Gosh, it’s nearly the end of the year!

I notice that many people are writing about their past year and it’s prompted me to look back at mine. It’s been a real family year with both children living at home… to many people the idea of a ‘boomerang’ generation is a bad thing, but I think it’s lovely to have the children with us – adults though they are, and when I was their age plenty of my friends were living with their parents. It was only later that young people were able to afford mortgages. I was thirty before I had my own place, and it was a small flat, not a house. It is different now, I know – but my first mortgage had a whopping 17% interest attached to it.

This year seemed strange that there was no family holiday – for various reasons it was decided for only the second time to break with the tradition which has been happening every Easter since about 2005… or was it 2004? This year we have had a hen-party (on board a Solent fort) and two weddings. We’ve also had the traditional Christmas party, which must be in its sixty-fourth year!!! And Father Christmas still visits!!

We didn’t have a holiday this year, but we did go to Portsmouth for a college reunion – it would have been a wonderful time, except husband caught his foot on an uneven kerb, catapulted forward and broke his knee. He was put in a leg brace, and we carried on, despite the discomfort. Coming home through a snowstorm with cancelled trains would have been a nightmare – except man on crutches has precedence and he was ushered aboard (by the very kind and considerate passengers) had a seat which accommodated the rigid leg and we travelled home without incident. He’s a quick healer, and six weeks later he was as fit as a fiddle – well, as fit as he normally is!

This year I went on my first ever writing retreat with three friends. We went to Lyme Regis and had such a wonderful, creative and fun time. I think we all achieved a great deal from a writing point of view and had a brilliant time together. I broke the back of my latest Radwinter novel, ‘Saltpans’ and thanks to the Lyme Regis week, it was published in July. We are now planning our 2019 retreat; tempted though we are to return to Lyme and the quirky cottage we stayed in (access was through a window) we feel a new challenge would be exciting… Blue Anchor, Watchet, Monmouth? All contenders!

Writing has continued to be my life. From when i get up to when I go to bed, and when I’m not writing on the computer, I’m writing in my head. I’ve continued faithfully writing my blog, and after the best ever start to the year there was an unexplained slump in people reading me – there was absolutely no reason why my viewing figures should drop by 90% and I was worried, anxious, disheartened – but determined to continue… which i have done. I can’t help but believe WordPress changed something in the way they produce statistics – certainly the automatic posting on some social media sites stopped without warning, notice or explanation. Luckily for me I do write for my own pleasure as well as to communicate with lovely friends, so I kept persevering, and now, things are almost back to normal.. Thank you so much to everyone who was so encouraging and supportive when I was so dispirited!!

Still on writing – I mentioned that ‘Saltpans‘ was published, in July, and collaborating with a friend I published an anthology of blog posts from the other site I contribute to. This was the result of the ’73 challenge’ – a friend had a list of 73 blog topics, and we fell into a challenge with each other to write one for each… the fist 25 were published in November, ‘73: 1-25′.. ‘Presentations and Slide-Share’ to ‘Why?’. I am currently working on my next Radwinter novel, the seventh, which I started as part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write 50,000 in November. I hope that will be available from late spring, early summer next year. I’m also in the process of editing another anthology for a different writing group, The Writers in Stone; we hope to publish it in February in time for the second Weston Literary Festival. I was very excited to take part in the first writing festival in February, the highlight wasn’t the workshops and talk I gave, but meeting a writing hero, Damien Boyd. On the back boiler are several writing pots bubbling away, more in my ‘So You Want to Write…’ series – including family history and blogs. … oh and I have my 1950’s novel to finish, plus all those other halfway through novels and stories!

It has been a great year, with a gorgeous summer, a summer to remember. I’ll think a little more about 2018 tomorrow, and then I’ll think about the New Year ahead on Tuesday!

You can get Saltpans here!

You can get 73: 1-25 here!

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