A lonely girl lives her life in the shadow of her more beautiful, more adored sister. Until one day it begins to snow…
A horrible secret is revealed when a fairy’s ‘gift’ shows the Perfect Parents to be anything but perfect…
An awkward, shy teenage boy suddenly sprouts a huge pair of Angel’s wings…
A beautiful, compassionate, campaigning Princess becomes beloved of the people and meets a tragic, and suspicious, end…
Four tales of mystery, wonder, magic and murder these four stories from The Tales from Anywhere series and 14 others can found published together in ‘The Curious Little Book of Extraordinary Big Tales’ (also available to buy now).
When you say the words ‘Once upon a time’, anything can happen.
Click on the link below to download a PDF of ‘The Sisters Story’ from this short collection of tales, please feel to reblog, email and otherwise share ‘Anywhere’ and everywhere…
Or buy the lot at:
In the days when I (naively) still entertained hope that a literary agent somewhere might be interested in my work I came to form my own impressions of them and how they worked.
Drawing on the benefit of that experience, I’d like to present to you my own (not entirely) tongue-in-cheek list of tips that WILL get you signed up. Possibly. And that’s a 100% money back promise. Maybe.
The most important to thing to remember, if you want to get signed, is that literary agents are almost stereo-typically white, middle-class, conservative and highly risk-averse ladies and gentlemen who lunch and they definitely went to a better school than you did. It’s these particular characteristics of agents that have informed the construction of my list….
Here we go, top tips to get you a literary agent:
1. Have a BA (Hons) in Eng Lit from Oxford or Cambridge. This means that an agent can be sure that, even if you churn out plot-free, turgid nonsense, at least it will be turgid nonsense with good grammar and spelling: and even if the grammar and spelling isn’t actually that good that’s because you’re being “clever” and “ground-breaking” in your “manipulation and reinvention of the English language.” In a literary agent’s eyes an Oxbridge BA Eng Lit (Hons) is the equivalent of Beatification and Papal Infallibility all rolled into one.
2. Be a celeb. Pretty obvious one this, really. You’re a celeb, people know you, you have a ready-made fan base who will buy anything with your name on it. To an agent, publishing a “book” by a celeb is a no-brainer (literally…). And if you have absolutely nothing to say and, like David Cameron, your writing skills don’t extend beyond “the cat sat on the mat,” don’t worry, it’s just your name we need, darling, and, anyway, that’s what editors and ghostwriters are for.
3. Be a journalist. Once again, pretty obvious. I mean, if you’re a journalist you’ll definitely be able to write a good book, right? After all, as a journalist, you will have had years and years of utilising your famed journalistic abilities of critical thinking and “having a great nose for a story” by reproducing other peoples’ press releases word for word and surely all that copying must have taught you something about writing? Surely? Its also useful to note here that you will get double points for being a journalist if you ‘work’ for the BBC or a nice magazine like The Lady or The Spectator.
4. Be “P.L.U.” This is a slightly more complex concept. Let me explain. “P.L.U.” means “People Like Us.” This is the question a literary agent would have, invariably, asked him/herself before casting your unread manuscript into the never to be read slush pile. Agents like to deal in known quantities, they don’t like straying out of their comfort zone and they’re not happy dealing with people who, well, who just aren’t like them. So, how do you make yourself P.L.U.? Here’s a checklist:
- Be (at least) middle-class
- Live in London or the nicer parts of the Home Counties (not Luton)
- Express an interest in wholesome and class appropriate activities such as horse riding
- Come from a good family. Particularly effective if you have a tendentious blood-relationship to a long-dead English monarch, and/or you exhibit obvious signs of aristocratic inbreeding (think Boris and Rachel Johnson)
- Be a friend, a friend of the family, or the friend of a friend of a literary agent.
5. Do not write about (I can barely bring myself to type the word..) homosexuals. Writing that features homosexuals scares the life out of agents. If they should accidentally pick up your manuscript because they’ve confused it with a copy of The Lady magazine or Sporting life they will, upon spying the gay bit, throw your work into the air and run screaming from the room. However, there are exceptions. You can get away with gayness if you’re an already established and famous gay media figure (preferably a bit silly and very camp, obediently self-loathing; like proper gay people are supposed to be like that nice Alan Carr chap…) or your portrayal of gays might be acceptable if it features them:
- Being extremely unhappy and tortured individuals
- Only able to find a modicum of happiness when they settle into a relationship and adopt/surrogate/steal a child (it being a well known fact that all gays are actually really desperate to have children to bring meaning to their otherwise empty lives)
- Getting beaten to death by rough trade pick ups/rentboys
- Receiving their just desserts and dying horribly of AIDS (this is a particularly effective tactic for sneaking gayness into your work).
