Reflections

It’s my birthday! I have now reached the grand old age of fifty-one and, frankly, I can’t believe how quickly the last year has flown.

A few days ago I re-read my blog posts from last June: Embracing the Crone was all about my feelings on turning fifty, a truly milestone birthday. Seven Go Mad in Filey recounted my birthday weekend away with six female family members in a caravan. There was a lot of alcohol involved apparently. And cake, obviously. I honestly can’t believe how much has happened in these last twelve months and I find it scary how quickly time is passing.

Last June – and I can hardly believe I’m saying this – I met my lovely writer friends Julie Heslington and Alex Weston for the first time. I’d come across Alex on Romna when she introduced herself to the group (Romna is the online branch of the Romantic Novelists’ Association) and I was drawn to her post as she was writing a romantic suspense novel set in Glastonbury, called Beltane. The book I was writing at the time had a scene involving Beltane, and I’d spent some time in Glastonbury the previous summer and absolutely loved the place, and had just read three books by Phil Rickman set in Glastonbury (Marco and the Blade of Night, Marco’s Pendulum and The Chalice, if you’re interested. You should be. They’re fab!) Anyway, because of all this I contacted Alex and we exchanged a few emails and then she suggested we meet up and added that she’d like to bring along her writer friend Julie who was also a member of the NWS.

I was frankly scared stiff. Meeting new people was a real ordeal for me, but I desperately wanted to talk to others who were in the same situation as me and would be happy to talk about writing, so I agreed. Thank God I did, because that meeting led to a really supportive friendship and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them now.  They encouraged me to finish the novel I was writing which was, to be honest, in a bit of a mess and submit to the NWS and with their support I completed it and sent it off just in time to beat the deadline.

Because of that very positive and helpful critique, I managed to pluck up the courage to send a revised version of the novel to five beta-readers, including Julie and another member of their group, The Write Romantics, Jo Bartlett. With their help and feedback, I finished the novel and then, at our last meet-up, I put a selection of titles to Julie and Alex and they helped me choose There Must Be An Angel. Since then, I have completed book two, A Kiss from a Rose which has gone off to be critiqued now and I have been asked to submit a short story to the Write Romantics’ charity anthology in aid of The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Teenage Cancer Trust. Incidentally, The Write Romantics are running a competition to name the anthology so if any of you have any suggestions here are the details.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t answered Alex’s post on Romna that day, and all that stuff has happened to me in a year!

Not only that, but a year ago I was living in my daughter’s spare bedroom. I don’t know if I ever mentioned that? 😉 I tried not to talk about it too much…Since then, my daughter got married, I moved back in with DH, we moved to a new house and we have been blessed with two new granddaughters! No one can say that the year hasn’t been eventful.

I used to dread birthdays, seeing them as reminders of how quickly time was passing and how much of my life I was wasting. I seemed to spend a long time treading water, unsure of what it was I wanted and where I was going. This year has been so different because I have been doing things I really love doing and have found my confidence building and my happiness increasing.

I see this birthday as a landmark – a flag in the map of my life. This coming year will bring more major developments, I’m sure of it. One way or the other, by the time my next birthday comes around I will be a published author, and I’m incredibly excited and optimistic about that. I don’t know if I will ever be traditionally published or if I will choose the indie path; I’m not expecting to make a fortune from writing; I’m not dreaming of winning the Man Booker Prize or any awards for my novels. What I do know is that as long as I keep loving what I do, enjoying my writing, falling for my heroes and cheering my heroines on, I will keep doing this and that knowledge makes me look forward to the future with delight.  Maybe that’s what success is, after all, and who wouldn’t look forward to the future with that in mind?

Have a great week xx

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