Tag Archives: humor

A Right Wing Thinktank II

This is a continuation of the post A rightwing thinktank is running Australia where i covered 1-11, 42-44, 49 and 69 of the Institute of Public Affairs ‘demands’ of the Liberal-National Party Coalition of Australia, a right wing political group currently in power.

After i did the last blog, i found a series of Crikey articles from 2015, where “Freelance journalist Andrei Ghoukassian and former Crikey senior journalist Andrew Crook have sifted through all 100 policies promoted by the Institute of Public Affairs”.Thanks is due the Crikey people who solved a few mysteries for me.

I discovered that pseudo-leftist Labor PM Kevin Rudd was the dickhead who scrapped the  Department of Climate Change (IPA demand #2). He did put it in another department, but that was also abolished.

So where were we?

The IPA’s list of 100 included...

12 Repeal the National curriculum
They just messed with it.

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums
Same, curriculums supposed now to focus more on traditional learning rather than fancy schmancy leftist stuff.

The Arts will be only taught in classrooms without any actual children in them, and ‘Merchant Banking for Fun & Profit’ will be part of the Year 1 syllabus.

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
Didn’t gain much traction, even the TV stations said let’s keep the regulator.
Kyle Sandilands, aka Vile Kyle, a radio celeb who often uses his platform to abuse his ‘enemies’ aka anyone who criticises him, was in favour, but even the LNP didn’t get behind Kyle.

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
Abandoning this is something far right people advocate at least once a year.
Usually being miffed over someone from centre being allowed to refute all their crazed claims that the Muslims have eaten all the jelly babies, but so far balance is being left alone.

16 abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to common law
 Is considered unlikely.

17 end local content requirements for Australian television stations
Local content rules are the only reason shows are made (and then exported – yes, this is what’s to blame for both Neighbours and Home & Away) in Australia.

Tv stations have been complaining about this since the rules began, and as many of the IPA members own at least bits of TV stations it’s not surprising to see it listed. But there’s no trace of current plans.

18 eliminate family tax benefits
Nearly gone. Abbott did for some (or at least his treasurer, Joe “I enjoy being cruel to people who subsist on 20k a year” Hockey did). Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to disappear the rest. Or not – “However the government will abolish family tax benefit end-of-the-year supplements worth up to $726 a year per child. This will be phased out by 2018.”

19 Abandon the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
Tony Abbott really tried to mess this up, and it’s gone through so many incarnations, with the latest linked here (same article as Family Tax Benefits).

I don’t pretend to understand it. Other than PLP’s probably for 20 weeks and it’s been changed so many times nobody’s really sure wtf is going on.

20 Means–test Medicare
They’ve tried bringing in co-payments for doctors’ visits, ignoring that the poorest already pay something for many tests, at least a token $5.30-6.30 for scripts, and often more than a token for any specialist appointments (memorable was the specialist who charged $550 which about $120 could be refunded from Medicare – and one had to pay up front, not like people with medical insurance).

The sick and unemployed and old are trying to pay for these extra expenses out of a benefit supposed to be enough to live on without extra medical costs because MEDICINE WAS FREE.

The co-payment bombed – even bulk-billing doctors weren’t in favour, though stuck with frozen Medicare fees since 2013 or so (a temporary $ saving put in place by Julia Gillard, then grasped with fervour by the LNP, thinking they could force all doctors to move off Medicare and into only private practice).

So the LNP have chiselled away, taking away Medicare rebates for many tests, putting drugs off the PBS (which means whatever the drug company wants to charge, the end user has to pay) and making the lives of the sick harder.

Stuff like criminalising anyone who uses codeine for pain (have to show your driver’s licence and be on a national register). Also the same for pseudoephedrine, which yes, is used to make meth, but ffs, some of us used it for hayfever, and can’t any more because the intrusive questions at point of sale got too much to bear.

The LNP feel all fuzzy and warm over this harassment, to the point where many of them have had to go buy another investment property just to celebrate.

