You See What I Did There?

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

With Are You Seeing Me? having just hit the shelves in Australia, I’d like to share with you some insight into what inspired me to write the novel.

Anyone who’s spent any time with me knows I am Dad to a set of twins: one girl, one boy. My daughter is ‘neurotypical’, which is how people in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community sometimes refer to regular, everyday kids who do not have autism. She is amazing. She plays trumpet, creates short animated films and adores The Hunger Games. My son, who is three minutes younger than my daughter, is diagnosed with autism. He is amazing, too. He is awesome at Minecraft, swims like a champ and enjoys Pixar films. They will officially be teenagers in 2014.

Are You Seeing Me? is a gift to my daughter. She was due a book – my previous novel, Kindling, was a gift to my son. (By the way, all of my books are gifts for my beautiful
wife). When I first started considering what to write, I kept coming back to a message I held dear for my daughter: ‘You should never feel like you must be your brother’s keeper. Love him, as he loves you, but live your own life to the full.’

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‘Another’ Post About Book Diversity

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Diverse Books

First, the good news:

The recent #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter coup was an admirable rebuff of the longstanding hegemonies in children’s and young adult fiction. It doesn’t look like a flash in the pan either, so that’s good too.

Now, the bad news:

The whole exercise has further illustrated – dare I say, reinforced – the pecking order of minorities in both the book debate and the wider society looking on.

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How To Explain A Book Deal

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Watchu Talkin Bout

I recently signed a paperback deal with Random House Australia for my novel, Are You Seeing Me?. It was exciting, especially after waiting for it longer than I cared to. Of course, I wanted to share the great news with friends and loved ones asap. But with the delivery of said news comes a challenge in helping people understand exactly what it is. Folks who don’t write novels and don’t receive publishing contracts and don’t read novels that have received publishing contracts generally have no real clue as to the true and appropriate level of significance to your achievement.

If you have good friends and you get on with your family, they’re instinctively happy for you. Oftentimes, they assume the deal is the ultimate life-changer; you’re quitting your job, moving to New York, buying a small island in the Pacific, rubbing elbows with Stephen King and JK Rowling and that raunchy bloke who wrote 50 Shades of Grey. Others have congratulations, but figure it can’t be too hard – look at how many books there are in the store we walk past at the mall! A few just smile and nod politely, wondering what the hell would possess anyone to want to write anything after the mandatory creative writing torture in Year 8. All need a little guidance in getting a proper handle on your modest ‘T’ triumph.

So, for authors perched on a similar rung of the publishing ladder as I, here’s three solid  pointers to explaining your new book deal:

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Fanning The Flames: ‘Kindling’ Released in North America

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Kindling - US Canada Ebook Cover

Courtesy of the fine folk at Exciting Press, Kindling is available for the first time in the Home of the Brave and in the True North, Strong and Free.

Now, apart from continental accessibility, what’s different about this publication compared to the original Aussie release in 2010?

  • Exclusively e-book (Kindle for the first 90 days, then in other formats subsequent)
  • Hawt new cover
  • Cheap as chips ($4.99 in the US; $5.12 in CAN)
  • Much less ink
  • Zero chance of paper cuts
  • Author is slightly older (though still sexy)
  • Every single copy downloaded has a different ending
  • Nazi zombies
  • Vampire zombies
  • Zombie zombies

As you can see from this extensive list, the work is TOTALLY different, barely recognizable from before. So, grab the new and improved Kindling while internet stocks last!

(Warning: Some of the statements above may be the product of author hubris and/or inebriation…)

Kindling in Kindle format for North America – buy the US version here and the CAN version here.

Billy, Don’t Use My Number

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Numbers

Writers love to tell you their word counts.

“Just did 500 words before breakfast!”

“Got my 1,000 words done for the day!”

“30,000 words done on the new novel!”

We take great delight in passing on the numbers we produce. I have been no exception. If you trawled back through my Facebook and Twitter posts, you would find statements similar to those above (though probably not without profanity).

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s all in the past. Aside from those punching the keyboard, no digits will ever again offer any implied measure of my authorial efforts. And if my colleagues on the shelves have a high regard for the craft – as I know they do – they will avoid any future reference to word counts, too.

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Exciting Backlist Deal

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Burn

(Pic Source: James Hibberd)

Exciting Press figures my venn diagram is a little more adjacent than Snooki’s.

In a deal announced by Exciting’s Creative Director, Will Entrekin, the cutting edge US indie publisher and I have signed a four book deal, encompassing my backlist quartet of novels – KindlingThe Umbilical Word, Most Valuable Potential and The Procrastinator.  The deal permits me to join a stable of wonderful writing talent that includes James Brown, Kurt Wenzel and Aussie literary icon, Nick Earls.

I’m really thrilled about the opportunities ahead with this partnership.  It represents a new lease of life for all my once-upon-a-time-in-print works.  Particularly gratifying is that, for the first time in any format, Kindling will be available in North America.

Stay tuned for release details and dates.  And if you’re a fan of Snooki, I’m sorry this post was so long.

The Real Writer – A Do’s and Don’ts Guide #6

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Dos And Donts

Real writers do recognize real criticism.

Emerging authors: Someone saying your story is great rather than garbage is more preferable, yes?

For about ten minutes, it is.  After that, you’re pretty much left with the same lingering question: “How come?”

Truly worthy criticism doesn’t leave that poser unanswered: in an ideal writing world, an author’s ear would only ever be attuned to constructive feedback; the hater guff and airhead fluff would be as comprehensible as Charlie Brown’s teacher.  Alas, this is not Utopia – attempts to kick a literary goal often get foiled by a swift-handed Lucy – so it falls on the writer to identify useful opinions of his/her work.  Easier said than done when it’s your heart and soul laid bare on the page.

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