Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Archive for December 2008

                     New Year Quiz        

A.       Christmas

1) According to the Bible, how many wise men visited the baby Jesus?
2) What was number 1 on Christmas day and who sings it?
3)Which fruit sauce traditionally accompanies turkey?
4)In which year was ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ released?
5)Which country traditionally provides the tree for Trafalgar Square?
6)How many Gospels tell the Christmas story- name them.
7)Which coin was traditionally put in a Christmas pudding.
8 )     What date in December did Good King Wenceslas look out on?
9)  According to the song, how many gifts did ‘my true love send to me?’
10)We traditionally kiss under bunches of what?

    B:New Year

1)     When letting in the New Year some people carry bread, a coin and coal. Why?
2)     Who wrote the words to ‘Auld Lang Syne?’
3)     On New Year’s Day there is always a concert of Strauss music in which city?
4)     Why is January so called?
5)     What was New York called originally?
6)     Which group had a hit with ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.’
7)     In Which City does the Statue of Liberty stand?
8 )     When making a fresh start you are said to turn over what?
9)     What is said to ‘Sweep clean?’
10) Which country’s New Year celebration involves fire crackers and a dragon dance?
    C: Who’s Who?
1)      Who traditionally makes a speech to the commonwealth on Christmas day?
2)      Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
3)      Who released ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ this Christmas?
4)      Who is the missing Tellytubby: Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Po
5)      Who won a lifetime achievement award at the ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ awards in December?
6)      Who won  a) The X Factor
b) Strictly Come Dancing
c) I’m a Celebrity
7)      Who played the other Doctor in the Christmas Day episode of ‘Dr. Who?’
8 )      Who likes honey and has a friend who is a piglet?
9)      Who was ‘dead to begin with,’ according to Charles Dickens.
10)   Who, according to the poem, has a ‘broad face and a round little belly.’
(Thanks to my wife, Alison, for the quiz which she wrote for tonight’s party.)
Wishing all Readers a  Happy,Healthy and Successful 2009!     


Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas. This has been one of the best. The reason for this being that  for the first time we have a child in the house.

We have been fostering for a few months, and this young man came to us in August for a long term placement. During a year of training we were prepared for the worst case scenarios- children who have been moved from pillar to post often have attachment problems because it doesn’t pay to get attached if you’re just going to get moved on again. But in this case we have found a perfect match, and are getting so much from sharing our lives with him.

Okay- confession time: we went a bit O.T.T for Christmas. I even did the dressing up as Santa to pass by his room. Of course, he slept through it, so I went out and and tapped on neighbours windows- didn’t want the suit to be wasted!

Christmas morning was just the most magical experience ever, and I finally realised what friends with children had that we had been missing out on.

The rest of the day was spent tuning in his new television and setting up his model of a Tardis interior.

As I say, we have been lucky in that we are a perfect match. Even down to the fact that our foster child shares my obsession with Dr. Who.

6p.m. Christmas day, and my wife was chucked out of the living room so that we could watch the latest Christmas Special. Admittedly, it wasn’t the best story they had ever done but, what the heck, it was Dr. Who, Christmas day, and a perfect bonding experience.

Now we thought we had got it worked out- the Dr. goes to victorian England and finds, as well as Cybermen, another Dr. with an assistant called Rositta. Obviously, he was the Dr. from a parallel universe- the one from which the cybermen came. Russell T. Davies had cleverly led Whovians to this conclusion through a Radio Times interview where he said that the other Dr. also had a sonic screwdriver and a Tardis.

I won’t spoil it for anyone who may not have watched it yet, but the Tardis turned out not to be what we’d  expected.

And it’s nice to take a break from work, and from book related activities- the online forums have either closed or are, generally, full of goodwill.  When I say ‘generally,’ It is with reference to the friction between YouWriteOn and other sites which are critical of their POD scheme. I did suggest a truce, but from one quarter this was met with a staunch refusal. 

It was at this time of peace that warring opponents once climbed out of the trenches and played football in honour of the festive spirit. But  when it comes to disagreements in the world of  writing and publishing  it would appear that we are venturing into areas of life and death, where there can be no compromise.

Posted on: December 22, 2008

A Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year to you all!

A Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year to you all!

 Here are ideas and links that I have compiled and had sent to my blog over the last couple of months about how to promote your POD or small press published book. Each subject has been dealt with in greater detail on previous postings, but I thought it would be useful to bring them all together here.

So, let’s start at the beginning:

Plan your marketing strategy


(Be methodical: You might want to make a marketing pyramid like the one described in this post, and add the ideas below to it, crossing off each one as you achieve it.)

Work on having a positive mental attitude

Marketing your book will need perseverence- how about getting a confidence coach? I can recommend:


 Book promotion/ showcasing  sites




 6) Speaking appointments- local writers’ groups, round tables, etc.

 hints from published authors/ professionals


8)    (C.F.Jackson)








16) Contact local bookshops

 17) Make some promotional bookmarks- hand them out, leave them around.

