I'm an author, humourist and raconteur with five books on Amazon Kindle, and I love to hear from readers

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5 Stars
Rebellious Slave
Rebellious Slave - Billierosie

I don't know what it takes for a book to become a bestseller. I don't know how '50 Shades of Grey' ever became so popular. My wife said it was crap. And judging by the 6363 one Star reviews it's received in America alone, there are at least 6363 people who agree with her.

Rebellious Slave is much, much better. For starters the writing's far superior, and there's actually a plot. Billierosie has created an excellent piece of fiction here, tipping the whole theme of the dominatrix on its head and taking it to the extreme. And bizarrely I loved it!

Not since 'Venus in Furs' has the sadomasochistic role of the female dominant / submissive male been explored so eloquently, for this male is unconditionally accommodating. There's no switch here, nor any hint of it. The male is totally submissive, spending his whole life in sexual servitude.

A top read!

"Strike dear Mistress and cure his heart"

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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3 Stars
Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang
Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang - Colton Simpson

'Inside the Crips' is such a difficult book to review because even as I start typing I still don't know if it deserves a 5 Star or a 3 Star. "Give it a 4 Star then," I hear you shout. No, I can't sit on the fence like that. It deserves a 5 Star because Colton Simpson has without a doubt written an engaging tale with complete candour and integrity.

After growing up on the streets of South-Central Los Angeles, being 'initiated' into the Crips at 10 years of age, shooting people, robbing jewellery stores, shooting more people, robbing more jewellery stores and spending more than a decade in some of the toughest prisons in America where war between Blacks, Mexicans, Whites, Bloods and even separate Crip sections is an ongoing source of violence and death he's come full circle. But - and this is a huge BUT - he's such a bloody racist, and I just can't offer a racist a 5 Star review.

I detest racism of any kind. I hate the ignorance of it. I've worked with tough Poles, lazy Somalians, hard-working Lithuanians and Bulgarians, friendly Romanians, fun-loving Sikhs and quiet Muslims. And I absolutely despise and abhor the kind of racism that Simpson, or Li'l Cee Loc, preaches so openly in this book.

"My people are still enslaved by the White race." No their not. They're enslaved by themselves. They chose to commit those crimes. And your people, my arse! What does that mean? In the book you claim it's the Black man. That would be the Black man that's spent decades shooting and killing other Black men, I suppose. Yeah right, your people.

And what is this White Race? Hungarian? Romanian? Italian? Lithuania? Scottish? Which race? White isn't a race, Colton Simpson, it's a colour. How can you apportion blame onto ALL people of a white colour? How is it the white man's fault?

"At last the system has turned me from a human being to just another number." Not really, Li'l Cee. Your own CHOICES turned you from a human being to just another number. Really, does society deserve to have to put up with the likes of Li'l Cee Loc?

"1.6 percent of White men between 20 and 34 are in prison (Simpson's figures not mine), 12 percent of Black men 20 to 34 are in prison. My people are still enslaved." They're your figures Simpson and they speak for themselves, don't they? I checked out some other stats. Black people make up about 30% of the population of the United States, and 60% of the prison population. Now regardless of whom you committed your crimes against society had decided that it had earned a well-deserved rest from your activities. It had absolutely nothing to do with the colour of anybody's skin.

"Judge Cecil J. Mills peers over his glasses and says, 'Well now Mr Simpson. Don't you dare look at me like that,'" and Li'l Cee honestly doesn't understand how the judge thinks he's being antagonistic. But I understand it. Li'l Cee's look is common to the streets of South-Central L.A., in particular the areas of Compton, Watts and Inglewood. And I know that because in the early eighties I worked that area as a White English cab driver. I possibly know more about those areas and the people who live in them than any other Englishman alive. I wrote about my experiences in one of my books.

And I'll tell you something for nothing. They were such a miserable crowd, not giving a toss about manners, respectability or even cleanliness. Their homes were greasy, foul and noxious, their personalities were out for the count, and they never, ever smiled. The only thing that came close to a smile would be a derisory snigger or a mocking catcall. And they had such a chip on their shoulders. Always bitching about how the white man had screwed them over.

And that may be true. Black people definitely had a raw deal in the old slavery days, but no small measure of irony creeps in here when we realize that the Moors - Muslims who eventually settled in North-West Africa - laid waste the coasts of Europe, taking slaves that were sold in the markets of Venice. In the early 9th century the Vikings took over the slave trade - the word commemorates the fate of the Slavic people - and sold them to rich Muslims in the Eastern Mediterranean. But Muslims were the world's first slave traders. I only speak the truth.

However, the way that Black people were treated in the south of America in the 50's and 60's was disgusting. But Native Americans and Jews have been treated far, far worse over the centuries, and you don't hear them whinging about it, do you?

Are white people to blame when we find a proportion of black neighbourhoods turned into trouble spots and danger areas? Of course not. For if that were the case then the Jewish sections in countries like Russia and Germany would also be 'no-go' areas where prostitution, drugs and homicide are a daily form of misery, fear and death.

When Pulitzer prize-winning writer, Edwin Way Teale, wrote in 1953 that, "It is not races but individuals that are noble and courageous or ignoble and craven or considerate or persistent or philosophical or reasonable," what he was really saying was that a whole race of otherwise well-adjusted, well-dressed and well-read people get the shit when a high percentage of their individuals are arseholes.

But why are a high percentage of their individuals arseholes? I don't know. It's just the way they are. Lack of effective role models as parents probably has a lot to do with it. But it's not my fault, is it?

As I said above I wrote about my own experiences. I was robbed, chased, had a gun shoved in my face and one of the other drivers was shot. But I got out of there alive. And I've learned that there are a group of people, those who are so racist, so bigoted, so locked inside their own tiny little box of hate that the only way to deal with it is to accuse OTHER people of being racist.

