Listen to "Stepping Off", Read by Doug Bradley.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Morning Miracle (s)

Firstly, for laughs, please read this serious warning:

Now then, part two of the miracle is that the first draft of "Mirror Man" is now complete and the editing proces began in earnest today.

With Christrmas fast approaching I'm not sure how far it will be progressed, but I'm on it and that is a significant milestone.

As the season seems to be well and truly upon us, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2008.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pitch Critique

I sent my pitch for "Mirror Man" in to Bookends, LLC for a critique, a few weeks ago.

The response was not only very complimentary and encouraging - particularly as I'm now first-drafting the final chapter - but it gave me some invaluable pointers on how to polish it further and increase my chances of catching a prospective agent's attention.

The Pitch:

Valentine is a Child of Loki and one of the original Berserker tribesmen of Norse Folklore. With unobstructed access to the minds of his chosen victims and the ability to assume their precise physical characteristics, he takes what he wants, when and from where he pleases. He is the ultimate identity thief, unconstrained by the password-encrypted barriers his human counterparts face. Only a conscience and the inherent loneliness his immortality brings, stand between him and the decadent life of leisure lead by his brothers and sisters.

The Critique:

I love this! I really think this sounds cool. My only suggestion is not to let it dwindle out. Give us the conflict in the last sentence. What is this book about and what does Valentine face? I hope the book isn’t entirely an internal battle for Valentine on whether to use his powers or not. That would be boring. No, I want to know what he’s going to be up against in this book. If you can nail that last line you have an absolute winner here.

I'll get to work in that final sentence of the pitch soon, hopefully incorporating more specifics on the conflict.

Many thanks, Jessica!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Morning Miracle

I'm not feeling too well today...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Twelve Good Men and True

No Monday Morning Miracle this week, other than the miracle of not being selected for a jury yesterday on my first foray into the US legal system.

It was an interesting day that began with a head-scratch moment when the jury selection process was explained as the principle of 'Vodyre' (pronounced by all ... Vo Dyer) Investigation lead me to the true phrase, Voir Dire, clearly a French phrase whose meaning was far clearer than 'Vo Dyre'.

After getting put on a panel, from which 12 jurors would be selected, we then spent the day 'seeing' (Voir) and speaking (Dire) with the respective legal counsels until, several hours later, they chose their favourites and let the rest of us go home until the next time.

I suspect the case is going to be a long one so I was relieved to be let go.

The courts, in their generosity, pay $6.00 for the day which, when you take account of parking ($5.50), means that while I may have lost a day's wages, I did make fifty cents. On the principle of 'another day another dollar' I guess my day wasn't half bad.

On the plus side, invaluable research into the legal system was had for free and notes taken for future novelistic endeavours.

I haven't posted too much of late as I've been on a roll with 'Mirror Man' - just two chapters to complete the first draft then the editing begins in earnest.

Hope you're all doing well in the lead up to Christmas and if I haven't been by your blog lately don't worry, it's not you, it's me.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday Morning Miracle

Ahhh, Monday.

Every clock in the house but one was sucessfully re-set on Sunday. You know which one I missed, don't you? Yep, I got up at 4.00 a.m. instead of 5.00 a.m. and by the time I realised, it was too late.

And still, my inbox managed to make me laugh...

This one came in the form of a Powerpoint presentation but I selected my favourite two pictures for this morning's miracle. The second is absolutely the best idea ever!

These guys reeaalllyy want to cross that border, don't they?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Murder in Progress!

When I arrived in America I was still a smoker so my trips to the store involved conversations such as:

“Do you sell fags?”
“No! Now get out of here, you pervert”

And at work when I’d tell my colleagues I was ‘going out to smoke a fag’ they looked on in terror, expecting me to shoot the rather effeminate security guard.

Having a fag in my mouth, a spare fag, or worse still, asking to ‘bum a fag’ were phases I quickly weaned myself off. Eventually I quit smoking altogether – the potential for embarrassment was too acute.

Other areas of confusion involved the word ‘fanny’ and for months I would cringe when I heard of somebody being kicked in the fanny or scratch my head in wonder if told about somebody falling on their fanny.

