Saturday, 31 December 2011

Guest post and book giveway - Uniquely Moi Books

Jodie Baker, an incredibly well respected Book Reviewer from Uniquely Moi Books, asked me to do a guest post on her blog. How could I refuse? Opportunities like that don't come along every day. She asked me if I could write about "How a Simple Idea Transforms into a Story." So if you are interested in how my Urban Hunters series came about, check out the post here. And as an added bonus, we're giving away copies of Four Small Stones and Tribal Scarring. Don't forget to add a comment, we'd love to hear what you think :) Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Book Critics

Book Critics – loved and loathed by every writer, especially me considering I’m new to this. They eat bad writers for breakfast and sing the praises of good ones. I just got a nail-biting email from a Book Critic – 

I just finished Four Small Stones and I loved it! Loved your writing and I can't wait to read the next episode! I really, truly did love your writing.  I would describe it as vivid and visual. Every word created a picture in my mind and it was a joy to read. Keep up the great writing.”

Holy shit! :)))))

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

What This Writer Does

I write full time. Eight o'clock to five o'clock five days per week and I love it. The Urban Hunters series is my passion. Bunya Publishing is my publishing house and between the two, I am flat out. I find there are three equally difficult elements to the process - writing, publishing and marketing. They are all just as big a job as each other and all are just as important as each other. So in other words, writing isn't just about writing, there's so much more to it than that. Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Book Reviews

I am deliriously happy to say that our first reviews of Urban Hunters #1, Four Small Stones, have been posted on Amazon and they are fantastic. Check them out here if you'd like to see them -
P.S. Tribal Scarring is up on Smashwords -
I'm desperately trying to get it up on Amazon but I've been bogged down in formatting. I thought writing a book was hard, but writing HTML code makes writing a book child's play. Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Tribal Scarring is at the Editors

Good news folks - Tribal Scarring, Episode 2 in the Urban Hunters series, is at the editors. It's a little too soon to announce a launch date, however we're only weeks away. Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Hobbit

A true story

My friend was called in to work to do a five-hour shift, but she had no one to look after her nineteen-year-old Down syndrome son. Friends were unavailable, as was his carer. It was a good shift and she didn’t want to miss it. She figured he’d be OK anyway, so she put on Lord of the Rings and headed off. Two hours into her shift she got a call from her very excited son saying,
“Mum, I got a Hobbit!”
“That’s great mate. You’ll have to show me when I get home, OK?”
“OK,” he agreed, hardly able to contain his excitement.
Three hours later, mum arrived home to find her son covered in blood and bruises.
“WHAT HAPPENTED TO YOU?” she demanded.
“I got a Hobbit! I got a Hobbit! Come on,” he said, beckoning her out to the garage. When he opened the door brimming with pride, poor mum got the fright of her life. Inside was a very disgruntled Midget with his fists clenched and an awfully determined look on his face.
Her young warrior had come across a Dwarf somewhere, grabbed him, and thrown him into the garage to show mum.
Escape would have been easy except for one very frustrating problem; he couldn’t reach the door handle.

by Gary Taaffe 

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Friday, 5 August 2011

The Spud Gun, Catapult, Pea-Shooter and the Magnifying Glass.

Guest Post by Martin King. Join him on his 100 blogs tour...

Four of the most deadly weapons in a young boy’s armoury! For those of you too young to remember, the spud gun was a style of gun that you stuck the end of the barrel into a raw potato. It then fired the raw potato like a small bullet – and boy did it hurt.
The catapult was the deadliest of the four, but not many kids had them. Adults knew the dangerous threat posed by these weapons of death, so it was almost impossible to get your hands on one and even harder to avoid having it confiscated. Sure you could make your own out of lollypop sticks and ‘laggy’ bands, but these prototypes were very ineffective.
Then you had my all time favourite; the peashooter– and it came in two sizes, regular and supersize! The local pet store made a roaring trade out of pigeon peas.
But the least likeliest of candidates was the magnifying glass. Unlike the other three that you struggled to keep hidden away from your parents ‘spying’ eyes, the MG was an acceptable tool in the child’s school equipment. On its own, it was just an innocent tool for inspecting things close up, but when the sun came out…
When it came to inflicting torture, a young boy knew every means possible. Quite often, the pray would not be other kids. This had far more ‘specialised’ uses.
Insects beware!
Ants, worms, spiders and a whole host of other, poor, unfortunate insecti, suffered the loss of limb at the hands of the young boy with his trusty torture implement. Not that I would ever do anything like this, oh no, butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. But the question is; what did you get up to?
These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series:

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Four Small Stones (Urban Hunters #1) Chapter 1

