BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Comic Cuts - 15 December 2017

The first volume of Forgotten Authors is finally out and I'm very pleased with the results. It's not exactly flying off the shelves and is currently sitting at 422,134th in Amazon's best-sellers rankings. It has, on the other hand, breached the Top 100 of the Amazon Kindle Store's category for Books > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Books & Reading, having reached #75.

The new book lags behind The Men Behind Flying Saucer Review, out earlier this year, which is at the lofty heights of 254,883th in the best-seller rankings. As you can imagine, I'm not exactly dining out on these kinds of sales. Indeed, there's barely one good meal in the profits from both books.

Still, I'm hopeful that sales will pick up by good word of mouth and the second volume should be out some time in January. I would have said December, but with Christmas and New Year racing towards us, I'm finding plenty of distractions. There are, I think, three essays to write for volume two and I have most of the research done for all of them. I had a couple of certificates to buy—one birth, two death—which I purchased on Wednesday, so I'm hopeful that I can wrap-up most of the essays completely in a matter of a couple of weeks.

Although I may tinker with the contents before publication, at the moment the authors included will be Bracebridge Hemyng, Philip Richards, Frank Barrett, Ernest Protheroe, Charles Granville, Louise Heilgers, Alfred Barrett, C. E. Vulliamy, Evelyn Winch, Frederick Foden and David Roberts. But, as I said, that's not yet written in stone.

I forgot to tell you what happened with my laptop. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, a failed attempt to put on some new anti-virus software left me with an all but useless box, designed and coded by some of the smartest minds on the planet that might as well have been a Tupperware box full of sand for all the good it was doing me.

Photo of our driveway, taken on Monday morning.
I had a friend look at it and he stripped most of the old programming out and installed some new software so that I can continue to play DVDs on the machine and surf the web. I'm pleased to say that it hasn't worked so well in years. I am, however, going to run into a problem at some point, because Firefox (my favoured browser) is going to stop supporting Windows XP, which is the operating system I have on that ancient machine. You can't blame Firefox... after all, Windows stopped supporting XP years ago, which is why it's prone to bugs of all descriptions. It's unlikely that I'll find—cheaply—another laptop with such a decent-sized screen (14½ by 9 inches) as laptops, in their drive to become more portable, got smaller. So what I might have to do is buy myself a second-hand tablet to do my internet browsing on and use the old laptop solely as a DVD player. It'll probably work out cheaper than trying to upgrade the laptop.

Talking of Christmas, Bear Alley will be providing its usual Christmas offering of an old Paul Temple strip for you to follow daily. This is quite a long one, so I will  be publishing it at the rate of 6 strips per day, so you'll at least have some reading matter if you want a quiet minute away from the mince pies. This will begin on Monday and run into the new year, although that won't be all that's on offer, as I'm sure other bits and pieces will find their way onto the site over the coming weeks.

We have our regular artist biography from the pen of Robert Kirkpatrick appearing tomorrow, and I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for doing such a sterling job of writing these pieces while I've been busy putting the book together. To prove how grateful I am, I will be loosening the chains that keep him attached to his keyboard. But only slightly. I don't want him wandering off.

Our random scans for this week illustrate a handful of old yellowbacks by the remarkable W. Stephens Hayward, author extraordinaire and bankrupt who gambled his way through a family legacy the equivalent of half a million pounds and who drank himself to death at the age of 35.

You can see why I chose him for the opening essay in Forgotten Authors!

The covers here include Hayward's  early science fiction yarn, The Cloud King, which might be the first SF serial in a boy's weekly paper.

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