Archive for the Writing and Things Literary Category

Fickle Now Seems To Be The New Essential

Posted in Scandalous!, Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , on December 19, 2011 by AF

Once upon a time I posted to my blog pretty much on a daily basis – sometimes even more often. I also used to check the blogs I liked the best several times a day. Now it all seems to me to be changing and I’m not alone in that.

Recently, as I’ve visited other blogs in my blog-roll, it appears that fewer and fewer are posting on a regular basis. So, apart from the odd half dozen to whom I can remain faithful, I’m going to have to search out new people to add to my list. Consequently, since I seem to often enjoy those sites written by female bloggers, that means I’m going to be off seeking new women to follow around. At my time of life! I ask you! Is it too much to ask for a little constancy in these modern, fickle times of ours?

Of the eighty or ninety blogs I once followed diligently via RSS, about a third have disappeared altogether over time and less and less post regularly. What do you think has changed? Is it now essential to be fickle and seek out new places to find interest? With the increase in so called online dating, which should often in reality now be called online hooking up for the night, so it appears that everything else has gone the same way too and my impression is that the only current constant is the steadily decreasing value of fidelity, be it with respect to matters relating to sex, friendship, or any other sort of relationship.

What is changing? Is the instant gratification offered by the internet and buying online now permeating all aspects of modern life?

😉

I Can’t Get Close To Some Women

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , on October 10, 2011 by AF

Surprisingly (you might reasonably think), for once I’m not talking here about the fact that various desirable sexy icons from the world of celebrities don’t even know I exist (why would they?), or even about some failing that prevents me from forming meaningful relationships – on a bad day, I wish!

No, this post is actually a statement of my unbounded admiration for some (many?) successful female writers in particular.

As an example of this, take Molly Greene. To me, she and others like her are simply awesome. I cannot imagine how she manages the vast amount of work she appears to get through in an average day, month, year. Discussing building a following on Twitter (an excellent article that you can find here in full or just go to her blog and read everything she writes) as a way of gaining publicity and therefore increasing sales, she revealed a good deal about her ability to juggle life that amazes me. The same thing applies to the great friends she names in the article.

This is how she describes herself:

“Novelist, author, writer with an extensive real estate background. Has appeared in the National Association of Realtors® Magazine, the San Diego Association of Realtors® Magazine, Apartment Association magazines throughout California, Scotsman Guide, and Reader’s Digest. Author of the booklet “For Sale By Owner.” Mystery novel “Mark of the Loon” will be released late 2011. Currently working on a sequel, “Rapunzel.” Serial remodeler, rehabbed and sold six homes, several by owner, without an agent in purchase or sale. Currently remodeling number seven!”

Really? When the heck does she find time to sleep, eat, be normal? Come to that, when does she find time to write – anything?

I know that women are famously wonderful at multi-tasking and some of her better known author friends and others do frequently guest post (which must be a huge help – any offers?), but I can’t achieve anything close to that level of output. On top of that, I’m just a tad jealous of how well written, thoughtful and full of excellent tips and advice her articles are.

I guess the truth I have to face is that, as a mere male, I’ll never get close to women like Molly Greene in terms of work and, even if I did by some freak chance get close to one such as her on a personal level, she’d probably scare the hell out of me!

Ah, well… such is my lot, I fear…

😉

I Guess I’m A Fan

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2011 by AF

In my opinion, the apparent (public) personas of Jennifer Lopez, Kim Cattrall and Cameron Diaz (amongst a few others) make them three of the sexiest women on the planet today. On top of that, I generally think that Marilyn Monroe (who was anything but the dumb blonde she usually portrayed) must probably have been one of the sexiest women to ever walk the Earth since humanity began – so I suppose that makes me a fan of these women, though I don’t much like that term. For sure, I do often rather idolise sexy women with attitude and these females of our species all fall well into that category – in my mind at least.

Of course, many of you may disagree and even detest (or at the very least not much like) my choices and their work. But then, that’s the point, isn’t it? This is an example of my personal taste and not everyone likes the same things. However, the fact is that when people go to see a film starring these individuals, or if they read a book by a well known author, view a picture by a famous artist, or go to a concert by Kylie Minogue or some similar superstar, the majority of the people involved are already “fans” of what that artist provides and adulation by the audience is therefore almost guaranteed.

So, that leaves us with something of a conflict: Whilst diversity is the basis for the success of our species, finding those with a common attitude is the key to individual triumph for many and particularly for those who do the sort of things people like me do – things “artistic”. If you’ve already made it big, that’s quite easy since the mere mention of your name will enable tens of thousands (hopefully even millions) of people to instantly recognise the type of work you do and know that they like (or dislike) it…

But what of the rest of us? If you have the odd few million pounds or dollars tucked away, a TV advertising campaign will almost certainly make your fortune. But then, if you have that sort of money spare, why would you bother, unless it’s solely for vanity’s sake?

Naturally, not all of us are the next William Shakespeare (I know I’m not) and many of us wouldn’t even want to be, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of us don’t create half decent work that many would find enjoyable – if only we could get known by those members of the public who would buy what we produce if they even knew we existed and had experienced our creativity. Of course, Twitter, FB and the like are good platforms for self promotion, but is there really that much point in advertising your work to other writers? A few may buy what you do; a few may be good enough to review your work and speak kindly of it; a few also read everything they can get their hands on and may then tell others. But the truth is, I suspect, that what we are often forming on such social sites is what amounts to a pretty limited and often quite elitist mutual admiration society.

The big book stores and the whole conventional publishing industry acts as a sort of “fan club” for writers and other artists and presents their work to the world at large – sadly, since they are primarily businesses, they (quite naturally and not unreasonably) only do that for the already successful, those who have formerly achieved fame (or maybe infamy) and the lucky few these omnipotent beings decide will, by hook or by crook, be the next big thing…

There must be a better way for everyone else, but I’m damned if I know what it is…

😦

I Actually Managed To Do Some Work

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2011 by AF

I’ve quite surprised myself recently. I’ve never been the most industrious of authors. When I say that, I’m not really referring to the amount I write, but more my lack of sticking to the drudgery of editing and preparing stuff for publication when I’m not pushed by some outside force (like an agent or publisher)… and that’s one of the many problems I personally find when going the Indie route that I mentioned in an earlier post.

However, recently, I’ve had a bit of a rush of blood to the head (or something like that) ever since my decision to turn at least some of my stuff into eBook format and publish it on Amazon and so forth.

On top of that, I’m equally bad at persevering with doing what needs to be done when it comes to advertising my work too. It’s true I just love to do what I do regardless, but there isn’t ultimately all that much point in doing all that work if I don’t bother to tell anyone about it, is there? Hence this post and a few other inadequate things I’m doing.

The Superior Gene:

The Superior Gene is a Sci-Fi adventure story that is set mostly in the next century. It is of course rather darker in places than my fun romances, but it also has its lighter side too. However, as with most of my Sci-Fi stories, it’s more about the human condition when a “what if” scenario confuses things, rather than tales full of “bug-eyed” monsters. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of sex in it too. Now there’s a surprise, coming from me, eh?

Book 1 – Jason, Source Of The Gene is (as I mentioned a while ago) now published for Kindle and has been selling quite well. In fact, to be honest, it’s selling very well considering the fact that I’ve done almost nothing to seriously promote it.

Still, you do really need to read it before you start the second and third books of the trilogy and they are coming along much quicker than I anticipated – largely as a result of my new found diligence.

Book 2 – Louise, Progress of The Gene is perhaps the biggest surprise for me, since that too is now available for Kindle… I know – already! Scary, isn’t it? I mean, what am I thinking? Two books in a month! Jeez! Louise is quite exciting too with a fair bit of death and danger along the way and plenty of sex, of course.

The book explains more and takes the story forward quite a lot. Louise is the one main character  common to all three books.

However, more terrifying yet (for me) is the fact that…

Book 3 – Justin, Destiny of The Gene
will also be finished in eBook format in the next few weeks too! I know – bloody hell! Actually, Justin is the book that pulls the whole thing together and makes this into a real trilogy. It explains things about my scenario that must surely puzzle some readers within the other two books, which in part set the scene for book 3 to happen at all.

Anyway, like I say, book 3 will be out fairly soon too, so please hurry up and read books 1 and 2…

😆

Actually, thinking about it now, I suppose the trilogy could quite easily be turned into a whole series, if some TV or film producer is interested… Anyone?

Oh well… never mind, eh?

😉

Follow The Indie Route?

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2011 by AF

I can understand those who favour the Indie route to publishing and there are two main reasons for that…

Firstly: Who wants to hang around whilst dozens, perhaps hundreds, of agents wait three months to not even bother to read your submissions, query letters and so on? And many publishers seemingly won’t even open mail that doesn’t come from an agent.

