Donna thought there was something wrong with her. That she was suffering from a mental illness that has caused her husband to despise her, distance himself from her, and cheat on her. She blames herself for the desolate, miserable thing that is her marriage and her life. Then she comes across a book that will change everything for her, and reading it, she discovers that there’s nothing wrong with her mind at all, but that there is something very wrong with her husband instead. Marco, she realises, is a malignant narcissist. A text book case. He has a real and documented mental disorder, and that he’s been controlling, manipulating, and abusing her for decades. The sudden full knowledge of all that he’s purposely done to her enrages her. Not sure how to leave after thirty years of what she finally knows has been intentional mental and emotional abuse from him, and believing that she has nowhere to turn, being so physically isolated, she bides her time.
Then she meets and befriends….. To read more and get links hop over here
I am on the cusp of change. Not yet sure in which direction but I thought I would capture the essence before I lapse again into plodding without looking where I’m going.
‘If you want to be successful, you have to pretend you already are’
Ever been told to put on your dancing shoes and caper towards the camera? Metaphorically speaking?
I have been made brave by Viv’s blog (Zen and the art of tightrope walking) in which she questions the virtues of stoicism (the full-English in approved ‘attitude’) to venture onto my own high-wire, and examine the world that has another set of unspoken virtues- the approved conduct of the ‘indie author’.
All Indie Authors should consider the stoicism implied by a dreaded word ‘Authorpreneur.’
Before I get onto its entrenched edicts I shall have to define why, right now, I feel defeated and why this post sets out to invite contributions, commiserations and perhaps even solutions? (Hint I intend new coherent, focussed, valuable… something.)
So: Many things have contributed to my small crisis: (See, there is stoicism showing its petticoat- it feels pretty big actually)
Putting it Behind Me
After two years of close attention to the world of marketing, web design, IT mastery (well, moderate self sufficiency) blogging, guest posting, commenting, reading, reviewing… I have recently been told I have left no tracks in the web sand- in short I do not exist.
(The kind SEO searcher who discovered this offered a consolation. ‘At least you have not spoilt your first impression. You have not made one!) He disabused me of believing anything Google said, (because Google is a big stroker and would have me believe I have made veritable waves for fully three pages) and suggested I asked duckduckgo instead. Sure enough, his point was proved, I do not exist.
Like a wayward young steer I need ‘Branding’, or I will never be welcomed in the herd. It is not the books that matter but the branding of the author. ‘Think of things others would say if asked to describe you?’ Well aside from the obvious (and why should I offer insults gratis? Mine could be auctioned to Save the Children )
All suggestions here, or here, or here…
(Look ma, no genre?-The art of the unpopular?- Believing five impossible things before breakfast? Delusions of Hercules?)
Problem is, my daughters aside, how would they know without reading what I write? Or being able to find me when I don’t exist? Or even digging out (up?) the recluse who lives in darkest Somerset and could not embark upon a series if it bit her on the bum and chased her to the gate.
(Aside:I do have an idea for a fabulous TV series and I have cast Bill Nighy in the lead-he’d relish the role and yes do feel free to contact him.)
Wrestling with this for months I decided to turn aside and join NaNoWriMo for some creative distraction. Yes I finished the outline of a novella, (did not even limp to 50K, stopped and laid down its plot at 48K) and it offers a skeletal outline but one so world weary that it needs to live on spinach for a year. WHY? Because it now joins the list of the next books that will be unfound and unread.
Going Round in Circles
So no escape. Circumnavigation of the central problem. How to wave without seeming to, the mastery of the sleight of hand. Finding they who are already searching?
Caution: They would not imagine such a book so would not be searching. If they fell over it they would say …………………………(Feel free to improvise in the comments)
Hence back to the first subject-Stoicism.
It seems to me we Indie Authors are signed up to these ten commandments (plus one) Nobody showed me before I signed up. Bastards.
Thou shalt anticipate author hood by building a solid platform (before you have any hooks to climb it, spiked shoes, or a windcheater for the long winter’s blast. Intentions are two a penny, solidity speaks.)
Thou shalt acquire a tribe of ten thousand followers on Twitter and Facebook ( But without a book available? Stick to cakes and recipes-you can crib those.)
Thou shalt exceed the traditionally published authors by being better written, better dressed, more adventurous.(Safe here, nobody will find out one way or the other)
Thou shalt write works with a keen eye to the market you have already seduced. (Do cakes and recipes foster an interest in evolution? Baking is a busy business.)
Thou shalt master the Amazon category minefield.(It may not anticipate the category you have been adventurous with. Write nicely to Amazon with suggestions.)
Thou shalt produce at least a book a year, and preferably in series.(Latest sure fire-winner- of- 1000 signatories- a- month advice: ‘To accumulate an email list give away your first, follow with a gift of the second a day later, in order to hook a readership for the many to follow. Sorry forgot to mention you must start in your twenties, or write three at a time. (‘Note to Self: Remember to bar anyone over 65.)
Thou shalt find the money for editing, and cover design and they shall be exemplary examples of what is already in abundance and look good in a thumbnail. It’s all anyone will be likely to skim past.
