So that folks in the USA don’t feel left out, Away With The Fairies will be on countdown from today, for 120 hours at 99 cents first and then at $1.99, then at $2.99 before going back to its original price of $3.99 on the 10th of December. I don’t think I have put this on sale in the USA before, so I shall be very interested to see what happens.
Today is National Poetry Day.
For those who like or even love poetry this is a day when people quote favourite lines from poems, or post their own.
In honour of the day, Accidental Emeralds is now only 77p ($1.25 in the US) for the Kindle version.
It’ll be this price for around 24 hours before returning to normal price. The paperback is still £5 and jolly pretty it is too:
For all other Kindle marketplaces, replace the dot co or dot com with dot whatever yours is ( dot fr dot in etc) and the rest of the URL should remain the same.
Happy Birthday, Strangers and Pilgrims!
As May ticked over into June, I realised that this month marks three years since I launched Strangers and Pilgrims as a Kindle book. Prior to that it had been available as a paperback for around a year or so, selling a few copies but generally just sitting there. I’d had people ask was I going to put it out as an e-book and I’d said yes, yes, of course and had done nothing. Circumstances at the time meant I didn’t do so until a shift occurred that caused me much hurt, upset and grief, and as a way of reassuring myself of my worth as a writer, I set to and launched Strangers and Pilgrims again, as an e-book.
When it was first launched, I know I was far from ready to publish. The book was, but I wasn’t. It’s hard to explain why without raking up past pain, but it wasn’t until June three years ago that I was able to face making a book available to the Kindle market which barely existed when I wrote the book. There’s something tender and vulnerable about releasing a book and Strangers & Pilgrims is dear to me. As I explained in my post about revisiting it after a long period unable to even look at it, it’s a book that touches people. The majority have loved it. It’s been sharing page space with some very famous books and very illustrious authors in the various Kindle charts for such genres as metaphysical and visionary fiction, as well as in personal transformation. In a small way it seems to have become a kind of a classic.
In the first year it was out on Kindle, it sold steadily and it continues to sell, though not in the numbers is did a year or two back. When I’d first launched it, as a paperback, there had been naïve talk about it somehow going viral and becoming a worldwide success. Naive on my side, I think; perhaps a bit more delusional on the part of the other person. I don’t know. I’m a realist. I’ve always felt that the chances of any book becoming one of those unstoppable hits are very small indeed, but like with the Lottery, at least buy a ticket! Putting Strangers and Pilgrims onto Kindle was like buying a ticket. There’s still a chance of it becoming that international best-selling sensation, but you know, the fact that it’s been read by a few thousand people (perhaps three thousand or so; I’ve stopped counting obsessively now) is a HUGE thing for me. It’s not a beach read or a blockbuster thriller and the fact that it’s reached that many people is amazing to me. Literary-ish fiction is horribly hard to sell independently; the folks who like literary fiction tend not to be Kindle users and are those who love books made of paper rather than pixels.
I’ve been asked numerous times if there will be a sequel and for a long while I toyed with it. I let the idea go, after writing a few chapters. Nothing seemed to shine; ideas flared briefly like a match struck in a dark cave before dying back into darkness. Then, a few weeks ago, a scene came to me that I had to write and I wrote it. I think that the long term effects of my late and unlamented parathyroid tumour meant that ideas just fizzled and died, and I lacked the necessary mental agility needed to link ideas and characters and plots. Now I am recovering (other stuff going on but…) I hope that the mental progress I’ve seen will continue and books will get finished. The sequel is about ten thousand words down so far. I have no idea when (or even if) I will finish it, but for those who felt the ending of Strangers & Pilgrims was a tiny bit too neat, there were threads left hanging that mean some things will be coming unravelled. (No spoilers here).
Anyway, three years old (we won’t count the first, damaged birth) and still touching lives, here’s to Strangers and Pilgrims and many thanks to everyone who has read and loved the book.
(If you have read and enjoyed the book, but haven’t left a review, I’d be extremely grateful if you would consider doing so. Reviews seem to generate interest and activity.)
Everywhere else, replace the .com in the URL with whichever suffix your country uses ie .de .ca and the rest of the URL stays the same.
For a limited time only, The Bet will be available at 99p only. The price goes up first to £1.99 and then back to the original (and very reasonable price) of £2.94.
I’ve not used the Countdown programme before so this is very much an experiment. Please pass this offer on if you can, buy the book, tweet and share.
Today is Candlemas or Imbolc, as well as the 1st of February. It’s the day when people celebrated the very first signs of spring. Imbolc or Oilmelc means sheep’s milk and it is indeed at this time of year that the first lambs are born (some are already born!) and the flow of milk really starts. It’s also the time when we start to notice the return of the light; indeed Alfred the Great decreed that after this day no candles were to be used at milking either morning or evening. In theory there is now light enough for this twice daily task.
It’s one of those new beginning kind of days. About five years ago I went to a ceremony where one was supposed to set one’s intent for the year ahead and while I giggled through a lot of it, I in my turn marched to the centre with my lit candle and declared my intent for the year to be invincible. This provoked much comment later at coffee after the ceremony, but I’ve never changed from that intent and I’d like to reaffirm my decision to let nothing permanently discourage me!
So over the last few days, in preparation for today I wondered what to do. I’d had a thought for releasing some short stories and I decided to just go for it. All my other ebooks I have had my beloved at hand helping me get something sorted, and this time I decided I shall do it without assistance and maintain my invincible stance.
It turned out not to be as hard as I feared.
There are six stories in this little collection, some familar to long term readers of this blog and one completely new. All the tales are spun around a theme of ancient beings, whether deities, demi-gods, archetypes or others, somehow still interacting with the modern world, and with modern people.
I’ve had to classify it in fantasy and fairytales because I couldn’t think of anywhere better to list it! I’ve also priced it as low as it is possible to price it.
I should mention that if you don’t own an e-reader, you can download a Kindle app for free and then can read a Kindle book on any pc, tablet or even on your phone.
Anyway this is my wish for this Spring for myself: to be invincible still.
(If you are in another country that has Amazon, put my name into the search and you ought to find the book there. I don’t really expect to sell any in non-English speaking countries, though!)
I don’t usually post on a Sunday unless I have something to share that is special and this is VERY special. Away with the Fairies has been out a little while now and reviews have been popping up on Amazon, making me dance round like a lunatic, but today, this lovely review appeared on a blog. I’m chuffed to bits with this, so a big thank you to the blogger, Gordon Bonnet.
Go and have a read.
Interview with Isobel..
As a writer, I meet some extraordinary people in the course of my work and I get to write their stories for them. Of all the people who have appeared in my books, Isobel Trelawny, whom you may know from Away With The Fairies, has appeared in more tales than anyone else. She’s played best supporting actress in several but she’s the star of Away With The Fairies and today she’s agreed to sit down with me and have a bit of a chat. We’ve got the coffee, but instead of Isobel’s favourite biscuits, (chocolate Hob-Nobs), I’ve only been able to find some ginger snaps.
Viv: I hope the biscuits aren’t too much of a let down.
Isobel (laughing; she does this quite a bit). That’s OK, I’m cool with ginger biccies.
Viv: I’m glad to hear that! Anyway, thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.
Isobel: It’s a pleasure. Gets me a bit of space in my day, to be honest.
Viv: I gather that can be quite a problem, yes?
Isobel: Well, I know your family is grown up now, but I’m sure you remember how much hard work small children are. Miranda, my oldest, is alarmingly bright and I have to be up to the mark all the time. Luke’s much more laid-back about life. And simply finding the mental space to day dream rather than doing things all the time is really hard. I’m often so knackered by the time the kids are in bed, I really don’t have the energy to paint, or even think.
Viv: You weren’t sure you’d be able to have kids, as I recall?
Isobel: True, which makes me feel guilty about whinging about them when I do. I had a series of miscarriages when Mickey and I first got married. There wasn’t an explanation; there was nothing wrong, as far as the quacks could see. I just kept losing them early on. Then some years later, I woke up one morning not only knowing I was pregnant but also being fairly sure this one would go to term.
Viv: Your parents died when you were pregnant with Luke. How did that affect you?
Isobel (laughing again) You know damn well how it affected me! OK, well, I was shocked and then I was angry. I’d not had a good relationship with them, to be honest. I felt (and I had good evidence about this) that they neither of them approved of me and my life choices very much. I was just at the point in my life when I felt it might be possible for them to start approving of me when they killed themselves. I don’t think anyone really knows how they truly feel about their parents till they’re gone. I certainly didn’t. I didn’t know how ill they both had been. I’d kept them at arms’ length for years, avoiding anything that might bring out any emotional reaction. And when they were gone, suddenly, like that, I couldn’t process it. I was heavily pregnant and people kept telling me to relax and not get upset and so on. Oh and “Think of the baby!” So it was a while later before I could start to even think about it all. By then, you see, people assume you’ve done your grieving and you’re tickety-boo. But I wasn’t. Far from it. I was pretty much at breaking point and yet, I simply didn’t know it. It was killing that deer with the car that was the tipping point that meant I couldn’t go on pretending any longer.
Viv: I know. Since the events of Away With The Fairies, you’ve had some more tough things to deal with, so it does seem a long, and ongoing process.
Isobel: I think what’s gone on since then has been long overdue. I’ve got a streak of wildness that I thought I had under control but it seems not. I’ve always soared from extremes to extremes but never quite as devastatingly as this.
Viv: Now, your husband Mickey is a clergyman. Looking at you, you seem a long way from any clergy wife of popular but horribly dated sterotypes. (Isobel has henna’d hair, wears ripped and paint smeared jeans, and a rather wonderful amber necklace that matches her eyes. She talks very fast and with a lot of hand gestures; she’s a comfortable person to be around but she’s not prim and certainly not proper) How much impact does his job have on you?
