It's lovely to welcome more new subscribers, and please enjoy your first newsletter.
'By the Letter' celebrates its first birthday with this edition - it doesn't seem that long and I've much enjoyed writing these each month. Judging by the growing number of subscribers, and your kind feedback, it seems you enjoy them too!
It's a new year, and may yours be excellent. Resolutions? Never do them. I like to stay flexible, see what interesting stuff comes up as we go along. But I do have some plans to share.
My good friend Lily Lawson (read my interview of her here) took me by surprise with her annual 'Lilys', her various writing awards. Here's her list and of course I was thrilled to be overall 'writer of the year' (Lily reads a lot of books!) Thank you, Lily!
Highlights of 2021
Seems I was busy. Overall it's been a good year with these happenings as my 'literary' highlights:
A win and various listings/commendations in five competitions - these are good to have as objective validations of ability/appeal, so very pleasing.
Published Keepers and Dragon Gift - both of which get excellent reviews. Sales are erratic, but I'm sure you good people spreading the word will help smooth that over time!
Read 9,276 pages of novels (40 books) according to GoodReads, not including beta reads for friends and my own books.
Set up this newsletter and am steadily growing subscribers. Thank you!
Despite Covid, was able to continue some work in schools with Dean Scribblers and we produced two anthologies of the children's work.
Coming in at 15 - thank you!
The monthly AllAuthor competition is as much about supporting an author as it is about the book cover itself. On both grounds, it was encouraging to have Keepers come in at 15. I very much appreciate all the voting people did - multiple times. Thank you! I do love this cover! (Find Keepershere, and if you've read it but not left a review yet .... please?)
I've kept them modest and therefore hopefully achievable.
Most immediate is that my Guardians of the Forest prequel will be published soon. It has a new title, Legend of the Winged Lion, which I hope will intrigue young (and older) readers. I've set myself a deadline to launch it in my next newsletter on 11 February.
In the meantime, I'm offering subscribers a free ebook or PDF of The Wild Army, Book One of Guardians to get you - or the young reader in your life - in the mood! See the button below.
Once that's done, I can go back to my other project, about Hester, the farmer's daughter who talks to the river which she knows as Sabrina, goddess. Can't wait to delve into this story again and plan to get it out by mid year.
In the meantime, there's more potential work with local schools happening through Dean Scribblers and life generally.
Time to challenge ourselves again! This time the challenge is a competition which we expect to announce at the beginning of February.
Prizes to be won!
Our judges, all members of DWC, are prize winners in either or both poetry and prose. We very much look forward to seeing what comes in.
If you'd like to know all the details as soon as they're announced, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add you to our mailing list.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Flora Klickman
I came across Flora (1867 to 1958) when I was asked to contact a gentleman from the Forest named Charlie Miles who had done quite a lot of research on this once internationally famous and now largely forgotten local author. Flora's connection with the Forest and the Wye Valley began with visits to her aunts in Brockweir as a child. She spent much of her life living between London and the Valley, retired to Brockweir and is buried in the Moravian church there. Read my 'interview' with Flora here.
WRITERS ARE READERS TOO
When I bought this book I had no idea what it was about. By the end I think I did! Read what I concluded here.
Prologue to Legend of the Winged Lion
More to get you in the mood for the new book!
'The common tales, the ones young Sleih and Gryphon are told by their parents and teachers, say this:
The Sleih once dwelt on the high plains. They lived apart from the Madach, practising mild magic and working with metals, gems and woods...'
A little while ago fellow writer Stoney de Geyter asked me to pen a blog post about how I moved into self-publishing. Having spent some time in the 'querying trenches' before making the decision to become an 'indie' author, it was a great opportunity to think about the factors which affect each author's self-publish vs pursuing traditional publising decision.
I hope it's helpful to many of you and of interest to non-writers too, to see what goes on in the background to get you the books you love to read.