Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Starting your own publishing house.

November 16, 2010

Starting your own publishing house.

The last post concerned the problem of getting published and turning to self-publishing. (Suggest you read that first)
Here I am telling the story of how Magpies Nest Publishing was set up as a channel to get my books into the market place. Plus various problems to do with marketing your book.

Magpies Nest Publishing (www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk) was set up by my son. This is completely different to using the ‘ready to use’ blogs that are simple to set up but restrict in other ways. Magpies Nest Publishing is not a blog, but a showcase and a means to order books over the web. I have no knowledge of computer language and my son does all the changes needed from time to time. I can’t even get at the programme to do any changes because it is on my son’s computer, not mine. He does not want me to fiddle with it anyway — can’t blame him as I would only mess things up. (Being an old biddie, relatively new to computers, that is one thing that I really am good at!) PayPal, complete with shopping basket, is really needed but I have to wait until it can be done. Hopefully by the time most people read this it will be set up.

I did not set out with the intention of starting a publishing house. But I had already written a number of novels, and submitting to agents or publishers that objected to the author submitting to other firms at the same time, was indeed tedious, especially when a reply could take months. Knowing that agents only take on one or two new authors a year (and those not necessarily from submissions) out of the thousands of hopefuls, was not encouraging. But, as you may have gathered from my last post, I continued as I looked into alternatives. The false agent was a huge blow. I’m just thankful I did not broadcast the mythical coming contract. The showcase venture collapsing was also a blow as all this meant that I had not submitted my work to genuine firms for quite a while. Back to square one!

But even before then, I received a letter from a friend’s son who was climbing Kilimanjaro along with a group of students from Durham University. He was looking for sponsorship. Having very little cash at the time I offered to write a small book about my childhood. I had been encouraged to write a book by someone who enjoyed the occasional funny references to my youth. Here was an opportunity. I had no great plans, just thought a booklet something like a Church Magazine — printed, put together and stapled by myself, at a place where I knew it could be done. However, it grew. Someone offered to sell it on their website, the man who did my Manuscript Appraisals offered to proofread it, and so I just had to do a decent job of printing it. I enlisted a cartoonist to help with illustrations to go with my line drawings. and I began looking up local printers. The local printer could not do perfect binding I required and suggested a firm in Kendal. A good quality book was produced by the traditional method. Someone suggested 1,000 copies as being the cheapest way to buy them, I already thought 500 would be far too many. But I decided on 750 and wondered where on earth I was going to sell them! However, my son said we should get an ISBN and bar code, or they could not be sold in shops. (You have to get a minimum of ten ISBNs All this information can be found on the Internet) He saw to all that, and he formatted the book. Quite a job with having to fit in so many drawings — some having to be shrunk or adjusted, and occasionally the text wrapped around an illustration.

We got a lot of publicity from the local paper because of the Kilimanjaro expedition as well as the uniqueness of the book. This carried on to illustrate an article about wartime labeling — Utility! Photos of my young friend actually standing on the mountain also gave another occasion for the book’s mention. My son’s firm sold many books through their on site gift shop and fellow employees bought the book. A visiting rep for the Lakeland glossy magazine read the book and put a brief review in the next publication. A reviewer for Westmorland Gazette wrote a nice piece too. Some people bought multiple copies for Christmas and birthday presents too. I was stopped in the street and supermarket to be complimented on the memoirs and was told how much it brought back memories. Buyers passed it around family and friends — some abroad. I even got letters saying how much it was enjoyed. Delightful, amusing, hilarious, entertaining — praise abounded! Even so, sales were mostly local. I sold a good batch to a book warehouse but at 50% discount not much left for charity. Others took 30% 35% or 40% but quite a few were sold with every penny profit given to the cause. Hence we eventually handed over all profit plus a few donations to the charity — over £1,500. (Some through the sponsoring but most afterwards direct to the charity). Recently, due to requests we could not fulfill, we produced a second edition with 40 extra pages and more illustrations. I could not risk another traditional plates production as I did not expect to repeat previous sales, so I went Print On Demand. Their new site is in preparation but I am very pleased with the service I get from them:
http://www.bookprinting.uk.com
Another new site, which appears to be excellent for fulfillment services and generally helpful for self-publishers is
http://www.authorcraft.co.uk
Apart from getting a free copy of ’10 Big Mistakes that cost Authors Money’ it claims to be a creative community of writers, authors, journalists, bloggers,designers, illustrators, editors, proofreaders, programmers, web designers… visit there to find what else. I have joined the community, it might well raise my enthusiasm, and who knows — sales?

