SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Month: January, 2013

Top 10 Job Application Tips.

Most writers have day-jobs.  Mine is in the family footwear business where, for four generations, Gilmours have worked when necessary and when time and resources permitted, indulged their own little sidelines.  Right now, I’m in recruiting mode.  I do it occasionally when we need staff, and every time I do, I say I’m gonna write a list of job application tips.  Well now I’m finally doing it.

  1. Use proper grammar.  Text speak, lazy capitalization (lowercase “i” instead of “I” etc), and your/you’re confusion etc gets you onto the NO pile real quick.
  2. Provide plenty of information about yourself.  Don’t be bashful.  Put in your age and your background.  The more information a recruiter has about you, the better.
  3. If you have a unisex name, specify your gender.  I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many resumes I get where I’m left scratching my head over the gender of applicant.  I know it shouldn’t matter, but trust me, it does.
  4. PROOFREAD YOUR FUCKING RESUME!  Bad spelling is a great way to stay unemployed.  Also, check the “Dear Sir/Madam” bit.  If you’ve addressed your application to a specific employer and plan on using the same application for another, make sure you use the correct contact details.  I’ve had applications addressed to other employers, and that just makes the applicant look dumb and unemployable.
  5. Include a photo of yourself smiling.  Don’t, for the love of jam doughnuts, use a passport-type photo of you looking just a few degrees warmer and almost as excited as your average corpse.
  6. While we’re on photos…  Ladies, don’t show me your cleavage.  Really.   Save it for a photo your significant other can keep in a wallet.
  7. Facebook.  Folks, it’s here to stay and like it or not, your potential employer is probably checking your page out right now, as well as using Google Earth to see just where you live and how long it would take you to get from your home to work every day.  If you have a Facebook page, make sure it’s clean.  No pics of you half naked, boozing it up.  No duckface.  You get the idea.
  8. Use standard fonts, margins and page sizes for your resume.  Same goes for file formats. Pdf, doc and rtf are fine.  Everything else is shit and should not be used.
  9. Show some spark.  Seriously.  Your potential employer is not only looking for experience or skill sets, they’re looking for people they want to work with.  If you show you’ve got a personality (Yes, I know you have got one – we all do, but it pays to show it in a resume), or better yet, a sense of humour, you’re more likely to end up on the YES pile.
  10. Follow up.  Give your potential employer a quick call a few days later to see if they need any more information about yourself.  If you’re too nervous to do that, send an email.  Showing some tenacity is a sure-fire way to get yourself noticed.  You still may not get the job, but you’ll be giving yourself an extra chance at impressing the employer.  Remember, the employer asked for your application.  They want to hear from you.  It’s not very often that they can refuse to take your call.

There.  ‘Nuff said.

Sam

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Guest Spot – Jason Maurer

Right.  I’ve been abroad for the day-job for the last couple of weeks.  Some of that trip has been fun, others, not so much.  The interesting food, people and sights are great, but the lack of reliable internet has been a real bummer.  Especially when I’ve been hanging out to host this guest spot.

Jason Maurer is a writer, reader and he knows how to review a book properly too – something that can’t always be said about writers.  If you’ve never heard of him, look him up.  All his work is here on Amazon.  As for the rest that Jason’s got to say, well here he is to tell it himself:

I was asked to write a non-sequiter for a question to which I would normally reply “No Comment”. However, my life is an open book and I have no qualms about answering any question that it thrown my way. Therefore, I’ve decided instead to talk a little bit about what it means for me to be happy.

 What is happiness? For me, it means being alive, enjoying myself as much as possible, and immersing myself in the lives of my characters.

 Writing makes me happy. It makes me feel better because it’s a form of therapy. I write about myself, and the things I’m feeling at that moment in time.

 The course of my writing varies in genre, from happy-go-lucky romance and fairy-tales to dark, depressing and foreboding, with everything in between. The content is dependent upon my mood, but whatever the case may be it allows me the expression of my inner demons.

 The writing process itself is what takes its toll. I find I can write with no problem- it’s the strain and hassle of getting from point A to point B, when point B is 40,000+ words away. The stories are usually finished inside my brain; it’s the act of getting them from brain cell to computer screen. I’ve often said that someone should invent a machine that can read our thoughts and immediately transcribe them for us. This would take the writing process down from a few months/years to a few days or weeks.

