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Okay, this is official, this is confirmed: the launch party for 'Bridge of Dreams' will be at the Lit & Phil in Newcastle on Wednesday 24th May at 7pm. British Summer Time.

And why am I announcing this, you ask, what is the point, in an environment so global that I even feel moved to record the time-zone?

Partly for the fun of it, because I can; I haven't had a launch for a while, so I'm talking about it everywhere, all the time. And I'm new to LJ and I want to play. And there is always the chance that somebody out there is within striking distance of Newcastle and will want to come (if this is you: you are officially invited, and it will be lovely to see you, but do please phone the library to reserve a place: 0191 232 0192). And I'm neurotic, because this is the first launch party I've ever actually organised for myself, I've imported books and everything, I'll be buying wine and Turkish sweets, and wouldn't it be awful if nobody came?

But I do think that's significant even beyond the neurosis, because it represents in miniature the changes that have overswept the whole books business during the time that I've been publishing books. Twenty years ago, bookstores used to host launch parties, as a matter of course; it kept them in good odour with publishers and their local literary community, and these things mattered. Ten years ago, power had shifted; the party was still in the bookstore, but the publisher was probably paying for it. These days, my local bookstores (big city Waterstone's) aren't allowed to host a launch without central office approval, which for a local writer they simply don't get. Add the cost of a venue to the cost of the wine etc, and publishers don't think it's worth it going solo.

Uniquely in this country, we have an Arts Council-funded agency that exists to support new writing in this region; for some star writers, they will take over the organisation of a launch, liaise with publishers and run the event. And they do it very well. When I approached them, though, they fretted about the logistics and expense of dealing with an American publisher, to the point where I didn't pursue it.

Instead, I'm doing it myself. I have the venue - not exactly in my pocket, tho' I do like to pretend so: the Lit & Phil is a beautiful 18th-century private library, where I'm actively involved in the literary programming - and I have the books. All I need now is the people. Yikes...
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Publication day, on the other side of the world: time for a new beginning, then.

First things first. The new book is called 'Bridge of Dreams', it's by me - Chaz Brenchley - and it's published by Ace in the States. Today. And you can call this shameless self-promotion if you choose, because I Don't Care; it's the first new book I've had out in too long, and my mood is celebratory (not an option, apparently, in LJ - tho' 'exanimate' is. I had to look that up). Besides, it feels strange to have a book that's only published overseas, and I can't talk about that stuff if I haven't told you about it. Besides besides, I am throat-deep in the sequel and in danger of drowning, and I will definitely be talking about that, so again you do need to know about its precursor.

And I'm going to stop excusing myself now; this is a journal of the writing life, and shameless self-promotion is a full-blown feature thereof, these vulgar days. The ivory towers have all been cast down, and you just can't get the elephants.

This is, was originally meant to be a journal strictly of the writing life; but that was long ago, uncounted years, when it started as a blog on my own site here. Where I will keep it up, for a while at least, cross-posting between here and there; point being there's an awful lot of archived stuff there if anyone's interested, but there are obvious attractions to migrating over here. People talk back, for one thing. I like that.

So: it was meant to be a journal of the writing life, back when there weren't so many of those around; but the point is, you can't actually distinguish between the writing life and the lived life, the one feeds into the other and so back again. So I found myself talking about the sad stuff and the scary stuff and so forth, and I won't be avoiding those here; and putting in more recipes than I'd expected, because I do cook seriously, and you can expect those too; and then there's the cat. There used to be two, frail elderly girl-cats, but they died. Now there is an extremely robust boy-cat, and his name is Barry because the nice people who rescued him found him on Barry Street, and I thought that would be easy to change but actually not, it has kind of stuck. At the moment it's short for Barabbas, the thief who got away with it. Barry gets away with most things. You'll learn. (A friend showed me a website a while back, how to test the intelligence of your cat; and the first question was, 'How many commands does your cat understand?' Commands? Cat? C'mon...)


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November 2017

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