Friday, December 17, 2010

The Brave Ones: Bailey's Battle At Christmas.

As my family heads into this Christmas season, we were all confronted with the distressing news that one of our own, one of our youngest has been given a terrible burden to contend with.
The following was written by my sister in law Rachel:

"My five year old nephew Bailey was diagnosed with an aggressive cancerous brain tumor and two tumors on his spine on Thursday 9th December after being ill on and off for approx 5 months. Most of the brain tumor was removed on Sunday 12th December during a 7 hour operation at Melbourne's Royal Childrens Hospital.

Bailey Lang, taken December 11th December 2010 - day before surgery.

Unfortunately it was attached to a couple of important parts of his brain including the brain stem and he will now have to undergo radiation treatment and chemotherapy over the coming weeks and months. The other two tumors are still too small to operate on so his specialists are hoping that they will be able to treat them with the chemo and radiation therapy.

Bailey's Dad has been unable to work for the last 6 months because of all the doctors appointments that Bailey has had to try and find out what was wrong with him. Sadly there isn't much money left to help with the cost of Christmas for Bailey and his 3yr old sister Blayne, not to mention the cost of keeping the house going here in Moe and being down in Melbourne with Bailey.

I have opened a bank account in Bailey’s name for any donations to be used to help with expenses for Bailey and his family. I have also signed onto Paypal. At this time, I am hoping you and your family may be able to make a small donation to help this family in their time of need.

Yours sincerely,

Rachael Mayes (Bailey’s aunty)."

Donations can be made in person at any Bendigo Bank branch using the following details

BSB: 633000     
Acct Number: 141847160      
Acct Name: Bailey James Lang

Via Paypal using the following email address:

armayes@iinet.net.au

or by sending a cheque to:

The Bailey Lang Fund.
c/- Rachael Mayes
77 Newark Avenue
NEWBOROUGH  VIC  3825.
AUSTRALIA.


I had a whole other post to write in the lead-up to Christmas but in view of the circumstances and other things that are going on right now, I will jump in early and wish you all a safe and Happy Christmas. In the words of my personal hero, journalist Matt Price...


"Life is precious...hug your loved ones"



DFA.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Purchase "The Hambledown Dream" Direct from the Author.

For a limited time, my break out debut novel "The Hambledown Dream" is available to readers, directly from my official site - right here.

And for a limited time I am shipping my novel direct to you - anywhere in the world - completely free. Included with each order is a limited edition Hambledown bookmark which I have included as a little keep sake that I hope you will enjoy.



The Hambledown Dream is a wonderfully lyrical and moving journey of two young men who are brought together in the most unusual circumstances. 

Australian, Denny Banister had the world at his feet; a successful career, a passion for the guitar and he is in love with Sonya – his best friend and soul mate. Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer & he is destined to die.

Meanwhile, Andy DeVries has almost nothing; he is alienated from his family, he moves through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction & now he’s gone and overdosed - jeopardizing the only thing that matters to him; a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar.

Having been snatched from the abyss Andy recovers, but he is plagued by dreams - memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he's never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he's never met, Andy begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown...
 
I don't mind saying that The "Dream" would make a lovely Christmas read. It has music, love, drama and it's just a little hot in places. So act now to secure your copy of my first novel which has captured hearts and minds all over the world. Click through the "Add to Cart" button in the top left hand side bar to pay securely, via PayPal.

For additional payment options, please contact me directly (refer to the Contact page on this site).

DFA.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sketching "The Gift" - Part One.

This past weekend I took my family up to the city for a family day at the Art Gallery of South Australia where we took in an exhibition called "Desert Country" which featured some stunning examples of Aboriginal Australian artwork that simply has to be seen to be believed. We also stopped by the Museum and wandered around the bio-diversity exhibit which features a wonderful collection of South Australian wildlife displays and interactive companions which kept our four year old boy in particular, thoroughly fascinating for a good couple of hours. My 1 year old daughter was similarly fascinated by it all and she spent the bulk of the time just pointing at everything and saying "Da" to everything. It was really great.

While we were there, I took the opportunity to wander up North Terrace a little further and conduct a reconnaissance, if you will, of the University precinct. Specifically, I was interested in The Elder Conservatory of Music. It is here that some of the critical events of my new novel take place and I wanted to get a pictorial study of the grounds as well as the conservatory building itself. I wanted to get a feel for the place - what it feels like to be there - and I wanted also to scope out possible locations for where certain events will take place.



Elder Hall, the centerpiece of the Elder Conservatory of Music in Adelaide.

As one of Australia’s oldest and most distinguished tertiary music schools, the Elder Conservatorium plays a leading role in the country’s musical landscape.  Its origins can be traced back to the foundation of the Adelaide College of Music in 1883. The Conservatorium has close links with other educational and professional bodies within South Australia and across the nation, maintaining strong connections also with important institutions in the UK, USA, Canada, Asia and Europe.  Graduates hold positions of national and international influence as performers, composers, educators, scholars and administrators.



The lawn in front of Elder Hall is a beautiful place to just sit and take in all the loveliness of the University precinct.



Bonython Hall, a grand building that sits on the eastern flank of Elder Hall.

