Monday, 30 December 2013

Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza - day 5

Welcome to the final day of the Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza sale.

This is your last chance to collect some quality ebooks at absolute bargain prices, so make sure to make the most of it.

Make sure to also check out the Awesome Indies blog to see if you're a winner of one of the Amazon gift cards.

Hope you have a great new year, and 2014 is an exciting one for you!

Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza - day 4

Welcome to day 4 of the Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza sale.

Today is going to be a really interesting day on the Awesome Indies blog as it's a chance to find out about what’s coming to the Awesome Indies in 2014! We have big plans and you can be a part of them!

And don't forget there's one more day to enter the competition for three Amazon gift cards.

Enjoy, and happy holidays. 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza - day 3

Welcome to day 3 of the Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza sale.

Today, the focus is on series - a chance to celebrate the series and return to your favourite worlds. So come to the Awesome Indies blog and join in the fun.

And don't forget, there's still plenty of time to enter the competition for three Amazon gift cards.

Enjoy, and happy holidays. 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza - day 2

Welcome to day 2 of the Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza sale.

Today is an exciting day because today is the day the competition begins. You have a chance to win one of three Amazon gift cards by participating in a fun quiz celebrating literary creativity.

To enter, just go to the Awesome Indies blog and start getting creative now.

Enjoy, and happy holidays. 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Awesome Indies Holiday Bonanza - day 1

It's holiday time at last. It's been a crazy, hectic year in many ways, but now is the time to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with books - lots of great books.

The Awesome Indies are having a massive Holiday Bonanza sale, running from 26-30 December. Here you will find 60 high quality books. Some are free, most are 99c, but all are substantially reduced.

And that's not all. There will be fun events over the next few days, with the chance to win some great prizes.

So happy holidays for all, and make sure you join in the fun.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Rounding out the year with some exciting news

Well it's almost the end of the year. And because I really like to end the year in a really positive and uplifting way, I'm really pleased to be able to announce some news which is kind of exciting.

Just over eighteen months ago, I self-published my first novel, Magnus Opum, in ebook format only. Since then, while sales have been fairly modest, I have received some really wonderful reviews and feedback from readers (and some not quite so wonderful of course, but I can deal with that).

The good news I have to announce is that the very kind people at Booktrope publishing have made an offer to publish Magnus Opum, which I have decided to accept.

What this means is that I will shortly be taking Magnus Opum down from Amazon, and the various other online stores it's currently available from. And some time afterwards (I'm not quite sure yet as we don't have a schedule worked out), a shiny new and improved version will be up and running. And not just an ebook version. Magnus Opum will also be available in print for the first time. Well, I guess my mum will be excited about that.

So anyway, keep posted, and I'll be sure to let the world know when Magnus and his friends will once more be making their way through the exciting and wonderful world of book sales.  

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Follow the dancing dots

Once again, I have to thank Jim Murdoch for giving me the idea for this post (and believe me, when it comes to thinking up ideas for this blog, I need all the help I can get).

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking about editing. To be honest, I find editing a bit of a mixed bag. Part of it is really enjoyable - the part where you get to gradually see the writing tighten up, and where you start to bring everything together to move from a disjointed bunch of ideas to a real story. But there's another aspect of editing that I have to admit I find quite painful - trying to keep up with all the little dots that dance over my manuscript.

You know the ones I'm talking about. The colons and semi-colons, and especially the commas. I have no idea where commas are supposed to go. Every time I go back to revise one of my drafts, I feel like 20% of the time is spent actually refining the story and writing, while the other 80% is spent moving commas around. And around again. And around a third time. Even just writing this blog post, I reckon I've spent half the time fiddling with commas.

I'm lucky that I have my editor. She always seems to know where commas go. She'll tell me that because this is a post-conjunctive phrase alongside a relational-subjunctive clause (or something like that), there has to be a comma between them. As for me, I just go on instinct. If I feel like a need to take a breath, I chuck a comma in. Only problem is every time I read it again, I find myself wanting to take breaths in different places.

I'm waiting for technology to catch up. I'm waiting for word processors to become so clever, they know exactly where the commas (and all the other types of dots) are supposed to go, and just stick them in as you're typing. And then I'll be able to spend less time trying to follow those pesky dancing dots, and more time working on my actual story.

Till then have a great week.

Or should that be till then, have a great week.

Oh, I give up.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Trying to hide in fantasy

Writing fantasy is really fun.

It's really enjoyable to create brand new worlds that have never before been explored. It's great fun to populate them with the strangest types of residents you can think of, and then set them off to see what they'll get up to.

It's a process you can totally get lost in. You can forget your daily troubles, and all the things that are wrong with the world, as you immerse yourself in a brand new world of your own creation. A world where everything can be as good as you want it to be. A world where all the problems of the real world are things of no concern at all. 

Except that you can't. Or at least I can't.

No matter how hard I try in a world of fantasy, I always find that the real world has followed me there. No matter how I create my perfect little world, I find that the flaws of the real world will be there, often twisted or amplified in unexpected ways. And no matter how original I try to make my characters, they always end up with characteristics or flaws that are all too recognisable from those in the real world.

I don't think I'll ever be able to fully escape the real world and hide out in the world of fantasy, I can never avoid what is happening around the "real" me, and I can't stop it bleeding into my stories. And, when I think about it, that's a big part of the fun. It's a way I can sort out my own thoughts and feelings for what is happening around me, and try to come to terms with things that are otherwise too complicated to understand.

At least that's what I try to do as a writer. As a reader, the experience may be completely different. I suppose that's part of the fun too. 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Everyone is an expert - except me

It always amazes me how much other people know.

And these people must know a lot, because they're always making sure everyone else knows about it. They're always talking about how they do this or they do that, or (more often) they've done this or done that already. And really well, to boot.

Not only are they telling everyone else what they've done, but they're also giving incredibly useful advice on what everyone else should be doing. They're busy writing up top ten lists of all the things that people need to do, or all the ways other people have already stuffed things up.

I wish I could be like these people. I'm in awe of these people. They know so much, and they're so willing to share this knowledge around. Unfortunately, there's no way I could possibly do this, because I'm not really an expert on anything. 

I suppose I could try. I could try to write out a top ten list about...something or other. But who would pay attention? Who would possibly want to follow my list of directions, especially as I'd pretty much be making them up as I went along? There just doesn't seem to be any point at all.

