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Dear all:

Tomorrow is New Year, 2014 and I’ve decided to revisit a post where I asked about what your ideal bookshop would be like. It’s time to revisit what your year has been like. In my case it hasn’t been great but I’ve decided to revisit my life and I’m thinking of trying something new. I’m looking at bookshops, that have always been one of the loves of my life, but I admit not knowing anything about the business. At the moment it’s all thoughts, but it’s a good topic, so…any comments will be welcome and Have a great New Year’s Eve. And let’s hope 2014 is positive for everybody!

 Bookshop

 

My parents always tell me that when I was a small child, before I learned to read, I always wanted to know what any signs or anything with writing on it said. Later on, once I learned to read, I became an avid reader. My school was a pretty small neighbourhood school (it no longer exists) and it did not have a library, but the readers amongst us used to exchange books and read anything we could get our hands on, from ‘The Famous Five’ and the Adventure Series (I always preferred them to the Famous Five, but that’s me) to ‘Jaws’, Oscar WildeEdgar Allan PoeGustavo Adolfo Becquer o Mercé Rodoreda.

 

I’ve always been happier with books than with any other presents (or nearly) and I still am.

 

When it comes to books I’m like a moth to light, if I see books anywhere I’ll go and have a look, it doesn’t matter if it’s a supermarket, a charity shop, a car-boot sale. And of course, I love bookshops although they’re having a bit of a hard time and have changed beyond recognition. And yes, now we have big bookstore chains, somewhat anonymous but usually reasonably supplied and full of other things, the small specialised bookshop, the independent bookstore, second-hand bookshops that are true time-travelling machines.

 

Because of my job there have been periods of my life where I’ve travelled a fair bit and one of the things I remember more clearly of the places where I’ve stayed (or visited)  is where the bookshops are (or where). I must admit to feeling really disappointed when I revisit a place where I’ve been before and a bookshop I liked has disappeared. It’s like losing an old friend. When it comes to bookshops, like most important things in life, they are not all created equal

 

Reflecting on all that, I wanted to ask you, readers, if you could have the bookshop of your dreams, what would it be like? Would it be enormous with everything on it? Or small but quirky with lots of character? Would it only sell books or sell related items (DVDs, e-readers, magazines and writing materials, audiobooks, other equipment…)? Would it sell other kinds of stuff (postcards, craft items, toys…)? Would it have a tea/coffee shop attached? Would it organise events (book readings and signings, host book clubs, run competitions, have other guests…)? Would it have only new books, second-hand books, have a section for exchanging books…? Books in several languages? Best-sellers and less well-known books, local interest books? Would it offer other services like Wi-Fi and e-store? Would it be located in a remote place, around the corner, in a shopping mall, in a hidden nook in a magical place?

 

Dream on! It’s free (for the time being!)

 

And thinking about this and after a fellow author and good friend sent me some pictures of one of her favourite bookshops, I decided to start a board on Pinterest dedicated to bookshops, and once I started checking I was amazed at the fabulous building and beautiful pictures people had pinned. Have a look, and if you’d like to pin your own pictures or others you find, let me know and I’ll invite you to pin with pleasure.

 

http://www.pinterest.com/olganm7/bookstores-booshops-and-interesting-shops/

 

Thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it remember to like, comment, and share!

 

 

books (Photo credit: brody4)

 

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English: Instruction manual of the Nirvana Sut...

English: Instruction manual of the Nirvana Sutra (大般涅槃経集解, daihatsunehankyōshūge) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi dear readers. I’ve been talking to one of my friends (and fellow author) about this and that and the other, and we got to talking about SELF-HELP books. As many of you know, understanding Amazon algorithms is beyond mere-mortals powers. Their categories are also puzzlement to me. I guess it might work out OK if you start writing with them in mind, but trying to fit in something already in existence to these categories, other than the more general ones, is interesting to say the least. You could always try with one of your favourite books and see how far you get.

I digress, as usual. My friend and I got looking at categories in self-help world and it’s as full of the weird and the wonderful as anywhere else there.

It made me think about one of my “issues”. Yes, I have many of them. You buy a camera; it comes with an instruction manual. Your phone, the same. Even pretty basic things. Life, that’s quite complicated by most people’s standards…nothing. No manual, no video, CD, DVD, no book of instructions. Not even a leaflet. Swim or sink approach.

