Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Cheer up and Walk it Off - Chronic Illness

Been struggling a little with motivation of late. I thought I'd post an overdue treatise on the joys and sorrows of schizophrenic affective disorder, but this time on chronic pain, too. Because it's not a competition, is it? Equal rights for illness! *Fist pump*

First up, it's always been a bugbear of mine - depression et al are just cameo players in the daytime tv show of your life who you can just write out of the script. No, they are not. They're recurring characters, relations of the producers who in a terrifying display of the power of nepotism force you to let them have roles in your life from walk-ons to major roles.

Mine's a shithead. I don't like the downs, I don't like the (less now) paranoid spells, I don't enjoy the anhedonia...that's kind of the fucking point of anhedonia, isn't it? I don't enjoy the irritable restlessness of spiders crawling beneath my skin, or of their tender little webs brushing my skin.

Chronic pain, though...that shit gets anyone down, doesn't it? I don't think there are many people in the world who enjoy being in pain all day, every day. I find it quite and quietly depressing. I say quietly because we don't grumble, do we? It hurts every day, so it's not like you can walk around all day saying 'ooch', and 'I can't do that because I'm in pain'...so we try to say things like 'ah, it's not so bad', or we try to be honest with ourselves (I do) as to how bad it is, and if I can manage something.

I have arthritis, which is the major player. My wife's convinced I've got fibromyalgia, too. Fibromyalgia translated to 'muscular and fibrous connective tissue pains'. Bit of a shit definition, isn't it? Whether I've got it or not, some days I can't stand up straight, can't sleep, haven't got the energy to walk five metres from my study to the kitchen. I get restless legs, so can't sleep. It feeds into a low mood, low energy, so it's a cycle.

I don't mind taking my crazy pills. It doesn't worry me. I take anti-psychotics, mood stabilisers, and anti-depressants, the ocassional one for anxiety. Now I take painkillers everyday. I'm not worried about that, either. If you're ill and something helps, take it. Why not? People worry about being addicted to painkillers. Fuck that. I'd rather be addicted to painkillers than a glutton for punishment. Pain's a rubbish addiction.

So, walk it off? Cheer up? No. I won't. I can't. No one can. Sure, you can do things to help yourself, but that's so shallow, isn't it? If you're so low you can't get up off the floor, literally, you're not about to go out for a jog. If you're in so much pain you can't concentrate, you're not about to take up a healthy hobby like painting landscapes.

I haven't got any answers for anyone. I can't fix me, I can't fix you. I write these posts though so that you might understand you are not alone. Others struggle. You're not weak if you're still alive and you have any form of chronic illness. You're a badass, with your walker, your painkillers, your fatigue. The fact you do anything at all is heroic.

Love you. x


Monday, 30 December 2019

On the 12th Day of December My True Love Gave me a Really Shit Present

It's the 30th. BJ has had the PM slot since the 12th December.

Here's what's happening:

Tory supporters who have done nothing useful have been given seats in Lords, cementing Tory strength there.

Britain First have joined the Tory party. Britain first threaten violence to any who speak out against the Conservative government.

Priti Patel will end free movement of people. Could be granted sentencing powers under proposals drawn up by advisor to the Kings and Queens Dominic Cummings.

Iain Duncan Smith to receive a knighthood. The politician responsible for 'Universal Credit', which is putting millions in further poverty and killing people.

The government 'accidentally' publishes the addresses of 1,000 New Year's honours recipients. Says it will investigate itself.

Priti Patel blames poverty on poor people. Again.

Anti-Semitic signs seen around London.

 

Widespread flooding, during which the PM goes on holiday to the Caribbean.

Johnson bans his ministers from taking part in some interviews and press meetings.

The government realises we don't have enough qualified people to do our jobs after making higher education to the elite. Offers fast track process to professionals, so that they can be demonised, shunned, and face slurs and violence as hate crimes against immigrants rise.

Hate speech, far right groups and presence on social media increases with attacks and threats against PoC, Muslims, Jews, and LGBTQ+ people.

The NHS is clearly for sale. Documents released show the NHS is available in trade negotiations with the US.

The UK looks to the US for trade partnership in failing European relations.

'We must make immigrants know that the UK is not their home' - the Tory party, paraphrased, from various statements.

Protections for children of immigrants separated from their parents removed.

Talk of banning the ability to strike. Public assembly (protests) already regulated.

Police use batons and beat anti-facist protestors bloody in London.

Tory's promise new nurses, promises to keep old nurses, admit it won't happen.

The Sun and other right leaning news sources ramp up rhetoric blaming the left for anti-semitism, racism, poverty, crime, in a continue assault on impartiality. Evidenced further by the Telegraph, otherwise called the Tory-graph, reporting only that BJ got a bike for Christmas.

In positive news, a large movement to identify bias news sources is on the rise. Control of the sources of information is paramount to the ruling party, as seen by the massive bias in the lead-up to the general election.

I'm not impartial, obviously. I don't have to be. I'm not the 'news'.

Love you.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

A Decade as a Writer in Review

A decade is quite a long time, isn't it? A bit different to a yearly progress update. I'll try to keep it short. I never feel like I've done enough, but looked at over a longer period...I don't know. We'll see.

'Til 2010 I'd been writing for about four or five years at this point. Printing out thousands of pages to send to agents, posting them. I don't know how much I spent on that process, but I got nowhere until I finally put myself out there (figuratively - I have Always Lived in the Shed).

Beginning

In 2011, my first novel, 'Rain', was published. It's third edition now.


I wrote this in a freezing cold shed, no heater, power run from the back of the house. I lost all my old acceptance and rejection letters to damp in that shed.

In a further attempt to get out and about (I am actually mostly a shut in, so I don't get to very many conventions or signings) I started this blog in 2012, joined FB, and later I joined Twitter (when I was feeling a little braver). The things that have made a difference, for me? A publication history, definitely. Being polite, without doubt. Being 'out and about', i.e. having some form of presence in the world - I think so. Otherwise, nobody knows you, nobody knows your work. You're writing in a vacuum, which is what I was doing before 2011. Only allowing myself to take a chance and face rejection turned it around from 'unpublished' author to 'published'.

Since then I've published 50 novels or so as a 'hybrid' author, which is what I've settled on being, and what I'm comfortable being - it basically means I self-publish some, and traditionally/legacy publish some. I'm happy with that situation. Anything I feel would best go out on my own I don't submit to agents or publishers in the first place. I don't submit anywhere near as often as I used to, either, and that suits me, too. The process is time consuming and the writing has long been the reason I do this, not the money...thankfully.

Financially? It's not a winner. It's pocket money, or as an accountant called it 'hobby money'. I make maybe 1/100th of a living doing this. I'm fine with that, thought obviously I'd be a little more fine if that were a slightly higher fraction!

