To the manor born

Jack Shackaway here.

barf

Not long ago I posted an account of a recent encounter with fine wine and free food. But the starving writer’s life is no incessant five-star carouse with mince tarts and Shiraz on all sides. Far from it.

Here it is some time in the morning, I haven’t even had breakfast, and Mad the Maid has just puked all over my balcony. She went out there to clean it for the first time since this building was … Read more

Wine appreciation night: Gold buttons & financial plans

winesJack Shackaway here.

The financial sky is falling. (So what’s new, eh? See here and here.). China’s economy is stumbling, the world’s share markets are tanking, and here in Bangkok anonymous malcontents have been bombing public places. Never mind. Starving writers are shielded from stock market crashes, at least, a regular feature of this life you don’t even notice if you have a pot to piss in but that’s about all.

Still, life can be good, and wine tastings … Read more

Get rich quick: Plan B

pike jumpingJack Shackaway here.

I’m free. A freelance writer. A free spirit. You name it. Currently a bachelor.

So why don’t I feel better? Where’s the lift of adventure, the sense of new horizons?

In my experience, the advantages of living alone are generally clearer when you’re living with somebody. (And vice versa.) Meanwhile I recognise another unfortunate fact of nature: Money serves in much the same way a shiny new Johnson Weedless Silver Spoon does when you’re fixin’ to catch … Read more

Get rich quick: Plan A

Jack Shackaway here. I’m worried about Collin. Take a look at this e-mail:

Yo, Jack.

One of the UK publishers I most respect has just declined my 180,000-word science fiction novel, saying how much they like the writing and world-building, and how they understand and admire the structure, but for some indefinable reason they haven’t “fallen in love” with it. So we turn to other ways of generating an income from writing.

I’m thinking I’ll run this classified ad in

Read more

What I should write (learning to listen to my public)

kicking-dogslarge

Jack Shackaway here. Of Kicking Dogs fame.

It’s true, as Collin says (here and here). Nearly everybody’s a writer these days.  And — given all the media interest in current publishing-industry convulsions — the few who aren’t writers are experts on publishing and books.

I used to tell people I was a novelist. I don’t anymore. That’s as interesting to your average citizen as saying “Every night I go to sleep.” Who isn’t writing a novel?

But if … Read more

Selling novels: What it takes

I’m probably over-reacting, but it’s already getting harder these days to take pride in thinking of yourself as a writer, since so can anybody with the price of a computer and an Internet connection. You aren’t even permitted to die penniless and hungry in proper romantic style, since everyone will merely ask why you did that. Why didn’t you just take steps to flog your stuff?

Even if you decide you are going to flog your stuff, you aren’t permitted … Read more

Japanieces & tilefish & things

What have tilefish and superyacht owners got in common?

Collin posed this question at the end of his last post, “Pharaonic fish and flash fatcats.” And now he has invited me, Jack Shackaway, who remains unbound by considerations of political correctness, to explain.

The following passages are from a novel in progress starring yours truly — even written by yours truly though Collin will no doubt try to claim otherwise. The book is a work of … Read more

Freeing the teabags

“Tedium is my medium, and boredom is my game.” (original coinage, Mr Jack Shackaway, Esq.)

Currently I’m producing most of my adrenaline at night. And this morning I awoke tired and anxious, haunted by a dream wherein a gang of Irish writers threatened me with terrible things, the details of which I can’t remember. I do know groupies played a role in developments, which maybe explains why my personal timecock was pointing insistently to noon or thereabouts, even though it … Read more

Nirvana, freedom, etc.

I’m reposting this item (originally put up by Jack Shackaway 22 April 2010), in light of the fact that Bill Page’s Nirvana Experiments are now available  in e-book form. Well worth reading.

July 2011 update: The Nirvana Experiments are now available in e-book form on DCO Books, Amazon, and Smashwords.

Goodbye writer’s garret in town and hello moobaan at the edge of the universe, ostensibly in suburban Bangkok. Bill Page, Bangkok old-timer and columnist of note under … Read more

Flu season in Bangkok

Jack here.

The fever’s gone. I’m still sick, though. Never mind I’m sitting here like a fool—more like a two-bit hooker, actually—editing a massive, near-sadistically impenetrable document for money, not enough of it.

But let me tell you about my blissful, antihistamine-enhanced sleep last night. A serial dream—it bridged multiple pee breaks—had me much excited at a book idea. I’d decided the combination of the world’s longest palindrome (several long paragraphs) and a brand-new concept of time I’d come up … Read more