Already, as a result of the photos I have taken, I am refining and thinking about certain scenes which take place that are critical plot points in the novel - where my central protagonist, 8 year old Ruby Crammond, an undiscovered violin virtuoso, is discovered in quite an unusual way. I have chosen the place where Ruby hides herself away and listens to the weekly rehearsal of a prominent Adelaide string quartet, playing the battered violin that had once belonged to her grandmother and dreaming of a life away from her situation of abject poverty.



A window just like any other, but it is a portal to a world away from the one Ruby Crammond resides in now. 


The rock in the foreground sits just a little way from the window in the previous picture. Perhaps the perfect little hiding place for an undiscovered virtuoso.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of this process. It allows my mind to think about the story and it helps me to develop the story, the specifics of the story. I've tweeted this past week that I've been stuck in somewhat of a rut. I think that it's partly exhaustion because of the time of year - what with Christmas coming up, the prospect of a well earned holiday on the horizon and also because I have been working hard on promoting "The Hambledown Dream".  When I have sat down to write, I have kinda locked up and have been unable to put anything much of value down on paper. So, to be able to get out there and immerse myself in the very environments that I hope to portray in this new novel, is an invaluable thing to do. 

I imagine that I won't get much pure writing accomplished in the next few weeks. Which is not to say that I won't be doing anything book related. I'll be doing a lot of brainstorming and developing instead - and allowing myself to actually enjoy Christmas.


Which is not something, I normally do.


But I have two kids now, for whom the magic of Christmas is an all consuming thing, so my steadfast cynicism towards the season is taking a severe battering.

Anyway, I have a renewed enthusiasm for a lot of things lately. I am hoping that all of these will bare fruit as I continue on this crazy journey that has come to define who I am - an author.


Conversing with giants. Ruby will come to regard this fellow as a kind of imaginary friend.

DFA.

 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Memory Palace.

As an avowed Star Wars geek...

...You know - perhaps I shouldn't have started this post with that sentence because, already, I can imagine a good bulk of you groaning and switching off. But stick with me here because this is a good one - I swear. 

Anyway...

I have met and interacted with a lot a like minded Star Wars geeks over the years and many of these interactions have been wonderful with a lot of mutual geeking out, talking all things Skywalker, Vader, the Galaxy far, far away and much playing with Kenner/Hasbro figurines...

Still with me?




One of the most significant of these interactions however, was one of those unique experiences that is tinged with a little tragedy. In 1999, which was of course the year Episode One was released into cinemas, I was nursing here in Adelaide and I came across a young cancer patient who was possibly the biggest Star Wars fan I had come across - apart from myself. His name was David and over the course of about 6 weeks in April/May of that year, I spent a lot of hours looking after David. 


The writing was on the wall for David. 


He was terribly ill, terminally ill as it were and everyone knew that his days were numbered. His room at the hospital was decked out with Star Wars paraphernalia, posters, toys, books. Someone had brought in a TV and video set up so that he could watch the films back to back (this was of course the Original Trilogy on VHS at that time). For a short time, while David was there in the hospital, you could step into his room and disappear into a kind of localized galaxy not so far away. 


And of course me, being a well known Star Wars geek amongst my colleagues, found myself (well...I made sure I found myself) allocated to his care most of the time. Which suited us just fine. Most shifts were me and him swapping stories, sharing collectibles and like I said before...just geeking out.

A well understood but not often discussed reality between us was the likelihood that David would not survive to see Episode One and, given his parlous condition in the lead-up to the film's release, it was highly unlikely that we could ever get him into a position where we could get him to the cinema - not that we didn't investigate the possibility mind you.


I could continue the story in words here and now but I'd like to share with you, a short piece of audio that I recorded for the Star Wars internet radio show The Force Cast. I recounted the story during a period where the Kyle Newman directed movie "Fanboys" was going through a pretty rough patch in it's development - precisely because it's own story dealt with a very similar case of someone facing death in the lead-up to the release of Episode One.

It's not a long piece of audio but even now, it says much about all that is good about Star Wars and it's fan base. 


Enjoy...


DOWNLOAD .MP3


DFA.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Brave Ones.

Kayleigh Hendricks is a wonderful soul who is a part of a team behind a campaign to raise awareness of hate crimes.  She recently hit me up via the 'Book' and drew my attention towards a cause that I think is perhaps one of the most noble I've seen in a while.


Kayleigh Hendricks, the wonderful mind behind a wonderful cause.

On November 21 in Hollywood, California a walk will take place for everyone who has ever been an innocent victim of a hate crime(s), for everyone who has ever been discriminated against. People are encouraged to walk for anyone who has ever lived in fear because they were "different". People are encouraged to walk against intolerance so that perhaps those who are fearful and angry can be impacted in a positive way. 
 
The walk is a message to those who strike against beautiful, innocent human beings. Beings who deserve nothing more than to be swimming gracefully and confidently in the same pool all of us swim in. No one here in this world is different lest they choose to be and even then, "the sun rises in the morning on ALL of us." Everyone is encouraged to come together, create a buzz, and show Los Angeles and anyone who hears about or reads about the rally what those participating stand for and what everyone all deserve.
 
