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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Speaking Of “Suh-talk-ett”

Being English, my wife takes pride in correctly pronouncing place names from around where I grew up:

Excerpt from "Frontiers." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Frontiers.” Click to expand.

Long Island, New York is that fish-profile-resembling island that extends east from New York City. My parents lived in New York City and on Long Island all of their lives until moving to Pennsylvania in 2011. I was born in the city and raised on the island.

Screen capture of Wikipedia.
Screen capture of Wikipedia.

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Daily Mail Decides To “Ask The Americans”

The Mail has been out researching Americans’ opinions about their lives here in Britain. Get ready. Let’s have some Friday fun:

Screen capture of the Daily Mail.
Screen capture of the Daily Mail.

I’ll address my fellow Americans’ points in order. Here we go. To start:

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In The Eye Of The Beholder

One of those year-end lists is out. I’d not heard of this one before. Clearly the title is meant to grab your attention – and it did mine.

BuzzFeed has 32 – I won’t even hazard a guess as to why that odd number is chosen – of the “most beautiful book covers of 2016”:

Screen capture of BuzzFeed.
Screen capture of BuzzFeed.

Do judge these books by their covers?

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Once Upon A Time, There Were Only Blogs…

We don’t think a lot about it. But we have to remind ourselves how potentially dangerous spending too much time in front of screens may be. By midday Friday, I found myself developing a terrible headache.

Too much time writing and staring at my Microsoft Surface in recent days had probably been the main culprit. I do try to take breaks when I’m at the screen for a long time. “Ten minutes” every hour at least.

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In Transit: Friday, 28-29 October 2016

Having slept several extra hours yesterday and this morning, I think I have largely recovered from flying back here to London from Newark on Friday night. Flying itself can also be “fun,” can’t it? Every time you do, there’s always something… or a variety of “somethings.”

The rental car, parked outside my dad's house.[Photo by me, 2016.]
The rental car, parked outside my dad’s house.[Photo by me, 2016.]

After dropping off the rental car, on the monorail to the terminal I ended up in a carriage with two relatively attractive twenty-something American women who were heading to Manhattan. We knew that because one announced it loudly. The more talkative blonde was animatedly telling her friend that she wanted a photo of herself dramatically standing outside of Tiffany’s – like Audrey Hepburn.

Overhearing her – again, it was impossible not to – I exchanged “knowing” smiles with an older, business-suited African-American man standing across from me.

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You’ll Find Me On Instagram

Although I did some writing on the plane over, I’ve decided to give “Robert,” “Carolina,” “Henry,” and “Marie-Thérèse”, and the others a rest for a few days. They probably could use a short “break” from me, too. 😉 While it’s said you should write constantly, you do have to pause now and then and clear your head.

Moreover I don’t want to veer into “killing off” any characters accidentally because I’m feeling briefly somewhat “off” myself. With my mother’s one year death anniversary on the 26th, I’m trying to find a real-life “happy place.” I suppose these Catskills are one of them:

Catskills. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Catskills. [Photo by me, 2016.]
I snapped that photo yesterday afternoon. It doesn’t look like that outside now, I assure you:

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As An Author, You Don’t Like Amazon?…

…Well, fine. You don’t like Amazon. But you take it out on readers?

A top of the hour news update earlier on Classic FM shared with us that some author – I won’t name him: I’m not interested in giving the person a “nod” even on my site here – is not releasing ALL of his latest book on Amazon. The full version will be available in brick and mortar bookstores only.

First, apparently there’s nothing else going on in the world that more warrants a “news” headline? Second, that’s not “news” anyway. It’s massive and free publicity.

Oh, and why is that author purportedly altering the book based on its retail source?

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And If Only Humphrey Bogart Voted?

The highly regarded political polling and prediction site FiveThirtyEight reported the other day that if only men voted, Republican nominee Donald Trump would overwhelmingly defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton and win the U.S. presidency:

271 state electoral votes are needed to win.
270 state electoral votes are needed to win.

However, the outcome would be vastly different if ONLY women voted. In that scenario, Clinton would, uh, thump Trump:

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Behind The Literary Mask

Writing in the New York Review of Books, an Italian journalist claims he may have uncovered the real-life identity of a pseudonymous huge selling Italian author:

Screen capture of the Guardian.
Screen capture of the Guardian.

The perpetual “interest” some seem to have in who’s actually “behind the mask” – and in “unmasking” them.

LOTS of “Elena Ferrante’s” readers are apparently ***NOT*** happy about this effort. Social media is full of angry assertions it’s an unwarranted intrusion into the life of someone seeking to remain anonymous and merely write. One fear I’ve also seen voiced is that if it proves accurate it may well mean “she” will never write another book.

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