Next, 21 on…

21 end all corporate welfare & subsidies by closing the Dept of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
“The Coalition dissolved the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, splintering it into the Department of Industry and the Department of the Environment soon after election. However, their functions remain essentially the same.” From Crikey

22 introduce voluntary voting
This hasn’t happened – but it’s being put forward because it would help the Right wing stay in power forever. Australia’s compulsory voting means the Left has a chance. Conservative voters are better organised, more likely to turn out, worldwide – it’s why Margaret Thatcher, for instance, was able to stay in power all those years. She barely got 30% of the actual voters, but because so many didn’t vote at all, she was elected on that. Like Trump in the USA.

23 end mandatory disclosures on political donations
They haven’t managed this, but they’re trying. Malcolm Turnbull donated $1.75 million to the Liberal Party but didn’t disclose it until quite recently – their usual donors got cranky when Abbott was removed as PM, so Turnbull helped out, or ‘bought the prime ministership’ as some people (one of them might have been me) unkindly put it.

GetUp estimates 85% of political donations aren’t declared anyway, being ‘laundered’ through various entities.

24 end media blackout in final days of election campaign
This is probably going to be kept – the LNP announced billions in cuts during the blackout, that nobody heard about until after the 2013 election. Which they won.

25 end public funding to political parties
IPA wanted this, political parties didn’t. Simple.

26 remove anti-dumping laws
Wtf is it? Dumping cheap (below cost) goods in a market, usually with aim of destroying local industry, providing afterwards a captive market for the not quite so cheap any more goods.

Interestingly, Abbott didn’t support it.

However, people like Alan Oxley “an Australian academic, a lobbyist for free trade agreements, a climate change skeptic and trenchant critic of the Kyoto protocol along with being a supporter of cutting down forests in Asia to grow palm oil, keep #26 alive, in articles like this one.

Free trade is their grail – local industries can go fk themselves or move their manufacturing to China.

27 eliminate media ownership restrictions
They’ve achieved this one, or will soon – and Australia, already the most concentrated media ownership in the world, will get worse. Country people will lose out most, as restrictions that stopped one company from owning every outlet in Australia have been dropped completely.

Rupert Murdoch’s name springs immediately to mind, and of course, he’s a member of the IPA – his dad started it. Gina Rinehart also enjoys buying into media outlets and is said to be the one who bought Andrew Bolt his show.

We can only hope Unca Rupe’s enjoying all those LNP tongues up his arse – he’s been wanting this to happen since the 1970’s – possibly before.

28 abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
We understand why the IPA, who live overseas at least part of the year, are in favour of free markets, free speech, and free money for their mates.

So far, the LNP haven’t been interested.

29 eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
A victory for Big Tobacco, Big Food, and Big Booze. Supposed to be absorbed into Health, but Crikey say end result is cessation of its good works.

30 cease subsidising the car industry
Done and dusted. Because a few towns outside Tony Abbott’s electorate dying doesn’t matter to him.

Anyway, this is where i think we’re at…. those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be.

THE IPA’S 100 IDEAS TO TRANSFORM AUSTRALIA

  1. repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy but if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefit will be undone
  2. abolish the Dept of Climate Change

  3. abolish the Clean Energy Fund
  4. repeal section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act
  5. abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
  6. repeal the Renewable Energy Target
  7. return income taxing powers to the states
  8. abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
  9. abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  10. withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
  11. introduce fee competition to Australian universities

  12. repeal the National curriculum

  13. introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

  14. abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
  15. eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
  16. abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to common law
  17. end local content requirements for Australian television stations
  18. eliminate family tax benefits

  19. abandon the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
  20. means–test Medicare
  21. end all corporate welfare & subsidies by closing the dept of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education
  1. introduce voluntary voting
  2. end mandatory disclosures on political donations
  3. end media blackout in final days of election campaign
  4. end public funding to political parties
  5. remove anti-dumping laws
  6. eliminate media ownership restrictions

  7. abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
  8. eliminate the national preventative health agency

  9. cease subsidising the car industry

Only 6 out of this 30 done, and 4 about to happen – 10/30.

