Thursday, May 3, 2012

Angry Pig Breeder

I'm English and I live in London so I'll be posting using British English grammar conventions and spelling, as well as the usual smattering of mistakes you will have come to expect from hastily-written blog posts, if you read a lot of blogs.

The craziest thing about British grammar, if you're not used to it, is that it's quite intuitive: we don't put punctuation with fragments of text inside quotation marks or parentheses, for example. We do what we feel. And I feel that the Oxford comma is loathesome and unnecessary, so I never use it. I use comma splices, too. They're perfectly acceptable over here. Sounds good? Come on over. It's crowded but friendly. There's too much litter in the streets but the historical buildings are gorgeous. The weather's nicer than you'd expect if you have never visited, too.

I have a personal blog here and an online detective agency here. I don't keep up the second one much, as you can see. What I really need is another blog to contribute to, to use up my novel-writing time. This one should do nicely.

I met some of the other contributors to this blog at an Amazon Publishing party at BEA in New York last May. There are write-ups on my blog here, here, here and here, together with several photos of me standing with my hand on my hip in various locations. My daughter advised me to stand like that because she said it was slimming, and I adopted her advice to good effect, as I hope you will agree.

Unfortunately when I got home I got into the habit of standing with both hands on my hips in photos, so I looked as though I was trying out for the part of 'angry pig breeder' in a children's film about escaped farm animals. It has taken me nearly eleven months but I think I have finally managed to shake the habit, so let's celebrate that today, if nothing else.

Further musings about BEA and the London Book Fair (which ran from 16-18 April) here. The UK agents use the fortnight or so before the LBF to broker important deals (never call your agent then) and the week of the fair to announce them. One of the many interesting pieces of news to come out was that Amazon Publishing had acquired the North American rights to Ian Fleming's books and Thomas & Mercer will be publishing the James Bond series and Fleming's two non-fiction book in summer 2012.

Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She's the author of Alison Wonderland and six other books. She has a blog here. Come and say hello.