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The Publishing Thrill

How is it that in the middle of such a busy time, finding a moment to sit back and enjoy the excitement has become a priority? It should be note by all self-publishers to take a moment during the manic dash around blogs, tweets, postings, editing, cover design and blurb writing to just stop. Grab a coffee or something stronger and take a look around you at how much you are doing in such little time. See yourself in action and garner that belief. Do it now, please. You are too good to miss. See yourself at your best.

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Cresendo! launching in mid October with a kickstarter coming this weekend! Work hard my fellow authors!

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Crescendo Update!

“Crescendo!”, my novel about two paranormal investigators, Austerley & Kirkgordon, racing round the world to stop a cataclysmic event, is still on track for an early October release. Currently I am in final editing stages and have 7 chapters of the 31 to send back to my editor for a final going over before the manuscript is complete. Watch out for a Kickstarter starting within the next week!

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Changing of a Bed

When my 4 year old recently kicked me in the head whilst lying in my bed, I got to thinking about how the place where we sleep changes through the years. As so often, this generated the guts of a poem and the following ensued. Usually these rough starts are where my poetry comes from.

Bed

From encompassing arms, I was laid into a flat bed
Bars that protected my roaming urge, left me void of the caress
That would be obtained when I later wandered
Across the landing to reach the space between
My mother and father, disturbing their peace.

A larger bed left me wondering when,
My legs would grow to touch the air beyond the duvet
Which had to be thrown in moments of heat,
Attacked with a vengeance by arms too small,
To control such obstacles to receiving a cuddle.

As testosterone raged and limbs expanded,
I treasured the space that truly was mine
To control and decorate, to relax on and linger
Surveying the posters of dreams that fought
To lay an impression on the journey’s start.

Then in different rooms, I took refuge in beds,
That were not my own but hired for a time.
Homeless but happy, breaking new grounds abroad.
An abode so petite, so cramped and basic
But owned periodically to give it some worth.

Then the bed grew, doubled in size,
To allow for manoeuvre of multiple occupants
Who fumbled and loved, learnt new emotions.
For some the tenants changed but I grew fortunate
In keeping the lodger within the house walls.

Feet in my head, an occupying force,
Takes ground in my bed, with the cutest attack
Which left this dreamer awake most nights.
So strong the attack that more followed on
And all hopes of ownership went off to the wall.

Then she spent longer in that slumbering bastion
Before they suggested a different abode.
But she troubled them not long, never lingered,
And she made her way to a different home,
Parting with tears and eyes ever so tired.

Too much room in this bed nowadays
And no flesh to tell me my feet are cold.
A room that was filled with noise and laughter,
Passions fulfilled and children rampaging
Has become a tomb with orthopaedic pillows.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Arse, Ass and Backside:- Drafting at the Sharp End

I imagined there would be deep technical discussions about the style I had used in my sentences. Back and fro, we would pick out nuances, refining the meaning of words and searching out the real underlying gems of my novel. My masterpiece would be broke apart and reassembled, pristine and glorious, changing the world’s view for ever about, well, everything. Okay, so maybe not quite all that. But there was something that came along that I didn’t expect.

I am in the final throes of editing my manuscript for my first novel, Crescendo!, working into the night on my editor’s comments and generally it has been fun, tiring, thought-provoking and eye opening. However, one thing has made me laugh. When writing for a world audience, one has to think about those words which can be misunderstood, or seem quite foreign. Coming from a British perspective, this means that American readers may not get my meaning. So what words have been causing a little trouble.

Arse, ass, backside. When to use which one. The character would usually refer to “arse”, a north american audience understands “ass” best and on occasions, the moderate and all encompassing “backside” is used. It’s not the glamour I was expecting! When I got to the “fag” that Austerley, one of my main characters, was smoking, I pre-empted the editor’s emergency delivery of “cigarette”.

