January. 2023. Yikes. When I was a kid I used to think about how far ahead the year 2000 was (we wrote essays about it, all this futuristic stuff like flying cars), and how OLD I would be then. Moving on... :D
Happy new year to everyone, and a special thanks to those who have stayed the distance for the two years By the Letter has been going out. I still love doing it, and it seems you love reading it.
It's traditional in January to review the year before, so here's a summary-
On the writing front, I released two books, Legend of the WingedLion and River Witch. I also wrote some flash fiction, and from the handful of competitions entered, I maintained my 33% success rate for a longlist/shortlist/win. Must enter more!
I am ever grateful for all your support in these endeavours: those who buy, leave reviews (love you), critique drafts, act as read ahead reviewers, and also our local libraries and bookshops who are simply wonderful. I will be calling on you all again!
As you know, a lot happened on the personal front too, and the house project is ongoing. From February, we're without a kitchen and utility room (laundry) for four months or so. Lots of nice cafes locally!
And of course, there was the loss of our precious Sammy. Not yet ready for another dog, but the itch is there (don't tell David).
To help keep me sane, I did a fair bit of reading, racking up 8,874 pages over 35 books according to Goodreads (love data!). Many of them I've reviewed here and others on my blog. More to come this year.
NEWS & 2023 plans!
First of all, thank you for your votes in December's Cover Competition. River Witch came sixth out of an initial field of 400. A brilliant result and all thanks to Lauren Willmore for her design.
'Said the Editor 2022' was published at the end of December. This is the second such collection of essays by a few authors, and I was thrilled to be asked to contribute. Take a look here.
The year has started very nicely with this River Witch review from award winning writer Nina Romano. Reviews are the electronic version of word-of-mouth recommendations, and hence authors crave them like addicts! Especially when they are as lovely as this.
Now for 2023 plans February 9th is the release of Walking in the Rain. Written as a sequel to Keepers, but also a standalone, this novella follows the male character whom you all loved, some three years on. Beta feedback has been highly satisfactory and now into final edits.
Click on the image to read more and pre-order the eBook. Paperback available after release. I'll let you know!
I've been thinking for some time of putting together a collection of Forest-based stories, and my aim is to get this out later in the year. I have nearly enough stories, and it will get me listening even more closely to the inspiration of the trees to come up with a few more.
And on inspiration, I've started posting a daily writing prompt to my Facebook page (if you don't yet follow that, please do), and posting my own off-the-cuff responses to my website here. It's helping get those creative juices flowing. Everyone is invited to join in and there have been some highly inventive responses. Love the variety of the human mind.
A great collaboration
Some of you know Dean Scribblers, the organisation which a small group of us set up a little while back to encourage creative writing in Forest schools. Pre and post pandemic, Scribblers has worked with bodies such as Voices from the Forest, Reading the Forest and Dean Writers Circle, to combine local history and literary heritage with writing, and had much fun in the process. This year, Dean Scribblers will be working with the Royal Forest of Dean Rotary Club on a very special project for school-aged children and young people. The details are being worked out, and once they are final I'll be broadcasting to the world. Watch this space!
Judy is a prolific writer who lives in a medium-size town in Virginia, USA. She tells me she spends her days reading, reviewing, and writing books and checking on her neighbors. Knowing Judy, this last would be in the nicest possible way! Judy never runs out of ideas fr her poems and tale, as she has an endless, most interesting, source.
Something many of us, not just writers, struggle with, is which version of 'lay' vs 'lie' is the correct one depending on the context and tense we're writing in. But if you take a further step back to understand the difference in meaning of the two words, it helps a lot.
February will be the big release of Walking in the Rain, but there'll be other bits and pieces of interest too, I promise. Meanwhile, come and join in the writing prompts - you don't need to consider yourself a writer - and be inspired! Who knows where it might lead.
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