Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Confidence


This was taken at Penberth Cove, last Sunday, where I did another walk for the current book. I'd had a busy few days doing Meet the Author sessions at the Great Estate festival at Scorrier - which is a great one to be at, by the way. And the weather was good, too.

Anyway, I had two slots and luckily my friend Heather came along for moral support, which I was very glad of, as you never know if anyone will turn up to meet authors unless they have publishers who are prepared to spend a lot on publicity. Which let's face it, few are. And certainly not those of walks books.

So we arrived at the venue - the Whispering Garden - and it was all set out with a little covered stage, a microphone and plenty of seating. So far so good. A big board outside announced the programme of events, but it transpired later that none of these had been put n the website, so most people didn't know I was there.

I stood on the stage feeling like real Billy No Mates while Heather tried to hijack passers by and eventually we had a few - literally - and I started talking. But by the end of it we had a few more, and one of the ladies who'd actually turned up to have a rest, ended up buying two of my books, so I was delighted. What had started off looking like an unqualified disaster was saved and my confidence restored.

The next day we had several people and though I sold no books, I could tell people were interested and several stayed behind afterwards to talk about my books, writing, and to ask if I'd do workshops of any kind. It was such a lovely gathering I felt really glowing afterwards - especially when dear Heather introduced me and said such glowing things about my writing. I stood there, feeling quite overwhelmed thinking - does she really think that about my books? Wow!

Afterwards we were talking about confidence, and how important it is in all walks of life - whatever we're doing. Many writers suffer from chronic self-about - myself included - and I find the only way to conquer it is to keep writing. Grab any opportunities that come up - well, any that sound different - for you never know what can lead to all kinds of things - and keep submitting. Rejections are part of a writer's life. Don't take them too personally.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Book launch part II

One of the pictures from the book launch which was great fun - and I'm so grateful to everyone who turned up on such a beautiful evening when we could all have been sitting on the beach or having a barbecue.

Anyway, a good time was had by all and also thanks to all those who bought books!

The next event was the book signing at Waterstones which also went well courtesy of some lovely friends and people wandering through Waterstones. Afterwards we went for lunch at the Arts Cafe in River Street which was lovely and a good end to the morning.

And this Friday and Saturday I'm at the Great Estate Festival at Scorrier doing Meet the Author sessions. I don't honestly expect anyone to turn up but I may be pleasantly surprised - and you have to have a go, as they say.

Then on Sunday evening we have a singing boat trip, going up to Mylor Yacht harbour where we will sing, then go and share some food and have a glass or two. And by then I will want to go and sleep for a long time...!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Book launch and other book stuff

Apologies for leave of absence. I've been stricken with a horrible flu/cough/cold lurgy and it's taking me ages to shake it off so that's why I've been so quiet for so long.

But I'm now gearing up for .... drum roll... the book launch of WALKS IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DAPHNE DU MAURIER. For anyone that doesn't know, it will be next Wednesday, 23rd May at Falmouth Art Gallery from 6-8pm so do call in - and enjoy the exhibitions there as well - and have a glass of wine and buy a book or two even!

I'm also going to be signing copies of my books at Waterstones in Truro on 26th May from 11-1 and will be at the Great Estate festival at Scorrier on Fri 1st June at 16.10 and Sat 2nd June at 11.15 to talk about the book, give some readings etc.

I quite enjoy book publicity - it's nerve racking when people don't turn up, but usually the prospect of a free glass of wine lures some along, while it's a mark of good friends who turn up to other events. But as a dear friend said once, "keep hopes high and expectations low" and that way you're not disappointed. I agree, that's quite a difficult balance, but sage words.

This book is also special because of a singing friend who died earlier this year. As he was a keen walker as well as a fantastic singer - and also an amazing writer - I wanted to do a walk in his honour, but couldn't decide which was right for him. So as time was short, I added him to the dedications in the front of the book. It was such an emotional time that it wasn't right to ask his daughter and the family, and afterwards, I panicked, in case they were upset. Thankfully they took it in the spirit that it was offered - a special tribute to a very special man. And a way of keeping his love of walking in Cornwall very much alive.






Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Book Number Four - from The Depths

As usual, life has overtaken me somewhat. Having been plunged into the depths of gloom over various matters in my personal life, and not having much luck with journalism, the weekend before last I was weeping into my cornflakes, deciding I must change career, find another way of earning some money.

Heather was great, pointed out that journalism is SO hard. Another friend looked at me and smiled slightly. “You said exactly that this time last year,” she said.
Had I really?

Then another, wise journalist came up with the great saying, “You are not defined by your pitching success.” Love it!

And then suddenly, during the week, things changed. My publishers emailed to say my books would be back from the printers at the end of the week and they’d send a box down.

Then a new book shop I’d been in touch with replied saying they loved the idea of my books, would I be able to call in with some and also could I do a talk and a walk sometime?

I was over the moon. To go from the depths of gloom to sudden wild excitement. Though as Tony said, “You should know by now that life consists of ups and downs, so next time you’re down, realise that an up is on its way.”

He’s right of course, but sometimes when you’re at the bottom of that pit, climbing out seems nigh on impossible.

