I like social media, but they steal my time. Should I write my books instead? Am I a writer? And my grandmother’s dress. A very disorganised blog post.

I like social media.

I got my connection to the wonderful Women Reading Aloud group through a friend on Goodreads, a lovely woman who I now met in the USA and became real, not just Goodreads friend with.

When I get the time, I follow twitter and Facebook entries and find them often very interesting.

However, it is all very time consuming.

And I find that instead of editing my second book and writing my book, I type emails, Facebook entries and Goodreads emails.

I need a systematic approach. Limited time for some things, extended and protected time for writing. Or is my writing just a silly hobby, easily dismissible? I hope not.

In my long American trip, I spent 3 days in Sea Girt on a Women Reading Aloud retreat. Writing to prompts. And again, like in Greece, I loved it.

So instead of carrying on with this silly blog entry, I will add one of the things I wrote.

The prompt was:

A piece of clothing in a closet at home that you cannot get rid of but you never wear

I wrote it in 30 minutes, without corrections. But I kind of like it. Do you? Here you are:

“I have a wardrobe full of clothes I might never wear, but I often thing; Well, what if…?

But there is one dress hanging in my wardrobe that I KNOW I will never wear, but I also know I will never get rid of it. Will I give it to my non-existing granddaughter one day? We’ll see. But no, maybe not. I might not have a granddaughter anyway…

That dress was made in 1922 in a very expensive salon called Rosenbaum in Prague for my grandmother. It is made of thin see-through black chiffon silk, crepe de chin my grandmother called it. It is long, mid calve length and very elegant in that beautiful fashion of that time. I can imagine cocktail parties, dances, conversations about the war that recently finished, a war that will never happen again.  A happy, frivolous time, at least for people with money. I imagine introductions of men in tuxedoes and women in similar dresses and diamond and gold jewellery. I imagine my grandmother, young, just after getting married, trying to please her formidable mother in law. She never managed to do that.

I found the dress in my mother’s closet when I was 16.I asked her what it was. My grandmother died that year. “Oh, we still have that dress? I remember mother bringing it back from the Kubicek family after the war. Not sure why she kept it, she never wore it again.” Said my mum. It fit me beautifully, it fits me now, too.

The underlying, not see through part is missing. That dress was hidden with many other things with some Czech friends during the war, when my grandmother went to the concentration camp. She got it back again in 1945 when she came back from the camps, with my mother, but without her beloved husband and son. For a while, it was too loose for her, then she put on weight and could not wear it. But there were no opportunities to wear it in communist Czechoslovakia anyway.

I do not have occasions to wear an evening gown to either. My world is more casual.

But sometimes I take that dress out, it is part of my family history. And I can remember my wonderful grandmother, that brave, kind, simple woman who coped with horrors of her life by finding positive things in a way I have never seen anybody to do. Waiting in the long queues for meat in Prague, she said how nice it is not to have a cook and to be able to walk in the street without hat and gloves, and not to behave like a lady…A woman, who, unlike my mother, did not have a manipulative streak. She was simple, in the best possible meaning. She never read books, but unlike my mum, who never read much either, she thought her granddaughter, obsessed with written words was great. She gave me the unconditional love people sometimes get from their mothers.

The grandmother I knew was dressed in casual, non-elegant clothes, a heavy woman, no make-up. A woman with a laud not ladylike contagious laugh.

But when I touch this dress, I see her as a young slim beautiful woman, smiling, carefree, with no need to find a brave face to put on. That dress is not just a dress, it is a reminder of life’s many twists. And the reminder that one can survive, change, adapt, and still be happy.

Will, I ever wear it? No. But they will find it in my wardrobe when I die.”

So, am I a writer? Maybe. Maybe not. But I will carry on trying.

 

 

 

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Going it alone, scary and exhilarating, wish me luck.

I am changing things.

I am leaving Authoright with the Clink Street Publishing. Somehow, it no longer worked for me.
I will use the opportunity to re-write my first book a bit – mainly culling some parts- I am a woman of many words. I will re-publish it together with my sequel. maybe even break it into a trilogy. That will help me not to have to be so careful about not writing too much.

I will use kindle direct publishing. I should have done that the first-time round, but I  did not have a clue how it all works.

I learn from my mistakes.

Like with my sexual revolution and writing, I learnt a lot.
I will need to find a publishing editor, proof-reader and cover designer, but I hopefully know what I am doing, second time round.
This will mean my book might not be available for some time, so if any of you want it, get it on amazon now.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Woman-No-Strings-Att…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

https://www.amazon.com/Woman-No-Strings-Attac…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

HINT HINT LOL.