It's hard work being inexpert in a world of experts. When people know so much, and are so keen to let you know about it, you barely want to open your mouth or put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). You're always way too afraid to reveal your ignorance, and your complete lack of expertise about anything much.

I suppose I could say that I'm an expert in lack of expertise. I could write out a top ten list of how not to be an expert. But nobody would want to read that, would they? 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

My editor is ace

I'm working on editing at the moment. It may not sound it, but it's actually pretty exciting, because it means that I'm on the home stretch.

The work in question is the latest in the strange adventures of Neville Lansdowne. Recall that he fell off the world in Doodling and he pushed the world out of shape in Scribbling. Now, in this latest novella titled Scrawling, Neville is off on a whole new adventure with a bunch of strange new companions. Stay tuned to find out more soon.

In the meantime, I'm working on fine-tuning the manuscript into shape. The best possible shape. And for this I have to give a big thank you to my wonderful editor, Cathy.

She's been really amazing when it comes to helping me put the finishing touches to my work. It's really interesting how I can read something repeatedly and think it's clean and tight and just right, but once she's gone through it, she can point out all these spots where things are actually not so tight or clear, or could be worded better. Not to mention those pesky little typos I never seem to catch.

I really feel that she's made my a better writer. She's helped me to identify the common errors that I make, and be more prepared for them. She's alerted me to the words that I tend to overuse and overuse and overuse, helping me to be more varied in my use of words. She's pushed me to find better and clearer ways to express myself. Hopefully the results will be plain to see once Scrawling is released (either later this year or early next).

So I'd like to end this post with a big thanks to Cathy for the work she's put in to help me with my writing. As an editor, she's really ace!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Guest post - Tim Flanagan

It's always a pleasure to have guests here at Dag-Lit Central. Today I'm pleased to have Tim Flanagan here, talking about how to visually involve the reader.

Stand above the crowd - visually involve the reader!

How can you create something that stands out from the crowd? Especially when the number of books increases on a daily basis.

Well, for my latest book I decided to create something that was not only a journey in words, but also a journey for the eyes. I have always written in a style that is particularly visual, so it only seemed natural for me to one day get those words converted into pictures. But not in the form of a graphic novel. I wanted the pictures to not only illustrate a story, but also feed the imagination of the reader, take them into the story and involve them. If you want to coin a word that is used a lot these days - I wanted the pictures to be interactive with the story and reader.

Sometimes book illustrations can be too sterile, like they are looking down on a scene from above, making a statement that the viewer is nothing more than a silent observer. Thinking back to my childhood, I enjoyed regular comics, but the ones I loved most of all were those that had additional things happening on the page, other than the story. The Where's Wally books are popular with children, not because they are amazing pieces of art, but because they involve the reader.

I came across an illustrator on Twitter who liked my writing and was working with children at the same time that I was. In fact in the same week we were both talking to local school children to inspire them in writing and artwork. We talked about working together and began bouncing ideas around. I resurrected a story I had written several years ago about an eighteen year old detective, rewrote it and presented it to Dylan. We took each chapter separately, breaking down ideas for illustrations and colour scenes for him to work on. In the end we had too many illustrations and had to cut quite a lot for the final book, but the important ones were always going to be the colour full page scenes. These were the ones readers can glance at to supplement the story, or study to find the extra information and additional jokes that are added in the background that the main characters are oblivious to. These are the sort of pictures that I loved as a child that would make me get my pens out and copy.

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown is aimed at middle grade and teens, perfect targets for the illustrations. Working on this project with Dylan is only the beginning; we have other ideas for the future. The style of writing and illustrations set our book apart from the other reading material for young adults creating an individual brand image that is easily recognisable to readers.

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown, or The Pumpkins of Doom. 

Eighteen year old Lawrence Pinkley is Whitby's greatest Private Detective. In fact, he's Whitby's only Private Detective.

Pinkley's skills are called into play in the first case of a reluctant career.

One night, in a high security laboratory, a scientist mysteriously disappears, leaving behind an overly nervous assistant and a trail of pumpkin juice. Pinkley is hired to investigate the disappearance by the professors beautiful daughter, forcing him to quickly learn the skills he needs to solve his first major crime.

But every move Pinkley makes is being watched.

As he blunders from one clue to the next he stumbles across secret messages, talking pumpkins, the Russian mafia, and hired hitmen. His life now depends on him solving the case. Not to mention the future of mankind!

Available from Amazon.

Tim Flanagan - profile Info


At some point in Tim's childhood, he was abducted by aliens and sent on a voyage of knowledge and discovery across the universe. Eventually the aliens realised how pointless this was and, as a failed student, he was returned to Earth and left with a family who brought him up as a human bean. But, the persistent memories of new worlds, dragons and other creatures, continued to knock at his frontal lobe, desperately trying to break out.

To avoid making a mess and calm his imagination, Tim began writing as a way to communicate with Earthlings. Fuelled by Chilli and Nachos and a bottle of wine, Tim manages to balance a love of loud rock music and fast cars (preferably red!) with emotional chic flicks, smart leather shoes and a well tailored suit. He has successfully infiltrated the humans and hides behind the fa├žade known as a family. He learns from his children, but is regularly told to stop acting like a child by his wife.

Naturally shy and unsociable by nature, he is selective of the human company he keeps, preferring to be around old books, bonsai and art. He cries at 'It’s a wonderful life' but sulks if fed evil vegetables disguised as Parsnips or Peas. He is bored by mundane conversation, excited by architecture and castles and fuelled by Caramel Latte Macchiato's.

Occasionally, he likes to catch up with old acquaintances on Tatooine, Westeros, and Middle Earth, and stare at fantasy and concept art as if it is a window to his childhood adventures. He is always trying to learn lessons from the masters; Mr Charles Darwin and Mr Lionel Ritchie, about life and love. Tim's galactic mission is to translate his brain activity into a language that inspires and entertains you, transports you to different worlds and grants you an audience with the characters you have dreamt about, but never dared to remember. All of this in an attempt to redeem himself with his childhood alien abductors and travel the stars once more.


