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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Expecting the unexpected

Things never turn out the way we might have expected, and this week had a few of those in store for us. Pat was due at the hospital on Monday morning for a blood test followed by an appointment three hours later with the haematologist. She had a problem over the weekend which needed dealing with urgently, so we walked into the Macmillan centre after her blood test, and within ten minutes we were sitting with the haematologist who decided to bring Pat’s afternoon appointment forward. We do know that the specialists involved in Pat’s saga over the last eight months, including her current doctor, have been aware of the need to deal with Pat as urgently as they can. In this case the doctor lived up to that by dealing with her quickly and, for us, unexpectedly. Pat is now improving gradually with the help of a load more pills. She’s handling her chemo well, which is something else we didn’t expect.

The Facebook ads for my thriller, The Boy from Berlin, came to a halt five days ago. The ads ran for four weeks: four in UK and three in USA. I sold 110 copies which included a couple of paperbacks. I also sold some of my other titles, most of which happened after the Berlin thriller started selling. I didn’t expect to do that well, although for some authors that kind of return would be abysmal, but with me, I tend to take a philosophical look at the whole thing and remain thankful that, to a certain extent, the ads worked. It was unexpected and encouraging. One downside is I am now getting emails from people offering to promote the book (at a price). I am still waiting for Stuart Bache to get back to me with the redesigned jacket; something he promised for ‘later in July’. Meanwhile I am running a short ad for my African novel, Hell’s Gate. I’ve had that running for three days and have sold two copies. I’m advertising in UK, Ireland and Kenya.

I have finished the final edit for my WIP (is it ever final?) and have been toying with book jacket designs. I can’t afford to pay anyone to do this for me because I’ve set aside money for Stuart Bache’s jacket this month. I have a copy of Stuart’s book on jacket design, which is very good, and I have found some useful information about colours and typeface etc. Meanwhile, I’m happy with the book at the moment. I asked my sister-in-law, Carol, to read it for me this afternoon. I asked her simply to read it and let me know if there are any inconsistencies etc. She reads a great deal so is no stranger to my kind of fiction. I’ve called the book No Time to Die and would describe it as a crime/mystery novel. The word count is about 62,000 words: well short of my usual book length, but I’ve messed about with this one for so long, I decided it was time to finish it and get it on-line ASAP. This was a book that, a few months ago, I never expected to finish. But I have and now I can unwind a little. Might even start thinking about my next book!

Over the last few weeks, I have tended to buy little things for Pat: things she’s mentioned that she might need or want. I bought her a drink flosser; one of those spinners that you can use for frothing your coffee up. It comes in handy when I make her a milk drink. But the other day she thought she might have to use drinking straws if her chemo affected her mouth too badly, so I bought some. However, I never expected her to put them in jar. She thought they looked that pretty, they were better on display. Cheaper than flowers too! Whatever next? Wish me luck!

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