Dealing with Difficult Themes in #Fiction

Word cloud Via Wordart In writing science fiction, two areas of uncertainty arise before the start. Assuming it’s not Space Opera, the first barrier is the large number of readers who believe all sci-fi involves space wars, forgetting that at least two of the most brilliant works of literature were also science fiction: Aldous Huxley’s …

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Time and the Conways, by J.B. Priestley: #BookReview.

Stage Play script. This exploration of family unity, loyalty and dishonesty is structured through three acts to use time as a clever ingredient of viewing, and attempting to predict, the future. It depicts a typical upper middle-class family of the era, showing the inherent snobbery, their patchy understanding of the world they occupy, and how …

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Translation: Illuminating Cultural Difference.

Just short of a month ago, I wrote a post about Helen, a Chinese woman, translating some of my stories into her language. My hope was that would place my work before a wider readership. But there has been an unexpected and positive additional outcome.I’m no linguist. But I’ve travelled, both within the land of …

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The Playboy of the Western World, by J. M. Synge: #BookReview.

First published in 1907, the text of the stage play I read is introduced by a preface from the author. Here, he talks about the language he has used, how and where he encountered it, and why he has employed such colloquial idioms in the work. I can best serve the author’s intent by quoting …

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Wild Horses on the Salt, by Anne Montgomery: #BookReview.

345 pagesWomen’s Action & Adventure/Romance/Contemporary Fiction Having enjoyed Anne Montgomery’s ‘A Light in the Desert’, I thought I’d give this new novel a try. I’ve never been to the USA, and frequently find novels set there both self-congratulatory and full of references that are meaningless to me as a UK reader. But the previous novel …

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The Joy of Serendipitous Distribution.

Some years ago, I encountered a young Chinese woman, Helen, online. I can’t now remember how it came about, but it was probably a result of my series of ‘Right Word’ posts on the blog. Anyway, Helen asked if I could help with her English, as she wanted to learn the language to a better …

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The Latest on the New Novel

Picture via Pixabay. Yesterday I received the final edit notes for the new novel. This was the copy edit part, where a super-observant editor with an excellent grasp of the rules of English, goes through the entire book with a fine-tooth comb and picks out all the nits and knots: spelling, punctuation, syntax, grammar, etc. …

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Options: Maye West Mysteries, Book 2, by Brenda Colbath: #BookReview.

231 pagesKidnapping Crime Fiction/Crime Action Fiction/Murder Fiction I came across this author and her books via comments on websites I visit. I tend not to read much crime fiction, but the comments led me to expect a good story from this author. And that was the case. The story is full of action, conflict, some …

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Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans, by Sherrie Miranda: #BookReview.

353 pages: Women’s Crime Fiction/Coming of Age Fiction/Women’s Contemporary Fiction (It should, perhaps, also be included in ‘Political and Historical Fiction) Subtitled ‘Shelly’s Journey Begins’, this book is a prequal to the authors debut thriller ‘Secrets and Lies in El Salvador’, which I’ve also read and reviewed. Both books are well worth anyone’s cash and …

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The Pleasures and Pains of #Editing.

It’s been a long slog, but it’s finally done! My latest novel deals with contentious themes and these proved a source of much discussion between me and my publisher’s editors. Usually, editing of my work has consisted in minor grammatical, structural and vocabulary changes. Nothing substantial, as the characters have always been accepted as well-rounded …

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Boxed In, by Penny Grubb: #BookReview.

384 PagesWomen Writers and Fiction/Thrillers This is the latest in the Annie Raymond series, and, as usual, worth waiting for. As someone who doesn’t read much crime fiction, I’ve always enjoyed this series of crime novels, which is probably explained by the excellent writing and the way Penny Grubb delivers her characters.In this story, Annie’s …

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Mara’s Awakening by Leo Flynn: #BookReview.

Space Opera/Science Fiction A short story full of action, and written in a style to keep that action moving. The title character is described on the cover as ‘half human, half machine, all badass’, and that comes across in the telling.Although I write science fiction, and read it, I’ve tended to stay clear of space …

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A Lullaby in the Desert, by Mojgan Azar: #BookReview.

296 PagesDiscrimination & Racism/Women’s Biographies/Adventure Stories & Action This is effectively an autobiographical novel, an exceptionally candid and affecting one, as the author followed the same dangers, cruelties and life choices as the fictional narrative subject, Susan. It is not an easy read. But it is a book everyone who can read should.It tells the …

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Bridport Prize 2020 Anthology, by Bridport Arts Centre: #BookReview.

147 pages Literary Anthology This is an anthology of the winning entries for the poetry, short fiction, and flash fiction annual contest held in 2020. It includes the ‘commended’ entries, too.The Bridport is a well-respected international literary competition. Along with other contemporary creative activities, what is considered ‘good’ is down to personal taste. We’ve all …

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Edit Notes: How Do You Deal With Them?

Word cloud created through wordart.com Environment, Capitalism, and Religious Hypocrisy are major themes running through my WIP, a work my publisher’s team of editors recently returned with ‘edit notes’. This wasn’t the usual ‘line edit’ I’ve had in the past and, on reading the notes, I was initially taken aback. My first response was that …

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