It's an awesome thing to do and I really applaud Kayleigh and her friends who have put so much effort into getting this up and off the ground. If I could have been there, I would have but geography as it does, often gets in the way. Still...

Check out their excellent FB page and if you can participate in the event, please do.

DFA.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Internal Voices Rule - Lily: The Quest For Reason by LM DeWalt

I'm not in the habit of reviewing books. In fact I'm not really sure what the protocol is for reviewing books. Does one have to be terminally cynical and completely wedded to the technical aspects of a story? Should one offer up a critique of the story based upon plot, characterization and mood? I dunno. 

I have just finished up the following book that I'm going to talk about. I felt that it was right to say a few words about - because it was so damned good! So, as a reader (as much as I am a writer) I'm going to have a go at giving you a review and we'll see if it - my reviewing - is any good.

Lily (The Quest For Reason) by fellow ireadiwrite author LM DeWalt is an intoxicating read. From the synopsis we find that Lily is a lonely vampire desperate for love and a normal existence. When she finally finds someone she can love and a group of vampires she can call family, her long lost maker comes back to claim her. To save the ones she loves, Lily must face, and possibly destroy, the one who stole her choices and her very life.



I came to Lily intrigued by the synopsis of Lily as a solitary figure but colored somewhat by my "is this going to be similar to 'a certain vampire franchise'?" I've enjoyed reading within the genre in the past - have been a fan of Anne Rice, I admit to watching & enjoying "Buffy" and "Angel" and I thought that "The Lost Boys" was a kick arse piece of cinema back in the day. I am - and I apologize in advance for this - less enamored with the whole "Twilight" franchise.

What I discovered in Lily, however was a completely unique interpretation of a vampire with a 'heart'...so to speak. And I was totally tuned into Lily's inner "voice" - this was one of the things I liked most about the book. I commented whilst reading Lily that I was totally taken with Lily's internal conflict borne of vulnerability. I was moved by her loneliness and her desire to connect with others and was suitably disturbed by the animal nature of what she is - a vampire.


LM DeWalt, Author of "Lily - The Quest For Reason"

LM DeWalt has crafted a wonderfully rich tableaux in the journey of Lily which is really quite stunning. Her settings were vivid, the conversations convincing and 'real' and the love story at the core of Lily is bewitching which, like the previous reviewer said - will have you on your feet cheering for this wonderful soul.

LM DeWalt is a Peruvian American who has been living in the US for 30 years. She works as a teacher of ESL, Spanish, French, and accent reduction and is also an interpreter and translator and runs creative writing groups. She is currently attending teacher's college. She has written for several Spanish language newspapers but her dream was always to write novels. Her love of vampires started when she was seven years old and saw Bella Lugosi's Dracula.

She currently resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where it's way too cold, with her husband, three teenage sons and two cats.

Lily is written with such care that it is easy to see that this was a story very close to LM DeWalt's heart. I am additionally blown away by the fact that Lily is available not only in English but also in Spanish.


Cover art for the Spanish version.

Read Lily, Loved Lily, Read Lily!

DFA.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Revisiting Keith.

I first wrote the following piece back in December, 2009, during a period in my life when I was struggling personally on a number of fronts. 

I have been a fan of the internet talk radio podcast "Keith & The Girl" almost since it's inception. It is a talk show like no other, where no topic or conversation is off limits. It is delivered each weekday with an integrity, enthusiasm and commitment by both Keith Malley and Chemda Kahlili. So much so that I have the highest regard and affection for these two individuals. Their show has carried me through some of the most difficult times in my adult life - also some of the best times. I honestly believe that if it were not for their counsel, I would have been committed ages ago. 

With the upcoming release of Keith Malley's autobiography "The Great American Novel" (which I pre-ordered the day the pre-orders opened), I thought it appropriate to revisit the following piece, simply entitled "Keith"


Whenever I think of Pennsylvania in the United States, I have an image in my mind of peaceful fields, an Amtrak bullet train rushing by, dairy cows grazing, a languid breeze that caresses the top of the meadow creating gentle, swirling patterns. Sometimes, I think of Amish people, farmers - husbands, wives and children strolling across the fields in their quaint clothing as depicted so beguilingly in one of my most favorite films of all time "Witness". Sometimes, I think of Bill Cosby...but I'm spoiling the mood here.

Somerset County, Pennsylvania is probably typical of this image I have, although I can't be sure because, of course, I've never been there.


In the 2000 census, Somerset County's population was listed as 6,762. One of its claims to fame was that it was the stage for the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 - one of the most contentious historical occurrences in U.S. history though I suspect that it's largely forgotten now. During 9/11, United Airlines Flight 93 - the only plane not to have wrought unspeakable destruction - crashed in Shanksville, near Somerset, killing all 45 persons on board. In 2002 nine coal miners were trapped underground for 3 days at Que creek just outside of Somerset attracting global attention.


Somerset is also the childhood home of Keith...


Who is Keith?


Well, that is a hard question to answer because, again, I have never met him. But I hear him speak pretty much every day so in a sense I feel as though I know him very well.

