Carving by Alan Lees
For all kinds of reasons, August was such a busy month for me that I've been neglecting my blog. I found myself blogging about being a mid-list writer for the astonishingly varied and informative Edinburgh eBook Festival, attending the excellent and entertaining Inverness Book Festival with Lin Anderson and Sara Sheridan, to speak about indie publishing and promotion, while a week later, I was on a Society of Authors panel at the Edinburgh International Book Festival talking about 'Being a Writer in the Digital Age.' This was a bit contentious, but only insofar as one of the speakers found himself playing devil's advocate - and to be honest, I'm glad he did. Nothing like a little grit in the oyster to produce a few pearls of wisdom, and as one member of the audience commented afterwards 'It wasn't totally one sided, which proved to be a very good thing.' I agree. There is a debate to be had, and we should be having it - courteously and productively.

 I heard later that one of the panel had to put up with a certain amount of online abuse and I'm sorry about that. We need to be able to talk frankly about writing and publishing. We need to be able to talk about the challenges facing all of us. If we can talk about collaboration and making the best of things for all of us, so much the better.

Edinburgh is a blast at Festival time. We managed to see The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer, by Iain Heggie, with John Bett as the redoubtable Enoch Dalmellington. This is a marvellous piece of theatre - funny and satirical and wholly entertaining and I'm so glad to have seen it at last. Every time I see a play as good as this one, I have a terrible longing to get back to writing for the stage - and yet taking anything at all from page to production these days is fraught with so many problems that - after all these years and with a good track record - I do, kind of, find myself running out of steam with that particular aspect of my creativity! I had this conversation with somebody only a few weeks ago who told me that the only way was to 'get a group of people together and do it yourself' and I thought - yes. You're right. It's the only way. But do I have that kind of energy now? All these years after my first play was staged?  I don't think so. Besides, I have so many other fish to fry, you wouldn't believe.

Meanwhile, enough of the excitement. (And believe me, there has been a LOT of excitement of which more in due course) I really need to quit monkeying around and get some writing done - fiction, that is.

PS We also spent an hour in the company of the Amazing Bubble Man. You can watch him on YouTube here. Wonderful stuff.

August is a Busy (Festival) Month

Your Own Skipper

This is a time of year when most of my friends are off on holiday - or just back from it. It's shaping up to be one of my busiest months of the year!

First things first - this week, I'm 'mid-list' Writer in Residence, over at the Edinburgh eBook Festival. There's a regular schedule of posts, but if you can't be there all day (and who can? - it's a little like ANY book festival with a huge range of possibilities) - you can click on the Catch Up tab to the right of the home page and see what you've missed - and go to the post and read it at your leisure if you want!
Here's the link to my first mid-list writer post - but you can catch up with them at any time or read them all of a piece at the end of the week or later on.
Meanwhile, if you find anything you like, all the participants would be very grateful if you could spread the word even in a small way  - especially since there is so much which might be of interest to readers and/or of use to writers, whether indie or hybrid or traditionally published, new or experienced. There's comedy, ghosts, crime, life writing - you name it. And it's ALL free.

Just to make life more interesting (if a bit hectic) for myself, I'm back from the Inverness Book Festival where I was doing a seminar on Digital Publishing with the amazing Lin Anderson and the equally amazing Sara Sheridan. We do an occasional triple act for the Society of Authors in Scotland advising people about the possibilities for eBook publishing and marketing and  we always seem to get a great response and good feedback from the audience. Truth to tell, Sara is so good on the marketing aspects that I always learn something from her whenever we do one of these sessions. And this time, Lin was wonderfully eloquent on the democratizing effects of eBooks and online publishing, comparing these changes to the early days of libraries, when there was a certain amount of angst about ordinary people having access to books - how on earth would they cope without the intellectuals to tell them how to think?

Next week, I'm doing another session on digital publishing - a panel at the Edinburgh Book Festival this time, with Maggie Craig, and Mark Buckland with Lin chairing it. It's all go in the Czerkawska household and as if that wasn't enough, I'm working on revisions of my Canary Isles trilogy, aiming to publish the first book, Orange Blossom Love, by the end of this month. We'll see.

Oh, and there is a piece of bigger news to come - but I'll be posting about that soon!
And before I forget - I have another little trio of short stories out on Kindle right now. Your Own Skipper. These are a bit dark though. You have been warned!