Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let the inner geek shine

Could this be the coolest toy ever? I think so.

It's a Jaws shark plush toy that plays the attack theme music when you press it's fin. I found it at a movie memorbilia store the other day and just had to buy it. Needless to say there has been lots of stalking around the house chasing the dogs and my wife with the theme music blaring, so much so that the pups now won't go near it and my wife has banished it to the front writing room with all my other movie treasures.

Also, my four month old puppy Indy has shown why he's destined to be the king of the canine food chain in our household this week. We had him desexed earlier this week and he has been fitted with a plastic cone for two weeks while the wound heals. We were a bit worried that our other dog Cujo, who likes to play fight with Indy constantly, would take the opportunity to beat him up a little.
But in a true fighting spirit Indy quickly realised that he could use the plastic cone as a weapon, ramming Cujo with and driving him backwards into the wall, floor etc. We don't really condone violence in the house, but it sure has been funny to watch.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Never let work get in the road of a good story... unless you really need the cash!

Well my little vacation of working nights in a video store and trying to become a best-selling author by day is finally coming to a close with the realisation that a morgage, growing list of bills and pressure from my wife to some day settle down and have kids, means I need to go out and find a better paying job.

It's always a little bit weird to dust off the old resume, paraphrase what makes you so great (or at least employable) into half a page of bulletpoints and then dangle yourself around like a peice of meat and see who will bite. I guess as writers we do the same thing with our work, but that's just a creation of the mind and not the boring old pound of flesh bit.

I guess the purists would say that we're actually shopping our souls when we send out a story because every story has to be a true reflection of who we are inside, but I don't really buy that. As a horror writer myself who has shared beers with some of the countries most macarbe minds in Australian fiction I like to think that most of us are just nice guys who like to scare people with our stories, not repressed serial killers looking for an outlet with our work.

With all the job search stuff going on the fiction has taken a back step for a week or two as its a little hard to be dreaming up ways to multilate an innocent maiden while I'm trying to tell potential employees what a great catch I am. I still have three of my five latest subs out in submission land - two were kindly rejected last week - so I'll have to be content with seeing how they fare while I get the annoying life stuff under control first.

Till then...

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

That's right, reading can be fun

After two years of having my reading time consumed by Australian Shadows entries and the odd Horrorscope book review, its nice to finally have some time to choose my reading material again.

While I really enjoyed my time as a judge and unearthed some Aussie gems in the process, the notion of having to read a designated pile of stories really does eat into your enjoyment level after a while.

So the past few weeks has allowed me to finally dig into the growing pile of books I've been amassing over the past 24 months and enjoy a few chapters when I crawl into bed each night.

In particular, I finally got around to reading Joe Hill's excellent short story collection 20th Century Ghosts and are now engrossed by John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In. He has a definate Stephen King vibe about his work and is well worth checking out.

The good thing about reading really talented authors is that it also inspires you to work on the little things as a writer yourself. The stuff I'm reading is way out of my league at the moment, but by indentifying what I really like about each author's style I can begin to work on improving the particular facits in my own work.

Jack Dann once told me in a work shop to go through the book's of the authors I most admired with a highlighter and mark all the things that made me love their work, then replicate it in my own writing. It's sound advice and a good basis for developing your own voice. I prefer to make mentals note though, or to jot things down on a pad - it doesn't damage those precious first editions.

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