Wednesday 31 October 2007

to bloggers who've asked -
Cut Short will be available in the USA and Canada

Before I launch on today's topic, I'd like to thank all bloggers who contributed to the discussion arising from my last post.

This week's post is about my experience as a new writer.

My book is going to be published - how can I be reluctant for it to be seen? Until yesterday, the only two people who had read my work were my publisher and editor, apart from my accounts of dead bodies which I read to a retired doctor to check that my flights of fancy were plausible. Yesterday I went to a seminar offering tips to authors on how to give a reading, where we were invited to read a short extract of our work aloud. My reading is fluent and I have faith in my writing. Why did I feel so nervous in front of an audience whom I knew, rationally, to be sympathetic?

This led me to wonder: does everyone expect to be judged, or is it just me? Is it human nature, or do we live in a society that is becoming increasingly judgemental? Pupils at my school assume they're in trouble if a teacher wants to see them, staff summoned by the headmaster expect problems.

So my question is: have we developed a culture of complaint not appreciation? How often do we grumble when things fail to go our way? We resent having to queue, we grow impatient with slow service, we feel aggrieved when machines break down. We expect everything to work efficiently, and are angry when it doesn't. But are we happy when things work normally? Do we thank people when they do a satisfactory job? Or do we expect it? That's their job after all. I was once so happy with an IT technician for fixing some slight problem on my computer that I emailed him and and he told me that in twenty years of doing his job, I was the second person to thank him. That shocked me. I don't claim to be any better than other people - if I'm honest, I'm generally more impatient and curt than most. I just wonder whether, in a general way, the lack of support we show to strangers is changing our expectation of how they will treat us and we're spinning into a downward spiral of mutual distrust and social unease.

Or am I just feeling paranoid that no one will like my book?


Kara Dunn said...

Leigh, as an author with a debut novel coming out in the next couple of months I have to say "yes". And I mean "yes to all of the above".

I feel my books are like my babies wandering out into the world and now they no longer have my protection. No one to defend their honor or protect them from criticism. LOL! And I do think we're a tad jaded in this day and age of judgement!

I like to give credit to people who do a nice job. I don't think we hear enough good things from others. I make a point to mention it if I think something worked for me. (But I don't give false compliments.) I think the world would be happier if we could pat each other on the back now and again.

With that said, I do wonder and worry how my little tykes will do out in the public without me!

Lily Moon said...

Hi, I was interested reading about complaining. I know when I've had thank yous for things, it's such a lovely feeling, but more than that sometimes is surprise. I tihnk I try to thank people, but maybe not often enough for smaller things. I've just become a student rep. so in meetings I'm trying to balance what is not good with what is. I tihnk by the way that reading your own work to a group is very frightening, you're letting go of your words, and feeling in your status as a writer very vuilnerable. Good luck with everything, I shall keep reading! If you are ever able to come to Falmouth, our course would be delighted to hear about your experience

Leigh Russell said...

I'm going to visit your blog straight away to find out what you've written. I might need to visit you for advice. Thank you for visiting my blog. Keep in touch.

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, vulnerable is exactly the right word for it. What course are you taking? I visited your blog but couldn't find out exactly what you're studying.

Middle Ditch said...

Hi Leigh

I have never felt nervous about reading my poetry in public, but I do remember that a little neighbour boy knocked on the door for help. His little sister had collapsed and his big sister was on the phone to 999. When the paramedics finally came one of them asked me who I was and was amazed that a neighbour had bothered to help. What a world eh? You will get criticised when the book is out but remember nothing is easier than criticism unless it is a balances view. Good luck and don't feel paranoid.


Leigh Russell said...

Thanks Monique

Do you mind if I adopt you as my role model? It's very encouraging when you say don't feel nervous about reading your work.

But what a shocking story about your neighbours and the paramedic's reaction. It speaks volumes, doesn't it?

Thank you for visiting. It's always nice to hear from you.

Bill Clark said...

I was once so happy with an IT technician for fixing some slight problem on my computer that I emailed him and and he told me that in twenty years of doing his job, I was the second person to thank him.

After the telephone man came the other day to get the bird's nest off the pole, I went over one block to track down another lineman who had come down the street earlier, and had taken 15 minutes to explain to me in clear detail how it all works. He was on another job, but told me where he would be working and to come and find him if the other person wasn't able to solve the problem.

So after everything was fixed, I went to where he was working and rang the doorbell. The nice young housewife invited me in, and called down to John in the basement that someone was here to see him. "To see me?" he asked incredulously. When I thanked him for his time and moral support earlier in the morning he was flabbergasted. "You came all the way over here to thank me?" "Of course," I said. He couldn't believe it; clearly it wasn't an everyday occurrence for him.

