Destination Bulgaria

And people wonder from where novelists get material? The ex-husband of a friend of my wife’s is buying a house in Bulgaria. He’s planning to move there permanently (it’s not a holiday home) in early August.

It’s “Melvin.” Naturally, relocating to Ukraine didn’t happen. Now, out of the blue, it’s Bulgaria.

Screen capture of Wikipedia.
Screen capture of Wikipedia.

I bumped into “Melvin” yesterday during a post-cat-sitting stopover at our girlfriend’s house. That girlfriend and her new husband are VERY GENEROUSLY letting “Melvin” flop there until he moves abroad. But I wouldn’t be surprised if when the time comes she drives him to the airport to make sure he actually leaves the country.

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“Can’t You See I’m Trying To Write A Blog Post?”

I’ve got that cat in my lap now:

How am I supposed to write a blog post this morning?
How am I supposed to write a blog post this morning?

I give up. I won’t get a post written right now. However, the cat-sitting duties end today.

Have a good Monday. :-)

“There never will be anything more interesting in America than that Civil War never.”

Following the murders of nine African-American churchgoers in South Carolina, old social media photographs of the white supremacist arrested for it naturally surfaced almost immediately. In one, he’s wearing jacket patches of the apartheid South Africa flag and the white minority government Rhodesia flag. In another, he’s posing on a car displaying the Confederate States of America emblem.

His embrace of the latter has revived arguments inside the U.S. about the post-Civil War tacit understanding under which the United States became one country again:

Screen capture of Vox.
Screen capture of Vox.

That Vox piece is the sort of thing that leads one to wonder if supposedly well-educated members of the media have ever read a serious history book?

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Surviving The “Wobbles”

You never know what out there will provide eventual story material. Subconsciously, I’m always on the look out. In a real sense, I’m always working.

I try, but I can’t usually just switch my mind “off.” I find I pay attention to most “everything.” But I know I also have to do so without everyone around me suspecting I’m paying attention to, uh, “everything,” of course. ;-)

River Avon, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. [Photo by me, 14 June 2015.]
River Avon, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. [Photo by me, 14 June 2015.]

Case in point: Mass last Sunday included Psalm 92. Perhaps unsurprisingly if you know the first two novels, this line grabbed my attention:

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Real Life Is Full Of “Coincidences”

Twitter is awash with writers tweeting thoughts, adages, self-help sayings and writing “rules.” Some are useful, some tiresome. This one got tweeted into my timeline the other day:

“Number one rule for fiction: Coincidence can be used to worsen a character’s predicament, but never to solve his problems.”

Never having seen it before, I googled it. Many others have used it. Although that writer tweeted it as if it were his thought (and has thus far got some 30 odd retweets with it), it was not his original thought.

Screen capture of Twitter log in page.
Screen capture of Twitter log in page.

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At The Irish Frontier

It happened again. Previously it was at Heathrow. This time, it was Dublin Airport.

Arriving on Saturday morning, my passport’s older stamps made it clear immediately to the Irish border agent that I travel to Ireland pretty regularly. After we cleared up that I live in the United Kingdom and not in the U.S.A., he asked me my occupation. They don’t always do that.

Free Stock Photo: Flag of Ireland.
Free Stock Photo: Flag of Ireland.

I chuckled inside: I knew my answer would get a reaction. Whenever over the years I’d said “university administration,” no one ever raised an eyebrow. However, saying you write novels will nearly always – after the surprise has worn off – lead to some good-natured conversation.

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What Did Montauk Do To Deserve This?

It’s Friday. Yesterday was “heavy.” Let’s have some fun.

Before you read on, if you missed the earlier post on this subject, you may want to click here. The caveats and essential points are there, in “Part 1.” This is “Part 2.”

At the end of that “Part 1,” I promised an update if I changed my mind about The Affair. Well, I watched the 3rd episode. Update aside, I’m still not sure about it….

* * *

Presiding at his study’s massive wooden desk (it has to be massive), books on shelves behind him (evidently so we remember what he is supposed to be), the wildly successful novelist father-in-law calls “Noah” – who’s soaking wet from a swim in the pool – in for a hearty man-to-man talk: “So, how’s the writing going?”

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a stack of books and reading glasses.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a stack of books and reading glasses.

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“Darling, he’s written about us!”

Happy 1st of June. And we didn’t meet them halfway. We went to them. Yesterday, we drove to Christchurch (about an hour and a half away) to visit with a former neighbor couple there.

In a sense, it felt like “going home.” The town is much the same. And the house we’d owned for a decade until 2013 – well, there it stood. (They aren’t huge fans of the people who’ve bought it. We’ve never laid eyes on them and still haven’t.)

The husband (he’s about my father’s age) and I were alone at one point and chatting. He told me they were in Tenerife, in their flat (in the end, they didn’t sell it), and his Mrs. was sitting in the lounge reading Frontiers. “Across the room,” he said to me, “I hear this laugh, and she looks at me, points out a page, and says, ‘What did he do?! That’s me! The so and so! Darling, he’s written about us!'”

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a blank frame with drawing tools.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a blank frame with drawing tools.

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I’m On Facebook (At Long Last)

Gazillion-selling author Harlan Coben’s recent, unfortunate, “Poland problems” led me to reflect. Actually, they probably “pushed” me over the line. I’ve decided I need a Facebook page.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a laptop computer.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a laptop computer.

As you may know if you’ve popped by here regularly over the last year and a half, I write under a pen name. That’s because some of what’s in my novels is based on real-life people I know, and some of them are also Facebook friends of mine under my real name. So I had not been rushing to use Facebook for my books even under my pen name in order to minimize the chance I’ll be “unmasked” by them as an author.

But once my Harper Collins published uncle became fully aware of what I’ve been up in to writing, I’d started to have second thoughts. Most authors are now on Facebook, and – more importantly – readers seem to like it and expect it. It’s an integral part of the social media “office furniture.”

So, yes, I give in. It’s overdue. Here’s a screenshot of it during “construction”:

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An Affair (Not Yet To Remember)

You may know I’m rarely critical of most others’ writing efforts. That’s largely because I readily appreciate how difficult it is to pen fiction. Moreover, I never offer book reviews here because I believe they are best left to any author’s truly interested readership or to reviewers/ bloggers who review books regularly.

And I’ve got my own books to write, and being “pulled” away from your own work is any author’s biggest problem. Yet keeping an eye generally on “big success” does supply us with evidence for what must be considered the basis for that “success.” However, naturally – as with Fifty Shades of Grey – we may also not always like what we see.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a cartoon television screen.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a cartoon television screen.

Where am I headed with this? I watched another episode of The Affair. If you like the program, and choose to read on, please understand I’m looking at it only from my (one) writer’s perspective. ;-)

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