“Where’s your spirit, Billy?” Cobar said as his withered legs lowered him to the edge of the cliff face beside his great–grandson. He peered past his dangling feet to watch a stone descend beyond his eyesight into the river far below. But Billy didn’t answer. Cobar’s wisened years afforded him an enduring patience, so he tuned into the caress of cooling shade lavished upon him by a tortured old eucalyptus tree. He admired the twisted, gnarly, old trunk that bulged and clung with determination to a crack in the ancient rock wall. He unconsciously gave his nose–bone a twist while he considered how life had sculpted his own body. A fall down an embankment and a gash in his forearm had drawn a hungry dingo to the smell of his blood. So Cobar ate the dingo and salvaged its foreleg for a trophy. The bone now sat above his lip like a moustache, giving him an air of importance, and a memory that made him smile. All the twisting had made his nose itchy, so he slid out the bone and gave his nose a good scratch. Finally, Billy sighed as if dragging himself into the relief of his elder’s presence.

“Mother come to me last night,” he said.

“That’s why we have Corroboree here, Billy.” Cobar spread his arms wide, displaying the mist swirling up through the carpet of treetops across the river.

“The spirits are strong, the ancestors can talk to us.”

“She want me to follow the river till the brown snake stand up, where he watch over them whitefellas.”

“Ah, it’s you!” Cobar said while sliding his bone back into place. “She show me big Red kangaroo go down river in a canoe.”

“Why she want me to go, grandfather?”

“No future for you boys here. We the only Aborigines left. We gotta find you some girls or no more Dreaming.”

“But grandfather I’m only thirteen! I’m not even man yet. Them whitefellas gonna kill me too.”

“Your mother won’t let that happen, Billy. That’s why she pick you — you smart, you listen her, not like brothers.” He indicated his head towards Billy’s older brothers, Mallee and Pindaari.

A tiny smile curled one edge of Billy’s full lips as he noticed Mallee selecting some stones from the dirt around their campsite — he knew his day was about to get interesting.

“Not time yet anyway,” Cobar said. “Maybe when it is time, you be man. When you see the big Red kangaroo, you will know it is time!”

Billy sat, despondent and quiet, while he considered how intense his mother had been this time. He knew she wanted him to leave soon, but he didn’t feel ready to go on his Walkabout yet. He wanted time to grow into a man at his own pace, like his brothers had, not in some kind of a hurry. He thought about the kangaroo and hoped Cobar was right, but then he worried about the fact that there were big Red kangaroos everywhere. The drought had lured them to the coast from out west in search of water. He decided not to look at them.

“When you got no future, Billy, you got no past — no Dreaming to guide you into the future. Gotta have your Dreaming or you get lost, like us, we nearly lost. Can’t hide here anymore, little fella — time to find our future!”

“Hey, Billy!” Mallee called.

Mallee’s only goal in life was to make galahs of his younger brothers and by the way he’d been giggling with Pindaari, Billy figured it was his turn again.

“Walkabout through the whitefella culture, Billy. You be OK. If it’s safe for us, we find plenty wives for good lookin’ fella like you.”

Billy wondered what he’d do with one wife, let alone plenty. He’d never even seen a girl before. Still, he figured Cobar would teach him all he needed to know anyway, so he let the problem go.

“OK, Grandfather.” Billy rose and waited while Cobar struggled to his feet. “But first I gotta cook me up a couple o’ galahs.”

Cobar smiled in anticipation, put his arm around his favourite grandson’s shoulders for support, and they wandered back to their Corroboree site.

“What?” Billy said as he stepped onto a massive rock platform that jutted out from the cliff face like a balcony at a theatre.

Mallee said nothing and held out his four small stones for Billy and Pindaari to behold. There were two small stones; about the size of a wallaby’s nuts, a slightly larger, rounded stone made of granite that was quite heavy, and then a bigger stone again with sharp edges that wasn’t very heavy at all. He selected the smallest one for himself with a grin, and then offered the remains to Pindaari.

“What’s this for?” he said, as if he didn’t already know.
Billy couldn’t believe how stupid they still thought he was.

“Just pick one!” Mallee said.

“Hmm,” Pindaari pondered while rubbing what he liked to think of as a beard. He picked out the stones one at a time, scrutinising them carefully before taking a moment to consider his findings. Then he selected two at a time to compare their weight and shape. He even gave them a spit and polish to compare their colour before annoying Mallee by putting each freshly spat stone back into the palm of his outstretched hand. Pindaari walked around in circles with one hand on his hip, the other rubbing his chin intelligently. Then he kicked up the dust as if he was struggling with his decision. Occasionally, he stopped to give Mallee and the stones a ponderous look, before going back to his chin rubbing and dust kicking.

