Honestly, I'd forgotten how hard and complicated writing an Aquasapien novel was! Why did I ever decide to write something so in-depth and interwoven is beyond me. It must have been a good idea at the time. I can see why people love reading it now. The reviews I get back are amazing. So full of plot twists and action. I don't know about reading it, but writing it is certainly keeping me entertained.
Much of those first two books are coming back to me, and I'm having to learn how to fly an Agusta Tiltrotor aircraft all over again. I've left it too long to just wing it (pun intended.) Last time, I remember learning how to operate a dockside crane in Vietnam, understand the terminology and engineering aspects of deep sea submersibles and the flora and fauna of the Amazon tributaries amongst other things.
This time I'm re-learning gun velocities, flight distances and re-fuelling stations, shipping routes. Did you know you can track all shipping in real time? I can see, via my pal Google, why the UK is known for the busiest shipping routes in the world.
Currently Book three is two-thirds of the way along and I've got so many more missions to complete and the overall story to conclude in such a short period of time word count wise. I'm wondering whether there might end up being a Book Four too. This is a story that I go along for the ride, it flows out of me unstoppable and sometimes a little scary in its magnitude. Because I have to sleep in between, I leave pages of notes strewn across the dining table so I can pick it up where I left off the day before. Along with the inevitable questions; Is it faster to refuel the Agusta in King Saka International airport or risk travelling to Cape town? Fortunately, it has two external fuel tanks, but they lower its cruising speed velocity to 288 miles per hour. Have I lost you? Welcome to my world for the next few weeks. If you happen to see me, be advised I may be speaking gobbledy-gook until this story is over.
On the bright side, I got permission from the Faversham Eye to reproduce and read my winning competition entry LIFE AFTER CORONAVIRUS on my YouTube channel. Find it here. I think its one of the best pieces I've written so far, despite the demoralising subject matter. I've had many requests to turn it into a novel, but I have about seven novels in front of it. Publishers and agents are you listening?
Quest for Courage is finished too, apart from proof editing and I always like to leave it a while before I do that aspect. I'm currently working with illustrators to produce the chapter headings etc.
My next novel What If? launches on Saturday 29th May 10 to 3pm outside the Boating Pool Cafe, Ramsgate. Social distancing measures naturally. All 1 metre apart persons welcome.
As usual a lot has happened in the last few weeks. Aquasapien Book Two arrived safely, with much grumbling from my son as he had to load and unpack his car. Following that, What If was proofed, printed and delivered yesterday with much more complaining from my son has he unpacked another 100 books from his car. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank his place of employment for allowing me to have my books delivered there. Now the sun lounge looks more like a literary warehouse than somewhere to rest and relax in the sun. Who am I kidding, the only time I get to use the room is doing my one-to-one Kyokushin karate sessions in there with my 4th Dan sensei twice a week.
Book sales are slow, hardcopy wise with nowhere to sell, though Amazon is doing well with sales rising and Waterstones have finally taken my work and are selling them on their website. I have heard of sales around the UK, but of course retailers only send your money quarterly so I'll update you on that at a later date. And, Quex Barn Birchington still keeps several copies of my work on sale if you're nearby.
In addition to the usual local fairs, when they re-commence, I am booking at Eastbourne Wyntercon on 30th & 31st October. This year its at the Winter Gardens. Also booked is Reading Comicon on 27th and 28th November. Both events are brilliant and well worth attending for the day if like me, you are a Sci-Fi Fantasy weird geek.
I was hoping to launch What IF? at Quex Barn in May, however they are being responsible and not taking any bookings until Covid is confirmed as leaving us. Naturally, it leaves me frustrated, because I need to sell books to produce more. I have already started taking -pre-orders for copies. I'm not sure whether to look elsewhere or wait. Covid Bah! If you can offer a space, let me know.
I eventually plucked up the courage (pun intended) and opened Quest for Courage and I'm now on page eight-four of the second draft with visions of the cover flicking through my head, a view of the Air realm. Not sure if I've mentioned in a previous blog, A Sackful of Dragons, another novel I've started keeps calling. I get whiffs of scenes, but I'm trying to stay focused because there's two other novels to complete before that.
I say two, but...
Some of you may know of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing month) this is an organisation which promotes a month (November) every year where writers undertake to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I've taken part three times and completed it each time. Well, they contacted to say they have moved their server and would I go on my account to check my details etc. And there it was....
