2007


Idle Tom’s plan is revealed …    | 2007-12-31
My hands were tingling. Especially my thumbs. Pricking almost … And then I remembered a line from Shakespeare that I’d learned over half a life-time ...

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2007-12-31

Idle Tom’s plan is revealed …


My hands were tingling. Especially my thumbs. Pricking almost …

And then I remembered a line from Shakespeare that I’d learned over half a life-time ago. Macbeth’s witches, doing foul deeds. And one says to t’other, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes …”

And my thumbs were throbbing like anything …

“So Tommy,” I said, with quite considerable foreboding, “what is your plan?”

“It’s a GREAT plan!” said Idle Tom, publisher of my first novel, The Well-Tempered Clavier. “It’s the plan that’s going to give this book lift off. It’s going to be the plan for 2008.”

“And somehow it involves the gorgeous lovelies?”

“Yes! Yes it does indeed involve the five waitresses you had over for that bun-fight of yours! Disappointed, by the way, that you didn’t have me over.”

“Get on with it.”

“We need to get the girls involved. They’re gorgeous aren’t they? And you’ve given them all the book, so they’re bound to love it - and we just, you know, just …”

“Just what?”

“Just need to get them on side.”

Idle Tom’s round-the-houses method of conversation can be particularly wearing after a while. It’s like he’s dealing with the village idiot; or maybe it’s as if HE’S the village idiot.

“And once we’ve got the girls on side,” I said - (by the way, Emma, Emily, Amelia, Molly and Calandra are their names, all students at Edinburgh University) “what, exactly, do you want them to do next?”

“Well … dress up and stuff. Maybe you should get some T-shirts made up.”

“You think I’m going to be able to get them to wear those T-shirts for five-year-olds that ride right up over their belly-buttons?”

“That’d be perfect! Now - what are we going to have printed on the front of the T-shirt?”

“What about Well-Tempered?”

“No! I’ve got it! Not Well-Tempered, but Well-TAMPERED!!”

“You are a total sicko!”

To be continued. (It gets worse …)


Idle Tom has a plan    | 2007-12-30
Idle Tom the publisher believes he has seen the light. The way towards more sales, a second edition, and from thence to … bestsellerdom. “Bill,” he s...

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2007-12-30

Idle Tom has a plan


Idle Tom the publisher believes he has seen the light. The way towards more sales, a second edition, and from thence to … bestsellerdom.

“Bill,” he says, “I think we’ve got to do more book signings.”

“Fine by me. You get me any shop in Britain that wants to have a signing session, I’ll be there.”

“Well Bill -” A pause. Not a very nice pause, actually. “It’s not that I’ve totally given up on your book yet - ” (Love that word “totally”). “But -”

But what? But he was already going to pull the plug on The Well-Tempered Clavier? Only two months into the campaign? Not exactly in it for the long haul.

Another pause from Idle Tom, before he continues: “I think you’ve got to get busy.”

“Thanks very much for that Tom. I mean obviously over the last couple of months I’ve been doing nothing more than just sitting here in front of the TV twiddling my thumbs. What sort of “busyness” did you have in mind?”

“One. I want you to personally visit the manager of every book shop in Edinburgh.”

“Yep. Done that.”

“Two. I want you to get yourself a signing session in every shop.”

“Which I am endeavouring to do.”

“Three. You get yourself a thousand leaflets printed up.”

“Done already. Two thousand.”

“And four. You rope in those girls.”

“The baby-sitters?”

“Yes. Those five students who you had waitressing at that charity thing of yours. The pretty ones in those pictures. We’ve got to get them on side.”

“Tricky. Slightly more tricky.”

“Not for a man of your charm, of your light touch. Ask them nicely and you’ll have them eating out of your hand.”

“I really hate it when you start on the flattery line. It doesn’t become you.”

“I mean it! Get the girls on board! We need the girls!”

“And what do we do then?”

“Aha! AHA! I have … I have A PLAN!”


More sexy pix! …    | 2007-12-29
Cheery Christmas greetings to one and all - or, as I have trained five-year-old Dexter to say, "God Bless us every one!" Now - a very mild confession...

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2007-12-29

More sexy pix! …


Cheery Christmas greetings to one and all - or, as I have trained five-year-old Dexter to say, "God Bless us every one!"

Now - a very mild confession. A few weeks ago, I put into effect some of the more reprehensible tactics that I have learned from my publisher, Idle Tom.

What happened was that my wife Margot had a Noel Coward evening in memory of her dear old dad Chris. It was a sit-down do for 60 people and seeing as I can neither sing nor act, I was largely downstairs doing the cooking. I’d prepared an immense stew and we had in five gorgeous students to help out with the waitressing.

But my problem, my big, big problem, was how to upstage the performers.

There were a couple of great singers, Margot the compere, as well as a professional pianist and Maguire crowing away as Coward himself. All great stars.

But how … how was I going to be able to steal their thunder?

Well I thought about it long and hard, and then I remembered an oft-quoted line of Idle Tom’s: "When in doubt, bring on the lovelies …"

And from Idle Tom’s favourite adage, I developed the kernel of an idea.

All I had to do was wait for the end of the show, wait for all the stars to take their bows, wait for all of them, all of them, to quit the stage, and THEN I’d make my grand entrance - along, of course, with my five stunning waitresses, who were all to stand flanking me as I trotted out my thank own very personal thank-yous to the real "stars" of the evening.

Simple - yet effective.

And so it was that I, also, had my moment of glory. They lapped it up.

Care to look at the terrific pix taken by my good friend Angus McLean? Just click here

I talked it through later with Idle Tom. "Good stunt," he said. "I like it. But if I’d been you, I’d have got the girls to wear Playboy Bunny ears.

"You are one sick little puppy," I replied. "You’ll be telling me next that you’d have given them the same treatment that we used to give the Page Three girls."

"And what was that?"

"We’d give ‘em T-shirts that were made for five-year-old kids. Literally. The result was not only were the shirts incredibly tight, but they only reached half-way down their mid-riffs."

"Wow! How did they get their heads though the hole at the top?"

"Tom - you always ask one question too many."

"Do you think these girls … do you think these girls might be around for your next Waterstone’s signing?"

"Get ‘em all wearing T-shirts which say, "I’m Well-Tempered"?

"I think I might have to come up for your next session -"

"Really, Tommy, I’m more than able to do very well indeed without you - "

"No. I want to come up. I think it’s important that as your publisher I occasionally show  up to these things -"

"Tommy, let me tell you one thing. You won’t get a look in with these girls. They’re really classy."

