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By the power invested in me, by me (and I yield to no higher authority, except my wife, obviously, and my publishers, and the cats… Actually, come to think of it, I’m most people’s bitch) I’m pleased to announce the result of Giveaway II — to mark today’s US hardcover publication of BAD THINGS.

Once again selected by the extremely useful (in this very limited context), the winners are…




In the interest of full and honest disclosure, I should admit that the second name out of the virtual hat was in fact the excellent @stephenfry. My assumption is that he’d be very unlikely to spot a tweet informing him of this fact. If @stephenfry or one of his familiars happens to spot this announcement, however, I would of course be delighted to send out a copy. Well, fairly delighted. I have got other things to do, you know.

Please email with the following information:

1. Your name
2. Your address
3. Who you’d like the book dedicated to.

As before, if for whatever reason you’re not bothered about receiving the book, let me know, and I’ll draw again. So there we are. Going to be a little while before another book comes out, but I’ll sure find some other excuse for a little giveaway action during the long, slow months ahead. So be nice. To each other, to the environment, to your pets…

But especially to me.

In an unprecedented spasm of something or other, I’m doing another giveaway – this time to mark the US hardcover publication of BAD THINGS, on May 5th.

Again I’ll be picking three Twitter followers at random on the day, with the aim of sending a copy of the book to them — inscribed to the winner, or the person of their choice. If you’re already following, you don’t have to do anything — though you could spread the word to anyone who might be interested. As previously discussed, this isn’t a follower-gatherer-ploy. Since the whole “Dude, Where’s My Brain?” stunt, numbers are thankfully moot. It’s simply the easiest way of tracking people down afterwards. Apart from in the case of @rodneycharles, who won one of the books last time, but is keeping a very low profile. I’ll find him, though, don’t you worry.

1. No purchase necessary. No alternative offered, cash or otherwise.
2. If you don’t want the book, that’s fine – let me know and I’ll pick again.
3. Don’t use two exclamation marks. !! What’s that supposed to mean? One is permissible, though really, do you need it? Three has a certain exaggerative quality, like XXX, and I can live with it. But two? Just how loud is that? Where does it sit on the line between ‘slightly accentuated for effect’ and ‘bellowed like a weird old man, shouting at a lonely tree in the twilight’?
4. Don’t put quote marks around items in menus. Special Breakfast #4: Comes With “Tea” or “Coffee”. What’s this supposed to mean – alleged tea, and so-called coffee?
5. And don’t use a capital letter after a colon, either. Why would you do that? I don’t care if it’s the house style. Your house is stupid.
6. Don’t make a musical about Jade. That would be the work of a terrible, terrible asshole.
7. Don’t go and see a musical about Jade, should someone disregard Rule 6.
8. Don’t let small children play on my computer in my absence again (this is specifically directed toward my wife, should she be reading. But don’t any of the rest of you do it, either. Though come to think of it, what are you doing in my house?).
9. Stop coming in my house.
10. Also stop putting those huge warning tags on children’s soft toys. I know I’m not suppose to let the kid eat them or put them on the barbeque or hollow them out, fill them with acid and balance them on the cat’s head. The tags make the toy look stupid — especially when they’re half the size of the bloody thing itself — but I can’t seem to bring myself to cut them off, in case the tags themselves contain some special magic that stops the child coming to harm.
11. That’s enough rules.


Ah, the Internet. Having rashly decided to select three random followers, I was confronted this morning with how to actually do it. So I googled “twitter + random + follower”, and came upon, which does exactly that. Who knew. I must remember to google “secret + eternal + happiness” and see what comes up.

The winners chosen via this method were:

Please email with the following information:

1. Your name
2. Your address
3. Who you’d like the book dedicated to.

Well well. I seem to have got through a whole blog post without crapping on about punctuation, which is nice. But I’m still watching you. Always watching. Especially you, @roumagrl. Actually, that was just twitrand again. Don’t worry.

Oh, nuts. Just noticed that the text at the bottom of the twitrand page has a misplaced apostrophe in “it’s amazing API”.

I was so close.

I know this is deeply trivial in the light of the state of the world in general, but I’m going to put you through it anyway. I don’t see why I should suffer alone.

Early yesterday morning I was slumped on the couch, interacting with my son, who – in blatant disregard for a public holiday – had encouraged me out of bed (a bed that had felt like the most comfortable bed in the world, the snooze-pit of kings, the Platonic ideal of sleeping environments) to accompany him downstairs to hang out, a little after six in the morning. His chosen form of relaxation was a box of Playdough-like materials, and within seconds of seeing the box my brow was furrowing. The illustration displayed the cool sea-faring creatures we’d soon be able to make – a sea horse, jelly fish, a few other weird-looking denizens of the deep. A panel said:

• 4 x Shaping Moulds
• 7 x 35g (Approx.) Dough Tubs
• 1 x Moulding Tool

Why is every word capitalized? It’s not a series of song titles, is it? “Hey! It’s great to be back here in Cleveland! You guys rock! Gonna play one of the old favourites now, our first ever number one: give it up for… Shaping Moulds!” Or a list of Damien Hurst artworks (and I’m using the words ‘art’ and ‘work’ very loosely in this context)? It’s not even in German, where I understand that proper nouns are capitalized. So why have they done it? Is it supposed to make it seem more official? And if so… why, again? The demographic here is the under-5s, and those who care for them. We just want dough. We don’t need Dough. Unless the capital means it’s money, rather than dough. But it didn’t. I checked.

