There's nothing I like more than a beginning; be it a new reading book, a new project or a new idea! So, it won't come as a surprise that I love New year! Many folks hate resolutions, but I adore embarking on study, self-improvement and gaining new skills. A new year represents a time for self reflection, renewed vows and a spring clean of your daily routine in order to achieve those hopes and dreams.
I won't bore you with my resolutions, some are serious and arduous, others quirky and entertaining, but each will assist in improving my daily life and wellbeing. Oh, and then there's the work ones too! My immediate task, with a deadline for 9th January, is to complete my structural edits for Shetland book 3. After which, I'll be editing Shetland book 4 prior to submission to my editor on 1st March. Then I'm free to indulge in 'playtime' with a couple of ideas which have been niggling me to be written.
For those who truly know me, you'll know that my reading pile has become an issue in recent years. My 'To-be-Read' book shelf - yeah, its an actual thing, is overflowing! I was pleasantly surprised to learn I'd read a fair amount during 2021, which I'd deemed a particularly poor year given my focus elsewhere. Many authors read to provide reviews and blog posts, I stir clear of such tasks; I read purely for pleasure just as I did as a child. I'm hoping 2022 will see a return to my usual reading habit filled with more classics, crime and non-fiction topics.
Any how, I'm sure 2022 will deliver plenty of highs and lows, but I'm ready and excited to face whatever comes my way!
Last night, I attended the Museum of Cannock in Staffordshire to participate in an author Q&A event alongside the gorgeous Phillipa Ashley. Our interviewer for the evening was Kim Nash, publicist from Bookouture. It's the first in-person event I have attended since this dreaded lurgy entered our lives, so you can imagine my excitement; I was dressed and ready to go an hour ahead of time! Seriously, you'd think I'd never been out out before!
We were greeted by an audience of 25 avid readers, who were eager to ask us fabulous questions and entertain us authors for two hours! We talked non-stop, as authors do, about our publication journey, our writing process and our inspirations. I gave away two copies of my book 'Taking a Chance on Love' to two grateful readers.
As I drove home, delighted to have spent a Friday night outside of my house, I thought about the audiences' reaction to certain questions and whether I've explained to my blog readers the true beginnings of my journey.
One question asked last night was, "When did I start to write?" My answer was received with a gasp! I began writing in July 1994, when I moved into my first home which provided me with space to write. It was my secret hobby. I never intended for my words to be read by another, I was writing a book purely for me, to know if I could. As the years went by, I gained more confidence and slowly my aim changed. I joined writing groups, attended courses and began chasing publication. After many, many rejections, my moment came on 14th March 2017 when I was offered a three book publication contract. So after 23 years of secret writing it paid off with publication of my debut 'A Christmas Wish' on 1st August 2017!
Look what's happened this morning, the latest weekly edition of 'Inside Soap' magazine has come out and look whose book is included on 'The Hot List' ... mine!
Yesterday, my publishers surprised me with the news, so I've nipped down to my local newsagents and bought a copy. Ahhhh, it's like being in the local paper when you were a little kid, but on a much larger scale plus, I never shared the Tammy Herald page with the four fabulous Sex And The City ladies!
A picture paints a thousand words!
As you can see Shetland book 4 is going very well. I will continue to write after I hit 50,000 words; NaNo is the 30 full days of November! Another tiny self-imposed rule I have!
This week, I finished writing Shetland book 3 and submitted it to my agent and editor. I have to say there were two scenes near the end that I edited and which made me burst out crying. Seriously, the Universe sent me additional ideas as my fingers were rapidly typing and boom! I was crying. Twice, in one day!
Anyway, book 3 has left the building, so I can focus upon the two projects remaining upon my desk: Shetland book 4 (the NaNo project) and the secret hand-writing project - which is plodding away nicely.
I've had a few days off, as I did push the boundaries regarding working hours this week; you know how it is when a deadline is looming for any of us ... we work stupid o'clock hours! After three days, I now feel refreshed, reenergised and ready to attend a writing retreat for the weekend, which you know I love. So, that's my plans for the weekend. I've set a self-imposed goal of 10,000 words for my Shetland Book 4, NaNo project and I'll be heading off alongside my writing buddies for a three day weekend to work on some words!
Following the announcement of my new four-book deal, I can now share more details with you guys. My current NaNoWriMo project is actually book four in my Shetland series - it has a publishing date of September 2022, which works of me! Its birthday, like most of my books is 1st November, but I have until March 2022 to complete and submit the full manuscript. Though as you know from following this blog, I'll write towards an earlier self-imposed deadline in my head, like always.
Book 3 of the series was written a while back, this is the project that I'm polishing this week as it's due on my editor's desk next Monday, 15th Nov. This was the secret project from earlier in the year that neither my editor nor agent knew about until it was written; it goes without saying, they were happy bunnies.
Anyway, back to NaNo - it's going well. The words and tea are flowing nicely, I've developed a girl crush on one of my ladies and I've had considerable help from readers, who helped me to name a Sheltie and her litter of six pups. My brain was literally hurting, so I asked for suggested names via social media. Boy, did the names flood in! The added bonus was that several suggested names fitted with a herd of alpacas which I was also trying to name and write about so win:win! Though it was a strange way to spend a Friday night! Anyway the dog names chosen were: Mum - Pepper and her pups Skye, Emily, Cass, Marble, Sheba and Sherbert - all pretty and feasible as dog names. The added bonus: the readers were thrilled at the thought of their suggestions being included in a book.
That's basically it, to be fair. I'm doing two Nano session a day to hit my 1667 word count and the rest of my writing day is being spent polishing book 3 ready for delivery.
(A little whisper) the little hand-writing experiment which I'm chilling with each day is coming along nicely too - again, don't tell my editor or agent; shhhhhhh a secret.