A whole novel I'd forgotten I'd written! Between Worlds. I still can't figure out how I forgot a whole book! I checked in my laptop, its 88,000 words! The story is about a woman who discovers that somebody from one of the seven levels of Hell is trying to kill her. With help, she goes into Hell to investigate. There are similarities with What If? but the storyline is completely different. Though it would be great to finish it, but I have Aqua Three and Q4C to complete and I'm trying to stay focused. Gosh I wish my head weren't so full of stories.
Inspirations Writers Group are bringing out their next anthology - Blue on 31st May. Remember you can join our meetings from anywhere in the world on zoom, and its free to do so. All you need to do is contact us via the contact form here ,or on their own website, inspirationswritersgroup.weebly.com
Quite often I don't realise the things I've accomplished in the previous four weeks, until I sit down and write my blog. This month is no exception. I've finished the final read through of What If? finding errors and altering numerous sentences since the final proof edit and adding another four thousand words to the end novel. Its gone now to my lovely formatter for the typeset and layout etc to be finalised. Already he's discovered another spelling mistake I missed. Its not the first time I've been grateful to have such a marvellous team of professionals around me.
This in turns leads me on to my latest activity this month, the innovation of a website to go with my Wayside Publication business. Originally invented, because as an independantly published author, none of the industry representatives would speak to me without the backing of a company name, WP provides me with the authenticity I require to interact with distributors, wholesalers and retail book companies not to mention Nielsen who are key to any publication becoming recognised as bonefide.
I'd like to thank Stella, from Stone Designs for her review of my brand and her idea for the introduction of a graphic to lift the simple WP logo. You've probably guessed I love cats, all animals in fact, but cats sit a teeny bit higher than most, so I decided to add one to the logo after Stella's comment. I began by trying to use a photo of one of my cats sitting up.
Using the drawing tab in jpeg I attempted, several times, to use a 'pen' to create a silhouette. I'd reccommend you try it, its extremely hard to make clear straight lines, at least it was for me. I gave up after my sixth attempt and moved over to my favourite person on the internet, Google. I searched for free silhouettes, but couldn't find the specific one until I happened upon my old friend clipart. The perfect kitty-cat stared out at me and extending the white diamond backup, he sat beautifully on the bottom of the logo. It wasn't until he was settled into the frame that I realised how clever he was. If you look, his head and back and rising tail create a letter W, and his curled tip and falling tail created the letter P. Couldn't have worked out better if I tried.
I've also finished the second amendment of my short story Figures, for the next Inspirations Writers Group Anthology, Blue. That has gone off for proof editing etc now. Elsewhere in the Wayside kingdom, Aquasapien Part 1, Book 1 has arrived and Part 2, Book is on its way through production. Yesterday I opened and stared at Quest for Courage - got cold feet and closed it again! I know I need to begin the re-write on the first draft to take it to the next level, but I know that includes thirty plus illustrations to find and create. Another book cover to design and yet more editing. I will get to it, but... reading for a while is calling more. I need to find the shove or more likely motivation to get stuck in. Hopefully by my next blog I'll be reporting back regards my progress on Q4C.
Also this month I've identified future plans for my own bookshop. Its still in the concept stage with both a gold and brass option. It will likely have to wait until I retire - again in five years as I'll need my pension to fall back on while I rise like a phoenix into the retail world. Sneak preview, it will only be selling Anime, Sci-Fi, fantasy and Paranormal. Covid go away. I can't wait for us to be able to interact again. I want to get out there selling books and have a book launch for What If?. I'm banking on May - fingers crossed.
Well, we got through 2020, some of us. Sadly, several people I know lost their lives to Covid during the Xmas period. My heart aches for their loves ones and I can't imagine the pain they are feeling. Sometimes I think why am I bothering, what's the point? Especially when sorrow hits like this. Then I feel guilty for thinking this way when others have physically lost their family members. Then I think, you selfish woman! Get off your bottom and do something positive! Something to make your life worthwhile and more importantly occupy your thoughts and time during this horrible pandemic.
So, here it is as promised, the cover for my next contemporary fantasy novel What IF? and here's the Blurb too, in a larger easier to read layout.
What if you discover everything you ever knew is untrue?
Twenty-four-year-old, Katie Wadlow, is forced to re-think her world when she learns her life is a complete lie. Hauling a semi-conscious person inside her apartment, she discovers her last living relative is someone hired to keep her hidden. Others are hunting her too. Feeling betrayed, Katie is forced to hiding once more, this time alone and homeless.
Can she stay one step ahead of those trying to capture or kill her?
Or will she die trying?
Well, you can't say this year hasn't been (insert those applicable) interesting, boring, scary, demoralising, depressing, devastating, soul destroying... Need I go on? I don't believe there is one person on this island that hasn't lost a loved one, or know of someone who has passed because of that s***** virus. Before you think that I'm about to rant for the rest of this blog, I'm not, but I wanted folk to know despite the superficial nature of my words and the topics I speak about here, I feel deeply about this subject as much as any other person. I just don't want it bring it to the table every blog. One small rant is all that virus is getting out of me here.
My blogs are aimed at providing positive words, for the majority. Words hopefully to inspire, laugh and on rare occasions uplift their spirit. Because honestly, if I can do things I want to do, so can you, so can anyone. This week for example, I assisted taking Christmas food parcels to needy, lonely people around Thanet. It sounds very humbling doesn't it, but it wasn't that good of me. For a start, I was moaning because we were forced to wait in the car park one hour because, and good for her, the organiser didn't like the look of the food provided. Frankly, I'd seen better aeroplane food. She sped off in search of festive cheer (no not booze) to make the parcels more in keeping with our deliveries. I had the villages since I wasn't worried about driving 'huge' distances or getting lost. I expected maybe 10 parcels, but ended up with only 3 which deflated my previously self-inflated ego somewhat. I don't know why, but I guess I thought if I delivered a ton of parcels it might balance up my sins?
Last week, saw my last Witch on the Warpath related podcast as I aired some of my bloopers. Feel free to check it out, it only lasts 5+ mins. Bloopers Apparently, it is getting quite a few views. I should have have just recorded my falls and stumbles around the home, might have got more views. Especially my favourites, walking into the corner of the dining table, the doorframe, the bannisters or sofa. Or my son's perennial daily fall up the stairs. Its hilarious.
Because I plan to continue recording and editing Podcasts in 2021, if my son the editor doesn't request too much money for doing these, I've decided to try and support my fellows writers and authors, by showcasing their work in between my own.
Anyone interested needs to contact me using the contact page on this website. You can either record your own piece using Zoom, or give your consent for me to read your work out. Please note I do not read porn, erotic or any other bizarre, weird or wacko stuff. That may have reduced the list of of interested folk, but please consider it. If you remain unsure check out my first offering of Faye Beerling's latest book launch for Twisty Tales.
Another idea of mine is to organise 5 minute video messages for folk to send to their loved ones across the world. You can contact me via the contact page if this appeals to you to discuss it. I will be requesting a small fee mainly to cover my son's time and editing suite. You have no idea the time editing and computer memory these take up. You need access to a computer or smart phone with a camera on it.
Yesterday, I ran our Inspirations writers Group Xmas zoom meet up (crackers and nibbles compulsory). I thought it went very well for my first Christmas one and folk looked to be having a good time, difficult to see from the inside of your own house. I've also entered our latest Anthology, Green, into the National Writing Group Associations Competition - fingers crossed.
Today and over Christmas I'm doing the final review on my next novel What If. The cover is mocked up (I think that's the professional phrase) I might show a seek preview of the cover in my Jan blog. Next, it'll be time to contact my good friend Geoff to see if he's up to formatting this book for me. Then printing with my other friends, Book Printing UK.
I did consider continuing to send this novel to an agent/publisher, as a fellow author advised, but frankly during Covid I'm probably more likely to get sex change surgery (not that I'm after one).
Hen's teeth are rare because chick's only have a tooth in the egg which they use to peck their way out the shell - I think - or I could have made that up. Agents wanting to publish an old, unknown, non-celebrity-status, nurse's novels are much rarer by far. Even though this is book four and I have several more waiting in the proverbial wings to be published. Like hen's teeth I could be wrong. I would so love that.
Just noticed a slight bitterness tripping into my words again. Sorry about that. Before I sign off for the last time this year. I just want to wish everyone and anyone, who spends a few moments scanning my website;
Have a safe, healthy and happy Christmas,
till next year.
November and we're in another lockdown! It hasn't stopped me working, or writing, or sorting out various elements of my publishing,
My new Aquasapien Book 1 arrived and the cover itself looks great with the silver metallic titles I requested. Only snag being the cover material of my sample copy refused to lie down properly. I know waves and the sea are part of this story, but having a cover wave at me was not what I intended.
