Opinions. Everybody Has 'Em.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Domestic Appliance Disaster Area

I have ridiculously bad luck with domestic appliances. In the past two years alone I have gone through four cell phones, two vacuum cleaners, three fridge-freezers, a DVD player, a washing machine, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay then, not the last. But you get my drift.

It’s not just that my domestic appliances simply break down either. Oh no. They go out in flame-spewing, smoke-ridden, noisy, scary style. My last vacuum cleaner went on fire, little blue and orange flames shooting from its rear end whilst my housemate was in the middle of using it to deal with the large and plentiful dust bunnies with which we share our home. Not long before that, the washing machine roared its way to that Great Junkyard In The Sky when something broke loose beneath and ripped a huge, jagged hole in the drum during the fast spin cycle. I happened to be sitting at the kitchen table directly in front of the machine when it began its shrieking, howling death throes and I guarantee that you have never seen someone clear a room so fast in all your life. The latest casualty was the chest freezer which abruptly and inexplicably stopped, well, freezing things. Housemate and I awoke on a Saturday morning to find £200+ worth of food all congealed into one soggy, useless lump of wet cardboard and defrosted quiche Lorraine. I’ve given up even bothering to own a cell phone or a digital camera. It's just not worth the expense and the pitying looks from shop assistants when you return for the fourth time in six months.

I don’t know where I get this electrical jinx from. God knows, my mother has tended to keep all her domestic appliances in working order for eons…one vacuum cleaner served her faithfully for twenty-two years and then broke down irretrievably after just six months at my house. I even managed once to work my dark magic on my father’s brand new car…we were half a mile from the showroom and the engine caught fire. Oddly, he never took me to pick up a new car again.

Since Housemate’s luck doesn’t seem to be much better than mine, I often wonder whether I have spread my bad electrical karma to her, or whether we have always simply been two like souls drawn together in domestic appliance Hell?!

Just add flames

Internet Dating...Does it do what it says on the tin?

Well, does it? Let’s see…

My first problem with internet dating sites is how they will lure you in with promises of being FREE! only to find that what is free is very limited. To get anything substantial from the site - actual contact with people you are interested in, for example - will cost you at least an arm, and often a leg also. Rule #1 : There Is Always A Catch. No matter what enticing claims of free usage are made initially, there is no such thing as a free lunch date.

Profile pictures are my next problem. Let’s talk about all those profiles of people who are apparently “too shy” or “too privacy paranoid” to put up a picture. If you are so shy or so paranoid about your privacy, what are you doing on an internet dating site in the first place? Sorry, I’m not buying it. You’re hiding something. It may be that you are a deranged stalker, on the site to find some new victims for your obsessive attentions, but most likely it is that you have overstated your physical attributes and/or attractiveness. Remember, most of us are of a very average physical attractiveness, and only the few have been truly blessed by genetics. The picture-less profile turns up more often on lesbian dating sites than it does on gay male or straight ones. Setting aside the ‘inactive profiles’ and the “ I’m not out at work or to my family so I don’t want to risk that anyone will see me who knows me” excuse because it’s bullshit, it means either that lesbians are more prone to weird stalking behavior, or lesbians cling most stubbornly of all to the idea that we can fall in love without ever having laid eyes on the object of our heart’s desire. Well, maybe some people think they can, but that’s falling in love with at the very least a partial fantasy since you can’t think about someone without conjuring a physical body of some description to put them in. Try it, and see if it doesn’t feel weird, thinking warm and fuzzy thoughts about a faceless, shapeless entity. See if you don’t end up creeping yourself out. Better to know what the reality is straight away. Because the chances are that person you’ve been chatting to online does NOT look like this…


...or this...










...Oh hun, now you're just trippin...!


Fake profiles and profiles left visible after members have left the site are another ruse to bump up the numbers of people apparently using the site. Notice those are the ones who most often don’t respond to inquiries from other members, who rarely interact, and whose profiles sound suspiciously like they were all written by the same PR company. Think about it…if every one of these sites actually had the 2 MILLION MEMBERS AND GROWING!!! that they trumpet about, you would be bumping into a lot of the same people, wouldn’t you? Especially on the gay/lesbian dating sites because we all know how mighty small a world that is.

