Old San Juan

We decided earlier this year that we would take a holiday somewhere we’ve never been: Puerto Rico:

We flew down here from New York on Thursday. A major impetus to doing this were cousins of mine, whose family roots are in Puerto Rico. Years ago they had suggested we give it a visit.

When I wrote her asking for some suggestions a couple of months back, one cousin practically overloaded my Messenger:

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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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PUBLISHED: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris”

I thank all of you who follow me here and have purchased my earlier novels. Once again, I have reached what is simultaneously the most satisfying moment a writer experiences and also the most unnerving one. Conventions: The Garden At Paris is becoming available on Kindle currently on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, and all other Amazons:

With that novel finally finished, frankly I’m about finished as well. Mentally, I had been thinking for years about writing a tale like this one. I had been actually doing it since January 2016:

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Lisbon, Portugal

I should be writing, I know that. I have a novel that is now “overdue.” And I am working on it afternoons in the hotel.

But this is just too much to resist and remain locked away all day. We are here only until Sunday. Thursday and Friday, I was out and about at this “secret” destination – which you knew already if you follow my Instagram. And obviously this post’s title gives it away: Lisbon, Portugal:

I even got in a required selfie:

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Deadline Day

As you can see, today is March 31. As you may also see, Conventions is not out today. However, I knew a few weeks ago that the deadline was going to have to give – by a few days or weeks.

I had set “March 31” as publication day in my head sometime late last summer. If I may offer one piece of writing advice based on my own experience, it is this: you must give yourself a deadline that you take seriously. It focuses you on finishing the work. Without one, I assure you that you will drift – and may never finish your book.

Screen shot of Kindle site.

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Little Big Annoyances

Yesterday, we watched the first two episodes of Big Little Lies starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman:

Screen capture of IMDB home page.

Within moments as the first episode opened, this program felt gratingly familiar. If you are new here, you might have missed where I explained (wow, almost 2 years ago now) how The Affair that was not exactly my favorite program – and why. I got through about 3 or 4 episodes of it before I gave up.

And The Affair has apparently been a success on Showtime in the U.S.

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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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When You Experience Grief…

I lost an aunt a couple of weeks ago in New York. I’ve never mentioned her here. She was the widow of my other uncle – my mother’s and my novelist uncle’s younger brother. He died at 48 in early 1994.

My aunt had been ill for a long time. I hadn’t seen her in about 5 years. I last spoke to her just after my mother died in 2015.

Yes, the beard is off. The major reason it is? She who is dearest to me, revealing: "It's as I imagine kissing a brush might feel."😜 . Okay, it's Friday and given previously I've put up paintings of lovely eighteenth century ladies, why not a handsome bloke of that era?πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈIt's only fair.πŸ“šπŸ–Œ . And how about an *unbearded* man? This is American diplomat William Short, painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1806, when Short was age 47.πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ . #humor #humour #painting #USA #France #diplomacy #Europe #travel #expats #classical #history #art #writing #authors #photo #photography #beards #Hertfordshire #England #novels #fiction #romance #writing #writersofinstagram #authorsofinstagram #fun #Friday #weekend

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My writing is a form of release. (As is social media.) It’s a means to try to get away. It has proven especially important to me in the last couple of years.

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Haste Ye Back (To Rothesay)

On Monday, the Mrs. had airline business in Scotland, west of Glasgow. Somehow in all my years here, I’d managed never to have visited Scotland. So I joined her – and grabbed some photos over the three days there:

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