Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Paperback Writer

It's a couple of days late but it feels like another birthday present: my agent brought the first paperback copy of my novel around to my house today. Here she is sitting on the patio reading it.
She is very pleased with it and I have to say that I'm delighted. I wasn't sure what it would look like when printed but it's better than I could have expected. Bless those lovely Lulu publishing people. 

My agent tells me that the really hard work begins now. I think she means the promoting and selling and stuff but I'm not going to worry about that today. I phoned David and told him it's arrived and he said we'd have to go out for dinner to celebrate. I did protest  - a little - that I'm supposed to be dieting but he pointed out that there's no food in the house and that he thought the chances of me going shopping in my euphoric state were low. 

He's right of course. I have so many people to phone ...

A little later
I called Adam and greeted him by singing Paperback Writer down the phone. There was a long silence at the other end and then he said, 'You all right, Mum?' in a very concerned tone.
I said, 'It's the Beatles.'
'The Beatles?'
'Their song.'
Adam said, 'Do you want to put the phone down and start again, Mum?'

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The best birthday ever!

I have had the best birthday ever! Probably in the history of birthdays!

It began with breakfast in bed. (No, actually it began a bit before that but I'm not telling you about that!) Let's just say that it wasn't an early breakfast in bed. Warm croissants, butter and jam, with a steaming hot mug of tea. Last year David tried to make it special by using a cup and saucer. I soon put him right on that: I need a large mug full of tea to get me going in the morning. 

I tried to protest and only eat one croissant because 'I'm supposed to be on diet,' but David told me I was perfect just as I am. Ahhhh.

Adam stuck his head around the door briefly to say happy birthday and that his dad had just arrived to take him back to university. I started to panic. 'Oh but I haven't checked if you've got everything! Did you remember to pack the clothes still in the airing cupboard? Oh and what about the ones I haven't ironed yet? Can your dad wait a minute while I ...' David put his hands on my shoulders, which by now were halfway out of bed. 
'You're not going anywhere. Adam is quite capable of doing his own packing and even his own ironing if he is that bothered.'
'That's right, Mum,' Adam came across and gave me a big hug. 'I've taken all the clothes I can find and if I've forgotten anything, well, you can always send it to me.'
David frowned at him, and he hurriedly rephrased his sentence, 'Or I can do without. You have a great day, Mum. Relax and enjoy yourself.'

Which is what I've been doing ever since. We took Leidy, David's dog who seems to be spending more time in my house than her own, for a walk by the river and stopped off at the pub for a drink and a packet of crisps. (And a muffin in my case.) (Well, it is my birthday and I am 'perfect as I am'!) We picked up the Observer in the newsagents' and then lolled around for the rest of the afternoon, David reading the paper and me alternately flicking through it for any bits that sounded vaguely celebrity-focussed or gossipy, and napping. 

And now David is in the kitchen cooking my birthday dinner. He won't let me go through the door so I've no idea what he's making but there are some lovely smells wafting out. Every now and again he pops out and checks that I'm okay for drinks and if I'm warm enough or if I'd like the television on. It's like being a goddess.

I could get used to this.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pre-birthday nerves

I have been neglecting my blog again! Adam just told me off. 'Honestly, mother,' he said - I could tell I was in trouble when he called me mother - 'books don't just sell themselves you know.'
'No, I know that.'
'So how many have you sold?'
'Um, I don't know.'
'You don't know? Haven't you asked?'
'No. I thought I'd be disappointed if the number wasn't in the thousands or even hundreds.'
Adam sighed. 'It's never going to be in the hundr ...' he corrected himself, 'thousands if you don't publicise it and push it more. And one way of doing that is to blog and network. And use Facebook, and tweet, of course.'
'Of course.' I didn't like to tell him the only tweeting I did was in response to the blackbird that sings from our apple tree.
'So will you?' He looked at me expectantly and it reminded me of when he was eight and convinced we were getting him a snake for his birthday. The way his face dropped when he opened the box containing a Lego jungle set still haunts him whenever I have to choose a present for him. It was my turn to sigh. 'Will I what?'
'Write in your blog?'

I assured him I would. So I am. I'm rather excited as it happens: it's my birthday tomorrow! Adam has to travel back to uni so David's taking us all - Chloe and Greg will be here soon - out for a meal tonight. We're going to La Brasserie. I haven't been there since I went last summer with Pippa and Bev and accidentally stabbed a waiter's hand with my knife and then nearly fainted at the sight of the blood oozing out. 

I hadn't seen any reason to tell David about it so when he suggested La Brasserie I couldn't think of an excuse quickly enough. But it's dark in there so they probably won't recognise me, and, anyway, it was because it was dark that I stuck my knife in his hand rather than in my steak. So it wasn't really my fault. 

