Just a brief post. Readers who claim my giveaways always offer to pay for postage, well-mannered gals that they are. I’d like them all to know that their continued efforts at spreading the word about my books is far, far more valuable to me than the price of a few stamps. Keep up the good work. Oh, and stop lending my books to your friends. Please tell them they have to buy their own.
Roll up, roll up! Never to be repeated offer! I’m giving away books. Again.
My dear husband and I are moving house and a ruthless book cull is about to commence. A copy, (signed or not, as you wish) of any of my backlist to the first takers. Just send me a message. If you’re already the proud owner of the Complete Collected Works of Laurie Graham why not
inflict me on your friends, give a copy to a friend and introduce them to my work?
James Joyce is famous for the wonderful liberties he took with the English language but the longer I live in Ireland the more I believe it’s a national trait. Almost every exchange contains some delightful little quirk of syntax or grammar.
‘Will I give ye a refund?’ asks the lady at Customer Services. I don’t know. Will she? Or should she?
‘Just looking, is it?’ asked the disdainful salesgirl in Claire’s Accessories. Don’t they train them to know that grannies sometimes need to enter such hell-holes of teenagery in order to find gifts for granddaughters? I suppose the correct answer to her question was, ‘It is.’
A couple of nice reviews in the past few days. The Daily Mail – a new novel by Laurie Graham always quickens the pulse and this one does not disappoint, and the Sunday Times – the sheer panache with which Graham conjures up the era’s music halls is particularly appealing. All very gratifying. The Saturday Times review was a bit begrudging but to get reviewed at all in this overcrowded pre-Christmas market is cause enough for celebration and anyway publishers are always prepared to do a little selective filleting of a review if it contains even one clause that can be recycled as praise. There is truly no such thing as bad publicity.
This week the astonishing news that social media like Facebook and Instagram tempt people to make their lives seem more interesting than they truly are. Well Lordy, Lordy, who ever would have seen that coming?
Ten years ago it was quite cutting edge for a writer to have a website. A surprising number still don’t, and some acquire a domain name and then do nothing with it. A bit like buying a packet of beetroot seeds and leaving them in the kitchen drawer. Then about five years ago the whip started cracking for writers to really Put Themselves Out There. FB, Pinterest, Twitter, and a hundred and one online book-reading communities that we were exhorted to cultivate.
Publication day, and a double at that! The Night in Question is out today, as is the paperback edition of The Grand Duchess of Nowhere, and I’m on the wagon, dentist’s orders, until after tomorrow’s molar extraction. Never mind. The wait will make it taste all the better. Uh-oh, I’m starting to sound like my mother.
I’m currently reading Anthony Holden’s excellent biography of Tchaikovsky and discovering what a neurotic wreck he was, not least about his compositions. As soon as a piece had been aired publicly he would be plagued by FUDs (fears, uncertainties, doubts). It is wonderfully comforting to learn that great geniuses suffer from FUDs just as much as us also-rans. This book (TNIQ) has seemed like a particularly long haul but I’m still happy with it. I think. So far.
So the decorators have finished. They’ve cleared away their ladders and buckets and left me with my lovely new Home Page. My website hit count will be up this week because I keep going to it myself, to admire the look of it.
During my down-time I’ve been thinking a lot about what people sometimes refer to as my ‘career choice’. ‘When did you decide to become a writer?’ they ask. Or, ‘Did you always want to be a writer?’
A couple of weeks of enforced leisure -if sitting under a fig tree getting water-pistolled by a grandchild counts as leisure – gave me time to scan this year’s accounts. To date: six months of anxious unemployment; eight months of caring for an increasingly stroppy dementia sufferer; hospitalisation of the aforementioned with a serious leg injury; the subsequent cancellation of a much-needed holiday; and then a sudden death in the family. I think I got off lightly with nothing worse than a dose of shingles.
A funeral is never a good way to start the week but on Monday I had the pleasure of hearing my son’s beautifully written eulogy to his father. It was, by turns, poignant and hilarious and I’m slightly relieved that he’s too busy doing an important, proper job to compete with me for writing gigs. Take a bow, Alastair Graham. You had the old feller absolutely nailed.
And then…. the Man from
Delmonte Publishing House, he say ‘Yes.’