Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Blogs, Lemons, Lemonade and Other Things

(Listening to Bring it On by Gomez, perfect blogging soundtrack. Also: all links open new windows, as usual, so feel free to click away!)

I was absolutely delighted to discover last week that I've been awarded a "making lemonade out of life's lemons" blog award by the wonderful poet and writer Carolyn Jess-Cooke who blogs at the Risktaker's Guide to Endorphins. She says of the ten blogs she chose for the award that: "these blogs make me see life with new eyes. They make me laugh, cry, and want to sing/be a better photographer/bake more." Is this not another example of what I talked about in my blog below, the constantly-astonishing kindness of other people who are under no obligation to be this nice? It makes me very happy to know that my blog posts don't make anyone want to tear their hair out but rather might just inspire at least one person to bake more. Thank you Carolyn! I am looking forward to visiting the other nine blogs on her list, eight of which are new to me.

Talking of new blogs, Carolyn has commanded us to share the love by passing on the award to blogs which show a great attitude or gratitude. I want to do something a little different and welcome several new blogs to the blogsphere instead, with the potential to do something very interesting with lemons!

  • Annie Clarkson, a long time MySpace blog veteran, has finally arrived in the outside blog world with Forgetting the Time, thankfully enabling us to follow her blog posts without all that complicated MySpace sign-in and stuff. The purpose of Forgetting the Time, says Annie, a poet and short story writer (whose beautiful collection, Winter Hands, I reviewed on The Short Review) is " notes and reviews on writing, inspiration and how to get lost in words". Her latest blog post talks about the film The Lives of Others, and in particular how it explored the situation for artists and writers in Communist Europe.
  • Writer Tom Vowler has just received an Arts Council grant to write his second novel, and has set up the How to Write a Novel blog to document his process (0 words out of 90,000 so far!). He says of the blog: "Come see the novel writing process stripped bare. From flashing cursor on a blank page to pitch and publication. Follow the highs, the lows; the twists and turns; the agony and (occasional) ecstasy. Read extracts. Offer feedback. 'Write a bad short story and you've wasted two weeks; write a bad novel, you've wasted two years.' I've no idea who said this but it's worth dwelling on. Book reviews, interviews and other literary topics too." His latest blog post describes, with beautiful photo, how his research took him into the woods in Dartmoor. And a nearby pub. For research. Hmm.
  • My good friend Devorah Blachor, writer and mother of toddler Cai, has always been a great cook. The Eco-Baby Cookbook is an ever-growing collection of her recipes using every ingredient including leftovers. She says: "On this page, I'll share ideas about how to cook for babies and adults in one go. Using every ingredient so that nothing gets wasted, this blog minimizes time in the kitchen while maximizing your menu."Let's just say that Fettucine with Caper and Chicken Ragu ain't just for small mouths. Her latest post is a recipe for Caprese Rice with Canneloni Beans. And there are pictures. Mmmmmmm.
  • I stumbled upon Pippa Goldschmidt's blog The Write Reality when I followed a link to a short story competition being run by the Genomics Forum. Pippa began a stint as writer-in-residence at the forum a few months ago, and says of her blog: "I'm interested in musing on the relationship between fiction and science." What can I say, a woman after my own heart! Her latest blog post muses on the concept of time in science and in fiction. Thought-provoking stuff.
All these blogs and more are in my blogroll to the left. I know, I know, so much to read and so little time!

Quick me time: Thanks to Lee Rourke over at his Scarecrow Comment blog for this:

This is a pic of a Waterstone's branch and their featured short story section: Lee's new collection, Everyday, (which we will be reviewing shortly on The Short Review) is on the right hand side, third row from the bottom. And it is accompanied by not one but two copies of The White Road and Other Stories (temporarily out of stock again in the UK, which is why the Amazon widget to the right is offering it for £40 (!!!) - next print run underway).

I can also spot Vanessa's fabulous Words from a Glass Bubble, Clare Wigfall's excellent The Loudest Sound and Nothing, Ali Smith's The First Person and Other Stories (review coming soon), the Bristol Short Story Prize anthology, Alison MacLoed's amazing Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction, Neil Smith's Bang Crunch (on my to-read shelf) and collections by William Trevor and Katherine Mansfield. A Waterstone's with great taste!


Jen HE said...

Well, Tania, you would sell 200 copies in the UK in one week - the printers find it hard to keep up with you!

Tania Hershman said...

Jen - thank you for mentioning that, i was being shy, it's a number I am finding rather hard to take in. I'm not sure where my mother is keeping all those copies, probably stacked underneath the piano.... ;)

Unknown said...

Hee! My short story display case is famous! I was going to email you about this actually, as I spotted it on Lee Rorke's blog.

: )

I tidied it today, and may I please announce to anyone who is desperate for a copy of your most excellent collection - Brighton Waterstone's still has some available.

Tania Hershman said...

Sara, I did have my suspicions this was your excellent display! Thanks, it looks fabulous. I couldn't quite see what all the books were, so if you have more recommendations, let us know. :)

Douglas Bruton said...

Fizzy, like lemonade.


pierre l said...

I have visited that branch and I recognised the great display. Hello Sara.
I seem to remember that you will be visiting North London towards the end of February; if that is the case, I will come and get a signed copy of your book then.

annie clarkson said...

Thank you so much for the mention Tania, what a lovely surprise...

Sarah Hilary said...

200 copies in a week? You're my heroine.

Tania Hershman said...

Pierre, yes, I will be in London, reading at Jewish Book Week on Feb 22nd. Will post info about that here shortly. Pierre - is it you who bought 200 copies? Are you selling them on the black market??! :)
Sarah - it's not me, honest. I didn't do anything. I have absolutely no idea what is going on with this 200 copies business. Anyone?

Sarah Hilary said...

Tania, what you did was write a damn good book of stories. You helped to promote it via blogs, contacts, FaceBook etc. You reaped the rewards. I don't think for one minute that any of us imagine you sat back and waited for the sales to happen. You've put yourself out there, and you deserve this success.

pierre l said...

Well,I read my first copy, gave one to my son for Christmas and sent one to a blogger friend in the USA. Then, I couldn't resist getting one of the re-printed version with the review on the front(to keep); I haven't yet decided what to do with the last two copies. My six copies all came direct from Salt (but not in the same week). I think I just fell in love with that book. I know I'm mad. I have just noticed the the word verification word is " repent" -- oh dear!

Jane Smith said...

I love short stories, and especially anthologies of them. Twenty or thirty years ago I used to be able to buy them from every bookshop I went into: now, I can't find good ones anywhere.

It makes me wish I lived in the South still!

Group 8 said...

Great stuff, Tania. I will be looking for tips come September!

And I love Sara's shelf. I SO want to go to Brighton and if I do, I'll head to Sara's Waterstones and baffle her by being interested in short stories!

Tania Hershman said...

Sarah - thanks, that's really sweet.
Pierre - that's the type of madness we authors greatly appreciate ;)!
Jane, lovely to meet you! Haven't we given you enough recommendations through the Short Review to keep you busy? My aim is to bankrupt every short story lover... in the name of great reading.

N - we should all make a pilgramage to Brighton, and behave wierdly enough to warrant an appearance on Sara's blog!