Wednesday 31 August 2016

Poldark begins!

This picture has nothing to do with this post, but was taken last Friday when I went walking with Heather, on the most glorious afternoon.

As most people probably know, unless they've been living under a stone, the new series of Poldark starts on TV on Sunday evening. I will be glued, along with countless others, to see what happens - or rather, how it happens. And also the much debated rape scene that isn't, and how the ramifications of that will be dealt with in the plot.

In the meantime I am also doing some talks and readings of my Poldark book to coincide with the new TV series. A reading in Chintz bar in Falmouth on 19th September, at talk at the library on 22nd and then a talk at the Poly on 26th. Better try and rest up before all that!

I also did my first walk for the new book last weekend and was going to do another today on Bodmin Moor. But it's raining. So I'm looking out of the window at the grey murk, and thinking of the fantastic day we had on Sunday, a picnic at sea and a fabulous sail. And trying to focus on work, as you do...

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Another book!

Last Friday I had the unexpected - and fantastic - news that my publishers would like me to write another walks book. Which, obviously, I’m really pleased about. I’m going to give myself a bit longer this time, as it was such a stress and rush to get Poldark finished in time for March this year.

Also, what most people don’t realise is that if my next book is published at Easter 2018, I won’t receive any money for it until July 2018. So I want to give myself enough time to research the book (which involves a lot of reading and planning), do the walks, write them up, take and edit the pictures, and do the maps. As well as find some other work which obviously is vital to pay the bills in the meantime.

I’ve also got quite a lot of publicity lined up to coincide with the new series of Poldark on TV as from 4 September. I enjoy doing this, but it takes time to write a presentation, put the slides together, travel to and from the event, sort out dog care etc.

I am so pleased - and proud - to be an author, and to have a publishing company that evidently value my work. I work hard to sell my books - authors have to nowadays - and it’s really lovely to be appreciated by readers and editors. But I don’t think some people realise what hard work it is, nor how badly paid!

But I’m not complaining. Yesterday afternoon Moll and I walked at Devoran, as I was over there for a rehearsal. We didn’t go out till late as it was hot, and Moll was a bit droopy in the heat. But as we climbed up the hill, I looked out over the fields, emerald green in a sleepy heat, at the church tower rising serenely from the roof tops, and the river bed in the distance, a winding path of secrets. And I thought, aren’t I lucky to live here? Doing something I love.

Today the sun’s shining, so this afternoon we’re off to deliver some Poldark books to a customer in St Agnes, then have an hour on the beach somewhere, maybe pick some mussels. If it means working this evening, and/or this weekend, that’s fine by me.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Book launch Part 2

I didn't give the book launch justice last week, so here are a few more pictures of the event, which went very well. I've also sold 40 books myself and had to order another box of books from the publisher, which are arriving this morning (I hope).

On a less cheery note, I am still chasing payment of work I did months ago from a reluctant editor who I've had to ring every week for the last six weeks. Legal action next step. I've been very fortunate so far in having people who have generally speaking paid on time. But this one is a real drain - I hate having to make these phone calls and feel shattered afterwards. To say nothing of the fact that I really need the money.

Still, we've had a lovely run of weather recently, and my first sail for about a month on Sunday, which I loved. Yesterday I took six books to a new outlet at Penrose Estate near Helston, so hope they sell well there, and am spending a huge amount of time and energy generating publicity to tie in with the start of the new Poldark series on TV on 4th September (just in case you didn't know!).

Wednesday 10 August 2016

The name's Jane Bond

First of all, the launch party was a great success, but as I'm waiting for photos to come through, I'll write about that next week.

You know you get days where nothing goes right? I had one of those on Saturday. We’d been looking forward to seeing the Man Engine for weeks, and arranged to go to St Just to see it on Saturday. Then C had to help rig the boat he’s racing in Falmouth Week. To say we were disappointed was putting it mildly.

Anyway, I met Tony, a dear friend for coffee that morning and afterwards was heading towards Penryn Bridge when I was aware of a lopsided van. Oh no, I thought (those weren’t my exact words, but you get the drift) - and pulled over to find a completely flat front tyre. I rang C who was out of signal down at the boat, so then rang Tony.