Bonus: the young housewife and I had a pleasant chat for the next 20 minutes, and I got to meet a new neighbo[u]r and friend.

As Erica Ridley would be quick to point out, it's all about karma. My theory is that the baddies will get theirs, and the good people will survive and prosper, thanks to the operation of karma.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying, relax and enjoy your readings. Find a favo[u]rite passage - perferably one with a few jokes - and practic[s]e it until you can rattle it off while maintaining eye contact with your audience. Be low-key and deadpan, and let your words speak for themselves. Make friends with those who enjoy your reading/writing, and simply ignore the nay-sayers (if any).

P.S. I added a short (?) linguistics lesson to yesterday's blog thread.

palette48 said...


Thanks for visiting my blog and I look forward to reading your book. I think that is awesome to be published!
As far as being judged, I felt that way a lot. It used to be that I couldn't even show my artwork to anyone. It was like putting a piece of yourself out there and I just didn't want to be rejected.
I think some people are very judgemental and rude too.In this day and age, kids are not being raised to respect people in general and are not being taught manners. I think this has contributed to people's lack of appreciation for others and what they do.

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, Palette, it's a shame isn't it? But it's nice to hear from like minded people and thank you for your supportive response to my post this week.

Unknown said...

about the pupils expecting to be told of when called to the headmaster... Isn't it also the case that when we get told off or get told something not so nice, we believe it straight away, but when we get told something nice we question the motivation / don't believe it. or is it just me? I mean, if I overhear someone saying 'oh, she is fat' you believe it straight way, but if someone tells you 'you are pretty' you don't believe it and start to question why they would say that to you. I can't say I've been in your situation (awaiting publiction) but what Kara said about letting your baby go into the world makes a lot of sense to me. hey, in a few years we probably won't get a seat in your book readings!

Sleepy said...

Cross Stitch Peg...

You're expecting a Headteacher to be there all the time.
There not.
2-3 days a week, tops.
The rest?

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, that's true, Cross Stitch Peg. Is low self esteem prevalent among women, or do men suffer the same? And what's wrong with being nice and plump? I'm not talking about serious obesity, but just being well covered? And on the same topic, what is a size zero? How can you have a size zero?! Does that mean you don't exist physically??? (Perhaps you're just a blog presence). If it is a real size, what if you have a stomach upset and lose a few pounds? Do you dwindle to a MINUS size? as though your existence is less than physical? Oh, bring on the chocolate for heaven's sake!

As for the the head and meetings, Sleepy, that's true too... Can't say I mind, though!

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

I expect your anxieties may be heightened at the excitement of your coming book.
People don't tend to notice the good but only the bad, poor service and negatives in life. What a shame. Is it a typically British thing too?

Wizbit said...

I know exactly what you mean about all of it! Though I'm working on a debut novel as well, my baby is really my comic. I recently went to my first comic con in Birmingham where I pitched the idea before a panel of two writers and two editors. I was scared out of my mind that they'd sit there and tell me I suck completely. It was the scariest moment of my life.

When it comes to society, I have to say that, of my age group (the twenty-somethings) we're cynical at best and downright rude at worst. 'Thank you' and 'please' have become such taboo words that when my new boyfriend said them to me I was actually shocked. I don't know what that says about me, but it's certainly not a good sign in general.

I think that it's hard sometimes to remember to say thank you, it's even harder to offer support when someone needs it or to find something helpful or nice to say about their projects. After my experience with the pitching panel, there's one thing I now do know for sure: there's a lot of support out there for those who are willing to put themselves in the fore.

Lesley Cookman said...

Very interesting to read the blog and the comments. As to the nerves - I am convinced that every book is absolute rubbish, far worse than the previous one. I am almost desperate for no-one to read it, yet I go ahead planning signings and local publicity. Leigh - just you wait until you get an invitation to attend a book club meeting where your book has been the read of the month. Talk about scary!

So don't worry. Your nerves are quite, quite normal. And probably, like me and my jazz singer daughter, you will be waiting for someone to find you out. Lou is certain someone will suddenly discover she's a complete fraud, yet she's been singing all over Britain and Europe for the last 14 years. And one day, someone's going to come up to me and ask me why I ever thought I could write.

Oh - and my covers aren't really my idea - but I'm pleased with them.

iwillgetthere said...

Okay this is nothing to do with your books, although I am sure they are excellent! You gave my blog its one and only comment and I thank you for your input. Any more you can add? Have you any had any experiences such as mine? It would be great to receive some more feedback at the moment. Thanks.

Katariina Kynnos said...

Hi,long time no "see"..
I think u might be atleast the only one who leaves me comments.
Maybe my finnishfriends are too scared to give mee feed back =)
And even I cant understand my poems, but at the time it sounded very clear in my mind.
Maybe we just have to go deeper to explore it =)
The cover is absolutely great!
I love faces and it really caught my eye. In book stores it will get the attention it deserves!