I've published 100 or so short stories and four short story collection. I got paid varying amounts for around 40 of those, professional rates for some of the horror, and sold my first science fiction story at a professional rate only this year. For those who think short stories are a waste of time - I don't. I love short stories, and novellas, and between novellas and short stories I've probably earned roughly what I have from novels. (Well, excluding one novel, 'Vigil', from which I earned a fair amount and got an Amazon #1 bestseller, but that was honestly a fluke I haven't repeated).


Middle

Life, of course, happens in between. At the start of the decade two of my children were only babies, and honestly, babies were hard work. In the middle I lost my father after his long battle with frontal lobe dementia. Toward the end my wife and I home schooled our children for two years. I constantly battle with the ebb and flow of schizophrenic affective disorder. The one constant I keep coming back to, though, and the thing that's always helped me get through, is writing.

I started out the decade writing fantasy and horror. I've drawn a line under fantasy and finished a septology. I've no intention of writing any more fantasy. I started writing some science fiction toward the end of the decade and I've published three so far, with more written and on the way under my sci-fi psuedonym 'Craig Robert Saunders'. I still write horror, and still enjoy it. I don't write comedy anymore. I wrote a few funny books, but that's not me, either. I've settled on horror and science fiction and I'm happy doing that. Hush, one I independently published, actually sold quite well.


I've been published traditionally by some publishers I really wanted (DarkFuse and Thunderstorm Books) and seen off a few publishers too (DarkFuse...). I've met other writers whose company I've enjoyed at the rare conventions I have been to. I've had some wonderful endorsements from writers whose work I admire, notable Andy Remic (my favourite), Bill Hussey, Allan Leverone, Michael McBride, William Meikle, and many more who were kind enough to give up their time for a novel of mine.

End

I'm not fancy. I still write in a shed. I've got brick walls now but it's still a bare wooden roof. It's a damn sight warmer, though, and more comfortable. I'm happy in my shed. No sense in having a million-dollar view for someone who stares at a computer screen all day. In 2020, I'm going to StokerCon. Hopefully I'll see some people I met at F-Con for a tipple. That's something to look forward (also, to panic about for a few months...).

Next year, and decade should I make it (that's further than I usually plan ahead) I just hope to keep writing, and keep finishing stories to put out. I'm not a big city author. Firmly small time, but some people do buy my stories, and read them which is kind of the point, isn't it? Looked at over ten years, it's good enough for now.

Thanks for being around. Love you.

End of Year Round-up 2019

I have to look back over what I've done/not done this year. I can't really remember. I've been a little obsessed with Nazis (oh, okay, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, whatever). It's how I'm built - firstly, hating Nazis. Secondly, I've always been a man who needs an obsession. I can't sit around and do nothing. It doesn't suit.

So, work? Hmm...

I got my first professional short story sale - 'Taking the Nine to the Last Shop' with the podcast/online publisher Cast of Wonders. That was nice.

I put out two science fiction novels as Craig Robert Saunders - 'Hush' and 'Field of Heroes' (with Severed Press). The mighty Andy Remic wrote a lovely endorsement for that one, 'A powerhouse of action and war reminiscent of Iain M.Banks.' That's my two happies.

'Red Ice Run' came out from Grand Mal Press, a viking/gangster mash-up that Ryan C. Thomas and I wrote. It's a second edition, too. The first edition was from Thunderstorm Books.

I nearly finished 'It Always Rains when the Circus Comes to Town' which will go to Thunderstorm for a yeah or a nay early in the new year.

I wrote 'Black Planet' and 'Battle Station Ruin'. Both are at a publishers under consideration at the moment. They're science fiction.

I did some more, but honestly I've left this a little late in the year for me and I'm worn thin, so I'm going to read some stories and put my feet up 'til I've got a little more energy again.

I'm not a spring chicken you know.

Love you.




Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists (and oh so much more...)

I started at the top, now I'm going to the bottom. The veritable arse end of facist movements.

The Fist

Easy to put it this way, isn't it? Steve Bannon's there, with his education and his razorsharp wit. But, we talk about the ground movements of white supremacy, facists and so on and we mock and minimise it. Contrast just your average Aryan Brotherhood guy with '88' tattooed on his forehead. You see a meme on Twitter. Some overweight guy with a monobrow. 'These guys think they're the supreme race?' He must be a fucking idiot, and so on.

No. Don't make that mistake. Please, do not. Don't get me wrong. This is scary shit. Looking like a dick doesn't mean they're not a danger, though.


Thankfully, someone in the meme generating population gets what I think, too. Ten idiots can still kill you, and a damn sight easier than one alone.

The myriad, nay legion, of 'far right' ground movements are the fists at the end of the arms. These fists, however, are perfectly able to think for themselves. Not all, maybe. Their thoughts and beliefs are wrong, dangerous and a threat to the rights to life and liberty, obviously. Are they misguided? Fuck off. Who cares if they're brainwashed? Just because someone tells you something, you can still think for yourself. You're an adult. These people aren't automatons. They're responsible. They chose their 'ideology'. They aren't innocent bystanders accidentally kicking in a Muslim with their oddly-laced steel toe-capped boots, or a lynching a black man in a field.

But any less dangerous because they are 'just fists' with 1488 tattooed on scarred knuckles? Nope. Are the leaders of each of these often disparate groups unintelligent thugs? Some, sure. But not all, and in many instances charismatic, quick, and literally able to quote elements of Mein Kampf verbatim, like others might be able to quote verse and passage of the Bible or the Quran.

Here's a short anecdote. I was 18 and I hiked a lift from Wales to the East of England. Just so happens a bone fide Neo-Nazi picked me up. I was 18 years old. I didn't realise this until he started practically singing 'I Love Hitler' at me. I got out on the motorway (highway) and took my chances elsewhere. Oh, they're real. I've met them.

It's a driven mind (perhaps only in straight line, but unerringly so) but if you imagine someone you know who is an absolute legend, a geek, even, who can build a PC from the ground up and tell you where you're getting a bottleneck on your motherboard because the RAM and the GPU really aren't hitting it off you might understand the specific intellect of your average 'grunt'. Imagine anyone who is passionate about something, willing to do violence because of it, and backed up by a bloody great big gang.

The Reach

It's scary. People aren't afraid of Steve Bannon as a person, met on the street, and it's easy for 'intellectuals' to overlook this. People are rightly afraid of the fucking nutcase they might meet on a city street.

