Indie Author Of The Month; Kim M Watt

Hello and welcome to another Indie Author of The Month post! At the end of each month I highlight an indie author I happen to think is rather wonderful. This is usually because I have read their books and been following them online for some time. For June, please welcome author Kim M Watt. First, let me say that Kim writes books I wouldn’t normally make a beeline for. Humour and fantasy. Not that I don’t like either, but I’m usually more drawn to YA or gritty, dark kinds of books. I was attracted to Kim’s books because of the snippets and graphics she posts on social media, all of which made me smile and want to give these unusual books a go. I have particularly fallen in love with her Gobbelino London series. To find out more, read on!

1. Tell us about your latest release. What is it about and who is it aimed at?

My latest book is Gobbelino London & a Contagion of Zombies, which is book two in the Gobbelino London series. It’s an immensely fun series to write, about the adventures of a feline PI and his human sidekick on the streets of Leeds. Contagion is (surprise!) about an unexpected rising of the dead, resulting in stress-baking reapers, irate magicians, zombie chickens, and some issues of undeadness for our team. It’s aimed at anyone who enjoys a light take on the PI genre, heavily salted with mayhem, humour, and cat hair.

2. Tell us about your publishing journey so far.

I’ve had a few attempts at traditional publishing (starting with a truly terrible vampire novel at 16), but a few years ago I became interested in indie publishing. I like the degree of control it affords the author, and as I’m a reasonably fast writer it also suits me. Plus, as my stories are a bit … quirky, shall we say? Weird has also been used… Anyhow, they don’t fit any one genre that well, so it’s tricky to sell them traditionally. So indie just seemed like a good fit all round. I published my first cozy mystery with dragons about 18 months ago, and it’s just been a really interesting and fun learning curve ever since.

3. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Ooh, always! I grew up on a boat in the South Pacific for quite a few years, so was on the NZ correspondence schooling system. Those being the days of very slow post, we sometimes lost incoming coursework. My solution was to write (and illustrate) a book of short stories. Although I may have been trying to avoid my mum’s maths questions by saying I was writing, too.

4. What is your typical writing day like?

I’m really lucky in that I’m able to write fulltime at the moment, so a typical day for me is up around 6 (earlier if the cat feels I’m slacking on food duty), work out or run, breakfast, then write for about 4 to 5 hours. I don’t write every day, but when I’m on writing or rewriting, that’s my time frame to hopefully get a couple of chapters done. I’m not too hard and fast on word counts, but that’s my goal. The rest of the day is then blog posts, social media, newsletters – whatever else needs doing.

5. What is your writing process? (how do you plot a book, come up with characters, find motivation etc)

Right. Yes. My process. *Tries to look like she knows what she’s talking about*

My process is … messy. I’ve tried really hard to learn to plot, and have done everything from plot gardening to circle-y things to Beat Sheets and everything else I’ve come across, including using a small forest’s worth of Post-it notes (I’m sorry, trees).

My conclusion is that it doesn’t work for me, certainly not in the first draft. My best writing is to have a start point and a vague idea of where I want to end up, then I just start writing. I find by hand works really well, or fast typing without correcting anything (and I’m a terrible typist. It’s almost as bad as my handwriting). The characters tell me about themselves as I go along, and that tends to shape the story. I’m mostly just along for the ride at this stage.

I then go back for at least one major rewrite before I send the story out to beta readers, and that’s where I use a Beat Sheet as a reference point to make sure I’m hitting plot points at about where I should be. Motivation is rarely a problem when I work this way – by the time I start writing I’ve usually had an idea rolling around in my head for a few weeks or months, and I have so much fun watching it take shape on the page that I look forward to sitting down. When I try to plot, on the other hand … not so much fun.

6. What has been the most positive thing about your publishing journey so far?

The online writing community. It’s the most supportive and wonderful collection of people – it makes me feel so lucky to be a part of it. I also love how social media means you can chat to readers – it makes the whole process so personal and lovely.

7. What has been the most negative thing about your publishing journey so far?

I’m not sure I’d call it negative exactly, but it’s All The Other Stuff you have to learn – from formatting to figuring out what you want covers to look like to trying to work out why your website suddenly started eating all your photos. There’s a lot!

