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Friday May 2nd & Saturday May 3rd – Self-publishing blog diary

The books are starting to arrive in the bookshops – Sarah Austin from the Kilburn Bookshop asks me to go and sign their copies which I do willingly. Gardners send me an order which I redirect towards Central and My Travel Companion arrives at Central. I get a text from my sister to say that there is an entry in the Week (03/05/08) under People – totally unexpected. ‘Sarah Anderson had what was perhaps the epitome of the “stiff-upper-lip” childhood, says Cassandra Jardine in The Daily Telegraph. The owner of London’s Travel Bookshop and her siblings saw their parents for just half an hour a day, and were otherwise brought up by nannies who frowned on any show of emotion. Aged nine, the young Sarah developed a rare cancer in her arm. Eventually, doctors advised amputation. Her mother signalled the news by taking her alone into the drawing room. And making a chopping motion with her right hand. After the operation, her missing arm was rarely even mentioned. She was expected to cope, uncomplainingly, and she did – but it hasn’t been easy. “It’s much more traumatic than losing a leg,” she says. “Legs area useful for getting about but arms are our link with the world. We use them to touch, hug, gesticulate.” Yet despite the difficulties she has faced (described in a new book, Halfway to Venus), Anderson, now 60, doesn’t entirely regret the attitudes that prevailed when she was ten. “I’m terribly glad I didn’t lose my arm in these politically correct times,” she sys. “I hate terms like ‘upper-limb amputee’, rather than ‘one-armed’, and I dislike compensation culture. It’s better to get on with things.’ Go to an exhibition at the Wellcome Foundation and manage to persuade the Blackwell bookshop there to order some copies. Saturday Live with Fi Glover has booked me for May 17th – my birthday! Woman’s Hour failed to come up with anything. Discover that I’m appearing on various blogs and websites 60goingon16, americareads and whatarewritersreading. The comments are very positive to date and many comment on my not being able to get a publisher.