Tag Archives: newspapers

Tiredness and hormones lead to help from my mum and a local newspaper

This week we’re all a bit under the weather. After being away over night at an outdoor activity place with her school, my eldest spends the next morning in tears. ‘Is she ill?’ asks my husband. I feel her forehead. ‘Nope. Normal,’ I say. My daughter lets out a tear tremble. ‘Is she going to be sick?’ he asks, eyes narrowed. I turn to her. ‘Do you feel sick, sweetie?’ She shakes her head, cheeks damp, brow furrowed. ‘Aw, honey,’ I say, ‘what’s to do?’  ‘I don’t know,’ she sobs, sinking to the bottom stair. ‘I just.’ Sob. ‘Feel.’ Sob. ‘Like crying.’ Sob. ‘And I don’t know why!’ Hmmm. I take one look at her, march into the kitchen and tap my husband on the shoulder. ‘Hormones,’ I say. ‘It’s a mixture of sheer exhaustion and hormones.’ His face looks as if I have just told him she has three heads, which, of course, being a girl, she does, figuratively speaking. ‘I’m off,’ he replies. Wise move.

Thing is, I don’t think it’s just my daughter who’s feeling awash with tiredness and oestrogen. For some reason, I’ve been finding this past week tough. In many ways, things have been going well. I’ve signed up to several e-book forums now in a bid to promote my novel.  ‘Get on to forums and join in the conversation to grow your readership’, all the advice on the web says about it. ‘Yes,’ I mutter, the clock flashing 11.30 p.m. at me, ‘but they never tell you it will take for ever to sort out. And no, for the fifth time no, Gspotter83, I am absolutely not interested in your new erotica novel.’ My laptop promptly dies on me. This, I think, is my cue to go to bed.  To be fair, the people on the forums are a very friendly bunch, but the trouble is I keep forgetting to log on and get chatting. I’m just so tired and achy. Amazon has its own forums, which are very easy to use with some handy author threads so you can do some hefty self-PR, but again, it’s finding the time to get on there. What I have found though is that, once you are on, you’re on all night. ‘Are you still up?’ my husband asks after a rare Friday night out with the lads for a few beers. I glance at the clock. 12.45 a.m. I meant to be in bed by 11. Damn it. ‘How was your night? Have a few pints?’ I ask, yawning, closing my laptop. ‘Bernard was there. He has a bike with four seats!’  I look at him. He is jumping like a new puppy. ‘Oooh, I feel queasy now,’ he says. I need my bed.

The next day, my hormones hold me hostage. I am trying to write my second novel, and it is not going well. ‘It sucks!’ I wail as my husband blinks awake. ‘What time have you been up since?’ ‘4.30,’ I reply, aware that I sound slightly crazed, ‘and it’s a Saturday!’ He sighs and goes to put the kettle on. I resume staring at the word document on the screen.  The eldest walks in, peers at the laptop and places a small hand on my shoulder. ‘Do you feel like crying but you don’t know why, mum?’ I smile at her and nod. She pats me on the back. It gives me an idea. ‘I need feedback. I shall send my new book to my mum to read. She has hormones. She’ll help me.’ My daughter nods her head. ‘Nice one, mum,’ then goes downstairs to watch TV.

Thankfully, turning to my mum ends up being a godsend.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. ‘Pop it over now and I’ll have a look. Can I put it on my Kindle?’ she says. I have no idea, but she seemingly does, and before the end of the day, Mum’s read five chapters and loves it. ‘You’re not saying that because you’re my mum, are you?’ I ask, wary. ‘Nope. Well, yes, I’m rooting for you, but no. It’s right up my street this new book of yours.’ She then proceeds to give me some good pointers, what I can tweak from a reader’s perspective, the whole lot. When she’s done, I could hug her. Except she’s in Dublin. ‘Thanks, mum, that’s just what I needed. I wasn’t sure if it was okay or not.’ She sighs. ‘Just keep going. You’re doing great.’ I breathe out.  I feel better. ‘I’ll keep sending you chapters. Is that okay?’  She readily agrees, and with that I have my own personal editor.

Over the next few days, buoyed by my mum’s comments, I keep on writing, and even, on the suggestion of my hubbie, take a long shot at contacting a local newspaper to tell them of my blog, suggesting I can write a weekly column for them.  I don’t really expect to hear back, but what the heck. ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it, mum,’ says my youngest. I pick her up for a hug. ‘That’s right honey. That’s right.’

It gets to the evening one day and I’ve managed to find the energy to go for a long run before making tea. Picking up my Blackberry, I check my messages. An email from the local newspaper editor flashes up. I stop breathing. Clicking on the button, I read it. They want to give me a try. They want me to write a regular column. I’m so, so chuffed, a couple of tears slip out. Digestive biscuit in mouth, my eldest tilts her head. ‘Mum, you okay?’ I nod. ‘It’s good news,’ I croak. The youngest comes in. ‘Sssh!’ says the eldest as she shuffles her sister away. ‘What is it?’ I hear the youngest ask. ‘Hormones,’ the eldest replies, ‘always hormones.’

A newspaper photo shoot ends up in a toe de-fluff

It’s been a bizarre week. After the hubby pointing out that, given my own marketing background I should get and do the publicity for my own book, I begin to email out a whole heap of press releases  to various media outlets.

