Wednesday, 18 July 2018

It's publication day!

It's finally arrived. Today is the day that Stripped-back Yoga is released into the wild. This evening, I'm having a launch event at Rushton Hall, which is one of the venues where I teach; then a week on Saturday I'm holding a one-off class at the place where I held my very first proper class. To say I'm excited is an understatement! My yoga friend Angela has just rung to reassure me it's all going to be all right and I must remember to breathe.

However, it's also a regular working day, and I have two classes to teach and an issue of Logistics & Transport Focus to proofread. Must dash.

About the book
Stripped-back Yoga is a collection of my thoughts about yoga to be dipped in and out of when you have a couple of minutes to spare. Some of the pieces are about practical aspects, but it's not a 'how to do yoga' book. Much of it is simply my opinion and observations, so I hope it will appeal to those who practise yoga and those who don't.

At £7.99, it will be available from my website and from, as well as from Amazon's Kindle store.

Sunday, 8 July 2018


'Schmooze: to chat in a friendly or intimate manner, especially at a social gathering'

Yes, that covers it; that's what I've been doing recently. I can't really call it networking, because that sounds very businesslike and professional, when what I've actually been doing is drinking wine with arty types at various locations around the county.

On Friday evening, for instance, I was at a book launch for Silencing Anna by Sadie Mitchell, a local author I met at a social evening run by the publisher who is handling my yoga book. (Get you, missus!) This is the first book by this author, but I'm sure it won't be the last, It's a disturbing psychological thriller - and if I tell you the blurb includes the killer line:
 'Only Anna knows the truth, but Anna cannot speak' 
I'm sure you'll want to rush out and buy a copy.

It was a lovely evening (gin van available, for those that way inclined), with a good turnout and lots of convivial chat and,  most importantly, a queue to pay for a copy of the book.

Silencing Anna is available from Amazon  or direct from the publisher.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

National Writing Day

Today is National Writing Day, a collaborative initiative between First Story and partner arts and literacy organisations across the UK. It is supported by Old Possum’s Practical Trust and Arts Council England.

I didn't hear about this until it was too late to get involved in any events (maybe next year?). However, there is some good stuff on the website - for example, under the 'Resources' tab there are ideas for students of all ages. There is also 'Write Away', which invites us to write freely for seven minutes from the prompt:

'I feel most free when I...'

OK? Off you go.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Reflections on recent 'appearances'

While they're still fresh in my mind, here are my reflections on the 'writerly events' I mentioned on Sunday.

The bookstall at the garden centre taught me some valuable lessons:
  • I need to be more assertive when it comes to promoting my books
  • While it is always lovely to meet new people, you can waste an awful lot of time listening to someone drone on about their own ambitions when you know full well they have no intention of buying a book
I'm undecided whether this was a worthwhile use of my time. I did meet some interesting passers-by and all of us sold some books (and we made a donation to Marie Curie from our takings), but it was a very long afternoon. The jury is out.

Holding forth
I have no such qualms about the talk I did at Towcester Library this afternoon. Certainly the audience was on the small side, since many of the library's regulars had chosen to celebrate Father's Day early. No matter. After a sticky start, I ended up with an audience of ten, which was fine. After all, they had no idea what to expect!

Milena, who had arranged the event, was the perfect host and made me feel very welcome. I should love to go back and do another talk, if she'll have me. I sold some books, made some useful contacts and discovered connections with people I didn't know before today. I'd definitely chalk this up as a success.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Publication day is getting closer!

Here it is: the cover of my forthcoming book. What do you think? The painting was done by Malcom Parnell, who is an author as well as an artist. I'm so pleased with it. I shall try not to bombard you with nothing but marketing ploys in the coming weeks, but I am a bit excited, as this yoga book has been in the making for quite a while. This is the blurb: 

If you’re a fan of yoga with animals, this book might annoy you.
There’s a lot of yoga about these days. Most of it is wonderful; some of it is not. Long-time yoga teacher Julia Thorley has collected her thoughts on what she has learned on her mat. Some of the pieces are about practical aspects of yoga and others are a bit ranty, because there’s a lot about the modern yoga world that rubs her fur the wrong way. Her opinions are not always humble and may well make you cross, but some should raise a smile and might give you pause for thought.
Take a comfy seat – it doesn’t have to be in the Lotus position – and make up your own mind.

I've got a couple of writerly events this week. On Thursday, I'm sitting on a stall with other members of Northants Authors at a garden centre in Northampton (bet J K Rowling has never done that), where we shall talk to 'our public' and, it is to be hoped, sell some books. Then on Saturday, I'm guest speaker at Towcester Library, talking about writing and stuff.

Interesting times.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

It's oh so quiet

My editorial clients must have decided to extend the Bank Holiday weekend by an extra day, because my email account and phone are quiet today. This is good, because it means I've been able to spend all morning writing. I'm working on a short story, but it's taken a rather depressing turn, so I'm having a break to post here and then I shall go for a quick walk round the block to lift my spirits.

My weekend went well. I went to a poetry group meeting on Friday evening. On Saturday, I played my ukulele at the grand opening of a bandstand-cum-covered seating area in the afternoon and then in the evening went to a performance of M R James stories in our local art gallery. On Sunday, I taught my creative writing workshop as planned. All good.

Yesterday, I pottered. This included taking a saw to my lilac tree. It's still standing, but it's letting in much more light than it was this time last week.

I usually teach yoga on a Tuesday evening at a local hotel and spa, but I've just had a message to say the electricity has gone off over the whole site, so I have an unexpected night off. I could go to Zumba, or I could watch King Lear, which I recorded last night so I could watch Car Share in real time. I'm such a culture vulture.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

We're in the money (not)

I have friends getting rich doing jobs they hate; I have other friends you live happily on next to nothing. Most of us, I suspect, are somewhere in between.

When I was at college, I worked in a cake shop every Saturday in the days when we had to add up in our heads and wrap crusty bread in tissue paper. (I am very old.) On Sundays I worked in a petrol station, which involved filling up customers' cars in the sub-zero temperatures of a Staffordshire winter. I used to get so cold it made my nose bleed. Then during the holidays I would also work in a factory, standing on a line packing biscuits. At least this was warm and we could eat as many custard creams as we wanted to, a novelty that wore off after a couple of days. I earned enough to keep me in eyeliner and concert tickets, but there were some very grim days amongst the good ones.

The latest newsletter from the ALCS includes a profile of author Peter May, who gives an honest account of how much he earns. He is a full-time writer and his annual income is - wait for it - £11,000. While the J K Rowlings of this world earn the big bucks, most of we jobbing wordsmiths are just bobbing along, poor but relatively happy.