He Says, She Says

During our phone chat a few weeks ago (because we weren’t able to get together as hoped), my uncle told me that (based on what he’d read so far) he considered what I write nicely readable. That’s a good thing, though, he asserted. If it’s what I want, I should run with it.

But I thought how that could also be considered a “backhanded” compliment: that it is good enough to sell and attract readers, yeh, but it isn’t “deep.”

Recently I’d also noted a reader who’d written to me that she thought the books belonged in history classes. That is quite a compliment for fiction; but I wasn’t writing history, of course. (As flattering as that may be to hear, I don’t want to scare away potential readers here thinking they’re dry history. They’re not!) Yet “history” would seem pretty “deep” stuff, no?

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“Urgent cable for you….”



One gargantuan novel down. One more to go. [Photo by me.]
One gargantuan novel down. One more to go. [Photo by me.]

Surely I had to share that amazing news in the style of a 1941 telegram! ;-)

UPDATE: Don’t forget, tomorrow (Monday), I’ve got quite an interesting post planned. If you can, pop by! :-)

The “Shock” Is, We’re With Janice?

I have been working my way through The Winds of War novel. I’m now about 1,035 pages through it, so I’m almost to the end. On the horizon, though, is its sequel: War and Remembrance (which was a Christmas present).

Reading the likes of those is one way I “relax” – yes, seriously – away from my own writing. At 1,361 pages, Remembrance is also even longer than Winds. Hmm. Between the last part of Winds and then Remembrance afterwards … uh, see you in about, oh, three years or so:

"War and Remembrance." [Photo by me, 2015.]
“War and Remembrance.” [Photo by me, 2015.]
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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:

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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….

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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?

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Navigating Around The Nation’s Capital

Hi from Florence, South Carolina this Palm Sunday. :-)

We had twelve hours on the road yesterday.

We had expected 10. The biggest trouble we encountered below Pennsylvania driving south on I-95 was outside of Washington, D.C. That’s been the case before, but this was the worst experience.

Free Stock Photo: Resplendent cherry trees from Japan ring the Tidal Basin at Washington, D.C.
Free Stock Photo: Resplendent cherry trees from Japan ring the Tidal Basin at Washington, D.C.

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Jane Austen Forever

The other day I happened to see an Inside the Actors Studio interview with Brad Pitt. Unsurprisingly George Clooney’s name came up. Hearing it led me into thinking about Clooney’s rise to stardom.

You’ve probably seen the post title already. Stay with me, please. This will all make much better, uh, “sense” (and sensibility?) as you scroll down.

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Happy Mother’s Day (UK)

Most weekends I don’t do much original writing. I try to confine it to the “work week.” Weekends I usually aim to take a break (aside from my journal here).

In recent weeks, though, I’ve felt I’ve been on something of “hot streak.” Yesterday, an idea for a small plot twist struck me too. Fearing I’d lose some of it in my head by Monday, I wanted to get it into the manuscript, so I spent some time working in the morning and it was time well spent.

Afterwards, I thought again about how the characters have come to mean a lot to me. True, we have all been grabbed by “people” we’ve gotten “to know” in novels. But how about when they are swirling around in your head uncountable hours each and every day for years because you are writing them and thus creating their very existences?

Free Stock Photo: Young woman taking a photograph.
Free Stock Photo: Young woman taking a photograph.

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A Cutting Experience

Needing a haircut, I decided to take an hour or two away from the computer yesterday morning. We’re still new in the area, and I ventured into a barber shop I’d been to once before. My cutter this time was not who’d cut my hair previously, but I recalled he had been there trimming someone else the last time.

He seemed around my age. Initially he was soft-spoken and I detected “oddly” accented. Also appearing to be somewhat (in my book, as part that heritage myself) “Mediterranean,” I suspected he might not be from these shores.

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