Novel Memories

Today, Facebook sent me a memory. You know, those lovely little reminders of Facebook posts past. I’d almost forgotten about how windy Rossall used to be and the reminder that we had ‘wind days’ off school due to flying roof tiles made me chuckle and all the memories of ruined haircut reveals and constant wearing of hats came flooding back.

But what about those things that happened BF (Before Facebook)? The things that happened before we all had cameras on our mobiles, before we could capture the moment in video in a second, before we could broadcast live to the world?

What about those moments we completely forgot about?

These past few weeks I have been dipping into my ‘Writing’ folder on my computer. This folder contains all the ideas, articles, novels, sitcom scripts, screenplays, basically every single thing I have ever taken the time to write down (or type up).

(Or better said, nearly every single thing I have ever written, I will explain later…)

In this folder I have found an amazing array of script ideas, partially written scripts, treatments for shows and sometimes just a single thought.

In this folder, I also found a finished novel, the contract-breaking, very difficult Third Novel, that I had completely forgotten that I had written. (As you do  🙂 )

Totally forgotten – no memory of it at all…

Until I started reading it…

Then the memories came flooding back  🙂

This got me thinking about the two novels that were published and when I went looking, I discovered that I actually didn’t have any copies of them. I finally remembered lending MY ONLY COPIES of the two novels to a friend, so I relaxed, but I thought it odd, that I only had one copy of each.

Not only that, but I had been so cavalier with them that I had no clue that they weren’t even in my possession.

It seemed a bit dismissive and disrespectful of my own work. I had this thought, but dismissed it, so typically me…

I rang my ex-publisher to ask if they still had any copies lying around, they didn’t, so I looked on Amazon (other online book retailers exist, I guess…) and discovered that said ex-publisher have published Kindle versions of both novels, without me giving them the rights to do so.

How can I be certain of this? Because the concept of a Kindle e-book didn’t even exist when I signed my contract, so there is no way I could have given them the rights to something that didn’t exist. Plus they bought out the contract when they decided that the third novel wasn’t ‘romantic’ enough for them and I refused to make it more to their romance liking… That meant that all rights returned to me. Any lawyers/agents reading, please feel free to correct me if I’m way off base.

So I decided to publish them on Kindle on Amazon myself.

This necessitated finding the manuscripts.

Easy, I thought, I have a writing folder containing… well, you know…

However, You know when you think you’re hyper-organised and fabulous, but when you look into it, you realise you’re no better than Homer Simpson?

Well,

opening the ‘Art of Lost Luggage’ folder, I found every single draft of every chapter, but no ‘final manuscript’ file. It was my first novel, so I didn’t save each draft before revision, I only had a large file called ‘book’. D’oh!

I checked out the ‘Fixing Kate’ folder and found the same thing, (clearly I’m not as quick a learner as I thought!). D’oh D’oh!

I converted them to PDFs and uploaded them to my iPad.

So that is how I found myself sitting on my sofa, settling back to read…

my own novels!

It had been over 15 years since I had read either of them, so honestly I’d forgotten pretty much what happens in them. I had memory of the overall plots, but the detail, no clue.

So I am about to honestly review my own novels, if you can’t take the self-indulgence, please skip past the purple text.

I actually enjoyed them. The plots aren’t the most sophisticated, the characters are probably not as rounded as I would write them now, (perhaps, who knows?), but they are funny and if you just go with the craziness, they’re a good read.

‘Luggage’ made me laugh, remembering how I wrote down, verbatim, a phone call with my, then 3 year old (now 20 year-old) niece, Darbi and slotted it into my manuscript. I remembered the meeting that I had with a manager that I again, copied, verbatim, into the book. That meeting, by the way, is the one bit of the book that everybody thought I made up, not one person has ever believed me when I told them that it actually happened in those exact words!

‘Kate’ also made me laugh, remembering the crazy, but funny things that happened on the hospital ward, that I also, quite mercilessly plundered to write the novel. It brought back the memory of the plot twist that took both my mother and me (!) by surprise as I was writing it. I remember sitting at the table of the house in St Lucia shouting it out and mum running in from the kitchen with a huge avocado in her hand, shouting “What?!” and nearly dropping the avocado in shock when I told her.

Even after reading them, I still wasn’t sure if they are the final versions of each manuscript (because I don’t have a copy to compare them with, remember) but I figured, if films can be reissued in a ‘Director’s Cut’ version, maybe books can be re-issued in an ‘Author’s Draft’ version?

So Ladies and Gentlemen,

I present to you the Kindle versions of my two novels, previously published in 2001 & 2002. I have got rid of the ‘comedy’ cartoony covers that my publisher forced me to accept and I have designed my own, they may not be to everyone’s taste, but I like them.

They are both priced under a fiver!

If you have a Kindle (or Kindle App) please download a sample and if you like what you see, please do support a struggling freelancer and buy the books

(oh, and if you really like the books, don’t forget to share the links)

*****************************

The Art of Lost Luggage (http://tinyurl.com/AM-Luggage)

luggage-cover

Here’s the blurb for Luggage:

The adventures of “Pretty, but Solid” Samantha Jordan, a Management Consultant working for a Finnish Company who is rapidly approaching 30. A Determined, high-spirited and Independent professional woman, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She is chubby and has just had her hair dyed Fiery Mahogany (basically scarlet with copper highlights!).

The tale starts with Samantha losing her luggage, a frequent occurrence, but this time she has had enough and demands that the airline investigate. Enter Anne Madison, the customer representative for the airline, who agrees that it is far too regular to be simply a coincidence. She begins to help with the disappearing luggage problem, and assigns her newly promoted Assistant, Dominic, to accompany Samantha and her Luggage through the investigative process.

