My wife and I were flown out to St Maarten in the Caribbean to join the Queen Elizabeth for her return journey across the Atlantic to Southampton. On the crossing, I gave five talks and did three book signings; also held a seminar on creative writing. 40 copies of my book were purchased by guests. Wonderful ship.
The outward journey was not without incident. There was an eight hour wait in Antigua to get the connecting flight via Liat to St Maarten, stopping at St Kitts on the way. Once we were on the delayed 40 seater plane, strapped in ready to go, at 9.30pm, the Irish pilot came on the intercom to profusely apologise for the fact that he was going to have to ask us to get off the plane and wait on the tarmac in the dark as he didn’t have enough fuel.
Having eventually reached St Maarten, there was no one there to meet us. We managed to track down the designated hotel way after midnight only to find our fellow ship’s entertainer hadn’t a room. A very sleepy night porter who spoke little English, couldn’t work out whether any of the rooms on the register were unoccupied. We tried one. A guest was woken up. I then ended up accompanying him round the front of the hotel, wading through gullies of water flowing down on to a beach ( we were in the midst of a tropical storm) on to a veranda to unlock the French windows of a room in pitch darkness. Where upon, we peered into the gloom ahead where we could just make out a huge four poster with a dark cover. The porter then proceeded to crawl across the room on hands and knees with me bent down beside him to reach the bedside cabinet where he popped his head up in an attempt to discover whether there was anyone sleeping in the bed. There was no ‘body’! Our fellow entertainer now had a room.
Needless to say, we encountered no such shenanigans when escorted to our stateroom on the Queen Elizabeth.
The 'Big Hour' on BBC Radio Solent
December 8th 2011
Was invited on to Alex Dyke’s ‘Big Hour’ on BBC Radio Solent last Tuesday 6th December where he chatted to me about how I got into writing and the creation of Pets in a Pickle, interspersed with a few shots across the bows re how expensive it can be to take a pet to a vet.
In the Radio Solent Studio, where I emitted a lot of hot air on air. But the experience was a gas. And the setting sparkled even if I didn’t.
It’s been very well put together and makes a great spread. In addition there’s a competition to win ten free copies of Pets in a Pickle.
Further details: http://www.dogsmonthly.co.uk
Cover for Pets on Parade
November 29th 2011
In conjunction with David Brackston, an artist colleague of mine, have been working on a cartoon drawing for the cover of my sequel, Pets on Parade, which is due to be published next April. My biggest headache was the parrot in flight. Tried an African Grey as the final chapter of the book describes a pivotal point in Paul’s early career as a vet since he operates on his own parrot in a desperate attempt to save her life ( based on what happened to me). But that ‘Polly’ didn’t look right so opted for a Blue and Gold Macaw in descending flight. Think it fits in better. Love David’s fish with its bandage on.
The animals and David’s colouring of them look good and with the blue of his lettering against the white background, should make for an eye-catching cover.
David specialises in landscapes and portraits. More of his work can be seen on his website : www.brax.org.uk
Cats Protection Christmas Fayre
November 27th 2011
Did a book signing at Henhayes Centre Crewkerne as part of the Yeovil and District Cats Protection Christmas Fayre to raise funds to help kittens and cats in the area around Yeovil in Somerset. The
bedecked hall was very welcoming with some cheerful,Christmassy stalls. Plus music, minced pies and bacon sarnies. Next to where I was signing copies of Pets in a Pickle, there was a mouth-watering display of homemade cakes. And yes, I did end up buying some. Well it’s all for a good cause I reasoned. There was a steady stream of people wanting books to be signed. All thanks to the publicity officer, Leslye Stansfield, for spreading the word in advance through flyers and ads in the local paper. 10 pre-ordered books were sold plus a further 23 during the Fayre. 50% of proceeds went to the charity. It was good to boost funds that will go towards helping our local feline friends.
Here’s Branch Co-ordinator, Judi Coffee, and Leslye Stansfied,
Publicity Officer. And, no, it’s not Postman Pat with his black and
Spent the week-end up in London to attend the Discover Dogs Show. Was able to meet up with over 60 breeders and spread the word re Pets in a Pickle. Did a postcard drop of the book well in excess of 150.
The books I donated to The Border Collie Trust were all sold. They have stocked their online shop with some copies. www.bordercollietrustgb.org.uk
Made contact with the Medical Detection Dogs, a new charity training dogs to detect cancers in humans. Had a chat with Dr Claire Guest, the doctor responsible for the British research into cancer sniffer-dogs www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk
Finally met ‘Mr Kipling’ the person behind raising money for many animal charities. Have donated a book. www.TubbyChallenge.org
Also met up with Jenny Rignall, sub-editor of Dogs Monthly. She’d been my contact earlier in the year when proposing an extract from my book for their Christmas issue. She showed me the spread they did in the magazine. Magnificent. Thank you to all involved. www.dogsmonthly.co.uk
It generated a lot of media interest and resulted in six local radio interviews the next day. There was one with Radio 5 Live which was supposed to have been at 7.15am with Rachel Burden and Nicky Campbell but it almost got squeezed out – I was given about four minutes just before the 7.30 news. However the one good thing to come of that brief slot was the fact the programme schedule had been sent round the country and got picked up by several other BBC stations.