Another problem with internet dating is Rule #2 : People Lie. Yes, they do. All the time. Sorry, but it’s true. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we’re not lying per se, just drawing attention to what we see as our good points and sweeping the bad ones under the rug. The problem with this approach is that you’re being set up for a potentially nasty surprise if someone is only “ fun-loving, and sensual” HALF of the time. The rest of the time she’s a raving, psychotic bitch. The ease with which someone can move on to the next candidate is another downside to internet dating which is related to the profile info/questions stage. Ask a question someone doesn’t want to answer and you can find yourself dropped like you were hot for all the wrong reasons. The candy-store nature of dating sites can also bring out the ADD-afflicted child in many people. We are simply less prone to such avoidance/greedy behaviors in meat-space because it’s harder to get away with them without awkwardness abounding.

But probably the greatest drawback to internet dating is one which, surprisingly enough, it shares with meat-space dating. People really want to believe the hype. They give lip service to a desire for honesty, but behind that they want to believe in the fairytale. What they don’t want to hear is the often less attractive truth - that a person has moods, farts in bed, has a nightmare family, really doesn’t want kids at all. And when they inevitably do find out that the person they have become emotionally invested in is less than perfect after all, they react with absurd degrees of hurt and indignation. As though they had not been actively colluding in pulling the wool over their own eyes. Internet dating simply allows this to happen more often and to go on for longer, and so can heighten the negativity of the outcome.

So, in conclusion, do I think internet dating does what it says on the tin? Well, I think it depends on the individual and how they use the service, but essentially, I don’t think internet dating works any better or worse than traditional means of meeting our potential romantic partners.

NB. I haven’t included sites such as Facebook because I would consider it primarily to be a social networking site on which people sometimes happen to find romance.

Now, Be Honest...Or More likely, Not.

Maybe it's just me but I think a little more honesty in our personal relationships mightn't be such a bad thing. Yahoo ( which, admittedly, I would never consider a guru of anything ) once cobbled together some Dating Don't's with the assistance of so-called 'dating experts'. I rarely trust anyone who claims to be an 'expert' in anything any more than I consider Yahoo a guru, but hey, if it sells… Anyway, Yahoo and its experts listed 5 things which you should never talk about on a first date. Bearing in mind that these articles were written with heterosexual women in mind, nonetheless many of the points raised would apply across the gender/sexuality spectrum. The 5 Don’t Talk About subjects, in no particular order of importance, were: your ex, having children, money, politics, and religion.

Excuse me all over the place, but isn’t honesty about at least some of these five things fundamental to the success of intimate relationships???

Okay, spending the whole first date ( or any date thereafter ) yammering away about your ex, either how wonderful or how awful they were, clearly says “ Not ready for a relationship!” to most people. But at the least it can be helpful in letting someone know that you may not be fully committed to a new relationship. Of course, it screams "Obsessive maniac!" to some of us, but we won’t go there.
Of the other 4 conversational no-no's, two consistently appear in the top reasons for break-ups…money and the issue of having children. Lets face it, life is not a romantic novel/movie and love does not often conquer all of your financial debts. The desire to have children should be an integral part of your makeup as an individual, it should not be a decision taken lightly or for the appeasement of another person. Children aren’t something you "get used to” like a stain on the bathroom wall. As for politics and religion, whilst these may seem at first glance to be of less importance to relationships, in fact they do play a major part in our lives. Our political and religious views color many of our opinions and values. There is no use in trying to say that class barriers do not exist, they most certainly do, and those are interwoven with political, religious, and financial issues. A wealthy person may sigh that money doesn’t bring happiness, but seriously, have you ever heard a poor person say “ No, no thank you, please don’t give me any money, it wouldn’t make in the least bit happier to be able to pay my mortgage/feed my kids for another month and know I have some breathing space”? I'm not saying we should compare wage slips on the first date, or spend it discussing our shared uterus ambitions, but maybe a little less blatant ignoring of these issues would be in order.

