Thursday, 27 November 2014

A most enjoyable year of learning, creating, making new friends and much business!

The Sign says it.
As this year of 2014 approaches it's final month, it seems like a pretty good time to take stock, so to speak. A good time to reflect on mistakes and successes, what I may continue with in 2015, as well as move on from things that don't really work for me personally. At this time of year, also, I like to plan how I might use my precious time off from work and whether I am going to be in a position to take on a sizeable stroll through the mountains and valleys of some of Britain's loveliest areas. I am a little disappointed that I will be in no position at all to take the amount of time needed for me to walk the length of Britain again, as I'd hoped, but I am now getting quite excited because I have decided to do the world famous Coast to Coast walk again, as devised by the late, great Alf Wainwright. In 2012 I successfully completed the walk from West to East in twelve days, alongside my good friend and superb walking companion Helen Aitchison.
With Helen by Great Gable.
Dipping toes in the sea at Robin Hood's Bay.

Together we managed to raise around two and a half thousand pounds for charity, through kindly folk who sponsored us to do the walk. Next year I will be solo, walking the other way this time, East to West, from beautiful Robin Hood's Bay on the North Yorkshire coast to St. Bees Head on the West coast, just beyond The Lake District. At around 190 odd miles, and taking in three of England's most beautiful national parks, the walk is stunning in many parts, as well as being quite a challenge. I will be tackling this in September, again doing it to raise money for charity, and I am looking forward to it with great relish. As I have learnt a lot about technical things on computers throughout this year, I will be blogging the whole walk, adding text and pictures, as well as the odd video update too. If the blog can entertain a few folk as well, then this will be quite marvellous, and may even encourage some sponsorship. Watch this space for that!

Throughout this year, I have also made many new friends within the online reading and writing fraternity, which has been quite lovely, as well as inspiring and very educational for me. I was honoured, back in January, to be asked to join the team on a brand new E-Magazine called INNOVATE. I willingly accepted the invitation, and writing an increasing amount of features and articles for the magazine, which is now also in print form, has been very enjoyable. It has also taught me much about how to structure things correctly, to make the piece flow freely. This applies whether one is writing a simple review of a book, or a musical creation, or if one is writing a novel. The structure and flow of anything that one writes is all important and, for me, it becomes easier to grasp this the more experience I gain. We will shortly be releasing issue number eight of the magazine, which seems to be gaining in popularity, slowly but steadily. Watch out for it at all the usual places like Amazon and Smashwords, amongst others!

Back in April I released my third book, an improvement again, on my previous two, this one being titled ARSE ABOUT FACE. As with my previous two, this was another kick in the gut of the system, delivered, though, with plenty of tongue in cheek British humour. Sales have been no more than steady, but those who have bought and read it have loved it. Maybe you should check it out yourself and see what it's all about!

I love writing almost as much as I love walking in the hills, and I am now working on a fourth book on a similar theme, entitled OUR LIES ARE BETTER THAN THEIRS, as well as working on a far more serious, much bigger project. I am writing my first novel. It is set in wartime Britain, North Watford to be precise, and based on much that my grandfather told me of life during those troubled years, with flashbacks to The Somme in 1918. It is called WHY GRANDAD?, and I hope to have it finished by mid summer of next year, 2015. Watch this space for news on those.

The Other Daddy.
The Ghost of Bluebell Cottage.
My other great love, as mentioned, is reading. This year I have read some fantastic books written by independent, or not very well known authors, as well as some by better known writers. Here is a little selection of some of my favourites.

Above you can see The Ghost of Bluebell Cottage and The Other Daddy - A World Away. These two excellent stories are penned by highly talented Claire Voet. I enjoyed these two books, as well as others by her, enormously. I even had the honour of working with her with some proof reading, and she is highly professional, a pleasure to work with. As is another of my favourite authors.
A Song For Joey.
Elizabeth Audrey Mills.

Liz Mills above, the very talented author of a lovely book, A Song For Joey, seen here. I loved this story, heart-warming triumph through much adversity. Again, I have also had the honour of working with this lady, she is also very professional and a pleasure to work with, also authoring several other books.

The two authors I mentioned there I have had the honour to work with as a proof reader, as well as enjoy their writing.. This is something else that I have been able to do a bit of this year. I fell into it by accident really, but the writers I have worked with seem to be very happy with what I have done, so I always welcome the chance to do more. Anything to do with reading or writing, I find, always helps with one's own writing. So, another highly talented writer that I have had the pleasure to work with is Caroline Bell Foster.
Caroline Bell Foster.
Caroline's books.

Caroline is an highly accomplished author of several books already, with her new one due out very soon, look out for it, entitled Call Me Lucky.

Rusty G's.
As I mentioned earlier in this piece, I have been writing an increasing amount of features for Innovate, interviewing and writing about some very talented people. Two rock bands, The Bleeding Hearts and Rusty G's, seen here on stage performing.
The Bleeding Hearts.
Also I was honoured to interview Jo Mundy about her very innovative Synth Music Direct with musical partner, step dad Kit Judd-Gratrix. 
The Radiance Collection.

Jo in the studio, pondering.

As well as the highly talented musicians and authors I've already mentioned, in recent weeks I have also had the pleasure to write about,  and work with, two exceptionally good children's authors. Firstly a lovely Scots lass, now living in Wales, Brenda May Williams. 


Brenda May is another highly accomplished author, as mentioned, of children's books. I had the honour of helping Brenda, with two colleagues in the recently formed Popsible Press, to get her Holly Prickles story published. Brenda is another consummate professional, with whom it is an absolute pleasure to work. I wrote an article on Brenda and her books for Innovate, and it went down very well it seems, as did the others on the afore mentioned artistes. During my writing of the article, as well as talking with Brenda, it became very apparent that writing good children's books is very much an art, quite tricky, and in many ways a lot more difficult than writing for adults. I have also stumbled upon much in this sphere that is very sub-standard, that no child, or indeed their parents, would want to read, so it was with the utmost pleasure that I have been writing a feature on another who is right up there, as it were, as a children's author, Lucy O'Farrell Carter. Lucy has recently released her second book in the Jet series, Jet And The Butterfly.
Lucy O'Farrell Carter.
The first Jet Book.

 While I am talking about the highly talented authors I have written about this year, or whose work I have enjoyed very much reading, I cannot fail to mention my absolute favourite author.
Mr Chuck Lovatt.
Chuck is the much celebrated author of two stupendous, swashbuckling stories. The Adventures of Charlie Smithers and the extremely powerfully written Josiah Stubb - The Siege of Louisburg. Chuck is a mild mannered, gentle chap and without doubt a brilliant writer. I have learned much from reading Chuck's work, much that I hope will stand me in good stead as I work my way through writing my own historical novel.

So there it is, an interesting, highly enjoyable and very busy year for me. I look forward with great relish to next year being equally good, if not better. Of course, another month remains of this year and, with Christmas quite near, you may want to purchase a few good books for yourself, or friends and family, as well as the CD's in the beautiful Radiance Collection. Here are some links to what I've been talking about.
Claire Voet  -
Liz Mills  -
Caroline Bell Foster  -
The Bleeding Hearts  -
Rusty G's  -
Synth Music Direct  -
Brenda May Williams  -
Lucy O'Farrell Carter  -
Chuck Lovatt  -
Popsible Press  -
Innovate  -

Wishing all who pop in now and again to read my blog, as well as newcomers, a very good end to 2014, a splendid Christmas, and a marvellous 2015.

                                                     Alec Hawkes 27.11.14 


No comments: