Thursday, July 29, 2010

Important stuff re the current book tour!

Don't forget, the competition to see who is the biggest liar is still running on the post below. I'm asking you to come up with the biggest and best porkie about how I injured my nose.

And now, some important announcements re the current book tour.

Friday July 30th (Goldcoast) - NOTE Correct time.

Angus & Robertson Southport event, Broadbeach Library Sunshine Blvd, corner Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach
Author talk, from 7.00pm (note this was previously advertised here on the blog and in the newsletter as a 6pm start).

Friday August 6th (Perth)

NOTE: there are still tickets available to the following event, so book now (please).

Painted Dog Conservation fundraiser. Hyatt Regency, Freshwater Bay Room, Cnr Adelaide Terrace and Plain Street, East Perth. Tickets $60 including drinks and canapes.

Author talk and charity auctions from 7.00pm for 7.30pm
Tickets: Angela Lemon, email:

Click on the picture of me in uniform, on the left, for details of other events on my current book tour.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Win a free book to celebrate the start of my 2010 tour, you liars...

I know I promised, recently, not to post anything about my current get-fit regime as I believed that would sound the death knell of this blog, but I offer this picture as a warning to you of the perils of exercise. This is me, with three stitches in my nose (and abraded hands and knees) after becoming intimately acquainted with the concrete footpath, near where I live, when I tripped over during a run on Sunday.
Double ouch. In fact, the fall didn't hurt all that much (although I bled like a dying baddy in one of my novels). What DID hurt however, like nothing I had experienced in my life, was the needles the doctor stuck into my nose to deliver the local anaesthetic. Triple ouch.
This, I am sure you will agree, was a fine look for me to be sporting as I kicked off my three week book tour. All is going well so far, with a drunken launch for family and friends last night, and a mighty fine event at the Grandview Hotel at Cleveland, in Queensland, at lunchtime today.
Predictably, the state of my scabby nose was the subject of much discussion and not a little mirth. I am afraid that telling people you tripped over while running does not engender much respect or sympathy. It doesn't really befit an author of airport action novels, does it? So I need your help.
I need a lie.
I need an impressive story of daring do that I can spin when I do my many book talks over the coming weeks - at least until the stitches come out and the scabs fall off.
How did this happen to me, do you think? Fisticuffs? Knife fight? Battle with poachers? Tangling with a wild African animal? You tell me and the best entry will win a TP book of the winner's choice (except for The Delta - you have to buy that one).

Friday, July 23, 2010

First review of The Delta

And phew, it's a good one (Mind you, I'm hardly likely to be posting the bad ones here, am I?)...

Click on the pic to enlarge.

Also, don't forget that the unofficial sneak preview launch of The Delta happens tomorrow (Saturday, July 24). I know a couple of you LOF-ers are coming (thankfully). Come join us... beer, rugby, books, me... what more could you want?

Details follow:

Saturday July 24th (Sydney)

Jacaranda Party (to raise funds for the Fred Hollows foundation) Greengate Hotel, Heritage Terrace Room, 655A Pacific Highway, Killara. Australia-South Africa Rugby Test screened live from Brisbane at 8pm on the big screen. Tickets: $40, including a drink and nibblies and donation.
Tickets available from or phone the Turramurra Vet Clinic on 9988 0198

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm gonna be on top tonight!

We interrupt talk of Africa, books and shameless self promotion for some news that really matters.

Big night in Chez Park tonight, Legion of Fans, because if there is one thing guaranteed to get my pulse racing faster than a charging lion it is attractive ladies behaving badly... No, I'm not talking about Mrs Blog with a spatula, I am talking Australia's Next Top Model.

Yes, believe it or not this is my favourite TV show in the world, and no, I am not gay (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Yes, LOF, tonight is the premiere of ANTM, Cycle 6, with 16 thoroughbred fillies about to get down and dirty in the model mansion.

Spill the beans, Legion of Fans. What is your guilty pleasure, your dirty little secret (keep it clean, folks) that floats your boat out there in TV land? Confess! All of you, confess!

And for your penance I demand that you sit through this, the official trailer for Australia's Next Top Model, 2010. Watch it... it's expensive.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

TP undressed.

