Hello and thanks for dropping by. August has been a month of new experiences for me trying a different way to market myself and my books. Self-promotion is not something I feel comfortable with, but it is something that independently published authors have to come to terms with if they want to get their work known. This month saw my first two speaking engagements, and I’ll admit to having a case of nerves before each one. But looking back I was more anxious about how the setting up would go. Not being technically minded and having a PowerPoint presentation to deliver, all kinds of possible problems occurred to me. Standing up and speaking to a room full of people did not worry me and for that I can thank my writing group - having to read your story out aloud in class each week, soon builds confidence. Fortunately, everything flowed smoothly and the presentations were well received. Now that I have broken the ice, I am looking forward to more events. If they are all as welcoming as the ladies from Coolum Cool Connections (below) I shall consider myself lucky.
I have come to the conclusion there are two kinds of writers (only two? I can hear you ask). Basically there are storytellers who write aiming to keep the reader engrossed in the story, to keep them turning the pages. Then there are those who write with the aim of creating an emotional response with the reader – the ones of whom book groups declare ‘This is a beautifully written book.’ Am I being too harsh here? Perhaps! But two of my books this month have been in the latter group, books that you read to savour, take it slowly and enjoy each metaphor and nuance. Anita Shreve is one such author and the other I found recently is Joanna Cannon. Her first novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep was recommended to me as a ‘beautiful book’, and indeed it has some superb prose. I’ll give you some examples.
July had found its fiercest day yet. The sky was ironed into an acid blue, and even the clouds had fallen from the edges, leaving a faultless page of summer above our heads. Even so, there were those who still nurtured mistrust. We walked past cardigans draped across elbows and raincoats bundled into shopping bags, and one woman who carried an umbrella wedged into her armpit, like artillery. It seemed that people couldn’t quite let go of the weather, and felt the need to carry every form of it around with them, at all times, for safekeeping.
I still hadn’t learned the power of words. How, once they have left your mouth, they have a breath and a life of their own. I had yet to realize that you no longer own them. I hadn’t learned that, once you have let them go, the words can then, in fact, become the owner of you.
This is a long book and about three quarters way through I found myself impatient to reach the end of the story despite greatly admiring Cannon’s writing. How do you feel? What is more important to you - the story or the writing style? Let me know – I’d love to hear from you. Would I recommend the book? Certainly, but be prepared to linger over the pages and take the time to enjoy it.
With my own writing, I’m back in harness once again and have two writing projects on the go. I’ve also downloaded a new writing software package which is proving quite challenging to learn. Will it make writing any easier? That remains to be seen but it has certainly re-raised a keenness to sit down before the computer each morning and get to work.
That’s all for now – see you next month.