Keith is a dichotomy. Which, I know is a curious description but Keith is perhaps the most individual person I have ever encountered. I'll explain why in a moment.
Keith grew up in Somerset, the son of god fearing folk who brought him up in the strict Christian tenets of the faith. He railed against it, of course, as most kids did back in the day. For all intents and purposes his early life could have been the John Cougar Mellencamp song "Small Town"...except that Keith got out.

His was a strict upbringing. It was, perhaps, an unforgiving upbringing. But it was an upbringing that gave Keith the tools to embark on his own life's' journey and it gave him a strong foundation upon which to develop his own code - moral and practical. He has freely admitted that he doesn’t consider himself a Christian but this should not exclude him, or anyone for that matter, from being regarded as a good human being. It is an irrelevant proposition.


Keith joined the Army, a source for much pride within his parents. He then left the Army a little while later...which was met with an equal amount of disappointment as their previous pride.


Keith got into some trouble a few years back. Though the crime risked no-one and lives were not endangered, he knew the crime was egregious enough to warrant custodial punishment and so he served time and repaid his debt to society.


Keith went to New York and worked as a waiter - a job that, he has indicated, he was not proud of but it paid the bills. He also worked as a clown doing kids parties - a job far removed from the khaki and mud of the military but one, arguably, no less treacherous than a fire fight in enemy territory.


Keith met Chemda, a vivacious and proud Israeli and a person who - I would argue - ranks among the most beautiful people on the planet. They have been together some seven years and they are very much in love. They live in Queens and do an internet radio show together. They are extremely popular and justifiably so.


Five nights a week, for anywhere up to two and a half hours Keith and Chemda host this show whereby no topic you can conceivably think of remains untouched. From politics to popular culture, to relationships and sex, to friends and family and even justice (Keith's justice!) the minutiae of life is picked apart like bad knitting, examined and then put back together (knit 1, pearl 2, slip a stitch and...). It is then handed to their loyal audience in such a way that if you are not rolling on the floor laughing your arse off then you're not really trying.


There is a collection of regular guests who take turns in contributing to the hilarity, the agony and the ecstasy. There's Brother Love - a million watt personality with a million watt shock of raven black hair who, when he's not singing his lungs out to the most kick-arse soul tunes I've heard in a long time, he's manning the drums for an equally kick arse country rock out-fit called HER & Kings County. Brother Love himself is worth an entire article alone but I'll save that for another time. Suffice to say he is dearly loved by Keith and Chemda.


There's Patrice, the gossip queen who rolls up on Thursdays to give the gang the low down on Britney's latest melt-down, Lindsay's latest hoe-down and Paris' latest go-down. Patrice  examines celebrity the way legendary boxing commentator Stu Nahan used to examine a boxing bout. It is witty, it is intelligent, it is acerbic.


There's McNally, Keith's spiritual brother from Canada. McNally's a kind of orator on life whose always entertaining sometimes thought provoking and ever illuminating.


There are others who deserve a mention here but this is about Keith so I will keep it about Keith. The show has a compelling quality about it. They fearlessly discuss their subject matter without compromise even if that subject matter treads into personal territory.


In life, the human beings I admire most are the ones who have run the gamut of life's experience and have enhanced themselves because of it. That is to say, they have experienced resounding success as well as crushing failure. They have made choices that have yielded material and emotional wealth and they have made significant mistakes that have momentarily stopped them short.


But - they learn from these mistakes and have used the experience as a tool for learning, for evolving. And, rather than profit from that experience, individually, they choose to share it, perpetuating the potential for that experience to resonate with others who might then choose to learn from it themselves.


This is Keith's contribution.


The time in my life where I feel the least sure about myself is the time that I reside in now.


My 20's were a breeze in most respects, homage to the conventional. Get a job, meet a girl and get married, buy a house and settle down. Life was a template based upon the experiences of my predecessors - my family and friends.


But in an effort to live up to the expectations of others I found myself constantly falling short. This resulted in increasing sadness, a loss of identity, a loss of self. Sadness led to frustration and depression. Depression led to the dark places - places where most of us do not wish to go.


In my 30's things kind of fell apart. My marriage ended, I was consumed by depression and, despite receiving support people closest to me, there came a point at which I had gone beyond the life experience of my family. They couldn't help me emotionally anymore. This lead to a kind of turning away from me, of sorts, by some. And there was conflict. Conflict born out of misunderstanding.


The darkness didn’t last forever and coming out of a sort of exile, I met someone new, we fell in love and our child was born.


Though it was a happy time, I was still struggling with defining myself. Now I was to be a father too - a new role to integrate into my evolving life canvas. It was then that I realized that I hadn't fully stepped out of the shadows of my parents. In fact I wasn't
sure that I had ever stepped out at all.


I happened upon Keith, Chemda and their show in late 2005. Initially, I could only wonder about it from afar because, for the longest time, I only had dial-up internet and could never listen to it. I could only visit the website. I then got ADSL and things changed.


Of the themes that imbue Keith and Chemda's show with such soul, the recurring conversations about relationships are the ones that provide the most compelling radio I think I have ever heard. Keith's relationship with his father in particular is guaranteed to have me dropping everything in order to devote my full attention to.