8. Who is your favourite character from your own books and why?

Aw, that’s hard! I love all of them for different reasons. Gobbelino because he’s just such a cat, and so much fun to write. Beaufort because he’s so optimistic and gentle and fierce all at once. Glenda, who joined the Apocalypse on her Vespa, and who hasn’t told me her full story yet, but I know she will.

9. Where do your ideas come from?

An amazing amount come from Twitter. Gobbelino London started as one of those games that go around – the name of your first pet plus the last place you went on holiday. The Beaufort Scales series was a combination of a tweet I misread (it was about being barbecued by dragons if you went near their hoard, and I thought it was about dragons hoarding barbecues) and a strange discussion with my dad regarding the Beaufort Scale. Anything can be an idea, really.

10. What can we expect from you next?

I have the third Gobbelino London book due out in August, and a fifth Beaufort book towards the end of the year.

11. Tell us three fun facts about you

This is the hardest question yet!

– I’m originally from New Zealand, but haven’t actually lived there all that much.

– The Little Furry Muse (aka Layla the cat, and inspiration behind many snarky feline characters) has been with me for over 10 years, and in that time has lived in three different countries, ten houses, and two campervans.

– I’ve had all sorts of non-writing jobs, including teaching SCUBA diving, teaching sailing, cooking on sailing yachts in the Caribbean, and being bosun on a superyacht. Writing’s still the most fun.

12. What is the best advice you could give to aspiring writers?

Finish your writing. Accept it won’t be perfect, but know when you’ve done the best you can, and put it down. Otherwise you’ll be adding dragons and taking away pixies for another 326 drafts. And celebrate everything. Every draft, every rewrite, every edit. They all deserve celebrating.

Plus drop the “aspiring” bit, unless you’ve actually not written anything at all yet. And in that case – just start. That’s the scariest bit, so just start anywhere. And then you’re a writer 🙂

Thank you so much for inviting me to interview!

Thanks so much Kim for joining me on the blog. If you would like to find out more about Kim and her books, the links are below!

Website: https://kmwatt.com/

Books links: https://kmwatt.com/my-books/

My Life In Dogs…

One for my fellow dog lovers! Not so long ago I wrote a blog post which was basically a goodbye letter to my dear lurcher Skipper who died on 31st January this year. I had a lovely response and it got me thinking about all the other dogs that have impacted my life so I thought, in tribute to them and to Skipper, I would write this post.

First let me just explain something about me as a child. I was a dog lover from a very early age. I was totally obsessed by dogs. As a child, I begged and begged my parents for a dog but the answer was always no. We had a cat and that was all we were allowed. She was beautiful but very timid. Not really best buddy material. I had to console myself with my growing collection of toy dogs. There is a picture of me as a toddler playing with one of those wooden dogs on leads. I remember that I absolutely loved that thing. My Nan had one of those classic dogs on wheels that you ride on at her house. It went around the grandkids for years and years. Must have been an antique. I adored it and spend many hours riding up and down the path in the garden on that tatty old thing. Every birthday and Christmas as a child I asked for a new stuffed dog to cuddle. They all had names and their own little collars and leads I used to drag them around on. Remember Pound Puppies? I loved those! I was the same with TV. Littlest Hobo? Lassie? Benjie? I loved them all. I loved all animals and once I was old enough to read and write I devoured animal stories and then wrote my own. The first little book I ever wrote and finished was about some abandoned dogs. I still have it! I had a den behind my bed dedicated to dogs. Posters and stickers and books. A set of dog breed Top Trumps! I was a very strange kid.

Laddie – The first dog I ever remember was my Uncle Colin’s collie Laddie. We didn’t see my Uncle Colin that often but whenever we did, he would have Laddie with him. He was mostly black, if I remember correctly, perhaps all black. Laddie was obsessed with Uncle Colin, that’s what I remember most. He would bring him to my Nan’s infamous New Years Day parties and I would spend the whole time crouched next to him, giving him fuss. Sadly, he only really ever wanted fuss from Uncle Colin. My heart yearned for my own dog even more. I saw the way Laddie looked at Uncle Colin and longed for that love of my own.

Rufus – When I was around 8 or 9 my mum made contact with her estranged father and luckily they got on very well. He actually lived very close to us and I was delighted to discover he had a dog!! I expect the first time we ever met him I spent the whole time fussing the dog. Rufus was a tan coloured Staffordshire Bull Terrier. What I remember most was that he had his own ratty arm chair in front of the fire and he farted. A lot. I also remember my Grandad letting me take him for a walk and showing me very carefully how to hold his lead properly, so that the loop was around my wrist and my hand clutched the lead. I’ve never forgotten that. Or how happy I was that someone was letting me walk their dog! I was so upset when Rufus died of old age.

Gyp – I remember once when I begged my mum for the millionth time for our own dog she winked at me and said ‘never give up on your dreams’. I guess, looking back, she had decided by then that we would get a dog. Perhaps she had already found the litter of puppies. One day she told us we were going to get a new kitten. By this point we had three cats and some guinea pigs. I loved them all but still none of them were best friend/faithful companion material! We drove out to a farm to look at the kittens and in the farmhouse kitchen was a beautiful Border Collie lying in her bed with her newborn pups. I remember being utterly confused. But my mum explained, in what must have been a hugely exciting moment for her, that she had been joking because we were not there to choose a kitten, we were choosing a puppy! Our own dog! At last!! I was 10 years old. I can still recall that feeling of utter joy. We chose a beautiful boy and my mum named him Gyp. We collected him when he was 8 weeks old and I was probably the happiest kid in the world. I had a dog! I started trying to train him, using the books and leaflets I had collected over the years. The only downside to finally having a dog was that because my mum obviously did all his walks and gave him his food, he bonded to her and absolutely adored her. Collies are immensely clever and loyal dogs. He was great with us but it was my mum he didn’t take his eyes off. It was like Laddie and Uncle Colin all over again.

Joey – At that point I think my mum became a magnet for any unwanted animal going. Basically, the flood doors opened and a menagerie was formed. When a friend at work told my mum her neighbours had an unwanted puppy they were going to dispose of, my mum agreed to take a look. The friend brought the puppy to work, so of course my mum could not say no. Joey was a small black and white Jack Russel Terrier. A little man with a big personality. And of course he was instantly and utterly devoted to my mum, just like Gyp…

Carrie – When I was 15 my sister and I were out walking when we spotted a tiny dog ahead, one so small we assumed it to be a puppy. On closer inspection we discovered a tiny Yorkshire Terrier in a horrific condition. It was an alley on another estate to ours, one we did not usually cut down, so I always felt like fate was at play that afternoon. The little dog was holding up a twisted and useless back leg. Her fur was matted and greasy. Her ears were bald and covered in black muck. She seemed to have no teeth, and a protruding tongue due to lack of a lower jaw. She had a lower lip, but it just sort of hung. I immediately picked her up and declared that we were saving her. No one who had allowed a dog to get into that state deserved it back. We did the right thing though and took her straight to the police station. They filed a report and told us no one had reported her missing so we could keep her if we wanted. We were overjoyed! We then took her to the vets who told us she was in fact elderly, not a puppy as we had assumed. Her back leg had been broken at some point and left to heal on its own. Her teeth had nearly all gone which was why the lip hung down. We took her home and of course Mum said we could keep her! After a few washes, some good food, and lots of TLC she blossomed into a beautiful little girl with soft, silky fur. I loved her so much. She would walk about on all fours but if she wanted to go faster she would tuck the twisted leg up under her belly and run on three. I called her Carrie and she was mine. She trotted into my bedroom on the first night, slept on my pillow and that was that. I finally had my own dog! I took her everywhere with me, usually popping her into an old army satchel with her head poking out because she couldn’t manage long distances. She came on sleepovers with me. Me and my friend even snuck her into shops so we wouldn’t have to tie her up outside. I only had her for 10 months. She died suddenly when I was out one day and we never knew what happened or why. I was devastated. It was my first experience at losing a dog, a best friend and I was gutted and could not stop crying for months.

