I’ve got great hopes for 2020 and a new decade. A lot happened to me in the last decade and a lot of it was tough to get through so I’m hoping for an easier time ahead. Well, I can wish!
The good parts of the last decade were the writing successes – completing three novels and starting a fourth, winning the Elizabeth Goudge award at the RNA conference, talking to people who enjoy reading and making such good author friends from all over the world. An additional three grandchildren to join the family and a little dog to run on the beach with me were blessings to enjoy.
The bad parts of the decade were cancer treatment and surgery twice within three years, fractured pelvis, two hip replacements and carpal tunnel surgery. Amazingly, I’m still alive and kicking and I’ll be happy to avoid further work even if offered a face lift for free!
To start thIs new decade, himself and myself will be moving half a mile and will be even nearer that beautiful coastline that you can see at the top of the page. A beach walk with Oscar is great for sorting out tricky characters and their tangled lives. After three months of renting, the move to our dream home next week will be extra sweet.
This pit village below is typical of a Northumbrian mining community in the 1940s The mining took place right in the middle of farmland and countryside
This photo brings me to my book news – I’m really excited about it! I’m writing a family saga in two parts and I’m halfway through the second part. My aim is to get it completed by summer and publish them both later in the year.
The photos below tell more about the setting.
I’ve been house hunting and it has really brought home to me how much some buildings have a real ‘air’ or ‘atmosphere’ about them.
Atmosphere. It’s not something you can tick off your list like a garage or measure like a garden but, forget the missing tiles or jungle of weeds, I think the ‘feel’ of a home is THE most important thing to consider before moving in.
I love to read a book where the home is part of the setting and atmosphere of the story. At the moment, I’m on holiday and I’m reading ‘The Family Upstairs’ by Lisa Jewell. I haven’t finished yet but the old house that Libby has inherited really adds atmosphere to this compelling tale.
My latest novel, ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’ is set in a converted barn full of happy family memories but dreams have been buried there along with a lot of real life and emotional clutter until Erin and Heather turn their lives around. I love that barn set in the Northumbrian village of Dunleith! What a pity it isn’t up for sale!
I admire how the cover designer transferred these pics into the barn on the cover.
My house hunt has meant renting for a couple of months and there is a cosy, warm, happy feeling place we have found but it’s temporary with only our basic possessions around so it feels like ‘playing house’. I’m really looking forward to putting down roots in our new home in the New Year.
We have found a gem of a bungalow close to the sea that is large enough to have the family and has a study with French doors that open onto the small garden at the back. A large family dining kitchen was a must and an en suite was a bonus but the study and the peaceful atmosphere are what sold it to me. (I must add that the shed and plenty of off road parking sold it to Himself.)
We all have different priorities don’t we? My dream house won’t be yours and thank goodness for our differences. I wonder what would be on your wish list….shed or study?
I used to be a daydreamer and did not like planning too far ahead. As Robbie Burns said – “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Why waste time planning? I was happy to go with the flow of life and see where it took me.
This approach served me quite well because I had a successful career in education and was happy with my laid back life.
A turning point came when this daydreamer came to earth with a thud. Cancer doesn’t care about whether you’re a drifting dreamer or a planner and when I found out I had to live with cancer and its treatments my dreams were crushed.
There was a lot I wanted to do and, most of all, I wanted to write but I might not have the time.
Along with the discomfort of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, I found my planning mojo. I had to plan to make the most of good days and prepare for the bad. As the treatment progressed relentlessly, running through my mind was the hope that I’d get as well as I could. Until then, I’d plan my novels and map out that writing journey I wanted to make.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Dreams and wishes were given a backbone by my plans. When I felt better, I’d learn the craft of novel writing, I’d learn to use social media and I’d learn about the publishing world. My plan was to be a published author and I’d succeed by taking steady steps to make a life long dream come true.
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I can’t argue with Mrs R because I found this was true. My dreams had shape and, by planning, I made time for them.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein
(Time management guru)
Friends often comment on how I’m less laid back nowadays and my time management is better. Once you face the truth that time can run out on you when you’re not expecting it, it’s easy to plan. So what if Robbie Burns is right and a few go awry? I’ve found that some of them will hit the spot.
Today, I’m a published author of the two novels you can see below, I use social media to keep in touch with readers and other writers and I plan to keep on writing for a long time to come.
One of the best things about being a writer is meeting real readers and gaining a few of them for my own books.
How do I do that? By accepting a speaking engagement where there will be readers and connecting with them.
I‘ve found that, if readers like you and the sound of your book, they are generous in their time and with their money and they buy a book or take a leaflet and download it on their kindle afterwards.
I’ve given a couple of talks recently about my writing journey -the tale of how a miner’s daughter eventually became an author. After the talk, I’ve read extracts from my books, answered questions and had the joy of connecting with future readers.
One thing I’m still waiting for but it is early days and, when it happens, I’ll sing from the rooftops (well, in my head anyway) is the day that someone comes along and they have already read one of my books. Imagine that!
Writers, like many people, keep going on dreams, don’t they? What’s your best thing about your job?
Billions of internet users are out there. Just beyond those rocks.
What I’m wondering is, who else, besides me, reads writers’ blogs?
To be more exact who reads myblog?
I’d love to know more about my readers. Do you like my daily life gossip? Do you wish I’d stick to book news? Do you look at my reviews page? Do you want to send your own photo of you with my book to my ‘rogues gallery of readers’? If I sent out a quarterly newsletter, i could ask such things every now and then and find out.
A CALL TO ACTION!
If you do read this, could you, just this once, write a comment in the reply box below? just ‘READ IT’ will do.
( Or, if you just hate to write comments a quick explanation of why this is such a chore for you.)
I want to start a quarterly newsletter
-one that gives readers a heads up to when I have special offers on Amazon, spills the latest news and that has a giveaway every issue. I’d like an email list for this but I think the best way to do this is to have a button on my home page that states
‘SIGN HERE for quarterlynewsletter’
That will give you blog readers a choice. You can sign up or not and I won’t use info you’ve given just because you want to reply to my blog. What do you think of that option?
I love getting photos like this sent to me. isn’t that a fabulous reading corner? Thank you to that reader! More of these would be most welcome