Robin Williams – We’ll Never Have Another Friend Like Him…

It often seems I’ve skipped a rung
Some days, for what it’s worth.
I’ve missed a step – I’ve slipped and swung
To some peculiar Earth.

On days like these, those moments tossed
Emerge with careless haste –
To leave me hopeless, hurt and lost,
With bitter truths to taste.

I’m sure it seems absurd to hear
I’d grieve to let him go –
I’d close my eyes and shed a tear
For guys I didn’t know –

But all the same – I will a while.
That man I never met –
The man that made me laugh and smile –
I never shall forget.

~Reddit user poem_for_your_sprog

So the world’s funniest man killed himself.

Forgive me if I ramble here, I’m three sheets to the wind. Red wine and scotch, a delightful mix. And if the death of Robin Williams isn’t enough to fill your glass again then what is? Ah, Captain Charles Morris had words on that:

In these convulsive days,
I can’t endure the ruin’d fate
My sober eye surveys;
But, midst the bottle’s dazzling glare,
I see the gloom less plain,
And that I think’s a reason fair
To fill my glass again.

Perhaps not fair at all.

I guess this is what growing older feels like. You watch your heroes die. I wish they were dying a lot later than 63, though, surrounded by family and loved ones.

Comedy and tragedy are the oldest friends in the world. More than friends, close relations—brothers. Two sides of the same coin.

Let me do a roll call off the top of my head: Hook, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, One Hour Photo, Insomnia, Night at the Museum, Good Morning Vietnam, Happy Feet, Mrs. Doubtfire, Bicentennial Man, The Birdcage, Death to Smoochy, Toys…

And my favourite Robin Williams film—What Dreams May Come.

Dream Williams

There were many more, many great and (let’s be honest, can we be that, just the two of us?) some stinkers. But even a crappy Robin Williams film was better than most. Diamonds in the rough, so to speak.

Dead Poets Society! Holy shit, can’t forget that one.

Oh, man, Flubber…

JumanjiAladdin!

Aladdin Hug

No one really knows the heart and mind of another—not really and not ever—but Robin Williams always felt like a success story. A champion over the demon named Depression. A great man who left the world more laughter than what he took with him this morning.

He’ll always be the Genie. Peter Pan. Mrs. Doubtfire. He’s still laughing there. He’ll always be Chris ‘Christy’ Nielsen. Sean Maguire. John Keating. A legacy preserved in our memories. A monumental pillar of roles, built tall enough to pierce the clouds. Yet all balanced precariously on that double-faced coin, comedy and tragedy, standing—wavering—on its edge.

His death has caused me a great deal of sadness—sadness and gloom. A big part of my childhood died today. It looks like, in the end, that fucking demon sunk its teeth in too deep and just wouldn’t let go. But I think the man himself would not want us to dwell on such sadness. We must remember what Robin Williams stood for, even in the dark.

It wasn’t depression or sorrow.

It was laughter.

Williams - Hot Dog

 

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KNIGHT FALL RELEASED ON KINDLE!

Aside

So, shit, I forgot to post this a week ago, but Knight Fall (RE#3) is now available for Kindle from Amazon!

Here: http://www.amazon.com/Knight-Fall-Reminiscent-Exile-ebook/dp/B00G7PHAAA/

Blimey, shooting myself in the foot…

The paperback isn’t far away – about a week!

Hope you enjoy! And review. Oh I hope you review!

Like Pulling Teeth

You’ll have to bear with me on this one – I’ve just returned from the dentist with two less teeth than I left with. Blimey, it took two dentists and about four sets of dentist pliers (forceps?) to remove these stubborn teeth. Way to go molars, you let the whole team down.

Funnily enough, it put me in a blogging mood.

Let’s talk what’s happening on the writing front.

  • The Rig is going through final edits now and is on track to be published September 5th, by Hot Key Books. Keep an eye out for that one, it’s one of my finest works to date.
  • Knight Fall, RE#3, is floundering but persevering. Should be done in a month or two, then edits, then release.
  • I’m working on two brand new projects, as well. Young Adult fantasy and Young Adult… contemporary? I dunno, YA – dragons = project 2. One involves floating cities, fish and tree people, magical gauntlets, and an orphaned protagonist fallen on hard-but-magical times. The other doesn’t have dragons, and remains a vague, somewhat vaguer than vague, blur in my mind. Only have about 10,000 useful words of that, but there’s something there. Cider Promises.
  • And, happy days, I just signed with the wonderful Eugenie Furniss at Furniss & Lawton. Not only am I published, but I have a literary agent.

That about does it for now. Just gotta keep tip-tapping away in the word mines, searching for glittering story. There’s plot in dem dar hills!

Long days and pleasant nights,

Joe

The cover for ‘Knight Fall’ – Declan Hale’s third foray into misadventure!