Several conversations later, the production manager at my printing company reports this has been caused by printing the cover side to side rather than top to bottom. I thought printing books was their business, but I must admit they are trialling my request for metallic foil titles. Other digital printers I spoke to said it can't be done. I've ordered a second sample so we wait and see. If I'm happy with the result, I'll be digging into my retirement savings again to print Book 2. next. Staying in deficit for the foreseeable future sadly.
My review of What If? continues slowly. It still amazes me how when I don't want to do something everything else looks more appealing. I purchasing a sideboard for £30 and upcycled it into my newest bookcase this week. Took so many coats of paint I lost count, and my husband was horrified at the price I paid for the 1 litre of specially mixed paint, only to have clotted cream shade.
Then I had to finish watching The Voice and continuing with Bake Off and now MACGMOOH has begun, in Wales of all places. In between, my hubby is glued to Gold Rush and just about every car and bike restoration show going, plus a sprinkling of antiques shows, whilst I sit with my nose in my latest paranormal novel (Check my list out on GoodReads) or play games on my latest Glaxy 20a phone - early xmas pressie because my family say my phone was built in 1921. I'm sure phones weren't around then and before you ask, neither was I.
I'm just about to go and start recording my penultimate chapter of Witch on the Warpath for YouTube. After this, I have decided we will be putting a blooper Podcast out seeing as how I made so many. Just have to figure out a noise to remove the profanities. After that, I'm hoping to do a Podcast of Faye Beerling's launch for Twisty Tales.
My next idea is to consider offering to either read other writer's first chapters of their work as a Podcast, or asking them to do a recording and send it in to me for editing and placing on my channel. (Not reading or airing any graphic sex scenes! The only heavy breathing I can cope with is from Asthmatics) I'd be interested to hear other writers thoughts and views on this idea.
Finally this month, a plug, to remind everyone you can purchase hard copies of all my work on my Estore which you can find by clicking this link.
Or as a kindle story on Amazon by writing the title of the book into the search bar.
Stay safe and well everyone, Christmas will be here before you know it.
Where does the month go? One minute I'm clicking send for the September blog and now its the end of October.
This has been a busy month for me - as usual - I can hear you groan. Apart from my 'normal job' I've helped my niece by writing the clues for a Thanet-wide Halloween Treasure Hunt. The Gift Box is running this event, free of charge, for the entire week in an effort to support local businesses. You can spend the week seeking out the answers and the children are going to love it. There's a free prize draw for those who return their answers, plus a photo competition for the best photo with one of the surprise items found in store. You can obtain a clue sheet from the Gift Box FB page just click on the Gift Box link above.
October saw me undertaking lots of family functions and activities. Something I used to do with my sister's children, I've decided to innovate with her grandchildren. I took the first one of them to Gravity trampolining at Blue Water and had a brilliant day jumping around like a loon. I was so glad I'd lost a stone in weight before I went, I was exhausted anyway, but happy seeing a child so free.
After that, there was our Wedding anniversary which saw us off to Ashdown Forest, plenty of writing images for me to enthuse over. Then more anniversaries and birthday evenings with relatives. I'm surprised the weight hasn't piled back on. Fortunately I think the Karate is keeping it at bay.
I ran a session on writing for Young Adults during our Inspirations Writers Group Meeting Saturday. Yes, we are still meeting up via Zoom, which is really easy to attend if you have access to a smart phone, or tablet, or laptop etc. You don't need to be a member to attend meetings, come along and decide whether it's for you.
Joining costs £5 per year. That £5 gives you membership to the National Association of Writers Groups (which normally costs £25 per person, if you live in the UK). They are running on-line workshops, hold residential festivals and retreats and provide a regular newsletter. The £5 is worth that alone.
But there's more. You get access to our four private closed FB pages where we have a general group page, plus critiquing, notes and publishing pages.
And that's not all, IWG has its own website at inspirationswritersgroup.weebly.com You can find the monthly homework on there, and write your own Author's Biography to add to our list of members.
And there's still more. As a member you are entitled to submit work for consideration to be included in any/all of our Anthologies. We have a proved track record and have four publications already on the market. We publish every 12 - 18 months (Covid willing).
All this for £5? - unbelievable.
And that was just Saturday morning! The afternoon saw me supporting friend and fellow author, Faye Beerling, as she launched her first middle grade storybook, Twisty Tales, via Zoom. I was delighted to be asked to read an except from her delightful and imaginative book. I choose to read about the naughty Bored Brian. Joined by Reg Millison aka Reg E. Mental, we had a great time reading and laughing at the antics and the comeuppance of various individuals with Reg singing us out.
