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Looking for literary ladies…

As I may have casually mentioned in passing a few weeks ago, I am about to have a short story, one that I wrote for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, published in an actual printed anthology, via one of my new connections on business networking site, LinkedIn.

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Anyway, impatient as I am to see one of my improvised fiction experiments in print, I got in touch with Catherine Broughton, who is compiling the book, (on her blog, Turquoise Moon, see link below) to ask for an update.
It turns out that the hold up is that she’s 2 or 3 short stories short, if you see what I mean, and she is looking to fill that short story shortfall with contributions from women.

So, if you’re a lady blogger or writer (maybe you’re a woman, but not a lady, it doesn’t matter) and you would like one of your short stories published in a real printed book, then CLICK THIS LINK to submit your work for possible inclusion.

Good luck.

{Cartoon by Ho}

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Small fish / Big pond (or Flounder in the Shark Tank)…

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There’s a certain feeling I get sometimes, one that is difficult to define but no less real for all that.

The sort of feeling I get when I find myself in an environment that I am as yet unfamiliar with, but have nonetheless been invited into by those to whom it is second nature.

It’s a sensation similar to one I’ve experienced when, having been roped into some committee, council, or focus group at work, I suddenly realise that most, if not all of the others present, have the relevant information, skills or training at their disposal and that I’m going to have to blag it somewhat, at least until I know what’s going on.

The earliest example I can recall of this feeling, that I may have accidentally become an imposter, simply by having turned up when invited, was way back in 1980, when I was an innocent young schoolboy in Sussex.

I used to play trumpet in the local Boy Scout marching band and my music teacher suggested I turn up for the weekly band practice at school.
Now, I wasn’t bad at playing the trumpet, (although my long-suffering parents may have disagreed) in fact I had graduated from blowing a basic bugle to playing an actual valve trumpet, learning various rousing marching tunes by ear, with the aid of our slightly eccentric band master in the Scouts.

The key phrase in that sentence is “by ear”, as I realised just too late when I proudly sat down with my instrument case at band practice the following week, took out my trumpet and heard the music teacher say;

“Right, if you’d all open your music score to page three…”

Ah.

“Um, I’m sorry sir, I can’t read music.”

Yes, there was sniggering.

Yes, there was a certain air of communal smugness amongst the rest of the assembled musicians.

And yes, I scuttled from the room, mumbling excuses and vowing never to put myself in such a mortifying situation ever again.

Which, obviously, I still did, we all do, it’s part of life.
Part of the rich and varied learning curve we all have to climb, in order make our way in an increasingly complex world, one where social interaction has given way to social networking and having “friends” no longer means the same thing as it did when we (meaning anyone aged thirty and over) were kids.

But I’ve done pretty well to catch up, I think.
I quickly got the hang of social media.
Well, Facebook anyway.
I’ve got a YouTube account, and Twitter, and tumblr.
I even have my own blog for goodness sake.

So how much different could other social media sites be?

LinkedIn is the social network for the business world and therefore the only experience I’ve had with it so far is when I use it to share blog posts, from which I have previously gained very little traffic.

Then, when I was doing some general maintenance on the blog last week, including adding a LinkedIn share button to the bottom of posts, it occurred to me that it might be worth tidying up my neglected LinkedIn account profile.
Which was when it occurred to me that there are all sorts of professional bloggers, writers, publishers, authors and editors out there, many of whom must use the site to promote themselves, (I know, I know, I told you I was still learning) so I set about finding as many people in those fields as I could and sent them all invites, followed by a polite introductory message, just to see what would happen.

The other thing that I realised was that my profile claimed that I was called “Dale Cooper”, (my initial attempt at persuading the system to accept dalecooper57 as my name having fallen at the first electronic fence) an entirely fictional identity that only exists in two places; my head and the blogosphere.
So before sending out my opening salvo of invites, I took the completely non-executive decision to change the account to my real name, (I’m pretty sure there isn’t anybody who still thinks I’m called Dale Cooper, right?) which is at least a fairly uncommon one, added the details of my day job and updated my profile to make it clear that I was interested in connecting with people in the writing business.

Then I sat back and waited.

Just looking at the LinkedIn newsfeed made me feel out of my depth, scrolling through posts about content management, marketing, copywriting, content development and target demographic optimisation strategies, (ok, I made that last one up) all of which may as well have been in Swahili for all the sense it makes to me.

All of which makes it rather problematic when trying to engage a potentially useful new contact in a conversation that I can steer around to how I might go about getting myself in on the ground floor (or at least into the basement) of the rarified and ephemeral world of published writers.

It turns out I needn’t have worried, all the writers and publishers I have contacted have been sympathetic, helpful and glad to give advice.
Not only that, but I have now built up a network of over eighty LinkedIn users, some of whom actually sent me invites and several of them have already provided me with invaluable hints and tips on creative writing.

But it gets better.

Today I saw a post from one of my new connections, requesting that writers submit short stories to her, for inclusion in a book.

An actual, real, printed book!

