Archive for May, 2010


Saturday, May 29th, 2010


When I began this cyber serial of my high life style (in Sri Lanka) six weeks ago, Andrew, my web monster who specialises in web solutions (see:, advised me to start by welcoming new readers.

Several are joining me this week, so welcome. But welcome to what?

Web Log

View from my garret

View from my garret

An unsolicited email on writing that I received recently advises that to build up readership for a blog, it should focus on a particular topic. And it should be circulated regularly so recipients look forward to receiving it.

Andrew explained that “blog” is short for web log, which still doesn’t endear the word to me. That’s why this has become a report — “Royston Reports.”  Frankly, the focus is on building up a relationship with you (and your friends/acquaintances/enemies/neighbours/drinking partners to whom please forward this) in the hope that recipients will seek out and buy my books.

From the time authors were encouraged by publishers to do their own word processing (so a manuscript could be edited and sent straight to the printers without a typesetter being involved), our lifestyle has changed.

We authors are no longer solely the creators of wonderful writing, we have to get those words ready for printing ourselves. And no longer can we sit back in our garrets and expect readers to flock to bookshops to buy our creations. We have to get out there and do marketing.

Well, my garret overlooks the beach, the Indian Ocean and memorable sunsets so I resist leaving it without adequate compensation. Hence this web log each week: my attempt to keep up with the digital age by on line marketing.

Pause for commercial.

The Big Beat Scene

The Big Beat Scene

The Big Beat Scene “a forgotten classic of rock literature” which Royston Ellis wrote in 1960 and which has been out of

print since 1961, is being republished with new material in June 2010. Order from:


Serendipity is a word often associated with Sri Lanka because the country was once called Serendip. The word was coined by Horace Walpole in a letter written in 1754 from the title of “a silly fairy tale called The Three Princes of Serendip” that he had read as a child. He didn’t write the book; that was the creation of an Italian, Michael Tramezzino, in 1557.

(For more information about that, see the introduction to my book Sri Lanka available through

A Ferrey Tale

A novel has recently been published in Sri Lanka called Serendipity. I read Serendipity because I have met the author, Ashok Ferrey, and his wife a few times and enjoy their company. But I paid for the book at a bookshop just as I would expect my friends to buy my books. An author (especially a self-published one) needs sales to encourage his talent, as well as to finance the book’s production.

Having declared my interest, I must add that even if I did not know Ashok Ferrey (he is a Sri Lankan who writes under a pseudonym), I would still be fascinated by his writing.

And that’s what happened when I started reading Serendipity. It is so fast paced, so intriguing and so funny I raced to the end almost without putting it down. But when I reached the end and its totally unexpected denouement, I realised I had read it too quickly. So I immediately started reading it again since I had obviously missed important clues somewhere along the line.

If it’s possible to read the same book twice without a break, it’s obvious that the author has a gift to keep readers enthralled.

The story is intertwined with events in London and Colombo and has as its basic plot the relationship between Piyumi, who was born in Sri Lanka and raised in London, and her Sri Lankan relatives and easy-going suitors. There are several appearances by intriguing (and amusing) minor characters who serve to speed the story along, but are acutely drawn and remain memorable even after the book has ended.

Ferrey’s lightness of touch sometimes obscures the provocative realism of the story, as it should since in spite of all the tragedies of the past few years, Sri Lankans continue to survive with an epic resilience. Serendipity – although a novel – embraces reality with a bear hug. It is unexpectedly a valuable appraisal of contemporary history as well as a jolly good read.

Serendipity by Ashok Ferrey is available through

And, as usual, for books by me, go to and to

Beat regards, Royston.