what not to say when someone you know has a book deal.



s o me b o d y  h a s   s  e  e n   i t


and we just Happened to have called them (such are the mysterious and delicious ways of Serendipity) and they whispered that they had a copy on their desk.

(they were near the Warehouse when the Shipment came in, ready to be sent, in large boxes we hope – apart from the kindle editions which will go wrapped in virtual-tissue-paper-with-japanese-sequins we are convinced)

and this is what they said.

“it’s really beautiful.”

did you hear that?


we were meant to be a grown-up at that point in the Telephone call but we had to pause as If we were thinking about something Useful for a future Point to be Made but actually we had to put a hand over the receiver (yes, it was the Princess Phone) and make sure our tears did not tumble over eyelashes and onto the laptop.

“it’s really beautiful.”


so it’s Real.

it now exists.

it has been an idea, a manuscript, a annotated mock-up, a pitch copy, a word doc with different iterations of edit notes from our Publisher in Manhattan (such a lovely phrase) and a package-to-be-sold (elegantly) by our Agent and now, well, now, it’s Real.

which means we are Almost an Author.

and there have been various reactions to this imminent event.

some of which have pleased us GREATLY (the delicious responses to articles that were written to promote, the kind previews from people who had access to Netgalley – quelle moderne)

and others?




those have made us cross.

but (said Very Brightly) all is not lost.

because we can Write about it Here.

let’s go back a tiny bit.

remember this post?

it’s one of our Most popular (and shared widely on the “social graph” as the MBAs opine which just means “a lot of people liked it and sent the link to their nice friends via tweets, facebook wall-thingies and old-fashioned-but-still-very-effective-Email and also through Google+ – especially if they live in Berlin or San Francisco and perhaps even an emoticon-over-the-top dashed off Instant Message or two – it has happened)

so we thought we’d do a Follow-Up and see if this amuses/helps too.

What Not To Say When Someone You Know Has A Book Deal (our answers interspersed so when this happens to you, you’ll have a riposte or two)

1. oh! really? (confused slightly angry pained stomach look) – I had no idea you wrote.

[this means, “I write. You were a Suit.”]

2. oh! really? how did YOU get a book deal?

[depending on the time you want to spend with this person, you could do the short version: “I wrote one.” or the longer exposition: “I blogged everyday, had a story to tell, took all the photographs, went through the surgery, and medical leave, kept writing, mocked up a book using blurb.com, sent out MANY letters to agents, had lunch, took people to lunch, was taken to lunch, accepted all introductions humbly and showed up with hair brushed and chapstick applied, sent thank you notes,  finished it, polished it, started a blog to promote it, found an audience, had it nicely typed with double spacing and a cover letter with marketing materials and plot lines and prospective audience segments and competitive set and requisite sales figures of similar books, kept writing, got signed by an agent, did ALL the revisions she suggested without complaining, kept writing, more revisions, let my agent do her job and didn’t pester her during the sales process, squealed on the street in manhattan when she left a darling message saying I had a book deal, sent her white roses to say thank you, met with the Publisher again, did LOTS of revisions, took more photographs as requested, more revisions and fact checking, kept writing, was patient, sent out 500 – yes – 500 – personal notes to people on a postcard with a cover of the book to ask them if they’d like to see a press copy or just to say thank you to them for inspiring me – including ALL Librarians who have helped us to a great education, kept writing, did more revisions, final fact checking, showed up whenever asked for press meetings, wrote articles to promote the book, didn’t complain, ever, kept writing, more thank you notes – that’s it, basically, that’s how we did it. Any questions?”]

3. will it be available in the shops?

[translation: did you really find a Real Publisher who ships to actual stores?]

4. when is it coming out? (we liked this one particularly when they professed to have enjoyed our 60 second promo video which clearly states the launch date but at the end so perhaps they never got that far)

[as much as we were DYING to bust them on not having watched the promo, we didn’t. “Feb 18th” was our only answer and “Yes, very excited.” *sighs*]

5. I have a manuscript. Well, not really a manuscript. I mean it’s not Finished. But I’ve sketched out a few ideas for a chapter or two. Just the final chapter really. I mean I know how it ends but not, you know, the Actual story………………..would you read it/send it to your agent/edit it for free?

[I’m not a literary agent. Or a publisher. And definitely not an Editor. So – When you’ve finished it, polished it, started a blog to promote it, found an audience, have it nicely typed with double spacing and a cover letter with marketing materials and plot lines and prospective audience segments and competitive set and requisite sales figures of similar books – sure, I’ll ask my agent if she wants to read it.]

6. I thought you had a proper job.

[translation: I’d love to leave my job but I’m terrified. How dare you do it and prove it’s possible.]

7. Bet you miss that salary in Manhattan. It’s not like anyone can actually make a living from writing anymore.

[actually we are.]