I'm cheeky, too, aren't I? Here I am, all Mr. Rogers. 'Today, we're talking about Neo-Nazis, kids!' I'm approaching this from a 'Neo-Nazi' angle, but dropping in Nazi, facist, racist, anti-semitist, islamophobic, white supremacist and more into the mix. The truth, despite the eye-catching title of this blog post, is that it is a vast network with tentacles all throughout the world. Not just as some might think is it a group of skinheads in a dingy pub drinking German pale ale and throwing out Nazi salutes. That's looking at this from the view of a movie you saw once and it's a view that's too small by far. These people are in jobs. They are in your office. They are editors at newspapers, they work in PR, they drive your train, they sit next to you in your coffee shop. They are in every aspect of life, all walks. People say you walk past a murderer in your life, and probably more than once. You walk past a member, collaborator or sympathiser with one of these groups far more often. And yes, sometimes they're one and the same.

This fucking guy, though.


This is Stephen Miller, who as editor of the right wing media machine 'Breitbart' sent hundreds of right wing hate emails to a colleague. He's the advisor to the President of the United States.

To cover this topic and do it justice would be Wikipedia, Louis Theroux, a decade of research, and three thousand academics from the ADL wearing kevlar level impossible. Not only that, though. It's ongoing, evolvent. A tumour that's not happily run its course that we can just cut it out and move right along. This is a blog post. Look it up. Seriously, please. Look it up. You want horror? It's there for you.

Who have we heard of in the national news in this country alone, the UK? The National Front, sure. The English Defence League (EDL, Tommy Robinson and the like. Katie fucking Hopkins but she's a party of one). Maybe we've heard of the Proud Boys. We've heard the term 'Neo-Nazi'. That's one term the BBC hasn't managed to whitewash out of existence.

In this country alone there are perhaps a dozen active groups - others I haven't heard of without a doubt. In the USA this figure is double, maybe quadruple, maybe more. Bear in mind for any number of populace though there will be a commensurate number of arseholes and the population of the US is larger than the UK. In England, though, we've all heard of the British National Front. The NF, most often, but are they alone? Not a chance.

The Signs

The EDL is currently in no-man's land. Column 88 were around but are disbanded (far as I know...), but I mention them because of the '88' a tattoo commonly seen on Neo-Nazis. The '8' represents the 8th letter of the alphabet (H) and so stands for 'HH'...Heil Hitler. See also Combat 18. The 1, therefore, stands for 'A' (1, Adolf, 8, Hitler). Combat 18, by the way, and their North American counterparts, are the first white supremacist paramilitary group to be classed as terrorists...not everywhere (Canada, certainly, I'm not sure of everywhere else)...and not until this year.

Are the majority of these groups classified as terrorist? Don't make me laugh. No, please. I feel a little sick looking into this today as it is.

White supremacists, facists, neonazi groups/gangs/organisations love a bit of numerology. '14' is a common example, too. The 14 refers to '14 words', a little bit of dogma you can look up.

Note the use of symbols and numerology in tattoos, flags and written material. I'm assuming the 'Page 48' conspiracy surrounding Dominic Cummings and the Tory party manifesto which allegedly refers back to Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution at the rise of the Reich is a stretch...but I'm not discounting anything. I'm just watching, same as I hope many others are.

The ADL has a great and unfortunately growing database of hate symbols, tattoos, signs, numbers and more on their website. The ADL, if you didn't know (and I'm not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs) is the Anti-Defamation League.

Link: https://www.adl.org/hate-symbols

Don't make the mistake of thinking this is exhaustive, or that the ADL is gospel. Same as my only 'advice' - research, educate, consider. I'm not the gospel, either. I'm not even a cog in a huge wheel. I'm nothing more than a writer trying to do something good in the small way he is able.

The Punch

I don't want to spread unnecessary fear. Maybe that's why reporting is very minor - that's not something I think, but wish. Is this problem, in fact, 'minor'. In weight of numbers? Weighed against the majority of people, who mostly just want to exist? These movements are nothing. Minor, though? It's malignant. It's not minor. It's not a disgruntled employee keying the boss' Lexus.

The far right groups are terror organisations. They are dangerous and violent. The EDL were planning on blowing up a mosque. That's kind of grist to the terrorist mill, isn't it? In the US bombers and mass shooters have had links and interest in far right groups. But let's be frank, eh? It's not just mosques or synagogues, oh no. Some of these called themselves 'Christian'...they burn churches, too. Some call themself Socialists. Like they've never killed the odd politician with a little limp to the left? My arse.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_neo-Nazi_organizations

You should also be aware that this is far from a comprehensive list here on Wikipedia, and that I'm not listing specific incidents as such in this blog post because there are too many.

The Taunt

Words are pointless? Are they? Is it pointless that someone as tiny and insignificant speaks out about this, no matter how small and alone my own reach is?

Ask yourself this. Here's a question of Newtonian simplicity for you.

How dangerous is normalising hate speech? Far right dog whistles? White power signs?

This is the head telling the fist it's okay to lash out. When Kellyanne Conway flashes a white power hand symbol at a press conference it is telling the white power and facist and neo-Nazi organisations that the Government of what they see as their land is on their side. Bullshit? Fuck no. This is how dangerous these signs, tattoos, hand symbols, and the transmission, submerged, often, of what on the face of it is a simple and innocuous statement.

But whether afraid or not, this is about being informed. When the propaganda machine tells you to call anti-facist demonstrators 'Antifa' it's disingenuous. Sounds a bit terrorist, doesn't it? Antifa, right? They probably come from the Republic of ISIS.* They are a response to these groups and their long, long reach. Those arms of theirs can more than punch down. They reach up, too, don't they? A fist must receive direction from somewhere. It must receive the okay to strike.

Terrorists engender fear. ISIS, Combat 18? These are terrorist organisations with an agenda and a will to do harm and strike fear into people, whoever those people might be.

The Counter

'Antifa' is a bullshit slur, a sly misnomer and a media slight of hand. They are Anti-Facists. They are fighting facists. They are opposite.

I'm a knob, sure, but let's return to Newton because I like being a knob. F=ma. It's force equals mass times acceleration, but you might have heard it expressed otherwise. It means, more simplified, this:

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

If there are facists, there are anti-facists, and thank Baby fucking Jesus and all his Christmas reindeers for that.

In my extremely humble opinion, fighting facism should be the absolute minimum human state. Once upon a time people didn't have to state that they were anti-facists. Remember those halcyon days? I do. Others remember a time when the entire world was at war because of it. I'm paranoid, I look too wide and imagine too large, perhaps. I really hope I do. I promise you, nothing would please me more should every word I write be fiction.

That's me being a knob in part, and trying my best for the rest, out. Happy Christmas? Not really. I'm quite possibly as unhappy with all this shit as I sincerely hope you are. Consider this my gift to you in the season of love or whatever this is.

Love you. x

*Republic of ISIS. There isn't one of those, sorry. Physics, though. If there ever is? A 'Republic of Facists' has to follow. My one hope is that if that happens, a Republic of Anti-Facists will be there as a counterweight on a scale. F=ma.

