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Friday, 19 September 2014

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – I recall being told.






My writing and reading - 'shelfie'



On 17 September Mary Tod on a post on her awriterofhistory website reports Derek Birks author of Feud, A Traitor’s Fate and Kingdom of Rebels tagged her to create a ‘writer’s shelfie’ with books that are important to her writing. Mary chose ten which seemed to her like a reasonable number, although she says she could have selected a lot more.



To imitate a good idea I will do the same. Thanks - Derek and Mary ... also downloaded one of your books Derek so your post worked. Interesting to compare with Tony Riches recent book  Warwick - The Man Behind Wars of the Roses. My 'Selfie' books must have been in recent use as I found them easily ... a surprise.



My baker’s dozen are as above from - help in my own writing at the top of the pile - down through reference works for writing technique and then books which I would like to have written towards and at the bottom.


More detailed comments to come in a later post



Douglas and Alexander – fact and fantasy twin brothers.




Monday, 15 September 2014

Without a keyboard


One of my regular thought provoking messages which arrives in my e mail account is from Seth Godin. Although I like the speed of the i pad I find the screen based keyboard is a right bind.

See

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/09/without-a-keyboard.html Thanks Seth.
When the masses only connect to the net without a keyboard, who will be left to change the world?
It is possible but unlikely that someone will write a great novel on a tablet.
You can't create the spreadsheet that changes an industry on a smart phone.
And professional programmers don't sit down to do their programming with a swipe.
Many people are quietly giving away one of the most powerful tools ever created—the ability to craft and spread revolutionary ideas. Coding, writing, persuading, calculating—they still matter. Yes, of course the media that's being created on the spot, the live, the intuitive, this matters. But that doesn't mean we don't desperately need people like you to dig in and type.
The trendy thing to do is say that whatever technology and the masses want must be a good thing. But sometimes, what technology wants isn't what's going to change our lives for the better.
The public square is more public than ever, but minds are rarely changed in 140 character bursts and by selfies.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Guardian Self Published Book of the Month

See
 
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/08/the-guardian-legend-self-published-book-of-the-month

This looks to be a good opportunity.

Passed to me by Bubblecow - thanks Gary

Douglas 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Further post on TIPM

Douglas continues his series of articles on writing and reading for pleasure.

“I enjoy thinking about how to write a good novel. It is a huge question and one that is impossible to answer completely; perhaps that is its fascination. So much is required from a novelist:

Originality, imagination, dedication, skill with words, sharp observation, an understanding of people, the time and ability to work alone on one project for months or even years.

It’s daunting.”


Part of the forward to More about How to Write a Mi££ion by Michael Ridpath written in 1996.

Few of the basics appear to have changed in 18 years.

Read rest of post in link ...

http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/09/writing-and-reading-for-pleasure-part.html
“I enjoy thinking about how to write a good novel. It is a huge question and one that is impossible to answer completely; perhaps that is its fascination. So much is required from a novelist: 
Originality, imagination, dedication, skill with words, sharp observation, an understanding of people, the time and ability to work alone on one project for months or even years. 
It’s daunting.” 

Part of the forward to More about How to Write a Mi££ion by Michael Ridpath written in 1996. 
Few of the basics appear to have changed in 18 years.
- See more at: http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/09/writing-and-reading-for-pleasure-part.html#sthash.ZpQdACPC.dpuf
“I enjoy thinking about how to write a good novel. It is a huge question and one that is impossible to answer completely; perhaps that is its fascination. So much is required from a novelist: 
Originality, imagination, dedication, skill with words, sharp observation, an understanding of people, the time and ability to work alone on one project for months or even years. 
It’s daunting.” 

Part of the forward to More about How to Write a Mi££ion by Michael Ridpath written in 1996. 
Few of the basics appear to have changed in 18 years.
- See more at: http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/09/writing-and-reading-for-pleasure-part.html#sthash.ZpQdACPC.dpuf
“I enjoy thinking about how to write a good novel. It is a huge question and one that is impossible to answer completely; perhaps that is its fascination. So much is required from a novelist: 
Originality, imagination, dedication, skill with words, sharp observation, an understanding of people, the time and ability to work alone on one project for months or even years. 
It’s daunting.” 