Having successfully formatted Red Boxes (When Phones were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes) and got it registered (which puts the book into a catalogue and onto Amazon etc. and also requires six books to be deposited in British deposit Libraries) my son suggested we use up the spare ISBNs on publishing my novels.

A novel is much larger than my memoirs. To buy more than 200 maximum seemed risky (as well as requiring storage space) and traditional printing would be far too expensive so I turned to digital POD. I looked on the Internet and received a variety of estimates. I chose a firm in Derby and they did my first two novels. But they closed their book printing side of the business – or sold it. If the above fulfillment company, with its connection to the above mentioned POD printer had been around then I would likely have enlisted their services. As it turned out, I found novels incredibly difficult to sell. Even after getting awards and local newspaper publicity. There are so many cheap books around and this is an area of low population. And I guess , being an oldie who had to give up driving years ago, it difficult to get around and get my talents known. Posting books to book warehouses got me nowhere (except the more local one, which is not taking more due to present financial restrictions.) Posting books elsewhere just meant loss of books with seldom a confirmation of receipt. Same with trying for reviews in nationals. I had it confirmed by the Telegraph that they only review books freely available to purchase in any bookstore. Of course, bookstores won’t buy books unless they are certain of selling them.

However, after the first two novels, we published a delightful poetry book called The Primrose Path. The poet is an ex-Yorkshire miner, Bob Taylor. We met through a group formed after the false agent debacle. I loved his poetry and persuaded him to let us publish it. I illustrated it for him. But he, like me, had written a few short stories. So I invited submissions from other members of the group with a Northern connection and we published an illustrated book called Northern Lights. All the contributors bought copies at the cost of printing and could sell or give them away as they wished. 50 copies were bought by a warehouse bookseller. I had a second print run done and we are now out of stock again. Of course, we would do another run if needed. Unlikely, since our sales are almost entirely local with only a few Internet orders, as with novels.

Having had short stories printed in Internet journals, two years ago I decided to publish my own anthology — Still Waters Run Deep, stories of hidden depths. (Mainly stories — humour, mystery, crime, semi-erotic, with a local setting.) It went in the local paper and the next day customers were queuing outside the bookshop waiting for it to open! I had tried to get it published but the publisher who enjoyed reading the submission said it was not what they published (they only published regional) and suggested where I might try. It did not suit them either but they sent information on what they do publish. Why go on trying when we can do it ourselves?
But no matter what kind of books, readers have to be really keen to pay more than the cheapest books on the market. We live in a small market town in Cumbria. When I asked a market bookstall if he would like 10 of my books at a promotional price of 10 for £5, he would not even look at them. He waved his hand over the stall and said, ‘This is what people buy. This is what they want. Known authors and known books.’ Then he turned away and ignored me. However I have given copies to the local Oxfam and they sell out there. Again, books are cheap! At least the money goes to charity so that is okay.

I have set up an account with Gardner’s so I can sell through Waterstone’s. BUT I have to contact each manager personally to ask if he will take a copy. The local, Barrow branch, of Waterstone’s (ten miles away) will take orders but will not stock. (Daft really! All that postage – me to Gardner’s, Gardners’ to Waterstone’s when I could just deliver it myself, but they have their reasons). I either break even or lose on every book. Waterstone’s in Barrow used to be Ottakar’s. That manager was great. He not only took my books (sold 30 of Red Boxes) but actually read my When Angels Lie and said it was good. He was moved to Kendal and bought some books there too. All these helpful bookstores have been swept away by big business. The local bookstore (keen to help local authors) closed one of its shops then sold the other. The new owner gave up but it has been opened by a new owner who is quite friendly. He has accepted some of each of my trilogy.

The trilogy, like my other novels, is also published in the USA and will shortly be published in India. Also as an ebook in Australia for worldwide distribution.

I do not pay to have my books published anywhere, but I have paid a great deal for editing, proofreading and appraising by professionals. Even the books of top authors get many edits before books are released. Recently, one best selling author got the wrong draft of his book printed in thousands by mistake, and they all had to be pulped! I managed about four typos in one of my books and worse in another — a small paragraph got left in that should have been taken out. But no one seems to have noticed. Most books on sale manage to get a few typos but unedited books give a bad impression of an author’s work.

