Merci To B.A. Cabin Crew

I’m in the opening stages of planning a follow up to Conventions: The Garden At Paris. It will build upon Conventions, while I hope it will also be a “stand alone” novel. Likely it will have some of the same characters, as well as some new ones – once again, both historical as well as fictional.

While I have some general thoughts right now, essentially I’m on a “blank slate” once more. As I have written recently, it is a terrifying place to be. However, it is also an amazing one: for this is where “it” all begins.

From where do writers get their story and characterization ideas? I have discovered that you as the writer are probably a better initial source than you may realize. However, you need to understand too that in all likelihood you are not interesting enough to write a “memoir” either: chances are you aren’t “Nelson Mandela.”

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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:

β€œ…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: β€œCurrently, 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.

β€œAs 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.

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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Word Of Mouth (And Online, Too)

We are back from Puerto Rico. Yesterday, my wife stepped into Tiger Lily Jewelers here in Windham to have a link added to a watch. The woman in the shop did it for free.

Screen capture of Facebook.

My wife wanted to give her something for payment. The woman wouldn’t take anything. She asked my wife just to tell people about her shop.

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Danger: Second Guessings

Monday motivation, courtesy of the Voice of America’s Instagram:

I know over in Britain it is not an ordinary Monday. It’s the May bank holiday. Thus the need for “Monday” motivation today may be less than usual.πŸ‘πŸ˜„

The holiday rental here on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island has no television. But there is fantastic internet. I’ve reached the point now where I don’t care much if I ever watch TV – as long as there’s internet.

When we’ve not been out and about, I’ve done some necessary social media “housekeeping”:

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On Vieques Island

Continuing our two week Puerto Rico “adventure,” on Wednesday we flew from San Juan here to Vieques Island (just off Puerto Rico’s east coast) by Cessna prop plane:

Hello from Vieques Island! Flew here earlier on a Cessna – a 20 min flight from San Juan.✈️Flying on a prop plane is a very different sensation compared to a jet! . Top: planes like ours. Bottom photo: our plane, and on the cart – those are our two bags. An 8 seater, but there were only four aboard. The pilot (being quite necessary)πŸ‘¨β€βœˆοΈ, an airline employee πŸ‘¨πŸ½making the short trip, and us.πŸ‘¨β€βš•οΈπŸ‘©β€βš•οΈ . So that's what's being on a "private plane" feels like! Felt like being a VIP arriving!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ . #travel #tourism #Cessna #photo #photography #sanjuanairport #aircraft #puertorico #flying #airport #authors #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #humor #humour #vieques

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Yes, really.

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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, and all other Amazons worldwide. Tell your friends!

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