 When I’m in that fantasy world filled with characters, it makes the writing process easier to imagine them standing around, telling their stories. I’m merely the secretary taking dictation, or so it seems sometimes. Not everyone writes like this, and I’ve been called crazy for the way it happens but that’s just the way it works best.

 My characters are real. At least, as real as they can be considering the circumstances. No, they do not hold conversations with me, and no they don’t really exist, it just makes the writing process easier for me to imagine them as real personas. 

Perhaps I’m merely going crazy and need a padded cell somewhere. Maybe I’ll write something about that, someday. Time will tell. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 Author Bio:

 Jason E. Maurer is the author of several short stories and novels that range in genre from romance to mystery, and everything in between. The work he produces is the result of a mind that can only be defined as ‘eclectic’. 

His latest novel “Trust and Love” is a gay story that centers around the hope for a better future by advocating the “It Gets Better” Campaign, a cause that helps prevent teen suicide. 

Jason lives in central Pennsylvania, and has chosen to dedicate his spare time [which at this point is anytime he is not sleeping] to the pursuit of the American dream on the road to happiness. 

You can find him at http://jasonemaurer.blogspot.com

The links to his extensive list of social media can be found on the “About Me/Links” page of his website.

 Where To Buy “Trust and Love”:

http://www.amazon.com/Trust-and-Love-ebook/dp/B00AS5AEBM/ref=la_B0080HHLPC_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357198483&sr=1-1

There.  Sorry it took me so long to post this Jason, but most of Europe’s under about two meres of snow right now (I’m in the Frankfurt airport Qantas lounge as I type this, and there’s a strong chance my flight’s gonna be cancelled) and the the internet in my hotels has been dodgy to say the least.

Sam

 

 

 

10 Things For 2013

Don’t ya just love lists? Here’s mine for 2013 of things I’m doing with different things or subjects.

  1. Social media:  Cut more of my Faceb0ok time.  Razor-style.  I’ve already quite about 20 groups, and I’m quitting more.  Be more brutal with Twitter.  If all I see are re-tweets, cheesy little pearls of advice, or “buy my book!” tweets, out they go.  Klout, Linkedin etc ignored completely.
  2. Writing:  Release Armies of Nine, Swapper (yes, my cop vs killer slasher has a name), and with any luck, book 4 in the Wolfenvald series and another paranormal erotic.
  3. Health (personal):  I’ve lost about 7 kg’s in the last 3 months, and I’m exercising a lot more.  I’ve set an exercise goal to reach and I reckon I need to lose another 10 kg’s.  It’s possible. It will be done.
  4. Health (family):  The Wonderkids love the water, and there are two pools nearby.  This year, we’re swimming.  It’s also going to be worth a try getting them to join me on the exercise mats for stretching etc in the mornings before I ride to work.
  5. Family:  Less travel, more time with Superwife & Wonderkids.
  6. Day Job:  See #5
  7. Reading:  Hardly the Goodreads 100 book challenge,  but I am trying to knock over at least one book a week.
  8. Blogging:  Starting Feb 1, I plan to have a regular author interview spot.  Details to come.
  9. Study:  Superwife is Polish by birth.  She speaks the language fluently.  I’ve studied it a little.  It’s time to go back to it and learn it with the Wonderkids.
  10. Money: I need to cut out some discretionary spending, like paying to have the lawn mowed or getting the dry-cleaner to do my shirts so I don’t have to iron them.  I really should do this shit myself.

There.  Aint it good to have goals?

Sam

 

Coldplay, Ridley Scott, And F$#@ing Unnecessary Sequels, Tie-Ins And Prequels

SPOILER ALERT! If you’ve not seen Prometheus yet (don’t bother, by the way), and don’t want to know what happens, click over to Youtube or something.

Ridley Scott, you disappoint me.  Coldplay, I want to slap each one of you with a herring. Writers who insist upon writing sequels, you all need to take a good hard look at yourselves.

Mr Scott, I just watched Prometheus.  I want my two hours back.  The effects were great.  It was a delight to see Ms Theron playing a bitch in that lovely suit, but the plot was awful.  I get that the robot had an agenda, but c’mon!  Isn’t that just a little bit cliched by now?  Sure, the ship’s captain and at least two other crew-mates decided to kamikaze into the engineers’ ship because that was the only way to stop them destroying Earth, but really?  Just like that?  The good doctor (who by the way, would no-way be able to jump about like that after having her abdominal muscles sliced open for an emergency C-section) gets weepy for 15 seconds and so the captain decides, “yeah, fuck it.  I’ll kill myself, my crew, destroy my ship and probably maroon any survivors on this hostile planet.”  Just because a woman he’s already assessed as being bonkers, tells him about a threat he hasn’t seen yet?  That’s just crap.  A dude that dumb does NOT have the brains to become a ship’s captain.

