Friday, January 31, 2014

February Giggle Blog (a few hours early)

A cycle shop, Spokes And Saddles, is mentioned in my book, Racing Start. I had to dream up that name when the book was written in the late 1980s. A few years later we used the name when we opened our own cycle shop – and this is where the Giggle part of the blog comes in. We had a silly competition to see who would be Salesperson of the Month. The guys always seemed to win because customers preferred to buy a bike from a bloke. However, one month…

Every Saturday a special needs lad would come into the shop and ask about prices. Every Saturday I would write down the prices of bikes, saddlebags, bells, pumps, puncture repair kits etc for him. His dream was to, one day, own a bike. One day when he came in and we were going through the prices, again, I told him about a very special offer we had on some Muddy Fox pumps. I wrote down the price on his list and watched as he reached into his pocket and came out with the cash. He wanted a pump and he hadn’t got a bike!

I tried to tell him to save his money for a bike but he insisted so I had to sell him a pump. He went out of our shop delighted. And I received the award of Salesperson of The Month. I think it was given me because I felt bad about letting this boy spend his money on something useless so imagine my joy when a girl with problems came in and asked if someone could ‘punch’ her tyres up for her because she didn’t have a pump.

One boy with a pump and no bike. One girl with a bike and no pump. How I itched to bring them together. Sadly, Dear Reader, I never managed it.

You weren’t looking for a happy ending were you?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And 23 years later...

Once upon a time, way back in the days of typewriters, I decided to write a book about cycling. I had seen a whole series of books for pre-teens called Sports Fiction. There were books on football (obviously), tennis, swimming, cricket… all sorts of sport. Only cycling was missing. I wrote to the publishers, Blackie & Son Ltd, offering to fill the gap. At this early stage of my writing career I’d never produced anything more than a thousand words. My letter was posted and I forgot all about it until, one afternoon, I received a phone call asking how I was getting on with my book. It was Blackie calling. I lied to them saying it was half done. They asked to see it. Panic! I lied some more.
            ‘It’s typed on the back of old letters and bills,’ I said, and then to make things worse, added, ‘and it’s in red ink.’ Remember those typewriter ribbons with black at the top and red at the bottom? 
            They agreed that I could send them the book when it was finished but warned that this was not an offer. If another book on cycling arrived before mine they'd consider that too. I put down the phone and started to write it. Six weeks later I posted it to them.
            A year after that I received an acceptance letter. The book would be published in two year’s time. There was very little re-writing to be done, they said. I forgot about it and carried on writing short stories and articles for women’s magazines.
            A few months before publication date another letter arrived requesting my presence, with manuscript, at Blackie’s offices. I bought a new outfit and shoes and set off, spending the entire day with an editor, working through my script, page by page. Then it was back home to do that ‘very little rewriting’.
            In 1991 the book appeared. It even sold reasonably well but I was ahead of time. Cycling wasn’t the popular sport it is today. Because it is now so popular I decided to completely update the book, Racing Start, and have it produced as an e-book. So, after  nearly a quarter of a century it’s once again available. It’s themes are cycling, naturally, and bullying.



Thursday, January 09, 2014

For young cyclists everywhere

If you know a child who loves cycling and dreams of racing.
If you want to know how a young person can get into the sport.
If you are any of the above and want a good story to go along with all the facts then this is the book for you.

Friday, January 03, 2014

January Giggle Blog

Heard on local radio during the recent storms – ‘As long as there are clouds in the sky it will continue raining’.
Anyone know where clouds go when they’re not in the sky?