Monday, December 16, 2013

Getting through Locked Doors.

I’ve just finished reading a thriller by a top author and found myself disappointed with the way in which he elevated his two main characters to an almost Superman and Wonder-woman level. Why so? As a writer myself, I do try (hopefully) to give my characters a vulnerability that is natural in a human being, which I believe is only fair to the readers. If I fail to do that I can then make them do anything without any apparent difficulty. How often have you read of a character who manages to slip through a locked door because locked doors were no problem for a man with his skills? I have lost count of the number of cheap, $0.99 thrillers I have downloaded from Amazon on to my Kindle only to be thoroughly disappointed by the cheap tricks the writers use to get their heroes out of scrapes that would prove impossible in normal circumstances. I think all of us know that when we watch Bruce Willis’s character, John Maclean, we are watching pure escapism. The same for Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo, and Arnie Schwarzenegger’s host of tough guys. I have failed to complete the majority of cheap Kindles downloaded on to my PC. One writer who stands out for me as a real trier when it comes to building that normal vulnerability into her main character is Carmen Amato. She writes of a female detective working in a strong, macho environment in a Mexican police station. She is good at her job but suffers all kinds of insults and indignities from her male colleagues. She rises above it to compete successfully, but she doesn’t slip through locked doors or beat macho men senseless because she is the main character. This is a tribute to Carmen Amato’s strength in her writing. I wish other so-called thriller writers would use their imagination and not invent heroes and heroines possessed of magic qualities that leave me shaking my head with disappointment.

On a personal level, for those of you who follow my blog; I have had my second session of chemo and managing to keep upright. I am also toying with the research I used for a thriller I had planned to write last year but binned it for a Romance which will be published next year. I hadn’t planned to do any more writing for a while because of my treatment and because we are preparing to move out of our house into rented accommodation prior to handing over to the new buyers. But the old habit has kicked in and I am digging into my research and thinking of new ways in which to change my plot. No real hurry but I know that I can’t sit around doing nothing about my writing. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 9, 2013

What a Week!

What a week it’s been: promising all the way. I started getting to grips with my new laptop and Windows 8 (still don’t like it) and learning how to get on without my old PC and monitor. But that’s what happens when you sell your house and want to go back to UK. During the early part of the week I received my free copies of THE EAGLE’S COVENANT from Harlequin Books. The paperback was released in North America in November, and I can now say I have two books with a traditional publisher across the water. I then received a request from my publisher (Hale) for a synopsis and blurb for my latest novel, PAST IMPERFECT, which I expect to see published next year. The synopsis was easy because I already had one prepared, but the blurb was so difficult. Describe your book in 150 words with enough impact to grab a reader’s attention and make them want to read your book. No doubt when I see the finished article in print I’ll see how I could have done better. Aren’t we all like that though? On Friday our son, Terry and his daughter, Gemma, our eldest grand-daughter, came over to see us for a couple of nights. It was great having them here, and just the tonic to help the battle (with cancer). Terry has designed all my book jackets. We had a chat about redesigning THE EAGLE’S COVENANT because of its lack of sales and very dark jacket. The jacket for the Harlequin book is very light and miles away from anything I would have considered. But that what professional jacket designers do. It’s on the back-burner for a while; probably until the New Year. After taking our son and grand- daughter back to the airport, we managed to get along to church: first visit for three weeks. We enjoyed that immensely.

I don’t expect this week to be as uplifting though because I’m back on chemo this Wednesday; another trip into the unknown. Hopefully me and Pat will get through this without too much hassle. Pat will be keeping an eye on me and I’ll be doing my best to keep an eye on her. She’s looking after me brilliantly, but that’s what you do when you see your loved one suffering. I’ll have to buy her giant present for Christmas. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

In Absentia

Those of you who have been following my blog will know that I have been missing for a few weeks. This is simply a case of life getting in the way of my plans. A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with Lymphoma, which is cancer. It was something of a shock and then a case of coming to terms with it. I started the first of six chemo sessions about ten days ago and thought I was doing well until it hit me during the week. I've had several rough days, but it's to be expected. On the book front I signed an agreement for my latest novel, PAST IMPERFECT, with my publisher, Robert Hale. This will be my ninth, traditionally published novel, which makes me proud because of the difficulty in finding a publisher these days. I also received an advance for the publication of my paperback, THE EAGLE’S COVENANT, by Harlequin Books of Canada; once again a traditional publisher. I now have two books with Harlequin. I’m hoping they may pick up my latest once Hale have published it. This novel, by the way is a romance, but with a hard edged, back story. I've ventured away from my usual style and can only hope that the book sells and doesn't disappoint my readers. When I do get round to working on something else, it will almost certainly be a reversion to type. Meanwhile my other titles are still available on Amazon Kindle.
Another element of disruption in my writing progress is the fact that we have sold our house and will be returning to UK once I am clear of my treatment. We are hoping to settle somewhere in the south of England: Dorset or Hampshire possibly.
Life can get exciting at times, and that is certainly the case for me if you can take the view that the variety and spice of life doesn't always contain good news. We all have our trials and tribulations to go through, and I know God is watching over me and He will help me get through this. I’ll keep this blog up to date now, hopefully, and bring both the good and bad news as it comes. Wish me luck!