(Self)publisher in a spin

Or Threadgold Press up the creek with not much more than a couple of lollipop sticks.


When you decide to self-publish it’s a good idea to remember that what you are taking on is at least six people’s jobs. You have to park the fact that you are the author and settle down at your desk. First you become a typesetter, an editor, a designer and a proofreader. Then your Office Manager gets down to the practical stuff of commissioning the printing, and getting it sorted and delivered (and hiring heavies to persuade everyone you know to proofread… again), then the Catering Manager organises the launch party and the Publicity Manager takes care of the press releases and the local newspapers and talks. The Marketing Manager emails every person you have ever met and persuades them to buy an advance copy. At which point the office supply personnel get busy with the packaging, the stamps, while the Accountant keeps records of sales and the paperwork to go with the orders. The IT Advisor sorts out (or fails to sort out) the glitches with the Amazon system for uploading e-books and images.

What have I left out?

The office staff let the author out this morning for a ten minute run around the garden. She got a little over-excited by her ‘Maple nursery’ (seedlings of Matzsukaze and Sengokaku) in autumn glory. And some brave autumn crocus mixed with primroses (!)   DSCN6789DSCN6792But she is back at her desk now, happily parcelling up an order for three more books (and worrying about whether the print run will last until publication day).

It’s even more DIY than last time round. The City newspaper, has asked the author to provide her own article ‘From the Author’s Mouth’ and supply book-cover image and author photo. The local farm shop is kindly allowing her to sign books in their cafe on the release date. Ah well, she can now drink the ginger wine – a thank you yesterday from the group at the sheltered housing in the village who, in spite of multiple challenges, listened sweetly to her babbling on about the joys of writing.

One tomato, two tomato, three tomato… and some maples

My husband was a little underwhelmed by his first sight of lunch today.

We love tomatoes and I thought with the new greenhouse we would have a splendid crop of homegrown ones. Sadly, all the ones I started in the greenhouse have not fared well after being transferred to the vegetable plot. The blazing heat, our sandy soil and my erratic watering and feeding (though I tried) have not been to their liking, so every kind of rot has set in and this is all that is left.


And they’re not as healthy as they look. The one plant I kept in the greenhouse is looking much happier, so next year I will fill the greenhouse with them.


However my little nursery bed of seedling maples has come through the summer in brave force and I think there are some interesting plants here.


I was a little alarmed to see that the parent of most of these, Matsukaze, is already showing some Autumn colour. I don’t understand where the summer went or how the year is slipping past so swiftly.


At least the birds and the hedgehogs are flourishing. Outside my writing room window very new half-coloured robins, bluetits, great tits and coal tits and, I think, a willow warbler (who resists the efforts of the paparazzi ) all flit about constantly (very good for concentration) while the ground is patrolled by pigeons, dunnocks and blackbirds (one with a grey head). We hear the hedgehogs at night and they polish off a plate of mealworms etc every night. I am torn between my desk and the outside, but the seasons won’t wait, so I must try and get out more.



Mixed fortunes

The week has been disconcerting.

I have, with relief, finished reading yet another book I did not enjoy very much (I swear the last time I will do this), though it did travel across countryside I am fond of. At least I am only reading three books now. 

Every attempt to settle to writing on my new novel has been thwarted, however my finished novel has had a bite from an agent… I am not holding my breath.

I have been working on the Far East POW book again (new post tomorrow night).

In the garden warm weather has led to some strange anomalies. A spring clematis, Wada’s Primrose is flowering.


Another maple is only just now shedding its autumn colour.


But sadly one of my favourite maples, Sengokaku, was showing canker and today I have had to cut a big stem out of it.

Tomorrow I shall be at a Lindy Hopping workshop all day – happiness!

New acer seedling

In the last couple of years, we have had many seedling round the maples, particularly Matzukaze. I am very excited by the two-year-old one below, which has looked delightful all year. The nearest other-parent maple is Sengokaku, but there is also a green dissectum in the garden and this looks a more likely parent (there is a second bronzier seedling in the same pot.

Matsukaze seedling

Matsukaze seedling

Yesterday we travelled through Suffolk (UK) in brilliant sunlight. Even though it is November many trees are still in full green leaf, others sporting every shade from butter yellow to crimson. In our own garden the trees and shrubs showing their best colour for many years.

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Shy saxifrage and bold maples

All day in the garden today. There is so much still in bloom. One of my favourite flowers is this saxifrage fortunei. It is maddeningly slow to increase, but worth the wait.

saxifraga fortunei

saxifraga fortunei


saxifraga fortunei

saxifraga fortunei

Some of the maples are in their most dramatic phase.


Acer palmatum Matsukaze

Acer palmatum Matsukaze

Harlequin ladybird

Harlequin ladybird

And I have just found a bud on the miniature white nerine I was given last year – happy gardener.

jet-lagged from Chicago

I am planning a blog reassessment, but first I will put up some posts of various things on my mind.

Chicago has totally charmed me. We stayed on the North Side and all the streets were full of an explosion of spring into summer; narcissi, tulips, maples in leaf, cherry blossom, hostas everywhere. The sidewalks often have cultivated strips beside them, all individually designed by the house owners.

The number of theatres is quite astonishing. We saw three excellent productions in three different theatres (two directed by Elly Green), we listened to a (free) string/clarinet lunchtime concert in the beautiful Culture Centre. We saw a superb exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art – Destroy the Picture – the anger and innovation made visible in post WWII ‘paintings’. The Smart Museum of Art had an astonishing collection (and a foyer with people of all ages having a go at producing a Rothko painting).

The highlight was being caught and soaked by the high canon of water from the Buckingham fountain in Grant Park and then drying off within about 15 minutes in the sunlight and warm wind.


Our first and only baseball match (to date) saw The Cubs win. Altogether a visit of enormous entertainment and happiness.


Talking to a worm

I have a feeling that talking to a worm is a sign of serious derangement, but that’s what I found myself doing this afternoon. The garden is dust dry and the bugs have arrived. I have to go on daily lily beetle patrols and blackfly inspections. The maples, now in their glorious new growth are under constant attack. I love every leaf, though, so I willingly spend time squishing the wretched beasts.

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