We’ve just stopped moving…

We’re now back at our favourite Bristol campsite (the photo below is taken from about 100 metres away). Since the beginning of December our itinerary has been: Godalming, Cirencester, Bristol, Godalming, Colchester, Godalming, Bristol, Wolverhampton, Bristol, Godalming, Gatwick, Godalming, Bristol. Tomorrow we’re off to Lambourn (C’s sister) for New Year, but on Friday we’re off down to Poole to see C’s other sister. Then back to Bristol…for about 7 days. Then Chatel for 2 weeks! Hurrah!!

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That’s the problem with not having a house. You have to visit other people, rather than them come to you. In the summer we’re open for business – as it’s easier to live outside. But in the winter, it’s more tricky. But – it’s a small price to pay, as Doris continues to be pretty perfect and whilst we often talk about settling down (chalet in the Alps – live upstairs and rent downstairs?), nothing has yet caught our imagination enough for us to make a decision.

We saw Bex and Steven off to New York this morning (then back to the Bahamas for school next weekend) and are now back in Bristol. Interestingly, even though I left the electric heater on in Doris, the water heater tripped and dumped all of our water overnight. Which is fine. As that’s what it’s supposed to do. But it’s the first time it’s happened. The hope is that nothing else has succumbed to the low temperatures…we shall find out soon enough.

It has been a great Christmas. We’ve seen an awful lot of Jen, James (thanks for Christmas), Bex and Steven. And with popping to see Annie tomorrow – that should just about square the circle (although not my brother…). Hurrah!

And the books? Well, both seem to be selling well enough (although at a much reduced price – which is fine – it’s about finding an audience). And today, I think in the US, Fuelling the Fire was made available on Prime Lending. They tell me it stays there ‘for about 3 months’. I don’t get any royalties, but I do get a $1,000 payment in lieu. ‘Lends’ do influence sales rank (currently 25,000 in the US, 9,000 in the UK), but Amazon are struggling to show ‘Lends’ on the day sales sheets. So I may never know how many ‘Lends’ I’ve had.

Nothing back from any publishers/agents for The Innocence of Trust. I have 9 replies outstanding. When that’s done, I’ll rethink any plans I have.

And finally, I thought I might share my latest UK review of Unsuspecting Hero. Delighted with it… Hurrah again!!

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Happy Christmas!

We had a fab time in Penkridge, the highlight of which was certainly our trip to the panto to watch Aladdin – with rock ‘n roll, at Stafford theatre. It was extraordinarily professional affair and lots of fun and singing along.

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On Christmas Eve we drove down to Bristol, parked up at the campsite, lost the Christmas spirit with all the wrapping and packing up to go to James’ flat (and Jen), and then drove the short distance to Filton…to be met by a wonderfully decorated and welcoming house. Christmas spirit returned!

C cooked roast ham as we watched Andre Rieu’s London’s Christmas show (just the best fun – we took my Mum and Dad to see him in Germany for Dad’s 80th birthday and we loved it) followed by the film Paddington. Which I loved on so many levels – but most of all because Nicole Kidman played the baddie – and was as fabulous as ever. Today we’ve taken Cassie for a walk (C and I ran for 20 minutes) and have opened all our pressies. The best thing was the handheld espresso maker that I got for C – which creates the require pressure by a hand pump. It means you can have decent coffee on the move/picnic at any time. Thanks to 2Lt Rosie W (Annie and Al’s newly commissioned daughter) for the advice. Great!

And finally, the books. Fuelling the Fire is now selling in the UK. The 12 Days of Kindle seems incredibly opaque (I can’t find FtF on any lists), but it is selling. Amazon in the US has also reduced the cost of FtF on .com, but do not seem to have applied any associated marketing. The fact that they’ve done this without telling me is really frustrating. I really have no idea what they’re doing – and I do wish someone from Seattle would talk to me. Grrr.

But, apart from all that, we’re in good form. And I really hope you are too. Merry Christmas!

