Monday, July 14, 2008

Bastille Day and Other News...

One of the more curious aspects of the blogosphere is that the less you post, it seems, the more they come. It's been three weeks since your scribe has posted, and in the interim his visitor stats and page views have kept hitting new highs almost daily. Is this a way of encouraging him to keep his mouth shut?

Whatever, he now feels it is time to post again, and thus, nothing daunted, off we go. Today in front of Town Hall the French Tricolore was raised next to the Stars and Stripes and the Green, the flag of the Burg of Greenwich, that is. About thirty people gathered in the light drizzle, where we were addressed by Mme. Chantal Chauvin, the adjunct Consul General of France in New York. This is the fourth year she has been with us, and one hopes she is beginning to view Greenwich as her second home in the United States. She gets up at 5 a.m. to be sure of making it here by 8.

This year she added a new twist to the ceremony when she presented the medal of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour to local resident Bill Frick of Riverside. Sixty-four years ago then-Lieutenant Frick was making his way from Utah Beach to Alsace, collecting Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars along the way. Mme. Chantal brought tears to our eyes with her Gallic eloquence as she recalled, step by step, the battles in which he fought across her country. She made it clear that France and her citizens are eternally grateful for the valor and sacrifice of the young Americans who liberated them from the Nazis at the end of World War II. "Many of those heroes lie forever in French soil," she reminded us. Then she pinned the gorgeous medal on Lt. Frick's shirtfront while we all clapped.

Members of the Greenwich Choral Society, newly-returned from our sister city of Vienne, formerly part of the kingdom of Provence, led us in singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "La Marseilleise". Vienne, as you may recall, was where the tradition of regarding Friday the 13th as bad luck originated, as it was at a council held there that Pope Clement V ceremoniously abolished the order of the Knights Templar, most of whom had already been rounded up, tortured, and killed in a suprise purge carried out all across France on October 13, 1307. Both the pope and the King of France were envious of the enormous weath of the Templars, whom some regard as the founders of the modern banking system, and eventually the temptation became too great. Their assets were parceled out between pope and king, and the rest, as they say, is history. Except for Dan Brown's recent follow-up, of course.

Then it was off to breakfast at Jean-Louis. Orange juice, cafe, croissants, pain au chocolat - yum. Your scribe told the French citizens there that there is an old tradition that goodies consumed at breakfast on July 14 have no calories, which they were all most happy to hear. First Selectman Peter Tesei was there, with wife Jill and daughter Caroline. Also belatedly present was Ed Krumeich, of Alsatian extraction, who as faithful readers of this column know is running for State Rep from Greenwich. (See 5/14/2008 11:20:00 AM.) Mme. Chauvin complimented Ed on his fine singing voice. Maybe he should deliver all his campaign speeches in operatic form?

And then, thus fortified, we all went our separate ways with thanks to our host, Restaurant Jean-Louis - Greenwich, CT. Your scribe wended his way to the library, whence he is writing these words to you.

In conclusion, he wants to share with you one other reason for his recent absence from the blogosphere. For the past two weeks he has been writing non-stop, churning out his first novel. He woke up on a Saturday morning with a story inside him screaming to be written, and it finally wrapped itself up this past Saturday. 80,000 words in 14 days. Some days the pace got as high as 10,000 words a day. Your scribe does not recommend this practice, as most body parts other than the brain and the fingers tend to atrophy. In any case, it's now done, the query letter has been written, and it's all over but the shouting. And the cheering. And the Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize. Time to get a life again.

And now it's off to perambulate Greenwich Avenue to see what else may be happening in our, drizzly Town today.


Blogger Sarah Darer Littman said...

80,000 words in 14 days!

Here I've just been drinking my way around the vineyards of California and barely writing anything...*hangs head in shame*

July 14, 2008 9:40 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Sarah!

Wanna trade places? =)

July 15, 2008 1:13 PM  
Blogger Leigh Russell said...

80,000 words in 14 days... get you! I can't even begin to ask about the experience, I'm too consumed with admiration (I didn't say envy, did I?) I bet it's a good MS too. It sounds like it was just begging to be typed.

July 15, 2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Leigh!

Yes, it was begging indeed, which is why the writing went so fast. I was just an amanuensis, so I didn't have to stop and scratch my head about what happens next. The characters already knew, and at times they got impatient with my slowness in transcribing. Which is why I was putting in 10-12 hour days there for a while.

Since it's set in both the US and the UK, ideally I'd like to find a publisher who can bring it out in both places. Any suggestions?

July 15, 2008 4:58 PM  
Blogger Leigh Russell said...

Just publish soon - I want to read it! Sounds like a MS begging to be published...

July 19, 2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

I'm working on it! Sending out those queries, etc. But as you know, publication can take a while.... :)

July 21, 2008 1:56 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

OMG, you wrote 80,000 words in 14 days!!! And I was amazed when I wrote a little over 19k in 2 days. I was also brain fried for several days after that. Wow, I'm duly impressed.

So what is this novel about? What genre?

July 24, 2008 8:19 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Oh and I guess now I know I haven't seen you on any of the blogs... :)

July 24, 2008 8:19 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Vicki! The book is something of a romance, but I'm marketing it as commercial fiction. I sent out my first query on Monday to a major NYC agent, and within an hour (!) got the following email response:

"Love to see this! Send first 50 pages straightaway!!"

He wound up turning it down, but made a number of helpful comments and suggestions. Maybe I'll try another query next week! :)

July 25, 2008 1:41 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Still that's fab that he asked to see it so quick. :)

Keep sending it out there.

July 25, 2008 2:23 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

And it sounds like you have writing the query letter part down really well, which is a big part of the 'battle' if you will. Major congrats!!!

July 25, 2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

I found a really helpful site,, which tells you how to write a good query. And I had some good help with formatting from the indispensible Miss E. So between the two of them, I took a pile of sludge and turned it into a mss. worthy of presentation to the outside world. Being a total newbie to the world of novel writing, I have to say I couldn't have done it without all the helpful posts from Diana and the Mavens!

July 25, 2008 4:30 PM  
Blogger Barrie said...

Vive la France!

No, no, we don't want you to stop posting! Banish the thought!

August 13, 2008 1:18 PM  

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