“Bloody hell, Pindaari, will ya hurry up?”

Pindaari considered Mallee’s impatience, and then raised one eyebrow in sly recognition of a clever thought. He began knocking the stones together, listening carefully to their sound, before putting them back again to reflect on the result with more intelligent chin rubbing and dust kicking.

Mallee dropped his head, shaking it from side to side. He looked like he was giving up, but then he filled his lungs and huffed out a huge sigh to help him tap into his reserves of patience. He wedged his free hand under his armpit and adjusted his outstretched arm for the long haul, while looking at Pindaari with contemptuous patience.

“I swear you galahs are gonna turn me into an ancestor!” he moaned.

Billy laughed — whatever the consequences of the game were, they’d be worth the memory of Mallee’s face. Pindaari was like a predator prowling around his prey, poking it and prodding it for pleasure. Mallee was about to lose it, Billy could see it in his face — he’d clenched his jaw and squinted his eyes. Pindaari must have seen it too because he quickly snatched up the granite stone with a satisfied grin.

“Finally!” Mallee cursed. Then he impatiently offered the last two to Billy, as if trying to pressure him into making a quick decision.

“I wanna pick first,” Billy said.

Mallee’s whole body slumped and he sighed so heavily that he looked like he was emptying.

“Why?” he demanded.

“Cause I want the little fella.”

Mallee did his head drop thing again and said,

“It don’t matter how big it is. Alright, you have mine and I’ll have the big one then.”

Pindaari looked shocked and shuffled about nervously, which he tried to hide from Billy while waiting for his reply.

“No way! You probably wanted the big one all along!” Billy said.

“No I didn’t! It don’t matter how big it is! Will ya just pick one?”
Billy was tempted to drag it out a bit longer in the hope they’d let something of their plan slip, but judging by Pindaari’s surprised expression when Mallee offered to take the big stone with the sharp edges, he wondered if Pindaari wasn’t the one being set–up. So he decided to take the big stone, just to show them that he wasn’t scared.

Pindaari seemed relieved.

Mallee didn’t say anything. He just grabbed his spears in deflated triumph and headed straight down the mountain trail without even looking back to see if his brothers were following him.

You can download the rest of the story here: Amazon Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Salton Sea Chronicles Interviews Gary Taaffe

My interview with The Salton Sea Chronicles has just been posted if you'd like to read it.

Suzy Turner said...
Wow, this is a fantastic interview. Very deep indeed, especially when Gary talks about his childhood (I almost wept!) I've got Urban Hunters on my TBR list and so after reading this, I just might have to push it further to the top! Thank you. Suzy Turner  
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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Important Message for Australian Authors!

Now you can receive book sales commissions from America for FREE, and deposit them into your bank account in Australia for FREE! Using “BookBaby” and the St George bank.
“BookBaby” will distribute your ebook to Amazon, Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes and Noble and Sony’s eReader, collect your book sales commissions from them and then send you a cheque, without taking any commission for themselves at all. Previously you had to go through PayPal who charge you 3.4%+ for cash transferred. BookBaby will do it for free, and the St George bank doesn’t charge for international cheque deposits. Problem solved (Update - 26th July, 2011 - St George bank are now charging for international cheque deposits, which makes Bookbaby even more attractive!). You will have to supply BookBaby with a US tax exemption form(W-8BEN), but that's not a problem, just google it, print it, fill it in and post it to BookBaby. 
BookBaby does have charges, a one time setup fee of $99, to organize the distribution and much, much more, to all those sellers, and then an annual fee of only $19. 
I have nothing to do with BookBaby, I’m simply considering them for myself, and I’m impressed. They don’t say on their website that they’ll send you a cheque, but I posed my problem to them in an email, and Kristen from BookBaby wrote back and said “Yes we can send you checks.” 
Check them out -
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My Cover Artist