The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (Book 1)
The Moon Stealers and the Queen of the Underworld (Book 2)
The Moon Stealers and the Everlasting Night (Book 3)
Book 4 coming out end 2013

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown - 15th Nov 2013


My blog is the best place to get an insight into my mind. There are various posts and videos that have nothing to do with writing, sometimes just things that made me laugh or made me think.

Social Media
Facebook :

Join my mailing list. I don’t do spam so will only contact you when I have a new book release.

Links to books
The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (Book 1)
The Moon Stealers and the Queen of the Underworld (Book 2)
The Moon Stealers and the Everlasting Night (Book 3)

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Too many passwords

Modern life is hard work.

So many things to negotiate. So much you need to know. So much you need to remember. Sometimes, I'm not sure how I manage to cope from day to day.

I'll tell you one of the things I find hardest to deal with. Passwords.

There was a time when passwords were kind of cool. Passwords could get you into secret clubs. In stories, characters would use passwords to join gangs, or gain access to hidden treasure. But these days, passwords are everywhere, and you don't use them to gain access to anything cool and secret. You need them to pretty much do everything.

At work, you can't do anything without a password. You need a password to access your files. You need a password to access your mail. You need a password for admin stuff, like putting in leave. Sometimes, you even need a password just to access the internet.

And outside work, it's just as bad. All those social networks each need a password. One for Facebook and one for Twitter. One for Goodreads and one for Google. Not to mention the ones that anyone foolhardy enough to be a writer has to have, like Amazon and Smashwords.

Then there are the essentials. Banking. Home networks. Hey, I even have a password so I can pay for public transport.

It's driving me bonkers and I can't take it anymore.

Part of me wants to be done with the lot of them, and just use one password for everything. But then people tell me that's a really bad idea. Something to do with security, apparently. I suppose I can see their point.

So I guess I don't have a choice. All that brain power I'd really love to use for creative stuff, for making things up and solving problems, is just going to have to be roped off for the absolutely uncreative but utterly necessary task of remembering my passwords.

Modern life really is hard work. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Walking on thin ice

I always feel like I'm walking on thin ice.

No, I'm not some sort of ice-skater. Hey, I live in Australia, where ice is actually in short supply. We have a couple of skating rinks, but believe me there's no risk of falling through into freezing water below.

I'm talking more about the general business of life. I always feel that as I go about my day-to-day business, I'm that close to stuffing up big time and making a big mess out of everything.

It feels like that in all aspects of life. My work. My relationships. My writing. I often feel like I don't have any competence in any of them. I'm just living a complete sham, constantly covering up and trying to hide the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing.

And I always feel like I'm about to be found out. The next thing I do at work, or the next thing I say to a family member or friend, or the next thing I write, will finally reveal my secret and I'll be well and truly revealed to all the world.

For some strange reason, it hasn't happened yet. Occasionally, there'll be near misses. I'll say or do something that will make people give me funny looks. Or something I do will create some sort of ruckus. Sometimes I'll quickly take responsibility and fix things up before they get out of hand. More often, I'll cover up, or just get myself out of there before I can be blamed.

But I know my luck can't last forever. Eventually, I know all will be revealed. Then the ice will crack and I'll fall down into the freezing water (metaphorically of course).

Hope I'm wearing something warm.

Have a great week -  and please don't tell anybody.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Things get awfully tangled sometimes

I like to think that my life is one long learning journey. I like to believe that every day I am learning something new. Something that I can make use of, to change the way I engage with things in a positive way.

I'm not sure I always manage to live up to that ideal. Sometimes, I even think I might be going backwards. But wherever I go and whatever I do, there is one thing that constantly hits me.

Gosh we humans are good at complicating things.

It happens all the time. You start off with the best of intentions. You have a clear goal and a simple plan. And then what happens? Things get complicated.

Sometimes it isn't just you. The more you involve other people, the more you know things are going to start getting tangled up. But other times, you can't actually blame other people. It just seems to happen that way. Everything seems clear and simple, until suddenly it isn't.

Of all the lessons I've taken from life, I think this would have to be one of the biggest ones. It's had a massive impact on the way I try to live my life from day to day. I'm constantly telling myself, "Keep it simple. Don't try to complicate anything." Because I know that no matter how simple I try to make it, it won't stay that way for long. But at least if I try to make it simple at the beginning, I can limit the extent of the complexity that will eventually overtake it. 

I think this is one of the big factors with my writing as well. I try to keep my stories as simple as I can. That's partly because I know that somewhere down the line they're going to get much more complicated, and I'll need to figure out how I can manage that. But also because they help to accentuate that message back to me. I think one of the main goals of most of my stories is to try to show the simplicity that lies beneath all of the complexity we create, for example using insects to demonstrate the absurdity of modern political processes in my novella Flidderbugs.

Anyway, I think I better quit this before it starts to get way more complex than I can handle. Hope you have a great (and not too complicated) week.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Awesome Indies Halloween sale - Day 3


Today is the last day of the Awesome Indies Monster Sale. Make sure you visit and support the indie authors who are doing it well. Just click on the badge below.
For the final day of the party you have a chance to win one of 14 paperbacks that are up for grabs, as well as pick up some freebies. So if you're interested in paperbacks, don't miss this great opportunity.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Awesome Indies Halloween sale - Day 2


Happy Halloween


The hosts of our party have some mean bad guys hiding among their pages. Today, some of our authors open their books and let their monsters take a peek outside. Click on over to the Awesome Indies, read the descriptions and vote for the monster you think is the creepiest.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Awesome Indies Halloween sale - Day 1

Watch out! There's demons, ghouls, ghosts and other nasties on the Awesome Indies and they're escaping their books on Halloween to host a party for all the gentle souls from the less frightening stories. The spread is amazing, a smorgasbord of genres, over 40 books on sale at 99c from the 30th of October to the 1st November, plus a fun quiz, a meet the monster day and a goody-bag of give-aways. 

The party starts today with a fun quiz. Click over to the Awesome Indies blog to find out what you didn't know about Halloween.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Home is where the art is - or maybe it isn't

I've just come back from an overseas holiday.

Mind you, thanks to the wonders of technology, any followers here at Dag-lit Central (come out of hiding, I'm sure you're out there somewhere) might not even have known I was away. I'm a pretty private person and I didn't particularly want to broadcast my away-ness, so I kept the posts popping up. Apologies if that seems a bit sneaky.

