A great weekend and a very busy Saturday.
12.30 I was thrilled to be asked to do a Podcast for Margate Bookie at the Turner Centre this year. Francesca Baker was an absolute professional putting me at ease despite my struggles with the deckchair. LISTEN TO IT HERE
After my podcast, I finally met up with the Margate pop-up Bookshop, owner Francesca Wilkins. I've been following them since their launch in 2017 and been keen to be involved with it, both as a writer myself and as part of Inspirations Writers Group. Francesca was very welcoming and agreed to take both Red and Orange Anthologies from our Writing Group and also Aquasapien from my work.
Sadly, she didn't feel WOTW was right for her target market, which is disappointing because I'm in search of a venue for the launch of Gristle's Revenge in December. Reception from the local Waterstones has been lukewarm. It feels as if since their area buyer took over all the decisions in what they can, and can't stock, some local writers are not fairing so well.
Despite not accepting WOTW, it was a very successful contact and I urge folk to visit the shop whenever it 'pops-up' . It stocks unusual and interesting books including a whole array of younger titles. I tried to resist the urge, but... I'm only human after all, so the song goes.
Before I left, I stopped to visit the events on offer at the Turner Centre, including the brilliant exhibit in the foyer of crushed instruments. A case of three dimensional objects becoming two dimensional. Then later on I was to be surprised by the Animal and Us exhibition, which I would have missed completely, except that fellow Inspirations Writer, Anna Spain was going in as I was coming out.
She didn't know about Margate Bookie and I didn't know about Animals and Us which felt a bit bizarre. The exhibition is an amazing and thought-provoking installation which includes paintings from Turner. Apparently he didn't just do seascapes, he painted animals too and I noticed very well indeed. There is an original Stubbs painting on load from I forget where, of his signature horse. A must-see for horse, animal, and art lovers everywhere.
14.00 After the Turner, I went across the road to the Old Kent Market, Margate to organise the refreshments for the Inspirations Writers Group Yellow Anthology Launch on 24th November at 10 - 2pm (unashamed plug) The Market is a real gem. I don't think it advertises itself well enough which is a shame. Only two businesses inside have actual websites; Foody Moody which is a Vegan Restaurant and the smallest Public House in England, The Little Prince.
There is a plethora of shops inside and all the owners are so welcoming. I had a great refreshment break at the Real Coffee Shop where the owner makes her own chocolate! I'm in. There was a nail and lashes shop I'm dying to try and a Doc Martins shoe shop, plus there's bags of eating places including a Pizzeria, a shop making Malaysian and Singaporean food. No to mention the awesome Baker that's open in the morning, This place is an undiscovered and underused gem.
I was planning to go home in between my next function, but felt so relaxed I sat and wrote eight pages of my What If novel without stopping. Yes I did end up including the coffee shop in the piece.
16.30pm I'd been invited to see a performance at the Old Woolworth building in Margate, on Modern Slavery by Natasha's Dance. I must admit I was a bit dubious. I wasn't sure how anyone could get over this dreadful illegal practice of coercing child and adults to go with them, then control and trap them in a life of sexual slavery and servitude. How wrong was I!
The performance was spot on, encapsulating perfectly the child stolen as a perilous flower, groomed and turned into nothing more than a slave who was treated like a lower form of life. My emotions were all over the place as I become totally immersed in the traumatic events unfolding in front of us. At one point, I had to prevent myself from bursting into tears, even now it filled me with intense sadness. I recommend viewing their website, if you do nothing else. You can find it by clicking on the highlighted link.
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to stay for all the question panel afterwards and I would have loved to speak in greater depth to the dancers. My loss.
18.30 From there I rushed home to get ready for my next engagement. A Macmillan fund raising event in the Freemasons Lodge, Margate. This was a meal and social gathering with light-heart questions on the table. With the raffle and entry they raised over £400 for the charity and I took home a bottle of wine from the raffle. So a win-win situation
My close friends will know that my life in these last three months has been a roller coaster journey. One moment things are up, the next minute down. Today is no different, and I have been struggling with emotions both positive and negative throughout the last twenty-four hours. One of the things that helps me be positive (No pun intended) apart from my family members and trusted friends is my writing.
It's starting to sink in that book three, Gristle's Revenge, is in sight of publication. Dom Channing and Louise Morse did superb jobs on the chapter illustrations. Dom excelled with the cover image of Onk, and based on the first draft of the cover design from Lucie at Pegu Designs, the cover is going to be brilliant. Very similar to Witch on the Warpath with the counterpoint I wanted between detailed photography (photo courtesy of International Author Tara Moore) and naïve pencil drawing.
So, now I'm waiting for the second draft to be completed and once I'm happy with it, I can contact Geoff, my formatter to get going with the final stage before printing. Excitement mounting.
The local Waterstones have shown an interest, but that is all. I have to submit an IP to their email which they will send to their buyer, who will decide whether my work is what they want to promote. I'm hoping it will be. I was informed at the launch of Witch on the Warpath in their store, that it was the highest selling novel at a launch that they had - so fingers crossed.
This time I'm planning to put it in a different genre for publication, as last time despite achieving this success it wasn't placed in their top ten sellers because I'd launched it as a teen novel. Lessons leant and all that!
Just have to say that today I received the final illustrations from Dom Channing for Gristle's Revenge. He has also completed the colour drawing that will go onto the cover of the book. I can't wait to launch this follow-up novel to Witch on the Warpath.
Next step, I'll be sending the cover to the illustrator, then the story to my formatter. From there its a quick hop (metamorphically speaking) to the printers. At this rate I might still make my preferred Halloween date. Fingers crossed.
With Gristle's Revenge moving on I can finally get What If? completed.
What If? has been an interesting story to write, but a lot harder to describe. Its about a girl, a woman really as she is aged 24, who she finds out that the life she has lived until this point is not real. I can't reveal too much without it being a spoiler alert. I suppose I'd call it another story outside the box. Think Sci-fi meets paranormal. I haven't a clue which genre to put it in as a result.
This novel will use up my last ISBN number and I'll need to purchase another ten numbers to continue publishing. I do wish some nice publishing company would take pity on a poor, struggling author. Too much self-pity?
I have spoken to Waterstones Westwood Cross about having the launch for GR there and it seemed promising at the time, but the manager wasn't present. Once I receive a hard copy in my sweaty hands I will return to confirm the arrangement, Thankfully I will be able to launch in Thanet unlike Aquasapien, which ruined any chance of sales. Though I love the novel, because Waterstones etc didn't take it on, despite their head office requesting a copy, I've had very little chance of selling any copies. Oh gosh, that's just reminded me I haven't paid the balance of one of my fairs. Got to go and remedy it.