Then the multiplication symbol – “4 x Shaping Moulds” – as if the whole business is being specified with military precision, taken an infuriating step further with: 7 x 35g Dough Tubs. Well thank god, you think, thank god they specified there’s 35g of Dough in each of those containers. A ‘Tub’ or ‘Lump’ may be a sufficiently precise unit of measurement for slacker parents, dull-eyed losers who just want some blobs of gunk to desultorily mangle into vaguely cat- or duck-like shapes. With bozos like that, what they hell do they care how much Dough there is? Me, I’m a high-performing parent. I’ve got big plans. I need to know exactly how much Dough there is in each Tub. What, do I look like some kind of fucking amateur?

But then you smack face-first into the dread word “(Approx.)” – and realize you’ve been gypped anyway. There’s not actually 35g of Dough in each of the Tubs, is there – it’s just (Approx.) – and suddenly I’m in a tense scene in a black and white movie:

“Well, Bob, we were going to use these 35g Tubs of brightly-coloured Dough to build that Secret Spy Plane we promised ourselves. But it turns out the damned measurements are only (Approx.) It’s not guaranteed that the quantities are correct to the nearest atom!”
“That’s a bad blow, Clive. I can’t lie to you. But… at least they capitalized everything, eh?”
“True Bob, true. And in these dark days, we have to take our comforts wherever we can. And at any time.”
“Are you… are coming on to me, Clive?”

I’m not sure who’s the biggest idiot here. The company which believes that specifying the weight of the Dough in the Tubs somehow makes it better or cooler or more official; the Customer who might sue the Manufacturers on the grounds there’s only 34.873g of Yellow in his particular Box…

… or me, for spending so long getting tetchy about all this that I looked up to find my son had gone behind the Television and started chewing Wires, just for something to do.

But, my actual point is… It turns out I was only (Approx.) right about the publication day of the paperback of BAD THINGS, which is apparently Thursday, not Wednesday. Duh. I’m sure you’ll agree, however, that this just makes a giveway tomorrow all the more exciting. So I’m going to do it then anyway, as planned. Which means you have about 24 hours to follow the instructions in the ‘Stupendous Bad Things Giveaway’ post below… Or, to recap:

Three signed copies of the BAD THINGS paperback will be going to randomly-selected Twitter followers, chosen at 12:00 GMT on April 15 – tomorrow.

Over and out.

Yes, alright, it’s not that stupendous. But a week today – April 15th – will mark the official UK paperback publication of the new novel, BAD THINGS.

In a giddy celebration of that fact, at 12:00 GMT on that day I’d like to pick three Twitter followers at random, with the aim of sending them a copy of the book – inscribed either to the winner, or to the person or pet of their choice. Or just signed.

If you’re already following, you don’t have to do anything at all. Relax. Though you could spread the word to anyone else you think might be interested. If you’re not following, you’d need to start following.

This isn’t an evil ruse to garner vast swathes of new followers, by the way: now we’re into the Invasion Of The Pointless (and yes, Peaches ****ing Geldoff, I specifically mean you, amongst others) the Twitter numbers game is history anyway. If you enjoy inhabiting the same intersect as me in the vast Venn diagram of tweets, floating down the same whispering river of disembodied voices, great. If you don’t, you can always unfollow me again. This is simply the easiest way I can think of to pick people and get hold of them afterwards.

Okay? Good. I’m glad we had this little chat.

1. No purchase necessary. No alternative offered, cash or otherwise. You cannot swop it for the special edition of ONLY FORWARD written in blood, on ice. Which actually does exist.
2. You don’t want the book, that’s fine – let me know and I’ll pick someone else. And then go shoot myself.
3. Um, do I need any more rules? Maybe.
4. Always look before you leap.
5. If you’ve been out at a pub in the city all evening and see a cab passing at the end of the road, don’t assume that proves there’s lots of cabs around. It means you’ve just seen the last cab, ever. So run like hell and get it.
6. Do not use the phrase ‘hard-earned cash’ in relation to outlays of 59 pence/one dollar in the iPhone app store, especially in tones of self-righteous indignation. Never type the phrase ‘Nuff sed’, either, in a review of anything, ever. In fact, if you’re considering using either of these crapsacks of letters, turn the computer off, take off all your clothes and go running off into the woods. You’ll be happier there.
7. Always get your tube/train/subway/bus/airline ticket out before you’re confronted with the barrier. Don’t stand around like a moron patting all of your pockets as if the need for a ticket has caught you entirely unawares.
8. Other people’s desserts always taste nicer. Probably because you don’t have to eat the whole damned thing.
9. A stitch in time doesn’t save nine. Stitches have got nothing to do with nines. What the hell are you talking about?
10 The best sets of rules stop at #10
11. Oh, nuts.


Says Who?

Michael Marshall (Smith): novelist, screenwriter and sitting-place for cats.

Go to Official Site.

Said When?

October 2021

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