Authors tend to be independent thinkers (the literal meaning of “Indie” is independent if you don’t know, as I didn’t until a while back), so it’s hardly surprising that they are not immediately enamoured of the stranglehold that the system has had on their livelihoods.

Secondly: The conventional agent/publisher setup has more and more moved towards making their authors do most of the work anyway and many authors now have to find, arrange and then attend their own book signings, lectures, talks, do their own advertising and more – so why would they want to give away ten to twenty percent of their meagre royalties to someone who’s doing damn all for them?

However, there is also a third reason: The publishing world has changed only in the last few years – very rapidly and dramatically. We are witnessing a revolution that has resulted from the rise of the Internet and the sudden explosion in communications that has engendered a desire for eBooks. What was once a fad, a niche, a trickle, has now almost magically turned into a mighty torrent in which conventional publishing is often close to drowning as it is carried along by the current. Of course, Amazon did much to kick it off, but now many of the big guys are scrambling to climb aboard and some of them have pretty certainly left it too late.

The problem that I see with all that (and it’s where I kind of think the big publishers have shot themselves repeatedly in the foot with their past arrogance and greed, which threatens to make them ultimately irrelevant) is that the Indie scene is not just about independence, but almost a way of life where often only the most diligent and tenacious of its believers are likely to succeed.

The reason I say that is because a whole lot of writers want to do just that: write! They don’t have any desire to be entrepreneurs, salespeople, marketers, advertisers and all the rest. By their very nature, writers are usually creative people and they are mostly happiest when they are just writing in the hope that someone, somewhere, will read what they turn out.

However, I suppose they could always seek a person or company who would be their agent in this and who… Ohw… Goddamn it!

😉

There Always Seems To Be Sex In Everything

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by AF

That’s: there always seems to be sex in pretty much everything I write – blog posts, books, short stories – even my Sci-Fi novels. I guess that says something about me, do you think?

Ah, well… Why not, eh? After all, it’s what makes the world go round for most of us, isn’t it? Let’s face it, without sex, we’d probably all still be single cell organisms. Worse than that, it would appear that I’d have nothing to say about anything – and I do like to write, even when relatively few people read it.

In fact writing and sex have a lot in common for me: I adore both activities even when I don’t get paid for doing either of them! Mind you, money’s important – sex anyone?

However, on that score and in the true spirit of shameless self promotion, some of my novels are now coming out as eBooks…

Seductive Chance, my story of an artist who discovers all sorts of things about himself and women over a two year or so period is now available for Kindle on Amazon. It’s a bit of light-hearted fun with quite a lot of sex in it too (of course).

The women in the book tend to be fairly strong and decisive (and naturally pretty horny), whilst Mike Farmer, the male lead and narrator seems to spend most of his time full of self-doubt. He’s a nice guy at heart and pretty quiet and unassuming, just like me I guess… Hah! Okay, okay… not at all like me, then!

The Superior Gene: Book One – Jason, Source Of The Gene is also there (books 2 & 3 of the trilogy should also be up there in the next few weeks/months). The Superior Gene is a Sci-Fi adventure story that is set mostly in the next century. It is of course rather darker in places than my fun romances, but it also has its lighter side too. However, it in part describes an Earth where women have finally realised that it doesn’t matter a damn what men think. Naturally, that means there’s quite a bit of sex in it too. Now there’s a surprise, eh?

Even if you don’t buy either of the books (though it would be lovely if you did, of course), just take a peek at them at least, will you? Will you really? Please… Pretty please?

😉

You Might Have Noticed

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by AF

…or you might not, of course. However, the thing to which I am referring is the fact that, unlike some bloggers, I’m more than happy to get into a discussion with commenters. That, if I’m to be honest, is probably why I tend at times – all right then, often – to be somewhat “controversial”, if not downright outrageous! I like a debate. Heck! I love a debate!

That, I presume, is the main reason why I always try to reply to individual comments. There is too the angle that it’s my view of politeness that if someone takes the trouble to read something I write and comment on it, then I think it deserves my time to reply if I can (though I don’t hold it against others if they take a different view), but the truth is I love to debate – so much so that I’ll take any stance you want me to in most arguments and I’m quite happy to be wrong in the end too – if you can prove it!

There are, naturally, some subjects that I regard as really important (such as women’s rights and the whole equality issue, for instance) and, though you may not always (ever?) agree with my take on the subject, I do honestly believe at least the bones of what I say about such things.

