Tag Archives: McMini

Smashingly non-expensive books alert!

As I write this, which, by the wonders of modern science happens to be last week, the weather here is very mixed. That’s right, like a cat confronted with a freshly opened door the sun round here doesn’t know whether it wants to be in or out. As a result it will raining and a bit chilly one minute be hot and steamy the next. Four seasons in one day. Although no snow, not yet anyway. But if you are missing winter you can always pretend you are in the southern hemisphere where they are enjoying it right now. Oh yes, it’s always winter somewhere. There’s a thought to contend with.

We are well are into the school holidays and I will be in Scotland when you read this, enjoying our first mini break of the holiday period with the McParents. McMini has finally had his birthday party and I even managed to produce one of my famous cake wrecks! In this case a football cake – he supports Man United – I suppose someone has to.

Now, all that remains is a quick session forcing him to write his thank you letters at gunpoint and we’re done.

Clearly, doing the Mum thing and holidays, the writing has slowed up – although there still seem to be a lot of ideas bubbling up for Space Dustmen, and obviously, The World’s Best Editor is doing her thang with the other stuff. The coming month also includes a holiday, which will be epic and involve lots of time to read. Hopefully I’ll have some recommendations for you towards the end of the month.

On other matters …

Authors cutting their own throats with 99c books!

Remember, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Bookbub featured one of my books?

Well, as I was sorting that out, I noticed that there was another excellent promo from Patty Jansen, sci-fi author and general all round good egg, a few days afterwards. As a result, Escape From B-Movie Hell is also in that with over 100 other books.

If you’re thinking of nabbing a copy of Escape and haven’t done so, it’s still 99p and it will be in Patty’s promo with a lot of very good other books, but only until 6th August. Then it will go back to its original price.

So there we are, for some really good stuff to read, make a note to put 5th and 6th August in your diary for the Winter giveaway. Yes. Winter because Patty’s in the Southern Hemisphere where everything’s backwards – or forwards, if I’m backwards up here in Blighty.

To grab yourself some 99c or p books click on the picture below …

Lastly, more McMini.

He may be nine but he already has way more natural authority than I do. The other day he was trying to explain the rules of some complicated game he wanted me to play with him, probably to do with something I find a bit turgid like Transformers or Power Rangers because I’d zoned out a bit. And as my mind wandered I suddenly realised he’d stopped talking. I looked at him and he was eyeing me with a very stern expression.

‘Mummy,’ he said.
‘Mmm?’
‘I’m waiting for you to listen. Are you going to do this properly or are you just going to mess around?’
‘Sorry.’
‘That’s better. If you’re not going to take this seriously we won’t play.’

He also does a short version where he looks at me and says,

‘I’m waiting …’

when he thinks I’m not paying attention. I asked him if this is what his teacher said to him.

‘Yes, it is actually.’
‘Hmm d’you look out of the window regularly by any chance?’
‘Well, yes,’ he admitted, and he did have the good grace to look sheepish at this point. ‘I do. Quite a lot.’

Clearly a chip off the old block then. I have told him I’ll try to be more attentive for the rest of the holidays and he says that next term, he’ll make a special effort to be more attentive in class – although I think he may be a lot better than that sounds.

 

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Mind Expansion Anyone? #McMini #kids #parenting #children

McMini ‘wearing’ a head warmer.

Over the holidays I thought it would be fun to tell some of the funny stories about my family. There is ‘Catching Socks’, ‘Night of the Homeless Man’, ‘Tale of the Drowning Toddler’ and a famous one about my Mum for which I have no title, as yet.

However, I thought I would leave that for later because obviously, it being the holidays, I have been spending a lot of time with McMini and at the moment, he is in absolutely tip top form.

Indeed, he is greater evidence than anything else I’ve encountered that anyone who wants their mind expanding should skip the drugs and just talk to a kid.

McOther has his usual pre-holiday work panic on so after managing to clear the decks for sports day he had to miss the pic-nic lunch.

So there we were, McMini and I, eating our sandwiches and chatting.

