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!

Melon-art, slugs and publishers

These are not necessarily connected, but reflect my divergent states of mind. We have been in Prague for (my husband’s) conference and were royally entertained. The food was actually ‘awesome’, both the meals and the continuous supply of irresistible nibbles, DSCN7656 and even works of art. DSCN7655 DSCN7654 For the past thirty plus years I have airily dismissed the ‘slug’ problem. Others had slugs; I rarely saw one. All change. They have eaten all the tulip leaves and shredded and decapitated many of the irises, they have munched the lilies to oblivion before I could see them. They have demolished my precious seedlings – the first from the greenhouse that I planted out two weeks ago. So, I now collect handfuls of slugs every time I leave the house and heave them into the green bin – a variation on squishing blackly and lily beetles. I have purchased a copper collar for my chocolate cosmos  and the latest organic control – wool pellets for the veg plot. These are not beautiful and smell somewhat of goat, but I am hoping to save the runner beans.DSCN7695 For the last three years I have been looking for a non-fiction publisher for my manuscript Writing to a Ghost: Letters to the River Kwai 1941 to 1945. One of my 2013 emails has just been answered! Am still looking? Indeed I am, and they sound fine … in their field (mostly sport). I never thought I would be able to resist an invitation to submit to a publisher, but sadly I feel that my book will not fit with their other titles (and I suspect their team will not have design and editorial expertise in titles about WWII and women’s roles) and they definitely do not have appropriate trade supply connections. Am I mad?

‘Farmers fear unkindly May, frost by night and hail by day.’ (Flanders and Swann)DSCN7693 However the rhododendrons are emerging and the tree peony and guelder rose are in flower. DSCN7692STOP PRESS

Beer works! Thanks to everyone who suggested it.