"But I’m a publisher!"


If this is the good news, then …    | 2007-12-21
I have good news … and I have bad news. First the good news. It pertains to a rather productive conversation with my publisher, Idle Tom. "Bill," he ...

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2007-12-21

If this is the good news, then …


I have good news … and I have bad news.

First the good news. It pertains to a rather productive conversation with my publisher, Idle Tom.

"Bill," he said, "I think you’re not really making the most of your tabloid training."

"Really Tommy?" I said. "What do you have in mind this time?"

"Well maybe … maybe you could start writing your blog a bit in the style of The Sun newspaper. I mean it’s a strange thing having a Sun reporter who also writes love stories. And, you know, I thought it might be kind of funny if you could do your blog as if it were a Sun story …"

"Very good Tom. And maybe I could start writing my next love story as if it were a piece of Sun editorial too? Is that what you’re after?"

"Give it a try, just for a couple of days. Just for me? Please? Pretty please?"

"No problem, Tommy. Your pleasure is my purpose …" I’ll start my Sun pastiche tomorrow.

But - if that’s the GOOD news, then what could possibly be the BAD news?

Well …

Unfortunately, I have not been able to track down an actual link to my ex-wife’s latest column in the Daily Mail (for non-regulars - I currently feature, in the guise of her ex, Jamie. And, for the first time in three years, Daisy Dooley and her ex-husband Jamie Prattlock have met up.)

However.

I have tracked down a copy of Monday’s column. Do feel free to comment.

Here goes …

 

DAISY can’t believe her eyes when she finally talks to her former husband Jamie. WHEN I led Jamie into my sitting room, Miles and Lucy had scarpered, savvy enough to leave us to it. Seeing my exhusband after all these years, I lost control of myself so not much had changed there, then.

I couldn’t help blurting out the things that had been swimming through my subconscious ever since we divorced.

As we had not spoken since the afternoon I walked out when, instead of imploring me to stay, he went into the kitchen and fried himself an egg this was my first opportunity for ‘closure’.

As he sat down, I said: ‘She trapped you, didn’t she?’ Jamie’s eyes flickered, uncertain.

‘Katie,’ I prompted, but he looked away.

Katie was Jamie’s girlfriend, now his wife, who was on the scene with alacrity after I left.

They were dating within minutes and she was pregnant within a couple of months, which must have been karmic payback because when I first went out with Jamie he banged on that his biggest fear was ‘being trapped by a woman who deliberately gets herself up the duff’.

He was so paranoid about this that he doubled up on contraception: despite the fact I was on the Pill, condoms were compulsory.

‘Belt and braces, old girl,’ he used to say, underlining that you could never be too careful. Even on our honeymoon and well into the marriage.

Because I understood that this was a genuine fear, I never scared him on that front although I clearly freaked him out on every other. So the fact that he ricocheted straight from our broken marriage into some late-thirtysomething’s bed and she had a bun in the oven before the ink was dry on the decree nisi, always struck me as ironic.

Perhaps that was the one area that I had allowed him to let down his guard. Whatever else, he could relax about the fact that despite being his wife, I wasn’t out to dupe him. He could trust me on that, if nothing else.

Maybe he took off his braces, believing her when she said she was wearing a belt? ‘It was a happy accident’ he said, Does Divorce loyally. ‘Look, Daisy, I’m not here to do a relationship autopsy.’ ‘Then why are you here?’ I asked.

Jamie put his hands in a prayer position and lowered his head like you do in yoga to say Namaste.

I couldn’t have been more shocked if he had spat at me which he did once during a particularly vitriolic row as he only came to yoga with me a couple of times to check out the chicks’ butts and stare at their boobs as they did inversions.

‘I am here,’ he said, looking up slowly and speaking theatrically, ‘to apologise. And to ask for your forgiveness.’ ‘Are you on drugs?’ I gasped, incredulous, thinking that would explain the puffy bags beneath his eyes as endless cocaine hangovers do little for your looks.

‘I get high only through the divine,’ he said in a weird monotone.

Oh, God! It was even worse than I had envisaged. Had he been brainwashed by a cult? He crossed his legs in the lotus position and put his hands on the backs of his knees, palms up ‘to receive’.

‘Daisy, I have you to thank for initiating me on the spiritual path.

I couldn’t see it when we were together because I was blocked by my arrogance and fear. But you shone the torch of truth into my soul however much I resisted you. I am a Buddhist now and I need to acknowledge the wrongs I have done you.’ He paused and took a deep breath before reciting: ‘I am sorry that I never held you when you were scared. I am sorry that I never validated you or put you before my friends.

‘I’m so sorry that when you had chickenpox, I counted out loud the 42 spots you had on your face and laughed with revulsion and horror. I am so sorry that I was incapable of intimacy and that I misled you.’ But Jamie didn’t really say any of that. He didn’t even say: ‘Look, I’m sorry I hurt you, old girl. I played my part too, and for that I apologise.’ Instead, he broke through my reverie to announce spitefully: ‘I have a mucker that works for Insight Publications and apparently you sent in a book proposal about surviving divorce.

I bloody well hope you’re not going to embarrass me in front of my mates.’ I stood up. ‘Enough old boy,’ I said. ‘Time to go.’ NEXT week: What does Daisy hear from Insight? Divorce


More weirdness from Amazon …    | 2007-12-20
There are two people of note who work for Legend Press: Idle Tom, the boss, and Emma, who is the power behind the throne. Although Emma is technicall...

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2007-12-20

More weirdness from Amazon …


There are two people of note who work for Legend Press: Idle Tom, the boss, and Emma, who is the power behind the throne. Although Emma is technically Idle Tom’s junior, I have deduced that she - without doubt - is the driving force.

If you ever have to deal with Legend, take a tip from me: Try and do your business Emma. Just a safer pair of hands. She is the steady hand at the tiller.

I don’t often get to talk to her, but … generally when there is any sort of palatable news, it is always Emma who delivers it.

For it would seem that Amazon’s weirdnesses are manyfold. Along with pairing my book up with my ex-wife’s, they have chosen The Well-Tempered Clavier as their first "Hero Product".

"Well Emma," I said, after Tom had been fagged off to make the tea. "This all sounds very good. Very good indeed! Tell me all about it."

"Well Bill," she replied. (Notice the careful mirroring that she used on me. That’s a publisher who knows how to soft-soap a pet author.) "Amazon are doing their bit to promote the top books from independent publishers - "

"Like Legend."

