Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Highlights

Despite all attempts by the governments, the weather and Wirral Council, it's been a good year for me on balance.

Travel highlights were the trip to the south western states of the USA - Sedona, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon... oh, and ... erm ... Vegas. Mallorca and Turkey were enjoyable but not in the same class.

Best moments: there was much to remember this year by in the UK too and I'm still buzzing from attending the Paralympics for a couple of days including 'Thriller Thursday' where Hannah Cockcroft, Johnnie Peacock and David Weir won golds.

Despite not being a 'sporty' person, I'd say that following the Olympics and Paralympics was THE best part of the year.

Writing highlights were: My first play - 'Enola Gay' - being premiered as part of Wirral's Festival of Firsts, a couple of competition wins and coming in the top ten of the Pulp Idol novel-writing contest.

Movies: I only saw a handful of new movies but the most teary was War Horse [DVD], and the most satisfying was Skyfall [DVD]

Best purchase of the year... possibly any year ever: The iPad

Best meals of the year were in Cafe Sage, Wallasey Village and The Portrait House, Hoylake. Best buffet - The MGM champagne 'brunch' in Vegas... which I managed to stretch from 10ish to 4ish!

Favourite books: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - a quirky, poignant story about likeable characters facing a heart-breaking decision - and Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson - an unnerving tale of a woman's search for the truth when she never remembers what happened yesterday.

Worst weather: where to begin? Snowed under in Flagstaff? Horizontal deluge at the Status Quo concert in Speke? Or just the remorselessly grim grey gloom that loomed over the whole year.

There are other categories, I'm sure, but these are the main things that leap to mind at this point. Starting the new year with a few more writing credits under my belt, still in gainful employment and no bits fallen off yet. I hope 2013 finds you in fine fettle too - and I'd love YOU to share your highlights here!


Friday, 21 December 2012

The End is not quite 'nigh' - official

Regular readers will know I've been to (or near to) the end of the world a couple of times:

1. Ushuaia, which bills itself as such, being the southernmost city in South America (and, as someone tweeted this morning: The Mayans gave us Cocaine, Chocolate and Tobacco. We were fools to believe anything they say.)

2. Armageddo (or Har Megiddo) in Israel, which I chiefly remember for a rather racy snogging session in the underground tunnels the first time I visited.

But just a little word of warning from Death Star PR: George Lucas thinks the world will end in 2012 but what does HE know? It's not like he invented a giant planet-destroying laser or anything. Or like he has enough money to build it even if he HAD invented one...

So what would you be doing today if it really was The End?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

More Ups and Downs

I've been busy with many things so, here's a whistle-stop catch-up of the peaks and troughs, the ups and downs, the rounds and abouts, the pluses and minuses, checks and balances, swings and sparrows... etc

Poetry 24 is now in the hands of 3... possibly 4, who can tell?... new editors. This will free up some time in the new year. If you've a poetic bone in your body, support this unique eZine by sending your news-related poems.

Conversely, I've taken on the running of the Festival of Firsts International Poetry Competition next year, and will be doing publicity for the festival, which will take up a fair bit of time between now and July.

Shrewsbury's high tech flood defences
I went to Shrewsbury, getting into the Christmas spirit (gin mostly) but worried that it might be a bit flooded, walked around Stiperstones and had a 13 course Roman banquet.

Conversely, I have lost a stone in weight - largely thanks to the MyFitnessPal which is online too, but I use the app on the iPad.

I have had another 30 or so rejections.

Conversely, hot on the heals of winning Sefton (what a raffle, that was!) I came second in the Voices Israel competition (scroll down  to the second poem... just after the one about having sex with the washing machine repair man*).

Click text (left) not image!
I STILL haven't quite finished my novel The Undead Residents Association...

Conversely part of it is already out in hard back and on Kindle as part of Pulp Idol - Firsts 2012 where the top ten finalists of the novel-writing competition have their first chapter published as a promotional tool.

Oh, and I've been on a week-long training course, of which more  anon.  Conversely that 'at risk' letter and budget talks put a question  mark over the whole library service.

I must apologise for not visiting other blogs recently - as you see,  there's been an overlap between  finishing and starting (see above) plus work on the house involving moving and sorting a LOT of stuff. Hope to be back in circulation soon.

Didn't do one this year, but here's last year's: 10 Great Gifts for Writers 

* Note to self: my washing machine needs some attention too