My son is an avid gym goer. He plays elite level sports and fitness is mandatory element.

He’s not looking forward to the next month. The gyms will be packed with people who decided that, after all of the excesses of the holidays, now is the time to get in shape. They’ll all (or the vast majority of them) be cleared out by February.

That’s the problem with short term resolutions: Unrealistic goals, extremely unrealistic timelines and an almost 100% failure rate.

Which is why I don’t make any. There are piles of abandoned resolutions in my past. They haunt me. On the odd occasion I look over my shoulder at them, they sneer and say something along the lines of “see what you coulda had” and point at abs, or a viable book marketing plan or an alcohol-free life (that one was never going to happen).

You’re only setting yourself up for depressing failure if you don’t plan things out. And if you plan them out, then they’re not resolutions.

Make a three or five-year plan. Make it an achievable goal. Make it something like “I want to feel healthy” or “I want to fit in that suit I bought five years ago, even if it is no longer in style because what it style anyway, but a construct perpetrated by the fashion industry”.

Work backwards from that.

Do you need to buy a gym membership? Buy it. Schedule two or three times a week that fit in your schedule to go. Make it a habit. You don’t have to back squat 100kilos on your first visit. That should take YEARS.

Do you need to eat more fruit? BUY MORE FRUIT. You’ll get tired of throwing it out and after some time you’ll start eating it. (It pays to buy fruit you actually like.)

Cut out sugar. (That’s not a question. Just do it.)

Eat fewer simple carbs (white bread) and more complex carbs (multigrain bread).

Eat less. (A foot-long Sub? Really? Your stomach is happy after six inches – that’s what she said – and the remaining six are just future stomach fat.)

So don’t make it a goal you need to reach in a month. It took years to add that weight and fuck up your lifestyle. It’ll take years to undo the mess. Deal with it.

 

I’m Club Secretary of the Hornsby Rockets Ten Pin Bowling Club. We’re a self-funded club for adult bowlers with disabilities. There are forty bowlers at all skill levels, every one of them having a hell of a time at league bowling every Saturday morning.

Unfortunately, not all can attend the regional competitions we visit because not all of them have access to easy transportation. We’ve applied for a Thermoskin Grant to raise money to hire a bus to take bowlers to competitions within NSW.

Unfortunately, awarding this grant is not based on need, but on votes. Help us help the bowlers by heading to HERE and voting for us.

We thank you all.

LGM…and I can’t wait.

It’s been too hot, PLUS, I need to know if Jon Snow (I just typed Jon Snot and I think I’ve got a new character for a Chandler-esque parody book) is really dead.

So I’m sitting here wondering why I’m watching a show called “Secret History of UFOs” when Season 2 of Daredevil has just dropped (no sleep for the next 18 hours, right?)

And I have no answer that makes any sense to me.

I don’t doubt that somewhere in the enormous expanse of the universe(s) there are other life-forms. Probably not carbon-based, and probably not bi-pedal, but life-forms, none-the-less.

But I doubt they’re travelling hundreds or thousands of light years to Earth, to buzz the planet.

Yet I’m still watching. There are people on this show that are either seriously taking the piss or are in desperate need of support of the mental health variety. I think I have a pathological obsession with conspiracies. Not that I think a conspiracy of any size involving the government is possible. But the fact that there are people who this it is possible to pull the wool over the collective consciousness, for extended periods of time, fascinates me.

The tortured logic required to neatly slot disparate facts into a pre-determined structure fascinates me. The willingness to discount any reasonable explanation in favour of bug-eyed green men in ships made of liquid metal. Covered up by the military. And not a single person “in” on the cover-up ever talks.

But who am I to complain. I’m watching it. And Daredevil has dropped.

