On the act of writing…

I was just hit (again) by the actual realities of pursuing a passion in writing when my husband changed the channel to find a program that seemed to be designed entirely around James May (one of the hosts of the UK Top Gear) and his fascination with toys. In this particular episode of James Mays Toy Story he had commissioned a company to build an entire life size bridge out of meccano. I am not sure of the actual physical size but that is entirely irrelevant.

What is relevant is that a host of a particularly successful TV series has gone on to be awarded another series that seems entirely without any particular purpose. In fact I performed a Google search on this series to find an article by the Daily Mail in the UK that is titled: “James May and His Full Size Lego House That Nobody Wants.” The entire series seems like a giant waste of time and money to me but yet it exists.

In contrast, think about how many writers are out there that have slaved over keyboards. They’ve poured hours and hours into practising their craft, building an audience, marketing their work, getting rejected and then battling on and on. We write for the love of it yes, but even the few who publish successful best sellers such as Holly Lisle or Isobelle Carmody would ever be awarded with something so ridiculously pointless and indeed such a giant waste of money. I can’t see a publisher or indeed anyone saying to Holly, well ok we’ll fund your idea to create a replica of the Statue of Liberty made entirely out of your books, just because you want to.

Instead it is so well known among the industry that one great book does not guarantee any future success. Writers must slug away time and time again, proving themselves over and over. And the realities are that even if you are lucky enough to be picked up by a major publisher, your gross income for that book would hardly rival that of a well paid administrative assistant.

It seems to me that being a writer in today’s market has gotten harder and harder. Major publishers expect their authors to be well versed in the industry with an impeccable manuscript that they don’t have to invest hours and hours of editing time into. They want easy, marketable work with minimal risk and it puts the pressure back onto the writer every time.

So are we crazy for pursuing this passion of ours? I dare say not, because it is the act of writing and creating that we love. It inspires us. I know as a writer myself, that I have a back catalogue of many, many short stories of all different genres and very few of them I have shared with anyone else. Yet it is the act of creating these different worlds that I love. The characters that want to love and hate each other and even if I am the only person to know these dramas, I am still happy to be creating.

Now I am working on my first fantasy manuscript and I have found that until I have it completed, there will be very little other writing I can concentrate on. It is something that burns inside me to be written. It needs a voice and I will try my hardest to give it one.

This is exactly why Ouroborus Books came to fruition. We asked ourselves the question – We love what we do so what can we do to help our local writers achieve their goals of getting their work out there?

So far we have been able to see one talented writer Mel Clarke see her dream of taking her book (the first in the series) from manuscript to published novel, something that would not have happened without our help and support. Now in the pipeline we have another YA fantasy novel ready and other projects to come. We are still small and things take time, but we are here to help others like us achieve their goals.

One writer will find it hard to achieve anything on their own. But a community of like-minded word wielders can share their experiences and achievements, we hope you will too.

Alison Strachan

Published in: on October 30, 2010 at 11:28 am  Comments (2)  

Meet Mel Clarke and hear a reading from her thrilling new book!

From 12pm-3pm Sat 20th November, Mel will be at Borders Brisbane (162 Albert St, Brisbane) greeting fans and signing books. Stick around and you will hear a tantalising tidbit from her exciting new novel – The Riders War: Battle for Today. Come along and bring friends!

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 7:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Read the chilling intro to MA Clarke’s newest action adventure book!

As we said, we are all about promoting local authors and so in the spirit of this here is a taste of The Riders’ War: Battle for Today. Published with the help of Ouroborus Books and through Melbourne based publisher Brolga, Mel’s talent for story-telling was quickly recognised and this book became on of Brolga’s highlight titles. This meant Mel had the opportunity to attend the MacMillan National Conference this last Feb where she was able to promote her work and talk to other publishing representatives, giving her an all important insight into the publishing industry!


A child psychiatrist for fifteen years, Arturo Garcia-Arroyo had seen just about every type of child come through his office. It had become a sort of game to him to single out their dominant personality traits within the first five minutes of a session – usually before he had even said a word. Eleven-year-old Julian was different. He seemed completely unconcerned by being forced to see a psychiatrist.
‘Hello Julian, my name is Arturo. I’m going to be talking with you for a while. How are you today?’
‘Bored? I’m sorry to hear that. I hope our talks won’t be too boring for you. Now, do you know why you’re here?’
‘Because I killed the neighbour’s dog.’
‘Because I mailed the head to her daughter for her birthday.’
All this was said without a trace of emotion. That just wasn’t normal – and Arturo had a pretty wide definition of normal. At the very least, Julian should have showed some concern that he had been caught.
Arturo settled the cloak of his professional manner about him, hiding how unsettled Julian had made him.
‘Do you mind telling me why you did that?’
‘What sort of practice?’
‘For when I kill my mother.’
This wasn’t the first time that Arturo had heard a patient threaten to kill a parent. It was quite common for children to blame their parents for hardships and to believe that removing the parents would remove the hardship. What wasn’t common was Julian’s cool disinterest. Like an anatomy instructor over a cadaver taunting first-year med students. Julian was unnerving.
‘Why do you want to kill your mother?’
‘Because I can.’ No explanations and no justifications, what on Earth was he dealing with?
‘Now come on Julian. I’m here to help you. I need you to be honest with me. What has your mother done that’s so terrible that you feel you want to kill her?’
‘She breathes. Don’t bother saying it.’
‘Don’t bother saying what?’
‘What you’re going to say. Don’t bother. You’re wasting your time.’
‘Why would I be wasting my time?’
‘Do you really think I would be telling you all this if I thought there was anything you could do about it?’ Something in the way Julian said it had Arturo thoroughly convinced that he was right. There would be nothing he could do about it. Suddenly, Arturo had no desire to know what he was dealing with.
‘Good – I can see that you’re beginning to understand. However, I think I’ll continue the lesson for a little bit longer. I am a God amongst mortals, you see. I can do things you couldn’t possibly imagine. No man can catch me, no prison can hold me. I can see in your eyes that you know I’m not idly boasting. Good. So when they ask you if I’m cured, you will tell them yes, because if you don’t, you know that your six-year-old daughter Mia will be posted back to you in small pieces from a distant part of the globe.
‘But why?’
‘Because I can,’ the boy answered again, an unholy grin on his face.
Arturo felt physically sick with fear. More because he felt he had to say something than because of any particular bravado he felt, he made an attempt to crack Julian’s eerie calm. ‘One day, someone will come along who’s stronger than you are.’
‘I doubt it,’ the boy replied with all the disdain that those three syllables could contain. ‘No, I’m going to kill my mother. Then I’m going to track down the son-of-a-bitch that knocked her up and kill him. Then I’ll disappear. If, as you say, someone comes for me – I’ll kill him too.’

Want to read more? Battle for Today is available at all Australian and New Zealand bookstores and online from http://www.ouroborusbooks.com

Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  


Hi, welcome to the official blog for Ouroborus Books!

We are new to the blogging scene and feedback is greatly appreciated. We aim to be able to reach out to as many writers as possible – give them a place to comment on what we are doing, how we are doing it and most of all give them a space to promote their own work. Look forward to talking to you!

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Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 11:37 am  Leave a Comment