Tag Archives: Zeb and the great ruckus

Blog Tour

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.


Interview with Ravina

Screenshot 2013-10-22 09.21.20 copy

Becoming Your Character guest post at Bunny’s Review


Your Setting As A Character guest post at High Class Books

book professor

Interview with the Book Professor 

I’ll update this post as more tour things happen. I hope your day is filled with guitar solos and high fives.

Stories are important because___________

Book cake #1 One of the best books ever written, now with more sugar!

For my birthday last week I ran a little mini-competition where I promised to give away a free copy of Zeb and the Great Ruckus to the most creative answer to the above question. I received a brilliant array of responses, ranging from the ridiculous to the philosophical and everything in between. I thought I’d share a few of my favourites here for you to enjoy. Thanks to everyone who participated, and everyone else out there feel free to comment and add your own!

“Stories are important because life and reality need to fade into the background at times.”

“Stories are important because they’re made of hopes and dreams. 
The remnants of your darkest thoughts and creatures now unseen.
Telling tales keep us connected to the world of never was. 
A place where impossible is expected and things can happen just because. 
So write your shinning words aloud and build those bridges strong. 
It’s the stories that will save us and to forget that would be wrong.”

“Stories are important because they free the mind from artificial constraints like time, gravity and parents.”

Book cake #2 (I WANT TO READ IT AND EAT IT!)

“Stories are important because they build us into the people we are, good ones make us the people we can be and great ones allow us to hope for far more.”

“Stories are important because they’re the difference between a fact, like ‘I won a free book’, and an epic tale to excite young and old about how I thwarted other people by wielding weapons of irony and cheek to triumphantly win a free book. (It’s going to make a great story. Only $14.99 plus postage and handling! Also it’s a 3D pop out book and it’s the same backwards as forwards).”

*editor’s note: I WANT TO READ THAT BOOK!

Book cake #3 I’m starting to wish all books were this incredible/edible. 

“Stories are important because they give you freedom. I grew up incredibly poor in a shed, we could only eat the food that we could grow or source, I bathed in a bucket and my clothes were always secondhand and a little shabby. We couldn’t afford much but the library was free and those stories helped me to see a world outside my own and to find the poetry in my own stories. Not to sound cliche but its the stories I read, hiding underneath my blankets, wrapped in the world of places like Narnia that taught me that there is an amazing world that isn’t dependant on how much money you have, but rather how rich your imagination can be.”

But my personal favourite was from Mr. Brady ‘Subtlety’ Clarke:

“Stories are important because when thirty bearded dudes decided the hierarchy of Important Things in the steamy autumn of 1066, the skinniest one (with the mole on his nose) yelled and screamed and spat that stories are more important than trying to conquer a goddamn island, Bill. And that’s why we have stories AND a Norman Britain.”

For further reading, there’s a great article on why stories are important over at the Journal Pulp, a list of the most beautiful bookstores in the world and, while you’re at it, a goodreads list of must read books. Happy reading!


Love letters to corporations episode #6

My dearest ticketek,

I am writing today to commend you on your excellent and innovate business model of charging for delivery of etickets, a service which, by my mathematical reckoning, costs you precisely $0.000000000 dollars. I had once believed that your email delivery prices of $4-5 would be the absolute zenith of your entrepreneurial courage. But lo! I was mistaken. Please accept my most humble apologies for doubting the ambitious heights of your brave and fearless profiteering, for I have recently learned that you charged $7.60 for delivery of etickets to Jack White’s recent Sydney performance.

“I’m going to Australia! / A seven dollar ticket fee won’t hold them back…”

This is a profit earning venture of the highest and most laudable courage. I can only imagine that upon hearing this news drug kingpins, such as the Wire’s Avon Barksdale, leaned back in their comfy leather chairs and proclaimed:

“Goddamn dawg, we in the wrong motherf**king business up in here. We shootin’ fools and getting sprayed wit bullets to get that green and those dudes up in ticketek just be kicking back in airconditioning getting mad cash thrown at ’em by charging delivery for ETICKETS? Etickets don’t cost no money to deliver! Don’t those Aussie punters be knowing dat? I wanna deliver a K of blow, I gotta pay my drivers, my security, my dealers, gotta pay the Five-0 ta look the other way, that sh*t costs money yo! I gotta factor that into the cost of my product. You ain’t gotta do that to send a goddamn email! Dem Aussies got ta get a rudimentary understanding of the inherent dangers of allowing a monopolised system to exploit its users, yo.”

