Have to start with some sad news today. The owner of Dorian Literary Agency, Dorothy Lumley, passed away late last year. I only found out when I submitted Black Lord of Eagles to Dorian earlier this month, and received a letter in reply from the solicitors winding up her estate. So it looks as though Dorian will close, which is a loss to the industry. Ms Lumley herself always responded to my submissions with a hand-written note, something few agents or publishers take time to do, and her advice was always helpful and encouraging. She'll be missed.
Right, onward then.
This month I've spent a small fortune on my own books. I now have boxes of them teetering on top of a chest of drawers, among other places, because I need stock for upcoming events. In barely a month I have my author meet-and-greet and Barnstaple Library, on May 2nd, where I'll be signing copies (hint hint, turn up if you're about. I might even manage a smile for you). Then Waterstone's bookshop has agreed to take copies as well, and sell them in store as a local author kind of thing, just in Barnstaple. I don't know how many copies this will mean but I'd rather have too many than not enough, hence the stacks of boxes I have to sidle around.
I'm trying to put together a short talk as well, just a couple of minutes of chat about why I write what I do. Someone might ask at the Library event, after all, so I ought to sound at least slightly sensible. The trouble is, even practicing on my own my speechifying voice goes like this, "I started writing when I was er. I was always interested um. The story is um er who goes and eek."
I begin to suspect nerves may be playing a part. The last time I had to stand up and talk in public I was in school and my tongue got a bit tangled, possibly because I fancied one of the girls listening. Characters in my books don't fold their arms and stare at me when I hesitate, you see. It's terribly distracting when real people do.
I'm going camping on Exmoor next weekend, if the weather is even halfway decent. All that quiet will be a good opportunity to sort this out. I enjoy camping on my own, all the pressures of life just fall away until there's nothing but the sky and whatever animals happen to be about. Wild ponies, buzzards, trout in the streams, maybe deer if I'm lucky. I haven't been out since last summer so I really need this, it's going to be great. Then it'll be back home and time to get ready for a big month.
I want to say thanks to C J Brightley, who invited me to do a guest spot on her blog on the 25th March. I enjoyed it, though it feels a bit weird to be writing on someone else's blog. But anyway, thanks C J, it was fun.
Finally, two of my books will be free from Kindle on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th of April. They're Blood and Gold and TROY: A Brand of Fire. Tell your friends about it, pass the word, and feel free (hehe) to pick one up. I hope you enjoy reading them.