A small portion of the ethnic minorities living in England and the USA have such a narrow focus that, for whatever reason, they live in a permanent state of hostility towards the (quote) White race (unquote). They may well have suffered trauma and persecution, but this has warped their mind-set and psyche to such an extent that they now hold ALL White people accountable for ill treatment their ancestors may have previously suffered, ever on the look-out for any imagined sign of abuse.

The persecuted has become so twisted that he has swapped places and is now himself the persecutor, intolerant of all White members of the community. These people who habitually fill their own minds with the rank poisons of hatred, suspicion and jealousy can get very upset at those who refuse to do likewise, and they find a perverted relief in actually accusing THEM of being racist, when of course it is the reciprocal outlook that is the truth.

Interesting how the perspective changes with the point of view, isn't it?

So while this really is an excellent book and a fascinating read as we follow Simpson's spirited, brave and it has to said foolhardy journey from Colton-to-Li'l Cee-to-Cee Loc-to-Colton again as he comes full circle and shares his campaign with us I just can't give a racist a 5 Star.

This is one of the best books I've read about the Bloods and Crips, but with regret - for I believe Simpson to be, and to have always been, a very principled human being - I can only afford it a 3 Star.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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5 Stars
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North

No man ever steps in the same river twice

Move over Plato, Pythagoras and Parmenides. Make way for Claire North.

Plato gave us his theory of forms, Pythagoras brought us transmigration of the soul beginning a new life in a fresh body (although of course he wasn't the first), and Parmenides explained how reality is one, change is impossible and existence timeless and unchanging.

Claire North, in contrast, philosophises about re-birth in the same body at the same time in an ever so slightly shifting universe. Slight paradigm shifts that have incredibly profound effects. I think she's a Time Lord.

Reading 'The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August' is like stepping into a river of gold, but as the philosopher says, "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." And this, when all's said and done simplifies what is a truly magnificent story.

The Cronus Club is a myriad of wandering souls, trickling messages down from the future by means of child to dying adult, child to adult, from a thousand years forward in time, amplifying it down the generations, so that it's entirely possible for events that took place in 2003 to have implications for those people living in, say, 1919.

Or, taking this to the extremes, events that will happen 4000 years in the future could have great significance for those people who lived during the age of ancient Greek philosophy during the 6th & 5th centuries BC. What a concept!

Those implications, however, can be catastrophic. "You can do whatever you like so long as you don't bugger it up for the next lot. So no nuking New York, please, or shooting Roosevelt, even for experimental purposes. We just can't handle the hassle."

One of the marks of a good author is her ability to build a couple of sub-plots around the main plot and then sometimes - but not always - bring them all together at the end. Well, there are a hundred sub-plots in this story, but don't let that put you off because unbelievably it all flows. A period of about 900 years flows effortlessly into about 70 years. Extremely readable.

So is it science fiction? I wouldn't say so. Thriller? Absolutely! You've got a charming, yet evil criminal mastermind and an adventure that lasts several lifetimes. Honestly, buy this book!

Oh, and one last thing. If this story is ever made into a film, Vincent Rankis must at all costs be played by Stephen Fry.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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5 Stars
Alien Species Intervention Books 1-3
Alien Species Intervention Books 1-3 - J.K. Accinni

I have no hesitancy in giving this book a well-deserved 5 Star rating.

This three-part thriller has everything; love, passion, evil, beauty, and enough treacherous double-dealing to make you really, really angry. However, there is much, much more. Without throwing spoilers in there is what I can only describe as a cross-pollination of species. Plants, as we understand them, are pollinated by insects and the wind, increasing their genetic diversity. In Baby, the cross-pollination comes through healing. And we end up with what I'm tempted to refer to as hybrids.

These are truly magical stories, or story, however you want to view it the book comes with a warning message that perhaps the whole human race would be well advised to adhere to.

A good buy and an excellent read.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
Review Reblogged
5 Stars
Foreigner in My Own Backyard
Foreigner in My Own Backyard - Travis Casey


I'm not kidding! If you think Bryson's 'Notes from a small island' was a good read, this is much better although, of course, Travis Casey is heading for a huge island.

Travis Casey has a way of drawing the reader in as he shares his life and frustrations. If you've read the blurb you'll know he's returning home to Brainerd, Minnesota (home of the infamous Brainerd Diarrhoea, I believe), with his gorgeous English wife, Wendy, to look after elderly parents. Not many books can make me laugh out loud but I was chuckling away to myself before they'd even arrived.

You could write a book about Wendy herself, although I suspect Travis Casey's life wouldn't be worth living if he ever attempted to do so. Every time Wendy says, "Bloody hell!" Casey's mother has to say a little prayer to save the whole car-load of them from heading in that direction themselves, bloody or not bloody.

But it's the family's trials and tribulations when dealing with America's bureaucracy, red tape and general paper shuffling that is a joy to read. I love the fact that Wendy, who is married to an American citizen, has to first of all possess an American I.D. before being awarded an American I.D.

Casey speaks eloquently on such diverse subjects as tipping to racism. I lived eight years in America myself yet never before considered the absurdity of tipping a percentage of a bill. In Casey's own words, "Does the waitress have to work any harder if I order a $30 steak or a $10 hamburger?" The answer, of course, is no, yet the more expensive item we order off the menu, the more it costs us in tips.

I remember one time in a restaurant in Florida where my wife and I had received particularly good service, and I'd decided that about 18-20% was merited as a tip. However when the bill arrived I noticed he'd already added his own tip to the bill. Now some restaurants do this, but it always states so on the menu and I didn't recall seeing this, so I questioned it. The next words out of his mouth astounded me;

"Oh yeah, we always do that with English people."

"Did I hear you correctly? Did you just say that you always add a tipping surcharge when English people are dining?"

"Yeah," he replied, not taken aback at all, "We've found that foreigners don't really know how much to tip."

"Is that right? Well I'll tell you exactly how much I'm tipping, shall I? Nothing. Zero. You blew it."