8. Oh. Yeah, I heard that you had a book or something. Send us a copy.

[translation: I’m not going to spend money buying your book. I’m far too important.]

9. But you’re still consulting, right? Just to be safe?

[translation: I hate my job. I hate that you love your life. How dare you.]

10. are you still writing that little blog? you did seem to enjoy writing it.

[no response. d e l e t e.]

11. Oh. is it only in American? I suppose it won’t get translated into other languages unless it really is something that sells extremely well.

[no response. but last time we checked the American domestic market with international sales was pretty healthy.]

Oh that felt SO GOOD!

wish we’d been honest years ago.

but there again we might not have needed a 5 and a half hour surgery to remove tumo(u)rs from our throat if we had been, like, Totally Honest all these years.

in other news.


while we wait for a preview copy of our own book *blush*, we sit in wonderment with Ms. Janet Flanner who makes for Extremely Entertaining company. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we read her very early in the morning before we start our day. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

also reading the Tales of another extraordinarily Adventurous writer. more on Annemarie Schwarzenbach soon’ish. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

there’s something so delicious looking at our own bookshelves, modest as they are, and imagining how excited our own book will be to nestle between Noel and Truman and Sybille…….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

or possible Plum Wodehouse and Cecil and Miss N. Mitford…..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

or Vita Sackville-West and Madame Spanier….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

talking of PARIS (which we always are when we mention Madame Spanier), we’ve been trying to Track people that we used to know whom we spent time with in Paris but to no avail, as yet.

we can hear their voice as a clear as a bell when somehow, someone tells them, that who-we-are-in-RL has a Book coming Out.


much twinkling will ensue.


and we think of our adventures that have taken us to other Continents and worlds beyond our knowledge thanks to that fancy job in Manhattan (and our own strangely compelling personality that Likes to Explore and Ask Lots of Questions). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a question we’ve been getting lately is: “are you having a book launch?”

and the answer is No.

for several reasons:

1. book launches are from the days before the Interweb when you needed a “Splash” in the Papers from all the book reviewers lurking in the dark corners of your Party with the cheap plonk and dodgy appetizers.

2. book launches are for photographs (and you know we’re not Awfully keen on being photographed).

3. book launches are where people might make comments (see above 1 – 10) and they’re Impossible to d e l e t e or movetospam/trash, unlike online *ironiceyebrowtocamera2*OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we take a little time to admire our prior personality with the much-longer-name which used to appear in magazines in the *gulps* mid-90s (this is the cover story of Punch if you were peering closely and wondered).

and we’ve met many a shy talented person to interview them in our former life (this is the wonderful Mr. David Sims)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then there’s You.

which is why we have a book at all.

because if we hadn’t stayed here – especially with our Throat bound post-surgery when we could-not-talk – and Told You what it was like to go through it all and come out the other side – we might have Put it Behind Us (which it what an Awful lot of people told us to do) and then, well, then, we’d never have had the confidence to keep going and Write a Book. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

so we’ll keep writing.

because you are here.

and we can have a launch party of our very own.


thank you for listening.


How To Stay Sane In A Crazy World (the book promo!)


we DID IT!

funny enough, we had Another idea (before this one of a simple slideshow with some cute inter-titles like in the silent movie days) and we went to visit our friend “Dub” Williams and had a “script meeting”; which was very nice because he has such an interesting Take on things (as well as an incredible View).

IMG_8771this is one of Dub’s latest piece of artwork – isn’t it splendid? limited edition prints are available via the interweb (so modern!)

do you recall our prior creative engagement with Mr. Dub?

wasn’t that a fun evening?

which is sort of why we asked him if he could help with the Prep for our Promo this afternoon.


so we sat and talked a while and Dub drew and we actually did some filming of him drawing and it was fun but it wasn’t quite working when we came to review the footage.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and yet what Helped the most was talking through Everything and generally feeling heard and seen as a Creative Person. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

while smiling a Lot at the postcard on Dub’s drawing board.


this is the view from Dub’s pad. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

creative people live here, you can tell. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and he was hard at work when we left.

to come home and edit.

and VOILA!

we’re so pleased.


do you really like it?


would you – *gulps* – feel like sharing it on your own site (or a friend’s place if you’re still waiting to get a room of your own)

(if you need help sharing the link, feel free to ask in the comments below – we love to be helpful).

it’s also available on Vimeo:

and now we wait.

because apparently the “first bound” books will be arriving *gasps* by the end of this month and we are Faint with Anticipation.

you’ve been so kind to stay with us this long.

we do appreciate it.



hello, jo’burg!




this gave us Pause for Thought (although we’ve seen something similar down south in the US of A)

but do you know the Nicest thing about having an International Career?


we have delightful friends, like Sbu (seen here wearing some fierce shoes, carrying a chic bag), to meet for tea in almost every city we’ve ever been to.