Alien was brilliant.  The next three films weren’t, but they were enjoyable. Prometheus just didn’t need to be made.  Seriously.  It sucked as a sequel the same way Starship Troopers Two sucked, only worse.  You should have just left the franchise alone.  If the rumours are true and you’re re-visiting Blade Runner, you’re in big trouble, buster.

Coldplay, your turn.  Lovers In Japan / Reign Of Love is a complete balls up, and pisses me off.  The first half – Lovers In Japan is a beaut song.  Groovy, catchy and a good solid Coldplay classic.  Then you go and fuck things up by tagging Reign Of Love onto the end so the completely different tune – one I don’t like at all – is stuck on the end and I’m either forced to listen to it, or I have to hit the button on my player to skip the rest of the track.  Or, I could just not include it in my playlist.  For fuck’s sake guys, you didn’t need to do that.  If you really liked Reign Of Love so much that you think everyone should be forced to listen to it over and over, sell it to a fucking soap company and then it’ll be on ads all the the time and we’ll have no escape from it.  You didn’t need to join it to another song more people like.

Writers, listen up.  Unless you have a story already mapped out that needs three books to tell, don’t write that sequel.  Sure you may have written a hit book that’s great as a stand-alone, and you have fans asking for more.  Sure  you think it’ll be easy because you’ve already thought of the characters and have them fresh in your head.  But I mean it guys.  Don’t.  Just don’t.  Ever heard “I like their old stuff better than their new stuff”?  Ever heard “The first book was great but I didn’t read the rest in the series”?  You’ve probably even said these phrases yourselves.  So, unless you’ve really, really got seventy-five chapters or so plotted out that can be divided into three solid books with beginnings and endings, step away from your keyboard.

Right now, I’m hooked on one series – the Pandora English series by Tara Moss.  I’ve read the first three, and I know Moss is writing at least one more.  I’m confident she knows what she’s doing and had these storylines mapped out before finishing the first book.  That’s something many writers don’t do, and they should.  Not doing so can be a real career-killer.

Recently, I’ve also read two YA stand-alone novels by another Aussie writer, Nansi Kunze.  They could have been serialized if Kunze wanted to, but she didn’t.  She has the talent to make the sequels as good as the debut books, but I’m actually relieved to see she didn’t do it.  Part of the joy of reading every new work she releases is that it’s new and fresh and completely different from her previous work.  I’m actually more eagerly anticipating Kunze’s next release than I am Moss’, even though they’re both bloody rippers (that’s a good thing to you non-Aussies out there.)

That’s another thing writers need to think about.  One of the things your fans like, even though they might not put into words, is reading about and then mentally exploring the worlds you create.  Every new world you give them is more than a mere 100,000 or so words; it’s a life-time of imagination for them and more adventures than you could ever dream of because they – the readers – are thinking them, spurred on by the little seed you plant in their brains when they read your book.

Not giving them new worlds to explore and new characters to dream about, is actually depriving your readers of your talent.   All that sweat over getting every word right and every plot-hole covered and the message in your story so clear it can’t be misunderstood – not wasted, but not always as big a deal to the reader as to you.  As soon as they’ve read your story, they’ll interpret it differently to you anyway and will walk away from the book thinking “I wonder what would have happened in that place with this character” and so on.  In their minds, the story doesn’t end with the last line you wrote.

You want to give more to your readers?  Don’t give them a series.  Give them a new world in your next book.  Your brain is a muscle, girls and boys.  If you don’t use it, it gets weak and flabby and can’t perform.  If you don’t come up with new worlds and new stories instead of just extensions of the same old one, that same old one is gonna jump the shark.  When that happens, nobody will want to read your next work, just like I don’t want to watch another Ridley Scott movie ever, or buy another Coldplay album.

SamPS:  No, I’m not going to give examples of literary works that have disappointed me.  A while ago I decided not to write bad reviews of books – only good ones.  If I read a book that I don’t rate four or five stars, I just don’t review it.