That was the Year, that was…..
That was the year, that was….it’s over so let it go.
What a year!
January arrived with an appointment with the surgeon’s knife, only to be postponed at the operating room door; phew!
A 60’s Icon, Samantha Juste passed away in February
and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of those who read and commented on my piece about her, and who remembered her with the same affection as I.
Her passing reminded me of those wonderful, care-free days in my teens filled with music, fashion, and the changing world around me.
I know many scientists, and others who have changed the world and who have done so much more for human-kind died this year, but Samantha was a link to my teens.
I was also fortunate enough to have some of my short stories and flash fiction published and Pod-cast during February as well as being interviewed by other authors on their blogs. Links for all these are on my blog roll.
February also saw the paper-back publication of In A Word: Murder – a crime anthology – which had been published in November 2013 as an e-Book.
I was thrilled to be asked to contribute two stories for this very worthy cause – The Princess Alice Hospice, Surrey – in memory of Maxine Clarke, writer, blogger and editor.
Both my stories received really positive and uplifting reviews which has been encouraging.
March found me spending a week with my sister and her husband. My week with them was spent visiting some fabulous places which were of particular interest to me, and which I wrote about here.
We visited Rye and Rye Church which was wonderful. Going up on to the roof of the Church and getting the most fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, the town and sea. How I ever got up those narrow wooden stairs and squeezed through the tiny door on to the roof I shall never know.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I adore anything to do with astronomy and space. As a special birthday treat they took me to a lecture at the Herstmonceaux Observatory where I had the most amazing time. I got to look through one of the telescopes Sir Patrick Moore used to map the Moon – his observations being used by NASA for the Apollo Moon Landings.
I managed to get the idea for a Ms Birdsong Investigates story whilst there: Murder at the Observatory.
I also spent a relaxing and inspirational day walking around the beautiful gardens and house at Wakehurst Place, part of Kew, and where the Millenium Seed Bank is held.
As always I took lots of photos to remind me of my visit.
Later in the week we spent an interesting afternoon looking round the home of Rudyard Kipling – Batemans – and his picturesque gardens.
Such a thrill.
We also took in a visit to the town of Lewes and spent some time walking around Lewes castle. Unfortunately it rained and was misty and so some of the views were obscured. Nevertheless, the castle was fascinating.
Another day found us strolling around The National Pinetum at Bedgebury and the fantastic collection of trees there. It was so lovely, so quiet – apart from birdsong – and very relaxing. I loved it and took lots of photos once again.
A trip to a wonderful medieval manor house called Ightham Mote followed and was delightful. The gardens and the house are such a joy. So much history and fascinating architecture.
March also brought a medical emergency involving our son which was very upsetting and worrying. He was diagnosed with an extremely rare disorder which was only discovered to exist in the last four years and, as yet, there is no known treatment.
Only 1/2% of the male population is known to have it, and he has the rarest form. It is research in progress according to the medical experts.
April found me taking the bull by the horns; I decided to have a go at submitting some of my work to publishers for the first time. I didn’t have any real expectations but I thought the experience would be good for me.
And so most of April and May was spent writing, editing and sending out my submissions. More on this later….
June always brings Heritage Day at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and I and a friend spent a lovely day wandering around the grounds, exploring the Old College, and the New College, and the Chapel, as well as watching Gurkha displays, marching bands and other attractions. One highlight was having a Gurkha Batt for lunch.
I used to walk in the grounds back in my youth, before they were closed to the public when the IRA threats became too great. My husband and I used to walk there often when we were ‘courting,’ although nine times out of ten his road manager and band would come looking for us before too long, ready to whisk him away for a gig somewhere or other.
My mother played there as a child. So I am familiar with the Academy and always love going back when I can. Several friends married Officer Cadets so I’ve attended a good few weddings there as well.
June and July was also spent doing more Guest Blog appearances on other author’s pages, and interviews. I also submitted two stories for a charity anthology which I am still waiting to hear back about, plus more submissions to publishers.
One of my brother’s, and his partner, gave me a treat by taking me to an evening concert; The Last Night of the Audley End Proms at Audley End House. We spent a fab weekend going to flower markets, long walks, delightful pubs, and eateries topped off with the concert. A wonderful way to spend a weekend and such fun company too.
In August one of the publishers I had submitted to asked me to write two stories for them and so I submitted The Haunting of Anne Chambers and Merry Christmas Everybody.
I spent the month holding my breath….
September and I was back in hospital for my long-awaited, previously postponed shoulder operation. I’d been writing like a maniac throughout July and August trying to get as much done as possible as I knew once I’d had the operation I’d be unable to type properly for 9-12 months. As far as I know the operation has been a success. I am now having physiotherapy and gradually regaining the use and strength back in my shoulder.
Something wonderful happened in September: I signed to Accent Press Ltd and they began working with me on my two submissions for their Halloween and Christmas anthologies.
Shiver was published 9th October 2014 with my story The Haunting of Anne Chambers included. Shiver was number one on amazon best sellers chart and my story received 5* reviews.
November proved to be a very sad month for my family and I. A much-loved uncle who had been in hospital for almost a year was sent home with only a few weeks to live, passed away. He had endured unspeakable suffering with great dignity and humour and it broke our hearts to see such a fun person stricken in such a cruel manner.
The Chapel had over 150 mourners struggling to find somewhere to stand. Being a fan of Elvis and Rock n’ Roll it was fab to see so many of his old school mates turn up in their drain-pipes and cowboy hats. His coffin was in the red of Ferrari (he and a cousin of mine were avid race-goers and Ferrari fans – my cousin owning two of his own), with the Ferrari insignia on the front.
His coffin came in to the strains of The Old Rugged Cross by Alan Jackson; one of his daughters was a bearer.
His children and grandchildren gave speeches and a long time friend sang a hymn for him.
After prayers and other readings, Elvis was heard singing How Great Thou Art and finally we sent our uncle to his untimely rest to the sound of Elvis singing My Way.
Wishing on a Star was published 15th November 2014 with my story Merry Christmas Everybody included.
I have a 5* review on amazon so far.
I am dead chuffed. Mission accomplished. The hard work begins.
We have had a couple of births and deaths in the family this year – who hasn’t!
I know it is all part of the rich tapestry of human existence, but for each of us who has lost loved ones it is still raw and painful to bear, and those of us who have gained loved ones – new family members – it is a joy and a blessing tinged with sadness. Sadness that they will never know those who have left us, and who have enriched our lives beyond words.
I wish my son, his children, and one of my brother’s better health. For all those suffering I hope that this new year will bring better health, freedom from pain, and the worry ill-health brings.
We remembered our War dead – especially WW1 – and those who suffered from their wounds and lived with the pain all their lives.
Especially Great Uncle Thomas Nyhan – who died at the Somme in 1916.
And my maternal Grand-dad who was gassed in WW1 and died from the effects in 1955.
Also Cousin George who never recovered from the sinking of his ship in the Atlantic in WW2 and who died in 1980.
That was the year that was, it’s over so let it go…..
I wish you all a very happy, healthy, peaceful, and safe 2015.
Do join me again soon. It has been a blast.
Thanks for being here. xx