Countdown to the New Year – Part II

As promised in my previous post, here for you to enjoy, hopefully as much as I did.

My top five Good things of 2015

I’d like to begin my countdown with paying off my bank loan.  This financial weight has been with me longer than I care to remember.  It was entirely my own doing due to silly expenditure and living beyond my means.  Thankfully, the decision to focus on my writing and the support of wonderful friends and family helped me figure out the things which really mattered the most.

It’s taken a good long while to pay off my loan.  Along the way I’ve had to decide between wants and needs.  And I’ve come to realise that what I want is not necessarily what I need.  

So now I always ask myself:
“Do you want it, or do you need it?”
Incredibly, with less annual income than I’ve ever earned, I find myself more contented than I’ve ever been.

According to my trusty filing system, I started working for Louise at Inkhead in 2013.  Even though I was an English teacher for 13 years prior to this I was still nervous about embarking on this venture.  I’ve always steered clear of young people under the age of 10.  They can prove to be somewhat clingy. 

But, prolonged periods in the presence of the under 10s is now an absolute must have for me.  Their incredible wackiness combined with their amazing way of viewing the world is a constant joy.  

I CANNOT be miserable when I have these embodiments of all life’s possibilities before me.  Kids of the world – you rock!

I’ve always been a huge fan of drama on the BBC.  The list of my favourites is endless – The Musketeers, Garret’s Law, Engrenages, Silent Witness…  And now there is The Last Kingdom. 

As I didn’t grow up in the UK my knowledge of English history is less than sketchy.  So I am ever grateful for any drama which gives me a good storyline with blood thirsty action (I can take it in faction) and helps me understand historical facts in Haribo sized chunks to boot.  

Of course it doesn’t hurt that the lead actor is pretty tasty and not at all difficult to watch.

My Google Calendar.  For several years I’ve used a traditional diary alongside the calendar on my laptop.  But I’ve been struggling to find the inserts for my tiny Filofax and so decided to be mega brave and go completely diary digital.  I wasn’t terribly enthused by it to begin with.  I mean, I miss seeing my schedule written down on paper. 

But then, I tried out the different features of the diary app on my phone and discovered Schedule mode.  This is when my enjoyment factor went up several notches.  Because, in Schedule mode, the calendar picks up on key words and inserts appropriate images to match the entry.  

So… when I put in my tango lessons for example, it inserts a pair of dance shoes.  And when I key in a lunch meeting, it inserts a plate, knife and fork image.  But it doesn’t stop there.  For each new month there is a new image - a ski scene for December.  I LOVE this.  Yes, it’s the small things which give me immense pleasure.

The publication of my first children’s paperback – The Lonely Dragon.  I started then put this story aside many years ago as I was working on Six Dead Men and then my major opus, Sharp Dark Things (about to be sent to The Literary Consultancy soon).  

Buy here

Then I began working for Inkhead and spending so much time with children inspired me to finish it.  I’ve loved living in a child’s mind through this book.  Although I've already published two e-books, I can't begin to explain the thrill I got when I held the first paperback copy in my hand.  So, Louise, thank you for the suggestion.  While I doubt it will bring in millions of pounds I'm chuffed at the positive response the book has received from those who've bought and read it.

And, my time with the students of Inkhead continues to inspire me as I’m already working on the sequel.  So watch this space.

So there you have it.

My top five joyful things of 2015.

Please feel free to share your top five with me.


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