11th April 2021
The header photograph, showing our gorgeous Cumbrian scenery, comes courtesy of Sharon Brook and Jess Vincent. They are lucky enough to work at the beautiful Langdale Chase Hotel on the shore of Lake Windermere. This was the view from their office window one day last week. Because I want to show off the local area as well as promoting our company, I thought I’d use photography for my headers and the Langdale girls were kind enough to say I could use it. Thank you ladies.
It’s been another busy week at Best Book Editors. We edited a children’s book and then first pass on an 83,000-word love story. Second pass on a 76,000-word crime novel. We did three marketing packages, a Book Cover, and our weekly marketing for the business. We also got in two freebies for clients and friends who brought in new customers.
Today two more children’s books came in for editing, so we’re having a run of them. Although we’ve only been operating since November last year, I’ve been editing for a long time. We find that genres are like ocean waves. You will have a roll of one genre, and then it fades from fashion, and something else takes its place. With the kids being off school for so long, it makes sense that it’s children’s books this year with demand being high.
We haven’t had any Typesetting/Formatting quotes through yet, which is disappointing—but build it, and they will come. I was asked for it a hundred times, and now it’s here, ta-da. All of our current clients have sorted it themselves as it wasn’t something we offered. But, we are ready going forward.
I’m okay with the next editing deadline and figured I’d take today to clear some of my backlog of diary tasks. I squinted as I opened my calendar, my thinking being that it would soften the impact. I was wrong. It was daunting. I was hit by a sea of red flags and almost closed it again. It was like a Labour party invasion.
I didn’t work on triage and tackle the tasks in order of urgency as I have for the last four weeks. Anything that isn’t for clients or urgent gets carried over on repeat and never gets done. I hit the first one running and didn’t stop.
It’s the end of the financial year, so the finances have been brought up to date. I feel smug this year because we haven’t earned enough to pay any tax. Yay, boom, boom, win to the little guy. And I bought a new computer which can be offset. However, there will be a bill for National Insurance backdated to last November, but I don’t think that’s a lot.
I’m hoping my clients read this in case I go inexplicably off-grid on 24th April 2021. We have had our internet service for the last four years and from the day we got it, we’ve had nothing but trouble. I can only assume we are at the furthest point from the signal tower that feeds our postcode. I think that’s how it works. At times my ping and download speeds have been so poor that I couldn’t take a reading. I wasn’t even aware that I have a ping. Will it show up on X-rays? So much for taking out the all-singing high-speed fibre optic version. I came out of contract at the end of February, and it never occurred to me that I’d lose the financial benefits of being tied in. To be fair, I didn’t know I had any economic benefits. Anyway, upshot, this month and last, the swine’s put my charge up by over half what I was paying.
So I’ve said my fond farewells and left them for what I’m hoping will be a more reliable service. Yes, yes, there was some toy throwing out of my metaphorical pram. And maybe not inconsiderable nose cutting and spiting—I’m clichéd out. I’ve got a horrible feeling that the problem I had with company A is only going to travel to company B. The one with the boogie-woogie bugle boy. Too Young? Okay. The distant telegraph pole, or whatever my internet service is tied around, isn’t going to sprout legs and plonk itself outside my office window.
Company-B has assured me that the transition will be painless. I won’t feel a thing. That’s what they told me about childbirth. Nobody’s coming out. Again, that’s what… never mind. It will all be done remotely, and I won’t even know that I’m chugging up pennies on another bill. So, 24th, when I have sudden radio silence, I just want to reassure you that I’m not sunning myself on a beach and sipping cocktails bought with all of your half-payments. Glass-half full, it will be fine, and I’ll be able to respond to my hundreds of emails even faster.
Technology is a scary beast.
Alec, my father-in-law with severe and devastating dementia has been living with us for over a year. This week he has driven me doolally. Hard work doesn’t even begin to cover it. Ravnica, the python, is so good natured that since the kids grew up we’ve had no need of glass locks on his vivarium. That was until I caught Alec in the viv trying to feed Ravinica–who could kill him in less than two minutes–a digestive biscuit–Mark, glass locks. Now.
I thought I’d introduce you to three members of my team. These aren’t my core team members who do work hard and are invaluable. These three are the hangers-on who really don’t do much to earn their keep. To be fair, they are bone idle, and I’m thinking of sacking the lot of them.
The first is my research assistant, Teagan. She is generally found on a break and has been known to both snore and fart when she’s supposed to be working. Her working hours are the same as mine, if I have to work, then so does she. And she is employed in an advisory capacity. I ask her advice—and she gives me a stupid grin. She insisted that biscuits be written into her contract.
My research Assistant. Isn’t she gorgeous?
Though she’s more often found like this.
The next member of the team is Trevalion. He has requested that his shifts be dropped to minimal, part-time hours because summer’s coming. He’d rather be in the garden for 12 hours a day than sitting at a desk—or, as is more usual, on my desk or on my head. Until I have rivulets of blood streaming down my face from him, trying to keep his balance. He’s very good-natured and loves to be tickled behind his ears and on his belly—but then, show me a man that doesn’t.
And the last one is Ravnica. He doesn’t do a lot of anything. He slithers about and gets under my feet. He’s nosey is what he is. He shuffles his head into my private documents that he has no right to be reading. One of these days, he’ll find one with the Vet’s header, and that’ll teach him.
In other news, I had my first COVID19 vaccination on Wednesday. Alec has had both, and Hubby and I have had shot-one. I’m one of those stupid people that never go to the doctors. I work on the assumption that if it’s serious, I’ll die, and if not, I’ll get better. I’m too busy for doctors—which is a really pathetic outlook on life. So I feel very public-spirited for having it done. I fully intend to go for the second one, too. A lollipop or a Brave Girl sticker for my trouble would have been nice. I believe in it. The abstainers are the people who are going to keep the virus alive and thriving.
England is looking to come out of lockdown—I hope we’re done. I’ve barely left the house in the past year. When Alec first came to us, we had Hubby’s son living with us, too, but he’s since flown the nest. After having, ‘Where’s my wallet?’ On a loop all day, my greatest joy was going to the beach with Hubby and Teagan after work. Alec can’t be left alone, and because I’m so busy with work, it makes sense for me to stay in with him while hubby walks the dog and does the shopping.
So, it was a huge adventure getting out to get my jab. I dyed my hair the night before—we are purple this time—and I wore the new coat that Hubby bought me for Christmas. It is bright red, and I probably looked like a clashing target. It’s a good job the snipers weren’t out. Last year for special evenings out—before this blasted extra two stone attacked me in my bed one night and then decided to stay on me, I had a bright red catsuit. I felt like a double-decker bus, but it made me happy. It occurred to me what a happy colour, bright red is.
The injection lady commented on how bright and cheerful I am. Well, I’d been let out of my cage, hadn’t I? Going to that community centre was like a day out to the seaside in a charabanc. Complete with fish and chips on the seafront and a go on the Waltzers.
But amidst all the black and brown and hoodies, I think it had something to do with my coat. I call it my happy coat.
When they said write a blog to keep traffic moving to the site, did they mean to write a blog about writing? Isn’t that what the articles on the other side of the page are for? It wasn’t specified—just, ‘Write a blog.’ So this is our chat time. It’s a bit one-sided and Talking Heads, but what the heck.
And to finish—yesterday’s Alecism—it’s a thing. Look out for it in the Oxford English Dictionary next year, along with Mad as a box of Alecs.
‘What’s the matter, Alec, love? You look perplexed?’
‘You want sex?’
‘No, you look perplexed. Per. Plexed. Perplexed.’
‘Call the vet?’
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.