Thou will understand the sprinkling of keywords and have an ear to the ground of SEO so that though wilt play harmoniously without banging anything- strictly strings.( How about scored for base trombone, viola and a snare…)
Thou shalt persist in offering something of value to acquire a mailing list that will be susceptible to thy next offer and thou may post many portraits of yourself behaving as though chased by papparazzi lest we forget your name. Tip: Be photogenic or at least ‘interesting’ Drag? Indecent? Rear view?
Thou shalt not deviate by questioning these precepts, nor challenge them but thou canst always give up and drop out.
Our guardian angel dog is dead,
Bequeathed for a long sonnet’s span…
Her absence now insinuates through
every raku cracked routine.
She opened the day, I knew you’d come
and ‘here you are, it’s good again…’
Chin settled the close; begone, begone
My sentinel ears are set. Now sleep.
The book of family was bound
by constant reading, all out loud:
Absence tracked, whim on the wind
awaited patient at the gate.
Each supper semi-sanctified
The pre-wash cycle cleaned the plate.
Leavings now no pleasures gift
to share what self-control delayed.
Her sponge absorbed all bitterness
(the vinegar of petty strife)
The wince (before the wound) perceived,
quick licked in instant empathy.
Her presence stroked all injury
of tension or a sharp remark.
Rebuke was an averted eye:
Our grief her vigil misery.
The wild is tamed by its consent
to shaman out what we forget…
They bide with us to educate
the gift of giving, in full spate.
She centred us long, yet sudden gone
The call of the wild cried, cried her home…
Three days she keened I come, I come
My heart is strong, beats on, beats on
but hear, I hear, I speak your tongue…
Just give me a span, while I prepare
my absence from this loving lair.
She returns to breathe the spreading tree
of song in wolfish symphony.
That crouching streak…whose mother’s sheep
on Brecon’s rounded shoulders, bleak…
lies curled in clay…
The sycamore its leaves release
to trickle on a grave fresh filled
against the wall of guarded ground.
I have missed Friday! Sorry. Proofing a book to a deadline somehow collapses the passing days. BUT how can anyone ignore the euphoria occasioned by this enquiry?
‘I absolutely love this sonnet. I thought it might be one of Shakespeare’s but it sounds too new. Please tell me who the author is.’
I posted it to a thread on Linked In that asked for ‘Your poetic definition of love?’
If you bequeath me all your dreams unspent
that had their birth beneath the sheeted sky
Once dressed in music, they went penitent
Through gold and gorse, for you walk solitary.
If I can turn a page within your past
and my slow eye peruse your slow delight…
The landscape of your heart has found a mast
to lend perspective to its breadth and height.
I mapped your longing long before you thought
to give account of thirst, or dust or wine
I laid your blooms of hope amidst the grass of doubt
I spread your pasture, I reseeded time.
What can I know but what I recognise?
You are myself and yours are my own eyes.
Today was the long planned for launch of A Shadow in Yucatan. Timed to co-ordinate with the Great Digital Book Giveaway. Instead it has been deleted from their site. Disaster for me but not for you. For it is ,however, still free (until 31st July) on Smashwords and can be downloaded herehttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/454809
Instead of promoting I will let the reviews do that instead.
‘I was utterly awestruck by the writing skill and breadth of imaginative
evocation…..poetic, elegiac…almost unbearably intense…sensuous imagery
from both nature and modern urban living…musical, both rhythmic and
assonant…sustained dramatic tension within a simple everyday story….the
superficiality of the beauty salon is a very potent metaphor….’ Alison Jakes (Poetry Circle)
As with a highly literary novel, this ambitious story makes demands
upon its readers. As with most modern poetry it deserves to be read and
The story is a vehicle for some impressive poetry. It is highly emotional
and transforms the ordinary protagonist into an archetypal figure of
‘Speech must now grow from silence and the stones that cockle the
Of women in pre-history, left alone with the consequence of men’
There is religious dimension too. Throughout there are subtle references
to the Christian Nativity, and on another level it tells of Christ’s birth
and Mary’s suffering in modern terms. It contrasts the cruelty of the
girl’s Catholic mother, with the compassion of her Jewish landlady.
There is implicit criticism of the hypocrisy of society as a whole….The
poem has a social purpose. Katherine Knight (Real Writers)
Philippa Rees is as an immediately distinctive and striking poet
who writes with unfashionably – often brilliant – painterly verbal
play and colour, oozing with a sensuous love of language. Rees’s
almost tangible style dazzles with imagistic chiaroscuro; stark
contrasts of light and shade, subtext and texture:
This ripeness of verbiage and intrinsic musicality inevitably
bring comparisons with Dylan Thomas (particularly the densely
descriptive, rumble-tumble list- passages of Under Milk Wood): But this is not to detract from Rees’s individuality which throughout this book of poetic narrative interspersed with colourful dialogue is palpable and often beguiling…
…..A Shadow in Yucatán is disarmingly beautiful (Alan Morrison, Editor The Recusant)
The back blurb calls ‘A Shadow in Yucatán’ a ‘distilled novel’ and it
is –a home brew, raw and omnipotent! Rees makes extraordinary the
sorrowful ordinary of an unwanted pregnancy and the resulting difficult
decisions. She celebrates the sense of community, despairs of family
and counts on the generosity of strangers. She explores problems and
finds solutions – hard through they are to take – in unexpected places
Through it we enter a world as real as we are, but as foreign to us as a
bad dream. This book is a must for any intelligent reader! (Independent Reviews: SP Magazine)