Well, ain’t she a pretty sight:

 

knight fall_design (1)The cover was designed, once again, by the incomparable Vincent Chong! Praise be to him.

Now my rough estimate on the release date for this bad boy is July/August of this year. May be a touch sooner, if I can work out a few kinks. I’ll keep you posted.

Steak and beer are calling my name, so I must away.

Cheers,

Joe

 

 

Broken Quill – Reminiscent Exile #2 Now Available!

Happy days, ladies and gentlemen!

The follow-up to my immensely popular and universally loved urban fantasy story, Distant Star, is now available from Amazon. Check it out here.

Broken Quill - Titled“Broken Quill, the second volume of ‘The Reminiscent Exile’, is considered Outstanding in Genre (Urban Fantasy).” ~ Red Adept Select

*~*~*~*

Morpheus Renegade has fallen and Declan Hale, the Shadowless Arbiter, has returned from the dead.

But scores are still to be settled. A creature from Forget stalks Perth, taunting Declan, drawing him out of his bookshop and forcing him across worlds once again. The last time Declan broke his exile, it cost him his life. Worse, the Knights Infernal have done the unthinkable and withdrawn from True Earth—leaving humanity unprotected against the Void.

Among demonic serial killers, malevolent gods, old girlfriends, and pressure from the local cops, Declan stands at the heart of a conflict ten thousand years in the making.

The Knights may have abandoned Earth to enemies as old and as cruel as time, but Declan won’t let his world—or his favorite pub—fall without a fight.

*~*~*~*

Y’all go pick up a copy and tell me what you think!

-joe

 

On QR Codes and Marketing Stories

These days, marketing and getting the word out about my stories feels kind of like cramming a book onto an overstuffed shelf and watching the whole thing collapse under the weight of a thousand other writers doing the same. On a shelf wrapped around the circumference of the earth. In a thunderstorm. I’m lost to the white noise of the infernal Internet machine.

Marketing can be darned expensive, too. Sure, there are free and valuable options out there – such as blogging, interviews, blog tours, readers’ forums, genre spamming, and what not – but paid advertising? Facebook ads? Things of that nature? Expensive, and not guaranteed to succeed. The cost can quickly rocket beyond the stratosphere, pinging off Felix Baumgartner, on its way to Elysium.

So here’s one little thing I’ve been doing to spread the word – using QR code stickers. A scanned code that directs folk straight to my web site.

For those living under a rock for the past decade, this here be a QR code:

I’m sure you’ve seen them about, strewn haphazardly in everything from books, to street corners, to shops, to the arm rests on chairs at the airport (Note: all places I’ve left QR code stickers directing folk to my website). Using a smartphone equipped with a scanner app, the phone ‘reads’ the code and directs the phone to whatever is encoded in the image. In this case, my site.

I love QR codes, think they’re great – hybridising the physical world with the digital horizon.

According to comscore, an average of 20 million Americans scanned a QR code every 3 months in 2011. Now, that’s not HUGE in the grand scheme of things, but it does suggest a trend toward more and more folk utilising this technology. I think the trick is to leave the code somewhere unobtrusive but obvious. I don’t just slap them down on a table at the pub, but I may leave one on a lamppost out front of a restaurant, or somewhere else where people queue and have nothing better to do than play with their phone.

I’ve only been at this a month, and it’s hard to say whether anyone has scanned one of my codes. I’m currently living in Banff, Canada, and I walk past a half dozen of my codes everyday. On noticeboards, lampposts, and what have you. But I’ve left them all over Australia and a few cities in the U.S. Again, the stickers are unobtrusive but obvious, and most of them may have been removed, but not all.

For the next campaign, I’m creating a special ‘QR Code’ page, which can only be accessed directly through scanning a QR code out there in the world. The scanner will be directed to a page with promo codes and discounts for purchasing my stories, directly from this site. I’m excited to see just how many, if any, hits that page gets once I start dishing out those special stickers. Or whether my twitter followers increase, or whatever. I’m also working on designing a more appealing code, something literary themed, to catch the eye. We’ll see. Using Google Analytics, I’ll even be able to discern which hits can be attributed to a scanned code. Exciting.

The logical step from here, of course, is to get the code printed somewhere with a high volume of traffic. Location, location, location. Some ideas:

  • Print media (newspaper)
  • Billboard the code
  • Product packaging (imagine the hits if I could get my code printed on 10 million Coca-Cola cans! AND DAMN THE MILLIONS I’D HAVE TO SPEND!)
  • Accessories – t-shirts, jewellery.
  • Edible codes

All options that would cost, no doubt considerable, funds, probably better spent elsewhere, but I’m trying to think outside the box here. We’ll see how far I can take this, while keeping costs well within the scope of the benefits.

All in all, this is a very small drop in the marketing ocean, but at around $19 for a hundred stickers from moo.com, I’m willing to give it a shot.

Back to the word mines,

joe