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The day has finally come: I am a full-time author.  Well, that’s over-stating it, but on 31 December 2021 I retired from my “day job”, and now I can spend more time learning about self-publishing, marketing my books, exchanging ideas and encouragement with other indie authors – oh, and doing some writing as well.  I found my last three months of work so busy and all-encompassing, what with planning my exit and providing “just one last training session” for so many lovely clients, that I have not even opened “The Notes of Change” (the final Sam Plank novel) since the end of October…  But now I can, and the first order of business is to read it again, from start to, well, not finish, but to “wherever I’m up to”, so that I can remember the plot.

Actually, that’s another over-statement, because of course the real first order of business was to turn my efficient business office into an equally efficient but much softer and more creative “writing den”.  My husband very kindly did the grunt work of removing a now-surplus second built-in desk and making good the walls, and then I scarpered while he and a neighbour manhandled the new “sofa of reclining reflection” through the house and garden and up the office steps.  It looks marvellous – and within ten minutes had been colonised by Maggie the cat, henceforward known in her new incarnation as “writer’s muse”:

Maggie thinking deeply creative thoughts – about dinner

And what of this longlist, I hear you cry!  Well, as if to welcome me properly to authordom, on 1 January 2022 I had a wonderful email from the sainted Helen Hollick (quite why she has not received a damehood for services to the self-published, I do not know – she’d certainly have no trouble finding a hat to wear to her investiture!).  Her review website for indie and self-published authors – Discovered Diamonds – has launched a new award.  The Richard Tearle Discovering Diamonds Award is named in honour of one their most prolific reviewers, who died last year, and “Portraits of Pretence” (the fourth Sam Plank novel) has been longlisted for the inaugural award, by dint of having been the Discovered Diamonds “Book of the Year” in 2017.  I can’t wait to see who will join Sam on the longlist, and then we’ll have to be patient until they announce the winner and runner-up in spring 2023.  What with a new sofa and the honour of being a longlist nominee for a new award, my new writing life is off to a flying start.