General

In The British Autumn Rain (While Recovering From Jet Lag)

With the Mrs. in Chicago and traveling back here to England separately, I flew home alone here on Friday evening:

[Luggage tag. Photo by me, September 29, 2019.]

As a consequence of a British Airways pilots’ threatened strike day, I had been rebooked on American Airlines:

[JFK Airport, New York. Photo by me, 2019.]

I had not been a fan of American Airlines. My last experience on it to Europe in the late 1990s had been so bad I’d vowed then I’d never fly them again. I don’t even remember the details, but I recall being disgusted: it was a far cry from when American carriers in the 1960s had been among the best in the world. I had not flown on it internationally since then.

But I got pushed onto an AA flight from London to New York back on Sept 6 as a result of my Sept 5 BA captain having post-root-canal pain which had canceled that BA flight. However, that AA experience flying over to the U.S. had been a positive one… and I was truly shocked. I explain much more about that early September travel adventure here: A Tale Of Three Flights.

Friday evening’s flight to London wasn’t as great an experience as back on Sept 6, but it was still decent. I would now fly American again. Anyway, with a novel still to finish, I’m back now in Britain:

[Back garden in the rain, Sunday morning, September 29, 2019. Potton, England. Photo by me.]

We had very sad news on the 27th – which would have made my previous post had I known about it then. My hound, just days from his 15th birthday, died at my in-laws’ home. He was a lovely boy – probably the most popular member of the family. We will miss him greatly.

[The family hound: 4 October 2004 – 26 September 2019. Photo by me, 2015.]

So learning an hour before I was heading to the airport in New York that he had died has not left me feeling great. Still, life must go on. Remembering I have that novel to complete, and trying to recover from jet lag, attempting to stay dry, and remembering my pal, in something of a “short-tempered” mood (I admit) I took on Saturday and Sunday to scrolling now and then through more of Twitter’s #writingcommunity:

Uh, I’m thinking: My Life Is Unimportant (And That’s Why I Write Fiction)

What is “the norm?”

Worth bearing in mind a degree of perspective here: Most writing is rarely read much beyond the life of the author. There’s Thucydides and Aristotle and Chaucer and Shakespeare and so on, of course; but most books end up on library shelves largely unread, nearly forgotten, and gathering dust – if they are lucky enough to make it to a library, that is – and may become literal dust far quicker than tombstones decay. Most writing on tombstones literally lasts far longer than most written books.

Current me: “You’ll write books someday like your uncle, so you need to…”

15 year old me, interrupting current me: “Oh, no, really? He’s soooooo annoying…”

My own photographs or public domain classic artwork.

I would like to use work by a living artist on some cover eventually.

I absolutely LOATHE cheesy and “cookie cutter”-produced indie covers. Too many romantic fiction ones are often particularly embarrassing. I don’t know how any writer would put their name on them without someone holding a gun to their head: far too many are cringeworthy and even laughable.

Uh, there are lighthearted moments, but it, and its 2017-published predecessor, also have torture, gunshot deaths, stabbings, and guillotinings.

No one is regenerated by a wizard waving a wand. Dead is dead. They are not books for under-18s, really.

That is a good thing: The fewer mistakes made earlier, the fewer to correct later.

As I usually read…

[The Sun Also Rises. Taken at JFK Airport, New York. Photo by me, 2019.]

[Tender Is The Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1934. Photo by me, Bristol, England, 2019.]

[War and Peace. Photo by me, La Clusaz, France, 2019.]

[Pages from The Last of the Mohicans. Our back garden, Windham, New York. Photo by me, 2017.]

[John Marshall: Definer of a Nation, by Jean Edward Smith. Photo by me, 2017.]

…mostly to try to improve my own writing, I gravitate to history and what’s related to my own writing “genre(s).”

I wrote a first novel, followed by two sequels:

Now, I’m writing essentially “stand alone” novels:

[Conventions: The Garden At Paris. Paperback. Photo by me, 2018.]

I like writing both.

Just an effort to try different approaches, that’s all.

I will say I’d started with those sequels mostly because I felt I had too much “story” for one book.

My uncle used Twitter under his real name. But he never really warmed to it. In the end, he preferred Facebook – which allowed wordier posts.

And the last thing he ever wanted as a writer was to be perceived as an ordinary guy. He would never have posted incognito in order to appear like any other user.

[Excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997. On Kindle for iPad/iPhone. Click to expand.]

We often joked that he wanted to be another Hemingway. LOL!

Uh, as of today and as of this post, insofar as I know Amazon owns Goodreads, so of course Amazon pushes Goodreads hard. It wants users. It wants clicks and eyeballs for advertising.

On the other hand, there’s this:

Goodreads sucks. It’s as simple as that. The site is filled with trolls (malicious posters), false reviews and badly behaving authors.

Based on what I’ve seen, I agree. So I don’t use Goodreads. And – unless the stench is cleared up – I won’t.

Adults know what sex is. (Most engage in it eventually.) So there is no need to overdo describing the act in fiction. Doing that latter becomes p*rn.

No. Because it then ceases to be my book.

I don’t think most readers honestly care about any of that. I suspect the overwhelming majority just want a good book. As a book buyer myself, that’s really all I care about too.

Geez, that’s not very nice.

Better to fictionalize the b-stards individuals in your tale.

* * *

Another Monday. Try to have a good week, wherever you are… and whatever you are reading, and perhaps writing. 🙂

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