"You're not tipping me!!" he said, flabbergasted. "You can't do that!" He actually said that.

"Oh yeah, I can. I can do whatever I like. And just for the record I was going to tip you more than 15% but you've just blown it."

He actually continued to argue, telling me that I couldn't do that, it was against the law, against the Constitution, I had a legal duty, this is why they add the tip themselves to the bills of English people and on and on and on until I had to tell him to get the manager over here otherwise I wouldn't even pay for the meal at all.

But back to Casey's book. Sharing my own story is my way of giving the reader a taste - without including any spoilers - of what you'll find inside this book. Not only is the book exceedingly funny but it also contains many gems of wisdom, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. A superb read!

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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5 Stars
Donavan: From Michael Bunker's World of "PENNSYLVANIA"
Donavan: From Michael Bunker's World of  - D.K. Cassidy

Quite a remarkable novelette,

This book blends the calm, hard-working yet peaceful existence of the Amish community with futuristic travel to other worlds.

You can't help but like Donavan. He loves his cow, he loves a girl and yet he decides to leave both for a nine-month spell in the city, knowing he won't be coming back. From here he travels to New Pennsylvania, a journey of nine light years but during which he ages just one week without a second's thought for his parents back in the Amish community of horse and carts and barn building and milking cows. I'm not being flippant. This really is quite endearing.

What makes this work is the excellent writing style employed by Cassidy. She entices the reader to her story with the manner in which she relates to the reader, revealing not only her personality and her voice, but also the respect she has for the audience. Indeed, this conceptual writing style moulds the overall character of this work.

The story is about an illegal alien, disappearing into a family network set up decades (or maybe generations) ago, yet tugging at the edge of my consciousness I can't help but wonder if there isn't a hidden depth to the book, a buried metaphor if you like, that is just out of grasping distance. This is a very clever book, written in an honest style, and I would implore readers to buy a copy. You won't regret it.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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5 Stars
Blood on the Snow
Blood on the Snow - David        Cook

What a corker of a read!

David Cook has a talent. He has a talent for bringing his characters to life, not just the protagonist but all of them, every single one of the men (and women) who walk through these pages. His heroes are battle-scarred, disfigured and traumatised, but still standing.

This is a tale that captured my imagination so much that I just couldn't wait to 'get-back-to-my-book' whenever I had the chance.

Cook is an extremely accomplished writer and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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5 Stars
The Jewel Box
The Jewel Box - C. McCarty

WHY isn't this a TV Drama?

This is a really super book, and I was very sad when it came to an end.

I've never met C. Michelle McCarty, but this book is written with such clear vision that at least part of it must be autobiographical, and I'd be willing to bet that the 'C' in her first name stands for Cherie.

Regardless of whether this is autobiographical or complete fiction, there are some great books in the realist tradition, depicting contemporary social realities and the lives and everyday activities of ordinary people, and Jewel Box stands strong amongst them. Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Jack London and Henry James (who argued that a text must first and foremost be realistic and contain a representation of life that is recognisable to its readers) were masters at the art, and I can assure you Michelle McCarty is not far behind, not least in that she actually has the courage to kill off her darlings at various stages throughout the story.

Steinbeck is one of the few novelists to have the balls to kill his darlings when Tom Joad, hero of Grapes of Wrath, simply walked out of the book after killing Casey's attacker. Just like that, with about 10% to go, Steinbeck walks him out of the book. How brave is that?

Well, I've no intention of placing spoilers in this review, but with McCarty you just never know what's going to happen next. This is a love story that kicks off in a strip bar, and without a shadow of doubt my favourite character is the avuncular bar owner, Beau, with his rugged Clark Gable looks, fatherly advice and dexterity with a pack of cards.

But the book is much more than a love story. It covers several decades and part of the joy of the story is McCarty's references to popular music of the times which she skillfully weaves into the tale, including 'Sugar Sugar' by The Archies, 'Fever' by Peggy Lee, John Lennon's 'Imagine,' 'Mercy Mercy' by Marvin Gaye, 'Raindrops keep Falling on my Head,' 'La Grange' by ZZ Top, 'Can you mend a Broken Heart' by The Bee Gees, 'Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday' by Stevie Wonder and many more.

This is a clever ploy for it takes the reader right back to the era so you're no longer reading a story concerning something that happened in the past but you actually feel yourself living it. McCarty is an accomplished wordsmith and she uses these skills to draw the reader back in time with vision.

Back in the 70's you were defined by the music you listened to and the clothes you wore. You wouldn't find a skinhead listening to King Crimson, or a Rocker listening to blue beat or reggae. You weren't allowed. But Cherie's tastes cross all divides listening to Tamla Motown, heavy rock, soul and even on occasion bubblegum pop.

McCarty's writing is graceful and exquisite, even when touching on raw subjects such as drug addiction and domestic violence. This is a love story with battle-scars, and even though I'm a bloke who doesn't read many love stories I cannot wait to pick up the next offering by Michelle McCarty. Right now, I can't imagine it topping this one, but there's a feeling in my bones that there's much, much more to come from this talented writer.

Please somebody turn this into a TV drama.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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4 Stars
Terminal Rage
Terminal Rage - A.M. Khalifa

A very, very good book.

Initially, I wasn't looking forward to reading this, I don't know why, but I absolutely loved it. There are so many twists that it's hard to give an honest review without throwing spoilers in, which I have no intention of doing.

The story jumps all over the globe, but wherever Khalifa takes us we're straight into the action. This is a book that holds your attention and I thoroughly recommend it because the reader won't second guess how this story pans out. All is not as it seems.

So why only a 4 Star? Because it jumps around chronologically and that's a bit confusing. This shouldn't put a prospective reader off but it is annoying. Khalifa starts each chapter with the date, but this isn't helpful at all because the reader can't remember the date from the previous chapter, or the one before that, and especially the one before that.

