The Momentum Blog
Posted May 15, 2013 by Anne
The Sturgeon General Recommends is a digital anthology of short fiction and other writing with a humorous bent. There are five books in the initial release, from young up and coming authors Cait Harris who joins us on The Momentum Comedy Hour podcast, and also Geoff Lemon, Jack Vening, Adam Norris and Callum O’Donnell.
Writers and books mentioned in this podcast include:
Sam Lipsyte (The Ask)
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’ Diary)
David Foster Wallace (Consider the Lobster and other Essays)
Gerald Durrell (My Family and other Animals – Corfu trilogy)
Sloane Crosley (I was told there would be cake)
As well as the five Sturgeon General books we have another humorous book out this month, Sean Condon’s Splitsville. It’s a sharply funny book about a corporation that breaks up relationships – kind of like a dating service in reverse. Available for $5.99 from all good online book retailers.
Patrick: Chris Somerville – We Are Not The Same Anymore
Cait: Cheryl Strayed – Tiny Beautiful Things
Anne: Gerald Durrell – Marrying Off Mother and other stories
Joel: Tig Notaroamerican psycho, Bret Easton Ellis, cait harris, comedy, david foster wallace, david sedaris, gerald durrell, humour, performance, podcast, podmentum, sam lipsyte, sloane crosley, sturgeon general recommends, tig notaro, writing
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Posted May 8, 2013 by Alex
‘If “books are the windows to the world” as they say, then their pages are the magic carpets that lead us there.’ - EDEWEDE ORIWOH
‘If “pages are the magic carpets” as they say, then e-readers are the fabric of the magic.’ - ANONYMOUS KINDLE USER
‘Ereaders are great. Ebooks are great. Buy Momentum ebooks.’ - ANONYMOUS MOMENTUM PUBLISHER
Does an author have exclusive rights to the world they have created in their book, or series of books? Would you say intellectual property trumps the captured imagination of the fans? Can an author really ‘Lucas’ their franchise with sequels, reboots adaptations or revised editions to fulfil their fantasy, just because they had the idea in the first place? Or does the world, once set loose into the public domain, belong to the readers as much as the writer?
You can apply this train of thought not just to books, but across all mainstream entertainment media. This is from the Star Wars Special Editions to The Amazing Spider-Man reboot, to all the movie sequels that should never, ever have been made, and can never be undone. Many a time have millions cried out in terror, their voices suddenly tweeting a lot of complaints.
I tip my hat to authors. Family homes, cities, countries, worlds, even galaxies beckon for you to inhabit them and go on incredible journeys of wonder, gore, sex, technology, action, suspense, intrigue, and ‘OMG no way!’ They can be epic or intimate in scope, with events that can span a day, year, decade or even a century. They are the ones who take us on these sojourns of emotion.
A typical author sheds blood, sweat and tears in the creation of their work: tears from the struggle of getting a publisher; sweat from being told they have to work out how to use Twitter to help promote their book; and blood from smashing the keyboard after reading their first bad review. However, does an author’s role as ‘creator’ automatically mean they trump the rights of the reader?
Try to count the hours an author may spend imagining their world, dwelling on the characters and talking about their plot bunnies incessantly to their partners. What about all the writing, rewriting, re-rewriting, the endless struggle to get a publisher, having a mental breakdown that involves copious chocolate and/or alcohol, then somehow finally landing a deal? After all that there is that little thing called the publishing process to go through and all the marketing (read: tweeting) that goes into promoting the book once the text is finalised. The hours stack up. How long did it take you to read the latest instalment in your favourite series, and how do you think that compares to the length of time invested by the author? Unless you’re an epically slow reader, you’ll end up losing.
An author can take a year or more writing a book – six or seven if your last name is ‘Martin’. I may read that new book I’ve been waiting for in a day, over a weekend or up to a fortnight, depending on its length and how much time I have. One-on-one the author wins, right? Of course. The author has spent far longer on their work, no matter how dedicated I am to the series.
Like I said, one-on-one.
Whether you are thinking of a franchise spread over multiple mediums with a large and fervent fan base, or your more typical author who still has thousands of readers per book, the hours quickly sway from favouring the writer to the readers.
So, does the author of a book have exclusive rights? Does intellectual property trump the captured imagination of the fans?
Let’s look at a book-orientated example. You can barely open the internet without seeing a reference to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Whether it’s hating Joffrey or loving Daenerys, this nerdy series of books about medieval-like lords and ladies fighting for an iron chair with direwolves, dragons and ice-zombies thrown in the mix has captured pop culture imagination after being realised in television form. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is the latest fantasy franchise to cash in on the ‘once-geek now-mainstream’ trend. While some fans of the first season may have mistaken the show for porn’s answer to endless complaints of lousy acting, low production values and flat storylines, the HBO show has unsurprisingly sky-rocketed sales of the books. New trade paperbacks and mass market formats, including those with covers to match the show, are everywhere, not to mention the Enhanced Ebook editions.
So what does Game of Thrones have to do with reader rights versus author rights? Well, quite a lot. George R.R. Martin not only gave HBO his blessing, but is a co-executive producer and writes at least one episode per season. It’s fair to say Martin enjoys a reasonable amount of influence steering the direction of the show. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss also fill in the role of ‘writers’ in this context. This begs the question (from me, at least), what about the readers?
Skip the next paragraph if you are not up to date with Season 3 Episode 2 of Thrones, otherwise keep reading.
On a case by case basis, you may get convincing answers from HBO as to why Kahleesi’s visions in the House of the Undying were replaced by the ones featured in the TV show, or why Peter Dinklage didn’t lose more of his face in the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and so on. I’m happy to let Peter keep his nose, so I’ll let that one slide, but the visions? I would like to have seen them. Everyone will have different nitpicks they are willing to concede, or for which they are deeply upset. I’m largely lenient towards changes in the show as I appreciate a lot of stuff on the page would not work on screen as well as what HBO decided to do. The showrunners have also given nods to the fans: Cersei says she heard Tyrion had lost his nose, acknowledging the difference between the book and the show; and Gendry criticises Arya for not spending one of Jaqen H’ghar’s kills on King Joffrey or Tywin Lannister. The latter is a conversation never seen in the books, but a common fan reaction. To me, this indicates that Benioff, Weiss and Martin are listening and engaging with the readers to create the best adaptation they can.
Do the readers get a say in the Thrones adaptation? Of course not, there are far too many differences of opinion for HBO to conform to, and why should they? So far HBO have shown they not only understand make good television, they understand the books as well. If anything, Benioff and Weiss represent the readers, and are our voice in ensuring the characters we have come to love – or pray that they die – are treated with respect. They were fans of the series before the show came into being, after all. It may not be absolutely perfect in the eyes each individual, but for most, it will be pretty damn close.
