Wednesday 25 July 2012

Book launch here we come!

Here's the official invitation picture of the front cover of my book, together with one of Suzanne Crook's paintings - we're having a joint preview/book launch on Saturday at Pizza Express in Falmouth from 7-9pm. Do come if you're anywhere near!

Learning how to be a writer in terms of marketing is, as I know all other published writers will say, a steep learning curve and one outside our normal mode of operation. Deadlines, words, computers, stress etc., yes we all know those. But suddenly a door opens and I have a BOOK to market – to be precise I have a box of 100 of them in my hall, ready for the Penzance Literary Festival, where I am to give a presentation on Saturday afternoon, before the book launch.

I’m much more nervous about the talk, as that involves a presentation with slides. I’d planned to go down to Morrab Library to do a recce weeks ago but one day their phone was out of action, and last week I was housebound with tummy bug. So I earmarked yesterday (Tuesday).

Then last Friday I realised that the van needed its MOT and I have to pay the tax next week. Garage fitted me in yesterday morning and I left it there, took Moll for a slow walk (legs still not working properly) and had a cup of tea sitting in the sun, rejoiced in the fact that summer had arrived and the van was soon to be sorted.

Got back to garage to find it had failed its MOT and the garage couldn’t fix it until Thursday morning. I nearly wept when I realised about my Penzance recce. Two of my best friends who I’d normally beg for a lift are away, but I finally got a lift with my dear Swedish friend who sacrificed an afternoon’s sailing in order to get me out of a pickle. I grovelled to her and her husband, and thought, well I’ll go and get her lots of flowers from the Farmers Market: she loves fresh flowers. So I bought up the stall of dahlias and pinks, sent her an email asking her which she prefers. The reply came back, “Neither, sorry.” Well, at least I get lots of flowers and will buy her some more. But the recce was a good idea, and I feel a bit more confident about the talk having had a run through with several friends now.

But summer has arrived which makes everything more bearable. While I was on holiday recently, I was in Helston with a friend who got me a lovely green cotton skirt from a charity shop – the kind that floats and swings happily when I walk, is gorgeously cool and is one of those skirts that just makes me feel good. Since getting it, of course it’s been far too cold to wear, but yesterday I dug the skirt out and wore it all day. If the weather keeps up, I’ll wear it every day…..

But back to books - think of me on Saturday when my guts will be churning in front of a probably non-existent audience in Morrab Library at 2pm. Then I race back for the book launch which is from 7-9pm at Pizza Express in Falmouth so if any of you lot are around, do drop in!

Not that I’m superstitious, but I shall be wearing my lucky knickers AND my lucky silver necklace. Given the last couple of weeks, I’m not taking any chances.

Friday 20 July 2012

One of those weeks - or Lo and Behold things can only get worse

This week I feel as if I’ve been permanently drunk, but without the fun bits. You know, head spinning, that floaty, weightless feeling – though that’s due to having spent a large part of the week on the loo (no further details necessary, I’m sure).

This has been One of Those Weeks, not helped by this tummy bug that has left me as weak as a wotnot. It came after a lot of stress at work, followed by a heartwrenching trip to see my poor mum last weekend. She is so frail, and so down, and so helpless and has just had another fall, leaving her with a black eye, bruised arm and hand and shattered confidence (not that she had much by this point). Leaving her was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

On the way home I rang one of my brothers whose phone was off. I rang one of my best mates and his phone was turned off too. I sat in the car park and wept onto the steering wheel: those big gulpy tears that hurt so much you can’t breathe. And then I looked at poor Moll, dried my eyes and drove home, was taken out that night and much cheered.

The next day I had some bad news on the work front that could actually turn out to be good news, and The Bug hit me that evening. Suddenly I lost all strength and had to lie on the sofa, shivering. And on it went.

But yesterday I actually managed to keep all food down and today – big excitement – I am planning a shower and changing my duvet, if energy allows. Can hardly wait. The most difficult bit has been organising a walks rota for poor Moll.

But the good news? I sold my first book….

And now excuse me while I crawl back into bed. Sorry this wasn't meant to be a Post of Gloom....

Wednesday 18 July 2012


Quick note to all readers to say please check back later in the week for a proper post. Am currently confined to bed with bad tummy bug. Hope to improve by end of week. Please send food parcels and dog walker.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Discover Cornwall for sale now!

First of all, my walks book, Discover Cornwall has arrived from the printers! And it’s for sale online – link here. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, the description on Amazon is actually about a book of Welsh walks but don’t be deterred – Discover Cornwall is really about Cornwall. Just a small error which should be sorted by the time you read this.

The past week has been fraught with nerves and excitement. At last my copies arrived from the publisher on Saturday morning – I grabbed the cardboard package, tried to rip it apart and couldn’t because of the heavy duty gaffa tape, and tackled it with the scissors instead.

Out fell the first copy – and I saw Sue Jackson on the front. Reading the spine, I saw Sue Kittow. On the back it says Sue Kittow. Inside it says Sue Kittow.

I shan’t repeat what I said, but I’m sure you get the drift. Glossing over that, I flicked through the book but all I felt was an anticlimax. All that hard work and it’s written by two Sues. As a friend said, most people know who I am, but that’s not quite the point. Later, I showed it to a friend who’s an ex-journalist. She struggled to sound positive and I agreed with her. But in the pub with friends later, they all seemed so enthusiastic, my spirits rose a little.

Then one of my best friends saw it later. “It looks really good, Sue,” he said, giving me a big hug, and I could see pride in his eyes. Real pride. He turned the pages over carefully, as if it was something special, and as he did, my spirits rose even higher.

On Monday I had a profuse apology from the publisher. Last night some writing friends came round and the book was passed from hand to hand. They all enthused over it, said they’d come to the book launch and buy copies there. And Emma said, “Just think, when you’re famous this’ll be worth a fortune on ebay!”

It’s amazing how easily a simple mistake can become a disaster. And how a disaster is really just a little mistake.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Holidays and Copies of My Walks Book

My week in Coverack was lovely, thanks (see above for where we stayed - one of the top floor flats in a converted hotel) despite dreadful weather for the first part of the week but we relaxed and ate well, explored the area and generally had a good time, as did the dogs. Second half of the week cheered up so we were able to do a CT walk in sunshine (gasp) and get out and about – all in all it was very relaxing and I can’t wait to go back as it was a stunning spot.

Just as well I was so relaxed as I got a phone call on Friday to say I need a new boiler…… thank God it was a cheap holiday.

I have been tagged by Rena George to answer the following questions, but given that my forthcoming book - which I will receive copies of THIS WEEK - is non-fiction (about Cornish walks), the answers aren’t what they might be.

What is your title and how did you choose? The title of my walks book is Discover Cornwall – a book on Cornish walks.
2. What came first – location, character or plot? The locations, definitely.
3. Did you enjoy writing this book or was it hard going? There are elements of all walks that I find tough going – like life – but it’s worth it in the end.
4. Do you write in sequence? No – but for novels I do!
5. Are you a planner or a plotter? Non fiction books have to be planned well – you have to know the structure before you start.
6. Did you know the end before you started? Yes.
7. Which do you prefer – writing that first draft, or editing it? I used to love that first draft as it’s so exciting, and hate editing. Now I can see the value of both.
8. Could you write a sequel? Yes one planned for 2014.
9. When you type ‘The End’ are you elated that you’ve got there, or sad, knowing how you will miss your characters? Both. With non-fiction and fiction books, it’s hard letting go – or knowing when to let go.
1 Which genres do you love and hate? There are no genres that I hate, but I don’t tend to read too many thrillers as they keep me awake at night.