‘Have you licked that spoon?’ asks McMini.
‘Yes, sorry,’ I say. ‘It’s covered in my yucky saliva.’
‘I don’t mind Mummy. My saliva is 50% yours. Your saliva is called Lady Penelope, Dad’s Saliva is called Geoffrey. My saliva is called Geoffrey Penelope.’

McOther’s reaction to this was to ask me if there was a source of mind expanding drugs McMini has access to about which we are unaware. But I think this is probably just how he is. I’ve never needed them, myself after all and McOther’s imagination is just as fertile so I guess it’s a given that McMini will come up with the kind of double dose that surprises even us.

Sometimes, McOther and I worry about what we have spawned …

Then this one…

Yesterday, I was happily minding my own business, reading the Searcher magazine on the loo when McMini appeared. It’s not so much you’ll never walk alone in our house so much as you’ll never cr- you get the picture, I’m sure. Anyway

‘I had a dream about you last night Mummy.’
‘Did you?’ I say. Uh-oh, I think. Dreams about me tend to involve my turning into some grisly monster and ripping his head off, dreams about his father, ditto.
‘Yes. It was quite scary, or at least it wasn’t exactly scary because it was funny but it was scary too. I dreamed I was in a kind of fairy tale. Cinderella was there but she had a black horrible face with red glowing eyes and she was dancing around and I accidentally went into her territory so she decided to kill me,’ – yep, her territory. I think we may have been letting him watch too many animal programmes – ‘But luckily you turned up, Mummy, and saved my life.’
Well that’s a surprise. I thought. ‘Oh dear,’ I said. ‘Still I’m glad I saved your life. Usually I kill you don’t I? so it makes for a nice change.’
‘Yes. But you nearly died. Cinderella had some zombie assistants, her ugly sisters were with her and they had crosses for eyes like when I draw dead people* and the Cinderella had a terrible secret weapon, she farted and that’s when you nearly died, the fumes nearly killed you but luckily I was there to save you by dragging you away.’

Have a kid and you, too, can have a loo like this!

When McMini plays video games, he doesn’t usually play the game that much, he spends hours dressing the characters in different clothes etc. He is clearly perfectly normal in this respect as the more recent the game the more secondary the actual game seems to be to all the extras, places you can go off menu, costumes you can unlock etc. But I found him playing Fifa 13 the other day.

‘Watch this Mummy!’ he said. Then as the goalie about to take a goal kick, he turned and put the ball in the back of the net. The game is not designed for people to do this so the Goalie then proceeded to put his head in his hands and look really upset. Which was kind of funny, in a surreal way.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked.
‘I’m being Chelsea. I don’t really like Chelsea so I have set myself up as Cheese McPiggyface, their player manager and I am making them lose so they are easier to beat next time.’
‘I’m not sure games work like that.’
‘Only one way to find out, Mummy.’

Hmm… well, I guess it’s cunning.

He also has a Ferrari driving game. To start racing you have to do some practise laps with Tiff Needell. McMini has never graduated to the actual racing bit. He drives the wrong way, backwards, into the wall and basically trashes the car.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked him.
‘I’m smashing the car. It’s hilarious! Look! I’ve cracked the windscreen.’
‘Why would you break a lovely Ferrari.’
‘Oh it’s much more fun than doing it properly, Mummy. Tiff Needell gets really cross.’

Ho hum … and don’t get me started on the weird stuff he puts in the freezer.

A lego figure in suspended animation. Our freezer is full of this stuff!

I dunno what’s going on here, more lego being iced along with a Kinder egg toy.

 

* And how The Beano draws dead things, too. Which is where he got it from I suspect.

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When the luck unicorn farts …

You’d better be ready.

Yes, smashing things are afoot, in writing world anyway, and for once it’s not me blundering into something and breaking it.

Escape From B-Movie Hell.

Something unusual and rather wonderful has happened this week, my book, Escape From B-Movie Hell has been accepted for a bookbub promotion.

Now, I can imagine you might be thinking,

‘Mmm yes MT,’ as you stifle a yawn, ‘but what does that have to do with me?’

