The cat's on a diet but I am not: winter's arrived overnight, all frosty and bright, which means fireworks, and jacket spuds with cheese, and a 'chocolate fudge pudding' from M&S. I do like M&S but the staff in our local one are increasingly hopeless (lots of 16-year-olds flicking hair at each other, which is great for them but boring when you are queueing up and at the prices they charge, I'd like to think the manager might tell his/here staff they're actually there for our convenience rather than theirs). I know I sound curmudgeonly but that's one of the privileges of getting older, surely.
Other bad thing about our local M&S: they don't stock baked beans. A travesty as surely there is nothing more perfect with spuds than beans (are you a beans on top, to melt the cheese below, person? Or do you like your beans below?).
Will stop ranting now as I have some NEWS! Aeons ago, I asked for your help with a new title for the book formerly known as Scaredycat's Handbook. The blurb is here so you can play along…I do still like the old title but it was decreed that it must change, so, there we are. I had a brilliant response, both on the site and via email, but I would like to announce the winner is…
The very talented Keris Stainton
! Keris sent not one, but two, titles: Courting Disaster and The Fear Factor. I loved both…but especially the first, with its nice double meaning. Keris wins a signed proof/first invitiation plus an invite to what will probably be the world’s least glam launch party (and, if I don’t get round to having one, then tea at a posh hotel at her convenience).
Now...there is a caveat to this. Alas, neither of those titles will actually be the new ones for Scaredycat's Handbook. It’s a long, long, long story but I sent all your suggestions, plus dozens of others, to my editor, and after much discussion, the new title will be…
The Self-Preservation Society
It was one of my randomly brainstormed titles and apparently it went down VERY well in-house. If you're a fan of Brit movies, you'll notice it ties in with the song at the end of the 60s version of The Italian Job
- but hopefully it makes sense either way.
I’ve hummed and hahhed about this – and, indeed, we went through a brief few days when it was changed to Little Misfortunes
(a version of my preferred Little Misadventures
) until enough of my friends told me it had unfortunate overtones or, as my mate Geri described it, ‘it sounds like a fluffy kitten or baby has weed on your favourite rug.’ But now I’m really liking The Self-Preservation Society…and I hope you do too. I hope it is intriguing and interesting – and there are some references in it to The Italian Job
, too, for afficionados. e.g. the heroine's dad is convinced he's as hunky as Michael Caine. My mind was made up by a mock-up of the cover, which is gorgeous and also very girly indeed – somehow the title worked well in contrast to the girliness, with the strapline ‘you can’t always wrap yourself in cotton wool.’ I'll post the cover when it's done.
This, in the meantime, is the updated back cover copy. I swear this isn't a promotional thing (and anyway my earlier comment has probably put you off for life if you work for M&S) but I'd be interested to know what you think. This book really matters to me for a number of reasons and I am desperate to get it right!Staying alive in the 21st century is a full-time job…one which self-confessed scaredycat Jo Morgan takes very seriously indeed. As a little girl growing up near Greenham Common Air Base, she stockpiled baked beans in case of nuclear holocaust; now she works in accident prevention, trying to protect the rest of us from conker injuries, killer tea-cosies and death by chocolate. And if her ultra-safe existence is a bit boring, it seems a small price to pay. Fortunately her boyfriend shares her outlook on life, so everything they do together involves the minimum possible risk. From their social lives to their sex lives, spontaneity is not in their vocabulary.
Then a hit and run accident leaves Jo in a coma. For once, luck’s on her side and she comes round, realizing it’s time to seize the day. But un-learning a lifetime of fears and phobias won’t be easy. That is, until she meets former World War II fighter pilot Roger ‘Frisky’ Freeman Van Belle, his mysterious grandson, and a rather hands-on doctor. Jo has a choice: Fight or Flight? She can carry on living half a life, or leave behind the people she loves. It’s the scariest decision she’ll ever have to make…
Funny, poignant and so true to life, The Self-Preservation Society is a story about all our fears, and learning to love and live for the moment.Lovely Link of the Day:
If you don't know about the original version of The Italian Job, this site
is dedicated to the movie - doesn't Michael Caine look cute?
PS: I will be posting the Malay Veg Pickle recipe before long, with pictures!