Back To The Future

Guess what? It’s OUT! I’m now officially a sci-fi author!

Earthwarden Cover

But DON’T PANIC! As the legendary Douglas Adams would have said. If you’re not a fan of science fiction, you don’t have to buy it. In fact, I’d rather you didn’t! Here’s why:

Amazon is pretty much SkyNet. It knows what you’ve bought, and when – and it uses this to predict what you’ll want next. Then it throws that stuff in your face as often as possible, like the worst kind of enabler.

What happens when a huge bunch of memoir readers buys a sci-fi book is, Amazon starts recommending that book to other memoir readers. And when those people don’t buy it – because why on Earth would they? – Amazon deems the book a failure, and stops recommending it to anyone.

But for anyone who does have at least a passing interest in exploding spaceships and the like, the book is here:

Earth Warden on Amazon

And it’s currently available for just 99c/99p!

Now, I’m not gonna lie – there’s a lot to like about this being-a-fiction-author-malarky. For starters – and I can’t overstate how much easier this makes life – you get to MAKE SH*T UP!!!

Book getting boring? Roll out a car chase! Need more explosions? Why, there’s a hidden stash of C4 just around the corner…

Instead of having to live through a whole bunch of incredibly harrowing life experiences, survive them, and then spend a year re-living them whilst desperately trying to scour my failing memory for every detail… oh, and at least TRYING to make them funny! Also, much as I hate to admit it – making sh*t up is a hell of a lot cheaper 😉

Don’t worry though – I haven’t quit writing travel memoirs for good, I promise! I’m just taking a break. A break which rather sneakily aligns with a potential shift in my personal circumstances… Yes, that’s right – I’m becoming a woman.

Drag Hiking Bluff Knoll

WHAT? But… (sigh!) No, you’re right. My nose really IS too big for that. Here’s what’s really going on:

Despite looking (and acting) like a twelve year old girl, in fact Roo is rapidly approaching that age where, if she were a horse, I’d be paying someone for a jam-jar of stallion sperm and a two-foot-long syringe.

This may be the only time in her life when she’s glad she’s not a horse.

But she’s started dropping random, casual hints, like, “I think family is very important,” and, “My biological clock is ticking,” and, “I’ve decided we’re having children next year.”

Roo ice cream dress

It was either this, or a pic of her dressed head to toe in My Little Pony gear…

So… My new career as a fiction writer ties in quite well with this development, as it doesn’t require vast amounts of extended travel. If all goes according to (Roo’s) plan, we’ll be able to travel quite a bit once we do have babies (twins, she’s already decided). At which point, I feel another crazy memoir is kind of inevitable…

But until then, there’ll be a bit of a gap on that front. And I do feel bad about it. I know there’s a whole bunch of you eagerly awaiting a new travel book, so I’ve been thinking about how to fill that gap.

As you know, the America trip didn’t result in a book, for a whole bunch of reasons. Basically, I just didn’t feel that there was enough material for a book, and I didn’t fancy spending a year stretching and padding it out, struggling to make it funny, only to release a steaming pile of drivel that readers gave up on after five chapters.

BUT – the trip DID produce SOME materiel, and whilst it’s not enough for a book, it IS enough for a whole bunch of blog posts!

Tony Licking Gum

Oh yes… this happened!

So, my plan over the coming months is to get a whole lot more active with this blog.

Relax! I’m not gonna be posting every day or anything! I reckon I should be able to squeeze something out roughly once every two weeks (still talking about blog posts here). There’s the USA trip, and a load of random things going on here in Perth that I wanted to write about…

And then there’s a threat I’ve been making for years now – ever since ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’ was released in 2011. You see, in order to make that book saleable to the agents and publishers I was courting at the time, I had to cut about a third of the chapters I’d written out of the book.  The traditional book publishers just won’t touch long-winded rambling nonsense like I write. For some reason.

So, knocking around on various hard drives are those missing chapters – the ‘cut scenes’, if you will – for not only that book, but for all of them! Because for some reason, I seem incapable of writing a first draft under 150,000 words…

Missing Files

A few to be going on with…

So, my plan is to tweak those chapters one at a time to make them readable, and publish them on the blog as I go. Between them, the USA trip and other random stuff, I reckon we’ve got enough to keep us occupied for a bit. And who knows? If it turns out there’s more material than expected, perhaps another book will emerge from the melee?

