Welcome to my blog. I am not a very regular blogger, but I try to keep this site updated with news and information. If there's none of the above I may just share my random ruminations.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Triumphs and Knock Backs

Life has a habit of giving with one hand and taking away with the other.  Two things are happening to me at the moment.  I’ve a new book coming out - the second in my republishing deal with Accent Press - but my mother-in-law has died. Next week, when FLY OR FALL is launched, I'll be in Chichester at Barbara's funeral.

In many ways it was a good death.  Barbara Williams was 92 and had lived independently almost until the end. Despite living with cancer for the last few years, she had continued to go to church and for little outings and lunches with her boyfriend (who lived in the flat next door) right up until the beginning of 2015.  When her health began to decline more dramatically, the day’s out ceased and she was cared for at home.  Nurses from Saint Wilfrid’s Hospice came in three times a day to attend to her needs.  It would have been kinder if she’d slipped away then, while still living in her own surroundings, her bits and pieces, photos and ornaments, all around her. But a week and a half before her death it became unavoidable that she be taken into a nursing home. In the terminology of the Saint Wilfrid’s nurses, she had become too vulnerable. Nursing care needed to be on-site and full-time.  

Barbara and her son, my husband Geoff
The staff at the home were caring and kind. It was a pleasant place, airy and spacious with big gardens and sea views.  But Barbara was too poorly to appreciate the amenities. She didn’t want the bother of being taken downstairs to the lounge .  I’m glad the time she spent in her bedroom there, was short.  We’d seen her a few days before, but we weren’t there at the last; her son, Paul, was at her bedside. It cheers us to have been told that she was in good form on the day preceding her death and enjoyed a full English breakfast.  It’s an image of her resilience and attitude to life that will stay with us.
Barbara was one of my biggest supporters. She always read my books in manuscript form and would express astonishment I couldn't get a publisher.
It was a great joy to me that she was staying with us last summer when the news of my Accent deal was confirmed. I was able to tell her I'd found a new publisher after..... a long time. She was thrilled.

On the 21st May, FLY OR FALL, is launched in its beautiful new cover.  It is actually the third of my self-published novels, but Accent Press are bringing it out second, in my three book republishing deal.  The books aren’t linked so there’s no problem with that.
I won’t waffle on; in the next few weeks I’ve a few appearances lined up around the web, where you’ll have a chance to find out more about the book, and about me.
The first is at BrookCottage Books on the 22nd, where I talk about the strange and disturbing coincidences that occurred to me - my life began imitating my plot - when I first started writing FLY OR FALL. The second appearance is at A Woman’s Wisdom on the 25th.  There I am interviewed, and you can read an opening extract from FLY OR FALL. Here's the blurb to be going on with!

“Wife and mother, Nell, fears change, but it is forced upon her by her manipulative husband, Trevor. Finding herself in a new world of flirtation and casual infidelity, her principles are undermined and she’s tempted. Should she emulate the behaviour of her new friends or stick with the safe and familiar?
But everything Nell has accepted at face value has a dark side.  Everyone - even her nearest and dearest - has been lying. She’s even deceived herself. The presentiment of disaster, first felt as a tremor at the start of the story, rumbles into a full blown earthquake. When the dust settles, nothing is as it previously seemed. And when an unlikely love blossoms from the wreckage of her life, she fears it is doomed.
The future, for the woman who feared change, is irrevocably altered. But has she been broken, or has she transformed herself?"

FLY OR FALL is not published until Thursday, the 21st May, but is available to pre-order.


Pauline Barclay said...

A beautiful post filled. Thank you for sharing.

Georgina Troy said...

Sorry to hear your sad news, Gilli. It says a lot about the strength of character of your mother-in-law that she ate a full English breakfast the day before she died.

Congratulations on the relaunch of your lovely book.x

Deedee said...

Deepest sympathies Gilli. A very lovely post for someone who seemed a wonderful character.xx

Suzie Tullett said...

My sympathy to you and your husband, Gilli. Your mother-in-law sounds like a wonderful woman x

Anne Allen said...

A moving post, Gilli. While offering my sympathies to you and your husband, I also feel that it's good your mother in law didn't have to endure for long. I recently lost my aunt in similar circumstances so can empathise.
And great news about your book - love the cover! The best of luck with the launch. x

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to learn of your news. It is such a sad time when someone independent and lively nears the end of their life, having to leave behind all that is familiar to go into strange surroundings, at the very time when all that is familiar is so important. She seems to have coped well and you must be grateful that she didn't linger in pain, and that she had kindness around her at the end. My condolences to your husband and family and to you who, it seems, has lost a good and treasured friend. Wishing you much success with your books and interviews. xx

Gilli Allan said...

Thank you everyone. It means a lot that you bothered to read and to comment. I wasn't angling for sympathy in the post, but when I came to write about my upcoming release, I couldn't ignore the very large life event that has just happened. Particularly not as Barbara was such an uncritical fan and a supporter.
Her life was remarkable, and one of these days I'll get around to posting about it.

Unknown said...

So sorry to hear your sad news.
I'm delighted that you eventually found a publisher.
I have a traditional one from the States.However things are taking a very long time to materialise.

Do hope that I haven't made a huge mistake.

Best wishes
Joy Gerken pen-name Joy M. Lilley

Gilli Allan said...

Thanks Joy, lovely to hear from you. For new writers now it's hard to know whether to self-publish or go the mainstream route. I didn't have a choice when I first started. It was before the e-revolution. But when my publisher went out of business a few years later, there was no alternative but to continue submitting to publishers and literary agents. By the time ebooks were an option I still hadn't found a new publisher, so I went 'Indie'. The deal with Accent Press came after several years on my own.
My advice, if you want it, is that the right route for the new author depends on your personality. If you're happy to take on the technical challenge (which was steep for someone like me) and you have plenty of self confidence, internet savvy, chutzpah, and resilience - and you're willing to sit at the computer all day promoting yourself - then self-publishing might suit you. Particularly if you're writing in a very marketable sub-genre.
I prefer to have a publisher behind me to take some of the burden. As a mainstream published author you still have to promote yourself and, as you've discovered, you're dependent on your publisher's timetable, but you have something to fall back on. I'm more comfortable with a publisher. Gillix

Glynis Peters said...

My sympathies and congratulations, Gilli.

Gilli Allan said...

Thanks Glynis. Gillix

@juliawildauthor said...

Hi Gilli, sending you and your husband my sympathies. What a beautiful post; your mother-in-law sounds lovely.

I'm sure your book Fly or Fall will do well, wish you all the best and more with it.

Angela Britnell said...

Congratulations on your new book and your mother-in-law is still cheering you on! My father passed away in similar circumstances earlier this year and despite it being a blessing in many ways is still greatly missed.
Angela Britnell

Unknown said...

A beautiful post, Gilli. It speaks to all of us who have seen elderly parents decline in health and fade away. I'm glad you have the new book to think of - and I wish you every success.

Elizabeth Bailey said...

Lovely post. Sadness goes hand-in-hand with happiness. But the excellent thing is that you've got something to celebrate as well.

Jane Lovering said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Gilli, but how lovely that your Mother-in-Law knew of your success before she died. Thinking of you. x

Gilli Allan said...

I am very grateful so many people have read the post and taken the time to comment. Thank you Julie, Angela, Isabelle, Liz and Jane. It's very kind of you.