But my fourth book is out! I will be having a book launch on Wed 23rd May from 6-8 at Falmouth Art Gallery, and doing a book signing from 11-1 on Sat 26th May at Waterstone’s in Truro. So please come along and give me some moral support! Nothing worse than sitting in a busy bookshop being ignored by everyone…!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Reconnecting

Life rather overtook me last week. Easter was crowned by singing in the Man Engine choir which was an amazing experience - although somewhat marred by rain and freezing cold. But it was still an incredible experience and so touched by how many people turned out, despite the weather.

On the Monday I returned from a walk and found one of my teeth very wobbly. Uh oh, I thought, and summoning courage, rang the dentist on Tuesday morning. I had a feeling it would have to come out and sure enough, on my second visit of the day, it was removed. Chewing is now somewhat of a challenge but I have to wait a few months for the gums to settle before we can decide what next to do. Talking to Tony yesterday, he has an implant and thoroughly recommends them, though the cost is high.

That evening (of The Tooth) I began my first Yoga For Lower Backs class, which is brilliant, particularly as I've been having more problems with my back of late. Just as well, as the following day we had a funeral for a singing friend who died from bowel cancer far too young. He was such a talented, funny, clever man who will be sorely missed. Not that I'm religious but you do wonder about life sometimes. Why him and not some murder or rapist? That was a rhetorical question, by the way.

So this week I am struggling with another bad back spasm which thanks to yoga exercises has lasted a much shorter time than last. It doesn't have make you miserable though - which was probably what caused it in the first place.

But last night I was lucky enough to be taken out for a fabulous meal by a friend who has my undying gratitude for being such a rare, kind and understanding man. I'm struggling to write pitches, rewrite a piece on Peace Walkers and finish my last walk. Then there's singing tomorrow and a Folk evening coming up.

Here's to spring - whenever it chooses to arrive - and seeing the first swallow last week...

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Sing, write, walk

I found this sign last Tuesday, when walking from St Uny church to Carbis Bay and back, and while it didn't fit in with the walk I was writing for the new book, it does fit in nicely with an article I'm writing about walkers who walk in aid of peace.

This has been a fascinating topic as my three case studies have so much to say, in differing aspects. The worst part about this is that I only have 1,000 words and really the piece needs at least 2 or 3,000 words to do it justice.

We all go through difficult times, don't we, and recently has been one of those times that I will be glad to see the back of. Not helped by bloody awful weather. As my friend Mel said recently, "Thank god you've got your singing, Flowerpot." And that has kept me sane. Last Saturday I went to a fabulous all day workshop and learned some African, American and all kinds of singing. ON Sunday our lovely musical director Claire Ingleheart gave a short workshop which was incredibly uplifting. And last night I went to a rehearsal for the Man Engine choir which made me incredibly proud to be Cornish. Standing outside at Heartlands, 100 of us, singing Jim Carey's Chamber to the Grave was something I will never forget. And we will be performing that this weekend at Geevor on Saturday and Heartlands on Sunday - so if you haven't got your tickets, get them now!

Lastly, I've just sent the proofs for my du Maurier book back to my publishers. Four days of intensive proof reading (which can only be done in short bursts, I find, or I lose the right level of concentration) has left me shattered but with a sense of achievement. And in three or four weeks, we will have the actual book...

So wishing you all a happy Easter. I will be spending Easter Sunday singing at Heartlands for the Man Engine Tour so please come along. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Unravelling

Once again the Beast from the East disrupted all our lives - in my case, meaning a postponement of an overdue visit to see my mum, which was a shame but just as well I didn't go, as Devon was far worse hit than Cornwall, and I wouldn't have wanted to be stuck in my van in the snow.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and calm - the thermometer in my yard registered ten degrees, and I thought no snow would be possible. But at 2pm the first flakes fell and soon after that all was whited out, though a friend and I walked through town with Moll, along the seafront and then sat in the Falmouth Hotel watching the huge, fat flakes coat everything in white.

While it's lovely to look at, I find it makes everything seem unnervingly unreal. A few weeks ago it was fun, my birthday, and it makes a difference if a) you don't have to go anywhere and b) you have someone to share the snow with. This time, I ended up feeling really disconnected, not helped by reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This book is a brilliant but agonising study in loneliness. The heroine is a 30 year old woman who has never known love, compassion or even friendship but has not a trace of self pity about her. The book is her journey to discovering that she is worth loving, and how her unlikely saviour shows her how to make friends. But the journey is tough and I felt increasingly vulnerable as I read it.

Admittedly I'd had some bad news - a friend died last week and another friend suffered several strokes and is in hospital, so I was perhaps more aware than usual of the fragility of life - but this book really touched so many nerves and made me realise how quickly people can unravel.

Thankfully the snow has now all gone and life is back to normal. Tuesday dawned bright and sunny and I was able to go down to Lelant to do the next walk for the Rosamunde Pilcher book. Hayle and St Ives Bay looked at their very best, and I felt very blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

But underneath my appreciation of where i live is a definite wobble - a real current of unease and self doubt. No matter how strong we might feel, we are all vulnerable, and it pays perhaps to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. It doesn't take much for any of us to unravel, to be one of the less fortunate. So let's all help each other however we can. It doesn't have to be much - an email, a phone call, a text. A hug or a song. Little things are often the ones that make the difference.