The Black Knight Diaries

A few months ago I wrote about my sister’s visiting black cat whom we’ve nick named The Black Knight. Here’s another installment.

The Black Knight isn’t her only visitor but he is far and away the favourite. He is a prince among cats. He doesn’t have that standoffish haughty nature common to some cats. He is friendly and affectionate. I have met him a few times and once he’s got used to my presence and returned from his fast exit at the sight of a stranger in his domain, he’s decided I’m OK, sitting in my vacated chair, but I digress, onto the other visitors.

Alan is a black and white cat. So named after Alan Titchmarsh the TV gardener because he comes and digs in my sister’s garden. Unlike his namesake he is not planting pretty flowers but leaving little deposits, often whilst glaring defiantly at her from his position in the flower bed. The Black Knight has often squared up to him but it hasn’t deterred him from using the flower bed as his latrine.

“Of course,” I once pointed out, “Alan might be a girl with a very pretty name like Jessica or Jemima.”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” she answered, but Alan he/she remains.

Then there is Bobby Carrot. Bobby because he kind of bobs when he walks and Carrot because he is tortoiseshell but more orange. I think I have seen him over my side of the modern housing estate where we live occasionally. He is a timid little cat my sister says and Alan bullies him – or her – it could be a her.

There is the resident owl, Hootie who owns the estate, flying from her end to mine and sitting on posts by my sister’s and my neignbour’s houses making his/her presence known.

Although we live on the outskirts of a town we get lots of wildlife, foxes, squirrels, all kinds of birds, I’ve had sparrowhawks in the past and had mixed feelings about them, beautiful birds and lovely to have them in the garden but very sad when they take my little birds.

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Here’s a conversation my sister had with The Black Knight one lovely sunny summer day. As she pegged out her washing he came running along the fence miaowing.

“Oh I’m glad you’ve come,” she said, “I want you to do some modeling for me.”

“Modeling?” queried B.K.

“Yes. For a blog.”

“Model for a blog? But I’ve come for chicken.”

“I’ll find you a treat.”

“Oh go on then.”

“Make yourself comfy.”

“I’ll sit on the bench.”

 

“Dis my best side.”

lying in the garden

“Enough now, get the chicken.”

******

Many of my novels have animal characters in them. After the Solstice (Willow’s Dip Book 2) has Chula, a beautiful Siamese cat who is a law unto herself.

Free Flight (Willow’s Dip Book 3) is set in a bird sanctuary and has many bird characters including an avian romance between a pair of snowy owls, Casper and Claudia, not to mention a ghost dog called Boris and an African grey parrot called Bramer who has a very colourful vocabulary.

The Author, The Gardener and The Woman What Does has two gorgeous rough collies, Bella and Donna and Song of the Phoenix has a Jack Russell terrier called Tim who is rather partial to toffees.

My two memoirs Shadow Across the Sun and Better or Dead have all of the pets I’ve had, loved and lost.

Animals enrich our lives and although I can’t have a pet now for health reasons I have two fur grandsons, a black and a golden labradoodle who I’m dog hotel to when their families are away. It just gives me a little animal contact.

For more information on my animal friends both real and imaginary visit my website

http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/

 

 

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All’s Not Fair In Love And Indie Authors

As any indie author knows, writing the book is only half the story, the other half is flogging ourselves to death always trying to think of new and original ways of generating a few sales, and those even more elusive reviews. I don’t know about anyone else but I can have some months where I do quite well, a decent amount of sales, then others – well, least said the better.

It’s great that self publishing has now come into its own and we can get our work out there and read, hold our books in our hands, see them downloaded. What I find so unfair for indie authors everywhere is that their talent goes largely unrecognized. I can’t comment on my own books. There will always be authors who are better than me and worse than me, stories that are better than mine and worse than mine and it’s all subjective, but by and large the quality of the indie authors’ work that I have read has been superb. The majority of it is easily on a par with traditionally published authors and I still find myself asking that same question, what exactly are agents and publishers looking for? I’ve read some utter rubbish that someone ‘in the know’ has deemed fit to represent and publish when I could barely struggle to the end of the book or indeed have given up as it’s been so poor, yet many talented indies face rejection after rejection – and don’t get me started on celebrity memoirs that make a fast million for all concerned!

I read mainly indies now. The last traditionally published book I read was Jilly Cooper’s Mount and I thoroughly enjoyed it as I have most of her Rutshire Chronicles and although she is an excellent writer so are lots of undiscovered indies. I find it soul destroying for myself and other indies that we work so hard, putting our hearts and souls into our books for very little recognition.

Looking at the various marketing techniques that indie authors use, it all seems very hit and miss and I still draw the same conclusion. It isn’t enough just to have the talent to craft a story and promote it, we all need an element of luck, right place, right time, and I think it doesn’t go amiss if your face fits either. I don’t think there’s any magic formula. All we can do is keep on keeping on and just hope that one day that little bit of luck comes for us.

4 books