Amazon

Whilst I am not the world’s greatest fan of Amazon, it is at least convenient in many ways. However, I have been told there are some issues with them cancelling orders for Finding Our Way Home and refunding the payment without any explanation.

I have not been contacted by Amazon about any problems there may be, so I have contacted them. As soon as I find out what is going on I’ll let you know.

I hope anyone who wants to buy a copy can wait until I’ve sorted it out. Many thanks to those of you who have already done so.

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The Preface to “Finding Our Way Home”

A long time ago my mother taught me to read. She thought it was a good idea. So did I. I could lose myself in wonderful stories of other worlds. This world always seemed to be such a disappointment. I still read whenever I can find the time and peace to do so.

Many years ago I became interested in alternative lifestyles. I remember a time when we all thought the world was going to end in a nuclear winter, now everything is going to melt. I suspect every generation has it’s own apocalyptic vision. That said, it is evident that modern western culture cannot continue consuming the world’s resources, at the rate it is, indefinitely.

We have a choice. We can either continue as we are and wait for disaster to force our hand, or we can start trying to change things. One ripple at a time. It seems ridiculous not to. The way British society works at the moment doesn’t seem to be very healthy, or happy. Surely it makes sense to start to make a happier, healthier world if we can.

Not to try isn’t really an option, is it? Anyway, talk is cheap, and this is me, talking on paper (or not, if you’re looking at a screen to read this). I have endeavoured to reference ideas when I could remember where they came from. Some have been with me so long that I can’t remember if I made them up or I read them somewhere.

I have read pretty extensively over the years. In my 30’s and 40’s I studied, and then taught, sociology and psychology. I read a lot of “pop” psychology before that. I’ve also read a smattering of philosophy over and above what was necessary for my degree. I have an abiding interest in media and cultural studies.

But for a large proportion of my life I read science fiction, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Katharine Kerr, Anne McCaffrey, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks, Ursula Le Guin, C J Cherryh, William Gibson, Elizabeth Moon, and many, many more.

In addition to the science fiction I read other fiction writers J R R Tolkein, H G Wells, Daphne Du Maurier, George Orwell, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, I even read Proust! So many different ideas, so many different possibilities. The dismal and the uplifting, the hopeless and the hopeful, the difficult and the easy, I read and absorbed as much as I could.

In the meantime I was trying to cope and make sense of life as I was experiencing it. I got involved with running a smallholding, and bringing up my daughter, my normality was very different from most people’s. I read about self-sufficiency, wrote poetry, fed the chickens, discovered permaculture, milked the goats, tried to overcome my aversion to eating meat, learned to spin…

So, it’s not really surprising if I come at things from a slightly different angle from most people. I always have done. I did even before that period of my life. I can remember my college economics lecturer explaining to me once that when he gave our class the choice of two essay titles, the rest of the students would choose one, and I would choose the other.

I guess I might just have been born ornery. Anyway, my mother is still telling me about the way things are, and I’m still saying “but they shouldn’t be”. In these pages I’m explaining why I think they are, and how I think they could be. I really wish they could be…

Publishing… 2

I feel like I have looked at thousands of websites to do with publishing and self-publishing. They all seem to have pretty much the same information and very similar expectations. Some of the self-publishing sites seem to hark back to the old “vanity press”, who would publish anything for a fee. Some seem to be more aware that not everyone has any money to put up front.

The thing is that the profit margins on most publishing are pretty slim, and getting slimmer. Conventional publishers are still trying to find that next international best seller. They don’t seem to remember that a surprisingly large proportion of publishing houses started because someone believed in an author that none of the existing publishing houses would take a chance on.

The years when a new creative talent would be encouraged and nurtured are long gone, not just in publishing but also in music, and, I suspect, in all the other creative arts. All these “creative” industries are no longer in touch with creativity, they are focused on the bottom line (money).

My bottom line is, I don’t have any money, I have very little time, and I don’t want to be a media superstar. I just want the chance to have my voice heard by a few more people than I can reach from my front room.