Can’t tell you how excited I am – the artwork for the cover of my first book has finally arrived and I think it’s fantastic!
What a monumental decision it is working out what to do about your cover, especially your first one. I was a virgin. I admit it. I was so nervous about what to expect. But the experience was amazing! I’ll never forget it. The artist couldn’t have been more gentle with me, understanding and patient. He’s a man and I’m a man I know, it’s a bit weird, especially considering that I’ve been married to a lovely woman for the last twenty years. Hang on, I’m getting confused here – what were we talking about? Oh yeah, cover art. The art world is a little whacky, so bear with me. When you’re forking out the big bucks to have someone paint what’s in your head, you need to be able to talk to each other, to understand each other’s feelings. It really is a relationship and my artist, Toby Quarmby, is one of the best around. See for yourself, check out the cover. And no, it’s not a gay thing, Billy is Aboriginal, he’s spent his life in the bush and a loincloth is more than he needs. But he’s gotta find some girls in the city and doing that in a loincloth can only be fun. The series is all about adventures and misadventures, and the cover tells you that immediately. Plus you see guys on covers and they’re all buff, ridiculously muscled and impossibly handsome, how often do you get a chance to put a butt on the cover and get away with it? How controversial! How innocent. How intriguing. The poor kid who’s never even seen a girl before, now has to find some girls in the city while wearing a loincloth! Gotta be fun. What do you think? Does it look fun? Are you intrigued? Would you buy it? Would you buy it for your son or daughter? 
So back to Toby. As you can see, he’s an amazing artist and I want to share him with the world. If you need artwork for your cover, send him an email at - tjquarmby(at)  
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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Editing and Proofreading of Urban Hunters

I gave six editors my first six pages to trial edit, and they all came back with different advice??? I’m surprised by the differences between editors, and the things one editor picks up that others overlook. My advice in selecting an editor is to ask for a trial edit to check them out first. Even if they don’t offer one upfront, which they should, ask for it. My experience is they will jump at the opportunity.
What you’re looking for is a good fit, someone who gets you, your story and the way you write. An American editor suggested using words that were completely foreign to my Australian version of English. It just didn’t fit, didn’t sound right to me and changed the flow of the text. She was right that a different word needed to be used, but I dare say an Aussie would have had a more appropriate suggestion.
You’ve got to understand too that some editors just don’t get what you’ve said, whereas others get it straight away. It will be the same with readers. So do you compromise your writing to try to fit both? Sometimes yes, but more often than not, no! If they read it again after getting to the end of your book, after getting to know your writing style, sense of humour, perspective; they may then get it, some never will. It’s like accents, we often haven’t a clue what someone with a new accent is saying, but after a while, we start to understand, and hopefully, appreciate it.
I resisted the temptation to make suggested changes before sending the first six pages to the next editor, so I could compare them. It worked really well.
I also sent some to proofreaders. The difference between a proofreader and an editor is like chalk and cheese. A proofreader crosses the t’s and dots the i’s, an editor will do that too, but so much more, like picking up on your point of view changes, and pointing out what doesn’t make sense, or could be communicated better, but an editor will miss things a proof reader won’t. So it’s as if you need to get edited first, and then proofread before publication. In other words, ya gotta fork out the bucks for both. If you think self-publishing is going to be an easier or better way to go, think again! It’s incredibly difficult to do well yourself, and bloody expensive to pay for someone else to do what you can’t do yourself. Anyway, more on that later – I’m building up a big rant on that subject...
So did I find an editor out of the trials? No, not even close. However, a lady from my writing group who volunteered to do the pre-edit, edit, is fantastic! So I’ll see if she’s interested in taking on the job professionally. Fingers crossed.  

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Friday, 3 June 2011

Urban Hunters Facebook Book Page

My Facebook Book Page is also now up and running so check it out at the link below, and don't forget to hit the 'Like' button to share it with your friends -

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Gary Taaffe Facebook Author Page

My Facebook Author page is now up and running so check it out at the link below, and don't forget to hit the 'Like' button to share it with your friends - 

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Urban Hunters - the first in the series

Billy’s an Aboriginal boy from the bush who must travel to the city to find girls for his tribe, or face extinction. The problem is, he’s never even seen a girl before. But first he must endure a torturous tribal scarring initiation, his older brothers, and the fight of his life against wildlife. Heart-warming and hilarious, his adventures will have you searching for your own inner strengths.
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Friday, 20 May 2011

