While We Are Staying In

We live in “interesting times.” For instance, we awaken here in Britain to learn that our US president thinks viruses differentiate between passports; that it is possible to arrest the spread to the US of a virus (that is already all over the US) by banning travel (for 30 days, starting Friday) to the US of only foreign passport holders who have been in the 26 European Union “free movement” Schengen continental countries (they do not include Britain and Ireland) in the last fourteen days, while allowing Americans to travel home to the US from those same countries. The damage that panicked decree – to deal with what he notably terms a “foreign virus” – will do to individuals and to the global economy (that also impacts Americans), is likely incalculable. (Air fares this morning from London to the US have skyrocketed as Americans on the continent evidently seek to fly from, say, Paris or Frankfurt to connect in London, in order to get home.)

That said, we should sensibly (wherever we are in the world) wash our hands more than usual and minimize human contact, and stay home if possible – especially if we feel the slightest bit unwell, particularly because this COVID-19 virus seems to be quite fatal to those over age 75.

[From my Instagram Stories, March 11, 2020.]

So where better for us to spend some time “self-isolating” than here on the net? 🙂

First, have you noticed my new template?:

[Screenshot, March 9, 2020.]

I think the revolving header is pretty cool. The presentation of the text is also more eye-appealing. All in all, a welcome change, I feel.

Recognize that header photo too? It appears as half of the paperback back cover of my first novel… and which happens to be visible on the right in this next photo:

[Coffee. March 11, 2020.]

Indeed, how about a coffee as we move on. Let’s have some fun and forget the virus world out there for a while. Let’s talk writing and books (courtesy of Twitter’s so-called #writingcommunity):

Uh, aren’t those called the Pink Panther films? LOL!

Yes, I have carefully researched a name for a minor character in Tomorrow The Grace (but I’m not saying who it is).

I also lifted the name of a major character from someone who follows me on Instagram. It is a relatively common first name and surname combination, so it is not necessarily obvious. I am pretty sure she does not know. (So I am certainly not saying who she is.)

I would quit the outside occupation in a heartbeat… because I would love (as would most writers, I suspect) to write without having to need to devote attention to any other money-making effort.

To write has much in common with being self-employed. A writer has a product. Every writer hopes people will (want to) buy their books.

I continue to consider the idea of audio (so-called) books.

Jane Austen, by light years.

Followed by probably Karen Blixen, Edith Wharton, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

I suppose that admission gives you a good hint about my writing.

I have written three books – my first three – that take place in the mid-1990s… that I lived through. I did not need to research those years. That latter fact also reveals I lived, in a manner of speaking, “history,” I guess.

Having completed two massive books on the same era (1787-1805 so far), writing a third to carry it forward seems reasonable.

I am not saying here. It is not about being humble, but about NOT being INSANE. I don’t want readers SEARCHING in my books looking for any such (admitted) weakness I was dopey enough to mention on my blog or other social media! Duh!

The words “beta reader” cause me to cringe. Seek out proofreaders: no more than half a dozen; and make sure they are people you know and trust, not random strangers found on the net. And seek out one person as the editor (another writer you TRUST, or a trained editor, if possible).

Good grief, you don’t need “three dozen” opinions from varying people you encountered via Twitter or some “beta reader” site on the net… people whose names will NOT be on your book cover and who are not the ones who are “critiqued”: they offer you their opinions and are GONE. As the writer only YOU live with the consequences.

Have the courage to write YOUR book by YOURSELF. So many authors seem to be such scaredy cats. They appear to crave reassurance from every direction.

I don’t seek or read reviews. (Click here for why.) I hear about any (so far only good) if a reviewer “tags” me. Nor do I cajole people to write them.

The main male character in my first three novels is – to be honest – basically me in the early 1990s and what I experienced then and witnessed and where I traveled (and with whom) as a “twenty-something.” It is essentially autobiographical… with names and various locations and dates and times changed to protect the “innocent” as well as the, uh, not so innocent. And some of it, looking back, I am definitely NOT proud of behavior-wise.

In my more recent historical novels, the main male character is less of me, but “he” is still “me” at times… and, uh, worryingly so.

I tend to think my first three books don’t need numbers considering they are by year.

My more recent two are also obviously chronological given their descriptions – and while the second is a sequel of sorts, they may be read “out of order.”

I suppose I hope my readers are sharp enough not to need “1” and “2” and so on, on the covers.

It is remarkably satisfying to experience the feeling of those you don’t know, and who you will never know, buying your fiction.

Pride and Prejudice. The Winds of War. The Last of the Mohicans. And Alan Paton’s Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful.

When I re-read them, sometimes I ask myself how dare I attempt to write novels.

I would say War and Peace too; but I have read it only once twenty-five some years ago, and it has taken me a year and a half so far to get through three-quarters of it once more. I am not sure I will start over again anytime soon when I finally finish it for this second time.

Tomorrow The Grace is about 160,000 words. It “wins.”

I have not written a single short story that I think is worth publishing.

Thomas Jefferson.

What? It is, uh, complicated. You will find out.

Frankly, I would not want to live in any other time.

“Cora Munro” from The Last of the Mohicans.

She is an astonishing main woman character for 1826 – the year the book was written: a partly black and no-nonsense woman thrown into a series of perfectly believable, life-threatening situations. She should be REQUIRED reading in US schools.

I have NEVER deliberately created a fictional character based on someone I could not stand and then killed the character…

…well, not that I will admit to, anyway.

Uh, yeh.

If I did not think I write well, I would not be doing this.

Goodreads is an online cesspool. I don’t participate in it. (And click here for why.)

I do:

– I have a lovely wife (all the “social life” I require, and who is very supportive of my writing).
– I retire about the same time each night and wake up the same time in the morning.
– I think I’m an okay person overall.
– A manuscript? Oh, please. I have FIVE published novels (of which I am immensely proud).

You got me. I have an anonymous blog about needlepointing…

…I’m kidding.

I have been reading Delphine Woods’s The Cradle Breaker.

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The sun is out this morning, and the storm has passed 🙌🏻 I can almost taste spring in the air 🤞 Happy first of March! What are you most looking forward to about spring? I’m ridiculously excited about getting back out in the garden, cutting things back and planting up our veg plot. I’ve spotted our tulips are just starting to pop up and I can’t wait for their splash of colour. . . In book news, The Cradle Breaker is currently only $0.99 for US readers. A story about a young woman’s quest for the truth and vengeance, and another woman’s attempt at keeping her worst secrets, even if that means death. A gothic Victorian thriller 💀Link in bio. . . Have a wonderful Sunday. . . #delphinewoods #bookflatlay #bookstagram #books #booklover #bookbargain #bargainbooks #kindleunlimited #kindleunlimitedbooks #99centstore #99centsonly #historicalfiction #historicalfictionnovel #historicalfictionbooks #historicalfictionloversunite #historicalfictionreader #sundaymornings #teaandbooks #amwriting #bookdeals #gothicfiction #gothicbooks #victorianfiction

A post shared by Delphine Woods (@delphinewoodsauthor) on

She is a talented author.

I suppose that’s all for now. Stay safe, try to stay healthy, and stay properly informed. And try to have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