Recently, I released my second novel, which retails for $17.95 RRP. I decided that for copies sold via my website I would incorporate the $3 packaging and posting cost into a $19.95 bundle so that it could come in at slightly less than a $20 note, or the cost of ten packs of tim-tams (units of tim tams are how I calculate the vast majority of my financial transactions, much to the chagrin of my accountant.)

  +              OR    x 10                             

I realise now that this is insane. I mean, by way of contrast, for you to send 1 000 tickets would cost you $0 and earn $7 600, whereas to ship 1 000 of my books would cost $3 000 and earn me $ 3000 thus making a profit of zero. Inspired by your daylight robbery entrepreneurial spirit , I have some suggestions for further business innovations:

1 Have you thought of charging your customers for the air that they will be breathing at the event? Clearly some people may be unhappy about this, but of course, they are always welcome to bring their own oxygen tanks!

2 How about charging the punters each time they go to the bathroom OR even better, a per minute fee? This would have the extra benefit of discouraging girls from spending hours in the bathroom discussing theoretical physics (I assume that’s why they spend so goddamn long in there?)

“So anyway, then I was all like, OMFG, if you can’t coalesce with me on Schrodinger’s Cat then we are NEVER going to see eye to eye on the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox!  It’s totes OVER!”

3 Finally, what about charging a small fee to people walking past your venues and overhearing your events? I mean, those parasitical bastards are benefitting from your entertainment events and paying nothing!

Thanks for your time and keep up the great work.

Swarm Regards,

J. M. Donellan

PS I have charged you $7.60 to receive this email. My invoice is attached. Payment is due within 7 days.



Ain’t no party like a launch party


How are you? I’m well. I mean, I am now. I did enjoy a brief little jaunt in the emergency room because a team of furious invisible werewolves were trying to tear open my brain whilst huffing over me with hot, rank breath (I believe the medical term is ‘Influenza A’) but then I took a lot of potent medicine (yay science!) and lived to go to my book launch. This is fortunate, because being dead at my own book launch would have put quite a dampener on things. Although, come to think of it, it would have made for gangbuster sales…

Nevertheless, it was a grand evening. There were some astoundingly good performances from some of my Write Club students. If you’ve never heard an adorable nine year old girl get up in front of a hundred people and tell a story that starts “This is the story of how I died,” then you haven’t lived. Or died, for that matter.

Kathleen Jennings, the illustrious illustrator, was there to sign some books too and even did up this great little sketch of the kids.

And then there was the after party. It was one hell of a ruckus, featuring a bunch of great bands and some of Brisbane’s best poets. However, I’m not allowed to discuss details because of…um…legal reasons?


Black Cat books has only a handful of copies left if you want to run in and snap one up, otherwise it’s available direct from Odyssey Books and all the other usual places. If you were one of the gorgeous people that picked up a copy on the night I would love love love for you to put up a review on goodreads, amazon or just yell at people on the bus about how great it is. I will thank you with all of my heart and most of my liver.

PS I recently did a post for my friend, the wonderful poet and author Jessica Bell about placing art in boxes. You can read it here.



It’s here at last! TEN MILLION HUZZAHS!

Hello there citizens of internetland, I trust you are well. I have a heap of announcements that are so exciting that they really should be all IN CAPS but we all know that can be quite annoying so I’ll try and RESTRAIN MYSELF (whoops…) Zeb will see its full, really really real release (try saying that five times fast) in just a few days. Or a few dozen hours. Or a few thousand minutes. You get the idea. Great big squishy thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered. You are the best.

 For those currently residing in Australia, you can grab it direct from the publisher HERE. This gets me slightly more money than buying it through other retailers, for those lovely people among you who actually care about your money going to the artist so that they can afford extravagant luxuries like rent, socks and copious quantities of two-minute noodles.


Residents of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Madagascar, the UK, the USA or anywhere else in the milky way, you can get it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. (Amusing sidenote: I once had a friend tell me her slightly eccentric mother had said of Amazon: “It’s so amazing that they can run the world’s largest bookstore from the middle of the jungle!”) UPDATE: Kindle version now available HERE.

Zeb is also available for ITUNES for just $4.99. Seriously, that’s (very very slightly) less than $5. Yes, that’s right, while you’re shopping for Justin Bieber singles or Colonel Claypool’s Bucketful of Bernie Brains albums or old episodes of Xena: The Warrior Princess you can also grab a copy of my book for your ipad.

A list of things that cost less than $5

For those of you who are broke because you spent all your pocket money on yu-gi-oh cards (let’s be honest, we’ve all been there) you should head HERE and see if you can win a copy for FREE (which happens to be my favourite price).



