Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jam today

Yesterday was the day I did my tax return.

Today it’s jam!

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Sue: “Don’t forget, Dave. We can only get 6lbs of fruit in a jam pan.”

Dave: “I wonder what’s the minimum amount of jam it’s possible to make.”

Sue: “With a pound of fruit I should think.”

Dave: “No, theoretically speaking. Would it be possible, for example, to make jam with only two blackcurrants…in a test tube?”

Sue -  thinks: The poor boy’s been watching far too many of those Sixty Symbols videos on Youtube.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The nicest things happen sometimes when you’re book-signing in your old home town…

…such as when people you have not seen for 42 years walk in the front door of Waterstone’s and up to your table and say

“I want to meet Sue Hepworth,”

and you know that they know you but you haven’t a clue who they are, and they turn out to be your first serious boyfriend. And it’s so lovely to see them.

And then later, you think – “Oh my God, the last time he saw me I looked like this – ”

sue july 1968

and this…

sue october 1968

Oh, and John, if you’re reading this, Dave wants to know

1/ do you still have the Vauxhall Victor

2/ what kind of bike have you got?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Imperfect books

Finding out what to do with the imperfect books that the printer sent me was on my to-do list and I’ve done it.

I have to tear out the imprint page ( i.e. the page with the printing and publishing info at the front of the book – often the reverse page to the title page – or the “title verso” as we say in the trade) and send those imprint pages to the printers  and they will credit me with the run-on price for each book.

What is a run-on price? Ah…

…when you get an estimate from the printers – say for 2,000 books  – they quote you a run on price – say for 1,000 copies. This means that if when they get your PDF, you say - “Actually, Geoff, I want 3,000 copies not 2,000 copies,” they charge you the price for the original 2,000 and then add the run-on price they quoted for the next 1,000. The run-on price is roughly half the price of the original quoted price (depending on various things.)

So now not only do I have more abstruse information to add to my knowledge bank about printing – so do you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


There has been space this week – and time – to do all the things that have been crowded out in the last six weeks of publishing and promoting frenzy…

Go for a walk with Dave round a different village from our own, in this case Litton, where we saw…

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and this brand new calf…

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and two well-dressings…

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and if you don’t know what a well-dressing is – look it up! I am feeling far too chilled to bother telling you.

Also I’ve had time for this…

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Unfortunately, when I looked round the garden I found that the blackcurrants were ripe for picking a month earlier than usual (this involves jam-making and the Little Red Hen is not here)  and on my desk I had a list of neglected admin jobs -

1/ sort out the household accounts

2/ sort out the savings

3/ do my tax return

4/ find the receipt for the digital radio that died on the barge holiday

5/ invoice the book wholesaler

6/ ring the man to service the boiler

7/ organise three birthday presents

8/ decide what to do with the twelve books that arrived with black smudges on the cut edge of the pages

9/ take Gil’s pirate LEGO back to the shop and exchange it because the skeleton man and the skeleton horse were missing.

I ticked off this last one yesterday. The manager of TITLES in Bakewell was receptive and  charming and insisted that not only should I have a new set of LEGO but I should take the incomplete one as well – what brilliant service.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not J K Rowling

Book promotion is exhausting.

I just had three events in the space of four days, and after yesterday’s signing at Hassop Station on the Monsal Trail (which actually means approaching people and handing over your book for perusal, because punters are far too shy to actually come up to your table and say “Hello”) I came home and went to bed at six o’clock and lay there in a stupor unable to switch off and go to sleep, but too tired even to listen to the radio. After two hours of lying there, I sat up and watched two episodes of Neighbours (so shoot me), had some cocoa, and slept for nine hours.

Now I feel human. Thankfully I have five days before the next event in Derby Waterstone’s.

Of course if I were J K Rowling, I would have a minder, and orderly queues and…

But I am pleased I am me, if only because I like my own books better than J.K.Rowling’s. Fantasy does nothing for me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

@thebeean aka Lux Hepworth

“Grandchildren are nature’s reward for not strangling your teenagers.”

( from But I told you last year that I loved you.)

lux and the book

“What do you mean it’s not suitable for me? My Gran has written it, and I want to read it!”

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spoiler alert

If you have not yet read – or finished reading – BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU – then don’t read this piece about me, in yesterday’s Sheffield Telegraph. It’s a great piece, and a lovely picture (thanks, Lesley Draper and Steve Caddy) – but there’s book plot in it.

Day off

It’s a rare day off between events today, and it’s very welcome. I went to check how the strawberries were doing and found these -

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Life is hectic this week. But yesterday afternoon was a rare interlude of R & R and I managed to get to my saxophone lesson. I have told my teacher, Mel, I want to learn to improvise. And to do that, I need to know some music theory. At present I don’t know any. None at all. Zilch. Yes, I can play, yes I can sight read, but that is the limit to my musical knowledge. So yesterday Mel spent fifty minutes on Major chords.  Isn’t it complicated? Isn’t it challenging? Isn’t it dull?

