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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Ducking, diving and falling over

June blog post



Yes, I know; I’m slipping. No blog post for a couple of months, mea culpa; I think I’m on a downward spiral intellectually. Or just giving up. Looking back through my diary over the last couple of months, I seem to have been ill for most of it. Nothing I could put my finger on. I thought I might be suffering from Long Covid, because that was getting mentioned a lot in the Press. Then I went downhill and ended up seeing a nurse who prescribed antibiotics because of my chest condition. The setback didn’t help because I had a Covid jab too. But by the end of April I was more or less back to normal (my kind of normal).


A lot of my diary entries are like a video game on repeat: gardening, washing, ironing, hoovering, dog walking and church, interspersed with interesting things from time to time, just to make life bearable. So let’s see what I managed to get up to over the last seven or eight weeks.


I played around with Amazon ads, putting two books up to compete against each other. Roselli’s Gold at 0.99 pence, and The Devil’s Trinity at 2.99. RG sells every day, while TDT sells about four or five a month. The ads have finished now, but both books are trickling along at about the same rate.


I started Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Ads Challenge School to complete his five day challenge. I’ve done this before — it never worked for me then and it didn’t work this time either. But that was because the challenge involved a great deal of time and effort; something I knew I couldn’t commit to, which is why I bailed out on Day 4. I think I was ready to go by Day 3 anyway!


I went to the funeral of a neighbour whose husband died after a long, long time of pain and suffering. The lady was nursing him when Pat and I moved on to the Park Home sight almost ten years ago. The day after the funeral, I dropped a book of mine through her letter box. It’s called What Happened After and is an account of the two years following my lovely Pat’s death in 2020. I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do, but she told me that once she was alone in the house and everyone had gone (that’s a depressing time), she sat down with a glass of wine and read through the book. It only took her about forty minutes. She thanked me and said it was nice to read what my experience was like. I wrote the book for my family; it was never intended to be a guide to overcoming the loss of a loved one, something I did explain to my neighbour.


My Pastor, Simon, visited me. He usually pops in about every ten weeks. I know I see him at church, but he believes that his ministry isn’t just about preaching sermons, but reaching out to parishioners of his who are alone or unwell. We always manage to have a great chat. He’s younger than my four sons, a family man and a keen astronomer.


And, here’s the thing — I downloaded a Jill Mansell Romance: something I never thought I would do because she doesn’t write the kind of books I like. But for a while now I have had the itch about writing another Emma Carney Romance even though I was writing Shadow Over Paris, my WW2 story about life in Paris in 1940. I’d actually reached something like 40,000 words before I finally consigned it to the backburner so I could get the Emma Carney book out of my system. I have now downloaded four Jill Mansell books so I could get a feel of the way a best selling Romance author builds an inoffensive (most important) love story. Having penned three Emma Carney Romances, I felt unable to come up with any new ideas for a love story. The only thing I can say about Jill Mansell’s well written books, is that are really soap operas (I finished two, and half read the other two) . And it works, obviously, because she has thousands of 4 or 5 star reviews and is an acknowledged Sunday Times best selling author. The upshot of that is that I have worked my way into a kind of saga that starts fifteen years before the main story, and involves a bunch of eighteen year old students at their ‘Prom’ night, and what follows fifteen years later. (Where were you fifteen years after you left school? Still with the same boy or girl you thought you was in love with?)


Moving back to family life. I went to visit my Granddaughter, Gemma and her two boys, Orin and Liri. Liri is three months old. I met them at the Aquarium in Brighton and before the visit got well under way, I fell over and banged my false hip. The upshot of this was that I ended up at A&E late that afternoon, finally getting home eleven hours later with nothing more than a badly bruised hip. I expected a cracked joint at least, so I have to thank God for small mercies.


I also had a visit from my Grandson, Adam and his partner, Agata. They came over for an afternoon, brought fish and chips with them, and talked about their flat (apartment), which is being built and should be ready in August. I saw them again about ten days later in a video chat with them in America. They were staying with my grandson, Sam (Adam’s cousin) and his wife, Taryn, who is heavily pregnant. Baby is due in July. The upshot of our 40 minute video call is that I am planning to visit Sam and Taryn in Atlanta on baby’s first birthday next year. That will be something to look forward to, and already I’m getting excited about the whole idea. I just have to stay fit and not fall over again!


I also managed a bit of technical wizardry. My laptop packed up. Dead. Nothing I did brought it back to life even though it had been on charge all night. So I took the back off, removed the battery, vacuumed the mother board etc, then sprayed the whole lot in WD40. I dried it off, reassembled it and Bingo — back to life! Perhaps I should give up writing and go into the computer business. Maybe not.


So, where am I now? I’m still selling books although not in vast numbers, but I’m averaging about sixty or so sales a month. Long may it continue. And I’m off to a Writers’ Retreat at Beale in Yorkshire this month; something I’m looking forward to immensely. Hopefully I’ll be able to make good inroads into my latest Emma Carney Romance so I can get back to my WW2 novel.


Wish me luck!




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