What I learnt last year

My 2017 writing year

Last year (oh boy, that sounds weird already) I was thrilled to see the publication of two paperbacks, and two new ebooks.

Before You made it into paperback in August 2017, with Jenson Button lending a helping hand in promotion. A Second Christmas Wish was published in paperback in November 2017, this time with the help of a saxophone playing reindeer. He was almost as cute as Jenson, and did help me secure my first ever radio interview. To say I was nervous is an understatement (I didn’t realise my heart could go that fast), but BBC Radio Berkshire were gentle with me and though I wasn’t great, I certainly wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. In fact when it was over the relief gave me such a high I felt ready to tackle Paxman. Until I later played it back on iPlayer radio.

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In ebook, Too Damn Nice was published in July 2017 (with no help from any props…). I wrote it back in 2012, before I had a publishing contract, and paid for it to be critiqued. I was advised to cut it down by a third and target it for Mills and Boon. Oh and change the hero because he was too nice. I preserved with it at full length…and a new title was born! A Little Christmas Faith hit the Kindle ‘shelves’ in October 2017, helped by two fury friends.

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What did I learn?

  • Doing something that scares you can give you a real buzz when it’s over (and is less painful than knowing you wimped out).
  • Listen to advice, but do what feels right.

My 2017 non-writing year

My first choice of holiday is a sun kissed beach and a good book, but with 3 non-sun loving males in my family, it was never going to happen. Instead we set off to Canada over the summer. Whether it was cycling, walking or climbing, we took in some breathtaking views, and though we certainly had to work for them, I think they were sweeter for it. It was the first time I’ve come back from holiday fitter and lighter than I set off, though I felt I needed another holiday to recover from it. One with a sun kissed beach…

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Much as I love going abroad though, the place I keep going back to, the place I love more than any city I’ve ever visited, is London. It doesn’t matter how often I go, there is always something new to see. This year we made a point of going in during December to see the Christmas lights.

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There is something about London that makes me smile, makes me dream, inspires me. This time, after seeing it dressed in its sparkly Christmas finery, I came home and started writing another Christmas book…

What did I learn:

  • Your first choice isn’t always the best choice. Not getting it can lead to something better.
  • If you’re looking for inspiration, go back to a place you love.

And on to 2018

What will this year bring? On the writing front, I will start edits soon on my next book, Crumbs. Perhaps, if the Choc Lit tasting panel like the romantic suspense I’m trying to finish, or the Christmas book I’ve started but still have a long way to go on, there will be a further book too, later in the year.

On the personal front, I hope this year brings exam success to my children, though it will mean an empty nest come September, and my husband and I having to talk to each other. On the bright side, I will no longer be out voted, so might not have to watch as much football. And hey, I might even get to the beach…

I also hope this year brings health and happiness to you all. And plenty of opportunity to read* :-)

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* Other books, by other authors, are available!