Monday, 29 October 2012


Sometimes, blogging, you lose the topic. It skids from beneath you. My blog entry on BOOK SNOBS was originally split across two posts. I lost the second part to a spot of research. The facts undermined what I’d hoped to say about an appalling book I’d read.
   Disaster. I tried turning the whole story around in light of new information, but the amount of welding involved killed that idea. The blog post worked just fine in part one. I went with that, and filled the gap with the adventures of Sergeant Jock MacBastard.
   So here I am, with those thoughts frittering away, wondering what to blog about this week. If I could, I’d fill the whole blog wondering about that. Waiting for Blogot. As it is midnight, and as fatigue is getting to me, I’ll sleep on it. This generates a high risk of writing about my dreams. Is the world prepared for yet another Zombie Apocalypse blog entry?

Disrupted entry. I’ll talk about imagery. How I view social networking for authors. Sometimes I’m on a strange military mission as Sergeant Jock MacBastard. Often I sit on the chilly deck of my DEATH STAR, plotting destruction. Occasionally, I crawl across a COLD WAR landscape in search of truth. I haven’t spoken of the other image that springs to mind.
   Welcome to my Secret Garden. I while away the hours in here, writing stories. Tending fragile tales. Cultivating epics. Raking over the leaves of yesteryear, in the quest to revive half-forgotten strains of tale-tellery.
   How did I come to this place? I inherited the key from writers long-gone. The key just about fits in the forgotten lock of a shrouded door. This garden’s high walls hide many things. Slivers of the writing past, buried in the long grass.
   Off I went. Hunting around. Preparing to admit the world to my thoughts on writing simply by opening that door. This was alien to me. Discussing writing with close friends only reinforced the need to avoid doing so in a wider sense. Talking to masses of strangers. All 0.75 of them.
   The world changed. And I changed with it. I left the secret door open as I pottered around. Weeding. With a flamethrower. Karen Woodward popped her head around the door a few times, encouraging the cultivation of this blog. I cleared a summer seat for visitors. Set up a Facebook author account that I’d swear I’d get back to. Though all I did after that was swear. The account remains unseen, with good reason.
   My Secret Garden gives up some hints and tips. Twitter flitters in and out. I make a few contacts. Business topics are discussed, briefly. Frances Hodgson Burnett was the name you were looking for. Literary references in a blog on writing? Whatever next.

