Thursday, 8 August 2013

Veronica's Travels, Book Marketing, A Grave Mystery and a Note About Contact

This is a picture of my neighbour down the street, Veronica Wakefield   Obviously, this picture is not taken in our street, but let me tell you about Veronica, who  had a lifetime in the travel industry.

What she doesn't know about travel would fit on a 1 cent coin. Wherever I go, I am likely to find that Veronica has already been - probably led a tour there - and knows all the best places to eat and stay. She's always kind and generous about sharing the information.

These days she takes groups to destinations of her choice.  I don't believe she advertises, or even has a website; it's done by word of mouth. Last Spring she took a group to the White Desert in Egypt. ENVY ENVY!!  I have yearned to visit Siwa oasis for years, but you might remember I was having a very difficult time of it, then.   Veronica wrote the trip up for our neighbourhood magazine and I liked it so much that I thought I'd give you the chance to read it too.

It can be read here and I hope she forgives the way I've laid it out and reduced her beautiful pictures. Oh well, I never pretended to be a layout artist...

Workwise, I'm still following the progress of the BBC project, quietly getting on with our Great War schools project and hammering my brains on something else which is frankly overwhelming. It needs to be finished fast and there's only so much creative work you can do in a day before the ideas stop coming.

As for the maze, and talking of writing, I've started subscribing to a writing site called Bestsellerlabs which has just had a post about negotiating the maze of book marketing.   Seems very sensible and practical to me, (and I like his taste in photos so much that I've pinched one of them.)  No, the author hasn't asked me to post this, either, I just like his blog.

I often wonder what other writers think is the most important thing about book marketing?  I am inclined to think it is "creating a brand" although that is not something I'm very good at doing myself.

Elsewhere on the domestic front, K has just returned from visiting family in Co. Cork, Ireland.  I was entranced by some of her pics. Quick, quick, I want to get on that plane to Cork! (but I can't).   Here's her photo of Sherkin Island.   Doesn't it look like somewhere from Middle Earth? Or somewhere else that is not quite real?

And we all puzzled over this warning notice below.   I mean what has been going on? Gravedigging parties?  Maverick gravediggers "disposing" of the real grave diggers?  And what about that comment on  "voluntary" grave digging?  I hate to think of what "involuntary" grave digging might be like...

Here's the notice in Irish, but it makes no more sense to me. Even less, in fact :)  There was nobody around who could enlighten K.  These pictures recall the sense of mystery which often envelops me when I go to Ireland.  I really must go back soon.

Finally, a few people have asked me to add my email address to the profile page so they can write to me.  I love to hear from people and I hate to say no to the request, but I don't put my email address online these days.  The "My Web Page" link (underneath "Contact Me" on the profile) connects to a webform, so I hope you won't mind using that if you want to drop a line.


  1. That is an interesting sign. Wondering if they have problems with people who like to find 'treasures' in old graves......

  2. I am entranced by the Sherkin Island photo. Something about it really grabs me.

    I love reading your posts because they always take me to places I've never been before.

  3. oo i love the pic of the sail boat....
    what a cool meal as well...ha its all about presentation...the dog as hitler...interesting, ha....i hear you on the email as well...been there and done that one the issues...

  4. That is a mystery about that sign, and perhaps the posting is to ward off anyone thinking they might want to dig. But that seems so odd, and yet in today's world yes, I guess it is possible! Thanks for sharing information about your friend and neighbor.

  5. It's been more than ten years since we visit Ireland but that picture reminds me why I loved it so much. What a very strange notice - voluntary gravedigging!!!

  6. Wow - Jen! So much to respond to here, but I zeroed in on your book marketing thoughts and the idea of "branding" - which I am in the process of ramping up in my own publication efforts. My close friend, Adrienne, is launching her new public relations mentoring business - she does online webinars and is doing her first 4 week class session starting next Thursday here in the US eastern standard time. She is great and tries out all her stuff on my business partner and me - which has helped us to grow our image and marketing plans. At the end of her class you'd have a solid foundation to move out and up. She helps you determine a strategy and calls herself The Strategic Storyteller. Helping YOU strategically tell YOUR story.

    Oh - and - side note to the comment you left me about the cat at the wheel you thought should be titled "road rage" - HA! Got that from google images - non-copyrighted image that was titled "road rage"!!!!