Monday, 16 December 2019

The Day I Did Steve Bannon

I've been looking into some people I find deeply unpleasant, for a short time (don't imagine I can take more than a dose here and there) because I really need to understand what drives them and those who follow them. Just telling you in case you think I suddenly gave up being a hippy.

I said I was going to watch the other side, and I've started at the top. I've many, many thoughts on Steve Bannon. He's dangerous, obviously. Phenomenally so. But not because he's a racist. No. He's dangerous because he's more intelligent than Trump or Johnson. Far more.

Deconstruction of the Administrative State. This is a large part of Bannon's play, and one of the reasons Trump was able to trample the opposition in the very early days of his rise. One, not the whole reason, and we'll get to that. But executive orders allow ('enable', perhaps) this to happen and the Republican administration have capitalised.

We see the provision on page 48 of the UK's Tory party manifesto, and this is the concern for this country, and more so with an overwhelming Conservative majority. It *could* mean that Boris Johnson can also ride roughshod over the administrative branches of Government, yes, but also give him sweeping powers to crush judicial and legislative opposition.

People are hinting the 48 is numerology, a 'dog whistle' to the far right that this is based on Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. It's Dominic Cummings, come on. I just read his Thoughts on Education and Political Priorities Paper. He's intelligent, but he's not smart and he's a waffling twot. I think that to place references to 100-year old oversights might be putting a bit much credit at Cummings' door, as bad a mistep as listening to Alex Jones on InfoWars. But maybe I'm wrong. There are parallels. Hell, I could be wrong...on absolutely everything...couldn't I? 

We can all be wrong. But being informed, I think, helps, which is why I'm doing this and blogging about it, too. Anyway...back to the program.

We can be under no illusions, and many aren't, but this is a populist movement of the far right, and one thing the left continually fail to face up to is that it *is* popular. Steve Bannon, Breitbart et al. understand and wield it because they understand the working class better. One tenet of the populist movement, and something which appeals, is *getting things done*. Move away from ineffectual Government. Jump up and down on it and get things done, dammit!

'Get Brexit Done'. Buzzwords, but telling, aren't they? Let's move past the barriers democratic process puts in our way and move on! Huzzah. Hmm.

It's an uncomfortable truth that this populist movement is, in fact, popular. Bannon gets this, but on broad and narrow levels - don't make the mistake of thinking he's a one-trick pony. By calling this a trade war, by appealing to the working classes, there's a base. He calls Trump supporters 'followers'. Others call them a 'cult'. Notice very few call them Trump's 'voters'. The implication is that the support runs deeper than political affiliation. It does. Bannon's had a hand in this too. He's given the masses a hero, an 'imperfect tool' though he may be. (Bannon's words.)

However, the left - by refusing to address many issues 'common' people are concerned with, by berating those to the right - have in some ways enabled the push (swing, perhaps - it's not all forced) to the right. 

Bannon knows this perfectly. He is astute, fast, composed, and relentless. Bannon openly admits his racism. 'A badge of honor'. But he will admit, too, to utterly destroying the opposition. See the Frontline interview on their strategy against Megyn Kelly. Unabashed, but effective. Hate in kind won't beat that. The media is a weapon and he knows it.

Out of interest, watch Johnson this week. Bannon coached Trump and Johnson. This we know. Bannon isn't in the past. He's working with Trump during the impeachment.

Remember that phrase if you haven't heard it before - Deconstruction of the Administrative State? Bannon's watchwords. Is Johnson's set do to Whitehall as was done in the Whitehouse? Personally, I think he's going to move fast, because another thing Bannon is all about is momentum. See how fast Trump moved. 'Like a missile,' Bannon describes it. I'm not sure Johnson has that kind of energy. But the movement behind him does, for sure. I think we'll see a barage of activity in the next four-six weeks. Just me, though.

The US election is sold on doing away with ineffectual Government, on looking after national interests, on national security, immigration, and the USA's gone to war with China. 'Russia isn't relevant' claims Bannon, by the way. Funny, again, to see such parallels in Britain.

These arguments - Trump can improve workers' welfare etc, are supportable. Of course they are. Look at all of it, and there's a lot of good in there for certain portions of the population...but it's fucking bullshit, too. 

'We'll sort out the elite,' they promise, and give you fellas a fair shake and a steady job. No, they won't. They'll keep you happy with a job, perhaps. And that'll work, because that's something I think many 'political' or 'social' minds overlook. They believe that people have the energy to worry about the state of the world, about equality, right and wrong. Most don't...people are knackered, beleaguered, beat down. 

Homeless people don't have an address, obviously, so they can't vote. Immigrants are picked up by ICE, so fuck them, right? Before you start I know about DACA, and Dreamers, and detention centres and Obama, Bush and right back to that fella that liked blow jobs and cigars. ICE pick ups have increased exponentially under Trump, so count the numbers if it's an issue. Moreover, why the hell would you take my word on any of this? That's kind of the point we're coming to. Please do not take my word. Check everything out for yourself. I'm not the news, thankfully, and I'm certainly not a guru, smart, or even the slightest bit trustworthy ;)

Steve Bannon is interviewed everywhere. Stephen Miller is not. Both are white nationalists at the least. Why one not the other? I believe it's because Bannon is actually pleased with his intellect, his achievements. He name drops, speaks fast, can turn on a dime when interupted. Stephen Miller can't. That's a given. Stephen Miller's not a patch on Bannon. But it doesn't mean Bannon's bulletproof. He's not, and neither is his ideology or proported reasoning. Every lie works best with an element of truth, there's a lot of truth there - debatable, but debates that can be won, too. But he fails on two points. He's vain. This is why he speaks wherever. Two, he closes his eyes and slows down when facing questions on racism. It's a tell.

Hell, I'm vain. Writers are, have to be a bit, to believe anyone wants to read their words, hear their faults. 

Bannon can't be beat by smear campaigns. He's already there in the muck. And I do think people like him need to be given airtime...but in proportion. The media doesn't do that. The right, in this election (UK) was given more airtime. Farage, Johnson, Johnson's DAD (ffs...) appeared every week on the BBC, ITV and SkyNews, far more frequently than a voice was afforded to the left. That bias is entrenched. To beat the Bannons of the world both sides need to be aired. People need to be educated. It's an uphill battle and the left is starting at the bottom. We need impartial media. Isn't going to happen. People need to be taught to recognise impartiality, but to take responsibility, too. Take views from wider sources. If we get our news from one source only (BBC, Sky etc) then we're asking to be blinkered and led to slaughter.

Goebbels understood this. Bannon understands this. The media was weaponised in the Trump campaign, has been before, and will be again. This is the battleground. Information, thought, knowledge, education are how we fight back. 