If you find Martin’s books too gargantuan to tackle, or just think boobs are far better on the screen than on paper, there are plenty more examples. The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings have all shared some criticism on how they have been adapted to film. They have also enjoyed a lot of fan adoration, from both readers and filmgoers-only. I chose Game of Thrones as my main example, though, as George R.R. Martin has a constant, active presence in the writing room, exercising his ‘author rights’. J.K. Rowling exercised some for Harry Potter, but loosened the reigns after the first couple of films, or at least that’s how it seemed.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Have you read the books too? What do you think of the show as an adaptation? Have your say in the comments below.
Have I picked a fair example with Game of Thrones, or is the fact the TV show has received such high critical acclaim make the changes in the adaptation ‘acceptable’? Is a critically unsuccessful but ‘true’ adaptation a failure? Can you think of any examples?
In terms of ‘reader rights’ being respected in adaptations like Game of Thrones, I think we will have to hold our breath and pray to the Old Gods and the New. Can we make a practical difference? Not likely. Does that render readers’ combined hours of love, dedication and eyestrain as obsolete? Not to me. Then does no power come with no responsibility? I suppose so, but it doesn’t take away my sense of entitlement.
What do you think about the rights of authors vs the rights of readers? Are we sentenced to just watch whatever may happen to our favourite books with no say?
Alex Lloyd is an editorial assistant at Pan Macmillan Australia. He interned briefly at Momentum before Pan snapped him up for full time employment. You can follow Alex on twitter at @AlexDNLloydauthors, Books, characters, fandoms, Game of Thrones, George Lucas, george r r martin, HBO, publishing, readers, reading, sean bean, spiderman, star wars, television, writing
Posted April 11, 2013 by Tez Miller
A Momentum Guest Blog by Tez Miller of Tez Says. Tez is a reader, writer, reviewer and speculative fiction enthusiast who regularly rants about issues within the spec fic writing and reading worlds.
I’m not sure when exactly tentacles first creeped me out. Perhaps in my teen years, when in one of Laurell K. Hamilton’s novels Anita Blake or Merry Gentry roots a tentacle. Possibly in a hospital, unless that’s a different sex scene. Needless to say, I no longer read either series.
My fear of tentacles was cemented with Futurama‘s “The Beast with a Billion Backs” mini-series. Turns out the tentacles in that are actually gentacles. The ickiest scene features Fry as the Tentacle Pope, with one of Yivo’s tentacles going in through the back of Fry’s neck and out through his mouth. And speaking.
And let’s face it: during pretty much every Saturday evening on Twitter, someone mentions tentacle porn. It’s the one joke that never dies.
So I was checking out cover reveals early this month, and spotted TWO COVERS that feature tentacles. I later saw a third on NetGalley. THREE TENTACLE COVERS IN ONE DAY IS TOO MUCH. You know I’m serious because I type in all-caps.
I don’t mean to scare you (or do I?), but there’s a Goodreads list by the name of Tentaclesex, yay!. And the covers that sparked this blog post? They aren’t even on that list. Which means tentacles are invading new – and perhaps non-porny – territory, slipping into your everyday library.
Be afraid, readers.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check if Momentum has any tentacles on their covers, and judge them for it if they do.
Ed – We don’t have any tentacle books, unfortunately. Or perhaps fortunately. Please, tell us if you think we need to enter the world of tentacle spec fiction. I can’t promise that we’ll necessarily dive into the world of tentacle porn but hell, we’ll try anything once. We do publish highly-successful erotic romance featuring zombies, after all.book covers, erotica, futurama, guest blog, reading, romance, speculative fiction, tentacle porn, writing
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Posted April 5, 2013 by Anne
Momentum is the digital-only imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Established in February 2012, we publish high quality ebooks globally. Our website and blog is the hub of our operation, and we’d like to include as many diverse voices as possible. Our blog currently hosts opinions from Momentum employees, authors and other contributors, and now we’d like you to have the chance to have your say about the world of books, writing and reading on the Momentum blog.
We are looking for someone who is interested in books, specifically with an interest in genre fiction (predominantly romance and science fiction/fantasy).
What we want from you:
– 4-8 blog posts a month, with a minimum word count of 300 words each
– The posts can cover any topic that you think is relevant to reading, writing, book and storytelling culture and can be in the form of reviews, interviews, author profiles, recaps, catch-ups, re-reads and reader polls – creativity and audience engagement is the main aim
– Preference will be given to a blogger with a relevant social media presence (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
– Genre bloggers step to the front of the line. If you love romance, science fiction, fantasy and thrillers show us your passion for your genre(s)
What we are offering in return:
– An audience of readers and writers
– $20 per post (minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 posts per month)
– free Momentum ebooks
To apply, send a sample blog post, covering letter and brief resume to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 25th 2013 with the subject line ‘Momentum Blogger’ and be sure to include your name, city, country of residence and occupation. We welcome applicants from all over the world, but the posts must be in English.
Your sample blog post should be the type of thing you’d be posting on a regular basis (not a hokey introductory post). And of course, if we select you as our resident blogger then you will be compensated accordingly if you decide to use your sample blog post as your first post.
If you have any questions, feel free to email or ask in the comments below.
Terms & Conditions
- The winning applicant will be subject to a trial period of one month.
- Posts will be vetted by staff before going live.
- Posts will remain the copyright of the author, however, Momentum will retain an exclusive right to first posting for a period of no less than six months.
- The successful blogger will invoice Momentum monthly for posts within the previous four week period.
- The successful blogger’s contract can be terminated with two week’s notice.
- These conditions are subject to change.
You might find this book useful for 100 examples of what not to do (well).
Posted April 4, 2013 by Annika Cleeve
For those who haven’t read Mattress Actress, I write about my life getting into the sex industry, living in the sex industry and getting out of the sex industry. The book is about my experiences with clients, madams, rampant sexual abuse in the 80’s and the misogyny of the times. It’s about why women work in the industry, the sexual requests and peccadillos they face, murders, corruption, the various tiers of the sex industry from street girls to high class international jet setter, and the ever changing face of ‘normal’ sex over a twenty year period. It’s about my personal life and ultimately leaving the industry for good.
The book covers 35 years of my life, but I have reserved my most recent years (the happiest so far) for myself. This is not my decision, but that of my family. While my husband and daughter are proud of my writing, they have asked to remain anonymous – a request I fully understand and am happy to comply with. I have made no secret that I write under a pseudonym, there are few images of me available and I refuse to answer questions that could expose my true identity and inadvertently that of my family. And why should I? The book is topical enough without exposing me directly as who I became.
