Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Full Steam ahead, on the SS Hairy Plug Monster

Events took a turn for the better this week at the HPM HQ, with Waterstones accepting The Hairy Plug Monster into their catalogue. We now have permissionto contact each of their 350 shops to see if they want to stock the Hairy Plug Monster.

The only downside that I can see is that I have 350 letters to put in 350 envelopes,then lick 350 stamps before trying to fit 350 letters inside an already bulging post pox. The fact that the postmen go on strike tomorrow for a few days is slightly worrying but it cant be helped.

We are hoping that each one of the shops recognises the appeal of the HPM and orders at least three for the Christmas rush. Once they are on the bookshelves then they should be there for good with repeat orders over and over again.

If that wasn't enough, we were contacted by a Japanese company who requested a meeting with us to see if the Hairy Plug Monster was a viable product for the Japanese market. (incidentally, the Japanese market for English books is the second largest in the world.) so fingers crossed eh.

If both Waterstones and Japan come to fruition, it would be a company maker, that's for sure, and would go a long way towards the publication of the next three books The Hairy Plug Monster goes to town, Be Careful Ethel and The Marvelous Mouse.

In a different vein, I have been made officially the head of Swerve Electrik,(the dance department of Swerve Records) and am organising a series of releases with my cohort Barrington Stuart. The game plan is to release 2 tunes a month over the web and build up a web presence for the label. Swerve have hooked up with Free-St8 recordz ( Soly and Mo) who are Internet media guru's and have the fingers firmly on the pulse of SEO.

The first release Nude Ep by Static Island, is languishing at present as most of my energies have been concentrated on the HPM but a sneak listen can be heard at

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

We are getting there

Its getting rather busy at the HPM office, fresh on the heels of the filming for Tonight with Trevor Mcdonald (to be broadcast on the 23rd November ) has come an invite to give a reading at Borders in Stockport on the 28th November and sign a few books, with a reading at Waterstones Wilmslow on the 21st to do the same,

The 8th is taken with a reading in Alderley Edge Village and we have several new orders in - everyone loves the book and at this rate we should hit our humble target of 500 before Christmas quite easily. ( I know 500 doesn't sound a lot but given the size of our publishing house - me and mum and our advertising budget of 50.00 I am pretty impressed.)

On the 3rd November I have a reading at Park Lane Primary School in Sale, so I am being quite the Author.

It is now possible to see clips of The Hairy Plug Monster on YouTube set to some really funky music and we have an article in the Stockport Independant Times (available for free at all the big suoermarkets) for their next edition

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Hairy Plug Monster Chili and Walnut Treacle Toffee

Not being particularly interested in fireworks and big huge fires, I am more inclined to stay by the outdoor buffet on November 5th -

But one thing I have noticed is that whilst fireworks have evolved, the mainstay of November 5th hasn't changed that much - I am talking about Treacle Toffee.

You know, those irregular pieces of sticky, tasteless chunks of toffee that serve only to stick your gums together and pull out most of your fillings, and generally leave you wondering "why you bothered"

However the HPM was keen to pass on this original recipe for toffee that bites back, and a perfect accompaniment to the Ginger Beer mentioned previously.

The Hairy Plug Monster Chili and Walnut Treacle Toffee
(Caution this recipe will most definitely contain nuts - if you put them in)

50g Crushed Walnuts
1/4 Fresh medium sized red chili finely chopped ( the strength of the toffee is dependant on your resolve - please bear in mind you are making toffee and not a Vindaloo)
450g Soft Brown Sugar
225g Black Treacle
110g Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp Water
1 tbsp White Vinegar

Place half of the butter into a heavy bottomed saucepan together with the chopped chili and crushed walnuts and warm for a few minutes on a low heat.

Then add the rest of the butter, water and vinegar and heat gently until the butter has melted.

Add the sugar and black treacle, allow to fully dissolve, this takes about 20 minutes.

Boil the mixture to a temperature of 138°C (Not having a thermometer I take my best guess at the temperature, making sure I don't burn it)

Remove from the heat, allow the bubbles to settle.

Pour the mixture into a well oiled 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tin.

When the mixture has cooled a little mark the surface into squares with a knife.

When cold break into squares, wrap in cellophane and store in an airtight container.

That's it - it might not score any brownie points with your dentist - but your kids will love it

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Banks Lane Infant School invited me to perform a reading for a class of young fidgety critics last Thursday, and honoured me by introducing me as a writer. (which I suppose I am).

In I walked hiding behind the head and almost felt apologetic for interrupting their lesson. After the how-do-you-do's were all over I sat down in the story-telling chair and asked.

Does anyone know where the bathwater goes when you pull out the plug?

"the water goes into the drain " they said

No it doesn't - does anyone know where it really REALLY goes?

and at that moment I knew I had them captivated.

What's that noise ........I began - and before I knew it the story about The Hairy Plug Monster was over and the class gave me a round of applause.

I gave a sneak reading of Be Careful Ethel and asked the children if they wanted to draw pictures for the story. I think they were more impressed with the fact that I told them that they were the only people in the whole world to have heard it.

On the same day Kul was invited to CCR - for and interview and a chat and managed to hog the airwaves for 50 minutes, with The Hairy Plug Monster being mentioned at least 20 times, stranger still, was hearing someone talk about you and the people you know on the radio.

We managed to sell a fair number of books at a craft fair organized by members of the a local networking group The Happy Mondays (no not them - the other Happy Mondays who are a group of business savvy mums who get together and swap ideas..... that's all I know ) under the even catchier name "Made by Mummy".

So it was quite a week, especially as part of it was missed due to me being in Italy (where we also sold a couple of books) for my 40th. In terms of sales it was a brilliant week although slightly tainted by a small run of misfortune where the T.V, the Toyota and even the toilet died in a relatively short space of time. (The toaster still works). If that wasn't enough the week ended with a short cold and red nose.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Hairy Plug Monster sponsors mini chocolate eclairs

"If there is one thing that the HPM craves more than anything else it's

Mini Chocolate Eclairs

Since meeting Maya, his days of eating "bubble bath sandwiches" are long gone - and as "shop - o - late" eclairs are just not tasty enough, I had to ask my sister Karon for a recipe that will satiate his emormous appetite.

110g Plain flour
175ml water
½ tsp salt
75g butter
3 eggs beaten

150 mls whipped cream
100gms Couverture Chocolate melted
(yeh, I didn't know what it was either, so I "wikied" it ) 

To make choux pastry:
Preheat oven to 180° c

Boil water and butter, add flour and salt and mix to a smooth paste, until the paste leaves the sides of the pan and allow the flour to cook out.

Transfer to a clean cool bowl and let the mixture cool.

When it is cool, start to beat in the eggs one at a time until you have a smooth dropping consistency, that is pipeable.

Fit a large plain piping nozzle to a piping bag and pipe in lines about 4 cm long onto a greased baking tray. Bake for 30 -35 minutes until the ├ęclairs are golden brown take them out and allow to cool
To assemble:
Place a thin piping nozzle into a piping bag and pierce a hole in the bottom of the ├ęclairs.

Pipe in the whipped cream and top them with the chocolate

How easy is that?