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Wisdom
Is this an English attitude? Probably. Although, contrary as we are, we do love to support underdogs and failures. (I'm aware that these days, in education, no one's allowed to fail. Everyone can be a genius - but I won't digress into that particular rant of mine. Everyone a winner? Everyone a genius? Check your dictionaries, please!)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Elizabeth and thank you for visiting. Are manners deteriorating? And if so, why? Do we blame the parents? Thatcher? The decline of religion? What do you think?
Regarding your comic - Surely the reason your comic received such a positive reception is because it's so good! Well done.

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Lesley
It's enormously reassuring to know that a successful author like yourself shares my feelings. It's very comforting, and nice of you to comment here. Keep in touch.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Mimona
Interesting that you said your poetry 'sounded right' at the time. Is sound more important in poetry than in prose? I think it must be, but if so , how can poetry ever be successfully translated, or is that impossible? Great to hear from Finland! Keep in touch.

Leigh Russell said...

I haven't forgotten you - I visited your blog straight away.

Lily Moon said...

Hi again Leigh, thank you for your comments on my blog, still having that feeling of writing and sending out into nothingness. It began as an exercise we have to do for our course, I'm enjoying it actually, just some days it's difficult to get an internet connection. I'm studying an MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University College. I love fiction best, but also some script writing. How did you start out in writing? It's fascinating to read the processes you're going through at the moment: how exciting it must be, but all the fears as well. I will keep reading! Please keep us up to date. Best wishes

Bill Clark said...

Morning, Leigh! (Afternoon your time, of course. Sort of like the hymn the choirboys sang at Christ Church last Sunday at Evensong, "The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended" - a.k.a. "Matins in America".)

I added another comment to you previous post about language and the younger generation. It's way too long, as usual; but having put all that time into writing it, I didn't want it to be overlooked! :-)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Bill
I take your point about generations repeating a cycle of rebellion-development, but I wonder whether the pace of change is so fast today, that there's no longer a familiar base to return to in the time scale of one generation.
The constant evolution of language is exciting and fun; my complaint is not against change per se, but about the nature of the current changes. Did my parents' generation make the criticism when I was a teenager?
'Wicked' has contradictory definitions in the dictionary and has had for some time. I used this as an familiar example to illustrate the confusion. "Fair is foul and foul is fair" indeed when one word can mean both bad and good.
By the way, I certainly don't agree that your comments are too long - unless 'long' has a new meaning?

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Hi Leigh, I work with teenagers in a centre and being saddled with the 'former teacher syndrome' am careful about being grammatically correct when I speak.

This means however, that the kids often don't understand me. Of course if I'm to do effective work with them, I usually have to speak like they do.
This does take getting used to, but once acheived, can be hard to shift.

They would say you have a very sick blog. (Ha! What does this mean to you?)

About being nervous. I was so nervous when I went to a book reading here in Bristol, that I had to ask the moderator to read my synopsis. I found that I couldn't breathe when I tried to do it myself.

Yet, I can stand in front of hundreds of people and confidently act in a play, saying numerous lines. I think that if we feel we would be judged personally (like you rightly said) we're more likely to be nervous.

On the stage I don't have to be Anne, I am everyone else but...

Kara Dunn said...

Leigh, I'd love to have you visit my blog, but did I mention I'm a new author? It's not up and running yet! LOL! But I look forward to your visits when it is live.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Anne,
I do know what sick means these days but I think it's a particularly unpleasant word for good! That's kids for you. I'm sure your teenagers think you're safe. While we have to moderate our language so the youngsters understand us, don't you find the range of their vocabulary is increasingly limited? Or am I just old? Thanks for visiting, please keep in touch.

BernardL said...

A little whining is part of the human condition. Making it a part of everyday interaction belongs in the pre-school age group. It's nice when I get compliments; but as I told another mechanic, who was complaining about the lack of positive reinforcement in the vehicle repair world, if I need a pat on the back, I'll take a couple aspirin and do it myself. :)

Leigh Russell said...

I'm really pleased to hear from you again as I visited your blog but was unable to leave a message. You mentioned "an author with a debut novel coming out" in your first comment here. I assumed you meant yourself, but then wasn't sure if you were referring to me. Then you wrote about your 'books' so I thought you must be an established author. I can't wait for you to develop your blog so I can visit and find out all about you. Keep in touch and congratulations on your debut novel.

Leigh Russell said...

Good for you, Bernardl, being self reliant. Is part of our problem that we are too dependent on other people's opinions? Let's face it, they don't always say what we want to hear! But I do think we should try to be nice to each other. Imagine if everyone was - how many problems in the world would just disappear?

TinyPixi said...

