Sunday, 23 January 2011

Writers Are Allowed To Be Slobs

In her interview for The Sunday Times this week, Fay Weldon says she writes in her dressing gown, because, 'With fiction, the nearer you are to your unconscious, the better. Once  you dress, the real world surges in'.

Now I know why the best phrases slip through my head when I'm either drifting off to sleep or slopping about in pajamas, hunched over my first coffee peering through my tousled hair. I always wondered why, when I am washed, dressed, made up and poised in front of the keyboard - nothing happens. Like Fay says, it must be because I have moved beyond that twilight world where thoughts tumble and play like dandelion head parachutes and moved to a sharper, more focused plane.

Ms Weldon also maintains she writes in the morning, because creativity comes out of the woolly, right side of her brain, whereas in the afternoon, her editor comes out of the right side of her brain. She also says,'when I'm stuck, I play a computer game like Ceasar III and Civilisation II'.  Yay! And I thought I was being lazy and employing diversionary tactics to avoid the actual writing. It also makes my request for a DS Lite XL this Christmas more a need for a legitimate creative tool and not the source of hilarity my family took it for. I got one too!

Bring on the duvet and Ceasar III, I need some inspiration.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

To Tweet or Not?

I have consciously avoided this latest innovation in social networking sites after hearing all the self indulgent trivia the 'celebrities' churn out. You know the sort of thing - they cut their toenails or order a latte and have to Tweet it! There has also been a furore about tweeting with advertising blurb on products they are under contract to represent.

Journalists everywhere love to name, shame and tear them to shreds because of their conviction that the entire world hangs on their every banal thought. I'm not that self-indulgent - or am I?

My critique group and new publisher expound the Twitter Site's usefulness for promoting our work and posting reviews/excerpts etc - their opinion being this is one site which does get to the readers and gives us all a forum to answer questions about our books and, because most authors are also avid readers, give recommendations for others in our collections.

Phillipa Gregory tweeted The White Queen - all of it - daily over three weeks – in the voice of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen-Consort of Edward IV. “I posted the tweets every day, so people had the experience of reading the story in instalments, but since it was considered a work of creative writing, I actually wrote it as one piece of work over several weeks.” The novel is Gregory’s most successful to date.

Well that made me think - so I caved - I haven't decided if that makes me a weakling or a genius. But I'm there! Thanks for those who have Tweeted me so far, my followers list is growing nicely.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Reading Revolution

My DH is a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist and has always insisted inde and small press publishing isn't 'real' and that I cannot regard myself a published author until one of the recognised publishers buys one of my novels - and that means offering a respectable advance.

It was with great reluctance he bought me an E-Reader for my birthday, saying he would never touch it as he hates the idea of 'reading from a screen' and nothing will replace proper paper books. He regarded the arrival of self-publishing as a vehicle by which those who cannot make the grade put their, mostly, raw and unedited work into the public arena.

He reads three/four books a week, and his favourite genre is something called cyber-punk' [Think, Blade Runner, The Matrix and the works of John Birmingham] Over the last few months, with bookshops cutting back on titles other than celebrity coffee table books and authors they know will sell, his supply of new titles has dried up. This situation frustrated him as reading is like breathing, and he was forced to revert to books he already owned.

For Christmas he asked for, and I bought him a Kindle, not because he had reconciled to screen-reading, but because he couldn't find anything new in our local bookshops and thought Amazon may have more choice. He downloaded a couple of books he had not seen before in his chosen genre and hasn't put the thing down since Christmas Day! He declared these titles surprisingly good for authors he had never heard of, and guess what? They are self published works!

His attitude has completely altered and he's now searching for unknown authors with no recognisable publisher name attached to them, willing to give their books a fair hearing - or reading.

He asked me last night, 'Have you thought of self-publishing your novels? [Wow!]
My answer? 'Not until my agent finally gives up on me!'

If this revolution is taking place in my home - it must be happening everywhere. And how long before traditional publishers have to take it seriously?

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Review of Trencarrow Secret

My first review of my upcoming novel, 'Trencarrow Secret' was posted on the Bookbabes Blog today:  It's a little early as the novel isn't scheduled for publication until June, but still.

I have been honored with a sneak read of Anita Davison's upcoming novel, scheduled for June 2011 release, Trencarrow Secret.  I have never read any of her previous work, so I took a chance when I accepted a pdf file from the author.... and... I liked it!

I want to share this book with everyone and I realize it's awful early, but this way you can add it to your TBRs and wishlists and possibly closer to its release date, preorder it if you want.

Trencarrow Secret is a Victorian novel about family relationships, growing up, and marriage.  Isabel is a young woman vacationing with her family for the summer.  She discovers her father in a questionable situation with her ailing mother's nurse.  This brings up numerous questions for Isabel.  She discovers her parents had a marriage on convenience.  Is she willing to marry Jared (which is expected of her) for the same reason or does she wish to find love?  Should she find love, will she have the courage to pursue it?  And can she forgive her father for betraying her mother?

The story rarely leaves the summer household, but rather than feeling confined, I was intrigued by the family and their scandals, personalities, and witty remarks at the dinner table.  Jared is a pompous arse and has something up his sleeve.  Laura is infatuated with a young man and means to have him by any means necessary.  Aunt Margot is just Aunt Margot and she made me laugh.  Amelia is battling her love for a married man.  Ashton is feeling guilty about Amelia.  Evaline is frothing at the mouth for Henry who really desires Isabel.  And Isabel.. is too blind to see it.  There is much miscommunication and minunderstandings fly left and right.

Very slowly, however, Isabel grows up.  She begins to come to the conclusion, "marriage isn't about weddings and announcements in the papers."  The question is:  what is she going to do about it?  Jared thinks they are to wed and she thinks Henry wants Evaline.  Can all the misunderstandings be corrected before she makes a dour mistake?

Favorite quote:  When Henry is speaking to Isabel about her fears (she is terrified of both water and a maze) he says, "You aren't the only one who has demons to fight.  The mistake we often make is to believe we have to battle them alone."

Great book and I was thoroughly entertained.  I prefer a stronger heroine so it doesn't quite hit the five star mark for me but I do recommend it.  There's quite a surprise at the end, but I am not going to reveal it...

Again, this is scheduled for June 2011 release coming from MuseItUp Publishing.