Well, Bookbub is the mother of all promotion sites. You get your book featured on there and many, many folks will discover it. A Bookbub feature is one of the Holy Grails of authordom. Any author angling to have their book included will need a LOT of persistence, possibly in conjunction with aligned stars, the fumes of potent upwind unicorn farts, and a dash of fairy dust. But while the unicorns and fairies and proper authors were looking the other way it seems my book sneaked on!

What does this mean for you?

Well, if you want to read Escape From B-Movie Hell, then from sometime yesterday, 20th July, until Sunday, 23rd July, it’s going for a song.

Bookbub will be promoting my book to squazillions of people in India, Canada, Australia and the UK. And in return I reduce it to 99c, or p, or 65Rupees.

Now the squazillions don’t include anyone in the US, or RSA or New Zealand, which seemed unfair. So I’ve reduced it to the equivalent price in those places, too.

So there you go, if you are interested in reading it, click this link for more info and links to buy:

http://www.hamgee.co.uk/escape.html

There’s another thing I’d like to share with you. Today, I bring you a new word: the verb, ‘to bald’. McMini uses a lot of wonderfully bizarre language and this is one he came up with when I was talking to him the other today. He was talking about pretending to be a certain footballer, a fellow with a shiny round billiard ball of a head. No hair.

‘We balded ourselves and ran around shouting, “Goooooaaaaal!”‘ He told me.

The thing that made me laugh most was that I knew exactly what he meant straight away.

So there we are. If you have a LOT of hair, and you then sweep it back off back of your face and flatten it against your head, roll-on deodorant style, so that you can pretend you have no hair at all and show your giant forehead to the world, the technical term for your action is, apparently, ‘balding yourself’.

The baldest thing I could find at short notice.

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A free box, an embarrassing parent and over 100 #free #scifi_books!

This week I have mostly been cheating and taken my blog post from my monthly round robin email, but when you get to the bit about free sci-fi books you’ll understand why, because it’s good.

Patty Jensen Promo 3-5

This week as McMini and I trundled home from school we noticed a large wooden box in someone’s front garden. It was big, big enough to accommodate a full grown adult well … a small one anyway, and it had a sign on it saying, ‘free please help yourself’. Shameless skip-shopper that I am, there was no way I was going to leave it there, but sensitive to my McMini’s sensibilities I asked him anyway.

After a brief discussion as to whether the box was the free item in question, or whether there’d originally been something else on top, which some other enterprising local had already removed, we decided we’d take the box, paint it and use it to store some of McMini’s gargantuan collection of lego. Even though we were 99% certain it was the box they were giving away we decided to make our exit a sharp one. The box and its garden were only a few hundred yards from our house so it wouldn’t take long to nip home.

Except that when it came to moving the box my arms were not long enough to carry it by both handles so the exit was not exactly sharp. It involved puffing, panting, pigeon steps and lengthy stops for protracted bouts of breathless wheezing and giggling. After ‘carrying’ it about five yards in 10 minutes, some kind local took pity on us and took the other handle. We got it the rest of the way in about 30 seconds flat!

McMini told me I was ‘awkward’ which is 7 year old speak for ‘a complete and utter embarrassment’. I told him about the time my Mum made me join her in our coat cupboard to hide from some on-spec visitors and he decided that, perhaps, I might be a bit less embarrassing than I could be. The box is now in our garage, awaiting filler, sanding and painting. You can see from the bike next to it that it’s quite large… yes, I’m posting a picture of a box for you to see because I find boring stuff so incredibly interesting! Mwah hahahahrgh! But then if I wasn’t obsessed with the minutiae of life, I probably wouldn’t write books

Continuing on the subject of getting something for nothing, I wanted to give you the heads up about some free sci-fi and fantasy books that will be up for grabs this weekend: over 100 of them!

Renowned Australian sci-fi author, Patti Jansen has got together with a bunch of over 100 other sci-fi and fantasy authors who, in a moment of March madness, will be giving away their books for free. The theme has two streams: books that are in Kindle Unlimited – although I believe many of those are going to be free to non Kindle Unlimited Amazon users for 5th and 6th March – and free first in series on Kobo; they’re free whatever.

