October was quite a quiet month, not much happening, although I did one event - a talk to the Montrose Probus Club. It was an all male club, but the men were delightful and it was nice to know that some of them had read my books. I do like talking at these events, it lets me escape from my study and gives me a chance to meet my readers. The rest of the month was spent reading up about solar panels and seeking estimates. I do like to know as much as possible about anything I want to install, whether that is computer software, or something more technical like solar energy.
So, all geared up on what to expect, the solar panel installers were swarming over my roof at the beginning of November. We'd had beautiful sunshine up until that day, and indeed on the first day of the installation the sun was glorious. On day two of the installation the sun vanished, to be replaced by the thickest fog I'd seen for a long time, and it's been dull weather ever since. I think that's what is called Sods Law! Putting the panels up didn't cause me any disruption apart from the internal electrical work. I hate upheavals. And by the middle of that week my solar panels were up and running. The biggest grief I had over the whole procedure was applying to be put on the FITS (Feed-In Tariff) Register because, apparently, the energy suppliers pay you for some of the electricity you generate. That was nice to know, but filling in the forms was a pain in the neck. Plus when I checked to see if the forms I'd posted had arrived they couldn't be traced. So I applied again, by email this time. I wish I'd done that in the beginning. That started a series of emails flipping back and forth requesting this, that and the other. But eventually it was all done and dusted. Thank goodness for that.
What else happened in November? Well, there was another Society of Authors Committee meeting. It went well, except for the fact that a train had derailed just outside Dundee which knocked my travel arrangements into a cocked hat. I had to get myself to Dundee by bus to pick up a train to Edinburgh from there, and it was the same on the way back. So, what should have been a seven hour time away from home turned into twelve hours before I staggered into my house again.
I also did my first craft fair in November. A fellow author had asked if I would like to take a table at the fair, and of course, I said yes. It was a great experience. I met lots of nice people and sold quite a few books into the bargain. I sometimes think I should be more pushy in my marketing and promotion, but it's not in my nature, and I doubt if I would have been involved in this fair if it hadn't been for my fellow author. But I did enjoy the experience.
As for my new book, the work in progress, well, it's coming along and I think I'm close to finishing my first draft. But a first draft still needs a lot of work and I wouldn't want to publish the book until it is as good as I can possibly make it. So, be patient, once the story is in place it's a dead cert it will reach publication. I just have to knuckle down to the revisions and polishing.
I wonder what December has in store for me?
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Unlike the last two months, September has been busy for me. The month had hardly started before I was sitting on a train, heading for Stirling, and the annual Bloody Scotland festival which celebrates crime writing. This festival just gets better year after year, and I reckon it gives the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival a run for its money. This year I was acompanied by my 13 year old granddaughter, and she had a ball. She enjoyed it so much she wants me to book her in for it again next year. I've done a blog post on it, and if you want to check it out just click on the link at the side of this page.
I hardly had time to draw breath before I was off on a reading tour of Dundee, accompanying an American tour group and giving readings at various sites which I use in my books, including the Howff Cemetery, Verdant Works, Camperdown Zoo, and Templeton Woods. They were really interested in how to throw a live and kicking body over the electrified fence into the bearpen at the zoo. I'll be blogging about it on Authors Electric on the 19th October. We had a wonderful day and I made new friends. The next day I accompanied the group to Auchmithie, a small fishing village 3 miles north of Arbroath. We had lunch at the celebrated But n' Ben restaurant followed by a historical re-enactment by the villagers. I gave readings from A Salt Splashed Cradle, in the restaurant and in the church where the re-enactment took place. And I'll be blogging about this visit on Authors Electric on 19th November. If you've never visited the Authors Electric blog site then it's time you did. There's a new blog post every day written by one of the 29 members, plus a few guest ones. The blog is well worth a visit.
Later that same week I met my Canadian friends Don and Melanie Robertson-King in Dundee. It was great meeting up with them again on their tour of Scotland, and we tried to fit in as many of the sights of Dundee as we could. Melanie has blogged about our day in Dundee, you can find it on her blog site Celtic Connexions.
All of this happened over a ten day period, so you can imagine I was knackered by the end of it. However, I loved every minute of it. But, I wasn't finished yet. Ten days later, just enough time to get my breath back, I was off to Edinburgh for my first committee meeting as a Society of Authors in Scotland committee member. I'm a great supporter of the Society of Authors, they do so much to help authors in what is becoming an increasingly difficult climate for many of them. I think all authors should consider joining this organisation, there are many benefits. Check the society out here, Society of Authors
Now, all I need to do is wait and see what October has in store for me.
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July/August 2015It's been a while since I posted some news and that's because my mother died in July, but as she said herself when I saw her in May - 'She'd had a good innings' - and that was certainly true because she'd reached the grand old age of 101. It doesn't come any easier though, even if you half expect it's going to happen at some point. However, it hardly seems a year has passed since we celebrated her 100th birthday. You may think it strange I hadn't seen her since May, but we live many hundreds of miles apart, so it meant I didn't see her often, and the rest of my family live near her in Bristol so she was well taken care of. Besides, she was a sprightly old lady who lived independently, doing her own cooking and cleaning right up until the end. I just hope I have her genes. The funeral was a sad occasion, and I went to Bristol to be present, although counting the travel it meant I was away for three days.
I thought you might like to see a couple of photos taken at her 100th birthday party, and I wish you could have seen her dance at it. But the next best thing is a photo and here it is. And, of course, we can't forget her birthday card from the Queen.
August started badly, my backup computer died on me. It was the first computer I built and I was fond of it, which meant I didn't want to rush out and buy one from the nearest computer store, so I upgraded it with a new motherboard, processer, and more memory. This meant it was now a more powerful computer than the one I was doing all my work on which was the second computer I built. It seemed daft to keep working on a less powerful computer which was also starting to age, so I swapped them over. However, because my brand new upgraded computer had died on me, it meant I had to install all my software again and move loads of files from the computer which was now downgraded in status to my backup one. This was pretty time consuming and my work in progress, the new novel, has suffered as a result. But I'm back on stream now so there's no stopping me.
The latter half of August marked my acceptance of a seat on the Society of Authors in Scotland committee. When I finally finished work in my chosen career, I had sworn I would never sit on another committee, but how could I resist the Society of Authors, which does so much work for authors in Scotland and in the UK. I just hope I'm up to the job.
The month rounded off with a lovely lunch with my CWA (Crime Writers' Association) pals in Edinburgh. Now I'm getting ready for Bloody Scotland in September. I'm sure it will be a blast.
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