Showing posts from October, 2021

Reflections by Neil McGowan

 I had the idea for the following story when listening to a programme on the radio. The music was Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique, but it was the interval feature that really piqued my interest, talking about the great writers of Gothic fiction. The premise dropped into my mind almost immediately, and the subject matter gave me an opportunity to try and write in that style. It was harder than I'd expected - much more exposition and over-writing than contemporary fiction; once I finished the first draft, the challenge was to pull back some of the padding, but still try and retain a sense of the period. I thought this might make an interesting read for Halloween, so without further ado, please enjoy 'Reflections'.   Reflections There are moments in one's life when two unrelated and seemingly disparate ideas come together in a moment that makes one sit up and take notice. Out of such moments can come great works of science, or art, or literature; it all depends

Shedless still I prattle: N M Browne

 The image of the writer tends to be that of the solitary genius. Maybe George Bernard Shaw springs to mind in his shed that moved to follow the sun?     These embodied stereotypes are often male, hard drinking, melancholic and usually gifted in ways that sets them apart from lesser mortals: excuses are made for horrible behaviour, faults are fondly reframed as idiosyncrasies.   As a female writer, who is not a solitary genius, or indeed a genius at all, I am prone to wondering (usually when I should be writing) if this stereotype holds me back. My red wine intake is perhaps a little too high but I’m generally an optimistic soul and my idiosyncrasies are all reframed as faults.    When we write it is just us and the words on the page, but I don’t know if that makes the experience unique or even that solitary. We are often not alone in person. Writers I know write in coffee shops, on kitchen tables around the detritus of family life, on packed trains and in little slivers of time squeez

Wilma's live by Kirsten Bett

Completed projects often leave me with an enormous void. With writing books, I have found out, it is different.  This time, no dark black hole... I was saved by the M-word. Yep, marketing. I had already started on social media. Now I am working on my prequel to give away as a present when people subscribe to my newsletter. What are your thoughts on that? I like doing the prequel because the questions in the book are things I have often asked myself. How did Wilma land on the tulip fields? How did she survive. I mean she weighed 99 grams when we found her, that is not an awful lot. Or, maybe she was a wild cat and we took her in... I love this part of writing, the 'what if stage'. But then I wake up and realise I need to sign up to mailerlite (tick); transfer my website to another platform - preferably one that is easy to work (tick and loving it, just need to create about 500 thumbnails for the images); get a customised email address (tick), and another day has gone

Louise Penny - A Writer for other Writers to Envy

We all have to have someone to professionally envy and at the moment my green-eyed stare is boring into Louise Penny. Louise is a wildly successful Canadian writer of mystery and detective novels, which is enough to make her an object of envy for many other writers on its own, but she has now raised good fortune to a whole other level. All readers of this blog know that writing good books is only half the battle in this profession, you also have to deploy some skillful marketing, and/or enjoy an enormous slice of good luck, if you want to bring that writing to the attention of large audiences. Louise has had the good fortune – or networking skills – to be approached by Hillary Clinton, who, inspired by her husband’s fruitful collaboration with James Patterson, wanted to write a novel but knew she would need help from someone who had the necessary skills to keep readers turning the pages. I have not met either of them, but I am willing to guess that this project was good fun for

Covid Diary by Rituparna Sandilya

After 19 months of facing the virus in India, I realized that apart from my 'blog posts', even my stray thoughts on social media have somewhere unwittingly added up to a COVID DIARY of sorts. Quite a few are reflections on/about my daughter, who has been my only constant companion through this period. The rest charts the covid-graph in my life & mind.  Thought of collating it for this month's post for AE. 24 March 2020 (immediately after the 1st lockdown was announced) May we all live through the coming 3 weeks with strength, patience & compassion. May good sense prevail. Stay safe!   21 April 2020 After 4 weeks of lockdown, I have nothing but admiration for those who are successfully harnessing their inner strength and resourcefulness & nothing but sympathy for those who are trying but failing. Meanwhile, doffs hat to the resilience of kids (at home for 5 weeks now), most of whom don't have siblings to play with, and are thus - beyond zoom classes a

The Broch of Brochs by Susan Price

  The broch of Mousa: by kind permission of David Simpson. A bit of a departure, this month. Instead of a blog about writing, a broch blog. Brochs fascinate me, partly because no one knows who built them, or why or what they were for. And where no one knows, that's where the writer gets in. Mousa is a small island off the coast of mainland Shetland with a Norse name. The 'a' at the end, as in many British place-names, means 'island.' 'Mous' means 'mossy.' The 'Mousa boat' ferries you across to the mossy island. It's a nature reserve now, and well worth visiting for the birds and seals alone. But what I wanted to see -- what I'd wanted to see for years -- was already ancient when the Vikings called the island mossy. The Broch of Mousa. It did not disappoint. The first glimpse of the broch is a striking: a monumental tower, against sky and sea, its walls gently curving like those of a modern cooling tower. Towers in the North by Armit A