Pre-Edit, Edit of Urban Hunters

That’s where I’m at. A few of my friends in my writing group, Great Lakes Fellowship of Australian Writers, have kindly volunteered to edit my book. Editing is essential to the success of any book, be it traditionally published or self-published. Anyone who thinks they can skip this step is kidding themselves.
 Reviews are done by readers themselves these days, and they can and will be brutal to unedited, unprofessional books. This system is fantastic, and essential. Amazon has it down pat – buyers can add a review to any book they buy, using a five star system with plenty of room for a written review. The stars, prominently displayed right beside the image of your book, on your Amazon book page, give potential readers a quick heads-up on how good your book is. Follow the link for more details if you wish, and if I was considering buying a book, I would. Essentially it’s word of mouth marketing and there is nothing better, or worse, for your book. 
Ah editing – what a brain drain it is. Getting a first draft down of your story can be pretty quick and easy, exhilarating even, but going back and tidying it up, or editing it, can be mind-numbingly boring. And you never do it just once; you do it over and over and over again. And then by the time you’ve done it that many times, your writing has improved so much that you have to do it all over again. My brain hurts just thinking about it. But I have to say, it is worth it. The difference it makes never ceases to blow me away. The amount of times I’ve come across a sentence, or a paragraph that I thought was excellent, turned out to need a complete re-write upon a fresh look, or after being viewed through someone else’s eyes. It might be that I unknowingly slipped in a point of view change - a death blow to a readers flow. They get confused, trying to work out who is talking, whose head they are in. You wouldn’t believe how easily it happens. Just one seemingly insignificant word can do it. Or I’ve used the same strong word twice in one paragraph, or even twice on the one page. Seems ridiculous, I know, but these are the kinds of things that mean the difference between a good review and a bad one. It’s a harsh world, but everyone would be writing books if it was easy.
So edit I do. They say that no matter how good your manuscript is, a good editor will lift it to the next level. That rings loud and clear in my mind, so I’m fastidiously making my manuscript as good as it possibly can be, before I take the plunge and fork out the big bucks for a professional line-by-line edit. That’s why I’m grateful to my learned friends who have volunteered to take the time to do a pre-edit, edit.
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Friday, 29 April 2011

Publishing Urban Hunters

It turns out that to become self-published, you really need to become a publisher. It's funny how you don't really put those two things together at first, especially when you see the average publisher as the devil, and now you have to become one. If you've only got one or two books to self-publish, it's not really necessary to register yourself as a publisher, but I've got a series of five that are nearly finished. So to take advantage of the tax breaks, the publisher discounts, and the publisher promotional advantages, you really do need to register a publishing business. I did and it's called Bunya Publishing. And now I have a whole new can of worms to deal with: I need a business cheque account, yet another google account for yet another website and of course, another email address. The list goes on ...

As arduous as all this seems, it is very exciting. It's opened my mind to a whole new set of possibilities, like publishing other peoples works. All I have to do now is work out how to settle my mind at night so I can get a decent night's sleep. Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Wordsmiths Using Words To Do Battle Over Words

I've been thinking about the term 'traditional publishing', which the publishing industry has been pushing lately as a way of promoting/saving their industry. It's working well because lots of people are using it. I think it's power is in the fact that traditionally, that's how people got their books onto the market. So saying 'traditional publishing', is simply an easy way of describing what they do. However, I think more often than not these days, it's being used as another way of saying 'dinosaur publishing', so people are now using it to take the piss out of them. Looks to me like the self publishing industry is turning the traditional publishing industry's own marketing strategy around to bite them. I think it's hilarious watching wordsmiths using words to do battle over words. It's like a slap fight rather than a good old fashioned punch up. Best Blogger Tips

Urban Hunters Series Cover Artwork Commissioned

I'm very excited to say that I have just commissioned the artwork for my first book. I'd like to go into details about who he is, but I think I should keep that info under my hat until it's finished. I'll be posting the image as soon as I have it.

Finding the right artist was in itself a difficult journey. There are plenty of amazingly talented cover artists to choose from in America, but my book is based around the adventures of a 13 year old Aboriginal kid in Australia. So a definite Aboriginal flavour is needed for which none could do it better than an Aussie. The problem is, there aren't that many to choose from. There are plenty of incredibly talented Aussie artists, but who has cover art experience along with an Aboriginal artistic flair? Word of mouth within the industry was the key so after checking out some of his work, I made the call. He was very easy to talk to and knew exactly what I wanted. So we agreed on a price and it's happening... Best Blogger Tips

Monday, 28 March 2011

To Get You Up To Speed on my Urban Hunters Series

I'm very excited to tell you that I am close to launching my first book in the Urban Hunters series. It's a fun filled adventure story based in Australia for young adults. There will be thirteen in the series with more to follow if readers are keen. All thirteen are pretty much finished, so I'll roll them out in intervals of four to six weeks. At least that's the plan anyway. What do they say about mice and men? Something about best laid plans? 

After many hours of mind melting research, I have decided to self-publish. The reasons are many and varied but a couple of the main reasons are that traditional publishers just don't seem to be keeping up with technology; and they're desperately holding onto their industry at the expense of the writers. I just don't see the justification in paying a writer a 15% royalty for an ebook, when Amazon is offering 70%! Writers had no options in the past, today there are plenty, and I plan on taking advantage of them all.

This blog is part of the build up to the launch. There's lots to do: website, cover art to encompass the whole series, manuscript assessment, final editing, formatting, a Facebook page for the series... The list goes on. I'll keep you up to date with my progress so I hope you're interested. See you back here again soon.

Now, what was next...
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