• Michael Parker

The Rattle of a Simple Man

This week it’s been the London Book Fair. No, I didn’t go, but I might be persuaded next year. I went a couple of years ago, on my own, and felt like a fish out of water. It put me in mind of the film, Rattle of a Simple Man, starring Harry H. Corbett. Here was a guy who had never been to the big city, having lived the provincial, quiet life. His big day was the FA Cup Final and he’d gone with the supporters on a coach. The similarity has to end there because his character ends up with a prostitute and falls in love with her. He was way out of his depth, and that is where the analogy comes in; I was way out of my depth, my comfort zone, wandering round the vast emporium that is LBF. All those sharply dressed publishers and literary agents, book talks, demonstrations and what have you absolutely fazed me. I’d never been to anything like that, and even though I was a traditionally published author, I knew I wasn’t ready for it. Next year though, I may go up and perhaps persuade someone to go with me: another author maybe.

I ordered my Dragon software in the end. I gave it a lot of thought, and have a project on hand that I might develop. It’s a manuscript I wrote about fifty years ago, complete rubbish, but nonetheless, it’s a story. So rather than retyping, which could take a great deal of effort and teeth gnashing, I thought I could use Dragon to dictate the MS and edit it once the job was done. I know I could also use it to help me through the writer’s block minefield I’m experiencing with my current WIP.

Another project I must give a great deal of thought to is the redesigning of my website. I was chatting to my son, John, yesterday about it and lamenting the fact that I lack the necessary skills. He suggested I look at a designer who tackled his wife’s website. The problem I have is that because my books are stand-alone novels, I can’t come up with a suitable front page. Looking at other author websites, it’s usually fairly clear in which genre they write, and what the reader can expect to find between the pages. When I think of a suitable front page for me, I see an elephant (Hell’s Gate), a submarine (Shadow of the Wolf), an oil rig (North Slope), and so on for the other jackets. It would take quite an impressive montage to cover all my stuff, so it leaves my mind in a fizz and really without a clue. And I’m not convinced the casual visitor to my website would be impressed either.

On the domestic front, I’m still battling with a chest infection, Four more days before the antibiotics are finished. It really knocks me back and takes away all the desire to write. This afternoon we are taking our Tuppence to the Poodle parlour for her tri-monthly trim. She always looks lovely when she comes out. Perhaps I should write about dogs and put Tuppence on the front page of my website. Might help to sell more books. Wish me luck!

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