Mr and Mrs Green

Mr and Mrs Green – no relation to Sam. In fact I have no idea if Steven’s surname inspired me to call Sam Sam Green. Anyway the happy couple have hitched the knot and we are all breathing a sigh of relief. It was a huge success, full of love and happiness. I only have some photos, which I’ve added below – I didn’t take any during the day as I was too busy being proud. And I don’t have the energy to write anything else. Sorry (and sorry for no blog on Wednesday – I think I was up to my arms in flower arranging or something similar). Hurrah!

our friend Caroline – as Parker…

the rehearsal

Doris at the cottage where the bridesmaids stayed

 

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Get me to the church on time…

It’s been a more relaxed couple of days with C and I popping in and out of Bristol picking up stuff we need for the wedding. I suppose next Saturday is best described as an ‘average’ wedding, in that we’re not paying some venue to run the whole show – with associated costs. Between us we have a church, a reception hall, caterers, a bar, cakes….etc, etc. But, as is always the case with events it’s the detail where the devil is. Hence, trying to find 100 tumblers (as the venue only have plastic beakers) that look the part without breaking the bank, has been an effort. And that is one of about 50 jobs which we have on our collective list. Bex and Steven are up in Penkridge and, as well as walking 20 miles into Birmingham yesterday morning, they have been collecting bits and pieces. It will all get done.

Bex is coming here today so she can go to Wells for a haircut tomorrow and then collect her dress from Bristol. I am driving up to Penkridge as a sort of advance party. The bridesmaids all arrive on Wednesday (we have rented a large house to put them all up) and then the festivities really begin. I have vowed to remain sober throughout – someone has to.

doing some belated admin – still needs to be done!

In among all of this my spate of good, long running has wobbled a bit. I think I’ve hurt my back, but I can’t be sure as the pain moves about a bit. It hasn’t stopped me from going out and only once have I had to reach for some painkillers, but it’s annoying. I am running 10km later with Jen – who has really picked up what she’s doing. So that will test the old back.

dog walking!

Books? Well, they’re still selling – all colours. 7 books on Friday and 6 yesterday. The Innocence of Trust has been re-edited after a number of proofreading errors were discovered by the 100 or so readers who have it in their sticky little  mitts. I am really sorry for those of you who paid good money for something which isn’t yet perfect, and I am really disappointed with the publishing company who have been paid well to put this sort of thing right. Hopefully by the end of the weekend it will be sorted.

That’s all from me then. [Oh, for the record we also completed a day’s admin – I completed our tax returns, which is always a hairy time.] The good news is that this time in about a week it will all be over and I’ll soon be showing photos of the four of us rushing across the German plain. Hurrah!

Sam Green is becoming part of the family

Yesterday I go the nicest review I’ve had for a book. It was from someone I don’t know and it read: Didn’t see that coming…just about sums up this exciting spy thriller series. Loved this third book. Great detail, and up to date storylines. Sam Green is becoming part of the family and I can’t wait to find out where she goes to next. I’ve highlighted the bit that inspired me to write and write. What a lovely thing to say?

We took Bex and Steven to Grandma and Grandad’s (my M&D). A sort of last look before the wedding. M&D cannot make the journey – it would just be too far for them, and so it was great to bring to two pairs together. On Monday we took G&G shopping – in Doris. Clacton is an interesting place to drive a 4.5 tonne truck into, so that Dad can get some batteries for his hearing aids. He has dementia, which comes and goes. Most of the time, bless him, he has a vocabulary of about 25 words. He rarely uses nouns. C and I weren’t sure where the hospital was, but Dad promised us that it was just around the corner from the coach park. Now, Mum can’t walk very far and so we let Dad go whilst we hung about in the coach park. After 10 minutes and seeing Dad disappear into the distance I realised it was a mistake. I chased after him, thinking that we might lose him forever. Anyhow, I got to the hospital and, as if by magic, Dad walked out of outpatients with his batteries. He didn’t spot me, so I let him try and find his way back to the van. Which he did! So much for dementia…

bandanna time…

Yesterday we drove to Mary’s to touch base there. Mary, a retired professional flower arranger, is kindly ‘doing the flowers’ for the wedding. No small ask. So we helped a bit there. And today we’re back in Bristol. Our aim between now and Sunday when Rebecca turns up to pick up her dress, is to recoup and source all the things that are currently outstanding for the wedding. As we picked up the car (which we leave with Jen), we found her up to elbows in cotton and material. She has taken C’s sewing machine from the roof and started to make bandannas for dogs – so she can sell them on her dog boarding website. Well done her!

flower things beyond my ken

And the books continue to sell – very slowly. I had a boost today when Amazon sent me an email recommending that I buy The Innocence of Trust. Fabulous. As long as they’re telling everyone else! But, seriously, this is good news. The advert was for their .com site, ie the US. I have over 3,000 readers in the US with no guaranteed way of reaching them. Hopefully this might do the trick. Fingers crossed!