"Yes, like Legend, and your book has, in essence, got a good hero. So it’s their first Hero Product."

"Wow!"

"You never know - we might sell a couple more copies."

"Great." I paused, wondering how to couch my words in a breezy, pleasant fashion. "Do you know, I just feel luckier when I’m dealing with you. Is it … is it at all possible that you could get Tom to make the tea more often? Can’t you just send him out a bit, you know, to buy doughnuts or something else that he wants to guzzle; or maybe he just needs some time off. Doesn’t he need a holiday?"

"He doesn’t often take holidays."

"That’s what he needs then! More holidays!"

"Maybe it would do him good."

"Send him off to the Costas - he’ll love it there!"


Just a little disappointed    | 2007-12-19
Oh dear, oh dear. I’d been hoping for so much from my ex-wife, now that our books have been twinned as Perfect Partners on Amazon. But it was not to ...

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2007-12-19

Just a little disappointed


Oh dear, oh dear.

I’d been hoping for so much from my ex-wife, now that our books have been twinned as Perfect Partners on Amazon.

But it was not to be.

I’d dreamed that although our marriage was a disaster, Anna and I might be able to work together. You know the sort of thing - create this fantastic synergy which might help us shift a few more copies of The Well-Tempered Clavier and Daisy Dooley Does Divorce (in which there is a cheeky little parody of my good self in the guise of Jamie Prattlock.)

But in her latest column in the Mail … Well I just feel a bit let-down by it all; a little disappointed.

It’s just not what I was hoping for. I’d thought that her astonishing piss-take was going to snowball. But instead …

Maybe I’d been expecting too much. Expecting a phenomenal display. And all I got was this little damp squib, phut-phutting for a second before it nose-dived into the ground.

Idle Tom, the publisher, mentioned the matter during our morning conference. “She’s not really engaged, is she? Anything more we can do?”

“Well, Tommy, seeing as you ignore all my suggestions anyway, why don’t you just tell me about the latest brainwave to come fluttering through that vast and empty dome of yours?”

“Maybe we should send her another e-mail?”

“Yeah, Tommy, I bet you’d really like to write it yourself too.”

“Well if it helps sell the book …”

“Well of course - You’d probably reckon it would be a good trade-off for me to have both legs hacked off it it would sell a few more copies of the book.”

“Now Bill - that really would be going too far … But maybe a foot? That might help? I chopped off my foot to turn my book into a bestseller. Unusual. Definitely worth a try.”

“Why’s it always have to be me who’s the fall guy?”

“Bill, let me explain. You’re the star of the show. You’re the sad numpty who was married to Anna P. You wrote this stupid book The Well-Tempered Clavier. And therefore it is you, and only you, who has to be a conduit for all the stunts.”

“Funny you never mentioned this when you signed me up.”

“Bill, if it helps sell the book, we’ve got to try it. Anything. Anything at all.” Then he added, just to ensure I was completely riled, “I think that if you want to be taken seriously as a writer -”

“I should turn myself into a total media whore.”

“That’s about the sum of it.”

[I would normally provide a link to the Daisy Dooley article, but for some reason it always takes a couple of days to come through. Don’t worry though! It’ll be up as soon as I can find it.]


Baggy trousers, indeed …    | 2007-12-18
Monday mornings: I don’t know why, but my publisher Idle Tom always has a tendency towards friskiness at the start of the week. "Morning Mr Bags," Id...

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2007-12-18

Baggy trousers, indeed …


Monday mornings: I don’t know why, but my publisher Idle Tom always has a tendency towards friskiness at the start of the week.

"Morning Mr Bags," Idle Tom chirrups down the phone. It is the time of our morning conference, the first of the week, when we dream up new tactics, new strategies, for our grand goal of turning The Well-Tempered Clavier into a bestseller.

"Mr Bags? Why are you calling me Mr Bags?"

"Well it goes with your name, doesn’t it? Bill Coles; BilCo; Bilbo; Bilbo Baggins; and from there it is but one small step to Mr Bags."

"If it amuses you."

"Anyway how we doing?"

"Fine, thanks to you. Everyone’s happy. What are you doing?"

He’d started humming. It was a tune I vaguely recognised. Had heard years back. Gradually he started putting some words to the tune. Sort of mumbled words. "Bagg-y trousers, bagg-y trousers …"

"What is it now?" I said. "Let me see. We’ve had you calling me Mr Bags. We’ve had you humming a tune from Madness which came out before you were even born. Okay, Idle Tom. Are we on to a bit of a baggy theme this morning?"

"Why yes," he said. "Yes we are."

"A baggy eye-baggy kind of theme?"

"That’d be the one."

"So what do you want me to do? Would you like me to spend a grand on getting the bags cut out? Invest in some £100 tubs of Creme de le Mer."

"Creme de la Merde? Now that is a new one. Are they selling horse manure as a face-cream.?"

Sometimes I have no idea whether Idle Tom’s denseness is just a put-on, or whether it is entirely genuine.

"Okay Tommy, about the bags - "

"Ever thought about drinking less?"

"Over Christmas? Are you joking? Tell you what why don’t we just use the computer to tweak the pictures. Only take two seconds to wipe out the bags under my eyes."

"It’s for your own good, Bill."

"Well, Tommy, since we seem to be going down this route of self-improvement, maybe you’d like a few suggestions for yourself."

He yawned.

"Maybe you should start doing a little Sudoku in the morning? Maybe a few of those mind-games they have in the Sun or the Mirror?"

"Really, Bill."

"Hey, even better! Ever thought about a frontal lobotomy? Well have you? I think it might be the way forward -"


How to be taken seriously as a writer of romantic    | 2007-12-17
Now far be it from me to poo-poo advice from my publisher, Idle Tom. He’s a guy who knows what he’s at; who’s had a few hits under his belt; who knows...

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2007-12-17

How to be taken seriously as a writer of romantic


Now far be it from me to poo-poo advice from my publisher, Idle Tom. He’s a guy who knows what he’s at; who’s had a few hits under his belt; who knows just what it’s going to take to turn a mediocre book like The Well-Tempered Clavier into a bestseller.

But still … there are limits.

And this time I think the blighter has really gone too far. And I write this not from vanity or personal pride, but just because there comes a time in an author’s life when he finally has to draw a line in the sand. A time, that is, when he has to say to his stripling publisher: I ain’t doin’ that.

"Bill," he said during our afternoon conference. "May I say something?"

"No. No you may not." (Always say to this to someone who asks if they "may say something". Believe you me, they’ll still just up and say it anyway.)

Floored for him a couple of seconds, which was good, but he still upped and said what he had to say: "Well, I’ve been meaning to say this for some time actually, but …"

"Yes?"

"You’re looking a bit saggy."

"Saggy? As in saggy round my gut? Got a bit of a spare tyre have I?"

"What I’m saying, Bill, is that if you want to be taken seriously as a writer of romantic fiction, then you’ve got to shape up. You’ve got to realise, Bill, that the bulk of your readers are going to be women. An author’s looks are  important."

"Is that so, Tommy? And what exactly are you suggesting?"

"Well your eyes, for a start. You look like you’ve got a couple of saddle-bags there. And your skin’s a bit pasty. It’s almost waxy. You know what?"

"What?"

"I think you’re drinking too much. Take that video of yours. A lovely video. But you go and ruin it by going out on the lash the night before. And what about those pix you’ve just had done for the newspaper? You had more than a week’s notice - and all it required was a nice 15-minute photo session. And what did you do?"

"What did I do?"

"The night before you soused yourself on another bottle of red wine."

"That’s what I do every night."

"Look, Bill, I think we’ve got two options here. Either you lay off the booze, or - "

"I wear a bag over my head?"

"You’ve got to start thinking about plastic surgery. Those bags under your eyes! They’re just revolting!"

"Well thanks for that vote of confidence, Tommy."

"No problem. Oh, and one other thing, while you’re at it have you ever thought about updating your wardrobe?"

"Hey! Is this the reason why you didn’t include a picture of me in the book?"

Moi. Pasty-faced? Saddle-bag eyes? Is that a wine-bottle I see before me?


Idle Tom’s champion    | 2007-11-30
I have a friend, Maguire. One of those sorts of guys who thinks the very best of everyone they meet. Who loves nothing more than picking up little bi...

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2007-11-30

Idle Tom’s champion


I have a friend, Maguire. One of those sorts of guys who thinks the very best of everyone they meet. Who loves nothing more than picking up little birds with broken wings and nurturing them back to good health. Who sees a stray dog wandering down the street and wants nothing more than to adopt it.

And who, in the past week, has taken up the cudgels on behalf of that other defenceless fledgling, Idle Tom the publisher.

Even accused me of churlishness in one of his blog comments:

"You seem to rather have it in for poor Tom.
It’s odd that you’ve never mentioned that he’s variously 
Shortlisted for UK Young Publisher of the Year 2007
Shortlisted for UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 and
Longlisted for Enterprising Young Brit Award 2007
A little ungenerous of you?"

Later on, Maguire called up to chide me in person over what may possibly have been perceived as a lack of charity on my part as regards Idle Tom.

"Tom’s been listed for all these awards, and you haven’t mentioned them," said Squire Maguire. "Not once. Now is that nice?"

"I certainly have mentioned them!" I rounded on the man. "I said he was up for juvenile publisher of the year and young entrepreneur of the year (teenage category)."

"Poor Tom," he said, and I could almost feel his pain as the tears started stinging at his eyes. "I thought better of you."

"What do you mean, Maguire? He loves this stuff! For Idle Tom, the only thing that’s worse than being written about is not being written about!"

"But I can sense he has feelings -"

"All right, you know what I’m going to do - just for you?"

Tim sighs - the sigh of the damned. "What?"

"I won’t call him Idle Tom any more."

Tim perked up at that. "Well that’s nice. That’s a start."

"Yep! Certainly is! No, just for you, Timmy, I will in future refer to my publisher as "Poor Idle Tom".


The Wright Stuff    | 2007-11-29
I’ve been in touch with Matthew Wright, who used to be just another scumbag hack like me until he landed his morning show on Channel Five. I first me...

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2007-11-29

The Wright Stuff


I’ve been in touch with Matthew Wright, who used to be just another scumbag hack like me until he landed his morning show on Channel Five. I first met Matthew 13 years ago when he was on The Sun and he’s a little charmer.

I pinged him an e-mail:

"Hi Matthew, did you see that stuff I wrote in the Mail on Sunday? When can I come on your show?

Matthew did actually write back:

"Read the story - hilarious!"

Notice how he ducked my question. But there is a slight chance that I may yet get me on the show in the spring.

Let us pause there to picture the scene.

It could be the stuff of nightmares. There I am on the Wright Stuff, dressed up in best shirt and tie, and I might even be wearing a jacket too because it’s my first time on TV.

For the previous ten minutes I’ve been blathering on about the book, about Eton and about first love - all those subjects that I know so well.

Finally Matthew cuts into my monologue … "Well actually Bill we’ve got a bit of a surprise for you!"

"A surprise?" I gurn at the camera. "A nice surprise or a nasty surprise?"

"A surprisey surprise!"

And then, as my mouth drops open in horror, on comes my ex-wife Anna to the tumultuous applause of the audience. The cover of her Daisy Dooley book is flashed up on a huge screen behind us. We sit on either side of the host, boxers in the ring.

And it’s about to get much, much worse …

Matthew smiles at me: "So what I’d really like to hear from you, Bill, is something positive that you’d like to say about Anna’s new book .."

"Gaaah!"

"Come on - you must be able to say something!"

"Gaaaaah!"

"One teeny word of praise for Daisy Dooley?"

"Gaaaaaaaaah!" The words are, like the Apples of Sodom, turning to ashes in my mouth. "Nice -"

"Nice what?"

"Nice being here, Matthew, I’m history!"


E-mails to exes …    | 2007-11-28
Idle Tom the publisher has been like a dog with a bone on this one. There’s no stopping him. "Look, Bill," he said. "I’ve even written out the e-mail...

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2007-11-28

E-mails to exes …


Idle Tom the publisher has been like a dog with a bone on this one. There’s no stopping him.

"Look, Bill," he said. "I’ve even written out the e-mail for you to send her."

"Are you insane?" I watched him picking at his spiky hair; he was like a chimp on heat. "You’ve written out an e-mail that you want me to send to my ex-wife, just so that we can flog a few more books?"

"Well, now that you put it like that, yes. Yes I have."

"This I have got to see."

And this is what Idle Tom wants me to send to dear ex-wife Anna, whom I’ve not spoken to in six years and whose book is currently a perfect partner for the Clavier on Amazon:

"Dear Anna.

"I hope you are well.

"I am well too.

"It has been six years since I last saw you. Now I hope we can be friends.

"I do hope you liked the plug that I gave for Daisy Dooley. It was in the Mail on Sunday. On Sunday.

"If you would like to plug The Well-Tempered Clavier too, that would be nice.

"Feel free to say bad stuff about me too.

"Just so long as it helps sell my book, I will be happy.

"Love

"From

"Bill."

I had to read Tom’s draft e-mail a couple of times before I could fully digest it.

"You seriously want me to send that e-mail?" I said.

"I think it works well," said Idle Tom. "It’s nice and friendly."

"It’s a bit cloying, you know Tom."

"I think she’ll like it."

"I very much doubt that," I said as I scanned the draft e-mail one last time. "It sounds like it’s been written by a seven-year-old."

"Look, Bill, are we trying to turn this book into a bestseller or what?"

"Well when you put it like that …"


The missing link    | 2007-11-27
Missed the link to my Mail on Sunday story about Life on the Volcano’s Edge? Just click here It’s the real story of my first marriage.

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2007-11-27

The missing link


Missed the link to my Mail on Sunday story about Life on the Volcano’s Edge?

Just click here

It’s the real story of my first marriage.


Comments (0) Poking the Hornet’s nest …    | 2007-11-27
Yet another extraordinary idea from Idle Tom the publisher. I haven’t a clue where they come from. Maybe he’s finally got himself a girlfriend … (tha...

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2007-11-27

Comments (0) Poking the Hornet’s nest …


Yet another extraordinary idea from Idle Tom the publisher. I haven’t a clue where they come from. Maybe he’s finally got himself a girlfriend … (that one is a bit unlikely though)

"Bill!" he said during our morning conference. "What about poking the hornet’s nest?"

I was a little concerned by this one. "Poking the hornet’s nest? I don’t know if that’s normally a good idea Tom."

"Not usually, no," he said. "On this occasion it might be justified. Just give a little nudge with a stick."

"OK, well it’s interesting, Tom, and just because something might end up being very very painful, that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m averse to giving it a go. So what did you have in mind?"

"Well …" A long pause. I could sense that he was really pleased with this one. "Since we haven’t had any reaction yet to your kiss and tell in the Mail on Sunday … why … why don’t you send your ex-wife Anna an e-mail?"

"Tom," I said. "That is one big, big hornet’s nest that I’d be poking. In fact it would be more like chucking a hunk of meat into a piranha pond …"

"But it might shift a few more books -"

"And it’d be pretty cheeky too."

"So you’ll do it?"

"Well … What do you think I should say to her?"

"Just give her a bit of a tweak. You know, something like, ‘Hello Anna, hope you appreciate the plug I gave for your book. Now why don’t you have a pop at me, just for old time’s sake.’ Then you could have a bit of a chit-chat about old times, and wind up by saying that, ‘It’ll be great for sales - both your sales!"

"I’m liking it! Where on earth did this one come from?"

"The pair of you could even be on Richard and Judy together!"

"Jeremy Kyle might be more appropriate -"

"And the more she screams, the more you sell!"


He’s Been. He’s Gone. He’s Done It.    | 2007-11-26
Well - I hadn’t thought that I’d been one for Kiss ‘n’ Tells … But if it helps flog the book, then an author’s gotta do what an author’s gotta do. An...

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2007-11-26

He’s Been. He’s Gone. He’s Done It.


Well - I hadn’t thought that I’d been one for Kiss ‘n’ Tells …

But if it helps flog the book, then an author’s gotta do what an author’s gotta do.

And so it was that yesterday, and for the first time, I - to give it its technical term - "spilled my guts" about what life was like on the edge of the volcano. My one year of marriage, that is, with Anna Pasternak - also a writer of note.

As I mentioned in my last posting, never in history has a guy given such a colossal plug to a book by his ex-wife.

Click here to read the Mail on Sunday story in full 

Idle Tom the publisher was very happy indeed.

"Magnificent!" he said. "A triumph!"

"Thanks Tom! Glad you liked it."

"Do you, umm, do you think there might be any more mileage in this …"

"Possibly. I guess Grazia and a few other mags might go for it …"

"But what we really need is for Anna to lose her rag -"

"You might be onto something there Tom!"

"A cat-fight!" He said, his eyes going over all misty. "A real ding-dong cat-fight between two exes, both of them authors, and both of them taking lumps out of each other. And all to plug their two new books!"

"Genius, Tom! Let’s hope that the volcano is about to blow!"


Generous to a fault …    | 2007-11-25
Hello loyal blog-readers! Purely for your entertainment, this website now has MUSIC.   Jamie from Terinea is still working on the actual link, but yo...

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2007-11-25

Generous to a fault …


Hello loyal blog-readers! Purely for your entertainment, this website now has MUSIC.

  Jamie from Terinea is still working on the actual link, but you can click on http://www.wcoles.com/the-video/ and you’ll be straight through to three preludes.

  Now - wait for it, wait for it - if everything has gone to plan, there should be a toothsome little plug for The Well-Tempered Clavier in The Mail on Sunday today. There might, admittedly, also be just a teensy-weensy bit about my ex-wife Anna too …

  But I’ll tell you one thing though.

It must be the first time in history that a guy has ever given such a colossal plug for a book written by his ex-wife.

  Generous to a fault - that’s me …


Tom the Idle Boot-Licker.    | 2007-11-24
Dilemmas, dilemmas … Whether to keep Idle Tom the publisher happy and spill the beans on my ex-wife Anna - or whether to continue this stoic self-imp...

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2007-11-24

Tom the Idle Boot-Licker.


Dilemmas, dilemmas … Whether to keep Idle Tom the publisher happy and spill the beans on my ex-wife Anna - or whether to continue this stoic self-imposed silence that I have been maintaining for the past six years.

I mean, on the one hand, I could just give a paper like, say, the Mail on Sunday, all the gory pictures from the marriage and then give them all those lovely little details that their readers would so love to hear about …

  And on the other, I could just forget about the fact that I’ve got a book to flog, and I could ignore this heaven-sent opportunity to plug The Well-Tempered Clavier.

  "Please, please do it," said Idle Tom. "I think it’ll be good for you. It’ll be cathartic."

  "Cathartic?? Do you even know what cathartic means, Idle Tom? All you’re interested in is hawking more copies of the book."

  "Fair comment," he said. "We might sell one or two more copies, because the Mail on Sunday does have an estimated readership of over 6 Million. But what I was primarily concerned about was you -"

  "Shouldn’t you be playing a violin now?"

   "I think it would be good for you. I can sense a lot of hurt, a lot of residual hurt - "

  "Where do you learn all this stuff? Have you been having therapy?"

