I have an apology to make. I probably owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people, but this one is to all the authors and publishers whose books I've read but not yet reviewed. I've been quiet on the Blogging front for the last couple of months, what with the Chaos of Christmas, and a tumultuous (there's a big word for a Monday in January!) family life taking priority, I've been guilty of taking advantage of relative peace and quiet and reading book after book after book... Also binge-watching two seasons of Stranger Things became a Family Thing, so obviously that had to take priority too...
So I have some catching up to do!
I haven't done a blog on my favourite books of 2017, because there were too many! Isabelle Broom, Joanna Cannon, Mandy Baggot, Catherine Miller, Angela Clarke, Juliet Ashton to name but a few authors who delighted me with their wonderful words last year.
But if pressed to find an ultimate favourite for last year, it would have to be Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, though Me, Myself and Them by Dan Mooney is a close second as it gave me an insight into Mental Health I never thought I would need.
As for my own writing - I finished my first draft of my novel just by the skin of my teeth for the deadline for submitting to the Romantic Novelists' Association's excellent New Writer's Scheme. It had taken me two years to get to this point, as Life had thrown us a few disconcerting curve-balls. To my delight, the feedback I got from my reader was overwhelmingly positive, with lots of constructive suggestions for edits.
I've not joined the NWS scheme again for 2018 - it's the first time in three years I'm not a member, but I will still enjoy the Chapter meetings, and I am fully intending to attend the annual Conference this year (finance permitted - maybe I should set up a GoFundMe page - I'm joking.).This year I want to concentrate on the edits of my book, and then will begin the agonising search for an agent and publisher. I feel - and hope - I've learned a lot since I first self-published 5 years ago.
January is traditionally a very dark month for many people, and in the past for me, especially so. But this year, I feel full of hope and positivity, with a healthy dose of realistic expectations. No, it's not that I'm doing Dry January - thanks to Catherine Miller and the wonderful Olive, I've discovered a brave new world of Gin! Warner Edwards' Victoria Rhubarb Gin is a particular favourite; after all, it has my name on it!
I'm beginning to realise, thanks to Ed Anthony and his Inside Out Understanding, that we can be in control of our stress levels and that it is possible to be only one thought away from calm. I've learned to be more patient (though that may not seem obvious to many), and that slow steps are key. I've also learned to accept that which I cannot change. And that I can change? Well, instead of moaning about it, I'm going to do my best. After all, that's all any of us can do.
So Happy New Year, people (yeah I know it's late), and may 2018 bring us more fantastic new books, good health and happiness.