Come on over…

invitation

I’ve been in a bit of a blogging dither. A few months ago, I started a second, curtisbaussebooks, where I write more about writing. But recently, with a few other writers from Book Country, we’ve formed the project of another blog about writing, to be run collectively. Well, it took me a while, but now I’ve decided that three is too many, so I hereby extend an invitation to join me at curtisbaussebooks.

At first I thought this blog would be goofy and the other one serious, but that’s like having baked beans on toast with the beans on one plate and the toast on another. So although this blog won’t be deleted, and I may even pop in from time to time, the whole salmagundi will be on one plate, over at curtisbaussebooks (see what I’m doing here? Nudge, nudge!)

And right away you’ll find some invaluable tips from seasoned traveller, Gerald Rumpy, whose impressions of his recent safari trip are not to be missed. Hopefully Gerald will agree to be a regular contributor.

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Further along in April there’s the A-Z blogging challenge – in this case the A-Z of the Writer’s Affliction (goofiness galore there). Not forgetting, of course, the newsletter:

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Your Curtisly signature

First issue goes out Monday, with:

  • A glimpse of Perfume Island, sequel to One Green Bottle.
  • For writers among you, the chance to win a free critique and edit of a short story or a chapter.
  • A link to a free short story, The Singular Point, first published in Spilling Ink Review.
  • And last but not least, The Elizabethan Era, first nibble-size instalment in The Authorised Biography of Curtis. Actually, that’s not quite last. Right at the bottom, there’s a link that says you can unsubscribe any time.

What have you got to lose?

 

Thursday interview: Curtis

Perfume Island Curtis Bausse

Um, Curtis, nice as it is if you to come along to be interviewed, I already have a schedule extending a couple of months. But since this is your own blog, you’ve given yourself the right to barge to the top of the list. I assume there’s a good reason for this.

I’m a narcissist. There’s nothing I like more than interviewing myself.

I take it that’s a joke, right? Actually, what I heard was that you’re stopping Pic’n’Post. Rumour has it tomorrow’s will be the last. Is it true?

Not just Pic’n’Post. The whole blog.

What? No way! But you can’t do that!

Well, it’s my blog, isn’t it? Of course I can.

But why?

I’m in the middle of Perfume Island, the sequel to One Green Bottle. Not the middle, really, I’m three quarters done and I have to get it finished. I did nothing for six whole weeks over Christmas. I got back to Mayotte two days ago and I’ve just got back into the swing. I need another three months of sustained concentration. So the blog, I’m afraid, has to go.

You mean for good? After putting in all that effort?

Oh, no. I hope to be back before the summer. But we’ll see. I’m making no definite plans.

And in the meantime, nothing at all?

There’ll be posts on Curtis Bausse Books. You know,  about writing and so on. A bit more serious, though I’ll keep it light-hearted all the same. And on this one, I might make an exception for Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray. I’ve been doing it for a while and I’m kind of hooked. I’d never done flash fiction before and I find it a great exercise. Like doing a 100 metre sprint as opposed to the marathon of a novel – if you’ll accept the comparison from such a terrible athlete.

OK, so it’s not a complete disappearance. And the sooner you finish Perfume Island, the sooner you’ll be back blogging.

Well, yes, but it’s not a race. I set myself deadlines but it won’t be finished till I’m satisfied.

But you never are, though. Surely that’s a problem?

OK, I mean satisfied enough. It’ll never be to my satisfaction but I’ll get to the point where any changes I make aren’t going to improve it.

I see. Well, I hope it goes well. I’ll do my best to help.

Very kind of you, Curtis. Thank you.

Back in the small place

So after a very pleasant, but quite distracting summer, we’ve just got back to Mayotte. I say ‘the small place’ because it is, well, small, but also because it was the first in Clara’s series People Who Live in Small Places. I was honoured to start that series off back in January – it now includes several others: Virgin Gorda, St. Croix (US Virgin Islands), Roatan (Honduras), Gibraltar and Brunei, to name just a few. You can check out the series here and for anyone interested in expat life, Clara has also written an excellent Expat Partner’s Survival Guide.

Though I’ve been away for almost three months, I only had to get on the barge, as the ferry between the two islands of Mayotte is called, to feel as if I’d never left. The lagoon, the bouéni in their colourful salouvas, and the occasional gendarme made sure of that. It’s good to be back, settling down to resume work on the sequel to One Green Bottle, provisionally called Perfume Island (i.e. Mayotte). Hopefully also get back into blogging, not just posting but exploring other blogs – it’s all been a bit sporadic of late. As far as this blog goes, Pic’n’Post will move to Fridays and from next week, the Thursday Interview returns. I’m grateful to Sir Souvenir Mug for agreeing to kick off the new series – find out what he has to say on 25th! In the meantime, to those who’ve recently discovered this blog, welcome, bienvenue, karibu!

Pic’nPost n°20 Where was the picture taken?

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Where was the picture taken?

