Well, as you will have seen, the hen’s eggs hatched. This was not good timing. I was trying to prepare the file for Joanna, ready to send to the typesetter (more on that later.) Egg hatching is always high effort.
I know that really, I should do nothing, let the mother be in control, and if the hatchlings die, so be it. That’s how nature seems to work. But I cannot quite bring myself to not be involved. There is something exciting about eggs hatching, it is like having a present at Christmas when you’re small, you really really want to know what is inside but you have to just be patient and wait.
The hen had laid in a pretty daft place – I think in an attempt to stop me taking her eggs each morning. I didn’t even know she was there for a few days, I thought the fox must have got her. Then I spotted her coming out for a furtive feed one morning. She had nested under the roof of a dog cage, on top of the plastic crate that serves as a nesting box, so quite high, with a ‘roof,’ so she couldn’t be seen from above. Now the eggs are hatching, if one of the chicks falls out the nest, it falls quite a long way, and cannot climb back in.
When I went up this morning, I could hear a chick cheeping, but it was nowhere to be seen. The mother was refusing to budge from her nest, so I am assuming she had more eggs hatching. I had to crawl through straw and cobwebs and spiders and chicken poop, right behind the nesting box, to rescue the chick. It was dark brown, very pretty. I put it back in the nest and it crawled back under it’s mother – who pecked me for disturbing her! Ungrateful bird. I have checked the nest every hour all day. It is too cold for chicks to survive out of the nest.
Of course, this was not my plan for the day. My plan was to work all day, preparing my next book. All the changes my editor suggested have been finished, and it has all been proofread. Now it needs to be formatted ready for the typesetter, who will produce a nice file ready for the printer. I have to read and reread, and read again, checking for errors (this is my last chance to spot them) adding notes about where I want time breaks and new chapters and boring details like that.
I am rather excited about the book though. It is very different to Hidden Faces, I think it will appeal to a broader audience, it is a bit more ‘gritty’. It was lots of fun to write. A friend who is studying photography at uni is preparing the cover photo. She has sent me through some ideas, which are all very exciting. I want to show people, but I know I’m supposed to wait, to not reveal the cover until it’s all finished. Again, it is a lot like waiting for Christmas! It won’t be ready until next Easter time, which feels like forever. This time I shall have a ‘book launch’ – which my sister told me I should have had for Hidden Faces, but I just wasn’t brave enough.
In the meantime, I am still selling Hidden Faces. The first rush has died down, but I’m still getting a steady flow of orders, mostly from people who have been told about it by a friend (I can see where the sales are, so can link people geographically.) I am hoping to sell another batch as Christmas gifts, especially as it begins with a nativity play – very topical. Some people have been very kind as I’ve launched this new venture, and I am very grateful to them. These include a local reporter who has included me in the newspaper, friends who have written reviews or recommended it to others, the shops who have taken a risk on an unknown author and stocked my book. It would all have been impossible without other people helping me.
This week someone put a list of names through my letterbox, asking me to write them into books, then sign them and write ‘Christmas 2016’ underneath. That was a nice surprise – it meant I sold another 8 books.
I am still looking for marketing ideas, so if you have any suggestions, do let me know. I am taking books to several different Christmas markets, and am going to speak to a reading group in the town.
I have also been invited to speak in November at a lunch in London. This is particularly scary – mainly because I have to sort the animals and get a train and not be late (the public speaking bit will be fine, I have done quite a lot of that, and this is about literacy and books, both of which I know lots about.) I will also have to look reasonably smart – which for someone who basically lives in jeans and wellies is somewhat of a stress point. I am the woman in the supermarket with straw and cobwebs in her hair – see information above! I forced husband to come shopping with me (sorely missed having daughter at home.) I last went clothes shopping two years ago before we went to Brazil. Am not a shopper. Bought a dress. Need to practise walking in heels. Hope venue isn’t too hot or I shall speak with a pink face. I will let you know how I get on.
PS. Don’t forget the clocks go back on Sunday!
Thank you for reading.
Have you read Counting Stars?
A kindle book available from Amazon. The story of a family in the world around the corner….meet Lena, a woman who is just like you. She worries and wonders and even needs to use the washroom occasionally! She also does amazing things to save her family – because that is what women do.
Or for readers in the US: