A Look Back

Now that I am no longer regularly beating my head down on my desk…

…when I find myself frustrated or annoyed by something I’d written, or am struggling to write, or feel unable to convey precisely as I wish, I think it is time to take a few moments, sit back and enjoy it. This “battle” is over. For better or worse, I wrote it.

I thought a post sharing a variety of “snapshot” excerpts – in no particular story order – of Conventions: The Garden At Paris might be fun. I’ve not posted many completed parts. You having put up for so long with my talking here about writing it, you are definitely entitled to see bits of the finished novel!:

Excerpt from “Conventions” on Kindle for iPad. Click to enlarge.

I labored over it and its characters for over a year and a half. I researched that bygone era carefully. I hoped to bring aspects of “1787” and the years immediately after in America and Europe back to life for us in our 21st century.

It's indifferent Monday weather.πŸŒ§β˜”οΈπŸ’¦πŸ’§πŸŒŠSo nothing great to photograph outside. I spent much of the day here – at the desk in my office.πŸ€”πŸ’»πŸ“šβœοΈIt's in our late-1600s built house's (it was, insofar as we can figure out, originally a three room cottage) converted loft space. . Oh, and the desk is actually not nearly as cluttered and chaotic as it looks in this pic. (And that's Thomas Jefferson in that portrait, keeping an eye on me.)πŸ˜‚ . #office #homeoffice #photo #photography #photos #writers #authors #authorsofinstagram #Monday #organization #writing #reading #upstairs #home #humor #humour #history #rural #countryside #Hertfordshire #England #thomasjefferson

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My hope is that you sit by a poolside, or on a beach, or on a sofa, or in bed, and lose yourself in it. Ultimately, that’s what writing is about: hopefully captivating a reader:

Excerpt from “Conventions” on Kindle for iPad. Click to enlarge.

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Author: “You” (And You Alone)

Naturally I follow some indie authors on social media. I like to try to keep up with what others may be doing. Ridiculously early yesterday…

…I noticed a post that touched on this subject, and it led me to want to address it here today. I’m seeing increasing references to “beta feedback” and similar. That refers to the sharing of a draft manuscript with various readers, often found online, for their reactions and suggestions.

It seems now to be something of a “cottage industry” in indie writing. And what could be wrong with that? Isn’t it just proofreading? Surely, that’s a good idea?

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That Blank Page (Again)

We are back home in England after our visit with my father and our North American holiday:

Back home in #Hertfordshire this morning. Took a photo of the seat-back route map over the Atlantic very early on Saturday morning between Newark and Heathrow. We were on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I like that plane a lot; I find it more comfortable as a passenger than the 777. . We are "weird" at times, too. What we also take for granted. How astonishing – awesome, in the real sense of the word – it really all is technologically.πŸ€” . We huff about, say, not having quite enough leg room, or about where to put our carry on, or about the peanuts. We forget: WE'RE FLYING…at about 40,000 ft and going around 600 MPH!πŸ˜œπŸ˜‚πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ . Cc: @victoriaflies many of us always watch the safety demonstration. And we know exactly where our nearest exit is – even if it is behind us. Just so you know. πŸ˜‚ . #travel #airplanes #Dreamliner #humor #humour #photo #photography #britishairways #writer #writers #writersofinstagram #author #authorsofinstagram #technology #newarkairport #heathrowairport #heathrow #England

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And I have the souvenir mug:

Now, back to reality.

Conventions: The Garden At Paris is also finished and available. That chapter is, shall we say, “closed.” Time to move on…

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Easter 2017

As you may have seen on my Instagram, on Friday we traveled across the pond to Pennsylvania to see my father for Easter, and to have a holiday here in the U.S.:

He has just been “getting by” without my mother. That is about all. I have noticed this since my mother’s death: he’s not really getting “better.”

