Memories of Down Under from Guest Blogger Jim Provenzano

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Reading Down Under: Scattered Thoughts’ Aussie Special!

from author Jim Provenzano

Longtime followers know that I got some great reviews for my last two books from independent reviewers. Their prolific blogs continue to amaze me by the sheer number of books they promote, and the reviews are often thorough and heartfelt. You can click on the “Reviews” links on this blog on the right column to read them all.

But one of the most outstanding sites is Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Not only did I enjoy expansive praise-filled reviews for both Every Time I Think of You and its sequel Message of Love; I was also honored with a guest author spotlight, where I rambled on about why I decided to write the sequel. Every Time I Think of You was also among those chosen as one of the Best Books of 2014!

So it was without hesitation that I decided to help promote Melanie M.’s latest endeavor, a January special all about Australian and New Zealand authors!

OnWingsofSongAnne Barwell, one of the featured authors
Here’s the deal. More than two dozen Aussie and Kiwi authors will get a special post about their latest works. Look for the clues in the text, (it’s a web-based scavenger hunt) and you could win books and other Aussie and Kiwi-themed prizes. Look for posts about (and guest-written by) these Australian authors, each day in January. There are even a few New Zealand authors as well:

Christian Baines, N.R. Walker, Anne Barwell, Nic Starr, Meredith Shayne, Renae Kaye, John Wiltshire, John Terry Moore, Lily Veldon, Barry Rowe, L. J. LaBarthe, Beany Sparks, Nicki J. Markus, Michelle Rae, A. B. Gayle, Lisa Harris and Isabelle Rowan.

British diversdive2
American readers owe it to themselves to read Australian and kikiw authors. their slight differences in language and syntax are fascinating, and their perspectives on life are just a little bit different, but yet familiar.
My love for the Land Down Under extends beyond this fun promotion. Back in 2002, I had the thrill of attending the sixth quadrennial Gay Games. Since I didn’t compete that time, I had the freedom to travel to nearly every sporting event, from the rugby fields near downtown, to the Olympic stadiums for track and field, and across the campus to the volleyball and aquatics centers, or centres, as they spell it.

With more than 100 interviews conducted (including a few funny stilted ones in my limited French and Italian) on old-fashioned cassette tapes, and about 40 rolls of film – yes, film, my last pre-digital project- I put together dozens of articles about every sport, and the ceremonies and spectacles as well. You can enjoy the archived articles on my Sports Complex website. But please forgive the dated HTML formatting. I haven’t been there in a while.

Joel
Figure skating rocked!
My host was a generous fellow with a fabulous downtown apartment, who also was on one of Sydneys toughest basketball teams (they made it to the finals, as I recall). He welcomed my “frequent overnight guest” and even hosted a dinner party where (yes!) we enjoyed shrimp on the barbie!
But I also participated in a reading at an art gallery, and Graeme at Bookshop Darlinghurst bought some copies of my first novel, PINS. That later led to a nice consignment deal with an Australian wholesaler. It all gave me a fun thrill to know that more than 100 folks got print copies of that novel, without the middleman of Amazon.com (or Amazon.au).

rug-tattoos
Aussie and Samoan ruggers

This was at the the peak of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and while I longed to spend more time on the other side of the planet, I did not get a chance to see the New Zealand hobbit houses or the beautiful expanse of either country. I did get a few Lord of the Rings souvenirs, however!

But the pleasures of Australia were often more subtle than a blockbuster movie. The wildlife was just different enough to beguile. Odd geese with long bills puttered about in downtown public parks, and by night, across from my scenic guest room balcony, the brightly lit spires of a skyscraper were surrounded by a massive flock of bats. My host told me the bats scooped up thousands of moths attracted to the lights.
hockMontreal ice hockey
But what really charmed me were the people. Their musical accents, their way of turning a phrase with an upward lilt, and their enthusiasm in welcoming guests from around the world was amazing. I met Samoan rugby players, French cyclists, Croatian volleyball players, and got to soak in the shared joy of being in that wonderful land.

Some highlights:poloflowers

Los Angeles water polo team
SydneyVolleyGals– singing “Happy Birthday” to performer k.d. lang along with thousands of others at Opening Ceremonies,

– frolicking in the kids’ rec pool with two water polo teams at the official Olympic aquatics centre,

– hoisting beers in a large gay bar with three softball teams while singing along to an ABBA medley,

– getting directions to the ice hockey arena from a friendly shopkeeper in the far off suburbs, who asked, as easy as “Bob’s your uncle,” “Oh, you here for the Gay Games?”
Sydney volleyball team
Anyway, certainly you can read more diverse perspectives from the array of LGBT authors in Scattered Thoughts’ January author showcase. So check out the website and get reading!

 

Jim Provenzano

You can find/follow Jim at his website:  http://www.myrmidude.org  and his Goodreads page.  Don’t forget to check out Jim’s marvelous books, Every  Time I Think of You and Message of Love.

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