“But I can’t ‘unfriend’ a cousin?!”

Yesterday, I finally had enough. Three or four more appeared. I got so fed up with receiving Facebook email post notifications from a relation here in Britain that I went into the settings and turned them off.

Facebook.com.

There is a general election scheduled for June 8, when the current prime minister’s party may be returned to power or it may not be. I had grown weary of, and increasingly aggravated by, the incessant Facebook politicking that “Candidate A” is some sort of a national savior. I don’t vote here, but regardless I am not in the slightest enamored of that individual and had for weeks been simply deleting those emails and ignoring the posts.

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About The British

I’ve lived here now nearly 20 years. I love this country. It has some of the best people in the world.

Flag of the United Kingdom.

Others out there may become emotional and raise their voices when angered. In contrast, the British tend to turn “frosty” and quieter. And the British definitely don’t scare easily.

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My Novels, My Characters, My Business

You may know I try mostly to keep a relaxed tone here. I’m not interested in being contentious. However, there are times when even a romance-history-fiction novelist has to speak up on suggested public policy initiatives and plant a flag, and I apologize in advance.

On the writing desk, side by side. [Photo by me, 2017]

Back on Sunday night, the TV Baftas here in Britain raised this. Specifically, quoted in the Huffington Post UK, actor James Nesbitt declared:

“…I am delighted to be presenting the award for Best Actress tonight, particularly as I am wearing the badge for ERA, which is the campaign for the Equal Representation of Actresses.”

He continued: “Currently, for every one female role, there are almost three male roles. This is an inequality that is not only about our industry, but it is an inequality that is absorbed by everyone on their screens every day.

“As the father of two children – two girls – this should change.”

I watched him say that live. I’ve needed several days since then to think about my reaction to it. Because as a novelist, I’m underwhelmed.

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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.

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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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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Released: The “Big” Book

Yesterday, publication was completed. That’s that. If you are not a Kindle user, Conventions: The Garden At Paris is now available in paperback, too:

That paperback, which is a pretty BIG book, is also at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and all other Amazons worldwide. Tell your friends!

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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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“Author Facebooking”

I saw this on Instagram earlier this morning:

And it got me thinking that while there is “truth” in that, I have learned that the likes of “Facebooking” – for me it is more “Instagraming” – can be a stress breaker, too. One cannot work at one’s writing ALL of the time. You’ll become “isolated” and go bonkers.

It is necessary to blow off steam, have a laugh, and to think about something else now and then. Social media is one way to do so…

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