Tag Archives: humor

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?)

****

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.

****

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.

****

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.

****

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*

****

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.

 ****

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*

****

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.

****

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*

****

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

****

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.

****

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/


Competition Time!

Win a copy of The Birthday Dragon – just say on Twitter you’d like to enter the competition, or leave a note here – or you can email stinginthetale at hotmail dot com.

That’s all. First Competition closes in about seven hours. (Midnight Friday in Australia.) Entries must be in by then, in case i’m still awake and do the draw. Winners will be notified, and noted here and on Twitter. Oh, and on Facebook if i remember.

Again on Saturday, same drill.

And on Sunday (Australian East Coast time so Saturday US)

This is to celebrate the damned thing – aka #TheThing reaching 10 weeks of publication, the heights of the top 5 Best Rated Scifi Fantasy Books on Smashwords – and somehow managing that despite being completely invisible unless you switched the Adult filter off.

It’s not invisible any more. So you can win a copy. Enter.  It’s a damn fine book. Funny, character-driven adventure. Don’t just take my word for it, read my reviews. 😀

First Competition WON (see comments below – gave away 2 books) but all entries that didn’t win will go into next draw – will be drawn 20th August midnight my time.


Second Competition also WON – gave away 3 books – when i catch my breath, i may do another one. Stay tuned. 

Third Competition won by @_tractorgirl_ @_PDT @dhympna – congrats to all.

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