Happy New Year!

Gosh, look at that date! Over half way through January (and it’s ‘Blue Monday’ apparently!) and this is my first post of the year.

Apologies but I am in head-down-saying-no-to-all-invitations writing mode, as I have a deadline of mid-March to get the first draft of my novel off to the publisher. (*panics*)

‘Draft’ sounds quite rough doesn’t it but of course, it needs to be as polished and finished as I can make it, so it’s nose to the grindstone time. (And I’m not even allowing myself to watch the American version of Traitors which is on TV at the moment! Agh, it’s a hard life).

Happy New Year to you! I hope you had a good Christmas, even though it was a long time ago now and here’s to a happy, healthy 2023 for all of us.

That photo is of one of the highlights of my year.. taking a break one day on a dog-walk, for coffee and a doughnut in our village cafe. (Sad, but true!) And it’s a reminder that I need to do more of that this year.

First, a little plug. On Saturday it was exactly a year since my debut novel, ‘A Wartime Secret’ was published. It has over 800 reviews on Amazon now and hasn’t done too badly (but not made me a zillionaire, of course!).

If you’re on Twitter, I’m giving away a copy for #BlueMonday but be quick because it closes tonight at 10pm.

And the second book, ‘The Highland Girls at War’ is currently on special offer on Kindle – just 99p – so snaffle one up if you have an e-reader and think it might be your cup of tea, as it will only be that price for a little while longer.

Free Flash Fiction Competition (c/d 9pm on 15th Feb)

Derby Book Festival is running a (free!) flash fiction competition and the theme is ‘Light’. You have until 15th Feb to submit your entry, which can be up to 50 words, as measured on their website entry form and not including the title.
All the details are here and good luck if you decide to have a go! You can enter more than once, there are categories for children and adults and there are £50 book tokens to be won.

Evesham Festival of Words

My favourite festival, Evesham Festival of Words, has not only launched its short story competition (closes March but if you enter before the end of Jan, you’ll be put into a draw to win a £20 book token) but a big chunk of their summer programme is now on the website and open for bookings.

It’s looking great: literary walks, talks by authors Sophie Hannah and Joanna Cannon, plus two writing workshops and lots more. Oh, and a brilliant ‘wordy’ quiz on the opening night, of course, run by yours truly and my pals. All the details are here. Evesham’s pretty central (if you live in the UK!) and accessible by both road and train, so perhaps you could have a day out in July (or make a weekend of it?).

Zoom Talk On Getting Published

And last, but not least, the organisers of the Women’s Prize for Fiction are running an on-line event live at 7pm on 26th Jan: ‘New Year, New Novel: How to Get Published’ with author Kate Mosse and literary agent Felicity Blunt. (But it will also be recorded, if you can’t make that date/time), who “will look back on their years of experience in the book world and offer key pieces of advice for any writer looking to secure a publishing deal.”

It’s £19 but could well be a good investment in your writing and if you got a couple of friends around to tune it, you could share the cost? Anyway, I’ll leave it with you! I just thought it sounded interesting. Details are here.

This entry was posted in Books, Competitions, novel writing, Novels, West Midlands. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. Linda Mallinson says:

    Happy New Year to you too Helen. Thanks for your blog, as usual I really enjoyed reading it.

  2. philippabowe says:

    A very happy and creative new year to you Helen, I hope you sail onwards with your draft while savouring the happiness of your two books being out there in the world! P.xx

  3. Blue Monday and we’ve had our first flurry of snow. Meh! Thanks for making time to blog – and I’ll have a go at that flash fiction comp. Short is something I can do!

  4. christinemhowe says:

    A Happy New Year to you Helen and thank you again for your blog.

  5. Penny A says:

    Floods around here! But subsiding, we hope. Lots of luck to you in the new year.

  6. Maria says:

    Happy New Year Helen! January is motoring along like a Ferrari!
    Good luck with your deadline, I’m sure you’ll do it.
    Thank you for sharing your news, there’s some really interesting things happening and hurrah to that! I for one want to get back to normality this year, and hope to get out and about much more.

    • Hi Maria, I agree, where is January going!? I usually say I don’t like January but actually, apart from having to work like crazy to try to meet my deadline, I’ve enjoyed the ‘non-hecticness’ of it, after a (too) busy December! So glad to hear that you’re hoping to get out and about more this year. Keep us posted on what you’re getting up to, writing-wise and Happy New Year x

  7. Kate hogan says:

    Happy New Year, Helen! Just thought I’d mention that, as mentioned previously, I asked our local libraries to stock ‘A Wartime Secret’, which they did. When I asked for them to order your new novel ‘Highland Girls At War’ they said other customers had requested it and I’d just have to put my name down and get in the queue! I was very pleased. Wishing you lots of success with alllyour writing. Good wishes Kate Hogan xx

    • Hi Kate, that’s great news about the libraries! (hopefully you won’t have to wait too long!) I’ve just had my first PLR statement, which, as I’m sure you know, is the payment I receive for books borrowed from libraries. It was a pleasant surprise and will be the subject of my next blog post, in the next day or so! Happy New Year to you and thanks for taking the time to comment x

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