I’ve always been as upfront as necessary about these issues with any women I’ve become involved with, and yes it has cost me potential relationships. Mostly the marriage/partnership and having children issue, but that’s okay, because these things are important and sometimes there really is no satisfactory compromise. I'd prefer to know that sooner rather later and spare everyone involved deep disappointment and maybe a bit of unnecessary heartache. But it does make me wonder whether the lack of longevity in relationships is a symptom of a preference for trusting everything to “ Oh, we can work that out later!” and a lack of willingness to discuss these big-ticket issues at the outset?

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Great Post-40 Southward Migration

Since I turned forty I began to notice that some areas of my body were apparently hell-bent on migrating southwards. What was once easy to keep trim suddenly sagged with a determination so ferocious it was initially quite alarming. What once was perky, wilted most of the time and bloated the rest of the time. And what once near shone with elasticity came to more closely resemble one of my mother’s crocodile handbags. I suppose multiple years of abdominal surgeries and toxic but necessary medications helped make much of the abdominal muscle-weakening inevitable ( although a heads-up from some bloody doctor at an earlier stage would’ve been nice…wait, no, it was all done on the NHS so I should probably think myself lucky the surgeries didn’t actually kill me and stop expecting such frivolous extras ). One good thing though, I’ve always been fortunate enough not to have had serious weight issues so the sagging, wilting, and general lack of perking are not accompanied by calorie-hoarding! It hasn’t, however, prevented the need to purchase a whole new wardrobe of jeans and trousers, the ones I had having mysteriously begun to pinch an inch wasn’t there before as the abdominal muscles get progressively weaker and more prone to feeling the pain of pinching. And I’m so past the stage of forcing it for the sake of appearance. I understand now why they call them slacks because after a certain age, that’s all you bloody well want them to be!

We live in a world obsessed with youth, beauty, physical fitness, and the idea of some elusive perfection, evidenced by the celebrity images we are daily bombarded with. In the midst of the dazzling smiles, perky bottoms, and buff pectorals, it’s easy for we mere mortals to forget that celebrity is as much about smoke and mirrors as it is about anything vaguely resembling reality. So the 38 yr-old Kate Beckinsale may have poured herself into the skintight leather once more for ‘Underworld 4’ ( and bless her indeed for doing so, the world needs Selene and her skintight leather ) but at what cost does such a physique come to Ms Beckinsale? When was the last time the poor dear spent a weekend lazing on the couch in front of the TV, with a nice cream cake and a full-fat frothy cappuccino and just indulged herself, without giving so much as passing thought to working out? And I don’t want to hear any of that crap about being able to eat anything without putting weight on…yeah, I can do that, too, but weight gain isn’t the issue here. The issue is the increasing vigor with which one must battle gravity as one gets older. That other notorious skinny cow, Victoria Beckham, was once snapped by paparazzi sporting a visible protrusion of belly, which prompted the slavering question “ Is Posh Pregnant?” Mrs Golden Balls calmly responded that no, she was not pregnant, she simply gets bloated sometimes just like everyone else! I may not ordinarily have much time for Posh, but it was nice to hear her admit to being a victim of the same imperfections as the rest of us.

The rest of us who often just do not have the time nor money - nor frankly, the inclination - to devote ourselves 24/7 to the vigorous honing of a perfect body. And sometimes you just don’t have the physical ability either. Some of us forty-somethings would simply prefer to accept that we are human, and therefore imperfect. Find a level of fitness that is comfortable, and turn blind eyes and deaf ears to the celebrity bombardment of orange tan, cabbage-soup diets, and pumping iron ‘til you puke. We embrace our flaws instead. Better still, we toast them with a big old glass of vodka or another beer ( no, not lite beer - are you fucking insane? ). I may be going on forty-two and be sagging, wilting, wrinkling, and long past any perking, but with thirty-some years of medical mishaps behind me, my abdomen has earned the right to look a little more like Buddha and a lot less like a washboard.

