Contact TV Interview with thriller author Chris Allen

This November, CONTACT TV broadcast its first ‘Scope’ – a live video broadcast on Periscope – with a live interview at home with Chris Allen, action writer and creator of the bestselling black-ops Interpol / Intrepid series.

During the live broadcast, there was one viewer question we didn’t get to.

During our discussion around self publishing and engaging with an on-line community, @bobcrawshaw (who runs Maine Street Marketing) asked, “How did you find that on-line community?”

Chris responds:  "I think the online community actually found us. What I mean is that by sharing enough background about my service history and the premise around which the book was developed, it seemed that the extended service and ex-service network made the connection quite naturally and then got on board. I think the most important aspect that I’ve learned from Sarah in regard to interaction online, is that we made all (well, most) of our online messaging as conversational as possible – avoiding the hard sell that so many authors tend to resort to. I really believe that approach appealed to the service community. Bringing people along with how I got to be a writer (albeit a very new one!) seemed to resonate a lot more with people than trying to flog the book itself. This is as true today as it was four or five years ago. For instance, I get a lot more engagement online when I share flashback photos from my career or an anecdote about an experience I’ve had, rather than any posts that may be specifically book related. It’s weird!"

You can watch the Interview on Contact TV below.

The ghosts in Spectre

There’s a lot of conjecture at the moment around whether or not Spectre is a great or a not so great Bond film.

I went in with mixed feelings based on many of the reviews and comments I was seeing online. And for those who don’t know me, I’m a die-hard Bond fan, Fleming first – movies second. So I have high expectations of each of the films and I must say on this occasion, I was not disappointed.

Here’s what I liked about it.

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Lest We Forget

Pulling on a uniform has been a very big part of my life. I’ve served in the Australian Army, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Protective Service and in 2008 was appointed Sheriff of New South Wales. I’ve been attached to the New Zealand Army and the British Army and I’ve served alongside soldiers of various other nations. On days like today, Remembrance Day, while I take time to reflect on how my service has shaped me, my most important consideration is to reflect on how military service has impacted others. Specifically, I refer to our veterans and their families.

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DEFENDER MUSIC VIDEO

Flashback Friday

In 2011, legendary Aussie rock band Bullethead released the extended version of their popular song 'Promise Made' as a tribute to the black-ops Interpol Intrepid agents, otherwise known as Defenders, or defenders of the faith.

This high-octane video film clip interprets some of the book's meatier scenes in Defender and now has more than 100,000 enthusiastic views on Chris's YouTube Channel!

Watch it here.

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Sound of an adventure

Have you ever read a book and noticed the music that appears throughout the story?

The music tracks that appear in Defender and Hunter are no accident: each song and artist was selected to help set a particular scene, and say something about the characters appearing in that chapter.

Here's a couple of Spotify playlists to listen to the music that appears in in each book, one for each story Defender and Hunter. From Australian rockers The Living End to French crooner Madeleine Peyroux; legendary blues player Eric Clapton to pop sensation Lily Allen; and from composer Khatchaturian to jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, there's something for almost everyone.

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Philanthopos Tropos

… but what does it mean, really?

I’m sure we all aspire to some level or form of philanthropy. After all, don’t we all love being human?

I do and buoyed by that I inherently hope that everyone else feels the same way. Sadly, that’s not always the case but it doesn’t deter me from still wanting to believe that fundamentally most of us want what’s best for our fellow humans and, if there’s any way we can help someone else out then we’d jump at the chance.

I like to think of philanthropy in the simplistic sense of trying to, in some way, enhance what it is to be human whether on a global or very local scale. Unless you are Sir Richard Branson or Bill Gates, for many of us our philanthropic endeavours are mostly local in size and impact. We universally cheer when we see the likes of Branson and Gates raising the bar in standards of development and enhancement programs with their global reach and vast sums of cash, and rightly so. They are ‘giving back’ which we all love to see from our mega-Captains of industry.

And few would argue against the immense importance of the attention Diana Spencer brought to the plight of the disadvantaged; work admirably carried on by her sons. The positive actions of internationally recognised personalities such as these must be seen and reported in order to jolt others who have been similarly blessed into action, while also inspiring those whose personal attempts will only ever be at the coal face, pursuing some local cause that is close to them but equally valid and worthy of our praise. We don’t often hear of our unsung philanthropic heroes: the retired grandfather who helps out every day at the local centre for the disabled, or the single mum who makes the time when her kids are at school to read to the elderly and infirm.

Yet, to those who look forward to seeing them every day, they are playing their part in enhancing our status as human beings in equal measure alongside our much lauded billionaires and royalty.

All that said, there is one niggling issue wrapped up in all this goodwill which really bugs me.

Corporate social responsibility.

Now, we all know and acknowledge that there is a great deal of good behind the genuine adoption and implementation of a solid corporate social responsibility (CSR) culture within any organisation.   What really gets under my skin though is where individuals looking for an angle to enhance their public profile use the banner of CSR for no other purpose than gratuitous self-promotion.  That infuriatingly ambiguous fine line between philanthropy and throwyourmoneyatme.

Usually the self-promoter will attach themselves to some suitably innocuous cause that makes them look like they really care, while not being so controversial a topic as to deflect attention away from them and actually onto the issue. We couldn’t have that now.

Those who get my unequivocal respect are the quiet achievers; those who get behind things rather than in front of them.  Those who, if they have a profile, use their influence and connections cleverly, strategically, behind the scenes and who achieve awareness for their chosen cause without benefitting from that awareness personally.  At a time when there is so much division and fear in the world, we should all be looking for ways in which we can play our part in bringing back some balance.  Fundamentally, there are many ways in which we can genuinely help others without trying to gain a benefit for ourselves.

Who knows, by being a little more humble about what we’re doing to make the place better, we may just do a lot more for evolving ourselves as human beings.

This article first appeared in the 2014 December issue of LBD GLOSS Magazine.

EVOLUTION - IT'S HAPPENING

There are lots of examples in the world right now of why it is so important to encourage young minds towards good rather than evil. Terrorism, political corruption, cyber bullying – you name it and there’ll be a story about it somewhere in the news today. The biggest issue that strikes me is the opportunity for evil to inveigle its way into the minds of pliable young men who are not being otherwise positively engaged in their daily lives. We need more examples globally of how we should behave towards each other rather than the far too many current examples of how we should not. In a nutshell, we need role models.

And role modelling begins in the home.

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