Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Writing Update

Is there anything quite as nerve-wracking for a writer than awaiting the opinions of the first readers of your latest work-in-progress? What if they don't like it? What if they point out plot holes so large they're impossible to fill? All those months of work hang in the balance.

A chart of the swings of my emotions between thinking the work is good and that it is awful would probably resemble a printout from an electrocardiogram. The moment the reader tells me "I've finished the book" is as stressful as getting exam results. Does the story pass or fail? And if it's a pass, does the writing get a good grade?

Of course, there is always the option of a complete rewrite, but when you've worked to make the story as good as you can before you let anyone else read it, that's akin to being faced with having to do all the revision again in order to resit an exam, a rather daunting thought.

Some writers let people read their work as they produce it or even present it to critique groups, but I prefer to wait until I have finished the first draft before seeking anyone's opinion. I like to let the characters in my head have free rein without outside influence until I've got their story down.

Today, I am glad to say, the first readers' opinions have been positive and so the book will move on to the next stage, a full edit.

Still a way to go before publication, including deciding on a title and the cover design, but in celebration of getting to this point I'm running a promotion on Ulterior Motives. From now until 19th September the ebook is only $0.99/£0.99. (It is also available on Kindle Unlimited.)

Amazon 



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Charming Small Towns - Nyack, NY

The visitors' website for Nyack, NY, a riverside town on the  west bank of the Hudson River twenty-seven miles north of mid-town Manhattan, declares "One visit will capture your heart." so I decided this was one small town I should check out.

Nyack takes its name from the Native Americans who originally occupied the area until it was settled by Europeans in 1675.

Its location on a hilly bank ensures that glimpses of the river can be seen from most of the side streets off Broadway which, together with Main Street, makes up the central hub of town.





Nyack 
Nyack 


My exploration started on the tree-lined Main Street, with its low-rise buildings containing quirky shops and a plethora of restaurants encompassing just about every type of cuisine. Most offer outdoor dining, adding to the vibrant atmosphere on a sunny day.



As a writer and avid reader, I find myself drawn to libraries and bookstores wherever I go and Nyack is home to two gems.

Nyack Library


The original library, built with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1904, has been retained and now provides the main entrance and several quiet reading rooms leading to a much larger, modern facility.


Nyack Library Foyer




Nyack Library Reading Room
Nyack Library Reading Room

 When you walk in, there is a sense of stepping back in time. Certainly one of the most beautiful small town libraries I've come across.





Pickwick Books, Nyack



Nyack is also home to an independent bookstore, Pickwick Books, a reader's dream with every inch of wallspace stacked with books. It's the kind of place you could disappear into for hours. Sadly, I had to make do with a quick browse, but next time....







Nyack has a reputation for its art and culture, with opportunities to enjoy live music at local bars and restaurants or at the Carnegie Concerts held at the library. In the summer there are regular, well-attended free concerts in the park.


Edward Hopper's birthplace




The town was birthplace to artist Edward Hopper, His old home was saved from demolition after his death and is now a not-for-profit art center.


Edward Hopper House





















Other famous residents include actress Helen Hayes - the local youth theater is named after her - and Carson McCullers, author of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, whose home is now a historic landmark.



Memorial at Memorial Park




A short walk down from the town center brings you to Memorial Park. Upgraded over the last few years, the park now includes a memorial to the World Wars, a skate park, children's playground, courts for tennis, basketball and baseball, and a fishing/viewing pier.






Memorial Park Skate Park

Memorial Park Fishing Pier



 There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the river views of the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Westchester County coastline or the mansions nestled in the nearby hills.

Nyack

Nyack's stone barge



Or this strange derelict structure just off shore, the identity of which taxed even local residents until a local librarian decided to dig through the records. A concrete barge? I find it hard to get my head around the idea that anyone would have thought that was a bright idea!








Verdict: Nyack certainly captured my heart. It manages to combine small town living with a lively vibe. Given it's only a thirty minute drive from my home, I will definitely be visiting again.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Walking in the City - West Side Monuments and Sculptures, Riverside Park South, NY

One of my favorite activities in Manhattan is walking by the river. Nowadays, it is possible to walk almost all around the island via either park or greenway, enjoying river views on one side and the cityscape on the other. One of the newest stretches of the river walk is through Riverside Park South which runs from 59th Street to 72nd Street on the west side and offers not only great views but some interesting sights as well.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Walking in the City - Snug Harbor, Staten Island, NY

In the eighteen years that I've been in New York I've been to Staten Island twice and both of those visits were many years ago. Having recently extended my exploration of New York City into Queens and Brooklyn, it only seemed fitting to venture out to Staten Island too, especially as the trip from Manhattan requires a delightful ferry ride across the harbor offering a fabulous view of the Statue of Liberty.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Finishing the First Draft

My posts to this blog have been few and far between recently as I've been finishing the first draft of my next novel. While it seems easy to cope with the numerous calls for action and attention everyday life makes when I first start a new story, there comes a point when the need to be with the characters takes over and I find myself paring down other aspects of my life to spend the maximum amount of time possible with them. It's a weird feeling, but one that I have to admit I quite enjoy. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

An Independence Day Walk - Fort Lee Historic Park and the Shore Trail

I hadn't planned on walking on Independence Day, but when I discovered Shorewalkers and AMC were holding a joint walk across the George Washington Bridge to the Long Path via Fort Lee Historic Park it seemed like the perfect activity for the day - history and exercise combined. I obviously wasn't the only one to think that - over sixty people joined the walk, certainly one of the biggest group walks I've ever been on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Walking in the City - Sheepshead Bay and Rockaway Park Beach, NYC

After my recent trip to Coney Island, I was delighted to find another walk involving beaches in New York City, this time a 12 mile hike organized by the Appalachian Mountain Club, 
from Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn to Rockaway Beach in Queens.