Thursday, July 26, 2007

Market day

The Bookseller is launching a series of blogs by people in the UK book trade. Let's hope they're a bit more interesting than those at Publishers Weekly, which I'm afraid I only looked at once.

Alcemi is a new fiction imprint based in Wales. Not surprisingly, they are concentrating on Welsh writers, but in principle 'there will be no bars to setting, subject or style'. They are looking for 'original contemporary fiction that will resonate within Wales and far beyond'.

First two out of the box are Liminal by Chris Keil (not a very Welsh name, is it?) and Salvage by Gee Williams (that's better).

Both of these books have a mystery/crime tinge to them, but both seem determined to aim higher, and be metaphors or some such. That always makes me a bit nervous, frankly. I think most writers would be well advised to stick with the blood and thunder, and do it really well. After that, everything kind of follows naturally, without forcing it.

Alan Gerstle did an MFA degree in acting and has a PhD in social science. He is also a fiction writer. On the sound basis of this considerable academic experience he now runs a blog for the benefit of humanities students -- particularly those on creative-writing courses. And let's face it, students on those courses need all the help they can get.

The Times has an obituary of Don Arden, one of the UK's leading managers of pop groups in years gone by. Known in his youth for beating people up and threatening them with a nasty fate, Arden was chiefly famous at the end of his life for being Sharon Osbourne's father, and hence Ozzy's father-in-law.

Arden also published an autobiography of sorts: Mr Big -- Ozzy, Sharon, and My Life as the Godfather of Rock. It was written with a ghost, of course, and the ghost must have had to work hard for his money, because he gets his name on the book too (Mick Wall). I imagine that about 10 per cent of the stories might even be true.

Sharon gave up talking to her Dad for a good many years, and she told her side of the story in Sharon Osbourne Extreme.

The BBC reports that Charles Whiting has died. Best known, perhaps, by the pen-name Leo Kessler (among others), Mr Whiting was the author of about 350 books. His work was discussed here on 6 July 2005. (Link from

There is much to entertain us on Madame Arcati's blog this week.

First, Madame was watching (shorthand pad and pencil to hand) when George Galloway went to work in the House of Commons (post of 24 July).

Say what you like about George (and people do), he has the balls to say things which a lot of people are thinking but never quite have the courage to articulate. In this case, he wonders why the (New) Labour Party is prepared to accept money from a man whose TV channel features 'Spunk-loving Sluts' (and that's one of the polite ones). Not a bad question. Consequently, the Speaker, as you would expect, shut him up.

George wrote a book, of course, discussed here on 14 June 2005.

Then there's the results of the Arcati poll as to whether Daniel Radcliffe is cut or uncut (post of 25 July). Look, it was Madame's idea to have a poll, not mine, OK?

And finally we have the intriguing saga of Susan Hill and Fallowell, D. (posts of 24 July and 26 July, plus comments).

A little bird tells me that the Russians aren't too fussed about copyright, and have posted lots of books online without permission. Which is, of course, very naughty.

However, if I were one of the authors, I think I would be quite relaxed about it. No one, surely, is going to read a full-length novel online, and printing it out would be slow, cumbersome, and expensive. On the other hand, having access to the entire thing gives one a pretty good taste of it, and one might, perhaps, go out and buy the book afterwards.

The list is eclectic, and, so far as I can see, in no logical order whatever. Or am I missing something? The two files that I tried were zipped, and you may need one of those fancy WinRAR programs. He says, as if he knows what he's talking about.

Raft is a newish UK literary agency which is looking for a small number of new clients. There is also a company blog with news of latest deals et cetera, and Raft will be at Frankfurt this year.


ijsbrand said...

There's a free program called 7-zip, that does RAR, and ZIP, and many more of those formats, without blinking.

Andy O'Hara said...

How can one not admire "the forgotten" Charles Whiting? May his work continue to entertain for many years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million for posting the link to the Russian site. There are otherwise unavailable works by R. A. Lafferty there. You can bet I'll print More Than Melchisedech, or read it off the screen (not many scanning errors after the first page, either: very readable).

Edmond Clay said...

The link to InTheText.Com is good but there's nary a function behind "read the rest of this post" and "be the first to comment" is entirely inoperable and there are no comments, perhaps for that reason.

gee said...

Many thanks for mention of my book and that you like my name AND the writing advice. I do hope you get around to reading Salvage which has some blood - a good big storm (sorry no thunder but I'll definitely be working on that one for the next) Good wishes Gee Williams

Chris said...

Not sure what you imagine you're contributing by posting vacuous comments on books you clearly haven't read. Time to call it a day?

Chris said...

Sorry, didn't mean to be anonymous. I am the not-very-Welsh-sounding Chris Keil whose book Liminal" got quite a good , no hang on, a very good, review by Nicholas Clee in Guardian Saturday Review today (22.09.07)
I repeat:
Not sure what you imagine you're contributing by posting vacuous comments on books you clearly haven't read. Time to call it a day?