Hi Leigh!
I know this has nothing to do with your blog...but just wanted to say thanks for the comment you made on my page about little Phylis!! She's doing great...keep checking back for updates :)

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Do you think todays pop culture of so many programmes helping people so easliy become celebrities is dulling down true achievement and over shadowing real capabilities? Perhaps I'm barking up too many trees here!

Henrietta said...

Hi again Leigh, I am lining up the small army of readers of crime fiction I know to look out for your book. You will have an enthusiastic readership. Promise.

Wizbit said...

Hi Leigh,
Thanks for the interest in my comic! I have a separate blog for it at

Essentially it's a fantasy mystery. I'll be doing a post on my high-brow concept shortly so if you're interested, I'd love it if you popped by and took a look.

iwillgetthere said...

Thank you for replying. It is gratifying to know that a non-sufferer is willing to give support. My problem is basically that the doctors gave me a particularly potent drug to medicate my fairly average depression. consequently I am now suffering the withdrawal effects which seem to be very severe. If you have the inclination, do a google search on 'effexor+withdrawal' and you will be horrified by the stories people tell. Luckily I have wonderful support from my family, friends and work without which I would have given in by now. As my head is clearing I am wondering why such powerful drugs are given out so readily when little is understood as to their side effects. Ah well, that's another project for me when I feel up to it. Thanks again.

Leigh Russell said...

Yes! I will! Thank you for visiting my blog.

Leigh Russell said...

wisdom, our inanely powerful cult of contrived celebrity raises so many issues - we don't expect to work for anything, the "get rich quick" mentality, money, influence of the media, the disposability of everything from mobile phones to marriages, our short boredom threshold, dissatisfaction with our own humdrum lives - it is a very sad but comprehensive comment on our society. Do you remember Chantal? Introduced into the Big Brother house pretending to be a pop star when she wasn't a celebrity at all, she won the competition and so became a minor celebrity on the back of it. George Orwell must be laughing in his grave. But it is a sad indictment of our cultural idiocy. Sorry - my comment became a bit of a rant. The short answer to your question, in my opinion, is YES. (and why are so many people so desperate to appear on the telly?)

Leigh Russell said...

Henrietta, THANK YOU. I was so excited by your comment, I could hardly sleep! It's very kind of you to offer to read Cut Short when it comes out. You sound like a lovely group there, so perhaps I could visit you in East Anglia to discuss my writing with you when the book's out? It would be great to have some feedback from readers in person. Keep in touch, blogbuddy.

Leigh Russell said...

Elizabeth, thank you for visiting. I'll keep checking you blog. Keep in touch.

Leigh Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Russell said...

Iwillgetthere, thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts here. Don't give in. Your blog title says it all. I'll visit again soon - keep in touch.

TinyPixi said...

I have baby snails ready for rehoming.......can't tempt you can i?? ;)

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks for the offer - I have a collection of snails but they're only ornaments. I've responded on your bargain blog, which I also rang bells with me.

Bill Clark said...

Everyone a winner?

Your comment couldn't help but remind me of Alice in Wonderland, with the exquisite line, "Everyone has won, and all shall have prizes."

Only in Wonderland...gotta keep reminding the yahoos of that. Only in Wonderland is everyone a winner.

Leigh Russell said...

Ah Bill, if only you'd gone into politics. You seem to grasp a basic truth that eludes both our leaders, namely that most of us ordinary folk don't actually WANT to live in a loony bin..... or is it just me?

Bill Clark said...

Definitely not just you. There are a lot of right-minded people on both sides of the puddle...maybe we should band together and create a new nation-state called "Oceania" (shades of Orwell!!) that repudiates the Bushy-Blairs and is ruled by an elected parliament of writers, with maybe a few artists and historians thrown in for variety. No "professional" politicians need apply.

As e. e. cummings wrote, "I hear there's a hell of a good country next door - let's go."

Kara Dunn said...

Leigh, I would love to strike up a conversation with a fellow author. Please do visit my website again and post through the email!

*blush* Yes, I meant me being a new author as well. Publishing under my pen name "Nina Pierce". My book should be available in the next couple of months. (Face is breaking from the permanant smile imbedded in my muscles.)

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Hi Leigh!
What an interesting post and congrats on your new book! Will it be published in the US also? I love crime fiction and would definitely pick up a copy.

Thanks for coming by my blog! I saw you were confused about all the authors listed on the New York Horror story post. Yep, it was collaborative. In fact, if you look at the previous post you can see how the story built upon each previous comment and then I tacked on a conclusion and pulled it together. REal fun to do. If I do another one, perhaps you will join us?


Ashley said...