Robbie – Luckily for me, the loss of Carrie was made easier by the presence of Robbie. A few months before Carrie died my mum’s brother’s wife asked if we could rehome another Jack Russel. Her niece had a new baby, post-natal depression and the 3 year old dog was not getting any attention. Mum said yes and Robbie came to stay. He was originally called Archie but I changed it to Robbie. No idea why, he just looked like one. He was a tall JRT, looking back now, he probably had some Staffy in him too. He was overweight but I soon walked that off him and yes, for the second time, a dog chose me. He was mine from the first moment he came into our house. He ran around the house chasing all the cats and pulling fur from their bums. He soon got used to them but getting on with Gyp and Joey was another matter. They fought and they fought nasty. I don’t know how we got through it but somehow we did. It never crossed any of our minds to give up on him or pass him on. He was never exactly pals with the other dogs, but the fighting did stop and he was always fine with Carrie. When she died I was so grateful to have him. He was a bundle of mad cheeky energy and very smart. I loved walking him around the estate and felt like I finally had a proper dog. Robbie even came to University with me and moved in with me and my husband who was then my boyfriend, into our first home. I still had him when my first child was born but when I was pregnant with my second he suffered a stroke out of the blue at thirteen years old. We rushed him to the vets and kept him going for a few weeks after that but he was never the same. His head was tilted and he would turn in circles. He didn’t want to go for walks anymore and he started to get a bit aggressive.. I had to make the decision to have him put to sleep and it was horrendous. I still miss him now. He was such a character.

Skipper – It would be a long 5 years before I became a dog owner again. During that time we moved around a few times, had three children and were not allowed pets in any of the rented homes we had. I hated not having a dog. To me, a home is not a home without a dog. When we finally got Skipper I was so excited, because I finally had a puppy that was mine to train and socialise. I’d not known Carrie and Robbie as pups and the other dogs had been very much my mum’s. Me and Skipper had a bond from the get go. We had ten years of long walks, gentle hugs, deer chases and injuries, stealing food and spreading rubbish and oh so much love. He was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in February last year and struggled on until 31st January this year. He was the most gentle and loving and kind dog I have ever known and my heart still aches for him daily. I still expect him to come back. I still feel like he is not gone for good. Maybe that’s a good thing. He is still with me.

Tinks – After Skipper, I started fostering for a local dog rescue. My 15th foster dog was a tiny brindle lurcher pup the Irish rescue had nicknamed Tinkerbelle. We were never meant to keep her but she broke her leg when she was with us (she managed to climb up onto the worktop to steal some food and fell off) so she ended up staying a long time while the leg healed and of course we fell in love with her. Skipper tolerated the foster dogs but he was never that keen on most of them. With Tinks though, he was different. That was a sign. And on the day someone phoned up to ask if they could come and see her I realised I could not do it, I could not let her go. It would be like giving away my own dog. So we kept her and tried to come up with a new name but we never managed to agree on one, so Tinkerbelle stuck. Though she is mostly called Tinks. The smooth haired brindle pup evolved into a shaggy, grey blur. She probably has some Deerhound in her somewhere. I think she is beautiful. Inside and out. She has always been a an easy dog, In fact over the years she has been so good you could almost forget she was here. Skipper was so much more demanding of your time. She’s a gentle soul, silly and puppyish and funny and very loving. I adore her. She has stepped up since Skip died, almost maybe realising how much I need her…I feel like our bond has really grown deeper since he died. She’s just such a good girl and brings me so much joy.

Jesse – As a family, we started talking about getting another dog when we realised Tinks was very obviously missing Skipper. I like having two dogs as they keep each other company and enjoy playing together. Plus, as Tinks is nine years old now, the thought of something happening to her played on my mind. I could not bear it if something happened to her and I did not have another dog here to soften the blow and keep me going. I started looking at adverts and at rescues for another lurcher. We decided it really had to be a puppy again, as it wouldn’t be fair to expect Tinks to adjust to an adult dog when she spent so many years being pushed out by Skipper. The rescue I used to foster for no longer operates and the lurcher rescues have strict criteria about six foot fencing and young children. I looked and looked but it soon became obvious that the rescues don’t often have lurcher pups in and we wouldn’t be able to meet the criteria anyway, with a 5 year old child and fencing that is not six feet high. I do understand that criteria, but in all my years owning and fostering sighthounds not one has ever even tried to jump our fences, partly because they are surrounded by thick hedging and partly because after a few good walks most sighthounds just want to sleep!