So I'm sure it'll be fine.

Monday, 12 March 2012

My launch

My life has been a positive whirl since I last blogged!

On Friday David turned up and said, 'Okay, pack a weekend bag; I'm taking you away.'
I stared at him. 'What do you mean?'
'You're getting stressed over this book launch so I thought a couple of days away would do you good.'
'What's the matter? Don't you want to come?'
'Oh, yes, yes, yes! I'm I I'm I ...' I stuttered to a halt. 'I don't know. It's just no-one's ever whisked me away before.'
'Well, it's time they did.' David kissed me on the nose and said, 'Go and get your bag then.'
'Okay.' I started up the stairs and then went back down. 'What do I need?'
David sighed. 'Toothpaste, clean knickers, I don't know. Whatever women need for a couple of nights away.'
'Do I need a swimming costume?'
'In March in Wales?'
'No, okay.'
I started up the stairs again before returning. 'What about a posh frock?'
'I'm taking you to a nice hotel in Snowdonia. You'll need walking clothes and something a little more respectable to eat in the hotel in the evening. Okay?'
'Oh, yes, that sounds wonderful. I've never been to North Wales. Will we be able to go on the little train? And perhaps see the grave of that dog who died and ...'
'We'll be able to do whatever you want to do,' David interrupted me. 'But we need to get there tonight.'

We had such a fabulous time, walking and eating cake and walking some more and sleeping - well, not too much of that actually! - and eating and just being together. North Wales is a wonderfully romantic place, although I think any place with David would be. Oh, dear, I can hear Adam and Chloe groaning as they read this. Well, Adam anyway. He doesn't have a romantic bone in his body. 

I felt so relaxed when I came back that when my publisher called and said she'd set the book launch for last Thursday I didn't even blink. And I didn't panic when she told me she'd also fixed up an interview for me on local radio. 

I had to have time off work for the interview but Muriel and Young Mr Davies were more excited about it than I was I think. (No, that's probably not true.) Young Mr Davies even postponed one of his appointments so he could listen. 

Later when I got back to the office Mr Davies Senior said, 'Oh you should have been here a few minutes ago, Angela. We were just listening to a fascinating interview on the radio with a young woman talking about ...' he paused. 'What was she talking about?'

I forgave him because he called me a young woman.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Public speaking

I've just been volunteered to read at a literary festival!

My publisher thinks it would be a good way to promote my book. I think it's a good way to court disaster. She didn't actually give me the option of saying no. She just said, 'I've emailed them and asked if you can go and read.'

For goodness sake! 

It is a festival for all things creative and electronic, hence the interest in eBook authors. The link is here. See the punning way they've used the town's name, Kidwelly, to give the festival its name Kidwell-e. Clever.

If I am accepted, I'll have to get Bev and Pippa to come along for support. Or maybe even David.

But I won't worry about that just yet.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


My publisher called and asked me what day I would like my book to be published on. 'Saturday!' I said for no reason other than she'd caught me unawares.
'Oh no, no, no,' she said. 'Saturday's not a good day. I was thinking about a Wednesday or Thursday; do you have a preference?'
'Um, Wednesday?'
'I was thinking Thursday.'
'Okay, Thursday's fine.' I don't know why she bothered asking me if she'd already decided. Then I had an idea.
'I'll ask Jane tomorrow at dance class.'
My publisher asked, 'Why? Who's Jane?'
Honestly, you'd think my publisher would have read my book. I said, 'I mention her in my book. She's very ...' I paused, looking for the right word, 'you know, into signs and omens and stuff.'
'Oh,' my publisher didn't sound impressed.
'Well, it's dance class tomorrow so it won't hurt to ask her, will it?'

After I'd put the phone I began to doubt the wisdom of my decision. The only person from dance class who knows I've written a book is Nic. He 'lurrrves' it but then he would. But everyone else is bound to find out one day - when I'm on the Richard & Judy show promoting my runaway best-seller. (Do Richard & Judy still have a show? I should send a copy of my book to Judy; she's the sort of woman who would appreciate it, I'm sure, being of that age herself.) So I might as well get it over with and tell them. I don't think I've said anything nasty about Jane. She must be used to people being sceptical.

(Oh dear, I had to look sceptical up in the dictionary because when I said it aloud to myself it didn't sound like a real word. How can I be a published writer when I don't even know if words exist or not?)

Monday, 27 February 2012

David's bleeding nose

I now have my own Facebook page!

Adam helped me set it up last night but he's gone back to uni now leaving me with no friends. I'm sure Bev's on Facebook but I don't think Pippa is - she wouldn't have time with everything she's involved with - so I'll have to ring Bev later and ask her how to find friends. 

