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MERGE Blog Tour: “Guest” Post + Giveaway!

June 14, 2012

Planning for Disasters

Pip pip, tally ho! My name is AM Harte, and I am British! Care for a cuppa tea?

Okay, I have to admit something: I’m not really Anna. Anna is cavorting around New York City at the moment, trying to find the secret alley that inspired Kit’s Vampire General series. I even drew her a map so she could find it easily. Though it’s a map of Houston. But whatever. Same continent, same diff, I always say.

So why am I pretending to be Anna right now? I will tell you why: Anna was meant to have a guest post today, and she put the guest post into a Dropbox folder, and she sent me a link to the Dropbox folder, and then she left for NYC. And I, being the wise one I am, mistakenly deleted the email, thereby losing said guest post for all time.

If this sounds unfortunate, just wait until she gets back from NYC and has access to her cockney ninjas again.

As punishment for my crimes, I have been instructed to write a guest post in her place, and to make it “intelligent, informative, and fun.” I am not familiar with those first two words, but I excel at the third! So let’s have at it! Today’s topic is PLANNING FOR DISASTERS.

Now, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to organize a good disaster, if you take the time to do it right. There are many good self-help books to get you started, but my general rule of thumb is to make sure you set out to do something fantastically more complicated than you have the capacity to accomplish without the aid of heavy narcotics or space aliens. Or space aliens on heavy narcotics. They always drop the probes. So funny.

Let’s hypothetically say our project is to create a sprawling series of short stories written by four different authors, culminating in a complex finale, and wrapped up in an ambitious blog tour with an iPad as its prize. Now that is an extremely silly idea, and I congratulate you for thinking it up. Very original. But the problem is, it’s just too doable. Nobody will look at that and say: “Crikey! They must be mad!” Unless they’re Australian. In which case they’re saying it while you’re asleep, so it doesn’t matter so much.

Anyway, the important part here is to add drama to the mix. The easiest way to add drama is to set a deadline so insane, there is no way it can possibly be met. For instance: rather than, say, scheduling your complex series to happen six months down the road, why not be silly and pick dates two months in the future? Two months is so little time, only a fool would think anything meaningful could be accomplished.

Your probability of disaster just shot up a good 25%. Good for you! You’re almost there!

Now, a core element to any good disaster is procrastination. You’ve got two months, sure, but what if you actually used those 60 days to prepare? Why, that almost eliminates all your disasterly planning, and the exercise will have been for naught. A quick and easy way to counter this is to neglect to do any work on the project for at least thirty days, instead focusing on watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy on slow-motion-reverse, so you are chronologically prepared for the release of The Hobbit. It’s only a waste of time if you unplug your ears and listen to reason.

Fine, good, so now you’ve got upwards of 70,000 words to write and corral in the space of 30 days, though you have to factor in editing and proofreading, which takes you down to 15 days, and then of course there’s plotting and character development, so maybe more like 10 days, and then weekends and bank holidays, so… yes, you’ve got about four and a half days to write.

Now is a good time to break your right hand in a coffee-grinding accident.

All four of the authors need to do this, I should say. If one of them doesn’t have a coffee grinder, you will have to special-order it, so make sure you schedule that in far in advance. You can’t take chances when you’re trying to be late.

Here’s the awful part: you somehow manage to pull off a miracle without the aid of heavy narcotics, space aliens or Australians, and get the stories done on time, and start releasing everything as scheduled. You have your writers do guest posts and interviews for excellent sites like Black Sun Reviews, and suddenly, you realize your ultimate goal of having an absolutely catastrophic disaster may be slipping through your fingers.

Nobody wants to get to this point, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. But there’s a way to get things back on track: leave your most cherished guest post in a Dropbox folder that nobody can access while you’re cavorting around New York, knowing full well that with a bit of technical wizardry, it might be recoverable… but instead of attempting said wizardry, write to a sleep-deprived maniac and tell him to fill in for you, using the words “intelligent, informative, and fun.”

That is the quickest way to create a disaster, guv.

MCM is the creator of the animated series RollBots. He also writes books, such as The Vector, The Pig and the Box, and Typhoon. When not doing such things, he is coding sites like this one. He is also insane.

This was possibly the most delightful hijacking I’ll ever witness. Thanks to MCM for valiantly stepping in for Anna in her time of…out-of-town-computer-related-SNAFU-ness.