I did feel guilty looking at breeders but also I very much knew what I wanted this time and I do think if people have done the research and know what breed would suit them, they should do so as long as the breeder is reputable. I wanted a dog like Tinks. Rough haired, some deerhound in, maybe some collie too. I wanted to know what was in the dog so that I could work with it better. Anyway, to cut the long story short I found an ad that seemed perfect for us. A litter of puppies with very careful breeding, mum a deerhound/greyhound/smithfield collie/bedlington terrier and dad a pure whippet. The pups were not due until March and would not be ready until mid-May which was when we had thought getting a new puppy would be a good idea. I spoke to the breeder and was put on the list. It was lovely to be part of the journey from the start, awaiting the pups birth and watching them start to grow and change.

We picked Jesse up last Sunday and a new journey began for us. It’s been a long time since we had a puppy in the house and I’m absolutely loving it. It’s early days to say what kind of dog Jesse is going to be but all I can hope for is a long, happy life with him. I am sure this little fella will have just as much an impact on me as the rest of the dogs in my life.

What about you? If you’re a dog lover, can you remember the first dog you fell in love with? What was the first dog you ever owned? Tell me about them, I would love to hear your comments.

My 2020 Goals

It’s become a tradition for me to write down my writing goals for the year ahead and then at the end of that year, to compare the goals to the reality. Last week I examined the writing goals I set myself at the start of 2019 to see how well I had done. You can read the results here;https://chantelleatkins.com/2019/12/20/my-2019-writing-goals-vs-the-reality/

So, this is my post for 2020 setting out what I hope to achieve. You might notice the word ‘writing’ is missing from the title, and that is because this time, my goals are not all writing or work related. Other things are just as important, sometimes more so. My list is a little different this time around because my life is a little different and because I feel a lot different. I have blogged about the perimenopause and how it’s affecting me here and I am sure I will blog about it again, as it’s dominating my life so much at the moment. I’m not going to go into it too much now but I will say that my goals this year are different because of it.