Anyway, the holiday was really fun. Got to visit a bunch of places I haven't been to in over 20 years, with my family in tow. And got to spend time with my overseas family, most of whom I haven't seen for over 20 years. It was a really great experience for everyone.

And now I'm home. Amazing how quickly it went. One minute, overseas and having the time of my life. The next, back home and trying to settle back to real life again

I needed the break. With all the writing and working I've buried myself under this year, I was pretty close to hitting the proverbial wall. One of the nicest parts about the trip was switching off from all of that and just enjoying each day as it came. But now I'm back, it's definitely switch on time again. And that isn't quite so easy.

So it's back to work and back to writing. At least one of them. With work, I don't really have a choice. There's only so much leave I can take in a year and I've pretty much taken it. That just leaves the writing. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to get that started again as yet. Not for lack of trying. I've sat at the computer with the word processor on, but the brain just isn't coming to the party. At least not yet. Hopefully I'll be able to pull myself over that bump in the road shortly and get back into it.

You know what they say - home is where the heart is. But at the moment, it's definitely not where the art is.

Have a good week. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Inspiring teens blog hop - interview with Sibel Hodge

Today I'm pleased to be participating in another really fun event - the inspiring teens blog hop organised by Greta Burroughs and Vickie Johnstone. Today, as part of the hop, I'm hosting an interview with Sibel Hodge.

After you've read and enjoyed the interview, be sure to answer the question below and follow Sibel on Twitter, Facebook and her blog for a chance to win a copy of her book The See-Through Leopard. And don't forget to enter the raffle for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

1. Reading

Why do you think Teen Read Week is important? 

Young adult novels now encompass so many different styles and genres, and deal with issues and pressures that can give valuable insight to teens. It also allows escape from the pressures of life. Readers can experience challenges, thrills, dangers, and learn lessons without even leaving the house!

How do you think we could encourage youngsters to read more? 

I think the explosion in ereaders, tablets, and smartphones makes reading much more accessible for teens, even when they’re on the move. So mixing technology with reading can be fun. 

When you were a teenager what books did you like to read and did you have an all-time favourite character? 

I loved coming of age stories, and books about overcoming injustice. One of my all-time favourites is To Kill a Mockingbird. I still pick it up every now and then and re-read it.

2. Writing

Do you think today’s teens are in a better position if they want to be a writer than you were all those years ago (hee hee)? 

Hey, it’s only (ahem) a few years ago! Yes, with the opportunities for indie publishing now, anyone who can write a good book has the potential to be successful. 

What advice would you give a youngster who enjoys writing? 

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Read to experience and understand what good writing and good story-telling is all about. Write to hone your craft, even if it’s only a few hundred words a day. But, most importantly, follow your dreams and be true to yourself. 

3. Your books

What is your latest book about?

The See-Through Leopard is an inspiring and uplifting coming of age story about fighting for survival, healing, love, and recognizing that our scars don’t define us. 

Are you working on anything new at the moment? 

I’ve just finished the 4th book in my Amber Fox cozy mystery series, and I’m about to start on an inspiring new adult novel.

What do you love about being an author? 

When I was a kid I used to get told off for lying. Now, I can do it as a job and get paid for it!

Book description 

Most sixteen-year-old girls are obsessed with their looks, but Jazz Hooper is obsessed for a different reason. After a car accident that kills her mum, Jazz is left with severe facial scars and retreats into a dark depression. Fearing what will happen if Jazz doesn’t recover, her dad makes a drastic decision to move them from England to a game reserve in Kenya for a new start. And when Jazz finds an orphaned leopard cub, it sets off a chain of events that lead her on a two-year journey of discovery, healing and love.

"A percentage of the royalties from the sale of this book will be contributed to Panthera, a leading international conservation organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the world's big cats, plus other wildlife conservation groups." -- Sibel Hodge, author.

Amazon US link

Amazon UK link

About Sibel Hodge

Sibel Hodge is the Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author of Fourteen Days Later and Be Careful What You Wish For. She has 8 cats and 1 husband. In her spare time, she's Wonder Woman! When she's not out saving the world from dastardly demons she writes an eclectic mix of romantic comedies, mysteries, thrillers, children's books, and non fiction. Her other books include My Perfect Wedding, The Baby Trap, The Fashion Police (Amber Fox Mystery), Voodoo Deadly (Amber Fox Mystery), The See-Through Leopard, How to Dump Your Boyfriend in the Men's Room (and other short stories), It's a Catastrophe, Healing Meditations for Surviving Grief and Loss, A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey, and A Gluten Free Soup Opera.

Her work has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize 2008, Highly Commended by the Yeovil Literary Prize 2009, Runner Up in the Chapter One Promotions Novel Comp 2009, nominated Best Novel with Romantic Elements in 2010 by The Romance Reviews, Runner Up in the Best Indie Books of 2012 by Indie Book Bargains, and Winner of Best Children's Book by eFestival of Words 2013. Her novella Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave has been listed as one of the Top 40 Books About Human Rights by Accredited Online Colleges.    

TWITTER HANDLE –  @sibelhodge




Sibel has two ebook copies of her book The See-Through Leopard to give away. To be in the running, all you have to do is follow Sibel via the links above and then post an answer to the following question in the comments below:

Tell me what your favourite animal is and why.

And make sure to enter the raffle at the inspiring teens blog hop site.



Saturday, 12 October 2013

Author or narcissist

Have you been into a bookshop lately? Or more likely, have you browsed through an online booksite like Amazon? What is the first impression that you get?

I know what I think. Lots of books.

It always gets me thinking. Thinking about why there are so many books. Thinking about what would be involved in reading them all. Thinking about the sort of effort that went into writing them all. Just thinking in general that there are so many books around.

With so many books already in print - or online - why do we need to make more? Are there really any new stories we can tell? Are there any more twists we can find to tell the same old story in a different way?

And, of course, I can't help thinking about my own place in this puzzle. As a writer, why do I write? Why do I feel that I need to add to this abundance of books? Do I really have something new to say, on top of what has already been said, often by writers of substantially more talent and with deeper insight into the human condition than myself? Am I adding something significant to humanity's body of work, or am I just adding to the confusion.

