Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sorry, can't help myself

Here's another review of THE DELTA, this time from the Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin. Just got my free copies today from the second print run, and quite a few people have been emailed me to say they've seen the TV commercial.

I'm off to Orange Library next Monday, August 30, at 12.30pm for the last talk of the trip and I'll be at Viv's Travel Bug tonight (Thursday August 26) from 6pm.

Africa is calling... only a couple more weeks until Mrs Blog and I take off again. Expect fewer book reviews and more tales when we get back to the veldt.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shameless, shameless, shameless!

Like I said, what's the point in having a blog if you don't use it for shameless self promotion?

Here's another review of THE DELTA, this time from the very astute Mr Jeff Popple of the Canberra Times (oh, and Jeff, if you think this one was a bit long, wait until you see Novel Number 8 - it's about 60,000 words longer than THE DELTA. Yikes!)

(Click on the pic for a bigger version)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Favourable review, and favourite books

As well as talking at libraries and drinking with readers, I've also been doing lots of media interviews during the tour, and my stylish and indefatigable publicist Lou has been organising book reviews. Shameless self promoter that I am, I just had to share these two clippings with you (oh, and brace yourself for more, for what is a blog if not a self-indulgent tool for shameless self promotion and free internet advertising?).

This first one is a short review in Brisbane's leading daily newspaper, The Courier Mail (in fact, it's Brisbane's only daily newspaper, but I can't say anything bad about it because the Courier Mail carries excellent, incisive, book reviews written my very smart people. And my cousin works there).

This second piece was in The Weekly, and it's me telling y'all about some of my favourite books set in Africa. I'm often asked what books I read, so, if you want to know, read this... (and if you don't, get back to work you slacker). Click on the pic if, like me, you find that writing is getting smaller and smaller these days.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Next stop, Narellan Library... and we have a winner

The promotional tour for the Australian release of my new novel, THE DELTA, rolls on, although at the moment it's actually puttering at quite a sedate pace in and around my home town of Sydney.

Next stop is Narellan Library, 6.30pm, Wednesday August 18. I'm looking foward to seeing a library at Narellan because when I was growing up in nearby Campbelltown the only two things at Narellan were the Gayline drive-in movie (what... theatre? cinema? parking lot?) and cows. I recall many a fond night sneaking people into the drive-in, and being snuck-in myeself, though we pretty much left the cows alone.

I also recall a rather dangerous night when a couple of mates and I went to see the original Mad Max movie at the Gayline in my XR Falcon. The end of the movie was like the waving of a chequered flag as a fleet of Fords and Holdens set about re-enacting key scenes of that seminal flick, as teenage drivers challenged each other with calls of "I'll see you on the highway, Skag," and "that Skag and his floozy are gunna dieeeeee." Or something like that.

But I digress.

Oh, and yes, we have a winner to the "tell-a-lie-about-how-I-ended-up-with-stitches-in-my-nose" competition. Lest you think that I am a tight a*rse (or tight a*s as the winner might say), who wouldn't cough up the postage to send a book to the US and A, or that winning a competition once precludes you from winning twice, the winner is your very own Karen Bessey-Pease, of somewhere USA. Karen, you have won the TP book of your choice, other than THE DELTA (because I don't have any copies left and they cost too much for me to buy from the publishers).

In other news, I spoke to a customarily large crowd of customarily lovely people at St Ives Library in Sydney last Friday. I do like St Ives Library, as they a good get a turn-out and the lovely librarian Penny knows the way to my heart (mini scones for morning tea and a bottle of booze as a present). Thanks to you all at the library.

Coming right up later this week, post Narellan, is Concord Library, at 1pm on Friday August 20.

The tour is drawing to a close and my departure to Africa is looming...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tasmania and typos - and I need your help again

To round off the tale of my interstate tour, I had a lovely time in Launceston and Hobart. I met a number of readers in Launceston on a cold, drizzly day, and thought that the weather could only get worse as I drove southwards to Hobart. At least I think it was southwards - I didn't have a map.

Hobart, however, turned out to be quite a surprise on the weather front. Surprising on all fronts, in fact. And fun.

For a start, Monday was a postcard perfect day - cool, crisp and sunny with clear blue skies. I went for a run around the waterfront to Sandy Bay. I was staying at was perhaps one of the nicest hotels I've ever been to - the Henry Jones Art Hotel. It's in the old IXL jam factory or warehouse or whatever (remember the old commercials about IXL and Henry Jones? As well as making nice jam, Mr Jones pioneered the use of Text Speak - or txt spk as young people would say - by shortening his catchphrase "I Will Excel", to IXL. I think).

Anyway, Monday was free, so I spent the day exploring and had a smashing time. Monday night I spoke to a very good number of people at a book talk organised by one of my nicest readers, who lives in Hobart. She teamed up with local travel agency, Andrew Jones Travel, and we sold a lot of books, generally talked-up holidays in Africa, and made a tidy little sum off the book sales to send off to the School of St Judes in Tanzania.

Unfortunately, I soured my good relations with the Apple Isle by mis-spelling Launceston as Lunceston in the last post on the blog (which I have just corrected). Which leads me to the point of this blog post. Typos.

And now some bona fide news!

I am pleased to report, big head that I am, that sales of my new book, THE DELTA are doing very well. It is my publisher, Macmillan's best selling book this week. It is doing so well, in fact, that they have decided to do a second print run after just two weeks.