Other times, though, I’ll say something just for effect – just to start an argument. Hopefully that’ll be a reasonably polite argument, but an argument nevertheless. There are very few situations where I bear a grudge. I can have a blazing row with someone and then shake hands and go round the pub for a drink with them. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll back down easily, so you’ve gotta push your point home!

Whatever the outcome, it’s good to talk, don’t you think? As someone famous said: “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war” – well, a lot of times it is, although “verbal war” between lovers can sometimes be so wounding that it is just as fatal for the participants as the real thing, or to their relationship at least.

Still that’s probably best left for another post…

🙄

You Need An Ego

Posted in Miscellaneous, Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , , on April 15, 2011 by AF

It’s a fact that many quite good writers find it very hard to find a publisher for their work. What they create may be at the very least as good as many of the less famous novelists, scriptwriters and so on, but it’s easy to become famous, if you’re already famous, or infamous… if you see what I mean.

Creative people are often not at all good at selling – particularly themselves. Add to that, an author’s latest work is a sort of “Frankenstein’s monster” that they conceived and bore all on their own in a quite “unnatural” manner and they (probably subconsciously and quite naturally) want to protect it from the critical eyes of the world. Additionally, we also often tend to hide ourselves behind our characters and plots. But the truth is that we need to put ourselves and our work “out there” in order to have any chance of success. It’s a bit like going into a relationship – if we want it to succeed and last, we have to be prepared to be vulnerable.

However, I’m not just waffling as usual and there is a point to this post…

A while back, I wrote an item on women’s bios. If you’re interested (and I think if you’re a woman, you should be) take a look at it here

I’ve noticed that many women, in particular, who are serious about writing do seem to have a very different type of bio compared with those who are solely bloggers for the sake of it – not that I’m criticising that in any way – I’m just pointing out a difference. These women have much more of a “male” style of bio. They are (for example) a writer, scriptwriter, novelist, blogger, wife and mother, etc. So, there is a clear difference in the way in which they perceive themselves – they are first and foremost (to themselves) whatever their particular artistic talent is and someone else’s wife, or mother second.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that that makes them any less of a wife or mother, or that they don’t work extremely hard at their relationships, but their perception of “self” is (probably necessarily) different from other people and that makes them altogether more self possessed than others and, to my mind, they’re perhaps more liberated and that’s good, isn’t it?

In short, such women have an ego and they are prepared to let is be on show. Of course, I dare say they have their hang-ups just like the rest of us, but they just seem more able to rise above them.

It seems that, if you really want to write, you need an EGO (of some sort at least)…

😉

Hot Or What!

Posted in Scandalous!, Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by AF

The girl sat down two tables away from me at the little outdoor café in the square. We were both clearly locals since we both chose to sit in the shade. Only tourists want to sit in full sun, shrivelling their skin in the hope that this time it will all be different from every previous occasion and they will turn that desirable coppery shade of tan they always wanted – instead of the blotchy red that actually occurs and then begins to peel round about the time they are due to return home.

That irrational belief in the triumph of hope over reality also pretty much reveals itself  in the choice of fashion and styles, as many foreigners seemingly religiously follow the latest trend regardless of suitability. One of the things I most like about it where I presently reside is that it is so cosmopolitan. If I sat in that café in the square for long enough, I swear most of the world would eventually pass by. So, people watching (as I love to do), I see some interesting sights whilst I am seated there, I can tell you – all sorts, shapes and sizes.

Now, many Spanish women are quite beautiful – often well proportioned with delightfully rounded figures that curve in all the right places, but the visitors, for whatever reason, all too frequently appear to me to be far less lucky with what God handed out to them in terms of physique, or is it down to the way they perhaps mistreat what they have? In fact, particularly with many of the Brits and the Germans, it seems to me that God (or maybe Ronald MacDonald) has just been far too damn generous, but that doesn’t stop them following fashions and trends with inconsiderate abandon.

I say all this to explain a smidgen of what sometimes tends to drift idly through my thoughts as I sit and, admittedly far too lazily, watch the world go by at that café in the square, or at a bar down by the beach, or almost anywhere else here in this superbly mixed and fluctuating society. But earlier today was different.

This particular young woman was quite tall and, though slim and nicely proportioned, she was hardly one I would have said fitted into the category of the perfect female form. She wore relatively little, as is the custom here and she had regular features with a mouth that was a little too large and very pretty brown eyes. Unlike many other Spanish women, her hair was cut fairly short and it was dyed mostly dark brown with a huge slash across the front in a deep, bright red!

