I have a library full of books. I call it my library. I like that. Most of them I haven’t read, but I love them all. They’re all great books. I want to read each and every one, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought them. I mean, I’m not pretentious.
Most are from secondhand bookshops, boot fairs and ebay, and boy, do they smell good. Leather bound early editions of Don Quixote, Gil Blas, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the Waverley novels, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw . . . They look good and they feel good too, but it’s the smell I really like. I want to read them. I know I should read them. The trouble is I just don’t seem to have the time.
It’s taken me six long years to finish Discoverie. Early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. I told myself that the library could wait. Once the book was done, I’d take a break, settle back, and indulge my nose. (And what a nose! You’ve got to see it to believe it.)
It’s been two months now since I wrote the last word, and yet I still haven’t started, what with work, keeping up with Brexit, episodes of Breaking Bad, Six Nations rugby and the bridge classes she signed us both up for — against my express instructions. It didn’t help that she gave me the complete set of the Game of Thrones books for my birthday last year. Seven volumes, five thousand pages . . . and in paperback! The library will have to wait.
I’m willing to read. I’m wanting to read. I’m waiting to read.
And one of these days I will.
I’ve never really got Facebook. I’ve been what my wife would call a stalker for ten years, but you could count my posts on the fingers of one hand. It’s not that I think it’s a bad thing – I’ve liked loads. Nor could it be said that I’m too shy to expose myself in public – indeed some would call me an ‘incorrigible rogue.’ It’s just that I’ve never really got to grips with the technology.
I was lying in bed on Saturday morning, thinking that having spent the last six years working on the bloody thing, I really ought to do something to promote my newly published masterpiece. With my 59 friends on Facebook that seemed the obvious place to start.
I decided to experiment by sending a cheeky little message and the link to the Amazon page to my wife. I thought I was sending it as a private message, but in fact it went to all my friends, all 59, and several hundred of hers as well! You’d think that was good, right? At least it was out there, and there’d be no going back. Well, wrong.
Once I’d sent the message, I decided on a whim to update my profile image by replacing the ten year old photo of me, in tee-shirt, shorts and a rather nice hat, with a watercolour portrait she’d knocked up in a spare five minutes one evening a month or two ago. I thought she’d like that. It was a nice gesture on my part.
Four days later, and I’ve had a mere three comments on the book, four likes and two sales. The painting, however, has had 23 comments, 175 likes, and she’s received four commissions. Who does she think I am? Her f***ing agent?
London 1593. Francis Sparry is barely scraping a living, writing pamphlets for the printers around St Pauls, when a lucky commission to translate a handbook on geomancy looks set to improve his prospects. Caught up in a plot to discredit Sir Walter Ralegh, he’s forced to flee England for a crime he didn’t commit and gratefully accepts the one-time royal favourite’s invitation to join his expedition to the New World. He really should have known better…
The first thrilling instalment from the papers of Francis Sparry, gentleman and geomancer.
Published: 31 January 2019
Available on Amazon for £8.95: Discoverie