“I cannot live without books”

Hello! Made it! Woke up in the dark here in the Catskills – still feeling on U.K. time.

Just had a coffee in my favorite mug, which sat in the cupboard waiting all these months….

A morning cup in my Monticello-bought Thomas Jefferson mug. [Photo by me, 2015.]
A morning cup in my Monticello-bought Thomas Jefferson mug. [Photo by me, 2015.]

“I cannot live without books.” That is an actual Thomas Jefferson quote. Yes, a real one.

We flew into Newark airport yesterday afternoon.

Boarding at Heathrow, in our row sat – of all things – a 60ish Australian lawyer who’d been to the Australia dismantlement of England at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday night. He was heading to New York, he’d said, because Australia wasn’t playing again for a while. He had decided to “hop over” to the U.S. for a week before flying back to England for the next match.

Continue reading

And You’re Sure The Minitel Could’ve Gone Global

R. J. Nello:

It’s interesting, and pleasing, when an “old” post suddenly re-attracts attention briefly – usually thanks to visitors coming in via searches such as Google.

You may not really know why they have exactly. However, that renewed attention may lead you to wonder if it could use a “repost.” Those work best, really, if the original was not “timely” and based on some particularly current issue, and especially if newer followers may have missed it the first time.

So why not? I posted this lighthearted piece back on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Now, as for today, October 2, 2015, have a good Friday…. wherever you are in the world. :-)

Originally posted on R. J. Nello:

Intriguing web page that was shared with me yesterday:

17 signs your soul belongs in France

As with most such lists, some observations – even if trite – should ring a bell:

4. You can spot Americans in France from a mile away. They’re wearing a t-shirt, and probably speaking English loudly, as if the reason they’re not being understood isn’t the language barrier but that they’ve yet to make themselves sufficiently audible. Also, they’re likely smiling. Who does that?

It’s Saturday, so whether you are American, or not, let’s, uh, risk a smile.

* * *

Reading that paragraph, Woody Allen films immediately jump to mind; but noting Americans’ distinctive national attire while traveling abroad is not all that new. That said, another giveaway, on men over “age 55,” is they are wearing white sneakers, blue jeans, and a baseball cap (sometimes with the name of a…

View original 865 more words

Talking With The Cast

The other night Sir Bruce Forsyth was a guest on the BBC’s One Show. He has been best known most recently as host of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The U.S. version is Dancing With The Stars.

Within moments, it became clear why he was on the program. He has a book out about his life and career:

Screen capture of the BBC web site.
Screen capture of the BBC web site.

His life has been “lived” largely before an audience. He was a performer who grew into a celebrity. In comparison, I suspect most authors instinctively feel uncomfortable with celebrity.

Most being the most important word there. There are always exceptions. Some clearly do revel in being the center of attention:

Continue reading

“You American men fall for us so easily….”

Given it was about Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep novel, Humphrey Bogart also had to have a mention in the previous post. In case you don’t know, I’m a huge Bogart fan. Writing fiction also allows one to slip in gems like this:

Excerpt from
Excerpt from “Passports,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

You must know the movie: it was Casablanca.

A Casablanca film promo poster that was a gift to me. [Photo by me, 2013.]
A Casablanca film promo poster that was a gift to me. [Photo by me, 2013.]

Continue reading

On Which Shelf?

Yesterday I received another one of those Amazon marketing emails. Once again Passports was at the top of the list. Obviously, Amazon knows I have looked at that page.

Naturally, more of “the competition” follows:


I screen captured the long page in two sections. It can be intriguing to see where your novels end up “shelved.” Originally I saw them mostly as “general fiction,” but subcategories are inevitable and eventually I found that “romance” had to do as a major one.

Continue reading

Our Censorious Era (“How dare you write that”)

Following on from that post the other day on For Such a Time, I’ve read here and there about accusations of “racism,” “privilege,” and “Western cultural arrogance” in “romance” and “young adult” literature. That’s not an easy subject to address in a blog post. However, authoring as I do for adults (and not for children), I just wanted briefly to note my view. (Separately, I’ve already addressed the issue of an author spewing hatred while “hiding” behind his/her characters.)

Naturally, not every novel by every writer is going to be fantastic. Still it is chilling to read anything that even vaguely argues authors should be wary about exploring characters who aren’t much like themselves. That could lead, in itself, to writers becoming fearful of trying to create what could be some truly worthwhile literature.

Free Stock Photo: Group of business workers.
Free Stock Photo: Group of business workers.

Continue reading

Blogs I Follow

I got a bit of a shock the other day in the form of an automatic WordPress email informing me an aunt-in-law here in England had followed this blog by email. She already knew about my site. It’s just I’m surprised that – out of the blue – she has subscribed.

I get many interesting “likers” and “followers.” So you know, I do try to have a look at everyone who stops by, but I can’t “follow” everyone back. I’d be overwhelmed by the reading.

You may have seen that I added the “Blogs I Follow” widget near the bottom the sidebar. If you use WordPress too, you may know it. I’ve chosen to display the maximum number allowed: 50 blogs.

Continue reading

Six Words Never To Ask A Novelist

….but they are employed regularly anyway. And as the Daily (w)rite wonders, how often is the question answered this way?:

Screen capture of Daily (w)rite.
Screen capture of Daily (w)rite.

Once you get beyond the “blank page,” the problem then turns into that question not being easily answerable.

Continue reading

Who Doesn’t Love A Pre-Order Discount?

Ah, social media. If you are here now, chances are this isn’t your first visit: you’ve probably been here before – and perhaps quite a few befores. You deserve SOMETHING for that. :-)

Free Stock Photo: A beautiful woman acting surprised.
Free Stock Photo: A beautiful woman acting surprised.

Continue reading

No, It’s Not About “Political Correctness”

I had not heard of this novel….

Screen capture of the Daily Beast.
Screen capture of the Daily Beast.

….until reading this article by author Warren Adler in the Daily Beast:

The recent flap over the romance novel For Such a Time, whose plot features a concentration camp inmate falling in love with her Nazi captor, has aroused the wrath of various critics and readers on grounds that it is too discomfiting and disturbing to have been published.

While I can understand why some readers are offended by the premise, it smacks of political correctness gone awry. The problem is that it has invaded an art form that can be dangerously compromised by the basic tenets of political correctness, which posits that any expression or attitude that discomfits others must be excised from all forms of public communication.

I’m more concerned about my own books and my own readers than “wrathing” at other writers and fixating on various “flaps.” So I missed that “flap.” It is explained in more detail here in Newsweek:

Continue reading