Again I was able to adapt, although I still don’t use the word myself. ‘Arse’ is more effective and, with emphasis on the ‘R’, still makes my colleagues and American friends laugh raucously.
But there are some words I am just unable to accept and two in particular, spring to mind:

"Winningest" and "Burglarized"

To put these absurdities into context, here’s a promotional piece of blurb I read about a certain alarm company, several weeks ago:

Homeowners subscribing to [Alarm Company X]’s monitoring program have been burglarized 45% less households subscribing to other providers. That’s why [Alarm Company X] has again won the [subdivision] award for preferred home security provider, making us the winningest Home Security providor in [subdivision] since 1998.

Worse still, when I point out this butchery of the English language, I’M the one who gets ridiculed!

Another thing I have not been able to get used to is “Y’All” and the international use of ‘like’ and ‘you know’ to punctuate a sentence.

I admit that alone, ‘Y’all” is a harmless colloquialism and we all use them. But something about the radio DJs who accompanied me to work this morning, really disturbed me. I'll try and re-create the dialogue that took place between the three hosts of the show I was listening to:

Host 1: [Excited] Ooh, ooh. Y'All! Listen to this, Y'All.
Host 2: Uh huh?
Host 3: What?
Host 1: I was in Y'All's neighborhood on Saturday and I went into, know...Kroger. Y'all have a bigger Kroger than, like, my, you know, neighborhood. Anyway, I'm in Kroger and this guy goes 'You're [minor local celebrity] and I go, like, 'yeah'. You know.
Host 2: You love it when that happens, it's, you know, it like, makes you feel all cool.
Host 3: I bet you asked for like, some free stuff. Y'all do it, I know Y'all do.

At that point I tuned out and started composing this post in my head. I remembered back to when the 'Teletubbies' first appeared on tv; I thought it was a terrible program idea, teaching kids to speak so incorrectly. It seems that I have always had a bee in my bonnet about this topic. Back then I wasn't brave enough to say so. For one thing, it would have been admitting to watching the 'Teletubbies' and for another, my friends would have beaten me senseless, chanting 'Teachers Pet' and 'Mike's a Girly swot.' (Yes, learning was considered a girly activity in my school.)

Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should all rush out and buy a plum to stick in our mouths and talk like the British Aristocracy, but we should at least know how to speak and write properly before we chose not to.

If your job is in the media, surely you should always strive to speak and/or write well? Is it really too much to expect a radio or TV announcer to have the ability to form a coherent sentence without punctuating it with, like, you know, garbage?

By the time I got to work I had some serious doubts about this post and potentially exposing myself in this way. After all, moaning about 'kidspeak' is the domain of the 'old fart', so I eventually, grudgingly, decided to let it go.

Then I got a text message from my daughter. (Yesterday she got a new phone and that's like, a whole 'nother, like, story, right there! You know?)

The message went like this:

'Thanx for da fone. It much better dan da nokia!'

Before I had a chance to lecture her, I saw in the instruction manual, right there in black and white, all about how da kl ppl spk in txt msgs. Dem ppl at da fone cmpny r gr8, rnt dey?

What with these radio muppets in her ear and the cell phone/messenger making my her write 'I luvd da movie, it gr8', my daughter can look forward to growing up with, like, y'know, a totally kl vocab, Y'all.

And even if I do go "listen up, Yo." she just, like, goes "whatever" and I'm like "Wow, this sux."

Dude. Does that mean I am now an official resident of 'Old Fartsville'? I guess it does.

And while I'm at it, I hate the word 'creme' and the phrase 'I'm all about that'.

And it's not 'I could care less', it's 'I Couldn't care less'. Isn't that obvious?

That's it. I'm going home now!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Morning Miracle

Here we are again, Monday Morning.

I have a hectic week ahead, with meetings scheduled for three days so far and likely to increase by noon today.

What better way to prepare for a week of meetings with angry execs throwing their toys out the the pram than a bit of jeuvenile humour?

Who wants to live in Fucking Austria?

I can't believe this is a genuine article, but I still love:

"What is the big Fucking joke?"


"Just this morning I had to tell an English lady...that there were no Fucking postcards."