Life in the slow lane (not)

Is it really three months since I posted here? Mea maxima bad.

But we have not been idle. It all started when three members of the Arun Scribes writing group (Rosemary Noble, Angela Petch and I) found we all had books almost ready to publish. ‘Would you like to join Rosemary and me for lunch?’ emailed Angela. Or so I thought. How nice! A closer inspection revealed that what she actually wrote was ‘Would you like to join Rosemary and me in a launch?’

Certainly, said I blithely, and that’s where it all began.

First the meeting to decide the venue. Many were discussed and rejected, till Rosemary came up with the perfect place: the Museum in Arundel. We sorted a date, decided who would buy the fizz and orange juice and went back to our books. Job done.

Well, not quite. There was the small matter of a radio interview with Voice of Progress (talking newspapers)…

a Facebook launch…

and a silent movie .

There was social meeja to master and pawsteps into the Twittesphere to brave. We fought off mobi and epub dragons. We trepidly entered the lairs of the giant CreateSpace and the ogre Ingram Spark.

Rosemary, our brilliant techie, drove us hard. Angela, mother figure to us all, soothed and consoled and encouraged. And as for paw Prints: when I had finished having a meltdown (A Facebook launch? What’s that? How do you do it? I don’t understand anything about it! etc) I got busy with the press releases.

It was three months of angst, crises and tears, interspersed with a few triumphs as one or another of us ‘got it’, or there was an interview in the press (many thanks to the marvellous Phil Hewitt at West Sussex Newspapers) or a splendid listing (many thanks to wonderful Gill at Ingenue Magazine).

And it paid off. … after months of turmoil we, the Arun Scribes, finally launched our latest books (and some earlier ones too) on Sunday April 30th. We had a steady stream of visitors; they may have come to drink Prosecco but they stayed to chat – and buy books, bless them.
If you want to know more how we got on, clever-clogs Rosemary has mastered Adobe Spark (I hate her) and made this

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Almost there!

My new book ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ is within a cat’s whisker of hitting the bookshelves and the e-sphere. The cover design was delivered today – now all I have to do is tread the independent publishing maze, the promotion maze, the social media maze – and come out unscathed on the other side. Here’s a taster:

At Calais we lumbered off the ferry and, ignoring a small official with a large hat who kept bellowing ‘Fret! Fret!’ at us, we made our determined way to the domestic immigration channel. The small official pursued us, and when he paused for breath I explained politely that, no, we weren’t freight: we were an inoffensive English couple taking some household goods to a maison secondaire. We had all the paperwork, I added helpfully. For a second this gave the small official pause, then he brightened. ‘Douanes, Douanes’ he said, gesturing towards a dilapidated hut off to one side of the docks. Dutifully, we made our way to the Douanes, the customs shed.
The customs officer peered disdainfully through his little window at the dusty Ford Transit sagging on its springs, at the laden trailer with here a chair leg, there a lamp shade poking out from beneath its insecurely tied tarp. Ignoring the fact that I had spoken to him in French, ‘Do you heff an eeenventory?’ he sneered.

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Paw Prints Ponders…

The Best-laid Plans

Well, woman may propose, as the proverb (almost) goes, but something – be it god, fate or the ‘lurgy – disposes.  In my case it was definitely the latter.

‘Oh, you’re going to learn about social media?’ said Fate.  ‘Well, we’ll see about that…’  While everyone else was gainfully employed learning about Tweeting and posting on Facebook and building up a fan base, I was flat on my back thinking death might be an easy way out.

Can’t complain:  everyone I know has had the blessed ‘lurgy, but it ain’t nice while it’s going on.

So the blog resumes for 2017, and a belated very happy  New Year to anyone who might be reading this.  Not that it (2017) bodes well.  Celebrities dropped like flies.  One celebrity, who might not be missed if he did drop (I name no names but an American friend calls him Orange Julius) instead ascended to the highest office in the land – across the pond, that is.

As for this space, mewsings will be posted as and when they occur to me.  Saturday limericks are suspended but the odd ‘rick will surely pop up from time to time.

News there is aplenty, so watch this space.