And if not… Well. Just imagine what’s going to happen when Roo and I have kids. It’ll be absolute carnage. And I’ll definitelyget a book out of that!

Meanwhile, I’d like to take this chance to thank you all, so very much, and from the bottom of my heart. Without readers like you, I couldn’t do what I do. Hell, without you kind folks, I couldn’t eat! Not without getting some kind of ‘real job’ anyway, and you’ve seen what happens to me just standing around in a garden, so… Yeah. Probably best I don’t find myself working in a factory. Heavy machinery and me do not mix well.

So thank-you, once again, for everything! For your emails and Facebook messages, for blog comments and book reviews, and most of all, thank-you so much for reading my books. When I started with ‘That Bear,’ I had high hopes – but even so, I never dared dream of how well it’s gone. To have books I’ve written, in the hands of people as far apart as India, Japan and Brazil…

Granted, I’ve only sold one book in each of those countries, but that counts, right?

And that officially makes me an International Author. I reckon. And you did that! You lovely, lovely people.

Thanks again!

Tony in Leaves

This… also happened. Unfortunately… 😉

Now That’s a Jaw Breaker

Hi folks!

So what’s going on with you? I’m sorry, that was rhetorical, what with this being a blog post and all. Feel free to answer it in the Comments though!

What I meant to say is, here’s what’s going on with me.

Yup, you guessed it! This is a progress update on Life, the Universe and Everything – specifically as it pertains to one particular idiot living in Perth, Australia.

First: the news! (Hang onto your lunch.)

I considered doing this as a video blog, but chose not to because a) Roo is away metal detecting with her Dad, so I haven’t washed in a week, and b) I’ve broken my jaw in three places, and am currently eating all my meals through a straw.

Wait a minute – how???

Well, because I’m an idiot, I managed to fall over at a party. “But people do that all the time!” I hear you cry. Alas, never one to settle for convention, I did it around 8pm, after just one drink. Amazingly, Roo had been away for less than 12 hours at this point! I also fell over in the garden – which is what makes the damage so impressive…

I told you to hang on to your lunch:

Split in Chin

How hard was that grass?

Yes, that IS bone you can see in there! Nine stitches (my first) and two metal plates (ditto) later, I have braces on what’s left of my teeth, and a load of elastic bands holding my jaw shut. If you’re wondering what the mucus-like substance in the picture above is… well, it’s mucus. The hole went all the way through you see, and whilst the bleeding stopped after a couple of hours, saliva from inside my mouth kept dripping out through the hole in my chin. Which is delightful, I’m sure you’ll agree! DAMN that grass…

Silver lining: I can’t talk (Roo will be overjoyed when she gets back!) – and I’ve already lost more than 4kg in my first week of an all-liquid diet… Read the rest of this entry

Drifting Part Four

It wasn’t a complete disaster.

We spent our second night moored alongside the idyllic Blackmere Lake, which Roo had been looking forward to photographing. She wasn’t disappointed – the leaves were turning for Autumn, making for some gorgeous pics. They were also falling into the canal by the bucketload, fouling our propeller and slowing our already agonising crawl to the speed at which dinosaur turds fossilize.

Black Mere Lake

 

Having reached the southernmost point of our journey, we now had to turn the boat around. Canals being somewhat narrow, this can only be accomplished at specific places, called ‘winding holes’. Apparently this is not a place you ‘wind’ like a watch (which would make sense), but rather a place you ‘wind,’ like the stiff breeze that we’d been battling since Llangollen. This one was a semi-circular bite out of the opposite bank, into which we guided our nose. Between the boat’s somewhat delayed reactions and my Dad’s instinct to do exactly the opposite of what was required, I think we turned that boat around by the power of swearing alone. Read the rest of this entry

Drifting Part Three

This is Part Three of our Canal Boat Odyssey. Parts One and Two can be found HERE and HERE respectively 😉

Towel Sign

We spent a total of four nights on board the Henley.