  "Yes, you can take your pain out on me, but I sense this residual hurt - and, and, I just feel you need to get it out there."

  "Sort of lance the boil?"

  "Exactly, Bill. Lance the boil."

  "Daresay the Mail on Sunday’s review section would be the biggest hit you’ve ever had?"

  "Possibly - though the circulation of the Hampshire Chronicle is pretty buoyant these days."

  "OK Tom, I’ll think about it -"

"Please? Pretty please?"

  "I said I’ll think about it Tom - now for God’s sake! What the hell are you doing licking my boots!"


Shaming those that need to be shamed    | 2007-10-31
Herewith the full match report of the London signing: So many old friends there, going back decades. Some, like my old housemaster, I hadn’t seen in ...

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2007-10-31

Shaming those that need to be shamed


Herewith the full match report of the London signing: So many old friends there, going back decades. Some, like my old housemaster, I hadn’t seen in 25 years.

And the nightmare of it is that you’re just talking to someone for the first time in years, and then there’s a tap on the shoulder, and you’re off onto the next … and the next … You’re lucky if you can get more than two minutes with the same person.

Two scumbags worthy of mention: First up, Malcolm Leng, who very kindly bought four books. Got me to sign them too, to himself, to his wife Fiona and to his daughter Demelza - great name.

And then Malcolm says to me: "And could you sign one to Matt Benson?"

"Matt Benson!" I replied. "You are one cheeky bastard!"

I should explain here that Matt is an ex-colleague of Malcolm’s and, while I’ve only met him briefly, seemed affable … however … he does have a little bit of form in that he once used to date my wife Margot.

I paused as I wondered what to write. Some little bon mot, perhaps, some quip … but in actual fact I thought restraint was the order of the day. "To Matt - with best wishes, Bill." Very tame for me. But I did give him a kiss on the end as well.

The biggest shyster of the night though, was, without doubt, Simon Cobby. Now Simon owes me big time, as a year ago I was so sick of him being a sad single loser that I signed him up with the dating website "My Single Friend". Worked like a charm. He’s been dating Jackie for nearly eight months.

To continue … There I am last night at my signing table. An elegant woman comes up, late thirties. I’ve never seen her before in my life.

"Hi," I said. "How’s it going?"

And then the utter, utter nightmare which I had been dreading: "Hi Bill!" she said. "You remember me don’t you?"

I did a double-take. Nope - I had no idea who she was. At all. "Well …" I said, playing for time. "It’s been a long time!"

"How long’s it been?" she said.

Well at this stage I thought that she might, at a pinch, be the sister of a mate. "Ummm, got to be over ten years," I said.

"Yes it must be," she replies.

"Great to see you!" I said. "You’re looking fantastic! So who would you like the book to?"

"I’d like it to Scobby please?"

What? What? And there was the grinning monkey that is Simon Cobby hiding behind her - having just prepped Jackie up to string me along for as long as she dared.

Outrageous behaviour - because it is the precise thing that every author dreads … a cheery face coming up and saying, "Hellloooo! Remember me?"


A second bite of the cherry    | 2007-10-30
One of the big advantages of having not one, not two, but three book launches is that by the end, I might be able to make a half-decent speech. Might...

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2007-10-30

A second bite of the cherry


One of the big advantages of having not one, not two, but three book launches is that by the end, I might be able to make a half-decent speech.

Might even have a go without the safety-blanket of my notes.

At the moment though, I almost feel like a US politician on the stump who has to give the same speech over and over again to about 200 audiences.

Well, not that I’m going to be giving that many talks - but I can feel already that a number of the gags are getting almost well-worn.

Tom, the bittersweet publisher, is developing this rather lumpen look on his face as I crank out the bittersweet gag for the eighth time. (It gets better with every telling, by the way, as I always like to ramp it up just one notch more.)

There is also the advantage that at tonight’s London launch Archie - regrettably - won’t be there, so I won’t have to put up with his incessant heckling. (Though that said, there are likely to be at least ten Sun hacks at Foyles this evening, and they are not known for keeping their traps shut.)

But one thing I hadn’t banked on was that although my speech-making is getting better, bittersweet Tom has also been honing his rather lack-lustre oratory. I mean, first time I heard him, he sounded like a seven-year-old doing some rote-reading in his English class. Now, I guess, he sounds like a piping 13-year-old.

But what he has started doing is getting in quite a few digs at me. It’s like receiving a couple of hefty hoofs from the warm-up man.

Well, sonny, you know where that’s going to lead don’t you?

You will be reaping the whirlwind! I was sharpening my talons all last night.


Closing the deal    | 2007-10-29
I think I need a course in salesmanship.   My patter isn’t too bad. I now have not a bad sales pitch for the book - can give you the one-minute sale,...

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2007-10-29

Closing the deal


I think I need a course in salesmanship.

 

My patter isn’t too bad. I now have not a bad sales pitch for the book - can give you the one-minute sale, the five-minute sale, or even the full 30-minuter.

 

Ah yes - I can do all that. But it’s then getting the people to buy the damn book that’s the problem.

 

Yesterday, for instance, I was touting my wares at an Independent book fair in Edinburgh. Maybe a dozen people in the audience, listening to me variously spout on and hurl insults at Tom the bittersweet publisher.

 

And, by the time my 30 minutes was up, I thought I’d made not a bad fist of it.

 

But … the pity of it! The pity of it!

 

As soon as we were done, I got waylaid by a woman - and COULDN’T GET OUT!

 

And two minutes later, all my book-punters had evaporated into the mist. I think we had precisely two sales.

 

Next time though - next time I’ll be first at the door and standing there with a pile of books, signing away for each and every audience member.

 

It would take a lot of nerve to just walk straight past me and say "no thank you".

 

But the really irksome thing about yesterday? The woman who buttonholed me didn’t even buy a book at the end anyway! "I already bought one yesterday," she said. Mon petit oeuil!


The ever helpful Archie    | 2007-10-28
In the Clavier book, there are a number of unpleasant characters.   One of the bit-part stinkers goes by the name of Archie. Now I’m sure it’s not hi...

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2007-10-28

The ever helpful Archie


In the Clavier book, there are a number of unpleasant characters.

 

One of the bit-part stinkers goes by the name of Archie. Now I’m sure it’s not his fault that he gets up everyone’s nose and that he’s a right royal pain - probably not breast-fed properly or something like that - but the upshot of it all is that Archie’s presence is not dissimilar to a rather foul odour.

