Hello there humans and approximate facsimiles, I am excited to tell you that this week I am in the middle of a blog tour. A blog tour is basically like a hedonistic punk rock tour except without all the hotel room trashing. Or chain smoking. Or public performance. Or actual touring. But what it does mean is that I get to talk to people all over the world via the comfort of my couch and pyjamas. The tour includes a couple of interviews with different blogs and a few different pieces I’ve written on different aspects of writing, plus a tiny confession about when I pretended to be a woman. I’ll be cataloguing them all here, feel free to respond either in comments below or on the various websites hosting the tour.
My name is Josh Donellan and I am a person and, far more importantly, a Qantas frequent flyer. Recently, upon returning from India via Singapore I flew on flight QF52 which was supposed to take me to Brisbane. (Note the use of the word ‘supposed.’) I rate the customer service 4/5, the entertainment selection 5/5, the food 4/5 and the plane’s ability to take off without any part of it exploding DEAR GOD ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE!
Here is a list of times when I enjoy hearing explosions:
1) Whilst playing xbox
2) Whilst watching fireworks
3) On Guy Fawkes day
4) Whilst listening to experimental electronic albums
You will note that, ‘when travelling on an aeroplane’ does not appear on this list. Shortly after the explosion the captain assured us that it was simply a burst tyre and that there was nothing to worry about, but that we would need to make a forced landing.
“Hi, I’m John Travolta. My face is one of the last
things you’ll see before you die a fiery death.“
I of course translated this as “you have between 5-10 minutes to live before perishing in a fiery blaze.” Naturally I am grateful to John Travolta for appearing to me in the safety video and telling me that everything would be fine, but my mother wisely taught me to never trust a scientologist appearing in paid product endorsements. Luckily, we landed relatively safely, although the vast fleet of police and fire engines that greeted us on the landing strip was less than reassuring.
Although I was dismayed at the substantial delay to my return home, I must confess that the provided accommodations at the Carlton Singapore were superb. On my salary I estimate I would have to work for eight million years in order to just afford being able to spend 5 mins in the lobby of that opulent hotel. I was somewhat perturbed at having to wait nearly twelve hours for any word from the airline at all, but when I was eventually told by the very helpful hotel staff to ‘just go to the airport and it should be alright,’ I was of course relieved.
However, when I arrived at the check-in desk I was politely informed that provisions had been made for most of the several hundred other passengers, but that the dozen or so of us who had come from Mumbai had not been booked on anything and I would have to be placed on standby, or perhaps wait until tomorrow for a flight. If I had to describe my emotions at that particular juncture using pop culture references, I would say I felt part ‘that bit in the LION KING where Mufasa dies’ a smidgen ‘that bit in AKIRA when Kenada screams TETSUOOOOOOOOO!’ mixed with just a hint of ‘that part in DRUNKEN MASTER where Jackie Chan breaks all the things.’
“Did you just say…’STAND BY???????'”
After becoming visibly upset the check in clerk was so moved and/or disgusted by my pathetic emotional outburst that she had the courtesy to book me a flight to Brisbane via Melbourne. Granted, this took around 40 minutes to accomplish and seemed to require not only the use of the computer directly in front of her, but also 4 separate visits to the terminal at the customer help desk. Either the other computers had some kind of higher authorization or her avatar was just having a pretty hectic day in ‘Second Life’, I’m not sure.
Himalayan Marmot don’t like
Due to the delay I missed a day’s work at the kindergarten where I teach. This means that in addition to forfeiting a day’s pay, because of the public holiday the children will now have to wait an extra TWO days to see my pictures of Himalayan yaks and marmots that they have been so eager to see. Dearest Sir/Madam/Automated response bot, I sincerely hope with all of my heart and most of my appendix that you never in all your days have to bear witness to the sight of two dozen potently adorable 4 year old children staring at you with sad, disappointed eyes. It is a tragic tableau that will wither your soul and cause sadness to rise within you like a corpulent and melancholy whale.
Multiply this image by 24. If you aren’t crying or
at least saying ‘awwwwwww’ sympathetically
you are most likely a violent sociopath.
In response to this emotional trauma and loss of both time and pay I feel it only reasonable to request some form of compensation. I am a reasonable man, and will therefore present you with a choice of four options:
A) 1.3 billion frequent flyer miles
B) $2000 dollars in unmarked bills (delivered by Scarlett Johansson)
C) a robot elephant that shoots fireworks from its trunk and deep fried ice cream from its eyeballs
D) a condoling hug from every single Qantas staff member (except John Travolta)
Here's a list of books about/set in India I did for Flashlight Worthy books. I hope you enjoy it, but no so much that it inspires you to write your own novel because lord only knows I don't need the competition:
I had an abortion this week. I was halfway through my follow up novel (for adults at least, my kids book is done and dusted) when I made the difficult decision to prematurely end its life. It was entitled Junk Quay: A Modern Ghost Story. Basically it was a story about blues music and quantum mechanics. This guy featured pretty heavily:
So far I haven't had any christian fundamentalists at my door, but I'm
keeping plenty of death metal albums, gay porn and hardmount prints of Piss Christ on hand to ward them off if neccessary. The good news is that this has given me the chance to dive straight into my next book which I was much more excited about anyway. Expect God in a Coma to hit shelves sometime before the end of the world.