You couldn't pay me enough money to squeeze my saggy, bloated self into that outfit.
But I'll happily pay to see Ms Beckinsale do so!

The Bigots Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments...Answered!

It is a fact that the world has always been filled with bug-eyed salivating bigots who all seem to have an inordinate amount of time on their hands for getting all up in other folks’ business. These bigots particularly possess a fear of allowing LGBT folks to get hitched to one another. Because it’s all been getting a tad serious in here lately, I thought why not take a lighthearted look at the anti-gay arguments of the bigots that make least sense to sane people:

1. “ If we let gays get married, next thing you’ll have people wanting to marry their pet dog!”

Well, yes, I daresay there are people who want to marry their dog. Or their horse, or goat. But they could just as easily use the fact that heterosexuals are allowed to marry to push this canine marriage agenda. They don’t need us gay folks to add anything to that argument. Also, there are several universes of difference between two consenting adult human beings wanting to get wed to each other, and someone wanting to snare their poor unwitting German Shepherd into the institution. So, to those of you who use this argument against gay marriage, I can only say that you need to shut up and go the hell away because the lack of even the most basic logic in this argument gives me a serious headache.

2. “ Allowing gays to marry will destroy family values!”

Family values…let me see…You mean the “family values” of the three-time jailbird loser deadbeat absentee dad, and meth-addicted party-girl mom with six kids, all to different deadbeat dads and not quite sure which one belongs to whom because she was too far off her tits to notice who she was having sex with? Or maybe the you mean the “family values” of the Christian preacher who spends his Sundays spitting fire-and-brimstone from the pulpit and his Friday nights dressed in nothing but an adult-sized diaper and sucking on the boob-job of a $1000 hooker, which by the way, he pays for out of church funds, whilst his functioning alcoholic wife secretly beats her kids to vent her own frustrations? Are those the “family values” that you fear us gay folks destroying with our evil demands for marriage equality? Then, please, would you go join the morons who rave about people marrying dogs, before I get the urge to do some destroying of a different kind…with my shotgun.

3. “ If gays get married, the divorce rate will go up!”

Well, yes, the more marriages there are, the more divorces there can potentially be too. But what has this to do with gay marriage equality per se? Divorce has less to do with who is getting married than with insubstantial relationships and poor marriage skills in general, and sorry, but getting into relationships for the wrong reasons and possessing poor skills at staying married are not gay-exclusive. I think we know this already. So although this argument has some merit as a statement of fact, it’s still not substantial enough by far to use to block marriage equality. You who use it are only just excused from joining the above in Stupid Town but I’d advise that you think about what you’re saying, lest you find yourself being relocated there in the near future. Remember, it’s depressingly easy to graduate from argument-with-some-merit to totally-fucking-pointless-argument. The bigot-agenda can be very persuasive that way. Much more than us gay folks and our agenda.

4. “ If gay people get married, they’ll have gay children!”

This is sort of the modern-day equivalent of “If an old woman lives alone, and has lots of warts and cats, she must be a witch!” Sympathetic magic. Or simple-minded bullshit, as we would call it in the modern, enlightened world. Despite the glaring fact that nobody apparently told the heterosexual parents to stop having all those gay children, the bigots still insist on wheeling out this tired, superstitious old chestnut. I say take your witch-hunting nonsense and stuff it up your nether regions. If you can make room alongside the stick is already up there…Speaking of which, can I have my broomstick back, please?

5. “ It’s against God’s word!”