I’m helping you participate in the Read an E-Book week by severely reducing the prices on all of my books, reducing some of them to free.  At the stroke of midnight, March 6th (Pacific time) the following prices come into effect:

Matt’s War  FREE (usually $2.99)

Book ‘Em – An Eamonn Shute Mystery  FREE (usually $2.99)

G’Day L.A. FREE (usually $2.99)

Family Matters $1.00 (usually $3.99)

G’Day USA $1.00 (usually $3.99)

Daly Battles: The Fall of Pyongyang $1.00 (usually $3.99)

Unprotected Sax $1.00 (usually $3.99)

Have Wormhole, Will Travel $1.25 (usually $4.99)

Target: Australia $1.25 (usually $4.99)

Killing Time $1.00 (usually $3.99)

This sale is only a week old, so set your alarm and get them while you can.

 

MadD_front2(400x600)In mid-February I’ll be releasing my eleventh book. Hard to believe. I didn’t know I even knew that many words.

I’ve ventured into a new area. Private detective in a small town. Small town Australia, actually. I’ve lived here for ten years and I’m starting to feel comfortable here.

Now, while the book isn’t officially available for six weeks, you can do me a huge favour and, if you’re interested in buying it, pre-ordering it now. As an independent author, one of the more powerful tools at my disposal is pre-orders. All of the pre-orders from a retailer made in advance of the release date accumulate and are presented as sales on the release date. The bump up the sales rankings on the day provides added visibility — more eyes on the product, as it were.

So, if you want to spend $2.99 (Americano dollars) on what I think is one of my best books to date, don’t wait until it’s released. Pre-order it now and give a guy a hand.

Thanks

Available for pre-order on Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Barnes&Noble

Structure v2Act Two is the middle chunk of the story. It’s a good half of the story and character arc. We’ll talk about the first half of Act Two — up to the Midpoint turn — this week, and the second half next week.

As you read in the post about Act One (you did read it, right? No problem. I’ll wait. No rush. I just poured a fresh whiskey), the setup and status quo in Act One is ruptured by the First Plot Point, throwing our hero into a status that is distinctly not quo.

Think about how you would react. And that’s the key word: React. Out hero is in response mode, reacting to the event (the First Plot Point), that threw him into the mess he’s currently in. Look at Liar, Liar. Act One ends when Jim Carrey’s character, Fletcher Reede, discovers in the most embarrassing and painful way possible that he can’t lie. His appearance in court the next morning (which appears to be Jim Carrey vamping and the editors taking the “best” bits) is a complete and utter disaster, from a lawyer’s point of view. He can’t lie. And he can’t win unless he does.

Then the office. A parade of abusive (and truthful) one-liners, culminating in a battle with a “royal blue pen”. He has, at this point, no idea why this is happening to him. He’s wandering through the minefield of “not lying” and it’s killing him. It’s 100% reaction to the situation that’s been forced upon him.

Somewhere between the First Plot Point (end of Act One/start of Act Two) and the Midpoint is a Pinch Point. The PPs are used to let the reader and (sometimes) the hero know the magnitude of trouble they’re up against. If your story is crime fiction, this is a good point to show how bad the villain can be.

In Liar, Liar the villain/antagonist is the truth. Or rather, Fletcher’s inability to lie. And at the point where you’d expect to see a Pinch Point, one occurs. Fletcher runs a light and when pulled over by the motorcycle cop and is asked “Do you know why I pulled you over”, responds with:

Fletcher: Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and *speeding*!

Cop: Is that all?

Fletcher: No… I have unpaid parking tickets. Be gentle.

The end of the first half of Act Two is the Midpoint, the part of the story where new evidence is revealed that changes the story for our hero.

The Midpoint of Liar, Liar is when Fletcher discovers that the source of his inability to lie is the wish his son made at the birthday party Fletcher missed. Of course he then reveals to his PA, Greta (the awesome Anne Haney) that he was incapable of lying (and the partner, Miranda, overhears and tries to exploit it). Until this point, he has no idea why it’s happening. Now he knows, and he transitions to Attack mode — the second half of Act Two, which we’ll talk about next week.