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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Blog Special - Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens, now with added Pinnock!

I promised you a special little something today, didn't I?  Yes.  Well, it wasn't that, so you can take that look off your face.

For today I wish to draw your attention to a book.  Yes, yes, I know, nothing new there, I'm so perpetually drawing your attention to my books that you buy them merely as a form of self defence - but today I'm beckoning you hither in my comely fashion in order to appreciate another book.

Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens.  Yes, this one. You can buy it here.
It's a sequel to Pride and Prejudice.  With tentacles.  And it is most amusing (particularly liked the Lieutenant Pigeon gag), filled with puns, gags, plays on words, jokes, humorous interplays and general waggishness of all kinds, plus what is actually rather a good story.  The Darcys are married (albeit as yet without an heir, the getting of which is becoming a sore, not like that...), family members are a cause for concern, and there are lights in the sky over Rosings.  I can say no more without revealing that mpmmpph mpmmmphhh mmmphhh.... oh, thank you Mr Pinnock for your timely intervention of a hand over my mouth.  You can let go now.

Thank you.

And, in honour of this publication, I have been allowed to ask the fragrant Jonathan Pinnock a few searching questions.  Here are the results...

If you were a cheese, what kind would you be?

       Pont l'Eveque. Bit alien, crustier than Camembert and more than a little smelly.

What is your favourite T shirt slogan?

       "I am a bomb disposal technician. If you see me running, try to keep up." Although the effect is usually ruined by having this printed on the front rather than the back.

Dalek or Cyberman, and why?

       Dalek every time. The Cybermen always remind me of Wallace in the Wrong Trousers.

What would Mrs Darcy put in a time capsule to be discovered in a hundred years?

       Funnily enough, she did precisely this and I've found it. But I've been sworn to secrecy. All I can say is that when it is finally revealed, it will change everything. Forget faster than light travel. This is the real deal.

Mr Darcy versus Wickham – who would win in a fist fight?

       I ... hold on, I thought you said something else there. Phew. So, Darcy vs Wickham? Don't know really but it would be worth staging, if only to hear Lizzy crying out "Leave 'im, Fitzy, 'e's not worth it!"

If you could abolish one piece of beaurocracy, what would it be?

       I think it might be fun to abolish the law of gravity. We once had to write about life without gravity at school and one of my mates said that everyone would have to wear heavy boots to weigh them down. He's a top banker now. True story.

And if you want to chat about anything else...inflatable Daleks, top five Carry On film moments... anything...(only not the one where Barbara Windsor's top flies off. Everyone says that.)

       Actually I have a question about inflatable daleks. The plunger arm thing on ours is always a bit limp, however often we blow it up. Does anyone out there have any cures for plunger dysfunction?

So now you know a little more about the insurpassably lovely Mr Pinnock, perhaps you'd like to take a little potter on over to his blog at and see what he has to say about me?

You can go armed, if you must...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Psyche-curtain critique and why monks don't know a Jag from a Merc

This weekend I paid a visit to Mount Grace Priory.  Oh, it's all right, it's open to the public - I'm not about to take holy orders or anything, for one thing I don't think they'd have me, and another...well, I can't do the costumes.  My legs are too short, I look like a Dalek in a whimple. Anyway.  I went. Look.
This is it.  But you can't see me...

And so.  I asked lots of what I considered pertinent and well-thought-out questions about the monks who used to live there - Jaguar versus Mercedes -their preferred manufacturer, what they considered to be good mileage to the gallon, whether performance should triumph over appearance.  Turns out they were Carthusians.  Not Car Enthusiasts.  I probably can't go back.

And in other news.  Don't forget - in fact, pencil it into your diaries RIGHT NOW - next weekend I shall be giving you the one-time-only (injunction pending) opportunity to read all about Mr Jonathan Pinnock, author of the wonderful 'Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens' novel (out now, all good bookshops, reasonable price etc).  I have exerted influence, threatened blackmail and taken posession of the negatives in order to bring you this exclusive(ish) insight into the world of a self-confessed Inflatable Dalek owner and writer.  I've even asked him some questions which may or may not allow you a peek into his psyche!  All right, so the question I asked was 'please may I have the key to your psyche, so I can show some people round?', and he has promised that we might be able to have a poke around, as long as we don't criticise the curtains.
It looks like this.  The book, obviously, not his psyche.  Although that might be an assumption...

And finally.  Or finially, if you are of a staircase turn of mind.  You may have noted that I revealed that I have signed a contract with those patient people at Choc Lit for my latest novel, entitled 'Vampire State of Mind'.  It's about vampires.  And, tangentially, minds. You are going to hear a lot more about this book...  In fact, in preparation for it, I went into a branch of Waterstones at the weekend (not at Mount Grace Priory, they aren't that enlightened, it was in Northallerton, actually) and perused the shelves.  I know, I know, I should never peruse in public after that last time, what with all the fuss and the straitjacket and that nasty court case, but the place wasn't busy and I think I got away with it.

And what should my perusal reveal?  Well, I'll tell you.  Every single vampire book on the shelf was American. Yes!  Set in America, with American people (and, presumably, vampires)!  This may not come as a shock, indeed, may seem perfectly just and proper if you are one of my American friends, but to me it was appalling!  Britain has vampires too, you know!  Well-dressed and well-mannered (unless they go off the rails), a liking for technology and filing and an almost insurmountable obsession with really fast cars. Well, mine do, anyway.

