Proofs to the left of me, proofs to the right of me…

Free advice to writers – don’t try and work on two versions of the same book at the same time.

A couple of days ago I laid out the proofs of the private family version of Surviving the Death Railway on the dining room table in order to proof read it (again) and create the index. An hour later the final proofs for the published version arrived in my inbox. I cannot resist work, so I will check these again too.DSCN9154 I have to occupy the dining room as there is no space left in my writing room and the state of it is making me feel ill.DSCN9152And yes, my chair is an old block of polystyrene. It is a hangover from my sculpture days. It’s good for posture and it keeps the nether regions warm… but it has seen better days. I’m thinking of converting to a Swedish exercise ball.

The day before the proofs arrived, the marketing team for Pen & Sword got in touch and I have a five-page form to fill in. This is great because I will not be doing the promotion and marketing solo, a job I dread (and am very bad at). However, it is also a headache as I don’t know the answer to many of the questions (local radio? clubs and societies?), or they are tricky for a jack of all trades (short summary of career and education).

In between showers I rush into the garden, collect slugs, dig for half an hour and catch the spring. DSCN9161 DSCN9165 I barely get to emails at the moment and many of your lovely posts are unvisited, I will post this and go on a whistle-stop tour, but then I must get back to the indexing and the marketing forms. I am extremely lucky to have a publisher, but I am a little sad that there are so few hours in the day and that I am neglecting friends.

I have become multi-tasking superwoman – while writing this post I have printed off (one by one) another ten invitation cards to the second of the two launch parties for the book. Anyone near Cambridge let me know, I’ll send one, and you could come and enjoy sandwiches and sangria on the 18th of June (or near Taunton on 21st May for tea and cakes).

I have read the finals proofs… thank god I did, I found some errors I had missed and some gremlins that had crept in via the text editors.

Re tulips… the deep red flowers are Anemone de Caen masquerading as tulips!

Is this the way to sell books?

Saturday was wonderfully surreal. Although the Border Line pre-publication launch party was intended for local friends, very dear old friends and my daughter and partner came to stay, and a dear friend from Ireland and dear writing friends from Wiltshire also stayed nearby.

I was very grateful for messages of support from my blogging friends and also this  wonderful card made by the multi-talented young singer Charlotte Hoather.DSCN6772

We had more than enough food. A tithe of it is visible in this photo.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I saw little of the party, as I spent most of it in my working den signing copies (and taking the moulah). I was aware of my husband and everyone working very hard, looking after about sixty thirsty people. Note the lovely rose, a gloriously sweet-smelling flower, cut and brought round by my next door neighbour. DSCF3550 (4)

To a large extent this party was a thank you to friends, particularly this who have read, proof-read (free copies) and given feedback on the text and cover of Border Line. I’m not pretending that selling the book was not part of the aim, but you wouldn’t think that this is the recommended method for selling books. However I’m two boxes of Border Line down, six more to go. The bookmark I made, seems to have been a big hit too. Hooray for the old printer!DSCN6773

I brought the greenhouse pepper in after a frost scare last week, and left it as decoration for the party. I am absurdly proud of it and don’t know if I will be able to bear cutting and eating it. How absurd is that?

DSCN6762 - Version 2