Friday, November 09, 2018

The 'Scent of Fear' Roadshow

Below is the new, updated list of events where I'll be speaking about my new novel, 'Scent of Fear'.

Come say hi and get a book (or several) signed.  Feel free to bring your old books as well.

As always, please book and check with the venue that times and dates are correct.

Krugersdorp, Johannesburg, Tuesday, January 15
Bargain Books, Cradlestone Mall, Hendrik Potgeiter Road, 17:30 for 18:00 (please confirm with the store).

Tokai, Cape Town, Wednesday, January 16
I'll be in conversation with David Hilton-Barber for the launch of 'Hold My Hand,' his biography of the late, great author John Gordon-Davis, at the Tokai Book Shoppe, corner of Main and Tokai Roads a 7.00pm .  Rsvp:

Canal Walk, Cape Town, Thursday, January 17
Exclusive Books, Canal Walk, Century City, book talk.  18:00 for 18:30.

Kelvin Grove Club, Newlands, Cape Town, Friday January 18
Lunch, 12:30, R170 for non members, 144 Campground Rd, Newlands, includes lunch, bookings essential. Reservations and details, click here

Friday, October 13, 2017

Meet me while I'm promoting 'The Cull'

My 14th novel, The Cull, the third in the adventures of former mercenary Sonja Kurtz (following on from 'The Delta', and 'An Empty Coast', is out now.

I'm not doing a big tour of speaking dates this year, but I have got a few speaking engagements lined up and I'll be popping into book shops around Australia and South Africa over the next couple of months.  I'll post details of store visits here on the blog, and on my facebook and twitter accounts, so do keep an eye out.

For now, I'll be speaking at or visiting the following venues:

- November 8, Encompass Africa event, Templeton Room, Tattersalls Club, 215 Queen Street, Brisbane, 6pm-7.30pm. $35 per person, including drinks and canapes.  Bookings are essential, call Encompass Africa on 07 3266 2377.

- November 17 - I'll be visiting Dymocks Penrith, NSW, Westfield Shopping Centre, at 9.30am

- November 18 - Popping into Dymocks in Hay Street, Perth WA, at 12.30pm.

- November 23 - Visiting Humphreys Newsagency, The Corso, Manly, to sign a few books at 9.30am.

- November 24 - St Ives Library, Sydney, 10am-11am (please book with. the library)

- November 28 - Stopping by at Dymocks Rouse Hill, NSW, Rouse Hill Town Centre, at 9.30am.

- December 2 - Somewhere in Melbourne,  mid morning! Please keep an eye here and on my tonyparkauthor facebook page and I'll give you the location.  It could be a bookshop or a cafe or a street corner, but I'l be somewhere for half an hour or so!  (Please don't email me asking me where - I'll post it here and on facebook as soon as I know.  OK?)

Like I said, not a lot of events this year, but I'll also advise when and where I'll be visiting more book shops, so do keep an eye out.

I'm back in South Africa in mid December so, South African friends, keep an eye out here and on facebook and I'll let you know if I'm visiting your local book store.

As always, it's a good idea to check with the venue and book for talks, as I've been known to get times wrong in the past!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Come see me in regional Queensland

Hello Queensland.  Note, this post will contain no reference to the State of Origin (well, maybe one).

I'll be speaking at three libraries on Wednesday and Thursday June 21 and 22, 2017.

12pm Wednesday, June 21: :Laidley Library, William St and Ambrose Street, Laidley. Cost, $5 per person, including light lunch.  Contact the library for tickets.

6pm Wednesday, June 21: Gatton Library, 34 Lake Apex Drive, Gatton.  Cost $10 per person, including wine (yay) and cheese.  (note, the talk will finish in time for you to get home to watch the State of Origin.  No further comment from this resident of NSW).  Contact the library for tickets.

10am Thursday, June 22: Oakey Library, Civic Precinct, 60 Campbell Street.  For details and bookings please contact Oakey Library on 46920154

Monday, April 04, 2016

How I screwed up by breaking my three golden rules of research

Unfortunately, errors happen in books despite the time authors, publishers and editors spend checking.

It’s annoying and I know as a reader that one small mistake can undermine the authenticity of an entire book.

I had a couple of howlers in my latest book, An Empty Coast, relating to firearms.  What annoys me most is that if I’d followed my rules of research they wouldn’t have happened.

If you’re at all interested, I’ll give you my three rules of research, and you can see how I screwed up.

1.     1. Do not rely on the internet

This is my cardinal rule.  I’ve wasted too much time, especially in my earlier novels, looking for stuff on the internet.  I find different spellings for place names and foreign words, and (often vastly) different takes on the same subject matter.

I needed some information on the Russian-designed Dragunov sniper rifle, which features at a pivotal moment in An Empty Coast, and learned that it fires the 7.62x54mmR round.  Sonja (my heroine) has to pick up a discarded empty rifle (I won’t tell you why) and loads it with some ammunition that she has with her.  Therein lies the problem – I found a reference online that said the standard Russian 7.62x39mm round, as used in the AK 47 assault rife (have I lost you yet?) could also be used in a Dragunov.

