My challenge this week was to make an 80-second video promotion for my novel An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity. I’ve used a DSLR camera previously for this kind of thing, but I just got an iPhone 6s, and it did the job just as well. I used iMovie to compile and edit the film, and Graphic to make the opening title. The only problem was getting the video file from the iPhone to my laptop because it was too big to email. In the end, I managed to do it with iCloud.
I wrote a script, but on the first few takes I kept peeping it at and my eyes were darting all over the place. I solved the problem by taking off my glasses so that I couldn’t see the script, and had to memorise it instead.
You can find my video here.
Let me know what you think!
Cairo Rations is still #1 in its Amazon category and still free! In fact, it’s permanently free on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Today’s stats:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,507 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Travel > Africa > Egypt
Check here to see where to get it.
My poet friend Garry McDougall has allowed me to share his poem ‘Indebted’ on my blog. Garry is a novelist and painter as well as a poet, and we meet most Tuesdays at the ‘Write On’ writers group in Sydney. ‘Indebted’ is my favourite among his works. It relies on familiar McDougallesque poetic techniques: Semantic slippage as word meanings blend oddly with their neighbours, homonyms that bump into each other in surprise, grammar mystically subverted , and the resonation of patterned sounds.
What sets apart ‘Indebted to’ is the almost painful intimacy of the fleeting scene it describes. If you wake up each morning with somebody special, you’ll get it.
The hours nest
between herself and mine,
until first trains grumble in the dark,
a car’s whisk, my mind
in the picture-of-often-not,
knot hours, and ‘Not now, not now,’
that telling blanket cover cosy-
warm bed, binding time,
in the hour of in-between.
Body weight to a faceless clock
in this so silk sack of nether warmth
and ponder pillows,
covert and dissenting blanket,
bare feet at the fay end of time,
brain and body exhaling
my half-hymn for her,
in temple red and slumber
our fingers touch,
accepting hearse time defining,
the hour of in-between.
Long lost in a feather sac
and limber light, locked alive in flesh,
grumble tum, harmonic match,
patter knack of morning dew,
reigning home besides you,
moist, hot breath to sticky rest,
towards a whisper, lover of tides
blessed to be here, steep steps of breath
in the hour of in-between.
Fathoming yesterday’s remains,
while she recalls day’s first chore ,
rolls over, dawn driven, first feet on floor,
and I stay, viscous, encumbered,
chalk words to sing her sun still,
my self stumbling
in the hour of in-between.
© 2016 Garry McDougall
You can read about Stuart Campbell’s books here.
Interviewed this morning by emerging social commentator Lesley Latte*, Campbell said, “Like the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on the campaign trail, I like to slip on the Hi Vis when the going gets tough. I’ve come up with some of my best stories wearing this outfit”.
You can read more about books written by a man in a Hi Vis vest here.
*Lesley Latte reserves the right not to disclose h** gender.
Before I started Cairo Mon Amour, I wrote a memoir called Cairo Rations about my time in Egypt during the 1973 war, to bring back memories of the settings that I wanted to use in the novel.
I’ve just published a new version of the memoir Cairo Rations, which I am distributing free. Click here to sign up for my newsletter and get a copy of Cairo Rations in pdf, mobi (for Kindle) or epub (for many e-readers).
If you have comments about any of my books, please respond through this blog or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In my fourth year with the Write On! writers group in Sydney, it’s time to reveal the ingredients. The basics are simple: A committed convenor, eight writers, a weekly three-hour meeting, and a room in the NSW Writers Centre.
But turning the basics into a successful writers group takes more than just a quick stir and a bit of heat. Here’s my attempt to list the secret herbs and spices:
Simplicity: We do the same thing every week: Each writer reads aloud 1000-1500 words of their work in progress. The rest of us listen and annotate the handout of the text, and then go round the circle giving our critique. We’ve tried varying the model on the odd occasion, but we always revert to the basics.
Time management: We don’t waste time chatting about the weather or politics. We keep a firm but not too firm eye on the clock to make sure that everybody’s work gets a fair exposure.
Diversity: Our group includes traditionally published and self-published writers, as well as what we like to call ‘emerging’ writers. We cover novels, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry. Our novels probably cluster around the upper ranks of ‘general fiction’, but we have our fingers in thrillers, chick lit, historical periods spanning two thousand years, and lots of exotic locations. Our members are professionals, working or retired, with backgrounds in business, diplomacy, academia, design, nutrition, and other areas.
Honesty and respect: It’s not unusual for a few of us to go home each week having been told that what we’ve read is a pile of junk. Inevitably, someone else will go home with a D-minus the following week. We are honest in our critique, and we respect the opinions of our work. It isn’t always easy: I kept bringing back to the group a chapter of ponderous claptrap, cutting bits off each time until just a couple of sentences of the original remained.
Humour: This is reserved mainly for sex scenes. Most weeks we laugh our socks off. Especially when togas are involved.
Leadership: Our convener has been running this group since 2009, and our turnover of members is very small. She maintains it as a closed group, so you have to apply to join when we have a vacancy, and you are admitted only after a trial period. Exclusive and cliquey? Yep!
In my four years with Write On! I have written three novels. About fifty percent of my output went through the critical grinder in our room at the NSW Writers Centre, and it came out fifty percent better. I’m still searching for that final secret ingredient of our success. Is it the serenity of the Centre itself in a Victorian era sandstone building, part of the former Callan Park Hospital for the Insane? We work surrounded by parkland. The chairs are uncomfortable. There is no coffee shop. No distractions.
Or is is just serendipity? That sweet spot in life when the right group of individuals comes together with a common aim? I’ve experienced this a couple of times: The brief golden era of a community theatre I once belonged to; the early years in the foundation leadership group of a School in a university I worked at. It’s rare, but you know when you come across it.
I’d be delighted to hear of other experiences of writers groups: Feel free to reveal your secrets.
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You can buy the Write On! writers group collection of essays With Gusto! here.
Learn about Stuart Campbell’s books at http://www.stuartcampbellauthor.com