Patti has kindly included a link to download the Kobo app, for any amazon only users who might want it. More details can be found on the giveaway page, which is on Patti’s site.

So, to sum up:

I got a free box, and you can get some free books.

To take a look at the books in Patti Jansen’s Insane March Promo, click on the picture at the top of this page – not the box, that’s in the middle, anyway, the super promotion thingummy – or, slightly easier, click this link here:

Patti Jansen’s Insane March Promo: http://pattyjansen.com/promo/

 

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Marathon Man and Team GB: A Personal Appeal from Me.

As you know, I don’t normally talk about my family, mainly because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to know about them and that they, in turn, would be absolutely horrified if I did. However, today, I’m going to make an exception. This is a personal post, about my brother, and at the end of it, I’m going to ask for your help. I aim to beg in an amusing way, without putting anyone under pressure, but if you think you’ll be uncomfortable with that feel free to make a swift exit!

Right, if anyone’s still here, on we go.

Today, I’d like to tell you about a very important event which my brother, Giles Bell: A prime examples of er,  middle aged athleticism if ever there was one; a man in the peak of physical fitness – see photo – is going to undertake with a team of other brave sporting gentlemen: Simon Sowdon, Will Hughes, Paul Vicars and Andy Weston.

Giles Bell, the apogee of sporting prowess is the one on the right. As you can see, he's very tall which is why he's having to concentrate extremely hard on not smacking his head on the speaker mounted at a height that is well above danger level for most of us. I apologise to the lady in the middle for not knowing who he is. The lady on the left is his wife. ;-)

Giles Bell, the apogee of sporting prowess, is the one on the right. As you can see, he’s very tall which is why he’s having to concentrate extremely hard on not smacking his head on the speaker mounted at a height that wouldn’t normally bother most of us. He is holding a special, yeast and hops based vitamin drink he uses to run faster. I apologise to the lady in the middle for not knowing who she is – or at least not remembering, I’m sure I do know. The lady on the left is his wife, Emily. 😉

The five brave souls of the Famous Five, or Team Giles Bell – or Team GB unless I am unable to call them that for legal reasons – are going to be taking part in the Shrewsbury half marathon to raise money for the Scleroderma Society. They’re going to try to make it look really difficult by completing it in under two hours.

“God made me for a purpose but he also made me FAST and when I run I feel his pleasure!”*

Being such  fine athletes it will be difficult for them to run that slowly, so they will be making it look hard with as much sporting hamminess as possible. To this end they are studying videos of premier league football players showing pain and undertaking a heavy schedule of grimacing practise in readiness. Speaking as someone who can’t run or walk more than a mile and would have to be dragged round, or perhaps pushed, St-Cuthbert’s-Mum-style, in a wheelbarrow I can only stand in awe and admire (phnark).

Why the Scleroderma Society?

Well, because Giles has just discovered that his youngest son, Reggie has scleroderma. It’s an auto immune problem which can cause painful joints, tightening and stiffness of the joints and skin, fatigue and in unlucky cases, it can affect the internal organs. There is no cure, it’s just something you have to take on the chin and learn to live with, rather than suffer from.

Reggie, for added cuteness. ;-)

Reggie – for added cuteness 😉 – looking very serious while holding an owl.

There are two types of scleroderma:

  •     localised scleroderma, which affects just the skin
  •    systemic sclerosis, which may affect blood circulation and internal organs, as well as the skin.

Reggie definitely has the first and it looks as if he may have both, which is a pretty harsh deal for a six year old: think Lupus, rhumatoid arthritis, chrones disease or the like. The effects are treated with physiotherapy and immuno-suppresants. Reggie will have to have treatment to stabilise the condition to start with. Over a 2 year period he will have to ingest some fairly hefty chemicals: suff that’s usually used in chemotherapy – although in much lower doses. He’ll have to have weekly blood tests and he will probably feel pretty knocked out for most of that time.