 

Whereupon …

 

We had the launch of the book on Friday night, 60 mates turning out to drink some pretty good wine at Valvona & Crolla’s in Edinburgh; a cracking evening.

 

I had spent some time working on speech, just to ensure that every possible gag was mined.

 

And as it happened, I had a very good joke in the bag.

 

What I remember is standing there, glass in hand, working my way to the killer punch-line which was going to have them all ahowl with laughter.

 

And just at the very climax, just as I was seconds away from the biggest laugh of the evening, some mean-spirited shyster at the back bawls out the punchline.

 

Nearly - very nearly - took the wind out of my sails. Needed a quick recovery.

 

Later on, Tom - the bittersweet publisher - was talking about the heckler. "Bit unnecessary," he said.

 

"Standard behaviour for him," I replied.

 

"Just messed things up a bit. Screwed up the timing."

 

"That’s Archie for you!"

 

"What?" he said. "That was Archie! But that’s exactly what the Archie in the book would do!"

 

"That’s why he’s called Archie!"


A touch of the vom-voms    | 2007-10-27
I don’t know  why, but I always find newspaper pieces about myself absolutely puke-inducing. Not that I’m not grateful - especially now that I’m tout...

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2007-10-27

A touch of the vom-voms


I don’t know  why, but I always find newspaper pieces about myself absolutely puke-inducing.

Not that I’m not grateful - especially now that I’m touting this book.

But the very moment I see an article about me , I can hardly bring myself to read a single cringe-making word of it.

Take today’s Edinburgh Evening News - they had done me proud: Nearly 2/3 of a page, plus picture of me looking authorly and erudite, pic of the book.

(Here’s the story in full, plus squinty-eyed pic)

Charming headline: “Romantic debut novel is music to William’s ears” along with the strap “City move proves fruitful”, and it even had a handsome plug for the book at the bottom of the piece.

I absolutely couldn’t have hoped for anything more from my local paper.

But I could hardly bring myself to read a word of it: I came over all squirmy at being the centre of attention.

Took me about three hours to summon up the nerve to read it … “But throughout it all, he harboured an ambition to write books so, when he moved to Edinburgh, he resolved to pursue that line.

“”I decided to have a go and spent a year writing 150,000 words, but soon realised the result was a stinking turkey,” he laughs.”"

My toes were curling up with embarrassment.

Maybe I’m just not very good at accepting a compliment … 


The Monkey and Me    | 2007-10-27
There are some disadvantages to being as low-tech as me - in that I have not got the faintest clue how to get a video onto this posting. Gave it a sho...

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2007-10-27

The Monkey and Me


There are some disadvantages to being as low-tech as me - in that I have not got the faintest clue how to get a video onto this posting. Gave it a shot and got fed up.
So instead of that, I will merely provide you with the link. Thus:

http://video.travelmail.co.uk/?VideoID=eurodisney_edit_320×240

It’s vomit-inducing stuff of the family at Eurodisney. Why do I put it on - well, it may not be much, but I tell you that pix of the kids are going to be a sight more appetising than pix of me.
To business: Now that we are on the very eve of the Clavier launch day, the phones have just been ringing - ringing! - off the hook as newspapers get wind of this EXTRAORDINARY story that is about to break.
Yesterday it was the turn of the Edinburgh Evening News, the local paper, and I had 30 minutes on the phone with affable Rosalind as I told her about my merry days at Eton and the Soaraway.
And, for the first time, I made a new connection. For I realised there is a genuine link between The Sun and Eton - in that, if you mention that you have served time at either place, there tends to be a collective raise of the hackles. People immediately start to get sniffy.
I also had the Evening News photographer over, along with a trainee, Lewis, who was learning the ropes.
Now one of the main things about being a monkey (journo technical term) is that you have to butter people up. You’ve got to get the people on side before you start taking their pictures.
Which means, obviously, that you’ve got to look the part. And above all dress inoffensively.
I didn’t have the heart to tell Lewis that a two-inch bolt through the top of his ear would probably not go down well on Fleet Street.


Windsors - 200 words    | 2007-10-25
Dear blog-readers - this is not part of the blog. This is in fact a piece of live copy. I leave it here for your delectation … maybe you’ve never see...

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2007-10-25

Windsors - 200 words


Dear blog-readers - this is not part of the blog. This is in fact a piece of live copy. I leave it here for your delectation … maybe you’ve never seen a piece of genuine hackery before. Basically the Express’ e-mail system had gone down, and I’d needed to file 200 more words on two of my favourite subjects: The Duchess of Windsor and Adolf Hitler. The only way to get it to them was to leave it on the blog.
 

Fergus - sorry that the story needed re-working. Here’s 200 more words. Do call if there are any problems. Bill

The Windsors’ tour of Germany raised many eyebrows - not least in America, where the New York Times reported: “The Duke’s decision to see for himself the Third Reich’s industries and social institutions and his gestures and remarks during the last two weeks have demonstrated adequately that the abdication did indeed rob Germany of a firm friend, if not indeed a devoted admirer, on the British throne.”
But one of the more bizarre twists of the German tour was that Simpson, before she became the Duchess, had slept with Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, on 17 occasions.
This extraordinary detail, courtesy of a huge cache of files which were drawn up by concerned bureau chiefs at the FBI, tellingly reveals how Simpson would bed any man with power and influence. Her tally of bedroom conquests was probably at least up there with that of the Duke’s.
The affair began when von Ribbentrop - a former Champagne salesman - was sent to London as German ambassador in 1936 to try and broker a peace deal. In this he ultimately failed - though as a dubious second best, he did succeed in seducing the Prince of Wales’ paramour.


My first reviews …    | 2007-10-25
Just seen the first two reviews of the book - online reviews, which are not quite as heavyweight as newspaper reviews, but interesting nonetheless, a...

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2007-10-25

My first reviews …


Just seen the first two reviews of the book - online reviews, which are not quite as heavyweight as newspaper reviews, but interesting nonetheless, as these were the first pukka evaluations of the Well-Tempered Clavier from people who were not in the Coles cheer-leader team.

You can imagine how I was rubbing my hands with glee at the prospect of this Niagara - this orgasm - of genuine praise that was about to be showered on me.

First up: Kimbofo. http://kimbofo.typepad.com/readingmatters/2007/10/the-well-temper.html#more/

I didn’t like the way things were going when Kimbo said that you had to “wade” through half the book before you got to the sex scenes. Wade? Wade??? What sort of word is that?