Now the rest of the list – research cursory so it’s bound to change. Again those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be. …

  1. formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
  2. rule out federal funding for 2018 commonwealth games
  3. deregulate the parallel importation of books
  4. end preferences for industry super funds in workplace relations law
  5. legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
  6. legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of the budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit
  7. force government agencies to put all their spending online in a searchable database
  8. repeal plain packaging for cigarettes & rule it out for all other products, incl alcohol & fast food
  9. reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
  10. introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
  11. repeal the alcopops tax
  12. introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including
    a) lower personal income tax for residents
    b) significantly expanded 457 visa program for workers
    c) encourage the construction of dams
  13. repeal the mining tax

  14. devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

  15. introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax free threshold
  16. cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25%

  17. cease funding the Australia Network

  18. privatise Australia Post
  19. privatise Medibank

  20. break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
    (or cut funding, and put someone sympathetic to the right in charge – tick!)
  21. privatise SBS
  22. reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
  23. repeal the Fair Work Act
  24. allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
  25. encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
  26. abolish the Baby Bonus

  27. abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
  28. allow the Northern Territory to become a state

  29. halve the size of the coalition from 32 to 16
    (“Abbott’s first cabinet was made up of 19 members, close to the IPA’s ideal number of 16.” This doesn’t count the three or four junior or assistant ministers for every minister. Turnbull’s first cabinet shot up to 26.)
  30. remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
    (Some done – S Korea, Japan, and China. Trans Pacific Partnership not signed yet, let’s hope US exit makes ours less likely.)
  31. slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the USA
  32. end all public subsidies to sport and the arts
    (Arts slashed, sports not so much.)
  33. privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
    (No – even Cory “I started my own RWNJ party” Bernardi  loves the AIS.)
  34. end all hidden protectionist measures, such as preference for local manufacturers in government tendering
    (Officially, not done – but French submarines, Australia?)
  35. abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
  36. rule out any government-supported or mandated internet classification
  37. means-test tertiary student loans
  38. allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
    (This one freaked me out – people without pensions, starving in the street – but so far not being done, though super’s been cut.)
  39. immediately halt construction of the national broadband network & privatise any sections that have already been built (See last post for discussion of this. Not yet is the short answer.)
  40. end all government funded nanny state advertising
  41. reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
  42. privatise the CSIRO
    (Massive funding cuts leading to dreadful staff cuts, often privatisation precursor but so far no.)
  43. defund Harmony Day
    (It was former Liberal PM John Howard’s baby – so no. Perhaps just announce that you’re going to legalise hatespeech ON Harmony Day?)
  44. close the Office for Youth
  45. privatise the Snowy River Scheme

  46. have state premiers appoint high court justices
  47. allow ministers to be appointed from outside parliament
  48. extend the GST to cover all goods and services but return all extra revenue to taxpayers through cutting other taxes
  49. abolish the Federal Department of Health and return health policy to the states
    (Billions ripped from it, but not abolished)
  50. abolish the Federal Department of Education and return education policy to the states
  51. repeal any new mandatory data retention laws
  52. abolish the Human Rights Commission
    (or just persecute Gillian Triggs, now former President of the HRC)
  53. have trade unions regulated like public companies, with ASIC responsible for their oversight
    (or just have Royal Commissions into unions – ignore public outcry for one into banking – and bring in laws to gaol anyone making secret payments to unions for 10 yrs. While allowing your own ministers, and yourself, to rort or ‘not tell the truth on time‘ without penalty.)
  54. end all public funding to unions and employer associations
  55. repeal laws which protect unions from competition, such as the ‘conveniently belong’ rules in the Fair Work Act
  56. extend unrestricted work visas currently granted to New Zealand citizens to citizens of the USA
  57. negotiate and sign free trade agreements with Australia’s largest trading partners, including China, India, Japan and South Korea
  58. restore all fundamental legal rights to all existing Commonwealth legislation such as the right to silence and the presumption of innocence
  59. adhere to section 51 (xxxi) of the constitution by not taking or diminishing anyone’s property without proper compensation
  60. repeal legislative restrictions on the use of nuclear power
  61. allow full competition on all foreign air routes
  62. abolish the Medicare levy surcharge
  63. abolish the luxury car tax
  64. halve the number of days parliament sits to reduce the amount of legislation passed
  65. abolish Tourism Australia and cease subsidising the tourism industry
  66. make all government payments to external parties publically available including the terms and condition of those payments
  67. abandon plans to restrict foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural industry
  68. cease the practice of setting up government funded lobby groups, such as YouMeUnity which uses taxpayer funds to campaign to change the Australian constitution
  69. rule out the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for electronic gaming machines

