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Archive for March, 2010

I’m back. I had to use all my cutsie skills to get back on the blog today after last week’s shenanigans, more of which I will tell later.

Today was a glorious sunny spring day and dad was working in the garden all day.  I worked hard too. I chased that big juicy blackbird again, there is enough meat on that bird to feed me for at least two days. Despite my best attempts he is still at large but his time will come I’m sure of it. I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed out today after last week which I suppose I should tell you about.

After posting my Saturday meows  last week I was allowed to wander around the garden some more. Dad was popping in and out of the house so there was no problem. He spent some time in the cat pens speaking to Mousa one of the other cats and until last week’s encounter, one of my friends. Dad left Mousa’s pen unlocked. Mum asked him if that would be a problem. Dad said no because Mousa would not be able to open the run door. He was partly right because Mousa, despite being a huge powerful pussycat isn’t the brightest pussy cat in the world. But the problem bit he got wrong, he forgot that I could open doors and that is where the difficulties started

Dad popped inside the house and I decided to go and speak to Mousa in his run. We’d spoken lots of time before but he gets a little jealous when I get out. Anyway, I opened his door and walked into his pen. He snarled at me and I snarled back and that was it. He launched himself at me, taking me by surprise. I don’t like fighting, if you’ve seen my picture you’ll see I’m a friendly boy. But I had to defend myself from this 5kg plus cat so Round 1 of the fight commenced. The fight was nasty, it was a bit like the fight in Bernie’s book when he and Jingles do battle.

‘Both cats moved their heads violently from side to side trying to escape the others vice like grip whilst attempting to sink their razor sharp front fangs into their opponent. Locked together the two cats spun in a blur rolling around the floor of the tunnel. Unable to hit with their front paws they kicked and clawed each other with their back paws leaving deep scratches in the belly of their opponent. The noise and snarling continued and the air around the two cats was filled with flying fur and spit’  (Bernie Bolts Bergen (release April 2010)).

I managed to escape Mousa’s clutches and moved to another part of the pen. Dad appeared, he had heard the commotion and had come to separate us. I was glad. As I watched Dad coming towards the pen Mousa realised that I wasn’t paying attention and launched another attack. It was round 2; once more, we were locked in battle. Dad ran over and grabbed the nearest thing he could, a snow shovel. 

Slowly wedging the snow shovel between us he separated us and Mousa retreated, But I wasn’t finished, Mousa had started something and I, despite being a lot smaller than him, was going to finish it.  Much to Dad’s surprise and Mousa’s surprise I bounded over the top of the snow shovel landed on Mousa and knocked him over. Round 3 and I had the upper hand now and  I managed to get a few more blows in before Dad separated us for a final time.

Dad wasn’t pleased. We both had to be cleaned up I had a few scratches as did Mousa. I had taken some skin off my back leg which required Dad to treat it, it really nipped, and put a bandage on me. He then cleaned Mousa up and treated his wounds. We were both given some cat painkillers. In fighting terms it was a draw but Mousa can no longer claim to be top cat.

As for me Dad removed the bandage today. everything has healed. I’m back to my usual purry self although Dad hasn’t completely forgiven me, especially after that last attack. The girls now think that I’m not only a good looking cat but I’m also a brave boy having taken on the big bruiser.  Mousa, I think, would like a rematch but I can’t see Dad agreeing.

Better Go

Love

Costa

PS problem with the pics tonight will load some later

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They are still there. This morning as I drove by the field of swans, not to forget the small gaggle of geese, a couple of the swans were making their approach to land. There is something special about these large birds in flight and driving below a couple of low flying swans as I made my way to work cheered me up. It is almost as if the field is serving as a meeting point for these wonderful creatures before they decide to head elsewhere.

My cheeriness didn’t last long as today, certainly this morning, was an extremely trying one. It is very rare for me to become angry at work, or even at home,  but today was a close call.  I dislike being let down and today I felt I had been let down quite badly. But within each week there are good days and there are bad days today just happened to be the  latter.

Yesterday was a good day. I was introduced to someone new yesterday. Mid conversation the person that  introduced us mentioned that I had or was in the process of writing a book. My new acquaintance asked  some questions about the book and asked to see the website.  I duly logged on and showed her and our mutual friend extracts from the book and the various promotional strands that I was constructing.  This was the first time that I had taken someone through the book’s promotional platforms; the blog, the website, the merchandising, Freado, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace. As I did the whole thing began to feel as if it was taking shape and the different parts of the jigsaw now seemed to fit. I felt positively pleased.

I still have some way to go but I feel a little better about how it is coming together. With a little more graft and lots of perseverance I should have Bernie Bolts Bergen available for all to see next month. So here’s hoping.