Then Kimbo moves on to “a lot of repetition”, and Coles’ “slightly grating narrative style”, before coming up with this killer line at the end: “It won’t shatter your world, although it will brighten up a rainy day or, as in my case, a long-haul flight.”

Harr-bloody-rumph! I mean I know that I’ve dished it out quite a few times over the years - all right, many, many times - but boy was I smarting. Kimbo only gave it three measly stars as well.

Anyway, after I’d managed to put a lid on my seething rage - (”wade”??? “slightly grating”??) - I did see that Kimbo did actually make one very good point … “There is a lot of repetition … which could easily be sorted out with a little judicious editing.”

Exactly! Judicious editing! As opposed to the highly injudicious editing of Tom, the bittersweet publisher. I blame him entirely.

Oh yes, but there was one other review: Altogether nicer, from a woman with quite palpable taste, class, style and general intellectual rigour.

http://randomjottings.typepad.com/random_jottings_of_an_ope/

She laid it on with a trowel (which, I tell you, is just how first-time authors like it). Some of her tastier lines: “I really enjoyed this book and … I shall be keeping a close eye out in future for more from William Coles …”

Yes indeed - my glistering literary future.

Though I’m afraid the “follow-up” books are more than likely to be a little less polished than the Clavier - but that’s because I’m going to be resuscitating at least three of the unpublished turkeys that are still festering in my back cupboard.


Scrumptious    | 2007-09-29
In the Clavier book, there will be no picture of me - and no biography.This will, says Tom the publisher, give me an air of mystery. Well it’s possibl...

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2007-09-29

Scrumptious


In the Clavier book, there will be no picture of me - and no biography.

This will, says Tom the publisher, give me an air of mystery. Well it’s possible. But I think that what he really means is that I’m not very photogenic. Too true.

My kids on the otherhand … they are scrumptious. (Though I am aware that there isn’t a dad in the land who wouldn’t say that.)

But it’s something to bear in mind for the second edition - and any other books, come to that. Big pictures of the kids … and me lurking grey in the background, the eminence gris.


Lurking in the shadows    | 2007-09-28
Just how many times to I have to tell Tom the publisher that the Clavier book is not my story?He’s a like a dog with a bone on this one, and is terrif...

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2007-09-28

Lurking in the shadows


Just how many times to I have to tell Tom the publisher that the Clavier book is not my story?
He’s a like a dog with a bone on this one, and is terrified that some Eton piano teacher is suddenly going to come out swinging with a libel writ.
All I can do is repeat - over and over again - that although it’s a true story, it never happened to me.
No, it happened to a friend.
That’s not to say that I don’t share quite a few traits with the story’s 17-year-old hero. I was at Eton in 1982; I was pretty useless at playing the piano; and I was quite, quite desperate for a girlfriend.
But still - it was not my story.
Though how I wish it had been. It must be the ultimate fantasy of every horny teenage boy’s across the country: To be take


Let’s go viral    | 2007-09-27
I am not in any way, shape or form a tecchie.I treat my lap-top like a sort of lightweight typewriter. I go on the net to file my stories. And that’s ...

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2007-09-27

Let’s go viral


I am not in any way, shape or form a tecchie.
I treat my lap-top like a sort of lightweight typewriter. I go on the net to file my stories. And that’s about it.
Which might generally indicate that my chances of getting the Clavier book to go “viral” are slim.
However. I have one cracking trump card up my sleeve. The Edinburgh Coffee Morning. They’re a bunch of people who meet up in Centotre in Edinburgh every Friday morning - and they know EVERYTHING about computers. My mind is befuddled after just ten minutes talking to them.
For some bizarre reason, a number of them have rather taken to the Clavier book. None of them have read a word of it, mind. But every week, they have a fistful more crazy ideas to turn it into a “Go”. I shall dedicate my next love story to them.


Agent number one    | 2007-09-26
Most authors have an agent. I guess if they’re really smoking, they might have two.I, bizarrely, have acquired THREE of ‘em!And this is me with good J...

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2007-09-26

Agent number one


Most authors have an agent. I guess if they’re really smoking, they might have two.
I, bizarrely, have acquired THREE of ‘em!
And this is me with good Jenny Brown, Scotland’s premier agent, who is currently hawking various bits of my stuff around the place. (She’s on www.jennybrownassociates.com)
Down South, I’ve got Darin, who managed to place the Clavier book. (He’s on www.theinspiragroup.com)
And I’ve also got a children’s agent, Lucy, who pitches my kids’ stories. (And she’s with Jenny.)
Anyway, these three agents are all just chomping at the bit for the Well-Tempered Clavier to be a hit - because then there will suddenly be an AVALANCHE of Coles books on the market.
I tell you - I won’t have to write another word for the next decade!


Charming. Moving. Uplifting    | 2007-09-25
If you’re a first-time author, then somehow you have to try and dig up some quotes from a celebrity or a journalist to stick on the front cover.These ...

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2007-09-25

Charming. Moving. Uplifting


If you’re a first-time author, then somehow you have to try and dig up some quotes from a celebrity or a journalist to stick on the front cover.
These quotes can really help sell a book - and they are incredibly difficult to come by.
You plead, you grovel, you weasel, and at the end of it all, you might just get a quote from your local paper. If you’re lucky.
Well I’ve been grovelling for well over a month, and, with just two days to go, I still didn’t have a word to put on the front cover.
And then … nothing short of an absolute miracle. I got the quote: “Charming. Moving. Uplifting. Why can’t all love stories be like this?”
And from not a bad paper either … The Wall Street Journal.


Is it really based on a true story?    | 2007-09-24
Hi - I’ve got a book out in one month’s time, and this blog is, I hope, going to help turn The Well-Tempered Clavier into a bestseller. It’s a love st...

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2007-09-24

Is it really based on a true story?


Hi - I’ve got a book out in one month’s time, and this blog is, I hope, going to help turn The Well-Tempered Clavier into a bestseller. It’s a love story, the tale of a 17-year-old Eton schoolboy and his 23-year-old piano mistress.

And the picture you see here is of me as a teenager - the same age, as it happens, as Kim, who is the hero of my book.

Now this story is set in 1982, and it’s very much based on a true story.

But my publisher Tom is very concerned to know whether it is in fact my story - or whether I’ve pinched it from somebody else.

How many times do I have to tell him? “Tom,” I said last week when we were in the pub. “Read my lips! It’s not my story! It is the story of a “Friend”.” Was it helpful to add those quote marks to the word “Friend”?