In one of my short stories, ‘The Novel’ one of the characters, Denver, decides that life would be much easier if we lived it as a genre novel, because we’d know where we stood, understand conventions, characters, etc, and she has a good go at it. As you might suspect things don’t go according to plan. But it was worth a try, I think.

If suddenly you were given the task of creating an instruction manual for life (it would have to be pretty general, just the basics), what would you include? What would be in your table of contents?

And if you were sent one, what would you check first? Keeping healthy? Family relationships? Love? Income and finances? Gaining perspective? Surviving?

I’m curious. Let me know what you think, please.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoy or it makes you think, please, please, please, comment and share!

Hi all:

As you know usually I have a best author featured on my blog on Fridays. Unfortunately things didn’t work according to plan and the writer who was supposed to post today couldn’t make it. I hope she’ll come for a visit soon.

Instead I’ve decided to share with  you the beginning of a story I wrote some time ago that I’m revising. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with it, but could do with the opinions. If there’s interest I can always post a bit more of it in the future, and even consider publication…If not, it will go back to the drawer (or computer file to be more precise).

Here it is:

Family, Lust and Surveillance

The parcel was planted on my desk, brown and seemingly innocent. It had my name on it, my job denomination (Sub-Editor) and the office’s address. I picked it up, weighted it, shook it…It was too large for a CD. My heart started beating very fast, and my hands trembled. What I’d been fearing, had happened. Herman had finally got hold of me.

I jumped when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. It’s just…which one of these do you prefer?”

Matt, one of the graphic designers, had been working on the cover of the anthology we were getting ready.

“I…Which one do you prefer?”

“I’ve made them both. I don’t know.”

He looked at me. He was a short, funny looking guy, all head and eyes.

“Is that a CD?”

I was still holding the parcel in my right hand.

“No, a DVD.”

“Anything nice?”

“I think it’s a family recording I’ve been waiting for. Do you know if any of the viewing cabins are free?”

“I don’t think there’s anybody there at all this morning. Which one…?”

“Oh…the designs…I like them both. Ask Alan. Or choose yourself. We can always use the other design when we publish another anthology.”

OK. I hope you enjoy the movie.”

“I’m sure I will…”

He left and I added to myself “not”. I walked fast to one of the viewing cabins, the one on the further and more retired corner. I didn’t want to get interrupted or seen. I had to be completely sure. Once there, I opened the parcel. There was no note of any kind. Only a DVD. Blank cover. I switched the TV on and the DVD player. I watched the disc being swallowed by the machine. And after a few blank seconds, Herman appeared on screen. He looked thinner and paler than last time I had seen him, if that was possible. His hair was long, greasy, and he’d acquired some grey hairs. He looked tired but smiled, toothpaste-ad style.

“Hi, Pat. It’s been a long time since we last saw each other, hasn’t it? Over three years now. Of course, you’re the one seeing me though, I can’t see you. Not yet, anyhow. Or do you think I can?…It wasn’t in very good taste what you did to me. Pack your things and go when we were having such good fun. And send me an e-mail. So impersonal! ‘Don’t try to contact me. Leave me alone or…’ I’ve been wondering ‘or what?’ all these years. That’s not fair. I’ve been bored stiff all this time. Watching our last recording. Do you remember it? Here is a selection.”

The screen went blank for a minute and the next images were of a couple, naked in a narrow bed, having sex. Herman, the male in the tape, seemed to be performing for the camera, trying to make the action as visible as possible. Only when approaching the climax did he seem to lose the control and forget about the performance. The woman was hardly visible until the end, when Herman just laid down next to her, caressing her abdomen and kissing her nipples. Herman seemed to suddenly remember the camera and grabbing her face made her sit.

‘Smile at the camera.’

I looked at the blank screen. My image looking at myself from the gulf of three years made me blush and feel humiliated. But it hadn’t finished yet. Herman walked in front of the camera and sat down.

“I hope you enjoyed it. I did. You didn’t give me much of a chance to ask you, actually. But, I’ve been thinking of better angles for the camera. It would be more interesting if you were on top next time. I’ll phone you this morning. Just to discuss the details. Bye. I’m happy I’ve found you finally.”

