Thursday, 20 June 2019

No Head for Figures

Dtective Mysteries
I'm very happy to report that my story 'No Head for Figures' has been accepted for the forthcoming Flame Tree Publishing anthology 'Detective Mysteries', due out in November.

Readers with long memories may recall a previous outing for my two Victorian detectives, MacAndrew and Smithers, in the inaugural edition of The Sockdolager way back in Spring 2015.

'The Man on the Church Street Omnibus' saw our two intrepid sleuths on the trail of strange goings-on in a Kensington churchyard.

This time they encounter a nasty case of decapitation in Whitechapel. What do you do when a head turns up with no body?  Well, you'll have to read the story to find out.

This will be the fourth of my stories to be published by Flame Tree. They do produce lovely hardbacks, which make first-class Christmas presents. So, please remember when you're stuck for a gift for the person who has everything- this year they haven't got a copy of 'Detective Mysteries'  and they obviously need one.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

Established by the bequest of artist Thomas Stuart Smith (1815-69) the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is an eclectic treasure trove. I have selected just a few things that I found of particular interest, but other people may find other items of fascination among the cornucopia.

long case clock by Bayne of Stirling 1780
Bayne Long Case

As it happens, I love long-case clocks. I have an unpretentious eighteenth-century country piece at home. You can tell the earlier examples by their plain metal faces – usually brass – whilst nineteenth-century clocks often had elaborately painted designs. Here (left) however is a real beauty. Made in Stirling by John Bayne in 1780, the engraving on the silvered face features an escapee ox being pursued by a butcher with an axe.

Thomas Stuart Smith painting 1869
The Pipe of Freedom

T S Smith’s painting ‘The Pipe of Freedom’ showing a freed slave in front of the proclamation of emancipation, was declined by the Royal Academy exhibition of 1869 for being too political.

Neish Collection of British Pewter
Romano-British pewter

The Neish Collection of historic pewter is of staggering quality. I was unaware of the existence of Romano-British pewter, for example, but not only have important items been excavated, some of the most significant are housed in the Smith Museum.

Joseph Denovan Adam  painting of cattle
Highland Cattle

Highland Cattle by Joseph Denovan Adam (1841-1896) is quite simply one of the best livestock paintings I’ve ever seen. The beasts stare out of the painting at the visitor as though they were looking in through a window, wanting in out of the rain that’s coming up fast behind them.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Hot off the Press

I always love to receive a hard copy of an anthology that contains one of my stories. Here's Endgame from B-Cubed, the final episode of the Alternative Truths Trilogy.

This collection contains my story 'I, Apparatchik', the title of which, as you may guess, is a play on Asimov's 'I, Robot'.  It would be nice to see it do a fraction as well.

The story concerns members of a certain intelligence agency who are responsible for creating and maintaining robots to stand in for the president in various tricky situations. I hope you like it.

This is my third story in a B-Cubed publication. The previous two were 'Conspiracy of Silence' in 'More Alternative Truths'  and 'Devine Justice' in Alternative Theologies.

On the subject of the last of these, Bob Brown tells me that all copies of the anthology (and nothing else) were recently stolen from a convention in the USA. Apparently, the theft proved the old adage that all publicity is good publicity: sales promptly doubled.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Endgame is Out!

Endgames Available NOW

Alternative Truths III: Endgame 

The final volume in the best-selling Alternative Truths series from B Cubed Press. Edited by Bob Brown and Jess Faraday,

Endgame features 30 of today’s best writers and political thinkers taking a look forward at possible outcomes of our political decisions.

Humor and satire reign supreme in this collection. If you want to laugh, read Jim Wright’s "Bathroom Breakdown,” a side-splitting vision of Donald J. Trump at his best or follow the antics of a beleaguered Attorney General in Debora Godfrey’s work, “No Excuses” as he tries to convince the President that he has tried and convicted Hillary Clinton.

This collection has visions of a better world as well. In Paula Hammond’s “Fortunate Son,” we explore what kind of man Donald Trump might have become had he answered his country’s call and served alongside his fellow Americans in the Vietnam War.

Most of all Endgame will make you think, with thought-provoking essays by the likes of David Gerrold and Adam-Troy Castro as they seek to share their understanding of how this happened and what do will we do.

A significant portion of the proceeds of this book is donated to the ACLU of Washington to honor and support their unending quest for the freedom of the American people to express themselves.

The book is available in print and electronic media from

ISBN-13: 978-1-949476-05-7

Electronic ISBN-13: 978-1-949476-06-4

The book is priced at $5.99 for ebook and $12.25 for print. The book is published by B Cubed Press and can be followed on Twitter @BCUBEDBOB.

Kindle Edition

Print Book


Foreword, Becky McFarland Kyle

Bathroom Breakdown, Jim Wright

The First Lady is Missing, Louise Marley

Waiting for Gustavo, DB Lipton

Tyrannus ab ultima Epistulae, Frédéric J.A.M. Poirier

The Ballad of Cadet Bone Spurs, Larry Hodges

Politics As Usual, K.G. Anderson

Act Three, David Gerrold

Stupid?, Adam-Troy Castro

Fortunate Son, Paula Hammond

Final Tweet, Nathan Ockerman

Hell’s Angel, Robert Walton

What is Hate?, Joyce Frohn

Beautocracy, Natalie Zellat Dyen

Alien Tweetstorm Apocalypse, Kurt Newton

I, Apparatchik, Philip Brian Hall

Democralypse, Bruce Golden

Exit, Stage Right, Daniel M. Kimmel

No Excuse, Debora Godfrey

Last Interview, Melinda LaFevers

All the Prez’s Men, Liam Hogan

The Train, Annie Percik

Once You Start, Mike Morgan

Babble, Charles Walbridge

America Once Beautiful, Gregg Chamberlain

Women March, Gwyndyn T. Alexander

Skin in the Game, Harold Gross

Passing on Fire, Joyce Frohn

The Great White Wall, Larry Hodges

Mr. President’s No Good, Lousy Day, Stephanie L. Weippert

The Nature of the Problem, Thomas A. Easton

Sanctuary for Those on Simmer, Sarah Bigham

Gold and Ivory, Cobalt Jade