Today I welcome my good friend and fellow Splashdown Books writer Paul Baines. Well, sort of. We have more of a bird’s eye view. It seems Paul has been trapped in a vortex of writer hell know well as Distraction Central. Will he be strong enough to resist the draws of pittle-farting long enough to write this post? Stay tuned to see.
He was conceived in the USA, born in England, raised in Africa and after a childhood spent travelling around the world, considers himself a nomad at heart. He loves the smell of a harbour, and has never lived more than a few miles from the ocean. He loves animals and if he could do it all again would choose a career as a big game warden in an African nature reserve.
Paul has done some interesting jobs through the years, including working as a waiter, a supermarket salesman and, for a number of years, a fitness instructor (at one point winning a national aerobics title). He originally studied to be a psychologist but abandoned that to concentrate on his fitness career.
At the age of twenty, he bought his first computer and discovered he had a knack for programming. For the past twenty years, he has worked as an IT professional, and currently is responsible for maintaining the biggest database of its type in the world. Married with two children, Paul lives in a small farming community in Holland.
His sci-fi novel Alpha Redemption debuted in fall of 2010 with Splashdown Books.
A Heroic Quest
He sits in the soft glow of the monitor, staring at the blank screen through blood-shot eyes. His fingers hover above the keys, frozen in that twilight zone that fills the vacuum of space between one thought and the next.
He sighs, forcing himself to ignore the Firefox icon that beckons him with its siren-song of colors. The mouse is tantalisingly close. One click and he will be in a better place. One depression of the mouse-button and he will be in a land occupied by talking cats, failed skateboard jumps, and cartoon ponies. One soft squeeze of the moulded plastic shell and he can tell his Facebook friends what he had for breakfast.
He resists. Not because he is strong, or wise, or clever, or industrious. He resists because he is a writer, and writers must write. That is, after all, what they do. Just as singers sing, and runners run, and cheesecake tasters get to spend all day in the gastronomical equivalent of Heaven.
But what must he write? His upcoming novel? His latest round of edits? His next submission package? Sadly, the answer is no. What our intrepid hero must do is think of something entertaining enough to grab the attention of a passing surfer. And not just grab but hold it long enough to get them to read to the very end and then, hopefully, maybe, just possibly, add his page to their list of bookmarks alongside Lolcatz, Failblog, and My Little Pony.
For our hero is on a quest so daring, so terrifying, so mind-bogglingly difficult, that he is trembling in his matching Superman robe and slippers. Many have gone before him and many have failed, fading away until only a shell remains and they are cast into the hell of “HTTP 404″ where they join the ghosts of the unloved and unread.
Indeed, it is a fearsome thing he must do, worthy of the bravest souls. He may lose sight of the goal. He may tremble and quake. He may even indulge in too many doughnuts. But, if he is to gain the fame and respect he so desperately craves, he must push past the doubt and the fear. And write a blog.
But what to write? Should he go for humor? Or angst? Should he share a snippet from his childhood? Or perhaps describe an amusing incident from his last shopping trip involving a runaway trolley, an enraged ferret, and a helium balloon? Or he could go for gossip and share some juicy tidbit about a famous celebrity. Those sites always seem to do well. But, no, that would be wrong.
What about something obscure? Ferrets! They’re obscure. Surely nobody is writing a blog about ferrets. He does a quick search of “ferret blog” and the total number of hits comes back at 45.200. So, he was wrong. Ferrets are obviously far more popular than he anticipated. He tries “shopping trolley blog”, which finds 14,700. All right, so people blog about that as well. He types in “helium balloon blog” and this comes back with a massive 1,250 page hits.
He sighs again and leans back in his chair, one eye on the blinking cursor, the other drifting towards the FreeCell icon on the desktop just to the right.
Just a quick game, he tells himself. After I’ve spent a few minutes over at Lolcatz first.
The kitchen door is directly behind the monitor. The soothing light spills out across the living room floor. He hears the fridge door hiss open and there is the unmistakeable sound of a plastic cake tub lid being peeled back. A moment later, his wife appears, lifting a plate for him to see. An angel in white presenting the hero with his hard-earned spoils.
“Cheesecake?” she asks.
“Don’t mind if I do,” he says, chuckling at a picture of a cat lying prostrate on a curtain rod. The caption says it is doing an impression of a monorail. “This blogging is hard work.”
If you would like to know more about the ever-funny and always witty Paul Baines, please check out his site HERE. If you have yet to read Paul’s novel Alpha Redemption, lift your hand and smack yourself. No. I mean it. Then, when you have finished crying, go HERE and get it…read it…cry again…love it…share it.