Standing room only!

They ran out of chairs! Yes – when we held the official book-launch of Some Kind of Synchrony at Waterstones in New George Street Plymouth we started with the 45 chairs from the Costa end of the upstairs set out nicely for the author-interview at the book-shop end. set up

Lee, manager of this Waterstones, had created a lovely display of my books and set two leather chairs in front of this, nicely angled as per a chat-show with the audience seats in a neat block in front of us.

The bubbly and nibbles we set up on a table off to the side and then we waited.

The audience began to arrive. To begin with I knew most of them; I had invited lots of friends and acquaintances to help me celebrate the launch of the novel. It was so exciting to greet people as they arrived. Soon it was obvious that Lee would need to put out the reserve folding chairs… but the audience continued to grow, with people I did not know swelling the numbers. Eventually all the heavy armchairs were manhandled over from the Costa end as well so that most people could have a seat. … even so, some had to remain standing.waterstonesNow the audience was not confined to a block in front of the set up arrangement, but ranged around the top of the stairwell (and therefore behind a large pillar) so, to make sure that the most people could then at least see and hear me while I talked I abandoned the seated ‘chat-show’ format and took to standing at the far end of our space. I find I like standing to talk – probably from years of teaching!

I ought to be able to remember everything I said… after all I had primed Simon, who was conducting the interview as well as there to add his own insight into the venue, with suitable questions, but I can’t! Everything is a bit of a blur … did I say ‘this or that’ then… or when I was talking to the journalist at the Tavistock Times earlier that same day?

One point I know was made … Some Kind of Synchrony is largely based in a Newspaper office and so is the story within the novel, and I had done my research for this at the Western Morning News. This particular Waterstones is housed in what was the original Western Morning News building – making it the perfect place for the launch of this novel!chat 1

So at an opportune moment Simon Parker, who is an editor with the Western Morning News and an author in his own right, painted a verbal picture of what that very building we were sitting in was like when it was the Western Morning News building and he was a young journalist. You could almost smell the smoke, hear the clatter and recreate the surrounding as he described them.

The time seemed to fly – I know that I really enjoyed myself  (once we got going – bag of nerves before)  and feedback seems to indicate that my lovely audience did too.

A very short reading to finish up and we were breaking open the bubbly – or rather others were as I had the honour of signing and dedicating books! I even had a queue at one time! queue

If you came along – thank you – an author is nothing without readers and neither is a book launch without friends and readers to share it with.

empty rack
Rack emptied of Some Kind of Synchrony

Eventually I worked out where and who the people I did not know came from, mostly friends and acquaintances of friends, and asked for my thanks to be passed along to them for coming … all except a young man with a long-ponytail who had his copy of Some Kind of Synchrony dedicated to Daniel (his name I presume) and who, at the time, I assumed was a friend of my nephew. Seems not, so whoever you are Daniel – thank you too for coming along!

Finally I have learnt three things from this event – and you all know how much I love to learn – a day where I have learnt something is a day well spent. One, from a question put to me about setting aside time to write… that I have been looking at this all wrong. I managed to write my first (never to be seen again) novel in short half hour blocks. Even if I can not manage my ideal of two hours uninterrupted I should ‘go for it’ in any half hours I have – these exist where the two hours slots are elusive. Two, I always knew I used my hands a LOT when I talk (it has been commented upon on numerous occasion) and isn’t about to change, but flicking through the photographs taken by Krissi on the evening I had not realised how many funny faces I pull as I talk. Now, having not realised it I probably can’t do much about it – but trying to find ‘nice’ pictures to post was tricky! And three – I am blessed with lovely friends who are willing to support me when the call goes out – and that is a blessing indeed.

Did you come along? What were your impressions?

Did you have a question you wished you had asked? I can answer now….

