Saturday, December 29, 2012

Inocente, Inocente

Yesterday was Holy Innocents Day on La Palma, which is roughly the equivalent of April Fool's day in the UK. Since I had a headful of book translation, I couldn't think of anything to tease anyone with.

I got an idea this morning, when it's too late.

I bet I could have persuaded one or two people that the BBC's Sky At Night wanted to interview me about my book. For a few seconds, at least.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


On December 10th I ordered more copies of "A Breathtaking Window on the Universe" because stocks were getting low.  (What a wonderful problem to have!) The books left Seville on the 20th.

And yesterday I actually ran out of books.

So this morning I started editing the website, putting up "Temporarily out of stock" on all the relevant pages.

I'd just finished when I got a phone call. Could he come and deliver the books in 15 minutes?


Of course I've had to go back and re-edit all the web pages, but it was a very nice job to do and I didn't mind a bit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I had a really nice Christmas, thank you for asking.  I hope you did too.

We had the friends-with-a-tiny-oven over again.  We all ate to much and drank too much,
which was great. And at one point, I lay on the sofa and ate chocolate
while Carlos fanned me, which was bliss.

And now I have to get back to work on that translation.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hobbing with the Nobs

La Palma is the first place in the world to get official recognition as a Starlight Reserve and Starlight Destination. (You can get an explanation of this at

It's a big deal, and people have worked hard on it. So the Cabildo held a bit of a party to celebrate, and all the Starlight guides got invited.

I went of course.  Not for the speeches, but to clap, and congratulate people.

I found myself in rather posh company - not just the head of the Tourist Board, but also the President of La Palma, and the President of the Canaries, and the head of the Canarian Astrophysics Institute. The head of the observatory, and of several telescopes were there, as well as several of my Starlight Guide friends.

And to my surprise and delight, we also had really good performances by a pianist and singer, rhythmic gymnasts, and a choir.  And then we had wine and nibbles, and good conversations.

People said nice things about my book. Heck, the heads of the three biggest telescopes said nice things about my book, which didn't shrink my ego any.

And then someone asked how the translation was going. Which led me onto asking these three native Spanish speakers for a couple of things I was having horrible trouble with.  And then I had the pleasure of watching three prominent astronomers scratching their heads for me, and agreeing that actually they always used the English word for "override".

Which saved me a few more frustrating hours on the internet.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2nd Printing

Yippee!  The second printing has left the printers in Seville.

This is excellent, because I'm down to about 6 copies at home (although there's another 35 out on sale or return).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cold Turkey

I've been very busy with translating the book. So busy that I only intermittently surface and decide that I ought to do something about something, like sending out Christmas cards.

This morning I realised that Christmas Day is coming up like the ground at the end of a parachute jump. I've invited the friends-with-a-tiny-oven to come and eat turkey on Christmas day,  so it seemed like a good idea to make sure that we had a turkey.

I had the vague feeling that I'd left it rather late, right up until I went to the village butchers who told me that the deadline for orders was 2 weeks ago, and most f the turkeys had been delivered.  Very sorry and all that, but they couldn't help.


Three supermarkets later, I'm happy to report that we now have a frozen turkey on the freezer.

Next up, sprouts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Wonderful Problem!

My books arrived less than two weeks ago, and I'm already running out of copies.

The local tourist board bought a lot, bless them, and I've sold more in person and over the internet.  I've given some away as publicity, and some as presents, and three to the central library in S/C de Tenerife (which I had to do by law). I have 37 copies out on sale or return in various shops. And that leaves me with just 15 in stock!

So I've ordered more, which gave me a chance to fix the various typos that managed to sneak past four (count 'em!) proof-readers. Which is nice, because I'm thinking of entering "A Breathtaking Universe..." in a competition for self-published books, and I'll need a typo-free version by the end of January.

So I prepared a (hopefully!) typo-free version with help from EcoGeek and sent it off to the printers. then I had insomnia on Sunday night, from trying to decide how many copies to order. More copies means more expense up-front, but also more time before I have to worry about it again, and it also works out slightly cheaper per copy.  I decided on 100.

Then in the morning I got an email from the printers offering an extra discount on 200 copies.  I took a deep breath and ordered 200.

And then I wondered if I'd been silly.

And then I got two emails asking to buy the book, so I think it's going to be OK.

Saturday, December 01, 2012