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I enjoy Saturdays. I get to roam the garden and chase the birds. The robin that I talked about last week is back but I’ve decided, for today, just to ignore him.  I’ll let him get over confident and then I’ll get him.There is also a gorgeous big juicy blackbird that I would like to catch but he’s too wise. One chase and he’s off, unlike the robin who likes to tease.

Mornings are great just now the birds are all back after a cold hard winter. There are a couple of nesting birds in the garden and the whole thing bursts into life at 5.00 am for a few hours. Even though I can’t catch them I like the activity.

I’m still banned from the kitchen, something to do with my attempts to re-scent it with the occasional spray.

On a very personal note I am extremely disappointed, and frustrated I may add, as I have had no female company so far this year. I am caring, affectionate, handsome and look after my girls when they are with me. There are three girls next door and each one would love my company but it doesn’t appear to be happening. As you can see from the pics I produce the most adorable kittens.  The last litter I sired had seven kittens in it and every single kitten looked like me! That’s dominant genes for you.

Apparently mum and dad have said that they don’t have time for kittens just now and we will have to wait until later in the year. What time they need I don’t know. I do all the initial work and then the mum rears the kittens. Meantime they will have to put up with my singing throughout the day and night. ‘I’m just a lonely boy’ is currently my favourite number. I’m thinking of starting my own facebook campaign to get mum and dad to change their mind. I wonder if anyone would vote?

It’s sunny out there and there are cat tasks to do.  I’ve hedges and trees to scratch and spray, birds to chase, songs to sing and a warm spot to lie down on.

See you all next Saturday

Love

Costa

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Spring has sprung. This week’s drive to work has been a much more pleasant one due to the lighter mornings and better weather.  The last few days I have been fascinated by the arrival of a bank of swans (there appears to be a number of collective nouns for swans) in a field. There must be about 20 -30 swans and they appear to be spending the full day in the field and are there both morning and night. Today they were joined by a large gaggle of geese from the nearby loch, the loch is an RSPB reserve and is renowned for geese. The movement of the geese highlights the season changes and while our house is some 6 miles from the loch we are on the flight path for many of the skeins of geese. There is something comforting about nature’s cycles and it is always reassuring to see the birds and animals in the wild so near to home.

The book continues, although I had a bit of a hiccup when I lost some of the changes that I had spent two hours inputting.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading and building the launch platform but the paid job has involved a few late nights so I haven’t  quite made up the time lost last week.  However, the changes will be finished this weekend, and with a little effort  I should be able to get the book back on target.

I am three weeks from the launch so finding the time now is a must. In terms of self management I tend to leave things until the last minute and I also have a habit of spinning too many plates at one time. In among all this my paid job is going through a busy stage in the run up to the Easter hols which isn’t helped by a couple of key staff being absent. Somehow I need to bring all the parts together in order to have a coordinated and polished launch while maintaining my sanity. I know the theory and I am aware of many of the techniques I need to deploy to pull this off so the next few weeks should be a challenge for me.  The target is straightforward – to make Bernie Bolts Bergen available for purchase in April. That though is the easy part; the difficult part is ensuring that people are aware of this tale and feel a want to purchase the story. Once purchased I believe they will enjoy Bernie’s tale and will tell others.

As for the geese and the swans I hope that once the launch has taken place that I will have a day or two late April to while away some time at the side of the loch to enjoy the space.

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Costa on Saturday

A big hello and thank you to everyone.

Apparently, there were some nice comments about my post last week so I’m allowed another blog. You never know this might become a regular event on a Saturday.

I think I said I would sneak a picture of Coco last week but it would appear dad beat me to it and tweeted one earlier this week. Some folk just can’t see anyone bettering them. But I said I would do it so here it is. I like it better than the one dad posted anyway.Coco

I’ve been out since 10.00 am this morning and I’ve been trying without any success to catch a robin who seems to have taken residence nearby. He has appeared at my pen every day this week and seems to know that because I’m locked up I can’t get him. So this morning I had my chance. Well, I thought I had my chance. Into the garden he came and sat on some branches. I charged over so he hopped to another tree and sat. We repeated the process another couple of times until I gave up. I think he is just mocking me now but I will get him.  Apparently, Rhumtetum would allow a robin, not this one, to sit beside him and sit on his food dishes. If I get this one he will be the food dish.

Dad has blasted the runs with the power washer and while he was doing that a couple of the girls, including Coco, were put in my pen. I don’t mind the noise as I get to run around the garden and chase robins. Anyway, I need to go and check out my bed and have a good sniff around things to see what they were up to. I’ll ask Mousa about them, he lives beside me but isn’t allowed out unless on his leash and harness as he won’t stay in the garden. I would tease him about being on a leash but he is a big boy and I wouldn’t want to upset him.

I’ve been told that I have to go. Speak to you next Saturday.

