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I don't know about you guys, but do you sometimes feel like the world's biggest twerp when you're doing appearances at book stores? By this I mean, do you just sit there smiling pleasantly, as people pass you by and you're feeling like a wallflower at the school dance?  I was in a book store today, plugging copies of my latest novel.  I had to sit and smile nicely as people went by, and it took me back to my days in high school, waiting for someone to ask me to dance.  In my mind, I was twelve years old wearing a brown print skirt with an uncomfortable beige shirt my mother thought looked very nice on me (there was frickin' nylon in the lining of the neck and it was SO uncomfortable), and I was sitting on a plastic chair, and Olivia Newton-John was warbling 'Hopelessly Devoted To You'.  I cannot abide that song to this day, maybe because it makes me feel like an insignificant carbuncle in that hotbed microcosm that is high school.  If you're wondering if I ever got any attention at a high school dance, it happened a few years later.  When aged fifteen, I was outside the hall going the grope with another hormonal teenager, and the Maths teacher caught us.


So, today I actually handed copies of the book to people and invited them to read the blurb.  The book is a young adult (although oldies will like it) called 'Abernethy' about a 14 year old boy who meets a beagle.  The beagle, the titular character, has the power of speech with certain people, and he is able to guide my protagonist through his ambivalent feelings about his currently incarcerated father, school bullying, and his mother's suspected infidelity.  Check it out at Zeus Publications -, where you can read the first chapter.  Now the blurb clearly states that the beagle talks with Billy.  Some people - I shit you not - asked whether it was fiction, or whether it was a true story!  This has happened at other appearances.  I have discovered that when people ask that, there is no sale forthcoming.  Today, I invited one store browser to have a read of 'Abernethy's' blurb.  He said, 'I can't read'.  I bit back the question that threatened to erupt from me, like an angry volcano's lava: 'Dude, WTF are you doing in a book store, then?'


There was a moment today, several in fact, when I was tempted to shout, "People, I have two children to feed, a mortgage to pay, and an EGO that needs to be STROKED!  Now come on!"


But on the bright side, half of what the publishers had sent to the store got sold.  It's better than none getting sold.  There were quite a few book store browsers that day, probably because they might have been after bargains and to redeem Christmas gift vouchers: the store is one of a chain that has gone into administration.  I do hope it stays afloat.

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