Ah, possibly my favorite of all the bigots’ out-there arguments. Interestingly, you can hear this one thundered out of a pulpit by that same preacher is spending church funds on hookers and his wife’s six-bottles-of-wine-and-a-lot-of-Johnny-Walker-a-day habit. You also tend to hear it used as a fallback position when some irksome twat like me has come along and shot down all their other arguments. “God’s word”, now, that would be the same God who deemed it okay to stone adulterers to death, right? Do we still do that in the so-called civilized Western world? Gee, I must be living in the wrong place then because I haven’t seen a good stoning for yonks. If we were to live by this “word of God” a great deal of modern Jewish men should also be summarily executed for wearing their hair in the wrong style. Tsk tsk! And much as I’m sure many women would love to just bugger off to a nice, relaxing arts commune once a month and not have to deal with demanding kids, lazy spouses, annoying bosses, and all that other everyday shit seems worse when you have PMS and are cramping like a bitch, this is the modern world and women have periods in it without being banished to the attic as “unclean”. So much for God and his all-important words then, apparently we can be as selective as we like about which of those we heed. So, “word of God” pundits…take thee off to a distant land and there get thee the fuck out of my wrongly styled hair.

So there you go, five of the bigot’s favorite arguments against gay marriage equality which hopefully one day will be put where they belong in the “You’ll Never Believe People Once Thought This!” section of the history books.

Monday, 20 February 2012

" Our Name Is Legion...No, actually it's Amazon, but well, it's the same thing really..."

Remember the days when you went to the library or the bookstore and the shelves were filled with books, many of which were written by authors you’d never heard of? A title would catch your eye, you would lift that book down and browse the blurb. If this aroused your interest further, you might read the first few pages. Then you would make up your mind whether or not to buy or borrow the book. In those days relatively few of these books were reviewed in print media - some of the top bestsellers and maybe a couple of that year’s literary prize winners - so it is likely that also relatively few of us based our decision to buy or borrow a book on reviews alone.

Then along came the Internet and it brought a slew of blog and online magazine reviewers with it. Some of these reviewers turned out to be very good at what they did. They took time to construct thoughtful and fair reviews, and they took the pride of a serious amateur in what they were doing ( which is often a greater pride than the lazy professional ). But then a behemoth bullied its way to the front of this charge and this behemoth was named Amazon. It introduced a system of everyman-as-reviewer, thus allowing every Tom, Dick, and Harriet to become arbiters of taste via offering their own little pearls of wisdom on books. In itself this should not necessarily have been a bad thing, it should simply have been a thing, and I am assuredly not saying that Amazon shouldn’t have a review system. Freedom of speech is a good thing but it means we must be prepared to take the good speech with the bad.

The problem is that somewhere along the line of its evolution, Amazon became the apex review site and this is where the 5-star rave review may have turned into a sort of fool’s gold as a result.

All alleged abuses of Amazon’s system aside, if Amazon reviews have begun to count so much toward the decision-making of readers that said readers no longer pay attention to anything else, all that says to me about modern thinking processes is we have we already arrived at Borg-style assimilation to the ‘hive’ mind to which resistance is futile. I find it hard to conceive that readers really have such short attention spans and so little self-awareness they would slavishly take the word of an Amazon reviewer alone on the potential worth of a book’s reading. Instead, I want to believe in readers’ discernment.

In fact, I think it is we authors who have given this power to Amazon. Through our own fear of being ignored by a supposed “in-crowd” and our subsequent slavish devotion to and constant slavering after 5-star reviews and Amazon sales figures that we think represent the approval of this in-crowd, we have allowed the behemoth to tyrannize us.

Just like any fear, our fear of the Amazon review can only have power over us if we give it permission to hold that power. So don’t give Amazon the power to tyrannize us. Amazon is not the sole arbiter of taste and success. Stop obsessing and stressing over 5-star rave reviews and sales figures, stop being scared of Amazon, stop convincing yourself that “ 5-star Amazon reviews drive sales and nothing else” and pretty soon your world will start to look a little more realistic and a little less stressful.

Oh, and if you still don’t believe that reviews really are only one person’s opinion, then take a look at the video review below which was posted by a prolific Amazon reviewer named Dottie Randazzo ( who happens to write self-help books herself ). It seems that Dottie thinks paying $107 ( £67 ) for a 250pp PB is worth every cent…Seriously, Dottie??? If I was a wealthy collector and it was a 1st Edition signed leatherbound antique one-off copy...well, maybe. But I'd still prefer it was handwritten by Charles Dickens!

