Photo Credit: Emily Smith (Rememba Ent)
The wizardly man in the photograph is Del Howison, and he is the owner of Dark Delicacies in Burbank, California. Dark Delicacies is a specialist shop that deals in the weird and wonderful, the strange and dark, the odd, the different.
Quite frankly, it's my kind of place.
And now, thanks to Emily Smith of Rememba Ent, my novel, Mother's Helper, and my short story collection, Some Body's At The Door, are also part of the stock. One signed copy of each for now, and I think that's a good start.
Emily and I have been friends for a long time. A very long time. Twenty years. And over that time we've done a lot together - I'll never forget the night bus trips we took when we missed the last train back from London (numerous times!), and staying up all night talking politics with friends that she introduced me to.
There was the time we went to a press premiere of a musical and met Robert Lindsay and Gloria Hunniford after we'd arrived just a little late and had to run up the red carpet! And after all that, the musical was terrible, and we left at the interval... it disappeared into the wilderness and never did make it to the West End.
We often took jaunts up to the Top of the Pops studio, and managed to bop along to many stars, including Celine Dion and Shakira! We never did get spotted on TV though. Oh well.
And when Emily emigrated to America - to Hollywood - I went with her to the airport and had a long, weepy farewell with her.
The last time she came back to the UK, Emily suggested that she take some of my books back with her, and see what she could do with them. She had a few ideas. Emily always has a few ideas, so I happily gave her as many as I could spare, and waited on tenterhooks to see what would happen!
What happened was, I went international.
Yes, me, my books, in an actual shop in actual California.
This is a dream come true for me, and every time I remember that they're there, my stomach does a little flip of excitement. It's given me the confidence to visit some shops nearer to home, and I've even arranged to have a stall at an arts festival in June (the ArtMart in Folkestone, Kent - see my events page for further details.
If I'm honest, I had lost the first flush of excitement over the publication of my books, and I had let them languish somewhat. I still believed in them, still thought they were good, but I began to concentrate on other projects and let them fend for themselves. But now, I can't wait to get back out there and promote them!
Thank you, Emily, and I hope to return the favour some day soon!