  70. abolish the four pillars policy which prevents Australia’s major banks from merging

Another 7 done, 2 pending (NT to become a state in 2018), which brings the totals to 19/100.

Funnily, I can only conclude the IPA is not ruling Australia – who knew? I bet the right wingers in the audience are mortified. The IPA are getting some of what they want, (not quite 20% so far), but the LNP has ruled out a lot of what they want, or has even promised the opposite.

I know political promises are not worth anything, but what i’m seeing is that the IPA are in opposition to the Liberal National Party Coalition on a fair number of points, or the vote loss means the LNP are too canny to consider granting more IPA wishes.

Yet.

What’s happening now? Cuts to company tax, to the rates paid by the rich, and to Sunday pay rates for the poorest of workers. Cutting staff numbers, cutting funding (then “oops it’s not running well, we’d better privatise it”).

All these are the way the Coalition roll.

So let’s be aware, and ready to fight the next big idea the LNP claim is all their own.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 


Welcome to the future!

It’s finally happened, after 6 years of serious pining, i’ve got a smartphone. Android, which is what i wanted – i’m just not an i-Person. And it was free – you can’t get better than that unless you’ve been paid to have a phone, in which case yr the kewlest kid of all.

Me, i was about to lose connectivity (my old phone was 10 yrs old and about to be obsolescent) and Telstra gave me a phone – talk about freaking surprised. I’m busy catching up with all those things everyone else has been doing for years – yes, swiping, looking at apps and trying to get my phone to understand my speaking voice. Which it does! Coming in late on tech can be great, you get something that works pretty well right out of the gate.

Continue reading


What?

By the time you read this, i hope a title will have occurred to me. Right now, it’s like someone scooped out my brain and replaced it with blancmange (a wobbly milk dessert). Nothing as on-trend as pannacotta, not in my head.

After surgery, i took home several infections. So my brain-deadery (it’s a word, at least MY mind says so) can be blamed on 8+ weeks of antibiotics and other pills, illness, and sodding convalescence. According to the surgeons (who i haven’t seen since 24 hours after my op 8 weeks ago) convalescence might take 3-4 months. Or more.

I’m sleeping ridiculous amounts of time round the clock – assuming one sleeps 8 hours a night, that leaves 16 hours to fit the rest of your life in – i am trying to fit a normal waking life into about 5 hours, during which time i have breakfast before going to  the doctor, the shops, whatever else needs doing.

I crawl home, fall back to sleep for 3 hours, up for the evening, (when i sort a meal, crash in front of the tv, unable to even focus on a book, let alone editing or the quickwittery of Twitter – yes, that’s a word too, i swear), then to bed for 10-12 hours and the cycle starts again. I don’t know if it’s worse because of my Chronic Fatigue, or normal, but it sucks.

Trying to edit Book 3, I’ve been hampered slightly by the brain-deadery, unable to remember either of the other two books with any kind of clarity. Hell, I can’t remember the previous page. Yeah, this is part of getting better, but it’s driving me nuts. Then Mr Whatsit got a stomach bug and so did i. Two weeks later, we think we’re finally safe more than a quick dash away from a loo.

Did i mention i was supposed to move house before this happened? My house is chaotic (but organised, i have lists!), and full of packed stuff, packing boxes and material for packing, because the lease ended and we were getting ready to move. So moving is next. I can’t do it yet (i still can’t lift much or drive – well, i can try, but pain is a good reminder of my limits), but depending on how nice the landlord is as the year goes on, i may find i just have to start packing.

This week’s been fun. I put my back out, (no idea how) and it’s been heatpacks, liniment, and back on the walking stick indoors. Trying to move at all is almost impossible. (So it’s past lucky that i’m finally over the stomach bug.) I’ve finally finished the antibiotics, and fingers crossed, no more.

