Welcome to this week’s blog hop from the lovely Isle of Wight. This time the topic is:
Even if you knew you would never sell another book, would you keep writing?
For me the answer would be a resounding YES.
When I first started out writing in 2013 I knew I’d soon pick up a literary agent and make my first million within a year, especially after a couple of agents showed interest in my debut novel. However not long after that blue sky thinking, the reality kicked in. The down-to-earth view is that the ‘millions’ are in the form of self-published authors like myself, and the likelihood of us all ever getting a book deal is slim to none.
Therefore I changed my tack. By September 2016 when Amazon stopped promoting Indie books and sales for self-published authors began to fall, I made the decision to write as a hobby to please myself. I would still announce any new release on WordPress, Twitter and to the subscribers on my mailing list, but I accepted the painful truth that in general only celebrities tend to receive traditionally published book deals. It’s nice to be young with pipe dreams, but now at the age I am (62) you do tend to become rather more realistic.
I’m having a ball in late middle age. So far I’ve written 11 novels, 1 memoir, 7 novellas and 18 short stories. My 12th novel, ‘Barren‘, is out on pre-order for publication on 1st October at the special pre-order price of $0.99/£0.99 (the price will increase on 2nd October). A description is below, together with an excerpt.
I do still sell books (so far I’ve sold 225 this year), and I consider every sale a bonus. I’ll probably go to my grave without securing a book deal, but hey, I’m enjoying myself writing novels in the meantime!
Two mothers, but only one baby… a recipe for disaster!
Esme Jones and husband Aron have completed their family and have twin sons Jared and James. Esme’s older sister Eden Reece is desperate for a child, but a hysterectomy has put paid to any chance of her becoming a parent. When Esme offers herself as a surrogate, Eden and husband Billy are delighted. However, when Esme notices the first fluttering of life inside her and a scan reveals that she is carrying a girl, both sisters are not prepared for the outcome which threatens to tear the fabric of the whole extended family apart.
Here is an excerpt:
Esme Jones read another chapter from George’s Marvellous Medicine whilst enjoying the warm weight of her eight year old twin boys as they leaned against each of her arms.
“We’ll have another chapter tomorrow, but for now… bed!”
“But… Mum!” The twins cried in unison.
“No buts.” Esme laughed. “I’ll come up and tuck you in, and Daddy will be up in a minute to give you a kiss.”
She burrowed her face into the top of each blond head before closing the book.
“Hurry up and get up those stairs and into bed before the bogey man comes!”
Squealing with delight, the two boys leapt from the sofa and raced each other to the top landing. Esme followed behind them more sedately and stuck her head over the upper bannister as she heard her husband come in from the garden.
“Aron! The boys have come up to bed!”
“Yeah…just coming, but I’ve got to wash my hands first.”
Esme peeped out of the landing window. Aron had cut the back lawn and dug the flowerbed; not bad for one evening’s work.
Each boy had climbed the ladder to his individual bed situated above an untidy desk full of toy cars, half-drawn pictures, and books mainly pertaining to robots and spaceships. They were now in the process of throwing soft toys at each other across the room accompanied by much giggling.
“Settle down!” Esme caught a bear as it sailed above her head. “I don’t want to hear any more noise from the pair of you!” She climbed half way up the nearest ladder and squeezed the slight form hiding beneath the duvet.
“Love you, James.” She peeled back the cover and planted a kiss on her son’s cheek. “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
“Love you too, Mummy. I don’t have bedbugs.”
“That’s good then.”
She crossed the room to where Jared already had his arms outstretched. She grinned at him as she balanced on the ladder.
“Love you, Jared.” She returned the hug. “See you in the morning.”
“Love you too, Mummy.” Jared yawned.
She passed Aron on the stairs and pinched his buttocks.
“Coming back this way?” Aron gave her a wink.
“I’ll be in the garden. It’s too nice an evening to sit indoors.”
Heat radiated from the party wall of Norfolk flint pebbles running down one side of the patio. Esme let her hands rest briefly on the stones and then sank down into a deckchair, closed her eyes and listened to the birdsong. From the kitchen she could hear Aron as he rattled cups and saucers. There was a click as the kettle leapt into life.
“Oy, sleeping beauty. Fancy a cuppa?”
She turned her head and looked towards where Aron stood in the kitchen doorway, fair hair clipped in an identical brush-like style to the boys.
