Contestants wanted for a new quiz show!

Hello!

Hey, if you’re in Melbourne, there’s a new quiz show coming up that’s looking for contestants right now! They’ll be shooting the show – Quizical – in April and May, but details about the show are a little vague at this stage. It’s being made by BBC Studios Australia, and they’re looking for “individuals who aren’t afraid to have some fun, have a friendly but competitive nature and who can answer quiz questions or have a good time trying. The only thing we ask you to bring is a positive attitude and be ready to have some laughs.”

Applications are open until April 9th, and you can apply RIGHT HERE.

… And the very best of luck to you!

Now, here’s a great new podcast!

Hello! Just a quick post this week to heartily, heartily recommend a new podcast created by two young friends of mine; the brilliant comedy writers and performers Andy Matthews and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall.

It’s called The Pop Test, and if you’re in Australia, you can listen to it on ABC Radio National, and if you’re anywhere else in the world, you can listen to it as a podcast. (You can listen to it as a podcast if you’re Australia too, obvs.)

The Pop Test is a fast-paced – and very funny – half-hour quiz show covering various subjects in science. The questions are difficult and often abstruse, but Andy and Alasdair’s brilliant gag-writing and improvisation make the time fly by, and there are always a lot of laughs to be had. Each week, they welcome a different group of comedians, and a lot of the fun comes from listening to these guests struggle to answer the tricky, esoteric questions – or at least come up with amusing bluffs or tangents.

I suspect this is very much an ‘iceberg show’ – I’d estimate that nine-tenths of the work is below the surface. The breezy half-hour swings by so quickly that you don’t always realise just how thoughtful, surprising and expertly crafted Andy and Alasdair’s jokes are. The way they formulate the questions, the way they reveal the answers, the way they introduce the players and the way they explain the game… if you listen carefully, you’ll realise just how well written these elements are. You’re never more than a couple of seconds away from a really clever gag. And when you add the hosts’ great improvisational skills, and that panel of funny people in the contestants’ seats, you’re onto a real winner!

So there you go. The Pop Test; on ABC Radio National, or wherever you get your podcasts. Do yourself a favour. Along the way, you might even learn a thing or two about science that could serve you well in future quizzes…

Aaaand that’s it for this week. (I told you it was a quick post.)

See you next time!

A free eBook for you?

Quite possibly, my friend… quite possibly!

The cover of my debut novel ‘Symphony Under Siege’!

If you’re in the US or Canada, and you’d like to get your hands on a free eBook copy of my novel Symphony Under Siege, I’m running a GoodReads Giveaway where I’m giving away 100 copies. Winners will be drawn at random on February 5th, and all the details are right here…..

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Symphony Under Siege by Stephen Hall

Symphony Under Siege

by Stephen Hall

Giveaway ends February 05, 2021.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Thanks for your time, and I’ll be back next time with proper game show-related news (I promise).

Oh, and one more thing, 007…

Good luck.

2021? BRING IT ON, BABY!

What can we say about 2020? Well, to quote my favourite self-published author*…

Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed – and will continue to change – Everything As We Know It. But I’m not going to talk about that here today; you can read more about that…

Well, pretty much everywhere, as it turns out.

As I look back over the year here at HTWGS.com, I see there were a few wins…

BUT…

What I DIDN’T do in 2020 was finish my second, more autobiographical HowToWinGameShows.com eBook: Tales From The Shiny Floor. I’m so sorry about that. I know I promised it ages ago. Next year, for sure.

I’m afraid that this year, all my authoring and self-publishing energy was devoted to getting my first novel Symphony Under Siege out into the world. But now that’s done, and out there, I can turn my attention to delivering on my promise to you.

And speaking of Promise… I hope that, wherever you are, 2021 fulfils its promise to you.

I hope it’s a safer, saner, healthier and kinder year than 2020. In short, I hope that 2021 is better than 2020. (Let’s face it – it couldn’t be much worse…)

But whatever 2021 may bring, I’d just like to take this opportunity now to thank you so much once again for your support of this site, and wish you and yours a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

See you next year!

Stephen.