Despite the back, I’ve been able to do a bit of exercise on my little X-trainer, down from the 4 kilometres i was doing before the op to 400m at a time (from 2 1/2 miles at a time, to 1/4 of a mile) – which despite being really hard, it does feel so good just to be a little active again.

When i think about it, life is on the up.

copyright 2016 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I can’t tell you that…

I’m going against my natural instincts. They are never to share. Blogging is so freaking alien. I was born in 1960, missed being Gen X, made it into the Baby Boomer generation by literally 8 weeks, but sometimes think i am a sekrit 1930’s gel who’s been trained to keep the real shit to myself.

When i told a friend i’d been offline (this was a few years ago) because i was depressed and didn’t feel like inflicting my real life downer on my virtual community. He was SHOCKED. He’s decades younger than me, and told me straight up, i should have said something online. I loved him for his concern but tell everyone i was depressed? Pht. Or perhaps ffft. Not sure of the spelling there, but take it as an expression of disbelief.

Every time i see that “ruok” anti-suicide campaign, where you say to someone who might be depressed, “are you ok?” and they are so grateful they don’t open their veins/OD/jump off the nearest cliff, but instead say “well actually i’m totes depressed and ready to like, pinterest my suicide plans but yr concern means i am now ready to live again!” i feel like laughing. I was relieved to see a few other pplz also saying, gawd, anyone realise really depressed pplz lie??” Yes, you can tell by my overuse of Z that i’ve been back on Twitter.

However, i can understand that for other people, opening your veins in a figurative sense on social media is a way to ease that feeling of aloneness. I wish that worked for me when i’m depressed. So if you’re like me, and people offering sympathy/feelingz makes you want to run away, smiling brightly all the time, not because you don’t appreciate their concern, but because nothing stops the fucking pain… perhaps see a psychologist (because that DID work for me). Continue reading


It’s a Brand New Day

The next line of that song is something like ‘packing my bags and getting away’ – which i’m actually not, not yet. Moving has been derailed, or perhaps deranged.

I have some health issues which need addressing before i can move, and fortunately am able to take a little time. Life’s actually just getting to the sweet stage again, which it hasn’t been for a while – yes, that is my depression you can see lifting! As Blue Mink put it later in the same song, “a bee bow bow buppa bow bow bow“. Which to me, just means a warbling noise to signify unexpected happiness. Continue reading


Competition time oh yes

I should probably write something here.

SOMETHING.

There, now go away, i’m busy. No really, BUSY. Wait, what do you mean, nearly February?

*sounds of screaming*

So, to recoup. I am writing Book 2 of The Polo Shawcross Journals. Book 1 – The Birthday Dragon – is selling the odd copy. (Not very often, i’ve been too busy to punt it about the place, seeing i’m trying to get the next one done. Yes, you see the trap i fell into?)

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A word to the wise: never buy an ebook without reading a sample. You wouldn’t buy a novel without opening it up and looking at the first few pages.  If you like the sample, go ahead, but NEVER rely on reviews. I’ve had a good look at my e-published competition on the web, and frankly a lot of it’s a joke. On you, if you buy it without reading some of it first.

People fake reviews (and reviewers).  The same writers are faking reviews all over the net – Goodreads act very promptly if you can prove the reviews are fake, but nobody bothers banning the writer from their sites.

Smashwords  sometimes take action if you complain at least twice. They did remove one guy’s over 200 fake reviews and his 20 fake reviewers, but he just came back with more fake reviewers and reissued his old books as new ones, so Smashwords gave up.

I did too, because jeez, there’s a man with time on his hands. Me, i’m not getting paid to find these tossers, and if you buy his book from Smashwords or Amazon (yes, there too, plus his own author web page) on the strength of all those fake reviews, they get a cut, so why should they worry?

Of course, people get suckered by this, and you’ll see occasional reviews by those who’ve made the mistake of not reading samples, saying the other reviewers are lying, but it’s up to you to spot that one.

