I know there’s a bit of controversy over when exactly a decade starts and ends, but for the purpose of this blog (and my poor, tired brain) I’ve decided that the decade ends on December 31st 2019. I can’t actually believe how fast these last ten years have flown by, and so much has happened! If I wrote about it all it would be a very long and boring post, so instead, here are my highlights in photographs.
Bits ‘n’ Bobs from the decade
Hard to choose a few photos to sum up the decade so far, but I’ll start with this miscellaneous bunch. At the beginning of 2010 I was still an extremely shy, introverted person with social anxiety and a reluctance to go anywhere or meet anyone new. It sounds dramatic to say that writing changed my life, but I can only tell you the truth, and that’s quite simply … it did. Writing gave me confidence, brought me joy, introduced me to new friends and filled my world with laughter and new adventures. Who’d have thought back then that I would travel to Leeds on my own to meet up with Jessica Redland and Jo Bartlett? Unheard of for someone like me, who dreaded even catching a local bus. By 2019 I was catching a train alone to King’s Cross in London, ready to meet my RNA friends to attend the Winter Party. I had a girls’ weekend away with family members to celebrate my 50th birthday, attended several writing festivals, and met Ruth Jones and Ann Cleeves! I also attended talks by Sophie Kinsella, Lynne Truss and Lucy Diamond. I spent a couple of nights in Derby, meeting up with my Write Romantic friends (and Jo brought the donuts and champagne!) I even attended the RNA conference in Leeds! These pictures reflect some of the amazing things that have happened to me over the last decade, and some of the people I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with. I’ve also chosen other images that show what these last few years have been about for me.
Saying Hello, Saying Goodbye. The Joys and Sadness of Family Life.
There has been sadness in our family, as I expect there’s been in all families over the last ten years. During the decade, we’ve lost family, both human and animal. Our much-loved family members were aged from 9 years old to 95 years. Some of the losses were expected – some definitely not. Some came at the end of a long and happy life, others were taken from us far too soon. We’ve also lost four-legged family – more than can be pictured here. Each loss has affected us deeply, but those we leave behind as we move into the next decade will never be forgotten by those that remain. xxx
But we’ve also been very lucky. We’ve welcomed five new granddaughters into the family this decade, to join our two grandsons. They are all so different in looks and personality, but they’re all truly wonderful. The eldest of our grandchildren is thirteen now and the youngest is five in the spring! It really has gone so fast. xx
And we’ve had other new additions to the family, too! Our new German Shepherd puppy arrived in 2010. We have new grandpets in Alby, Buddy and Brian, Barney and Darwin the cats, not to mention various guinea pigs, Juno the rabbit, chickens, fish and goodness only knows what else. I also got two fabulous new daughters-in-law, a new sister-in-law, and a second niece to join her big sister. xx
Fun Days Out
I’ve had lots of wonderful days out in the local countryside or at the coast, and there are far too many photographs to share here. Particular favourites are Whitby, the Dales, Robin Hood’s Bay, Knaresborough and York. I also visited the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth over in West Yorkshire a couple of times. I’ve had some fantastic excursions!
We’ve had some lovely holidays during the last few years. We went on a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads twice, and the scenery is just spectacular. It’s also an incredibly relaxing sort of holiday because there are few shops, it’s almost impossible to get a television signal, and WiFi and mobile connections are sporadic to say the least. Bliss! We also holidayed in Pembrokeshire in Wales, Glastonbury in Somerset, and Looe, Polperro and Boscastle in Cornwall – all of which are just stunning. Wish I could have included more photos!
My writing life began at the beginning of the decade when, in 2011, I got the idea for some characters who would later be the *stars* of the Kearton Bay series. I began making some notes, signed up for NaNoWriMo and completed the first draft of what would become There Must Be an Angel. I started a blog, which has gradually evolved into a website. In 2013 I joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, where I met the Write Romantics. I was over the moon when they asked me to join them and also to contribute a short story to their charity anthology, Winter Tales, which I did. By the end of 2014 I was a published writer! At the beginning of 2018, I took the plunge and left my job at a doctor’s surgery to become a full-time writer. I still can’t believe I had the nerve to do that, nearly two years later! I was sad to leave my lovely workmates behind, but they gave me a great send-off with a buffet in the office and lots of flowers and presents. I knew I had to take my new “job” seriously, so to show my intentions, I had business cards and bookmarks printed and refurbished my office. I’ve also started a newsletter and my own publishing imprint, Green Ginger Publishing.
Making New Friends
Oh, how I wish I could fit in all the photos of the new friends I’ve made! Firstly, my lovely Write Romantic pals, Jo, Jackie, Deirdre, Rachael, Lynne, Helen P, Helen R, and especially the two who live in Yorkshire: Alys West and, of course, Jessica Redland, who seems to spend half of her free time with me, poor thing. Then there’s Lizzie Lamb, Isabella Tartaruga, Mags Cullingford, June Kearns, Anita Chapman, Sylvia Broady and Joy Wood. That’s not to mention all those fabulous friendly writers I met on both parts of Anita’s social media course in York. Then are the bloggers and Facebook friends, the writers I’ve met at the RNA conference and the Winter Party, and the fabulous bunch of women who attend my local RNA chapter meeting. Superstars all! I’ve also met some lovely people “virtually” when they’ve guested on this blog, or when we’ve chatted on social media. That’s not even counting the lovely and supportive readers who message me with the most encouraging and generous comments, and who really lift my spirits more than they could ever know. Writing has opened up a whole new world of friendships to me and I’ll be forever grateful for every single new friend it’s brought me.
Here are my “firsts” so far. My first published work was a shorter version of The Other Side of Christmas in the Winter Tales anthology. My first pocket novel was All Because of Baxter published by DC Thomson. This was then published by Ulverscroft as part of their Linford Romance Library, making it my first large print novel. My first published novel was There Must Be an Angel, the first in the Kearton Bay series. My first magazine story is The Luckiest Man Alive which appeared in The People’s Friend. My first audio books are There Must Be an Angel and Resisting Mr Rochester, published by WF Howes. My first award is a Chill With A Book Award for Resisting Mr Rochester. Resisting Mr Rochester was also the first of my books to win an Amazon bestseller flag.
The Story so Far …
Since November 2014: two short stories, seventeen novels, two collections, two audio books, two pocket novels, five large print books, seven standard paperbacks. And a partridge in a pear tree … 🙂
Happy New Year!
All that remains is for me to wish you a very happy New Year! I really hope you have a wonderful 2020, and I hope to meet more of you in the decade to come. Here’s to the Roaring Twenties!