Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The email

Yesterday I opened my email to see Sales Statement from my UK publisher, Legend Press. It was for the second half of 2008, but as A Son Called Gabriel only came out in mid-October it was only for two months. Excitedly, I opened it up and was amazed how simple the statement was to read and that sales had been brisk. Sadly no check is forthcoming as sales were credited against my advance.

I wish my US publisher statement had been as simple--in that case, I had to have it explained twice and even then I didn't fully understand the thing.

I must say Tom Chalmers is doing a great job at Legend. He's always approachable, courteous and a pleasure to work with--and he's ambitious and possesses vision. Legend Press is an Indie to watch.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A bit about research

I love when an idea for a new novel pops into one's head. That happened me a few weeks ago when I was thinking I'd start to write a different sort of book. It came fast and furious and unexpected. My initial thought was to kill it as I knew it would involve too much time doing research. As a lawyer, I've done my fair share of that--both at law school for exams, essays and with a girl called Patsy Monahan who was my 'moot' partner in a maritime problem we were given to defend and when I worked as an associate for a mean son-of-a-bitch boss who still gives me the chills when I think about him and who had me research for appellate cases he handled--and I dislike the amount of time it takes. When I do research, I tend to become fully absorbed in the process because I can't stand doing a half-assed job like lazy lawyers and some novelists whom I've read of late.

But the idea of the novel was strong and kept rising Phoenix-like from the ashes of rejection. So I have surrendered and am now immersed in the world of Mormonism. Yes, Mormonism. My as yet unborn and unnamed protagonist is a Mormon. I am Irish with no Mormon relatives. Nor have I as yet been baptized by them 'in absentia' so that I will get to the Celestial Kingdom. (I believe that happens upon one's death so my father may have been by now or is in line to be baptized by them at one of their temples.) I have only met a couple of Mormon missionaries from Utah who knocked on the door of the flat I shared with a very well-bred, very pukka dyke who was tres untidy, read two novels at a time and became my teacher of all things hedonistic--we drove to dance clubs in her shiny TR7, her 'babe magnet,' a vehicle so intensely magnetic she had to merely drive around the block where the Gateway club was situated rather than pay the entrance charge on those evenings she felt like going (alone) into Central London to drink at the only lesbian bar in town. Both she and I were in our very early twenties and our primary interests were our invincible youth, looking hot and acting cool, alcohol, disco and did I mention our invincible youth. We did not care to learn about Joseph Smith finding golden tablets deep within some NY hillside or Brigham Young or the Book of Mormon. Now I wish I'd listened to them instead of wondering what to wear that night to Heaven, the one at Charing Cross.

But I digress. I am finding my research fascinating and enjoyable. Writing is about the journey and I love to meet new people and learn new things about the ever-changing mosaic we call humanity.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chia Obama: But wait there's more

So now certain sections of the African American population are annoyed because a fried chicken joint in New York City has named its restaurant "Obama Fried Chicken." They said it's racist and must not be allowed. It's like linking African Americans to watermelon and collard greens is also racist. The restaurant said it is not backing down--the owner was Korean. Sure the Irish have been poked fun of for their fondness for potatoes and they don't get all upset about it. However, if a sign went up at a business establishment saying "No Irish need apply", that would be a horse of a very different color.

The objectors are also angry at the Chia Pet's "Obama" heads. One of the heads is lighthearted and the other a "serious Obama." Again, they say it's racist. (I must say anyone who buys Chia Pets needs to have their heads examined. They're ALL naff.) Already one drugstore chain, Walgreens, has bowed to the imaginary fear of a boycott or plummeting sales and stopped stocking the silly thing.

The official White House position is they discourage use of Obama's likeness for commercial gain.

With all due respect to the African American population, I think the dissenters need to lighten up a bit. It's not racism. It's poor taste--crass commercialism. That's it, period.

We poked fun at George Bush for the last eight years and enjoyed doing it. Before that, it was Bill Clinton and blue dresses.

This is in the same vein as Bush cards and nodding heads. Stop playing silly victim. Focus on what is truly racist and go after that full speed.