I’m Mandy. Fly me.

Writing and (the art) self-promotion.

The title refers to a song by the band 10cc which parodied the 70’s (?) advertising campaign by the carrier National.

I_m_Jo__Fly_Me

I was thinking of sub-titling this piece:  I’m Douglas. Read me.  And even reading that sentence I cringe. But I have left it as it does illustrate the point of how I feel about self-promotion.

When I first set out on the path to being published I wanted nothing to do with marketing. Nothing at all. Well, maybe signing a few books. But that was it.

douglasbooksigning
“Lyz. How do I spell my name again? One es, or two?”

However, when I began to investigate Submission Guidelines of many literary agents more and more required details of what I was prepared to do to promote me/my book/s.

That’s your bloody job, I thought. And, by and large I still think this is the case. Yet it is an inescapable fact that for every JK Rowling type there are a fair few “Douglas Pearce” types, and to become a JK type author one has to be out there, and with social and electronic media being what it is these days you gotta at least be ‘on the bus, brother’.

So, you post a blog, get your mug on facebook, and maybe even your face on a mug, sunbathe on the roof of your house and wave when the Google Earth satellite goes by, and generally try to think of the least embarrassing ways of attracting the Paparazzi in an attempt to get yourself on the back page of the Weekend Newspapers or on Facetube or whatever with (hopefully) most of your clothes on.

Trouble is, I am not one of those in-your-face A Type personalities; the anonymity of sitting behind a laptop and the generally accepted solitary environment required to write has made me become somewhat reclusive these days. So much so that whereas before, say five or six years ago, I might have described myself as being sort of outgoing that is not the case any more.

When I did my first book launch I was assured by my publisher that I wouldn’t have to read anything. She lied! Can’t trust my own bloody publisher, dammit!

It was not a pleasant experience, but I survived it.

Lyz (my publisher) said afterwards that I looked decidedly uncomfortable. I just wish she hadn’t said it with a malevolent grin that had all the hallmarks of  “Suck it up writer boy –  you have to read as well!” written all over it. I am going to record myself for the next one and lip synch.

But all said and done, a few people have still found time to graciously write what they felt about the book. Like this….

 ‘The book is original, funny, entertaining, and a very good read. The plot takes you through several unexpected turns and “red herrings” and leaves you guessing ’til the end – and even after the end. The style reminds me of Terry Pratchett and Tom Sharpe with a dash of Douglas Adams. ‘

Ennui  (Reader)
– See more at: http://www.pkaboo.net/almostdead.html#sthash.ibn7YMKR.dpuf

This is what I was made to read. Out loud. You can too, if you like…

http://www.pkaboo.net/ADpreview.html

There, Lyz  See? I did it.   Please can I go now?

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In the Pub – Conspiracy theories.

images (3)

Don’t Drink The Water.

Reg looked furtively around the pub then mumbled in a conspiratorial tone to his drinking partner, ‘It’s a plot.’

‘A what?’

‘A plot.’

‘Y’mean, like a big bit o’land?’

Reg sighed. Conversations with this bloke were always the same.

‘No, Nobbler, not a big piece of land. I was referring to a conspiracy. Like UFO’s.’

Nobbler scowled.

‘I think,’ he said in a low, threatening voice, ‘that you better F.O. my friend.’

Reg’s eyes widened in surprise. Nobbler was not a nice person. Although it might seem like a contradiction of terms when Nobbler said, “I think,” you didn’t rub his sort up the wrong way. Reg held up his hands in supplication.

‘No, no! Not, you F.O. UFO. Unidentified Flying Objects. Flying saucers. You know, aliens,’ he added.

‘Oh, right,’ Nobbler nodded. ‘So what’s that’s gotta do with the price of…er?’

‘Eggs?’ Reg suggested.

‘Right,’ Nobbler agreed.

‘S’like me, innit,’ Reg continued, ‘I once took a couple of pot shots at the milkman and when they got me under lock an’ key they had me down for tons of other stuff.’

‘You shot the milkman?’ Old Ernie?’

‘Yeah!’ Reg’s toast rack chest swelled with pride at the memory.

‘What the bleedin’ ‘ell you go an’ do that for?’

‘They put stuff in the bottles, my friend,’ Reg tapped the side of his nose.

‘Yeah, I know. Milk, you arse’ole.’

‘No, no. Other stuff. To control your mind.’

‘Bullshit.’ Nobbler said dismissively.

‘Serious. What do you think those little birds are doing?’

‘Birds?’

‘Yeah, those birds that y’find sitting on top of yer milk bottles during winter. Y’know, when the cream freezes?’

‘Pecking ‘oles in the bottle tops for the cream, of course.’

‘Riiight. That’s what they want you to think. But really, they’re speci’lly trained tits that put stuff in the bottles.’

‘You’re the only tit, round ‘ere, mate. So, what other stuff?’ Nobbler asked.

‘What?’ Reg said.

‘You said they done you for other stuff. Like what?’ Nobbler insisted.

‘Kennedy, for one.’

‘Kennedy? That were Oswald,’ Nobbler scoffed.

