Just what the doctor ordered.

Well, someone chose the right week to have off work didn’t they. The weather has been absolutely  gorgeous and I have done some lovely things. I have had a day on the beach and some retail therapy amongst other things, but the highlight of me week had to be fulfilling a life long ambition to walk  a bit of Hadrian’s Wall.

This is part of the actual wall that you can walk on – the rest of the time you can walk beside it and the views are stunning.

Something tells me that its grim in Winter though.

At the end of the walk was

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Sycamore Gap and the tree that featured in the film ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.’ It took us a good hour to walk the couple of miles here over uneven ground and some steep hills  – something tells me that Kev didn’t use the route that we did.

Its been all about the rest and relaxation this week. Very little reading and even less writing. Final polishing will resume next week with a vengeance.

Until then – I have a weekend to enjoy.

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The week that was.

 

On Wednesday, following an afternoon of heavy rain and snow that came after two days of steady rain,  I drove through a river to get home only to find Mr Mc helping our neighbour to bail out the front gardens – ours and theirs. The drain which was over-flowing is just in their side of the boundary but the water was 2 or 3 inches deep on the path in front of our door. An hour or so later, when thank God that the rain had just about stopped, we’d managed to almost clear  enough to see actual paving. It came up again a bit later but not to the extent it had. Northumbrian Water have since been out and cleared out whatever was causing the problem. On Thursday there was a fire in the street so after the flood and the fire I was waiting for the pestilence on Friday. Thankfully we were spared that.

After the rain came the sun…

but there were still lots of puddles and pools for Zac to walk through.

 

He didn’t walk through this particular pool of water.

It’s not a great (or even good) photo of a visitor we had in our garden. I’m not sure he’d have taken care of the pestilence we were worried about but needless to say there were no sparrows in the garden that morning.

And now it’s time to make custard.

 

 

What I have learned

I am by no means an expert in this field but I thought I’d share with you a few misconceptions that I have come across in my ‘career’ as a writer.things-i-should-5-amend

Assumption – once you have got your writing contract you’re set for life. You can immediately give up the day job as you’ve received a six figure advance and spend your days writing your next masterpiece until your book is actually published, when you will earn mega bucks in royalties.

Reality – Chances are you will never see mega bucks from anything to do with writing. Almost every writer I know also has another job. Personally I work full-time and write in the evenings and on my days off.

Assumption – Your book will instantly be a best seller.

Reality – Unless your deal is with one of the big publishing houses, with with a big marketing department behind them, this is highly unlikely. Most of the promotion will (rightly so) come down to you, the author, and you are already writing your next book as well as keeping up the day job. If you want the best seller you’ll have to graft for it.

Assumption – That your second book will be easier to write than the first.

Reality – Books (regardless of what we might say) are not babies and your second experience will not be easier than the first. The first one secured you the contract that you craved and the publisher had actually seen what you could do. With the second book you have to prove that you can do it again.

Having said all of the above I wouldn’t change what I do. More sales/money/reviews etc would be marvellous and they are what I work towards daily, but for me, the key has been to remember why I started writing i.e. because I enjoy it. And that’s why I’ll be spending my day off polishing my third book so that I can get it to the publishers on time. Once I’ve had a day doing what I enjoy then the money is just a bonus – just as well.

Things I Should Have Said and Done was published by Accent Press in 2016 and Ribbons in Her Hair will be published in August 2018

Spring – a fresh start.

As bloggers go, I am really bad. I used to be better when my blog was on a different platform but I’ve never quite got to grips with this one. I’m going to try and be better and I’m going to start now.

So, what’s happened while I’ve been away? Well, we had a lot of this….

in fact, when I opened the curtains a couple of minutes ago, it’s snowing again. Not to worry, I managed to get a lot of editing done during the couple of snow days that I had off work.

I was editing NMBK, which is the current WIP and will be with the publishers by the end of May and due to be published next Spring. Since then Ribbons in Her Hair (which is out on 23rd August) has been through the editing process and is now with the type-setters. If I had to offer an opinion I would say that it’s a better book than Things I Should Have Said and Done but, in due course, I’d be interested to know what others think.

Reading wise, I’ve read 5 books since I was last here and my favourite of them was The Silent Companions which I absolutely loved.

TISHSaD hasn’t made it to the best-sellers list (yet?) so I’m still working at the day job. In that respect I’m no different from lots of writers who have a day job to pay the bills and write (as a second job) because they enjoy it. Meeting deadlines does make it like a second job but that’s good for me because I work better when there’s a deadline to meet.

We’ve made it through the winter and now that we’re in Spring

which is a time for re-birth, it seemed like a good time to engage with the blog again. Someone told me that I should blog at least once a week and, while I make no promises I will do my best.

A Good Year.

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I’m posting this photo for no other reason than it was something I’d never seen before. Who knew there was a shop that had Rolls Royce’s in the window? This trip to Berlin was just one of the many good things that happened to me in 2017.

My book hasn’t sold as well as I would have hoped but along side things of continued good health and other equally important things that doesn’t matter a jot.

My second book ‘Ribbons in Her Hair’ is out in August 2018 so who knows maybe next year will be the year for book sales.

Whatever happens if 2018 is anything like 2017 it will be a good year.

 

Dream come true

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I know the picture is a bit random but it sums up how I feel today. I feel yellow  – which for me means I am happy.

Those of you that knew me four years ago know that my life was very different. My kidneys had packed in for no apparent reason other than they took it badly when I caught a cold, I’d spent 7 weeks in hospital, 3 of which were in intensive care, I’d lost 5 stone in 3 weeks and I was on dialysis 3 times a week.  I couldn’t believe my luck when my kidneys decided to ‘wake up’ towards the end of 2014 and I was able to stop the dialysis. My kidneys didn’t work great but they worked well enough so yippee for that. When I spoke to my nephrologist yesterday he admitted that he’d half expected my vascullitus (the disease that the cold turned into) to return once I came off dialysis but (touch wood) that hasn’t been the case and now my kidney function is at worst ‘stable’ possibly improving. From now on (subject to a letter of confirmation) he will only need to see me twice a year not the four times that he has for the last 18 months which is just the best news I could have had. He’s a nice enough bloke but I’d rather not see him in a professional capacity.  There is one more thing that his letter could also say but I’m not even going to allow myself to think about that.

Getting my book deal and seeing my work in print was a dream come true but four years ago when my best prospect was a transplant after 2 years in remission I didn’t dare to imagine that I would be where I am today.