Archive for January, 2014

Troublesome First Draft

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Guest Author: Cathy Marie Buchanan

Style: "Neutral"Writing the first draft of a novel is about the toughest work I’ve undertaken (and I should mention that I’ve worked on the line at GM, waitressed in a greasy spoon and spent years as a financial analyst at IBM). Yes, I have the gist of the novel before I put fingertips to keyboard. For The Painted Girls I had a three-page synopsis and about six months of research under my belt. But no amount of upfront work prepares me for the million decisions I face each time I’m writing a first draft, the feeling that a single wrong turn might lead me down a garden path, skirting the blooms I meant to pick along the way, so that I emerge at the far end with a bouquet far substandard to the one I set out to create.

Where shall I begin the story? With nasty Monsieur LeBlanc arriving to collect the rent the Van Goethem family of The Painted Girls does not possess? Should I proceed chronologically? Is first or third person the better choice? Past or present tense? Should the narrator— in the case of The Painted Girls, Marie van Goethem, a real life model for Edgar Degas— have a mother?  Yes. A sister? Two, as she did in real life. Should her older sister Antoinette tell part of the story? And that bad boy she meets behind the Paris Opéra, should she go to a tavern with him?  Should they fall in love? Should that love story become central to the plot? And now back the story I thought I was writing, the one about Degas’s model Marie. Will she show a talent for dancing? Will she meet a wealthy male admirer of the ballet in Degas’s studio? Will he be lecherous as were so many of those supposed patrons of the day?

The level of uncertainty is disarming and at times paralysing. I think, for me, it’s uncertainty that causes writers’ block, not a dearth of ideas or creativity, but rather a fear of making the wrong choice, heading down the wrong path and wasting a month or a year, a fear of writing a lousy book.Painted Girls

Wreaking havoc alongside the uncertainly so inherent to writing first draft is the impossibility of truly knowing the characters I am only just beginning to set on the page. I don’t yet know how they speak, or what they will and will not do, or how they might react. Those nascent characters are erratic and inconsistent. Their names change mid-paragraph. These shadow characters are far from living, breathing intimates. There comes a point, though, if a writer is lucky, if she’s done the work required, when the shadow retreats and a character takes on flesh and blood. And just like I know my sister and can predict how she will react or what she will say, my characters begin to weigh in, participating in how the story unfolds, curbing the decisions to be made. I’ve heard other writers say that they found their voice or that their characters spoke to them or that the story wrote itself. And while the latter seems a gross oversimplification, I think we’re all speaking of the blessed moment when our characters become real in our minds. It’s the moment when the first draft ceases to be a slog, an endurance test of sitting down each morning to rein in endless possibilities.

About Author:

Cathy Marie Buchanan’s “The Painted Girls” is a #1 National Bestseller in Canada, a “New York Times” bestseller, and has garnered rave reviews and been showered with special attention—everything from selection as a “People Magazine” pick to inclusion in “Entertainment Weekly’s” Must List. Her debut novel, “The Day the Falls Stood Still“, is a “New York Times” bestseller and a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection. She holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she now resides in Toronto.

France-Shop Books @ Printsasia in Your Local Currency

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Yet another website in the Eurozone sites, http://www.printsasia.fr/, launched for our France based users. With this recent launch, book aficionados from France can shop their desired titles at Printsasia.fr in their local currency, i.e. in Euro.

France pic

We are excited to let our users from France know that along with low pricing of books, you can also get the benefit of Free Shipping on every purchase at Printsasia.fr.

All avid readers can now browse plethora of titles published in USA, UK and Asian region. This new opportunity immediately will now broaden the horizons of your imported books selection without burning hole in your pocket.

Currently, we would be providing Live Chat and Email Support in English language but in future, we may provide it in French Language as well.

We hope you will enjoy exploring our website. We request you to provide feedback to us about this newly launched website and suggest what would you like to be included in this website, You can send your feedback at web@printsasia.fr

Wonderful, Unconscious Mega-brain; or The Difficult Second Novel

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Guest Author: C. J. Flood

myfaceSince beginning book two, I’ve had the unsettling feeling of being a deeply unoriginal individual. It began when the words difficult and second and novel found each other in my psyche, and started cuddling, and refused to let go. Because it turns out, writing under contract, after lifelong writing when no one anywhere cares, is quite difficult. Or different, at least.

Writing Infinite Sky, my first novel, seems easy by comparison. It just came together, I often think to myself, looking at the beautifully packaged hardback. It was one of those gifts of a book, I have heard myself say, when asked about my inspiration. It just sort of came out.

Friends and family beg to differ. They insist I said the same things about Infinite Sky as I do about this book. (But how am I going to unpick the chaos? It’s totally out of control! And who would actually want to read this?) I just don’t recall. The struggle seems to recede as you get more used to the book as a kind of spare object that litters the house. Still, it’s worth attempting to remember.

Because when pressed, I do recall a period when Infinite Sky wasn’t working. That the voice took quite a long time to find. That for tens of thousands of words, it was a completely different kind of novel altogether. And then another. Until, finally, eventually, it became an amalgamation of all of these attempts, the best version of itself I could manage in the time available, made by cutting useless parts and shoving forward the useful or interesting.