Keith's father is some kind of minister, of what religion I am not quite certain. Suffice to say it seems as though it is hard core. As I said before Keith freely admits that he's not 'of the faith'.


And that's okay.


We evolve differently as individuals from that of our predecessors and make our own choices in life that will define us - none of the choices are wrong. But not everyone sees it that way.


Keith has talked extensively about the problems in his relationship with his father as exemplified most recently when Keith's father 'disowned' him because he dared share his communion bread with Chemda during church on a recent family visit to Somerset, Pennsylvania.


That Keith would dare to disrespect such a sacrament of the church was unforgivable in his father's eyes. I think the reaction was a little extreme personally.


I saw it as merely a gesture of love towards Chemda who, being Jewish, had not experienced the communion and was open to the idea of experiencing it as a naturally curious human being. To my mind it is something to be lauded rather than derided. Sadly, such is the exclusivity of many churches, that they are more successful at alienating rather than embracing.


But this issue was only part of the problem. It would seem that Keith's father has a problem with many of Keith's lifestyle choices including his show where many of the frailties of both Keith's and his father's relationship are laid bare to a wide audience.


Where Keith's father might see this as irresponsible and a betrayal of confidence I think he underestimates the power and the import of Keith's notoriety and his message.


I have experienced difficulties in my own relationship with my father and though they fall into a different realm than Keith's experience there are many common themes that I can identify in them. Sometimes those difficulties have been deeply troubling, a cause of much anxiety. Sometimes the difficulties have been so significant that I have not known where to turn, who to talk to. It has been very isolating. At what point in life do we emerge from the bosom of our parents and become own individuals? Do we ever step out? Or do we merely step to the side and continue our journey, not fully independent of them? These are the questions I have wrestled with in the difficulties I have experienced.


American author and mythologist, Joseph Campbell in his most celebrated work "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" posed Seventeen Stages of the Mono-myth (or the Hero's Journey) as a way of summarizing the common themes that can be found in many examples of popular and classic literature.


One of these - atonement with the father - states that the hero reconciles the tyrant and merciful aspects of the father-like authority figure to understand himself as well as this figure. Campbell also talks about the hero as a teacher - an individual who experiences his journey and who returns to share that experience with others so that they may benefit from his wisdom.


Keith, whether he knows it or not, is a hero to many because of these very maxims.


The discussion of the relationship with his father may well be a way of him seeking to understand his father as well as himself. And in discussing the difficulties he has experienced with his father he endears himself to his audience because they can identify many similar, if not exacting, themes within their own paternal relationships. I have found much comfort and guidance from the discussion of Keith's father. When I have felt that I have had nowhere to turn to, no answers to my questions Keith offers up another conversation of his son/father dynamic and everything feels less worrisome, I feel that everything - somehow - will be alright...or maybe they won't...but I know that I am not alone.


Keith is a person I admire because of the personal story he has shared without fear or favor.


Keith's father, in remaining closed off to the achievements of his son, the success of his show and the success of how Keith reaches people all over the world - and helps them, underestimates the success that Keith has attained through his own journey - a journey that continues.


This is Keith's contribution to the human good...


Keith Malley's "The Great American Novel" is available for pre-order now from Keith & The Girl's Store. If you're looking for a no hold's barred account of the most interesting kind, I highly recommend you purchase this book.



DFA.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dymocks, West Lakes. A Small Gathering of "Dreamers"

Last Thursday evening, I brought "The Hambledown Dream" to Dymocks Book Sellers of West Lakes in South Australia for an evening of book signing and discussion about the story, the characters and the music that characterizes much of my first published novel. 

It was a small gathering by comparison to my other appearances but no less enjoyable. I regard meeting readers as the single most important thing to do as an author. I appreciate that one thing above all others.
Anyway, here is a collection of images from that evening at West Lakes.


Store window display prepared by Lynette Spry of Dymocks, West Lakes.



 The Hambledown Dream on the shelves, in front and behind.
 

 This is always a nice thing to see.


Meeting with Nat. A new reader of the "Dream".


Meeting with Emma, a big supporter of the "Dream".

DFA.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Rasor's Edge Revisited - Now In Print!!

My good friend and fellow ireadiwrite Publishing alum, John Rasor has announced that his very-tongue-in-cheek retrospective of the TV series phenomenon Lost - How Lost Got Lost - has finally made it's long awaited leap to the printed page. 

I covered John's book back in July in the lead-up to it's digital release and I am so pleased that "How Lost Got Lost" is now available in print.

I wrote then that John first came to notice with his debut novel  "Roadkill", a deliciously sinister tome of a serial killer with a severe case of road rage who patrols the streets of L.A. and the highways of Southern California running down drivers who are using their cell phones while driving. His rage extends from the tragic death of his wife and unborn child in a similar but unrelated incident. "Roadkill" had me thinking of Denzel Washington's "Man On Fire" and more recently, the Liam Neeson actioner "Taken" in which an insatiable desire for revenge feeds the protagonist. I have to confess that I have a predilection for these types of stories.

