Monday, September 17, 2012

Deadly deadlines

Hmmm, having the deadline brought forward by two months --does it concentrate the mind or create real snivelling, wake up at three twenty AM panic? Both.
Does it stop you having a life, put friends on the 'must remember to call, email, text list'? Yes indeedy.
Does it make one reach into the deep and dangerous and shock-and-hurt-yourself-pain-place, to find the heart of the matter, to write, write, and write? That too.

And today it's raining -- that helps.

But the most help, is outside help, from a trusted teacher. In Viet Nam, teachers are revered. Teachers Day is a huge event, especially for flower sellers. My office was once so packed with flowers I could barely breath as the pollen sent me sneezing, eyes streaming, but smiling in gratitude to all the students and staff.
In this culture it does not have to be a  teacher as in school teacher,  but a person who has given wisdom or advise, helping you in a way you remember and value. You in turn remember that person, honour them on teacher's day. My list of wise teachers is long, very long.

Vis a vis deadlines however, Jan Cornall, The Writers Journey is the woman. On my fourth book? Three published and modestly successful? Yep and yep. So why do I need a writing coach? I don't. I need a mistress of pain (50 shades reversed? Now there's thought)

Enter Jan Cornall. Her Avoidance Busters Manual was first stop. Read it, makes lots of sense. Tried it. Still procrastinating. Need sterner stuff. Checked out the website again. Damn. No time for the wonderful journeys that worked so well before (Mekong writers, Luang Prabang last December) Time only for the BIG STICK

So now, after a consultation with Mistress Jan, I have a daily word count. Plus a weekly SKYPE call. All I have to do is 1500 words per day minimum, "easy' says Jan, plus revision, plus blog ---nah, forget the blog, and I need to shop eat swim read sleep --nah, can cut some of that out too --sleep probably. And shopping, and --never reading. Eating? swimming? living? breathing?

OOOPs, this doesn't count towards the count --procrastination creeping in again.

Aa' the best,

Làinte mhor a h-uile là a chi 's nach fhaic
(Good health to you every day I see you and every day I don't)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book reviews

Socking it to the Puppets of Reviewerland is the title of The Age article.
And I thought I knew most things shonky in this world but horrified- and saddened is the only comment I'll make.

It seems that not only do you post rave reviews about your own work on Amazon and other outlets, not only do rubbish your rivals i.e. fellow authors, you can also go on to buy great reviews at $90 a pop.

I know how hard it is to compete with established authors, and as a new author to build up your readership but Never. Otherwise how can you derive any satisfaction in the sales you make? 

On that subject, here below is a genuine review of my new book from the notoriously choosy Publishers Weekly. I take great satisfaction in knowing that a) I didn't write it, b) I didn't pay for it, and c) the positive review is most gratifying given how hard I struggled with this book, all the time trying to improve my work, to make it better than the one before.

Aa' the best.

Beneath the Abbey Wall
A.D. Scott. Atria, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4516-6577-2

In Scott’s appealing third novel set in the 1950s Scottish Highlands (after 2011’s A Double Death on the Black Isle), the arrest of Donal McLeod, the Highland Gazette’s deputy editor, for fatally stabbing the newspaper’s business manager, Mrs. Smart, throws the newsroom into chaos. None of the staff can believe Donal is capable of cold-blooded murder, least of all editor McAllister and reporter Joanne Ross, who set out to find the real killer. The police, on the other hand, think Donal had ample motive as a major beneficiary of Mrs. Smart’s will. Scott vividly evokes Scotland of the period, where tweed skirts are de rigueur for women, and separation from a spouse is almost unheard of. The well-drawn characters, who come from a range of backgrounds, give a broad view of the social milieu—especially Glaswegian McAllister, a relative newcomer to the Highlands. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2012