The Secret to Life

Featured Image -- 9079…can be yours for just $19.99 down and $19.99 a month until you finish buying all my books which should take less than a year, I expect (someone do the calculations: I can’t be bothered). Everything I’ve published over decades could be read in a year. Humbling, eh?

Is that a sufficiently clickbaity title? Apparently that’s all that matters anymore. Nothing has legs, nothing lasts past the news cycle. Let us all hope that tomorrow brings an end to some of the madness. As I said to a friend on the Facebook, I hope after tomorrow I can stop worrying about the destruction of the planet quite so anxiously and get back to worrying anxiously about the destruction of higher education.


But the secret to life: it was there in my review on Friday, right at the top. It is there in my humorous volume How to Be Dull, too — though a bit hidden behind the amusing digressions. It’s even in the pages of my ongoing #NaNoWriMo novel between the murder mystery and social commentary (and you can give a $1 to help kids find the joy of writing).

WWWBD? I have that on the corkboard in my office. What does William Blake say?

  • Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.
  • If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
  • The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
  • No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.

Or in other words, take care of your self with kindness, pursue the things you love, when troubled create something you enjoy, take pride in your work. Blake died penniless and forgotten, but he was a genius. There are no guarantees in life. If he had been famous, I suspect he would never have trusted it. All he trusted was his inspiration. Be inspired.

Blake Imagined

Live at the Library

I’ll be joining a bunch of local authors including my fellow Mavens of Mayhem AKA the Upper Hudson chapter of Sisters in Crime for a gathering at the East Greenbush Library. We’ll have books to sign and sell and plenty of time to chat.

Join us 3-4pm at the East Greenbush Community Library!

I will have copies of HOW TO BE DULL with me as well as whatever else I have around here…


Alibi Bound

alibiI head out today to fly to Venice, where Renato Bratkovič will meet me to drive me to Slovenia for the Alibi Crime Conference where I will be one of the featured writers. I’m really looking forward to it: I’ve never been to Venice or to Slovenia so that’s exciting. Everyone seemed to have a grand time at the first conference last year. I’m sure I will post pictures or commentary as I go along though perhaps not as much as usual. Check my Twitter feed (which appears in the right hand column of this blog) or Facebook if you’re there. Of course I’ll write up my adventures when I return. Maybe I’ll run into a certain Venetian Lion…

I’m very happy to see HOW TO BE DULL getting out there in the world. It’s the antidote to our too ‘interesting’ times. Thanks Beverly Bambury for sharing the photo (and check out her publicity business!



Love Me

Words I hear in Dudley Moore’s voice, of course. As you will doubtless guess I am exhorting you to check out things that I am doing. A rather pointless venture, I know. The only thing people read on social media are the things they have tagged you in. C’est la vie. My head is full of things that must come out. Decades of indifference have left me delusional that you are all pining to hear my latest: don’t wake me up.



Those great folks at the Cultural Gutter are raising funds to pay their writers. A novel concept but I hope it catches on and puts the HuffPo out of business. I have contributed to the cause by offering to write the original story for my Deliberately Lost SF Classic ‘Psycho Motorcycle Dolls (1966)’ and you can be one of ten people to see this exclusive story by contributing to the Gutter. There are other fabulous prizes as well.



Letters on Love from The Pigeonhole

Yes, just that gif has made me start twitching just in the time it took to write this but it’s there to get your attention. I think. Sign up for this free multimedia event which takes place both online and on the Southbank and you will be rewarded with many musings about love — including a song by me. That’s right. I am full of surprises. Which brings me to…

How to Be Dull

Admit it, you’d prefer a dull life. So does Basil Morley. Soon he will explain to you how to obtain this nirvana in the hottest self-help book of the season. I can promise you it is a peach and looks extraordinary because that Stephanie Johnson has been whipping the thing into shape. So start following the site and do be DULL.


Writer Wednesday: How to be Dull

[A guest post from Basil Morley — or rather, a snippet from his forthcoming book How to be Dull: Standing out next to Genius, truly a guide for our times. I am helping to edit the collection together.]

How to be Dull

Tips for blending in with the crowd

Fear more, hope less.

You know what gets you noticed? Being tall or short, having your head above the parapet, wearing bright colours. If you spend a little more time worrying what people might be assuming about you and less time actually working productively, you’ll find that you need hope less for extraordinary things to happen to you. Which means you can relax. Who needs adventures? They end up being a lot of bother in the end and often lead to injury and regrets.

Cherish your anonymity.

The reason our eyes pass over a flock of sheep and use words like ‘flock’ is because the big white wooly beasts look more or less the same to us. No one sheep seems particularly memorable and therein lies their safety. You don’t want a big bad wolf remembering you and marking you out for the kill. No, it’s better to blend in and be unnoticed.

Encourage the anonymity of others.

To blend in with the crowd, you need a crowd to blend into. If you’re surrounded by people striving to stand out and be creative, that will be much harder to accomplish. You need to encourage them to be more anonymous. Carp and criticise everything that they do. Make them doubt their abilities. Point out tiny errors with glee (record them in a notebook in front of the person if at all possible; let them know someone is keeping score).

Surround yourself with people of the same beliefs.

There is no relief for the dull quite like knowing there are others to share their dullness. The last thing you want is people who challenge your accepted notions and old prejudices. People who disagree are disagreeable. To maintain a life of unrippled dullness, don’t let anyone stir the waters. No stones, please.

Make a living doing something you despise.

Nothing makes for a dull existence quite like numbing labour. Work that you loathe fulfills all the requirements for a drab existence. You will not suffer from inspiration and excitement, or the inconvenience of hope. Like the millstone that grinds the corn, dispiriting labour will rub away any iconoclast quirks or noticeable individualism.

Seek out urban blight.

Avoid all those folks who go traipsing around in nature to ooh and ahh at wonders. Instead visit your local crumbling urban landscape and see how badly ambition can go wrong. There is much to learn from the horrors of urban blight ( and not just an impetus to stay indoors), such as how every thing crumbles away even when made of steel; or that people seemingly prefer to deface what other people have done instead of going to the difficulty of building something themselves and there is no structure so monumental that it will not eventually fall and probably crush some innocents.

Coming soon to a book selling outlet near you in 2014.