Visiting an early draft of my second novel, at the time, imaginatively entitled Infinite SkySoldiers, I am amazed at how many of the ideas I had thought occurred to me recently, are already there in the text. Reading through it, I get that slightly mystical, unnerving feeling that maybe the chaos isn’t chaos after all. Or not in the way I’d thought. That moving forwards in the midst of it – by writing new sentences, and doing more research, and attempting to imagine the final scene before you’ve even written the opening one – isn’t only done by feeling blindly as it seems, but by being pulled by some wonderful, unconscious mega-brain that has an instinctive handle on it all. An unconscious mega-brain that somehow already knows the story.

Nonsense?

Perhaps. But isn’t it the loveliest idea? I adore to think of the unconscious in this way, leading me around by a vague feeling in my stomach. And I love to push forward this idea that Unconscious Me is tinkering away on the important projects even as Conscious Me refuses to get out of bed, or wanders around the internet, or watches everything ever on Netflix. And I can’t wait until a time when I answer questions about my process with glib, annoying remarks like, Oh well it just kind of appeared, out of nowhere. I can’t really explain it, to be honest.

About Author:                    

C J Flood is the author of the Carnegie Medal nominated Infinite Sky. She lives in Bristol where she is finishing her second novel for young adults, to come out in July 2014.

Spain-Shop Books @ Printsasia in Your Local Currency

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

We are extremely excited and pleased to announce that our next Eurozone website on the series and the first in Spain, http://www.printsasia.es/, is live. Book buyers from Spain can now shop books published in Asia and America in their local currency.

In 2011, we launched Printsasia.com in US, and have since been working round the clock to reach out to book aficionados across the globe. Printsasia.es is one step ahead in this direction.

For limited time, we would be offering Free Shipping to the users getting their books delivered in Spain.

For now, customer support via email and Live Chat will be provided in English language, 24×7. In near future we may provide support in native language as well.

We invite volunteers who would bring language and usability based shortcomings to our notice and would really appreciate if you  visit our newly launched website and send us your feedback at web@printsasia.es.

Me and the Promised Land by Arthur Flowers

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Guest Author: Arthur Flowers

ARFbookstoreI have to say I love this book. What happened I was invited to the Jaipur Literary Festival as part of a State Dept. tour and my hoodoo performance bit resonated. Folk started treating me like some sort of literary guru, touching my feet, sitting around me in a half circle asking about the meaning of life, it was a sobering experience. Folk responded to the spiritual component in my work in a way I had not experienced in the West.

So, after one performance Gita Wolf of Tara Books asked me if I would like to do a graphic novel collaboration on the life of Martin Luther King with an Indian Patua artist.  I said sure, what is a Patua artist.

Wasn’t like I was going to say no to an offer like that. Gita explained that Patua artists are itinerant artist who paint their story on a scroll and sing it as they unravel it.  Tara Books mission is to modernize traditional Indian art forms in books that are themselves works of art.

So we started the collaboration, Manu had never been out of his village, didn’t even speak Hindu, they had to translate everything, and he had never heard of Martin Luther King.  His early images evidenced a rudimentary understanding of the struggle but in the back and forth the sophistication of his images evolved into something special.  Because of that cultural glitch there were all sorts of unortho interpretations, his slave ships look like Viking ships to me, with prows and rowing slaves, and his idea of an underground railroad is a train snaking across the page, and he has all kinds of Patua aesthetics like smiling slaves and multicolored people and for instance Rosa Parks in a sari but he manages to capture the essence in a way that makes it some kind of wonderful.

So once I realize that Manu is telling stories in a traditional Indian storytellingMartin luthar format I ask Gita can I do my delta storyteller thing.  I come out of the griotic tradition in African American lit, a tradition that consider ourselves heirs to two literary traditions, the Western written and the African oral tradition.  In my novels I have to be subtle with it but I asked Gita, she said do whatever you want, Arthur.  Probably shouldn’t have told me that.  I did my delta storytelling thing, Martin Luther King as an instrument of the Gods and when they were through with him they offer him up as a sacrifice for all the generations.  I had a ball.

And as we were going for the adult market I tried to explore the more complicated aspects of MLK as a person and instrument.  His doubts and fears, his adultery, I tried to make him a complicated icon.

Most of the cultural glitches I did not object to, they add to the international flavor and I felt Manu caught the essence in a way that only he could.  Only one time we couldn’t reach an understanding, Manu’s depiction of King as a Drum Major was a little guy with epaulets on his shoulder, playing a snare drum.  I said, no, that won’t fly.

Instead we used a picture he had done of me dancing in performance, I look like some sort of Hindu deity.  And thru there he has me performing and storytelling.  I don’t know where that came from.  He didn’t see any or my performances, he had never been out of his village.  They must have shown him pictures.  It must have been planned.  Whatever, I love this book.  They let me do things an American publisher would not have allowed.

Then when the piece came out it was just so pretty. I am so tickled to be part of the Tara Books stable. Love working with Gita, Manu and Guglielmo. Love the fact that it came out in India. Love that I’m in it. Also I like to think of myself as a global artist and this one is global by definition. What’s not to love.

Author bio:

Arthur Flowers, native of Memphis, is the author of novels and nonfiction, including Another Good Loving Blues, Mojo Rising: Confessions of a 21st Century Conjureman and I See the Promise land. He is a blues based performance poet, webmaster of Rootsblog and cofounder of Pan African Literary Forum, New Renaissance Writers Guild and The Griot Shop. He has been Executive Director of the Harlem Writers Guild, recipient of an NEA, and teaches MFA Fiction, Syracuse University.

Stay Connected