Friday 26 December 2014

2014.... an early retrospective.

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It's not quite over yet, but 2014 is fast becoming 2015, so I thought I'd have a retrospective of the past year's event from my point of view..... and it's been quite a year.

For a start I officially retired in April, although in practice I unofficially retired 2 years ago to write and sell books, as well as do small bits of part-time work and play the odd game of golf. The golf never really happened until this year, but the books did

My first book, Leap of Faith, came out in paperback and as an eBook last year and did moderately well on Amazon. Then in February it was selected as a finalist (1 of 12 books out of an initial 100 odd) for the People's Book Prize. A black tie event and a great honour.

In March I went to Rick Barter's Bookshop in Lee-on-the-Solent with 5 other authors to celebrate World Book Reading Night. My first book signing session and one that I'll always be grateful to Rick for inviting me to. He is fantastic at supporting local authors, as well as being the leading light of the Titchfield Amateur Dramatics. I went back to Rick's shop in late August after Trouble With Swords was published and sold and signed more books in 3 hours than I had on Amazon in more than a year.

In the weeks and months following my initial session at Rick's I signed at Calliope's Gifts in Alton, October Books in Southampton, One Tree Books in Petersfield, The Petersfield Bookshop (a different shop) and a couple of others. My books also started appearing in local libraries and schools.

In August the 2nd in the Temporal Detective Agency series, Trouble With Swords, was published and I did a 2nd round of signing at the same shops, which was great fun. I also moved into Surrey where I did a session a week ago at Barton's Bookshop in Leatherhead. More fun than I could have imagined and Peter Snell, the owner, is a true book fan and very knowledgable. I look forward to going back there again in the New Year.

Many of my signings were done with fellow authors, Michaela Sacchi O'Brien, Jane Bwye and Shani Struthers. They provided the glamour.... and probably the brains!

Holidays.... in March Mary and I went to the Canaries for a week and had a wonderful time. In late August we went to Tunisia for 7 days on an all inclusive holiday. We went to Carthage and eventually saw what we wanted to see, not what the tour guide was keen to show us.

August was, of course, the highlight of the year when Sarah, my beautiful daughter and Ben became a married couple. The wedding was wonderful and nothing went wrong. The venue was amazing, the ceremony fantastic, the dinner was incredible, the speeches by the groom and best man were witty and unhesitant (mine was quite good too!). It was a 3 day event with a golf match for 24 people starting it and a close family and friends party on the 3rd day. For us it really was the wedding of the year!

Also in December I went to a school reunion, played golf with an old school friend, attended the school carol service in Gloucester Cathedral and saw that both my books are in the school library. In June I played in the school's charity golf match and hope to do the same in 2015.

I gained many new Facebook friends in 2014 and a good number of followers on Twitter. Then to top it all Trouble With Swords became the Christmas number 1 most popular book on the review site. It's mostly USA oriented, but it does cover over 400,000 books, so it's quite an achievement and will hopefully be the prelude to lots of sales!

2015, you've got a lot to live up to, but I have no doubt you'll manage it!

Happy New Year and Blog on, Dudes!

Friday 19 December 2014

What to blog about tonight? I know.... a reunion

Many things come to mind....

Firstly, please join my blog by pressing the "member" button on the right hand side of the blog. Once you've done that, please read on!

This week I went to the Gloucester Cathedral carol service for my old school. I left there 45ish years ago and started going to the annual service and the reunions afterwards about 5 years ago. At the first, I had arranged to make it a 2 day event and have a game of golf on both days with the lad I used to share a 6 form study with. We set a time of midday to meet in the pro's shop and I arrived dead on time. In the shop was the pro and a couple of old guys looking at clubs. After half an hour my golf partner was a no-show so I decided to phone him on his mobile. Seconds later a mobile rang in the shop and one of the ancient old men answered my call. I'd forgotten he would probably look a lot older. I, of course, haven't changed a bit!
This week we had a good game (I lost only 6 balls) and then went into Gloucester where the headmaster's secretary took us on a conducted tour round the school. The changes since the 1960's were incredible.
Very gratifyingly, my books are in the school library!
The cathedral carol concert was superb, both in sound and vision and the choir was made up almost entirely of the boys, girls and teachers from the school.
Immediately afterwards we had a reunion of old boys and teachers in the cathedral Chapter House, where incidentally I took my A' levels and the Doomsday Book was signed. Two historic events. I met with a number of teachers who had taught me and amazingly some of them were still very much alive!
Back to the hotel for some nostalgia and several double whiskies!
A great 2 days!

Blog on, Dudes!