PATREON: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (Doodle-oo-doo, doodle-oo-de-doooo…)

‘Twas the night before the 1st of February (It was the 31st of January)

And all through the house (I’m currently sitting in Perth airport)

Not a creature was stirring (It’s as busy as all buggery)

Not even a… (All right, this really isn’t working, is it?)

 

It’s the 31st of January. That means there’s just over 12 hours left until the first batch of Patreon rewards drops into the inboxes of those fabulous people who have become my patrons.

What will they receive? Here’s a taste.
Continue reading “PATREON: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (Doodle-oo-doo, doodle-oo-de-doooo…)”

AND THAT, AS THEY SAY, WAS THAT

A sparsely-attended morning tea, an awkward 15-minute handover meeting, and 8 years of my life is over.

I don’t think my relationship with the City can be better summed up by my leaving present: a book about the art and people of the Dampier Peninsula so I can “enjoy reading about the culture of the area you’re heading to.”

For the record, the Dampier Peninsula is 850 kilometres North of the area I’m heading to.

So long, City of Rockingham. It certainly was a thing that I did.

5 FOR FRIDAY: THINGS LEFT BEHIND

The car went first. Then the furniture. Finally, on Wednesday, I drove Luscious and the kids to the airport and they went too. I’ve a couple of days of work and house tidying left, and then I’ll follow them. Rockingham is over, and our future– at least for the next 2 years– lies in Karratha.

I’ve lived in Rockingham, on and off, since the age of eight. That’s a gnat’s breath short of forty years. It’s my home. No matter where I travel– including this move, for however many years it lasts– no matter where I move to, my new location is viewed in terms of where it lies in relation to Rockingham. I’m not moving 1600 kilometres to Karratha, I’m moving 1600 kilometres away from Rockingham.

Continue reading “5 FOR FRIDAY: THINGS LEFT BEHIND”

REVIEW: JLA- POWER AND GLORY

Justice League of America: Power & GloryJustice League of America: Power & Glory by Bryan Hitch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Superman is a religiously-gullible rube, The Flash is an idiot, Green Lantern is a morose quitter, and once again the JLA is confronted by an impossible to beat antagonist, only to defeat it by a combination of mysterious, one-time-only outsider assistance and because-the-narrative-requires-it. And yet, Hitch manages to make everything progress so smoothly and at such a pace that it all seems to work, and you find yourself happily swept up in it all. The wheels fall off towards the end, as the narrative begins to creak under the weight of the spiralling absurdity and lack of logic, but it’s still enjoyable, and the kind of slick escapism that is perfect for a lazy afternoon on the sofa.

View all my reviews

PATREON IS LAUNCHED: THE ROCK AND ROLL TYRANNOSAURUS SEX GOD VIP ROOM

The Space King Super Love Monkey of all Patreon launches has reached its climax, and how better to take us over the top than to take a glimpse at the King of the Terror Lizards, Peter Dutton, in the mighty Rock and Roll Tyrannosaurus Sex God VIP Room?

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This is the biggie, folks. This is for everything: for $50 a month, you can be one of only 12 patrons to receive every reward bestowed upon all other levels. That’s everything we’ve spent the last two weeks revealing– the exclusive novel; the personalised cartoons; the work in progress reveals; the writing exercises; the personalised 5 for Friday posts; the exclusive, personalised story; the Vlog posts; the journal entries; the patron-only stories, cartoons and voting stock– everything. And it will all start to tumble into your possession from 1 February 2018.

Plus, once a year, I will read your novel manuscript, and provide a free manuscript assessment. Go on, take a moment to check out how much you’ll pay an editing company. Yeah, that much. For free. So you’ll get that– which would normally cost you more than your annual patronage commitment by itself— on top of all the other booty. I’ll read your manuscript, and provide you with a 2000-word minimum report distilling my 17 years’ experience into an analysis of  the narrative flow, positives, aspects for further work, and potential next steps. I’ll talk about the overall structure, content and style, plot, character, point-of-view, pace, writing style, narrative, dialogue, presentation, length, verisimilitude, potential readership, and publishing possibilities.