This is in response to your comment the other day:

it actually has nothing to do with being the eldest of 7 kids. I just really love to vacuum. I know. when I was little I would spill things so i could vacuum them up, like rice crispies, or little glass beads, or things that you could spread around. I really love to vacuum. I had like eight play vacuums for a while. And actually being the eldest of 7 has made me unusually IR-responsible. but at least I'm honest! yeah they are pretty awesome shoes!

Also congrats on the book! I hope it will be released in the US soon!

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Kara, I'll try to get a message to you.... Please keep me posted about when your book comes out - and keep smiling!

Leigh Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Russell said...

ello, I'm not sure about publication in the USA but I'm sure Cut Short will be available on Amazon or by ordering direct. I worked out the collaborative composition. What fun! It reminds me of a game we used to play, called consequences. Do you know it? Yes, I'd love to join in next time. Thank you. Please let me know when you're off again on your whirlwind of creative teamwork.

Leigh Russell said...

Ashley B, Play vacuums!!?? This is a whole new world to me... Clearly I missed out on a vital stage in my early experience of learning through play. If only I knew then what I know now.... No, sorry, I still wouldn't find vacuuming fun. But I'm glad you do! Thank you for visiting my blog and keep in touch.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Bill. We need to think about this seriously. I'm not sure about "Oceania". As you say, shades of Orwell. "Utopia" maybe? Or, following the e e cummings theme, we could call our new state "pretty howtown"? But do we want an elected parliament of writers? Isn't there a danger the writers might degenerate into politicians? Then where would we be, with only ousted politicians left to make up stories?

Catherine said...

Hi Leigh - lots of interesting comments here and so many! I'll add mine anyway.

I think a lot of people are lost. They are only interested in one thing and that's themselves. They constantly search for something to make them feel better, but never find it. It's all about self these days, which turns you into a very selfish person. Nobody talks about self-sacrifice anymore. We should be looking beyond our own needs to the needs of others. If we all did that, I think society would be a much better place.

Leigh Russell said...

Catherine thank you for visiting. I couldn't agree more. I wouldn't even go so far as to talk about self-sacrifice. I just think that if everyone showed a little more kindness, a world where consideration seems to have fallen out of fashion could be transformed. The irony is that I don't think it would even prove to be a sacrifice because ultimately everyone would benefit. It worries me that expressing this kind of sentiment sounds naive. It shouldn't.

Tracy said...

I think people do tend to complain about stuff a lot, and not appreciate the good things people do. it is very nervewracking putting your work out for other people to see. Family, friends etc are on your side, so would give you good comments, but with others you never know! You feel like that is your baby out there alone in the world!

Bill Clark said...

Isn't there a danger the writers might degenerate into politicians? Then where would we be, with only ousted politicians left to make up stories?

Personally, I don't think this would be much of a danger...most of the writers I know have more integrity than that.

As for the politicians, they already make up stories. But their stories are shabby and shallow and no one believes them. Again, no danger from that quarter, IMO.

BTW, I misquoted cummings, and am glad no one has called me on the carpet before I am able to correct myself (I'm working from memory here, so I still may not have it 100% right, but it's more correct than before):

"Listen - there's a helluva good world next door - let's go!"

Happy Saturday, Leigh! Recharge your batteriest and think of pleasant things!

Bill Clark said...

Oops! Fingers tripping over their own toes again! Make that "batteries" :-)

Chris Eldin said...

Congratulations on your book! And from the other post--I love the cover. I'd definitely pick it up.

I had the same question as Ello, about whether or not it would be available in the U.S. I love thrillers!


Leigh Russell said...

Hi Bill, here goes -
While most writers have integrity, what if the others were the only ones to put themselves forward for election to our parliament of writers? I seem to recall one Adolf H (won't sully my blog with his name) published a book before coming to power... And good old Tony B has just received a FAR larger advance from his publisher than I did. Huh! Could we be selective about who we'd admit as writers eligible to become candidates? Senator McCarthy might approve, which instantly rules that idea out.
Yes, our politicians do spin us a good old yarn, don't they? Do we believe them? No. Complete fiction, some of it. The big change if politicians took over writing would be that no one would ever pick up a book again. So that wouldn't really work very well. (Although Jeffrey Archer seems to sell well. Strange but true.)
By the way, funny you mentioned batteries - my husband drove my car and flicked a switch to turn on a light I never even knew existed. Could we find the switch to turn it off again? I was getting a little concerned about the battery in my car but eventually realised it was the fog light and found the right switch to turn it off. So I nearly DID end up having to recharge a battery! Are you psychic as well as erudite?

AngryMan said...

I think that we've always been like that, we just think it's worse in our generation because it's the only one we've experienced.

Abby said...

Hey! Thanks for the comment. It's greatly appreciated. The writing is coming, but slowly. I've just started the 2007 National Novel Writing Month, and I'm dismally behind on my word count.

Congrats, by the way, on being published! That's brilliant.

Mary said...