Running is in the family

We have had a fun couple of days with the bride and groom doing pre-wedding stuff. We have visited the reception, the church, spoken with the caterer, the barwoman and the flower shop. We have done a lot of decoration shopping for which bravo to Ikea, The Range and Hobbycraft. And we have looked through photo albums (actually, I didn’t – I watched some film or other) and been for a number of runs. Both Steven and Rebecca are runners – and I often go out with them. I have, for the first time in over three years, started running longer than 30 mins. There’s a run down the canal in Penkridge which takes me almost 40 minutes – and I’m loving it.

running is in the family

As part of the pre-wedding plans we have come over to my Mum and Dad’s in Colchester. They can’t make the wedding (too frail – too complicated), so we thought it best that we haul then over for a pre-wedding inspection. They are in a complex place my Mum and Dad. Very fragile but not fragile enough to warrant a major move – if you get my drift. I think we’re just waiting for a bit of a catastrophe. It’s sad, but they’re too proud to move away from their home. And I have some sympathy with that.

For the next week we are parting company with R&S and heading down to Mary’s and then back to the West Country. Rebecca joins us next Sunday – and then it’s the ‘week before’ … the bridesmaids are gathering on the Wednesday. I guess our feet won’t touch the ground. I don’t know if I told you that R&S are honeymooning with us. We off to Germany to visit where Bex was born (and, coincidentally where C was also born) and then onto Berlin, Bex’s fave city. It was absolutely their choice to come away with us – living in the Bahamas and trips to Cuba, NY and skiing in Whistler this year have taken its toll on their finances. So it’s Doris and the continent – or two weeks in Staffordshire. Lucky us!

Finally, the books. I’m selling all three books at a rate of somewhere between 3 and 8 (total) books a day. There is no pattern. The Innocence of Trust now has 9 decent reviews (thank you soooo much) which should, according to Amazon, be generating some market traffic. But, unlike Fuelling the Fire, which by now had started to gather steam under Kindle Press’s marketing umbrella, books are not exactly flying off the shelves. I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve – which includes writing book 4, but I am currently unwilling to spend any money on the project. We’ll see. The good news is that the publishing company have immediately agreed to re-edit TIOT on the back of the mistakes found early on in the original release. That’s a hurrah!

So, all’s well with us.

Where are my leathers?

It’s been a frustrating sort of couple of days. But, like a Curate’s egg, it’s been good in parts.

Books. Well, The Innocence of Trust is selling. I’m at about 70 copies so far and it’s flying off the shelves at about 4 a day – mostly UK, but I have had a few sales in the US. I’ve had four brill reviews so far and have a target of ‘known’ reviewers at just under 40. For those of your reading this who I have gently pressed so far for a review – sorry. But early reviews help – really help. Amazon’s algorithms pick up reviews when they look to market new books. So, if you have read TIOT please pen a review. They can be done anonymously – and can be just a number of stars; no words (although words help). Unsuspecting Hero and Fuelling the Fire have also still continued to sell. The small marketing drive by Amazon added a further 20 US copies to my readers of Fuelling the Fire. And, as I’m now aware, three books is better than two books is better than one. So I better get on with the fourth.

we went for a walk in Durham Place before we travelled north – loved it

Frustratingly TIOT is not without error. The company I used to prepare the book for launch, which included proofreading, have not done a great job. Four errors in Chapter 1 (one picked up by a friend, and 3 by me in bed last night). I can’t find any errors in Chapter 2, but I am not a proof reader and the author is the last person who should look over their work. Well, me especially. I have sent an immediate email to my ‘publishers’ and see what they come back with. But I am not happy.