Go back and check out all the other fantastic rewards you’ll receive for your patronage,

  • The Velociraptors of Love
  • Is Troodon, Is Good
  • Today is a Good Day to Deinonychus
  • Air-cooled, totally worked V8 Australovenator, maaaate.
  • It Takes a Lotosaurus to be a Dilophosaurus
  • The Be Allosaurus to End Allosaurus

Add them all up, top it off with the manuscript assessment and the knowledge that you’ll be one of en exclusive dozen-only patrons at this level, and $50 doesn’t seem as much as it did when we got here, no? Why, I bet you spend more than that on medieval sword canes and Lithuanian brandy……

So, there it is. 7 levels of support to help me create writing, art and cartoons over the next 2 years. And in return, to provide you with some exclusive content that will warm your heart and moisten your glands. The first batch of rewards drop on 1 February, so you’ve got a week to get in, make your choice of pledge, and experience the glow of satisfaction that come from being a patron of the arts. Like the De Medici, or Charles Saatchi, or… this isn’t going well, is it? Anyway, to become a patron and receive all this (if I do say so myself) awesome stuff, head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. And while you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

Become a Patron!

REVIEW: JSA- THE GOLDEN AGE

JSA: The Golden AgeJSA: The Golden Age by James Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gorgeous artwork, a beautiful balance between superheroic nostalgia and historic paranoia, and plenty of over-the-top revelations that carry the whiff of the best of 1950s B-grade monster movies, all delivered with a straight face and a perfectly balanced respect for, and love of, the various elements. A wonderful volume for the geekiest of JSA fans, those with a memory of the-way-comics-used-to-be, and those who enjoy a finely balanced combination of artwork and narrative.

View all my reviews

5 FOR FRIDAY: AUSSIE WOMEN VOICES

There was sad news this week, with the death of Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan. For many of us, hers was a voice of pure pop perfection that stood comparison with the likes of Annie Lennox and Sinead O’Connor: powerful, multi-ranged, and with a crystal clarity. What’s more, like O’Connor in particular, O’Riordan never felt the need to deviate from, or minimise, her natural accent. Her voice was not only beautiful, it was beautiful in an overtly Irish way.

Which got me thinking about Australian music, and the women whose voices come to mind when I think of that peculiarly Aussie way of speaking, and delivering lyrics. Here, then, are five Australian women’s pop voices that speak to me in the way the O’Riordan’s Irish lilt does.

5 for Friday: Aussie Pop Women

Continue reading “5 FOR FRIDAY: AUSSIE WOMEN VOICES”

PATREON: READY TO ROCK

I’ve lived in my hometown, Rockingham, for almost 40 years. Even when I’ve moved away, I’ve stayed within the boundaries of Perth, the capital city of my home state. To say this is an adventure is an understatement—the last time I perched on the edge of a desert I was 6 years old, having spent 2 years in Kambalda at the behest of my parents, England’s three-day working week, and Western Mining Corporation’s (now BHP’s) ravenous needs for innocent foreigners to feed the maw of the nickel industry.

So it’s a beautiful coincidence that my first day in Karratha should coincide with the first day of this Patreon adventure we’re embarking on together.

 

The February journal entry– We Work The Red Seam Together— is written, the first three 500 words stories (entitled Resurrection, Creeping, and Harvest Moon) are in various stages of completion, and I only have the Q&A Vlog to complete before all of February’s Patreon rewards are ready to fire into the waiting hands of eager patrons.