In the aftermath of what many regard as the greatest "What the Fuck??" ending of a major television series ever,
John has sat down, driven by the need to understand, and has penned what could be the definitive tonic to aid all those Lost fans who are still picking themselves up off of the floor. "How Lost Got Lost" is one Lost fan's labor of love, a soliloquy of pent up frustration laid bare. John Rasor examines the Lost phenomenon in a blisteringly funny narrative that is choc full of valuable insights and measured consideration that seeks to answer that one burning question - W.T.F?

John writes with an unbridled enthusiasm and a genuine love for the series. Though I haven't been a huge devotee of the series Lost, John's ability to speak to the lay person is such that you probably didn't need to be a fan. Since I have come to know John, I have been particularly impressed with his almost encyclopedic knowledge of episodic television and his zest for pop culture which transcends almost all barriers.

Check out John's site where you will find all the necessary links to purchase, what I regard as a landmark publication. John's site is fast becoming a totally engrossing repository of everything great about pop culture vultures. I also encourage you to check out John's interview with Jason of the Brink of Sanity Show where he discusses the book in depth as well as other adventures in TV culture.


John is a great orator and someone who I like a lot.

DFA.







Sunday, October 17, 2010

Press Release - Book Store To Celebrate Local Author

From the Official Press Release by ireadiwrite Publishing.

BOOKSTORE TO CELEBRATE LOCAL AUTHOR
 
Author Dean Mayes╩╝ Breakout Novel Is A Bestseller By This Local South Australian Writer Delta, BC — ireadiwrite Publishing in cooperation with Dymocks Booksellers is proud to present Dean Mayes at a celebration of his romantic paranormal story The Hambledown Dream. Mr. Mayes will be reading from and signing his book at Dymocks Booksellers, Shop 180 West Lakes Boulevard in Westlakes on Thursday, October 28 at 6:30pm.

Download the complete press release here

  

DFA.
 

Monday, October 11, 2010

An Evening With The Hambledown Dreamer.


Poster for Dean's upcoming in store signing and evening at Dymocks/West Lakes, South Australia on October 28th at 6.30PM.

(Refer to the Events page for further details).

DFA.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Final Say - Again!

A couple of weeks ago, I was welcomed into the Radio Adelaide Studios Down Under to chat about my book "The Hambledown Dream" on "The Final Say" with Lauren Decesare and Caitlin Sullivan and play some tracks off it's unofficial/official soundtrack (yes - you read right). Well that interview is available for download here.



Last night (Sunday night), "The Final Say" welcomed me back into the studio a guest cohost and we had an awesome 90 minutes discussing life, the universe and Robin Gibb getting screwed over on live TV. I also comandeered the CD deck to get in some of my favorite tracks, INCLUDING none other than KATG's own Brother Love!! I also got in a mention of my upcoming in store author signing (see my Events page for details of that).

For a little pop culture, Australian style check out the episode we recorded last night.

The Final Say - October 10 2010 - DOWNLOAD .MP3

DFA.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Regenesis Cluster - A Short Story

As still as a mill pond. A surface, mirror smooth, reflecting light and darkness in equal measure so perfectly that it was impossible to tell where the horizon was. It was perfection, this stillness...


It was deathly quiet on the body of water. If there was any sound to be heard at all, it was - perhaps - a distant, disembodied roar of the Earth as it rotated on it's axis, the kind of sound that one can only hear when there is absolute silence. There was not a breath of wind to disrupt the surface of the ocean, thus the moonless, star lit night reflected perfectly off it, creating an illusion of infinite space. Every now and then, streaks of light streamed across the sky - meteors hitting the upper atmosphere - creating an impromptu light show of incredible intensity and brevity.


Nearby was a coast line. Rocky cliffs curved around in a wide bay that flanked the body of water, creating a sanctuary from the open sea. Towering sequoia stood upon the bluff overlooking the sea, as though in wait for the arrival of dawn. The chill night air was close to freezing, influenced in part by the air currents coming off the dense, forested, snow capped mountains inland. Atop the coastal cliffs, a ribbon of bitumen hugged the land mass, in places precariously close to the edge of the granite cliffs. It wound down in an arc identical to the coast to open out parallel to a strip beach front that was steep and surfaced with crushed shells and pebbles rather than sand.






It was perfect in it's solitude. In the depths of the night the sea, it seemed, slept.


The sea held onto it's secrets.


Below the surface, the inky blackness enveloped everything. Here, again, was a world in suspended animation - where nothingness dictated everything. There was no movement, no sound, no current, no light. It was suffocating in more ways than one.


And then from the nothingness - a flash of silver in the gloom, a submerged equivalent of a meteor streaking across the sky above. A lone bottle nosed dolphin coalesced out of the gloom, undulating languidly as it explored this region of water close to the shore. It's sleek body captured a mysterious light source that seemed to come from no-where and reflected off it's silvery gray flank. It was a mature specimen, an adult male, with a smattering of territorial spots adorning it's dorsum. To the trained eye, one could surmise that this dolphin had returned it's own waters. Indeed, the mammal had spent long months in the open sea, had traveled thousands of miles after having become lost from his pod. He was desperately lonely, pining for his own kind. So it was with a great sense of relief that he had found his way back to this stretch of coast where he had been born. He could sense his number somewhere close by.