It is a bit scary, like fast skiing. But I like that!

Wish me luck!

Lucie

 

Nope, it is NOT Erotica

book blogToday, I looked at my book Amazon page and found two nice reviews that I did not know about. I never look. One recent, one a year old. From strangers.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucie-Nov%C3%A1k/e/B00LFSJ2PU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1475092573&sr=1-2-ent

 Here is what they said:

4.0 out of 5 stars

Interesting, Good Read

By Some Chick on August 4, 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This is an interesting book. I enjoyed the voice of the storyteller and her pragmatic way of speaking. This isn’t a naughty erotica story. It’s a novel about a 50-something woman’s awakening in her own life. It doesn’t just cover sex, which she finally learns to enjoy. This book shows the personal growth of a strong woman taking charge of her life. I especially liked the titbits taking me into thoughts and memories of communist Prague. I’m looking forward to more by this author.

the next one

5.0 out of 5 stars

Great book

By Brad Powellon September 13, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This book is fascinating, the writer does a great job describing this awesome stories.

I highly recommend this book, a must read.

 It is so nice when readers review a book, I should do it more often. And my readers have been very kind.

It made me think about the only bad review I had.  This negative review amused me, because the reviewer, a man, said:

 “It’s only potential value is as a primer on how to *not* write erotic literature. “

laughing-smiley-face-clip-art-smiley-face-clip-art10 (1)Funny !

The reason why it was funny was the fact that although my book has a lot of sex in it- so has life- it is by no means Erotica. I would be indeed more worried if it was praised as erotic literature.

I looked up Erotica definition:

Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts of human sexual relationships which have the power to or are intended to arouse the reader sexually.

Well, my book has sex in it, lots of sex. But life often has a lot of sex in it. I really do not think my chapters about sex have the power to arouse the reader sexually.

But even if they do, they were not intended to arouse the reader sexually.

So no, IT IS NOT EROTICA! And yes, I am shouting.

I do not like books being pigeon holed into genres anyway. But “A Woman with (no) Strings Attached” is a love story. It is also about politics, dating, breaking taboos, and about self- discovery.

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A reader wishing to be sexually aroused would be disappointed.

And that is a good thing!

My Plans:

I am thinking about editing my first book a bit, making it shorter, and then publishing both parts together, maybe even dividing it all into a trilogy.

I am parting company with Authoright, but the action from their side is painfully slow.I am getting a bit impatient. But it will happen.

I am going to Prague, my native city for two weeks, so won’t have time for writing anyway.

Prague_banner1

 

 

Losing prejudices is hard, but I have managed to lose one

Ever since June, I like groups of other women more.

This summer, I got a revelation. I never liked being in a group of other women, I always had female and male friends, but if it was a group, I always preferred to be with men, or in a mixed group. Somehow, I found men easier. They seemed more direct, less manipulative, nicer.

Then I joined Women reading aloud Writer’s retreat in Greece in June.Apart from me, they were all American ( one Canadian). Are the Americans nicer?

sample_of_the_official_usg_color_flag_350x250

I blogged about it, remember?

https://luciemuses.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/i-am-starting-to-think-i-am-a-writer/

Those women were different. It was not the fact that they were all smart and educated, most of my friends are. It was the fact that they were kind, non-judgemental, tolerant, and such fun to be with!

Last week, one of the writer’s group, Joanie came to visit me. She was coming to Europe, and asked if she could “pop in”.

She left today.

I had three days of company of a quirky, smart, nice woman, and we felt as if we were old friends.

We talked almost non-stop, but we also listened.

I listened to something she wrote, she started reading my book.

book

I feel  really close to all those other women from the retreat. I cannot wait to go again next year.

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One of my prejudices- against women’s groups is gone.

Losing prejudices is always a good thing!

Thank you, all!

 

 

I am starting to think I am a writer

I am in Greece on a women’s writers’ retreat.

http://www.womenreadingaloud.org/greece-retreat.html

If you told me a year ago that I will be on a women’s only group activity, I would tell you “Are you bonkers? No way!”

Growing up in a communist country made me deeply suspicious of any group activity or ideology. I am sceptical, individualistic and I question absolutely everything.  The words like “community” feel like swear words…

And a “retreat” sounded religious…I am a non-believer. There was also a slight eastern philosophy flavour- another thing I am sceptical about.