If you want to get a taste of these undoubtedly Nobel-prize winning goodies, all you have to do is pledge as little as a dollar a month. A buck a month! You probably spend more on sherbert and Tony Abbott chest-hair bracelets……

PATREON IS LAUNCHED: THE BE ALLOSAURUS TO END ALLOSAURUS

allo

Today on our mighty, extended Patreon launch, I’ll be showing you what you can receive if you join me at the level of $20 per month. It’s time to become The Be Allosaurus to End Allosaurus

Over the course of a year, starting from the 1st of the month following your pledge, you’ll receive a patron-exclusive pdf novel in twelve instalments of 5000 words+ each. In 2018, that novel is Counterweight Colony.
Counterweight Colony is an alternative history novel that charts the progress of a group of English settlers who leave Botany Bay and colonise the fabled and unnamed Counterweight Continent to the south of recently-discovered Australia. When the French exploration ship La Perouse arrives at the colony, it triggers a collision between the English settlers, the native peoples, and the supernatural creatures that have roamed the continent for centuries. To give you a taste of what you’ll be receiving, here’s a short sample:

Summer in this new place was vicious. It had been eight weeks since the first boat landed and already the nameless colony struggled against the sun’s constant anger. The noise of industry should have filled the air: the rise and fall of hammers; the sawing of wood; the myriad cries and halloos of working convicts and administrators. Instead, the omnipresent heat beat sound out of the world, layering everything with sweat and torpor. Even the flies lay still, as if those hyperactive insects could not muster the energy to buzz and thrum. The English pioneers, unused to the weather even after months of tropical sailing, collapsed in whatever scraps of shade they could annex.

Edward Montmercy was, by default, Governor of this distant outpost. If he were honest with himself, he felt more like leader of a company of the damned than a man chosen to guide a brave new adventure. His official mission had been to drop supplies at the brand new Botany Bay colony and then track into the unexplored reaches of the Pacific Ocean. He had done that. But then his real assignment had taken over. This island… he took a moment to consider the tightly-knotted forest that stood guard over the little beach… no map had warned of it. Only rumours, and three powerful men convinced of the existence of a counterweight continent that balanced the weight of Europe at the top of the world. When his little fleet had exited the storm and seen it looming on the horizon, his duty was clear. England would own the poles of the world, for whatever good that was likely to do his small band of soldiers, convicts, and uneducated sailors.

He strode across the cleared ground of the landing, hands clenched behind his back. Sweat rolled across his face and into his collar. He ignored it, moving down the slight incline toward the natural harbour at the settlement’s lowest point. Despite the fierce heat, he wore the full uniform of his rank. There were standards to maintain, even in a new enterprise on the other side of the Empire. It was his burden to maintain them, and more than that, to be seen to maintain them. After all, if God was an Englishman, then He could see where the King’s Privy Ternion, that thrice-damned secret council of three, could not. And not even the King himself could see the one thousand and seventy-nine weary souls nestled on this tiny beachhead, not through the heat haze that stretched to the boundaries of the world.

Counterweight Colony will remain exclusive for 2 years, meaning I’ll make no attempt to seek publication while you enjoy the sweet, sweet smell of exclusivity.
Plus, once a year, choose a word length (up to 1000 words) and a subject, and I will write an exclusive story for you and only you. (Available after 12 months).

That’s an entire novel that only you and the rest of your Allosaurus brethren will see for at least 2 years, plus a story that you will never have to share with anyone else ever, even your Mum!

Plus, you’ll receive all the benefits of the $1, $2, $3 and $5 into the bargain! That’s almost 7000 words of patron-exclusive content a month, plus drawings and the ability to choose topics for journal posts and stories and drawings that are exclusive to you alone!

Go on. Be honest. You spend more than that a month on decoder rings and snuff, don’t you?

Check out the previously profiled levels:

  • The Velociraptors of Love
  • Is Troodon, Is Good
  • Today is a Good Day to Deinonychus
  • Air-cooled, totally worked V8 Australovenator, maaaate.
  • It Takes a Lotosaurus to be a Dilophosaurus

To become a patron and receive all this (if I do say so myself) awesome stuff, head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. Patron rewards begin on 1 Feb 2018. While you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

 Become a Patron!

PATREON IS LAUNCHED: IT TAKES A LOTOSAURUS TO BE A DILOPHOSAURUS

dilopho

 

And we’re away again, turning for the home stretch and detailing the highest levels of Pledge-My-Money-to-Aid-the-Arts-Via-the-Medium-of-Patreon goodness. Today, we look at all the wonders that can be yours for the mere shelling out of $10 a month: after all, It Takes a Lotosaurus to be a Dilophosaurus.