So, if any of you have read the book and spotted any mistakes or typos or whatever, then please let me know asap, by comments or email so I can make corrections in the second edition. (Crookedpaw, this is the chance for you to ante up on your remark about proofreaders).

Monday, August 09, 2010

Perth, Melbourne, Launceston, Hobart... I love youse all

One of the great things about Melbourne is its trendy little boutique bars, tucked away in dark alleys. They're hip, happening, warm (important in a cold State), and welcoming oases amid the funky, slightly wonky, architecture of that stylista-rich city.

Unless, of course, you can't get in.

I have met more than one member of the Legion of Fans (LOF) on this tour, but nowhere has the concentration of y'all been so great than in Melbourne. Which was great.

My only event in Victoria this year was a paid function put on by Dymocks Camberwell's enterprising owner, Henk, at the Ebony Quill Cafe. Amazingly, a reasonable number of people paid to see me speak, and to buy my books. Henk and the venue put on a slick, nice, and value-for-money dinner and we moved enough books to make it worth is while (phew).

After the event, yours truly and a hardy band of legionnaires (you know who you are), decided that it was time to drink more. Henk gave us the heads-up on a trendy little bar not far up the road, tucked away in an back lane. The directions led us to a nondescript door - no sign, no, advertising, no name. This, I thought, was one of those places that one might read about in a tragically trendy (though generally useless) inflight magazine.

I knocked.

The door opened.

Immediately, incredibly, we were transported from the cold, drab city streetscape to a warm, welcoming space not much bigger than a large lounge room that was packed with beautiful young people dressed in black skivvies. They were laughing, chatting, sipping on cocktails, and quietly jiving in their comfy lounges to funky vibes.

At least they were until the door opened.

Now, I will not push the boundaries of journalistic/literary licence and say that all noise stopped and one could have heard a pin drop when we looked in. No one in the crowd of horrified hipsters said "we don't take quietly to strangers 'round here", but that's kind of what happened.

There was a noticeable lull in the tone and volume of conversation as the bouncerette checked me out. She looked at me with a look that clearly said "hmmmm, Sydney..." and then informed me, politely, that unless we had a booking, we could not be admitted. There was, literally, no room at the inn, and for the first time in my life I found myself on the doorstep of a pub for which one had to book.


You'll love every part of Melbourne, so the advertising slogan goes... except for the bit they won't let you in to.

Undeterred (though quietly freaking out that we might not find a drink in this city), the phalanx of legionnaires and I pushed on until we found an establishment much more befitting Australia's number 2 (Australian fiction, for one week only, 2009, after T. Winton) author. Yes... a scummy suburban pub.

But we still couldn't get in.

On reaching the pub, we found that a band was in full swing and a $10 cover charge was being demanded. That was not an appealing option, but in the end our debate over whether or not to pay was turned academic by the fact that it seemed we did not all measure up to the dress code. Only in Melbourne, Legion of Fans.

Just as it looked as though we would retire sober and unhurt, an alternative presented itself. "You could try the gaming lounge," the bouncer suggested.

And so it came to pass, that the inaugural meeting of the Melbourne chapter spent the night among the melodic bada-bing and zipple of the pokie machines in a suburban melbourne pub.

I would have liked to have an overpriced drink a trendy back alley bar, but I much preferred the time I spent drinking cheap schooners with the above pictured people. Thanks to you all, and great to meet you.

I'm in Tasmania right now, on the tail end of the round (most of) Australia tour. The mini bar is emptying... a sure sign that it is time to turn in and set the alarm for the next flight.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Hey, I'm on TV!

Here's the TV ad for THE DELTA, now showing on various free-to-air and pay TV channels around the country.

Fame, if not fortune, at last...

(PS: I don't know why none of my Youtube videos seem to fit in the blog properly anymore. I can assure you the original is not cropped like this, but you'll get the general idea)

Another day, another library, another time change.

Here I am at Sydney Airport, nonchalantly posing beside a rather striking light box poster of my new book THE DELTA, desperately hoping someone would walk up to me and say, "why are you standing next to that poster - are you Frank Coates, having your picture taken so you can take the p*ss out of Tony Park - or are you really Tony Park, number two bestselling Australian fiction author (Bookscan figures, 2009, for one week only, T.Winton, of WA, 1st)?"

Yes, it's really me, sans stitches and now sporting a fairly rakish little scar on my nose. On the road again. To paraphrase the Hoodoo Gurus, "I spend half my life in airports... and when the bar is open you'll often find me warming a seat." Pretty much sums up a book publicity tour.

But apart from drinking in airports I also talk at libraries - lots of them. And, it seems, I often get the start times wrong in my newsletter.


My talk at the AH Bracks Library at Melville, on Wednesday August 4 is a 6.30pm for 7.00pm start, not, as previously advertised by me, a 6pm start.

After that it's Mandurah Library at 2pm on Thursday the 5th, and then on Friday the 6th the gala Painted Dog Conservation Inc charity cocktail party at 7pm for 7.30pm atthe Hyatt Regency, 99 Adelaide Terrace, Perth (booze included in ticket price - contact Ange at to book).

I haven't forgotten the prize for the liars' competition below - just amusing myself watching the intercontinental ballistic banter between you members of the Legion of Fans (LOF). I love it when you talk dirty to each other.

And now, for your listening enjoyment, here are the aforementioned Hoodoos with a song which reminds me of Afghanistan, but that's another story.