As January draws to a close, it seems a bit late to wish all my followers a happy new year, but nevertheless, I hope 2024 is a happy one for you and yours. One of my new year’s resolutions is to provide you with more frequent news updates, so welcome to my first monthly news round-up of 2024.
My overall health took a bit of a hit after I published Shooting Stars – a combination of mental and emotional exhaustion from personal challenges I've faced over the last few years and the huge task of writing a real book, while self-doubt threatened to cripple me at every turn. I also developed a pinched nerve in my back in July requiring nerve blocker medication and physiotherapy, which compounded my overall mood and I fell into a bit of a depression. At one point I worried I might never write again.
However, with new medications, several months of physiotherapy and a good break over the holidays, I'm now back to my old self and feel motivated and excited for what 2024 may bring.
I spent the first week of January planning and goal-setting, and aside from the new novel, I am also looking at establishing my own creative writing school. I'm already tutoring a few classes with Creative Writing NZ, however, the course was written by someone else and I would prefer to tutor students following my own syllabus. I’ve already stared drafting the content and hope to be ready to launch in a few months’ time. Watch this space for more updates and info.
While my writing school is sitting on the front burner, novel no. 2 has moved from the back burner to the middle burner. The idea for the plot actually came to me while I still in high school and though I sketched out an outline a few times over the years, there was a plot hole that kept tripping me up. Until now. Last year I was watching a documentary about an area in Montana that finally gave me the idea for a way of tying all the loose ends together. Hallelujah!! Now, the ideas are flowing again and scenes are playing out in my head. I love this part of writing – the license to day dream! I’m still working on the outline, but should be starting on a rough draft in a few months, probably only after my online school has launched.
I feel good about 2024. I have been through some tough times between January 2013 and December 2023 – a decade of suckiness, for lack of a better term. But, I do think the pendulum is at last on the upswing and change is coming. I may even have had a message from beyond the vale. Something happened on the 9th that I cannot explain. It's silly and mundane, like a missing sock, but unlike a missing sock or crooked picture frame, I have not been able to come up with a logical explanation. It piqued me so intensely that what started as a quick post for social media ended up as a full article which I published on Vocal Media. So head there to read The Case of the Disappearing Bottle Cap.
I’m thankful temperatures have dropped again, though it’s probably on a brief reprieve for now, I’m sure we still have plenty more summer to come. My poor old PC really struggled through the peak of the heat wave and started glitching when the temps hit 26C indoors. You know you’re a writer when, in the name of your craft, you make the ultimate sacrifice and turn the fan to face your hard drive instead of towards yourself.
The highlight of the month was definitely the review from Reader Views. It wasn’t the five-star rating or the shiny badge I get to display on my media feeds that I was so thrilled about, it was that the reviewer actually got my book. I knew I took a bit of a risk on a storyline that has become something of a cliché, but I wanted to dive below the surface and use that very cliché to show how people with such different lives can have things in common, especially insecurities. And though I wanted a happy ending, I wanted Catherine to transform her life on her own, that her HEA with Jake would be more of a cherry on the top. Sadly, all this seems to have gone over the heads of most readers, so the fact that the reviewer recognised this and made a point of writing about those layers and themes was the best gift ever. The review has restored my faith that there are readers out there who will appreciate the book's deeper message.
And that wraps up this month’s round-up. Here’s to a 2024 that goes from strength to strength for everyone.
Posted: Fri 26 Jan 2024