Three sleeps to go…

How would all this work if I had a full time job? Mary, Mum and Dad, Jen, wedding dress shopping and now a couple of days in Penkridge with Bex and Steven. It’s been mad – full on.

When the girls went wedding dress shopping, I was responsible for the dogs (me, with my reputation?). Thankfully the dogs were fine and the wedding dress shopping suited me, in that they didn’t buy anything! If you’ve had nothing to do with weddings, you’ll not comprehend the cost of things. Like wedding dresses. Think 10% of the GDP of a small African country, and you’ll be about there. We spoke to the caterers yesterday. Mmmm. Now, to be fair to Bex and Steven we have given them a slab of cash and told them to find any overspend. With the way things look, I think our contribution may pay for the wedding dress…. (that’s quite close to the truth). If only I had a job…

Yesterday we went out for lunch with Bex and Steven meeting up with old school colleagues of theirs at a local pub – which was nice. Today we took the train into Birmingham and walked round the Frankfurt/Birmingham Christmas market. It was blooming cold – which was nice – and it wasn’t a bad market (apparently the biggest in the UK). Gluhwein was drunk, and roasted peanuts eaten. And we also managed to get a couple of errant Christmas presents. We also climbed to the top of Birmingham’s new library. What a great place! And what a great view at the top. Well done Birmingham.

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Books? Well, The Innocence of Trust has been given two additional big thumbs up by two pre-readers (thanks Annie W and Johanna H), and I have dispatched it to 10 agents/publishers. I’ve had one nice refusal. One of my readers says that it’s so good I must persevere. So I will do. Promise.

FtF and UH are selling at a rate of about 5 a day – which is ok, but well below the 100 a week. The exciting thing is that FtF gets its first UK marketing tomorrow as part of Kindle UK’s ’12 days of Kindle’. It’s on the market for 99p for those 12 days; but it should get a big boost from that. So, if you haven’t bought it already, do so tomorrow!

Next report will be on Christmas Day (I hope). We hope you have a good one!

The Goose is getting fat

We’re now in Bristol with Jen and Bex, who, notwithstanding the British weather which diverted her flight from the Bahamas to Cardiff (and eventually to Heathrow), is in good form. Picking Bex up from the airport was fun – I have to say I think £10.40 for under 2 hours parking at T5 is close to criminal, and as we had two visits, we are feeling particularly poor at the moment. Or is that just Christmas for you?

We left Mum and Dad with the clear view that they haven’t got too much longer before there has to be some sort of intervention. We tried to arrange for someone to come in once a day, but they were having none of it. I do feel feel that it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen. Oh well. We can just keep in touch and pop up when we can.

This week is about weddings. Bex is in wedding dress shopping mode – out this afternoon and all day tomorrow with her bridesmaids (and her Mum!). I will be in dog looking after mode – as Jen’s business has to continue whilst she helps Bex chose a dress. I’m sure they’ll all be fine – that’s both the shopping party and the dogs!

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Books. Well, they’re still selling between 4 and 6 a day, which is better than none. Amazon are putting Fuelling the Fire into their ’12 days of Kindle’ promotion starting on 23 December. Price 99p. This is good news – as, up until now, there has been no UK marketing at all. It’s going to be v interesting to see how that goes. Kindle Press are still not talking to me, so I don’t know what US marketing is going on. And I wait for Amazon US to stick it in Prime Lending, which should generate some additional interest.

And I’ve had my second reader come back about The Innocence of Trust. One word: fantastic! I’m feeling v confident about the whole thing, although, realistically I’ll probably have to publish the book myself in the end. We’ll see.

Anyhow, good luck with the Christmas pressie shopping!

Reinvigorated!

I had a lovely three days at Wells. It was great to catch up with everyone and, I hope, help a few people on the coaching side. I finished the 7-session/3×360 degree report programme as well as seeing a few folk. And also catching up with lots of people. I didn’t see the ghost; so maybe next time?

