No 13

A box from the printers has arrived. For the 13th time. No, in fact for the 25th time if you count all the re-prints. Number 13. Image by chrisinplymouth

You’d think that by now the Nymph and I would receive these deliveries with an attitude of professional detachment. After all we know what’s inside – the next Peirene book. And we know every word on every page.

If only.

Outwardly the Nymph and I are in total control. We open the door, smile at the delivery man. While he carries the boxes inside, we even exchange a few words about the weather.

Then the door closes.

The bulk of the books are stored with our distributor in the East End. We only receive the copies we will send out to our subscribers and reviewers. Still, that’s nearly 1000 books, 20 boxes. Our corridor is narrow. Most of the boxes stand in our living room.

You’d think the Nymph and I might now carry some of the boxes upstairs into the office, open them and admire the contents. Or at least, we would organize the boxes, so that our home doesn’t look like a warehouse.

We don’t even glance at the boxes. And touching them is out of the question. For once the Nymph and I are in total agreement. These boxes contain monsters.

Some books arrive with glue still stuck to the spine. If that happens, at least we’ve got someone to blame – the printers. And the copies are all shipped back the next day. That’s a small monster. The big monsters, however, make me cry. The author’s name misspelled on the cover or a typo on the inside flap. Both have happened before. With different books. No one, including myself, spotted the errors in time. But the moment the end product lay in my hand, the mistake jumped out. Such calamities haven’t occurred for a couple of years. We play extra safe. Three proofreaders look at the covers. But, there is no guarantee that mistakes won’t happen again.

So, Peirene and I have worked out a clever strategy. We pretend the boxes haven’t arrived. My family has to climb over them in order to enter the house and at night I lie awake worrying how we’d get out of the house in case of fire.

Eventually, however, an angel comes to the rescue. One of the Peirene ladies turns up at the office. Silently, I hand them the scissors. Then the Nymph and I turn our back, close our eyes. I’m sure my heart misses a few beats.

‘And?’ I ask.

‘It’s beautiful.’ Jen opened the box with No 13 last week.

I gaze from afar. It takes me another couple of hours before I pluck up the courage to touch the new Peirene book.

It is indeed beautiful. I love our next year’s series design. The black and white photo with the coloured circles is stunning. And no typos on the cover.

At least, none spotted so far.

Image by chrisinplymouth.

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