Posts

Showing posts from October, 2019

Writing is all about Eating Flowers, Sunlight

Image
I was away for more than a month on book tour for You Beneath Your Skin.

Back home I thought the plants were drying up, but clearly not. The better half had been taking care of them. Other than, well, pruning.

Result: three pumpkin vines running riot playing tag in my tiny balcony, throwing out incandescent yellow blossoms as they climb up other shrubs, railings, pots.

(I come from a part of India that has figured out the art of not letting any part of an edible plant go to waste, so of course we eat flowers. Pumpkin flowers, to be exact. We eat the leaves too, but that's a story for another time.)

I'd returned grimy and exhausted from an overnight flight, but these pieces of yellow light brought back too much nostalgia. I washed my hands, and then out came a packet of chickpea flour. I mixed it in with salt, water, and a pinch of baking soda for a super-quick batter.

Harvested the blossoms, tore out their egg-yolk-orange stamens, dipped them in batter and let them slide into…

Old Houses, Hauntings and Overworked Skivvies by Enid Richemont

Image
I have already posted this on Facebook, so lazily scooped up the info and popped it in here, too. I hope some of you might be interested enough to grab a free copy, and if so, that you enjoy reading it.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00846FYX0



There is SO much more to say about both the house and the story. The house itself, with its strange and magical name: "Chanteloup", is in the Vendee region of France, and quite remote. It belonged to our Parisian friends who came from that region, and had been in their family for an incredibly long time. When we first went, it was, of course, with them, and quite a long time ago. Later, at their generous invitation, we returned twice, to take holidays there, which was when I made the drawing of it below.



The house was extraordinary, and almost unchanged since the 1930s (we did NOT attempt to take a bath!) Much of it is described in the novel. It had once been a swamp area, infested with mosquitoes, hence a high instance of disease and early…

Ghostwriting Fiction - Andrew Crofts

Image
Invited to talk on the BBC’s Open Book programme with another ghostwriter a few months ago, I was taken aback when the host, Mariella Frostrup, expressed surprise at learning that many people now hire ghostwriters to write their novels for them.
Since Ms Frostrup is one of the most media and publishing-savvy people in the world, it occurred to me that the extent to which this is now happening may come as a surprise to most people.




Two novels by a ghostwriter about a ghostwriter.



I think it is now generally accepted that “celebrities” who want, or are persuaded by publishers, to write novels may need some help from professional writers. It is also an open secret that the big brand name authors like James Patterson use a stable of collaborators to do the actual writing of the books that go out under both their names, (but mainly the names of the big-brand authors).
What is less well known, but increasingly common, is that there are unknown authors who have been nurturing ideas for novels…

Fitzgerald’s woe: Fiction vs. Cinema -- Rituparna Roy

Image
I have just started working in a private college in Kolkata; and among my teaching assignments this semester, my favourite is an essay by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Crack-up. Written for the magazine ‘Esquire’ for their three consecutive issues of February, March and April 1936, this piece is one of the finest examples of the ‘personal essay’ – bold (for its time, in that the author chose to write about his breakdown at all ), insightful and moving. In writing about his crack-up, Fitzgerald gives us the highlights of his biography – but he does not give away names and years (that homework is meant for the reader), and very interestingly, actually conceals as much as he reveals.
The essay spoke to me at multiple levels, but what was most memorable for me were the sections where Fitzgerald talks about writing, and himself as a writer. And that happens close to the beginning and towards the end of the essay. He starts by saying there are two kinds of breakdowns and ends with the declaration…

This Is The End -- by Susan Price

Image

Sharing the Load by Lev Butts

Image
So I've been sitting on this for a while, and I still can't go into too much detail yet, but this past summer, I had the pleasure to write my first co-authored story, and I'd like to talk a little about it.

A few years ago, I met Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker (the author of Dracula) at a local Steampunk convention. I was there to promote Guns of the Waste Land, and he was giving a fascinating presentation, Stoker on Stoker, on the research and writing of Bram's masterpiece.

When we weren't on panels or presenting, we were across each other in the book sellers' area. In addition to his presentation, Dacre had also edited a volume of Bram Stoker's journals and co-authored a sequel to Dracula: Dracula the Un-Dead (It's pretty good; check it out).

We spent a good deal of time talking and getting to know each other since few people were finding their way to the Book Seller's Alley (Appropriately named as we were literally in a hall …

Kick those leaves and light those fires. Ali Bacon celebrates Autumn.

Image
Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't like Autumn? There are those who puff and pant their way through summer complaining about the heat, or who like me dread the dreariness of winter with its cold feet and chilblains - ugh! And however lovely spring can be, how many days of it do we usually get between the blizzard and the heat-wave? On our wedding day in Scotland it actually snowed -  and that was in April.


But autumn! I feel a collective sigh of appreciation going round. Even for those without a personal orchard, mellow fruitfulness can be found in abundance in the hedgerows: - sloes, damsons and blackberries. Scavenging - we love it! Then there's that feeling of pleasant wistfulness that goes with misty mornings and low sun through the trees as one year dwindles into another.  Kick those leaves and light those fires. Autumn perpares us for what is to come - soon I might be ready for hygge after all.



All these meanderings were brought on by our trip on Saturday to St Werbug&…