The End of Craig's TedTalk ;) 

Love you.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

A Different Perspective on Politics, Wealth, Class and Solutions for those for whom Life is Hardest

This isn't a manifesto. I'm not a politician or a social commentator, just someone who sits in a shed writing. With the rise of the right wing and the growing chasm between the wealthy and the poorest among us there is a real problem with representation, and hope. It is the modern war, and I sincerely don't believe political parties are able to change this. For a different party (i.e. Labour) to take the mantle of leadership in this country (the UK) and many others, the only way is to appear moderate, to be in the middle of the road politically. The far left cannot defeat the far right. There are hundreds of reasons why Corbyn's socialist manifesto did not appeal to the people as a whole. This blog post isn't about those reasons. I will say, however, that I don't think Labour failed because they were wrong.

We need more than the 'new Labour' (old Tory under any other name) that is the only viable choice that might take power from the Tory Government, or why in the US a moderate Democratic party would be a better option. Not the right option. Because the majority political view is leans one way does not mean that it is right.

We used to have public executions. It used to be entertainment at Tyburn. For seven centuries the English populace would watch criminals, pickpockets, highwaymen, enemies of the state, dance the Tyburn Jig. We don't do that anymore. It was wrong. But we used to.

The US used to use slaves as a workforce. They don't do that anymore (I shan't go into the prison for profit system. I shouldn't need to. I shouldn't need to write any of this, though...).

Because most people believe or accept a truth does not mean that they are correct. And if that status quo does not serve our purpose any longer? Thomas Jefferson wrote that well enough.

'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.'

I'd like, in my own small way, to make a few points.

Wealth holds power because we have been lied to on two fronts: One, that this is something to aspire to. Two, that wealth is something which is achievable.

The game is so heavily stacked, however, that it is not a dream most will ever grasp.

Boris Johnson said inequality is essential. It's patently not true, but this is the view we face.

We are, however, the vast majority. There are something like 150 billionaires in the UK. Compare this to the population. There are more than 70 million people in the country. 99%, essentially, struggle day to day. Some have enough to save. The poor do not. We spent what we can when we need something, and we always need something because we can only afford the cheapest, sub-standard essentials for day to day life. Our t-shirts fade and tear after three washes while a rich man's suit might last a decade. Those who inherit wealth don't need to buy an MDF wardrobe from Facebook marketplace. Their furniture will outlive them, and future generations, too.

Yet we aspire to have that. We do not need that, and we cannot have it. We can, however, support each other. We can survive. We cannot thrive, no. We cannot drive Ferraris. We drive cars, if we're lucky enough, which cost us thousands to keep from falling apart, but we pay when and if we can, the same as always.

But the poor do not have to play the same game. We do not need to spend more than we can afford and be beholden to the banks. Some of us have debt because we must eat, yes. But we do not need credit for expensive clothes. We can share. We have alternatives, and cheaper alternatives, and to take away the power of those above us we must do so. We must make their wealth value less. We must make our numbers value more.

Help each other and do not spend on things we do not need. If you have something you don't need, sell it or give it to someone who does. If someone needs a lift and you're going the same way, take them. Act small, support your community. Spread kindness and make that your goal. Not greed, or goods and items from a shop. Spend less at Christmas so you don't hurt for the rest of the year.

Sure, there is only so far you can tighten your belt, but dreaming of the wealth of the rich is going to hurt the soul. Stop watching idle celebrity on the television and your phones. They are not you. In this way you strip away the cult of celebrity. Don't look up to people for having a private jet or a footballer for drinking champagne. Look up to the people spreading kindness, knowledge, or helping better humanity.

You don't have to engage in a movement, or volunteer. We're tired from working all day and struggling. One minute, perhaps. One minute a day among 70 million people spent doing something nice, or helpful, or selfless.

This is the way we can take power back. Not burning down cities. The infrastructure for most is there already. We have roads. Smashing them isn't going to make the wealthy give you money. Their money, their power, their hold over us needs to be broken and even violence when they hold the institutions of power cannot do this.

We're poor. We're hungry. We're tired. We're frightened, too, many of us. But those you don't understand are not the enemy. Together, we might be small, but we are many. We, the 99%, are literally legion.

Love you.


Friday, 13 December 2019

The UK Election

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

- Frederick Douglass

The Conservative Government have been testing those waters, and found out how far the people of the UK are willing to go. The Prime Minister, returning, Boris Johnson said he doesn't not 'want migrants treating the UK as their home.'

This is the tidemark. This was the test. Will you agree to see others who are not *you* as outsiders? As those who do not belong? The resounding answer to this question in the election on 12th December 2019 from the *English* electorate was yes. The English, not the Scottish, not the Welsh. 

I cannot in good conscience allow the electorate, the people, the benefit of the doubt. Whether blinded to the media bias, whether misinformed, whether willing collaborators to the rising tide of hate in this country, the England where I was born, the result is the same. Whether it's a collaborator or an idiot kicking you to death in a dark side street does not matter. The result is the same. 

Only three days ago, December 9th, I heard the open use of the 'N' word in Morrisons superstore for the first time ever. Hate is emboldened. 

We have the tidemark. 

My voice is small, inconsequential perhaps. I cannot shout, I can only speak. This is my statement on the Election of 2019, when England gave in to hate, and doomed millions to despair and fear. 

To those, my love, my thoughts, my energy and my endless support is committed. It is to those who do not fit with this bigoted majority to whom my love goes.

I don't fear for the country. A country is a collection of laws. I have long known what the overwhelming thoughts of this country are. And yet, there is wonder and wonderful people here, too. I don't care about the amorphous concept of nationality. I care painfully about people, and their right to live unencumbered, freely, live well and the betterment of humanity. 

Please also remember, that despite the rise and growing 'popularity' of figures like Farage, Hopkins, Robinson, there are also huge - vast - sections of the populus who hate them, who look forward, who do want inclusion, and friendship, and safe and thriving communities. The right is rising, all across the US, Europe. It's easy to see, but it doesn't own us. We still need to be watchful, always. 

Look out for yourselves, and look out for each other. That is all we can do, because we do not have the luxury of flight, or relocation. So many have already fled from horrors, and hide from horrors each day. It is tiring. I am tired. But whether you fight, or submit, or hide, please, speak out however you are able. Do not go quietly into the night. 

I love you. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

The Terrible Rise of Nazism in the US and the UK NOW.

Many people don't see this as I do. I hope I'm wrong. I know I'm not. 
We live in the most dangerous times many of us have known in our lifespan. Tomorrow is the last chance this country, the UK, has. In America I fear it is already too late. Hate is a boiling pot we've been sitting in. I've been harping on about this, boringly so, yes, since Trump came to power because I see it. I see parallels with the rise of the Third Reich. This is not hyperbole though you may think it is. 