Another disrupted entry. I came here to set out an image of a Secret Garden to which I’d opened the door, letting the internet in. So much happened after my last blog post, that the talk I had in mind simply rolled over and fell between the cracks.
   I’m forced to blog about something else. About a signpost leading to Kacey Vanderkarr’s forthcoming novel. Initial indications were that the book would be out around now. The date was pushed back to 2013.
   Any celebrations I had in mind must be postponed. I still get to wish Kacey well in this entry. After all, I’d promised to chop her head off by February 2013 if she didn’t publish/secure a deal. Sir Gawain has earned a reprieve from the Green Knight. Kacey can stop dressing up in armour, and I can shet my Connery accshent ashide.
   Perhaps it’s an ideal time to rehash the topic of plans and why they change. I participated in authorly contact. Learned more. Experimented with writing. Considered new plans. Old plans. Saw different opporchancities ahead of me.
   Publishing an entire DOCTOR WHO novel as fan fiction on my blog was an ordeal. The curious thing about that lay in noting the death of so many gremlins. As soon as the book was lodged on the blog pages, gremlins stopped plaguing me.
   I had to go back in and tidy a few formatting issues, and encountered no trouble. Didn’t understand that. Placing the book on the blog was hellish. One day, the gremlins just croaked. They soon respawned, and troubled me in other areas.
   The blog has seen a modest rise in traffic over the year. Now, we’ve reached the heady summit of 0.75 readers. Quite an achievement. I am concerned at some of the word search entries that lead here. People who are looking for curious forms of pornography, or cigarettes, end up washed ashore on the blog. I can’t help but wonder.
   Sometimes, unassociated sites throw readers my way. Art galleries. Shopping forums. The dating site for people who have a desire to cheat on their partners. (?!) Plumbing concerns. Spammers, tempting me with the prospect of owning more Rolex watches than I could feasibly wear.
   Ditzy spammers praise and condemn my writing in equal measure within the same sentence. They then offer an invitation to visit a site allowing me to purchase assorted items. Beware any blog comment which praises/condemns your work entirely in abstract terms. I loved/hated this article.
   People reach this blog from all over the world. Not many people. But they are out there. My readers come mostly from America, where a form of English is used. This form of English shocks the English. Being Scottish, I have a Scottie dog in that fight and am less-inclined to be shocked by what the Americans have done to the English language. Especially in cases whereby the Americans have preserved English linguistic forms no longer maintained by the English themselves.
   My blog is a Secret Garden, to which visitors may flock. Authorly contact is available. I potter around, though make no pottery. That makes me ponder the whole business of authorly contact, and contact with readers.
   Do readers expect too much of digital authors, now that everything is connected? There’s a whole cult on the web dedicated to pissing on George R. R. Martin for taking so long to write his books. Are readers really prepared to lynch the goose that’s laying those eggs?
   I take a slight knock in confidence here, there, and think over my approach to authorly contact. Deep thoughts. How do I conduct myself? Am I doing the right things? Are there items that come across on the internet as unfortunate, though they wouldn’t seem that way otherwise?
   Never state in print what you wouldn’t say face-to-face. Going by that old saw, and updating it for the Digital Age, I think I’ve managed to acquit myself well over this first year of blogging. Unless I’ve misunderstood this, any misunderstandings have been cleared up.
   I tried to imagine authorly pursuits symbolically, and using the internet as itself didn’t cut it. Hence the garden image, a lost key, the garden in need of a fix, and a gang of visitors, strolling through, random adventures in publishing.
   Electronic publishing, I should say. For I am that hybrid creature, neither fish nor fowl. I’m an author who publishes electronically, though I read paper when it comes to consuming fiction. Old-fashioned papyrus leaves, by the banks of the Nile.
   Just looked at the price of those hardback books. How much?! And that’s the discounted cost! The greatest lie I tell myself is the worst. No more books. I reorganised bookshelves AGAIN, and I think I’m good for this year and the next.
   It’s a strange mixture. The electronic world, with its real-life portal. Or is that the other way around? For a moment, I sense the door in the high wall closing. My latest blog series is soon to cease. I’ll collect the posts in an e-book, bundled with short stories. What next, after a year of blogging?
   Do I just seal the Secret Garden? Advice I offer is offered freely and may be ignored. I don’t mean to come across as saying DO THIS. (Except for blogging ENTIRELY in white text. Switch to black. DO THIS, and those of us who have poorer eyesight will be able to read your writing.) Self-publishing is an experiment. We have to question everything.
   The big question, in this fractured entry, is easy to ask. Hard to answer. After a year of blogging, should I end the blog and use that extra time to write more fiction? I’m back in that COLD WAR landscape. Not sure whose side I’m on.
   In that case, there shouldn’t be anyone to betray. Earlier, sitting here, knowing I’d left a gap in my blog, I thought about shutting the whole thing down. I blog ahead by writing blogs in batches. The structure was established in the first few moments of blogging. I blog eighteen times per cycle, publish weekly, every Monday, with a minimum 1,500 words per post.
   Then I bundle eighteen blogs in an e-book, with exclusive content filling the bulk of the volume. On average, I blog in the 1,500-2,000 range. Do I stop here, at the end of the latest cycle? I could go further and erase the blog entirely – the collected editions preserve the blog posts in any case. However, I’d muck up quite a lot of links to and fro. And I’d hate to do that. Very fiddly business, preserving links by leaving some kind of legacy blog.
   Never considered that, until now. I’ll go off, and consider some more.


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