I joined this group awhile ago, having stumbled onto their site one day, as one does while clicking along looking into interesting links. I discovered they have conferences every other year, and next year it was in Oxford, city of dreaming spires, of Detective Morse, and of an endless line of novels. And the history! I joined up and will register for the con as soon as it’s possible, for I intend to go, with bells on. Small bells, since I travel light. Then I forgot about it.
Untill today. The mail brought me a magazine: Historical Novels Review. Who knew? There are 60 pages of wonderful reviews, and more on-line. Then there are articles, such as ‘History, Story, & Fact’; ‘Renaissance Florence’; ‘Fact Behind the Foction and such. Great info for all readers, as well as writers. And there is market news too.
So now I went back to the website and looked a little closer. After all, I have an historical novel just hot off the press. A FRIEND OF MR. NIJINSKY, in case you have forgotten the title and were just waiting for a reminder so you can go forth, buy it, read it, and hopefully review it on Amazon! Anyway, on this historical site, all the books are divided into periods so you can search through the ages for the era you love! What a great find! And here is the link: Historical Novel Society
It is difficult to explain to someone not ‘in the life’ as it were, just why we do this writing thing. After telling a non-writing friend about some of the technical and other difficulties I have encountered recently in getting A FRIEND Of MR. NIJINSKY into print, she quite reasonably changed the subject. What could she have said about this situation? How doing something we love leads us through such desperate angst. The Awe of feeling that rush of creation, so inevitably followed by the angst of actually getting it out to the market place. And doing it time after time. Isn’t that the definition of madness? Doing the same things, in the same way, and expecting a different outcome? A painless outcome?
“But doesn’t the publisher do that?” she said, confused. “Wouldn’t your editor do all that?”
Indeed. Would that that were still the case. But as we all know, authors are being squeezed into taking on more and more of these jobs. There are far fewer editors on staff, for one thing, and so they are handling more titles then ever before.
Lately I have found I often feel no desire to talk to anyone who is not a writer or editor. I am so involved in doing proofing, video trailers, bookmarks, handout material for events etc. that I have little left over. I do admit to a great sense of accomplishment when I have managed to master some arcane aspect of Photoshop or other software and that makes up for a lot. That is when the angst almost gives way to Awe!
Once we hold the new book in our hands, it is all worth it!
The Muse is unpredictable. The main problem we Writers have with her is when she decides to take a protracted holiday. Although there are some who insist there is no such thing as Writer’s Block, that arrid space of time when no words flow, no ideas bubble up from the lower depths, as one who has gone through this, I assure you it exists. At least for me. The only thing to do is throw yourself into something completely different. For me it was founding the Bloody Words Mystery Conference. That might not be your thing. Just do whatever works! And eventually those batteries will recharge.
Another aspect of that fickle lady is rarely discussed, and that is the one I am experiencing now: the sudden appearance, unbidden, of a very noisy Muse. At night. As I was trying to fall asleep! First it was the sudden rush of ideas for a brand new novel, complete with main characters, plot points, details of backstory and even a few set pieces. Great, you say? No! I am in the middle of another novel! No time for any other creative activity. I can no longer multi-task!
But ideas are precious so I did make notes in a new jazzy notebook, as always with a new project, then put it away and went back to work. Done and dusted, as a friend says. Except I could not get anywhere. Couldn’t concentrate. I kept getting up and wandering around. And then I recognized it. The Muse was addressively back. I remembered that I often get this nervous unsettled feeling when a new project starts. My head fills with a sort of static and I can’t seem to accomplish anything.
But I will not give in! I have a book to finish! And it is not even half done!
How can I fend off that ferocious Muse for a month or so?
Maybe I will hide the notebook. Maybe I will work faster on the old project. Maybe… I will just wait and see what happens. There is no way to completely ignore the Muse!
I started thinking about how things have changed this morning when I noticed people wishing each other Happy Easter. But it’s Good Friday, I said to myself crossly. And it’s 2017, I added. Tempus fugit. And everything changes.
In my memories, Good Friday was a very uncomfortable day. I never knew quite how to behave. It was a sad day, so I shouldn’t laugh or be too obviously happy. But it was called a holiday, usually associated with happy times. Still, stores were closed. Theatres were closed. It seemed that everything was wrapped in grey.
Even church services were gloomy with no galloping or soaring hymns, no wonderful happy anthems of praise. The service was long, with periods of utter silence, and gloom. Luckily we did not stay for the full three hours and coming outside seemed like a great release. But what to do? I couldn’t go visit my best friend or even telephone her. I couldn’t play outside. But I could read! Once again books came to the rescue!
Time passed and things loosened up considerably. Blue laws re Sunday closing disappeared. Theatres and amusements were open on Good Friday, but I was much slower to change. Odd how some things are so ingrained it takes a real effort of will to change, even though the reasons are long forgotten or no longer relevant. Although we were not a particularly religious family, there is something about being brought up as a High Anglican that sinks deep into the soul. I still remember the first time I went to the movies on Good Friday, sometime in my early twenties. I still remember how guilty I felt. But today, should there be a movie I wanted to see, I would go without a thought! Progress! Or perhaps just getting old enough not to care?
“In 1916, New York City quivered on the brink of the modern era. With elegant prose and exquisite period detail, Caro Soles transports the reader back to that complex world, weaving a subtle, utterly enchanting story of betrayal and murder amid the swirl of debutante soirees, motorcar racing, Russian ballet, and social upheaval.”
Barbara Fradkin, award-winning mystery author
We are not sure how old Henry might be, but one thing we know. He is getting on! We were told he was either 6, 7, or maybe 4 when we adopted him from Canadian Dachshund Rescue but the time we didn’t really care. He was happy, Ruby was happy, so it didn’t seem important. Slowly the nose became frosted more and more. He began to slow down, but who really noticed, since we were slowing down too. Then we noticed his fur was thining. A lot. Alapecia, the vet announced. Nothing to be done besides the usual Dr. Maggie’s skin stuff and generous coconut oil massages. But it did not slow down, and now the poor boy has a big bold patch on his side and several small bald patches on his tale. The vet suggested he wear a t-shirt when outside in the summer. Of course he has a coat in the winter, too, but this obvious signal of “getting on” is nothing compared to his eyesight.
Poor Henry can barely see, now. He gets around the house pretty well, since we rarely change anything here. Now and then he will misjudge things and bump into the wall but he rarely runs very fast so he recovers quickly, more so then I do. The eye problem is similar to what people might have but alas I have forgotten the name.
These health problems only accentuate our love for our faithful furry friend, so affectionate and full of character! We have them for such a short time! Hug your hound! And don’t forget those treats!
It seems that Nijinsky is in the air these days! The Ballet Nijinsky is coming up this season at the Four Seasons Centre and I am really looking forward to it even though I have seen it three times. It is an amazing work, interweaving music and dance styles, even costumes from the different periods of his life.
And just a few days ago a friend emailed me to tell me about a book published this January, a novel based on the life of Bronia Nijinska, his sister.
It always amazes me when this happens, when suddenly, seemingly for no reason, everyone starts creating, writing, talking about the same thing. Sometimes it might be annoying, as when a book one has labored over for years, a book completely original to oneself, is finally about to be published and lo and behold, another book arrives on the scene on exactly the same topic!
In my case, I am happy to see all this interest! I must say that if you, the reader, are a true ballet fan you will find much more about the ballet in The Chosen Maiden book then in A Friend of Mr. Nijinsky. After all, the dancer is not the main character in my novel, as you can tell by the title. My hero is Morgan Vanheusen. More about him later!