The dolphin slowed to a stop and floated a few feet below the surface for several minutes as though in a state of suspended animation. The mammal was thoroughly exhausted and he allowed himself a few moments of pause now that he knew he was close to home. The turbulent water the dolphin had stirred up behind him and around him as he braked dissipated until the stillness returned. He drifted upward as though curious about the surface and what lay there. In the background of the brilliant star field above, the dolphin's black form stood prominent - like a shadow of Pisces.


Mere millimeters from from the meniscus, the dolphin gave an almost imperceptible flick of it's fins, holding fast before he could break the surface of the water. He wasn't yet in need of air. He began to descend once more.


In the stillness of the water he drifted down...down...so slowly and so slightly that his aerodynamics did not disturb the water around him. The dolphin closed it's eyes, relaxing into the cradle of the sea, tempted to keep falling into the blackness, so tired was he.


From somewhere far below a single bubble rose, closing in like a tiny missile on the mammal. A perfectly formed, spherical pocket of air unmolested by current or debris, ascended through the darkness, it's jewel like surface similarly capturing that mysterious light source from...somewhere..., in the same manner as the dolphin's body had.


The dolphins perfectly attuned biological sonar, that was designed to pick up on the most insignificant contact failed to detect the miniscule current disturbance from the bubble as it rose upward, ever upward towards it.


The bubble made contact with the underside of the dolphin, spreading out as it impacted silently, it's form compressed as flat as a pancake until it split in two like the nucleus of a cell. In that instant, the dolphin's eyes snapped open. As the two separate parts of the bubble rippled up both of it's flanks, the dolphin was startled by the disembodied sound of a guttural scream - a human scream - a scream of anguish that seemed to emanate from inside the air bubble itself.


As one half of the original air bubble broke free from of the hydrostatic grip of the dolphin's body, it passed before the dolphin's eye. His pupil focused on the undulating pocket of air.


Time slowed to a crawl...


A face, a human face - a man's face, his features contorted into a mask of horror screamed into the darkness around him from inside the bubble.


The dolphin flinched, panicked at what he had just witnessed. The moment was so fleeting, the moving image disappeared from his field of view so quickly, the mammal was disoriented...which only fed into his now heightened state of anxiety.


He flicked his body upward, breaking free of the darkened depths and surfaced, a large gout of water issuing forth from his blow hole. The dolphin hovered there for several minutes, the adrenaline coursing through him still, until he felt calm return. The silence of the night above soothed him.


As the dolphin drifted, his now attuned sonar suddenly alerted him to a new contact rising from below - two contacts this time.


Curiosity replaced his previously startled anxiety and the mammal hooked himself over and dove beneath the surface, honing in on the two new bogeys...





Download the entire article from the "Articles & Short Stories" Section of the Site.

DFA.





Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Final Say Talks The Hambledown Dream Musical Journey

On Sunday September 12th 2010, Lauren Decesare and Caitlin Humphries welcomed me into the Radio Adelaide studios to discuss my novel "The Hambledown Dream" on their Sunday night talk show "The Final Say" and gave me the opportunity to take listeners on a musical journey through the book. We show cased some tracks that inspired the novel and some that featured in the novel. The tracks range from Jose Feliciano's rendition of the Doors classic "Light My Fire" to the Dixie Chicks "Landslide" to Zero 7's "Home". It was a totally lovely, intimate discussion with a couple of great girls who made me feel at ease. Suffice to say, we had an awesome time. 


I'm pleased to be able to add this wonderful interview to my media section as well as invite you to download the show right here.

DOWNLOAD MP3.

DFA.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Geek Out Central!

So I'm on this massive geek-out-come-re-living-my-childhood odyssey this past week.


A couple weeks ago I celebrated a birthday (and NO you don't get to ask how old!) and one of the gifts I received was a voucher for our own kick-arse CD/DVD/HiFi/Everything a tech-toy loving guy could ever want in life - otherwise known as JB HiFi - from my brother. I used to regard these sorts of gift vouchers as a kind of easy way out so far as gift giving is concerned but, in recent years, I have come to prize these gifts because they are the one gift that allows you to go your hardest and literally get just the right gift for yourself. I LOVE them. 


So anyway - I sat down and I went through the entire JB HiFi online catalog just totally drooling at all the cool stuff I could choose from - and believe me there is soooo much cool stuff in that store. And in the process I happened across one particular product which totally opened the flood gates to long dormant memories of my childhood. And I knew in that instant that it was going to be the winner this year.


(Cue "Wonder Years" theme tune here)...


Back in the really early 80's when I was all of 8 years old, I used to have a paper round each weekday after school at the local power station in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Australia. For an hour and a half each day I would sell "The Herald" newspaper - a big old afternoon broadsheet newspaper - for 30 cents a copy to the power station workers who would finish their shift around 4 in the afternoon, which was perfect timing so far as a paper round was concerned. I can't exactly remember how long I did this for - maybe a few months or so - but I distinctly remember enjoying it a great deal. My mother made for me a special pouch that I would tie around my waist to collect my money in and after a while, I would actually go into the workshops to sell the newspapers, rather than wait on the gate outside. The men in the workshops "issued" me with my own hard hat, upon which they wrote the nick name "Digger" and I was required to wear that hat each time I went into the workshops to sell my papers. I actually still own that hard hat to this very day. It hangs off a hook in my shed at home - memento of a long time ago. 


