Plans for 2016…or no plans?


laluna

Some writers are very disciplined and actually have a proper plan of what they are going to achieve each year.

My writing career has so far been of a more organic nature. In other words, I’m making it up as I go along.

I started along the path of being a published author in the middle of 2014 when Affinity accepted my manuscript for Starting Over. (How we got to this point is pretty well described in this first guest blog I did for Women & Words).

Suddenly I found that it wasn’t just about writing. Along with the publishing process of editing and making decisions on cover artwork – there was also the job of keeping up with Facebook posts, writing blogs, and generally trying to make a name for myself.

So for most of 2014 and all of 2015, I didn’t have a plan at all. Things happened. I knew that I would be attending the GCLS Conference and as well as doing a reading there, I had volunteered to be on two panels. These were firsts for me.

An invitation to be part of the inaugural Lesbian Authors Festival at a venue closer to home was unexpected. The Hideaway Café in Urmston (Manchester, UK) provided an excellent opportunity for seven authors to read, answer questions and sell a few books. (Plus they had awesome cakes!)

Having a hysterectomy wasn’t part of any plan and I only discovered that I needed to have one a few days after the Hideaway Café event. Luckily the operation went well and I’m now on the road to recovery (and, no, I won’t be posting photos of my scar – although it is very neat).

To help with promotion, as well as participating in author Q&A sessions on Facebook, I’ve done guest blogs on the Women and Words and UK Lesfic sites and taken part in several online interviews, including a podcast. I would like to thank the interviewers for their time and effort: Lynn Lawler, Fiona McVie and Clare Lydon. (Links to the blogs and interviews are on the ‘Guest Appearances’ page.)

2016 promises to be another busy year. I have two books, possibly three due for publication. The first of these is Book 3 of the Starling Hill Trilogy. Carved in Stone completes the journey undertaken in Starting Over and Arc Over Time. Book 3 is being released on Valentine’s Day – so make a note in your new diaries – 14 February 2016. Although each book can be read as a standalone, I think readers will enjoy the story more if they read all three (well, I would think that, wouldn’t I?).

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Christmas promo for Books 1 and 2 of The Starling Hill Trilogy

Another book, due out in March, is a completely new story with different characters and is called The Circle Dance. No archaeology in this one, but there is a nod or two to the surfeit of stone circles in the UK. You don’t have to go far to find one here. Not all as magnificent as Stonehenge, but compelling evidence of an ancient culture’s communication network. That’s one theory, anyway. The circles are thought to be the sites of ritualistic gatherings – I prefer to think of them as precursors to the modern pub and that maybe the people who met at these places just sat around and told each other stories. (A lot of people are out celebrating the winter solstice at Stonehenge today.)

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Met Office photo of Stonehenge

A third novel due for publication in 2016, title to be confirmed, is scheduled for later in the year as it has a Christmas theme.

So, there will be more promoting to do for each of these books. So far the only event I’m planning to attend is the GCLS Conference in Washington, DC. I’m looking forward to meeting up with many of the people I met in New Orleans as well as meeting those I didn’t have a chance (or time) to talk to then.

Will 2016 be any different in terms of planning? I somehow doubt it. I will continue to make it up as I go along. Having to undergo a major operation, the timing of which coincided with the terribly sad and sudden passing of Sandra Moran, has left me with the notion that I can only take each day as it comes. And to appreciate each day fully – which is easy to forget in the midst of everyday occurrences.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday, however you celebrate at this time of year…I wish there was more peace and love in the world, but perhaps we can all just do our bit wherever we are and hope it spreads.

 


 

Publications:

Arc Over Time – available from Affinity eBook Press /Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / iTunes

Starting Over – available from Affinity eBook Press / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / iTunes.

Short Stories

There Was a Time and The Christmas Sweepstake – both available FREE on the Affinity website

‘Left to our own devices’

I was pondering this phrase the other day. When I was a child being ‘left to our own devices’ meant we went off and did things that would have horrified our parents if they had known…balancing precariously on makeshift rafts so we could play at pirates in a murky frog-infested pond, crawling over deserted building sites, riding our bikes into deep gullies. We even played the dare game with knives.

But then we grew up reading books where kids did have adventures on their own…Swallows and Amazons, The Chronicles of Narnia, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. They had their adventures but were always home in time for tea. (For my American friends, tea is a snack type meal taken in late afternoon – in case one starved before dinner – usually consisting of sandwiches and cakes. Where I now live, in Northern Britain, it’s also what we call dinner. Just to confuse matters further…lunch here is called dinner.)

‘Left to our own devices’ now has new meaning with the universal spread of smartphones, tablets…and this year’s must have Christmas present…a smartwatch.

I’ve found that my reading pattern has changed. If I’m reading a book on my device, how long before I’ll switch to playing a game, checking emails or Facebook? I love reading and still I find myself distracted by the device in my hands. What hope then for the younger generation now growing up with these devices. When will they experience the simple joys of playing outside? Parents keep them indoors for fear of what they will encounter when they step out the door. Even walking to and from school is seen as hazardous. When will they be given the chance to learn to cross the road safely?

I don’t have children and if I did maybe I would be over-protective as well. But I would want them to experience the simple of joys of childhood…building tree forts, making bows and arrows, riding bikes all day…letting the imagination roam free. And most importantly, reading books. Finding Narnia or Wild Cat Island or the Enchanted Forest…these are the building blocks for not just a happy childhood, but creating a reservoir of memories that can sustain you as an adult.

Some of the books in the photo I only discovered long after my childhood days were behind me. But I enjoyed them (and still do) because once you’ve found Narnia; the longing to return never really leaves you.

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Books:

Arc Over Time – available from Affinity eBook Press /Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / iTunes

Starting Over – available from Affinity eBook Press / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / iTunes.

Short Stories

There Was a Time and The Christmas Sweepstake – both available FREE on the Affinity website