"It's A Stray Dog's Life" has been published
A journey without end
It's finally happened. After years of dreaming I'm now a published author. It feels incredibly surreal. The emotions I'd expected to go through really didn't happen as I was too busy sending out press releases, updating social media, panicking I'd forgotten something and ironing out a few last minute glitches that I'm sure every author goes through. Thanks to some excellent help we got there in the end and messages started to arrive from friends telling me they'd bought the book. My target was to sell one copy. One of my friends outdid that by buying 5!
Strangely, as the photo shows, I'm not sure Princess was all that impressed when I showed her a signed, framed copy of the front cover. Ear tickles and dog treats were far too distracting for her. It's been one of those weeks in that respect.
There are some people here in Turkey that have been a great help since the day I wrote the first word of the book. The enthusiasm and friendship they showed when I gave them signed posters was a touch overwhelming. A few own restaurants or bars and have put them up in pride of place where everyone can see them. Adding the website address may have been a good idea afterall!
The best moment was visiting my oldest friend and her young daughter to give them a new picture for their wall. The four-year old daughter suddenly started singing in Turkish. Her Mum told me she'd just made up a song about stray dogs. How I didn't cry is beyond me.
Publication day arrived and I was exhausted. Messages from friends kept me going through those moments I'd started to wish I'd never started this journey. A standout moment was speaking to a new friend I've made on this journey who is a veteran of the industry. I asked him if he'd ever felt how I was feeling in these down moments. The answer of "every time one of my books comes out" refilled my fuel tanks on the spot. It also made me reflect on this journey I'd dreamed of since I was a young child.
What had been the best part?
It wasn't finishing writing the book as that came with a sense of relief. It wasn't arriving at launch day as I was far too busy. It wasn't even the moment a journalist messaged me to say they'd had a stupidly high number of hits when they'd posted the story to social media, although it did make me grin for a while. In fact it wasn't a single definable moment in the process.
The highlight has been how many friends I've reconnected with and the new friends I've made. The support of the writing community on social media should, also, never be underestimated. It's like joining a giant family. One example of this togetherness Ive felt throughout was seeing a post on an unrelated social media page liking the announcement of the book coming out. I was sure I knew the name and I was right. It has been 12 years since I'd last seen a particular friend from Saudi. How strange we've both reconnected after ending up in the same part of the world. Now that's what social media is for!
"What about the dogs and cats?" i hear you shout. They're all ok and have had lots of cuddles and treats this week. The weather has been a little up and down so Princess has spent her days in the house enjoying the company and then snoring away in her tent at night. Smokey the cat ensured I missed even more sleep last night as she, somehow, made her way onto my bedroom balcony and made it clear she wanted to come inside. I have no idea how she climbed up there but the effort deserved the cuddles she received in return. I think she may be getting jealous that Lucky is curled up next to Princess in the tent.
The rest of the gang are doing well and making sure they get my attention whenever they see me. It's been like that a lot this week!
So there we go, it's finally happened. I'm a published author. The world will never be the same again.
An Important Postscript
I thought long and hard about whether or not I should post an update to the blog at the moment. The events in Ukraine make everything else seem unimportant. My friend who lived and worked in Ukraine managed, after several days in traffic jams, to cross the border and is now safely back in the UK with his family. Many other haven't been that fortunate including over 950 employees at wix.com (the host of this website and blog) who have done so much to help me over the past few months. I finally made the decision to proceed as the blog highlights friendship and that is what we all need. To everyone in Ukraine and those that have had to leave we stand with you and our thoughts and prayers are with you at this terrible time.