It used to be fun

So, it’s valentine’s week, is it? It must be, as hubby has bought two great big bunches of daffodils. He knows they are my favourite flowers. It must be because they look like golden trumpets and jazz always makes me happy.

Goodreads had suggestions for romantic reads but I didn’t suggest my novel. ” A Lesson for the Teacher” as, although I intended it to be a romance, it turned out to be more a ‘coming of age/adult tale.’ Naturally it included loves and losses but they were only part of the story and the man who was the main romantic interest wasn’t at all like the ’50 shades’ type of man. Setting it in the 1960’s helped me to include that odd mixture of innocence and daring that marked out the ‘ Swinging sixties.’ It seems so long ago.

I doubt if I’ll write an eighth novel, especially after reading “The Light Years” by Elizabeth Jane Howard. What an eye opener, and only the first of a collection! I say I don’t like historical novels but this was such a fine book I felt overwhelmed. Of course it has been dramatised and I would probably never see it but it isn’t only the story, it is also the quality of the writing that made me feel like a real amateur.

 

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A lesson for the Teacher cover

Never mind, I’ve ordered a book on editing so should be learning more of my craft soon!

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Writing Crime

Wow – how difficult is that! I’ve been reading a lot of crime stories recently and am amazed at the plots. I love watching Vera on TV and find police shows interesting but I’m not so keen on police procedural novels. I think I need to identify with the detective and when it’s a grumpy old man I’m not always on his side. It’s different if it is a maverick rebel. Robert Goddard is good at writing those.

I am really trying to watch which posts get the most views as I would like to connect with a few more people. I think giving the posts a good title is probably key. I’ll see if this one works. meanwhile, I’ve done the short story for the competition. That’s two this month.

I use the bookworm picture when I’m posting about books or writing. Is this a good idea?bookwormclipart

Buying books

I never used to purchase books. I always used the library, and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to read the same book more than once. Then I began to write reviews and found if I did not write them as soon as I finished a novel I forgot what it was about and if I had already taken it back to the library I could not give it a fair review.

Of course, there are some writers whose stories stay with you for ever, but not many, especially as I read about two books a week.

So I started to buy books. not from bookshops but from amazon and not when they were full price but second hand. There are books I mean to buy but they are too new and too expensive at present. I am happy that my books are still available as used copies, although ” A Lesson for the Teacher” ( the 1960’s romance) and ” Never Run Away” are also on kindle. I can see that the rarer they are the more the price goes up and I no longer post( as the publisher) to America.

I’ll try to ration my purchases this year as there is no more room on our bookshelves. I am now about to start thinning out all the magazines I have collected over the years to make a space. Wish me luck!img_0244

Book Review. A Portrait of Rosanna.

I have always enjoyed books by Elaine Hankin but this one gripped me more than most. It was fascinating to read how Rosanna interacted with the men in her life and how the whereabouts of the portrait was a constant mystery throughout. The descriptions of Italy were fascinating and the characterisations excellent. A thoroughly good read.

I did begin to wonder whether folk gave up on purchasing paperbacks when the book they required was on kindle. Knowing that my first book, Lane’s End is no longer available as a new book and was never an e book I checked on amazon to see if it was there. Happily there are second hand copies for sale, which is how I buy my paperbacks.

Since my kindle stopped working I have gone back to getting most books out of the library unless, like A Portrait of Rosanna, I want to keep them to read again.bookwormclipart

Building a brand

It is suggested on twitter that self publishers turn themselves into a brand. This, I suppose, means encouraging readers to discover more about the author and share in their ups and downs, find out about what made them want to write and what their writing life is like. Presumably it is supposed that the more the reader knows about the author the more inclined they will be to read their books.

I’m sure it works for some writers, especially if you are writing about a place or a lifestyle that the readers identify with, but what if your story is pure fantasy, or a crime novel set outside your own experience?

The idea of giving the readers a taste of your work is good, but I’m not sure they would want to know about the everyday family details that make up the lives of a lot of writers.

Would discussions on politics, recipes, illnesses, education and all the other things we think about help to make people want to read what we have written? Not, I suggest, if it is escapist fiction. I’m open to argument but I honestly believe the only way to find readers is to build up a following who know what to expect and look forward to your next offering. It will take years for most self publishers and, meanwhile, Julie C Round will continue to write and give talks on her writing to anyone who is ready to listen.

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Planning a Gig

After my debut performance at Woodies folk club I am now back to planning for our Charity Gig on November 23rd at Lancing Leisure Centre.

The Sea Scribes and the Friends of St Barnabas are combining to host a “Tunes and Tales” event with stories, music and the odd verse. We shall have a raffle for the charity and a prize for the lucky ticket and a number of folk musicians have offered to play and sing between the readings.

All I have to do is work out a programme. The writing group members will be timing their contributions next week and then I need to slot them between the other performers. Last time it ended too soon so I have a few limericks ready to fill in the spaces. We also have books for sale. St Barnabas is our local hospice and almost all of us know someone who has been involved with the charity or used their facilities. Not only will I be offering our novels but we also have anthologies for sale which will make ideal gifts.Broadwater book table

Writing Magazine

bookwormclipartI was reading this month’s magazine when I came upon a little piece about me and my books. It was such a long time since I sent it in I had forgotten all about it.

I should have added a web address but otherwise it was fine, although I always think other writers cannot possibly read books by all the authors who submit to Writing Magazine. Just occasionally a review or a story might make a reader search out more by that writer and one can hope that a publisher might be curious enough to find out whether one would be a good bet for promotion.

Having been told once that my work was’not commercial’ I gave up sending to agents. It is enough to constantly be asked for another book by the folk who do buy a copy. It will be interesting to find out if anyone shows an interest at the UK Southern Book Show on 28th October at Field Place, Worthing. It should be a great showcase.