North to South

Illustration by Poelosophy

Indonesian artist, Poelosophy, created some concept art for my novel. There is an exhibit in Dublin, ‘North to South’, which features aboriginal art from Northern Europe and South America. The exhibit is the setting for a scene entitled ‘Big Daddy Pharma’.

Thank you for leaving encouraging words for me when I wrote about the impossible task of getting promotional work done. I’m still processing ideas and will be working on them as I go. Feeling like giving up is part of the journey. But I was amused at suggestions that I should actually toss my project. Hold on a second. I haven’t tried everything yet.

North to South – illustration by Poelosophy

And I am quite sure that if someone were to lend me their celebrity friends and let me slobber all over them in the club, my novel would get downloaded really fast. A Russian woman who pretended to be a German heiress, and stole millions, has deals with Netflix and Shonda Rhimes. Other people, who look different, would be rotting, anonymously, in jail. So let’s be realistic about what’s going on out here.

In the past, I would have been totally destroyed by “delete your book” remarks. But Fifty Shades fan fiction 365 Days was optioned by Netflix. The film skyrocketed to first place last weekend. It tells the story of a gangster who kidnaps a woman, ties her up, and assaults her for an entire year so she will fall in love with him. Even the people who said they hated it, watched it to the end, and uploaded reviews to their YouTube channels. In other words, the release was a success.

If that film is out there, it means two things. One, thinking in terms of ‘good writing’ or ‘bad writing’ is unhelpful. Two, the universe now needs to be balanced, so I will be publishing my novel.

Perceived quality is not a metric that can be influenced by hand-wringing. Instead of telling people what they should/shouldn’t like, I should focus on finding (a) people who will read anything, (b) people who like everything they read, (c) people who like to read full-length novels on mobile devices and (d) people who collect ebooks.

The search continues …

Have a great week ahead.

I went and did a thing

Greetings, everyone. Since my amazing book promotion idea got twisted in the game, I had a few other ideas. One person who helped me is Australian illustrator, Jennifer Horn. She created these storyboards for some key scenes in my novel, which I am calling The Quarter Percent. I asked for rough sketches because I’m redrafting at the moment. Here are three of the key scenes.


Rue and Karl – Illustration by Jennifer Horn

Rue and Karl are now friends after their bitter divorce ten years earlier. Karl reminds Rue that he has custody of their frozen embryos from the divorce. They are about to be destroyed. Karl proposes that they start a family instead. Rue agrees, on condition that they ask three gestational carriers to carry the babies at the same time. She also decides to publicise the news of the surrogacy to stir up controversy, which will drum up business for her luxury yacht building company. That decision will backfire because…

Costmary and Karen – Illustration by Jennifer Horn

Costmary’s private dispute with her father, Cordial, has leaked to the press. Social media is Team Costmary. The public takes her sister, the thrice-divorced Rue, to task for promoting a ‘happy families’ image in light of her sister’s hardship. Costmary is having crisis talks with her publicist and friend, Karen. Earlier that day, Cordial had filed a vaguely worded writ against his subjects. Reading between the lines, journalists guessed correctly that the writ was meant for Costmary. To make matters worse, he served her with a €45 billion lawsuit. It represents the stock value of her vegan brand, Costmary’s Farm. Her father’s latest salvo has come as a shock.

Cordial and Marvin – Illustration by Jennifer Horn

Rue and Costmary’s father, Cordial, is distracted at the moment. Three weeks before the closing deadline of a multinational trade deal, he is having a video chat with the reclusive Marvin Stone, CEO of Marvin Stone Technologies, LLC. Marvin has launched a brand new, super exclusive insurance policy that only a quarter of the one percent can afford. Marvin invited twenty-three individuals to sign up for the policy. Cordial is angry because he was not on the list. But Marvin excluded him on purpose. It seems the strategy was effective.

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You can find Jennifer Horn on Instagram @Eskyjen and view her Facebook Art Page here. She has been kind, encouraging and a lovely person to collaborate with. As always, thank you for your support. Have a productive week ahead.

I am talking about books

Julie is a lifesaver. She asked me to answer some questions about my reading habits yesterday afternoon. Her timing was excellent because I tanked a ranty post. Some of you are sick so I would rather cheer you up. I have some options: (a) read this post (b) listen to the music (c) type any off topic comment. Or do all three.

I had to keep my eyes closed for most of the day because of a migraine, so I’m squinting and prepping this. And now, a word from our sponsor. Art of War, performed by Vanessa Mae, courtesy Ionna Pianissimo via YouTube.

(I am) talking about Books
The Q’s & A’s

You have 20,000 books on your iPad. How do you decide what to read next? That is impossible. I have tried to download every work from every classical French poet and novelist but there aren’t that many texts available. I regularly meet for after work tea with a colleague who needs her French poetry fix, so I need to have the works in digital format. Twangent allez tu? (I just made that up).

