Sunday, 20 November 2011

It's a Writer's Life Part 3

I set one of my children free today. Er, not one of my actual children, they're much too valuable where they are. (Lol jks kids! I still love you all...) No, I mean I published a new story and made it available for free download on the internets.

Having won or been shortlisted in so many competitions now, I've grown a little tired of waiting for someone to publish my fiction, and have decided to release my better works as eBooks. Much more satisfying than having them sitting neglected on a hard drive gathering cyber-dust.

I already had my story The Walking Wounded, which won the Byron Bay Writers' Festival/ Varuna unpublished manuscript award a few years back online, now it's the turn of Papertrail, which was shortlisted in the Varuna/ HarperCollins publisher's fellowship competition last year.

I really enjoyed writing Papertrail, mostly because it has the kind of characters in it that pretty much write themselves. They are warm and funny in just the way I wanted them to be. The premise rests on the life of Marilyn, whose husband deserts her just after she finishes the house renovations. Although I always intended a happy ending, I had great fun pulling the rug out from under her on every opportunity I could find. The strapline 'How the worst year of her life became the best year of her life...' pretty much sums up what happens.

I was also interested in seeing how much material I could 'plant' in the story which would have a good pay-off at a late point in the book. That was fun to do and I think it works. Above all though, like The Walking Wounded, I wanted recognisable, believable characters - people you could easily imagine knowing and liking and hanging out with - who were quietly undergoing remarkable personal changes. I think both books are among the best I've written.

As I said, they're online for free (although I've set up a PayPal link so that if you're feeling generous there is a way to reimburse me). What are you waiting for? Check out now.

Here are the Top Ten reasons why you should download my free eBooks:

1. They're free.
2. They're eBooks: the pages won't crease, the spines won't snap, the covers won't get stained, you can never lose them (as long as you don't delete them accidentally or lose your eBook reader, I guess. But they're pretty robust, you'd have to say...)
3. Did I mention that they're free?
4. They're great Christmas presents for anyone buying gifts on a budget.
5. If you read them soon, you'll be among the trendsetters who read me before I 'brokethrough'.
6. If you read Papertrail, you'll be able to create a cute origami shape out of folded paper - although you'll spend the whole book guessing what it is.
7. If you read The Walking Wounded, you'll gain a unique insight into unorthodox counselling methodologies - which can be quite fun if you're into that kind of thing.
8. Both books should leave you feeling happier and wiser than before you read them - or your money back.
9. I think I mentioned that they're free, didn't I?
10. If you're the kind of person who believes in reward for effort and choose to make a donation, then you get the chance to decide how much you want to contribute... and this will be an interesting exploration into personal ethics which carries it's own reward in terms of your personal growth and development.

Gees, what are you waiting for? Have fun, and even if you don't donate, I'd love to hear what you think. Download my kids now!

Mainly because the following sentence is such a satisfying way to end this post, I will now quote Bela Lugosi playing Dracula, bearing in mind that the context is completely different and I usually write in the mornings. But it's such a great line.

'Listen to them, children of the night, what music they make.'

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Stupidity Rules Part 2

So even though we haven’t quite made all the payments on the Queen’s recent visit, now we’re stumping up for the fawning and swanning and obsequiousness in overdrive, not to mention the circus of security, that is the current trip down under made by a certain Mr Obama of Washington and parts thereof.

Look, I know it’s polite when the visitors pop over to ensure they're safe and that they’ve got enough lamingtons and somewhere to crash but there are Other Considerations here. I think you know what I’m talking about. You must have seen it. It’s impossible to miss. There are blind people out there who have actually felt it assaulting them through their flat screens. I’m talking about the smugness factor. Not his. Hers. Julia’s. In every shot I’ve seen of them standing side-by-side she looks like the cat who’s got the cream. And not your bog standard supermarket-standard cream, either. I’m talking King Island Secret Stash Royal Reserve Mega Premium Double Thick Double Dollop Hand Stroked Extra Special For Your Eyes Only Sourced From The Secret Magic Cow Allowed Only To Feed Upon The Purest Greenest Grass Grown In The Ripest Pasture In All The Land-type cream.

Smug smug smuggety smug. As smug as a slug on a drug. As smug as it’s possible to be without actually dying of pure smugness. We need to ask why this is... Is La Gillard secretly watching her sagging polling fortunes start to rise? Or is it simply that the nerd from Unley High School is practically holding hands with the most powerful – and one of the cutest, from her perspective, I dare to suggest – blokes in the known universe. Having private chats with him about national security, foreign debt and how Stacey in Fourth Form never thought Julia would amount to anything.

But that's not actually the only scary part of this cavalcade of  congratulation, is it? There's also the question of the new US base, where a couple of thousand Marines are going to hang out in the Top End and drop ridiculously efficiently from helicopters – presumably with ropes or parachutes – onto anyone underneath them who isn’t quite in the loop about the training exercise going on overhead.

This is a concern because as soon as Ms G and Mr O head to Indo and start spruiking to the countries around us that there’s ‘nothing to fear’ from the new base, you know that there’s actually a helluva lot to be righteously afeared of – and I'm not talking about the Festival of Smug.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

It's a Writer's Life Part 2

Another balmy tropical evening on Thursday Island... What a blessing to be brought to this place to work with a bunch of amazing people: actors, musicians and our producer and audio engineer to create a new series of radio plays. This is a stunning environment and it produces amazing people.

We are recording eight eps of the play and a music video. Spent two days rehearsing and translating what I'd written after the initial workshops and subsequent readings into yumpla tok. This way of speaking which used to be called Torres Strait Creole or broken English or sometimes just 'broken' is now called yumpla tok which means 'our people's way of speaking' from what I understand.

Hearing the play performed in this way is amazing by itself. I'm working with Danni and Rhiannon who I worked with on the last series as well as James, Joseph and Chiomi who constantly blow me away with their ability and enthusiasm. As well there's Patrick Mau 'Mau Power' who is simply a rapping prodigy and able to create amazing music. Heather has pulled the whole thing thing together, Corey and CJ are filming it and the awesome Nigel Pegrum is recording. After we fly out on Friday we spend some time editing in Nigel's Pegasus Studios in Cairns.

On my return I spend the following weekend giving a workshop on writing for the stage in Bowral NSW which I hope goes as well as the one I gave in Bermagui the weekend before last.

I always had a dream to go to interesting places and be paid to write and here I am. Amazing!