Back in the day when I lived in Perth, it was never a buzzing metropolis of activity. There were few Anglo-Aussie working girls with one child who attended university by day. So I am likely to be exposed even without revealing my exact age, field of study, my daughter’s current age or how long I’ve been married.
Today I am a wife and mother. I work, I cook, I even fish. I fail to go to the gym but hold a membership just the same, I call the monthly deduction a fat tax. I am dedicated to any and all mental health causes out of respect for my dear Ben. I am an avid reader and diarist. But that, dear readers, is all you need to know about modern day Annika. If that is insufficient I’m sorry.
Now, let’s talk about the book.
Speaking of which, here’s an excerpt in April’s Maxim. Click on the pictures for an enlarged image.
You can read a sample chapter of Annika’s memoir here, and also find links to buy the book.Tagged: author, excerpt, magazine feature, memoir, nom de plume, pseudonym, reading, sex work, writing
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Posted March 26, 2013 by Erica Hayes
The book industry is changing, and publishing contracts are changing with it. We’ve seen higher ebook royalties, the demise of large advances, strange ‘profit-sharing’ arrangements that didn’t make any sense. But it seems that many authors feel publishers still don’t get it. They don’t get what we need, or why, or what they can do to make themselves an attractive prospect.
Of course, not every author has the same needs. But here’s my take on things I’d like to see from publishers in the new age.
The no-advance contract
Sure, authors love an advance. It’s guaranteed income, and a statement of faith. A no-advance contract shifts the financial risk away from the publisher towards the author, who presumably has spent time and effort (which equals money) on writing the book.
Not all the way. The publisher still pays production costs. A self-pubbed author owns 100% of the risk—but they also keep 100% control. If publishers don’t pay an advance, I’d like to see them offer more control in return. How about more consultation on promotion and marketing? In particular: cover prices. Higher retail prices for ebooks are a big disadvantage for trad-pubbed authors right now. Let’s see more experimentation and audacity there.
One seldom mentioned point about advances: that’s where the author’s promotional budget used to come from. ‘Spend at least half your advance on promo,’ people used to say. These days, we’re expected to do more with less. Now, it’s with nothing. Higher royalties are great, but you don’t see the money until it’s too late to do book release promo. So let’s see more no-advance publishers broadening and consulting with authors on their own promotional efforts, in return for no up-front payment.
The rights grab
I’ve seen contracts recently that take pretty much every right you have. Audio, feature film, short film, graphic novel, theatre, game, picture book, hologram, cartoon, stone carving, porn movie adaptation, and the partridge in the pear tree’s firstborn. For the life of copyright. In other words, forever.
Forever—even with an ‘out-of-print’ clause—is a very long time. Personally, I’m more comfortable with automatic termination after a set period, with option to renew. Not a contract that never ends unless I make a big expensive noise, and probably not even then.
Giving away all those extra rights leaves a bad taste, too. True, some authors don’t have the resources, or an agent, to exploit movie rights, for example. It remains to be seen how much effort these publishers make to exploit them. Historically? Zilch. And if your book sales are so gargantuan that you attract attention from movie producers, the odds are you’ll attract agents, too. I’d rather pay an agent 15% and control the deal.
If I self-pub? I keep all my rights, with no options or first look at everything I ever write ever again until judgement day. Higher royalties in return aren’t enough, not when I can get 70% from self-pub. I’m not sure the publishers can offer anything that’s worth it… except a contractual promise to produce what they buy. If I sell you audio, you have to produce and make available the audio book. If I sell you TV rights… oh, wait. You’re not a television studio? Guess you won’t be needing those, then.
So why do we do it?
Don’t get me wrong: digital lines don’t have the monopoly on lousy clauses. Some foul contracts are floating in the sewers under print houses, too. So why do people sign?
Because self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Some writers genuinely can’t afford the costs. Some haven’t the time, or the desire. Some just like the idea of having their books on a publisher’s website or catalogue, and the benefits that might bring. Some already tasted self-pub, but didn’t like its flavour.
But if I’ve learned anything in my brief 5 years of publishing? It’s that a publishing contract is like any other business arrangement. Do your due diligence. Get contract advice from a professional with recent industry experience—what was happening last year, or even last week, might not be current anymore.
And don’t assume that any contract—whether it’s from a paperback imprint in NY, a Big 6 digital line or a smaller press—is ‘industry standard’. Even if the publisher tells you it is. Find out what other houses are doing. Talk to other authors. Join writing organisations. Hell, get an agent. That’s what they’re for.
The better-educated authors become, the sooner publishers will have to stop acting as if they’re the only game in town. Until they shape up their contracts, a lot of them aren’t even the best game in town. Some have responded better to the changes in the industry than others. Some have already moved forward into the new age. We authors have the power to encourage that behaviour, by not accepting poor contract conditions that come our way—but also by working with publishers, to let them know what they can do for us. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.author, book industry, contracts, new paradigm, no advance contracts, publishing, rights, scalzi, writing
Posted March 21, 2013 by Anne
Kylie Scott has started writing a new series, and we need your help.
How can you help? We need a name for the band in the book. Give us your suggestions on Twitter (with the hashtag #stagedive), Facebook (in the comments of the competition post) or in the comments below.
To give you an idea of what kind of name we’re looking for, this is how Kylie describes the band she has created for the new book:
The band is four guys who started a garage band back in their high school days and made it big in their early twenties after years of being the warm-up act. In my mind they’re an Eskimo Joe, Kings of Leon, The White Stripes mash up.
Kylie’s favourite band name will win, and your prize? The inclusion of not just your band name in the new book, but also your very own name on one of the innocent bystanders in the book (we’d say you’ll be ‘red-shirted’ but you likely won’t be fictionally killed), and a copy of both Flesh and Skin ebooks.
You can enter as many times as you like, up until 5pm next Thursday, the 28th of April. The winner will be announced the following week.author, book, competition, reading, redshirt, rock band, rockstar, romance, series, social media, stagedive, win, writing, young adult
How to write a book in a Colombian taxi and get strip-searched for cocaine – the guide you’ve been waiting for
Posted March 20, 2013 by Nathan M Farrugia
The edits are due tomorrow and I’m squashed in a taxi somewhere between an industrial port city and a small fishing town in Colombia. I’m with two of my friends from Australia and our new friend, Natî, the owner of the hostel we had been staying at. With the night off work, Natî joins us for a round trip and the opportunity to spray our arsenal of pressurized foam cans at the policia. Carnaval starts today, after all.
