In The Sunshine

Calm has returned after Lebanese journalist Hala Feghaly’s presence on my modest blog attracted a pop star-level horde of visitors yesterday.

Visitor source countries yesterday.
Visitor source countries yesterday.

Yet I’m seeing yesterday’s trend beginning again this morning. I’ve had many more visitors than usual this early in the day – which makes sense as Lebanon is two hours later than Britain. If you’re here for Hala, “Hello,” and this is the post you are probably looking for: just click the photo to see the whole thing:

Screen capture of the opening of my chat with her.
Screen capture of the opening of my chat with her.

Continue reading

A Problem Of Giant Proportions

Something of a lighthearted post. We have fun here as well. I don’t like always taking matters sooooo seriously. ;-)

Over the last few days, I’ve been writing several new characters. When you read novels, do you picture characters’ looks in your mind? I suspect most of us do; it’s a natural reflex.

As odd as this might read, I work hard at not describing my characters physical appearances in heavy handed doses. I prefer to drop their looks in throughout the text in piecemeal fashion. I use blurbs.

Free Stock Photo: A silhouette of a man reaching towards the sky.
Free Stock Photo: A silhouette of a man reaching towards the sky.

Continue reading

Writers: Who’s Your Boss?

I saw a comment the other day from a new novelist that did not sit right with me at all. I won’t link to it because I don’t aim to stir up trouble for others here; that’s not what I’m about. Still I feel the general issue merits addressing head on.

She wrote she had taken up writing because she wanted to work for herself and be her own boss.

As I read that, I thought, hang on a minute; that misses the point. If you’re, say, keeping a diary no one but you will ever read, that’s one thing. But as a published author you are NOT working for yourself and you are NOT your own boss.

Continue reading

Meeting Maria

As I was working yesterday on a Distances scene – holiday is over; novels don’t get finished unless YOU finish them – that includes a new character, I was struck by this thought.

The books are built around core characters we know by now. There are others who are prominent regulars too of course: the various parents and certain friends.

However, much as in real life, we have people we know who make an impression and (sometimes sadly) leave us. Often someone has to move on, or we just grow apart. Sometimes they drift back into our lives; but sometimes they never do, or plain cannot:

Continue reading

Grown Ups Only

As you may know, the Mad Men TV show is ending. As you may also know, it is a favorite of mine. Having watched the first of the concluding episodes, and also having this week rewatched on DVD some from the first season/ series as well (how young they were!), led me to reflecting on just how much drinking and smoking they did.

That also got me thinking about my own books.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a waiter with wine glasses.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a waiter with wine glasses.

I have some drinking:

Continue reading

Novelists And The Calendar: Rarely A Good Combination

Being in the Catskills for a few days also means the house needs attention. I had some painting to do. Today, my “anti-critter” cage also needs mending after having been buried under snow and coming off the house.

Other bits and pieces needed doing as well. We’ve also had lots of early spring “visitors” the last few days. We call them “time wasters,” because when you see them you get caught up watching them and time just slips by:

Across the driveway. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Across the driveway. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Continue reading

War Memories In A Shoebox

I’d had that encouraging “fan email.” Then, yesterday, out of the blue I received yet another interesting email:

….I have been blogging for years, but I am now looking to write a book about my life and experiences in the _____ business. Historically books about the _____ business have done very well. Any points you may have to pass on would be greatly appreciated….

That was the gist of it. He was seeking writing advice.

Specifically mine? He wanted my writing advice?

My writing desk, at home in Wiltshire, England. [Photo by me, 2014.]
My writing desk, at home in Wiltshire, England. [Photo by me, 2014.]

When asked that so overtly, you will think really hard about your answer before humbly offering any….

Continue reading

A “Fan Email” Brightens A Gray Morning

The Catskills in early April: it’s certainly not Florida. I just took a few snaps out the back just after dawn. Yep, there’s still lots of snow against the house and scattered here and there in the woods:

Still some snow out in the trees. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Still some snow out in the trees. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Continue reading

Meddling With Copyrighted Material

The British general election is next month. Labour Party leader Ed Miliband apparently has the time to think about who should play James Bond. He’d like to see a woman actor: Rosamund Pike in particular. Some, like this Guardian writer, agree:

….So far, the feminist revolution has been largely limited to comics. We pointed out last week that there is a thing going on in that world with feminist superheroes. If Thor can be a woman, so can Bond. (Idris Elba could obviously be Bond too, but that is a different piece)….

Actually, one would think the man who desires to be the next British Prime Minister should be rather more concerned about when they’ll finally be a woman leader of his own Labour Party. One supposes he doesn’t plan to step down himself immediately and make way for one at last?

Continue reading

Confessions Of A Morning Person

Often I’m writing as the sun rises. I may have Classic FM playing softly in the background; or I may have nothing going at all and just revel in the silence. Whatever underscores it, for me there’s a special quality to early mornings before much of the rest of my own time zone awakens.

Now and then I joke on my Twitter account as I get going, moaning about it being, say, 4:47 am and what a ridiculous hour it is. Yet I find pre-dawn is also when my mind is usually at its “busiest.” I’ve never been sure why that is. Perhaps it’s simply waking up thinking…. and off we go.

On holidays, I feel much the same – about the mornings anyway:

Sunrise yesterday over the Atlantic. Viewed from our Amelia Island holiday rental. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Sunrise yesterday over the Atlantic. Viewed from our Amelia Island holiday rental. [Photo by me, 2015.]

Continue reading