I went back to my desk and sat down. I put the DVD on the top drawer, the one I could lock. The white phone looked harmless and pure. I could not think or do anything. I contemplated the possibility of leaving the office and going home. Maybe I should have emigrated. But I felt drained of all energy. I just waited for the phone to ring. And it did.

“Hi Pat. It’s Cal here. Are you busy tonight?”

“Tonight?…I don’t know. I’m waiting for a phone-call. I can’t tell you yet. What were you thinking of?”

“Intimate dinner, movie, sex…The usual.”

“I’ll give you a call when I know what I’m doing.”

“Are you all right? You sound a bit…strange.”

“I just feel a bit tired. I’ll be all right, Cal.”

“OK. Don’t forget to phone. You know I have many admirers cueing…”

“I’ll phone you later.”

“Pat…It was only a joke.”

“I know, darling, I know. Sorry, I’m just not myself today. Speak to you later. Thanks for phoning.”

Cal…he was such a sweet guy. How could I explain Herman to him? How could anybody explain Herman to anybody else? If he would just disappear…

The phone rang again. I let it ring a few times, until Tina, the girl in the contiguous office came in. Always fashionable clothes, impeccable make-up, carefully arranged hair…Heart of model.

“Oh, I thought you weren’t in. I was going to answer it…By the way, somebody phoned earlier. Herman…somebody or other. He said he’s your stepbrother. I didn’t know you had any family.”

“We haven’t talked to each other for a long time. I’ll tell you the story some other day.”

I picked up the phone and watched Tina leave.

“Hello. Pat McKenzie here.”

“Hi Pat. Herman Stenson here.”

I didn’t say anything. There wasn’t anything to say.

“How are you? Surprised?”

“Nothing you do surprises me, Herman.”

“You probably thought you had got away with it by now.”

“I didn’t think, I hoped and prayed. What do you want?”

“OK, forget about niceties, hey? It’s only me, it’s all in the family, I understand. What do you think I want?”

I didn’t answer. I wanted to put the phone down on him, but I knew that wouldn’t make any difference. I’d grown up with the bastard.

“I want you to come and see me, Pat. I’m living here too. I moved once I found your address. I’ll tell you where I live.”

“I don’t want to know.”

“I have a very nice place here.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Oh, come on, Pat, be fair now. Have I gone to all this bother to find you for nothing? You must come and see me. I must show you my new surveillance system, cameras…I can record anything now.”

“I don’t want to…”

“All right, I’m not going to carry on playing Mr. Nice Guy. If that’s the way you want it that’s the way it’ll be. You will come to see me or I’ll send a copy of our DVD to your boss and to your lovely Carl Tom…whatever.”

“Cal Tomlinson. What makes you think I’m bothered about that?”

“The sub-editor of a serious intellectual magazine, on educational matters, star of a porn movie. I’m not sure it quite goes with the job.”

“It isn’t a porn movie.”

“I know what it is, and you do too, but do you think anybody else knows? Nobody would understand that. And I’m sure Carl wouldn’t either.”

“Cal.”

“I couldn’t care less what his name is. Unless he wants to star in the movie…although…no, let’s keep it as it was.”

“WHY DON’T YOU SIMPLY FIND SOMEBODY ELSE TO…” I suddenly dropped my voice because I realised that probably Tina and half of the office where hearing me by now. “…fuck?”

“It’s a little bit more than that, love. Come to see me and we’ll talk about it.”

I wrote down his address automatically and put the phone down.

*******************************************************************

Let me know what you think.

And I have two announcements. Next week, to make up, I have two guest authors. On Tuesday my blog will be part of Travis Luedke’s blog tour. We’ll here about his new novel in the series ‘The Nightlife’. If you like hot and sexy vampires…I wouldn’t miss it. And on Friday, Dan O’Brien will talk to us offering his advice on how to get your work in a magazine (in his role as an editor) and his writing. Good week coming.

And the second announcement. My Young Adult novella, ‘Twin Evils?‘ is going to be free, for one day only, on Friday the 1st March. I’ll remind you, but be prepared. It’s only one day. I leave you links to previous blogs where I offered samples of Twin Evils also…for inspiration.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Olga

Twin Evils cover11

http://viewbook.at/B00BDRA9DM

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/brand-new-new-young-adult-novella-twin-evils-taster/

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/twin-evils-if-finally-here-young-adult-novella-siblings-paranormal-love-description-and-taster/

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