The trip is a two hour journey, which I think is enough time for me to finish the edits, or it would be if Natî wasn’t teaching us the words to all the Colombian songs on the radio. I have my laptop perched on my legs and a bottle of Club Colombia perched somewhere in-between. A Cuban cigar is shoved unceremoniously in my mouth—like most things are, I guess.
Last time I blogged about editing my novel, The Chimera Vector, I gave a behind the scenes look at the editing process with lots of pretty pictures and step-by-step explanations. I really enjoyed exploring the depths of the editorial process and just how much an editor helps shape a novel. This time I was hoping to continue the journey with you, but editing The Seraphim Sequence turned out a little different.
It’s dark and the driver overtakes another convoy of buses. He slips in front of them moments before we collide with oncoming traffic. This is scary the first time he does it and I pee my pants just a bit, but after he does this twenty times I get used to it.
My plan was to complete the edits for The Seraphim Sequence on my flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles and from Los Angeles to Miami and from Miami to Bogota, Colombia. While my friends watch movies and drool on their travel pillows, I was to peck away at the keyboard for many of the 25 hours, eager to complete as much as possible before our vacation officially starts.
But our vacation starts at Melbourne airport when one of my friends puts his platinum airline card to use before it expires next month. He boards the plane with no less than twenty bottles of alcohol “borrowed” from the lounge. His bag clinks with each step and the flight attendants give suspicious stares. Our tray tables and pouches are quickly populated with a variety of beverages and when offered a choice of wine, my friend replies, ‘All of the wine.’
I didn’t get much editing done.
So I only have myself to blame when I’m sitting in a taxi trying to write the last scene. The scene is set at Denver International; the airport is almost shredded from the action and conflict crashing through the last twenty chapters. I hope to bring it to a quiet, mournful close. Or that is the plan, anyway. It is more of a distracted, drunken close because the radio is pumping Gangnam Style, I’ve had too many cervezas (beer) and Natî is already wielding the foam cans.
My laptop and I are the first victims of the foam spray. The taxi driver is next, albeit by accident. It was aimed at me, but the foam sprays half his face and the steering wheel instead. I am worried for a moment but he is good-natured about it and laughs—as he narrowly misses another oncoming car.
Natî sprays a tollbooth worker and also two passers-by, nearly knocking one of them off a bridge. My friends’ encouragement fades quickly when they realize one of victims was a police officer. I’m worried we will get arrested soon but fortunately we run out of foam.
By this point everyone needs to pee—quite literally everyone, even the taxi driver who cannot drink alcohol while driving but drinks the sodas we buy for him. He pulls off the road, a dark unlit stretch flanked by a steeply declining forest on one side and a cornfield on the other. If there is a place to begin the first act of a horror movie, this is it.
I stand as close to the dark precipice as possible without falling in, and unzip; vaguely aware that we have formed a line along the road to relieve ourselves, including Natî, who drops her phone and accidentally pees on it. Once we finish, we jump back into the taxi and continue our journey. I am still no closer to finishing that scene.
Our destination, Barranquilla, is nothing like we expect. The city is sprawled, industrial, and the streets remind me vaguely of Port Melbourne. Exhausted, we say goodbye to Natî and our driver, and throw our bags in our rooms. We’re starving and have been running on beer for the best part of the day.
It’s midnight and all we can locate is a fast food restaurant—a sort of KFC clone—but we’re tired and don’t care. We catch a taxi, only to realize it is just three blocks away and we could’ve walked. We secure a table and order a family-sized meal for three. It later arrives in the form of a mountain: fifty pieces of chicken. The girls on a nearby table giggle. We shrug and call ourselves estupido gringos. They start laughing and soda comes out their nose. There’s an awkward silence and we start eating our fifty pieces with plastic gloves given to us by the staff—something we initially found hilarious and then later admit were kind of useful. We leave with a dozen pieces still untouched and return to our hotel with stomachs over capacity.
On the way back, policia stop and search us for cocaine. They are surprisingly friendly and gentle. I am not sure if this is a horror movie or an erotic short film. As their hands pad up my legs I try to think of other things. I wind up thinking of plastic gloves and fried chicken, which oddly enough does not help.
They’re disappointed we’re not carrying anything illegal, but they’re excited to discover one of us is a police officer in Australia and start comparing kit and firearms. We say goodbye to our new friends and return to the hotel. I’m exhausted but I open my laptop and, sober and determined, finish writing. The climax at Denver airport draws to a satisfying close and The Seraphim Sequence is at last complete. To celebrate, I pass out. The laptop slides off my knees and hits me in the neck.
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Posted March 18, 2013 by Anne
On this week’s Podmentum Joel and Mark talk about world building with authors Nathan M Farrugia and Nina d’Aleo, and then Joel, Mark and I talk about how we got started in publishing, with some tips for those looking for a job in the book industry.
In the first segment Nathan and Nina discuss how they approach creating fictional worlds in their writing, and Mark and Joel join in to discuss their favourite world-building writers. A really interesting conversation for sci-fi and fantasy fans, with lots of culture recommendations (including the ubiquitous China Miéville, of course).
Then we talk about how we all came to book publishing, and Mark reveals something terrible that will make everyone hate him.
In the interests of diversity we all recommended something futuristic and science-fiction-y. You’re welcome. (Next time I’ll demand we all have something romance-based to recommend.)
Mark – Redshirts by John Scalzi
Joel – Strata by Terry Pratchett
Anne – Omens by Russ Andersen (article in Aeon magazine)
This week’s Podmentum was brought to you by Nathan M Farrugia‘s The Seraphim Sequence and Allison Rushby‘s Keep Calm and Carry Vegemite. You can buy them now from all good online retailers, just click on the covers to choose your favourite.book industry, bookshops, internships, job opportunities, Pan Macmillan, podcast, podmentum, publishing, reading, world building, writing
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Posted February 28, 2013 by Anne
On this episode of Podmentum we have two topics and an unprecedented number of guests.
Then since the Oscars were announced recently I’ve given in to Mark’s pleading and we’ll be talking about the awards. Special guest Samantha Sainsbury joins us to talk movies and Oscars fashion. Sam is a editor at Pan Macmillan and works with the likes of Di Morrissey, but she’s here in her capacity as chief fashion critic of Macmillan.
Writing credible tech in fiction
Dan recommended Charlie Stross as an author who gets tech writing right. (As well as our own Nathan M Farrugia, and I promise Nathan was not holding a gun to Dan’s head when he said that. The guns only came out later.)
Mark, Joel and Sam knowledgeably discuss the Oscars ceremony, choice of host and give opinions and background on movies and the industry, while Anne has to have everything explained to her slowly. So if you know nothing about movies, this may be useful to you. Then Sam gives us some Oscars fashion background.
