Wednesday, 26 June 2013

NOT a misery memoir

Phew, the past few weeks have proven interesting.

Following my retirement from public service I've been job hunting and getting a tad despondent with what's available and the number of times I can apply for a job only to receive no response from anyone!  On a brighter note, between temp work and submitting job applications, I've been helping a fellow author with some technical issues for her e-book and the paperback edition. 

Fantastic cover art by Amy Pettingill
I first met Amanda Smith through Verluam Writers' Circle, which I joined around thirteen years ago. We were never close, but over the years I became very impressed with the extracts of her work that she regularly read out at meetings - funny, sad, moving and often tragic, Amanda often moved us from laughter to tears and back gain in fifteen-hundred words or less. Many of the extracts that Amanda read were from her accomplished book debut Toxic...No More (USA link here). 

A few years back, Amanda signed a lucrative, two book, publishing deal with a major publisher. A publication date was set, yet the book never appeared. What happened next is not my story to tell: suffice it to say that there was a court battle and a settlement. Perhaps, one day, Amanda will be able to speak publicly about the case. In the meantime, here are some links to news articles in the Bookseller and The Independent.

Anyway, I have helped Amanda to format her e-book and to format the interior layout of the paperback version, which should be available for purchase through Amazon and other places in the very near future. I am currently 75% through reading the actual text, and it is quite breathtaking. It is all that I expected, and more. The cover art is damned good, too. Why not pay a visit to artist Amy Pettingill's website?

The book details Amanda's rather unusual life as an abuse victim and an alcoholic, and her recovery. It has been described as a 'misery memoir', but that is the greatest of misnomers. Amanda's writing style sucks the reader in: we see everything through her eyes, complete with the rose-tinted slant she displayed through all of her misfortune. Don't get me wrong: Amanda has had her share of misery, but she has translated that into a highly readable, often hilarious, memoir. It is a book that should appeal to the mass-market as well as those who are undergoing similar issues and who need to see that despite the hardship, one can fight through it all and come out of the other side as a winner. 

That Smith person is a very strong woman.

Find out more


  1. Thank you for the kind words. So grateful for your help, Kevin, pleased as punch you're liking the book. As you hint at, a tiresome/torturous journey to save my little book after it was mismarketed into the wrong genre. Now it can go forth, reach readers like it was meant to... Amanda x

  2. Well I have to take my hat off to you, Amanda. I and many others thought you were mad to take on the publisher in Court, especially after they had already made an offer. You told us at the time that it was a matter of principle that they should acknowledge their wrongs and that the financial settlement was really immaterial. Yep: mad, we thought.

    We couldn't understand what drove you to do it. Now, having read 3/4 of the book, I can see it is because you have fought back against all the odds to regain your sense of worth and you weren't going to be put down by anyone without a damned good scrap!

  3. Thanks for understanding, Kevin. Mostly true except they hadn't made offers only the threat to repay the money I'd earn't or to work for two years unpaid..I think they'd hoped I'd gratefully lie down and play dead. The main thing now is to move on and keep doing the right things..


Please keep it clean!