That, sadly, is so typical of many frighteningly macabre casualties I observe amongst the dedicated followers of fashion, whilst I sit and slowly sip at my strong black coffee, or as was the case today, an ice cold beer – utterly unsuitable and damaging to an otherwise unremarkable body with features to match – except that, in this case, it wasn’t! This girl had style! She knew exactly what looked good on her and how the overall effect was absolutely stunning! Electrifying!

At that point, of course, she looked across and caught me staring at her. Oops! Immediately afraid she must surely know what I was thinking and that I was wishing I was perhaps thirty years younger, I tried to brazen out my foolishness and smiled somewhat sheepishly at her. My lust must have been written uncensored across my face for her to read, but she smiled warmly back at me with a friendly sparkle in her lovely eyes. Unsurprisingly, she was gently laughing silently at my desire, or my consternation, but it was a kindly amusement, indicating an acceptance and perhaps even approval of my appreciation of her charms. I was no threat, of course, she expected to be desired and she clearly enjoyed my admiration. And why not? It is what makes the world go round.

Shortly afterwards she finished her espresso and left. As she stood, she smiled once more in my direction and I raised my glass a little towards her in salute. I could swear she exaggerated the swing of her hips as she left, but that could easily just be part of my fantasy…

Speaking of fantasy, I have made several attempts to write a short story based on this experience, but each time I do that fantasy takes over and it degenerates into outright porn, so I’ve settled for an all too accurate account of my foolish behaviour. I suppose I could have made some effort towards prolonging our encounter, or gingerly tried to become a little more acquainted with this sexy, attractive vision, but it would surely only have destroyed that beautiful few moments of joy for me – and, who knows? Just perhaps it would have spoiled something fun and pleasing for her too…

Damn! There I go again!

Love Thy (Blogging) Neighbour

Posted in Miscellaneous, Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by AF

I was intrigued by something said by Sarah, whose excellent blog, Etcetera, Etc., always seems to me to have something interesting to say about life. She doesn’t pull any punches when talking so very honestly about sex, women and relationships (How dare you! Of course that’s not the only reason I like her blog!). However, in truth I frequently find it to be an all round interesting blog about life in general and all sorts of things and, above all, I probably like the honesty best – you can check it out for yourself here

Anywaaaay – I hope she won’t mind me quoting this little bit of her email to me – she had this to say when I pointed out that her name against comments on my blog doesn’t link back to her blog, just in case she hadn’t realised that fact (which she apparently didn’t)…

“[…]While it would probably be in my best interest to promote my blog a little bit better, I like leaving comments for people when their prose makes me laugh or strikes a chord; not for the purpose of self promotion[…]”

I must say that I applaud that attitude and it’s exactly what I do myself – I do read a whole lot more (much of which I thoroughly enjoy) than I comment on and that’s probably not in my best interests either.

I’m not judging anyone here (even spammers, though robot generated comments are a real pain in the ass) – just agreeing on a very personal level with Sarah, but I do wonder about this process. All the perceived wisdom on this subject suggests that, in order to expand your readership, you need to visit other blogs and comment and I do try to do that, but I only seem to be able to work up any enthusiasm for that when I find a blog I like and, even then, in Sarah’s words, something has to “strike a chord” of some sort before I will comment.

However, there is another side to this when looked at the other way round. I love it when people comment on my stuff and that, I imagine, is mainly because I assume they’ve taken the trouble to read what I wrote and it amused them, or made them think about the subject, whether they agree or not. The fact that people comment gives me a little fillip and encourages me to continue writing the drivel I do – I know, you’ll all stop commenting now in the hope that I’ll go away, but I probably won’t – I’m stubborn that way.

That is, though, part of the reason I usually also take the trouble to reply to comments left on my blog because it seems to me that most of them are thoughtful and, if people take the time to give me an opinion, then common courtesy (for me) dictates that I should think about that and respond.  In any event, it’s simply a fact that engaging in any kind of discussion (however briefly) on any subject whatsoever with others from around the world has got to be a good thing, hasn’t it?

So, please keep on commenting and I do promise that I’ll at least try to do a bit better in return in the future. The world is shrinking and our communities are growing and, sooner or later, that has to be good for humanity, doesn’t it? As Winston Churchill once famously said, “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war!” and as long as honest opinions are being expressed, talking together has to increase understanding somewhere along the line.