We left Mary’s this morning, and are now at M&D’s. It is, I’m sad to say, a story of gentle decline. We’re not sure how much longer the pair of them can stay in the house on their own (Mum had a bad fall at the weekend, but she’s just about OK now). We shall see. We helped put up the Christmas decorations and will take them shopping tomorrow.

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And the books? Well, both Fuelling the Fire and Unsuspecting Hero continue to sell in the US, but in small numbers. Amazon are still not talking to me, and I emailed them again last night. It would be really helpful to know what they’re up to. This morning one of C’s ex-students (an Oxford English student), WhatsApped to say she was reading FtF and loved it (read it in one sitting). A pal of mine at Wells told me that his 85 year old mother was a Sam Green fan. And this morning my first ‘tester’ came back on The Innocence of Trust. Her exact words were: Loved it. Best so far!

So, reinvigorated, I’m back on the case. The brother of a pal of mine is ex-MI6 and has come back to me with some comments (it’s all above board) on The Innocence of Trust – how fab is that? So I’ve got some work to do.

I even started looking at photos for the front cover today!

A couple of days here and then off to Heathrow to pick Rebecca up (from the Bahamas), back to Mary’s for the evening and then to Bristol for Christmas. Hurrah!

Book Club!

I know, I know, I’m late with this. And, to add insult to injury, it’s going to be v short.

We had a great time at Mary’s with her big party – much fun and, surprise of all surprise, I was left in the kitchen with a couple of blokes to cook the veg and heat the food through for 40 people. Thankfully I’m too stupid for it to have been a worry!

Then to Wells where I am staying on the top floor of the headteacher’s house – which is haunted by a woman. So far I’ve not met her – but I do get some funny feelings if I think about it. The leadership stuff has been good fun (but tiring), and I’m here to Wednesday morning finishing off.

Just got back in from a book club, who read Fuelling the Fire. Me and five middle-aged ladies – who were huge fun. The consensus was wholly positive, but the overriding view was ‘more sex!’. Oh well…

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And I had my first (very positive) rejection from an agent today for The Innocence of Trust. Oh well…again.

That’s it from me, this time. I promise to write a bit more mid-week.

Ta- Ra!

Yo-Ho-Ho

So this is Christmas? I hope you have fun…

Now, I know I’m a miserable so-and-so. And even without a Scottish bone in my body I do struggle to spend money frivolously. So, when it comes to Christmas presents I’m the last person to go shopping with. My view is that most people nowadays have what they want – certainly the people we know. (I know that puts us somewhere in the middle class, but it is what it is.) And yet, like everyone else in Cribbs Causeway, Bristol’s out-of-town mall, we spent Tuesday wandering around trying desperately to find things that our friends and family might want, but probably don’t. Hats off to C, she’s very good at looking out for a bargain and we are well beyond spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds on everyone. But we still do spend.

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In the chaos that is the UK, I’m sort if missing this…

There’s an anti-Black Friday movement (which now extends into Christmas), the name of which I can’t remember. Their clear view is that no one should spend anything, but instead spend time with the people you love, sharing what you have. I’m up for that! However, I’m in the minority. So you’re all getting tat for Christmas. And our love…

We’re off to Mary’s today for preparation for the great big birthday bash. That will take us through to Sunday. And then to Wells for three days work – which I’m really looking forward to. Whilst I’m there I’m doing a Fuelling the Fire book club – which will be fun. The book, whose sales have dropped significantly (no idea why – Amazon still won’t talk to me), has been selected for Prime Reading – which is Amazon’s new bolt on for Prime customers. They get a rotating group of 1,000 ebooks to chose from. FtF will be on that scheme for 90 days – and I get a lump sum instead of royalties for the period.

And finally The Innocence of Trust is now with 5 folk for a Christmas edit. I have written a synopsis (which I really dislike doing – you try reducing a multi-layered book to a page and a half) and a cover letter. The aim is to get it out to two agents and a publishing house by the end of next week. That will be a start.

Anyhow, that’s all from us. Yo-Ho-Ho!