The holocaust did not begin with mass executions but with internment in concentration camps. The first of these was at Dashau, but mass killings began in 1941, not '33 when the first camps were built. They began in the Auschwitz complex. The final solution. 

In the US there are already concentration camps

The President of the United States has just begun moves to classify Judaism as a nationality. Whether this will come to be a fact remains to be seen at this point. His executive order is a draft, and the language is open for debate. Is Trump a Nazi? A German Nazi from World War II? No. He is, however, a massive racist and a white supremacist. I understand the use of Nazi should not be 'minimised' or used for everyone. But it's certainly close, and I think it's a very fine border and personally, I think if the cap fits, they should wear it. Sure, the extreme label might alienate some people, but hate must be fought and fought hard. 

For those who do not understand the possible implications of the latest 'Executive Order' this gives the extremist far right Government of the United States, who left UNESCO and the United Nations Human Rights Council, free rein to treat all Jews as a nation, not as a religion. To cage Jews. In America it is ICE who will enforce this, not brown shirts and SS. Same ideologies and results. Mexicans are already in cages and America turned a blind eye. People are good at turning a blind eye. Others will join them.

People are already dying in US concentration camps. This is more than terrifying. It is happening right now, before us, as we watch. This is not hyperbole, or overreaction, or creative thinking. It is a FACT. People are dying. More will die.

Die. Such a small word. Are we inured to the power of that word? My God, I hope not. I hope not.
It could never happen in the UK. We wouldn't let it happen. We fought the Nazis...

America fought in the Second World War, too. They thought it could never happen. Nazism, the far right, Proud Boys, Neonazis, the National Front, and many, many more have not gone away. They never went away. The threat never went away. This is why holocaust deniers, these 'conspiracy' theories are insidious. We know the true horror and they would blind us to it. Perhaps some wish not to see.

Sure. Be careful how liberally we use the term Nazi. If it fits, I will use it. I hope to God I am proven horribly wrong. 

The British used concentration camps before. Wow, Craig...that was over a hundred years ago! 
Yes. The Boer war. Tens of thousands died. It was nearly 120 years ago. Pfft. Shit like that never comes around again. Right? 
The Second World War end 74 years ago. Shit really does come around again. 
Is it such a huge leap? Did people believe it could happen in the US? No, they did not. People still deny the evidence of their own eyes. It is there, before us, to see. We do not want to see. It is not us. We are afraid. Yes. 
It is not us *now*. It is them. Do not think it can never be you, or someone you love, value or cherish.
But here we are. A resurgence in the power of the far right, of Nazism in a different uniform. A leader - Boris Johnson - who uses the same language here as does the leader of the US. A leader in the UK whose coach is the same as the leader of the US. A racist, homophobic bigot of all stripes, normalising hatred. Making hatred seem okay. It's okay to punch black people, or gay people. It's okay to call them picanniny or bum boy. At some point, in the UK as it already is in the US, it will be just fine should any of these 'minority' groups DIE. It is a pot, it is boiling. We're sitting in it right now, and half of this country are telling us it's just fine. The water's nice. Come on in.

Or, tomorrow, in the UK at least, we have the luxury of one more day to make a difference. We could simply turn the fire beneath us *off*.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The Nazi Playbook

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Niemöller

See the rise of the Third Reich. Learn it. See that a Nazi in different clothing, with a different language, is still a Nazi. I don't use the word lightly. It is powerful and frightening and it should be. This is why we watch, and we scrutinise, and we think.

Propaganda. Fuel hate. Rise on that hate. This is your first step. We must fear the poor, the disabled, the LBGQT, People of Colour, and more. The state of our country is *their* fault...not ours.

Control the dissemination of information.

Make the populous fight and argue among each other. You do not need to fight everyone if they are busy arguing among themselves. You must make someone other than you their enemy.

Meanwhile, solidify your powerbase. See the Night of the Long Knives. See Trump ousting anyone who might oppose him in Government. Watch for it in other Governments, and yes, UK, I see you, too.

Lie. Lie again. And at the same time accuse your opponents of that which you are guilty. Discredit. Misinform. Weaken any chance of opposition.

Silence the intellectuals and any who might speak out against you. The campuses, the press. Control and obfuscate.

Increase the pressure. People will not believe what is in front of them.

That hate, meanwhile, has built until people who once were quiet will rally to your cause.

Attack the weakest first. The smallest groups first. Remove those undesirables. It is, after all, all their fault, isn't it? That's what we've been told. Those with the least historical support will be the first to go in your new regime.

Move onward and upward. Take down the smaller of the minority groups until it is normal. It is the way things are done. Once someone's been beaten, and God I hope it doesn't get worse than this, it becomes easier and easier. You can normalise hate. You can normalise violence, too. Some people even get a taste for it, don't they?

Through those with little or no compunction about violence they can engender fear, for fear is a powerful tool.

Minimise resistance by crushing or muting it with violence or fear.

Then, the world is your oyster.

'The price of liberty, and even of common humanity, is eternal vigilance.' Aldous Huxley.

Is Donald Trump a Nazi? I maintain that it's close e-fucking-nuff. Is Boris Johnson? He's a seething pile of racist shit. People say he was the Mayor of London once. Does that make him *not* a racist? No. Do his endless racist, homophobic, sexist statements make him a Nazi? No. A white supremacist? No.

Is he dangerous for minorities? You bet he fucking is.

See Steve Bannon reading his book. See Trump. See the flow of hate and the far right and their resurgence. See it.

Please.

The General Election 2019

Firstly, I admit that my bias is heavily to the left. I'd also like to say that I understand there are people out there who will disagree with my views and feelings just as passionately. This post does not mean I hate you personally (unless you're horrible, in which case, maybe). I will try to avoid insults, and please accept my apologies if I get carried away. I am trying to be fair whilst angry, afraid, and impassioned, and people aren't always perfectly rational and reasonable where strong emotions are involved.

That's the disclaimer, of sorts, out of the way.

Onto the meat and bones.

I am largely housebound. This means I don't meet people in the pub, or chat to more than the occasional person in a shop when I buy tobacco. It also, however, means that my thoughts are my own, and I have an awful lot of time to read widely, and in this election I am reading widely from various sources, even those I find offensive (The Mirror, the Mail, even Nazi websites and extremist websites).

I am always passionate in hating Tories, because I see that it is a party of self-interest. There are, and have been, many good Tory politicians. I know many people who vote Tory and who will continue to do so. They're not bad people.