Oh me and this issue! I am always expecting negative criticism. Everytime I put a mosaic out there in the world or create anything else I sweat it out until someone says "That's great!" Can I blame my mother who always had some critique for me growing up? I think I will. In the meantime I like to encourage ANY type of self expression.

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks for visiting, Abby. It sounds like you're busy writing. Keep in touch.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Mary. Same here. My mother has been the cause of most of my many limitations. Of course, I can't accept responsibility for any problems my own children experience. They're adults, after all, old enough to stand on their own feet and make their own decisions......

fizzycat said...

Thanks Leigh for the cake comment. Hmm, are we a nation of complainers. Well when I am working at the hotel, cleaning, I try to give good service and would expect it back if I was in a hotel, as a guest. I will give credit to people who are helpful like you do yourself. I don't complain but give horrible looks to people in supermarkets who lick their fingers then take a plastic bag and wrap vegetables. So perhaps I am a silent complainer.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi fizzycat, good to hear from you. You are certainly one of the helpful people. I don't want to misrepresent myself. I'm not always very careful to thank people, I just think we all should. It's not quite the same thing, I'm ashamed to admit.
I HATE people who lick their fingers to open bags before packing FOOD. I always want to say, "Excuse me, but I really don't want your germs on my food..." but of course I never do. Like you, I resort to the dirty look. The shop assistants probably think I'm trying to control flatulence if they even notice my contorted grimaces. Sorry to break into a rant, but this is one of my pet HATES.

DMM said...

Leigh, for my job I do what we call brown bag lunches, it's an informatieve teaching on a specific topic. I absolutely HATE it and I need to do at least one a year for my annual review. This year I have done 3 and I still hate it.

After the lunch spill, if you will, the audience gets to do a review of the presentation, all of mine have been good. Nevertheless, it's not something I like doing.

I even took a classes specifically on speaking. So I give anyone credit for any type of public speakding they do.

susan said...

Hello Leigh,
I happen to be a major fan of crime fiction and like you, have enjoyed all the authors you mentioned in your personal introduction. One of my very favorite English crime writers is R.D. Wingfield whose books I keep in my permanent collection just in case I need another hit of his crazy wisdom and the sheer fun he has torturing his Chief Inspector. Too bad it's such a tiny selection.
I promise to search out a copy of yours when it's published (with the hope you get an American publisher too). Purchasing books from England has become an expensive hobby - not the book cost but the postage.
Your visit to my blog was one of those unexpected internet mysteries and a happy one for me seeing your note.
Best wishes, Susan

iwillgetthere said...

You are quite right in what you say, and I am finding an inner strength now which I have been searching for. Do you know what? It's great to talk to someone who actually doesn't know what it's all about because so often you get a slanted view and other sufferers experiences can make me worse! I need normality so much right now.

MsCatMinder said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog . Good luck with your book , well done , know how tough to get published !
I will have a look at your blog later it looks fascinating .
thanks again x

MsCatMinder said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog . Good luck with your book , well done , know how tough to get published !
I will have a look at your blog later it looks fascinating .
thanks again x

MsCatMinder said...

Thanks for your comment left on my blog ( about cats, catcalls13) . Your blog looks fascinating , I will be back . Good luck with youir book and well done , never easy to get published !

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Shelagh, and thanks for visiting my blog. It's good to hear from you. Keep in touch.

Mima said...

Leigh, thanks for your comment on my blog, I find even writing that I worry about criticism, I'm trying to write honestly about what is happening in my life, which I know is difficult for other people living ordinary lives to hear. I can't imagine how scary it must be to put your work out there when it is something that you have put your heart and life into.

flyinamber said...

Thank you for visiting my blog,Leigh!
I'm very busy those days but I'll come back when I catch more time.
I'm a self-taught in knowledge of English so I appologise because of many mistakes I make in English usage..
I like design of your book cover..I like books reading but I'm totaly antitalented for writing :)
Have a nice week!

Bill Clark said...

Although Jeffrey Archer seems to sell well. Strange but true.

Y'know, Leigh, I always thought of him as a lightweight author (well, hell, he is!), and of course perjury is right up there with murder and character assassination as one of my pet peeves. But his books about his time in prison, IMO, were quite masterful. Certainly they're the best stuff he's written, and some of the better books by anyone of recent vintage. (Present company excepted, of course!) :-)

I resort to the dirty look. The shop assistants probably think I'm trying to control flatulence if they even notice my contorted grimaces.

Too funny!! Thanks for giving me a good laugh and putting a smile on my face!

iwillgetthere said...

The development of a pattern has its pros and cons. As I am now expecting it, I am dreading it so I need to find a way of overriding it. A nap would be wonderful and in the past (when normal!) it would definitely be my choice. Unfortunately sleep is impossible during these dips because of the anxiety. I'm leaving a post so you can understand what type of person I am. If you like, to quantify myself.