Several guesses last week: many thanks to Mohnfoto, tammy from tmezpoetry, Charlie from Untitled, Unfinished, Rosa, and Matt from the bookblogger2014. All mentions of a cup, glass or goblet were close, but not spot on: it was in fact a bottle 🙂 No one got that, but the first close guess came from Mohnfoto, who is therefore declared the winner!

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Congratulations, Mohnfoto!

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This week it’s back to Where? at the top of this page. Happy guessing!

Pic’n’Post n° 19 What is the picture of?

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What is the picture of?

Just the two guesses last week: many thanks to Rosa, and to Matt from the bookblogger2014. Both mentioned China, but Rosa got that bit closer by opting in the end for Japan.

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Specifically, it was Tokushima, on Shikoku Island, but that could be hardly be expected from the few clues on offer.

Congratulations, Rosa!

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This week it’s back to What? at the top of this page. Happy guessing!

Pic’n’Post n° 18: Where was the picture taken?

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Where was the picture taken?

Several guesses last week, and everyone figured it was the badge of a car, so the question then became, what make? Many thanks to Rosa, Thumbup at Live Love Laugh, Atthys at Speak More Light, and Matt from the bookblogger2014, but the winner this week is Hogrider Dookes, who guessed it was a Citroën Xsara. You can check out some of his “thoughts and travels of a geezer on a Harley” here, his account of a recent trip through Provence. Unfortunately, we weren’t at home at the time, otherwise he could have popped in to visit (the invitation still stands, Dookes) and taken me for a spin on the Harley. And he’d have seen the actual car which served for the photo, very much in need of a wash. IMG_1012                                                                                                IMG_1013

Congratulations, Dookes!

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This week it’s back to Where? at the top of this page. Happy guessing!

OGB update: Announcement

I’m not generally superstitious, but I decided for some reason it would be unlucky for me to make this announcement before receiving the corrected manuscript of One Green Bottle from my proofreader / copy editor. Perhaps because I was afraid she might tell me it needed rewriting, or even worse, that it didn’t need rewriting because it wasn’t worth reading anyway. But the envelope arrived the other day and she’s not only zapped all the typos and ironed out some inconsistencies but written, ‘I really enjoyed it – quite a page-turner!’  So with no superstitions to prevent me, I can now announce that I signed a publishing agreement a few weeks ago, and OGB will be released shortly by the small, recently established indie publisher, Meizius.

You might imagine me at this point doing cartwheels of joy round the garden. But that’s not the case. Mainly because I can’t do cartwheels any more and even if I could, I wouldn’t, because the garden’s strewn with pyracantha thorns. But also because my joy is of the measured, restrained variety. I’ve been down this road before. A few years ago, a small, recently established indie publisher brought out a book of mine and it disappeared without trace. So delighted as I am, I’m making no assumptions, nor building up expectations. On the other hand, I have two good reasons to hope that this time it might be different. Firstly, the previous novel was long, complicated and by all accounts difficult to read, whereas OGB is much easier. And secondly, I’m now at least aware that the hardest part is still to come – the marketing and promotion.

One immediate consequence of landing the deal is that I set up another wordpress site at curtisbaussebooks.com. I didn’t announce it and I thought it would remain invisible for a while, but a few wily explorers have found it, and although it’s still embryonic, even started to follow (for which, many thanks!). The reason I set it up was to focus more on the book, its sequel, and writing in general, as opposed to the rambling sort of stuff that goes on here. So the other blog is for the millions of fans occasional visitor people who actually want to know about the books, and this one is for anyone who wants to read the general hotchpotch it appears to have turned into. That doesn’t mean you won’t get stuff about writing here (that’s why I started it, after all), but whereas on the other one I’ll try to be serious all the time, on this one I feel able to faff around as the fancy takes me.

curtis bausse OGB          Curtis Bausse

Now over the past few months, I’ve read a huge amount about building a platform, setting up a brand and what have you, and I’m fairly sure my approach is contrary to all established wisdom in the matter. But what all that reading gives me mostly is a headache (this post by Atthys Gage gives a fuller analysis of the problem), so I’m adopting the one piece of advice I read very early on, which is to do whatever you feel comfortable with. I’m sure one day I’ll feel comfortable with the other blog too, but for the moment it feels like when I go over there, I’m putting on a suit and tie. Which is fine (every so often), but it’s always nice to slip into something more casual. So before I start thinking a bit more about my suit-and-tie blog, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who’s visited, liked or commented on this one, and made it a place where I feel so comfortably at home. Since following the excellent blogging 101 and 102 courses at the beginning of this year, I’ve been in touch with a whole variety of interesting, supportive, creative people who have all helped to make this blog what it is. My sincere thanks to you all – and now, if you’ll excuse me, I must see to the other blog. Now where did I put that tie…?

Toddler Talk

Blogging focus: The cook

It’s winter here in Mayotte. There’s a cool breeze in the evenings and when we went snorkelling yesterday, the water had a little chill to it. Back in the Metropole, where we’re heading now for the summer, it’s much hotter, up in the mid-thirties. Poor Mrs. B. – she’s been yearning to escape the heat all year. Having grown up in the frozen hills of Wales, I’m all for a bit of warmth myself – 32° is about right. But I digress: the point is, there’ll be people visiting, things to do in house and garden, life in both its chores and joys to resume. Furthermore, having taken a three month break from Perfume Island (sequel to One Green Bottle), now’s a good time to get back to it and work on draft number three with fresh eyes. So although I’ll be posting over the next three months, it won’t be as often: no more Sunday Poem, for example, and no more Thursday Interview (hopefully both will be back in September). Now is a good time to take stock as well – this blog is six months old. Still a toddler in many ways, but old enough to give rise to a few thoughts. Clara at expatpartnersurvial did a good post recently about that six-month milestone, and Itchy Quill, at a similar stage, gives a thorough account of 12 good reasons for blogging. Both bring up some excellent points which I won’t repeat here. So just a few remarks:

  1. If it hadn’t been for blogging 101 and 102, I’d never have made it this far. There were two aspects to those courses: the advice from the Word Press team, and the support from other bloggers. Both were vital in giving the blog an impetus I’ve so far managed to maintain. Along the way, I’ve come across a whole host of other blogs with totally different content, many of which I now read with eagerness. Many thanks to everyone who’s helped to make the blogging experience so enriching!
  2. The blog has settled into something I wouldn’t have been able to predict at the start. Probably because I didn’t have a clear idea of where I wanted to take it. Which goes to show it’s perfectly OK not to have a clear idea – stick at it, and an identity will eventually emerge.
  3. All the same, I started this blog with a purpose. Now, I’ve just been nominated by Matt at thebookblogger2014 for the Encouraging Thunder award. For various reasons I don’t normally do awards but I’m happy to accept this one, firstly because it’s Matt (thank you, Matt!) and secondly because there’s nothing I have to do except enjoy the award (I’m enjoying it), thank the person who gave it you (done) and state your purpose in blogging. Well, the purpose was to build a ‘platform’ in order to promote OGB. I just didn’t know how to set about it, other than knowing what not to do, i.e. bang on about it non-stop. So if you do have an aim of that sort, blogging can only be an indirect means towards it. Blogging, in fact, becomes an aim in itself and product promotion is embedded within it, part of a whole.
  4. Nonetheless, a blog can (some might say should) have a focus. Thus there are blogs specifically devoted to food, photography, inspirational quotes, health, blogging itself (e.g. how to attract followers) and marketing. The focus attracts people with similar interests, and if they find your content useful (you offer advice, for example) your indirect product promotion may be more effective (only may, because it doesn’t necessarily follow that if you offer tips on book promotion, say, people will rush to Amazon to buy your own book). Well, this blog is pretty unfocused – precisely a result of not wanting to overdo the product promotion part, it flits from one topic to another as the fancy takes me. The blog, then, isn’t the platform, it can only be one part of it. So I’ll also use the months ahead to figure out more clearly how the platform as a whole can work coherently.

So there you go – the accumulated wisdom of six months blogging. Maybe in future, when the blog’s fully grown, I’ll bore you stiff rambling on about my wealth of experience in building an author platform. Now, there’s something to look forward to, eh?

Pic’n’Post n° 11

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Where was the picture taken?

Again, not an easy one last time (below), so only a couple of guesses, from the bookblogger2014 and twenty7zero3, who came closest with Turkey, specifically Istanbul. Thanks to both, and congratulations to the winner!

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The rules are as follows:

  1. One guess only
  2. I won’t reply to guesses or give any clues
  3. The answer will be given one week from now
  4. If more than one person guesses correctly, the first to answer is the winner.

Pic’n’Post n° 10

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Where was the picture taken?

It’s very difficult to know how easy or difficult a picture is when you know exactly where you were when you took it. Hopefully there’s enough in the above to allow for a few good guesses. Pic’n’Post n°8 (below) ran for a fortnight, as the initial picture (left) was a bit too difficult.

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Thanks for contributions from Thumbup and Bookblogger2014, but the winner was Hogrider Dookes, who spotted that clue in the middle of the picture on the right, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

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A special mention, though, must go to Quilt Musings, who guessed the original picture but was too modest to announce it to all. With three correct guesses so far, she gets a champion’s badge!

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The rules are as follows:

  1. One guess only
  2. I won’t reply to guesses or give any clues
  3. The answer will be given one week from now
  4. If more than one person guesses correctly, the first to answer is the winner.

Hats off once again to Izzy who, excellent writer that she is, doesn’t lose sight of the text + photo combination. Her post had a great definition of dry humour, provided by her dogs. And Anniewhere she goes (nice to see you back again!) gives us a story of magic slippers, or how an ordinary pair of flip-flops can turn into something special. Many thanks to both!