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Hard to believe it’s been more than a month since I last updated you on my (lack of) writing progress, but it is.  Oddly, I find that time during lockdown both seems endless and speeds by – most peculiar.  But I have finally grasped the nettle and set my writing deadlines for the remainder of this year.

Given that I am still working full-time (and seeing other people’s struggles to maintain an income during the pandemic, I am grateful to be doing so), I realised that it was unrealistic to plan to have “Plank 7” ready for publication in mid-October.  September is a busy month for me with my day job (people always want training in that month – I think it is the muscle memory of the new school year and an attendant determination to leap into new learning).  And counting backwards, as self-published authors must do, to allow for the linear tasks of beta reading, editing and cover design, there’s simply not enough time.  I have therefore reset my publication date to 3 December 2021 – which is my mother-in-law’s birthday (guess what she’ll be getting this year…) and just in time for the Christmas rush.  (When I published my first book, “Fatal Forgery”, I actually thought there would be a spike in orders before Christmas – it’s now simply a running joke in the family.)

One exciting development is that I have managed to reinstate my writing retreat.  No, I’m not planning my usual escape to Switzerland – the last thing I need is to have my trip covid-cancelled at the last minute, or to be stuck up a mountain if Switzerland locks down again.  My husband has just retired, and something he has wanted to do for ages is go on a long bike ride, camping in the wild.  Given my fondness for feather duvets and bubble baths, I’m not tempted by this “holiday” – and he has agreed to disappear on his own for three weeks in July.  So I will be retreating at home.  To do it properly, I will lock my office (in case the day job tries to interfere), set up my writing laptop on the dining table and turn off my phone from 0800 to 1700 (as I do in Switzerland), and fill the fridge with M&S ready meals.  To maintain the illusion, I make even take to greeting those I see on my post-lunch walk with a cheery “Bonjour”.