On more positive notes, we are in Penkridge on wedding planning. And it all looks good. Caterers – tick. Bar – tick. Decorations – tick. Flowers – tick. Church – tick. I have a few things to sort this morning, and C and I are going on ‘greenery’ hunt in a bit, up and down the canal. And (and this is exciting) I am looking for someone to fit a towbar to the back of Doris. Then it’s a trailer. And then it’s a trike! (A Paiggio mp3, actually). We are both v excited by the prospect of owning something that looks a bit like a motorcycle – photo below.

mmmmmm

Anyhow, must get on. Things to do – greenery to discover!

Now what do I do?

We have launch! Whilst they’re not flying off the shelves, I am selling copies – including 2 paperbacks! And I have had my first unsolicited review: Unputdownable: The third book in Roland Ladley’s spy thriller series does not disappoint. Like its predecessors, The Innocence of Trust is exciting, fast paced action from the first to the last page. Sam Green is once again his well drawn, flawed heroine; his secondary characters are equally rounded. The up-to-the-minute plot is well thought out and utterly, scarily believable. A highly recommended read. Hurrah!

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my three glamorous women!

I have started sending messages to everyone on Goodreads who left a review (there are 105 – I’m at about 30). I have emailed everyone I know. I have LinkedIn some people. And used Facebook and Instagram to send the news. My current ambition is not to spend any money on advertising – to let this thing run and see if it can gain its own momentum. We’ll see.

In among all this book stuff I popped along for tea to an old Army friend of mine who lives a short cycle ride away – he works in Saudi so our paths don’t cross that often. He has just finished his own adventure novel which he is having professionally edited. You can guess what we spoke about (at length).

Bex has held her Hen Night (which C and Jen both went to). It was, by all accounts, highly successful. Bex had a fab time with 15 of her friends (and Mum!). Bristol is such a good place to have a party. Whilst they were making cocktails, my mate Kenn came round for supper. He’s still  serving and is planning to ride a motorcycle to Sierra Leone next Spring for charity. I’ve spent some time there and it’s a fab country – but, for me, flying is the only sensible way to get there. More of his exploits as they come to pass.

And today we visited a local village hall where Jen and her fiancee are planning to hold a celebration party for their wedding next summer…and tonight my old mate Daren (and Karen) popped over to talk wedding photos. As well as a retired officer he’s also a professional photographer and is taking piccies for Bex and Steven’s wedding. As such, how pleased am I to have the book(s) to distract me from all this wedding malarkey!

I think in about a week’s time I’m going to have to pick up Book 4, which, if I remember rightly, I’m towards the end of Chapter 4. I am looking forward to that, but only when I have a clear head.

That’s all from us. May Mrs Sun continue to cast shadows wherever you are…

It’s hot…

Now, I’m not complaining, but Mrs Sun has come out guns blazing and, all of a sudden, it’s pretty hot. Like, really hot. I think it’s just a blip, but it’s made C and I come over all a bit tired.

However, life must go on. We picked Bex and Steven up from Manchester, brought them down here, had a Sunday evening at the worst pub restaurant in Christendom doing some wedding planning, went wedding dress shopping and (eventually) they left us to go to see his relatives in Cornwall. Where, we understand, they’re loving the sun.

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We spent yesterday and this morning trying to sort out the leaking awning with Chelstons. Bless them, they have worked hard, but still think their fix is temporary. So we’ll have to bring her down for 3 days in a couple of months so they can take the whole thing off, and refit it. It’s all doable, but we could do without the tooing and froing. We left the Focus with Quick Fit to have a rear spring replaced. £290 later, now with two new springs and complete realignment, it’s all done. If I had the right tools I’m pretty confident that I could replace a spring…but, it’s not worth the hassle. And, in this heat, the associated loss of humour.

THE INNOCENCE OF TRUST by [Ladley, Roland]How’s the book? Well, I have emailed everyone I know and done some LinkedIn comms. I have tried to target some of the 100 Goodreads reviewers of my two previous books, but have got nothing back from anyone. My ambition is for 100 preorders by Friday, but I don’t think I’m going to get that. Somehow I need to target the 3,500 folk who have brought my previous books on Amazon – and I am working on that. And then the company I am using have a special marketing tool (not really disclosed to me) which they reckon will assist sales once the book is up and running on Friday.

I’m also doing some other things – looking to have articles written in magazines that I’m associated with (like the Caravan Club article of last month which did a good job of boosting sales for a while). And Kindle Press are marketing Fuelling the Fire for 5 days starting today, so that might help.

But, in the end, it’s about perseverance. And I’m pretty good at that. I think…