* Did you know that Charles Dickens actually self-published A Christmas Carol (one of his biggest hits)?

Well, he did. And I’ve always found that fact (along with the fact that he wrote most of his novels in serialised form, publishing the chapters in monthly magazines before officially publishing the full bound volumes) profoundly inspirational.

(Because… you know… that’s what I did.)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Me as Darius Horsham / The Ghost of Christmas Present from ‘Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell: Pagan Holiday Special’ (Now streaming on ABC iView!)

Hello! As per the headline above, I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish you all the Compliments of the Season.

As we all stagger towards the end of this disastrous and tragic year, I fervently hope you can find some solace and contentment in the company of family and friends, either in person, or remotely. Love doesn’t quite conquer all, but I believe it’s the best weapon we’ve got.

I thank you for your support. And after whatever hardships or challenges you’ve experienced this year – and we’ve all experienced some – I bring you tidings of comfort and joy.

Comfort and joy.

Tidings of comfort and joy.

Sending love.

Stephen.

Okay, so this isn’t strictly about game shows, but it IS about games…

There’s a wonderful BBC4 podcast that I subscribe to, called The Infinite Monkey Cage. It’s hosted by the physicist Brian Cox and the comedian Robin Ince, and it aims to make a wide variety of science subjects accessible and entertaining. The show’s always educational, often very funny, and I’d highly recommend it to… well, to pretty much anyone who has any curiosity whatsoever about the universe.

This recent episode was all about games and the science behind them. I found it interesting, informative and amusing, and I wanted to share it with you.

You’re welcome.

Here’s the detailed description of this episode, from its website:

How To Beat The House And Win At Games.
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by mathematicians Hannah Fry and Alex Bellos, psychologist Richard Wiseman and games enthusiast Helen Zaltzman, to get their top tips for winning games and solving puzzles. Do mathematicians make better Poker players, or is psychology the key to the ultimate poker face? Will a knowledge of probability give you the ultimate winning strategy for your next game of Monopoly? (the answer is yes!). How old are the oldest puzzles, and why do they involve wolves and cabbages? And how have puzzles involving wolves, cabbages and bridges resulted in the development of whole new branches of mathematics? 

Enjoy!

AAaaaand that’s all for this week. See you next time,

Stephen

Today is LAUNCH DAY!

IT’S HERE!

My science fiction adventure novel Symphony Under Siege is finally, finally here!

It’s an eBook,

It’s now LIVE on Amazon all over the world, and

It’s $4.99.

The cover of my debut novel ‘Symphony Under Siege’!

And I’m a little bit excited. Can you tell?

May 17th, 2019 – when I published the very first chapter online – seems like a lifetime ago now. Since I finished that rough first draft on May 8th this year, I’ve cut and edited and polished and tweaked and re-arranged and re-ordered the thing to within in an inch of its life. The 310-page Amazon eBook I’m launching today is the end product.

I’m equal parts nervous and excited about sending my brainchild out into the world. All I can do is spread the word and hope for the best, I suppose! To give you an idea of what the story’s about, here’s the book description (aka its blurb):

512 YEARS IN THE FUTURE.

NOT YOUR TYPICAL THURSDAY MORNING.

FIVE CENTURIES FROM NOW, EX-NAVY OFFICER DIANA SINGH COMMANDS THE MONUMENTAL LUXURY SPACELINER THE SYMPHONY OF THE STARS. NONE OF HER CREW KNOWS THAT THEIR SHIP IS SMUGGLING A TREASURE WORTH MILLIONS.

NONE OF THEM KNOWS WHICH ONE OF THEM IS THE SERIAL KILLER.

AS CAPTAIN SINGH PILOTS THE MIGHTY CRUISE SHIP BACK TO BASE, SHE RACES TO UNMASK THE MURDERER IN THEIR MIDST BEFORE THEY CAN KILL AGAIN.

SO, NOT THE MOST CONVENIENT TIME TO BE ATTACKED BY PIRATES…

“I AM CAPTAIN SALAZAR SHARP, HERE TO CLAIM WHAT IS WRONGFULLY MINE!” FOR THE FLAMBOYANT LEADER OF THE PIRATES, INFILTRATING THE SYMPHONY IS A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY.

