Monday, 24 October 2011

Welcome to the House of Fun

Welcome to Dag-Lit Central, AKA the House of Fun.

In all of the locations to visit during the Trick or Treat for Ebooks, this is undoubtedly the least frightening, most utterly un-scary place on the whole hop. I guess you could say that I'm the little kid in the clown suit among all those witches and ghosts and ghouls - although come to think of it, I personally find clowns to be far more frightening than any of those other things.

But un-scary or not, I hope you'll have a bit of fun while you're here.

Today I'm going to be talking about bugs. I know, bugs can sometimes be pretty frightening. The big hairy kinds that walk over you while you're asleep. The horrid, nasty flying things that crowd around you in cold, clammy places. Not to mention the nasty bitey, stingy ones that attack you on hot summer days.

No, the bugs I'm talking about are not scary bugs at all. They're called Flidderbugs and they're most definitely the silliest sort of bugs you could ever meet. Rather than doing proper "buggy" things like biting, stinging and otherwise frightening and bothering people, they spend most of their time having endless arguments about really pointless things - a bit like us actually.

Flidderbugs, of course, is also the title of the ebook novella which I'll be giving away during the course of this blog hop. A number of readers have compared it to Dr Seuss (even though it's not illustrated and it doesn't rhyme), while others have described it as "fun, thought-provoking, and well written", "refreshing and attention-grabbing", and "apparently light, but profound".

So if you've had enough of the spooks and spirits, grab yourself a copy of Flidderbugs. How? Just leave a comment beneath this post. Scariest comment wins a free copy. Funniest comment wins a free copy. Buggiest comment wins a free copy. Hey, I'm feeling generous - all comments will win a free copy.

Then check out the list below for all the other fantastically frightening blogs to visit during this hop. But before you do, please take the time to explore Dag-Lit Central a bit - there's lots more fun stuff here.

All the best, and a fun-filled Halloween to you.

Final note - if you're leaving a comment, please, please include your email so I can respond with details for how to download your free copy.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The True Superheroes of the Writing World

A couple of months ago I did a post about supermodels. The gist of this was that it was utterly ridiculous for a group of people to be given the status of "super" merely for walking up and down wearing expensive clothes on their bodies and vacant looks on their faces.

This got me thinking a little bit more about who else we give the prefix super to. Obviously, the major recipients of this title are heroes. And superheroes really are great aren't they. For someone who writes humor, the idea of characters with a particular "power" that makes them extraordinary is fantastic writing fodder. I've had several goes at it myself. One of the favourites of all the comedy sketches I've written is about Procrasto-man, a superhero who never quite gets around to saving the day. I also had a go at creating a clutch of dysfunctional superheroes for a writing assignment in a short story class - which you can read on this very blog. And who can forget the wonderful Bicycle Repair Man sketch by Monty Python - an all time classic.

Silliness aside, what other sorts of people could we think of as super? In my supermodels post, I talked about superteachers and superdoctors. All very good and worthy. But what about us writers? We do extraordinary things all the time. We create whole worlds that never existed before. We control the fates of people in those worlds utterly. And, with the stroke of a pen or the click of a computer keyboard, we're always able to save the day.

But if we're going to call any sort of writers super, I reckon the most deserving candidates are all of the indie writers out there. We're the ones who have to be faster than a speeding publishing industry. We have to leap the tall barriers of the cultural gatekeepers in a single bound. We need x-ray vision to see through all those typos and grammatical errors in our manuscripts. And we're constantly battling against mega-villains, like The Agent, The New York Publisher, and the Mainstream Media Reviewer.
So to all you indie writers out there - grab a cape, stash on your utility belts, and put your underwear on top of your pants. And lets keep on fighting for truth, justice, and the indie way.

And, just to finish off, and because I want to, here for your enjoyment is that classic Monty Python sketch.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Of friends, memories, and old English teachers

Today was a pretty special day for my family. My dad just celebrated his 80th birthday. 

It was quite a big deal. Just about all of his friends were there as well as a bunch of family. It was amazing to see all of these people in the one room. These were people I had grown up with, but whom I hadn't seen for years upon years.

As I looked around the room, I couldn't help thinking about all the memories that were brought back seeing all of those familiar faces, not to mention the ubiquitous slide-show of family photos that now seems to be a standard fixture at all events of this nature. Recollections of lazy summer evenings, dinners and long-gone holidays were all brought back.

But there were a few faces in particular that had special significance for me today. My mum used to teach at the school I went to so among the friends present were a bunch of teachers. And not just any kind of teachers - these were my former English teachers.

So, of course, this meant that I got to casually sidle up to them and calmly mention that, "as it happens, I'm now a published author." I have to say that it felt kind of cool (in a daggy sort of way). As long as they don't actually go and buy the books. That would be terrible. No doubt I'd get an email the next day with the text of the books and lots of red crosses all over it. And we just couldn't have that.

Definitely best to mention it in passing, and then quickly move on before they can ask for more information, so I can bask in the pleasure of thinking that maybe I didn't turn out too bad after all.

Monday, 3 October 2011

There's always next year

Last weekend was the Australian Football League Grand Final. It's a bit like the Australian Football equivalent of the Superbowl or the F.A. Cup. But what made it especially exciting/nerve-wracking for me was that my team, Collingwood (the mighty Magpies) was playing - and going for back-to-back premierships.

For those not in the know, Collingwood is the biggest and most strongly-supported football club in Australia - which means of course that they're also the club that is most disliked by everybody else. But there's one thing that Collingwood is better at than any other team and that is losing Grand Finals. No other club has made it such an art form. No other club has found so many creative ways to steal defeat from the jaws of victory (with the possible exception of St Kilda - but that's a whole other blog post).

So there they were, actually managing to go against tradition and come out on top last year. Admittedly, they did try their hardest not to - they actually managed to draw the game last year after being in a winning position, but came back for the replay the next week and won (admittedly, they were playing against the aforementioned St Kilda).

And so last Saturday, they fronted up again after reaching the heights of success last year. Of course they didn't win. Not for lack of trying, but they came up against a ruthless machine called the Geelong Football Club - one of the greatest teams ever. What they discovered was they were no longer the best, and it was going to take a lot of work to get back up there again.

Seeing my football team being brought back to earth made me think about the experience I'd just had with my book sales. As I mentioned in my post last week, I had the most amazing run of sales a couple of weeks ago and found myself high up the Amazon "ladder". But it didn't last too long, and things have definitely slowed down now.

And, like the mighty 'Pies, I'm not just going to sit back and accept it. I want to climb back up the Amazon charts, and I'm going to work really hard to get there. Because the eternal cry of the Collingwood supporter might be "there's always next year" but I don't want to wait that long.

I'm going to finish this up by posting some highlights from the Grand Final replay last year - the one that we actually one. I hope you enjoy it. I know I will.