This is the big time, now. For your pledge, you’ll receive some fantastic rewards, as well as everything you’ve already seen detailed in the four previous levels.

But don’t just believe me. Let a fat man with almost no hair persuade you.

Check out the previously profiled levels:

Like the idiot in the video says (Where do they get these people?) become a patron and receive all this awesome stuff by heading on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. Patron rewards start on 1 Feb 2018. While you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

Become a Patron!

PATREON IS LAUNCHED: AIR-COOLED, TOTALLY WORKED V8 AUSTRALOVENATOR, MAAAATE.

The I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Schmatreon Neon Firework Explodiness Patreon launch continues, and today, we bring it all back home to the land of open skies, driving fast, big donks, excessive fuel consumption, and the ride eternal, shiny and chrome: the Air-Cooled, Totally Worked V8 Australovenator, Maaaate.

australo

For $5 a month, you can become forever associated with the most vicious, monstrous,  nastiest reptile the Australian continent has ever seen.

abbott1

NOT HIM!

And like the Australovenator that will be your namesake, the power you wield will be the power to control. (‘Cause that’s what they did. Totes. YOU DON’T KNOW! YOU WEREN’T THERE!)

Once a year, I’ll publish a ‘5 for Friday‘ post on the Batthaim website on a subject of your choice, and acknowledge you as the genius behind the whole thing. That’s right: you can choose 5 Sexiest Male Mining Company CEOs, or 5 Helpless Marsupials I’d Most Like to Defenestrate, or 5 One Nation Candidates I’d Most Like to Cuddle, and I won’t even be able to spit in your eye: I’ll have to write it! This sort of power doesn’t come along every day, not even if you paint yourself in cheeto dust and use words like biggly-wiggly.

Plus, as if you’re not already on the verge of going power mad and turning into Sam Neil with a whole head full of badly-painted 666 tattoos, every six months I’ll dance to the pulling of your strings and create a single panel cartoon just for you on– again– any damn subject you choose. Beetroots of the Millennium? Done. Sentient, kitten-abducting porridge? Done. One Nation candidates you’d most like to cuddle? What is it with you and this fascist obsession? Doesn’t matter: done! And not just a sketch, such as those you’ve been seeing during Thumbnail Thursday: these are fully drawn, fully-inked, completed cartoons.

To give you a little taster of what you can receive from 1 Feb 2018, here’s a couple of older, already-completed examples.

0226

Baked Potato

On top of this,  you’ll get all the rewards received by Deinonychus, Troodon, and Velociraptor levels as well. That’s some decent booty for the price of… some sort… of coffee… that costs five bucks.

Check out the previously profiled levels:

To become a patron and receive all this (if I do say so myself) awesome stuff (although your One Nation fandom is more than a little disturbing), head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. Patron rewards begin from 1 Feb 2018. While you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

Become a Patron!

PATREON IS LAUNCHED: TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO DEINONYCHUS

As our giant, Mega-Supreme Lord of Super-Upsized Patreon launch continues, we take a look at the 3rd level of support, the $3 per month Today is a Good Day to Deinonychus.

deino

As you’re already a fan of my 5 For Friday posts, you’ve already experienced the frustration of really wanting me to talk about a particular subject, but never getting around to actually talking about the damn thing because I combine a complete lack of psychic ability with an almost whimsical self-centredness. Well, frustrate no more. By pledging at the Deinonychus level, you will be able to vote for upcoming ‘5 for Friday‘ posts at this here Batthaim website, and be acknowledged on those posts as the decision-making genius who directed it!

Plus, as a fan of Thumbnail Thursday, you’ll also receive one patron-only single panel cartoon per month. And not just the scratchings-from-time-past that Thumbnail Thursday presents. These will be completed and inked cartoons that, in other circumstances, I’d be submitting for publication. That’s a dozen exclusive cartoons, and the chance to direct the content of the Batthaim, for just $3 a month. This could be as close to running The New Yorker as either of us get!

