Posted in Writing

Suddenly Butterflies Are Everywhere

Paper butterfly
Spotted in a craft shop a couple of weeks ago (it followed me home)

Why I’m starting to get spooked about my latest book project

My first husband used to call it “Papua New Guinea Syndrome”. I suspect he made that term up, as it’s not recognised by Google. It’s the phenomenon whereby you don’t hear about something for ages, or have never heard of it, and suddenly it’s everywhere, to the extent where it can start to feel a little scary.

In my current case, I feel like I’m being stalked by butterflies. That may not sound a scary prospect – they’re less threatening than, say, man-eating tigers or crocodiles – but I’m still finding it startling to come across butterflies wherever I go.

Butterfly necklace
Found at the bottom of my present box

What’s this got to do with my next book? Well, the cover shows a big bold butterfly as a shorthand indicator that this collection of flash fiction stories are all about transformation.It’s due to be released as an ebook on Saturday, and between now and then I’ve got to put some serious hours into the editing and formatting process.

Butterfly hairclip
My daughter gave me this hairclip

Until today, I’d taken the many occurrences of butterflies to be a good omen, wherever I found them. But then around 11am this morning, just when I was sitting down to do my final edit, our broadband cut out for no apparent reason.

Butterfly pattern bag
Another gift from my daughter

After I’d exhausted the usual turning-it-off-and-on-again procedures, I phoned our broadband provider to investigate. Long story short, they deduced that the router was defunct, sold me a new one for £70, and told me there was nothing more to be done than wait for its arrival.

Already stressed by a plethora of journalistic deadlines this week, I sought to soothe my anguish my embarking on a mammoth clean of my husband’s messy desk and study. This included pulling out the table in the bay window to sweep behind it – and what should I find there but a dead butterfly? My heart sank. Was this a sign that my book was also doomed?

Butterfly patterned bag
My daughter’s new bag

But then, things began to look up. Towards 5pm, after some vigorous polishing near the plugs, I noticed the green broadband light ping back to life. A miracle! So now, to our usual mantra of “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” we’ll be adding “Have you tried polishing it?”

More about Quick Change here.

Cover of Quck Change flash fiction collection
Due to emerge from its cocoon this Saturday


Author of warm, witty and gently funny fiction and non-fiction, including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series, beginning with "Best Murder in Show", inspired by her life in an English Cotswold community, short stories and essays about country life. As Commissioning Editor for the Alliance of Independent Authors' Advice Centre, she writes guidebooks authors. She speaks at many literature festivals and writing events, and is part of BBC Radio Gloucestershire's monthly Book Club broadcast. She is founder and director of the free Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival which takes place in April, a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and an ambassador for children's reading charity Read for Good and the Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF.

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