Sometimes I wonder whether we writers are just supreme narcissists. That we're somehow imbued with this self-belief that our stories, no matter how tangled and mangled, are intrinsically worth reading. That the words we conjure are somehow deeper and wiser and wittier than those of our competitors.

Of course, I prefer to think that isn't the case. And yet, I'm more than happy to override any self-doubt and push my work out regardless. I suppose I just can't help it. In my mind, I'm not sure if I'm a narcissist or not, but I do know for sure that I am a writer. And that's good enough for me. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The laziest hard worker I know

For a lazy person, I work really hard.

Perhaps I should rephrase that. For a hard working person, I'm actually really lazy.

And I do work hard. On top of my 9-5 job and sundry family obligations, I keep a cracking schedule as far as my writing goes. I set myself goals and focus myself on achieving them. At the moment I have 4 different WIPs:
  1. The next Neville Lansdowne story - tentatively titled Scrawling - which I'm hoping to release before the end of the year.
  2. My picture book Thomas and the Tiger Turtle which should be out in May 2014.
  3. My detective story (no planned title as yet). I'm aiming for late 2014 for this one, having just finished a second draft.
  4. My YA story (again no title). I finished draft #1 last year so this one is still a long way off. Maybe 2015 but maybe even later. We'll see.
In addition to these, there are always a heap of ideas bubbling in my head. Plus, of course, all my blogging and twittering and other socially network stuff. I'm actually pretty proud of what I'm managing to achieve at the moment. Especially given one big proviso - I'm very, very lazy.
I love to sleep in. I tell you, every day is a battle to get out of bed, and not just on weekdays. Even on weekends, after quite a good sleep in, I'd happily remain under the covers.
Once I'm up, it takes me ages to get going. I'll sit around and do nothing much. In fact, a number of people I know have commented on my capacity to sit around and do nothing much. It's a talent I'm quite proud of.
I guess that's the thing with all of us. We're all a bundle of contradictions. I can be both lazy and hard working at the same time. It's all part of the wonderfulness of being me.
Anyway, better go now. I have a whole week of working hard to do nothing in front of me. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Turning my nose up at snobs

I'm a terrible snob.

I don't care about what people wear. You can look as shabby as you want. I'm not going to judge you harshly. 

I don't care about the music people listen to. Classical or pop. Hip and cool or golden oldies. Whatever gets you tapping your toes is fine by me.

I don't care about what people eat. If haute cuisine is your thing, that's cool. If you're more partial to McDonalds, that's cool too.

I don't even care what people read. If it's airport fiction or supposed literary masterpieces, it really makes no difference to me. (admittedly, I'd prefer it if more people were reading books by me, but that's another story)

But despite this apparent tolerance, I'm still a terrible snob. There's one thing in particular that gets me turning my nose up, every time I witness it.

That thing is snobbery.

I can't stand snobs. I despise them. Those people who think they are better than other people, just because they wear more expensive clothes, or believe their taste in music or books or whatever somehow makes them superior to others.

I judge that kind of behaviour really harshly. I definitely believe that I'm superior to people like that. I guess you could say that I'm snobbish about snobs.

Of course, I have to live by me own standards. If I'm snobbish about snobs, this means that I am a snob, which means I have to be snobbish about myself. I definitely think that I'm far better than myself. If I ever see me walking down the street, I'll always turn my nose up at myself.

And now that I've managed to completely confuse myself, I think I'll go and have a long lie down.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

I'm not that deep

I love to read. I guess that, being a writer myself, this isn't something particularly surprising.

I'm constantly amazed at the breadth of narratives around. So many different writing styles. So many different ways to tell a story. But one thing that I really admire is the ability of writers to really dig down deep, to nail their characters in complex ways, and place them in intricate, multi-level stories.

I'm blown away with the way writers can get into their characters' heads. How they can develop lengthy interior monologues that capture so much about a character. How they can create plots that twist and turn in so many ways, beyond any reader's expectations. How they can create descriptions which make you feel like you're actually there, seeing things with your own eyes.

I'm in awe of these writers, and I'm also more than a little bit jealous. I just can't create stories like that. I can't create such complex interior worlds for my characters. I can't describe their exterior worlds in anywhere near the same detail. And there's a very good reason for that.

I'm just not that deep.

I can't do those interior monologues because I don't have them myself. My mind tends to skim over the surface, avoiding any attempts to dig down deeper. And I can't create those detailed descriptions because my eyes don't seem to register things in such a close-eyed way. They just flitter from one thing to another, getting the basic idea but not the specifics.

Is that a bad thing? Should I be upset with myself for my lack of depth? Should I make more of an effort to create more layers to myself?

I'm not sure. At this stage of my life, I figure I'm not going to change. I don't think I could ever write those "deep" sorts of stories. But maybe that's okay. Sure, there's nothing to stop me enjoying the craft that goes into creating them. But maybe there's room for my sorts of stories as well. For stories that flit around on the surface in (hopefully) surprising and amusing ways.

Who knows. Maybe readers will find their own depths in there. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Who are you looking at? Probably not me

Have you ever tried to play spot the writer?

It's not too hard. Wherever you are, whether walking through a crowd or sitting in a restaurant or cafe, take a look around and see if you can figure out which of the people you see are writers. At least that's the easy part. The difficult part is, like me you'll probably have no idea whether you're right or not (unless you go up to people directly and ask, which may be a little on the awkward side).

That's the great thing about being a writer. How you look makes no difference at all. There are no dress requirements or uniforms. And there are also no particular requirements to look great, like there are for actors and models, or to have extraordinary physical prowess like athletes.

Anyone you see could be a writer. We come in all shapes and sizes. We also come in any kind of packaging. True, there may be cliches about the bohemian writer, sitting in a cool cafe and drinking coffee while mulling on their latest literary masterpiece. But I suspect there are far more writers who diverge from this stereotype than those who conform to it.

That's one of the really great things I like about writing. Just as there are an innumerable number of stories, so there are an innumerable number of authors, each with their own styles of writing as well as living.

And I also like that being a writer doesn't define me as a person. It's something that I do, and that I enjoy. But there's an awful lot more to me than that. Even though I would love to be successful, I'm always happy to fly under the radar. I'd hate to be the sort of person who has to fend off admirers at the local supermarket (admittedly a fairly unlikely possibility).

