Happy New Year to all my blogging friends, I hope you have all had enjoyable festive periods and enjoyed Christmas, if you celebrate.
We had a lovely Christmas Eve celebration at my sister, Hayley’s, house. She is the third daughter of four and has two sons, Ryan and Ben, who are great friends with my two boys. She served a most delicious meal of gammon, beef and roast chicken with some lovely salads. I did some experimenting with breads and made a pumpkin seed and honey wholewheat loaf and a cheese and olive loaf, both of which were delicious. I was off the hook for puddings this year as everyone else had offered to make so I didn’t feel a need to make one.
Christmas day was celebrated at home and we had two of my three sisters over with their families as well as my parents, my aunt and my husband’s grandmother, mother and sister. It was a wonderful day and we all ate well and relaxed. Our Christmas menu was a bit different this year and we had gammon and baked fish served cold with a selection of salads. I did more bread experimenting and made a pumpkin seed and wholewheat yogurt loaf and a cornbread loaf. Everything was delicious.
Our New Year has been very quiet as first Terence and then my son, Greg, went down with a stomach bug. We had to cancel our dinner plans for last night and tea with the family today. Such is life. I have spent a lot of today washing soiled bed linen and towels. At least everything is crisply clean for the new year.
On the writing front, I had a good year, publishing my first full length young adult supernatural fantasy novel, Through the Nethergate, in October. I have had some lovely reviews and am very satisfied with this book as a first novel and plunge into a different genre.
I also participated in three anthologies this year. Death Among Us, edited by Stephen Bentley, came out in June and is now available as an audiobook as well as a paperback and ebook. I have three supernatural murder mystery stories in this anthology.
In October, Nightmareland, edited by Dan Alatorre came out. This horror anthology has reached the number 1 bestseller spot in its genre twice in the past few months. Nightmareland, in which I have three horror short stories, is the sequel to Dark Visions, horror anthology, in which my first two horror short stories were published in 2018.
In November, Whispers of the Past, a paranormal anthology edited by Kaye Lynne Booth, became available as an ebook. I have two short stories in this book.
During the second half of 2019, I wrote the first 40 000 words of the first book in a new series I am planning. The book explores a future world where the population is dealing with the effects of climate change and the fourth industrial revolution. I have put this one aside to finish my historical supernatural novel about the South African War of 1899 to 1902 which I wrote as a short story while Through the Nethergate was with my editor.
It turns out that my three ghosts from this period have an awful lot to say about their experiences in the war and my modern character, Michelle, is also in a pickle and needs a lot of words to get her out of it, so this short story which started at 5 000 words and then grew to 30 000 words is now approximately 55 000 words and still going. I have added 22 000 words to this book over the past few weeks of the year end holiday period. The historical nature of this book has meant a lot of research so it is a bit of a labour of love, but I am enjoying it tremendously. So far, I have used over 20 diaries and thesis’ as well as other internet sources to build up the story line based on actual facts. The book presents both the British and the Afrikaans points of view, in what I hope is a balanced and fair way.
I am hoping to finish this book by the end of February and send it along to Esther Chilton for developmental editing with the aim off sending it to my publisher by the beginning of May. Esther has already looked at the 30 000 word version and given me comments which I have incorporated into my re-write. I got some of the inspiration for the two additional ghosts, Robert the British soldier and Estelle, the Boer girl poltergeist as a result of her comments so developmental editing is definitely worth it for me.
I am also planning to submit two short stories to Kaye Lynne Booth’s 2020 WordCrafter short story competition. I already have my ideas for these two stories, both of which will be about the days of the settlers in South Africa. If you want to enter, you will find the details here: https://kayelynnebooth.wordpress.com/2019/12/09/announcing-the-2020-wordcrafter-short-fiction-contest/
I have my work long leave of an extra 22 days coming due in May this year so I hope to take two weeks off in June to start working on the second book in my mother’s fictionalised biography which will be called After the Bombs Fell.
What are your goals for 2020? Let me know in the comments.