And with that appetite-whetting teaser I shall take my leave.  Don't forget next week is Jonathan Pinnock week - play nicely and, whatever you do, don't criticise the curtains...

 Although, you know, if they're like this I think we might have to.  It's for his own good, after all.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A moving story. With an inflatable giraffe, and promises of duffel coats.

Today we drove to Sheffield to drop off a daughter.  Oh, it's all right, it was one of my daughters, I didn't just fancy a long drive in order to lose someone else's daughter - it's much too far to go to miscellaneously dispose of any girl children that happen to be lounging about on the sofa.  Anyway.  Off we set in the big car, which is  large enough to contain (variously), two teddy bears, an inflatable giraffe, a hot water bottle, two life-sized bags of dried pasta and a knife-fork-and-spoon set.  Without which, apparently, life at University wouldn't be worth living.  So, it appears that said daughter is expecting a flood, from which she will be saved by inflating the giraffe, float to safety whilst surviving on pasta and teddy-bear stuffing, protected from the chill only by her fleecy-covered hot water bottle.
Quite how this fits in with Accountancy I have yet to have revealed to me.  Perhaps all accountants are secretly sitting on cushions like this whilst auditing your accounts.  The thought makes me smile, anyway.

So.  At the crack of lunch-time we set out for Sheffield, which on paper is only...ooooh...about....this far away.  However, given the general lack of roads around here it took three ice ages before we arrived, and almost an entire packet of chocolate eclairs (not me, not me, the driver ate them...) even whilst travelling at speeds approaching warp (at one point I think light actually bent around the car, and I swear I am now three years younger than I was when we left).  But we got there.  And then the doors wouldn't open, even when we waved the Magic Key of Doom at the transmitter and uttered Harry-Potteresque sayings at it ('Openupimus' and similar).

The knob turned the other way, apparently.  Who knew?

And then, to add insult to an already quite injurious day, she insisted on coming back home with us!  More stuff to transport later, apparently!  So it's not even as though I can sit down with a nice hot cup of tea and the knowledge of a job well done - no, I can perch on the edge of a sofa on which said daughter is now sprawled (tired out after all that door-opening, you know), and look forward to doing the whole thing again! 

Well, after all, we haven't moved the stuffed sloth, the fourteen odd socks, three hundredweight of coal and the thirty-year-old duffel coat yet.

Try to imagine my joy at being able to get rid of this.  Wouldn't be so bad, but it's ninety feet long...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Some duck tape and the promise of future inflatable Daleks. And Cyber-Stomp Boots. And Jonathan Pinnock gets a mention...

Okay, there was a little bit of duck tape.  An an inflatable Dalek, but I'm not responsible for that.  Also lots of chocolate, some swearing, biscuits (but not HobNobs)... and I think I may have mentioned cheese.  Probably.

Yes, the blog tour is over.

If you missed it...well, you missed it, but I'm sure we'll all be very understanding and only make in-jokes when we think you're not listening.  But it does mean that Starstruck has been launched upon you all like a missile.  A soft one.  Full of words.  So, rather like a book being thrown at you.  Sorry, but I'm going to have to do this...

Yep, that one.  Out now, as if you didn't know...

And, if you find yourself at a loose end and you happen to be in the vicinity of Kirkbymoorside (hey, it happens, all right, people find themselves all over the place at times... and it's really not inconceivable that you might just be wandering around and be passing Kirkbymoorside, should you happen to know where that is and if you don't...well, just follow the trail of biscuit crumbs.  I'll be at the end) on Wednesday... all right, it's a run-on sentence, but I adjudge you to be more than capable of following a sentence that has more than five words in it, so look on this whole thing as a form of flattery...  What?  Where was I?  Oh, yes, if you happen to be in the environs of Kirkbmoorside around 6pm on Wednesday the 7th of September, I shall be in Summit Bookshop doing a kind of launchie thing.  Sort of.  Although the only way I can think of to properly launch a book is to hold it in my hand, wind my arm back and lob it skywards... So you might want to wear some form of protective clothing too.  And a hat.  A hard one.

I'm thinking this sort of thing.  Although my colour scheme is probably going to be maroon and ochre, so you may stand out a bit...

So.  Yes.  In the bookshop, in protective clothing, armed with biscuits in order to distract me from my lobular activities for long enough to enable you to gain a glass of wine and possibly a chocolate truffle or two without being in danger of losing any of your extremities to a well-aimed copy of Starstruck.  Be there.

It's a sort of threat, you see.  Never been terribly good at them.

And now, in further news...

On 24th of September of this very year...I shall be posting a rather different sort of thing.  You see...oh, it's a long story and possibly rather boring to anyone who doesn't possess an inflatable Dalek and the potential of Cyber-Stomp boots, but anyway...I shall be talking about (and possibly to, but he might be shy and hiding inside the aforementioned Dalek), the very lovely and fragrant...all right, he's only fairly lovely and fragrant but I'm using artistic licence here...Mr Jonathan Pinnock!  Yes, you heard right, Jonathan Pinnock - author of the slightly less lovely and possibly not at all fragrant 'Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens'.  I have a copy right here, in fact.  No, not there, slightly higher and to the left...yes.  Just there.

 That's the one.

So consider yourselves forwarned, dear reader.  For Forwarned is Forearmed, apparently, although why you'd want four arms I cannot imagine, possibly to ward off those frantically slung copies of Starstruck.