Sam’s fashion picks
Jennifer Lawrence (well-played, Dior)
Samantha – Furious Love by Sam Kashnercharlie stross, csi, internet, movies, nathan farrugia, nerds, oscars, podcast, podmentum, programming language, reading, tech, writing
Posted February 5, 2013 by Anne
In this episode of Podmentum we talk to author Nathan M Farrugia about his books, his intrepid research techniques, martial arts, being handcuffed to a bunch of sweaty dudes in Texas and writing tools.
Nathan M Farrugia’s first book The Chimera Vector was released in May 2012, and his second book The Seraphim Sequence will be out in March 2013. It can be pre-ordered now for the special pre-order price of $2.99.
While Nathan does give a brief explanation of Systema on the podcast it might be more helpful to check it out on Wikipedia.
Mark – The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey
Joel – Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War from Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed Triptych
Anne – The Blue Ant series by William Gibsonadventure, army, author, author interview, characters, martial arts, Nathan M Farrugia, parkour, podcast, podmentum, research, research techniques, scrivener, systema, The Chimera Vector, writing, writing tools
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Posted January 22, 2013 by Anne
I’ve been thinking about the names of book series recently, as we have sequels to two of our most popular books coming out in the next couple of months.
The sequel to Kylie Scott’s Flesh will be released on the 1st of February, and she has a third volume in the series planned for release later on. The books are erotic romance novels set in a post-apocalyptic world populated by “infected” humans (basically zombies), and the protagonists of the books are survivors of the zombie plague.
The second and third books in Kylie’s series will be called Skin, and Bone. We’ve been calling the series the Flesh series, but in the process of collating the metadata for the new release I wondered whether it needed an umbrella title along the lines of a series like His Dark Materials, or if going with the name of the first book a la Twilight was acceptable.
I think calling Kylie’s series the Flesh series might work, but other suggestions have included the Infected series (although I don’t know if it then starts sounding like an STI) or the Body trilogy, but we do want to leave the door open in case Kylie wants to write more stories set in the Flesh world.
Conversely, I do think we need an umbrella name for Nathan M Farrugia’s series, the first of which was The Chimera Vector. Below is an excerpt from an email from Nathan where he considers the question, and I think he is on the money for the most part.
Ooh, I haven’t thought about that. I did notice The Seraphim Sequence: 2 on Amazon and iTunes. What is the 2 for? I mean, I know what it’s for but it doesn’t make sense. It reads like the sequel to The Seraphim Sequence.
Anyway, I did some quick brainstorm synergy manthink and here is what I’ve come up with:
- Sophia series
- Chimera vector series
- Chimera series
Could use Project GATE series, but it’s not a recognisable name (it’s integral to the series but it’s hardly mentioned in Book 1 or 2) and I don’t see the point in obscure series titles. What do you think? I like the simplicity of Sophia or Chimera. And Chimera sounds a bit fantasy-ish so I’m leaning towards Sophia at this point.
Also bear in mind I am interested in following Book 3 with a mini-series of Damien and Jay novellas, so they would need a different series title like “Damien and Jay” or “Manlove”.
Calling Nathan’s books the Chimera series could be misleading for straight fantasy readers, but I really want him to okay calling it The Fifth Column series, after the evil world government corporation in the books. The argument has been made that we shouldn’t call a series after the bad guys, but I’d point to William Gibson’s Blue Ant series as an argument for that type of naming.
Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments – particularly if you have any brilliant ideas for the names of the Kylie’s and Nathan’s book series, but I’m also interested in which series you think has the best name.Tagged: fantasy, flesh, His Dark Materials, manlove, metadata, naming, new releases, Philip Pullman, post-apocalyptic, reading, series, Stephanie Meyer, The Chimera Vector, Twilight, William Gibson, writing
Posted December 6, 2012 by Anne
WARNING: There is a spoiler for Game of Thrones book 5 at 12-13m, so if you don’t want to know what happens at the end of this book just fast forward that bit.
First Podmentum of December! Who knew we’d make it this far. This episode includes discussion of endings in pop culture, spoilers and then we have a special guest who came in to give us all a dose of Bond culture, from Ian Fleming to Skyfall.
Topic 1 – Books and endings
There has been a bit of discussion recently about the endings of books, ignited by a column in The Guardian in which the writer expresses annoyance at ambiguous endings.
Happy endings – modern readers apparently aren’t big fans of sad endings, according to Salon. I disagree but having recently learned about the phenomenon of romance readers and their unbending penchant for a happy ending perhaps there is something in it.
Topic 2 – Spoilers
In the office we talk a lot about the pop culture we’re currently consuming, and the one thing Mark and I always clash on is spoilers. I’m quite happy to know what happens in a book, movie or tv episode before I see it, whereas Mark is vehemently against hearing about the outcome before he gets to experience it himself.
Turns out my way is better, according to NPR and Time magazine.
Spoilers might actually make reading stories more enjoyable, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego. They gave their subjects short stories they hadn’t read before, spoiling one group of readers but not others. So for example, when the assignment was Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” some readers were informed about its joltingly morbid ending. Others weren’t.
It turns out that most of the people for whom the story was “spoiled” reported enjoying it more than those who read it unprepared.
“It’s much more terrifying to know that something horrible is about to happen than not to know it’s about to happen,” – James Poniewozik, Time
Dan Kois: Spoilers: the official Vulture statute of limitations (2008)
Here’s why I’d first politely ask that you consider holding your tongue in terms of spoiling… well, anything within reason (and a reasonable amount of time, as set by John Q. Scalzi, Esquire): because it suggests that you’re the most important person on social media. I get it. You want to talk about what you just saw. But we all want lots of things. I want a pony. I want to punch people sometimes. I want to eat a gallon of ice cream and guzzle liquor every night. But I don’t. I don’t do a lot of things because it’d either be bad for me or bad for someone else. We don’t just follow our every id-driven impulse because: uhh, hello, selfish.
I’m just asking that you cool it on the spoilers.
Topic 3 – Chris Allen and James Bond
Chris Allen – Homeland
Mark – Infinitas Bookshop
Joel – Old Man’s War
Anne – Ablutions
Books, endings, Ian Fleming, James Bond, podcast, podmentum, reading, spoilers, writing
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Posted November 26, 2012 by Kylie Scott
The day Flesh hit #14 on the Amazon Erotica Best Seller List was an exciting one. Down in Sydney the guys at Momentum popped some champers. Up in Brisvegas a bottle of vodka met its end. It was a very cool and thrilling day. But the next morning, once the panadol had kicked in, there was an important question waiting to be asked. What would Daryl do next?