Susan at Stony River said...

I am so NOT surprised to see you've got 80 comments to this one!

Reading my own work aloud? Well, I've been a lector in a huge parish, spoken publicly as an activist, appeared in tv and radio interviews, and have won awards for my writing. But if you invited me to read my own work aloud, I'd rather be stripped naked and dissected without anaesthesia in the middle of King's Cross Tube Station at rush hour.

It would feel the same.

Go figure!


Angela Young said...

I think the fear is internal - we are our own harshest critics. We always notice what doesn't work in our work and skim over what does.

So, when reading, we expect what's outside to reflect what's inside.

But I have discovered that, as time goes by and I haven't died from the reactions to my first novel (it was published in hardback in March 2007), my own belief in its survival out there in the world is strengthened. And so my nerves about the paperback publication (March 2008) are hugely diminished.

But there's something else, too. Every reaction to a book is subjective, and it's very very important, for our writing health, taht we remember that.

Thank you for your comments on my blog, Leigh, and the very best of luck with your novel. (And yes, it is my first.)

virtual nexus said...

Leigh -

Not directly relevant to post, but
thanks for your q on my blog - quite a surprise as I'd just launched it. Lindisfarne could be thriller territory with the massacre of the monks on the beach.

All the best - you sound like a natural.CQ Flow experience might interest you in passing.(I recently read Harry Alder 'Boost your creative intelligence'). I journal, and out of interest ghosted a War Veteran's biography a few years ago - the Beeb picked it up off the Internet and based a docu on part of it. You just never know...

I enjoyed Stephen King on writing,- see you've already read it.


Leigh Russell said...

er, thanks Susan.... I'm not sure that makes me feel much more confident.... but it's good to hear from you and please keep in touch.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Angela, and thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. It's reassuring to hear it gets easier... although I'll believe that when it happens! Good luck with the paperback. I'll be looking out for it - please remind me nearer the time.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Julie and thank you for visiting my blog. I've never been to Lindisfarne, although it's on my wish list. Sounds like you've got the perfect setting for an atmospheric novel of your own. Congratulations on the BBC interest. That's impressive. Keep in touch.

virtual nexus said...

Hi Leigh - cheers. re blog this time - you touched into a lot of issues re changes in society; just to pick up one strand - is there a creative pendulum swing going on here with writers? ie, the buzz of the project followed by mild burnout (and associated dint in self esteem?) Temperaments vary?

Side issue I'm pursuing is organizing creative flow for key ideas - looking at mindmaps.
Tend to write nf, but have written fiction - came out like screenplay.
People write what they read?

Holy Island - (and Iona) are both atmospheric places to visit.


Rose said...

Thank you for your comment!Wish I could be a writer too! The only thing i sem to be able to write about is my life, favourite movies/cartoons or dreams I've had. Glad you like my glitter graphics-i actually did that through a website called Blingee, where i just uploaded my wedding pic then painted the weding dress black and added an orange background for a halloween effect. Im quite artistic, i like taking pics and then manipulating them with various programs and i like drawing too, mostly cartoons. :) I love glittery stuff too:) Youre a teacher too? What do you teach?

If youve already seen this comment, sorry bout that-still not sure how the comments work exactly!:)

Bill Clark said...

Hi, Leigh!

It's Tuesday morning here in the States, and election day to boot. Personally, I'm only going to vote for writers! ;-)

Are you OK? Haven't seen any comments from you recently, either here or elsewhere. Please let us know what's up. Maybe you're on holiday?

All best,


HStrang said...

Thanks for the post - I will check back on Wed. I write my blog posts on Monday's - so we can check out one another's weekly posts. :)

Your book sounds fabulous! Please keep us posted. I'm working with an agent and would love to pick your brain about a couple of things. Email if/when you have time.

Heather :)

Michele said...

Hi Leigh,

Thanks for the lovely comment you left at my blog, I appreciate it.

Congrats on your book! Way to go ;0)

I'm not one to really read/watch spooky things, but your cover is nicely done and fitting to your writing style and I wish you the best!

Smiles & Blessings,

DMM said...

I am so happy to see that your book will be available in the US.

I will be looking for that one!!

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks for all the comments. It's so lovely to receive so much feedback.

JULIE - Yes, I think that's right about the pendulum. I haven't swung down as my first book's not out yet.
Mindmaps are a great idea. I have several plots in my books so to begin with I mindmapped them in different colours with all their intersections. Then my wilful characters went off in their own directions so I had to revise my plans. Now I don't plan so carefully... It's a bit like life!

ROSA - thank you for visiting. I wish I could be visually creative but my imagination doesn't work that way at all. I teach English (did you guess?)