Ladies, should your man survive you, don’t imagine that that man who’d been in your life will not miss you terribly after you are gone. Don’t assume he will just pick a new wife off the shelf and go merrily on his way, happily ever after. Don’t think you are “replaceable.”

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Rocket Flares In A Pre-Dawn Sky

The clocks moved forward here in Britain last night…

After the “short” night, I’m still awake early. I am usually an early riser – particularly now. My brain seems on “full speed” as I awaken and for some time afterwards.

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In Our Times

Since about 1750 (after the Reformation, the Civil War, Cromwell, and battles over the succession to the throne), other than during WWII, Great Britain has generally been a pretty safe place. It had some “highwaymen” and street thuggery, but even that was patchy. (In 1800, it also had several dozen offenses for which hanging was still commonly applied.) And there has been the occasional, isolated “political riot” – such as the “Gordon Riots” in London in 1780.

Because of the patterns of life, centuries of rural habit, and the static world most were born into, lived in, and died in, there was little public violence. Great Britain has not suffered from extended periods of political instability and the terrorism that usually stems from that – save for that which emerged from Ireland in the 1960s, and which had a clear political goal. What happened yesterday on Westminster Bridge is a relatively recent phenomenon – but one we are now seeing all too regularly in various places.

For us as Americans, in 1777 Morocco was – informally – the first country to recognize the newly independent U.S. A friendship treaty was officially signed in 1786, and that treaty remains in place even today. The first foreign property the U.S. Government owned would not be in London, Paris or Amsterdam, but was the U.S. Consulate in Tangier, which is now on a register of U.S. historic places.

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The Young Man On “The Fringe”

There comes that moment when you are finished writing for yourself, and you have to share the total of your effort. I’ve reached (and possibly even passed) that point now. Last night, Conventions went to she who has been a wonderful “critic” since I began this writing endeavor in 2013.

So she has the “biggest” book of all. As I say in the email to her, March 31 – as I note in the sidebar – is unfortunately probably going to have to give. But hopefully only a few weeks at the most.

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Worried Novelist Walks Through Hitchin

Almost there. Actually, “there” is one of my multitude of tiny problems. 130,000 words and at the point where major changes are essentially impossible, I’m fussing now over single words and individual – but not quite exactly what I wished they were – sentences.

It is that maddening creative moment when you the writer are down to the level of anguishing over the likes of “I’ve used ‘there’ too often in those two paragraphs.” Or “Rather than three sentences, perhaps make it one sentence joined together with semi-colons?” Or “That is supposed to be ‘at’ not ‘as’. Spell-check missed it! Ugh!”

As you get “there,” you also need to pause, breathe, take an extra-moment or two, and maybe see some ducks:

Because it is difficult not to think “Eh, there be monsters out there…” I find I am increasingly consumed with worry. As I correct issues of “as” that should be “at,” I confess even to having moments of despair. “All of this effort,” my mind races as I look yet again at the screen, “and what if it stinks? I may have to jump into that water in Hitchin town center. But I suspect it may not be deep enough…”

To be a writer is to be forever in some self-doubt.

The last thing I’ve been doing is daydreaming about conquering the universe…

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The End Days

I’ve learned since 2013. I hate this “ending” period perhaps the most. A novel is essentially finished…

“Controlled chaos.” The home office, this morning. [Photo by me, 2017.]
…but it’s not “quite” (in my mind) finished.

And you take a photo of your desk and put it on your blog as you plan to return to it once more. Because it’s your “baby” and it’s almost all grown up. And you want it to be PERFECT – or at least as “perfect” as you as an imperfect human may make it.

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History: Unfollowed

Ah, Monday morning:

And less than two weeks before the inauguration of a new U.S. president who has not exactly charmed half the people in the country, we need this?

Yesterday, History on Instagram shared some “history” with us.

Good grief.

First, nothing in that History Insta-caption above is outright false. However, it is an inch deep and far from the whole truth. For that shallowness in the current climate, and what it unleashed in the post’s comments, I unfollowed.

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