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text 2017-03-28 08:32
Talking to a handful of people in the basement of the library

So today I participated in my first author reading.


In this group of authors there were six readers including myself. There were two professionals who had traditionally published non-fiction books, three self-published authors including myself, and a young man who performed a slam poem and had a chap book of his work for sale.


There was maybe twenty people in the audience mostly (entirely?) made of friends of the authors. I didn't invite any of my friends and none came.


I read second. Ten minutes for reading, five for questions.


I learned two things.



- I presented as well or better than any of the other five authors.


- You can get your book published by a well respected, traditional publisher and have it short listed for literary awards and you're still talking to a handful of people in the basement of a library.


Considering this was my first experience giving a public reading and then sitting behind a table talking to people about my books, I'd say it was pretty much what I expected, and I actually sold some books.


If this is the road to becoming a successful author it appears to be a very long and extremely boring journey. It's hard to believe that any time soon I'll be sitting in a fancy ballroom, among the literary and publishing elite about to accept the $50,000 Giller Prize on national television.


Never have so many (authors) given so much (hours of toil on their books) for so little (the applause and passing interest of two dozen people).


And yet we continue to storm the beaches.





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text 2017-03-16 04:40
New Voices - the beginning of a new direction

Further to the new direction in my writing career.


Okay, so you’re saying my writing career had no direction before so how can I have a new one?


Well, maybe having no direction is a direction.


Too Zen for you?


How about: If you write a book and nobody reads it have you really written a book? That one’s been driving me crazy since, well, since I wrote a book and nobody read it.


Before you? me? we? all of us? get too hung up (do people still say that?) on these esoteric ruminations let me continue.


All of my book marketing has been so far done online. I blog, I Tweet, I post on my Facebook page, I send out promotional newsletters to my Advance Reading Team, I review books, I’ve even gone so far as to join and contribute to online reading/writing groups.


And it’s got me_______. (You fill in the blank)


This direction(?) has been macro – my books are available through Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Library Direct, OverDrive and a few more in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and India. They’re available digitally as epub, mobi, pdf, online reader and more, suitable to most reading devices including your cellphone as well as in paperback in the UK, USA and Canada.


My new direction will be micro – I’ll sell actual books to real people face to face.


My first experience with this will be on March 27, 2017 at the Vancouver Public Library where I’ll be reading my work along with five other writers in their “New Voices” series. (How after seven years, seven novels and two plays I can be considered a “new voice” says something – what I’m not sure.)


The event is from 7 to 8:30 pm and our host will even provide a table for us to display and sell our books. I don’t know about the rest of the participants, but I’m taking advantage of the table and might even break off from my reading prematurely if I see someone in the audience interested in the merchandise.


Having been a salesman all my life I’m not the least bit intimidated.


So, I’ve crunched the numbers taking into consideration the price of my books, the exchange rate, shipping and tax and if I sell a book for $15 it’s $4 less than it can be purchased from Amazon and I can still make some money.


Enough, I hope, to at least cover the outrageous cost of parking downtown.


This is marginally better than selling my books at a flea market or garage sale, but if the world doesn’t want to buy them maybe the neighbourhood does.


I’m not afraid of taking chances, going in a new direction, and maybe, likely, failing. I never know where things will lead what’s important to me is to keep moving forward.


Well, at least to keep moving.


One thing’s for certain, if I do nothing, that’s what will happen.


Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.




Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU


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review 2016-01-29 16:30
Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales From Shakespeare's Fantasy World
Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales Shakespeare's Fantasy World - Adrian Tchaikovsky,Kate Heartfield,Foz Meadows,Emma Newman,Jonathan Barnes

T I T L E: Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales From Shakespeare's Fantasy World
A U T H O R: Jonathan Barnes, Emma Newman, Kate Heartfield, Foz Meadows, and Adrian Tchaikovsky
P U B L I S H E R: Rebellion/Abaddon
P U B L I S H--D A T E: January 6, 2016
I S B N: 9781781083949
Anthology, Literary Fiction, Fantasy

Mischief, magic, love and war.
These are the stories Shakespeare never told. Five of the most exciting names in genre fiction today – Jonathan Barnes, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Emma Newman, Foz Meadows and Kate Heartfield – delve into the world the Bard created to weave together a story of courage, transformation and magic.
Including an afterword by Dr. John Lavagnino, The London Shakespeare Centre, King's College London.

This anthology of short stories adapted from none other than The Bard himself is a great collection. Based on William Shakespeare’s . . . (M O R E)

Source: www.wordgurgle.blogspot.com
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review 2013-10-17 17:30
The Dawning: A Novel (Emerging Voices : New International Fiction Series) - Milka Bajic-Poderegin I've read several books from Interlink's "Emerging Voices" series of novels in translation, and this is the best so far, although that says very little; their titles seem to be chosen by academic types with little understanding of what English-speaking readers find entertaining. That said, I did rather like this one, although it lacks the intimacy and immediacy than most of us are accustomed to in fiction.

The Dawning is set in Plevlje (aka Pljevlja), Montenegro, and is a family saga beginning in the mid 19th century and ending with WWI. The book begins with a young girl, Savka, entering a disappointing arranged marriage, but soon transfers its focus to her oldest daughter, Jelka, and the family into which Jelka marries. Jelka is the central character for the most of the book, although toward the end the focus shifts again to her youngest daughter, Milena.

The book has a rather meandering and inconsistent plot; sometimes engaging, at other times lacking in direction. The beginning focuses perhaps too much on marrying people off, which starts out interesting--as the society transitions from arranged marriage to "love matches" (which typically involve young people marrying the first person they're attracted to)--but becomes repetitive. There are a lot of characters, and most have few if any defining characteristics; the culture overwhelms the individuals. This is great for learning about the culture, with plenty of descriptions of weddings, food, hay-making, mourning rituals, and so on, but with the partial exception of Milena, I never really got to know these characters.

Meanwhile, the political situation is interesting and increases in importance throughout the book. But this is not a novel to learn history from: partially because we only learn what the characters know, and they aren't positioned to understand the big picture; and also probably because the author was writing for an audience familiar with the basics. There is a very short introduction and some endnotes, as well as a brief glossary, all of which are helpful.

Overall, this book does a good job in its portrayal of daily life in Montenegro around the turn of the 20th century. While it doesn't do as well at presenting a compelling plot, the characters' lives are still reasonably interesting, and there is a good amount of dialogue. If the characters sometimes seem more products of their culture than individuals, readers still come to understand the forces shaping their lives, and their motives and interactions are often universally recognizable. Not the most enjoyable book in translation that I've read, but a decent choice if you're interested in the Balkans.
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review 2013-07-21 20:58
Small Adventures in Cooking (New Voices in Food)
Small Adventures in Cooking (New Voices in Food) - James Ramsden Recipes to try Mushrooms on Toast: http://www.jamesramsden.com/2009/07/30/in-flaubert-country/ Cullen skink http://www.jamesramsden.com/2009/07/30/in-flaubert-country/ Tomato & Goats Cheese Gratin http://www.jamesramsden.com/2010/04/06/recipe-tomato-and-goats-cheese-gratin/ Poached Pears http://www.jamesramsden.com/2009/12/23/christmas-poached-pears/ Kimchi http://www.jamesramsden.com/2010/04/15/a-dodgy-korea-move-the-quest-for-kimchi-and-other-korean-paraphernalia/ and a few more here http://www.jamesramsden.com/recipes-2/ some are included in the book but there are also several others not on the site. Down to earth cookery with a lot of flair.
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