BILL - I wish I was on holiday!!! Blog soon.

HEATHER - thank you. I'll try to email you but I'm not sure I can manage that via the blog. I know, I know, it's easy. Any idiot can do it.... but you're dealing with a technophobe here!

MICHELE - thank you for dropping by. Keep in touch.

DMM - yes, I'm excited that my book will be available in the USA. I don't know why I had the idea it wasn't. Apart from having some family and friends there, I've come across such friendly bloggers in America.

Leigh Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shelli Stevens said...

I like your cover and wish you the best of luck with your book!! How exciting, and yes, nerve wracking sending your first novel out into the big bad world!

FANCY said...

Hello Leigh...
First I have to congratulate you to your book.

We have something in Sweden who is called the "Jantelaw" ...I have not meat it anywhere ells, until now...The Jante Law are built upon 10 rules than together constitute "Don't think you are anyone special, or better than us"...I feel of what you are telling me here that just to think that we are someone or that we have done something really good can other just with words or by act shut down. If we don't believe in our self who should?!

Good luck

Leigh Russell said...

SHELI - thank you very much. Part of me cringes at the thought of people reading my book which is silly, I know. I think the experience has been so unexpected, I wasn't really prepared for it. Hopefully any criticism I receive will be constructive ... or maybe everyone who reads it will love my book (I do write fiction, remember!) Thank you again for visiting and keep in touch.

FANCY - I didn't quite follow what you said about the Jantelaw. I certainly don't think I'm better than anyone else but I'm luckier than some writers who haven't yet managed to get their work published. Thank you very much for your good wishes. It's lovely to hear from bloggers all round the world. Please keep in touch.

iwillgetthere said...

What a difference a day makes! I guess some days are going to be tough and that's the process. I am thankful for all the support I am getting because when it feels tough, I need that support so much.
Wish me luck today!

virtual nexus said...

Leigh, thanks - I'm fascinated by this real blog fizz you've generated - expect the books do the same...!

Interesting feedback on mindmaps and how you use them; I find them easier when sorting out a mass (or mess) of pre-existing material.
Agree they're a bit unwieldy.
Think Buzan is doing a 30 day trial of imindmap software on their site if anyone's interested.

If you teach English you'll have come across Jamison's Touched with Fire - on creative temperament? Gather it's possible to moderate mood variations through consistent journaling or writing.

Have a good day


Leigh Russell said...

IWILLGETTHERE - Thank you for visiting. I've replied on your blog.

Hi JULIE and thank you very much for your comments. Yes, I think writing can be a very positive and healthy way of expressing yourself. If I wasn't WRITING about murder..... no, let's not go there!! I'm a totally non violent person in real life, and not at all creepy.... My publisher asked me once how I sleep at nights, but as it happens I sleep extremely well. I very rarely wake up, or have bad dreams. I did have a nightmare recently, but unfortuately it was similar to a plot I'd already written, so I couldn't even use it!

FANCY said...

Hello again...

The museart blog is a collective blog,That I and Anna-Lys started up from an idee from her we are a cuppel of people who try to do something together with a lot of musing, we have a really a good time...I have another blog where it is only me and with a lot of help from my visitors and comments I keep on creat posts...

Mima said...

I'm dyslexic and was introduced to mind maps through doing an OU course. I never quite managed to get to grips with them I found the old "list the ideas out and then re-sort them" the only way I could get ideas to go forwards! I am so full of admiration for someone who is able to creatively write, I find it difficult enough writing about the day to day things!

Gladys Hobson said...

I hear what you say about today's culture. Of course, at the age of 75 I can honestly say things were different years ago!
As for being nervous about our writing, I can appreciate that. Telling a story to the kids at school is one thing, reading to a critical audience who are there mostly to appraise the author's work, is something else.
Being basically a shy person, it was much the same for me when I started preaching and then conducting funerals. But an appreciative word from those present gave me confidence. Of course the situation is totally different, but the fear of rejection is the same whenever and wherever we open ourselves up for others to explore our thoughts and feelings. When the situation is immediate — eye to eye — only the most confident of 'performers' will be without 'nerves'.

Oh, but when all goes well and there is a meeting of 'souls' what joy! (In a ministry situation this can be quite overwhelming.)

As to your book cover design, Leigh: It seems to me to be simple and incredibly effective. In fact, quite meaningful.

(But I have to admit, I have a personal problem with the red tear - blood and eyes brings up buried emotions which are better kept to myself)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Gladys and thank you for visiting my blog.

I suppose the design is a bit disturbing.... and I agree, some things are definitely best kept buried. You're lucky to have a strong faith to support you when you're feeling vulnerable. You know you are loved, whatever, and that's a wonderful feeling.

Thank you for sharing your feelings about speaking in front of an audience. You sound like an inspiring preacher.