My friend Miriam lives in Manhattan so whenever I visit New York I always try to see her. Miriam used to live in London (that’s where I met her) she’s a writer and an ex-journalist and she encouraged me to write my first novel Purple. After a quick change I take a shortcut through Grand Central Station (one of my favourite buildings) to meet her for pizza. Seems like everyone in Manhattan is short of time. A New York minute is an instant. Or as Johnny Carson once said, it’s the interval between a Manhattan traffic light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn.
I’m airline cabin crew (flight attendant if you’re American) and this is one of my favourite ways to deal with jet lag. A Hong Kong foot massage! Reflexology helps to relieve tension and treat illness. I don’t know the exact science but I do know that it makes me feel great. After sixteen hours on my feet it’s the perfect recovery. This was my first video and that’s why it’s filmed in portrait instead of landscape. Danny Boyle isn’t shaking in his shoes just yet 😉
Goodbye, bye-bye, goodbye, bye-bye…keep smiling…repeat 300 times. It usually takes ten minutes for everyone to disembark a jumbo jet.
I’ve been doing this long haul flying job for twenty-four years and i sometimes wonder how many people i’ve said goodbye to. I must have said goodbye to tens of thousands of people from all over the planet. Some of them couldn’t speak English. Most of them smile and nod in response. Many of them say goodbye to me. Occasionally i get a high five or a handshake. A few frazzled souls look straight through me but who can blame them.
No matter what the adverts promise, it’s not a joyful experience jetting long haul, especially in economy. The noise, the cramped conditions, the lack of control. At best it’s bewildering and disorientating. A man who’d been staring out the window for hours once asked me, “What’s that grey area we’re flying over?” It was the wing. Despite the conditions, I’ve only ever witnessed one incident of air rage. Because complete strangers can be packed like hotdogs into a tin can and remain polite for fourteen hours i have hope.
A couple of weeks ago, after all the goodbyes, i found myself in New York City on a twenty-four hour layover. Perfect timing because my good friend Paul was attending his United States citizenship ceremony and i’d been invited. I met Paul, his wife Miriam and her parents on a windy street in Manhattan at seven thirty the following morning and queued politely with countless others. Crotchety security personnel, X-ray machines and body scanners temporarily transported me back to work, but once inside i was relieved when a happy official handed me my own USA flag. I wondered if attendees at a United Kingdom citizenship ceremony would be handed a Union flag and decided they probably wouldn’t. In the UK Scotland is planning a vote on independence and we could end up going our separate ways.
It took a while to get started because of paperwork and formalities. Friends and family sat behind the two-hundred-or-so citizens-to-be and conversed in whispers, a bit like a theatre audience waiting for the lights to go down. It fascinated me that those about to take the pledge of allegiance came from fifty different countries: Bali, New Zealand, Ireland and Iran to name a few. It would be trite to mock the God Bless America sing-along part of the ceremony, so i won’t, but i will admit to finding it schmaltzy.
Other moments were surprisingly moving. The bits that moved me weren’t obvious. They were unofficial. They were the smiles passed between family members and loved ones. The hugs, kisses and cheers that signified the end of a long road. A road which could have resulted in separation. I even spied a gay couple, loved-up and radiant with relief, who could now look forward to the rest of their lives together. According to Miriam and Paul the road to a USA passport is strewn with doubts, worry, exams and paperwork.
I left the government building thinking about those who are separated by more than geographical borders. Religion, war, hatred, bigotry and daft bureaucracy to name a few. I read recently that it will take an alien invasion for the people of Planet Earth to unite, but i’m wondering if we can wait that long. Why don’t our world leaders get together and arrange Planet Earth Citizenship? In the name of love I think it’s what we need. If those in power can’t organise world peace then i’ll have to cross my fingers for a magical intervention. I’m imagining a Purple storm that circles the planet in minutes and steals everyone aged eighteen to sixty-five.
Wanna sign up for Planet Earth Citizenship? The only requirements are love and an email address! See the box top left 🙂
I’ve been trying to sell my novel Purple for the past two years and I have to admit it’s not been a thrilling experience. There’s something about self-promotion that makes me feel uneasy. Whether it’s person to person or via social media I often find myself tongue-tied and self-conscious. Twitter and Facebook don’t excite me and I’m not inspired to write regular blogs. When I do get free time I want to spend it working on my next novel. I know I’m not unique…there are loads of writers who feel the same way.
Writing can be lonely. I’m not the kind of person who can sit in a coffee shop and knock out a couple of chapters over a latte. Most of the time I need solitude, but there’s a danger this can lead to isolation.
I told my friend Paul about this predicament and he immediately came up with an answer. Paul’s a talented artist and he’s used to selling his work. “Maybe you could switch off the computer and try something different?” he said.
