Two ways to pre-order Killing Hapless Ally online!

982b7-img_0733Here you are. Killing Hapless Ally is available to pre-order from today.



and here…..


And I am looking forward to my launch at the wonderful ‘Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights’ in Bath on March the third…which would be here… (I know I’m not listed but then I’m not of elevated status and also it’s a private do)…

…and I have just promised to sponsor a song from the wonderful ‘The Bookshop Band’ with the plentiful (ho ho) royalties from book sales. They would be here…

….and I look forward to a year’s worth of book-related things as I knuckle down to THE NEXT ONE, The Life of Almost and, you know, the day job, the three kids, the… (Ellipsis overkill there.)

The books featured are those from the thousands in our house. Seized by a strange frenzy I once colour-coordinated the lot. You see that deep purple edition of Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men? That was my husbands’s revenge.

Short stories, a book to buy, a food blog – and people interested in my ridiculous colour coded books as described in the first item!

First of all, this is what happened at our house when I decided to colour block the books. And I mean thousands of them
                                                    The Bookshelf

The online photo archive, Flickr, is awash with people who colour code their books. Such a cohort had, Annie noted, given them cheerful, jubilant  titles such as, ‘cornucopia of books’ or, ‘rainbow books.’ It appealed, so she had a go at doing the same. Thus orange began by making towers of Penguin texts. And then – serendipitous!- she saw that the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanacks were already done. With a frisson of excitement, she turned to other colours.  Hmmm: a subtle change: how might one grade and sequence pink and purple books? Let’s have a look. So, we ended up with William Faulkner next to a googly-eyed children’s book on strange birds (actually: now I look at this shelf in the picture – I am almost charmed by the company books keep in our house – author) and texts by Sylvia Plath and William Empson. Annie felt niggled, though. The shelves and their arrangement did not have the neat appeal of the rainbow books on the Flickr gallery. But she ploughed on, breathing in a shallow way; pushing onwards too fast: the whole process was tinged with anxiety, but once started, she could not stop.

On came the Black books. Penguin Classics, naturally, for the most part, but Annie observed with pleasure that a few others would fit in here. Malory’s Morte D’Arthur next to the late Benazir Bhutto’s first autobiography, Daughter of the East. The pleasure was quickly soured by the memories of a myriad love affairs gone wrong, with only the book for company.
  ‘That first one – the Malory – captured me when I was twenty one. Then I got chucked by a brilliant man, a medievalist, and couldn’t look at the knights again. That second one was read in Pakistan, after I’d got chucked in the foothills – and I spent new year alone and snivelling under a scratchy blanket in Muree. Spoiled memories. I spent a lot of time getting chucked by clever man and sat there shivering, for the loser I was.’
  Now, Annie was running out of time and put the rest off until tomorrow. Twenty shelves were done. Productive work, though a shame about those name-calling memories of being ditched and dumped and laughed at.
  Later that day, Annie’s friend Susie happened to come into the study.
  ‘That thing with the books. We’ll have to get you out of that: it makes you look like you’ve lost the plot’, she said.
  Not, then, ‘What lovely colours! Let me join in the rainbow adventure!’ Instead Susie sniggered quietly and left the room.
  But our book shuffler was determined to stay on top of things; such arrangement of hue and tinct made the environment seem controlled; coordinated – despite nothing being quite as neat as the blueprints offered by the internet rainbow artists.
  Then Dixie Delicious came home; he looked but said nothing. He looked again. And said nothing very loudly.
From "Rainbow over Bengal" comes this amusing post, "The [color-coded] bookshelf" -- The blogger expresses (at the END) pretty much my thoughts on "the keepers of the rainbow books." (Said opinion was apparently also held by those occupying the house with her, as evidenced by this "dark purple book [that she did not place there] in the midst of a sort of sea colour melange.") More photos at click-through.Colours Melange, Rainbows Book, Purple Book, Sea Colours, Dark Purple, Bloggers Express, Amusement Post
And the following day, there it was. A dark purple book in the midst of a sort of sea colour melange (because, as she went on, the urge to think in areas of the colour spectrum rather than pure tones became more compelling). She had not put it there, a book by the Southern author Robert Penn Warren, against a diary and a book on Methodism; cocking a snook, she thought, at the green of Lord of the Rings. It went on.
  He said, ‘I cannot fucking find anything.’
  ‘But don’t you think they are ….pretty?’
  ‘No. Are you trying to get chucked again and spend new year snivelling under a scratchy blanket?’
  She stood back. It was true. No-one could find what they were looking for. You don’t go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll read a pink one tonight.’
  And thus it was that a lesson was learned. If you have a lot of books, adopting this approach is not befitting. It’s also not, as a general rule, clever, funny or remotely sexy. With apologies to the keepers of the rainbow books, it is not for Annie – however much she might like it to be so: because dusty,  stacked up, higgledy piggledy books are what slake a thirst and animate a life.
  The colour is within.


Here are links to various pieces of writing. It’s a fair range!