an all time high and the Bluemoose CCTV camera will be loaded with film and turned on. If I can get the technology right, all bloggers visiting the site later on today will be able to watch The Moose take on the most powerful man on the planet in a one to one Basketball competition. The stakes are high. In fact The future of the planet is at stake. If I win then the Moose coffers will be overflowing. If BO wins, seven Polar Bears get a berg for life. I know who my money is on and the Polar Bears are looking distinctly worried.