Hi everyone, sorry there's been a long delay in posting a new blog - in fact it would appear that I have a few technical problems, sadly.  As a result, one post (a crucially important one) has disappeared into the ether ... I will try to incorporate it here because it was so important (especially for what we hope is to follow this year).

Looking back at last year it was a kind of mixed bag but with some really interesting twists and turns thrown in for good measure.  I passed all my exams which was completely unexpected - then came a trip to London which enabled me to meet two of the most wonderful people - one of whom I already knew (Tessa) and the lovely Jodi London.  She and I had been emailing each other for a while but sadly had never met - she was even more wonderful (beautiful, kind and gentle) in person as she had come across in her emails.  It wasn't long before I was able to fully relax with her and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with both of them - I was very sad when it was over (I can only pray we will see each other again).  I would like to take this opportunity to thank both of those lovely ladies for taking the time and trouble to come over - Tessa, you know how I feel about you! :-)

This year it is publish or bust for me!  I'm flat out determined to either have a publisher or an agent by the end of this year.  As a result I am sending out an inordinate amount of submissions in the hope that one of the "big fish" bites ... psychologically, if you have a number of submissions out there, it won't hurt quite as bad when I get the rejections back because there is still hope - for me I start to lose it when I have NO hope (I have a crippling lack of confidence and belief in myself and the only thing I know for sure is that I can write.  That's why I'm pushing for it this hard.

This could be a vitally important year in many other ways and I will keep you informed as things progress.  Last year everything turned around for me when I started deiberately thinking positively and seeing the good in everything (that took a lot of effort - my happiness journal is pretty full now and frequently I have been scraping the barrel on the bad days (but that's the point of it - chronicling the good things that have happened, not the bad).

Paul has a new website after going into business with his brother.  Their address is http://filmandscriptsproductionsltd.webs.com.  Check out the Wishing Tree video and Face in the Clouds - and tell them I sent you.

I have just had an interesting conversation with him and a few others about the future of books ... he says (and several people agree with him) that the future of books is ebook.  That this is the way to go.  I emphatically disagree and would absolutely hate to see the death of books as we know them.  There is nothing better than picking up a book and flicking through it - a screen held in your hand doesn't have the same feel, you have to click and button to go on or back to a page and then have to wait while it loads (I've got one so I'm not talking about things I've never tried).  Don't get me wrong, I can see the advantages, especially if you need to travel and don't want the wait of 1000's of books (my own can carry 1200 books in its memory), or if you need to go somewhere on a bus and can't carry anything as heavy/bulky as a book.  THEN I would agree that they are brilliant (that's how I use mine).  I know everything is getting smaller these days (because they CAN or because they JUST WANT TO?!  Who knows?)  So what do you think?  Have we seen the death of books like we saw the death of the nylon record (which, happily, seems to be making a bit of a come back recently).  Let me know your thoughts on the matter.

I have been lucky enough to make quite a few new friends, partly through a charity I work with, partly from my course - and then there are the writers from NaNoWriMo who are penfriends. 

You see, writing is an intrinsic part of me - I will sit all day and read or write, never getting bored, never needing to go out even if I didn't want to.  I completely lose track of time.  But I have a lot of writing to do this year (a hell of a lot!) so I decided, alongside my friend Amanda (from NaNoWriMo) to set up the Year of Continuous Writing.  It works a little like NaNo (in fact, this year's NaNo will be allowed to form part of it) but YOU choose the word goal and you have 365 days to achieve it!  This has several advantages from what I can see - firstly, you have the support of everyone involved, you are more motivated if you know you have to hit a certain number of words by a certain time, it stops you prevaricating (which is a big one for me).  Because I have so many different types of writing I need to do I decided to allow anything that was creative based - blogs (just realised, this blog counts towards my total - mine is 2 million words - you read that right - by the 15th February 2013 for charity (the Alzheimers Society).  Anyone interested in sponsoring me, drop me a line here and let me know. 

For those of you who are writers out there, where do you get your inspiration from?  I'd love to know - and what is your favourite writing book?  I have a few but the Novel Writers Boot Camp is wonderful - you can really hear the Sergeant Major barking orders at you (the guy who wrote it was in the army but was also a writer at heart).  If you would like to join in with the Year of Continuous Writing, we have one more starting space left (we can't continue it indefinately because we need to regroup at some point and see what has worked, what hasn't and even if it's worth carrying on (if the demand is high then we probably will continue - I certainly want this to be a yearly thing!).

Sadly I don't have much planned this year but I'm sure I'll find something ... I'm the sort of person who gets very down if there is NOTHING to look forward to on the horizon, even if it's just a tiny glimmer the size of a fleck of glitter - if it's there, I feel better.  This year I am definitely going to see a show next Wednesday (hoping to meet a particualr singer from one of my favourite bands), almost certainly going to town on St Patrick's Day after a gig was announced.  I wouldn't usually go because I dislike going to town when it's going to be busy but I did say last year if they were EVER in my home town again I would go ... I can't refuse now!  If it wasn't St Patrick's Day it wouldn't bother me but it's going to be mad - and I don't drink!  It's my birthday next month, we are going to see Gilbert O'Sullivan in April and at the end of that month I'm going to London for the Harry Potter tour.  Before that, however, I'm absolutely desperate to get to the London Book Fair ... we'll see how it goes but I'd walk over hot coals to go there because there are something like 53 children's book publishers and agents who are going to be there.  If it is humanly possible I would like to go to Hay on Wye when the book festival is on and also see Hay Castle.  Fingers crossed I'll make it there - I'll need a lift/or a car to get there though!

Hope you are all having a great year so far - I'm so looking forward to hearing your views on my questions above.  This blog and website will be updated on a monthly basis from now on.

Until next time ....

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