What I Learned From My Headmaster

A few weeks ago I heard that the headmaster at my last school had passed away. It came as a shock, needless to say, and stirred up a lot of emotion. It also reminded me that it was from him that I learned the single most valuable and practical bit of knowledge that was ever imparted to me during all my years of education. When I tell you what it was, it will probably do no more than confirm to most of you that I’m a little eccentric. But not all eureka moments in childhood revolve around Pythagoras, Pi, or P.E. I will write other posts about him, from time to time, as he deserves to be remembered as the fine headmaster that he was. Continue reading

Why I Used Real Life Inspirations for A Table In Berlin

4664101_1AContinuing the theme today of the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I want to talk about a very close friend of my brother’s who provided the inspiration for the character of Christian Bauer in the novel A Table In Berlin. Continue reading

I’m Still Here!

I’ve just finished my first novella.

I thought it would be easier than writing a novel but, guess what?

It was.

I know, usually a writer likes to tell everyone that nothing is easier than anything else. And while I’m not saying that the writing itself was any easier (it most certainly was not) when you stop at around thirty thousand words, instead of ninety thousand words, it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that the pain doesn’t last so long.

So, by easier, I mean that I reached the end far sooner than with a full length novel and that was a psychological benefit. The gap between conception and the market place is also much shorter. This is important for those for whom writing is a job.

So, soon enough we will have Goodnight, Mrs Day available. I’ll let you know. I’m told something around the second week in November.

In the meantime, of course, I have to get on with another book.

Next time, I’ll share a few thoughts on how the process of the novella differed from the novel, and a few issues I had to deal with in relation to Mrs Day as a companion piece to A Table In Berlin.

Right now I just wanted to let you know I was still here!

Daisy White’s Booktique at Rachael’s Kitchen, Horsham

Another perspective on the recent opening of Daisy White’s Booktique in Rachael’s Kitchen.

Twenties Girl

Local authors, delicious cupcakes and a cosy interior: Horsham’s latest pop-up has it all

This weekend saw the opening of Daisy White’s Booktique, a pop-up bookshop selling work by independent and small-scale authors and publishers, on the top floor of Rachael’s Kitchen in Horsham. I went to have a look around: having never been upstairs in Rachael’s before, I was very pleased to find a warm, pretty space in which I could easily have whiled away an afternoon. Well-worn wood flooring, mismatched white wooden chairs, artwork on the walls, plus a big squishy sofa by the windows make it look like a someone’s living room (with more tables). The Booktique neatly fits into the cosy room – a simple, slimline black bookshelf sits either side of the rustic fireplace. One is for adults, the other is stocked with kids’ books. ‘Diary of a Bride to Be’ by Charlie Plunkett sits…

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My Kind Of Indie Bookshop

A Table In Berlin launches the new reading room at Rachael's Kitchen!
A Table In Berlin launches the new reading room at Rachael’s Kitchen!

Daisy White is a literary entrepreneur who has long championed the idea of independent business and supporting local traders. Her pop-up shops – Daisy White’s Booktique – focused on showcasing small independent publishers and authors, as well as artists, by taking up residence temporarily in empty High Street shops.

Well now she’s taken it the logical step forward by looking for less temporary premises and last Saturday opened a pop-up inside a gorgeous cake shop.

Yes, that’s right, a cake shop. Cup cakes, no less. And tea, and coffee and comfy chairs…

Mackerel Books said ‘yes’ to this and so A Table In Berlin has a top shelf residency for the next six months in the new reading room at Rachael’s Kitchen, 38 Carfax, Horsham. Not only that but it was Book Of The Week for the launch!

The idea is that customers can pick up a copy of a book from a box of reading copies and try them out while eating and drinking. So much better than being immersed in a smartphone. And if an author’s managed to grab the attention, there are copies for sale (or the customer can come back every afternoon for a brew until the book’s finished). I love the idea – so much more interesting than a free daily newspaper full of daily woes and a multi-national coffee shop’s decor.

I hope it does well. And I hope I see people reading A Table In Berlin the day I choose to make my surprise visit. I should have been at the opening but, guess what? I’m in the middle of a novella and my brain’s not in the right place. In other words, I can’t find my passport. I live in Fuerteventura. You don’t have to know exactly where that is, but I can tell you one thing.

It’s nowhere near Horsham.

Marketing your Self-published Book…

Some thoughts from Daisy White of Daisy White’s Booktique


Think outside the Book! Think outside the Book!

Just a few thoughts from my own experience of self pub and things I have learnt from the authors involved in Daisy White’s Booktique…

So many authors seem to be getting ripped off, and the amount of options available to promote and sell your book make choosing the right path for your personal promotion tricky. The initial stages of marketing your book depend on how you are published, and in my experience of running Daisy White’s Booktique few independent publishers or self pubs have money to burn.

Social media is a must, if only to announce your online presence and tick the box. If this isn’t your thing then just select a few sites and keep them up to date. Facebook is excellent for exchanging views/advice/media promotion but less helpful for selling books. Twitter is another on my list, closely followed by LinkedIn. Only post when…

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