This is very frustrating. It doesn't spoil the story, but I hope Khalifa won't use this technique in future books.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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3 Stars
Evil Women: Deadly Women Whose Crimes Knew No Limits
Evil Women: Deadly Women Whose Crimes Knew No Limits - John Marlowe

Groundhog Day

I got through 41% of 'Evil Women,' and whilst it's not really fair to offer a review without reading the full book, I was getting a little bored. These are interesting stories but all so depressingly similar that I'd just had enough. One tale seemed to float into another, and that one into the next, that whenever I put the book down I was unsure where exactly I was when picking it up again.

There are, for instance, a plethora of women who married into wealth and despite now having shed loads of money wanted their husband's dead in order to own it all. Poison, shotguns, hired assassins, you name it, although it has to be said that the assassins hardly possessed Antonio Montana's professionalism in Scarface. More bombed out of their heads on hard liquor and cocaine. Or - as the book concerns women who kill - on more than one occasion lesbian lovers.

Surprisingly there are a number of middle class, church going killers. The spur of the moment killer who finally flips after suffering years in an abusive relationship is perhaps understandable, but the calculated and pre-meditated murder by a lover of the Lord is kind of strange, and of course makes more interesting reading.

I may return to this book one day because the subject does hold a certain fascination, and a three Star rating seems a little unfair because it is compelling reading, but I honestly don't feel I can offer this a four Star.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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1 Stars
A Flash of Teenage Angst
A Flash of Teenage Angst - Baldassare Cossa

I could actually feel myself getting more stupid by the second just reading this shit.

Whoever Baldassare Cossa is - the Lord of Sodom according to his author profile - he surely can't be more than 14 years of age. I don't think he's 16 or 17 yet, he's obviously still at school.

I did finish the whole book because I kind of thought it was going to go somewhere. But it didn't. It just carries on with the same type of nonsense it starts with, and that's it. There's not even any story to it.

And I couldn't tell whether Baptistown was supposed to be in the USA or the UK. The book mentions dollars as a method of payment, but speaks in British slang. Who cares anyway?

Utter rubbish!

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
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2 Stars
Caught in The CrossFire: A Memoir of Life in Lockdown with Serial Killers, Mobsters and Gang Bangers
Caught in The CrossFire: A Memoir of Life in Lockdown with Serial Killers, Mobsters and Gang Bangers - Glenn Langohr, Lockdown Publishing

Very Short. Bit of a rip-off

Well that was a bit weird. At 52% through the book it suddenly ended, stopped, finished. Just like that. No warning at all. That was it.

Next we had the copyright bit and then it moved straight into another book entitled 'How to make prison weapons to survive a gang war in prison: Life on lockdown,' which fortunately I hadn't bought otherwise I'd have been a bit cheesed off.

The first book was quite good, up until it just stopped, but the second book, which was a continuation of the first book, was pretty much of a muchness. Bit boring really.

So you get two books for the price of one. Only you don't really, of course, because there's only one story in the two books. I dread to think there's a third book somewhere where everyone's locked in cells shouting at each other and arguing with Mexicans and making weapons and well - locked in cells.

Langohr's ripping the reader off here. All of this could have been in one book. The first book's 162 pages long and the second book's 92 pages and then that also just stops. No finale, no finish, no story end, just Langohr addressing a group of skinheads and Nazis and we've no idea what happened next.

The last book I read about these very same prisons was 392 pages long and the story came full circle. One book, one story, what a concept!

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
Review Reblogged
3 Stars
The Haunted Vagina
The Haunted Vagina - Carlton Mellick III

Well, that was a bit mad, wasn't it?

Errrmmm ..... okay ... er ..... authors, take this with however many grains of salt you like, but if your book has a really boring title - like say, 'Remember Me' (I found 81 books with that title, and 256 books with that phrase in the title), then you're going to have to work a lot harder at promoting your book.

I choose that example, by the way, because in 2007 Virginia Quarterly Review listed the ten most common words found in book title submissions that they received that year. They were;


The most appalling (or maybe distressing) thing about this list is that none of these words strikes me as a half-decent title for anything; book, play, film, or even restaurant!

You'll notice that 'Haunted' and 'Vagina' aren't on that list at all

A book's title is possibly the most important but also the hardest to write. It has to grab the reader by the scruff of the neck and make him/her buy the book, and as such we really need to give it the respect it deserves.

There's no guarantee, of course, that a good title will cause you to love the book, any more than a good pick-up line means the girl will love the guy (for a title is really nothing more than a pick-up line), but a bad title guarantees you'll never find out, because in all probability you won't open the book to take a peek inside and you certainly won't buy it.

Here's an Amazing title I found; 'Depressed and anxious; the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Depression and Anxiety.' It doesn't really grab you at all, does it? The author needs to liven the title up a bit; 'Sorry-Arsed and Scared Crapless Vampire' has a much better ring to it. It's always good if you can get the word 'vampire' somewhere in the title.

'Anxiety and Depression for Dummies' is another one that's nuts, isn't it. 'Rattle-Brained Mallet-Head hits the Jelly Beans' would attract more buys to this book, wouldn't it?

I found a book called 'Politics: A treatise on Government.' The author must have sold all ten copies to his mum! He could have called it 'Vote for David Cameron.' Granted the title's not too exciting but it's a book about rushing enthusiastically into the cubicle expecting big things, only to get a pathetic little fart.

There are some incredibly imaginative book titles that demonstrate the ingenuity and innovative brilliance of certain authors. 'The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories' by Alisa Surkis was one such book (lesbian horses?), as is 'The Pocket book of Boners: an omnibus of schoolboy howlers.' I don't know who the author of this one is but it's illustrated by Dr Seuss. 'Games you can play with your Pussy:  and lots of other stuff cat owners should know,' 'The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in theory and practice,' 'Everything I know about Women I learned from my Tractor,' 'Invisible Dick,' 'Pooh Gets Stuck,' 'Scouts in Bondage,' 'The Beginners Guide to Sex in the Afterlife,' 'How to spot a Bastard by his Star Sign,. 'Arthur Kills a Hobo for his Clothes,' 'Why is Mommy Moaning?' 'How to Date a White Woman,' and 'Cooking with Pooh' were just a few of the pretty good book titles I discovered. But 'The Haunted Vagina' beats the lot!