A wise woman once said to me you’re only as good as your next book. But what if people didn’t like my next book? What if they mocked it and made me cry? What then? The sequel to Flesh sat half finished on my hard drive and fingers hesitated, twitching, above the keyboard. Could I do it? Should I do it? What would Daryl do?
I think deep down we all know the answer. But what with having no zombies available to shoot arrows into and cut the ears off of, I stopped pussy footing around and got on with it. So Skin has been handed in to be spanked into shape by the team at Momentum.
And here are the first few lines:
In the end they took a vote on whether or not to trade Roslyn to the stranger at the gate. They even gave her a say, demonstrating democracy was not dead even if civilisation had gone belly up six months back when the virus first struck.
All nine survivors gathered on the school steps. The weak winter sun above them did little to combat the bitter wind. Her marrow was ice and her teeth chattered. She wanted to wrap her arms around herself, huddle down into the green school jacket she’d purloined out of a student locker. But she didn’t. Spine straight, shoulders back. Her father would have been proud.
She cleared her throat. No one would meet her eyes. They couldn’t do this and she would explain why in a sensible and rational manner using as many small words as deemed necessary. “I know we’re running low on food, but there’s no reason why we can’t make a trip into town to look for supplies. If we just make a plan-”
“Let’s get on with this,” said Neil, former head of the Maths Department. Still pissed she had refused to put out. Never had she met such a pretentious, unattractive git. “A raise of hands for ‘yea’.”
Her gaze skittered around the group.
Some hedged, but the hands were definitely there, six of them.Amazon, bestseller, erotica, flesh, post-apocalyptic, romance, sequel, skin, sneak peak, the walking dead, writing, zombies
Posted November 9, 2012 by Anne
Second podcast! We’re totally on a roll. In this episode we discuss the epic Genre versus Literature battle to the death in the wake of the inaugural GenreCon Australia, then we make fun of Joel for being such a gadget nerd. Also Mark outnerds himself in the recommendations. Enjoy.
Topic 1 - What we read: Genre v Lit
Arthur Krystal’s Easy Writers: Guilty pleasures without guilt in May in The New Yorker laid down the theory that the divide between genre and literary fiction is becoming less clear, and some genre fiction is now being afforded “literary” status.
Lev Grossman in Time April 2012 responded with an article entitles Literary Revolution in the Supermarket Aisle: Genre fiction is disruptive technology, challenging the idea that literary fiction should be regarded as “superior” to genre fiction. He basically lays down the theory that literary fiction is itself a genre with certain tried and true tropes that every book identified as such follows.
Krystal then responded to Lev Grossman with It’s genre, not that there’s anything wrong with that! in October, which had Joel absolutely apoplectic with rage, and convinced us that it was worth discussing.
Interesting look at horror in The Guardian recently with Horror: a genre literally doomed to hell?
*note – The Ian McEwan novel that was released the year before he won the Booker for Amsterdam was Enduring Love, not On Chesil Beach (which was actually released a decade later). To my enduring shame, I completely forgot about Enduring Love, which is actually one of my favourite McEwan books. Golf clap.
Topic 2 - Devices: how we read
Joel got his new Paperwhite last week and now that he’s had enough time to fall completely and utterly in love with it, it is probably time to talk about reading technology.
Mark’s Recommendation Star Wars Expanded UniverseAmazon, Arthur Krystal, author, Books, devices, digital publishing, DRM, ebooks, ereading, fiction, genre, iPad Mini, john birmingham, Kindle, Lev Grossman, literary fiction, memoir, non-fiction, podcast, podmentum, publishing, reading, review, romance, star wars, The Silent History, writing
Posted November 6, 2012 by Mark
The following is an extract from Drive Me to Distraction, the new romance novel by Caitlyn Nicholas
Alex slumped on her stained grey couch and stared at the evening news. The microwave pinged. Dinner was ready. But she stayed glued to the screen.
She’d been cautiously surprised when her gambit of turning up to work, pretending that she hadn’t kneed her insecure and vindictive boss in the groin, paid off. Nothing had been said. Her meagre pay cheque had arrived in the bank, and she’d realised, with relief, that Hamish MacCameron was not going to follow through with his threats.
“Formula One team, Prometheus, today announced that it’s searching for a female driver to compete in next year’s season.” The sport reporter on the television laughed. “In a move sure to annoy the very male establishment, they will be holding a competition in three weeks time to pick their new driver. So who dares, wins, eh ladies?”
“I think I’ll be having a go at that,” said the female newsreader, with an insincere saccharine smile.
“Well, there’s a catch. The successful lady will have to bring 200,000 pounds with her.”
“That’s a considerable discount on the million that a Formula One driver often has to provide. And in other news, there are claims tonight that football ace, Tony Reynolds has fathered yet another child —”
Alex walked into the kitchen and opened the microwave, only to return empty-handed to the couch. The sound of furious arguing echoed from the flat above and she glanced up at the water stain on the ceiling.
200,000 pounds? A female driver? She wasn’t sure what to feel.
Her phone rang and she started. She was convinced, for a ridiculous moment, that it was Rob Dryden.
“It’s Mike. Did you see the Prometheus news? This is perfect for you.”
“Yeah, but they want all that money, where the hell am I going to find it?” Her heart sank as she said the words aloud. Before there’d been a smidgen of hope, but discussing it with Mike brought the reality into sharp focus.
“C’mon, that’s not much in today’s terms,” said Mike, forever positive.
“I could sell the Mini. I could sell everything.” She looked around her flat. The television teetered precariously on two milk crates. The bookshelf, filled with car magazines, was made of breezeblocks and sheets of plywood. “I don’t think my stuff is going to be worth 200,000.”
Mike laughed. He’d seen her flat. “Well, you could move in with your mother.”
“Christ no.” Alex shuddered at the thought.
“Well there’s nothing for it, you’ll just have to auction yourself off to the highest bidder!”
Alex tried to laugh. He’d meant it as a joke. But he struck a nerve, after all, it was the only likely option.
“Yeah,” she said. “The highest bidder.”
The memory of Hamish MacCameron’s thick fingers tiptoed its way down her spine.
Drive Me to Distraction by Caitlyn Nicholas is available for the special price of $2.99 for a limited time. Click here to purchaseTagged: drive me to distraction, extract, writing
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Posted November 1, 2012 by John Birmingham
So, today is the day that Stalin’s Hammer: Rome drops into the e-book shops. Or at least it does everywhere but America. I found out about two weeks ago that my US publisher wants to hold on to the title until January or February next year. Originally they were even looking at holding it back until midyear, but my sad face changed their mind.
