Category Archives: Musings

My daily musings about my life and anything that interests me from daily life.

Life on Mars

Life on the Island is going slowly … ‘Eat the View’ did a massive run up the Amazon/Kindle charts and is now hovering around the 20,000 mark (apparently that’s good as the ‘paid Kindle Charts’ have 450,000 novels all jostling with each other) and keeps bumping up to 10,000 and then down and then up again! Being a woman of a slightly impatient temprament (I’m Aries, sorry, guys and gals!), I’m feeling a tad’s frustrated. Seeking solace with my friend and fellow Ryde Author, Andrew Lucas, who has had a Kindle best-seller with ‘Crossed-Dressed to Kill’ his humorous Comedy-thriller (check it out!)

Andrew has been a veritable font of wisdom when it comes to all things Amazon and Kindle and has steered me through this process -which has been quite a white-knuckle ride, a case of trial and error as one uploads. I can see why many wait on traditional Publishers but I must admit, I feel a slight writerly ‘glow’ to be part of this new media – where everything is changing and changing so fast! Andrew now has a publishing book deal, a well-trod path which this particular writer is hoping to emulate!

Roll on September when I find out about e-book sales on ‘Eat the View’ and any monies earnt. After all, we writers have to earn to eat – as Raymond, the ghost says in my novel: ‘You can’t eat the view!’

Back on the Isle

Back on this fair isle after two days of celebrating and partying with my family in London – always big fun. Always exhausting! Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight seemed very empty after pre-Games London and the tourist season, which found us crammed like lemmings in the tube. Great thing about this island – nice and empty! But, did notice that there is a new Costa at the Portsmouth end of the ferry over to the island, so 20th Century life – in the shape of a ‘skinny latte’! – is following us over!

‘Eat the View’ is rising steadily UP through the Amazon/Kindle Charts! Hurrah! All that work and crafting and rewriting (getting notes from friends and my hub) and more rewriting and proof reading and yet more proof reading and FINALLY the little devil – well, monster of a comedy-epic based on my crazy two years in the deepest French countryside – came into perfect Kindle/Amazon form and is now out there, a freed ‘bird’ of a novel, flapping its wings across many nations who HOPEFULLY like my book! The reviews are great – so hugely encouraged! Perhaps it was all worth it.

People ask me if uploading onto Amazon was easy? Answer? It nearly cost me my marriage! There were very few guidelines so it was suck it and see and so, into the early hours of the morning, Tony and I uploaded, tested, reuploaded and FINALLY it took flight!

The hardest thing about getting a novel onto Amazon? Writing something decent! Writing is a craft, remember, so it all takes time and struggle.

Writers Blog – A very warm welcome

Ryde Pier late evening © Claire Kay

I have recently completed my first round of  WRITE STUFF  Writing Workshops and am massively delighted to say that people – the writers attending – seemed to love them.  ‘Inspiring!’ ‘Brilliantly facilitated by Barbara!’ ‘Highly creative and reminded me why I wanted to write!’  were just a few of the enthused reactions.  I have been a University Lecturer in Screen writing and TV Drama, but now I have my Masters (why not ‘Mistress’?) in ‘Creative Writing’,  I am now able to teach prose  – and improve my own prose at the same time.  We are all learning as we teach.  That’s my mantra!

The seaside town of Ryde lends itself perfectly to Festivals and Workshops, with great cafes and venues dotted around and a bohemian feeling that goes back to the late, great Virginia Woolf who used to come down and promenade along the Pier – the oldest in the country – and talk of the ‘poets and writers’ she would trip over.  We have a great literary tradition here!

I have been living in Ryde ever since I returned from my two year ‘Gap Year’ with my family in the South West of France, a small market town in the Charente region called Chalez.  My husband, Tony, is a Lecturer and Head of Television at Southampton Solent University, and wanting a mix of Brighton Beach – where we used to live – and the chill-out factor of the French countryside, we chose this beautiful town on the north coast of the island.  Ryde?  Why here you may ask?  This town has everything this particular writer needs: great walks; beaches and headland cafes; quirky hotels and bars and – important for novelists! – great, idiosyncratic characters all around.   I am the ‘mad writer’ who walks around with her Dictaphone, muttering to herself, or taking notes, sitting in the darkened cafes.  People research!  And this is exactly how I work.

I consider myself to be an organic writer, one who draws in ‘organically’ from everything around her and writes from that very point.  ‘Write what you know’ is my mantra and one which I always spread around to other writers.  I tend to live things first, write about them after.

I have just finished ‘Eat the View’, a comedy that has taken me around 18 months to complete.  It’s based on my crazed two years in France where myself and Tony, and our two kids, Max and Izzy, went out to France to take time out of our busy careers and take a side-ways step into a very different world … and how different that world was in France!  I had some French, a lot of slang from my time spent there as a teenage girl, but absolutely no experience of running a ‘Chambres D’hotes’ a Bed and Breakfast!

What fun it was for this errant Writer and her Documentary-maker husband to play the role of ‘hosts’ at a rural Gite!  We had done hardly any research but it was fantastically liberating to hurl ourselves head-first into a real adventure – and moving into the near-18th Century world of rural France was a much of an adventure as one could get!

Ryde photographed from the pier © Claire Kay

All the scrapes and jolly japes we got up to were written down and synthesised into the essence of this my first novel, ‘Eat the View’, a tale of a writer (me!) writing a novel about a writer who can’t write (me again!)

Life imitating Art imitating Life.  Over and Out!

Barbara Jane Mackie.