and we learned to say “Impilo!” which means to health/life! (in Zulu)

historical context is Terribly Important to us so we also asked for a quick lesson in 18th Century warriors (because we adore the 18th century as you know) and where on South African Radio we might get to talk about our book (yes, yes, we’re on the Publicity trail wherever we go, darlings).

and apparently the best place is on Jenny Crwys Williams show which looks a lot like the SA answer to Women’s Hour (BBC, doff cap) so we’ll be sending Ms. Williams a note shortly.

now we MUST listen to who-we-are-in-RL rehearse her speech (she’s on mid-morning tomorrow and needs her beauty sleep).

night, darlings.

did you have a good monday wherever you are?

is it cold yet in your part of the Planet?

sweater/jumper/cardi cold or like overcoat bought from a thrift shop in the mid-80s Madonna-in-new-york Russian style freezing?

antidote to a tiny disappointment


we had a Tiny Disappointment today.

just a little bruised feeling, tis all.

You understand, we know.

So – what is to be Done to cheer ourselves up?

well, let’s see.

how about twilight in the library?


and pausing on the corner of La Brea and Melrose to watch the sunset before reading a collection of short stories by sylvia townsend-warner in a small cafe?


and learning more about precious people who love Piaf and Robert Palmer and lusty espressos in Paris and American art magazines back home (D – the responses are splendid!)

while Other wonderful friends are walking the dog(s) in soft pale olive groves

a beauteous friend is Juicing Art in Berlin.

while someone Brave and glorious across town from The Juicer is starting a revolution.

and we have some new poetry to examine and relish and adore from Your Comments to an Earlier Post

there was a Long Chat with someone delicious in Manhattan to Talk and laugh and giggle a little into the back cushions on the soft sofa.


so – disappointing news?

Quelle disappointment?


all. gone/


sweet dreams, darlings.



fabulous friday with friends (and more forms than we care to mention).


we started the day Early with some Very Nice work calls and had a renewed appreciation of our surroundings – considering they will be Packed up in 7 days (slight change to Plan – we Fly on the 12th now). 968c0f8a55e111e2a67a22000a9f3cad_7

then some making-of-a-parcel for our Niece (oh yes, did we not tell you of our Aunt status? such fun. so many possibilities to Grow and Change into Mame at some future point). e8b00cd4569111e2a9d822000a9e29af_7

and then the Friday unfolded.

first the newspaper – and then Tales from Friends. efea7002567311e28dc722000a1fbcbc_7

we took our Parcel (for the Niece that doesn’t yet know about us wanting to be Auntie Mame but the time is Almost Right to broach the subject on a Trip Abroad) and Other Letters (including asking the lovely ladies at Persephone if they could change our Address for the Biannually – as we really Did enjoy the May arrival of the aforementioned Biannually.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a small catch up with some Library Books (more on Djuna soon – we promise). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and sighing over the almost-empty-sample-pots from Farrow and Ball that will have to be emptied or disposed of (safely) as they cannot get Tossed around in the Truck across America (safely). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More Forms (than we care to Mention – some of the Admin, tis true, was done on the Interweb but some of it was just Too Complicated or Didn’t Work and we got cross and had to get actual paper forms – felt very 1930s with a black ballpoint pen.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then we took another trip outside (in 24 degrees which apparently is MINUS TWO in old money – good grief – no wonder we’re so bloody chilly). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut all was Not Lost.

we spent a beautiful evening with friends.

and there was a Chandelier.


don’t you, darlings?

makes one feel so Hopeful and twinkly and quite bursting with happiness and excitement.

#eastcoastportraits – mary-in-brooklyn

it feels like we’re starting to say our goodbyes now – what with the holiday season fast upon us, the trip to LA (1.0 to find housing, car and where our new-life-will-land), then back to NY to pack and then……..leave.

so we needed to make sure we are capturing as many people we love as possible for our #eastcoastportraits series and that meant a Trip to Brooklyn to see Mary-in-Brooklyn

the crisp air required a Lot of warmness in scarves and the bright clear sky demanded (kindly) a good pair of sunglasses so we both headed out to explore Brooklyn and find a tattooed/street-art wall for a suitably gritty-yet-fabulous background. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

quick story about Mary-in-Brooklyn.

she used to be in Manhattan and worked in a very nice (quite modest) skyscraper with a lovely art deco’ish lobby and an office with-a-view and a telephone.

the telephone is the important bit.

because one day we called (as who we are in-realLife) and said:

would you like to visit Our Skyscraper – big fan of your work – there’s a project coming up to pitch – shall we have tea?

and she was surprised because usually in the land-of-ambition-and-tall-buildings-and-stress there’s a Certain Protocol which usually involves very complicated sets of meetings and PowerPoint slides and paper clips and fussing in the elevator to meet-the-client and waiting-for-ever-for-a-response and getting someone else to put-in-a-good-word and so on.

but no.

we cut through all that.

