Tuesday, 5 June 2018
At some point, readers become so used to seeing your blog, that they hardly notice it anymore. Usually an advert straight from the pages of Amazon, Goodreads, or some other, for a writer this is very convenient. But, does it work? There are so many books on the internet these days, written by hardworking authors, that the average person is spoiled for choice.
Varying in quality from unreadable, to 'this should be entered for the Booker Prize,' without the support of book reviewers, nobody would know if a book was good or bad. Gone are the days when an habitual reader followed certain writers of distinction, because these days their choice is greatly influenced by the review system. And, it is how this works in practice, that I am addressing readers and reviewers today.
Recently the megalith Amazon has decided two things. Firstly, that a review only qualifies for publication within their book sales blurb, if it has been purchased from Amazon or Kindle directly. Secondly, they have also made it a rule, that any person wishing to publish their review on Amazon, must have spent a minimum of 40 Pounds - in the case of Amazon.co.uk - or a similar amount in the various Amazon web outlets.
Many reviewers are not that wealthy, and cannot keep buying books to review, any more than impoverished writers can send them paid for freebies. Many of the foregoing are pensioners, people who out of necessity have to stay at home, and even some I know of, with disabilities.
Added to this somewhat arbitrary ruling by Amazon, there is the problem of finding people who might wish, during the normal course of events, to provide honest book reviews for writers, but who are inundated with great piles of books to read. Considering the restrictive conditions which are ever present with Amazon - or does the expression tyrannical better fit my blog- then perhaps they might loosen the reigns a bit, and make it easier for those on fixed incomes, or retirees, to contribute to the world of literature.
We need more reviewers, who make honest observations in their remarks, and don't treat the famed art of book reviewing, like a sausage factory. This would improve sales for authors, and probably for Amazon too, but this leaves me with the question, does Amazon care about books, or is it only money?
Patrick Brigham is a long term self published author, who like many other writers, would like to lift his head out of the water, and smell the fresh air!
Saturday, 12 May 2018
Goddess of The Rainbow, is unlike most of Patrick Brigham’s famed fiction, because – for the time being at least – he has deserted his usual Murder Mystery genre. Even though there are possible signs of murder, and the occasional hint of international intrigue, this time his tale takes place in peaceful Greece. And this time, his story is about the rain.
Greece, a largely tranquil country, is not usually given to ostentatious bouts of indignation, and has recently been experiencing considerable austerity, which has left most people confused, as well as short of cash. Patrick Explains –
“When the heavens open up and swamp the town of Orestiada with incessant rain, it causes everyone to somehow change. Feelings and reactions, which have long remained dormant within the largely provincial Greek community, come to the surface.”
In Goddess of The Rainbow, and obscured by years of prejudice, the entrenched views of this generally unsophisticated community are challenged, as the river waters rise, and the fields become flooded; peoples’ future looking bleaker by the day.
A series of short stories, they all occur in the Greek town of Orestiada. Stories, which simultaneously interlink and become a part of the whole, centre around Iris – the local DHL courier – who in Greek mythology is not only Goddess of The Rainbow, but also the Messenger of The Gods, thereby connecting the individual tales of this sixteen chapter book.
In it there is a murderous estate agent, and his equally murderous wife, an aspiring artist looking for recognition in Athens, an estranged couple separated by time who rekindle their love, a Greek- Australian from Melbourne, and a visiting bus load of Russian women from Moscow. They have been invited by Thanos the mayor, in order that some of the winging local bachelors might find a suitable wife.
There is an illegal Syrian immigrant, a disgruntled typically Greek mother who doesn’t want her son to marry at all, and a Greek Orthodox Priest who has lost his faith. All that and more; stories which come together so beautifully in the last chapter, and both fascinating and enchanting, they can be read and enjoyed individually. But put together, they serve to make the whole novel greater than its component parts.
With change comes romance, and although we see this tale through the prism of devastation, we can also see hope, love, and finally laughter. Patrick Brigham is an Englishman who has lived in the Balkans for twenty five years, and knows and understands the people well –
“Each country is very different, but Greece has its own dignity, and a special place in my heart.”
Living for the last ten years in Evros, which is also the name of the river delta, which separates Greece from Turkey, Patrick is only too clear about the character of the Greeks who live in this part of Eastern Macedonia.
“Having been forced out of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, and experiencing the ravages of World War Two, this was then followed by the revolution of 1948. Afterwards most people from this part of Greece had a strong will to survive, and I admire them for this, their hard work, their resolve, and cheerfulness.”
All Patricks books are available from Amazon.