Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Zealand Book Month

Apparently it's New Zealand Book Month. Yay. Not that I'd heard much, or anything about it. Maybe I run in the wrong circles. Actually, I don't really have a circle in which I run, except the one where I'm chasing my tail. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Anyway, the one real circle I might run in, my writer's group, hasn't mentioned it either, so I'm assuming they didn't know about it. We're relatively rounded people. We all have jobs, and friends, and social lives. I listen to the radio all day. I spend 46 hours a day on the Internet. Haven't heard anything specific about it. No emails about it.

I found out about it while reading a blog. Which is fine. At least I got to hear about it.

To be fair, it's one of those things that just hangs in the back of my mind. I saw the Writer's Festival booklet, and I think I knew that was part of Book Month. I remembered that there is such a thing as Book Month, and if I had a gun to my head I would have guessed it was "coming up soon, I think?"

Maybe I would have been spared.

I went into Whitcoulls yesterday. Nothing about NZBM. You'd think they would have a display or something. I see Paul Cleave has a new book out. He's rollin' a book out every few weeks it seems. I still haven't read a whole one. I started The Cleaner (I think that was it), but as is so often the case, I didn't finish it before I had to get it back to the library. I hate to say that I just couldn't get into it, but okay, I just couldn't get into it. Something about the first person present that I just couldn't read for long.

I am however, going to actually buy Cemetary Lake, partly to support NZ writing, and partly so I don't have to return it. I'm not sure if it's FPP.

Anyway, I didn't see PC's book at Whitcoulls, I saw it a few days ago at The Warehouse. If that doesn't say something about NZ writing, the pathetic exhibition of NZ writing at Whitcoulls does. At Riccarton, it's tucked around the corner from the magazines, behind - yes, BEHIND - the newspapers. I wonder if Border's has any recognition of NZ writers. Will have a look today.

I have a theory about why NZ writing is so poorly supported by the book shops.

There are some interesting blogs an the NZBM page.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"put your seatbelt on I want to try something . . .

. . . I saw it in a cartoon but I'm pretty sure I can do it."

What did we do before the internet? OMG. Is there anything that has infiltrated our lives as much as the internet?

Jackie had Desperately Seeking Susan on the telly (I wasn't interested, I swear). Apart from the butler in Mr. Deeds, guess who else was in the movie? My favourite comedian ever. Steven Wright. He's popped up from time to tie in something I've been watching, but nothing as out there as Desperately Seeking Susan.

So, of course, I thought I'd see if he has anything on YouTube. Duh. Every man and his dog has something on YouTube. My friend's son has a cool backwards movie on YouTube.

And there he was. Dozens of Steven Wright videos. Hilarious.

And check out how Letterman looks in 1990.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


When did uncovered, wide mouthed YAWNS become acceptible. It's something I've noticed for ages, but it has really only dawned on me lately. Didn't good manners dictate covering up?

I know "good manners" is basically an outdated concept, but it's not always - in fact, it's more commonly the opposite - the ones I would expect to have abandoned such courtesies. It's not kids and oafs. Often, and most recently, it's middle-aged women. Forties. Fifties.

Has women's lib come so far that it's now okay to shrug off even the minutiae of those old standards. Covering your mouth while yawning? What for?

And it's not as if it's in the comfortable privacy of their own home. It's in the street. YAWN! Gee, thanks for that. By the way you have a cavity way in the back there. And your breath could use some work.

I think it's rude. Am I a fuddy duddy?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

the evolution of publishing

I thought, write a good book, send it off to the publisher in the Yellow Pages with the catchiest ad, wait a week or two for the phone call. Wait another week or two for a big fat cheque. Another week and the book hits the shelves, and another week or two for the royalty cheques to start rolling in, and finally that which all authors crave. The bigger, fatter cheque and the commission for five more books.


Imagine my surprise that apparently it doesn't quite work that way. At least, not in the real world. Maybe it works that way for Paul Sheldon, but it seems very few authors have such an easy road.

Imagine my disappointment, too, then as it slowly became clear that:

even if your pitch to the publisher/agent gets read (highly unlikely) the chances are pretty high it will still go straight into the trash (electronic or actual);

even if the eighteenth publisher/agent to read your query is vaguley interested in your novel, the query will probably still go in the trash;

even if they are interested enough to actually contact you about your novel, it's highly unlikely they will actually be interested in your novel once they look at it;

even if they are interested enough to read the whole thing, the chances of it getting read and printed and marketed are pretty slim;

even if it gets read and printed and marketed (most of which you have to do yourself) the chances of getting big fat cheques are practically nil (17% of the shelf price is optimistic), and it's TWO YEARS between that first query and a launch;

and don't hold your breath on getting the bigger fatter cheques, or the commission.

So tell me again, why do we do it?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"We encourage a practice of compliance and for people in that situation just to get the offender out of the shop as soon as possible without any damage to anyone."

This stupid piece of advice, from the NZ Police concerning a Christchurch dairy owner who was robbed at knifepoint, is apparently the best help they can offer. Instead of serving and protecting the community, their philosophy is to give the criminal what he wants. What if the criminal wants to kill you? Do you simply let him?

Oh, but they might prosecute the dairy owner. They have plenty of resources and systems in place to do that. They're well equipped to hound the innocent party to sleepless nights and financial ruin. They have plenty of time to build a case against the victim.

I wonder if they've caught the scumbags. Are they even looking? Or are they too busy prosecuting the good guy?

Long before Navtej Singh was murdered I strongly believed we should have the right to use whatever means necessary and available to protect your property and family. If someone is threatening you in your home you should have the right to beat them with a cricket bat or shoot them with a gun. End of story.

Criminals have guns. We should be allowed to have guns to protect ourselves from them. 91% of people in this poll appear to agree

The police would prefer dairy owners get their throats cut than protect their property and families by shooting would-be murderers.

Let them cut your throat; let them rape your wife; let them torture your children. But god forbid you should own an air pistol.

Saturday, August 02, 2008