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Another Review: Reflections of Life and Love in Australia

11 Oct

Reflections of Life and Love in Australia by Margaret Lynette SharpGoodreads_icon_100x100Goodreads-badge-add-plus

It’s been a while since my fourth collection in the ‘Life and Love in Australia’ series was first published, and now I’m delighted to announce its first review, written by Goodreads member, Mark, from the U.S.A. Here it is:

“Reflections” is a collection aptly named, for emotions playing lambent on the water of the spirit, for a mirror held up to fraught relationships, mostly of couples, and for the thoughts to which they all give rise in the reader… and the reviewer. Sharp has a particular knack for exploring and sorting out the unnecessarily complex entanglements of humans in orbit about one another. Among the best offerings here are “And the Rains Came,” about the pretext for a railway “connection” that opens up when the skies do; “Letting Her Go,” about a mother’s ultimate, pained acceptance of her daughter’s romantic autonomy; and “The Bonds of Love,” which has nothing at all to do with bondage, and everything to do with serendipity and reconciliation. Five stars.
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This volume contains twenty-eight vignettes and Short Stories, mostly on themes of love and romance. Currently it’s available in paperback only, but  hopefully next year it will be also published on Kindle.
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My 200th Post: What I Love About Self Publishing

1 Oct

Certainly it has its critics, but as one who has been there and done it, I for one can vouch for its virtues.

In the old days, self publishing’s image was often tarnished by the dreaded ‘vanity press’ tag. Undeniably, those self-published works have not been scrutinized by publishers, whom one might suppose chose the best and rejected the rest. Were this universally true, it would be hard then to fathom the reasoning behind self publishing by such immortals as Jane Austen, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw. Sure, anyone can self publish; and, if we believe the critics, there are plenty of books out there that are nothing more than uninspiring collections of words. On the other hand, if we are to believe the reviewers, more than a handful of gems exist.

The beauty of self publishing lies in the degree of control it offers. It’s all in the hands of the creator(s). From original text, to editing, layout, cover, and promotion: it’s all a hands-on experience. There is no need to please the publisher: you need aim only to please whom you choose to please. Could be your readers, your family, or just yourself: it all depends on you.

The other attraction is the speed of results. No longer do you have to wait, perhaps for years, to see your work in print. It’s there: in e-book or physical. Moreover, it’s available for as long (or as little) as you choose. Particularly amongst new authors, it can take a while to get established, and develop a fan base. Conventional publishing may see your book withdrawn from sale too soon.

As a veteran of six self published books:25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia, A Taste of Life and Love in Australia, The Essence of Life and Love in Australia, Reflections of Life and Love in Australia, 60 Questions, Insights and Reminiscences, and Long and Short Australian Stories, I can vouch for the advantages of going down the self-published path, and hold my head high as I remember the company I am in.

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Happy 13th!

13 Jan

Some say the number 13 is unlucky, and Friday the 13th is especially seen in a superstitious light.  But, fingers crossed, this Friday the thirteenth is panning out quite well, as has previous thirteenths, be them Monday, Tuesday or whatever.

A friend…dare I say fan? of mine asked me to sign some copies of ’25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia’ that she planned to give as belated Christmas gifts.

Show me an author who doesn’t enjoy autographing their work! And especially, when it comes with positive feedback about the volume!

She told me of her enthralling interest in ‘A Question of Trust’, one of the earliest stories in the series: that it seized her imagination as she wondered which way the heroine, Alison, would go in her relationship with new partner Roger. She even suggested that it would make a television drama.

Carrying these gratifying notions home with me, I re-read the story and investigated its history in the creative sequence.

Turns out it was the first story I wrote and included in the series, and it came into being, you guessed it, on the 13th!

Yes, the thirteenth of October, 2010 was indeed an auspicious day, when my new career, new venture, as an author of books really started to evolve!

Happy 13!

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You Can’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover: Or Can You?

3 Nov

You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Or so I’ve heard, many, many times.

Sure, you can’t get an indication of the quality of the writing, yet can’t certain other characteristics be more than hinted at?

Take my four-volume collection of Short Stories, each with the common end- name of ‘Life and Love’.  Each cover features a scene photographed in Sydney by my husband, the organ-builder Ronald Sharp, set against a white background. The printed words are plain and clear. Does this suggest to you an honest, decent, intelligent read?

Likewise, our newest venture, 60 Questions, Insights and Reminiscences. Again, the same unadorned printing on a simple white background surrounds a photo of a woman sitting, thinking, in a garden of flowers. A selection of topics contained within are noted in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. What do you make of this? An interesting, thought-provoking selection of articles? Something uncommon, different?

So many volumes by other authors have a feel quite different to mine, yet remarkably often of the same flavour as each other. What does that suggest? Popular, commercial images? Mass market strategy? A tried and true formula?

All in all, isn’t it true that, much like an individual’s face, a book cover can actually be a revelation?

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