Contacting them starts with calling the news desk numbers. And it turns out that’s quite a nerve-wracking thing to do. Keen to get the name of the right person to send the press release to, I pick up the phone ready to speak, and immediately put it down again, hands shaking. ‘Breathe,’ I tell myself.  This is daft. Given my book has a Gloucestershire connection, I have decided to start with the local papers first, and my heart is racing. ‘God help you when you contact the nationals,’ pipes up my hubbie, toast in mouth as he passes by the study. I tut. He has a point. Actually, I chastise him, but I have to admit he’s been a great help – he has spoken to his contact at Radio Gloucestershire and turns out they’re very interested in running a story about the book. ‘I could kiss you!’ I shriek when he calls one morning with the good news. ‘It’s not come to that has it?’ he replies. He has a point. But at the very least my two daughters are excited – it’s quite sweet. ‘Mum’s going to be famous!’ they yelp, jumping, knocking over their lunch boxes. ‘Mum’s going to be famous!’ I sigh. ‘Not really,’ I tell them. ‘Mum, we’re so proud of you!’  they say. Aaah. ‘ We’re telling the teachers!’  shouts the eldest. Oh dear God.

Come the afternoon, I’ve taken several deep breaths, called the news desks and finally sent out the press releases with accompanying photographs (1 potrait, 1 landscape is best, according to my friend, Press Chris). So far so good. Realising it’s nearly school-run time, I am shoving on my Converse and jacket, when my mobile shrills. ‘Hi,’ says an Irish voice. ‘Is that Nikki?’ My heart bangs ten to the dozen. ‘Yes,’ I croak. ‘It’s the Gloucestershire Citizen Newspaper,’ they say. ‘We’d like to arrange a photo call for your story tomorrow.’ Oh holy Lord. After quickly stemming the instant need to vomit, I arrange a time and date for the next day. ‘Oh, and can you bring your Kindle for the shot?” she asks.  Oh heck. I do not own a Kindle yet, but have asked for one for my birthday. So I do what I know I only can. I lie, sort of.  ‘Um, that might be tricky, because, um, it’s being…um…fixed,’  I say. There is silence. Then, yes! I remember my friend, Jo, owns one, and she only lives round the corner.  Result. ‘But I can get one!’ I say, triumphant. ‘Great!’ she replies.  ‘Bye.’ And with that, she’s gone. I text Jo, fast.

Dazed, somewhat elated and now late,  I sprint to school (turns out it literally is the school-run), and am breathless on arrival, when the Citizen girl phones again. ‘Can you get Stuart to be in the shot?’ she asks. This is Stuart Langworthy, my hubbie’s teacher who inspired the book. I try not to scare her by heavy breathing into the phone. ‘Sure,’ I say, ‘no problem.’ This turns out to be a bit tricky, as of course Stuart being a teacher, is teaching. But, bless him, he’s up for it and after a few calls and rearranging, first one venue, then the other, we have a time of 10am for the next day at his school for the shoot. It’s the same school my husband went to, the same school Simon Pegg attended, the same school Stuart’s always taught at.

That night, it’s a case of figuring out what to wear. ‘Mum,’ says the eldest, eyes narrowed at a blouse hanging up, ‘that’s okay. But make sure you don’t go too old lady.’ Then she’s off, head in book, her job done. I sigh, peer into the mirror  and pull at the wrinkles around my eyes. Make up. I’m going to need make up.

Thankfully, the photographer who meets us the next day is a nice guy. ‘I know your husband,’ he says as he sets up the room for the shot. ‘Most people do,’ I say, sighing.  The photographer is keen to get the Kindle, containing my book cover, into shot , but something’s wrong and it’s not playing ball. Last night, me and my friend Jo, whilst she was teaching me how to use it, actually deleted the book by accident. Oops. On top of the cover crisis, the photographer is actually two hours late – the Citizen girl forgot to tell him of the new time and venue we arranged, so things (i.e. me) are a bit fraught. But no matter. I stand, I smile, I hold up my friend’s Kindle, the Amazon page it’s sold on projected on to the screen behind me. When I am asked questions, I hear my voice shaking, but thankfully, no one seems to notice. Stuart is lovely, the photographer is kind and my friend Emma, who was also taught by Stuart, has turned up ready for lunch. ‘You off to work now?’ asks Stuart, once the shoot’s over. I shake my head. ‘Shopping,’ I say. ‘Ah, a bit of retail therapy,’ he replies. Hmm, yes. Therapy, I think. Therapy would be good.

That night, I am getting my youngest daughter ready for bed as she asks me about my day. I tell her about the photographer and the newspaper, and she beams a smile at me. Bless her. ‘Off you go and clean your teeth now,’ I say, as I nip down stairs. Two minutes later, she is calling me from her room. ‘Yes?’ I say, coming back up. ‘Mum,’ she says, sat on the floor, feet out, ‘since you did so well today, I have a present for you.’ She wriggles her feet. ‘You can clean out the fluff from my toes!’  she announces. I smile and kneel down.  ‘Oh honey,’ I say. This is a first. Removing fluff from her toes is her favourite thing. This is a Big Deal. ‘Thank you, sweetie,’ I say.  And then, giving her a hug,  I begin to de-fluff  her toes. Now this is therapy.