As I write there's four hours left of 2011 - a year I'll be glad to see the back of, yet it wasn't all bad. The financial sword of Damocles continues to dangle above my head, wiping the smile off my face if I go over-exuberent about being alive - but what the hell! I am and I will not be defeated.

There were plenty of good things but I can't say 2011 was the best year I've ever had: a lot of the surprises and twists and turns life takes were negative. I won't go into the details, but it wasn't just about me - some close and dear friends also had some severe setbacks.

On the upside I got a fair amount published, becaume a regular columnist with Specter Magazine and a member of the Specter Collective, and got an offer from Trestle Press to publish my first novel as an ebook, which will be out in the new year. Alongside that I submitted two short stories and the first three chapters of Novel 2 to organisations who I think highly of. One is for the BBC (should find out if that's been accepted in the summer), one its for the short story competition run by Peirene Press and the last was for another competition. The prize for the later is to have the story critiqued by a real live literary agent. There's also a poem entered into the competition run by Holland Park Press.

I've also found at least one really good target to pitch my second novel - a bike-based romance set in the Netherlands - which is a huge bonus as we all know a focussed submission is less likely to fail than a more random one. More on that as soon as I've despatched the finished work to them.

So 2012 is already lining up to be a good year: I know the BBC will accept and broadast my story, and it's a dead cert that I'll win at least one of the competitions - how can you doubt me? :) Yes, I know - no one but a fool would believe such nonsense. But as I said, I will remain optimistic (and yes, sometimes I will be wildly optimistic!) and not be held down by negative feelings and natural and unnatural disasters.

The start could hardly be better as I'm off to Melbourne in Australia for three weeks, two of which will be a holiday and all of which will be spent with a very talented and creative friend. And I'll be on such a high from that I'll still be soaring like a bird come June! :)

Happy and succesful new year to you all. xxx