Oh my God.

But this year I have learned how to publish a book. Maybe I can also learn the intricacies of music theory. Wish me luck: it’s my latest challenge. (Even if I don’t succeed, the attempt should keep my brain alive.)

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Buried treasure

Dave and I have lived within half a mile of the Monsal Trail (check the link for photographs) for 16 years. We’ve walked on it three times a week, and it’s always been my preferred cycle route into Bakewell.

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Now the Peak Park has opened it up in the other direction for another eight miles through four previously closed tunnels, we both cycle up the new track almost every day. It’s a joy. We feel as though we’ve discovered a pot of hidden treasure in our back garden. It’s such a great thing to be organised by the powers that be, that we’re half expecting an announcement that it’s all a mistake, and the thing is now closed.

I went up it at eight o’clock this morning in the bright sunshine. I met just three hikers and one other person on a bike. If you haven’t already walked or cycled up it, do! The views are spectacular, and the silence is lovely. I have a favourite spot between the Cressbrook and Litton tunnels. I stop and lean on the railings and look down into the deep river gorge and listen to the birds. The only other sound today was a cow lowing in the distance. It was a perfect way to start my day.

In case you live locally, here are three events I’m doing this week, related to my new book – BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU:

  1. A talk at the Nice Cafe on King Street in Bakewell at 7.30 pm Thursday 16th June
  2. Signing books in Waterstone’s, Orchard Square, Sheffield, Saturday 18th June,  11am - 3pm
  3. Signing books at Hassop Station on the Monsal Trail, Sunday 19th June,  1-3pm  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Update on Sol’s bad press

Finally, someone ‘gets’ Sol.  A reader who has written a review on Amazon says -

Sol doesn't understand - he is internally driven, whether by enthusiasms or personal sticking points - and seems set on escaping interaction with the world.
His original take on life is very demanding, but leads to some glorious one-liners ('your nose is rather reminiscent of the twisted spire in Chesterfield....I like the twisted spire. And don't forget, it's a tourist attraction.')
This man will surely become a new kind of hero in male leads....certainly my husband, when he leaned over my shoulder to take a look, nodded in agreement with the last line in the book.

Poor Sol is getting a bad press

My book is out there in the big bad world, and people are saying things about it. There’s a review on the well-read book blog, I Prefer Reading. You can read it here.

If you don’t want to read a synopsis, here’s an evaluative extract from the end:

But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You is an absorbing novel about an insoluble problem. What do you do when two people want mutually incompatible things & there’s no way to compromise? Fran is a very engaging character & the supporting cast of friends & family – especially youngest daughter Jem who obsessively reads her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s blog to find out what he’s doing – are funny & real. I enjoyed But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You & if you like reading well-written contemporary fiction with real characters & a knotty problem at its heart, I recommend it.

And another book blog – Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover - has a review here.

And an extract:

this thoughtful and well written book.

But they both say some critical things about Sol, one of the two main characters e.g. “I longed to get hold of him and give him a good thump…”   

I’m sad for Sol that he’s getting such a bad press. He is very funny and very caring. When you read the book please bear in mind that Sol is doing the best he can. 

Someone called Rhonda Lomazov, meanwhile, has tweeted this -

but i told you last year that i loved you Sue Hepworth.wonderful novel about a long marriage.

Readers who have been following my blog for some time know all about my publishing BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU. But if you’re new (or you like to get every angle on a subject) you might like to read my piece on I Prefer Reading, where I tell the I Prefer Reading lady about my decision to self-publish – here.

And (if you’re really at a loose end) you can read one of my old Times pieces about Dave’s yoghurt addiction.

And here is another one of mine about something entirely different.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Still shell-shocked

Thank you for all your kind, good wishes over the last few days. I had a fab, fab day on Thursday, and although this may be bad PR, I have to tell you that having my two brothers and two sisters here was just was wonderful as having the book come out officially. We don’t live near each other and we haven’t been all together for nearly three years – since our mother’s memorial service.

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Loads of people came to the launch, I sold a huge pile of books, and the shop manager said it was the most successful launch they’d had since he’d been working there.

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Today I am going to be signing in Waterstones in Chesterfield, from 2 pm. Right now, I still feel muzzy from Thursday. I have things I must tell you about Sol, but that will have to wait until tomorrow…

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Launch day!

I’m sitting here in bed with my laptop and first mug of Yorkshire tea, trying not to make lists in my head of things to do this morning. I need to wake up first. Dave just said “Well this time tomorrow it’ll all be over.” There was a look of relief in his eyes.

