Friday, January 25, 2013

Too Good to be True

Computers often make me feel like this. They promise so much but deliver frustration. They don't boot immediately like they do on TV, nor download pages from the Web in the blink of an eye. They can't think for themselves. I want a computer like the one in Star Trek, on the Enterprise: always ready to give me information. All I have to do is ask. 

Things don't work like they do in the infomercials. The Renovator doesn't cut anything as fast as promised, and makes more noise than a jet taking off. The twirling head on the battery operated duster falls off all the time. By the time you have searched your Smart TV for the show you want to watch, you could have driven to video store, rented the entire season, bought some Maccas on the way back and watched it.

There are no romances like Edward and Bella's, where the passion literally lasts forever. (And not just because vampires don't exist.) There are no families like The Brady Bunch where conflicts are resolved in 22 minute episodes, and the challenges of step parenting are minor inconveniences rather than vitriolic relationship destroyers. 50% of marriages fail. Nearly every family has a broken link, a black sheep, a Voldemort. Real life happy endings aren't as common as we want them to be.

Very few things are the way they should be. Even our desperate and sometimes pitiful attempts to fix things, to right wrongs, often lead to more disaster. More anxiety, more frustration. David Lavender, in my novel Loathe Your Neighbour, is a classic example of the struggle between what is and what should be. His marriage isn't working. He doesn't get on with his stepson, has a strained relationship with his father, and strong antipathy towards his neighbour. All his solutions lead to more problems.This is why fantasy, in all its forms is so popular. Reality often sucks.

I would like to offer you a free digital copy of Loathe Your Neighbour. Please go to, Like the page and I'll send you a coupon. You can also win a signed paperback at

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Loathe Your Neighbour giveaway

For one week only I am giving away digital copies of my new novel, Loathe Your Neighbour. You will need a coupon for Smashwords. Here's how you get one.

Like Loathe you Neighbour on Facebook  and get 5 friends to like it as well. Send me an e-mail telling me all about it at  and I'll send you a coupon. Too easy. But wait there's more.

I have a brand new e-book reader/multimedia player worth $120 to give to the person who brings me the most sales of Loathe Your Neighbour . You have one month to help me out by recommending, sharing, tweeting or however else you do it. Knock yourself out. It's for a good cause. No need for hard selling because Loathe Your Neighbour will sell itself.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Book I had to Write

I could describe how I feel if I tried really hard but it is such a potent cocktail of emotions that I am afraid I would be rolling drunk before I could finish. Nevertheless, here it is.

My second novel, Loathe Your Neighbor, was released today. I started writing it over two years ago. I ask myself why I spent so much time and effort to write something which may or may not, at that stage, have ever made it into "print". As recently as last August, I had no interest from publishers and nothing but hope that I would eventually find one. Even in this digital age where independent self publishers outnumber traditionals (whatever that means) I had no compelling reason for writing another book.

By the year 2010, I had been writing for 12 years. I'd had a handful of short stories published and even got paid for one of them. Twice. I had written a novel, Devolution, and published it as an e-book through a fee for service online publisher but it was as successful as ice cream in Antartica. I was proud of my achievement but I wanted more. I wanted readers and lots of them. I self published a paperback version of Devolution which out sold the e-book by five times but I did not want to do that again. I wanted an editor to read my manuscript and tell me they loved it and sign me up for a publishing deal. This is what all writers want. Yes, we write because we love the art but we want readers.

Why then with nothing but a story to tell and a dream of many people reading it, did I write Loathe Your Neighbour? I wrote it because I had to. More than two years later, Jeanne Haskin at Artema Press has delivered half my dream: a publishing contract. The other half? I still don't know what the trick is to attracting readers. Maybe there is no trick. Popularity is not a reflection of quality. There's a video on YouTube of a girl in a tight black dress brushing her teeth which has received tens of thousand of views.

I'm proud of Loathe Your Neighbor and I hope lots of people read and enjoy it. I wouldn't mind making a little money out of it as well. Neither would Artema Press. But even if it doesn't fly, if it doesn't sell up a storm, I'll write another novel. I can't help it. I'm a dreamer and I love writing stories.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Faded Dreams

The latest work from the pen of my niece:

Faded Dreams by Amber Gilfillan

Hi, my name is April. I'm 12 years old. My dreams are the most magical things that happen to me. I'm also a chatterbox but don't worry, I'll keep quiet. Shhh...I'm going to start the story of how all the dreams changed. One night when everyone was asleep, I was having a wonderful dream until it turned into a nightmare.

I scream, then suddenly wake up. 'Okay, calm down April,' I say to myself. 

The next morning, I walk up to the mayor and say, 'Mayor, did you have a nightmare last night?'

'Yes,' he bellows.

I think for a minute. 'Yes, I've got it!' I scream. I tell the mayor, I'm going outside town and he says okay. I set off to find the lost dreams.

Soon, I reach a castle. 'What? Stick people holding swords?' I whisper. I start to get closer and closer until I am right in front of them. I jump over them and find myself in front of a gigantic door. I go inside. Next thing I know, I'm in front of the king. I tell him to stop taking my town's dreams.'

'No,' he shouts.

'Okay, I'll just tell everyone your real name. Fred Foffof,' I tease.

'No,' he screams. 

'Fine, but you have to give all the sweet dreams back,' I say, and he agrees.

Then I went home. I also got a medal and a crown for finding the town's lost dreams.