You see, the moment the ‘author’ sees a negative (real) review, they’ll add a bunch of fake reviews, 5 star ones, to bump that nasty review down – or just republish their book as a slightly different name. I’ve seen the same book under three different names.

However, it’s easy not to get suckered – read the sample, and only buy if if grabs you.

If there’s no sample, shut the page. Either the writer is a newbie who will learn to let people open their bo0k, or they’re trying to rip you off.

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My book has a sample – and there’s a competition! [edit: competition over, see below]

So if you like the sample, you can enter to win it free.

To WIN
Just leave a comment here, @ me on Twitter, or Direct Message me on Twitter – say you’d like to win a copy.

Competition closes in about 18 hours – midnight Monday night Eastern Australian Time – that’s 7:00 am Monday morning (approximately) in the mid-US or 1pm in UK.

Winners will be notified by DM or Email, and i will also announce their names on Twitter.

WINNERS OF ECOPY OF THE BIRTHDAY DRAGON

@jolantru @FaineBlackadder @cravenheart @Nyx2701

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I will never do that…

I was never going to learn to type – no kidding, this was when i was growing up last century (horses and carts weren’t even invented yet, because they only came after electricity, but we had manual typewriters and iceskates, even in Western Australia).

You see, if i learned to type, i’d never escape the steno pool – in 1975, a woman with ambition did not learn to type. Being typists was something women did in droves before men learned to use computers (email happened) and made the steno pool obsolete.

Steno is short for stenographer – someone who took shorthand (a form of hieroglyphs men couldn’t read), and operated the Gestetner machine and made it spit blurry purple copies. Men didn’t know how it or typewriters worked. All that stuff was women’s work. (No, am not joking at all.)

To my disgust, when they wouldn’t let me do woodwork at school i had to learn typing instead. To my surprise, it came in very handy, as though i’d discarded my idea of being a poet, turned out being a writer was something i wasn’t going to grow out of, and of course, computers were about to change the world completely.

I also learned to sew, much against my will, forced once more to do it while the boys did woodwork or metalwork. It too turned out to be stunningly handy, and i really think everyone should learn at least to sew a button back on. Meanwhile, as electricity was introduced, along with hair-dryers, (in my early 20’s, back before there was internets), I discovered computers.

I did not want to learn computers. At all. However, there was this game. Like many people before me, i was hooked. I don’t remember the name of it, but it came on a cassette tape. Yeah, it was the Dark Ages of Computing.

By the mid-80’s things were moving much faster – and the lights no longer dimmed when the rich woman down the road started up her electric toothbrush. Though i do wonder, in these days of moar RAM than a girl can swallow comfortably, how in the name of God did i write my first book on a machine with only 20 megabytes of disk space and a RAM so low it was in triple-kilobytes? (360k i think.)

The only way to accommodate the hugeness of my average-size 125,000 word scifi fantasy – basically a small text file by today’s standards – was to split it into small enough chunks. I kept splitting it until it was loading in seconds, not minutes. Yeah, that 125,000 ended up cut down to twenty chapters that each were separate documents, so the machine didn’t choke.

I fought against learning to cook. Oh teh stupid! Cooking is a joy, a pleasure, an expression of art, sustaining and tasty all at the same time. Being able to feed oneself something fabulous (as simple as good bread), is cool. Fortunately i absorbed quite a bit from being around women cooking and then being forced to attend cooking classes at school.

I was never going to …. well, pick almost anything i said NEVER to. It seemed the Great Siamese Cat in the Sky liked to mess with my head, and if i said NEVER, it was a guarantee the thing would happen.

I was never going to self-publish. Oh har-de-freaking-har.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Forty Days and Forty Nights….

Well, i cracked the Self-Imposed Social Media Exile after 40 days in the Desert and started dropping into Twitter. I missed Twitter. Facebook i missed so little it’s brought me to a decision.

Naturally, it was something i already knew but had buried under deluded ideas of book promotion.

I hate Facebook. There, it’s said. Hate. Hate. Hate. Well, dislike intensely, at the least. Anyone i like on Facebook, i already like on Twitter and their blogs. If we need more contact we have email and can talk on the phone.