Big purrs and meows

Costa

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I wrote the first draft of the book back in 2005. At the time I sat on it and one or two family members read and liked it, I think, in a polite way. But everyone who did read it seemed to see something in it. After a few months and without too much work I fired it off to 5/6 agents to have it returned. However, I did send a later chapter rather than the first three chapters, I know now that is a no -no but even then I think I knew that the beginning was weak, to a couple of these agents. While no-one said yes, one agent did suggest that I take it to a named party. I duly sent them the first three chapters and I was back to square one. That little glimmer of hope  from that one agent helped to keep the idea alive over the intervening years.  However,  I put the book aside and every now and then looked at it on the computer hard drive.

Last summer, the first time for a long time, I had some time on my hands so I decided to re-visit the manuscript. This time I could see the failings in the telling of the story.  It was short of pace at the beginning and was inconsistent in it’s approach and presentation. A rewrite was embarked upon which took weeks, a good few more weeks than it took to write the book in the first place.

As we approached Christmas I thought it might be worthwhile using Twitter, Facebook or some other social media to promote the book . So from a position of ignorance on I stormed. The result was that you would expect of someone who was ill informed and hadn’t taken the time to understand the medium. The lesson was salutory.

By contrast the last few months have been cautious and I think thoughtful. Hopefully, the results will reflect that. The book has been carefully edited and I have had to develop an eye for detail and grammar. I come from a generation and area, it is location specific,  where grammar was not taught. The key, I have learned since, was that we would be  able to express ourselves without these restrictions. In later life this has, on occasion, come back to haunt me.  The eye for detail doesn’t come easily either. As life is quite hectic I do tend to do things quickly and then move on to the next task.

I should have also known that promotion of the book should include a lot more than just putting it out with a website and creating a couple of additional supporting bits and pieces.  So over these last few months I have read, listened, observed and researched everything I can about the promotional aspects in publishing. Twitter and those who tweet provide an enormous reservoir of information from which I have gleaned so much.

I continue to learn. The book market is highly sophisticated, perhaps, a lot more so than I thought. As a result I have had to try to understand  the market and to get to grips with some of the nuances of a market which, it could be argued, is in a state of flux due to emerging ereaders and is like many others impacted by recession and heavy competition.

The  result is a marketing plan. Yes, it does include the good old 4Ps but the various parts now integrate and should come together in the next few weeks. As indicated in a previous post the launch is scheduled for the first week April. The promotional strategy from the book cover design through to web presence and radio coverage will be finalised this weekend. The week before the book is available for purchase will see a flurry of activity. At the end of that week the book will be available electronically and in print.

I think the book stands up and I do believe that it will sell. Four weeks to write the first draft and four years to bring the final product to market. I would never have believed it. I now understand why writers or recording artists  take time, often years between releases. The creative process is only one part of the process and there is a need for skills to craft the book further and to craft its introduction to the market place.  I hope I’ve mastered enough of these skills to make the book a success

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It’s been a few days since my last posting.

I had hoped to post on Sunday but had to do some family things, one of which was to visit my Uncle in the Beatson Cancer Clinic in Glasgow. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised as to how well he looked despite the intensive radiography.  I was also pleasantly surprised with the hospital, it’s staff and the Clinic in general. The day appeared to vanish with the time taken to drive to Glasgow and back. However, it was worth it to see how he was doing.

So the plan was do some work on the book last night. That fell down due to diary mismanagement on my part. The result being I had to conduct a teacher observation last night which meant a working day yesterday, including travel, of 12 hours. Tonight I’m recovering from last night and after a 9 hour day I don’t feel much like working on the book.  But despite that I have done some work in keying the changes. I also decided to watch the football.

I have over the last weeks posted pictures of some of our cats and cats that we have bred over the years. I have received very complementary comments about the cats. A few of the cats are mentioned in the book and I did wonder whether I should include photographs. After some consideration I have decided not to include the photographs because to say that they are mentioned in the book is, in some ways, misleading. The book is a work of fiction and owning a number of cats allows me the opportunity to build the story around the character and descritions of the cats we own. Not one of the cats has an agent so I can attribute traits to them should I want to.

The editing and the rekeying I think makes for a much tighter and easily read text. It will receive one final independent read over the next few weeks and that should be that. The book cover is to be finished off and some text changes on the cover made. Thereafter, I need to set price and co-ordinate the launch. The plan now is that the book will launch in the first week in April, probably the 8th, with a lead promotion week kicking in on April Fools Day. The promotion plan is in place with press releases half written. I also hope that the local press and radio will also pick it up.

‘The best laid plans may well gang aft agley but hopefully from my side that is not the case. The book has had a couple of false dawns but this time I think everything will come together in the right time at the right place.

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