Currently, there is no cure for scleroderma and very little funding to find one but the Scleroderma Society is fighting to achieve it. So if you have any funds spare that you’d like to give to a good cause feel free to sponsor Giles who is raising funds for them, by clicking the ‘sponsor Giles’ just there, or using the link below. I’ve added two links about the disease, too, to give you a feel for what Reggie is up against.

  • If you want to know more about Giles’ bid for sporting prowess (his post is much funnier than mine) or would like to sponsor him, his VirginMoneyGiving page is here.
  • If you want to know more about Scleroderma, there’s an excellent explanation on the NHS website here.
  • If you want to know more about the Scleroderma Society, you can visit their website here .

* only Giles will get this joke.

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Still Eating Snail and Tortoise Dust but Learning to Like the Taste

It has occurred to me that it’s time to post something before you all think I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil or something. The truth is, life is just busy. Duncan’s funeral, a week blitzed afterwards, half term and my in laws down for the week next week, along with the deadline for the parish magazine (yes, I’m the editor) means that for the last three weeks, internet presence has been sporadic at best and the next 10 days will be the same.

So yeh, I’ve done the last thing I could do for my friend, I’ve waved until he’s out of sight round the bend in the road and turned to face the future. The world is moving inexorably on and apart from the residual sadness, which will be with me for some time, I am looking ahead and life is good. That said, after a day spent queuing to get into the Natural History Museum, queuing to see the dinosaur section, queuing to go to the lavatory afterwards etc I’m a bit all in. So inspiration is thin on the ground. Which is why we’re heading for light fluff.

Obviously, the in laws coming, and Mum in law being a household goddess – her house is an immaculate, smoothly oiled machine and I am in serious awe – I have tried to tidy up. I employ bi-weekly cleaners but it being the bi week and us being out on the wrong days to un-bi, McMini and I spent a happy Wednesday this week doing the cobwebs, the beds, dusting, hoovering through etc. The result is a very presentable house. I also got the Dyson Dustbuster and had a go at the huge mountain of cat hair on the chaise long in our hall. When I came to empty it I found something a little bit weird. And amazing. Yes, it had made this perfectly spherical, cat hair and dust ball:

IMG_2249

Yep, I know,pure cat felt.

I expect you can all see what’s coming next. Suffice it to say that since photographs were taken the next thing we knew everything had gone down hill and turned into… er hem… this.

IMG_2280

And, of course, then it was only a matter of time before it turned into this…

IMG_2255

Alright treacle? Wanna come out on the taaaan?

The worst bit is probably the fact that I’ve kept it. Mr D Bunny or is it Terence De Tumblepube is currently residing in a plant pot with some cape primroses. Because it seems like a little miracle of hoovery strangeness.

Meanwhile, the vague ideas for K’Barthan 5 are definitely crystallising into something and the Book With No Name, which I’m working on at present: the trying to write a comfortable, normal, genre specific, correct length novel – that’s coming on nicely too. Although it’s not quite … comfortable or normal, or even genre specific, even if it is correct length. Oh well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad as Mr Meatloaf says.

I am also rejigging my mailing list expect something interesting soon – or at least ‘soon’ within the parameters with which I use the word so … before next year.

I leave you with one form McMini who joined ‘construction club’ at school (ie lego in lunchbreak).

Me – Was it good?
McMini – Oh yes! It was brilliant.
Me – what did you build?
McMini – a fish and chip shop, but it was closed.
Me – Closed? Why?
McMini – There weren’t enough lego men to go round so I didn’t have enough to make any customers, just the man behind the counter, so I decided all the customers had gone and he was closing up.

So there we are. I think that just about wraps it up for this week.

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It seems I’m #KBarthan even though I live here.

I thought I’d share my morning with you. No real reason. Just for a laugh.

It was McMini’s first day back at school so we had to be up and out of the house at about the time we woke up yesterday. McMini, however, was ace. He got up and got dressed.

“Car or bike?” I ask him.

“Car,” he says

Breakfast eaten, clothes on, teeth brushed and coats on we duly go to the garage. The Noisy Cricket is still in bed. McMini climbs in. I put the key in and press the starter button.