So whether you're playing the game of spot the author or just looking around and people watching in general, I have a feeling that the person you're looking at isn't me. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

I'm serious about being funny

I'm an extremely serious person.

You may not believe me. If you know me well, I'm sure you won't believe me.

Aren't I supposed to be a funny guy? Aren't I constantly reeling off jokes and zingers and puns and other kinds of randomly absurd observations about the vagaries of life in general and writing in particular.

All right, so maybe I do. But as far as I can tell, that's no reason to suggest that I'm not an extremely serious person.

There's a particular reason why I think I can support my claim that it's actually the fact that I am funny (well allegedly anyway) that makes me such a serious person. Here goes:

Being funny is hard work.

Don't believe me? Just try it some time. Go out there and make people laugh. It's not as easy as it sounds. Ok, I know there are some people out there who can just do it naturally. All they have to do is breathe and they can have everybody else falling over themselves in fits of laughter. But I'm not like that.

To people like me, being funny is a commitment. It's a goal that you set, and towards which you then need to work. It takes practice and dedication in order to achieve this goal at a regular level - to consistently say or write things with the requisite amount of hilarity.

And getting the amount right is a big part of it. Too little, and it will just seem anaemic. Too much and it will seem forced. It's a delicate balance, requiring hard work and skill and experience to get right. I'm not even sure I have.

So there you have it. Immutable evidence that I'm as serious as the next person, and more serious than many. I'm working hard, dedicating myself towards reaching a goal. The fact that it's a very silly goal does nothing to lessen the commitment required.

When it comes to being funny, I'm deadly serious.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

J.K. Rowling, please say you wrote my book too

Have you been following the latest J.K. Rowling business?

How a book that was credited to a writer named Robert Galbraith (called I believe The Cuckoo's Calling)  turned out to have been written by J.K. Rowling.

What I find interesting is how all of a sudden, a book that wasn't setting the world on fire as far as sales went has suddenly become a global bestseller, just because it turned out to have been written by...well a global bestseller.

Now there's all sorts of discussions that could spin off this. We could talk about what it is that makes a book good or not. We could talk about the influence of the name of the writer on the perception of a book. We could talk about the criteria readers use to select the books they choose to buy (and the image of a farm animal covered in wool does come to mind). But I'm not. I've got something much more simple as the focus of this post.

This is a request to J.K. Rowling - please say that you wrote my book too.

Because if we're talking about books whose sales are not setting the world on fire, I reckon that's me in a nutshell. I suspect my book is doing exactly the opposite - what would you call it - setting the world on ice? But with the name of someone like the mighty J.K. associated with it, light the rockets and get ready for take-off.

Ok, so maybe there's the small issues of royalties, but I'm sure we could come to an arrangement on that. Maybe I could hand over some percentage. She doesn't seem to need much, so I'm sure it wouldn't be too onerous. I hear she's very into giving to charities, so that's something I'm more than happy to support.

There you have it. A sure fire way to rocket me - oops I mean her - into the bestseller lists again. So how about it, J.K? What have you got to lose? Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, why not say that you wrote my book too.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Awesome Indies Grand Opening Party

Writing is awesome. Being an indie writer is awesome. And what is really awesome is that a group of writers called the Awesome Indies is having an awesome launch party over the next few days.

The Awesome Indies site is a place where you can find quality independent books (and maybe a few by me as well). To celebrate the opening of this site, they are holding a Grand Opening Party from August 21-25. There's a bunch of books reduced to just 99c (including some by me) as well as prizes and fun events to participate in.

Here's a list of some of the fun stuff happening:
  1. On August 22 you can play "Who is the piano playing dog?" Watch an amazing video and vote on the best explanation for who the dog is and what he’s doing. 
  2. On August 23, you can participate in a fun Awesome Indies quiz.
  3. August 24 is meet the author day, when you can read stories of why authors chose to go indie.
  4. On August 25 you can win a Kindle Paperwhite. There will also be a bunch of free books available.
So hopefully you'll come along and join in the fun.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Smile, say cheese, and watch the birdy

I really don't like being photographed.

Usually I manage to avoid it pretty easily. Hang around in the background. Don't make myself too obvious. That way, I can be sure the furious gaze of the camera won't be directed towards me.

But there are times when being photographed is unavoidable. Most of them tend to be family related moments when you just have to grin and bear it. But every so often, there's a specific requirement for a specific type of photograph.

I recently had one such situation. Due to my new arrangement with Evolved Publishing, I had to provide an author photo. Bad enough that I had to submit myself to the torture of getting photographed. But what made it even more difficult was the idea of creating an author photo.

What exactly does an author photo look like? What am I supposed to do that will specifically say to anyone viewing it "This person is an author"? I had no idea. I even tried to do some research, to look at other examples of author photos, but that wasn't much help. There were so many different types of authors, and I had no idea which one I was.

Some authors are serious. They write serious books, and so their photos are also suitably serious. But I don't see that as being me. And besides, when I try to look too serious I end up looking constipated.

Other authors are funny. They might do funny, whacky sorts of photos. Maybe this suits me better. After all, my books are at least intended to be funny. But I just can't bring myself to do whacky for the camera. It doesn't feel right.

In the end, I try to think of the best way I can categorise my stories. I think my stories are friendly. They're easy and fun to read and make you feel good (again hopefully). That's the sort of author picture I need. A friendly author picture.

So, after numerous attempts, I end up with a picture. I send it in. It's now up on the Evolved website - you can look at it if you want. Hopefully I look at least a little bit friendly. Hopefully, 9 months before my book is released, I'm not already scaring the punters away.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Lions and tigers and turtles, oh boy!

Let me just preface this post by saying the heading is just slightly inaccurate.

While the tigers and the turtles are totally relevant, I'm afraid that there won't actually be any references to lions. I'm sorry if anyone feels misled. I just wanted a third animal to round out the title and lion seemed to foot the bill. I'll try not to do it again.

Anyone, so given lions are off the menu, what is this about tigers and turtles? Well, it isn't exactly about tigers and turtles. It's more about Tiger-Turtles. And that is the real subject of the announcement I'm making today.

I am extremely pleased to announce that, thanks to the help of the fine people at Evolved Publishing, I will be publishing my first children's picture book in 2014. And the title of that book is, of course, Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle.

