Today is the final day of August - yay! Not that I want to wish my life away but tomorrow signals the official start of autumn for me. During the last few days, I've watched the leaves begin to change colour, a patch of blackberry bushes begin to ripen and can feel that distinct nip in the air. Autumn has arrived - my favourite time of year!
You know I'm a planner so, what's in store for the season ahead?
Firstly, and most importantly, I have a book deadline for 1st October which I'm currently writing/editing and is well underway.
September usually signals my necessity to purchase lots of pretty, colour-coordinated school supplies - which is purely an excuse to feed my stationery addiction! This year is different. Instead, I'll happily admit to my obsession with bouquets of sharpened pencils, as mentioned in You've Got Mail!
Recently, I’ve cleared-out and reorganised my reading books so have chosen a selection to see me through the new season. I’m returning to my beloved Dickens with ‘Our Mutual Friend’ and his biography by Claire Tomalin. My copy of ‘Our Mutual Friend’ was given to me as a ‘Secret Santa’ present when I was teaching – inside was a beautiful letter which I’ve kept and treasure*. The novel starts one autumn evening on the river Thames, London - most fitting for September. I’ve bought a couple of Kindle ebooks which dear friends of mine have written, some take me out of usual genre comfort zone, but will give me great pleasure in supporting my buddies. As always, I have my usual mix of Agatha Christie too as I continue with my 2020 reading challenge.
October will launch me back into the planning stage for a Christmas book to be published 2021. It's a sequel to my current writing project which allows me to keep certain characters whilst introducing many new ones - always an exciting prospect! The planning stage will be long forgotten by November, when I'll dive into NaNoWriMo for my tenth year! I can't believe where the time has gone; it seems like yesterday when I cried with joy at having completed my first NaNo. My 2021 Christmas book will have at least 50,000 words by 30th November thanks to the annual writing scheme.
During lockdown, I managed to knit four blankets for a neonatal unit - having received undue 'praise and thanks' for my efforts I've purchased more wool for a second batch. Alongside my sketching classes and personal studies, I'm set for the season!
All in all, I'm thrilled to see the return of autumn along with her dark nights, brisk dog walks and cosy blankets - total bliss!
* like with many Secret Santa pressies, I'm 99% sure who bought my beautiful gift - thank you KP x
It has taken me much longer than I had anticipated due to my additional research and required study, but I’ve actually finished it!
I can’t say it was easy. I can’t pretend that I fully appreciate or understand the contents. I’ve learnt much and, I’m still in two minds as to whether James Joyce was a genius or … (words fail me here!). On completion, I have a million and one questions regarding his initial intentions, his motivation and even, his method of writing such a tome.
I take comfort in the fact that his wife, Nora only read three pages before giving up. I managed all 682 pages of my edition – not that I was counting each page as a mini success.
There were moments when I was bowled over by his beautiful descriptions, surprised by the inclusion of the crude/uncouth language and boggled by the inclusion of so many characters. I loved the inclusion of many things but the photograph captures a moment of personal delight for Erin Green.
I never need open my copy again; it can sit on a shelf as a reminder of lockdown2020 (alongside my well-thumbed study guide!)
'10th Aug: Morning world, I woke to find this today ... number 1 in the Women's Popular Fiction chart and there's a tiny orange 'bestseller' flag flying next my title too. The book is also number one in the 'Solo traveler' chart too.
As you can imagine, I am one very happy girl - bubbles for breakfast, me thinks!
Link to Amazon: press here
As you can imagine I've had the most amazing day. Many friends sent me beautiful messages and numerous readers got in touch via social media to share their thoughts about the characters and the location in beautiful Brixham. All in all, simply a great day from which memories are made. I feel privileged to have the job that I do; it really was my childhood dream. If you listen carefully, you'll hear a little girl tapping her shoes on the brown floor tiles of Polesworth library - yep, she's still there!