What a Year – Its Strange Effects, Also Reflections on the Generosity of Authors

First things first! Leah Fleming, old friend, RNA member and reader of this blog pointed out that The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Quotations is a brilliant source of titles! And, of course, she is right.

So back to it!

This has surely been a year like no other – apart from 2020. The more things change the more they stay the same.

For me, the worst part of lockdown has been the physical isolation from family and friends, especially from my writing friends. At the time of writing, we have just had Covid restrictions extended for another month. It will be almost two years before we can see our younger daughter. At least we can see her sister and our granddaughter and hug THEM. When you are a grandparent, it takes extraordinarily little to keep you happy, and there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

Hopefully, my brain fog will lift, too. It’s probably part of advancing age and decrepitude, but we also find ourselves anchored inside a small circle of activities, and for both of us, all our energy has disappeared. We are both remarkably keen on a nap in the afternoon nowadays!  Still a change will be as good as a rest (surely). It may help stop the feeling of life being sucked from our brains!

July 1st is the middle day of the year, and also Canada Day, and my birthday. Also last year it was the day that the 2020 version of “Children in Read” was announced.

For those who have no idea what this is, it’s now a major charity fundraiser for the BBCs Children in Need appeal. Last year, it attracted about 600 contributing authors and raised almost £22,000. It was founded by a Liverpool businessman, Paddy Heron, who continues to organise and drive the event forward from year to year. Now in its seventh year, it has raised increasingly larger amounts each year.

Paddy normally “opens the shop” to donations in early July. Most authors are only too happy to donate a book. Children in Need, and Children in Read are both excellent causes to be associated with and have the highest approval of almost any charity in the UK. Last year I got involved and approached Jo Rowling and Philip Pullman, among others. Jo Rowling donated a copy of The Ichabod, and that went for £800. Philip Pullman donated three signed bookplates, and they went for about £350. Members of the Romantic Novelists Association seem to have taken the event to heart – about 200 members donated one or more books.

Once they are open, to donate a book is so easy! Just email Paddy Heron at childreninread@yahoo.com or Tweet (DM) to him (and Follow him) at @ChildrenInRead and tell him you would like to donate a book. All genres and all age-groups are welcome,  BUT NOT YET! 

What does Paddy need? Your name, with a “head shot” photo, your book title and a “cover shot” photo, your bio, and the “book blurb”. He also needs your Author web page and Twitter address. BUT NOT YET!

After the Auction, on November 13th, Paddy and the team will contact you with the details of the winning bid.  You then sign a copy of your book and post it to the winner!

Could it be easier, or more worthwhile? I don’t think so! 

Apart from being a great charity (Children in Need is arguably the best-known charity in the UK) I also see this as an outstanding promotion for ALL participating authors. To be there, on display, on an equal footing with the great and the good from ALL levels and genre of authors in the UK, is fantastic for “putting yourself out there”.  The auction website also comes with “share buttons” for Facebook and Twitter, making it extremely easy indeed to publicise your own generosity, and both the Charity and the Auction.

The costs for this are derisory – for me that works out at around £10 for the cost of a book, an envelope and UK postage. You would be mad not to!!!

And for Readers? You see the widest choice of books in ALL genres, waiting for YOUR bid. From Kate Mosse to Lucinda Riley and Tom Kerridge, and of course, JK Rowling and Philip Pullman!

If your bid wins, you receive a signed and usually dedicated copy of the book – and ALL the money that you bid at auction goes straight to Children in Need!

On the hedgehog front we are having regular visits every night from what I think are two “boars”. No sign of any hedge-sows or hoglets yet, but we live in hope. Hedgies are very much solitary animals, and certainly “do not play well with others!” Their main reactions to each other are pushing and shoving matches, usually ending with the smaller hog assuming the “ball” position until the coast is clear.

And to close – remember, Carpe Diem!! Life sucks, but it’s still better than the alternative, and I will let you know as soon as Paddy opens the Auction.

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