BUT THE SECRET TREASURE THAT COULD MAKE HIM AND HIS CREW FILTHY RICH IS ONLY THE BEGINNING; HIS ULTIMATE GOAL IS A FAR GREATER PRIZE…

SYMPHONY UNDER SIEGE IS A WITTY SCI-FI ADVENTURE PACKED WITH HEROIC EXPLOITS, TWISTS AND TURNS, NAIL-BITING CLIFFHANGERS AND DARING ESCAPES.

IF YOU LIKE ROLLICKING, FAST-PACED SCI-FI WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR, THEN YOU’LL LOVE THIS EXUBERANT DEBUT NOVEL FROM VETERAN TV COMEDY WRITER STEPHEN HALL.

BUY SYMPHONY UNDER SIEGE TODAY, AND GET ON BOARD THE ADVENTURE!

And that’s it for today. No game show related news, I’m afraid – this has pushed it all off the front page.

When I return, though, I will get back on topic. I promise.

Cheers,

Stephen

 

My public promise to you (and to me, now that I think about it…)

This is the cover image for my forthcoming novel ‘Symphony Under Siege’.

Just a quick one today, and it’s quite off-topic, but if you’d be kind enough to indulge me…

As you may recall, five months ago I finished the first draft of my first novel, by writing a new chapter each week, and posting it online every Friday at midday.

This was because I’d publicly promised to do that, way back in March last year.

Well, the whole making-a-public-promise-with-definitive-timeframes-built-into-it method proved to be really effective for me, because

I Got The Thing Done.

I always seem to be more motivated by an external deadline (even if it’s one I’ve made up). If I hadn’t imposed those deadlines – for which I had to be publicly accountable – I’d probably still be faffing around on Chapter 3 today.

And so, bearing that in mind, I just wanted to hereby make this SOLEMN VOW to you, my dear, beloved, pretty and fragrant visitors to HowToWinGameShows.com….

Yep, fair enough.

… That my debut novel Symphony Under Siege will be launched – initially as an eBook – on Amazon.com, on

TUESDAY DECEMBER 1ST, 2020.

(DEEP BREATH) And now that I’ve made that promise to you…

I HAVE to keep it. 

So that leaves me with 49 days to finish all the editing, cover design, formatting, submitting and all the other million little things that need to be taken care of.
49 days? Lordy! I’d better get back to it, then.

Until next time (when I promise I will return to game show-related content here)

Stay Well, Stay Safe… and Stay Home!
P.S. If you’re interested in receiving updates on the novel’s progress, please consider joining the mailing list I’ve set up especially for that purpose. Cheers!

The Lost Episodes have been found.

Hello! Today I bring news of a little episode of fortuitous archaeology… the two Lost Episodes of my 2005 run on Temptation have finally, finally, finally been UNEARTHED.

No, they weren’t in this trunk.

For some reason, I never got recordings of these two episodes at the time. I have vague memories of my Mum not recording them because she thought my Mother-In-Law was recording them, and my Mother-In-Law not recording them because she thought my Mum was recording them… but I could be mistaken about all that. But, hey – why I didn’t diligently record all seven episodes, I’ll never know. Or maybe I did, but never labelled them properly, and the tapes got lost…

Aaanyhoo, after all seven shows had gone to air and the dust had settled, I found that I only had copies of Episode 1 (which aired on Tuesday 16/08/05), Episode 2 (Wednesday 17/08/05), Episode 3 (Thursday 18/08/05), an incomplete version of Episode 4 (Friday 19/08/05, missing the last minute or so), and Episode 7 (Wednesday 24/08/05).

For fifteen years – FIFTEEN YEARS, do you hear me? – I’ve been missing Episode 5 (Monday 22/08/05) and Episode 6 (Tuesday 23/08/05). I’ve not seen them since they went to air back then, and all the subsequent efforts I’ve made to track them down over the years – including enquiring in at Channel 9’s archives – have proved 100% totally and utterly fruitless. As a Collector and a Completist, not possessing those two episodes has ever-so-slightly niggled at me for all this time…Until now.