(179 Latrobe tce, Paddington)

September 21st, 5pm

Last but not the opposite of most, don’t forget the launch is next week at Black Cat books followed by a crazy, riotous after party at my house around the corner. Facebook event HERE. This will not be your ordinary launch, no siree Bob. There will be music, performances from some of the best poets in Brisbane, readings, some Qs and some As and all kinds of messy, crazy fun. Finally, here is a great video from one of my favourite people on why books are amazing. Thanks for reading. I hope your day is filled with guitar solos, fireworks and high fives.


Paper girl festival video interview



Writers aren't used to having our faces (or any other parts) on camera. Despite spending most of our lives desperately trying to communicate through the use of various combinations of 26 letters and a small selection of punctuation marks that the modern world is increasingly less interested in correctly utilising, we are a species that is frequently heard but never seen. 

Unless you're J.K. Rowling or Tara Moss, no one knows what the hell you look like. I've read maybe a half a dozen of Irvine Welsh's books and I couldn't even begin to guess at his physical appearance. For all I know he's a morbidly obese man with a prolific beard, terrible body odour, a nipple piercing and a unicorn tattoo prominently displayed on his right forearm.

For this reason it was something of a novelty for me to do this interview with the organisers of the Papergirl festival. It's a really great opportunity for artists and writers to literally shove their work in people's faces. I've submitted a few of my short stories, so if you see someone approach you on a bicycle holding out a rolled up bundle of papers on the 4th of February, take a peek inside…

You can see interviews with other artists participating below. There are still a few days left to submit work! Artists and writers: get amongst it. 



Illustrator acquired!



Ladies and Gentlememes,

I am so excited about this announcement THAT I AM GOING TO USE CAPS UNTIL THE END OF THIS SENTENCE! My publisher, Odyssey Books, and I have found an illustrator/cover artist for Zeb and The Great Ruckus (the novel that will inspire a generation of children to pick up guitars and quills and paintbrushes and initiate an artistic insurrection.) Kathleen Jennings is a brilliant illustrator, writer, lawyer and translator (I can only assume she possesses some kind of superpowers, time machine, or small clone army), and was recommended to me by my friend and contract advisor Alex Adsett. Both Kathleen and Alex are fellow Brisbanianitesistsians. 


As soon as I opened up the link to Kathleen’s page and saw a sketch of a Dalek holding a parasol, I knew she’d be perfect for this project. The work of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake heavily influenced this book and I wanted to have someone who, like Blake did for Dahl, would do both the cover and the internal line sketches. I’m really excited to see what Kathleen comes up with, you can and should check out her work HERE or follow her on twitter here. Alternatively, you could follow her in real life wearing a trench coat and dark sunglasses but I think the police frown upon that kind of thing and anyway you don't even know what she looks like.

I hope something fabulous has happened to you today as well, and if it hasn't I hope it does soon. FIREWORKS AND GUITAR SOLOS FOR EVERYBODY!



How to Turn Your Child Into a ninja-scientist-guitar-soloing-human rights champion in one easy step.

Last week I finished my first ever children’s novel, Zeb and the Great Ruckus. I don't want to give too much of the story away, but I can tell you it will feature the following:

Largeearredcreature  8_string_guitar Clockwork bird

This is a story for parents who aren’t white picket fence upper middle class starbucks and sunday paper trim the roses keeping up with the Joneses types to buy for their kids who will grow up and grab the future by the throat, look it in the eye and say  “Oi! You. Belong. To. ME.” I feel like 95% of children's media is aimed at the same demographic that watches bad Hollywood movies, listens to commercial radio and believes everything they read in Murdoch papers. This book is for everyone else. And there are rather a lot of you aren’t there?

Poky puppy          50sfamily

if you read your kids this                   then they will turn out like this

You won’t find any of that saccharine cookie cutter cliche children’s crap in this book. Walt Disney wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole. Unless it was to beat it with said ten foot pole whilst screaming: 


“Dear God! It’s horrible! By

the ghost of Bambi’s mother

get it away
from me!”

If your children read my book then it will dramatically increase their chances of never becoming a lifeless homogenised tv-shopping drone. Although if they start a psychedelic folk band and work in a tattoo parlour I claim no responsibility (but I will probably buy their album). Ideally, immediately after reading Zeb and the Great Ruckus they will dedicate their lives to becoming some sort of ninja-scientist-guitar-soloing-human rights champion.

                                                                                                                                                                                               Dumb kid



"I'm going to organise a protest against sweatshop labour in the morning, then work on my quantum physics paper before recording the soundtrack for the new Gus Van Sant film before bedtime. Hi-yah!"   



And now for the ardouous process of submitting to agents and publishers, which I feel can be best summed up as: