Monday, 31 March 2008

A chance to meet my publisher

I'll be at Wigan Words Festival on Sat 5th April and am looking forward to meeting my BeWrite publisher, Cait, for the first time. Also looking forward to seeing Sam Smith, Kate Edwards and anyone else we happen upon.

P.S. I've just finished reading Creatures of the Intertidal Zone by Susan Richardson - a book I would love to have been asked to review.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

I should have been doing the housework....

but it hadn't yet started to rain so I decided to greet the pipits on Heapey Moor and welcome the blasts across Great Hill. Just a gusty first draft but here it is:

If you would remember me,
do it here, grid reference 624190,
old quarry to the south,
achievement to the west,
the onwards path and upwards to the east

But don’t rush off just yet,

allow yourself to turn, pause,
admire the view so far,
and then look forward to the pipits
just around the corner, just over the next brow,
I’m with you now,
and if you would remember more,
fashion a pair of muddied hiking boots,
with poems scuffed into their skin,
and feathers sprouting from their heels,
ready to lift them up and onwards,
soaring over words,
wide-winged victories,
hovering on thoughts,
keen-eyed predator,
clasping images
with scratchy pencil-lines

Picking Poems

Today I'm picking poems to read at The Chorley and District Natural History Society's April meeting. The group likes visuals so the photographers are matching their pictures to the poems and creating a PowerPoint show to accompany the reading. I'll let you know how it goes.

I used to like photography until I dropped our old Fujica STX1 into a tarn! We have a digital now - not good enough for photographing birds but here are a few local photos I've taken with it.

Tools of the Trade

I did wonder whether to furnish myself with a sleek, roll-off pen for the signing. And when I started signing - I thought maybe I should have... But the truth is that I hardly ever write in ink - I much prefer the soft, forgiving touch of graphite. A cheap, propelling pencil with an eraser is by far my preferred tool.
And writing on alternate lines so I can change my mind is the method I use.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

I did wonder how wise it was to wear white trousers on a damp evening - trying to get into the car without marking them, driving there and then hoisting them up (somewhat undignified) as I crossed the car park to the venue. But the trousers and I managed to stay clean - thank goodness.

I was worried about how many folks would come but with careful arrangement of the furniture the room was full. Lovely to see some friends I hadn't seen for a while.

Sunday, 23 March 2008


I know it's a bit late in the day but... I've given out some invitations to the launch that are personally from me. Sometimes folks need a bit of encouragement, need to know that I'd like to see them there. Not necessarily to buy but to be read to and to share in something that is important to me. After all, what is a good launch if it's not a party, a celebration of something having been achieved?
I know I should have done this weeks ago but sometimes eleventh hour encouragements are just what people need.

The one that has to - will

My dad once asked my great grandad, 'How do you know which horses are doing the work?' (My g-grandad was an undertaker and used a horse-drawn hearse). His reply was quite simple, 'The one that has to.'
So which is the one that has to? It's the one that cares.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

White, now you can all see me...

I went to watch Wigan Warriors recently. While watching the pre-game entertainment I noticed that the only people who could be easily seen in the field were those wearing white.

Being only 5ft 1inch, I find I'm often over-looked. So I decided it might be a good idea to try wearing white. We went for a walk along the canal in Skipton today (not wearing white for obvious reasons), and happened to pass through the shopping centre on the way back, and happened to see a Wallis which happened to be having a sale, and there happened to be a pair of half price white trousers which happened to fit... so I'll be wearing them for the launch along with white shoes and a bright top. So hopefully the audience will now notice me....

Friday, 21 March 2008

The seconds have stopped ticking - but they shouldn't have...

Can it really be that my watch is in love with me? The moment I remove it from the pulse in my wrist, its tiny cogged heart stops beating too. Or maybe it's recovering from pre-launch stress? Or has been knocked unconscious from orbiting in space? Or maybe it's just that the battery has run out? (to where? I wonder...)

Anyway the countdown isn't over - because the local launch doesn't lift off until Tuesday. So... today I've picked the poems that I'm going to read and have marked the pages with colour coded post-its so I won't fumble between the pages when I read. I've drawn a diagram of the room layout and sorted the reading order (two readers, two launchers and hopefully an audience and sales...)

Rivington Pike

Not the best photo I know but at least my hair is under the hat so doesn't look orange!