The choice to keep language true or to open it up to others is an awkward one. At times I have used Russian with no translation to keep the reader in view of a character. Each situation is unique and requires full attention. Providing a manual may in this case be counter-productive. But I have learnt that keeping the voice of a character and making that voice understood is a dynamic situation due to the variety in our English dialects, never mind when a book is translated into a completely different language.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Reactions

This is a little piece that came to me over lunch. With so many refugees, it set me wondering to how I respond to them, and more so, how offensive my thinking can be.

Reactions

I wondered which rooms we could put them in,
Planned the beds, with that smug little grin
That says I am helping you, doing good.
We could share meals and show you good food,
Cut out the spices as our meat is pure,
Not rancid or left lying in heat.
Would you need some space for your queer little customs?
Maybe a car but it’s the left from now on.
And your children, we’d dress in uniforms neat
They would still stand out but their clothes would match.
After a time we’d show you how to fit in
Take up our ways, civilised things.

When I look back at the thoughts that ran riot,
I thank Him that at least we were willing.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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The Ponderings of a Past Poet

Lately I have been challenged when reading poetry with some of the wide differences in the voices of the past and those of the present. My father bought me a book of poetry by Yeats and reading it I began to wonder how he, or indeed anyone from a different time would react to the poetry of today. This poem flowed from that. It’s not a judgement or comment on today’s writings but rather a thought on how we see that which breaks our conventions. Is it modern and relevant, or are these people merely lazy and dismissing good form? Well that’s your decision.

When did poetry stop rhyming
With words and beat combining?
When did alliteration alight
And stark endings happen?
What would old poets say
To smiths who craft their way
Without reference to known style or grace
Cultured phrases lost without trace.

Am I just a fusspot, or poor in my sight,
That I flee from prose which although not trite
Occurs in a form that doesn’t suffice,
That neither flows or connects,
And loses its way in a mesh of
Exaggerated expletive and angered intent.

When did our words become free
And not molded by ourselves,
Broncos on the hoof, not birds on the wing.
When did all form collapse
So that now we write like a child,
Building his Lego from whatever is in the box.

Like the painter’s of my time,
We should tell of vivid but recognized colours
Of days that we recognize but honed
And polished into a creation
Which let’s us drive in comfort while
Allowing the road to be challenged.

It is prose, not poetry, Sir. And I reject it.

GR Jordan’s first book of his poetry “Four Life Emotions” is available at Amazon, Smashwords and other outlets.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Pressure! – Deep in the Self-publishing Groove

Fitting writing in is hard enough at the best of time with a busy family, a normal job and all the other things life throws at you. Hence I write during my lunch break. Edit in the wee hours of the morning. Grab a moment while the kids are at a club and I’m sat in the cafe outside or even at a table.

In earlier days I would have taken my pencil and pad and wrote from the top of my head. Today is similar, except that I use a tablet, with a Bluetooth keyboard and it comes with thesaurus, dictionary and encyclopedia. My work can sit on a cloud or a card that is smaller than my thumbnail. Looking with truthful eyes, I find technology helping me achieve my end, assisting in cutting out extra work.wpid-received_10204171658434333.jpeg

And yet, while I love the fact that I can control so much of my own work, there comes a pressure. Everything seems to need completed at the same time and with the obligatory professional edge. But I am just a writer. Sit me in front of a keyboard or give me a pencil and I’ll knock out a story, without hesitation. It’s in-built. I didn’t become a writer, I was born one. Albeit, I had to learn our code for transmitting the stories first. Not saying I can’t improve because I can, but I am a writer.

But I wasn’t born a publisher. Visual art can be a strange experience. And the nuances of formatting, well let’s say, I am new to them. These things that don’t come naturally add pressure because I feel out of my depth. Even with hired help, I feel exposed. And these extras, these important items, become precious to me because they show off my writing. They help people connect with my core, my work. And hence the pressure comes and I become scared that I am not doing my writing justice with these other items.

