Yeah, I know I’m late with this – most people have moved on from 2022. But I thought I’d do a quick recap of my reading and writing year. Although I didn’t achieve everything I’d set out to do, I think I did okay, especially with losing several potentially productive weeks to illness.
The year’s main achievement is the publication of my novella, Stolen Summers, the prequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home. This didn’t only mean completing the manuscript and working through the edits, but also learning about self-publishing – which has put me in good stead for my next book.
I was also successful in (finally) completing my century of short-story publications. It’s hard to believe it’s almost 20 years since I had my first short-fiction acceptance.
I haven’t yet managed to transfer this website to a more professional address but I did switch my newsletter to a private email address which is supposedly better for delivery.
As planned, I replaced my author bio with my brand story. I published my 1000th blog post October but was too busy with other things to write a suitably celebratory post.
This time last year, I knew nothing about TikTok and had no intention of joining in. But I couldn’t turn down the offer of a free course and then a paid course to learn to do it better. I’ve had a lot of fun, made some friends and sold a few books, but I’m not convinced it’s been the best use of my time.
When I set out the modest aim of getting 30 new Amazon reviews, I meant for my existing books. Well, I only managed 15 for those but can say I met my target if I’m allowed to count the reviews for Stolen Summers.
For the first time in years, I missed my modest reading target of 100 books – albeit just by one. That’s not only because I didn’t open a book for a whole month: we become addicted to online Scrabble in this house plus, I’ve been requesting fewer copies from publishers, so there’s less pressure to meet deadlines.
I allowed myself to be seduced by the idea for another novel before I’d set my objective for this year. Despite two false starts, I’m loving it, despite it consuming all my emotional energy and ruining my sleep. I therefore thought I might not meet this week’s flash fiction challenge – but when I began a scene in which a character plucks up courage to train as a Covid vaccinator, I realised I’d almost captured my shadow lady. Here she is:
Clem passes the training centre five times before she dares to enter. How she detests this timid version of herself. What happened to the woman who single-handedly brought up four children? What happened to the woman who, when they were grown, moved to a town where she knew no one simply for the adventure of living by the sea?
She’s still there, she tells herself, as she pushes through the door. Crushed by injustice but continuing to breathe. A new skill is like medicine, strengthening her muscles, armouring her skin. It will launch her from the shadows, triumphant again.