Saturday, 31 December 2016

An Exciting New Year Beckons

As I write this we stand on the cusp of a new year. As you read it the New Year will already have begun, in Scotland anyway. New Year is always a time for hope, looking to the future and wondering what the year will bring. 

As a writer the past year has been an absolute blast. I have been to several conferences, met some lovely people and brought out four new books. These were Killer's Cut and Killer's Crew in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, The Dagger's Curse in the Fergus and Flora Mysteries and one non fiction book. The non fiction book is called Power Packed Book Marketing and was written to accompany a talk and workshop I was doing. 

Over the year I have been a speaker at several conferences and run workshops at several more. Book week Scotland was crazy busy with 11 events in 8 days. The highlight had to be being on a panel at Bouchercon in New Orleans. This was special in many ways. It was my first time speaking at an International Festival as a writer, also my first time in New Orleans. I also met a number of delightful people who I now call friends. 

Killer's Countdown, the first book in my DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries won a Chill With a Book Award. This was my first writing award and I felt quite emotional. If you haven't yet read this series then now is the time to start. To celebrate the award Killer's Countdown is only £1.99. You can get it from any Amazon

As I say 2016 was memorable. It was fun and full of adventure and excitement. It was also full of wonder. Wonder that this was happening and gratefulness that it was. 

I am excited about what 2017 will bring. I have already been asked to speak at several conferences including the Scottish Association of Writers Conference and the Dublin Writers Conference. I will also be attending a number of other conferences including Killer Nashville and Bouchercon in Toronto. The Crime Writers Conference is happening over my birthday so I am looking forward to that. I have been asked to run a full day of writing workshops for The Prince's Trust

I have a number of projects and books ongoing. The Haunted Broch, the next book in the Fergus and Flora Mysteries will be with the publisher any day now. The next Shona McKenzie book will also be out in May or June. I believe that 2017 will be just as exciting, if not more so, than 2017.

Many people are choosing their word for the year. I have decided my word will be opportunity. I know that there are a number of opportunities which could come along. I plan on embracing them and making the most of them. Where they will take me I can not tell. I do know that I will continue to follow my dream. To enjoy every single minute of the journey and let it take me where it will.

As 2017 approaches I urge you to follow your dream. Take the first step, then another and another. You will soon be well into your journey and on your way to reaching your goal. If that dream is to write a book then pick up a pen, or pull forward a keyboard and write the first word. Share what your dream is in the comments below. Your first step could be telling the world. It will make it somehow more real.

However, the year has not just been about writing. It has also been about reading. My first read of the New Year will be The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith. Expect a review on here very soon. What book are you starting the new year with. Let me know in the comments so I can get some recommendations.

Whatever you may be doing I trust you will have a blessed and happy year. Thank you for sharing the last year with me and I look forward to sharing the next year with you as well. 


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Celebrating the Year Just Gone

As we start the year as writers we tend to look to the future. What will the year bring? What will be writing? What projects have we got planned? We often forget to look at what we have achieved so that is what I am urging you to do today. We are always growing and developing, both as a people and as writers. If we look at what we have done this can help us to move forward.

As writers we can often be despondent about our work and our achievements. We feel like we don't measure up or are not as good as others. We should be celebrating our successes whatever they may be. Take NaNoWriMo as an example. There are a number of writers celebrating because they reached the finish line. However, some will not have reached that Goal. Celebrate what you have done. Be it 10, 20, 30 or 40 thousand or even a thousand words, that is more words than you would have written if you had not been doing NaNoWriMo. You are that many words closer to completing your book.

As I look back over the past year I was genuinely astonished that I have completed 4 books and had short stories in 3 anthologies. This started with Power Packed Book Marketing in March, Killer's Cut in April, The Dagger's Curse in September and Killer's Crew in November. What a year and definitely worth celebrating. It has been non stop with conferences attended, speaking at conferences, speaking engagements, book signings and meeting readers. I signed a publishing contract for a series of young adult books and have an idea for another series. In short it has been a fabulous year, full of fun, laughter and writing.

Although the year has not ended yet I think one of the best ways to end Book Week Scotland was when Killer's Countdown was given an award. That, and the fact readers are enjoying my books make me a very happy writer indeed.

When taking stock of the year just gone it helps us to make decisions about the year ahead. Knowing what I am capable of has made me realise what I am capable of if I try. It has given me encouragement to achieve even more in the coming days and months and on into the future. If you are a writer I would encourage you to do a similar exercise. You might be amazed at what you have achieved without even knowing it.

Goodbye for now my Bookaholic friends. If you would like to buy signed copies of any of my books as Christmas presents then you can do so from my website. I'll get them out first class the day I receive the order. They make great stocking fillers as well.

You can also buy them from Amazon on the links on the right, Kobo, Nook and CLC Bookshops

See you soon my Bookaholic friends. Until then keep reading, and writing. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.