Subscribe to Writers’ newsletters:



make an ‘audiobook’ on YouTube


21) Link up with a charity.

22)  Talk About it…  (without getting boring!) friends and acquaintances will buy your book and will sell more through word of mouth.

Read books on marketing

 (and follow their advice:)


24) Highly recommended by publishing professionals is Alison Baverstock’s ‘Marketing Your Book.’  (Used copies are currently available on Amazon at 44p plus p&p):

25)  Send a press release to local newspaper(s)

Put out an online press release 


27) Contact local radio stations

28) Write a blog


increase your blog hits




33) .

34)  Build a Website

35) email your friends

and get them to email theirs (Keep it with friends and friends of friends to avoid SPAM!)

 Talk about your book on social networking sites such as




and business networking sites such as:








Other online places:



48) College Allumni sites

49) Local community sites

 For an absolute treasure trove of online bookmarketing look at:



And remember:

Do Something every day…

Book marketing is for life, not just for Christmas.






So what other ways are there to increase your internet presence?


I’ve mentioned social networking, business networking, blogs and forums, but what about sites like ? Make an announcement on there: you’ve published a book! There will be people who knew you years ago who will be curious. Hint that some of the scenes are based on childhood/school experiences and some people may want to see if they appear (N.B. as long as you have kept within the law and not libeled a recognisable person- like the one who stole your catapult when you were 5!)

 Have you got a YouTube channel? ( See my post:  on how to do this.) Put your information and links on there .

Write short articles for  . You can’t advertise your work in the body of your article- which can be about anything- but you are allowed two self-serving links, and you can mention your work in your profile. There are also lots of articles on writing.


As Featured On Ezine Articles


It’s easy, and it’s free. Go for it.

I received an e-mail from my publisher, YouWriteOn today, finally putting me in the picture about when ‘Tasting the Wind’ will be published.

Apparently my choice of image has created resolution problems. They have been working on this, but seem unable to get round it. I have been given a choice of several other covers, which will mean that the book should be available in the first or second week of January.


Can you guess which one is me (you can tell by the legs)

I have had so many positive comments- not just here but through personal e-mails and on writers’ forums (or is it ‘fora?’) about my pantomime posting ‘It’s Behind You…’ that I was inspired to blog once more on the theme.


I’ve always thought that pearls go so well with chest hair (OO-er)

But I am aware, because of the global nature of the internet, there will be some of you who are wondering what on earth I am talking about. I got into a conversation some time ago via Instant messaging with a lady from New England. We got onto the subject of Pantomime, and she had never heard of it.

It felt strange trying to get over to her the panto traditions of audience participation,  stock jokes and the tendency for cross dressing which are such a part of the UK Christmas scene. It reminded me of an occasion when I tried to describe to a man from Papua New Guinea how we bring a Christmas pudding to the table and then set fire to it. He rolled around laughing like one of the Martians from the old ‘Smash’ instant potato ads. In trying to describe panto to an American I sensed a similar width of cultural divide.


For this we used real rabbit droppings… oh no we didn’t

One notable example of an American falling hook, line and sinker for the form is Henry Winkler. I didn’t intend the pun there, but  it was Winkler who played Captain Hook in Peter Pan and loved it so much that he has returned to do it again this year. The Panto stage is also being graced this year by none other than Mickey Rooney.

So, without going into the historical side, what is Panto?

Well, it is a children’s entertainment… or is it?  A well directed Panto will remember that with every child there come adult ‘bums* on seats’ (*or asses) who also need entertaining for two hours. So panto is often peppered with innuendo worthy of that other British institution, the carry-on film. So flying over the heads of children all over the country this year will be lines such as ‘Ten 0’clock and still no Dick!’

A major feature of Panto are the stock characters. There is a hero (male but played by a woman,) a dame (female but played by a man,) a heroine (who usually ends up getting married to the hero at the end,) new-year-06-0061

a comedy link manbigaladdin

and, of course, a baddie.


Minor roles include a king or pompous official of some kind.And a good fairy…Then there are the audience reactions. At some point there will always be a ‘oh yes he is’ to which the audience replies ‘oh no he isn’t. If a ghost/ skeleton etc. appears then the cry is ‘it’s behind you,’ although it is obligatory for the characters on stage to look the wrong way.

And don’t forget the stock gags. One of these is for the dame and other goodies to be tramping through dark woods, where one by one they see a ghoul and run off screaming, until only the dame is left. When eventually they come face to face and the ghoul sees the dame in all her glory, it is he who runs off screaming.

Now what interests me is: how many readers of this are totally perplexed? I know that there are people following this blog in the States- am I right to assume that you know nothing of the panto tradition or is that a generalisation? This is also read in Canada and Australia- do you have Panto in these countries, or is it just us strange brits?

I would be interested to hear from you.


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