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Dear oh dear!

Well, the interview didn’t go to plan, did it? I was there early, but the show was running late – this gave me ample time to get nervous and need the loo (that might be too much information, but I said I was going to be honest with this blog)! The interviewer was on outside broadcast, so I was in the studio on my own. I was thrown when Mr Parr called me Holly Hunter (promoting me from local author to Hollywood film star), and didn’t recover. I thought he may have mentioned the book’s name, since he asked where it was available, but alas no – before I had the chance, my four minute slot was over. I don’t think that I did myself, ME/CFS sufferers or my book justice – I am very tired and very annoyed with myself.

Don’t think BBC Radio Newcastle will ask me back, based on that performance!


ME/CFS Awareness Week

First things first: I’ve just spoken to Charlie Charlton from BBC Radio Newcastle – she was SO nice and friendly, and they’d like me to do a short spot on The Mike Parr Breakfast Show tomorrow. It should air about 8.19am, and will cover both the book and ME/CFS. Again, I’m reluctantly providing a link so you can witness, first hand (or first ear) me possibly making a fool of myself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/index.shtml I believe the Listen Again option is available for 24 hours after a show airs. Many of you know that mornings are not my best times, so please bear that in mind if I say anything stupid!!! Glad to know Tony from the ME Association will be a guest too, and will provide sensible advice and information on ME/CFS.

Now, back to reality. All my days of resting were almost to no avail when my neighbour decided to have a party on Saturday evening. I don’t begrudge anyone a party, but I didn’t enjoy hearing karaoke-type singing VERY loudly at 12am. Needless to say, I wasn’t at my best the following day. Anyway, due to a couple of no-shows, we got an unexpected invitation to M&V’s Wedding Breakfast – we had a fantastic time (and I didn’t stick my head in the chocolate fountain). The bride was stunning, the groom was relaxed, the people were friendly, the food was good and the speeches were very, very funny! In the evening, we had good company (an old school friend and his wife) and I spoke with a real writer: the groom’s sister. Now, this lady has done things the right way, having studied ‘the craft’ extensively. She has suffered knocks to her confidence, but still speaks with passion about writing – I really admire this, and once again, feel like a complete fraud in comparison!

And the hotel? With regards to the wedding breakfast and reception, it was amazing. However, on the basis of our accommodation and breakfast, I don’t feel it was worth the money we paid. Half-cooked black pudding is not something I wish to see first thing on a morning, considering what it’s made of, but I did enjoy the hot jacuzzi afterwards!

Finally, before I go back to bed, you may have noticed a few changes on the website. I’m running my blog through WordPress at www.hollyaharvey.co.uk and through the Blog site. Both will be updated, eventually. My photo gallery is also now available on my website and is a little more user-friendly, I think.

I hope my alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning (and that I’m able to get out of bed) and I’ll try and get a picture outside Radio Newcastle this time… Wish me luck!


Karma Review competition closed

Still bored but resting – had to cancel my trip out this morning. Just wanted to say thanks for all of the reviews and that the competition has now closed. Unfortunately, my judge is having email problems, so the winner may not be announced next week, as planned – will keep you posted.

No further news on the book front – I’m wondering how long I’ll keep this particular blog going…maybe a year from the date it was published? Actually, I’m enjoying it, so will probably write it even if only one person reads it (though currently, I seem to be getting about 300 hits per week…pretty good for me!) It makes a change from just talking to my dogs all day…and the budgie, but at least he says some words back!

Off to make myself another hot water bottle, as this one’s gone cold, and a cup of coffee (decaf) – how old do I sound?! Actually, don’t answer that, please! Good job I don’t have my webcam switched on, or the sight of me would put you off your lunch: pyjamas, Vicks Vaporub, hot water bottle, messy hair – doesn’t that paint a pretty picture? Won’t be posting for a few days, but will let you know if the hotel I’m going to (for M&V’s wedding) is as nice as the huge cost of B&B suggests it should be…


Resting but browsing…

I promise I’m resting up for that wedding, but I’m really bored, so have been having a browse around the internet – guess what I found out? More Waterstones branches have stocked my book! Yippee! Not the very local ones, but as well as Hexham, Darlington and Harrogate also have copies in. That’s very good news, methinks (I sound like Mr Claypole from Rentaghost, don’t I?) Just had a sobering thought: what if I’m the only one reading this Blog who’s old enough to remember Rentaghost? I suddenly feel ancient!

Karma’s almost sold out at Amazon again, and now has five five-star reviews – I’m very happy about that. And I’m grateful to the readers who took the time to post reviews. Thank you kindly!

