Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Gilded Beaver by MLHolton - Extract & Review -

Great shout-out from #author and blogger, Sally G. Cronin of Ireland, for the paperback version of my award-winning Canadian novel, The Gilded Beaver, (2nd Edition)

The Gilded Beaver is a SUPER title to add to #summerreading lists - especially for #DIY #cottage & #lake crowd who have acute interest in #trees, #design and #woodworking ... 

Story is set in #Canada. Have a gander. Order via Amazon 

#literature #novels #writing #readerscommunity #booknerd  #interiordecorating #finefurniture #Canadian #decorativearts


Monday, May 17, 2021

#WritingCommunity on Twitter

Bit of a ramble follows ... but just wanted to say how, in this Time of COVID, it has been a real pleasure over the past year to get to know a number of indie and traditional authors through the #WritingCommunity on Twitter. 

For a year, while sheltered at home, creatives have done what they've always done, create in isolation ... COVID did throw a spanner in the works making it impossible to gather with any friends or family. Still, within the daily grind of being a writing and working artist, genuine consolation was found in that lively, generous and fun-loving group. Those within the group are a good bunch: supportive, kind and in the main, very serious too about their writing. (As example, #writingtips are shared with other early risers, the #5amwriters.)  Hashtags are liberally used to narrow down interests and/or genres. It is remarkably efficient. 

Over the past year, with daily interactions of, on average, an hour or so, I've managed to grow my Twitter following from a paltry 500 to over 23K+. Engaging with others in the same realm, while following them with them following you back, quickly builds mutual SUPPORT. And yes, those numbers do translate into unsolicited book reviews, writer critiques and sales. It's been amazing, really. It's a great crowd of like-minded #authors, who span generations, cultures, and ethnicity. 

Many often complain about the bile and bitterness on Twitter, but I don't see or engage in any of that toxicity. There are plenty of good people sharing good thoughts and helpful advice in the #WritingCommunity.

Unexpected synchronicity can also occur. A few days ago I was chatting, in the DM mode, with a young poet friend from Jamaica. One thing lead to the next and I wondered if, by chance, he may have known of a DJ who I had befriended in Negril some years ago, Winston Flynn ... He didn't know Winston. He was too young to know him. 

Nonetheless, that sidebar conversation inadvertently hurled me off into a fond memory of that wonderful trip to the island. I had had so much FUN during that two week sojourn back in the 1990s. I started to ferret through my older musical tapes until I found the boot-legged recording that Winston had made for me of a blind island musician, Frankie Paul. I pulled out my old dust-gathering tape deck, popped in the tape and was instantly hurled back ... Winston and I had gone to see Frankie Paul in a late night concert in my first week there. It was vintage Jamaican reggae under the brilliant stars. Googling, I discovered that Frankie Paul had died, in 2015, at the very early age of 51. The postings on Youtube and Spotify profile him as an 'island legend'. Google pulled up 17 million references in under 5 seconds ... Geez, he would have been just a kid when we saw him perform back then, pre-internet ...

I also googled my old long-lost friend, Winston. I was shocked and amazed that he was listed on both Facebook and LinkedIn. Unluckily, both pages stopped posting around 2015. I don't know if he is 'there' anymore or not. I have reached out and hope to hear soon from a kind man who befriended me when I was exploring that lovely, bewitching island over 30 years ago.

It's strange how people can intersect, how paths cross and lives are changed forever through these  meetings. I never would have met Winston at all if another Canadian had shown up as had been arranged before I'd flown down to Jamaica ...

I was sitting on a bar-stool in Negril at dusk, alone, waiting for the contact. I had noticed Winston across the bar. He was quietly sipping on his beverage and obviously waiting too. Time passed and neither of our respective mates showed up. As we sat silently, an attentive bartender, realizing that we were both at lose ends, graciously introduced us. He introduced Winston as THE DJ of Negril and I introduced myself as a Canadian fine furniture designer from Toronto ... (that's what I was doing at the time ... ). Awkward and shy, we clumsily started a chat over the next rum and coke. It had been kindly offered for free by the generous bartender. That ambling chat soon turned into a fond friendship.

Winston, during most of my stay in Negril, was an outstanding island ambassador. He introduced me to aspects of the the island culture that I never would have seen nor experienced on my own as a 'gringa'.  We explored off the beaten paths and interpreted what we experienced together. He was always interested in my Canadian perspective as I was in his Jamaican one. It amazed me that Winston had never traveled. He had never left the island. For me, it was an extraordinary opportunity to truly live within a foreign culture, rather than just be a tourist. To this day, I am ever grateful for that fortuitous meeting. 

On reflection, our brief week-long encounter would make a good template of how 'strangers' should treat each other. Civil, kind and considerate: with an undertone of curiosity and respect for each other's 'otherness'. Travelers instinctively know that people met on the road can often become the very best of friends. Yet, it's always deeply understood, travelers do travel - they move on. Personal freedom, the journey itself, is always honoured.

The #WritingCommunity on Twitter is kind of like that. We're like 'ships in the night', passing by, sharing our stories. In the midst of that passing, good friendships are being forged. We have come to know of each other - our dreams, our foibles. We have privileged glimpses of the highs and lows of each other's writing journey. And we treat each other with the same 'travelers code': civil, kind and considerate, with an undertone of curiosity and respect. For, it too is understood, writers must travel, they must move on ... For now though, as COVID winds down, the unique #WritingCommunity is an exemplary collection of ambassadors who have helped each other along life's wild journey ...  

It's been very pleasant, guys and gals. Thank you!

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