  7. Tourism to Egypt must be almost dead. That's the time to go!!! Please send the cash and I will go.

  8. Hi, Jenny -- Ireland has always been on the bucket list (if for no other reason, views like the one you showed of Cork and signs like the gravediggers!)

    Vernonica sounds fascinating -- I think that's every person's dream -- to be so respected that no advertising is needed!

    Glad BBC is still tracking. The book thing is interesting -- I think you might be right about a brand or at least style or genre. And that's a lot easier said than done in terms of pulling it all together!

    Watch your mailbox! Just sayin'...

  9. If the fee for digging the grave for your loved one is what some consider too high, perhaps they try to simply do it themselves. Not an easy task, i think; they will find it's a job worth the pay.

    May you get to Co. Cork soon for a visit!

  10. There's so much in this post, I hardly know where to start, but I will say I am very jealous of your friend. It must be wonderful to lead groups to places you yourself want to go! About the marketing site, I will take a look at that although I am a bit depressed about marketing at the moment, so am having some down time on that front. Lovely photos as always Jenny! Thanks for sharing a few of your favourites!

  11. I love that sign - only in Ireland - and you must go over while the sun shines. Cork and Kerry are simply beautiful (and I know a little cafe in Cahirviceen where they make wonderful chocolate cake!)

  12. Hmm... that note about gravedigging truly is mysterious!
    Love the picture of Sherkin Island, it really looks like something not quite from this world.

  13. I love Ireland - north and south. Last Autumn we went to see the Giants Causeway, it totally lived up to my expectations and more.

  14. I've never been to Ireland, possibly because I hear the weather there is much like it is here in Oregon and when I travel I often look for sunshine. But I haven't given up totally on the idea of traveling there.

  15. You've covered so many interesting things in this post, from fascinating Veronica to the frightfully intricate maze of bookmarketing.

    The grave digging sign is absolutely priceless! I'm sure it was written in earnest but it almost seems like a joke. Since my experience with grave digging is extremely limited,the Cork County Local Authorities won't have to worry about me.

  16. In the Hebrides (and possibly in many other parts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands) many graveyards are owned by the community and neither the local authority nor the churches have anything to do with burying the dead in them. People have been known to arrange gravediggers for deceased family members rather than ask the community gravediggers (who are experienced and know what they are doing and are unlikely to be injures or die if the grave collapses in on top of them). I suspect that the same applies in many parts of rural Ireland. So although the sign may appear bizarre to those who live where local authorities run the cemeteries it makes perfect sense to those who live in the areas I have mentioned.

  17. The Sherkin Island picture is just incredible! I am so impressed and also envious of your travel professional friend - so many places to go, so little time:) Wonderful, richness here, as always.

  18. Veronica sounds like the kind of person everyone wants to sit next to at a dinner party!

    Marketing yourself is a difficult thing for many people...

  19. I admire any long-term tour guide. I love being a virtual guide on the interwebs, but coping with real tourists? Oh heavens no.

    PS: Volunteer grave digger? It reminded me of the villagers who originally buried Masakado's head! :D

  20. Thank you, Graham. That makes sense of the gravedigging notice. I knew there must be a reason really.
    Yes, Veronica is the kind of person who is nice to sit next to at a dinner prty.
    Rurousha, had to laugh at your comment! :)
    Phew, Jon, that's a relief - hate to think of you having a wasted journey from Texas to Cork :D
    Yep, Stephen, the weather puts me off too. It's so utterly wonderful when it is nice though, Cork is so very pretty and magical.
    Val, hope you find something to cheer you up in the marketing post. I think the secret is to keep going. It can be so hard, though.
    Meike, Shelly, that was exactly what I thought about the photo too!
    Jo, anywhere with chocolate cake is an incentive ...
    Bonnie, I don't like to think what they might find if they dig long enough :)
    More comments soon. I'm getting dizzy scrolling up and down....

  21. When I first started working for councils in 1979, working conditions for all council manual jobs were set out in the "buff book" - it has always stuck in my mind that, with regard to grave digging, it stated that below the depth of 2.71m a plus rate of 7 1/2 pence per hour would be paid.

    As for volunteer grave diggers, perhaps people should hold grave-digging contests. It would be great for rural fetes.

  22. Jenny, I love the picture of Cork island! The point where the photo was taken is absolutely rightly.
    About graves digging I think it's joke, nothing more.
    Have a nice weekend!

  23. I also love the photo of Cork Island. I've never given oput my email address, it just seems too dangerous to me. I have my comments on moderation so if anyone wants to leave me a private message they just need to say it's that on a comment and I won't publish it.