“Click,” it goes. That’s how cars that are made in Norfolk tell you to fuck off.

“Ha, never fear, I have the battery boost starter um… thingamy,” I cry and so I plug it in and connect it all up.

“Click,” says the car.

“And fuck off to you too,” I think but manage not to say it out loud in front of McMini. Ka-Ching! M T McGuire awards non swearing points to self and allows a nano second of smugness.

It’s OK. We have seven minutes. There is still time to get there on the bike. I get my bike out and attach the Incredibly Heavy Trailer Bike. I have to do about 110 turns to get the nut off and the towing bar out and about another 109 turns to do it up after I’ve attached the trailer. It takes approximately fifteen years (Oh alright, a couple of minutes). Never mind, it’s on.

Also – major achievement – we’ve managed to do all this without letting the cat get into the garage AND I’ve remembered to lock the garage door.

Ah yes. Cycle hats. I run back to the house. Actually I do the ‘Special Gait’. You know, like the Monty Python folks do when they’re pretending to ride horses in the Holy Grail? The one which makes you look effing stupid. People with less than the pre-requisite number of functioning knee ligaments do tend to default to the Special Gait in place of actual running.

Cycle hat for McMini retrieved I rush back. Ga dump, ga dump, ga dump, I ‘run’. We get onto the bike to discover some random bloke has parked in my drive. Why I have no idea, there’s another 20 minutes, at least, before the permits and scariness kick in.

“Excuse me! Who are you?” I ask, probably a bit more aggressively than I intend to due to my current state of panic.

“Er… I’m looking for number 2.”

Grrr. He could stop on the single line outside the house.

“Well this is the drive for number 3. If you want to park here, you have to ask.”

“I’m very sorry.”

“Good, it’s not a good time, how long will you be here?”

“Not long.”

“Good. Cause it looks like I have a breakdown truck coming.”

“Oh when?”

“Five minutes,” no you daft cow, that’s how long you have to get to school, “No wait sorry not 5 minutes, as soon as I’ve dropped McMini off at school.” Yeh, look like a twat while you’re bollocking him why don’t you? Anyway why are you bollocking him? How did you get into this? What are you doing?

“That’s OK I’ll be gone by then.”

McMini and I pile about 300 yards up the enormous hill – thank you Bury town planners, you bastards, for configuring the one way system so that I have two massive ups and one down not only on the way to school but on the way back too… cluddy bunts – then I remember his school bag is in the car.

“Nobs alive.”

Back we go.

We make it to school, I pedal like the blazes but it’s like dragging a gothic cathedral on wheels through treacle. Wheezing like an asthmatic sea lion I manage to go slightly faster than walking pace while McMini pedals with all his might behind.

We arrive at school and the door is still open! Huzzah! No late entry and paperwork to be filed. Except that as I wait to wave at him from the window I remember I’ve left his drinking water on the sodding draining board. Nobbing sodding sod.

I go home, two hills up one down, via the bank to pay in a cheque. It’s not open yet. Arse.

When I return home the random Saab has gone from our drive. I put the trailer in the garage and get the water, get back on the bike and cycle another mile and a half through treacle to get back to school. Deliver the water. Discover that McMini’s guitar lessons start TONIGHT and I don’t even know if he’s been scheduled in. Ride home via the bank, which is open this time, to ring the guitar man.

Get home to discover I’ve forgotten to buy a birthday card and that McMini has quietly chomped his way through all the carrots I was going to serve up with our dinner tonight.

Ring guitar man.

Sort lessons.

Tell school.

Realise I’ve given Guitar Man a duff e-mail address. I look out of the window at what I think is a nice hedge hog on our patio and realise it’s a sodding great rat. Now I’ll have to organise some kind of rat catching thing. It’s very cute but I don’t want it nesting in my cellar.

And so it goes on.

Then there’s the ‘help’ I receive in all my endeavours about the house from my omnipresent cat-shaped assistant.

20150104_132704

No wonder I never get anything done…

 

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