This is me on my first publication day…poor wee innocent that I was…

Sue Price and me in Waterstones

and Jane and me at the launch…

laughing at the launch1

If you’d like to hear my interview on BBC Radio Derby with Aleena Naylor, from this week, follow this link. I am on two five minute slots, before and after a song, at 2 hours 11 minutes into the programme. Click on LISTEN NOW and get going.

And for this week’s BBC Radio Sheffield interview with Rony Robinson, follow this link. I am on at 33 minutes into his programme, again, in two five minute slots, before and after a song. Do that clicking thing again.

(Let me know if the links don’t work.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

…in haste…

BBC Radio Derby yesterday – I got a lovely warm welcome, and really enjoyed myself.

Today’s list

  • BBC Radio Sheffield, on at 10.35 a.m.
  • deliver stuff to the family member who declines to be named who has just moved out;
  • deliver a birthday present for my grandson Gil (Pirate Lego);
  • home to make three puddings for visitors tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Someone called Alice Weit…

…sent me a Blue Mountain ecard yesterday. The trouble is that I don’t know anyone called Alice Weit, so I deleted it before opening it, because I try to be careful to avoid computer viruses.
If by any chance there is a person out there wishing me well, who is called Alice Weit, and who sent me an ecard yesterday – I’m sorry. And thank you. Thank you very much.
My daughter and grandsons came to visit yesterday. We went up the beautiful Monsal Trail – they rode through the first tunnel to Monsal Head on their bikes. I had a wonderful time, and when they’d gone home and I checked my email, I found another order from the wholesaler for a bulk order of my books. That happened last time I played with the boys. They’re my good luck charms.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Up to date

This morning I have been busy. I have -

  • uploaded the Kindle version of But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You to the Kindle store on Amazon;
  • registered my book on the Public Lending Rights database so that when people borrow it from libraries I get a few pence;
  • had trouble wrestling the ISBN database into submission, so rung up the agency; (the staff there are very sweet, polite and patient. I can imagine them covering the phone receiver with their hands and whispering to each other: “It’s another one of those over-anxious greenhorn publishers." But they’re nice to me, so I don’t care.)
  • rung the wholesaler to make sure they have stocks for orders, as a bookseller said she was having trouble getting hold of a copy of my book.

Now I am going to put away the greengroceries we bought from Bakewell market and bake some chocolate buns for my grandsons who are visiting this afternoon. Then I shall practice on my slackline. This is vital, because the most wonderful thing about launch day is that my two brothers and two sisters are going to be here, and they will all want to have a go on the slackline, and being a large family we do tend to get a tad competitive.

My family, 1958


Friday, June 03, 2011

Christine Poulson, crime writer

Ten years ago, I sat next to a woman at a Fiction Masterclass at the Sheffield Literary Festival, and the next day I met her at my local Quaker meeting. I had just read a Mslexia article about writing buddies, who critique each others’ work, cheer each others’ successes, commiserate over rejections, and gee each other up when the going gets tough. Being a pushy sort, I said to this woman whom I had only just met, “Would you like to be my writing buddy?”

She reeled: she is not a pushy sort, and she is also more grown up than me. I could see her thinking, “Can this woman even write?”

She did become my writing buddy. And more. These days I can ring her up and say (as I did yesterday): “I’m feeling sad about something, and I’m driving past your house, can I come in and get a hug?” And she will say,“Yes, I could do with a hug myself.”

That woman is Christine Poulson, crime writer extraordinaire, accomplished in creating intricate plots, and writing suspenseful novels and brilliant short stories, and other arcane arts not part of my skill set. Today she is interviewing me on her blog. You can read the interview here.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Today - update

Why do I always imagine that journos and photographers are monsters who will judge me? Lesley and Steve were lovely!


My publishing work and my PR and marketing for the new book – BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU – have taken up so much time this spring (as did two narrowboat holidays, badly timed) that my neglected garden went wild.

My two worlds intersect today. A journalist and a photographer from a glossy magazine are coming to take pictures of me. I tried to deflect them by saying, “Why don’t you take a picture of me at Monsal Head? It would make a lovely backdrop, and a scene from the book is set there.” No dice. They wanted to take pictures of me in my home and garden.

So for the last week I have been weeding, tidying, dragooning Dave into mowing the lawns, and generally tearing my hair out. The garden looks better but there is so much still to do, and no time to do it.

As for the house, I have been dusting places that didn’t know what a duster was. They reeled back, affronted, and said “What’s this yellow thing that’s invading my space?”  Don’t you find it so much more satisfying doing the dusting when you actually find a thick grey fur on your duster every few minutes?  It lends an air of gratification to a very tedious task.  Yes – i admit it – I am a slattern. And I agree with Fran in my book who says:

the job of housewife is like the job of projectionist at the cinema – you get no appreciation, and people only notice when you don’t do your job.

This is a picture of me ( © Fabio De Paola ) taken a couple of years ago, when my garden was better tended and not the disreputable patch it is today.

Hepworth 9-Fabio