  24. I do so love K's photo of Sherkin Island!

    It's interesting to read comments on the grave diggers! I learn something new today! :)

  25. I wish I had a friend like Veronica - love the idea of a personalised tour experience. Ireland is on my list of places to visit, particularly as some of my forebears came from there - the photo of Sherkin Island is quite entrancing, and epitomises how I imagine Ireland to be!

  26. About the Grave digging---Maybe there are quite a few people who think the island is a wonderful beautiful place to bury a loved one, and.....they try to go ahead and dig a grave themselves...right then and there----not sure where the body of their loved one is,

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog...It is very nice to meet you!

  27. LOts of interest to read in this post. The photo of the maze caught my eye. I"ve never been in one but they turn up occasionally in literature. Something kind of fascinating about them. I wonder how many are kept up/going these days.


  28. That's interesting about the community gravediggers. I haven't heard of that tradition here in Northern Ireland, so it must be mainly a Southern Ireland custom. And yes, Sherkin Island looks very surreal. Something about the weird rock formations and the unusual colours, I think.

  29. Okay--everything was fascinating and beautiful--peeked at the article link and was entranced--and then...grave digging warnings! what?! Now that is an absolute puzzle! LOL! :)

  30. Cork is indeed lovely, it would be great to back there.

    The gravediggers is/are a worry. Why?

    Sherkin island does look a bit "Out of this world", and I don't think it would be much fun living in that house in the middle of a winter storm.

  31. Well, it certainly looks like lots of things are happening in your life! As for marketing your book, surely your agent/publisher should help. I might be naive here. Oh, and the gravediggers sign is creepy. No such things in London, right?

  32. Not naive Muriel, just a bit out of date. Publishing has changed and authors do need to be up to speed on marketing. Publicists are of course extremely useful though. Maybe I'll write about this sometime in a post.

    Dominic, I love the idea of gravedigging contests, could see it catching on if the village decided to also make an effigy of what they wanted burned - can see many government policies being creatively represented, can't you?

    TSB I agree I wouldn't like to actually live there(specially not in a thunderstorm) but I'd love to have that view of the sea during a storm... maybe just stay there for a week or two? :)

    I like mazes too Darla though I find them a little worrying. There are quite a few in England that are kept up and I imagine there must also be many in the USA here and there.

    Old lady of the hills, i could not resist your blog, the name is so fascinating!

  33. Thank you, thank you ever so much for including that Word document in your post. I really enjoyed Veronica's article and photos. About Ireland, what can I say? Almost, almost went ten years ago but it just didn't happen. I would love to visit soon.

    Have a great week.

  34. For someone in need of working time you’ve given your usual generous dose of travel blog information. Thank you very much.

    A sign like that would make me want to go to Ireland, just to see if there are more of them and what they could possibly be saying.

  35. I haven't been to Ireland yet, this post has me planning a trip for the very near future

  36. Thanks for visiting my blog, Jenny. It was so nice of you to do so, and a very pleasant surprise. Please don't be a stranger in the future.

    I've got a lot of reading to do by the look of it! I enjoyed this particular pos; so I'll have to read through your earlier posts, as well. My paternal grandparents came from County Cork to Australia back in the early 1900s. After settling in Rockhampton, Queensland they began their family, of which I'm a by-product!

    Reading that sign about the dangers of grave-digging in County Cork explains where I got my quite insane sense of humour! ;)

  37. Much as I'd love a visit to Egypt, I admit to being more than a little anxious about the situation there. My daughter went to Jordan a few years ago and fell in love with it, I'm glad she went when she did. It's sad that so many places come with a health and safety warning these days.
    After seeing the photo of Sherkin island I can understand why so many Irish settled happily in Newfoundland. It seems to be hewn from the same rock, I thought at first that is where the photo you show had been taken.
    You sound like a busy lady, I hope inspiration keeps coming to you, without you having to burn the midnight oil!
    Newfoundland, Canada ...........

  38. I loved your blog, Lee, and will certainly be revisiting. Yes, Sheila, I don't think anyone would be visiting Egypt for fun now, it was a bit dodgy when Veronica was there earlier this year but nothing like now, unfortunately.
    Thank you to everyone for the great commments, as usual.

  39. Just had a delightful catch up, you have been very busy doing lots of interesting things, happy to be backing reading and commenting.


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