My Facebook Account as Polo Shawcross (my writing alias) is Deactivated and this is now a Facebook-free zone. I’m going back to Twitter – where a person can be free.

Of course there's such a place as West Arsecrack - Google Earth doesn't know everything.

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In other news, i was stuck on Book 2 #TheThing and couldn’t get past the first two chapters – then about 6am i woke up, and thought “That’s it!” Suddenly figured out there is a character missing from the first two chapters, (one who can easily be picked up) and now i can get on with writing.

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Obligatory Bit Where I Try to Turn You On to E-Books
Mine In Particular

As one reader put it – “If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.” It’s also been compared to Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis, and “like Carry On Blackadder meets The Graduate – with added stimulants.” So obviously i drugged everyone because they thought it was very funny too. If it would get me reviews, i would totally do it.

Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life, but the Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Polo’s crazy extended family keep trying to kill him, and he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

Book One of the Polo Shawcross Journals – “The Birthday Dragon” is currently Top 10 on the Smashwords Highest Rated Sci Fi & Fantasy charts and available in various formats including those to suit the Kindle or any other e-reader. You can read 20% free to see if you like it before you buy, and read the reviews in full. It’s not on Amazon, but it is on Smashwords, the Apple iBookstore (for iPads and other Apple devices), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store.

If you don’t have an e-reader but have a computer, there’s a free Amazon download that gives you the look and feel of an e-reader on a computer screen. (PC version is here and there’s a Mac version over here. PC version is very good, don’t know about the Mac one.)

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


Self-imposed Social Media Exile: Day 37

  • I have begun to hallucinate conversations with people online. I have them in my head rather than logging on. This saves heaps of time and reduces chances of arguments.
  • The baby hippo pics are not up to par. Have been forced to watch National Geographic doco’s to get my hit.
  • my Klout is in freefall. Down to 45! Despite formerly being a well-respected social media guru (over 50 on Klout) I’ve now lost my social media guru-status.
  • The Birthday Dragon (my debut novel) is sliding up and down the various charts on Smashwords – last seen at number 6 on Highest Rated but it’s fallen off the Best Sellers – i did suspect it showing there was a glitch, or that books on Smashwords only had to sell a copy a month to rate.
  • Yet again, some hot young pop starlet is supposed to be looking at one of my songs with view to recording it. Goddamn it, stop getting my hopes up, bitchez! Record something, then don’t wipe out on drugs or unsuitable men, and make my freaking fortune. Mind you, you killing yourself could be good for sales. *looks thoughtful*

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In other news: I have pretty much given up on my first book (The Birthday Dragon – yep the one on the right of this post with the pretty cover). Not completely, just on spending much more time pushing it for now, as for the first 10 weeks of its publication – while it topped all the charts – it was completely invisible.

So all the work i did (and the work done by all my lovely friends who actually bought it, or won it as a prize, and were kind enough to do reviews for me) was pretty much pointless.

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This last has induced a state of Siamese Zen™ which means instead of being really that chilled, i’m a bit tight-wired, and might kill something. Oh, yeah, the book was invisible because i made the mistake of marking it Adult.

I figured seeing people were having sex i probably should. It’s a novel for adults, with adult themes, including frank discussions of various sexualities, pretty constant drug use, and a hero whose main motivation is usually getting laid, so i figured Adult it should be.

Turns out that was huge mistake, one that took months to discover. As most of the Erotica isn’t Adult rated, there’s no need for The Birthday Dragon to be as it’s a novel, not a pornographic work (it’s also known as #TheThing when on Twitter).

Especially because Smashwords was completely blocking any passers-by from seeing the book.  The only people who could see it were those went direct via a link  (which meant usually people who happened to follow me on Twitter), or those who knew the site and had switched off the Adult filter, which is in about 4pt type in the top right of the page.

*sounds of screaming*

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But hey, i did a good deed, told another author about it – her book seemed excellent (from my glance at the sample), she’d been published 6 months longer than i had, and was invisible. How could i not say anything? She’d marked hers Adult because she used the F word.

We were both left shaking our heads (and no doubt both using the F word and worse rather a lot) at how Smashwords never bothered to say, in BIG letters, that

Adult means Nobody Can See You.

