Saturday, September 24, 2016

Looking ahead

We are so erratic when it comes to predicting anything about the future! Now that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have pledged $3 billion to end all disease by the end of the century perhaps we should start thinking in terms of a very, very crowded Planet Earth. How shall we navigate that world?

Friday, September 23, 2016

A fair cop

“Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” So familiar, the Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney exchange from the 1930s which became an oft cited trope.

"With Cleaver Square, Daniel and Sean Campbell have created a fine British mystery novel." So said a customer review on Amazon. But I'm not sure that I agree.

"Hey, guys, let's write a police procedural!" It can't be that difficult... choose from the familiar menu the flaws that the investigating protagonist should suffer under... calibrate the 'domestic relationship' parameters... add alcohol... select the base motivation of the evildoer... scatter sundry quirky red herrings to delay the ultimate reveal... garnish with some superfluous insights collected via Googlepedia. Done and dusted!

I read more than my fair share of procedurals, ranging from the masterful to the mediocre. It is a sub-genre for which I have the utmost respect, and one which as author I will not touch with the proverbial bargepole until I am totally convinced that I can come up with something that corresponds with the canon but at the same time turns the clich├ęs on their heads.

Alas, I fear I have something in mind! But first I have two manuscripts which are work-in-progress... Part of Evil and Kickeroh & Co to finish.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumnal equinox

Here we go again... longer nights and shorter days for a while!

Back on the social web

At the end of May 2013 I decided that Social Media sites... Facebook, LinkedIn and Xing... were bringing me nothing I found relevant. I'm still not completely sure whether I feel comfortable in the world that Zuckerberg has fashioned. But she who must be obeyed (my daughter, of course) feels I need to be au courant with the way her firm is using the social web for their Brand Communication and that online contact with some of her posse might be fun!

Who am I to disagree? Nine virtual 'friends' already!  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The transparent reader

from Wired Magazine
"Once, publishers had to rely on unit sales to figure out what readers wanted. Digital reading changed that. Publishers can know that you raced through a novel to the end, or that you abandoned it after twenty pages. They can know where and when you’re reading. There’s a wrinkle, though... companies such as Amazon and Apple have the data for books read on their devices, and they aren’t sharing it with publishers. 

London-based startup Jellybooks  conducts virtual focus groups, giving readers free ebooks, often in advance of publication, in exchange for their sharing data on how much, when, and where they read. In almost two years, the company has run tests for publishers in the United States, England and Germany, and uncovered one sobering fact... most novels are abandoned before readers are halfway through them."

I guess that makes me an exception, having to the best of my knowledge only twice having failed to read a book to the end. I don't think any of my own novels have suffered this ignominious fate... after all, they are mostly not even started!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

O'zapft is!

On Saturday the mayor of Munich will tap the first Oktoberfest beer-barrel in the Schottenhamel Tent. And by then our wonderful heatwave will be over. How sad it is that my first thoughts are not of carefree jollity but of hopefully adequate security.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

No complaints...

from The Guardian...
"South-east England is enjoying Britain’s hottest day of the year, as a late summer heatwave raised temperatures to more than 34C."

In Munich, too, we are blessed with a late heatwave. At about seven in the morning neighbours across the street open balcony doors, stare heavenwards and marvel at a cloudless blue sky. Granted, their appearance opposite is less entertaining than the warm weather view I used to enjoy in Cologne, but at my advanced age that should now be of no further relevance! 

My impression is that none of the normal summer months offered the longer periods of really nice weather that this September has given us. Noted. Appreciated. Blogged and committed to memory.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Reading matters... and it has its price

Leena Katriina Lehtolainen  is a Finnish crime novelist, best known for her series of novels about the policewoman Maria Kallio. My sister reckons they are the kind of Nordic Noir procedurals I'd probably enjoy. I quickly determined that Pippa, determined to enjoy reading in German, is paying a premium! The English translations as Kindle editions are about half the price which, as a reluctant genteel penny-pincher, I note with some relief. 

But such differential pricing within the Amazon system is also in some ways disturbing and I wonder where this procatice is going to lead us. 

Just a thought...

"Speculation about a possible political future for Michelle Obama has naturally centered on the White House. But that’s the wrong place, at least for now." So Reuters reported in June 2014. 

Far be it from me to wish Hillary Rodham Clinton anything but robust good health. But might it not be that there are influential Democrats who would now wish to see her spared the stress of an office won by what now promises to be a slender margin? It is not as if there isn't another spouse of a (soon-to-be) former president with excellent Ivy League law school credentials.

Improbable? Did any of us expect David Cameron to announce that he would not be standing in the next election? And Donald Trump is further proof that the improbable is the new normal.