A few weeks ago, during a chat with my very dear friend Gavin (who also happens to be a former Temptation contestant), he mentioned that he’d recorded those episodes back then… and that he still had them! I could scarcely believe it. I’d well and truly given up hope that I’d ever find them again. I asked him if I could borrow the VHS tapes, he instantly said ‘yes’ – because he’s a very nice bloke – and I got them digitised. Then I edited out the ads, uploaded them to the HowToWinGameShows.com Facebook page… and here we are, the set is complete! Thanks to Gavin, I’ve also been able to put together a new, complete version of Episode 4, with that pesky missing final minute now restored. 

Okay

So

Yes. It turns out that there actually wasn’t an enormous amount of Dogged Diligent Investigation and Bold Intrepid Adventuring from me, after all.

… Despite that, I still do like dressing up as Indiana Jones. Don’t judge me.

You can watch the episodes via their links above. The shows may be old, but I think they still pack a punch. As Dr Jones might say…

Enjoy!

 

As always, I claim no copyright in, or ownership of, the clips referenced in this post, and no copyright infringement is intended by linking to them. If you have reason to believe any material has been used in an unauthorized manner, please do let me know.

So anyway, I did ‘Sleep At The G’… But I also didn’t.

Sorry folks, but it’s another non-game-show-related one today. You may recall that a little while ago, I mentioned that I was planning to do the Sleep At The G, to help raise funds to combat youth homelessness….

Well, back on Thursday May 21st, I did.

In a manner of speaking.

You see, due to the cancellation of the physical event, I decided that on the night, I’d still sleep outside… but instead of doing it at the MCG, I’d do it on my front porch.

My bed for the night. Yes, I know it’s undercover, but it’s still technically outside. Don’t @ me.

A relatively cold night was forecast: overcast with some rain, getting down to a minimum of 9 degrees at around 4 AM. I made sure I was well covered – long johns, thick socks, jeans, T-shirt, jumper, jacket, scarf, beanie – and set up a Zoom connection with my good friend Tim, who was taking part in the event with me.

Ready to go. Let’s do this.

It was so great to have Tim “there”, and a few other friends also joined us on the call, offering their support. I found myself appreciating – yet again – how lucky we are to live in this age, when we can all stay connected virtually, if not physically.

Imagine getting through the pandemic without that…

After the call ended, I settled down, to try and get some sleep. My various layers of protection generally stood me in good stead; it was only the coldness of my face (and nose, in particular) that seemed to repeatedly stop me from nodding off.

It got colder, and then it got colder again.

And then it started to rain.

So… is this the fun part?

Eventually (no idea what time) I did finally manage to get some shuteye… And I’m pleased to report it was relatively uninterrupted shuteye, at that!

This is obviously a re-enactment. I’m just pretending to be asleep here. (Well, somebody had to take the selfie, didn’t they?)

When I was woken by the sunrise, I felt sure I’d got a lot more sleep than I did on this night last year, at the actual MCG.

Morning has broken.

Recently in our street, a couple of cars have been broken into…. so when, at around 6 AM, I heard someone get into a car, start it up, and drive off quite quickly, I instinctively sprang up and and dashed out the front, to see if it was ours.

It wasn’t.

And so, after that mild shock, I was now fully prepared to get up and at ’em, and start the day; bright-eyed and bushy-tailed…

… And fresh as a frickin’ daisy.

Reflecting, once again, on how lucky I am to have a home to go to. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Again, I’d like to thank everyone who sponsored me. I understand and appreciate how uncertain things are at the moment, financially, so your support really is very much appreciated. Together, you’ve raised $177.21 to help combat youth homelessness.

And if you’re reading this and you’d like to add to that total… you still can! At https://sleepatthegcommunity2020.everydayhero.com/au/stephen

==================================================================

Next week, I’m really pleased to be bringing you a brand new two-part guest post from our Canadian friend – and game show contestant, host and aficionado – Ryan Vickers.

And hey, if YOU’d ever like to write a guest post for HowToWinGameShows.com – just like Ryan has – I’m always open to the idea.

Just drop me a line at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com and let’s talk!