As he kindly helped me last time I had two punctures, I had great faith in him - and sure enough he put my spare tyre on so I was able to go round to the tyre place. They were busy so it was a while before they were able to fix it, and because I’d driven on it, I needed a new one rather than being able to patch up the existing one. So by the time I got home, it was too late to go and see the Man Engine.

But I was invited to a party that afternoon, then the carnival. But first I had to drop food down to the workers on the boat, so thought I’d walk round from Flushing with Moll and swim on the way.

By the time I’d delivered food and walked back, two hours had gone by and I was hot, sweaty and starving. Plus I hadn’t had time to get anything to take to the party so thought I’d nip home first. And by the time I got home, fed the animals and myself, I was shattered, and the traffic was terrible because of the carnival. So I thought, actually I’ll enjoy a quiet evening to myself.

Then C rang to say he and Al were finishing on the boat (9pm) and would take me for a drink down at the Working Boat bar (our local) when he’d got back, had something to eat and changed. So we walked down, in the rain, in the dark, to meet Al at around 10pm. I wouldn’t have gone but figured they both needed a drink and some company…

We had a glass of wine and I went off to the toilet, locked the door, when half the lock came away in my hand, leaving the other half in the door. I was locked in. As the ladies is down a corridor with two hefty doors in between the bar, there was no way anyone could hear me shout (I tried). And no one was outside because it was raining.

Never mind, I thought. I’m small - I’ll climb out the window, drop into the car park, and get back in the front. Easy. So I climbed up on the toilet seat, pushed the window wide open and crawled out, backwards. My feet slipped down - and down - in the dark. This wasn’t quite going to plan. Eventually my feet hit something firm and I stopped slithering, and crawled and pulled myself back up the wall into the car park. This all seemed a bit unreal by this time, but I dusted myself down, went into the bar where the two men were busy talking.

Stuff them I thought, though I hadn’t been gone long. So I told the manager that the ladies’ was out of action, he produced a first aid kit and patched me up a bit. I went back and sat down and C looked at me curiously. “Are you all right?” he said.

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, or indeed what had happened (and I had only had one glass of wine). He mopped me up, while Al sang, “Sue’s stuck in the lavatory,” (lovely mates I have) and we began to laugh. Then we went outside to see where I’d climbed out. “You could have died,” said C in horror.

The shock didn’t hit me till the following afternoon, when I felt shaky, terribly dizzy and exhausted. That lasted for a couple of days, but I’m pleased to report that I am now feeling much better.

Just as well as we’re having our usual Red Arrows party tonight. But if anyone wants a Jane Bond - give me a ring…. I could do with some more work...

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Book launch

This was actually from the trial run we had in St Agnes a month ago, while I'm waiting for Andy's pictures to come back from last night.

It's nerve racking, having a book launch. Like any party, you want it to go well, but you also want to sell books - obviously. Celia's paintings were also on sale - lovely ones of each of the walks in my book, so we arrived at A Curious Hall in Falmouth yesterday afternoon to set up. It was locked. I knocked on the door. Nothing. We sat in the van, in the pouring rain then agreed with Celia that we would go and see if Blue (the owner of the hall) was at home, and sped off across Falmouth. By the time we'd got there (he wasn't in), we had not only devised several other places as Plan B to have the launch party, but Celia rang to say that he was at the hall - the relief! And we sped back to set up.

It takes a while, setting up books but luckily I had dear Mel and Joe to help as well as Mr B, and Celia's husband helped her - she had 12 paintings to put on easels and prints to show as well so it took her a lot longer, but eventually it was all done, and we set off for a coffee and sandwich while Celia and Steve went off for fish and chips.

We arrived back at 6pm and there's that tense half hour while we waited to see who would turn up. Luckily lots of people did, enjoyed my reading from the book, and I sold a healthy number of books which was very cheering. The only sad thing was that my two singing friends, John and Heather, couldn't come as they were both ill, which meant we couldn't sing, and another friend was stricken with lurgy so she couldn't come either.

That apart, it was a good evening, though I realised this morning that I didn't have a chance to talk to any of my friends, other than a snatched word. But it was worth it to sell those books!

We headed off for a bite to eat later and got home in good time - and sober - which was a bonus. I woke this morning full of a glowing optimism (which, being realistic, may not last but is pleasant while it does). Financial problems may not be solved in any way, but at least there are a few possibilities on the horizon. It's called diversifying, I believe.