You haven't mentioned your own writing, you yell, for a change. No I haven't, I'm still reviewing the proof edited version of What If? I've been spinning between sending to more agents or publishing myself. I've organised my cover illustrator so we'll see. It'll probably be a 2021 publication either way. Likewise Quest for Courage.
I've organised and paid for (not cheap) the printing of Book One of Aquasapien. If it comes back okay it'll be Book Two next. Remember if you have the original, it'll be a limited edition as I'm not getting any more printed in full. You can still purchase the few remaining copies off my Estore found via this site. I deliver anywhere in the world. My mind is being drawn to Book Three Aquasapien Prodigy and finishing that next. However, I have another story, A Sackful of Dragons, calling me too and several more baying in my folders.
Until next time - Stay Safe and Well. And remember you can listen to Witch on the Warpath on my YouTube channel. This week's Chapter was thwart with bloopers and edits galore. My son in threatening to produce a Blooper Special. I replied "no one will want to see those." We will wait and see.
And so a new month flies in and I'm half way through it before I realise, "My blog! I haven't done October's blog yet!" Work has kept me very busy being the front-line key worker for my place of employment. Fortunately, things are going very well there and no problems we can't handle have materialised. Half-term is around the corner and thankfully I can breathe easy for a couple of weeks.
Sadly, like everyone else all my planned author signings and Comicon's got cancelled and shifted to 2021. Its a blow because it costs a fair amount of money to publish each book and not to have many sales except from on-line (which I receive less for) and hard copies sold by Page Turners via Facebook in Thanet and Quex Barn, Birchington. I know shameless plug, but I learnt long ago when I started this game, that selling your work also involves revising what level you consider your pride to be worth. Its taken several knocks over the years, not least from being turned down by the traditional publishing world up till now. I can tell you if you can survive that, promoting your own work is a breeze.
So, "what are you doing this month?" I hear you cry. I'm very happy because I've been asked to read for another author's book launch, via Zoom, on Saturday 24th October. Faye Beerling, is an internationally known author, who recently moved to Thanet and has had her first middle grade novel for children traditionally published. Faye is a member of the British Society of Literature and I have been considering joining the society myself for a short while. However, in this Covid climate I'm not sure whether now is the right time. If anyone has views on this please let me know.
In addition to Faye's launch, and hosting Inspirations writers group meeting on Young Adult Writing, on the same day in the morning, I've a month packed with family birthdays, anniversaries - including my own and other assorted celebrations. Originally we were going to Yorkshire, my husband doing a sponsored walk in aid of the Army BF, with a short trip to Scotland tacked on, but Covid has seen this cancelled, like my signings, to 2021.
Writing wise, What If? is with my proof editor. I'm reviewing the draft of Quest for Courage, Book three in the Witch on the Warpath series, which is weird because I never set out to do a series. I'm also in negotiations with my printing company Printing Book UK, regards getting my new Aquasapien cover designs sorted - and that's not cheap.
I just realised, an exciting month for me, doesn't necessarily make exciting reading to you the reader. Today, its the usual stuff we all have to do shopping, tip run - booked for 7 days time, ironing, feeding the brood and then back to writing.
Oh, and I've more reviews to add to Trip Adviser. Wonder if I can get my readership up to 100,000 before Christmas - challenge accepted. That is if Christmas is still allowed to go ahead this year. I can see that getting cancelled until 2021 as well. Except, I have noticed lots of Christmassy things in the shops. It would be ironic if we all purchased our stuff and then Boris announced, "No Christmas in 2020!" I'm guessing we'd all answer, "Humbug, Mr Scrooge."
I've just reviewed last month's blog in preparation for writing this month's piece and was amazed that only four weeks have passed since I lost Billy Big Beak. It feels like he has been gone months and still a tiny place in my heart exists just for him. Sounds soppy doesn't it, but I think of the life he should have had and what he might be doing now. I believe that its this part of me, that makes me able to write. Able to put myself in someone else's shoes and empathise with a character in depth.
Ironically, some might not think so knowing me face to face, but I think I learnt as a child, to keep that part of me deeply submerged to such an extent that I get into trouble for not being sensitive to others feelings. I am, however, very sensitive to my patient's needs and I don't believe I have ever had a complaint about my apparent insensitivity from the people who matter to me.