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Paw Prints Ponders…


Part I: When dinosaurs become birds (or, for those old enough to get the reference, Grannie is about to Take a Trip)

It’s not very nice to wake up one day and discover you are a dinosaur. As a coyly-named Silver Surfer I was rather proud of my attempts to get with the programme. I’ve been emailing for years, of course. I know how to attach documents, photos and even links to my emails and have them come out reasonably ungarbled.
When Kindles came along I learned to send my copy to my tablet, which gave me a fine sense of accomplishment. I hated it (I’m a pencil and paper girl, me) but I did it.
Then social media popped its head over the parapet. Blogs! Facebook! Twitter! Instagram! Pinterest! It’s enough to make the more mature among us run for the hills.

First there was Facebook. Suddenly it seemed that everybody, but everybody was posting on Facebook. OK, it was usually pictures of their cat, but the very fact of being on social media was a kind of seal of approval.

I took the plunge. I set up a page, and even ‘liked’ a few people I knew really well.   The idea was that if I did something egregiously silly, at least only my close friends would know about it. Setting up a Facebook page is, I discovered, not all that scary. If you go on to the Facebook website they will practically talk you through it step by step. But there are two problems that I can see.

First of all, what on earth do you put on it? I have a problem imagining that I have anything to say that would actually interest anyone, given that most of my ‘friends’ are ‘fraintances’ at best (my word for friendly acquaintances). Why would they want to know I had toast and peanut butter for breakfast?

Secondly, a lot of my real friends and contemporaries are just as scared of the process as I was, with the result that they aren’t on Facebook in the first place. But needs must, so I persevered. I even set up a separate page for my newly-published book Sometimes I actually posted something – and wonder of wonders I even got a few likes!

I was feeling quite proud of myself, until a younger colleague said to me in disbelief: ‘You mean you don’t Tweet?’ Well, no, I don’t tweet. I’m not Stephen Fry or JK Rowling or Tiger Woods, so why should anything I tweet be of any interest to anyone else? Please think of this as charming modesty, if you will, it’s actually acute terror. What if I attract a troll? Worse, what if someone sensible disses what I have said?

Still, I set up an account (if anyone has been following this blog they will know I am @perdisma).  I even tweet from time to time. Usually the result is not what I intended. Followers appear from nowhere, mostly trying to sell me something. No trolls yet, but I am waiting. And have I got a clue what I am doing? You guessed it.

Which brings us neatly back to that trip Grannie is about to embark on. My good friend Rosemary Noble (author of the wonderfully atmospheric ‘Search for the Light’ and ‘The Digger’s Daughter’) is a twitterwhizz. She gets it. And, being a generous sort, has always shared an insight or two with the hardier members of our writing group. And next week she is giving us a seminar on the subject.

Will we emerge wiser?  or more confused than ever?  Watch this space…

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Saturday limerick 10.12.16

For the Russians, let’s cry ‘Hip, hooray’!
For a splendid athletic display.
They ducked and they dived
And always contrived
To capture the gold on the day.

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Saturday limerick 3.12.16

Cried an angry young lady from Goring
‘My boyfriend’s incredibly boring:
Uninspiring in bed
And, what’s worse,’ she said,
‘I can’t get to sleep for his snoring.’

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Saturday limerick 26.11.16

A young vegan fellow of Leeds
Ate nothing but salads and seeds.
Till he noticed his ass
Was covered with grass
Intermixed with a fine crop of weeds.

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Saturday limerick 19.11.16

A pious young lady of Trinity
Was taking a degree in divinity.
But she went on the town
With a fellow named Brown
And unfortunately lost her lecture notes.

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Paw Prints is all a’Twitter

So (you have to start a sentence with ‘so’, it’s the law) we’ve finally put our paws in the twittersphere. It’s great fun, not having a clue what you’re doing, but I rather think it’s a case of lighting the blue touch paper and retiring.

Today I have five followers. Five! How did I get them? I haven’t a clue. I never actually told anyone that I am now @perdisma (she says proudly) but nonetheless there they are. Tomorrow I expect to have one – and that’s just a company trying to advertise its parcel delivery service on my twitterfeed. Good luck with that. The other four will have taken to the hills because I dared to use the B word (hint: it’s got an x in it) coupled with the word yay. What was I thinking?

Watch this space for more news from the trenches…

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(black) Saturday limerick 12.11.16

There’s some noise, and a sly, noxious smell.
Someone’s let off a trump, can’t you tell?
The voting has ended
And what’s done can’t be mended
So it’s ‘Goodbye, and see you in hell.’

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