Anyway. The paper round would keep me occupied in the afternoon from the time I finished school 'til a little before 5PM when the newsagency manager would collect me in his van and return me back to the shop where he would sort out the takings and pay me. And then - like those times when you're literally busting to go to the toilet and can't wait a minute longer - I would be out the door of the newsagency, onto my bike and I would pedal like crazy to get home. Because, at 5PM each weekday afternoon on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Channel 2, Star Blazers would screen.



For a little while in the early 80's, this logo was almost as kick-ass as...


THIS logo!

For half an hour I would disappear into this kick arse future universe where the crew of the "Argo" - lead by the ubiquitous white bearded Captain Avatar - struggle in their battle against the evil Gamilon Empire as they desperately try to reach a distance planet called Iscandar. The reason being is that in the future, Earth has been bombarded by devastating bombs that have unleashed poisonous radiation, rendering the surface of the planet uninhabitable, and has forced Earth's population underground where they live in fragile cities. The entire premise is that the only hope for Earth lies with the people of Iscandar. If the "Argo" doesn't return to Earth within one year then their home will be gone and all life destroyed. High art indeed.


Star Blazers was the first TV series that I remembered following religiously. It had everything - action, adventure, ships and fighters, a totally hot chick that was my first animated crush (and plus it filled the gap in time between Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi so - what's not to love huh?). At the time that I first came to the series I managed to catch all of the first season and most of it's second season but I can't remember whether I saw anything more of it after that - I mean C'mon! I was like 9 and besides by the time 1983 rolled around, I was all Star Wars again so everything else had to take a back seat!! Sadly though, Star Blazers all but disappeared off of our screens and I never saw it on network television again...but I never really forgot it.




The Space Battleship Yamato (rebadged the Argo in the US redub).


Star Blazers actually predates Star Wars. Conceived in the early 70's in Japan, the series was actually born as The Space Battleship Yamato (TSBY) and it premiered on Japanese television in 1974. Considered perhaps one of the seminal works of Japanese anime, TSBY actually spawned three series for television and it went on to become a series of animated feature films which culminated in a 1983 feature entitled "Final Yamato" which still holds the record for the longest animated feature film ever made (it clocks in at something like 2 and 3/4 hours). Western audiences were awoken to the Yamato saga in 1979 when it was broadcast on American television and, of course, it trickled out to countries like Australia not long after. In the ensuing years the fan community around the whole Yamato/Star Blazers saga has enjoyed an ongoing love affair with the series and it is a staple of conventions world wide - especially of course Japan who hold the Yamato pretty sacred, understandably so. It has continued unabated into the present day where just this year there has been a newly released animated feature film with totally blow my mind visuals called Yamato: Resurrection which I have added to my must have DVD's - despite the fact that it is all in Japanese. And in yet another big deal for the community at large, December 2010 will see the release of an even more blow my mind live action Japanese production "Space Battleship Yamato"



Poster Art for the upcoming live action film Space Battleship Yamato.

In the meantime...


We cut forward a...few...decades. I'm now in my...mid 30's and around a year ago I happened across a store in Adelaide's City Center that specializes in all things anime. And of course the old memories of the series I loved so much bubbled to the surface and I just had to ask the girl behind the counter whether she knew of the series and whether it was available on DVD. Now this chick was totally Y-Gen, tricked out in a quasi geek/emo get up and chewing gum as she gazed blankly at a computer screen in front of her. This "older dude" comes in and is racking his brains trying to think of this show he watched as a kid. 


Well...I swear, the minute I said "Star Blazers" her bottom jaw slackened, her eyes went wide and her wad of chewing gum fell out. She actually gave me the broadest smile and cheerily lead me to a cabinet containing all sorts of DVDs - anime of course. And there, tucked away in the bottom was the complete collection of series one to three of "Star Blazers". Of course, I didn't buy it then - it was ridiculously priced - but we got into this brilliant discussion about all things "Star Blazers" - how cool, Derek Wildstar and Mark Venture were, how Nova was my first anime crush and how totally kick arse the "Argo" was (the purists will refer to it as the Yamato).


 
Gotta love my bro...


A parcel arrived in the post the other day, a nice big bulky one with "JB Hifi" marked on the address panel. I ripped it open in barely a second and held in my hands that which I had come to covet. 17 discs of unadulterated glory that is "Star Blazers" complete with a tonne of extra features and enough geeky goodness to sustain me for at least the next six months. Just this weekend, my son and I sat down to the opening three episodes of season one  and already - he's hooked and I'm tearing up with the campy beauty of it all - the cheesy dialogue, the even cheesier 70's boom-chicka-wow-wow music, the esoteric Japanese philosophy translated into semi brainless Americanism. It's just all so wonderful.


My serioso just shakes her head yet again...


DFA.