Roll on Real Book!

Believe me, life is pretty busy at present. There isn’t much time for contemplation, but it strikes me that real sales of real books feels important to me. Kindle’s a great enabler for writers, but the way the pages feel under your fingertips, the crack in the spine and pages with corner folds and creases (my paperbacks have to be tough if they are to survive); these can’t be emulated by a hand held device.

I like my written word to be tangible and present. If the ink embosses the paper, all the better. I’m talking texture and smell and solidness.

The Real Book will make the dream real. At the moment, it’s all very virtual.Oops. Someone just did a review of Autotherapy and was ‘gripped’ by it. *Heart in mouth*

Fresh Out

Waiting … Waiting … The Kindle version of Autotherapy is out already and it is only a matter of weeks before the paperback will be available but I’m in danger of already having saturated the media with my cries of ‘buy me, buy me’. I know there are subtler, longer term ways of infiltrating the public, but I’m making the most of the time that I have. Which isn’t a lot.

I’m crawling over the internet like a spider spinning a web, registering with everything and posting my website in appropriate places.  Basically hoping that getting out the word to the most people possible will be the best thing for the book sales. Add in there the parameter that they need to be people who already read (so more likely to read your book), and you’ve got handy sites like and Amazon but what about all those potential converts out there? Why did I write a book that was supposed to be easy to read? How many people stick their heads in a book when they’ve got some free time? Who has free time?

*And breathe*

So, new resolution: don’t panic. I can use the promotion of the book to explore social media properly, in a non-timewasting way. I need to experientially learn how to utilise Twitter as it’s most likely to be the most far-reaching word of mouth-stylee communication. Get on.

In between these minor revelations, lambing time continues, particularly featuring four little pet lambs (now named Bunny Ears, Freckle Face, Baa Lamb and Fuzzy – Himself thinks I’m soft as butter) and two large ones (Big White Lamb and Smoky).Himself is, of course, the real farmer; I’m just the helper, to feed the lambs, take ‘creep’ feed to the hospital field (Number 5 and her twins, and the two big pets) and cook the dinner.

The geese have now laid around 60 eggs since February, and still doing so. We’ve got half in an incubator in Newbiggin and half in one in my dad’s garage, (with my mum turning them) and the last few are under a determined, very bad tempered goose in a trailer.

Life goes on, so we may as well enjoy it.

(Pictures to follow, promise).


White Noise

I’m aware I haven’t written for a few days. But I have been writing … and now I know that these three little dots (…) are supposed to have a space before and after them. I received my edited manuscript a week ago and I’ve so far gone through 120 pages of the 187 page novel.

It’s okay, so far. I haven’t let myself look at the pages before I’m working on them, so each comment is a feeling of surprise and relief. (Except when I was still tantalising myself with it, a present unopened, stroking it by scrolling down and then switching it off without downloading it).

For good or for bad, I compartmentalise everything. Maybe it’s because I need structure or p’raps I’m a control freak (I know which one most people would say).

I’m happy doing it, there’s nothing wrong with it. Trouble is, there are times when the boxes into which go “Work”, “Friends”, “Boyfriend”, “Family”, and “Book” start leaking and a few overflows occur. The day job is pressured (more accurately: … is a pressurised bomb with the constant threat of explosion …), and while I’ve got other foci for my mind when I’m not at work, it’s beginning to spill into conversation at home.

In the meantime, I want to spend every minute of the day and night on my book, while Himself wants to spend every minute with me. I haven’t seen my mum in two weeks, thanks in part to the ice storm last Thursday and I’d like to repaper my bathroom with my dad.

So if you were wondering why the blogs had stopped, see above for the standard white noise that has been taking place in my blogging absence. Consider it at best to be that famous BBC TV test card image of the little girl with the blackboard, noughts & crosses (and a doll?).

Autotherapy Update

Well… I just heard from my publisher (“My Publisher” *SCREAM*) and he tells me my editor is almost ready to send me my manuscript. No doubt concealed under a thick layer of red ‘pen’.

With trepidation I await their suggestions and pray that they don’t ask me to kill off the dog. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, in case I jinxed the real dog who is aging but still clinging to life in a determined, if stiff, manner.

BRING IT ON! I’m ready for it!!!

Honest Blogging

I guess you already know that recently I had another blog. A whole three posts of a blog. One of those was some really great pictures of the geese growing up. I keep thinking about putting those on this one, but the problem with that (to me) is that a blog post is true only in the moment. Putting them on the other and then taking them retrospectively onto this seems dishonest, as though it isn’t in the spirit of blogging.

The point of that blog was to relate to the book, in theme if not content, but somehow that seemed a little dishonest too. Sure, the book is going to be published (in May), and its theme is loosely self-healing, but my own experiences that have required healing are light and fluffy in comparison to what so many others have known. To write about me in that context seems to trivalise the real tragedies that need healing power. People who really know should be (probably are) writing those up in a blog. My book is a work of fiction.

I want to be honest and open and fair. Autotherapy is a thriller with shades of vampire. It isn’t self-help, about healing or lessons learned; it’s about death and loss and recovery (or not) and it’s pretty blunt for some characters. I know a little of those things – enough to write home about anyway but mine is recovery in a most mundane way. Real life is filled with food and work and love and the point of this blog isn’t to pronounce on how to heal. It does document ongoing healing and learning processed mainly through the creation of food in an economic, wasteless, hedonistic way. Feed the soul and you stand a chance of improving this life. It may be a very loose connection, but I wrote the book and I write the blog and damnit, I’m going to stick with it.

Tonight: chicken liver pate, in all its bloody glory.

Autotherapist vs Soulsubsistence

Okay, so I love writing and I love food. Here lies the point of soulsubsistence (that and my hedonistic puritan tendencies). And I kept on writing about food until there was an upset at work. Such an upset that I lost my job overnight. This led to an overnight loss in interest in food which lasted the two weeks it took me to get another job (happily under the same people as before). This is not surprising. What was, was that my life changed more significantly than I had expected.

Then a publisher ( offered to publish my novel, Autotherapy.

What came from all of this was a new pressure to have a ‘proper’ blog with some relevance to the book (Autotherapy, so self-healing), exhaustion from the day job and no time to myself. None of which was conducive to writing about food.

STOP PRESS: the new blog is a disaster because I’m not interested in day-to-day pontifications about self-healing, however much I think about it and apply it to my day and night, and therefore writing about it doesn’t work for me. Up-your-arse-twaddle about something you know little about doesn’t wear well on me and whilst I’m not a quitter, I know when to quit.

Then today I read an article from Recipe Rifle, a blog about food and life which (despite the fuck words) gives me a sharp crosswind of air and this particular one reminded me of my problem. Esther writes without impunity, without pontification and damnit, without worrying whether or not she’s getting it right.

So now I know what to do.

Soulsubsistence may not have obvious links to Autotherapy (such as title, subject or characters) but it is connected. Autotherapy is (at a long shot) about the healing process. Its characters mainly get to heal themselves or die. And death performs a function of healing of a sort. I get my daily healing from the process of cooking, be it ordinary or puritan or hedonist and there I rest my case. If I can’t make it work this way, then I don’t know why I want to write at all.

Try the other blog and see what you think (I’m right, whatever you think of it).

In the meantime, note that I am alone tonight, with the opportunity to eat something which doesn’t involve the death of an innocent creature. Lentils and rice. Detoxifying hedonistic puritanism at its best. See here for the recipe.