But there is a revelation. I can only improve if I first try. “Better to burn out than to fade away,” was said in “Highlander”, the eighties film. Don’t bury your talents to be more biblical. And so one must take the pain to receive the gain as the fitness gurus tell us.

It helps when reading about other authors who had to fight their way to publication. Stephen King comes to mind. I read “About Writing” and initially wondered why there was so much about his own life and not about the writing process. But now, having leapt into the same passion, I get it. The man said it himself.

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. …this book…is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So no matter the pressure, I’ll keep drinking!

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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Selling a Kickstarter – So Out of My Comfort Zone!

The editing is underway and going well. The cover is nearly all set. Reviewer research is done and ready to be engaged. And then it comes at mphotoe. My Kickstarter – it’s time to tell people why they want to support me in producing this book.

One of the downsides of being a creative is the requirement for money to put your masterpiece into the public domain. If only the Star Trek dream of money being obsolete was true, endeavours could just happen. But back to the real world.

It took me a while to realize this but a Kickstarter is aimage fantastic opportunity to engage people in my dream. It is scary to lay your soul on the line and try not to sound like a complete fool or a dribbling clown but if we don’t share our art what is its worth. It may be therapeutic but why keep that balm to ourselves. And so, for me, a Kickstarter seemed essential.

But then they mentioned the video. A good Kickstarter promotional video can encourage people because it shows the artist in the raw – not nude obviously, I want them to fund this, not run a mile. The real kicker came to me after I started thinking about how to make a video. The people in the know say that it isn’t about how professional your video is (although it is good to be as professional as you can). It is about your audience seeing you, connecting with you, understanding and wanting you to fulfill this dream, this idea.

And it came to me. What do I tell those around me about my books? How enthusiastic do I get? What about those times when I can’t be shut up for rabbiting on about my latest project? How wonderful do I think my characters, Austerley and Kirkgordon, are? What do I tell people the purpose of my book is, what strangeness in life am I exposing?

The trick now is to take that honest, down to earth passion I have for the book and put it on a screen and then dress it up with some technical know how. But at least I have the essence of my task already within me. Time to take on Hollywood? Well, YouTube at least.

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Getting the professionals – Dealing with the dreaded editor!

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When writers talk about editors with each other, it always makes me smile. Why? Because the testimonials run somewhere between people who rank just a touch lower than your mother to the awful beasts who didn’t understand and wrecked my manuscript. Usually there is a severe bias from ourselves, the authors, but then you must appreciate, we are handing our baby over to these people and they need to take great care with it.

My experience so far has been an enjoyable one. I scoured Reedsy (an online hiring post for editors and graphic artists) and put forward my proposal to receive several replies announcing desire to copy-edit my manuscript. There were several excellent bids and I put out a test edit piece for the bidders. After much thought I choose Caroline Orr to work with. From the off, Caroline was professional, courteous but also keen to seek a way of working between us. One point I would say, to my fellow authors seeking to engage a professional editor, is that you should feedback not just your opinion on any editing made but also the way in which that editing is explained to you. Early on in our collaboration, I fed back to Caroline why her method of explanation worked for me.

Following through the editing is fierce for a writer. You see changes and deep inside is an animal screaming that this is your novel and your style, how dare they suggest any change. But then why are we paying for these services. Some changes are easy. Punctuation (hand is up, I am in dire need!). Bad phrasing (hand up again). But then there are moments when sentences are reconfigured, your audience nationality is questioned, and at times pointers that your entire paragraph is struggling to make sense (my hand is getting sore!).

I am still working through my novel’s edits but already I am convinced of the need of a good editor. They cannot write your story for you (well maybe they could but they’d probably want to publish it themselves) but they certainly polish up the car, get the engine running smoothly and make sure the driver finds easy access to all the necessary controls. However, do not underestimate the work involved or the occasional knock to your ego. But then it’s not about us, is it? It’s about that novel. Who cares what the parent looks like on prize day? But our child needs to be ready for presentation!

By the way Caroline hasn’t proofed this blog, all errors are my very own!