The church clock chimed eight o’clock. Aron appeared with two steaming cups, and handed one to Esme.
“Thanks, and the garden looks great by the way.”
“All part of the service.”
The evening sun seemed reluctant to set. They sat side by side and listened to the screams of neighbours’ children protesting at the sudden ending of their day.
“At least ours go to bed fairly well.” Aron pulled a face as a particularly shrill scream erupted from next door. “Although the little buggers will be giggling for a while I expect, about bodily functions and willies.”
“Talking about kids reminds me… Eden came home this afternoon. She sent me a message.”
“Oh?” Aron looked at her. “How is she?”
“Not sure, but she did text to say they’d got it all and she didn’t need any other treatment, just check-ups. I told her I’d phone tomorrow and have a chat. I thought I’d leave it today and let her get over it a bit.”
“Good idea. Billy will look after her.”
“Yes.” Esme agreed. “But I know my sister. She’ll keep everything to herself and won’t talk to him about how she’s feeling.”
“Quite shitty, I should think.” Aron replied. “Do you think they’ll adopt?”
“Don’t know.” Esme shrugged. “They might be too old now. Billy’s forty next year don’t forget.”
They sat in silence and drank their tea. An idea had formed in Esme’s mind. She needed to speak to her sister. She picked up her phone and typed a text:
‘Will Billy be at the yard tomorrow? If so, can I pop by about 10?’
There was an instant reply.
‘Yes, and yes.’
Billy’s van had gone. Esme rang the bell and waited a little longer than usual. Presently she was greeted by a slightly stooped over Eden, who appeared paler than usual.
“Hi Eden! You’re looking well.” Esme lied and gave her a hug. “Yeah, you don’t look too bad at all.”
“I feel like I’ve been run over by a tractor.” Eden grimaced. “Come in.”
Esme could tell her sister was in pain but putting on a brave face, as she followed behind her into the front room.
“I’ll put the kettle on for some coffee.” Esme announced. “You sit down.”
“Thanks.” Eden sat down gratefully. “I can’t do much at the moment.”
Esme rolled her eyes to the heavens.
“Of course you can’t – you’ve just had a major operation!”
Everything in the kitchen looked clean and tidy. Esme set about making drinks. She carried a full tray in to the front room, and set it down on a small table between them.
“Did Billy make you some lunch?”
“Yes.” Eden nodded. “It’s in the fridge. He’s gone to the yard.”
Esme hesitated for a split second before speaking.
“Listen, I’m going to come to the point right away. I’m going to stick my neck out.”
Eden paused bringing the cup to her lips.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to die just yet.”
Esme shook her head.
“It’s not that. It’s about babies. I want to have one for you.”
“What!” Eden sat up straighter. “Good God! No! I wouldn’t ever dream of asking you!”
“You haven’t asked.” Esme looked her sister directly in the eyes. “I’m offering. As you know, Aron had the snip after the boys were born. He’s puffing out powder as they say.”
She was happy to see her comment raise a thin smile, and carried on.
“So our family is complete. You’ve tried for years to get pregnant. It’s the least I can do for you.”
“It’s too big an ask.” Eden shook her head. “And what would happen if you wanted to keep it after going all through the pregnancy? I bet you haven’t even spoken to Aron about this!”
Esme leaned forwards in her seat.
“Not yet but I’m going to, and I wouldn’t keep it. It would be yours and Billy’s. By the way, I looked into the legal stuff online last night, and we can get a court order after the baby’s here to register you and Billy as the legal parents if everybody agrees. I would have to register the birth to start with though as the legal mother, but I could state that your surname goes on the certificate.”
“No. No. Bloody hell. No.” Eden waved away Esme’s comment. “It’s not right.”
Deflated, Esme sank back on the armchair.
“Okay. Have it your way. But… the offer’s there, at least for the next five years. After that I’ll be knocking on a bit.”
Eden reached out a hand towards her sister.
“Thank you so much, but no.”
Esme tried to shake off the deflated feeling when a good idea has gone bad. She had felt certain her sister would have jumped at the opportunity to be a mother, and could not understand why Eden had put up so many barriers. Of course she, Esme, would not dream of keeping the baby! All she wanted to do was to make her sister happy. She decided to wait a while and then try again; perhaps when Eden felt better then she might change her mind.
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