Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

It's a grey and murky New Year's Eve down here on the south coast, but I'm sure tonight will be sparkly and merry at my neighbour's New Year's Eve party. While I wait until it's time to get ready to go out, I thought I'd come up with some new year's resolutions and look back on last year's.

Last year, my writing resolutions were to complete a first draft of my novel by the end of June, and finish the edits by the end of the year. I'm delighted to say I achieved both goals, and in December sent my novel to a literary appraisal agency to get a critique of the whole thing. I'm still waiting to hear back - no doubt there'll be a lot of work to do on the novel before I can start sending it to agents or publishers.

My non-writing resolutions for 2011 were to keep running every week if possible and increase my distances until I could run 10km. By March I was able to run 10km, so that resolution held too!

So, what are my aims for 2012?

  1. Lose 10kg by the end of the year. Not by following any strict diet but by changing my eating (and drinking!) habits.

  2. Keep up the exercise - swim most weeks, run most weeks, try out a Zumba class.

  3. With hubby, do up the living room.

  4. Write a story a fortnight until the end of March, and get them sent out.

  5. Develop my idea for a new novel, and start writing it. By the end of the year, be about half way through the first draft.

Did you achieve your aims for 2011? What are you targetting in 2012?

Happy New Year to all my blog readers, and may 2012 bring you everything you are hoping for!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Things to do before you go back to work

Bored of leftover turkey and TV yet? I'm not, but in case you're needing something to do this week here's a couple of suggestions:

1. Try Sally's 100 question quiz to wake up your brain.

2. Decide on your New Year's writing resolutions for 2012 - remember to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed). I'll be posting mine up at the end of the week, and reflecting on last year's resolutions.

3. And while you're at it, think of a new year resolution that's gone wrong, write a 250-word story about it, and enter Della's little competition to win a signed copy of her new book Moving On. Free entry, email your story to Della by 10am on 4th January.

4. If you're stuck for resolution ideas, consider entering Sally's 100k in 100 days challenge. Starting 1st January, write 100,000 words in 100 days - this can be a novel, a couple of pocket novels, several short stories or articles.

By the way, skiing was fab. Plenty of lovely soft powder snow - we needn't have worried!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

So here it is... Merry Christmas!

OK so it's not quite Christmas yet, but I'll be off on the annual Christmas skiing trip on Saturday so this will be my last chance to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We're off to Austria this year, and have been watching the snow reports nervously, half resigned to it being a walking holiday rather than skiing. Thankfully the lifts have been running and more snow is due over the next couple of days so we could be in luck after all. Keep your skis and poles crossed for us, folks!

I've a few items of news for you:

Helen Hunt is running a Hop On, Hop Off writing course next year - there are five modules you can take in any order on dates which suit you. £100 for the full set but there's a hefty discount if you sign up before the end of this year. She's an excellent tutor and has sold dozens of stories to the womags so this course is well worth signing up for. It doesn't matter where you live - this course runs online! Full details on her website here.

Everyone who's anyone seems to be getting their pocket novels republished as large print books these days! Sally Quilford's My True Companion will hit the libraries on 1st January, and Douglas McPherson's Nashville Cinderella (written under the psuedonym Julia Douglas - he doesn't mind me 'outing' him!) is also about to come out. The books are also available directly from Ulverscroft - a great Christmas present idea!

Check out also Sally Q's author page on Amazon - many of her pocket novels are available for Kindle. You don't need an actual Kindle to read them - you can download free software for your pc here. Oh look, Tears and Laughter and Happy Ever After is available as an ebook!

Talking of Tears and Laughter - check out our blog where all the authors are writing about the inspiration behind the stories in the anthology. There's a new post every few days.

And finally, win yourself an Arvon writing course in 2012. Here's how (with thanks to Kath aka Kate Hogan). 2000 words on the theme of 'identity', by 14th February, prize is £500 plus a place on an Arvon course. Free to enter!

Right, well that was a bit of a link-fest. Hope Santa brings you everything you asked for, hope your Christmas Day is merry and bright, and may my week before Christmas be white!

Added 10:30pm - just seen that Helen Yendall came 2nd in Best's fiction competition - well done Helen! Winner was Brenda Reid. Stories are published in the current issue of Best, out now.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Della's new blog

Another must-read blog to add to your favourites! Della Galton has added a blog to her website. Go read it to find out what she got up to on a recent solo writing retreat.

"Solo writing retreat." Don't those three words make you green with envy? Think I must have been a hermit monk in a past life.