6. Be “gender-appropriate” in your writing. This means that, if you’re male, you should only write books that involve guns, fighting, detectives and monsters. If you’re female you need to stick to romance, children and female detectives. Remember, blokes write certain types of books, and women write other types, do not confuse your potential agent by trying to blur any boundaries here…oh, and if you are a bloke trying to write a book for kids, you had better soooo forget that idea…and whatever your sex, do not challenge a literary agent’s (usually somewhat limited) intellectual capabilities by writing a book that mixes genres, that is entirely too complicated and just is not the done thing (unless you satisfy Point 1. above, in which case any old piece of meandering crap is wonderful, darling).
7. Do not be working class or Northern. As all literary agents know, all working class people and/or people who live in The North are as thick as proverbial pig pooh. They are unimaginative, bovine, heavy drinking, hard smoking, work in satanic mills, wear wooden clogs on their misshapen peasant feet and having nothing whatsoever to add to any kind of literature. Nothing, not a thing. It’s always been that way, and always will be that way, or my name’s not Annabel…
8. Do not be black. This is probably my most crucial piece of advice. Black people scare the living daylights out of literary agent types even more than homosexuals or Northerners. As far as literary agents are concerned, black people are vaguely dangerous and should stick to disco dancing, basketball and living in inner city council estates, they certainly should not be trying to write books. I mean, can you imagine, a black person might, just conceivably, become a successful and wealthy author and then, before you know it, he or she is buying a house in Surrey and, well, we all know what happens to the neighbourhood then. If you are an aspiring black author then please be aware that, even if your manuscript is of Man Booker prize winning quality, it will be rejected by at least 79 literary agents.
That’s it! Simples! Adopt my 8 tips and I guarantee that an agent will sign you up in six months…..probably.
I have to say this is the most succinct analysis not only of why we have wars but also of how our sham ‘democracies’ have been hijacked by the One Percent, ably aided and abetted by a corrupt media. I’ll say nothing more, just look at the pic:
If the picture strikes a chord with you and you want to know more about how our psychopathic elite operate, read my ‘The Greedy One Percent’ story, also on this blog or click here:
Once upon a time…many, many years ago in the land of Anywhere, in a world long since forgotten, there was, at one time, a kind of Golden Age. It was not, it has to be said, an age that was Perfect but it was agreed by almost all that it was an age that was much, much better than That Which Had Gone Before.
You see, after Generations Of Struggle against Social Injustice and two Catastrophic And Immensely Bloody Wars with the nearby land of Anotherplace, in which the Ordinary Folk had died and suffered to a catastrophic degree, it was decided by all except the Rapaciously Rich that Things Had To Change.
From that point on, Ordinary Folk were given access to Free Education, Free Healthcare, Pensions, Benefits to help those who fell upon Hard Times and all the advantages of what you would know in your world as a Welfare System. New taxes were introduced to redistribute some of the vast sums of money accumulated, mostly from Stealing, Cheating And Tax Avoidance, by the Wealthy and the Aristocracy over the years (who were collectively known in the land of Anywhere as The One Percent) and Political Reforms introduced to break their stranglehold over the Political And Economic Life of the country. Additionally, the Right to Vote was given to all (except Trolls and Faeries, obviously).
And the land of Anywhere blossomed, for it was found that a populace Free From Hunger And Illness, that was properly Educated and Cared For, produced huge numbers of Talented men and women that previously had Languished due to Poverty And Lack of Opportunity. These Talented men and women drove the land of Anywhere to new heights of success, founding businesses, employing people, making a mark in the worlds of politics, science, medicine and culture. Slowly but surely, the Dead Grip of The One Percent, who had dominated and controlled the land of Anywhere for as long as anyone could remember, was broken.
But within the body of the land of Anywhere a Malignant Cancer was growing.
And the location of the tumour was a small area in the city of Anyplace, known as The Anytown. The Anytown had always been the centre of Financial Services and Banking and the people providing the money behind it, and benefiting from the money it made, had always been The One Percent. As they saw their Power And Wealth eroded by new Taxes And Political Reform, The One Percent swore on oath that, in these changed times, if there was only one thing they would hold on to, it would be their control of The Anytown. For in The Anytown, they saw a means to Restore Their Fortunes and return things to The Natural Order, which they, of course, would be back in charge of.