My friends at Booktopia did a little mini interview with me the other day asking some very embarassing questions. Read all about some of my less glorious moments here.

Warning: contains nudity and shameless self promotion disguised as self-deprecating humour.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TP - the interview

One of the followers of this blog, Steve, runs an excellent website called The Australian Literature Review. It's chock full of stuff about books and writing and publishing.

Steve interviewed me for the website and you can read the full interview here.

So, if you have nothing better to do with your time, check it out but, more importantly, have a look around his site.

(See, I can be modest and self effacing when I want to be).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why we do stuff...

Being in between book projects gives me time to think (I don't, when I write, I just zone out, daydream, and write - there's a difference), and time to drink. Actually, I drink all the time, although I've been quite good lately as I am on a bit of a fitness kick. However, I will only blog about my fitness program if I totally run out of other things to write.

So, I was thinking the other day... why do people do stuff? Crazy stuff. I have two friends who have recently scaled or are about to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. To some people mountain climbing may not seem crazy, but to someone like me who has never (and will never) pay money to be cold, I think there is an element of madness in such pursuits.

I also have two bad knees, thanks to my service in the military. One is courtesty of a parachuting accident and the other is from falling while carrying a rather large Maori soldier on my back during a drunken piggy back race. Therefore the thought of trudging up and down a steep incline for days on end concerns me more than a little.

Curious about what makes people (blokes especially) do seemingly silly things, I asked occasional blog poster and regular TP reader Robert L-W why he decided to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. Robert did the climb with his sons, Sean and James, and nephew Justin.

He replied:

It really was just a different African experience, to go somewhere we’d never been before. (Robert, like me, is a hopeless Africa addict - TP).

It was important I do it with Sean & James – the father and sons thing. Not sure I would have done it without them, but I probably would have. Nephew Justin was a bonus – I mentioned it to him and he was very keen to go. It was a totally different experience for him (only been to the US and Bali before).

Plus, having turned 50 in November, I guess there’s a question as to whether you are physically capable of doing something like this. I’m getting old and falling apart. I injure myself more at the gym these days. So it was a challenge that I wanted to give myself, but with an African flavour.

I get all of that, particulary the bit about being old (I am not far behind Robert). I also plan on having a different African experience on my next trip to the dark continent - only mine involves drinks with umbrellas in them on a beach on an island in Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago rather than freezing my bollocks off on a mountain.

In Robert's email to me explaining why he wanted to climb Kilimajaro he also mentioned wanting to see the different eco zones the trek passed through, heading up from the savannah, through misty jungles, and then up to the really cold bit. Clearly, from the photos he took, he was also angling for some free books from me, which he got.

Robert pauses during his ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro to top up his adrenaline levels by reading the train scene in 'Ivory'

I have done lots of crazy/stupid things in my life that seemed quite normal to me. I have bungy jumped, parachuted (though that was mostly with the army, which has an incredible knack of taking the fun out of things), abseiled face-first off tall buildings and various other adrenaline-producing endeavours.

When I joined the army we had to do a psychological test and one of the questions was, 'when you are standing on top of a tall building do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to jump off?'. Naturally, I ticked 'yes' because I had often had those thoughts. After the test, I remember chatting to one of the other recruits and we were going on about how lame some of the questions were.

"Yeah," he laughed, "like anyone would be stupid enough to say they wanted to kill themself by jumping off a tall building."

Gulp. I sweated on that answer for the week it took for the army to get back to me and tell me, yes, I was crazy enough for them to take me. I thought, at one point, of writing a letter to the psychological testing deparment telling them I had reconsidered my answer, and that if jumping off a tall building meant dying then that clearly wasn't for me. Of course, I soon realised later (or perhaps my mother pointed out to me), that only a crazy 17-year-old would even consider writing to the army to tell them they were not crazy. It was all very Joseph Heller.

Anyway, I passed and, not surprisingly, a few years later I found myself at the Army Parachute Training School at Nowra where I proved to be a keen, though not very good, parachutist. I passed and was recommended for employment as a paratrooper (as opposed to being recommended for future promotion to 'stick commander' or 'parachute jump master'). It was the Army equivalent of 'very good, dear'.