I’m off to check my emails now – I check them as often as I can, as I feel so guilty about those which sat, unanswered, in my webmail inbox for days, weeks or, in some cases, months! Personally, I worry if my emails aren’t replied to, as I’m concerned in case I’ve offended the recipient, or they haven’t received the message. I also wonder if they’re trying to tell me something by not replying (in which case I would look a bit pathetic re-sending my message) or if they’re simply busy. What is the etiquette with regard to emails, anyway? Am I just obsessive or does anyone else wonder about these things too?


Oops, I did it again!

The nerves have kicked in already…I’ve agreed to do another radio interview! Again, it is for BBC Radio Newcastle and is in connection with ME/CFS Awareness Week next week, but this time it’s for the breakfast show. I think I’m more worried about this one, as it feels like quite a responsibility – I know I should do some research beforehand, but there seems little point as I would forget anything that I learned (many of us call it ‘brain-fog’). I don’t want to come across as ignorant and unknowledgable, nor do I want to say something that is incorrect. I don’t know everything about this illness (and I don’t particularly want to know any more than I do, thank you very much).

I was comfortable taking about my book in my last interview, as it wouldn’t harm anyone if I got it wrong or made a mistake, but this interview seems much more serious. Plus, the show’s between 7 and 9am – I’m probably at my worst on a morning…and on an evening…and if I haven’t had enough coffee…oh, and if I need some chocolate, etc! I’m also going to an old friend’s wedding on Sunday, so would usually spend the week after something like that resting. And my mam has kindly donated a cold to me! So many reasons to say thanks, but no thanks!!!

So, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why has the stupid woman said she’ll do it, if she’s already moaning about it?” Well, because I want to. I want people to understand that CFS or ME or whatever you want to call it is real, and has a big impact on our lives and those of our families. I’m sure they’ll mention the book, or my publishers wouldn’t have agreed to it, would they? But that’s not why I said yes.

I’m waiting to hear from the radio peeps soon, and will update you when I hear anything. Remember: if I make it on to the radio and sound like I have a mouth full of gravel, it’s due to my cold; if I can’t remember what I’m talking about, it’s the ‘brain fog’; if you hear any interference that sounds like a tiger growling, that’ll be my stomach, as I won’t be able to eat anything beforehand; and finally, if I say something stupid, that’s all me, I’m afraid!!!

Perhaps I should dig out my chamomile and try to relax…


New book?

There’s a money spider crawling over my laptop screen as I type: I hope this is a sign of something good, as I was just going to tell you about another book I was considering working on! Perhaps I’m clutching at straws, eh? Maybe the spider’s just building a WEB-site, ha-ha! Sorry, my sense of humour is terrible when I’m tired.

I was looking through some old computer disks to find an old story I was working on about four years ago, to show my cousin, Catherine. I’d written the bones of the story to enter into a competition for a screen play featuring Gateshead. It goes without saying that I didn’t win. I remember the entry form well, as there was a question about previous writing experience. My answer was a four-letter word (not that one): “NONE”! Anyway, I really loved the story, which was a humorous modern day fairytale, and suddenly I began to get a bit excited about writing again. Maybe it was the story, or maybe it was the fact I’m stuck indoors, resting, before going to a friend’s wedding reception at the weekend, but I finally feel like writing again. I’m going to run it by Catherine, as I value her opinion, but I think I might do something with it…

There’s a good chance anything else I write won’t get published, but I write for fun, and to occupy my mind, so I won’t be too upset. I’ve done more than I ever dreamed possible in getting Karma finished, so I’m pretty happy – it’s an achievement. As is getting to that wedding reception on Sunday. And doing some washing up. You get the picture – some things are big and some are small, but they’re all achievements!

And finally, tomorrow is the first of May and the launch of Modern Women’s Fiction website. As I told you a few days ago, they have generously included me as their Spotlight Author for May. Can I point out that the owner of the site, Jennifer, flattered me beyond belief in her interview, so I won’t blame you if you don’t think she’s referring to me in the article! See the site here: http://modernwomensfiction.com/ It has great potential, and I’ve already joined their forum, as I’m always up for a chat/debate, when I get the chance. It caters to all types of fiction written by, and aimed at, women. Enjoy!


Hello to global readers!

Was surprised and delighted to receive a message from a lady called Elly, who runs a support group for ME/CFS sufferers near Washington, in the USA! She has kindly posted a link on her site to my own website, and has listed my book too (I love that my book has been listed as COMEDY – yay)! Paige has now travelled further than I have – Dubai AND the United States of America – I’ve only been as far as France…on two day-trips!

Find Elly’s site here: http://www.geocities.com/cfsnova/index.html

I also had an email from my publishers. I think they want me to be a bit more…positive…about the book. Maybe they’re worried that any negativity from me will impact sales? Just want to clarify that I couldn’t be more positive about the book – I just get frustrated that things don’t happen as I’d hoped they would, and that I don’t have enough energy to get things done. I don’t believe that lack of stockists and reviews are a testament to the quality of the story, as I’ve had enough praise to know that people like Paige & Co – I just find it hard to understand why shops, particularly local ones, don’t want the book on the shelves. It isn’t negativity, just ignorance of the book-selling business – I’ve never lied about my lack of knowledge, and will continued to be honest about my trials and tribulations in this blog.