‘Not it weren’t. Was me. ‘E lived right next door to our mam, ‘e did. She couldn’t sleep a wink wiv ‘im playing that bleedin tuba all ‘ours what God made. So I did ‘im.’

‘Oh. That Kennedy. Anyhow, wot ‘chew mean, you ‘did’ ‘im? ‘E’s still alive. Besides, ‘e plays the violin.’

‘Yeah, ‘e does. But he used to play the tuba, and he used to play it sittin’ down,’ Reg explained with a malicious grin. Then he shuffled off his seat and said. ‘I gotta see a man about a dog.’
Before he went, he picked up a beer mat, retrieved a pen from inside his grubby jacket and wrote something on it quickly, then put it on his beer glass.

When the door to the men’s toilet swung closed, Nobbler picked up the beer mat and read the note. Don’t drink this beer. I pissed in it.

Nobbler smiled, borrowed a pen from Big Dave, the barman, winked and scribbled a note of his own underneath Reg’s warning. Then he finished his pint and left the pub.

Reg returned a minute later and not seeing Nobbler, shrugged, then resumed his seat. Lifting the cardboard mat from his glass he noticed the unfamiliar writing, which he read out loud. “So did I, dick’ead.”

Copyright DSP.

In the Pub- Naturally.

 

 

The_Coach_and_Horses_pub_sign,_16_New_Street_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1471733Down at the Coach and Horses, Wiggleswood’s Premier imbibing establishment, things are not in order at all; naturally!

“It’s the natural order of things, Alf. Women on top,” Bert said.
“S’what I told the missus,” Alf agreed. “I told her you said so, too.”
“So what’s the problem, then? Why so glum?” Bert asked.
Alf was sporting a bandage around his forehead and a nasty looking blue eye.
“The missus didn’t agree, she said it were the man who’re supposed to be on top.”
“But didn’t you tell her that if she was on top she’d be in control?”
“Yeah. I told her,” Alf said.
“And you mentioned it would mean you would have your hands free . . . for other stuff!” Bert said, winking.
“Oh, I told her, all right,” Alf said.
“And she didn’t seem even the least bit interested? Not for a moment?”
“Nope. Not at all,” Alf said shaking his head. “But she ended up on top though. I made her.”
“Ooh, made her. That could have been handled more diplomatically,” Bert said sounding concerned.
“Well, it’s a bit bloody late now, isn’t it? I mean, look at me!” Alf moaned.
“Yes, I was wondering what happened, but didn’t feel it my place to enquire after matters conjugal,” Bert sad.
“Conjugal? What the hell’s that when it’s home?” Alf said, looking perplexed. “This happened while the missus was on top of the ladder washing the windows. I pointed out a spot she’d missed. She bloody swore at me and while she was stretching she dropped the flaming bucket right on my bloody head! Next time I’ll clean the perishin’ windows me self and I’ll thank you, Bert to keep your expert opinions to yourself. And it’s your bloody round!”

Copyright©DSP 2010

Story challenge

the red ant

He opened the door quietly, scared that they might hear him.  But he realised that he need not have worried:  Maria was so busy being kissed by Andalo, they would have missed a herd of elephants stampeding.  His bile rose as he saw that good-for-nothing snogging so shamelessly with her.  And he picked up the half-empty beer glass from the table and dropped it quite deliberately to the floor, unable to suppress a grin as the two scrambled to fasten buttons.

Here’s the challenge:

Finish – or start – this story so that it makes sense.  😉

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Book Extract: Oh, Little Town of Brothelingham

I haven’t settled on a title for this book yet, and I change the working title as I go along.

Be that as it may, this is an extract. It is the 4th book in the Comic fantasy series, The Mining of Lif .

Igneous Rockfellow applies for a license 

Igneous’ mother died during childbirth and his late father used to be a tenant on the Gottlaid family estate, Judysear’s wealthiest poultry farmers.

As a young boy, Igneous would tinker with his “little toys”, as his father called them, in the kitchen of their cottage.

After his father died, young Igneous stayed on as a tenant, paying for his keep by doing odd jobs around the farm; including the design of a motorised conveyor belt to aid in egg-sorting.

When the owner of the estate, Fritz Gottlaid, passed away after a rather serious attack of migraine, brought on by a rather nasty kick in the head from one of the horses, the distraught Widow Gottlaid got rid of most of the horses and turned the stables over to Igneous, who promised her he would have his “Horseless carriage” on the road within twelve months.

He probably would have, too, if it weren’t for the continuous interruptions from Frau Gottlaid insisting that Igneous show her how a push rod worked.

Eighteen months after receiving the grant, he filed a patent claim and applied for a road licence, a legal requirement for all vehicles using the Queen’s highways.

As the only wheeled vehicles currently in use were coaches and wagons, and the fee varied depending whether the vehicle was drawn by horse, donkey or ox, the licensing clerk was somewhat in a quandary as Igneous claimed his carriage utilised, “None of the above.”

