Archive for the ‘New York’ Tag

Monthly Round-Up: April 2016

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I am once more a week late with my monthly round-up. Life is a bit hectic. But there is news to report, so on with it.

COMING SOON

Final edits for SUFFER THE CHILDREN are done! I still have no confirmed release date, or a cover, but I think we’re looking at a summer release.

And in case you missed it last month, the third Shara Summers book, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, has been contracted to MuseItUp and will be out in 2017 – likely Autumn.

PUBLICITY

I only had one guest appearance this month, but it was a rather interesting one. Susan A Royal interviewed my amateur sleuth Shara Summers on her blog on 11 April.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I’m about 7000 words into the new horror novel, but I’m not happy with what I’ve got so far. I’ve only recently realised how to fix it, and it’s going to need a reboot. Scrap and start over. Oh well. With any luck, some of the words already written will be salvageable.

I’ve also got the muse whispering in my ear at the moment with the plot of the fourth Shara Summers book, demanding to be written. I’m trying to write only one book at a time, so thus far I’ve been attempting to resist the urge to succumb to this one. But the Muse is whispering quite loudly. All I can really say at this stage is that this book will take Shara to New York. I feel another visit there might be required. You know, just for inspiration.

That’s it for now, so go off and enjoy the spring sunshine, and I’ll catch you next month.

New York State of Mind

We had the opportunity for a few days in New York City, in June of this year. Hubby and I love NYC and often gravitate back there. This was our sixth trip to NYC in ten years.

Me by Belvedere Castle


No matter how often we go, we always seem to find something new. We love Central Park and always pay a visit – in fact we got engaged in Central Park, in 2003. But the park is so huge we are forever discovering hidden corners. On this trip we discovered the Alice in Wonderland statue. We knew it was there – we’ve just never been able to find it. We also discovered a rather interesting building – Belvedere Castle.

We visited the Metropolitan Museum, which we’ve been to once before, but it’s such a massive museum it’s impossible to see the whole thing in one trip. So there were plenty of exhibits we missed the first time around.

We were quite lucky with the weather, and took a walk down to the marina on what turned out to be a lovely sunny day. We decided to take the speedboat ride around the tip of Manhattan – a half hour trip. The speedboat was called “The Beast”. We were warned we would get wet. We did. Still, it was great fun, and fortunately the weather was so warm it didn’t take long to dry out afterwards.

Alice in Wonderland statue


Another place in New York we love is the charming Greenwich Village, which has such an old-style British feel. We found a nice British theme pub there called GMT. It even served British cider, something that’s hard to get hold of in the States. We liked it so much we went back the following evening, to have another drink there before going for dinner.

The second time we were in New York, in March 2001, we had no idea that the pictures we took from the World Trade Center would be the last time we’d get to do it. The next time we went, in September 2002, Ground Zero had been cleared but it was heartbreaking to see this big hole in the middle of Manhatten where such an iconic landmark used to be.

In our subsequent visits, we’ve followed the progress of the building project that is taking place on the site of Ground Zero. The project is nearly complete now, with several buildings going up on the site. The tallest building is the last to be completed, and it’s nearly done. We learned that the buildings are to be formally opened on 11 September this year – on the tenth anniversary of Twin Towers coming down.

Me and my publisher, Renee


The highlight of our New York trip for me, far and away, was the moment I got to meet my publisher at Lyrical Press, Renee. Knowing that she was based in New York, we had arranged to meet while I was there. I was very excited about this – after all, to an author, the publisher is a Very Important Person. What never occurred to me is that she was just as excited about meeting me – a publisher considers her authors to be Very Important People, too.

We met for lunch and had a marvellous time, and took a picture to commemorate the occasion.

All too soon our visit to New York came to an end and we had to go back home again. I hope it won’t be too long before we are once again able to visit this most vibrant and exciting city.

Manhatten skyline, as of June 2011

Cultural Differences

This recent BBC article studies the cultural differences between the Germans and the British. Germans don’t indulge in small talk, apparently. The British are very good at small talk – or in other words, the art of talking rubbish for ages without saying anything worthwhile. Consequently the British think Germans are rude, and the Germans think the British tell too many lies.

It’s these cultural differences that make travel so fascinating. Having been to Berlin, I agree with the concept that Germans can appear abrupt. They don’t intend to be rude. They just can’t see the point of talking without saying anything. I’ve also noticed no one in Berlin crosses the road on a red light, even if the road is empty of traffic. They always follow the rules, and the rules dictate that one doesn’t cross the road until the green man appears.

Contrast this to crossing the road in Vietnam, which I posted about recently. There are no pedestrian crossings in Hanoi, and the traffic doesn’t stop. Ever. To cross the road you step into the traffic and hope for the best.

In Greece, no one queues. The Greeks value personal choice and freedom, which tends to mean what the individual wants to do might over-rule what the crowd wants to do. So when the bus arrives, it’s a bit of a free for all as everyone’s trying to get on first.

The British, on the other hand, are pretty good at queueing and even in London, where the crowds get so bad it’s a matter of survival, when you look at any bus stop in rush hour you will see everyone standing in an orderly line. I’ve never been to Japan, but I understand that the Japanese are even better at queueing than we Brits are.

The differences between the American and the British mindset are so vast I might save that for blog post all by itself. But one point that struck me on our recent trip to New York is the service culture. Americans have a very high expectation of customer service. We discovered a British style pub in Greenwich Village. It was a nice place, and the decor and the beer were spot on with regard to their ‘British-ness’. One crucial difference, though. We sat down and a waitress came and gave us menus, then took our order and brought it out to us, even when we only wanted drinks.

In a real British pub, you don’t get and can’t expect table service. Even in a pub which serves food, you find your table and go to the bar and place your order. If it’s a nice place that’s trying to attract families and is serving decent food, someone will bring it to you when it’s ready. Occasionally you might even have to go get it yourself.

This concept of going up to the bar must fox many a first-time American visitor to London, unless they’ve been briefed beforehand. I have heard tales of Americans visiting London who sat in the pub for half an hour waiting to be served, before giving up and leaving, without realising that table service wasn’t going to happen.

Cultural mindsets are the little things that are so inbred in a society’s way of thinking they might never consider the fact this might seem odd to an outsider. Sometimes doing a little research into a place before visiting can give you insight into some of these cultural differences – and understanding them can make your visit a bit more enjoyable.