It’s time for re-emerging from the cocoon, or something

I was thinking of this as my new bio:

Sean Kennedy is a procrastinator, a hider, and writes far too infrequently for his own liking.
It probably comes from living in the
most isolated city in the world, but hey,
we have quokkas so it all balances out in the end.  Sean is extremely happy that
Twin Peaks
is returning to our television screens, but there will be blood if Cooper and Audrey don’t end up together.

Why do I need a new bio, you may ask?

Because things may be happening.  I don't want to jinx myself, but I've finally been writing for the first time in a very long time.  And it feels good.  It could be crap in the end, but at the moment it feels noice, diffuhrunt, uneweysyooal.

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Tidbit

It's been half a year since I last posted, and I'm not going to make the usual excuses / promises that I always make.

I have been suffering horrendous writer's block.  But that may be changing.

And lately I've been doing some fact-checking.

photo-2

No special reason?

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Cultural Differences

I make a lot of promises about how I will post more, but always end up making a liar of myself.  I am really going to try from here on.  I am in a bit of a writing rut at the moment, so I am hoping that if I blog a little more maybe that will help me kick my arse into gear.

One thing that has been amusing me of late is what seems to be a spate of comments I've noticed on reviews of <i>Tigers and Devils</i> and <i>Tigerland</i> about the amount of drinking the characters do within the novels.

I come from an Irish family, and was born in Australia.  Drinking is a part of both cultures, but is seen as a fixture of socialising and chilling out.  I am not going to pretend that there aren't problems with binge-drinking and the like, and the violence that can come with that, but for the most part Australians are social drinkers and the majority don't take it to excess.

Which is why I'm astounded when I see people remark on Simon's drinking and label him an alcoholic, or a borderline alcoholic.  It just shows the marked cultural differences between countries, and what is seen as excessive by others is just part of the social norm for some.  Simon doesn't often get blind drunk – I really think the only time he does in both books is when he and Declan split up – which, really, is what a lot of people do in break-ups.  Having a drink with friends is just what one does, and I don't think that is really any different from most cultures – and that being said, I don't think Simon and Dec drink every day of their lives.

Compared to most people, I don't really drink that much.  So I find it interesting that this set of characters do, and were I more inclined to psychoanalyse myself I would wonder why that seeped into my writing.

But now I feel like a sloe gin and lemonade.

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Name Change

Greetings

Due to some… er, legal papers that arrived on my door, I have had to change the title of the short stor CSFTS – And All That Crap.

I am amused more than anything.  Simon would be as well.

I admit that at the time I didn't give the title much thought and really didn't think that anybody searching for one of those fin CSFT books would think my humble story was part of the official franchise.

But you live and learn.  Within 48 hours it should be showing under its brand spanking new name Just Like Florence Nightingale.  I really hope that Flo's rellies don't come after me next.  Or that any old dears download it thinking it is a new biography of that sainted nurse.

So, if your stories on your kindle change all of a sudden, you know why.  And I repeat, not a new story – just a new title.

As a vegetarian, Sean doesn't eat chicken soup anyway.  If he goes for the canned variety he sticks to Campbells Rich Tomato.

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It’s Summer, so it’s time for Shorts

Yeah yeah yeah, I know you lucky people in the northern hemisphere get to have a thing called a White Christmas, but we're not so lucky here in Oz.  Christmas will be sweating into your roast vegies, and doggedly having your christmas pudding and custard despite the fact that you're going to die of heatstroke.

Anyway, I have been playing around with formatting so I can upload my short stories to different formats, and I have posted my Tigers and Devils short "Chicken Soup for the Soul, and All That Crap" to Amazon for the kindle.  Because you can't set the price at zero, it has to be at the minimum of $0.99.  This is not a scam on my behalf, as the original version will always be available on my website for zilch.  The story hasn't been altered in any way.

Anyhoo, I'll have a bit of news in a couple of days.  If you're so inclined, you can get the story for the kindle here.  It already has a one star review! HOW COULD YOU REFUSE?

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Good News, Everybody!

So I was a bit cryptic in my last entry, but now that the superstitious period is over I have two very good bits of news to share.

THE RETURN OF SIMON MURRAY AND DECLAN TYLER

Although it's a tentative date at the moment Tigers and Devils will be re-released in August. I guess this can loosely be termed a 'writer's cut' as there are a few grammatical hitches and one annoying geographical blunder that are fixed, and a few new one liners spread amongst the text. Oh, and the ending has changed slightly. They all die. No, just kidding! The ending is a little different, but it is more a compression of time than anything. I don’t think I had enough faith in myself when first writing it and made it more rom-commy than I would have liked. So a few little events have been taken out. It’s the same book, so really there is no need to buy it again. It’s just I’m more at ease with it now.

But this leads into the bigger news. It’s all in preparation for the release (at this stage, hopefully October) of Tigerland. We come back into Simon and Declan’s lives roughly three years later; things are going well, but well, there’s always a hitch.