  1. Achieve a successful, well-stocked, functional vegetable garden! Okay, might sound strange, but this is linked to my current state of mind. Being outside, doing dirty, outdoorsy things in the fresh air, especially things that have a positive impact are very, very good for me right now. The best thing I can do when I feel down is get outside. I’ve had a vegetable patch since we moved here ten years ago. Over the years it had got bigger and better and some years I have been very successful with daily harvests in the summer months and it has been great. The last few years have been a lot less productive for various reasons, but this year it’s my top goal. Weird I know, but more than any writing or work related goal, this is what I want to achieve the most. I’m not sure why other than that I know it does me good to be outside, I know I can do it because I’ve done it before and it might be a wise move what with all the Brexshit uncertainty! It just seems really important for some reason. I will be starting in January. Making plans and buying seeds and starting some off and weeding. I can’t wait. This really is going to be my top priority.
  2. Learn to play the guitar! Another goal not related to writing or work! But another one that suddenly feels very important. Perhaps because I’m increasingly aware of life passing me by, of running out of time and chances. Perhaps because I have always wanted to try. Perhaps because I so admire anyone that can play an instrument. Perhaps because my characters in the Holds End trilogy are playing instruments and writing their own music and it would also be research? Perhaps because my daughter has agreed to teach me and it will be a good thing to do together. I don’t know why. I just know it’s important and I am really excited about trying it.
  3. Release Emily’s Baby in the Spring – Doable. Emily’s Baby is the follow-up to A Song For Bill Robinson, the second book in the Holds End trilogy. It’s having a final round with beta readers at the moment and will have another few rounds of edits/proofreads with me after that but I anticipate a Spring release, perhaps April.
  4. Finish The Search For Summer – Doable. I am currently writing the first draft of this in a notebook and I’m three quarters through. It’s going well. I should easily finish the first draft by early 2020 and will then start the next million drafts and aim to release it towards end of 2020 or perhaps the start of 2021.
  5. Finish Parts Five and Six of The Boy With The Thorn In His Side – These books are currently at draft number four. Next will be a read through on my Kindle, followed by another edit, and then it’s beta reader time. I’d like to think I will release them in 2020 but I think that’s too ambitious so I will just aim to finish them and be happy with them and plan a 2021 release for both books at the same time. It might be wise to finish the Holds End series first and get that promoted and then turn my attention back to this one.
  6. Finish the first draft of the YA series I was working on… – This refers to the post-apocalyptic YA series I started some time ago. The first draft was going very well for the first in a four book series but it got side-lined by The Boy series and the Holds End series…I hope to at least finish the first draft of book one in 2020.
  7. Do a second draft of YA novel We Hate The cool Kids – This was a book that jumped the queue in 2019. I wrote the first draft in a notebook pretty quickly but the ending troubled me. I don’t have any immediate plans to release this but I do think aiming for a second draft and a tied up ending would be good for 2020 depending on how things go.
  8. Continue working hard with Chasing Driftwood Writing Group – No specific goals this year for my little company. I have three new clubs starting after Christmas and this will keep me busy enough. Long term, I would like to get more writers on board to help deliver my ambition of encouraging children and adults to write and keep writing. I hope to get a community project off the ground finally but life is so busy and the after-school clubs take a lot of time and prep, so I am not going to put too much pressure on myself here. Just keeping it all going is enough of a goal
  9. Keep adding stories and poems to a collection – I’m not putting a time scale on this next collection of short stories and poems, but I will try to keep adding to it and working on it when I feel the need!
  10. Slow down, enjoy life, breathe, cry, listen to more music, be outside as much as possible, be honest about my feelings and keep writing them down – a little jumble of goals and aims to end on, but perhaps these are what will make the others achievable. I’m only at the start of this perimenopause fun, and it’s knocked me for six. It’s brought back emotions, thoughts and anxieties I thought I had long walked away from. Sometimes it is genuinely exhausting getting through a normal day. Moods shift and change with no warning. Some days I feel totally normal. Other days I sit in the car and cry. It’s okay. I’m okay. I’ve just got to remember to talk about it, write about it and just allow it. It is what it is.

So, that’s my list for 2020. Longer than last years, but a bit less writing/work related. I feel like it’s more about just surviving!! How about you? Have you got anything you particularly want to achieve in 2020? Please feel free to comment and share!

My 2019 Writing Goals Vs The Reality

At the start of 2019 I wrote my yearly post setting out my writing goals for the year ahead. I only gave myself six goals, so how did I get on? In what has now become a tradition, I will go through them and see how many I achieved! Next week I will set out my 2020 goals.