Using an Ancient And Potent Form Of Magick known as The Old School Tie, The One Percent successfully kept control of The Anytown, the Magick Of The Old School Tie ensuring that all the Really Important positions in the Financial Services and Banking businesses in The Anytown only went to their own kind. Now, whilst the One Percent had to employ some Ordinary Folk in these new Enlightened Times, they were placed in jobs of little real power or influence. Further, if an Ordinary Person had to be employed then great care was taken to employ only a certain type of person: people who, like themselves, were destructively greedy and conspicuously lacking in morals and who cared nothing for others. You may understand these kind of people as being “sociopaths;” in the land of Anywhere this word did not exist, rather such people were regarded negatively (along with people with red hair) as having a “Touch of The Troll” in their blood, which saying is yet another Calumny against the Troll race.
For many years the Rich And Powerful owners of the Anytown brooded on how to roll back the Social And Political Reforms instituted after the Great Wars and claim back what was Rightfully Theirs. And then they hit upon a Plan Of Action.
Slowly but surely they began to suborn the Political Establishment of Anywhere by bribing Politicians, either with direct payments or the promise of Well-Paid Directorships And Consultancies when their Political Careers were over. Then they used their money to invest in, and eventually take over, The Means Of Communication so that they could control all Pronouncements made to The Ordinary Folk.
When the Politicians and The Means of Communication were captured entirely within their silk-lined pockets, The One Percent began the second phase of their plan: to use the Financial Services and Banking businesses of The Anytown as Weapons Of War to destroy the new society that had been created in Anywhere and fully and finally restore their Wealth and Power. To this aim, the now tamed Politicians did as they were instructed and relaxed Regulations that had previously governed Financial Services and Banking and turned Blind Eyes when Obviously Illegal Activities took place.
In The Anytown, traders bought and sold a new product, the Highly Opaque And Risky Financial Instrument Of Death. These were hugely popular as they offered unfeasibly high rates of return and were sold as “Safe And Profitable” investments by The Anytown. However HORFIODs offered such high rates of return as they were based solely on almost unintelligible Mathematical Algorithms and Smoke And Mirrors (as well as Good Old Fashioned Fraud) and very soon, as per their name, they Blew Up Horribly, went Catastrophically Wrong, and Huge Financial Losses were made. But those who ran The Anytown were not concerned. To them, everything was going perfectly to pla¬n. And at what they considered to be the appropriate moment, they threw up their hands in Mock Horror and said that the Entire Financial System would collapse and People Would Starve To Death In The Streets if the losses made from buying and selling the HORFIOD were not paid for by the government, that is to say the ordinary tax payer, of Anywhere. Night after night The One Percent controlled Means Of Communication pronounced to the Ordinary Folk Horror Story After Horror Story of what would happen if money was not Forthcoming to cover the Huge Losses created by trading in the Highly Opaque And Risky Financial Instrument of Death.
Furthermore, The Means Of Communication noted, this financial support would have to be Substantial And Ongoing.
Duly, a Panicked Populace pressured the Politicians (not that they needed much pressuring, having already been thoroughly corrupted by The One Percent), screaming that Something Had To Be Done and money must be sent to The Anytown immediately!
And so it was that funds flowed from Ordinary Folk to The One Percent in Amounts That Were Unprecedented. With the backing of Puppet Politicians and The Means Of Communication, this one-way flow of money went on for year after year. The money was raised by increases in the taxes that Ordinary Folk paid and by huge cuts in spending on the Public Services.
Throughout the land of Anywhere, and much to the delight of The One Percent, it suddenly became difficult to see a doctor if you were ill, educational standards collapsed as teachers were sacked, there were no longer funds to support people who found themselves without work (of which there were now many for few people had money to spend with Local Businesses after the Substantial Tax Rises the Puppet Politicians had imposed) and gangs of bandits, Pirates and ne’er-do-wells took to roaming the streets of Anyplace as a much diminished and demoralised Police Force no longer had the means or the motivation to control them. The situation was made even worse when The One Percent, revelling in their even greater wealth and power, decided they could become yet still richer by using their Puppet Politicians to start a series of Illegal Wars in Far Flung And Almost Unknown Lands. Taxes on Ordinary Folks were raised even further to finance the Production Of Weapons by the Armaments Industry that was, of course, owned by the One Percent.
In a few short years, the land of Anywhere had been reduced to a Sad And Sorry state. The “absolutely necessary” Substantial and Ongoing Financial Support for The Anytown had reduced the Ordinary Folk to Miserable Penury and the Public Services had collapsed completely. Nowhere was this collapse better illustrated than by the Sad And Tragic example of The Asylum Of The Strange And The Different when, after three months of not being paid, employees simply stopped turning up for work. Left unsupervised and unfed, inmates turned upon each other and The Asylum slid into Barbarism and even Cannibalism. Finally, those inmates who had not been Killed And Eaten would die in a huge fire which burnt for three days and three nights (there no longer being an effective Fire Brigade) and razed The Asylum to the ground.