But I digress. I'm supposed to be reviewing the actual book itself as opposed to covering for my lack of eloquence and loquacity by researching other interesting titles, but this one's got me beat.

This book is simply bonkers! If you're looking for an easy read that's slightly demented then give it a go. It's amusing enough and if I'm to be perfectly honest quite readable. It's just that it's completely mental.

I would, however, try another one of this author's books, so I guess it wasn't all bad.

Reblogged from KarlWiggins
Does your family take your writing seriously?

In a recent Author Interview I was given chance to discuss the relationship between the writer and his family.

Coincidentally this was brought home to me with a bump last night when I sat my wife down to discuss something with her. We’d had a cracking night out with friends, the banter had been flowing and all in all it was an excellent evening. If you have no banter in your life then your very existence is all the poorer for it.

So I sat Sue down and said I wanted to discuss something with her. She listened with trepidation.

“For the last few months I’ve been a member of this online writers group …..”

“Oh, God!”

“No listen, this is important …..”

“You’re too controversial for them.”

“No I’m not! I’m not! I haven’t argued with anybody. I haven’t spoken a single word about UKIP or even mentioned Nigel Farage at all. I’ve stayed away from religion. I don’t think I even spoke about immigration. I added value to the group. They even made me Author of the Week one week. I promoted another author’s books on there one time instead of my own, and they seemed to like that. I genuinely thought that my diverse sense of humour lightened the mood sometimes when people were getting up their own arse. All in all, they seemed like a really nice crowd.”

“Go on.”

“They’ve booted me out!”

And do you know what, she absolutely pissed herself laughing. She laughed so hard tears rolled down her leg! She was literally rolling on the floor laughing. This is the respect I get. This demonstrates just how seriously a writer’s family takes his writing.

Once she was able to catch her breath she said, “That’s priceless. You must have pissed someone off.”

“I didn’t! I swear. They all seemed like really nice people. There was one horrible cow a few weeks back who disagreed with something I’d said, I can’t remember what it was now, but she got pretty nasty about it. I hope they’ve chucked her out as well. But no, I didn’t, I didn’t say anything to piss anyone off.”

“Karl, love, listen to me, how long have you been a member of groups like this?”

“Ten or twelve years or so I suppose.”

“Then you know full well how precious these bloody writers can get. I don’t know why you bother with them at all. Have you sold any more books since you’ve been a member? Have your book sales gone up.”

“No, they’ve remained the same.”

“Then it’s a waste of bloody time, isn’t it? Why bother with them? They’re probably all vegetarians who stay in at night practicing ‘Bobby Shafto’ on their recorders.”

“Well yeah, I suppose so.

“Let’s face it; you wouldn’t invite any of them to a barbeque, would you?”

“But they’re not all like that. I’ve made some friends, people I’d trust.”

“I’ve no doubt, but they’re the exception, aren’t they? I bet there’s no real banter on these writer’s sites, is there? You, of all people, know full well that banter frustrates the types you find in these writer’s groups because that form of verbal jousting requires both mental agility and precocity, both of which they believe they hold the monopoly on. So they get all precious about it.”

“But the admin staff seemed nice enough.”

“Well, clearly they’re not, are they? Otherwise they wouldn’t have been so unprofessional. They’d have discussed things with you rather than just booting you out with no warning or explanation whatsoever. Have you asked them why they booted you out?”

“Of course, but they’ve all buried their heads in the sand, which is kind of cowardly.”

“There you go then. Karl, my love, when you meet people in person you’re a really good judge of character - except that guy in prison who killed whatsisface, of course - but you really don’t know what these people are like when you meet them online. They come across all respectable, and make every effort to portray that impression but in reality they need to lighten the fuck up!”

She speaks a lot of sense, Sue, I must admit.


Don't Like the Romanians? You know nothing about them!


Over the years I’ve worked with Poles, Lithuanians, Bulgarians, Russians and even Geordies, and found them all to be very pleasant. Sometimes a lot easier to deal with than the English lads. And a lot of them are hard bastards. We had this Polish lad who shot himself in the mouth with a nail gun. We sent him to hospital but he got so bored waiting that he went into the bogs, pulled it out himself and came back to work. If he’d been English he’d have taken two weeks off work. I would’ve milked that one!


However, I’d like to say something about the Romanians, because I think they get a bad rep – pickpockets, Gypsies, tramps, thieves and on and on and on.


Well let me tell you that’s a very small percentage of Romanian citizens. When I talk to the Romanian girls they tell me they recognise Gypsies immediately because they’re mostly of Indian heritage – they call them Roms, and they’re known as Romi by the Romanian government, as well as beggars and thieves.


Beggars and thieves? Okay, let’s look at a few statistics shall we? Over 9% of the country’s 22 million population are Romi Gypsies. 70% of these live on less than £3 per day, a huge proportion of them living on sprawling landfill sites because they’ve been ordered to leave their homes by the government. Packs of wild dogs roam and food is often scavenged amongst the rubbish, as are materials to build ‘shacks’ to live in. They build these shacks on top of the rubbish, which is also the children’s playground. There is no electricity and no sewage.


You can only claim benefit in Romania if you have a National I.D. card, and for that you need a fixed abode, which a landfill site isn’t.


So, convinced that they’re hated in their home country, they’re relocating to Europe. Who can blame them?


There are over one million Romanians in Spain and Italy, 400,000 in France, and in England it’s reported that one in three Big Issue sellers are Romanian. Perhaps we should ask WHY they’re all on the move.