Part of the forward to More about How to Write a Mi££ion by Michael Ridpath written in 1996. 
Few of the basics appear to have changed in 18 years.
- See more at: http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/09/writing-and-reading-for-pleasure-part.html#sthash.ZpQdACPC.dpuf

Monday, 8 September 2014

Turning-Point a first novel written by my Writing Buddy Calvin Hedley

Link to Amazon to see, read an extract and buy.





1.0 What is the book about? - Extract from back cover



Matthew Pelham’s disappearance, while flying an RAF Harrier, can only be explained through investigations conducted some forty years apart.



The quest involves wartime intelligence services, high politics in the Third Reich and beleaguered Britain, and has incalculable implications for the war’s course and future events.



This book has a special significance for me as I read and commented on several drafts in summer 2013 having been given the opportunity because Calvin is a writing buddy of mine. I paused while writing this post to confirm in my own mind its historical fiction status. I can do so given some detailed scenes in 1940 and machinations of government power and secrecy in the 1980s linked by a Diana Gabaldon type of time shift.



I enjoy fiction with split time backgrounds especially Katherine Webb’s Unseen and Half a Forgotten Story. The time link in Turning-Point is pure magic with subtle implications for the present.



I commend the book as an interesting and memorable read.



2.0 A Writing Buddy



When I started writing in 2010 I began to receive advice and vibrations about needing to find a writing buddy. I still do not like this name but cannot think of a better one. My mother said to me in my teens I would need to find a good woman to look after and be a lifelong friend and companion. Searching for and finding a wife and writing buddy appear to me to be lessons in chemistry in achieving the best mix and least explosive reactions. The prospect of me finding a female writing buddy with potential bad chemistry with my wife left me nervous. I should not have worried as I met Calvin on the setting up of a local writer’s group, we being the two males out of the five founding members who have stayed the course.



I found we shared an interest in bloke’s things, technical matters including war strategy, hardware and technology respectful of the human cost. My poor grasp of the English language continues to be supported by Calvin’s deep practical knowledge of grammar and punctuation. Neither of us hold back on expressing our often blunt views on life and our respective writing. Between us we manage to fill holes in our respective knowledge of the world of writing and publishing.



3.0 My Amazon review



My review is as follows against my own reading criteria for a good read:-



A memorable book which is a pleasure to read – Five stars



Cover 4/5 – I prefer covers that show exactly what is inside a book to draw me in and purchase. The Harrier Jet fighter is spot on with the eye(s) having more subtle significance.



Contents – Four and a half rounded up to a Five star rating.

* Engrossing and interesting – Turning-Point scores highly in this area with many hooks and interesting scenes to keep the pages turning.


* Enjoyment and entertainment – I find wartime books are always difficult to comment on in this area because of the seriousness of the subject. Richard Pelham’s dealings in the 1980s with government power and concealment ring very true.

* Emotional - Not too high in this area. Apart from the mourning of a family for a son and brother, I identified more with the characters of the 1940s at war than those of the 1980s as I often do. Perhaps because I know more about the 1980s than the 1940s.



* Educational – Calvin kept a good information flow going about the horrors and technicalities of WW2 expressed in scenes and recollections of those who served being neatly woven into the story.

* Ease of reading – The writing flows well and allows the pages to be turned making the book hard to put down.

Endings are important to me and generally I do not like the happily ever after variety. The ending of Turning-Point is satisfactory leaving some uncertainties and even after two reads I found a need to go back into the book to check various points again.



I found Turning-Point to be one of my best fiction reads of last year. When I read the drafts in 2013 I thought hard about placing the book relative to others. The nearest references I can recall in 2014 are Ken Follett’s books The Hornet Flight and Eye of the Needle and I gave them each four stars. So well done Calvin - you have overcome much to write and publish a memorable book which is a pleasure to read.



4.0 Note about the author – my writing buddy.



Calvin Hedley has written for many years and Turning-Point is his first novel. Partially sighted since birth, he became totally blind in 1997. He lives in Coventry England with his wife Denise.



Douglas of the Allrighters and Ywnwab!