I had another busy day yesterday. I managed to get permission for an hour+ TOIL from work, to head up town for my printing company's Summer Party Bash in London. I caught the earlier than planned train to St Pancreas and arrived bright and bushy. I had a rough idea of the route, so checking the road name decided to walk the distance. The weather was lovely and the locals very friendly. At about 2 miles, I thought I should have seen another name on the route to jog my memory, but nothing. I stopped two mums and their little ones to ask directions, who using their smart phones, identified that I had walked the distance - in the opposite direction! They kindly directed me to a bus stop, for a bus which would take me where I needed to go. I remembered something about Liverpool, but not much else.
The event was held at an amazing venue, The Crypt on the Green and I felt sure everyone locally would know where it was. I hopped on the 153 and said, "I don't where it is, but I'm going to... and added 'Liverpool'. When the driver's face went from blank to amazed, I then proceeded to enquire how much and produced my purse with sufficient funds to purchase a ticket. I'm not sure who looked more stunned, him for me expecting he would know the place I wanted, or me, for not knowing buses in London don't take cash anymore!!
As some of you know the theme of much of my writing usually involves a hero. I believe there is a hero in each of us, you just need to find the right occasion. I found a lot of heroes yesterday. The first being the driver who waved my fare and allowed me to take a seat for nothing.
My second hero was the man sitting nearest me, who again using a smart phone, dredged up my destination. He advised me that he'd walked the route to work for years and never knew the place existed. Definitely a scene for a vampire plot filling my head by now. The man, or more accurately gentleman, for he was my hero of the moment, directed me onwards and I had no small amount of pleasure when he requested my details. I flourished one of my newest business cards at him. I have found it hard to give these new cards away as I am enjoying the look and feel of them. Am I sad that every now and then take them out just to stare - I digress.
Following my hero's instructions, I searched for the alley he had mentioned to no avail. I also refused to don my glasses when he showed me the route on his phone. He was a hero and I, a damsel in distress, at least I wanted to be, and putting readers on, sort of spoiled the image I was trying to create. Sadly, it also spoiled my chances of my finding the party too.
Not daunted and never afraid to speak to anyone, I accosted another person. It appeared I was again going the opposite way! One more direction and I found the green. I think it was an old graveyard with the stones removed, but the folk nestled there didn't seem to notice.
The event itself was in a de-consecrated church, St John's I believe someone mentioned. It was delightful. I'd still managed to arrive in time for the small indie together and met several publishing houses, all massive compared to my one-woman outfit. Most had 3 paid staff and were churning out 25 books a year compared to me with a measly one. It did make me think what I could do if I turned my hand to it full-time.
I met in person, Ruth, my contact in CPI and she is as lovely face-to-face as via emails. So helpful and kind, as were all her colleagues I met and there were a lot of them.
I also met some wonderful unique people like me, a lady who lives in a flat in Bloomsbury and publishes a series of travel guides and a girl (sorry woman - it depends on your perspective age-wise) who would have been me if I had been born more recently. From the mauve hair and love of cats and motor-bikes, to the adoration of all things Sci-Fi, fantasy, paranormal and manga. Lastly, the group of people in the crypt who took me under their wing when I was stood like billy-no-mates. I'm sure they weren't vampires, but you never know...
For those of you who know me, apart from the people - and I did a lot of people watching - the food was awesome. Canapés, cream scones, a whole ice cream parlour and not one, but two hog roasts with the trimmings. There was beer and wine, and more wine, which I was gutted that I couldn't drink. I had to stick to cranberry juice and tea and watch longingly.
I am seriously hoping for an invite next year to meet the people I met Wednesday again, at least some of them. Some, like the hero's on my journey may have to remain a mystery and maybe end up in a future novel - who knows?
I'm sitting here wondering whether the honeymoon for Aqua is over. It wasn't some glamorous LA affair, or set on a remote tropical isle under a blazing sun. It wasn't even a weekend in London. No, it felt like a day trip to Camber Sands if I'm honest, plus it was raining and I caught a cold.
Something has gone decidedly wrong with my distributor, unless it's something I did or didn't do. I naively assumed that once you have a contract with a distributor they would receive orders from the retailers for copies of any future publications - wrong. It seems despite having an ISBN number that system doesn't happen. At least it hasn't for me yet. I live in hope like some forgotten customer waiting for her pizza to appear.
Only a measly few copies sold - but thanks to those who did sally forth to Canterbury for the launch. Thank you also for Canterbury Library who were amazingly supportive. Thank you to those who have purchased one from me directly, though I feel perhaps my pathetic whining might have promoted the sale. May I point out, you can STOP ME AND BUY ONE. I have no shame it seems. I prostitute myself on the literary bench of obscurity. Goodness is it me, or am I getting a tad dark? Must be entering a low point in this pantomime I laughingly call my writing career.
Unless Waterstones send for the books, I know people have ordered, I'm going on the depressed train to Miseryville and I've been there before. Let me tell you it ain't no pretty place. Yep, definitely a low point - again. I haven't heard back from their buyers dept since they requested a copy. What's all this rubbish that no news is good news? What a load of hogwash! I'd settle for any kind of news.
On the audible front, I'm open to offers and auditions - course you'd need to buy a copy of the book first. See what I did? An excellent marketing strategy. Everyone who purchases a copy is in with a chance to become the narrator for the book. heh. heh.
Can you open a Book Brothel? Because a little birdie told me recently that the BMJ are supporting the decriminalisation of pimps and brothels in the UK. If so, I could run a place where tired lonely men come (not literally) to have nubile young , mainly women, read to them. Isn't that sweet?
I see in New Zealand, where they have already introduced the bill that pimps and brothel owners now have more rights than the women they employ. It seems because its legal now, the women (or men) are paid by the half hour, or hour, rather than paying for each individual act. As a result they have no say in what actual type of activity is expected, or whether protection is worn or not. Well done the UK for planning to reduce the rights of women even more. Feel free everyone, like me who is angry about this. Write a letter to your PM, the BMJ or if you belong to a professional body, those.
She jumps off her political horse. Where did that come from? Well, I know where it came from, I am a Soroptimist after all, but this is my writing page, I can hear you from here. I know, but sometimes, just sometimes, it's OK to be angry about injustice too.