My own view on voting is that I try to vote for the party with policies which will benefit the most people, not the least, even if that should mean voting against my own self-interest. A rise in tax to pay for the welfare of the poor is one that I would happily take, though I am what would qualify as 'poor' - I am the disabled. I am the mentally ill. I suffer when certain circumstances change, and I will take that if it means that general welfare improves across the board. A happier, healthier country is better for all. It's not opinion, it's rational common sense, well reasoned and supportable through any kind of argument.

People seek confirmation of their own bias. This is, aptly, called confirmation bias. I do it, too, but I also try to be open minded and give more moderate views than my own head space. If, however, a demographic believe a source is bias to the left, or to the right, it does not mean that source is unbias. It's the median, or perhaps the mean, of those people's feelings on the veracity of a source. That is not a subjective result in a rather flimsy test. People on the left believe everything leans to the right, and vice versa. It's not necessarily the case.

There are verifiable facts, though. Not opinions. Not election promises. The BBC's research (subjective, based on claims vs truth) puts Tory lies this election at 88%, and Labour lies in the campaign at 0%...

This is not a complete list that follows. I am not a politician. I'm a writer who is afraid for the welfare of people. I do, however, make no apology.

Jeremy Corbyn has met with, conversed with, refused to vote in certain instances, against the interests of terrorist groups. In his favour, he has expressed a desire for open discourse. He is not perfect.

He has been seen to be ineffectual in fighting anti-semitism in the Labour party among certain members. I do not honestly know his views...I'm not him. But he has also supported numerous Jewish and Jewish interest groups.

He is a socialist, it seems. To be honest, I don't see this as a criticism, but some do. Nothing I can do about that. The idea that everyone should be afforded basic rights regardless of ability to earn or support the country is not offensive to me in the slightest.

Boris Johnson is friends with Nigel Farage. He has been coached by the openly Nazi Steve Bannon, admittedly in his 'Brexit' speech. He refuses to say how many children he has, through a string of affairs. That he is racist is beyond doubt. Just yesterday he stated that he didn't want migrants treating the UK as home. He has likened muslim women to 'letterboxes'. Called Arabs 'hook-nosed'. Jewish people 'money-grubbing'. Africans as 'picanninies' and other people of black nations as having 'watermelon smiles'.

He is elitist. He describes single mothers as ill-educated, working class men as feckless drunks (I'm paraphrasing but all of this can be verified with a cursory search).

He is homophobic. 'Bumboys' for gay men. There is more, but I think that's sufficient.

Sexist. 'If a woman is uppity in the workplace just pat her on the bum.'

He uses the Bannon/Trump playbook. Tries to seem like an affable, bumbling friend of all. Yet he conspired with a friend to have a reporter beaten. He makes jokes - like Trump. Tries to appear charming - like Trump. Outdoes himself every day with outrageous comments which make people forget the heinous things he said before. Like Trump.

There is of course more, but like Trump's statements, to go on would be a website, not a blog post.

Party, not personalities, though, right? This leaning and use of hate speech is endemic across the entire Tory platform and that has long been the case. So, there's that.

I'm passionate about this more than I ever have been (hence the long post) because I don't just believe - I know - that this general election is not about grey areas. It is not even about huge issues like the NHS being on the table for sale to the US (verifiable, as is everything in this post). It is not about funding for police services, or education. Brexit doesn't even touch it. Brexit is a symptom, not the disease.

All of these facets will - and have for the last nine years - suffer under the Tories.

This election, for me, and why I am so furiously passionate about it, is about stopping hate in its tracks. This is about stopping the erosion of human beings rights to exist in this country. It is about the normalisation of homophobic, xenophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic, islamophobic, anti-semitist behaviour and speech. It is about the freedom of people to exist, to love, to thrive, to eat for cryng out loud. The hope that people might remain free to live as themselves without fear of censure, imprisonment, derision, violence against their person. It is, simply put, about humanity. That is the meat and bones, that is why I am passionate now more than ever.

This election is about nothing less than right and wrong. Hell, I might be wrong. I hope I am. Nothing would make me happier than this Government under the Tories for the next five years delivering what the majority clearly want, and a wonderful society in England emerging from it, with everyone dancing and singing together in love.

I'd also like a fucking unicorn for Christmas.

Love you, and thank you if you took the time to read. xxx


Saturday, 7 December 2019

Last non-work post of the year

First up, I'm terribly sorry. I've neglected the blog in favour of rambling over on Twitter.

This is the last post before I'm going to force myself to do the end of year round up. I've been unwell, I suppose. Or, supremely well, depending on your viewpoint. I haven't felt great, but I see with great clarity.

What's been an obsession with me (Tory/Labour - Evil/Good) has been a drag on my time, but the general election is nearly done, so I'm going to fade away whatever the outcome may be. I hope I'll be happy, and the majority of humans might be able to live a half-way decent life, too.

Either way, the next post will be my traditional yearly round-ups. Love you all very much, and happy Christmas.

Friday, 1 November 2019

'Taking the Nine to the Last Shop on Cast of Wonders

My first professional sale, 'Taking the Nine to the Last Shop', is up for reading and listening now.

'Taking the Nine to the Last Shop' on 'Cast of Wonders' Episode 380 'Comfort is Universal'.


Artwork Alexis Goble, edited and read by Katherine Inskip, audio producer Jeremy Carter.

Also features a story by Bogi Takács, read by Premee Mohammed.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Sleep

It's about twelve o'clock. I go to bed, get onto my left side. I always start out on my left side. My left hip hurts, because of arthritis, but if I straighten it out I can negate the jumping leg issue with the left. The hamstring's tight, like it's going to be a pain, but it's okay. My neck hurts, and I can't remember how to close one eye properly, so I try to get my eyes equally closed. I've got the pillow pushing on one eye now. It's kind of annoying. The covers are over me, I'm got two pillows to prop up my floppy right arm. My feet are out.

I move one centimetre and suddenly everything's in the wrong place. My alignment is out. I try to go to sleep anyway. For an hour. Tiny, incremental shifts so as not to wake my wife. She steals the covers. I'm okay. I was hot anyway. One minute later I'm cold. I fight for a corner of the duvet, get it over my shoulder, but now I'm all out of whack anyway. I sigh, quietly, move my right arm which hurts from the pressure of just laying down. Ten minutes, twenty minutes.

I need a wee. It's maybe one o'clock in the morning. I get up, have a wee, and turn onto my right this time. My neck hurts from the arthritis, but my left hip is happier if I'm on the my right. I've got a bit of duvet over me, both feet out so I'm fifty percent the right temperature around my belly. My eyes shut properly because my head doesn't turn to the right, so my face is upward, toward the ceiling. I open my eyes. I'm worried that there are two testicles and one penis. This seems asymetrical and troubles me for a while, until I think there's one nose but two nostrils, so the oddity is replicated elsewhere. Plus, two penises would be odd, as would two noses. It's okay. I close my eyes.

