“The sword of Gerzeanam…”

I finally saw some of my cousin’s 20 year old daughter’s writing. Evidently she is somewhere on the Fan Fiction Plus app, but refuses to give up her screen name to her mother. My cousin finally succeeded in getting some pages out of her so I could read a bit of her writing…

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a medieval castle.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a medieval castle.

When I read it yesterday, I almost fell out of my chair. I won’t share any of it here because I don’t have permission, but this is my pathetic impersonation of what I saw opening one chapter. In no way does it do her writing full credit:

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Eighteenth Century “Conversation”

Oh, the English language. Of course we use words and phrases today often decidedly differently than our ancestors did. Usage and meanings evolve over time.

Phraseology we almost never use now was once common. If we return to two centuries ago, where as you may know I’ve spent a lot of time in recent months, there are moments when reading what is clearly English can still feel somewhat like reading a “foreign” language. You have to be VERY cautious.

You may recall I had had some “fun” earlier this year as I was first researching Conventions. To help “him” better understand me, I attempted to write a planned character a letter as we in 2016 might write to an American of the late 1700s – in his 230 year old style and vernacular:

Letter To 230 Years Ago, originally posted January 22, 2016.
Letter To 230 Years Ago, originally posted January 22, 2016.

How complicated it can become. In 1790, for instance “society” often meant one’s immediate close friends and family: “I was most happy in my society.” That usage is almost unseen today.

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Merci, Fashionistas

As bloggers we try to anticipate our audience, but one never can know for sure what is going to catch “fire.” Every post I write is composed allowing for the possibility the entire world could see it. This is the internet: you never know…

One post back in mid-September was written much like any other. I thought I would touch on a few matters about 18th century fashion that had come up in conversation casually between myself and visiting friends from America a day or so before, and how it related to Conventions (my current manuscript). I figured it might attract a few likes and maybe a comment or two, and that would be that. Next.

Screen capture of the opening to the "What Was Fashionable" post.
Screen capture of the opening to the “What Was Fashionable” post.

Within hours, wow, did I get a shock!

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Alone In The Dark Mountains

I’m taking a few days away from my writing to do some reading and have a mini-break to recharge the batteries. So I wasn’t going to post today at all. But you know me…once my mind starts going as morning gets going…

Down the spiral staircase we go... [Photo by me, 2016.]
Down the spiral staircase we go… [Photo by me, 2016.]
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The “You” On Your Pages

After posting yesterday about the controversy swirling around out there about a possible “unmasking” of the real person behind the “Elena Ferrante” pseudonym for the huge-selling novelist, I returned once more to my “1794.”

Initially, as I tapped away in Word again, I found myself distracted. The controversy pushed my mind to a related issue: Regardless of whose name is on the cover, “who” is actually inhabiting your fictional pages in the first place? If you write, this question is probably familiar to you.

My home office. [Photo by me, 2016.]
My home office. [Photo by me, 2016.]

How much of you is really on those pages, but which no one but you of course truly appreciates? And what are you consciously changing about “yourself”? And what is perhaps subconsciously there that’s “you” despite even your best conscious efforts to alter it?

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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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What Fiction Is Supposed To Do

A well-regarded children’s author on what “kids need to see” in books:

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

And who could really take issue with that? It seems reasonable enough. And not being a children’s author I have no opinion about what children’s authors believe “kids need” – kids are their audience after all.

Yet as I thought about it, something about that sentence bothered me. If that declaration may be made so definitively about what “needs” to be in youngsters’ books, one would think something similar may be asserted about books for everyone older than that. Indeed I have here and there seen that “need” raised about books for “oldsters” as well.

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Drama At Sea

One of the troubles with writing is you feel awkward discussing what you did at work today with those humanly closest to you. It is simply too difficult to explain. It just feels more comfortable to take to a keyboard and share it online with social media friends and readers who follow because YOU want to.

Meaning that here on my own writing site I’m not risking making a total “bore” of myself (I hope). 😉

But one of the challenges in sharing what you did at work is if you include any excerpt it also shouldn’t give away too much; inadvertently “spoiling” your own upcoming novel is, frankly, idiotic. However, yesterday’s work, and this morning’s, was full of plot detail and “surprises” that I just don’t want seen yet. That said, having scoured it, I think I can share this:

Sneak Peek into  "Conventions." Click to expand.
Sneak Peek into “Conventions.” Click to expand.

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The Reading Minority

Blogger John Guillen touches on a reality. Most of us indeed have noticed it. It’s tough not to:

….I know some of you are really interested in BookTube and similar Instagram accounts, but I want to ask you something. When you think of your favorite book accounts on any social platform, who’s running it? Is it a man or woman.

In my experience I’ve found that girls are far more likely to be running these types of accounts. I’ve also found that they’re far more likely to gain a following through them. Maybe men are expected to be talking about sports or politics or something more manly, but some things I just don’t understand….

….But I’d just like to ask why it’s so odd for a guy to enjoy reading. Should he be reading comics instead? Or should he be in the gym working to improve his overall health? Reading is one of many forms of entertainment (and much more to many) that people enjoy. I don’t know why it needs to be for one sex over another….

The issue of who reads fiction seems a perennial one. Every author craves to know generally who their audience is. Social media has also now allowed us more insights into that question than ever before.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of books.

Thinking back, I recall my late mother was a novel reader. A happy memory for Mother’s Day: I remember her with some huge – literally enormous-length – novels. In the late 1980s, for example, she read Karleen Koen’s historical romance of 17th and early 18th centuries’ England and France, Through a Glass Darkly. I remember Koen’s book – Mom had the hardcover – being about 5,000 pages long or something and Mom reading it cover to cover.

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Avoid Social Media Junksters

As you know, I don’t usually post twice here in one day; but I wanted to share this in a timely manner. Three accounts followed me on Twitter at some time earlier today. I noticed them a little more than an hour ago.

Three sudden new followers out of the blue all about the same time when you hadn’t tweeted anything for nearly 24 hours? That’s always suspicious. I screen captured them. Notice anything, uh, “interesting” about them?:

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