As I read that, I thought, ‘how weird’, but I didn’t do any more checking.  Why not?  Because it suited the story and was an easy fix to a corner I had written myself into.  And I needed to get on with writing the story.

Fact:  no, you cannot interchange those rounds in a Dragunov rifle, as several people have taken the time to point out to me since the book was first released.

2.     2. If you need to know something, find an expert

The only thing the internet is useful for is finding people who actually do know what they’re talking about and then contacting them. 

If I need to know how to perform minor surgery in the field I’m far better off asking a friendly doctor than consulting an online medical forum.  Same thing goes for firearms. 

I have served in varying capacities in the Australian Army for more than 30 years so I know little bit about guns.  And there’s another pitfall for novelists – a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.  I’ve never fired a Dragunov sniper rifle, just as I never carried a Glock pistol in the army (I got something wrong about Glocks as well in the book), so instead of winging it, I should have asked someone.

3.     3. Research retrospectively

Finally the last rule I follow is to not waste time (and it is usually a waste) researching while I’m writing.  In 99.9 per cent of cases if I don’t know something while writing (and it happens a lot), I make a note to myself in the manuscript to go back and check it later.

This allows me to crack on with the story – the most important thing in my line of work.  Secondly, when I finish my manuscript and go back to the start and do my first edit I may very well find that I don’t need all that information that I reminded myself to check.

Thirdly, when I find I do need some specific piece of information this process means that when I find my expert in the required field I do not waste his or her time with a list of speculative research questions.  I will go to them seeking very specific answers.

If I’d followed my rules of research I would have just made a note to myself to see how Sonja could have found a suitable round for her rifle, or possibly changed the scene altogether.  I should have (but didn’t) then sent my manuscript to someone who knew about guns and ammunition and asked them to check my references to a subject I clearly did not know enough about.

The good news is that I’ve just finished correcting the manuscript of An Empty Coast so that the eBook and the next printed editions will be correct.

Next time I’ll stick to my own rules and hopefully I won’t shoot myself in the foot – not that I could have with a 7.62x39mm round.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Back in business

Hello, hello, hello is there anybody out there?

After a long spell in the virtual wilderness my blog is back, online and should be viewable shortly via my website.

I've been very busy lately, finishing my 13th novel, which is now in the process of being edited. It will be released around October 2016.

I've had a hankering to blog for a while, so watch this space.  I may be returning soon with my rantings, ravings and reminiscings.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Website Problems!

As you can probably see, I'm experiencing problems with my website at the moment, so don't worry if you can't see any pictures on the page.  I'm doing the worrying for you.

I'm currently trying to sort this out, so please be patient.  You can, however, stay up to date with my writing, travels and antics via my facebook page or my twitter account or, if you have a question, you can email me.

My next African novel, 'An Empty Coast' is due for release in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and South Africa later this year.  In the US, my novel 'Ivory' will be published in November 2015.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Meet me, my old boss, and a mate, Mosman, March 6, 2015

I'm not much into politics these days, but a long time ago I worked for the New South Wales State Government as a press secretary - a media adviser.

One observation I will make about politics these days - whether it it be in Australia or Africa - is that I believe there should be more candidates who come to politics from a business or NGO background, something outside of the ranks of the parliament or government.

I consider myself lucky to have worked for a man by the name of Nick Greiner, who came to politics from a successful business background.  I was a junior press secretary in Premier Nick Greiner's office.  I was 24 when I started working for him, fresh from a few years working as journalist.

Now, 26 years later, Nick Greiner has agreed to speak at a mini local launch of my latest book, 'The Hunter' at The Barn, 3 Avenue Road, Mosman, NSW, from 6-8pm on March 6, 2015.

I'll be selling books on the night and we'll also be auctioning off the right for some lucky attendee to have their name used as a character in my next novel.

I must inform you that the function will be raising money for the election campaign of a friend of mine, Michael Sharpe, who is running for the seat of The Entrance, at the NSW State Election, to be held next month.

Michael is an excellent bloke.  He's only recently joined the Liberal Party and has no prior experience in politics - he's spent his life so far working with his brothers in a successful family business building and fixing roads throughout the State.  I think this alone makes him an excellent candidate for parliament, but in addition he's a family man, active in his local community, and just wants to make a difference.

If this sort of thing isn't to your political liking then thanks for your time reading this, but if you'd like to meet a man I believe was the smartest politician I ever met - Nick Greiner; a guy who will make a good, honest member of parliament - Michael Sharpe; and an author of airport novels - me - then please come along.

Date: Friday, March 6, 2015
Time: 6-8pm
Venue: The Barn, 3 Avenue Road, Mosman, NSW
What: Book launch, character name auction, cocktail party.  Beer, wine, soft drinks and nibbles included
Cost: $65 per head
Bookings: email or PH: 0402 118 059