But I loved parachuting, until I hurt my knees one too many times and generally got a bit older. The fun of flying around for an hour or two at low level, experiencng air-sickness inducing lurches, followed by the chaos of being pushed out the door of a hercules by 30 other adrenaline-charged traps behind you eventually lost its gloss. Like I said, the Army can take the fun out of anything.

So do we do these things for the moment? For the rush, rather than the reality? I don't imagine Robert particularly wants to get a job as a sherpa (or whatever the African equivalent is of climbing up and down a mountain every few days). I asked him if making it to the top fulfilled his expectations.

His reply:

Sh*t yeah. In hindsight, and without remembering the pain and discomfort, I’d do it again! It’s like childbirth! I probably won’t do it again, though, as I have other priorities. It was a huge physical and mental challenge, which I survived. Again, James & Sean were vital in this. We were the first three in our group up Mt Meru behind the guide, and we three overtook the guide to be the first three to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro. I had to show the boys that I was still up to it.

Right on.

Robert makes it to the top, in order to win a free book and prove he can do it

There are some things we all want to do before we die, just so we can satisfy our curiosity and craziness. I'm quite keen to try base jumping, although I have two reasonably valid excuses not to, namely: 1. It is illegal, and 2. From what I've seen of base jumpers I would have to get a mohawk and several piercings. I don't have enough hair for a mohawk and I wouldn't know what to pierce.

When I think about (legal) parachuting the things that turn me off doing it are the pain and the discomfort, and the fact that, well... I've done it, and don't need to ever do it again as long as I live (not for my army work, as I am quite deskbound in that respect, and not for sporting reasons because it wasn't that much fun).

But then just the other day Mrs Blog mentioned that her very young and fit personal trainer said he had never been parachuting and was keen to try it. "I'll take him," was my instinctive reply.

"Not you will not!" the small but vocal Mrs B said.

Which just made me want to do it all the more.

What about you, Legion of Fans? Do you have a mountain, literal or metaphorical, you have or would like to climb, or some other adrenaline-inducing (ie stupid) pursuit you have or would like to do?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Kimmy.... listen to MOII! Come hear me speak (please!)

It's terribly embarrassing if you're a number two bestselling author and no one shows up for your book talks. (I was the second highest author of Australian fiction, after Tim Winton, 2009, Bookscan verified. Ok, it was only for a week, and there were probably no other new releases that week and, oh, about 200,000 copies difference between me and Tim).

I haven't actually had a no-show, although my record at the lower end of the scale for attendances was five people at a libarary outside Darwin. This actually turned out to be quite a good night, as the librarians had taken the (optimistic) liberty of opening half a dozen bottles of wine before the multitudes arrived. I did my little talk, in record time, and the six of us proceded to get hammered. Great night.

And here I am, once again, just a few short weeks away from commencing my next (sort of) round Australia book tour, to coincide with the launch of my seventh novel, THE DELTA.

Some writers don't like book tours, but I'm not one of them. I mean, what's not to like? I get to talk about my two favourites subjects - myself and Africa - meet interesting people (some of whom have read my books), occasionally get sloshed on ratepayer-funded booze, and stay in hotels and raid the minibar. I mean, really... it's not like working, is it?

And so, without further adieu, I unveil the 2010 DELTA TOUR. There is something here for all tastes and budgets, as long as you live in Victoria, WA, NSW, QLD, Camberwell, or Tasmania. (note, if you are easily confused by dates and times, as I am, the event in this list appears just below the date).

Friday July 30th (Goldcoast)

Angus & Robertson Southport event, Broadbeach Library Sunshine Blvd, corner Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach
Author talk, from 7.00pm

Tuesday August 3rd (Central Coast - Sydney)

Erina Library, The Hive, Erina Fair, Erina
Author Talk from 3.30pm
Contact: Benjamin Hartley, phone: 02 43047499

Wednesday August 4th (Perth)

Dymocks Booragoon event, AH Bracks Library Canning Hwy (cnr Stock Road), Melville. Author talk from 6.00pm.
Contact: Ann Poublon. Email:

Thursday August 5th (Perth)

