Friday, August 26, 2011

NOT sitting typing alone in a room (for once)

I love my job.  It's the best job in the world.  It was the happiest day of my life, just about, when I finally accepted that I was never going to be a square academic peg in a square university department and decided instead to be a round writer.  Almost literally for a while: working at home is a trapdoor to the biscuit tin.

Or maybe the happiest day was when I realised that my decision wasn't as crazy as it must have seemed.  The day I got a publisher to agree with me that I was round.

However, as the title of my blog hints, this wonderful job is mostly typing.  And crying.

Except for one glorious day every year when you get to put on a dress and stand up and talk and tell jokes and read out the best bits and you get flowers and presents and cards. 

(How terrifying is that Dandy doll?   My good friend Louise has a line in such things: you should see the finger puppets for Bury Her Deep.  I love them all but if the books were that dark they'd be shelved in a different bit of the bookshop)

So Dandy Gilver and The Proper Treatment of Bloodstains was launched in the US last Friday and a good time was had by all.

For quite a few of the people who kindly came along to the Avid Reader bookshop in downtown Davis, CA, it was their first book launch party.  I could have done anything and they would have gone along with it.  I could have assigned parts and got them to read it.  Unfiortunately, I didn't think of that until afterwards, but maybe it's for the best - this way some of them might come back next year.  And besides, my new friends and colleagues-in-law have been life-saving bricks (which isn't a happy metaphor, I know) and deserve better.

So here are some of them:

From right to left: Eileen Rendahl, fantastic romance and suspense and romantic suspense writer (whose Melinda Messenger series gives me bad premise envy), me, Sarah R who gives "friendship" a new meaning (I lived in her house for five months and didn't even get ejected when my cat scratched her dog becasue her dog dared to eat his own food from his own bowl - the noive!), Kelly S whose son is my only known teenage male reader so far, and Carol K, one of two psychiatric professionals on hand during the evening.  Hey - Celine Dion has two eyebrow ladies.

But nothing sums up California like this picture of me and Spring Warren, another Davis writer, whose excellent book The Quarter Acre Farm has taught me to garden in this alien place where it never rains and gophers eat your tree roots.

Talk about stand-offish, eh?  There's no way Spring could be from Edinburgh and I'm very glad she's here not there.

And the best thing about this launch party was that it was uterly illicit, because I've already had a launch party for Bloodstains, in the UK, last year.

What's that you say?  That proves nothing?  it's only a picture of me with some books in a different dress?  (Except it was clearly taken before the year of Mexican food - yikes).  Well, here's better proof then:

A book cake, clearly being cut by a left-handed person in my parents' house.  How can you be sure?  Because that implement is my mother's musical cake slice and she (right-handed) and I are the only ones who ever use it because everyone except the two of us hates it with a passion.  What's to hate?  It plays Jingle Bells, Happy Birthday, Here Comes The Bride, and Have a Jolly Good Book Launch.

I did.  Two of them.  And now it's back to typing, all alone in a room.  I still love my job, though.


  1. It was a fantastic evening. You were so charming and intelligent and beautiful! It was an honor to attend.

  2. Sounds like you had a well deserved success of an evening for the US launch of Bloodstains. And i'm definitely going to adopt the californian approach to cuddling authors the next time i'm at a launch. It looks much more appealing than the cold-fish handshake often adopted here in Scotland. Will let you know if i get arrested!

    And what a charming looking dolly!

  3. Love, love, LOVE the red dress. You look like five million bucks (inflation).

  4. Oh, it's a sweater over a dress! Well, whatever. It's fantastic.