Plus, I am always slightly wary of groups of other women, will they criticise me, give me unsolicited advice, gossip about me, judge me…?

And yet, I am here. On a women’s writers’ retreat in Greece. It seems wrong, but it was the only right thing to do.

My mother died two weeks ago.

Suddenly, like a person who was not destined to die in her bed, at 89, she fell down steep steps and broke her skull.

After the funeral, I packed and boarded the plane.

The retreat, on a beautiful Greek island Alonissos is facilitated by Julie, a beautiful petite woman with short hair and graceful dancer’s movements.

We write in the morning on prompts she gives us. We read aloud what we wrote.

The prompts can be snippets of poems, postcard of a painting.

Yesterday we wrote from the perspective of one of our body parts. My damaged partially blind eye wrote that short story. My blind eye surprisingly has a sense of humour.

I am learning to write work which is less based on my life. but who of course, all writing is autobiographical. Just not literally. Julie keeps telling us:

Remember, it is all fiction

.I wish those journalists insisting on knowing about my personal life realised that the only important part of me they need to know is Lucie Novak, the writer, and them meet her in my books.

Did I say ” books”? Wow ! But yes, I will write more books.

We were all a bit scared.

Julie calls us writers, claiming we are.

Somehow, that made me believe that I really am a writer. The discussion, moderated by Julie is only about “what works”. She tells us to “chase the inner critic away”. How well we all know that little voice, whispering that we are wasting our time writing useless nonsense, instead of doing something useful.

Women are good at believing they are not good enough.

Julie makes us feel we are…

We write on a terrace above the sea. It is quiet, only cicadas making a noise.

Alonissos

We are all different, some confident, some not, black and white, various life stories, all middle aged. Middle age shifted for me once I got older. My children would probably call us “old women”.

The one talking about her long writing experience, convinced she is an author, is most likely the one with most insecurities.

The two women talking about their work being rubbish are probably the most talented.

Surprisingly, I feel safe and liked. I am the only non-native English speaker, and the only European.

Maybe American women are kinder, nicer, but no, it is Julie’s kindness and skill that makes the retreat a safe place.

I forget about my mother, the regrets of the possibility of a good relationship we never had. Here, I am somebody else. Lucie, the writer.

I make friends with several of the Americans. I learn a lot about America, much more than I learnt from all those novels I read and the movies I have seen. It is fascinating.

A former black Panther, a super smart woman and her partner are both becoming close friends…

A teacher, so brilliant and witty I wish my teachers were like that.

A quiet very talented Jewish woman form New York, who looks like Andie McDowall.

Another gentle quiet Canadian, who writes with the same grace she moves.

A slightly older woman writing with such humour about her evil little sister… many others.

I feel that they are all more talented than I am, but we probably all think that…

Thank you, Lily from Goodreads for recommending me the workshop.

Thank you “Women reading aloud.”

 Thank you Julie. Thank you, new friends.

I am having an amazing experience, and we are only in the middle of the ten days’ retreat. You helped me to make the grief and regret of my mother’s death go away. You made me feel happy. I am glowing, and it is not just my tan.

Am I a writer? Who knows?  But I will be back next year.

 

 

 

 

 

Another radio interview.

blogtalk

So here you are:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/webbweaverbooks/2016/03/05/webbweaver-books-proudly-presents-author-lucie-novak

After my interview with the lovely C.K. Webb was jinxed by her illness, my technological problems, and then the snow storms in the US in January, it finally happened today.

Exciting and scary. You can have a listen if you click the above link.

The soundtrack is slightly muddled occasionally, plus that Czech accent of mine! It gets worse when I am nervous. Doing a transatlantic interview over Skype, not ideal. The recording is a bit clunky. Or is it “clanky”?

skype

I am not sure if the listeners even understood my reading. We’ll see.

The broadcaster was kind, nice, enthusiastic. She was well prepared and even knew my blog!

Now I can go back to my sequel writing.

I think it will be ready for editing in about a month. I should really stop having so much fun and get to the work. I should start treating the writing as a job. I enjoy the writing, but of course, the editing will the hard work. I am a woman of many words. I have to get rid of many of them!

It is really difficult, but necessary. I need to cut cut cut, till it is all neat and less verbose.

I have already arranged it with Cling Street Publishing, and their editing will help me to make it even neater and smaller.

I will ask them to be brutal!

So now I am curious. will listening to this interview make people also more curious to read my book?

Let’s hope so!