But as a guide to living on an island? You have got to be fucking kidding me!



Saturday, 18 February 2012

Novelist...AND screenwriter!

I’m all for promotion. I believe all really is fair in love, war, and advertising.
But I remain both bewildered by, and strangely fascinated with, the latest incarnation of flummery taken directly from the ‘Fake It Til You Make It Writer’s Guide To Success’, which would be the chapter dealing with The Screenplay Claim.
It’s quite simple. It runs along the lines of a novelist smiling and puffing themselves up importantly whilst repeatedly uttering the magical words:
I’m busy writing the screenplay version of my novel.”
The trick to making this statement seem convincing lies in saying it with just enough conviction that it comes across plausible to the uninitiated.
God bless the uninitiated. They will swallow anything hook, line, and sinker, won’t they? You might well be writing the screenplay version of your novel, and jolly good for you, keeping yourself busy. But that’s about as much as it’s likely to amount to, in all truth: busywork.
Let’s look at history for a moment. Back in the days when Hollywood was Hollywood there were many novelists brought there with the express purpose of turning their literary masterpieces into screenplays. Most failed. And even where the few succeeded, other screenwriters were brought in to snip and polish and generally to paint a very different picture from that the novelist intended. The best of the best amongst actual screenwriters were just as subject to this studio whim and more often than not found their hard work discarded by some upstart whose vision the studio head liked better.
It was all very frustrating. But it helps to explain why so many writers and screenwriters, both of yesteryear and of the modern era, were and are drunken and drugged-up raving lunatics. Because both are equally frustrating and thankless arenas to throw your hat into. Don't deny it.
Nothing much has changed from those days. Except perhaps for the stringency of the liable laws and, frankly, Hollywood has simply found new and inventive ways of circumventing those.
There are - quite literally - millions of suckers in LA who are unemployed screenwriters and every one is looking for that Big Break will make their career and their life. They all want to get within throwing distance of Jerry Bruckheimer with the script that they, personally, feel is overwhelmingly ground-breaking and thus box office record-shattering. The sad and harsh truth is most of them will never graduate beyond serving you a burger with extra fries. The sensible minority will return home to East Bumfuck, Idaho, and there become local business luminaries.
Even those scripts which do make it to tentative studio approval are subject to multiple whims and changes. Any successful original script will end up looking nothing like the thing it started out as. By the time it reaches the silver screen, maybe a year, maybe twenty years down the line, it will have been passed through the hands and minds of maybe a dozen or more screenwriters, each of whom will have as little to do with the last as fudge has to do with particle physics. The end result will have been tainted by the input of not only multiple screenwriters but also multiple directors, producers, and even star-name actors.
You might think that having a slew of 5-star Amazon reviews is all you need to attract the attention of Hollywood because there have been a rash of 5-star reviewed books recently turned into movies. Not so. Hollywood may be shallow and you may think it is driven by what is perceived to be the latest trends, including those set artificially by the Everyman denizens of Amazon review pages, but in truth Hollywood is also money conscious in the final analysis. Just spend a moment thinking about all the 5-star rave reviewed books available on Amazon which have not been made into mega-movies. Right.
Now think about the sheer volume of movies produced by Hollywood. Most of which are destined to wither in obscurity. It may not be nearly as many movies are produced today as were in the studio heyday, but it’s still a goodly number. Do you really think they will be throwing money at your little tale of, well, whatever? Been there, done that, tee-shirts didn’t sell well at the box office. No thanks then, dude. We’ll pass today.
Still think that’s all it takes? Then you are a deluded idiot. Perhaps even more deluded than the idiots who run Hollywood these days.
Just like achieving bestseller status as a writer, Hollywood is a lottery. The chin-scratching pundits who spend their days pontificating on the Internet and raising the desperate hopes of writers might like for the rest of us to think that they know what of they speak, that they are in tune with what is “trending”, but the truth is, they have as little clue as to what might pop or sink next week or next year as the rest of us do. They are simply fakin’ it ‘til they make it because they have a job to protect like the rest of us.
So write your screenplay. Good luck to you. And if you have friends in the biz who have told you “ If you write it, I will film it” take that with a pinch of salt. Please. Because that is as much wishful thinking on their part as screenplay glory is on yours. There are many frustratingly complex steps between screenplay and screen glory. There are more screenplays stuck in Production Hell than ever make it to the big screen. Of the screenplays do make it onto celluloid, more end up going straight-to-DVD than achieve a cinema release. And what does make it to the big screen and come to the notice of the critics, is merely a the tip of a very big iceberg.
Screenwriting and novel writing are two very different animals. Rarely do the twain meet without expectations, and sometimes sanity, being the bottom-line cost. As a novelist then, you might be better off expending the same mental energy in writing your next book.
Unless the Muse has temporarily deserted you? Is that it? She’ll come back. She always does. Or are you a one- or two-trick pony as a novelist? You’ve reached your limit of book-writing potential…In which case, have at it with the screenplay. Because being busy with anything is better than being idle in nothing.
Write your screenplay from your novel.
Just don't think you're going to be the next James Cameron.

