Cruel and Unusual Punnishments

This book of groans (and unwilling laughs) is now available as a paperback from the monster Amazon. They’re charging £6.99 for the print version and £2.99 for the electronic version; it’s only a slim volume, but David Moss’s cartoon illustrations (which I consider a major selling point) make the printing costs higher than they’d be for a text-only book of the same size. It’s being printed in the USA, although the author, illustrator and publisher are all British, so in order not to be out of pocket on the deal I’ll have to wait until April to receive the pile of copies I’ve bought in order to sell at gigs. Shipping from the States takes a long time unless you pay through the nose for express delivery, which would put the unit cost above what most audience members at gigs would be willing to pay.

However, I did get half a dozen advance copies and I have to say the printer and publisher have done a great job. Apart from one misplaced comma in the final verse item there are no errors that I can see. So far, there’s just one customer review on Amazon, which describes every item in the book as “a groaner… guaranteed to make you smile” and gave it five stars. Thank you, Hank! More reviews would be very welcome, especially if they’re similarly positive! Those who’ve read the book tell me they’ve really enjoyed it, and enjoyed inflicting the contents on their families and friends still more, but I await their official verdicts…

The same publisher tells me that my novel National Cake Day in Ruritania is now being processed and I live in hope that it will be in the public domain before the end of the present calendar year. Watch this space… Meanwhile I’m busy with other writing projects, including another couple of short stories that I hope might be published in magazines in the near future.

I’m just back home from a brilliant storytelling workshop, inspired and exhausted (the workshop was in Cromford, more than an hour’s drive each way, so early start and latish finish), so as soon as I’ve caught up with sleep I’ll be working with renewed vigour on stories to tell at sessions on March 12th (Buxton) and 18th (Ashton). On Wednesday coming (1st March) I’ll meet my fellow-writers Margaret and Pamela to discuss future Meet the Author sessions – at which I’ll promote Cruel and Unusual Punnishments as well as telling more of my collection of Peak District folktales.

My next major literary challenge is to complete a novella I sketched a couple of years ago, and after that I hope to return to the novel I put on the back burner because it wasn’t developing as I’d hoped. I believe I can now solve the problems it gave me… but we’ll have to see.


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