Lately I've been accused by many people, my girlfriend among them, of being a self-promotion whore. I justify this by the fact that this is my first art baby. I'm a bit like that annoying friend you have who's just had their first kid and starts working it into every single conversation you have with them by the most implusible segue imaginable:
You: Hey, have you read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart? I think, for me, it epitomises the pinnacle of African literature and perfectly encapsulates the feeling of fear and confusion that faces a ancient culture dealing with the plague of European colonisation.
Them: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PHOTO OF MY BABY???
You: Uh…yeah I think you should me one last week…
Them: Oh! That was when he was three months and THREE days. This is him at three months and SIX days! Doesn't he look so grown up! Look at the way he's looking at that Caravaggio print on the wall, I think he really has a basic grasp on critiquing and appreciation Baroque era Chiaroscuro painting!
"waaaah! Caravaggio's excessive use of shadows exemplifying chiarsocuro painting displeases me! I'm having a pre-naptime existential crisis!"
In any case, it's only two weeks until the Australian release of A Beginner's Guide to Dying in India and in preparation I've been drinking too much and spending an unhealthy amount of time playing xbox, much like my literary heores George Orwell and Anthony Burgess did before the release of their respective masterpieces.
"I pwned yr droids with my l33t skillz!"
I've been asked if I'll sign copies when it is released. People, seriously, I will lick, bless, baptise and sign in my own blood any copy you want to obtain in exchange for your not very hard earned cash.
Both stores ship anywhere in the world except Sarah Palin's house. Plus
they have heaps of other amazing books like the Bell Jarand Of Mice
and Men that TV characters sometimes mention in a very obvious and
unnatural way when the lazy script writer is trying to make them appear
educated in the space of the few minutes of content between coke
If you write a review for me I will be forever in
your debt. Seriously I'll give you a kidney or something. It may not be
MY kidney, but nevertheless…
debut novel, A Beginner's Guide to Dying in India, was released in America last
week. Although it won't see release here in Australia until next month, I was
obviously fairly excited to be a thrilling 683,960th on amazon.com's sales
ranking. This means that there are exactly 683 959 books that are better
promoted, better written or just better in general than mine. Titles currently outselling my book include: the brilliantly titled The Clique #8: Sealed with a Diss: A Clique Novel (Clique Series),
and Sarah: How a Hockey mum turned the Political Establishment upside down. Interesting side note, the original title for this book was Sarah Palin: the hockey mum who can 'practically see Russia from her house.'
Since my book has been released it's received the glowing personal recommendations of old housematesthe grates and randomly shown up at the top of a list of travel books in Japan.
describes it as 'Part comedy, part tragedy, part henna-drawn thriller
peppered with romance and intrigue…a spiritual journey across the continents
of the soul.' but there aren't any vampires, wizards, references to twitter or religious cults being investigated
by dashing yet surprisingly inept cryptologists so I'm obviously out of touch with what the
(mainstream) public wants.
in point: my original blurb for the book. My publisher rejected this on the
grounds that 'It's not nice to insult your audience on the back cover.' Why
not? Plenty of my readers will insult me I'm sure! I felt it deserved seeing
the light of day, if only on the internet, enjoy:
So, you’ve picked up this book from the shelf of a
bookstore or library or friend’s place and you are thinking to yourself: ‘perhaps
this particular novel shall distract me from the dull drudgery of my life?
Perhaps it contains the elements which I find desirous within a piece of
As it so happens, this novel contains five of the
following ten subjects, you are free to select which of these you hope it
contains and then peruse its contents to see if you are correct. For those of
you who elect to continue, welcome aboard. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.
To those who are about to return this book to the shelf or hurl it away in
disgust, perhaps you’d be better off with a Jackie Collins novel? You obviously
have terrible taste.
A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India may contain
1 Black humour
2 Philosophical discourse
3 Excessive references to Ricky Ponting
5 The threat of international terrorism!
7 Car chases
10 Love conquering against all odds (followed by
making out in the parking lot)
In addition to being a source of literary
entertainment, A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India may also be employed as a
highly effective paperweight, moderately effective source of kindling or rather
ineffective weapon in hand to hand combat.
you want to buy the book to use for any of the above purposes you can get it
from here:amazon.com and preview it online here: google books
you prefer the anachronistically tangible experience of using your legs to
enter a store and talking to a human to make your purchases then you can order
it at any bookstore in Americaville or Canadatown. If
you like the book and want to write a glowing review I would be eternally
grateful. If you hate it please send all scathing literary criticism to my
personal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org