Wednesday, December 24, 2014

So, Uhm… Yeah...

Well. Two posts in 12 months.

That's gotta be some kind of record, surely?

So then, let's start with the apologies.

Sorry. You know. To anyone who still bothers to occasionally check in here. I'm going to do much better next year, promise. This is primarily because next year:

1. I've done my 2 year sentence stint as course convener, so can go back to not having to deal with mountains of admin that serve many useful purposes, but which primarily suck the joy out of life.

2. We won't be having a baby. (more on that later…)

3. I've also managed to divest myself of a big unit, which generally pulls in about 300 students, so will have more energy there too. (though to be honest, I'm slightly torn about that…)

4. I've got study leave for the second six months of the year, so will have time to, you know, write shit.

In short, 2014 has been a big year. A very, very big year. And while I haven't managed to get a whole lot of blogging done, I've managed a lot of other things that I'm pretty proud of.

Speaking of which, here's a question for you. If you have a mother-in-law named Amanda, and a mother named Margaret, and you are a children's writer and children's literature studies academic, and you are lucky enough to have a daughter, what should you name her?

Introducing Millicent Margaret Amanda Eaton!

Yep. That's right. We named our baby Milly Molly Mandy. She's either gonna love us or hate us for it when she's thirteen. Possibly both.

Still, Millie's arrival has been the highlight of the year, for obvious reasons. She's a very chilled out little girl, and all of us, especially her big brother, are totally in love with her. Which is, you know, good. It's amazing how quickly we've all fallen into our groove as a family of four.

In other news…

Busy year academically. In addition to a pretty full on teaching load first semester (nearly 500 students in two units…) I've also managed to get a couple of papers published. A piece of creative research here in TEXT, and a paper up here in FUSION journal on digital picture books, which I'm pretty proud of.

Plus I pulled together an application for study leave next year, and managed to get it approved, which is awesome news. We'll be taking off for a couple of months in sunny England, where I'll be working with my friends and colleagues at the University of Winchester on a couple of very exciting projects.

And it wasn't a completely writing-free year, either. I've continued working with Cheryl, my lovely and very patient agent, and have (fingers, toes and everything else crossed) almost finished my final rewrite of The Hunter. As those of you who read* this blog know, this freaking book has been a bit of a marathon. I finished the first draft in 2010, intending it to be a quick, 50,000 word, light and fluffy action adventure story. Now, almost exactly four years later, and with just two new chapters left to write to complete it, it's coming up fast towards 100,000 words, has morphed into a cyberpunk novel, and has a really gritty and quite nasty secondary plot running through the whole thing. This is what I love about writing. It just takes you places you never expected to go… In any case,  The Hunter should be finished and away by mid-January, and hopefully we can then start putting it out there for publishers to look at…

I've also almost finished writing another long-term side project, tentatively called Stepsister, which was started (and not completed) as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2012. It's everything The Hunter isn't - funny, for younger readers, written to be read-aloud, and dealing with (among other things) the problems that arise when you shave a cat. 'Nuff said on that…

So next year should be a pretty productive writing year. And I promise to include at least a bit of blogging in that equation. Certainly it won't be difficult to better this year's effort. (To be honest, I'm amazed I could still remember my login details!)

But for now, it's Christmas Eve, I've only had one coffee so far this morning, and the sounds currently echoing from my eldest child's cavern bedroom suggest that I'd better get the second one in quickly…

Have a lovely festive season, everyone, and I'll chat to you all in 2015!

*that's the past tense read, not the present tense one - I'm assuming there's nobody left who present-tense-reads this any longer) 

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