I’m hoping to get a few more things tweaked on the website soon – the lovely Marie is sorting this out for me. I’ve had some good feedback about the website being easy to read and navigate, and this is all down to my wonderful web designer. Thanks, Marie!


Uh-oh, Emily again!

Here we go again! That comment about Emily and Canada is back, and is obscuring the window where I type (so excuse any mistakes, please)! Still, the Blog site is free, so I’m getting what I paid for!!! I can’t use bold, italic, underline or the smilies – how on earth will I express myself? Words???

Thought I’d let you know that I’ve been given the opportunity to be the Spotlight Author for the May launch of a brand new website. How exciting is that? I thought I may have missed this chance, due to only just accessing the web form mail (see previous post) but I got a lovely message from Jennifer, the owner of the site, today. I don’t want to give too much away yet, except to say that I was sent a really interesting email interview – it was harder answering those questions than doing my GCSEs… I’ll be giving the site details soon, and I’m sure it will interest the avid readers among you.

Since I found out about Kindred Spirit magazine taking an interest in my story, I’ve realised it’s already familiar to me: it’s advertised in the window of Isis, one of the shops I like in the Metrocentre. Good to know there’s a stockist nearby! I think I’ve also browsed their website some time ago, whilst doing my Massage Diploma course work (or was it in the search for a massage couch???)

Before I go, just wanted to congratulate Mark, who completed the London Marathon on Sunday, raising hundreds of pounds for the Anthony Nolan Trust. Well done!


SO sorry!

SORRY.

Can’t apologise enough to those of you who have been good enough to contact me via the Contact form on my website. I have only just been able to gain access, and feel terrible that you have taken the time to get in touch, and not had a response.

Rest assured, I am rectifying that on another screen as I type.

From now on, feel free to contact me via the feedback form, and you will certainly get a response.

And here’s one final SORRY, just so you know. I am. Very.


Recap!

Hello! This Blog was intended as a ‘recap’ (or the blog equivalent of a clipshow?) but a few new things have cropped up. I’ll do a quick recap first, and keep you waiting for the new info (unless, of course, you scroll down…)

I can’t honestly tell you how the book has been selling – it’s been up and down the Amazon charts like a yo-yo! As you know, it’s still only in two bricks and mortar shops (Henry’s Books and Waterstones – Hexham), so it’ll probably just be bought by people who are specifically looking for it… Perhaps I’ll get paid any royalties in loose change!

I still have no real printed reviews. I’ve got a few mentions on the internet (aside from the Trashionista review that you know about) but these are mainly from people on forums that I belong to. These are generally positive, apart from the one that said Karma was predictable…but I KNEW she was going to say that! Ha, ha! By the way, the competition to win a £15 Amazon voucher is still running: just submit your review for the chance to win. It would be nice (although I realise now that it’s close to impossible) to get a review in a women’s glossy or a national newspaper. We can live in hope…

You’re all well aware that I’ve had little support from local quarters (except Henry’s Books, Waterstones – Hexham and the Sunday Sun) – that theme continues. I’ve had most publicity from sources I’d never anticipated ie ME Essentials, That’s Inspiration, etc. I’ve come into contact with a lot of nice people I would probably never have met, had it not been for the book – so that’s been a positive thing.

At the end of the day, I still don’t feel like I belong in the writing community. I joined several groups, but feel unable to contribute as I am clueless about the business. I feel out of my depth when they talk about PR, agents, promos, workshops, conferences, prizes, BSPs (what the heck is a BSP?), submissions – the list is seemingly endless! Even the so-called ‘newbies’ know more than me.

One thing I’ve never been short of is support…from all sorts of people and places! Hope you all know who you are and how grateful I am. Finally, for this recap, I’ll answer the question I posed in my first ever posting: it’s not impossible for one little tired woman to take on the task of book promotion in a competitive market, but practically impossible!

Now to new things. I was contemplating being in my fourteenth minute of fame, and winding things down when I got some advice from an unexpected source. I got an email from Adele Parks! I’d contacted her as part of my ‘enquiring minds wanna know’ phase a few months ago, and she actually replied – how nice was that? Soon afterwards, I got a call from my publishers saying that the Kindred Spirit magazine may be interested in running a story on me (www.kindredspirit.co.uk). I love alternative and holistic therapies, so I am delighted that they are considering interviewing me for their September/October issue. I began studying to be a Massage Therapist a looonnnnngggg time ago, as I thought that when I was well, I’d be able to start my own business. Maybe it will still happen – who knows???