Do You want to know about the next book launch when it comes up – just let me know by email and I’ll send you an invite 🙂


Pictures at an exhibition

pic3Yesterday I went with a friend to see an exhibition of paintings by another mutual friend (what a lot of friends) Let’s call them Krissi and Anthea.  Yes, that Anthea – Anthea Lay! – the one who was on the Big Painting Challenge on BBC1 earlier in the year.pic2

Paintings were displayed across the top of the grand staircase as we arrived, as well as this lovely poster, the background being a painting by Anthea’s co-exhibitor the equally talented Katy Stoneman.


The exhibition was in a delightful space atop the visitors centre in Bodmin. Inside it was on a sort of  indoor balcony, as you can see, with wonderful light.

The balcony went around half the top of the visitors centre – here is Anthea alongside paintings at the other end of the balcony to the previous photograph.

As you will know I am really excited that I managed to commission Anthea to paint me a picture that will become the cover for my work in progress set in a fictional village in the Tamar Valley.

However, that has to wait! First I have the official Book Launch of Some Kind of Synchrony coming up this Friday – and in preparation I went down to Truro to talk to Tiffany Truscott on BBC Radio Cornwall again. As always she was a delight to talk to as we looked at the triggers that got me writing this book when I did. Tiffany  and me skos for blog Listen again (for next 21 days) HERE

And it is still not too late to come and join us at Waterstones  – 65 New George St. Plymouth [UK  😉 ] at 6.30pm on Friday 15th May, where I am lucky to be joined by Simon Parker, editor at the Western Morning News, author and publisher, who will be conducting my author interview and shedding light on the choice of venue.

After which we’ll have a well deserved glass of something bubbly, mingling and book signing. Waterstones SKOS BOOK LAUNCH Friday 15th May back colour poster pic .doc

I look forward to seeing you there.

In the meantime – if you are around Bodmin between now and the 22nd DO go to Anthea and Katy’s exhibition at the visitors centre in Shire Hall – I am sure you will enjoy it!





Another ‘sweet-treat cheat’ Mini-Mille-Feuille

Apricot Crowns

Back in January I showed you how to make Apricot Crowns (method and recipe here) – an easy to make but great looking  finger-buffet dessert I created.

Earlier this month I did a demo for our local WI on making these and two other finger-buffet desserts – and now I am going to share another one of them with you.

These finger-buffet desserts are also ‘cheats’ in that they are really quite easy – but look and taste as if they have taken ages to achieve!

This one, like the apricot crowns, uses all-butter puff pastry. I use the ready made – not because I cannot make puff pastry but because this is one thing that I think the machines do better – besides I do not have all day –  and making puff pastry properly Takes All Day!

I also use ready-rolled puff pastry – not because I cannot roll my own – but because our local branch of Tesco (as in this is the only one of the two local supermarkets that does the All-Butter puff pastry at all – and I do want butter) – does not do the blocks … only the ready rolled!

So here goes! To make Mini Mille Feuille:DSCF0119

Mini Mille-feuille – makes 48

1 pack All Butter Puff pastry (ready rolled)
Half pint double cream – whipped
Half jar of seedless raspberry jam

Top and base – two halves of same rectangle of puff pastry

Take out puff-pastry – roll to flatten only.
Measure – trim to discard wavy edges – you should be able to make 48 rectangles of 2” x 1”  from the sheet at 12″ x 8″
Cut with a sharp knife and place on greased baking tray in hot oven (200 degrees C fan – 220 standard)
Bake for 10 mins or until risen and golden.
Remove from oven – slice open sideways, tipping tops to one side, return to oven for 2 mins to crisp soft pastry.
Remove and leave to cool.
When cool spread a little jam on the base of each one.
Using a piping bag with insert but no piping nozzle, pipe along inside of top section.
Place on top of the jammed base and set onto serving dish
Finely dust with icing sugar when all completed – YUM!


Two bites and they are gone!

Ideal if you are having a party, the pastry pieces can be made up well before (even frozen if a long, long time before)  and just finished off in the afternoon (they’ll keep well enough in the fridge til the evening)  Great if you’ve been asked to ‘bring a pud’ to a finger-buffet – as they look stunning and soon get snapped up!

Has anyone tried the Apricot Crowns already? How did it go?

Do you have a favourite dessert that you always like to make?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you


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