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Retreating to Peace: A Peace series Novella
Playing with Plant Pots
Sow, Grow Eat
Free on Kindle UK:
Postcards from Peace: A Peace Series Collection.
Retreating to Peace: A Peace series Novella
Playing with Plant Pots
Sow, Grow Eat
Postcards from Peace: A Peace Series Collection.
Four years ago, around about tea time, I pressed publish. What I was publishing, self-publishing that is, what Playing with Plant Pots: Tales from the Allotment.
I was bringing to a close, work that I had been doing over the summer. At the start of that summer, I had decided to write a book. I had no idea, what to do or how. The plan, all very vague, was to build on what I had written for the blog. What I wanted to do, was to share via another platform, everything that I put on the blog.
I felt, more keenly than anything, that was I was about to do, was useful. That what I had learned, experienced and recorded would be valuable to others. I also like books. I am and always will be, a bookworm. Books are magical, they serve an infinite number of purposes and have an infinite number of effects.
What I was also doing, was taking my first tentative steps toward being an author, being a writer. That’s something that I’m still trying to get my ahead around. I’ve yet to put that on my CV; I feel like an impostor. It has taken me ten years to feel like a fully fledged teacher, I have no qualms about saying that’s what I do. Declaring myself a writer, an author, is just as hard as saying I’m a newly qualified and registered Counsellor.
Plant Pot tales was published via Kindle. The whole world of Indie publishing is still very new to me, it’s an ongoing process to learn and process things. Plant Pot tales was a my gateway in, a baptism of fire. Without this book, I wouldn’t have written and published another five. After Plant Pot tales, there was Sow, Grow and eat. I had learned a fair few significant lessons before taking the plunge with that one. Plant pot tales stands for so much, I’ve never fully appreciated it til now.
One of the best moments, was being sat there whilst Mama F told me her recipes. Most of what has been grown on the allotment has passed through her kitchen. I had to convert her conversation into a set of standardised instructions that could be replicated. Instructions that were both reliable and valid across time, location and population. In a word, these were recipes that could accessible, uncomplicated and bring some form of enjoyment to those using them. This was not supposed to be an onerous, over-complicated book to bamboozle people. There is nothing so off-putting as being over-complicated.
What I will never forget, is standing in the kitchen whilst flicking through the pages. It was the pictures that got me. I’d taken them all, used them on here for a blogging. I was developing an archive of images to support what I was writing. I don’t for one minute think that it’s a run of the mill gardening book. It’s part reference, part cook-book and that’s deliberate. I didn’t want to write a book that was the same as all the others; the same as all the ‘proper’ ones.
Not writing anything ‘proper’ or within expected norms, is a theme that carries on with all the other books. A theme, that does make it difficult to spread the word, promote and share the books. That is however, another story.
Plant pot tales has also travelled. It travelled to the US, where it was sold in a book store. Yes, a proper book store with shelves, people and everything. My book, was on a shelf. In a book store.
You couldn’t make that up, not really.
Set in the fictional town of Peace, Montana, there is a whole canon of novellas that will draw you into a world of riveting romance.
Written by an armada of different authors-me included!-there is something for everyone.
Most of the books are available from kindle, at less than a couple of quid for e-books. There are paperbacks too, and these are approximately a fiver a piece. Not bad really, for either an electronic library or paperback. If you have kindle unlimited, then I think some might be even be free to download!
Yep, I’m part of that armada. I have two runners and riders in the Peace stable. The first is Retreating to Peace, and we meet Devan Coultrie. Devan travels to The USA in something of a state, he’s after a new beginning and Peace is where he wants that to happen. Following on from that, is Postcards from Peace. Devan has settled into Peace, and here we get a snapshot of how his life has evolved.
If you fancy a copy of RTP or Postcards, the links are on the sidebar.
This summer sees Plant Pot Tales turn four.
Four years have passed since I whimsically said to my baby sister, “I’m going to write a book, about my allotment. It’ll be an e-book, but yes.”
She was encouraging, told me to go for it. So I did. So, started my journey as a writer. As such, I knew nothing. This wasn’t just a book, it was the start on going, developmental journey. This blog was the launch pad; I wanted to go beyond, write something that was real, a bit more three-dimensional.
I wanted to write a book!
Grabbing my pen, a notebook, I went about writing a plan. At that stage, I’d also written some guest blogs and so these were incorporated; I had things to write and shape. I felt good about it, I was genuinely excited. I still knew nothing, nothing about doing things properly when it came to writing and publishing. I knew nothing, about being an Indie author, and was about to take a massive great big swan dive into a very, very big pond.
I knew nothing about gardening either, well beyond my 200 sq metres of allotment. Okay, so the blog was my record, my repository and diary. I also had-I still do- a fabulous group of gardening friends and family who helped me on my growing experience. I set out to write something of a gardening book, something of a cook-book. It also had to be honest; this was not going to be a fluffy book either.
(I’ve yet to write a fluffy book; I’m not sure I will ever, write a fluffy book).
And don’t call me or my writing, sentimental.
(That’s a whole other debate, and centres on the words of V.S.Naipaul.)
Mostly, I was winging it. I will in hindsight, plead blind ignorance. From the editing, the pictures, the formatting. Every thing was done as it came.