However, without great marketing skills, it is difficult to get books into stores countrywide. But to get books cheap enough you need to print in thousands. Some regional publishers get grants, but not publishers like Magpies Nest. But without expensive promotion and publicity a publisher can be left with a load of books destined for pulping. A rather small book publisher (Snowbooks) states it takes them £10,000 and six months of their time just to launch a book, and that is without the publicity big publishing houses use. But Snowbooks have the experience of which books sell and the know-how to get them into the shops. Quite possibly my books, as they are, would not sell even if published by Random House! Well, I guess I will never know the answer to that.

It only takes something extraordinary about a book to attract a grapevine of twitters and it does occasionally happen. Word of mouth does sell books but they have to be in the market place attractively on display to get noticed. Otherwise why do publishers pay out huge sums to get even top authors’ books in windows and on display, complete with posters, leaflets and special offers, and in glossy magazines, and on posters on station platforms and so on?

Having one’s own publishing label is really little different from other forms of self-publishing. Unless you have a firm doing fulfillment for you it is just more hard work. Even so, it can get books into big stores if there is a will to do so. An ISBN and barcode is essential. Your own label gives you complete control over your book but you may have more work to do. But then, all publishers, large and small, demand a lot from their authors. Likely, if you pay someone to self-publish for you it could cost far more and the results be less satisfactory. Those who provide services are the ones most likely to make money out of your book. But then, DIY publishing without the necessary skills, can produce very poor books. I could not run Magpies Nest Publishing alone, but younger people with the necessary skills certainly could. And of course, you can get books printed cheaper, even if you have to buy in batches rather than singly. But there is always the option of fulfilment services.

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Dithering — is there a cure?

September 16, 2010

Titles - did I get them right?

Choosing book titles and covers, choosing pen name or own name. If pen name what name? I still don’t know if I have got them right. Likely not. I will forever agonise over such choices.

I think I was born a ditherer. When I was thirteen and took an exam to go to art school, we had several choices for one of the tests (Memory and Imagination). Oh misery! From the list given, first I chose a woman scrubbing a floor. Then I turned the page over and tried a scene at a railway station. Didn’t think it good enough so turned over and finished the woman scrubbing a floor. Didn’t like it and so, with five minutes left, I turned back to the railway station and put as much in it as I could. The other tests no problem — a nature drawing (leaves with berries) and a simple still life (for shading and perspective). Decisions, decisions, decisions! I guess I got through in spite of the agony of choice with one of them.
I have always had a problem making choices. That is, except in wartime and the years following. We had few choices to make then. Rationing and lack of variety saw to that. No choice with school dinners either. That suited me fine. When school dinners were brought in, to me that was like eating out!
Oddly enough lack of choice gave us a sort of freedom to experiment and to gain satisfaction through achievement. But starting out in the world (that is what it seemed like when I had to travel by bus to Nottingham) forced me to make decisions. I was the only one from my school and felt somewhat alone until friendships were made.
The trouble is I can see possibilities in most things and most actions. Which is the best buy? Which is the best way to proceed?
My mother used to say to ditherers, “You’ll never hang yourself.”
Maybe, but sometimes it feels like that is happening. Tension does horrible things to one’s body!

Visit my:
Magpies Nest Publishing and my other blogs — Writing For Joy, Diary of an English Lady and my author blog

For an out of this world experience go Down Under and visit Fools Paradise on a shoestring!

Bad poetry?

August 13, 2010

Just William — his favourite spot in front of the fire.

