Far from being a scary Halloween, October 31st actually felt more exciting than Christmas Eve and for three very good reasons!
The first of these was that some of my favourite authors (Lindsay Buroker, Joseph Lallo, and Jeffrey Poole who happen to run a weekly podcast called the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Marketing podcast were hosting the live show on YouTube, slightly earlier than usual, in case of trick or treaters knocking on their doors mid recording. Since they are based in the USA, the regularly scheduled time means that recording takes place in the early hours of the morning here in the UK so I generally miss the live show and have to watch it on YouTube much later. Still cool but not as exciting as being able to ask questions during a live show.
But for the first time, I got to join the show live, and to interact with the authors in the comment section, and even to have Jeff ask my question to the guest. Not often I'm a fangirl even when I'm on the film set of films and TV shows here in the UK! It was beyond exciting to finally be live with the hosts of a podcast that I've been following for the last year as I try and learn about writing a novel. In fact I usually listen to the show at the same time that I'm creating my Rydal Water adult colouring book pages. My goal is to one day be able to be a full time author and colouring book creator without all the stress of trying to keep a roof over my head each month so the show is incredibly inspiring.
Still on a high from the live podcast, I decided to check on my Facebook page before bed, somewhere around midnight, and it took me a few moments to figure out why I suddenly had a load of notifications and friend requests some from famous explorers. So imagine my surprise as realised I had just been accepted into one of the most prestigious clubs of my life - The Explorer's Club in New York. I've wanted to join this famous club ever since I first found out about explorers and astronauts doing amazing things, so to find out that I had been approved to join really was a dream come true. Now I really do feel like a proper bona fide explorer!
Next on my wish list is to apply to be a flag carrier and to take the flag with me on my expedition around the UK next year, but I know it is very hard to get chosen. I'll let you know how I get on!! Massive thank you to the two explorers who sponsored and supported my application to join the Explorers Club: Mikael Strandberg (check out his Man with a Pram expedition here), and Bob Atwater.
The third treat for Halloween was that when I checked on my Instagram account I suddenly seemed to have a lot more followers. What was going on? Turns out I had been featured on the Wonderful Wild Women feed. Yep, that's me in my pink swim cap after a swim in Coniston Water last weekend with my great friends Fran and Jean. It was around the same time as the various storms had been hitting Britain and the water had dropped from the 13C of a few weeks ago to around 11C, possibly even colder where the rainwater was running into the lake from a nearby beck. It was a wonderful swim all the same, just in our swim cossies, no wetsuits, and as always was followed by plenty of hot soup, mugs of hot chocolate and yummy slices of cake. My perfect weekend! All being well, the plan is to continue swimming through the winter and to stay acclimatised as the temperatures drop. Thankfully my trusty Dryrobe helps me to rewarm and get dry and dressed after my swims, best bit of kit ever!
I would love for this to be the spirit of November, as I now begin my first attempt at writing my debut novel, based on memories of my childhood and stories from my primary school days. I'll be writing this as part of the annual National Novel Writing Month, or NanoRhymo. Each day I'll post my stories here on my blog, and the plan is that at the end of the month, I'll publish them on my Amazon Author page as my very first novel. It is going to be a big challenge for me in so many ways. 50,000 words in a month, and on a topic that is very personal to me. Thankfully there was a live hangout, right after the Sci Fi podcast, and in between lovely Sophie Faldo winning the Great British Bake Off. So I feel very supported (Jeff from the SciFi podcast told me he is doing NanoRhymo too so now I feel loads better) and I hope that you will enjoy finding out how I got to where I am today, and where I want to go next. And if you fancy writing a novel as part of NanoRhymo you can still join now, or next year. It is free to take part, and there is a large community out there. Or maybe you are writing already, in which case I would love to connect with you and compare notes as we go.