Society was in a Desperate Condition. The lives of The Ordinary Folk were returning to the same Miserable Conditions that had existed before The Power Of The One Percent had been curtailed. And that same One Percent did not care about the misery and suffering they had unleashed with their Highly Opaque Financial Instruments of Death. After all, The Order Of Things was simply going back to the way it was supposed to be, with them in control and owning everything. And as the Ordinary Folk became Poorer And Poorer, they became Richer And Richer. What was not to like? Happy and content, the One Percent sat in their sumptuous houses in their Gated Communities high in the Hills above the city of Anyplace. Protected by high walls and Private Security Guards, the One Percent sat back and enjoyed their wealth.
But the Ordinary Folk had reached Breaking Point. The Misery of Their Lives had become Intolerable. Everywhere in The Land of Anywhere, people had started to ask questions. What had happened to Lives That Had Been So Good? Why did they no longer have work? Why were their children Sickly And Uneducated? And why, most of all, was their money (of which there was now very little) still being paid to the Bankers of The Anytown? Surely now was the time to stop trading in Highly Opaque And Risky Financial Instruments Of Death? And if that meant that losses made by rich people trading in such had to be covered by the rich people themselves, well, was that not the nature of business? Sometimes you take a risk and you lose.
As these Questions Were Asked, a Spirit Of Insurrection grew in the land of Anywhere.
And then came a Spark that would plunge the land into Conflagration.
Desperate as always for money to funnel up to its One Percent masters via The Anytown, the Politicians decided to demolish and sell for scrap the Much-Beloved-of-The-Ordinary-Folk bronze statue of The Ragged Man Who Sang. Appalled by this news, Ordinary Folk gathered spontaneously in the Park in which the statue was located. Disturbed by this huge display of Public Disaffection, leading members of The One Percent, aware that there was no longer a functioning Police Force, sent a detachment of Private Security Guards to the park with instructions to Fire Into The Crowd to kill a few demonstrators and scare the rest back to their homes.
As instructed, the Private Security Guards proceeded to the Park and fired without Thought Or Care into the Huge Crowd, killing many people including women and children. But the demonstrators were not intimidated; rather the Passion Of Their Anger rose to new heights and, like one powerful, cornered and enraged beast, the crowd fell upon the Guards and punched, stamped and kicked them all to death.
Days of rioting now followed in the City of Anyplace and then spread throughout the entire land. To begin with, the Anger of the Ordinary Folk was Inchoate And Self-Destructive and much of the beautiful city of Anyplace was destroyed, including the Centre Of Government which was burnt to the ground after the Politicians had been locked inside: those that escaped the flames were doused in Flammable Liquids, hung upside from lamp posts and trees and Set On Fire Whilst Still Alive by the mob.
After much needless destruction, eventually a Consensus Was Reached. The Ordinary Folk would stop destroying their own communities and Take Out Their Anger on Those Who Truly Tormented Them: The One Percent in their palatial homes in the Hills above the city of Anyplace.
Upon hearing this news, and reports of Ordinary Folk heading towards their Gated Communities from all over the land, The One Percent was Vaguely Perturbed and decided to Bolster The Defences by employing large numbers of vicious and heavily armed Pirate Mercenaries. That, they reasoned, should Do The Trick.
But it did not Do The Trick. The pirates were hardy and staunch defenders of their paymasters but were overwhelmed by wave after wave of desperate and angry Ordinary Folk. Eventually the high walls of the Gated Communities fell, the Private Security Guards (being considerably less redoubtable than the Pirates) fled and the Ordinary Folk stormed into the Luxury Homes of The One Percent, tearing each and every occupant into many bloody pieces: men, women and children.
And so, with the overthrow of the evil One Percent, you’re expecting a happy ending? I’m afraid not, for this is Real Life and not a Work Of Fiction. Civil Society had by now collapsed too far in the land of Anywhere to be reconstituted. Within a generation, the country would be ravaged and depopulated by disease, starvation, civil war, emigration and hopelessness and the Age Of Humans in the land of Anywhere would vanish, to be lost in the dense Fog of Forgotten Stories that makes up so much of history. And after the demise of humanity, Anywhere returned to being the land of Magick, Trolls and Faeries that it was before their arrival: which some might say was a very good thing indeed.