When it comes to writing, you never know what others will choose as their favourite pieces. You could go by those who ‘know’ what is good, especially when it comes to poetry. Rhyme is out — or is it?
I wrote a little ditty in celebration of the life of a cat that I had never met. It only took a few minutes. I sent it to a friend who had just buried his beloved cat. But a copy remained in my files.
When I, along with Bob Taylor, published Northern Lights, I needed a poem to balance a section. Something simple and light-hearted. I used the cat poem and called him William.
William was a cat that had belonged to one of my sons many years ago. He was one of many, born in a barn at the local farm. I can’t say that I was pleased to have yet another pet to supervise. Of course, I was the one who had to look after him, feed him and take him to the vet when necessary. He became part of the family, but a cat that was always aloof and his own person. That is, until he became old and really poorly. I hated to see him suffer and when I took him to the vet I hoped termination would be recommended, so I could have him put to sleep without a guilty conscience, The vet said his kidneys had hardened and put him on a drip. I asked if William was suffering. She said with his health problem he would be dozy and not feel pain much. So I collected him to live on for a few more weeks.
I had to feed the cat with a syringe because his gums were rotting. The cat was not too pleased and I got the benefit of his anger. (Such scratches!) But I persevered.
For the first time in his life, when he was smelly with pus and losing teeth and hair, William wanted to come on my knee. Every time I sat down, William would jump up and sort of purr. He did not live much longer and I found him dead in his bed. My hubby buried him in the garden.
So this little ditty is really about two cats.
The funniest thing about the poem, is that it was picked out by a reader as being her most favourite piece in the whole book. It reminded her of her dead cat. The lady was incredibly thankful and full of praise.

William

William was my darling —
A friendly little cat.
Each time that I came through the door
He was waiting on the mat.
How he loved a cuddle,
Me too I must confess,
For when upset and moody
He softened my distress.
I buried him in the garden,
Just where he loved to sit
And stretch out in the sunshine,
Or take a little kip.
I’m really going to miss him,
He eased my woes and fears.
My little friend has given me
The best of his fourteen years.

Writing For joy
Gladys Hobson — Author
Diary Of A Country Lady
Magpies Nest Publishing.

CHECKMATE — G B Hobson

May 12, 2010

CHECKMATE is the third book of the Love By Design  series. The first book is called Awakening Love, The second book is SEDUCTION  and finally(?) CHECKMATE

CHECKMATE front cover

A heated game of lust and envy v love and integrity

A pre-published review of Checkmate by Gladys Hobson
Reviewed by Geoff Nelder: award-winning author and co-editor of Escape Velocity magazine.

Gladys Hobson’s Checkmate is much more than a romance novel. It is a tour de force of the strengths and weaknesses between members of two powerful families. It is the English Lake District’s own Dallas only with more three-dimensional characters. The plot rotates around the conflict generated by Robert, whose sexual magnetism lures women and steers his business to the detriment of his arch-enemy. This reader felt an overwhelming desire to travel to Cumbria, find Robert and smash his face in. However, Gladys is too subtle to allow simple revenge. Instead the rogue is given a long leash… but suffer he does.
Although I mainly read and review science fiction and fantasy novels, the characters in Checkmate are so engaging you get to experience what each character thinks of each other: scheming men and women, the devoted and the deluded. Compelling reading.
As a romance novel, you’ll need asbestos gloves to read these fiery pages. It is far more than eroticism: it is a perceptive and insightful exploration of a family’s relationships, lusts and passions. In amongst the wily machinations there is humour. For example you’ll not keep a straight face reading a hilarious sex-in-a-car attempt.
Gladys Hobson is an experienced novelist and it shows in her masterful writing. Any reader of romance will be enriched by reading Checkmate, a must-read addition to their bookshelves.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK AND THE OTHER TWO OF THE TRILOGY IS NOW BEING PUBLISHED BY TURQUOISE MORNING PRESS (USA) AND WILL BE AVAILABLE VERY SOON (BETWEEN SEPTEMBER AND THE END OF 2012)

Writing For Joy, my author and books site.
Magpies Nest Publishing

More Dress Designs From the 1950’s

January 15, 2010




Have been in the attic again and brought out a pile of drawings I did when I was freelance designing in the 1950’s (these are late 1950’s).

These pictures are not brilliant. The drawings were in pencil and I could hardly see the lines. So I photocopied them – the darkest I could use. Then I photographed and adjusted them to get reasonable pictures. It is quite obvious, so no one can say they are copies of other people’s designs. I have lots more – underwear, housecoats, nightwear, dresses, housecoats, separates.

I really enjoyed being a designer. I found it quite thrilling to have thousands of garments made from a single design. And to see them in shop windows and, occasionally, people wearing them. Now I have written about a dress designer of that period — her designing, her loves and hopes. See  Magpies Nest Publishing Books can be ordered directly from there by PayPal — post free in the UK. Or can be ordered through any good bookseller. Dress design can be done in minutes when inspired and the pattern in about an hour. I did not find it hard to sell them either. Writing novels takes many months but getting them published is a story in itself!