To give you an idea of what you can look forward to receiving from 1 Feb 2018, here are a couple of my older, completed cartoons.

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0233

Check out the previously profiled levels:

To become a patron and receive all this (if I do say so myself) awesome stuff, head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. Patron rewards begin on 1 Feb 2018. While you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

 Become a Patron!

5 FOR FRIDAY: ALICE COOPER SONGS

I came across Alice Cooper in the oddest way possible: at the age of 11 or 12, attending an end-of-season dinner for my soccer club at ‘Max Kaye’s Theatre Restaurant’– a dinner theatre affair owned by, and featuring the titular hero. Imagine a grubby, sleazy Ronnie Corbett with the sort of humour that appealed to Bernard Manning fans of the 1970s, and you’ll have a fair idea of the sort of entertainment that was on offer.

And in the middle of it all, an (to my childhood mind) utterly incredible dance sequence featuring human spiders and ghosts to the strains of Welcome To My Nightmare.

I was stunned. Within a week I had the album, and a lifelong love affair was born. At a time when the boganistas that surrounded me were sunk into the Chisel/ACDC/Aussie Crawl triumvirate, I was already on a far different cultural journey. If nothing else, my life-long love of the concept album was born with him, and for that alone I could be grateful, if not for the fact that he’s been my introduction into so much theory on the intersection of narrative, music, folklore, and theatre.

He’s had ups and downs: a critical flat spot in the 1980s, and despite the brilliance of later albums like Brutal Planet and The Last Temptation, he’s tailed off with sub-par albums like Dragontown and Along Came a Spider. But he’ll always be close to my heart because, even at his weakest, there’s a commitment to the strange that oozes out of his music, and his theatre, and his lyrics, that I respond to, over and over.

Here then, for no other reason than I love them and they’re not among his most widely known songs outside of Coop fandom, are five Alice Cooper songs that make my sense buzz.

 

5 For Friday: The Coop

 

Continue reading “5 FOR FRIDAY: ALICE COOPER SONGS”

PATREON IS LAUNCHED: IS TROODON, IS GOOD

troodon

 

Today, in our extended Patreon launch/love-in, I want to focus upon the $2/month commitment. Let’s have a look at Is Troodon, Is Good.

For $2 a month, you’ll receive a patron-exclusive 500 word story. Every month. For less than the price of, what, one-quarter of a slice of toast with some mangled avocado on it, or three blades of grass in a downmarket suburb of Sydney, I’ll send you a complete, rounded, and limited-edition story for your private reading pleasure. Each year, you’ll read a dozen short stories that only you and your fellow Troodon-and-above peers will have access to. You’ll be able to form a club. Use the titles like passwords. Get tattoos together. It’ll be like being in a VIP reading lounge all of your own.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, here’s a snippet from February’s exclusive tale, Resurrection.

 

The doctor looked at his watch as a lone vulture descended slowly to the lawn.

“Eight minutes, forty seconds.”

He made a mark in his notebook, then placed his pen on the small table beside his chair and examined the page as the vulture pecked at the corpse on the grass.

“Which proves what?”

“The effects of the elixir are getting quicker. Watch.”

 

Twelve exclusive stories per year, plus the monthly patron-only journal entry available at the Velociraptors of Love level, for $2 a month. Be honest. You spend more than that on Booster Gold merchandise and candle wicks, don’t you?

Check out the previously-profiled level, The Velociraptors of Love.

To become a patron and receive all this (if I do say so myself) awesome stuff, head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. Patron rewards start from 1 Feb 2018. While you’re there, download the free story you get just for saying hello.

REVIEW: WRITERS ON WRITING

Writers on WritingWriters on Writing by James Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An absorbing and educational collection with writers from the 2000 Adelaide Festival of Arts. The majority of advice within is on-point and sensible, even 17 years after the fact, and most of it is delivered with a refreshing lack of pompousness and self-aggrandizement. A worthy addition to any writer’s shelf, and valuable for simply dropping in and out of or ploughing right through. Inspirational and essential.

View all my reviews

PATREON IS LAUNCHED!

