Ebb and Flow

Tom’s reassured me that we can turn back at any point, but as we head out to sea for the first time in a couple of years, I take deep, calming breaths and try not to think about being sick. Goodness knows, I’ve coped with long passages of offshore sailing - albeit with my head in a bucket - but as we’ve spent the last few summers pleasantly pottering up and down Milford Haven it’s been a while since my stomach’s been put to the test of rolling waves.

We’re heading for Skokholm, a tiny island just off the Pembrokeshire coast, a Site of Special Scientific Interest which is a haven for seabirds. If all goes well, we’re planning to circumnavigate the island and negotiate the worryingly named Wild Goose Race tidal stream. So far, so good. It’s a glorious day and to crown it all I spot … ‘A puffin! A puffin!’. Actually, they’re dotting the waves everywhere we look; little splashes of colour with beaks full of sand eels to feed their chicks. But can I capture a photo of one? Nope, they must be the most camera-shy birds ever, skittering off as soon as I point at them! There are shearwaters and oystercatchers, all sorts of gulls and pairs of magnificent gannets swooping into the water.

White frills of seabirds line the red cliffs of the island, their mournful cries echo across the water to us and I’m so captivated by the sights and sounds that the thought of seasicknesses doesn’t even cross my mind. Before I know it, we’re sailing back on the tide to pick up a mooring in Dale where a peach-coloured sun sets on a perfect day.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing at Home Thoughts; little Joy’s had chicken pox max which has knocked her for six and laid her open to every other lurgy going. This week, Bee’s been sporting the bright red cheeks of Slapped Face Syndrome, one of those childhood viruses which Lily’s GP states, ‘spreads like wildfire’ so everyone’s hoping baby Iris doesn’t succumb and a couple of dear friends are going through the health wringer.

Helen, my good friend and running buddy, and I are still setting the world to rights on our long runs and chasing down new PBs at Llanerchaeron Park Run. Next week, I start training for the Cardiff Half Marathon, ten years after I ran my first.

I’m still pondering the conundrum of how to reach potential readers for my new novella without spamming them on social media. The reviews for Moonbeams in a Jar have been very positive so far but the sales are, erm, modest. Without the benefit of a large marketing budget, as a ‘product’ it really has to punch above its weight to be noticed. The way to achieve this, I’m told, is by gaining plenty of 5*reviews … which means asking folks not just to buy my books but review them too and I find that very hard to do. If I think too much about the amount of hours that are poured even into to a short book it would be soul-destroying so I’m trying to focus on the process of writing rather than the product or I’d be utterly disheartened. But in the meantime, there are always puffins.


Flowerpot said…
Glad the sailing trip went well, Chris, and well done on your running achievements - I am in awe! As for publicising books - hah! I can well sympathise. it's really tough isn't it? I'm happy to do a review just give me a shout X
Clare Chase said…
So lovely to hear more about your sailing trip, Chris. Sorry to hear that Joy's not the only one who's been suffering health-wise recently though. I do hope there's more positive news on that front soon and that the little ones feel much better. I started Moonbeams in a Jar last night and I'm absolutely loving it. I will write a review as soon as I've finished and chip in with tweets etc. I hate doing publicity stuff too - it's so awkward. Loads of luck with it, and with the training for the Cardiff half too! xx
Chris Stovell said…
Thank you so much for both, Sue. As for books, yes, very tough ... deep breath... a review would be lovely if and when you have time. xx

Hi Clare, yes the little ones seem to have had one thing after another, especially poor Joy. Thank you so much for your lovely remarks about Moonbeams in a Jar - that, at least, has put a big smile on my face. I really struggle with the whole 'buy my book' thing; no one wants a Twitterstream filled with spam but that's often how mine appears. I'd love to have someone to take care of the whole marketing thing for me! Fat chance! Looking forwards very much to seeing your next novel appear on my Kindle. xx

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