Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The rules for a lads road trip: The 10 Commandments

This is an official book excerpt from comedy novel The Drought. This taken from Chapter 15: Jack's 10 Commandments. At this point in the story the main character, Dan Hilles, has spent 132 days on his sex drought! Desperate to put an end to his barren spell, his friends have planned a lads road trip to Brighton.
As Dan is sitting in his office on the Friday afternoon before the trip, he receives an email from his friend Jack, who has taken it upon himself to declare the rules of the road rip!

Any guy that has been on a road trip knows that there have to be a set of rules that each member must live by, whether it is about picking up chicks or simply drinking copius amounts of alcohol. What follows here is a set of instructions any group of lads embarking on a road trip can follow. Enjoy!

The rules of the road trip by Jack Chatham taken from The Drought

With the clock ticking away, it’s time to start planning the most slut-infested, drink-fuelled, condom-wearing, STD risk-taking, non-dry-humping, two days of our lives.

Now as you all know, Dan has endured five months of torture. So once the Big Guns invade Brighton, it’s time to make a pact...


1) Let’s get this party rocking. As soon as we arrive, we roll the red carpet out. We let them know in no uncertain terms that the Big Guns have arrived. We dump the bags and hit the bars.

2) It’s not Groundhog Day. No one is allowed to crack on with the same bint for more than one night. You can keep any little tart you meet on reserve in case you blow out, but I ain’t having any of this meeting up two nights running like boyfriend and girlfriend.

3) Chat-up lines. They will be used. I have a list of them to hit the chicks up with! Belters like: My name is Mr Right, somebody told me you were looking for me!

4) The anthem. Every Big Gun should have one. As soon as the DJ plays this little number, each and every Big Gun must drop what they are doing and hit the dance floor. It’s time to cut shapes.

5) High Fives. Before we go out, each and every Big Gun must line-up while I go down the line issuing high fives all round. Standard high fives will be used (nothing fancy like Top Gun).

6) Power ballads. Before you ask – no, I’m not gay! But there is nothing like hitting the open road, closing your eyes tight, clenching your fist, and belting out lyrics of pure raw emotion. I defy anyone to sing Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart without a tear in your eye.

7) The way of The Hoff. Knight Rider and Baywatch – two absolute rip-snorting gems of TV genius brought to us by one man – David Hasselhoff. What is there not to love about this man? Talking crime-fighting cars, bikini-clad women, awesome super slow-mo running shots, and not to mention a chest rug to be proud of. If we use the way of the Hoff, we won’t go far wrong.

8) Randy van Warmers. Dan, I've got a box full of condoms with your name written all over them so no need to worry about getting chased by sausage dogs this time!

9) The Game. When entering a different postcode, the game begins. You know how it works. You get a point for snogging some old tart, five points for flicking the bean, 10 points if she has a chat with the boy, and 15 points for rumpedy-roo!

10) What happens on tour – stays on tour. Any man who brings a camera to a road trip may be legally castrated and his man-bits thrown to the seagulls to feast on.

Let’s make this one not to forget and help our friend Dan find out whether his winkle still works after all these months! Please print this off and keep it with you at all times. It is imperative that we all know the rules.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Self-Publishing Magazine 'recommends' The Drought!

Nearly 12 months ago I sent a copy of The Drought to Sarah Taylor, the editor of Self-Publishing Magazine to request a review. I had completely forgot all about it until I got home today and found a copy of the magazine on my doormat.

And much to my pleasant surprise, not only had The Drought been reviewed in the Autumn 2012 issue, but it was also the editors 'Recommended' book. Here is the review...

The Drought by Steven Scaffardi
Recommended by Sarah Taylor
The Drought is a hilarious, highly entertaining and completely unfiltered look into the inner workings of the typical male mind! It explores the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the male brain as they relate to relationships issues, run-of-the-mill blokeish topics, and of course, sex. Readers follow the intimate exploits of average bloke Daniel Hilles as he attempts to break free of the shackles of a previous long-term relationship through various unsuccessful and disastrous attempts at intimacy that have lead to a 'drought'.

Desperate to put an end to this sire situation, Daniel turns to the advice and directions of his closest mates, and ends up making things even worse. Humorous and booze-filled times ensue, painting a striking portrait of male raunchiness and debauchery. Typical and stereotypical male beliefs and values are shared throughout the novel, but not all men will agree with the overtly sexualized outlook in this story. Maybe what Daniel needed, more than typical guy advice, was a bit more common sense and a bit less booze to more rapidly end his drought. With that being said, the novel is a must-read for those that have wondered just what a typical guy thinks about. 

The Drought is a hit for Scaffardi's first novel, is reasonably priced, and the cover quality is superb! 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Top Ten Lad Lit Authors (the male version of chick lit!)

Top Ten Lad Lit Authors (the male version of chick lit!)
My top 10 lad lit authors!
In a previous post, I attempted to answer the question What is lad lit. Well in this section I am going to attempt to introduce you to of the world of lad lit authors, with a list of some of the most well-known authors in the genre, plus a couple of up-and-coming writers to watch out for...

1. Nick Hornby
The undispited king of lad lit! Hornby has penned some of the great lad lit novels of our time and marked his arrival on the scene with Fever Pitch; a memoir about his obsession with football and Arsenal FC in particular. But it was High Fidelity where Hornby set the benchmark for all aspiring lad lit authors. His tale about thirty-something record shop owner Rob Fleming laid out many of the adult male insecurities with great hilarity. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Hornby is that, despite the huge success of his novels, he has only published six fiction titles since High Fidelity in 1995, with the 2009 novel Juliet, Naked being his latest work.