It’s still not ideal. When we sat down to plan how we’d approach the e-book market, the guys at Momentum and I agreed that there were a couple of minimum conditions we needed to meet. A price so low there was no barrier to purchase. At $2.99 I think we’ve done that. No DRM so that readers could store and carry their copy of the book however they damn well pleased. Tick. And simultaneous global release, so that somebody sitting on their couch in, say, Kansas City, Missouri, would have no reason to be pissed because they can see the book is available, but not for them. This is one of the main drivers of piracy.
“Well, I wanted to give those assholes my money, but they refused, so…”
To buy Stalin’s Hammer: Rome, click through for your choice of retailers via the book page.authors, digital publishing, digital rights management, DRM, ebooks, ereading, fiction, genre, john birmingham, pricing, reading, self-publishing, Stalin's Hammer, territorial restrictions, writing
Posted October 11, 2012 by Anne
“When we served in the Paratroopers together, Chris Allen was always the most suave and entertaining officer in the Regiment: A natural storyteller, equal parts Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum, but with far better hair and teeth than both. Similarly, his Alex Morgan novels are a thrill a minute, and the aftertaste of blood and gunmetal makes it clear these books are written by a real soldier. DEFENDER is must read for literary action/adventure addicts, and I cannot wait for the release of HUNTER on November 1st.”
BTG kindly sent us a copy of his hilarious new book Curses and Blessings for All Occasions recently, and we can confirm that it is both blessed and occasional.action adventure, Alex Morgan, Books, Bradley Trevor Grieve, BTG, Defender, Hunter, Ian Fleming, Intrepid, paratroopers, reading, soldier, writing
Posted October 9, 2012 by Anne
We went to the Sydney launch for Julie Parker’s book My Recovery at The Butterfly Foundation last week. One of the incredible people featured in the book, Sol, spoke about what being able to tell her story in My Recovery meant, and Julie told us about how her early love of books led her to wanting to write a book herself one day – although she never expected to write one quite like this.
Julie also took the chance while at The Butterfly Foundation to hand over a cheque for the first profits for the book, which will go to helping people still suffering from eating disorders.
Here are some photos of the launch, and if you want to see the whole collection step on over to our Facebook page.
body image, book launch, eating disorders, Facebook, memoir, non-fiction, photos, recovery, The Butterfly Foundation, writing
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Posted October 3, 2012 by Mark
The following is an extract from the first chapter of Underdog by Euan Leckie. To find out more or purchase the novel, click here.
Jeffo lay down when he heard the footsteps approaching. The other dogs were barking. There was a sudden loud thump on the barn door.
“Shut it!” screamed the familiar voice.
Keys rattled in the lock and the door opened. As Cal stood silhouetted in the doorway, the wind flooded in behind him and clean, cool air rushed through the cages. The light from his torch broke through the darkness, causing the dogs to bark even louder.
“Fucking shut it!” he shouted, moving in to launch a kick at the nearest cage.
Jeffo edged back into the corner of his cage, hoping to remain unseen. He was fearful, even when Cal moved to the furthest cage from him and started to open it.
“Come on, mate.” Cal leant in and released the brindle dog from his chain. There was a resigned quality to his voice as he fastened Bane?s lead and coaxed him out of the cage. “That’s it. Here we go.”
Bane looked up acceptingly as Cal walked him to the door, his tail wagging as he was led outside.
“Keep it down,” said Cal, slamming the door shut.
Jeffo’s racing heartbeat began to slow once the door was locked. The other two dogs stayed on their feet, pacing. They whined and yelped as they turned in their cages.
Before long, a sinister low hum could be heard coming from the next barn. The dogs fell quiet, listened. The noise grew louder as the minutes passed, and soon developed into a prolonged roar. Jeffo became transfixed by the ebb and flow of these screams and shouts that carried on the wind, so much so that he hardly noticed the approaching rumble of thunder. A sudden flash of lightning lit up the barn, and he cowered against the uneven concrete floor. It started to rain.
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Posted September 18, 2012 by Anne
Recently there has been a lot of discussion in the book world about reviews and criticism. There have been warnings about an epidemic of niceness on social media, articles on unfavourable reviews, the outing of sock puppet reviews on Amazon, and revelations of authors buying reviews in bulk.
Discoverability (drink) has been overtaken by sockpuppeting (drink) as the buzzword of the moment in publishing circles (so says FutureBook maven Sam Missingham), but it’s still the central concern of most ebook publishers. Readers can’t just go into a bookstore and pick up one of their books – they need to stumble across it in the wilds of the online jungle, so reviews and web chatter are increasingly important. Little wonder some authors are driven to fake their own book reviews.
If you’re concerned about how technology and web culture is affecting books, reading and writing, there are several things you can do. There are so many authors and books out there that for the truly excellent to come to the fore they need a bit of help from devoted readers.
I’ve put together a handy list of things you can do to support your favourite authors, and help fellow book lovers.
1. Buy books. I know right, easy
2. Read books. Bizarre, yes, but proven effective
3. Review books. Review widely, review often. You don’t have to be a professional reviewer anymore for your opinion to count (thanks Internet!). All you need is an account with your friendly (internet) neighbourhood retailer. Amazon is likely to be the most effective, but there is also Apple’s iBookstore and Goodreads. Or you could even set up a blog and become one of those people that publishing publicity departments adore, a book blogger. But let’s not get too crazy
4. Social media mention it up. Post your thoughts about the latest book you’re reading on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr – hell, even Google+. Do it as you’re thinking about reading the book. Do it when you buy the book – post a photo of the cover. Do it mid-read, if you are inspired by a particularly interesting plot twist, or a beautiful sentence. Triumphantly announce your completion upon finishing the book, or mourn the end of a particularly brilliant book. The more you talk about reading, the more you will motivate others to read
5. Give ebooks as gifts. Okay sure, ebook gifts aren’t quite as impressive as a gift-wrapped print tome, but they are usually far less expensive and far more portable. Just enter in the email address of the lucky recipient, and bam, you’ve made someone’s day. Unless you give them a diet book or something. Don’t do that. Ebooks aren’t just for Christmas guys. They’re an everyday gift. Give one today.
May I suggest one of these?Tagged: Amazon, authors, Books, discoverability, ebooks, ereading, FutureBook, gift ideas, iBookstore, list, reading, review, social media, sock puppet, writing
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Posted September 17, 2012 by Julie Parker
Ever since reading of the adventures of Jo March and her sisters in ‘Little Women’, I have wanted to write a book. Like Jo, I imagined it would be a tale of my own making and the sharing of my life that would hopefully in some way inspire others. Such are the dreams of a sixteen year old girl with her whole life ahead of her.
