Friday, 13 June 2014

Farewell number twenty-five. Welcome number twenty-six.

This week Marcia finished work on the editorial notes and so the manuscript for book number twenty-five (I am ignoring the four she wrote as Willa Marsh in this count) was sent off to her editor at Transworld which explains the headline. Naturally she has had no time to brood about number twenty-six as yet so I cannot tell you anything about it. From my point of view it means coming to terms with a whole new set of characters so that I can make sense of our conversations for the next few months. This is always great fun but demands huge concentration and a good deal of brain-searching.

“Albert? Albert? Do I know anyone called Albert?”

“He’s Jossie’s mother. Do keep up.”

These names were not pulled out of a hat. We have a lamp stand called Albert (please don’t ask why, the reason is lost in the mists of time) and our last dog was, of course, Jossie.

Meanwhile over on the other side of the Atlantic things have been buzzing. As most of you will already know, Marcia is published in the US by St Martin’s Press who are domiciled in the famous Flat Iron Building in New York. Soon they will be publishing The Sea Garden and Marcia has a new publicity team at SMP so it was decided that it would be good if everybody got to know each. This was achieved by a conference telephone call. It was held at 11 am in New York (4 pm here) and it was attended – if that is the right word – by Marcia, Marcia’s London agent (Dinah Wiener), her US agent (Kathy Anderson) and the team from SMP.

The cover of the SMP edition of The Sea Garden
As a result of that meeting, plans for the proposed marketing and publicity campaigns in the US were discussed and it has been agreed that all the US titles will be in the “book shop” on Marcia’s web site (which means work for me).

This year St. Martin’s Press is re-issuing a series of six memoirs, beginning with All Creatures Great and Small, by James Alfred Wight better known by his pen name: James Herriot. He was, of course, a vet whose practice was based in Thirsk in Yorkshire, but which covered large parts of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors.  

St. Martin’s Press has asked Marcia to say something about the late author and his work to be shared on the James Herriot Facebook page – see link below. This is what she has had to say.

"It is always a treat for me to re-visit the world of James Herriot. Begining with "It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet" I reacquaint myself with the many delightful characters: young James starting out on his new job at Darrowby; the two Wagnerian brothers, Siegfried and Tristan; Mrs Pumphrey and her pampered pekinese, Tricki Woo; the Dalesmen farmers and their families, their livestock and their traditions.

Herriot's entertaining stories of his triumphs and disasters, and his evocations of the magnificent Yorkshire countryside – magical in spring, bleak in winter – never fail to delight."

Should you want to have a look at that page (which will not yet have Marcia’s comment on it) click here

Meanwhile, I have been having fun and games with animals down here in Devon. Apart from the squirrels (who continue to find ways of winning regardless of what I try) we now have problems with rabbits. 

Well, to be honest, one rabbit. The garden here is generally rather wild (which we like) but we decided that a bit of colour on the lawn (if that is the right word for a mixture of plantains, dock, dandelion, daisy mixed in with the odd blade of grass) outside our sitting room would not go amiss. So, I filled one of our wooden tubs with pansies and and a ceramic pot with nemesia.

You will be as delighted as I was to discover that bunnies LOVE pansies: flowers, leaves, stalks and even roots.

Why is this cat here?  There is no good answer to that question but he (or, as it may well be, she) was sitting on the wall of a garden up the road and I thought some of you might like a rest from dogs. But not for long.
Meanwhile, Marcia and I went for a walk around the grounds here in Dartington Hall yesterday and I took a few photographs. These are on the other blog: if you want to have a look click here

You will remember that I was out on the River Dart with my friend Roger a while back. As we came out of Old Mill Creek, there was a work boat bringing a catamaran up to put her on a mooring. Not terribly unexpectedly, the guy in the boat was another of Roger’s chums and with him was his dog, Roy.