In hindsight we probably set ourselves way too big a journey, because we wanted to go all the way from the hire place in Trevor to the picturesque Black Mere, and then return back past Trevor and go all the way to Llangollen in the other direction. It didn’t seem that far on Google Maps… But we hadn’t reckoned with the boat’s average speed of around 2km per hour. At one point we were overtaken by a mother and daughter, out for a casual stroll along the towpath. They moseyed past us, and disappeared into the distance, leaving us in the dust. Over an hour later we finally caught them up – but only because they’d turned around and were coming back again! I think on our biggest day, we managed a staggering 12 miles…

Read the rest of this entry

Drifting Part Two

Area we got stuck

Before we get started, here’s some rules about canal boat conduct:

  • Always pass other boats on the right.
  • Always pass other boats at walking pace.
  • Do not intentionally ram other boats at top speed.

And while we’re at it, here are a few facts about the boats themselves:

  • They are long and narrow. Kind of ram-shaped.
  • They are bastard impossible to steer. Impossible!
  • They have absolutely NO BRAKES. NONE.
  • They hate you.
  • They want you to die screaming.

Putting all that together, you might gain an insight into the first few minutes and hours of our boat stewardship.

Read the rest of this entry

Drifting – Part One

Side-of-boat

Four adults on a relaxing, 4-night canal boat cruise. What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, when three of the adults are Slaters, things are bound to get interesting…

It’s always been a dream of ours to try living aboard a narrow boat, and drift along the English countryside on the canals, occasionally winding a lock up or down. It all sounds so relaxing…

Read the rest of this entry

House Goals!

It’s strange, but the more we travel the more we actually aspire to own our own home! Maybe we are sick of packing everything we own up into boxes in my poor Dad’s spare room, or maybe we’ve just been to so many amazing properties. We are constantly collecting cool ideas for our future.

Dover Castle Inner

If only we could live in a castle forever… :)

And lets be honest, Dover castle is the pinnacle of permanent safe home ownership! The castle has stood for 800 years and counting! And the medieval earthworks began as an iron age hill fort before 1000 ad! We spent 6 hours exploring Dover castle and we’ve decided September is the perfect time of year because the weather is still warm and cloudy/sunny yet the crowds won’t bowl you over the turrets.

Read the rest of this entry

Postcards From The Edge

A picture tells a thousand words, right? Well, let’s hope so. Because I’ve run out of words! I’ve been talking so much these last few weeks that I am literally losing the ability to expel new words from inside of me.

So what I’ve decided to do is dazzle you all with the photos we’ve been taking – ones that have missed the cut so far, and not made it onto Facebook or the blog. Partially this is because I don’t post photos as often as I should, and partially it’s because I take pictures of really weird sh*t that amuses me, and somehow it doesn’t seem nearly as funny five days later when I find the photos…

It’s a context thing. That’s my excuse.

So in celebration of that, I will attempt to give you a brief context for each picture. You may even gain some insight into the inner workings of my mind… in which case, BEWARE! It’s not a particularly wholesome environment in there…

Paperwork

I’d like to begin with a salute to the sheer amount of paperwork I brought with me on this trip…

Read the rest of this entry

Leaving Las Vegas

Right, where were we?

Next stop was on our grand USA adventure was Death Valley Junction. We checked into the only motel anywhere near there, finding it delightfully knackered and ‘quaint’. The ladies who ran the place were very friendly, but as we were leaving the next day they were reporting a guest to the police. An older man, staying in one room with a young girl – when the cleaners went in, they found her long hair had all been cut off and left in the sink… Definitely something strange going on there!

Death Valley Motel 1

Read the rest of this entry

USA Trip Update no. 2!

Hiya folks!

It’s time for another USA Trip Update!

First up, I’ll admit I’m playing catch-up here. This trip has been so much more awesome, and so much more demanding, than I could have imagined. I’ve been hiding from Facebook lately, as even without posting anything I find myself drowning in over 200 notifications per day. I know what you’re saying! Somewhere there is a tiny violin playing just for me…

In all seriousness though, the mountain of emails and messages I put off daily is keeping me from my real job – which is putting off writing blog posts! So in an abrupt turnaround, I’ve taken a day off to do all of the above.

(Incidentally, Roo is also taking this day off. Only she gets to spend hers sunbathing by the pool!).

To make you all feel better, I will be drinking THIS intriguing concoction:

Cheap Booze

So don’t feel TOO sorry for me. And apologies in advance if this blog gets a bit weird by the end…

Read the rest of this entry

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