So what exactly is a Tiger-Turtle? I'm not telling. You'll have to wait and see when the book comes out, which should be in May next year.

This is a bit of an adventure for me. I'm excited, after self-publishing my novellas and novel, to be working with a publisher. I'm also excited to be moving into a different type of storytelling. While I still plan to keep working on more of my dag-lit type stories (I'm still hoping to have Neville #3 out before the end of this year), I really enjoy writing stories for children as well. And I'm especially looking forward to working with an illustrator to see the story take visual shape before my eyes.

So keep posted. I'll hopefully have more news as we move forward. Because I think it's time the world knew all about Tiger-Turtles. 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The most interesting person on the internet

It's tough work, this blogging caper. Twitter is tough work too. Basically, anything about getting your name out in internet land is a pretty big ask for someone like me.

And I'll tell you one of the biggest reasons why I reckon it's such a challenge. It's because I have to be interesting.

Being interesting is really hard work. If you ever get to see me, you'll understand why. I'm not that tall or short. I'm a bit on the thin side but not excessively so. There's nothing about my features that particularly stands out. I don't have a loud voice, or an awful lot of charisma.

In short, I'm not really all that interesting. And that can be a problem.

There are a heap of people out there on the web. Lots of them are better known than I am. Actually, let me rephrase that. Pretty much all of them are better known than I am. And many of them are actually more than a little on the famous side.

When you're famous, every one wants to follow you. Everyone wants to hang onto your every word. There's no need for you to go out of your way to be interesting. You're interesting, merely by virtue of being who you are.

I don't want to name names but I've followed a few of these famous people on twitter and checked out their websites or blogs, and to be honest, I haven't been particularly inspired by what I've seen. What they post is really not that interesting at all. But what does it matter? They've still got millions of followers.

For me, it's different. The only way for me to get even a minuscule amount of attention is to be interesting. It's hard work, and it really doesn't seem fair. Part of me feels like saying, "Right, that's enough. I've had enough of being interesting. I don't want to do it anymore."

But then I look at my pageview statistics. And I figure that maybe, for just one week, I can have another go at being interesting.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Here we go again, and again, and again

I'm writing a blog post - again.

Seems it was only last week when I was doing this, and funnily enough, it was.

It's amazing how we get caught up in routines. Go to work, come home. Write a post, send a tweet. I reckon I've got the whole thing down pat.

The only problem is, you can get so caught up in the things you're always doing, that it becomes hard to break out to do something different. And as someone who likes to think of themselves as a creative sort of person, getting caught in that routine can get to feel quite stifling.

I think that's one of the big challenges of the modern age. Our lives are all so planned and regimented, so run by outside influences such as work and technology, that it seems like a challenge to try to do the simple things that allow you to feel like an individual.

A big challenge for me is not only finding the time to write, but making sure my mind is in the right sort of "mode" when I do find that time. When I finally get to sit down at my computer with a blank screen in front of me, I'm usually pretty zonked out after a busy day of work and family and all that other stuff. Getting my brain into that relaxed state where it can roam wild and free, in order to keep my stories moving forward in ways that don't seem forced, can be really hard work.

Yet, amazingly, I seem to be able to do it. In those tiny little windows of time, I'm definitely making progress, and I'm generally pretty pleased with that progress. Maybe that's just another part of my routine. Maybe my brain has had so much practice at unleashing itself when required that it is able to do it easily and naturally. I have no idea. I just try and go with the flow.

Anyway, I'll talk to you again next week - because that's when I'll be sitting down again to write my next post.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

I'm not really a grown-up

I've got a confession to make.

For anybody who knows me well, I don't think this will come as a big shock. But anyway, here goes.

I'm not really a grown up.

There. I've said it. It's all out in the open.

Just to qualify a few things. I suppose I look like a grown up. If you happened to know my age (a well kept secret) you might think I should be a grown up. I even manage to do a bunch of things you would usually think could only be done by grown ups, such as having a job, owning a house, and fathering a couple of children.

But it doesn't change the fact that when it comes down to it, I'm not really a grown up. I'm a big kid, walking around in a grown up world. The thoughts going around in my head are kid's thoughts. The things I like - the food I eat and the music I listen to and the movies and TV shows I watch - are pretty much the same ones I liked when my age matched my maturity. And that goes especially double for the stories I like to write.

You might think it must be difficult going through life as a fully grown child - and you'd be right. Every day I live in constant fear that I'll be discovered. Every time I show up to work, I'm worried that my colleagues will finally see through my disguises. Every time I speak to my kids, I just know that they're going to trump my childlike logic and arguments. It's a constant mask I wear every day that I always feel is about to slide down, leaving the genuine childlike me revealed for all the world to see.

So now that you've heard my confession, please don't let on. Keep it to yourself. It can be our little secret. 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sci-Fi Fantasy Kindle Event

Today I'm back in promo mode.

All of this weekend (July 13-14) I'm participating in an extremely excellent event - the Sci-Fi Fantasy Kindle Event organised by Tim Flanagan.

So what is involved in this fine event? 36 authors are offering up a variety of their books, all at the special sale price of 99c/75p. There are a heap of books to choose from, covering all the different aspects within science-fiction and fantasy.

But that's not all.

In addition to all the great books that can be picked up at bargain prices, there are also great prizes to be won - including signed paperbacks, ebook bundles and Amazon vouchers - check out the prize page for more information.

So make sure you don't miss out. Come on over to the Sci-Fi Fantasy Kindle Event, check out the great books on offer (and mine as well), and make sure you sign up for a chance to win a prize.


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Time for a mid-year reflection

I can't believe it. Somehow or other, six months have just slipped past, and before I even had time to breathe, I suddenly find that we've passed the halfway mark for the year.

At times like these, I feel like sitting down, pulling right back on the silly, and having a good old reflect on the year so far, and particularly where I am with my writing goals.

It's been a busy one. With the multiple projects (and their multiple deadlines) at work, and everything that goes with family life, sometimes I think it's a wonder I get anything done on the writing front at all. And yet, amazingly, I've actually managed to reach a point where I'm quite advanced as far as those goals go.