So here I am in three jumpers and assorted thermals at the top of Rivington Pike ready to let the breeze (and it was windy, believe me!) whisk a poem from my lips.

See how the light accentuates the folly...
and yet I continue, breathlessly towards it,
seeking some reward from within...
it's in the climbing and the knowing,
the achieving and the light,
and squaring up to a blast
without being blown away.....

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Investing in books

Well, I sold the first signed copy today to an astute young lady who shrieked, 'Don't write my name in it! - I'm gonna sell it when you're a household name.' So, of course, I upped the value by dating it too. (PS I hope she's right about the recognition bit - and hopefully I'll still be around to enjoy it!)
In the meantime I hope she enjoys reading it.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

And now I've got fiery hair...

I walked into work this morning and got asked for my autograph! Yes, the local paper has given me a good write (the journalist's smile was genuine) and they've published it in time for the launch as promised - thank you. They've also included a photo - I don't know what it is with my hair but by daylight it's brown and by camera flash it always turns a strange orange colour - anyone would think I'd trapped my head in a sun bed....

And talking about fiery hair - I managed to slip a haircut into my lunch break (thanks to my mobile hairdresser) and then promptly set my hair drier on fire - seriously. I plugged it in and hey-fire-o. Fortunately my hair dries fast so it dried naturally as I sped off in my Micra to meet a learner at 1pm.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Another day...

Managed to get a few more folks interested in attending the launch.

Internet launch day coincides with Good Friday. I'm wondering whether to walk to the top of Rivington Pike, Great Hill etc and read a few poems....

Managed a walk in the park at lunch time. Spotted a treecreeper, nuthatch, long tailed tits and lots of other garden birds. Wonderful to hear the nuthatch whistling well - so melodic. Woods seems empty without them.


for Wez

Announcing himself,
sleek whistler of the woods,
a whole slice of cool!
flexing his spine, concave and convex,
master of the bough,
simply upping it,
then upside-downing it,
head-firsting his descent,
the one and only –
adroit acrobat,
poised on the side of a trunk,
whooping it up
in elegant grey and stylish buff,
the showman of the wood!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Walking my tetrad

16th March - Today I spent 4 hours walking round my tetrad for the BTO bird survey counting birds and looking for signs of breeding activity. Today's highlights were watching 3 buzzard circling together and calling to each. Another treat was listening to male chaffinches sing - (come on girls these boys are really trying hard!)

I also paused by the weir and salmon ladder - this stretch of the Yarrow is just begging for a dipper:


underneath the spreading beech,
where the weir horseshoes to a pool,
then tumbles over rocks where the mill-race
joins the stream, is where
I always thought we would build
a seat, where we could wait
until the dipper came, and watch
it dart, without hesitation,
into the tingling flow,
splashing kisses
against the water’s push.

but we lingered
too long, never built
the seat, never waded in.
The dipper flew off long ago,
and though I often pass this way,
on the bank,
the dipper never comes this way again.

Books Arrived

12th March - our neighbour carried a box across the road rescued from the delivery man. My husband opened it - the first copies of books with my name on the cover! I'm pleased. They're pleasant to handle and the glossy cover looks chic.

I take one upstairs and practise reading from it. The boys complain they can hear me downstairs... At least I know I can make my voice carry ....


It's four /five days before the launch of my first single author collection and nine days before a local launch. So what have I done? And would I do it again? How many books to order? Will I sell any? We'll see!

Previous planning:

pdf files sent out for review - good so far.

Early March - contacted local radio stations. No certain outcome yet.

March - completed an interview by email with Ambrose Musiyiwa.

7th March - interview by The Chorley Guardian with an assurance it will be published the week before the launch. (Hope what they say is good!) Colleagues at work persuaded me to put some make-up on before I was photographed.

12th March - made some business cards to advertise my book and book launch. Now to give them out....

20th & 21st March - online launch

25th March - local book launch at Lancashire College, Chorley with other members of Chorley & District Writers' Circle also reading and selling.

5th April - reading at Words Festival 2008 (Wigan). Network Event 10-12 noon and Hear the Word 2-4pm both at the Derby Room, Turnpike Centre, Leigh.

17th April - reading at Chorley Natural History Society's meeting.

18th May - book signing at RSPB Lytham St Annes (where I used to work).

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.