2. Mike Gayle
Mike Gyale was a features editor and later an agony aunt for girls mags Just Seventeen and Bliss, which probably goes quite some way to explaining why he is so good at understanding the chick lit for men genre. His first book, My Legendary Grlfriend, received fantastic praise and was even heralded as a Bridget Jones Diary for the male audience. Since then Mike's novels have continued to generate great feedback from readers, but some would argue that his style of writing has crossed over from being lad lit to more traditional chick lit author, albeit one that tends to write from the male perspective.

3. Danny Wallace
One of my favourite authors at the moment. Where Danny gets his crazy ideas from are anyones guess, but he writes them so brilliantly that you just can't help but get wrapped up in the story. He is probably best known for Yes Man (which got turned into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Jim Carey) and his award-winning column in Shortlist magazine. But the first Danny Wallace book I read was Friends Like These, where Danny travels around the globe to track down his ex-Primary School classmates. Utterly pointless but totally brilliant at the same time. Danny's recent novel Charlotte Street was his first foray into the world of fiction.

4. Tony Parsons
Tony Parsons is in the same ilk as Nick Hornby, in that he found huge success writing about the trials and tribulations of the thirty-something man. Parsons had written a number of books before he found huge success in 1999 with the multimillion selling novel Man and Boy; the brilliantly engaging novel that follows Harry as he learns to become a father to his son and a son to his aging father, and tries to find love at the same time. Parsons found his niche writing about relationships and often refers to his novels as Men Lit.

5. Nick Spalding
I only recently discovered Nick Spalding, who has enjoyed the successful journey from best-selling indie author to getting a three-book deal with a top publishing house. Another author in the Mike Gayle mould, where there is a very thin line between him being a lad lit or chick lit author. Still, what Spalding does is capture and identify the emotions and feelings from both the male and female characters, as he did so brilliantly with in Love... From Both Sides. It will be interesting to see what he delivers now he has the backing of a big publishing house. I'm watching this space!

6. Matt Dunn
Matt is another one of those authors that I have only recently just come across since I started to delve a bit deeper into the lad lit genre. I haven't read any of of his books yet, but he has had great success with his contemporary romantic comedy novels including Best Man and The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook, which was shortlisted for both the Romantic Novel Of The Year award, as well as the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. He's also written about life, love, and relationships for various publications including The Times, Guardian, Cosmopolitan, Company, Elle, Glamour, and The Sun.

7. Ben Mezrich
Ben Mezrich is perhaps not the most obvious name to jump out at you when you think of typical lad lit, but I add him to this list because he has an uncanny ability to spot real-life stories with male leads, and make you want to be that character! You might be more familiar with Mezrich's work on the big screen as he penned the books which the Hollywood smash hits The Social Network and 21 were based on, which starred Justin Timberlake and Kevin Spacey respectively. What Mezrich does so brilliantly is take a true story and use his artistic freedom to create a a really exciting read, albeit from very interesting stories.

8. Steve Carter
Steve Carter is the author of the number one Kindle smash hit Love, Sex, and Tesco's Finest Cava, which reached number one spot in the UK humour and number one in contemporary romance in March 2011. Another indie author who has proved that you can achieve great sales by going it alone, but other than that I don't know too much else about this author, other than his second novel is called Finding Yourself in Seville.

9. Mil Millington
Mil Millington first came to public prominence when he created a web-site entitled Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. The site's main content was anecdotes describing arguments and misunderstandings between Mil and his German girlfriend Margret, mother of his two sons. Such was the popularity of this site that Mil was offered a publishing deal, and wrote a novel with the same title as his web-site, but with new content, published in 2002.

10. Steven Scaffardi 
You didn't really expect me to write a top 10 list of lad lit authors without including myself did you?! Okay, so it's a little bit cheeky but with each and every positive reader comment and book review that trickles in, I'm confident and hopeful that my name will one day start to appear on other peoples top ten lad lists in the not too distant future. My debut novel The Drought is often compared to some of the authors I have listed here, which I always take as a huge compliment. And if you don't believe me, then just check out the reviews and comments it has been getting yourself!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Lad Lit Book Reviews: The Damage Done by Warren Fellows

Books For Men Book Reviews! The Damage Done by Warren Fellows
The opening few sentences of this book grab hold of you in a vice like grip and attempts to prepare the reader for what is to come. 'Think about the most wretched day of your life' the author asks the reader to contemplate, 'and then imagine 4,000 of those days together in one chunk.'

Australian drug-smuggler Warren Fellows doesn't pull any punches, nor does he ask for your sympathy. But he wants his story to be told, because reading what this man went through - no matter what his crime - leaps at you off the pages like a Thai prison warden bashing you across the head with a bamboo stick.

It's powerful stuff; frightening and unthinkable to imagine that right now - somewhere in the world at this very minute - another human being is suffering the way Fellows suffered for 12 years.

After operating as a cocaine smuggler, an introduction to infamous gangster Neddy Smith leads to Fellows pairing up with Smiths brother-in-law Paul Hayward and sending them to Thailand to smuggle heroin into Australia. 

What Fellows and Hayward didn't realise is that they were already under surveillance before they even left the country, and their world was about to fall apart. Following their arrest and conviction in 1978, the pair are shipped around Thailand's most notorious prisons. Here they suffer such inhumane conditions that will go on to have long lasting effects.

Despite reaching into an intense darkness to tell his tale, Fellows still manages to maintain an engaged tone throughout, and at times can be very amusing. The story about how much inmates have to pay to have sex with a good looking pig (yes, you read that correctly) is delivered with such dry sarcasm that you can't help but smile at the absurdity of the horrible situation he is in.

I've read a few books in this genre and this one is right up there with my favourite In the Shadow of Papillon. Perhaps not the sort of book you want to read on a flight to Bangkok, but then again it will certainly make you think twice about what you get up to at those Full Moon parties!