One thirty in the morning. I'm drifting, happy enough I've resolved the penis issue. The dog whines to go for a wee. My wife's sound asleep. I get up, let the dog out. She hangs around after for a biscuit. One dog, he'd follow me into the grave. But wee dog, if I died, she'd kick my corpse and ask, 'where's my biscuit?' I give her a biscuit, she runs back to bed. I'm awake. I have a cigarette, stare at a wall. It's two in the morning.

I get back into bed. I have no duvet. My aches and pains  are settled, forgotten. I'm yawning. I start worrying about the time/morning/sleep ratio because I have to get up early.

Sleep.

Get up.

Tired all day.

How do people just get into bed and go 'mmmm' and fall asleep? Sleep sucks, the end.

Love you.


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Red Ice Run Cover Reveal

This, out very soon...

 

RED ICE RUN! Coming very soon from Grand Mal Press! Check out the sweet cover art from Zach McCain. 

It’s snowing like crazy in Chicago on a bad day for mob brothers Mallory and Kelly. They’re the kind of guys people move aside for, if they know what’s what. Makes no difference to the brothers what the weather does, though. It’s just another day, just one more body on the floor. At least it was, ’til everyone started gunning for them.
Who’d want to kill them? They’re nice guys.
That ain’t the worst of it, either. It’s not just the mob out for their blood. A giant Viking is trying to take their heads off, which is odd. Throw in a bag full of glowing wood, an Irish sword-wielding hitman, and a junkie femme fatale, and it’s not just a bad day, it’s the worst. When night falls, though, it’s not only blood staining the snowy city streets. The ice itself is turning red and whatever comes after worst…?
This is definitely that.

“A humorous mash-up of neo-noir crime pulp and Viking-horror.” — BmoviesandEbooks.com

“Brutal, bloody and utterly absorbing! Combines a gritty noir sensibility with a fantasy/horror plot that could not be more original!” — New York Times bestselling author, Allan Leverone


It'll be out in paperback and eBook formats. The hardback run, from Thunderstorm Books, sold out.

We hope you like it.

Love you.

x

Thursday, 29 August 2019

R.I.P. Black Planet

Finished 'Black Planet' today, a scifi horror. Badass crew on an alien planet, bad guys, a bit of mystery, shit blowing up, nasty aliens, death and destruction. ;)

That's it.

R.I.P. Black Planet.
29th August 2019
'You were great fun.'




Friday, 23 August 2019

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

On Being

I do try to write about my mental health from time to time, not because it's cathartic for me (I'm over that phase) but in the hope that it might help others understand that they're not alone, and perhaps get a handle on their own struggles.

The struggle doesn't end, which is tiring. I get why people self-harm, contemplate ending their battle, give up, isolate themselves, self-medicate. How can I not empathise? I've been down all those roads, and they didn't lead to any destinations more interesting than this one.

I avoid life, and that seems to work best for me. Stress makes me worse, and writing makes me better. I take medication and generally behave myself, but at times I can't function at all. I'm erratic, I guess. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I don't. I have long fallow periods from work where I can't face sitting at the PC and making sensible words come out. Basically, I shut down. My hearing's worse, my vision, my joints ache and I'm tired all the time. It affects more than just my mental health, but my whole wellbeing. When I feel better I return to work. It's why I don't do anything regular like a Patreon account. I write around four novels a year, but I might do two in two months and then nothing for three months. I'm not a good bet in a short term, but I try to take a long view, not look at the short term. Not at feeling better in the next hour, or the next week, but that it will pass and things will be a little easier in a while, whenever that may be.

I guess what I'm saying is that I understand it sucks when you're feeling shit, of course it does. But there are ups and downs for everyone. Those with mental abberations feel the ups and downs more keenly and that's a bastard to cope with. I don't do it all the time. I'm not a guru. I'm just here to let you know it will (probably) pass. There's no magic cure, but you can feel better. You might need help - I take pills to help me cope. You might need to. You might need to go slow when you can't speed up, or slow down when you're too speedy, or talk, or hibernate, or sleep, or take some time for yourself, or go into a mental hospital until you're partway thinking straight. There are so many paths through it, and not all of them are sunny, but reach out if you can. You can feel better. It's possible.

Love you.


Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Hush Available Now for Kindle




Hush Back Copy

 Hush is a pioneering colony-class ship fleeing Earth in the wake of a terrible war. Among those aboard are the giant legendary Titan robot named Jin, the stowaway Anna, and Ulrich Bale - veteran of the Aug War.

Hush enters orbit above an ice planet which holds a mystery - six colony-class ships like Hush herself. She dispatches a small team including Jin, Anna and Bale to investigate, and they are attacked and stranded. The only recourse left to them is to enter the conjoined colony-ships, which together form something the sentient ships name 'The Citadel'.

There, they must unravel the mystery of the ice planet and The Citadel, but before they do, they'll fight for their lives at every step of the way, 'til they meet two other ships - Scale Adjustment and Austerity Born of Destruction - and finally, find the answers they need...or die.

Praise for Craig Robert Saunders' 'Field of Heroes':

'A powerhouse of action and war reminiscent of Iain M. Banks.' - Andy Remic.
'Future warfare fun, gore and glory.' - William Meikle, author of the S-Squad Series.
'A deeply nuanced look at a speculative future that will grip you from the first page.' - Colin F. Barnes.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Field of Heroes Available Now.


Out now in Kindle and paperback editions on Amazon.



Back cover copy: 

An alien invasion of Earth by an unrelentingly hostile army called the Cephal leads to a new breed of marine capable of taking the fight to the enemy hundreds of light years from Earth.

Vidar Dawes, infantry, Alante Brockner, Armoured, are on the front line and will join a newly formed unit to take the battle to space. Delphine Mamet, a scientist, and Kiyoko Jones, the Fleet Admiral of the Americas Unity Navy work toward a solution fit to face the threat of the vicious Cephal and their Zoan armies.

The aliens might be able to muster vast technological advances and armies of terrifying creatures, but the human warriors don’t fight only with technology and arms. The aliens aren’t counting on the marines’ most powerful weapon - heart.

When weapons run dry, and the bombs are all gone, it was all humanity ever needed.

Praise for Field of Heroes:

‘A powerhouse of action and war reminiscent of Iain M. Banks.’ - Andy Remic.

‘Deeply nuanced look at military life that will grab you from the first page.’ - Colin F. Barnes.

‘High-octane future warfare fun, gore and glory.’ - William Meikle.

‘Military sci-fi at its best!’ - Ian Woodhead.

‘A grimy, gritty and violent war novel. Highly recommended.’ - Michael Patrick Hicks.

Thanks! Love you.