Angus & Robertson event, Mandurah Library 331 Pinjarra Road, Mandurah. Author talk 2.00pm.
Contact: Debra Dearman 08 9550 3651

Friday August 6th (Perth)

Painted Dog Conservation fundraiser. Hyatt Regency, Freshwater Bay Room, Cnr Adelaide Terrace and Plain Street, East Perth. Tickets $60 including drinks and canapes.
Author talk and charity auctions from 7.00pm for 7.30pm
Tickets: Angela Lemon, email:

Saturday August 7th (Melbourne)

Dymocks Camberwell event, at Ebony Quill, Shop 115/4 Burke Ave, Hawthorn East
Author Talk in the evening (please contact Henk at Dymocks on 03 9882 0032 for timings and bookings, or email:

Sunday August 8th (Launceston)

Petrachs Bookshop, 89 Brisbane Street, Launceston. Author talk from 2.00pm.

Monday, August 9th (Hobart)

Meet Tony for an informal chat at a pub in Hobart, location to be advised, from 5.30pm. (contact me via eamail at tonyparknews(at)gmail(dot)com, if you are interested, and I’ll provide location and other details on request).

Friday August 13th (Sydney)

St Ives Library, 166 Mona Vale Road, St Ives.
Author Talk from 10.30am followed by morning tea & signing.
Contact: Penny Xavier on 02 9424 0453

Wednesday August 18th (Sydney)

Narellan Library event, Corner Queen and Elyard Street, Narellan
Author Talk from 6.30pm.
Contact: Elysa Dennis 02 4645 5039

Friday August 20th (Sydney)

Concord Library event, 60 Flavelle Street, Concord
Author Talk from 1.00pm, followed by afternoon tea & signing.
Contact: Claude Broomhead on 02 9911 6351

Friday, July 02, 2010

Sneak preview of THE DELTA, and beers. How good is that?

Well, there it is! Book 7 - aka, 'THE DELTA', and it's just a few short weeks away from release. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty stoked and I'm ready to celebrate with a beer or 20.

The official release date for my new novel is August 1, but if you would like beat the millions of people who will be camping out all night on July 31 outside the nation's bookshops, and have a beer with me, I have a better plan (it really is a bit cold for camping out, which is probably why people don't do it for my books).

Instead, I offer you this, Legion of Fans (LOF) - the promise of beer, rugby, doing good for your fellow man, and a chance to be the first person in Australia to buy THE DELTA (there's that name in caps again, just for those search engine robots).

Sneak Preview Function - Jacaranda Party at the Greengate Hotel. Saturday, July 24...

The Jacaranda Party is the brainchild of a mate of mine, Jim, who is The Turramurra Vet in the northern Sydney suburb of Turramurra. The Jacaranda tree is common to Australia, South Africa and Zimbabwe so Jim's idea is to get a whole bunch of Aussies, Saffies and Zimbos together to get drunk.

No... sorry, not get drunk... to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation and watch Australia V South Africa in the rugby. Entry to the party is $40 which covers a drink and nibblies, and a donation to the foundation.

I will be selling a limited number of copies of THE DELTA on the night, and all profits will go to the Fred Hollows Foundation (see, I am kind and generous as well as handsome and successful and modest).

The function will be in the Heritage Terrace Room of the Greengate Hotel, 655A Pacific Highway, Kilara. To book and pay for tickets, contact The Turramurra Vet at or phone (02) 99880198. The ruby kick off is 8pm.

I'll post details here soon of other events I'll be attending as part of my (sort of) around Australia book tour, which kicks off the following week.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Yes, yes, yes...

Yes, I hear you, clamouring masses (well, Ali G and Heidihi)... I know I have neglected you all and I will be back, very soon.

Just handed in Book 8 (catchy title, eh?) yesterday. 180,000 words and still you want more from me!

The pain, the pain, the pain...

I'm having lunch with Frank Coates tomorrow, so maybe he will inspire me to blog. (Or at the very least I can post a picture of us drinking).

Also, big news to come soon. The release of my next novel, THE DELTA is just weeks away and I have to get around to listing the events on my next (sort of) around Australia tour. This year I will be visiting Queensland, Victoria, WA and, wait for it... Tasmania.