Following a brief description of his steam engine, a thoroughly confused and rather dubious clerk referred Igneous’ licence application to, “Higher authorities.”

The person in charge of vehicle licensing, Mister Dick Turpentine eyed the application form suspiciously.

‘So, ‘ow fast d’yer reckon this contraption of yours goes, Mister Rockfellow?’

Rather boastfully, Igneous replied,

‘Ah! She flies like the wind, sir. Like the wind.’

The maximum speed of one of the posh new mail coaches was around fifteen kilometres per hour. And this was on a good road, mind you.

Dick Turpentine had seen the effects of things that flew like the wind after discovering several items of ladies undergarments in his garden shed.

More accurately his wife had discovered them.

Being a licensing officer did not, in Mrs. Turpentine’s opinion, give her husband the right to collect licentious material.

‘Honest! I ‘aven’t a bleedin’ clue ‘ow they got there,’ wailed a bemused Dick.

‘Well they’re not mine, that’s for sure. Only a tart would wear something like this!’ yelled Mrs Turpentine, waving the offending items under Dick’s nose.

‘Yes, love, you’re right. You’d never fit into those itsy-bitsy things. Besides, even if you could you’d catch your bloody death, you would,’ Dick tried to explain.

‘Are you saying I’m fat?’ Mrs. Turpentine accused.

A simple ‘No’ might have sufficed, but Dick, desperate to extricate himself, foolishly added, ‘Of course not, love.  Er…maybe they would fit. Why don’t you try them on, then?’

‘Oh, yes? So now you’re saying I’m a tart?’

Things could only go one way after this.

After setting about him with a garden fork and doing untold damage to his cucumber patch, she banished him to sleeping in the garden shed.

Matters did not improve much over the next few days.

Mrs. Turpentine hosted an embroidery and needlework group every second Wednesday of the month. It was during a discussion concerning the best type of thimble to use to avoid the inconvenience of little pricks that Mrs. Turpentine could no longer hold her peace.

‘And talking of the same,’ she began.

Over dinner that evening, one member of Mrs. Turpentine’s needlework group, Edith Slitebottom, revealed to her husband, Wilfred, “In the strictest confidence”, that Dick Turpentine had been cheating on his wife.

The evidence of this affair she described in detail, with several glances at her husband to check if he knew what a peephole brassiere was.

Relieved to find that he hadn’t the foggiest idea, she relaxed, and then made a mental note to enlighten him at the earliest opportunity.

Although Sergeant Wilfred Slitebottom had shown interest, it was mainly due to the report of a recent theft of washing from the line of local schoolteacher, Miss Charlotte Demure.

Wilf was an old copper who knew how to join the dots and in this case the picture they revealed was not an affair between Dick Turpentine and Charlotte Demure. Especially as Dick had mentioned over drinks at their local, “In the strictest confidence”, that he had been suffering from Brewers Droop.

Although it would have made shocking news had an affair been revealed, even more disturbing was the thought that Dick Turpentine might not only be stealing but also wearing ladies underwear.

Fortunately, for all concerned, several other local residents handed in various items of clothing and two bed sheets at the station, explaining that they had blown into their gardens from goodness knows where.

Remembering the dreadful storm of a few weeks back, which saw a potted petunia crash through his greenhouse, Sergeant Slitebottom put two and two together.

This saved Dick Turpentine the ignominy of being labelled a pervert and Miss Charlotte Demure got her washing back. Well, most of it at any rate. One or two items of underwear were never recovered.

It was a few weeks later that Dick revealed to Wilf, in the “strictest confidence,” that he was no longer sleeping in his shed and his “problem” had somehow sorted itself out.

Anyway, back to the licensing department…

 

© Douglas Pearce 2012

Updates

the red ant

Please remember to tell your friends about the teen writing contest:

teenwrites

We are currently working on 2 (alright, actually closer to 8, but…) books.

“Everywhen Angels” by Marie Marshall is told through the eyes of 3 different teenagers in a school somewhere in England, as they take on the function of angels.  They discover along with a small band of others that they have supernatural abilities which they are obliged to keep secret, however.  How they put these abilities to use, for good or bad, that is the matter of the story.  This book challenges its reader to face deep, existential questions; about life, the nature of the universe, the “ending times” and what they mean (from several different perspectives); what is good and what is bad, or is there, and if so, by which right or logic do we interfere in what happens to others.

The story left me…

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The Immy Series

the red ant

One of our authors, Leslie Hyla Winton Noble, completed this beautiful series for children:

These DVDs contain the story of Immy, a little girl who encounters a dragon.

(Pls excuse the graininess in some of the photos, especially “Immy goes Flying” – it’s the angle of the light.  Will have to retake the pics at some point.)

Music:

The stories have musical backings, with Peter-and-the-Wolf style themes for the characters.  The themes adjust to the mood of the character and the story.

Options:

You can play the DVD and watch the slides with images and text, to read to your children or allow them to read themselves; or you can select the voice-over option, in which the author reads the story to the listener, timed with the slides (and with early readers being able to follow the sentences on the screen).  The DVD insert is actually a booklet containing the…

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