  • Submit some writing-related articles –  I’ve written some well-received articles for Author’s Publish in the past and have quite a few drafts of potential articles. I’ve just not had the time to polish them up and submit them! I need to get back into doing this. It’s fun, it’s great for exposure, it improves writing skills and it pays! I should have more time in 2019 with my youngest finally in full-time school.
  • REALITY; I did this! I think I had three articles accepted by Author’s Publish this year, but I would need to double check that’s correct. But anyway, this one can be ticked off as achieved!
  • Continue To Work On The Six-Part Series, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side and release parts 3 and 4 early in the year – This was a surprising thing that happened in 2018 and pushed some other plans out of the queue. I reworked and revised the original novel into two parts and re-released in 2018. I then wrote a brand new part 3 and reworked what was the sequel This Is The Day, into what will serve as part 4. I then penned a very rough part 5 in a notebook and planned part 6. I know how it will all end and I’m so excited to get it done! In 2019 I aim to release parts 3 and 4 very soon as they are almost ready, and get part 5 to second or third draft status.
  • REALITY; I did this too! In fact, I did more. I released parts three and four at the start of 2019, finished part 5 and wrote part 6! Currently I am working on parts 5 and 6 side by side, and we are at draft number four. I am very happy with how these have turned out and can’t wait to release the final two books probably towards the end of 2020 once they have been fully polished up!
  • Publish A Song For Bill Robinson – this book is ready and has been waiting very patiently for over a year! I spent all of last year polishing up Elliot Pie and getting side-tracked by The Boy series. This YA novel should see a release in 2019. I may try a few small press publishers first and if no joy, I will publish it with Pict and release probably late spring, early summer.
  • REALITY; I did this too! A Song For Bill Robinson was released on 6th December this year. The second book in the trilogy, Emily’s Baby will be released Spring 2020 and I am currently writing the first draft of the third book, The Search For Summer.
  • Continue to work on YA post-apocalyptic series and get first draft of the first book completed– This is another thing that keeps getting pushed back, but I have got to Chapter Twelve now in the first draft of book one. If I can get that first draft done in 2019 I will be very happy.
  • REALITY; Nope, didn’t achieve this. I did work on it now and then and I think I’m at Chapter 20 or something similar. I haven’t worked on it for a while now because A Song For Bill Robinson and Emily’s Baby needed so many more edits/proofreads in the last few months, plus I’ve dedicated every evening to working on The Boy series parts 5 and 6. I hope to get back into this series in 2020.
  • Continue to work on the various writing projects under my Community Interest Company, Chasing Driftwood Writing Group – There are two on the go. One in planning stages. Lots and lots more I want to do, but in 2018 time and fear really got in my way…I’ve decided I really need to get braver and more pro-active with all of this. I started the business in 2015 and became a CIC at the end of 2017. 2018 was my first year as a CIC and I’ve felt out of my depth the entire time. I’ve been on the verge of quitting more than once. I really, really want to do it. Not just the community writing project, but the school project and another project I have in mind. I think about them all the time and feel so passionate about it…yet it all seems too hard sometimes. I’ve decided the main problem is I am all alone. I do have a treasurer and a secretary and they are wonderfully helpful and supportive, but other than that, I’m juggling it all alone. I need to buck my ideas up this year and get things done. I need to work harder and faster and with more determination. And I really really need to work with others!!
  • REALITY; Mixed results on this one. None of the projects I was working on have been launched yet, but one is getting closer and my dream of not working alone all the time came true! For one big project I am working with The Red House Museum and the manager Laura has really been like a mentor to me this year. I also took part in a literary festival this year, giving a talk to teen writers. And I started more writing clubs! I have three new clubs starting after Christmas, and three on the go, so if they all take off, there will be six regular writing clubs. Two for adults, two at schools, and two for home-educated children. It’s still very much an up and down thing for me, but I have got more confident this year and received the kind of feedback and praise I really needed to keep going. Encouraging other writers is my big passion and my company will continue to look into ways of doing this!
  • Work on short story/poetry/blog collection – I would love to say I’ll publish this in 2019, but I think that’s too ambitious, and I know it will get overshadowed by The Boy series and Bill Robinson…Still, I do hope to work on it a bit more. I had so many short stories lying around (some new, some from a previously released collection) that I decided it was time to get them all together and release another collection similar to Bird People. I’ve polished up a few and have loads more I need to work on. I’ve also got some old blog posts I want to include and even some poetry. Eeek! Yes, that’s a bit scary. I’ve always been intimated by poetry, reading it and writing it. But the thing is, my head is so constantly full of words it gets hard sometimes, and I just want to expel some. We will see what happens,  but to release another collection would be really, really fun.
  • REALITY; I didn’t release a collection but I had admitted that was ambitious. I have been working on a collection throughout the year though and it’s really coming together. There are still some stories I need to write and the poems just keep coming. I’m not sure I will release this in 2020 as I don’t get much time to work on it. I think I will just keep adding to it whenever I feel like it and release it when its big and good enough!

So, I didn’t do too badly at all. In fact, if I look back, it has been a pretty good year for my writing and for my company. Everything is heading in the right direction, which is all we can ask for, I guess. I feel positive about these goals and how I tackled them. In other ways, for other reasons, this year has not been easy. When I write my 2020 goals next week you might notice that they are not entirely writing related for the first time.

But over to you! Did you set any goals at the start of 2019? How many did you manage to achieve? Are you going to set any for 2020 or just go with the flow? Please feel free to share and comment!