But I don't want Internet Barry to find me. I wonder if I should have used an alias. Created a pseudonym for myself. I could have been a whole different person ... one who's slim and young and sexy. That might have helped sell the book too. They say an attractive author is more likely to be taken on by an agent. Oh dear, I wonder if that's why none of the agents I approached wanted me. No, I didn't send a photo so it can't have been that.

Not to worry, my ebook is going to be such a huge success that I'll have agents knocking on my door begging me to consider them. And I'll say, 'No! Go away! I don't need you!'

David was a little concerned when he came in to hear me proclaiming loudly, 'I don't need you!' I told him he shouldn't have come creeping in like he did. He insisted he didn't creep in but was walking normally and that I was the one who was shouting and waving my arms viciously in the air. Still his nose didn't bleed for long and he forgave me when I explained.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

This Time Next Year

Forgive me, I was distracted last night by David and chocolate.

What I was going to tell you was that the reason Adam suggested I start blogging was to publicise my novel. My novel! I still can't believe that I've actually written a whole book. It's all about one year in my life, a fairly momentous year that began with my 50th birthday and the arrival in the post of my decree absolute.

What I thought was going to be a year from hell actually turned into ... well, you'll have to read the book to find out! Although the fact that I'm here today and writing about it might suggest that it wasn't as bad as I anticipated.

In spite of the dreadful incident with Great-aunt Millie and the custard slice, Internet Barry and the pork scratchings, and my mistaken belief (only when slightly tipsy I should add in my defence) that I can tango - and my need to demonstrate it. 

Not to mention Charlie, the sock-eating dog.  

Go on, get a bar of chocolate and share some with me as I tell you all.

Hormones and chocolate

Ooh, look at this! I have a blog! How exciting!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Alison Turner. I'm 51 years old, divorced with 2 children. I suppose you'd call them grown-up children now although I still find it hard to think of them that way. In fact it was Adam, my son, who's home from university this weekend, who suggested I should start a blog.

And he's also partly the reason I'm sitting here typing this on a Saturday evening when I should be, well, relaxing or, you know, doing something more exciting with David. But Adam and David are still at the pub.

Adam suggested David should go with him and his friends because 'You'll be better off if Mum's in a mood.'

David, by the way, is - I still haven't decided what to call him. Boyfriend sounds ridiculous for a woman my age and gentleman friend makes me sound like a kept woman. Partner sounds so sexless and our relationship definitely couldn't be called that. (Oh, am I allowed to mention sex on my blog? I'd better ask Adam. No, on second thoughts, children are always a bit prissy about their parents having sex; I know that from my own experience last year in the caravan in Tenby with Mum and Dad.) 

Anyway it was our first big row. First since we've been a couple that is; we had plenty of rows before we leapt that divide. And it all started because I happened to ask David if he'd mind very much not clicking his teeth together when he ate. 

We were eating lunch, David and Adam and me, and his teeth were beginning to put me on edge. David and Adam looked at each other and Adam said, 'Uh oh.'
'I agree,' David said. 'Looks like your mother's having a menopausal moment.'
'Excuse me,' I said, 'menopausal?'
'It's all right, dear, we understand your hormones are playing up.' He laughed.
'Menopausal? Dear?'
This time they both laughed.
'Calm down, Mum,' Adam said. 'David's only joking.'
'I am perfectly calm but I'm nobody's dear least of all someone who doesn't know the difference between menopause and menstrual.'
David looked at me, slightly puzzled. I continued, 'I'm not menopausal! I'm quite prepared to admit that it could be my hormones - my pre-menstrual hormones.'
'Oh, I'm sorry,' David said. 'It's just that I thought ...'
'You thought what?'
'Well, I didn't think you'd had a period for a long time so I just assumed ...'
'You assumed wrong. It isn't that long since I had a period; I had one only ...' I struggled to recall the last one ... 'Anyway,' I trailed off, 'I'm far too young to be menopausal.'
'At 51?' David didn't sound convinced.

So when Adam set off for the pub to watch the rugby with his mates he suggested David went too. And he went!

Thinking about it, which I have been doing most of the afternoon, I suppose I could be menopausal; I just never expected it to happen to me. So just as I think my life is going to be hunky dory with my new man, I have hot flushes, night sweats and unwelcome hair growth to look forward to. Big sigh.

David came home with the biggest bar of chocolate you've ever seen. He sent it in first, holding his arm around the door, to pave the way. But better still he apologised for his insensitivity. And I said I was sorry and that I'd been so happy with him that I hadn't even thought about missing periods and then I burst into tears. and he kissed me and we finally got round to eating the chocolate much later ... in bed.