Very up and down today, I must say. In that order. Both me-wise and weather-wise. This morning was good. On all fronts (ho ho). Went into Guildford early and stocked up on underwear at Marks & Spencer. Where would I be without that shop? Today I've been bold and rebellious and actually bought bras that weren't white. Or black. Which are my usual bra colours. No, today I have bought, amongst other items, one pink and one light taupe bra. So I feel wild and free and liberated. Hurrah.
Also had a counselling session with Kunu. As I did things I enjoyed at the weekend, I think she's pleased with me. Though of course I know that isn't the object of the exercise. We talked about shopping and the Quakers, about friends and books. We agreed that perhaps the reason why I've been stuck on the last chapter of The Gifting is that I've been worried for days about whether I should or shouldn't go up to London to see the university gals. Then when I make the decision yesterday not to go, I felt some inner knot untie itself (heck, there's psycho drama for you) and then spent some time late last night telling Lord H what my last chapter would contain. Hell, it all came flooding out, and I had to rush to scribble the notes down. Luckily he has promised to expunge it from his memory so it won't spoil his reading if it ever comes to the page. Zip zip and the memory is gone ... it's amazing how Lord H can do that, y'know. Must be a boy thing.
Anyway, back at the counselling, Kunu is sure there's a link there somewhere. We talked about the uni gang for a while actually, and I think the trouble is that we're all performers to some extent or other. I think we spent a lot of time when we first met pretending things were different than they actually were. Sometimes that particular group friendship is like being on stage and we're all performing our own versions of a play which doesn't quite gel. Maybe over the years we've all changed so much and yet still, whenever we meet, we're back performing our usual roles, come what may. It can make it feel - at least for me - very awkward, and I get very tense and jittery about it all. And yet ... and yet ... I freely admit that, without them, I would never have managed to get through university. Or indeed my early 20s. Where did it all start to change? God knows. Maybe I should invite them all round for my birthday in June and just have a normal chat. Whatever that is. Again, God knows. I'm in two minds. As ever.
Though I have to say in my defence that it's not only me who's decided not to go to London tomorrow - someone else has dropped out to. For reasons more valid than mine. But at least it makes me feel less guilty. Which makes a bloody change then.
After counselling, I popped for tea & chat at Jane H's (hello, Jane!). This was lovely - I really enjoyed it. Sooo relaxing. And we covered so many topics. From recycling (we are both very excited about the new food recycling project in Guildford - my, how "Surrey" we both are indeed! - and I am desperate for it to come to Godalming too ..) to my mother's strange feelings about houses (they have atmospheres, you know), from the children (eat your veggies, little people, and stop pouting ...) to horse-riding, and from Roman soldiers to hearing voices (me, not her, I hasten to add, but then you knew that ...). Talking of which, Jane's mother has also apparently read A Dangerous Man (http://www.flamebooks.com) and was desperately worried that I'd had some past trauma that caused me to write such stories and was wanting to know how to help. Jane was able to reassure her, saying apparently that it was only that I heard Michael's voice in my head and just wrote down what he was trying to say. Strangely, this did reassure her - perhaps finding out that I'm probably a complete nutter was not a total surprise ... Still, I was very touched she'd been worried - so thank you, Mrs R.
Also, whilst at Jane's, I ordered some more Nutrimetics (http://www.nutrimetics.co.uk) products, so won't have to worry about running out of same. Hurrah!
Back home, I come to my emails, and was instantly plunged into the slough of despond to realised that my first quarter (ie 13 Feb to end March) sales of ADM have been ... um ... 44. Which Flame Books have now understandably downgraded from good sales to promising sales. To be honest, I'm surprised that anyone should think 44 is good sales, but perhaps they all came in the first two weeks and they were hoping the sudden spurt would continue. Ah well. No, I'm sounding too philosophical now. Actually, I cried, but it did start raining at the same time so at least I'm doing my bit for the ongoing literary tool of pathetic fallacy. To be honest, I was upset as I was hoping it might be in the 80s figure, maybe even more (though that for me would be serious dreamland only 2 months or so after publication). Though, once I'd dried my tears and had a banana, I checked my records and did remember that I've sold 11 copies myself, so have dragged the figure up single-handedly to 55. Hurrah indeed. So, in royalties terms (the 11 sold author copies don't count of course for that), I've made £35.20. Which I won't get of course as they don't, understandably, pay royalties until the figure goes over £100. My, how it makes me laugh when people think I earn money from books. Slap my thighs and build me a garret.
And, if I'm trying to be sensible, I will be lucky if I reach 100 copies sold with this one. Michael is a specialised (and possibly very acquired) taste. Looking back on my past books, The Hit List has only sold 93 in the three years since I published it, and Pink Champagne and Apple Juice (my biggest success so far!) has only sold 105 since last year. So the disappointing sales of ADM are, I suppose, at least par for the course. I pride myself, however, on having round about 40 very discerning readers - to you all, thank you. I hope you might read me again. Small is beautiful indeed. Should any publisher ever be idiotic enough to take yet another chance on me, that is.
Meanwhile, the rain has stopped and the sun is trying to come out. Ye gods, I know how it feels.
And I've done about 1000 words to The Gifting. Which, under the circumstances of feeling like a demolition tool had whacked me in the stomach, is pretty good going, I think! Oh, and bizarrely I've had two emails and two phone calls from the university gang, in various sexes. And I know I should be answering them and being normal in some way but, really, I just can't summon the emotional energy for that right now. Sorry, gang. It's beyond me at the moment.
Tonight, it's the Goldenford (http://www.goldenford.co.uk) meeting, so I shall keep my head down, have no opinions, agree with everything and just take minutes. I think that's the way through it. And maybe a sherry or two when I get home. Oh yes, please God yes.
Today's nice things:
2. Seeing Jane H