However, let me tell you that we have possibly 70 or 80 Romanians on site, and as I mentioned earlier the majority of these lads are very pleasant. Believe me, they WANT these jobs. Wouldn’t you?


The canteen is run by Romanian girls, and we’ve become good friends. They have playful, cheeky expressions most of the time, yet even though they’re not ‘Romi’ they have fierce Gypsy eyes when angered. They know English people think they’re Romi, and they take that in their stride, but they’re not.


Ramona is studying Human Resources and Business Studies to further her career and often comes upstairs to see me so we can go over her class assignments. She never fails to amaze me with her written English, which is far superior to many of the home-grown lads on site.


Alex is the cleaner, and I’ve taken her under my wing. She’s joined my Safety Action Group and also attends the monthly Committee meetings, which I also chair. It amuses me to hear Alex berating the other cleaner. It goes something like this, “Muist rahat, de ce nu vă curăţaţi acest corespunzător. Crezi că AM de gând să activaţi în jurul după ce toată ziua. Faceţi-vă propria, fuck you!”


She’s half Romi herself and is looking to move into safety. I hope she does, because she has the right no-nonsense temperament required.


Crina is a cheeky little thing with a coquettish nature, always blowing kisses with gaudy pink lips. Her recipes are as spicy as her sense of humour.


“Love you, ladies,” I say as I take my sandwich upstairs to eat. “♪♫ Love you more ♪♫” they sing. They know I’ve got their back.


I will not tolerate anyone on site upsetting my girls or directing racist comments towards them. If it happens, which it occasionally does, it’s dealt with immediately.


They’ve invited Sue and I to a Romanian party next summer. Ramona tells me we’ll meet loads of really nice Romanians, and I can’t wait!


Just before Christmas last year Rod Liddle in the Sun discussed the expected influx of immigrants in the New Year when England opened her borders to Bulgarians and Romanians. He wrote in his column, “Just like the ones who are already here – camped out in bin bags in Central London and begging through a mouthful of broken teeth. I suppose there’s a good chance they might put our honest British pickpockets out of business.”


Whoa, now wait a minute here. Bit of a generalisation that, isn’t it? Tones of racism and xenophobia sneaking into his argument, I think.


Honestly, do my ladies look like they've got a mouthful of broken teeth?


Aren’t theybeautiful? They could model, couldn’t they? (And by the way, I have full permission to use these pictures)


Believe me, these girls WANT to work. But just for argument’s sake, let’s have a look at Mr Liddle’s words above. Suppose I wrote very similar words about the black community. Supposing I wrote, “Just like the black people who are already here – roaming the streets with knives, selling drugs, mugging people, stabbing innocent teenagers. I suppose there’s a good chance they might put our honest British muggers and drug sellers out of business.” What would happen then? I’ll tell you what would happen. I’d be accused of being a racist. And rightly so.


So how dare Rod Liddle write these words about the Romanian community when he won’t dare write them about the black or any other community?


I just wanted to pen these thoughts in an attempt to set the record straight about any Romanians you may come across. Speak to them. You’ll find they’ll talk to you in a surprisingly pleasant manner. Don’t judge them all as Gypsies, tramps and thieves, because they’re not at all.

A Question for the American Government

It’s not true that every Muslim is a terrorist.

But it’s currently true that just about every terrorist is a Muslim.

Why this is, I don’t know. I fail to see the significance of using religious beliefs to kill, maim, torture and hate. To murder on either such a gargantuan scale or in such barbaric fashion for no other reason than because someone shares a different belief system from your own is evidence of a faith without any civilising influences whatsoever. Inhuman is possibly the word I’m searching for.

But then when I think about it, I also fail to see why most Christians seem to be on such a mission to alter other people’s beliefs. Live and let live, brother.

Does it really matter whether you're a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Taoist, a Zoroastrian or a Jehovah’s Witness? Not in the slightest. Does it matter if you follow the teachings of Confucius, Buddha, Ramakrishna or Mary Baker Eddy? Of course not. Does it matter if your ritual object or talisman is an amulet, a tabernacle, a horse shoe, holy water, a wishbone, a St. Christopher, a rabbit's foot, rosary beads, a broomstick or a seven-branched candlestick? No at all, it's just something to focus your mind on. The real power is within you.

But I digress. Back in 1095 the Roman Catholic Church commenced a 200-year campaign in the Holy Lands. Historians still argue as to the reasons for this and the subsequent six major Holy Wars. Some see them as a defensive war against Islamic conquests, while others view them as intrusive, papal-led expansion attempts by Western Christendom. Interesting how the perspective changes with the point of view.

Either way, the objective of the Crusades was to crush all Muslims in the Holy Land, and the Christians attempted this in what can only be described as a genocidal war. The whole of Western Europe marched against the Middle East in what is now known as the Dark Ages with the express purpose of killing Arabs, and of doing so in unbelievably brutal fashion – torturing, raping, enslaving, burning alive and eating (men, women, children & babies). The war crimes are well documented, so it will serve no purpose to elucidate further here.

Now I’m not accepting this as an excuse, or even a reason. All I’m saying is that we’re not whiter than white ourselves, and there’s very little in the Koran that isn’t also in the Bible. The difference, of course, is that we’ve moved on. By we, I mean Anglo-Saxons and those of Western descent currently living in Christian countries.

But what does this have to do with the American Government? Very little actually, but it does lead into my point, concerning the culture of hatred, intolerance and terrorism based on an extreme interpretation of Islamic teachings, leading extremists to believe in the legitimacy of war, hatred and murder.

By the way, human beings aren’t born with an inherent capacity to hate. It has to be taught. And terrorism is a crime committed out of irrational hatred by people whose hearts and minds have been completely corrupted and chiseled into gross delusion of the realities. Terrorism is the fruit of blind irrational hatred. I hope you picked up on the word irrational, for currently England, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France are ‘infected’ with those who resent our way of life and loathe us personally for absolutely no rational reason other than they’ve been taught to do so.

But you see, America, we’re accustomed to this in the British Isles. We’re an island race and deep-rooted within our psyche is the knowledge that we’ve been invaded for the last 2000 years by the Celts, Julius Caesar, the Vikings, the Great Heathen Army, King Canute, the Normans, the Danes, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Armada Española, Napoleon, Hitler and more recently the Irish Republican Army. More about the IRA in a minute, for while all that was going on we also had the Wars of Independence, the Crusades, the Hundred Year War, the Wars of the Roses, the Anglo-Spanish War, the English Civil War, the Anglo-Dutch Wars and plenty more.

But we’re still here, aren’t we?

Onto the IRA. In 1971 the Kilburn Battalion of the IRA exploded a bomb in the Post Office Tower in Central London (Kilburn is a multicultural area of North-West London with a large Afro-Caribbean population, and the highest Irish population of any London area).

In 1972 the Official IRA killed seven civilians – and wounded 19 - in Aldershot with the use of a car bomb.

In 1973 the Provisional IRA exploded a car bomb outside The Old Bailey, the central criminal court of Great Britain. That same year they set off bombs at King’s Cross and Euston stations by throwing bags containing explosives into busy booking halls. People and baggage trolleys were thrown into the air, but miraculously nobody died.

In February 1974 they blew up a coach on the M62 Motorway, killing nine soldiers and three civilian family members, including two young boys. Another 6-year-old boy was badly burned. In June they exploded a bomb outside the Houses of Parliament, injuring 11 people. In October they detonated two explosive devises in two separate pubs in Guilford, South-West of London. The pubs were popular with soldiers and the bombs killed four of them plus a 22-year-old plasterer. 65 other people were injured. Six days later two bombs were thrown through the windows of two ‘gentlemen's clubs’ in the West End of London. In November a gelignite bomb containing shrapnel of nuts and bolts was thrown through the window of a pub in Woolwich, South-East London, killing two people and injuring dozens of others. That same month bombs were left in two crowded Birmingham pubs, killing 21 people and injuring 182 others, including passers-by in the street who were hit by flying glass and those on a passing West Midlands bus that was wrecked in the blast. Several victims were actually blown right through a brick wall. Most of the dead and wounded were aged between 17 and 25. You see, they weren’t targeting soldiers or the military. Just young people out for a drink.

Seven days before Christmas two car bombs went off outside a shopping centre in Bristol, injuring 21 people, the second one designed to catch as many police as possible who were involved in the mop-up operation after the first.

It should be made clear that the term ‘injured’ in this document often serves to dilute the phrase ‘permanently disabled.’ Something to bear in mind.

This Active Service Unit of the IRA were actually responsible for 40 bombings, 35 murders, nine shootings, three kidnappings, and almost £20 million worth of damage over the next 14 months.

This is true terror. When car bombs are going off in the high street and no pub is safe from being bombed. A simple trip to the shops or the pub could no longer be considered the safe option it should be.

Five days before Christmas, 1975, the Ulster Defense Association bombed Biddy Mulligan’s pub in Kilburn. Five people were injured. The attack was ordered by the Protestant Loyalist Army Council against the Catholic IRA, and Biddy Mulligan’s was chosen because it was a favourite of Irish Republican sympathisers. Two days earlier the Protestant Red Hand Commando had bombed two taverns on the Irish border. England was becoming the battleground for warring factions of Irish extremists. Another war based on religion.

Three years later, again at Christmas, the shoppers of Bristol were hit again. The bomb went off in the department store, Maggs, injuring seven people.

Just after Christmas two pubs frequented by Catholics in Glasgow were bombed by the Ulster Volunteer Force because the pubs were used for IRA fundraising. Three days later eleven members of the UVF known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’ were sentenced to life in prison for 19 murders. They were famed for torturing and defacing their victims with butcher’s knives.

Airey Neave, British army officer and politician (and one of the few servicemen to escape from the German prisoner-of-war camp Oflag IV-C, otherwise known as Colditz) was assassinated in a car bomb attack outside the House of Commons. The Irish National Liberation Army, an Irish Republican organisation, claimed responsibility.

Neave had been decorated with the Military Cross, appointed a Member of the British Empire, awarded a Distinguished Service Order, appointed the Order of the British Empire and awarded the Bronze Star by the U.S. government. To have his legs blown off in a car bomb before being pronounced dead an hour later in hospital was an undignified way for a hero to die.

Margaret Thatcher led the tributes at his funeral, saying, “He was one of freedom's warriors. No one knew of the great man he was, except those nearest to him. He was staunch, brave, true, and strong; but he was very gentle and kind and loyal. It's a rare combination of qualities. There's no one else who can quite fill them. I, and so many other people, owe so much to him and now we must carry on for the things he fought for and not let the people who got him triumph.”

In 1981 the IRA detonated a nail-bomb outside Chelsea Barracks, killing two people and injuring 39 others, including two children. Two weeks later the IRA bombed a Wimpy Bar in London’s Oxford Street, killing the police officer who was attempting to defuse the bomb.

On July 20th 1982 the IRA killed 11 members of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets during military ceremonies at Hyde Park and Regent’s Park. Seven of the Blues and Royals horses were also killed.

Eight days before Christmas, 1983, a car bomb planted by the IRA exploded outside Harrods, killing three police officers, three civilians and injuring 90 others.

In 1984 five people were killed and 31 injured in an IRA attempt to kill Margaret Thatcher at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, where coincidentally this author stayed for two days last weekend. The whole mid-section of the hotel collapsed into the basement, leaving a huge hole in the façade. Thatcher’s bathroom was destroyed but her bedroom and sitting room survived. She left the police station at 4 a.m. and at 9.30 a.m. addressed the Conservative Party Conference by stating, “The bombing was an attempt to cripple Her Majesty's democratically elected Government. That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared, and the fact that we are gathered here now—shocked, but composed and determined—is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.”