At the start of the year, I gave myself two primary goals:
  1. Complete and publish my third Neville Lansdowne story
  2. Complete a full rewrite of the detective story I originally wrote a first draft of many years ago.
So where exactly are we at?
As far as goal 1 goes, pretty good. I managed to complete several drafts of the Neville story and sent it out to beta readers. Feedback is just starting to dribble back now and it's looking pretty positive. Taking into account time for subsequent revisions as well as a proper edit and proof, I should definitely be on track for a 2013 release.
As far as goal 2 goes, the news is even better. Just past the halfway mark for the year and the rewriting is almost complete. I should be able to get chapter 16 done this weekend which leaves just one last chapter to go. At this stage, this means there's a good chance I could have it ready for beta readers by the end of the year (I'd like to do one additional rewrite but this won't be as involved) and maybe even have it ready for release in 2014.
So I'm pretty pleased with my writing progress in the first half of 2013. Here's hoping that the second half can be just as fruitful.
In the meantime, I do have something else in the pipeline for early 2014 that looks exciting. I can't say too much for now but hopefully all will be revealed soon.
Hope your latter 2013 is also a good one. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Signing on the dotted line

I've never been one for autographs.

It's always struck me as a bit too sycophantic - while I like to admire people, there's a sense of putting them up a bit too high on a pedestal. Maybe even something a bit desperate or fetishistic.

Of course, like all of of my hard and fast rules, I'm happy to make exceptions.

I do have two autographed items that I maintain with love (if maybe not as much care as they deserve).

One is my autographed Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Given that Douglas Adams is one of my major inspirations, it feels kind of cool to have just that little piece of him, especially as he's sadly no longer with us. The book is rather ragged and falling apart these days, but I'll never get rid of it.

The other is my autographed Mad Magazine. Mad was a massive inspiration to me as a kid - it really gave me a sense of the big world and how there was so much that could be made fun of, as well as the idea of satire as a powerful mechanism for humour. I loved how it covered a really broad range of styles, from sharp political satire to just completely random and oddball (like the wonderful cartoons of Don Martin).

It was kind of a special thing when I was being taken around New York by a cousin and happened to pass right outside their offices. Of course, I dragged the somewhat nonplussed cousin inside, where I got to meet the editor, William Gaines. He was very cheerful and friendly, happily giving me a free copy of an edition that had been damaged in the post and signing it on the spot.

As a writer myself, I haven't done a lot of autographing. I guess I'm not quite in the Douglas Adams league. And besides, most of my books are ebooks, and while I know there are electronic ways to do autographs, it doesn't quite feel the same. But I do have a few children's books in print, and I have done a bit of autographing for them - one was for the child of a friend who was most upset to see their book had been scribbled on.

And that's the big problem I'm likely to face if I should ever get famous enough for people to want my autograph. I don't have a decent signature. My handwriting is completely disgusting. If I ever get that popular, I suspect I'd need a handwriting double.

Here's hoping.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Full steam ahead - and no going back

Everybody tells me that the best thing I can do as a writer is write a series.

I can understand why. You get your reader hooked and then they'll keep coming back, wanting to know exactly what happens next. You get them to build up a strong relationship with your characters, so they'll really care about what happens to them. It makes complete sense.

I'm just not quite sure if I can do it.

There's a couple of problems.

The first is that I have a really short attention span. By the time I'm halfway through something, my mind is already moving on to something new. I can barely keep the focus to work on one individual book, let alone a major project that involves three or more books.

The other problem relates to the way I develop my stories. As I've mentioned before, I call myself a plontser - which is something halfway between a plotter and a pantser. I usually have a broad idea about where my story is going, but I'm constantly filling in the details and making up a lot of stuff as I go.

This means that, especially with first drafts, I change my mind a lot as I go. If you read any of my first drafts, you'll see how things change, maybe even characters and their names change, from chapter to chapter. It's something that I gradually tidy up during the rewriting process.

But imagine if I did this with a story that spanned multiple books. Halfway through book three, I'd realise that there were a bunch of things wrong with book one that I'd want to change. Only problem is, by this time book one is most likely done and dusted.

Clearly, the only way I could manage this process was if I didn't release any books until the whole series was done. This would mean constant re-editing of all books. I'm not sure I could handle that.

Having said that, I am having a go at a series of a sort. Once I get my third Neville Lansdowne story out (tentatively titled Scrawling), I'll have three volumes of Neville. I suppose it's kind of a series, even though each story basically stands on its own. I'm not sure if there's some sort of a rule I'm breaking there as far as series definition goes - and I don't really care anyway.

So I'm continuing to churn ahead with Neville's new adventures - and I'm not looking back at his old ones. We'll see where he takes me next. 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

I know who is to blame

I've finally figured it out.

I know exactly who is to blame.

Let me clarify that. Being creative in this day and age is not easy. There's so much that's already been done. It's really difficult to come up with something completely fresh and new.

I think it's like that in a lot of different areas. Music for instance. When I listen to new songs, I'm always thinking "It sounds just like this" or "It sounds just like that". There are so many great songs that have already been written that writing new ones just gets harder and harder.

It's just the same with stories. How do you come up with an idea for a story that's fresh and new when so many stories have already been written? I'm sure that whatever I write, there's always going to be someone who has the same reactions to my stories as I've described above to new songs. It seems to me that with each subsequent generation, as more stories continue to be written, it just gets harder and harder to come up with new ones.

Sometimes it used to really get me down. I'd get so frustrated. It just didn't seem fair that I was living in an age where so many things had already been done, and so many stories had already been written.

And that's when I realised exactly whose fault it was.

It's time's fault. I think that's clear. Thanks to time, I'm forced to be living in a later period than all those other writers who got in before me. If time was a little more flexible, maybe I could sneak back and get my stories out first. But no, time has to be strict and linear and one way only, leaving me stuck right where I am.

Of course, recognising a problem is one thing. Dealing with it is another. What can I do against this unfair behaviour by time? For a while I thought about maybe suing time - taking it to court for infringing my freedom of expression. But I had a funny feeling I wouldn't get far with that one. I considered the options of relocating to a different universe where the laws of time are a bit less rigid, but I just couldn't face the stress of packing and moving again.

So I guess I'm stuck with the situation as is. There's nothing I can do against the random unfairness of time. I'll just keep badgering away, hoping against hope that I can come up with that truly original idea.

And if anybody out there should develop a time machine, please drop me a line.