It becomes clear to Sam that there is something strange going on and in between burglaries and kidnappings, she discovers that her Luggage is being used for something more sinister.


Fixing Kate (http://tinyurl.com/AM-FixingKate)

kate-cover

Here’s the blurb for Kate, from the press release at the time. Yes, I kept that file:

‘I don’t actually know what happened on that day – the day that changed my life’

She had us laughing out loud in her debut novel The Art of Lost Luggage as we followed the hapless Samantha in pursuit of her eternally lost luggage and a whole lot more. Now in her clever and equally funny second book Fixing Kate she uses her unique and often dark humour to weave another hilarious tale of misfortune and mishap.
As her heroine Kate experiences bedpans, IV drips, dishy doctors and hospital food she relies on her best friends and a wholesome sense of humour to get her through and save her social life.

‘Meet Kate Townsend, thirty-one year old Information Technology consultant with quite a nice life, thank you very much, and some great friends.

Now you couldn’t call Kate unlucky, but you could say she was heading for something big.

And when it came, it was life-threatening.

It all began when Kate flew downstairs to answer her mobile phone – and fly she did – right through the air and landed in the A&E department on a morphine drip.

Struck in her hospital bed for months, Kate is not about to let life, and love, pass her by.

Amid four different types of pasta and a consultant with an appetite, Kate plays host to her devoted gang of friends who are not about to let a broken leg spoil their girls’ night in.’

Fixing Kate – guaranteed to have you stitches.


Remember I mentioned the difficult third novel? Stay tuned  – or better still, follow my blog

Over there ——>

More details to follow…

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Blog Changes

Dear All
I have decided to change how I publish my articles.
I have moved my political stuff off my main blog and from now on these blog announcements on Facebook/Twitter from WordPress will be more of the stuff I was posting before I went a bit political.
The political stuff will still be available on my blog here, but available mainly through http://www.prole-star.co.uk/ I’ll post links when they become available.
Amandasig

Say Nothing

When I was younger, in the old days, when honour was a thing people believed in, my mother told me:

“If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing”

I haven’t always lived by this rule, believe me, ask my family and friends. I am quite the expert at the cutting remark,

the bitchy aside,

the darkest shade.

But more and more recently, my mind keeps coming back to this phrase.

“If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing”

Can we all agree, because we’ve all done our due diligence, that Corbyn has been treated unfairly by the media as a whole? There is a hostile media landscape. If you didn’t know this, look here: corbyn-report-final

Can we all agree that Corbyn, for whatever reason, has the support of a majority of the party members?

Can we all agree that, for whatever reason, there are people who do not like Corbyn/the direction the party is going in under Corbyn?

Can we all agree that the Party needs to show unity?

The task now is to deliver a unified message, spoken by people who believe in the message. I’m not saying, and would never advocate anyone lying or saying something they did not believe in, just because someone tells them to. But I do advocate the adherence to the idea that, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t go on national television to say it!

I was watching Michael Portillo spout Corbyn policies on ‘This Week’, “What I think is we should go further (than investing £2bn in housing) we should build more council houses…”  while everyone, including Liz Kendall studiously avoided mentioning Corbyn’s name and instead they all stared at Portillo, in wonder, as if they’ve never heard even the concept before!

Now, Liz Kendall is a Labour MP and it seems she would rather let an ex-Tory MP take credit for Labour Policy, than what? Agree with the Leader of her Party???

It’s shameful, but at the same time, Liz Kendall has gone up in my estimation by the tiniest of smidgens, because she followed the ‘if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing’ principle and quite elegantly focussed on issues.

Say I didn’t like the leader, but I believed that my party was a better bet for the country, in any form, than the current government. I would want to show unity without being dishonourable. I would look for a positive solution, things that we agreed on and promote those, steering clear of the things we disagreed on. If I was invited on a TV show, I would politely decline the invitation if it meant showing the party as a whole in a negative way. But declining a show would do nothing for my media profile and name recognition.

So I have a simple choice: Do I act for the benefit of the party or for the benefit of me?

Say I was an Editor/News Exec Producer and I wanted to create a message, but I have to show balance which means a Labour MP and a Conservative MP. I would need to find two MPs who are both repeating the same message. In the current climate, Labour MPs are queuing up to do this. Absolutely the best case scenario for a Labour hostile News Producer, because Labour supporters are instinctively suspicious of Conservative MPs, but if a Labour MP is saying it, then it must be true, mustn’t it?

I keep asking myself why some Labour MPs are willing to play the hostile media game.

Jess Phillips, for whatever personal reason, doesn’t like Jeremy Corbyn. We get it.

And Jess Phillips is entitled to her opinion.

What Jess Phillips should not be doing, what she absolutely should not be doing, if she actually cared about the Labour Party and wanted it to succeed, is go on TV and make it completely clear just how much she dislikes him.

It makes no sense to me. Who does it benefit?

It benefits the Conservative Party, because the media can keep talking about disunity in the Labour Party

It benefits the Conservative Party, because while the media are talking about disunity in the Labour Party, no-one is scrutinising them

It benefits the Conservative Party, because the longer the media can keep talking about disunity in the Labour Party, the more people are going to get sick of talking about disunity in the Labour Party and sick of the Labour Party.

It benefits Jess Phillips, because in a hostile media landscape, programme makers want a Labour MP on to talk trash/make funny faces about the Labour Leader, which leads to more TV appearances.

It benefits Jess Phillips, because all publicity is good publicity, because love you or hate you, people know your name.

I believe that, for the benefit of the party, anyone not wholly on board with the broad strokes of True Labour policies and or personnel, should stay out if the limelight and off the telly for the next few months, so that the Party can send out a unified positive message of the True Labour vision

 

The next time you see a Labour MP on a TV show playing the hostile media game, ask yourself, why are they there? Who do they really want to benefit?