Archives for the month of: January, 2018

Review:

 

The Way of the Writer, Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling is filled with the accomplishments of Charles Johnson, his philosophy in regards to writing and the benefits of academia. Somewhere among this rather high-minded autobiography (because that’s basically what it is) are some insights about actual writing (that would be literary fiction with a capital L since Johnson considers anything else “pork” or industrial writing and not worth the effort).

 

Much of his philosophy is similar to John Gardner’s who was his teacher and mentor. Indeed, one might be better off reading Gardner’s On Moral Fiction as well as The Art of Fiction for more specifics on these two areas unless you’re want to know more about Johnson’s career highlights beginning in grade school.

 

I did find it interesting that he places more emphasis on plot than character development which could be considered a contradiction since one definition of literary fiction is that it’s character driven. That’s it you ask? Perhaps it’s his lifetime as an academic, with thirty of those years as a teacher, that gives him, in my opinion, a rather limited point of view.

 

Though I’m now inclined to read at least one of his novels – to see if it is actually as good as he thinks it is.

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1636764/an-autobiography-long-on-author-s-accomplishments-short-on-practical-applications

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Review:

The Golden House: A Novel - Salman Rushdie

A man of extreme wealth immigrates from Mumbai to Manhattan along with his three adult sons. They change their identities and keep the reason for leaving their previous home a mystery though they don’t live like recluses, just the opposite, they embrace their new homeland with excess and extravagance.

 

The Golden House is about this family and the unraveling of their mystery as told by a neighbour, a film maker, who takes an interest in them because he hopes their story will provide the plot for a movie he wants to make.

 

Salman Rushdie’s characters are larger than life, and I mean down right over the top. Indeed, there are no ordinary people in this novel, every one is eccentric, brilliant, extremely talented, very well dressed and beautiful beyond description though Rushdie does his best to describe all the above lavishly and extensively.

 

In fact he spends so much time on sumptuous imagery, on references to Greek mythology and on quotes that might make sense if I knew author of the quote and the context in which it was being used, I very soon became bored and early on found my self skimming pages to find something that advanced the plot.

 

The Golden House is an “insiders” book. If the reader knows the locales, events, jargon, trends, author of quotes, context of quotes, the heroes and heroines of Greek mythology and their significance then I imagine you’re supposed to feel included, with it, up to date, part of the club, and oh so contemporary. If you don’t you’re a boob, a rube, a member of the cultural lumpenproletariat and don’t deserve to know what’s going in his book.

 

Rushdie obviously is an excellent, clever, educated, intelligent, sophisticated member of the upper crust of society and he sets out to prove that in every paragraph of this book.

The writing is so rich, so decadent I felt the same way I did when during the Holidays I overindulged in Christmas cake, shortbread and mince tarts – well fed, yet ironically, unsatisfied.

 

Keeping with my New Year’s resolution of not enduring to the end books I’m not enjoying, I abandoned The Golden House about a quarter way through.

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1633463/rich-but-unsatisfying

NakedTreesWinterSunsetBWcover copy copy copy

This is a review of my writing for 2017. You couldn’t call it a success, nor could you call it a failure since something would have had to have been achieved in the first place. Get what I’m saying? If you’ve never been up how can you be down?

If you don’t, well, that’s okay since I write this for myself to put the previous year in perspective.

Last year I decided to see what it would be like to take part in public readings and conduct writing seminars. The idea was to raise my profile while at the same time sell my books at these events.

It didn’t take much to get booked for both, but the experience was not very satisfying, akin to pitching from behind a table you’ve rented at a flea market. After my initial experiences I didn’t look for more opportunities. Sales just aren’t that important to me.

The only thing I self-published was a novella, The Rocker and the Bird Girl. It began as an experiment on Inkitt to see if a shallow story about a rock star and a young woman who ran a bird sanctuary would be popular with the juvenile readers who populate that site. Unfortunately, or fortunately – I’m not sure which, I was soon having so much fun with this story and became so enamored with my characters (though very few Inkitt followers did) I decided to pull it from that site and self-publish it.

Novellas for “New Adults” (protagonist between eighteen and thirty) seem to be trendy likely due to the diminishing attention span of this age group and the fact they’re read on cellphones during commutes. Quite unexpectedly I discovered I had a lot of story ideas for this heroine and I could easily expand it into a series. Series, according to the “experts” sell better than stand-alones so what the hell, nothing else is working.

Despite a thorough launch for The Rocker and the Bird: listed as a pre-order on Smashwords three weeks in advance of publishing, email ARC copies to my Advance Reading Team, giveaways on Booklikes and Library Thing, two weeks free on Smashwords, free with coupon on my website, and promoted unabashedly on my social media accounts  – it so far has had two reviews and no sales.

Undeterred, the second in The Mattie Saunders Series, Cold Blooded, is set to be self-published in March of this year. Here’s the blurb:

“When a suspicious death at the The Reptile Refuge closes it down, Mattie receives a desperate call from Liz, an old friend from high school, asking if it’s possible to temporarily board some reptiles at Saunders Bird Sanctuary. Mattie’s not concerned with the circumstances and sees it as an opportunity to reconnect with Liz as well as help some animals in distress.

Unwittingly, Mattie’s drawn into a dark intrigue and soon discovers it’s not just the displaced inhabitants of The Reptile Refuge that are cold blooded.”

Still determined to break into traditional publishing I spent the balance of last year polishing the manuscript of East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella and submitting it to Canadian publishers. The list of rejections continues to increase from those publishers gracious enough to send me one.

What’s ahead?

This year, as mentioned, the second in my series will be self-published, the third is already outlined (okay, only in my head, but it’s only January 4th) and a first draft will be written, plus I’ll continue to work on another full length novel with the working title, The Triumvirate – three exceptional people, one insurmountable challenge. I’ve already stopped submitting East Van Saturday Night and, once the disappointment abates somewhat I’ll take another look at the entire project.

Promotions of my backlist are also a consideration for 2018.

Book sales from all sources in 2017 amounted to $174.44. Expenses including book proofs, book orders and postage totaled $253.88. You can draw your own conclusions.

Oddly enough I’m optimistic. Why not?

Besides, writing for me is its own reward – really.

 

Stand calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

Sites associated with this blog:

https://www.inkitt.com

https://www.smashwords.com

 

My Amazon book page

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1629197/my-2017-writing-year-in-review

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