Ok so the real post this time – I hope!

So what happened there? I blame the rubbish motel internet – I am too mean to pay for the upgrade. Thanks to the 200ish people who looked at a blank post yesterday let’s hope this works!

So it is officially the hottest week for decades and here I am stuck in a motel room in that northern industrial city once again. For the benefit of my overseas readers, these rooms are not equipped with air-con and the windows only open a couple of inches because they are afraid of being sued if guests jump out. Normally, the rooms are equipped with fans. I appreciate that all these do is move hot air round the room but it does give the illusion of slightly less heat. My travelling companion sweet-talking the receptionist, resulted in the provision of an industrial strength, floor-standing fan, which I think may have deprived the receptionists of a breeze. Even with this on all night, the temperature did not dip below 28 degrees. I know, I must have looked at the thermostat at least once an hour. Now it is 7.30pm and still 29.5 degrees, a good fifteen degrees above my ideal bedroom temperature.

In other adventures: in an effort to look vaguely respectable for ‘work’ I brought a suit to wear. As I went to put it on, I discovered that the trousers were missing. I have no idea at what stage they escaped from the dry cleaner’s polythene bag in which they were ensconced but they are not there now. That put paid to the professional image I was trying to create. Anyone seen a pair of trousers lying abandoned at some point between home and here?

A bit of a win win in the motel restaurant though. In the crowded dining room last night we patiently waited foodless for 45 minutes after ordering. When food arrived for a table who had ordered 25 minutes after us, we politely enquired as to the whereabouts of our dinners. We’ve been involved in the hospitality industry, we understand that these things happen. Cue grovelling apology, full refund of the price of our dinner, the appearance of our meals and the offer of a compensatory bottle of wine. Being virtual non-drinkers, I ask if we can have free breakfasts instead. Yes, is the reply. Today we descended for a our free breakfasts to be greeted with a bottle of wine as well! – that’s another for the book launch collection (permission for serving of alcohol permitting). It was 7.30am; we nonchalantly sauntered out of the restaurant looking like it was normal to be carrying a bottle of wine about at that hour.

Chris and Musket 1 DEPhotographyI have noticed that, as I struggle with all this marketing lark for Barefoot on the Cobbles, it seems that the way to get a reaction on social media is to post gratuitous pictures of the fisherman of my acquaintance. Forget images of cute animals, I have cracked the latest trend! So here is a random picture that has nothing to do with my post but which will get folks rushing to click on their like buttons – maybe.

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Introducing 100 Days of Barefoot on the Cobbles

0U9A3415On 9 August it will be 100 days until Barefoot on the Cobbles is launched. Each day, from 9 August onwards, I will be posting a short item about one of the characters you will meet in the novel, or one of the locations that is mentioned. This will give readers an opportunity to learn more about some of the people and places that grace its pages. These will be accompanied by lines from the book. I will continue to bore you with other elements of my rather eccentric existence but these posts will be separate. I hope you will enjoy getting to know the people who have been part of my life for the last couple of years.

Historical Fiction and other Excitements

Picture of posterAs I am in full-on Barefoot on the Cobbles marketing mode, I am excited to share my latest acquisition. Well, that’s the zero marketing budget well and truly blown. I am still working out where I can keep it! I am also now able to announce that I will be speaking at The Genealogy Show at the NEC in Birmingham next June. There are some great speakers from across the globe on the bill, many of who I am proud to call my friends.

Today I was giving a talk in South Devon and was able to combine it with searching out the probable burial place of my 7 x great grandfather, John Braund. It took me 37 years to find him, now I am frustrated because I can’t confirm his parentage after only four years of searching. I am almost certain I know who they were but assembling sufficient evidence to support my supposition is another matter.

And finally because, as a Brit, I have to talk about the weather, an incident from earlier this week. Don’t get me wrong I love the heat, unless I am incarcerated in a small space with a large number of hormonal teenagers that us. The downside is that numerous pesky insects have decided that I make a half-decent meal. My incredibly expensive super-strength insect repellent was confiscated by Qantas security but I do have the equally expensive and as yet unused insect repellent scarf, purchased in order to go to Peru. This takes the form of a circle of stretchy material, which can, the instructions allege, be worn in a variety of ways. Most of these involve me looking as if I am about to hold up a bank (I wish – we are now bereft of an even half local bank and there’s a y in the day, so no chance of the mobile post van turning up). I opt for the least sinister style, which means I have just hung the loop round my neck. It is 80 degrees. Casual callers, such as the postman, clearly think this scarf wearing lunatic should be certified.

Getting Nearer! – – the excitement of indie book publishing

I did think of entitling this ‘it’s coming home’ but I didn’t want to antagonise football fans. It does seem incongruous though that even the quality media outlets are eclipsing the visit by an individual, who is arguably one of the world’s most unpopular, unpleasant and potentially dangerous leaders, in favour of a game (you get that – a GAME) that we didn’t even win.

DSCF0557All that aside, there is super thrilling Barefoot on the Cobbles news. My masterpiece, aka lovingly crafted manuscript, now almost looks like a book. Ok, it is what is known as a block, so it is unbound but it is excitingly close to being a book and I can see what the layout will look like. I also splashed out my zero marketing budget on some promotional materials and there is still a poster to come. In 129 days (not that I’m counting) copies will be available, to read, love, cherish, or light the fire with, according to your preferences. Actually, I am counting because I hope that there will be something coming on this blog in the 100 days running up to launch day on 17 November.

I’ve said it before, I will no doubt say it again, it is possible to pre-order copies already. An ideal solution if you think you’ll forget if you don’t. My preference is to hand over copies in person, perhaps at one of the events I will be attending but for those of you whose paths only cross mine in a virtual sense, then pre-ordering might be the thing. Alternatively, you could support your local independent bookshop and order a copy from them after it has been published. It will be available via Amazon but ideally I would like to see a larger slice of the very small profit go to my publisher, a small bookshop, oh and me!

In the midst of organising a media frenzy, well, a media ripple anyway, for novel #1, #2 is underway. So far it has a provisional title and is 3000 words of notes. It is still a bit of a secret at the moment but it involves another Devon tragedy, set in the seventeenth century this time. Like Barefoot, it is very much about human behaviour and again it is based on a real incident, with female characters predominating.