Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why Be Normal When You Can Be Damaged?

Normal is safe.
Normal is comforting.
Normal is predictable.
And normal is very, very, very boring.

How many of you would want to spend time at a party talking to an actuary?
(Unless of course you are an actuary, in which case, go right ahead. That keeps both of you away from the rest of us.)

Be damaged.
Be interesting.
Be the nutter on the bus.
Make mistakes.
Wear a funny hat.
Flount your flaws.
(And if you are a high-rise building, flount your floors.)

Take a few risks in your life.
Not crazy, unnecessary ones.
Always wash your fruit before sex, and wear condoms before eating. Nobody needs THOSE type of risks.
But live a little.

Which brings me on to today's good news.

One of my favourite damaged writers - well, he writes about damaged characters, but you know that old saying about smoke and fire... - is having a superfasticallydelicious BARGAIN MOMENT!

B.R. Snow's complete 'Damaged Po$$e' series, comprising four full-length novels, is on sale soon for less than four bucks. If you haven't read any of the redoubtable Mr. Snow's work, your entire life to date has been wasted. But there is still time to put that right. Winter is coming, but Snow is HERE 

Now take out those eccentric shoes from the back of the wardrobe, drape something inappropriate around your neck, cry Havoc, and let those puppies swing. Demand the unusual. Venerate the odd.

Have a great day. And have it TODAY. You never know, it might be your last.

PS Go buy all my books too, while you're about it *scary cackle* Now, where did I put my meds?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Everyone Loves an Underdog

Everyone loves an underdog, right? Well, maybe not if you're the favourite. But otherwise, we like to root for the little guy going up against the corporate machine, the rebel sticking up two fingers at the forces of the all-powerful state, the woman raising her metaphorical fists against the chauvinistic establishment. 

But what exactly is an 'underdog'? The dictionary will tell us that he or she is a person who is expected to lose in a conflict or contest; or a victim of social or political injustice. Someone, in other words, against whom the cards are stacked.

The classic 'top dog' vs. 'underdog' contest from antiquity is David vs. Goliath. The shepherd boy vs. the gigantic armoured warrior. David was the underdog, yes? Well, no.

In Malcolm Gladwell's fascinating treatise on underdogs and misfits, 'David & Goliath', the ever-intriguing Mr. Gladwell challenges some common assumptions - and in so doing, produces a provocative and inspirational piece of work.

But first, that famous duel in the valley of Elah. To understand why actually Goliath was the underdog, we have to know a little about ancient armies. They contained three types of combatants: cavalry, infantry, and projectile warriors - artillery, in modern parlance. The projectile warriors included 'slingers', who had a leather pouch attached on two sides by a strand of rope. The slinger would put a lead ball or rock into the pouch, swing it, then release with devastating force. The Romans even had a special set of tongs to remove rocks and balls that had become embedded in some poor soldier's body by a sling.

So there is Goliath, a heavy infantryman, weighed down by over a hundred pounds of armour, expecting a battle at close quarters (which he must surely win). Enter David who, sans armour, can run rings around the giant from a safe distance until one of his slingshots hits his opponent's vulnerable head. And so it proves. David has changed the rules of single combat.

"Goliath had as much chance against David," writes the historian Robert Dohrenwend, "as any Bronze Age warrior with a sword would have against an opponent armed with a .45 automatic pistol." FYI, a typical-size stone hurled by an expert slinger at a distance of thirty-five metres would have the stopping power equivalent to a fair-size modern handgun - a velocity of around thirty-four metres per second.

So... underdogs. Want to rethink your definitions?

Gladwell's book is packed with interesting examples of how strengths can beget weaknesses, and vice versa - and some canny observations on the limits of power.

It is well worth an afternoon of anyone's time.

Anyone for single combat?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Chaos, of One Sort or Another

It's out! Oh, yes!

'Chaos Is Come Again' is a rather loony experiment of mine.

Nothing new there, I hear you mutter.

About eighteen months ago, I tripped over a fellow writer by the name of Fiona Quinn while I was working in Dubai. Of course, I didn't literally trip over her. She wasn't lying on the street like a Sleeping Policeman or a discarded prophylactic. No, I found her purely by chance one evening while I was looking on the Internet for some half-decent pornography to download.

OK, 'half-decent pornography' is a contradiction in terms.

Are you going to shut up and let me get on with this story?

(Voices in your head can be so annoying, don't you think? Oh. You don't have them. Ah.)


Fiona and I got chatting and somehow agreed to co-author a novel, despite the fact that we had never met in person and were never likely to before the book was published. (She claims to have evidence this nutty idea was mine, but I have my doubts.)

So, eighteen months later, here we are. The start of writing of 'Chaos' was delayed until May this year due to other commitments on both our parts, but once we divided up the workload and knuckled down, there was no stopping us.

Now the book's out and we still haven't met. Maybe that's a good thing. If we did, we might irritate the crap out of each other. As it is we can each still entertain whimsical literary fantasies about our writing partner.


