LINKEDIN: ONE HOOK UP TOO MANY?

linkedinTapping on my mobile half asleep one night, I must have hooked up with LinkedIn. The next day, I couldn’t believe I’d given in to this smug monster, and quickly reached for a Morning After Unsubscribe. But the trouble is that you have to log on to bog off, SlinkIn to SlinkOut, kiss before leaving – and I couldn’t remember my bloody password.

So years passed, with daily Linkvitations in my Inbox reminding me not to wander onto the internet while under the influence of Ovaltine. I fervently hoped it would all somehow go away.

But something’s happened: I’ve now got a Proper Publishing Deal, and need to be on everything. Including LinkedIn, which, Google promises me, will increase my Search Engine Rankings. Since I don’t know my current ones – or what the hell these actually are – this will be difficult to prove.  It’s also supposed to increase my connections – but I can do that on Twitter, with more fun and less waffle. To be honest, at the moment I’m only really after a few more readers for my new blog – and the hopefully swift and simple pacification of scores of unanswered Linked friends.

So after a few hours LockedIn, what can I tell you? Well, it’s blue, which is nice. Easier to navigate than Goodreads – but then so is the Strait of Magellan. And… well, nothing really, all the same faces, and the people who I wish were on Twitter aren’t in here either. Hackles started to rise with the profile page, which, despite the encouragements (‘Cherry, your Summary is looking good!’) insists on boxing your life into its own peculiar linxpectations.  For example, apparently I don’t live in Eastbourne but in ‘Holywell, E. Sussex’ – which is great, but basically just a section of the beach. As for my living in two countries – even though surely this is relevant professionally – no way was this allowed. But the true horror is the ENDORSING. Visiting pages of people I know and hoping to encourage, I’m soon going: ‘WTF? When was she ever a Fiction Writer? He’s a Director there? My arse…’ Then I see that somebody has endorsed me for Short Stories – something she can’t possibly vouch for unless she’s had secret and ill-advised access to my ‘Cherry – Junior Sch.’ box file. Or maybe this is actually her suggestion, after trying one of my novels. Who knows what people are trying to say on here? Or what they do when they’re off it. There are some great posts (presumably also available elsewhere), but it mostly feels a bit pushy and shouty. I know, I know, I’ll give it a little longer – and please, tell me I’m wrong – but at the moment it feels like one hook up too many.

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WRITING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF… FLAMENCO

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OLÉ!  Flamenco Festival time again at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Seven years ago I was so astounded with it all that I went straight off to Granada to do a flamenco course and start a novel. I was writing real-time, being the character (well, within reason); it was crazy, but one hell of a buzz.

Back home I continued dance classes, and flamenco took over my iPod and car. I was (and still am) entranced by the complex rhythms, the excruciating beauty of those exotic chords, the sensuality of it all. It wasn’t just the music; I was taking on flamenco’s live-in-the-moment ways, where the only things to worry about were being fuera de compás (out of time) or being told no me dice nada (you’re not saying anything). I wrote flamenco: vaguely knowing where the story would go, but letting the characters do what the joder they liked with it – as long as they kept to pace.

Years passed, the book came out. I promoted it on a bilingual radio show in Madrid alongside a well-known flamenco guitarist, got invited to performances, started another novel with a flamenco guitarist in it…

If my head hadn’t been so stuck up my flamenco culo, I might have noticed that my tinpot publisher wasn’t responding and hadn’t paid me any royalties. None at all. It turned out that they were quietly going bust. (Future blog post: My Miserably Potholed Path to Publication).

But Flamenco Baby is still available, for hispanophiles who want to ‘gobble it up like a good plate of pulpo‘ (Amazon review). It’s even for sale at the wonderful Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival, where it was conceived. OLÉ!

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Sadler’s Wells Theatre, 2013 Photo: Carole Edrich