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Mores of Marketing And The Fed-Up Writer

 When write, you do it because you love it. Not because you want to be rich or even be a best-seller because those are the few. If you can even make a living off your writing without having to do something else, you’re lucky. Of course, there are those lucky enough to be able to insist it’s because they are so damned good that they can make a living from it, but we all know how the authorial ego likes to romanticize, don’t we?  Loving what you do also suggests that what you do is, or should be, fun. Writers should be having fun when they are writing. Sadly, with the pressures inherent in writing today, this can’t always be the case. Even those authors with mainstream or ‘Big 6’ publishers must do more self-promotion today than ever has been the case at any time before. You need to be not just a writer but also a techie, marketer, publicist, and social networking expert. Often, by the time you’re done with this aspect of it, the hard sell, you are too fucking exhausted and out of inspiration to write a single word of fiction.
 A little while ago writing stopped being fun for me. I just got so overwhelmed by the whole promotional expectations. Worse, I couldn’t figure what good was my promotion doing amidst the overwhelming noise and confusion of all the other writers, musicians, artists, bloggers, and just about everybody else with a product to sell, blaring daily from the Internet. Half of the time I wonder if anyone is listening to anyone else on Facebook or if we are all just mindlessly spraying electronic graffiti on each other’s Walls? I don’t even understand Twitter and Google+ is so far beyond what I’m willing to do I refuse to even go there. Then my website went from being right up there at the top when you Googled me, to not even appearing in Google searches at all, and I have no fucking idea why ( please do not comment to tell me why it’s disappeared unless you can do so without a single techie word being used, or I will delete your comment. I’m not a techie. If you can offer a very simple solution without techie-speak I may let the comment stand, however ). The demand to need-to-know about everything from e-book conversion to Amazon sales rankings gives me a headache and a serious inclination to raid the booze cabinet. I suddenly found all my desire to write down words of fiction waning. I came very close to hating it all and just wanting to go be a street sweeper for the local council instead.
 Then I decided to have a bit of fun with it all. Because, you know, I think that’s what is missing from today’s endless round of “ Like my page!” and “ Follow me back!” A little bit of good old-fashioned fun in marketing. So I did something I do know how to do, I created a YouTube channel, and I made a daft little PR video starring my dog. And lo, it did make me laugh, and it did also make some other peeps laugh. And that gladdened my near-jaded little heart once more.
 So, I’ve decided to fuck the self-seriousness and go with what I know best. Instead of demanding that you all “ Like my page!” I shall be asking you all “ Would you like some laughter with your promotion?” Because I know I do.
 And here it is…My Advert Starring THE DOG. Hope you like it.




And then go check out the website HERE:
The New Orleans Mysteries