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Yeah, so i was feeling really fucked off a trifle dispirited at that, especially since i’d wasted rather a lot of time both promoting my book and trying to find out why, after the first few weeks, there was no buzz. No interest. Nobody was even looking.

Finally, the fact that it was invisible was revealed, just as i completely ran out of energy and time. Oh and sanity. That’s where i’m at. Like a sensible person, i’m writing Book 2, and will relaunch Book 1 when i do.

I’m very glad there are people out there who liked Book 1 and are prepared to say so in public. I’m hoping at least some of you meant it about wanting to buy Book 2. Which reminds me, if you read it and haven’t done a review, please do (at link just above), they make a huge difference to site visibility and thus to people’s interest.

This time, while you’re all enthused and telling people about the book, they WILL be able to find it easily on Smashwords.

*bangs head on desk rather a lot, for a very long time*

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  • When i write about 2011, it will be the “Year of The Headdesk”.

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Book 2 is currently titled “Dragonskin” – as yes, you guessed it, this it the book where Polo learns to control shapechanging. Of course, being Polo, he’s going to take the scenic route to that discovery.

The half-brother second-in-line to the throne is still out to get our hero, thinking up inventive ways to kill him slowly, but he has to let the enemy in the north take their turn. The heir to the throne, having driven Polo away, is still plotting to take over the world. He may just manage it.

Polo’s just trying to survive. Little matter of having joined the army while on a drunken bender. He has three years.

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I’ve shifted my estimated publication date for Book 2 – which was “before Christmas 2011” – because no way will i make that.

Currently aiming at “first couple of months of 2012” and earlier the better, but i’ll keep you posted.

Now shoo, i’m busy writing.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


I’m only wafer thin

Had a seriously eek moment. I’ve simply run out of time. Thanks to a series of natural  and unnatural disasters that took up large chunks of time for the last 5 months until now, my usual couple of thousand words a day is down to a few hundred.

We had floods, wonky internet phonelines, and death, then the unnatural ones were members of my family throwing tantrums. You can’t get much more unnatural than that.

I endured minor glitches like Mr Whatsit being crook which landed me with all the cooking and cleaning, then the book being invisible for the first 10 weeks of publication so i had to spend much more time trying to promote it than I actually had. Still somehow optimistic – possibly demented – when asked, i said sure, I’ll get Book 2 done by Christmas.

Now i’ve realised (because i put the equation into a spreadsheet) that i’m not going to finish book 2 before Christmas 2012 unless i disengage from social media. Not completely, i’m not doing a Stephen Fry – just need to use it much less.

The problem with being a sole trader, if you’re busy, there’s nobody to mind the shop. Which is why my book’s on Smashwords, so at least there’s a shop there.

I’ll check emails and DM’s of course, (most things let me know if someone says hi, Facebook even lays guilt trips on me) and will have to trust word of mouth continues with the first book.

So far, despite being invisible for 10 weeks (and only visible since 14th August – yes, 12 days!), The Birthday Dragon is in the Smashwords Top 10 for both Best Selling AND Highest Rated Science Fiction Fantasy Novels.

No doubt i’ll surface in a short while, scream about freaking writing a bit, then disappear again. See you in November? It will be earlier, as if i know i’m not going to finish Book 2 on time, i’ll have to let people know. I really don’t want to put out something rushed (again).  I only have a small number of disciples audience, it’s not like i can afford to screw up with a shoddy sequel.

Then it will be same with Book 3. And then, i swear, i’m going to take a breath. This will probably be sometime after June 2012. And yeah, i have to move interstate in that time too, at least that’s the plan.

Free sample of Book 1 of the Polo Shawcross Journals here – The Birthday Dragon – not a children’s book. A funny, touching, story about growing up, which happens to be set in the future. As my one reviewer said (you can read it and more reviews on the link just above) “If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.”

We have to mention ‘not a children’s book’ because there is a kids Euro TV show of the same name. I swear it didn’t turn up when i googled my title.

See you when i’ve put down a few thousand words instead of a few hundred.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/