Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Poor Poetry

It is a common reaction of poets, even poor ones like me, whose only skill is the bush ballads of my father, that reading one poem causes an itch to reply and we fiddle with words until it's satisfied.

A fellow author penned a poem in praise of werewolves and posted in a group we both follow and my partner found me muttering to myself as I stared at it.

Here are my first three verses (with profound apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

You’ve heard the song of the Halflings. My brothers they are not we.
They yowl at the moon in mindless lust to tear at a hairless throat,
And the law of the pack is not for them. My brothers they are not we.
They slaughter the weak to earn man’s despite in the guise of our furry coat.
Then cow from the light as half bred curs. My brothers they are not we.

We spurn the claim of the Halflings. My brothers they are not we.
Not half, nor quarter, nor even a tithe; not fit to plunder the forest trails.
Or the steppes of the endless East. My brothers they are not we.
By night, they turn from our rightful prey to snuffle at woman’s tails
And mate with the hairless weaklings. My brothers they are not we.

We reared the twins in the hills of Rome. My brothers they were not we.
Gave them the strength to rule the world, but the blood it thinned in time,
And they fell to the Huns who followed our trail. My brothers they were not we.
They took our name for the U-boats who braved the Atlantic’s rime,
And harried the plodding convoys. My brothers they were not we.

There's more unfortunately, but I'll keep them to myself.


Friday, January 26, 2007

To Travel Hopefully

I'd always believed this to be quotation of Lord Byron until I researched it for a book and found it attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson and he added "is a better thing than to arrive and the true success is to labour." at the end.

It's a good description of the third book about the First Family of the Blood, especially the addendum.

Like the second book, it picks up from the end of the last story and continues, this time with Jack and Rachael, before changing direction to follow another character into another development of the Family. All three of these books have been written the same way, becoming voyages of discovery rather than journeying from one known point to another.

I'm finding it a fascinating way of writing, all the more so because I'm working on another story at the same time which has been plotted and outlined to death and written as episodes out of sequence for eventual joining together. (I believe most movies are shot this way and only joined up at the end.) I'm having fun with both stories and enjoying the comparison of writing methods without thinking either is necessarily the best. A case for "horses for courses' it seems.

Happy Australia Day to all


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The rich tapestry of life?

Our elder daughter tore a muscle in her lower back five days ago and a six-week-old baby and an energetic four-year-old made life impossible so we've been spending most of our time there while her husband is at work. The younger daughter is having sleeping and feeding problems with the three-month-old so a division of labor seems imminent (or some form of shift-work).

My writing has slipped down the food chain a little while this is happening and walking around the house pacifying our newest grandchild has aggravated the tendinitis in my right shoulder. (It's not incapacitating, just painful)

I wouldn't miss this for the world, but I'm sure it will be better looking back than it is now.


Friday, January 19, 2007

The King is dead! Long Live the King!

The contracts for Feodar's World are signed and dispatched, the one-liner and the blurb written, and the fourteen questions of the Artwork Questionnaire answered. Now, until the edits and the artwork return, it makes way for its successor and becomes history. I will have one last chance to change things, but time will be pressing by then and I'll probably accept the edits and return to what I'm writing. The King is indeed dead.

The third book in the series about the First Family of the Blood is one of my works in progress and the enthusiasm of the publisher's response has lifted it to the top of the queue again. I've just read the first two stories to refresh my memory and am fiddling with a hard copy of the twenty thousand words already written, doing a bit of cut and paste to juggle events into a more logical progression and sharpen the beginning hook. I normally do this at the end of the first draft, but there's been more interruptions than normal in this one. (Our elder daughter has just torn a muscle in her lower back and our grandson is barely a month old and his sister nearly four, so it's all hands to the pumps to help out until she recovers - just another thread in the rich tapestry of our lives)

I sat for a long time with the email from New Concepts. Accepting their contract virtually locks the remaining books of the series to this publisher and I've already expressed my reservations about the match between what I write and they publish. My partner was more pragmatic. "Accept the contract and get on with your writing. You're wasting valuable time sitting there."

Good advice, probably.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Feodar's World

Feodar's World, the follow-up to New Blood, has been accepted with some enthusiasm by New Concepts Publishing. Their reaction to the book is good for the soul, but I'm left to weigh my options carefully before I sign the contract.

The advantages of having both books, and the third perhaps, with the same publisher have to be balanced against my perception that my stories fall outside the niche they have created in erotic romances. One reviewer labelled New Blood as mildly sensual and I have no argument with the classification. Feodar's World, has a little more sensuality, but not enough to move it into the class of the books around it at New Concepts.

I suspect I shall sign the contract because I have twenty thousand plus words written of the third book and some more interesting ideas to explore in its environment.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Writer's World

As a late-comer to writing, I find it both fascnating and frustrating.

The creative side is great. I get up each morning filled with energy and plunge into the work in progress and have to tear myself away to eat or any of the other mundane chores of life. Were it not for my spouse, my social life would cease to exist for great blocks of time, our home would settle into the dust of disrepair and my body would become a brain and its interface with the computer. None of these things happen, which is just as well.

The business side, publishers, promotion, etc., is frustrating. I navigate my way through it like a ship entering an unknown harbor, taking frequent soundings, searching for leads towards my goals and extremely conscious of my uncertainties. The publishing world is a mass of rumors and innuendoes. Nothing is quite as it seems. Caution steered me clear of Commonwealth Publications and I survived the closure of LTD Books, but things are so tight out there that every statement has to be tested and good will is no guarantee.

I'm too pragmatic to expect change, so I'll just muddle on as before, enjoying what I can and enduring the rest.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Settling into the New Year

A detailed edit of Feodar's World is my entry point to this year's writing and I'm accumulating a list of points not adequately explained in this continuation of New Blood.

As it could be with an different publisher, I can't rely on the reader knowing the previous story and must clarify the references adequately. The whole thing is an exercise in clear thinking and is blowing away the writing cobwebs accumulated in the festive season distractions.

I enjoyed most of them.

The 100th birthday celebrations for my aunt yesterday turned into a massive family reunion with more guests than her years and she coped remarkably well with both the heat (35 degrees Celsius) and the excitement.

Our son, a soldier himself with an earned combat rifleman's badge, saw the obituary photo of my uncle and made a comment perhaps only a soldier who'd seen action might make.

The photo was taken before Jim went north to a campaign that saw half his platoon become casualties. My son identified the "braveness" of the smile as being the way Jim wanted himself remembered if he didn't make it and it clarified the picture in a way no other words could.

There are experiences that change the way we see the world.


Friday, January 05, 2007

The Festive Season

The new grandchildren are settling down, the family visits are coming to an end and normalcy lies just beyond the horizon-I hope.

I'm not sure whether it's because I've grown older or because this festive season was even more hectic than usual, but I have a guilty pleasure in its ending and the prospect of going back to a more humdrum pace, writing regularly rather than snatching the odd moment, waking less than exhausted by the pace of events and revelling in the privacy of our home once more.

In the meantime, The Romance Studio have added me to their Featured Member list for January with a interview and an excerpt from Mitchell's Valley, which you can see here.

Congratulations on surviving the festive season and my best wishes for the new year