These are drawings I did when I had just turned sixteen in the late 1940’s. I found them in an old folder up in the attic. The pictures are elsewhere on this web site but not put together to form a video. Nice to have music background too.

Why write?

Sometimes writing pulls like a magnet. When I first started writing, I would be up at three in the morning, tapping at the keys. My design career inspired me and I was driven by the characters being formed in my imagination.

UPDATE SEPT. 2012: For those who are interested in dress design, especially post war Britain up to the eighties, my trilogy Awakening Love, Seduction, Checkmate, following the career, life and loves of a dress designer — June Armstrong (Rogers in both sequels) is to be shortly available in the USA through the publisher, Turquoise Morning Press. In the first book, she is just a young naive girl determined to make it to the top of her chosen career. The setting is genuine and closely resembles the factory where I worked, including the manner of designing, cutting and manufacture.
These sketches were done in the 1950’s — the era for Awakening Love. (UPDATE: The video was made when Dare Empire published the books. Turquoise Morning Press has now acquired the printing rights.)

Ernie Johnson’s masterpiece — The BOOKHOUSE

July 24, 2009

Ernie Johnson’s masterpiece — The BOOKHOUSE
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I say ‘masterpiece’, because I consider the BOOKHOUSE to be a true work of art — creative, tasteful and incredibly well put together. Ernie is a craftsman of the Internet. But not only that but a philanthropist to authors looking to showcase their books.

Being a clumsy, computer illiterate, I admire anyone with skills and knowledge of computer language. Unfortunately, many web sites employ so many gimics and bizarre flashing items in clashing colours, that they are a ‘turn off’ as far as I am concerned. Just because things are available does not mean that all of them have to be employed — to the detriment of the essential contents.

A visit to the BOOKHOUSE is like entering a well-ordered bookstore or library where the genre you are seeking is there ready and waiting, clearly ordered. Here – at the click of the mouse – we see the latest books by new authors. All of them potential best sellers. Book covers, reviews or synopsis reveal each books contents, plus where they can be purchased. You can even have a chat with one of the authors on certain days.

Take a look at the BOOKHOUSE

And my page there.

Maybe you should be there too?

KILROY — Presenter extraordinaire? Renegade politician? Mature woman’s sexy devil? My experience FINAL PART

April 10, 2009

UPDATE September 2012 — Blazing Embers is NOW Smouldering Embers and will shortly be published by Turquoise Morning Press.

Part Five. Sex and the Over Sixties — Embers Blazing!

 I have gained more memory since writing this and find much has been missed out but it more or less follows this pattern.

I put on my school teacher voice: “It isn’t funny, Robert. Not all women get an orgasm with sex. When we were young we were totally ignorant about sex. Our sex education got no further than a single-celled amoeba that divides itself. That’s how we went into marriage. Totally ignorant.”

“So how long did it take? An hour? Two? A week? Months?” A grin followed while the audience laughed.

I can’t recall exact words and order of them. But I tried to get over the problems of sexually ignorant people coming together in marriage and living busy lives and lacking technique. Problems of when children arrive, including physical ones. It was getting rather personal. (Reader beware! With a good interviewer, it is so easy to get swept along paths you did not intend to take!)

A woman in front interrupted, talking about ignorance and being protected from boys by her father, and the thread was lost.

But Kilroy came back and asked if I agreed that sex improves as we get older.

“Yes, I do.”

The man next to me explained things very nicely. He spoke about what sex is like (from a male point of view) from when men are young and want to get to their destination quickly, because it is all about what is in their trousers. (Laughter), to later years when comes the desire to do things more slowly so there is more time for romance. And having years of experience and plenty of time for preliminaries, with no anxieties about performance, sex is more enjoyable.

There were plenty of interruptions (the woman in front again) and, of course, far more was said during this period and quite likely in different words — it is a long time ago to remember exactly— but that was the gist of it.

Kilroy moved on to plastic surgery. A big issue. The heavily made-up lady who had shared our car to the studio, proudly announced that her husband had bought her a tummy-tuck for her birthday. I wondered what she looked like minus make-up and clothes. Probably quite ordinary. She had plenty of meat on her, tummy-tuck or not, and no doubt a whacking big scar somewhere or other. Did she go to bed dressed up and in make-up? Or was all this expensive treatment just to look good when showing herself to the world? She had already proudly announced that she wore designer clothes and make-up. But that was her choice and there are very many like her. Even primitive peoples beautified themselves with paint and did painful things to their bodies.