So I did, obviously.
I submitted two of the stories that I wrote for my contribution to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday posts and now all I have to do is wait to hear whether they meet all the criteria for inclusion.

In the book.
I did mention there was a book, right?

I’m more excited than a schoolboy who has just realised he can read music.

Watch this space.

{Original Help Desk cartoon by Ho}

 

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Watching the defectives…

As Adam Pain’s Golden Face Palms are only two short weeks away, I have been trying to work out who I shall be accepting the award on behalf of.

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Not that there is any shortage of nominations you understand, but I did make a case for two individuals in particular and I’m intrigued as to which one gets the “honour” of a GFP being bestowed upon them. (I’m thinking that, considering the number of votes both of my nominations subsequently received via other people nominating them, whichever one I don’t pick up the award for won’t miss out anyway)

I feel sure the event is going to be a blast, pitched as it is as a fund raising piss-take of public numptiness.
But for every head-slapping story of inanity, insanity and ineptitude perpetrated by high profile d-list dullards, there are many other, equally deserving ordinary everyday morons members of the public who deserve a mention, locally, nationally and worldwide.

It could be something as simple as the bloke at work who, in an attempt to win favour with our new site manager, went to the trouble of opening a LinkedIn account so he could send the boss an invitation. When the top man accepted, the scoundrel proceeded to use the business networking site to grass up his workmates for talking, using their mobile phones when they should be working and spending too long in the toilet.

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Or it could be the Keystone Spooks story about the security services and jihadi wannabe, Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, accused of membership of Somali terrorist group al-Shabab and fitted with an electronic tag as part of the restrictive TPIM (Terrorism Prevention Investigation Measures) imposed on him.
Not only did he manage to somehow remove his tracking tag, but he also outwitted his watchers by entering a mosque and, after changing into a full-length woman’s burka, walked straight out under their noses like something out of a satirical remake of Some Like it Hot.

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And while we’re on the topic of inappropriate disguises, how about this for a bit of jaw-dropping stupidity from across the pond.

The ironically named Jessica Black of Craigsville, Virginia thought it would be perfectly acceptable to continue the “family tradition” of dressing up her 7-year-old son, Jackson, in a Ku Klux Klan costume and sending him out Trick or Treating on Halloween, much to the indignation of her neighbours.

You can watch her blithely defending her decision to turn her offspring into a social pariah in this clip from the local news.

But without doubt the prize for the most staggering and serious mishandling of a situation has to go to the police force of West Auckland, New Zealand.

For 2 years Auckland police have known about a deeply unpleasant group of local teenage boys calling themselves the “Roast Busters” whose idea of a good time is getting local underage girls drunk, gang-raping them and then uploading the results to YouTube and Facebook in order to humiliate the girls into keeping quiet.
They even have supporters who set up a fan page to follow their conquests.

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A couple of Roasters. Calm down ladies, you’re not drunk enough.

As if this isn’t atrocious enough, the attitude of those tasked with protecting and serving the community is almost too callous to be believed.

Detective Inspector Bruce Scott is quoted as saying that;
“None of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take that to a prosecution stage”

I’m sorry, the girls haven’t been brave enough? Are you fucking kidding me?

But I’m sure you came down on the little bastards like the proverbial ton of bricks didn’t you Inspector, cowardly rape victims notwithstanding?
This is what our law enforcing hero had to say on the matter;
“We’ve told them their behaviour is verging on criminal if not criminal, and suggested it cease”

Verging on criminal”?
Suggested it cease”?
Are you out of your tiny mind?

However, I expect the odious little antipodean cassanovas are suitably contrite since their horrible activities have been made public?

Hardly.

Here’s a quote from one of the apparently unfazed members of the gang, responding to accusations that he is, not to put too fine a point on it, a complete scumbag;
“You try and get with the amount of girls we do. This is hard, it’s a job, we don’t do this shit for pleasure.”

Ah bless, you poor thing. It must be awful for you, spending all your pocket money on cheap booze, only to have those ungrateful little trollops get all upset when they wake up with a hangover and no virginity or self respect.
You probably tell them you feel terrible and promise to make amends don’t you?

No?

No. What he actually likes to tell his distraught victims is;
”Go ahead, call the cops, they can’t un-rape you.”

Unbelievable.
Or is it?
Bearing in mind that the delightfully named Roast Busters are made up of, amongst others, the sons of policeman and in one case, the son of a Hollywood movie star, (Anthony Ray Parker, who played “Dozer” in The Matrix) it seems unlikely that they will be brought to justice anytime soon.
Although New Zealand’s 3 News has begun a crusade to publicise their activities, so they may yet have a case to answer.

Come to think of it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to inaugurate a worldwide Golden Face Palms ceremony to highlight the sort of outrageous and incomprehensible behaviour this type of cretin engages in, if only to bring it to the attention of those with some power to deal with them, or at the very least to galvanise public opinion against them.

For now I think the inestimable Mr Pain has enough on his plate, but you never know, there’s always next year…

 
9 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Awards, Blogging, News, Social comment, TV

 

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