Monday, 26 November 2012

Une Passion Parisienne

There is  often a conflict in my mind between the artistic and the commercial. Recently I have been working on some poetry and videos to publicise my next book and my last one. Poetry was my first teenage expression of myself as a writer. I remember how I used to look at drab terraced urban houses and watch the red of passion bleeding out into the grey pool of everyday. The folk who queued with me for tube trains and buses had known first kisses, and shared with me the aching expectation of wholeness that LOVE, and only love, would bring. 

Like many women, I have known the desert and the jungle of love.  Somewhere deep down in me has always been the defeatist clerk, telling me to forget the Romance and warm my lips on the cold bottom line. I think this voice is in a lot of us. It is the reason I write  Romance. When I wrote "Knockout" I took my readers to Paris to some moments I had lived myself. A week or so ago, I completed a video in which the text is taken from the book. It's not a sell. It's a truth of my life just a little overdressed.

Emma thinx: Love is letting go, but get a grip on him first. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Festival Of Romance 2012

I've just been reading Louise Allen's "Seduced by the Scoundrel" (Mills and Boon). A shipwrecked young lady finds herself naked and defenceless on a beach in the midst of a mob. Ooh, I now know just how she must have felt. On Saturday I ended up in a terrified state of emotional nudity in the  Harpur Shopping Centre in Bedford. All I had to do was to read from my book to passing shoppers. Having never been shipwrecked or had to read aloud in a shopping mall, I think I would have gone for the shipwreck if there had been a choice! At least I would have been trembling with cold as opposed to terror. 

The occasion of course was the Festival Of  Romance. This was my first time at such an event. There I was, not even a dairy maid on the Milky Way or a knobbly asteroid in the Romance Universe. Around me were all manner of authors, some of whom I knew only as names on the covers of books I had read. My greatest impression of the whole show was that everyone was so friendly, helpful and willing to share their experiences. 
You know who you are (I hope)

The festival was organised by Kate Allan and it was a triumph of hard work, logistics and enthusiasm. I think everyone involved in the organisation should be really proud of the result.

I'll be coming back to different aspects of the weekend over the next few blogs. One the highlights for me was Mandy Baggot from the "Love a Happy Ending" group picking up the prize for Innovation In Romance at the prize giving ball. The frocks were fabulous too.  I shall never forget Nicky Wells performing an ad lib singing performance of "You Give Love A Bad Name" at the Rock Star party. Oh for that kind of confidence!

I had some lovely table mates at the book fair so thanks to Cara Cooper, Caroline Bell Foster and Gilli Allan. Dear old Oscar was there too because he knew I would never be able to construct my poster display without his help. He is my favourite poet and some of his poems aren't too bad. He is a knight of the cable tie and a Prince of masking tape. 

I had a lovely lovely time meeting all the other writers. I'll be coming back here to digest some of my more technical impressions of the business from my  independent viewpoint. In the meantime....thanks for having me, it was wonderful to be had. 

Emma thinx: Sisters are doing it for their shelves. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Romantic Love Poem From My Heart

OK, I went down to the water and jumped in. Well, not quite. I went down to the river and made a bit of a film. I had decided to write a poem after many years abstinence. Then, never content to do something simply, I shot some video, did an audio track, badgered some fabulous young innocents into being actors and musicians and splashed it up on You Tube. The footage is from my beautiful home town at Saint Savinien in France.

Now the reason for all of this is that I am writing a novel in which the heroine re-finds love after a long period of both sexual and emotional uncertainty. She looks back to first love as a way of recapturing a standard by which to measure her current feelings. In order to write this up as well as I can, I needed to get my own mind back to that place. As a young writer, I wrote many poems. I was a short story writer who enjoyed poetry by true poets. All the same, when it comes to love, nothing works like poetry. I believe this is because in times of emotional overload we cannot provide any objective view of our own state. Poetry scores by taking the love victim outside of themselves by talking to them about what is inside them. I think this makes sense. I am always in love at some level. I don't think I could write Romance if this were not so.

Here it is then; my poem from the shoes of my heroine through the eyes of my own life. 

Emma thinx: Love gets better, but seldom stronger.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Horny Popcorny - Geddit?

An Emma cow shot of a local French horny lovely
I arrived back in the UK to rain and gloom. Work tomorrow but before the horror of the pre-dawn stumble to the depot, I wanted to share with you a truly wonderful piece of cinema directed by Emmanuel Gras.

At the "Florida" (the local Saint Savinien cinema) on Thursday night, there was an entertainment which probably could only happen in France. It was a folk concert, followed by a silent film about the life of cows. Entitled "Bovines, ou La Vraie Vie Des Vaches", it is a beautifully photographed one hour and five minutes all about a herd of Charolais cows. French critics have awarded it many accolades but to me it says something about the unseen beauty of these animals. I have always loved cows and often photograph them myself. Of course, there is a sadness in their lives; always the menace of the livestock trailer and the abattoir. After a short period with the herd, the young males  are taken for slaughter. We eat them. Then we take the milk from the mothers for ourselves.

In the wild, the old, lame and young would be dragged down and devoured by predators. I do accept all this and often reflect upon it in a ridiculous hypocritical sirloin loving, leather shoe wearing angst. This film is not any sort of vegetarian propaganda or butcher's promo. It is about acceptance, the cycle of existence and a  reminder of the power wielded by man over his fellow creatures. More than anything it is about the notion of mind and consciousness. Watch the clip and I guess some will be surprised about what cows might think and their power of reasoning. 

The music, (please note my selfless struggle with the devil in the pundergrowth of obvious quips), was fresh, clear and completely out of my normal territory. They are brilliant musicians and I loved it. Following such a wonderful evening I was forced to reflect how lucky I am and how diverse we are. My main luck is to savour life in two distinct cultures and amongst such talented international people ranging across romantic novelists, poets,musicians, world commentators and thinkers with brains that must wear out their neck muscles. You know who you are and I love you. But when will you bloody well save me from the banal tosh of it all?

Emma thinx: Acceptance is both sanctuary and prison. Hide a key.