Others had undergone surgery, or intended to, and spent a lot on making themselves look good according to their standards. But there were those present who looked better, and more natural, without heavy costs. Why go to great expense? It had already been established that some women there dressed to find sexual partners. A couple appeared to be advertising themselves.

The answer came, in part, from a woman who had clearly been invited because of the expense she had gone to in order to re-invent herself (her words). Clearly she had spent a lot of cash on clothes, make-up, hairdressing and surgery. She refused to give her age but I had to admire her. Even so, there was something about her that did not look real. Somehow she did not look feminine. Her body looked slim but hard. Her breasts looked more like well developed muscles you sometimes see on weight lifters. Her white dress was body hugging and her platinum hair beautifully done, but…

Unfortunately the lady was derided by a few of the people there. I rather think that some of the animosity was because she looked and spoke posh. She had obviously invested many thousands in this re-invented image. If it helped her then that is okay, but how sad that women can be made to feel old and ugly. I blame the media and celebrity hype.

There were men there who thought women should be just natural and that they did not need to dress up or go to all lengths to make themselves sexy. Some women agreed — sexiness comes from within. I said something about some women staying young inside.

I did have other things to say but soon the programme was at an end.

As we were about to leave the studio, most of the women there — young and old — gathered around and wanted to know the title of my book and where they could buy it. After all, apart from the book being quite funny in places, the problems concerning orgasms are not confined to the elderly.

The day following I met a few people in my own home town (where the story is set) who had seen the programme and they too wanted to know where to buy the book. One had gone to our local bookshop to see if it could be ordered. The book was not even in print. I was unable to find a publisher. Some were interested but said it did not fit a genre to suit their readers as the characters were too old.  But since it has been enjoyed by both men and women of all ages, I would dispute this (see other posts on ‘Sex and the Over Sixties’, and ‘Blazing Embers’ and Sex, sex, sex! Over sixties too’). A male oldie said the book had changed his life. And yet my grandchildren enjoyed it too. It partly tells of life years ago as well as problems faced in the present. So I printed it under Magpies Nest Publishing with the pen name of Angela Ashley. It is now available in the USA as Blazing Embers by Gladys Hobson. (see below) Soon it will also be available as an e-book by Mythica Publishing.

If only it had been available then and there!

I sent the manuscript to Simon Powell as he had asked. After a while, and hearing nothing from him, I rang the studio and found that he was no longer there. Shortly after that show he walked out and no one could tell me where he had gone. His secretary returned the manuscript. Ah, who knows what Simon might have done with it? A programme series? I don’t expect I’ll ever know.

Read a couple of chapters at http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk

You can buy a book there (under pen name, Angela Ashley)

 

 

KILROY — Presenter extraordinaire? Renegade politician? The mature woman’s sexy devil? – My experience, Part One

March 3, 2009

To those who never witnessed any of the long-running (17 years) popular Kilroy programmes, I will describe them as being daytime talk shows with the presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk interacting with an audience of folk  — mainly women — who have some connection with the subject under discussion. 

Kilroy has many critics and some who describe him in disparaging terms, but it took politically incorrect remarks made by him — recorded in a daily newspaper — to have his show withdrawn and himself banned from the BBC. However there can be no doubt that the Kilroy programme had a large following among those at home when the show went out. It was also shown in other countries, (or so I believe)

Kilroy is a bit of a renegade, smart and good-looking for his years. He is a ‘boy from the back streets’ who pushed through the barriers of class distinction to make it as a politician and television personality, even if he did manage to trip himself up and achieve a great fall. But Robert is not one to let a setback throw him into oblivion, entering politics again he managed to get to be a member of the European Parliament — even if he did a bit of falling out with his fellow party members. Kilroy is an individualist, and, quite likely, always will be. 

It is this speaking his own mind, somewhat naively, and being never short of words that made his Kilroy programmes what they were. With a backup team to support him and organise his half hour show, he had the whole programme plan set in his mind and knew whom to chat with and where they would be sitting. How do I know? I was on one of his last shows.

I recall quite clearly how it all began. I was taking a break from novel writing by doing the weekly ironing chore. I put on the television to relieve the boredom. Robert Kilroy-Silk was already in full flood on his Kilroy programme, but, contrary to my expectations, this was a different person to the one I was used to seeing, and of whom I’d heard so much disparaging talk about. No, this was a man I could warm to, a man with warmth and understanding, a man to inspire.