This has been termed a ‘Churchillian’ moment that encapsulates both her own steely character and the British public's stoical refusal to submit to terrorism. A few days later she addressed her constituents saying, “We suffered a tragedy not one of us could have thought would happen in our country. And we picked ourselves up and sorted ourselves out as all good British people do, and I thought let us stand together for we are British! They were trying to destroy the fundamental freedom that is the birth-right of every British citizen; freedom, justice and democracy.”

God, couldn’t we do with someone of Thatcher’s grit at the helm now!

In 1989 the Provisional IRA blew up the Royal Marines Barracks in Deal, Kent, killing 11 Royal Marines bandsmen and injuring 22 others. In May 1990 they detonated a bomb under a mini-bus at Wembley, killing a soldier from The Queen’s Regiment. In June, at Lichfield City Railway Station, two IRA gunmen opened fire, killing an off-duty soldier and injuring two others. In July they detonated a bomb at the London Stock Exchange. Ten days later, Conservative MP Ian Gow was assassinated by the IRA when they detonated a bomb under his car outside his home.

In February 1991 the Provisional IRA launched three mortar shells at the rear garden of 10 Downing Street (the official residence and office of the Prime Minister) in an assassination attempt on John Major and his War Cabinet who were meeting to discuss the Gulf War. Four people received minor injuries. Eleven days later a rush-hour explosion at Victoria Station killed one member of the public and injured 38 others. One woman had a leg amputated below the knee and another had a foot amputated. The youngest victim was a 12-year-boy. Ten days later a bomb exploded at London Bridge Station during the rush-hour peak, injuring 29 people, four of them seriously.

In April 1992 a one-ton bomb in a white truck was detonated outside the Baltic Exchange, London, killing three people (the youngest was just 15) and injuring 91 others. The bomb caused £800 million worth of damage. Again, this was a Provisional IRA attack. In August the IRA detonated three bombs in Shrewsbury. Many priceless historical artifacts were destroyed but no lives were lost. In October a device exploded in the toilets of a pub in Covent Garden, killing one person and injuring four others. In November a huge bomb was planted in Canary Wharf, Docklands. It failed to go off, but experts have estimated that anyone within 200 yards would have been killed. In December they exploded two bombs in central Manchester, injuring 65 people.

In March 1993 two bombs exploded in litter bins outside busy shops in Warrington, killing two children and injuring dozens of others. These attacks again were carried out by the Provisional IRA. A month later they detonated another huge truck bomb, again in the City of London, killing a journalist, injuring over 40 people and causing £1billion worth of damage.

In 1996 the IRA bombed South Quay, London, killing two people. Nine days later an improvised device detonated prematurely on a bus traveling along Aldwych, London, killing the IRA operative transporting the device and injuring eight others. In June they detonated a 1500kg bomb in the Arndale Shopping Centre in Manchester, injuring 212 people and causing £700 million worth of damage (£1.1 billion in today’s money).

And the list, believe it or not, goes on.

You’re probably wondering right now what this has to do with the American Government. Well, first of all the IRA's primary source of funding were Irish-Americans who, while claiming to be aiding the families of political prisoners, were actually helping to arm IRA terrorists. Before this, however, most of the funds collected to buy guns and explosives to kill civilians, police and soldiers in Britain and Ireland came from America. This was well known to the FBI and CIA but nothing was ever done to stop it until Margaret Thatcher put an end to it by demanding that President Ronald Reagan step in. Most Americans, even if they’re aware of this, don't like to think about it.

And how widespread was it? Well Republican representative, Peter T. King, visited Belfast several times, staying with IRA supporters and drinking in a club called The Felons, whose members were all IRA ex-cons. Speaking at a pro-IRA rally in 1982 he pledged support to “those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast.” Not good.

But the final insult to the British public was when Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, was granted an audience at the White House by President Clinton. They’d met a few days earlier at a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. Most of the guests were Irish-American members of Congress. British Prime Minister, John Major had requested Clinton not greet Adams cordially, but Clinton ignored cross-Atlantic diplomacy in favour of chasing the Irish vote. He greeted a murderer with a warm handshake and the room exploded with applause.

Britain was outraged.

I wonder how America would feel if John Major had invited Oklahoma bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to Number 10.

And then September 11th 2001 al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the United States in New York City and Washington D.C., killing almost 3000 people. The world was appalled.

President Bush requested Britain and other countries stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America. Part of his speech to a joint session of Congress and the American people is quoted here. “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

Big words America, but here’s my question for you. Where the fuck were you in the 70’s and 80’s when we needed your help? I’ll tell you where you were. You were pledging support to “those brave men and women” who were carrying forth “the struggle against British imperialism.” Your words, not mine. You were funding the IRA so they could carry on murdering innocent people in the shopping centres and pubs of Great Britain.

Where was your ethos of not resting until every terrorist group of global reach had been found, stopped and defeated then? Didn’t matter back then, did it? You weren’t bothered at all in the 1970’s and 80’s, were you? These were just English people being murdered. But you soon came running for help when you found yourselves attacked on your own soil, didn’t you?

But we did stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you. And we have done ever since. Because it’s the right thing to do. And now the whole of the Western World faces a much bigger threat. But the British will be alright. We’re built for this shit, you see. We’ve been doing this for 2000 years. And we’re still standing, aren’t we?

I can’t help wondering, though, if instead of funding and supporting the IRA in their culture of hatred, intolerance and terrorism, instead of acquiescing to their belief in the legitimacy of war, hated and murder, you’d actually stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us back in the 70’s and 80’s. How things might be very different today. We’d have had 40 years experience in fighting terrorism together. And that experience would have stood us in good stead right now.

Still, the Irish vote was important, wasn’t it? Who cares if it cost a few English lives?