10 things authors should NOT do by someone who did them all

4. Humour

Some thoughts on writing humour. It’s a tricky business. Current events can instantly kill humourous writing. If you write a funny piece about fear of flying, say, then a plane crashes, the article crashes too.

Readers can take personal affront to a joke. I once wrote a funny piece alleging that the group KISS were a band of aging rockers. They did wear those platform heels. Could be a bit dodgy as you age. I received quite a few outraged emails. The KISS army is out there somewhere still loyal and still marching on.  Age shall not weary them,  apparently.  I’ve  had  highly  critical letters stating that my writing lacked  the  restraint  necessary  for  a  civilised  society.  I  didn’t realise I  could  cause  the  collapse  of  Western  Civilisation  by  including  the words ‘pissing yourself’ in an article.

But more than anything I loathe with a passion the HUMOUR section in a bookshop.

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10 things authors should NOT do by someone who did them all

5. Rights

Some thoughts on Copyright. It is a tricky business. For instance, fair use laws apply in Australia for extracts and quotes, but what does this mean to a professional writer? (See Australian Copyright Council link below for detailed information) As a freelance author and journalist for over 30 years I am both the owner and user of copyright material.

As a Copyright Owner:

Books and Newspapers: Can publishers rip off ideas you have pitched to them? Yes! Ideas aren’t protected except for the exact wording. In the early days I’d pitch an idea to an editor, who’d reply ‘We’ve already got someone on that story.’ As if they already had someone on a story about using car parts as garden features, an Aussie peculiarity.

Newspapers: Can articles be published without your permission? Not legally. Although I was a freelance journalist and other imprints in the newspaper group assumed I worked in house. If I found out they had published an article in print I asked to be paid. About 2/3 of original fee. Less for smaller magazines.

Online: I’ve had my own articles emailed back to me in a chain letter without my name on it. That’s what annoyed me the most, a friend sending me a chain funny saying ‘You’ll like this.’ ‘Yeah! I bloody wrote it.’

RULE OF THUMB: If your work is used in a commercial product of any form you should be paid unless you have waived the fee.

https://www.copyright.org.au/…/An_Introduction_to_Copyright…

COPYRIGHT USE:  I’ve had a substantial quote used in a VCE year 12 exam. They didn’t ask for permission. But, maybe, for the sake of all students I should have asked for money to inflict some reverse pain on the examiners. Ha!

Recently, I was asked permission for a quote of mine to be used on a brass plaque in a bar in Malta. I didn’t think they needed permission, but I appreciated the request and, if I get to Malta, I reckon there’s a free drink waiting for me.

It’s the End of the World. Again.

There’s an energy crisis in Australia today. I hate to say ‘I told you so’. Actually, I really, really enjoy telling you I told you so. Here is the article I wrote on this topic in 2008.  My main point was DON’T LISTEN TO THE POLITICIANS. WE NEED A RELIABLE POWER SUPPLY.

The end of the world is coming to Melbourne.  Again.  In  the  1959  film,  On  the  Beach, Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner waited in Melbourne to die  from radiation poisoning. Now, according to friends, life as we know it will end soon for us. Let me explain. I hang out with engineers. They’re strange folk. I’m married to one so I know. They do  calculations in their heads. My beloved, HRH, doesn’t yell at us to ‘turn off  the  lights’. He  lectures us on how many mega watts will be consumed over a  20-year  period. The family tends to turn lights off just to shut him up.

My friends and some  esteemed  institutions  are  hot and  bothered about power outages. Summer has been hellishly hot. Power  consumption  hit  a  record  in Victoria on the 10th January. It was, admittedly, a 40 degree scorcher, but schools and many businesses were shut. In  the  meantime, folks  are rushing out and  buying  air  conditioners.  But each new swishing, hissing unit adds a burden to the system.

There’s   no   power   crisis   claims   Rob  Hulls  while  advising  Victorians  to  turn  off  air conditioners. There’s no power shortage say suppliers while explaining recent blackouts as problems  with  individual  electricity  companies.  You  can  believe  them  or do the maths yourself.  Victoria  has  a  supply  capacity  of  around  10  million  kilowatts.  Let’s  assume Melbourne has 1 million households-a conservative figure- and that we all want to be cool, which we do. If every household installs a mid-range 10 kilowatt unit, at peak demand, air conditioners alone will use up our State’s full power supply capacity.

READ MORE HEREIt’s the End of the World. Again

Here is an earlier, more light hearted peice I wrote for the Canberra Times in 2006.

READ HERE: It’s the End of the World. Take 1.

Captain Hook and the History of Oz

From Charming and Colliding Blog

From Charming and Colliding Blog

Ministers of Education have been alarmed in the past to discover Australian High School Students know very little about the history of this country. The following essay by Ashlee M, Year 8, Coolathanu High is believed to be included in some bureaucratic report somewhere.

Australia is a large incontinent which lies in the Specific Ocean except for Tasmania which doesn’t know where it is. Australia is very hot because the Topic of Popracorn is in Queensland somewhere, which means Queenslanders are sweaty and can grow topical plants in their ears. But the most important topic is the topic of Cancer because if youse get sunburnt, Omigod, ya gonna die.

Full Article: Captain Hook and the History of Oz

Orlando, Fl, 2016

While doing reasearch for a novel on American Gun Culture I discovered that following the Dunblane School mass-shooting in Scotalnd in 1996 (16 children and 1 teacher killed) the UK banned handguns totally. Following the Port Arthur mass-shooting in 1996 (35 killed) Australia banned all automatic and equivalent rifles and pump action shot guns. Other countries are not so fortunate.

Orlando, Fl, 2016