I plan to spill a few clues between now and then. I’m very excited. I know I always said I didn’t think there would be a sequel, and I really didn’t. But you just can’t shut Simon up.

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Author Fan Letter Blog Crawl 2011 – Dear Margaret Atwood

Dear Margaret Atwood

Where do I begin?

No, seriously. I don’t know where to begin. You have brought me so much reading joy over the past twenty-odd years, even if at times the subject matter of your books has been harrowing, disturbing, insightful but most of all, instilled with the hope that humanity – despite everything it does to itself – prevails. You always give a voice to ‘the other’, and as a young gay guy when first reading your stories I felt in some way that my fears were being voiced as well.

I was introduced to your work by my older sister, and I now think everybody should have an older sister with the taste enough to give them their first exposure to your backlist. She handed me her copy of The Handmaid’s Tale and said, “You should read this. I know you’ll like it.”

When they say books can transport you to another world, I think it takes a special kind of author to not only take you into that world but totally immerse you in it so that you feel what the character feels and it is so realistic that it is like you’re Mary Poppins stepping into one of Cockney Bert’s paintings. That’s what The Handmaid’s Tale did to me. What made it so compelling was that it was a dystopian world that I could believe was only a few steps away from our own, and it has not lost its potency over the years – if anything, it has become even more relevant when the likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney are vying for U.S. presidency. If our own world has a female presidential candidate who votes against contraception and abortion, and thinks that gays can be ‘cured’ by endorsing her husband’s speeches when he says things like “we have to understand that barbarians need to be educated and need to be disciplined” – well suddenly your world, where women are stripped of their power over their own bodies and turned into baby factories and undesirables like the gays are shipped out into the radioactive wastelands thanks to the fundamentalist government of Gilead, doesn’t seem so much fiction but a potential memoir of a woman in the not-so-far-off future.

People who love books often have a few that they will test against friends, family and even partners, and it will often have an effect on how they judge their relationship with them. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of mine, and even just recently it led to quite a bitter disagreement with my friend of over twenty years when I finally got her to read it. She now has two strikes against her name, thanks to a 15 year argument over Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. If I ever get her to read Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet and there is a negative reaction I don’t think anything can save our friendship.

I would just like to close that even though your books are powerful in their analysis of the frailty and sometimes evil nature of the human race, they still contain the very essence of our spirit, that makes us fight on no matter what and that there must be something worth saving about us. Whether it’s Elaine fending off her childhood bullies in Cat’s Eye or Snowman traversing the environmental catastrophe our earth has become in The Year of the Flood, there is always hope. And that’s what I always carry away from your books, when I’m thrown back out into the ‘real’ world from the pages, gasping for air, and knowing that it is because of books like yours that reading is as necessary as breathing.

I have a signed copy of Alias Grace that I bought on eBay. Sometimes I am fanboyish enough to trace the letters you wrote in your own hand, wishing that just a fraction of your talent would pass into me via osmosis. If I ever meet you, I may just fall at your feet in an incoherent mess. You can step over me, but please don’t call the cops.

Love,
Sean

The blog crawl continues! Up next is SmexyBooks.


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The Art of Storytelling; or, Shit-Stirring

We tell stories every day of our lives. Sometimes they’re more fanciful than others. Sometimes they’re outright lies.

Or in my family, it’s general shit-stirring.

I was reminded of this the other day when I was visiting my brother and his family. My niece, who is generally the most well-behaved girl in school, has started acting up a little and even got a note sent home from her teacher. I was talking to her about it, and before I knew it started telling her that if she didn’t get back on track Santa wouldn’t be bringing her any presents.

In fact, not only that, he would kidnap her and take her to Santa’s Reform School for Bad Girls where she would never be allowed to wear pink again (she thinks she’s a princess, so this is a fate worse than death) and would be forced to wear grey. When she pointed out that she was wearing a grey cardigan that day, I told her it was her mother trying to prepare her for the eventuality of reform school.

She was on the cusp of believing me, her eyes wide and fearful, until my mother swooped in and told me I was being silly.

Bloody grandmothers. As mothers to their own children they spend years tormenting them, then completely mollycoddle the next generation.

After all, this is the woman who used to tell us when we were kids that the wind howling at night was the banshee warning us that someone in our family was going to die.

Yeah, thanks, Mum.

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Off the face of the Earth

It seems I am always disappearing, and then promising that I will be more faithful in making posts – and I lie every time.

I am wondering if I should create a forum on Goodreads for myself – that way if any interested parties want to know what is going on with me they can then do so, and I can answer in bits and pieces. And if people are asking me directly then I will feel more inclined to get off my arse and answer.

And then I wonder if it’s just a whole load of wank and I’m thinking far too much about myself and my importance in the scheme of things.

In other words, it’s another normal day in Kennedyland.

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