More than twenty years later the book I always wanted to write has eventuated, but in a very different form to what I believed it would be. Instead of telling my story (which, truth be told would have required quite some embellishment to even be half as interesting as Jo March!), I have somehow found myself in the position of telling the stories of eighteen other people. It was never what I imagined, but in fact more amazing than I had ever hoped.
As a counsellor and coach I am in the privileged position every day to listen to the hopes and needs of others as they strive to make a better life for themselves. When my clients speak I listen. And when they ask questions I do my best to help them facilitate the answer for themselves, or for us to do it together. After choosing to specialise in working with people with negative body image and eating disorders, the questions I found myself most being asked by my clients were ‘Can I really recover from this?’, ‘Can you please find me someone to talk to who has been where I am?’ ‘I want to know from a survivor what they did to get well.’ The sentiments were loud and clear and the book I always thought I was going to write was taken over by the one I was actually meant to write.
Thus began an almost four year journey of talking, interviewing, sharing and learning from the most amazing and inspirational people. Fourteen women. Two men. All who had once been desperately ill with a clinical eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or an eating disorder not otherwise specified. Many of whom had also endured dual diagnoses with other mental illnesses, family trauma, torturous school bullying and extreme grief and loss. Despite it all, through their sheer tenacity, courage and the finding of self-love, they willed themselves to be well and develop a happy and fulfilling relationship with themselves, their bodies, food, and those who
journeyed with them to wellness.
Can you recover from a serious and life threatening eating disorder? The lives of these extraordinary people show that yes, indeed, you can.
It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to share their stories in ‘My Recovery: Inspiring Stories, Recovery Tips and Messages of Hope from Eating Disorder Survivors.’ I have done so, as have all the incredible people in ‘My Recovery’, in the hope the book finds its way into the hands of those still suffering and those who care for and love them. So they can read these real life stories and journeys and know you can recover. You can be well. You can be happy. You can be free.
They are all living testament.
Just as I know anyone who read My Recovery and finds themselves longing to be free of an eating disorder can be too.
Tagged: anorexia, binge eating disorder, body image, bulimia, bullying, couselling, eating disorders, grief, Little Women, mental illness, recovery, relationships, story-telling, survivor, survivors, trauma, wellness, writing
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Posted September 14, 2012 by Mark
Today on the blog we’re having a chat with Russell McGilton, author of Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle
As a humorous travel adventure about taking a risk and seeking out your dreams. Oh, there’s something about riding a bike as well.
Why did you write your book?
I was having a crisis of confidence, I didn’t know what to do with my life, my father had died and I came to the conclusion that I better hurry up and do something with my life. And having to want to write a travel book for some time, it seemed that this was the right time to do it. Also, I had wanted to travel to India and China for some time and had wanted to do it in a different way. I’d cycled the South Island of New Zealand with a good friend of mine and had found this form of travel hugely rewarding as life goes past much slower.
How did you make the journey from aspiring writer to published author?
I thought about how would I attract the attention of publishers and Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle has that wonderful alliteration to it. Though, after all my hard work, Penguin – in their infinite wisdom – decided to call it ‘Yakety Yak’. Yes, it says it all just there, doesn’t it?
Anyway, during the trip, I wrote every day after a hard day of cycling and tried to keep it as ‘cycle traveller’ focused as possible. On my return, I shaped a story out of my notes and showed the first 10,000 words to Curtis Brown Literary Management. They were quite interested but wanted to wait until they saw the rest of it. So another eight months later I submitted the manuscript and this was shopped around to several publishers who all rejected it. Well, except two: Hardie Grant and Penguin.
What is the main message that you hope readers will take away from your book?
That sometimes it’s good to just take a risk, not think to hard about it and see what comes of it.
How long did it take you to write, and what research was involved?
Took about three years to write (that’s including the ride as I was taking notes every day).
With this kind of journey there wasn’t much material on cycle adventurers. I did get some clue of what was going on by reading some other cycle adventurer blogs.
Also, I picked up a book by Dervla Murphy whose seminal work Full Tilt: Dublin to Delhi by Bicycle was a great inspiration. Dervla attempted this trip in 1963 in one of Europe’s worst winters, was attacked by wolves, survived dysentery and had to, more than she liked to, scare off rapists with her handgun. Tough lady.
Lastly, I read lots of travel writers such as Paul Theroux, Redmond O’Hanlon, Bill Bryson, Stanely Stewart, Peter Moore. More for their style and sometimes for their substance.
Tagged: author, Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle, Russell McGilton, writing
Posted September 7, 2012 by Mark
Today on the Momentum blog we’re having a chat with Shalini Akhil, author of The Bollywood Beauty
I think I was going through a lot of what my two main protagonists go through in the book, and I wanted to share that, and maybe find other people who were feeling the same. Also, I was reading a lot of Indian diaspora literature then, but none of it came specifically from where I came from, so I wanted to add my voice to the stream.
How did you make the journey from aspiring writer to published author?
I think as a first time author you don’t necessarily know how it all works, so you just get in there and have a go. I asked for a lot of feedback, kept at it and knocked on a lot of doors.
What is the main message that you hope readers will take away from your book?
It’s okay to challenge the status quo.
How long did it take you to write, and what research was involved?
It took me three years on and off, and I used a lot of my own experiences in the story, so there really was no formal research as such.
I think it speaks to feeling disconnected from your culture, and finding your own way of fitting in, and not judging others for their decisions, but instead trying to understand their perspective.
Tagged: Shalini Akhil, The Bollywood Beauty, writing
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Posted August 16, 2012 by David Mason-Jones
I got angry! As a professional journalist doing a lot of rural journalism, I was always aware of the methane issue but I had delayed researching it because it all seemed so complicated. Then, some years ago, I saw an ad on TV which claimed that the livestock industry was the third largesse emitter of greenhouse gasses. I was prompted by seeing this ad to do the research about methane. I wanted to know what the numbers were and how big the problem was. Again, as a professional, I wanted to be in a position that I knew what I was talking about when the issue of methane came up. I did not actually start out to defend farmers or their livestock.
It was not long before I came to regard the information in the ad as completely without context and, as a result, misleading. The ad – and much of the other information about methane and gas emissions from livestock – does not put the generation of this natural and organic gas in the context of its part in the atmospheric carbon cycle. This cycle is balanced and endlessly repeating. The cow does not, and cannot, add any new carbon to this cycle whatsoever.
I came to the conclusion that the whole methane case against the livestock industry was misleading. This is what made me angry and this is why I wrote the book.
Should Meat Be On The Menu? by David Mason-Jones is available now. Click here for detailsTagged: Environment, Should Meat be on the Menu?, writing
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