This book is not perfect, and I like it that way. Okay, so I’m still developing a thicker skin for all of my writing, but this was the first bit of my soul to be made public. It is flawed, there are mistakes all over shop. But I am proud of my mistakes, they make me who I am, who I might be and inform this on going journey.
I’ve cried over this book. I cried when I held the book in my hands, I cried over the reviews. That, is part and parcel of putting your soul out there. It is part and parcel, of being vulnerable and at risk of criticism. It is part and parcel of people passing judgement on others.
I’ve grown to respect the reviews-they are phenomenally important as an Indie Author. I won’t strong-arm, chase people down for them; but I do appreciate them. Each and every one, brings with it warm and fuzzies. It’s a surreal experience, the fact that someone is actually reading what you have written. Even more so, when they come at you with a copy. I once signed a copy during breakfast, whilst adventuring in Iceland for a conference.
I still haven’t got my head around promoting my books, blowing my own trumpet and adding bells and whistles to things. With every book, what gets me, is my name on the front. That, is what gets me every.time.
Writing and publishing Plant pot tales was a risk. I took a chance, didn’t think about feeling stupid, and I’m not sure I recognised my bravery. I don’t see my bravery, it takes me a good six to eight months to do that for most of the things that I do. With plant pot tales, it took writing another book-the green one-to make sure I hadn’t fluked things. What I was bracing for, and I guess I still am, is the risk and return of failure. I don’t remember thinking about failure-how’s that for bravado! It came to me after, once the book was out there, about Christmas time, and I had a bit of a ‘oh, Feck’ moment.
Most people don’t want a one star review. I think, I firmly believe, that it is out there. It just hasn’t found me yet. I’ve seen the two star ones; they’re on goodreads! I have two options when that one star turns up. One, cry-I probably will, I will probably rage, to be honest. Two, acknowledge it, accept that it is perspective of another, and that’s all there is to it.
The key with the latter, is not internalise and wipe out the courage that it took to take a chance. It’s an ‘Oh feck’ moment, an ‘okay, so it tanked with you, but where do I go from there’ kind of thing. It’s a very much an acceptance and acknowledgement, that things may go to the wall from time to time, but that doesn’t define things. With that comes resilience; the ability to bounce back. Resilience, builds capacity. Capacity, builds motion. Motion facilitates growth and development.
All this, from a book.
(Not that I am encouraging you, dear reader, to go formulate and post that one star review…)
Plant pot tales is my first, it was the starting pistol to other books. Currently, there are aix of them in total, at the last count. Perhaps, I have lost sight of it; lost sight of where this journey started. With the book coming up for it’s fourth birthday, I’m trying to accept and acknowledge it’s importance. It is deserving, worthy of being held on the same par as the other five, promoted and shared. What I am getting at, is that I don’t want to forget plant pot tales. There is a real danger of me doing that, as my writing journey continues. I’ve gone from blogging, writing about gardening, through grief, to writing contemporary romance. I’m yet to pin down a niche, a genre, so the diversity is really important. In five, ten years time, I want to be able to wave plant pot tales around and say, look! I wrote about gardening, it’s also a cookbook.
On the 17th August, I’ll remember Plant pots fondly. I’ll remember that I did something completely out of the ordinary, and that I liked it. I will understand and accept that it is something to be proud of, something to share and it is out there. Plant pot tales has a place in the universe and I put it there.
Happy Birthday, Plant Pot Tales!
The days have become longer, the sun is shining-mostly!- and there is a chance for some downtime. Downtime makes for a cracking opportunity to catch up on reading. From the graphics above, you can see that there is something of a diverse range on offer. There are the two gardening books, one romance novella, a two novels and series of short stories.
With June and July, the growing season becomes apace. If you have more courgettes than you know what to do with, or really want to know about Aloo gobi-that’s spuds and cauliflower, then those are for you.
Retreating to Peace and Postcards from Peace are my contributions to the Peace Novella Series. A stable of different authors awaits if you fancy having a look at the rest of the series. With RTP, Devan Coultrie arrives in Montana with something of a broken heart. There is follow up in Postcards as we get another look into his life.
Fragments is a great big of six inter-related stories as it considers what happens when we lose the people- and animals-that shape our worlds. Kangana sees Gorbind-he appears in Fragments-have a no straight forward romance. There are also snatches of Birmingham, with Lucifer from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery making an appearance.
The first week of Spring, and there is soil beneath my finger nails. Well, there was; I’ve cleaned up and sit here writing. I’ve enjoyed pottering around the plot today, I remembered how much colour the plot brings to my life. I also remembered, just how much I’ve learned in the decade of growing my own.
Growing your own is not a new thing. It’s been happening since the middle ages, but the rise of allotments has really put it into a sharp focus. As has the spotlight on eating healthy, getting exercising and knowing where your food comes from. Three things that when you have an allotment really are part of the whole process of growing and eating.
You don’t even have to have an allotment. I started my gardening journey with plant pots in Dad’s garden. Container gardening was a really good foothold in learning and experimenting.
This blog has documented every inch of learning and experimenting. Much has been supplemented by talking to allotment neighbours, not to mention gardeners and allotmenteers across the universe. Documenting on the blog was certainly one aim. I also wanted to share my learning and experimenting. I’ve made a few mistakes, and I guess communicating these to others has some benefits.
As such, two ebooks have borne out of this blog and offer another avenue for encouragement and support. They are also available in paperback.
Click on the image above and download your copy. Don’t forget to join in with the facebook event as well.
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