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I know I’ve been quiet recently; my excuse is that I was on holiday cycling along the Rhine (which I can recommend for both scenery and ice-cream – the Germans are mad for both).  But I am now home again and work on “Plank 6” is at the forefront of my mind.  There are two key deadlines: on 22 July I am off to Switzerland for my writing retreat (seventeen days on my own, just for writing), and then on 18 October I am hoping to publish the book.  For the writing retreat to be of most value, I need to make sure that I have all but finished the first draft by the time I go – which is only 28 days away.  I’m nowhere near that at the moment, so it’s full steam ahead, carving out writing time whenever and wherever I can.  And the writing retreat should – must – result in a draft that I can send out to my lovely beta readers, and then I need to allow time to incorporate their suggested changes, which could be extensive.  I’m getting the vapours just thinking about it.

And of course the inside of the book is only part of it: before publication I need to decide on a title and a cover and a cover blurb, and organise a launch event.  So no pressure, then.  Over the weekend I put together a list of about fifteen possible titles – some are rather dull, others could work.  I’ll narrow that down to five and then put it to the public vote, as usual, in July.  I’ve started looking for possible cover images and documents, but thankfully can leave colour choice to the cover designer – I’ll be interested to see what they add to our current suite of blue, gold, red, green and purple.

One small update: you remember the book-signing that I did at WHSmith in April?  I’ve been trying to extract from them the vast sum I made from the day (read all about it here) and it’s taken nearly as long as writing “Plank 6”.  They’ve apparently designed a new payments system and I’ve had to submit my details to be approved as a new supplier, along with my invoice.  I’ll let you know when the money arrives and I can treat myself to an extra box of Jaffa Cakes.