You’re halfway through a book and not loving it. Do you quit or commit? Toss.

The end of the year is around the corner and you are far from finishing your GoodReads challenge. Do you quit or commit? Why does everything have homework? You know there are textbooks for married couples, so they can get a degree in how to be married? I’ve even read about a girl who has a breakup plan and a two month evaluation clause in her relationship contract with her boyfriend. (I’m not introducing you.)

Painting of Queen Victoria in full regaliaQueen Victoria. Image courtesy article on Victoria’s Scottish secrety,
via The Daily Beast.  Her biography, A Personal History, was a very good read.

The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. I usually cover my books. I prefer to read the book rather than judge it by the cover.

Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings? My subscribers, who are very smart about hating on stuff and are more eloquent ranters. I once used my Amazon account for sharing feelings. However, no one cared that the autobiography of the Arab princess was fake.

You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal? Cry. I like the runny eyeshadow look. I like to mix colours just in case. (Reliq Minerals aubergine and mud pie). Also, I would be completely invisible under sunglasses the size of my face.

Helena Bonham Carter via Vlad Rodriguez @ Pinterest

A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot. Will you re-read the book? Highly unlikely I’ll read a sequel of anything. Unless Alexandre Dumas writes a spicy follow up to The Count of Monte Cristo on his secret blog. I know what you’re driving at and no, I did not make it past chapter six of 50SOG.

You don’t want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people “no”? I don’t mind lending my books out. Many people ask to have my books, so I sign and gift them over. If someone finds my taste in books intriguing, I take that as a compliment. One exception is a Verdi (Requiem) libretto, which is an early edition. It’s stashed away safely somewhere. (I have no idea where it is).

You’ve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over the reading slump? I don’t have a slump because I’m a voracious reader.

There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy? Everything I want to read is so old, I can download them free from the iBook store.

After you’ve bought a new book, how long does it sit on your shelf until you actually read it? You mean, how long do books sit in the box until I stumble over it, while cleaning, only to realise that I bought a box of books and forgot to open the box?

** FIN **

Blogger wins war against Free Speech

Blogger wins war against free speech
By Demon Barbra Politrix
Last updated: March 24, 2015
3,333,333 Comments

At an awards ceremony in New York last night, WordPress blogger Manco Pride was announced as the winner of the 2015 Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism for his essay: I don’t get it: I hate poetry, art and one subject only blogs and you should unfollow them.

Book burning ceremony in honour of Pride’s achievement.

This is great news. Pride’s complaints about blogs with poetry, art and colourful backgrounds started the debate over whether bloggers should in fact publish whatever they like on their blogs. Manco’s “I don’t get it” essay raised questions about the intelligence of artists, poets, fiction writers, people who don’t speak English, whiney bitches and lonely girls who can’t stop blogging about how much their lives suck.

His essay started the Free Speech Apocalypse. Also, it is fair to say, his work gravely damaged the reputation of artists, poets and free thinkers around the world. This comes after the Social Research Unit at the University of Deadbeats manipulated data in order to exaggerate the reach of the blogger’s opinions.

Black macarons. Courtesy Guardian UK.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that “double standards is the name of the international human rights game” and that we all have to suck it up or Manco will get upset. China, Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea are defiant. They have called out the United Nations for allowing art and literature to be destroyed at the whim of a miserable blogging dictator.

Black chocolate and marshmallow cookies. Courtesy Poires au Chocolat.

Bjork eats squid ink pasta. Courtesy pixgood.com viaTumblr.

Artists, poets and writers worldwide were happy to sabotage their careers to make Pride feel like the smartest dude on WordPress.

Oxford University, founded in 872, has announced that it will close after a 1143 year history because Pride doesn’t “get” why academics write essays. Before closing, the university will assist the UK National Archives to white out from historical record, poets such as William Wordsworth. Philosophers and non sports loving aristocrats will also be erased.

Starbucks wants Manco to keep buying their coffee, so the company is changing the green mermaid logo to black. The company’s 70 million customers will only be served milk, water, vanilla macarons, black cookies and black sesame paste on a plain piece of white bread.

Image courtesy Harley Vasquez on Google + Elephants march off to warmer climates for winter. They have escaped the global backlash thanks to their grey colour.

Raf Simons, head designer at Christian Dior, said Manco’s revolutionary stand made him a “champion for limited expression and intellectual laziness, both of which make the work of designing so easy because we only need to cut out holes in sheets.”

Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour has said she will never again publish an edition of Vogue without Manco’s approval. The last three editions featured models covered in white sheets. They also had over 200 blank white pages. Wintour approved of Manco’s opinions by removing all the words. She has said she “desperately” wants Manco to like her.

A model wears a creation from Marko Mitanovski.

The Bastiat Prize is a heavy-hitting award by the free-market International Politics Network, given for both print and online journalism. Judges in previous years have included the Nobel Prize Winners James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, and Margaret Thatcher.