If you knew me well, you'd only have to see me reading a book, or watching a film or programme. It's rare for me to get through anything without tearing up spontaneously. I feel subject to my emotions in these situations, only letting my guard down at home, which is also where I write.
So, BBB is no more sadly. Since then three mice, two voles and a beautiful coal tit have joined the ranks of my lucrative cat's kills. Its hard isn't it, loving someone or something, when they do awful things that you can't sanction yourself. I did look into performing taxidermy on the coal tit so he could live on, but after reviewing the absolutely horrific procedure which includes scooping out the brain through the neck - once you've broken it - my sensitive heart couldn't face it. And I thought attending a post-mortem was bad!
On the book front, re-writing the last sections of What If? continues and I've submitted the first three chapters to the Higham Agency Open Day event in the hope it might eventually lead to finding an agent to represent my work long-term. This is the first step in another long process, or as I call it Round One in the next fight.
Another new adventure I'm involved in, is the new home-based Bookshop, Paige Turners. I've submitted my novels and Inspirations Anthologies too . A Facebook bookshop they sell new and used books. You can browse on-line and if local to Thanet, they will deliver, or you can collect, or they will post anywhere in the world - providing you cover the postage costs. Please consider liking their page, this is a new business trying to make a future in troubled times and if you like their wares, just contact them.
Finally, I've started going out for meals again and naturally started my reviews on Trip Adviser once more. Last time I looked, I had a 55,000 readership. Imagine my surprise, when I added three more reviews this week to find first, that 88 people had reviewed them in three days, but more interestingly that I now have a readership of over 90,000 people. I only wish a third of them would consider purchasing my books if they like my words. I'm going to end up being known as a resturant critic before I ever get a traditional publisher.
Currently, a small number of folk follow me. Please feel free to add your name to my followers list and you'll be informed whenever I visit or eat somewhere. I do it a lot - I love my food - and I always tell the truth, so its a good indicator of whether a place is good or not.
By the way, if I have an average or worse experience I rarely comment. I don't believe in slagging folk off. I will complain if its beyond terrible though to protect other diners. I also offer constructive criticism on how places can improve. Several restaurants have acknowledged my constructive comments and improved their establishment practices. I know because I've re-visited afterwards. As a result, I feel my reviews are valued and worthwhile - as shown by my readership.
I also answer a large number of questions about holiday destinations and activities in addition to resturants.
Don't forget, I'm still reading Witch on the Warpath on my YouTube channel - Carol M. Salter. If you go there you can start from Chapter One and if you subscribe (its free for now) you'll be inofrmed when my next chapter is published.
Do you ever consider how much of your life changes from one month to the next? Several of my friends keep diaries and this blog is beginning to look like that to me. I re-read the recent blogs I've written and am amazed how much I travel both mentally and emotionally in four short weeks.
Last month, I mentioned I'd not succeeded in coming anywhere in the Thanet Writers competition, then that afternoon I discovered I'd won the Faversham Eye Essay Writing competition!
You could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather. It took me quite a while to come down from the high. Submitting stories was a first for me. It was good to feel some validation that I'm on the right track.
That evening, I rescued Billy BigBeak Blackbird from my cat Halo and after half hourly feeds, then two hourly feeds, I began the long process of encouraging him to fly. Over the next couple of weeks, my hubby dug up earth worms and we spent several worrying days that he'd never learn to feed himself instead of me feeding him catfood from the back of a spoon.
Two and a half weeks later he was fledged and hunting worms in the bottom of his cage. The day I dreaded arrived. I'd come to love Billy. He used to nestle under my chin and sleep in my palm if he was cold. It was hard releasing him. I could have happily kept him as a pet, but he was a wild thing and needed to fly free. He hopped about under the bushes, then flew away and my husband saw him flying back and forth over the fence in the garden, so free and hopefully so happy.
Five hours later, he found him, wings outspread drown in our pond. To say I was heart broken was an understatement. We buried him that night, next to our beloved cat Peewee. A few days later, I purchased a beautiful blackbird statue to put where he lay. I make no apology for all the photos of Billy, a tiny piece of my heart went with him that day.
However, I have since made my pond as bird friendly and safe as possible so no more birds die in it. It has log roll slopes and wooden ladders going in and out of the water and birds gather there to drink, as they did before, in a much safer environment.
I'm also going to introduce Billy BigBeak as a character in my novel Quest for Courage, the third story in the Witch on the Warpath series, so his memory and photo of him will always live on.