This little tale is taken from my book ‘The Curious Little Book of Extraordinary Big Tales’ available to buy at:
I’ll make a confession. I smoke, I drink, I don’t eat vegetables (horrible things), I’m partial to Krispy Kreme donuts. I even enjoy the odd McDonalds and I probably don’t exercise as much as I should.
Will these things, at some point, impact on my quality of life and life-span. Possibly. Do I care? No. I’ve made my choices, I’ll pay the price as and when it’s due. That’s the nature of life, you make your own choices and (in these aspects of my life) I’m happy with the one’s I’ve made, and you accept that nothing in life comes without some kind of payback at some point.
At the end of the day, you can be as smugly health-conscious as you like. You can be a non-smoking, non-drinking vegetarian, gym-going, fitness-fanatic (I’m bored already…), living a miserable life of mung bean eating self-denial but none of that will guarantee you a long, happy, healthy life.
What happens with our lives and how, and when they end, isn’t actually up to us. When all is said and done, it’s decided by random events of good fortune, the devastating maliciousness of blind fate and incomprehensible genetic lottery.
So, if you’re reading this and thinking ‘oh, that guy must be, like, sooo unhealthy’, please feel free to do so. But as you sit there slagging me of and ‘enjoying’ your pre jog bean curd and tofu, remember one thing above all, one wholly inescapable and unavoidable fact. You can follow the healthiest lifestyle possible, but don’t be so smug because…
…YOU ARE STILL GOING TO DIE!!
twat chef and fat bastard, Jamie Oliver, has called for a tax on sugar.
The general public has rejected Jamie’s proposal and instead responded with a resounding call to tax Jamie Oliver, the ultimate aim of said tax regime being to tax Jamie out of existence.
The public would like to see the annoyingly tedious and omnipresent celebrity
twat taxed every time he:
- Opens his mouth to pretend he’s remotely concerned about whatever high-profile social cause is knocking around at that particular moment as he desperately attempts yet again to garner yet more headlines about me, me, me.
- Publishes another shit cookery book full of shit recipes.
- Pretends he’s a straight up, working class, salt of the earth cock-er-nee.
- Appears on the TV in another shit televisual equivalent of his shit cookery books.
- Transparently compromises his supposed principals by becoming the face of a dodgy, abusive, supermarket chain.
- Tells a working class mum and dad of 5 working as much their rapist zero hours contracts allow that they can save money by cooking with organic, grass fed beef, pomegranates and fresh fennel.
If you, too. would like to see fat bastard and celebrity
twat chef, Jamie Oliver, taxed out of existence and (oh please, God, please) out of our lives, sign the parliamentary petition now!
Since the extraordinarily embarrassing revelation that David Cameron has a penchant for oral sex with pigs, a persistent undertone of dis-satisfaction with his leadership of the Tory Party has grown to an anguished howl.
No more is this howl stronger than within the Tory cabinet, and it seems that there is now a credible and accelerating plan to remove Cameron not just as PM but also from the Conservative party itself.
Various influential and top-ranking Cabinet ministers have been opening their hearts on the twin issues of Cameron’s incredibly limited intellectual abilities and his lust for pigs to trusted journalists. These are just some of the shocking statements (anonymously) made in the last week alone:
“The trouble with David is that he is incredibly thick, far more stupid than people realise. On a good day with lots of encouragement and some ‘show and tell’ he can just about count up to ten and sign his name with a cross. But that’s it. That’s as good as it gets.”
“This whole pig thing has gone too far. Just last week we were having an important Cabinet meeting. David was, as usual, oblivious to what was going on around him. That was okay. That’s normal with David. But then…then he suddenly pulls out “The Pig Fancier’s Guide” and starts masturbating over a picture of some sow or other.”
“David thinks Syria is a suburb of Manchester.”
“This simply is not good enough. The Tory party is engaged in a serious and important war against the middle and working classes, it is essential that we impoverish them and then dismantle the Welfare State. Free education, free healthcare, all that lefty shit, it’s got to go…these are vital war aims and we need a Prime Minister who is behind these aims, instead it seems that David would rather be having sex with a pig.”
“David’s core beliefs are the Tooth Fairy, Doctor Who, Santa Claus, Bob the Builder and the Easter Bunny.”
“For God’s sake, what’s wrong with the man? Why can’t he just be a proper Conservative and have sex with children?”
With views like this being expressed by Cabinet members and with the revolt against Cameron seemingly about to go mainstream, how long can he last? Will Cameron be ousted, or will he simply take the hint and resign quietly, giving the excuse he wishes to spend more time with his family and his pigs?