Head on over to 1889 Labs to purchase the latest MERGE story, then come back and tell me how you would avoid disasters the likes MCM has described, or evade cockney ninjas, or aliens…or Australians. Personally, I’d rather not avoid the Australians. Particularly if they look like Chris Hemsworth. I’m just not keen on traveling to the land of EVERYTHING WANTS TO KILL YOU for the sake of “not avoiding” them…or you could just toss your name into the hat. I’ll draw one name, and the winner will be awarded any 1889 Labs book of their choosing. Giveaway ends Friday, June 20th, 2012 at Midnight EST.

Don’t forget there are other prizes to be won (Recap below!) by commenting here and on all the other wonderful sponsor’s posts, subscribing to the MERGE mailinglist, pointing fellow book junkies towards 1889 Labs’ facebook page, and tweeting with the hashtag #merge1889.

First place: brand new iPad + ecopy of entire MERGE anthology
Second place: ecopy of entire MERGE anthology + $10 amazon/iTunes voucher
Third place: ecopy of 4 MERGE stories of choice  + $10 amazon/iTunes voucher

Winners will be announced on June 20th, which is 1889 Labs’ 6th birthday. On the same day we will release the full MERGE anthology.

Readers can enter to win by:
– Subscribing to merge mailing list =5 entries
– Like 1889 labs Facebook page = 2 entries
– Tweet using #merge1889 = 1 entry, once per day
– Comment on a blog tour stop = 1 entry.  – The MERGE Press Release

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the MERGE 25K Challenge! 1889 Labs is graciously offering readers the opportunity to download a copy of Yvonne Reid’s LONG WAY DOWN for free! And get this, if they reach 25000 downloads before June 18th, one lucky download-er will have the opportunity to name a character in Reid’s upcoming release, ASCENSION: AWAKENINGS.


11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2012 8:07 am

    Thank you for giving me a chance to warn the world about cockney ninjas. Fun fact: Chris Hemsworth is not a cockney ninja. I know you’re surprised.

    That just gave me a great idea for another series! I’ll write questionable mini-biographies about celebrities (and Australians) every day for a month! I’m sure there will be no lawsuits involved…

  2. Na S. permalink
    June 14, 2012 1:24 pm

    You can definitely plan for disasters. Often I’ve had to learn the hard way as well. Though this was a great post despite gaining life after the guest post fell prey to the delete button! I hope Anna has fun in New York. I would like to visit there one day 🙂

  3. June 14, 2012 6:18 pm

    Crikey! You’re as busy as a one legged man in an arse kicking competition! Stone the bloody crows, mate, you saved the day. Have another beer, cobber; you’d be dry as a dead dingoes donga.

    Yep, enough binnigurri for now. I’m off to have some tucker with the entire Hemsworth family.


  4. June 14, 2012 9:51 pm

    L: I don’t know what you just said, but I suspect that if I hold my computer upside-down, it may make more sense. One moment.

  5. June 14, 2012 9:52 pm

    OMG! You did WHAT to that kangaroo? :O

  6. June 15, 2012 5:11 am

    You know, every time I read something by MCM I have this mental image of him during his livewriting in Belgium, flexing his fingers and laughing at the surprises he was going to give the readers in the final chapters…

    Now I understand better! 🙂

    • June 15, 2012 10:52 am

      When I was in Belgium I was trying to behave myself. The real me is much more deranged 😀

  7. June 16, 2012 10:54 pm

    i just love MCM! i couldn’t keep myself from laughing at his posts, he’s just so, so, so weird in a funny way. spell MCM. F-U-N. it’s great that ‘Anna put the guest post into a Dropbox folder, and she sent a link to the Dropbox folder, and then she left for NYC.’ haha what a great disaster, it is! although, it isn’t really a disaster for the readers’ part. lol

    P.S. i can’t imagine MCM behaving. lol

  8. Artemis permalink
    June 17, 2012 1:47 pm

    I hope Anna to have found the secret alley thus far. You did a good job with the post. I think this is the first post which I read how to organize a good disaster. It is amazing!

  9. June 18, 2012 7:13 am

    Well said!

  10. bluexp permalink
    June 18, 2012 7:49 pm

    You are a genius.

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