Huzzah, hooray, my Patreon campaign launches today! And here you are, right at the very beginning of things! Canapes and drinks with bits of furniture in them all round!

What is Patreon? It’s a micro-patronage site that allows you to make small payments to a creator on a monthly basis, and in return, receive cool swag in the form of exclusive content, creations, and rewards. If you’ve supported a project on Kickstarter, or watched a pay-per-view event, it’s a similar model, but slightly more immediate, and you don’t have to wait obsessively by the mailbox for years or wonder why you would pay money to watch Floyd Mayweather do anything. You can choose the level of commitment you pledge, and in return, the level of reward you receive.

In 2018 and 2019, I’ll be working on no less than 7 writing projects, including 3 children’s books, a crime novel, a collection of linked horror stories, and 2 fantasy novels of widely different approaches. I’ll also be making a return to my visual roots by developing my cartooning work and working on my long-neglected visual arts practice with an eye to entering the 2019 Cossack Art Awards.

To help defray the costs of moving to an isolated country town, and the drop in wages brought about by our change in lifestyle, I’m offering seven levels of reward, starting at just $1 a month and climbing to a princely T-Rex level of $50. Because I am an eight year old boy trapped in the body of a 47-year-old pile of rubble, each level is named after a dinosaur:

 

We’ll be looking at each level, in turn every couple of days from now until closer to February, to give you plenty of time to decide which pledge level you’d like to join before the first round of rewards is jet-packed into your inbox. (It’s very complex, and involves training a group of very high-functioning marmosets with extremely nimble fingers).    —

  • The Velociraptors of Love
  • Is Troodon, is Good
  • Today is a Good Day to Deinonychus
  • Air-cooled, totally worked V8 Australovenator, maaaate
  • It Takes a Lotosaurus to be a Dilophosaurus
  • The Be Allosaurus to End Allosaurus; and to finish,
  • The Rock and Roll Tyrannosaurus Sex God VIP Room.

 

Today, we start off easy, with the lowest level: for a mere $1 a month, you can become part of an exclusive group of extremely well-dressed individuals I call The Velociraptors of Love.

velo

 

For $1, each month you receive a patron-exclusive journal post, in which I will wax rhapsodical about the life of a transplanted pale boy in the Northern Sunlands, discuss issues that affect the arts and writing industries, chat about my current and upcoming work, casually mention any forthcoming appearances you might wish to duck your head into, offer tips and recommendations, review books and films both good and bad, chew both shit and fat, spit them out, take a long drink of something soapy, and generally just be as windswept and exotic as I possibly can.

If that’s not enough, you’ll also be acknowledged on the journal entry, and my Patreon website, as a patron, and receive my undying thanks into the bargain.

February’s missive, We Work The Red Seam Together, will discuss my move from the artistic hub (BWAAAAHHHAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!) of Perth to the relative isolation of Karratha, and what I hope it will bring to me artistically, as well as a preview of some of the projects I’ll be working on while I’m there. I’ll also be recommending some books on one of the great crime investigations of the 20th Century, and giving you an insight into my working routine during the next 2 years.

To become a patron and receive this joyous bounty, head on over to my Patreon site and sign up for your preferred reward. Patron rewards start from 1 Feb 2018. And while you’re there, check out the posts already on the site to download the free story you get just for saying hello.

REVIEW: THE WHO’S WHO OF BRITISH CRIME IN THE 20TH CENTURY

The Who's Who of British Crime: In the Twentieth CenturyThe Who’s Who of British Crime: In the Twentieth Century by Jim Morris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Short entries, as befits a Who’s Who, with length seemingly determined not so much by notoriety or impact as how easily available the source text was. The writing style is variable, indicating a slapdash approach or weak editing of a manuscript collated over an extended period of time, and there are numerous lapses in both language and viewpoint– Morris strays regularly from a factual detail to engage in philosophical moralising of the man-at-the-end-of-the-bar variety.

Handy as a quick flick-through book in support of other, meatier texts, but not an essential part of any bookshelf by a long way.

View all my reviews