Mary was a Very senior Person at a good firm and we’d read about her work and the firm’s reputation and thought we’d dispense with the Traditional way of doing Business (how refreshing!).

so we picked up the Telephone and dialed.

and the project was a success and well, we both won a global award for it (quelle delicious!)


and now we’re friends.

we’ve been friends since we worked on the Project (which, if you are involved in Projects, you will know is Not always the case so we’re grateful for the Friendship).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and Mary has great cheekbones which photograph so Well.

(always a most enjoyable thing to find in a subject – and a friend).

we stopped a while by the River and looked out at Manhattan across the watery-way and mused on how Far our lives have come in almost-seven-years.

and where and when and how and what will happen next. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the great thing is that we will have many more telephone calls and teas and walks around cities to talk about where-we-now-are in our Lives.

which is the greatest thing about having friends.

the passage of time and the bubbling excitement of seeing each other move into the next Chapter.


or – yeah (slow nod) – c o o l

(as the hip people in brooklyn say).

a quiet moment of reflection in the library at the st regis

It must have been the afternoon nap – such a pleasant thing to do – drifting off after a delicious lunch and something Very Interesting on Radio 4……….and then we drowsed into slumber, pulling the soft gray/grey/DiorShade closer until……it was time to rouse oneself and head to the swimming pool and then supper uptown with nMP.

But now we are Wide Awake. 

So we took the long way home; walking a little with nMP who gave us some cherubs for Christmas #divine


And he slipped into the subway but we needed to walk ourselves into quiet reverie again…..

and So took in the clever creative splendo(u)r of fifth avenue.



We must say that Bergdorfs outdid themselves this year!

Oh! Fifth Avenue was all sparkles and festiveness and Joy to the World and friendly and foreign (not a native new yorker heard until we stepped into the hotel)


We always seem to end up popping into the St Regis for a deep sigh and a chandelier and a sense of elegant decorum and a silver pot of hot chocolate and a moment by the christmas tree and the gently flickering fire…..



This is our last New York Christmas.

And it is perfectly beautiful already.

Happy December 1st darlings. 


And a moment of quiet reflection for those we have lost.

an unexpected pleasure.

you have a brand!


we definitely have a Voice.

being gloria has made being the person-we-are-in-real-life So much Nicer.

the exclamation was from our Very Chic business dinner guest whom, recently, we trusted with the knowledge that we are gloria and when we gave her one of our new postcards she smiled and said “you are a brand”

Such an Amusing thought.

Now to the more usual fare – pictures from our day, darlings.

We swam, we brunched, we walked to meetings and back and slipped into the Lincoln center for a sculptural moment in admiration. Lots of the Day Job and then a glam business supper. Home now. Tired beyond belief. But happy.


Then today’s #photoofthedaychallenge was #somethingyoumade



It’s the original screenplay where we first started talking – as gloria, darlings.

Such fun.

sunday evening blues: yoga, hot milk and Paris Vogue 1930

partly it’s the rain’s fault ;)

we detest Rain.

partly it’s the dread of showing up to the Day Job tomorrow where we feel pressure to be “fixed” so “everything can go back to normal”.

and mostly it’s just sunday night blues with the sun going down earlier and earlier and the heating in the building isn’t yet turned on so there’s a chill indoors and bulky layers mean a less-streamlined look which leads to you-know-what in the brain department (fat alert, darlings).

so here’s what we did (because feelings come and go and there’s Always Good Actions to take):

went out and saw some friends and told the Truth about how we feel (especially not feeling tiptop and aware that Some people want us to put the Surgery and Everything behind us ASAP).

came home, lit candles, turned off all the lights, deep breathing and into a proper restorative yoga practice (we studied for a while last year) – all wrapped up in soft fleecey layers while listening to one of those “soothing sounds” CDs with whale music and the odd deep chime and some awfully nice monks chanting


a lot.

(“better out than in” as they used to say During the War)

and now we’re going to warm up some milk in our oh-so-rustic-Conran-french-white-milkpan (tush! we avoid microwaving if at all possible) and Run A Bubble Bath (when all else fails……..a bath will work)

writing to you helps.

what do You do when you feel the blues descend?

do tell.

we’d love to listen.

*btw, darlings, the picture is called Divers from Paris Vogue 1930 and the photographer is H-H (we can’t remember his name and we’re on the smartypantsphone – oh wait – we can search – hold on – BRB as they say………

Here you go! Hoyningen-Huene!


and we have it on Reliable Authority that the male model was his one-time protege and lover, Horst


random factoid: when team gloria was Awfully Young and Rather Naïve, we started a magazine (with our lovely friend GM) at University called The Aesthete (don’t mock us – we are terribly sensitive) and we used this photograph as our first back cover (naughty – no we didn’t ask permission #sigh)