Paul suggested a walking tour of central London handing out flyers. His idea to take a route that incorporated many of the locations mentioned in Purple was truly brilliant.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we met at London Bridge Station. Our journey took us along the South Bank to the Tate Modern (where we stopped for lunch). We headed over Waterloo Bridge, through Theatreland, into Covent Garden and Soho. Next stop was Leicester Square and then the Underground to Clapham Common. Clapham is where the Purple action begins and ends – if you want to know more you could always read the book 🙂
I want to say a massive thanks to my mate Paul who came with me and to all the lovely people we met along the way. It was a brilliant day and my most enjoyable marketing experience to date. We distributed nearly one thousand flyers and three days later Purple appeared in two of Amazon’s bestseller charts!
I’d call that a huge success!
Thank you Lynn Worton for taking the time to read and review Purple on your brilliant blog! Writing can be a hard slog sometimes with moments of annoying self-doubt. I’m working on something new and lately I’ve been struggling to stay focused. I’m regularly blown away by people’s generosity and encouragement, and reviews like this clear away the confusion and keep me believing. Thanks, Lynn, this came at just the right time!
Lynn is an avid reader and reviewer and loves different genres. Her favourites are: Fantasy, YA, Dystopian, Thrillers, Mystery, Romance/Erotica, Action, Adventure, Crime, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Paranormal, Supernatural, Children’s books and some Horror. Here’s a link so you check it out for yourself.
Here’s what Lynn has to say about Purple.
Purple by Graham J. Sharpe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This YA Fantasy book was an unexpected delight to read! I really enjoyed it. There are four main characters, Ellie, Midge, Scott and Marty. I liked them all very much. Ellie is a very level-headed young lady. Midge came across as a bit of a clumsy clot, but I found her bumbling quite endearing. Scott is an enterprising young man, with a good head for business. And Marty is a fine young man who has flashes of inspiration at odd moments.
Set in London, England, this tale was extremely eerie in places. I found that I couldn’t put it down! Imagine waking up to find that all adults from the ages 18 to 65 have disappeared. This would be a teenager’s dream, or so you would think! These four characters find themselves being drawn into a mystery that brings them together on adventure into the spiritual and metaphysical.
There are some very unusual characters in this book that also play their part. Mr. Rupert, an 84 year-old hairdresser, Pearl, an outspoken tea lady and June, a psychic. These characters all have their quirks, but I really liked Mr. Rupert. He made me laugh!
As this story is told from four points of view, the reader gets to see each of the main characters and how their lives are affected by the Purple fog. There are several twists and turns that surprised me, and kept me reading until the end.
Graham J. Sharpe has written an entertaining and thought provoking read. He has imbibed his story with charm and wit, but it also has an important message for the young readers. I highly recommend this book to young readers between the ages of 11 and 16, but adults would enjoy this book too! – Lynn Worton
I’m still over the moon to announce that Purple is a winner in the 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards 🙂
I’ve now received official notice, and my certificates, from Linda F. Radke, President of Five Star Publications. Here’s what Linda has to say…(it sounds much better coming from Linda because if I said this I’d sound like a big show-off-smarty-pants).
“Judges of the 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards contest, which recognizes excellence in children’s literature, have spoken, and Purple by Graham J. Sharpe won first place in the Young Adult Fiction category. It was also placed second in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category and second-tie in the Spiritual/Religious category.
“Winning any place in the Purple Dragonfly Contest is a huge honour because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score of 72 out of 80 must be earned for a first-place award, 64 out of 80 for a second place and 56 out of 80 for an honourable mention – even if it is the sole entry in a category,” explains Linda F. Radke, president of Five Star Publications, Inc., the sponsor of the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. “Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”
‘Purple’ is a fantasy novel set in modern day London. Originally intended as young adult fiction it’s now receiving reviews from readers of all ages. With a cast of quirky characters and plenty of sharp dialogue this paranormal mystery beautifully combines the supernatural with a touch of humour to create an inspirational adventure with a spiritual message. It can be purchased from Amazon as an eBook download or paperback.’
For a complete list of winners including first and second places and honourable mentions, visit www.FiveStarBookAwards.com and click on “Winners.
I’m over the moon to announce that Purple is the winner of the 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards – Young Adult Category. Purple was also placed Second in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Category and Second-Tie in the Spiritual/Religious Category. It’s an honor to be included in such a talented group of
If you’re a girl in Pakistan you’re denied an education and if you’re a woman in Saudi Arabia you’re not allowed to drive a car. If you’re a gay couple in the UK then marriage is currently not an option. It’s very unfair, but it comes down to categories. Your category often determines your rights.
Thanks to the continued wonders of the Internet, I recently made contact with Emma Harrison. Emma is a student at the University of Chester and she’s completing a Master’s in family and child psychology. After reading one of my earlier posts, A letter to my Teenage Self, Emma asked me if I’d like to take part