Go take a look at this monstrous collaboration, a psychological suspense like no other, in my humble opinion. Laced with irreverent humour (most of which is VERY un-PC and some of it is rather blasphemous), stuffed to the gills with weird and wacky characters, 'Chaos' is quite unlike anything that either Fiona or I have written before.

Make up your own mind about this writing experiment. Blurb and buy links are set out below. And don't forget, on Amazon you can 'Look Inside' for a taster of the book before you part with your hard-earned (or possibly embezzled) cash.

Sean hears voices in his head.
Travis snorts cocaine.
Teagan thinks she's the next Lady Gaga.
Avery has the boss from Hell, and a mother with dementia.
And Goose thinks he can catch a serial killer.

'Chaos Is Come Again' is a psychological suspense, a mystery, and a love story - laced with irreverent humour and viewed through the lens of obsession.

WARNING: Contains references to Judas Iscariot, a dwarf, and a performing monkey.

To buy or read an extract on Amazon click HERE for USA or HERE for UK. It's also available on all other Amazon sites worldwide.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why You Don't Need to Worry About the End of the World

I got a bit depressed last week after reading an article in a science magazine. Apparently, our galaxy - the Milky Way - is just about to get swallowed up by Andromeda. Of course, 'just about to' in cosmic terms means in another 5 billion years. A scientist friend of mine then reassured me that our own sun would already have gone super nova by then anyway. So unless we've found a way to transfer human consciousness into a body more suited for interstellar travel by then, we'll already be cinders.

I decided to undertake a straw poll of Armageddon countdown scenarios for our species.

A philosopher says civilisation will have disintegrated by the end of this century, and cannibalism will be rife among the animalistic survivors.

The environmentalists say global warming will screw us by 2050.

Some medical folks believe antibiotics will prove ineffective against a worldwide super bug within 20 years.

My wife tells me I don't need to worry about any of these things because if I don't get the outside wall painted in the next few days, she is going to kill me. 

Strangely enough, the brand label on the paint tin is 'Andromeda'.

Funny how things connect, isn't it?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor. Not.

Of course I don't have a sponsor, even though I've long dreamed of being a toyboy to some rich, eighty-year old woman with a heart condition and no dependants. Maybe if I were an athlete I could get the ACME Steroid Corporation to fund my frivolous excesses. But no. So instead please humour me awhile while I blow my own (slightly dented) bugle.

I promise I won't try to sell you one of my books, OK? (See note at foot of post)

Get to the point, Dolan, I hear you mutter impatiently.

Now here's the thing. Last year I signed up to a literary suicide pact with a writer based in Virginia by the name of Fiona Quinn. 


Yes, I'm getting there. Stop sighing. And put that gun away. It might be loaded.

Well, Fiona and I decided in a moment of madness to co-author a novel. This was in spite of the fact that we had never met - and still haven't - and we had the inconvenience of eleven hours of time-difference between us. (The scientists among you may wish to point out that if the Earth were not in fact spinning, we'd all float off into space like that handsome grey-haired guy in the film Gravity; so maybe time zones are a good thing. Having sat through two hours of Sandra Bullock's acting, I remain torn on this point.)

After several months of Skyping and whizzing chapter drafts back and forth across the crackly ether, I can announce that the love child of this unusual union will soon see the light of day. How soon? I hear you ask. On this, for the moment my lips must remain more firmly pressed together than the knees of a nun at a Michael Buble concert. But soon, all right?

Fiona and I are, however, sufficiently confident that our offspring will not be born with two heads to start bleeding out some details of our endeavour. Starting with a cover reveal.

If it makes your eyeballs rotate, it's working. Here's the blurb which hopefully will make the rest of you rotate.

Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul
But I do love thee! And when I love thee not
Chaos is come again.

Sean hears voices in his head.
Travis snorts cocaine.
Teagan thinks she’s the next Lady Gaga.
Avery has the boss from Hell and a mother with dementia.
And Goose thinks he can catch a serial killer.

‘Chaos is Come Again’ is a psychological suspense, a mystery, and a love story – loaded with irreverent humour, and viewed through the lens of obsession.

WARNING: This book contains references to Judas, a dwarf and a performing monkey.

Now, as the saying goes, Watch This Space.

Come to think of it, that sounds like a good summary of Gravity. Over to you, Sandra.

NOTE: This doesn't count as trying to sell you one of my books. Not according to my lawyer.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tight Trousers and Asteriods (Not Hemorrhoids)

OK, let me confess. I'm a fan of Liv Tyler.

As if that weren't shameful enough, I like Aerosmith too - a group of not-so-gracefully-ageing rockers who feature Liv's dad on vocals.

These are the only two reasons I watched 'Armageddon', a ludicrous Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck action movie about an asteriod on collision course with Earth. Liv was in it and Aerosmith provided the theme song.

It works for me. Does it work for you?

If so, feel free to sing along. If nothing else, it will embarrass your kids. And that's never a bad thing.

Click below and feel the love. Or something, anyway.