The seats at the show were not packed and those there were on the elderly side. The discussion was serious. No hilarity,. Kilroy being the friendly ‘counsellor’ drawing from nervous guests the problems they suffered with their sex life. Clearly, the problems were acute. For some, precious experiences which had been shared and enjoyed for many years, were no longer possible. I only saw part of the show and I wondered how many of the women had actually experienced an orgasm and why it was not possible, especially in this day and age, to get help in overcoming difficulties. 

Most people of my generation had no sex education and there was no sex to be seen on the silver screen. Explicit sex in fiction was banned too. ‘Fumbling in the dark’ would be an apt metaphor for many a wedding night! (if couples waited that long). I recalled a friend of mine saying that her parents had enjoyed sex well into their eighties. Fulfilling sex can be experienced in many ways. Retired couples have the time to experiment, work on the preliminaries, build up the passion, and have the maturity to laugh when things go haywire.

Thus inspired, I set to work and wrote Blazing Embers (initially in the name of Angela Ashley but now in my own name — Gladys Hobson). I set the scene in my own home town extending it to the close-by Lake District. I had a clear picture of the couple, and I decided on someone with the looks of Robert Kilroy Silk (tan and all) to drop into their lives and help solve their problems (in a most delightful manner).

Some time later, after my ‘inspired’ humorous book was written — a book like no other in the market place — I had the chance to experience Kilroy in action. 

PART TWO to follow. ‘My embarrassing ordeal’

What a Difference Promotion Can Make!

February 20, 2009

Today I had my book Awakening Love (Stonehedge Publishing Ebook version) showcased at http://authorsandtheirbooks.blogspot.com by author Ernie Johnson.
There is a picture of the book cover and another of the author, plus a good snappy synopsis and one of the places to buy. 
The synopsis reveals why the locket on the cover picture is highly relevant. 
Visit http://www.ernierjohnson.net to find out more about this remarkable Ernie Johnson with his vast range of activities.

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Here is the synopsis for Awakening Love:
A tale of love, lust and passionate desire, authentically set in late 1940’s class-conscious Britain. Innocent, naive teenager, June Armstrong is determined to rise above her working class roots and succeed as a top dress designer. Her sexuality is dramatically awakened by war hero, and socially advantaged, Major Arthur Rogers (retired), twenty years her senior. The relationship, sealed by a gift of a locket containing a diamond for an engagement ring, is to be kept secret until June is eighteen. Various events, involving his family, job prospects and unforeseen factors to do with affairs of the heart, prove to be a challenge to their relationship.
Arthur’s ‘ladies man’ brother, Charles, is also in love with June but ruins his chances when he sexually assaults her. June becomes the catalyst for his remarkable redemption. She finds herself falling in love with the “new Charlie” when Arthur is abroad on business. Out of love for his brother and June, Charles withdraws from the blossoming relationship and returns to the Royal Navy.
But first Charles helps June gain employment as a trainee designer. Her boss and mentor — dynamic, sexy entrepreneur, Robert Watson — realises June’s potential and sweeps her along on a tidal wave of ambition. He has plans for a totally new business and she is to be his lynch pin. June is mesmerised by both Watson’s charisma and his renowned erotic sexuality (which she inadvertently witnesses in the stock room). 
Robert Watson’s ability to draw out June’s creative genius eventually creates a bond, dangerous but thrilling, which he ruthlessly exploits — to the full!

Awakening Love is twice award winner!

Ulverston – the festival Town of Furness, Cumbria

October 26, 2008

And the band played on

And the band played on


This photo was going to be for a story “And the Band Played On” in my new short story book, but it is not what I really wanted as, due to bad weather, they had a pavilion cover and not all their members are present. It certainly is not good enough for the book cover should I have decided to have the story for the book title.
The stories centre around this area, and are quite diverse – humour, horror, murder, mystery, love, passion, bizarre, beautiful. If I stress the local settings will l then put readers off? After all they could take place anywhere.
Getting title and picture right within the total book cover design is not easy. Bad enough thinking up a title that will draw readers like a magnet. I guess this is where cover artists are needed. But, if the book is to earn a little for charity, there will be no money for that!
Oh, decisions, decisions!

Magpies Nest Publishing
Writing For Joy
My Space Gladys Writes
My Space June Designs