Isobel: Too much, sometimes. The doorbell and the phone never stop bloody ringing. Oh don’t get me wrong, generally, the vast majority of folks aren’t a problem, but once in a while, I get people making a big deal of the fact that I don’t do anything in church. I don’t get involved in groups or lead anything. The fact that I turn up at all is a miracle some times. My best friend Chloe is a very rare sight in any church, and her husband and Mickey trained together.
Viv: I’ve met Chloe too. Given what she went through at college, I’m not surprised.
Isobel: I feel mildly guilty at times about that. The events of her final year at the vicar factory which ended with her breaking her leg every which way but Sunday were partly down to me. My wild, rebellious streak got out of hand and poor Chloe was the one who got hurt badly. I don’t think she’s ever blamed me, but I do sometimes blame myself.
Viv: I’m sorry to hear it. I know the story and I think whatever you and Chloe had done, it would have ended badly. Possibly worse. Now, you were able to buy a small place in the country where you could paint. I’m having trouble with my writing and I’d love to spend some time at your cottage. Is it really so spooky as you said?
Isobel: It can be scary, which might be me understating it rather a lot. But it rather depends what baggage you go with. My friend Antony spent some time there a while ago. But apart from stopping his mobile phone working, nothing happened that time. More recently, he stayed, and some deep issues he’d not been able to deal with began to surface. It’s one of those places that has a foot in both realms. In the ordinary, everyday world, it’s a slightly run down, rather picturesque hideaway. But it’s also a place that stands on the edge of the other world, the world of beings that we seldom interact with, and that can be tough to deal with.
Viv: You’re talking about the fairies now?
Isobel: (grinning now) I suppose I am!
Viv: You’re a pretty pragmatic sort of person from what I know of you, and you’re not at all one of these New Age believe-anything women. So, far as I can see, you’re not the most likely candidate for getting caught up with the whole concept of fairies. Can you tell me what they’re like?
Isobel: I can tell you what they’re not. They’re not anything like what you see in modern depictions of fairies. There’s no glitter or pretty-pretty faces. None of the sparkly magic and so on you see in both kids’ books and the New Age ones you referred to. They’re…..well, primeval is the only word I can think of. Earthy. They’re not what you think and they’re not what you expect. I’m not even convinced I understand them myself.
Viv: OK, and that brings me to a hard question. How does any of what you experienced in the cottage square with your faith?
Isobel: That IS a hard question. I’m not sure how to answer it. Churchianity tries to give nice neat answers to life’s tough questions and it gets cross and burns people at the stake for refusing to accept those neat answers as all that there is. I don’t believe we can know all the answers, but that we have to keep asking the questions anyway, even after we think we know the answers. Certain branches of Churchianity would tell me that my parents are burning in hell for committing suicide, that by that one act after two good, caring lives they damned themselves forever. And yet, I came to see that their deaths were possibly the most noble things they’d ever done.
Viv: Churchianity? I like that term!
Isobel: So do I. The thing is, God is not bound by human rules and that sadly is what many churches have sought to do: bind God by their rules. That’s like trying to cage the air, and make it obey your rules. Anyway, enough God-talk.
(She’s looking a bit uncomfortable about this, so I think it’s time to move the conversation to something else.)
Viv: OK, so tell me about your painting, your art?
Isobel: That’s tough. Hmm. Let me think. OK, I don’t have your way with words, but I think I paint my stories. You write yours, but I have to paint them. I paint the things I see and I feel inside my head, and I try to use that to tell the greater narrative of life. I can only paint a tiny section of it and hope that it adds to the greater picture somewhere.
Viv: I certainly feel you succeed with it, as much as any of us can. Anyway, can you sum up for us your experiences?
Isobel: You do go for asking the tough questions! I’ll try. Hmmm. Perhaps it’s best to say that there are more things that we don’t know that that we do, and to be open-minded about the world and not get bogged down with dogmatic answers to life’s big questions. Oh and love your family with all your strength. That’s something too easy to forget, that the love you share with family and friends is not an automatic right that’ll be there forever. People die and they don’t always give you any warning of it. So tell those you love that you love them. I never got a chance to tell my mum and dad I loved them until they were gone. Don’t make my mistake.
Viv: Thank you very much indeed, Isobel. I’d like to wish you luck with your continued exploration of the world through your art.
Isobel: It’s a pleasure. Now, do you think we can sneak off for a glass of wine somewhere? I’m parched!
Viv: Sure, but you’re buying!
Lulu paperback (will be on both Amazon sites in time)
(The events with Chloe will be appearing in a new book this year, titled, Square Peg. From the title I suspect you can guess that one of the themes is not fitting in and being uncomfortable about it. I’ll let you know when it’s ready. Many of the characters in my books appear or connect with other characters in other books, so you can often meet new people and familiar ones in surprising places.)