Nearing the end of gestation

On Wednesday, 3 April, 2013 at 11:56, I sent my collection of short stories (Picking at the Bones) off for a final quote.

         I was sick of dithering and changing stuff every time I read it. I’ve probably over edited and turned a bestseller into a flop. But, there comes a time when you have to grab the bull by the horns and say ‘it is finished’, and that time was at 11:56 on Wednesday 3rd April 2013.

         On Tuesday, 9 April, 2013 at 3:00, I picked up the proof copy of the book. I actually felt embarrassed collecting it from the publisher’s office – isn’t that silly? It’s probably because I am quite a shy person, underneath the bravado I try and show to the world by attending events to promote my work. I almost ran out of the building with the book tucked under my arm, like it was the biggest secret ever. Oh dear! And there’s me thinking I would be elated… maybe when the final print is up and running it will feel different.

         This writing lark is not easy.

         What a beautifully strange experience it was to hold an actual book that I could stroke and fondle as I read my stories in a final proofread of my own. It was nothing like proofing paper printouts… I felt I was reading the stories for the first time. I enjoyed it – and I’ve read them a hundred times already! Inevitably, I found a few errant typos here and there that need sorting before the final print run.

         The book is now in the hands of a volunteer proofreader, as a double-check, whose latest report said she’d read four of the stories up to now, wanting to take it slow so she didn’t miss anything that may need amending. A couple of words she’s used to describe her experience of it so far are ‘interesting’ and ‘surprising’. Not sure how to take that really, and wonder if she’s finding it a slog. I’ll see what the prognosis is when I see her today and ask her direct if appropriate. But… am I ready for the answer?

         I received excellent feedback from the Festival Fringe Event I took part in, where I read one story and two extracts from the collection, and took several pre-orders for the book! So, it would cement my growing confidence if the proofreader comes up with some icing for that. (I have seen her, with icing in progress, since saying this.)

         I keep thinking back to 31st December 2012 when I reported on here that I had finished writing the collection and was sending it off for proofreading. I did quite a lot of editing and re-crafting as a result of that. Three month’s on and it is at proofreading stage yet again. It then has to go back to the people who are making it into books for me, for the amendments and finalisation… but can I trust them to get it right? Shall I ask for yet another proof copy to double check the amendments are correct before the print run?

         This writing lark is definitely not easy.

         What you have to remember in all this is that it is my firstborn I’m sending out there. I need to be careful with the nurturing stages and not set it free into the big wide world until we are both ready to cope with that.

         I’d wanted it to be delivered in time for my Scarborough Festival Fringe Event on 11 April but, knowing that was a tall order, I’d created a leaflet to hand out with three extracts from the book that I would be reading. I’ll try and pop a copy of that onto Kindle over the weekend as a freebie for you (or for as minimal a charge as Kindle permits) whilst I’m waiting for the book to come out. I’ll let you know when it’s on there for you to look at… and maybe you’ll be tempted to buy the book when I’ve finally launched it after the birth.

         Here’s hoping next time you read me on here I’ll be celebrating.

         love and prayers to you all,



They think it’s all over

I didn’t actually give anything up for Lent this Easter to show how serious I am about my faith – apart from writing on this blog (though as I have been too busy to even think about that, giving it up for six weeks counts more as a blessing than a hardship).

One thing I have done is work through the Gospel of Luke via Lent for Everyone by Tom Wright, which doesn’t finish until this Easter Saturday. I found it quite challenging facing The Passion, as I read the scriptures and the reflections each day, to look honestly at my behaviour in relation to my faith, and how I show Jesus to the world through that. Imagining myself as one of the disciples, or one of the crowd, in the situations portrayed in the book (as suggested by Wright) gave me a new insight into how God understands everything we go through, in real-life terms, because of what he did for us through Jesus Christ on the cross.

The whole experience has enabled me to link it in to current situations in my own life, especially decision making and choices as reactions to personal events, and how these relate to the story and the scriptures.

I have become closer to God this Lenten period and throughout Easter, knowing that he understands everything I am feeling at any given time or situation, because He has already experienced everything I have faced, am facing, or will ever have to face.

There was a beautiful explanation in the book about the Ascension of Jesus to Heaven. Put simply it is this: that Jesus goes up (to Heaven), the power (Holy Spirit) comes down, the kingdom (God’s) gets going.

God’s kingdom is about God running the world in a whole new way. We as Christians can’t just tell people about Jesus so they come to faith, we need to be receptive to the presence and the power of God so that we can be the ones through whom God’s kingdom comes.

‘There is an old Christian tradition that God sends each person into the word with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to bestow.’ (John Powell, Through the Season of the Heart).

I pray that many more people have found themselves in God’s presence and power this Easter, and are ready to deliver their own special message to the world, for the coming of the kingdom.