Monday, April 01, 2013

Round the blogging traps - on writers and writing 1

It probably won't come as a surprise, it shouldn't, that a remarkable number of bloggers are writers. I suppose one could say that all bloggers are writers, that's the nature of the medium after all, but it's more than that. To illustrate this, I want to take you on something of a literary wander around that small slice of the blogosphere that I follow.

By the way, do you find spell checkers as problematic as I do? I really hate the Americanisation of English. But that's another story.

To start my wander, you may have noticed the relative quietness over at skepticslawyer, although they are becoming more active. Why? As I understand it, three of the main contributors have been involved with other writing projects. That's actually a feature of the blogosphere, for many of us have multiple outlets, multiple writing projects. In my own case, far too many for my own good!

Not all bloggers do this. Faced with hard choices, they focus. Denis Wright is dying from a brain tumour. In his case, My Unwelcome Stranger has become the vehicle for his literary expression. I have known Denis for many years; we first met when sharing the history staff room at the University of New England while I was a post grad student. He writes with simplicity and great clarity. There is a little of his illness, although much of that is kept in a separate section within the blog. Instead. much of Denis's writing is story based, tales from his past.

Bronwyn Parry's first blog focused on her professional role within the University of New England. Now a very successful romance thriller writer, her current blog focuses on her writing. This is an example of the blog as a support, a promotional device, for other writing. Her latest entry announced that that Dead Heat was a finalist in the romantic suspense category of the Romance Writers of America RITA awards. Bronwyn comments:

The RITA awards are often described as the ‘Oscars’ for the romance genre – the winners are announced at the gala awards night at the end of the Romance Writers of America conference, which this year will be in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 17-20th. I will be going to the conference this year, and I’m very much looking forward to it! When Dark Country finalled in the RITAs in 2010, sadly I couldn’t go because of pending brain surgery – but this time I’ll be there!

Bronwyn is a very good writer indeed. Even if you aren't into romance, do try one of her books. I don't think that you will be disappointed. Partner Gordon is also a blogger with lookANDsee, a photo blog focused especially on New England. 

Looking at this post so far, the New England connection is already dominating! That's not surprising, for it reflects my network and interests. But just to balance a little.        

Back in June 2009, I wrote Visiting Vancouver - 3: Canadian history through Australian eyes, early days. This provided an introduction to early Canadian history based on Craig Brown (Editor), The Illustrated History of Canada, Key Porter Books, Toronto, 2007. In return, I received a rather nice compliment from Christopher Moore, one of the book's authors. He wrote:

You have digested a lot of Canadian history very effectively! -- and I say this as one of the authors of The Illustrated History of Canada, the book you were reading.

I have been following Christopher's blog, Christopher Moore's History News, ever since. Christopher is somewhat unusual; he is a full time history writer who makes his living outside the groves of academe. Like Bronwyn, the blog is a support to his other activities. The entries are short but regular. It provides a remarkably good introduction to Canadian history.

Returning to the New England connection, Sophie Masson is one of Australia's better known writers. Now living in Armidale and chair of the New England Writers' Centre, her blog A la mode frangourou is all about food with a dash of self-promotion thrown in. And why not? Those who want to make a living from writing have to learn to focus and to promote. Lesson to self!

Browsing Sophie's blog, I see that she is now using YouTube to promote her work. Again, lesson to self! In the meantime, Sophie's blog contains some mouth watering stuff.

Oops! Looking at the time, I am out of it today. I need to clean up and get ready to go out to lunch at Helen's place. Maybe more later. I will mark this post 1 to remind me to come back.     

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