Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


2011 in First Lines

It is traditional here at Charlotte’s Web to review the past year in blogging by posting the first lines from the first post of every month. Having scrolled through my 2011 posts, one thing is clear to me: life took over from blogging this year. After moving house in January, I spent many long hours revising Balthasar’s Gift, many hours pounding the pavements training for the Mannheim team marathon, many hours planning and giving two weekend-long creative writing workshops at Heidelberg University and then, in July, starting a six-month job posting at one of my customers replacing someone out on maternity leave. It was quite a year!

January: So I’ve reviewed my goals for 2010 and found them to be good.  Ten Things for 2011

February: One of the most appealing things about Germany is its cafe society; places where you can nurse a coffee, read a book and watch the world go by.  Cafe Society

March: Today is the anniversary of the death of Herbert James Downs, who was murdered in South Africa a few weeks after his 100th birthday.  In Memory of Herbert James Downs

April: Life has taken over from blogging – nothing serious, but an accumulation of things over the past three months that have left me exhausted.   Hiatus

May: May is turning out to be quite the month chez moi, which means my presence here at Charlotte’s Web will continue to be vague, scattered and somewhat erratic.  May Madness

June: While reading to the creative writing students about voice this weekend, I found myself getting a little choked up.  More on Voice

July: I’ve just come back from a week in Mallorca, having found its quiet, laid-back corner (it still exists) and am feeling horizontal.  Feeling Horizontal

August:  So I’m back in full time work for the first time this century, and I am loving it.  Three Things I Love about Work

September: Still loving work, so that’s a good thing.  On Women and Work

October: My grandmother was not only an angel, but she was more than a little fey. Survival Skills

November:  My life has changed exponentially – and for the better – since I re-entered the working world. What Feminist Motherhood Means to Me (Now)

December: The theme of today’s World AIDS Day is ‘Getting to Zero’ (zero new infections; zero discrimination; zero AIDS-related deaths)’.    World AIDS Day 2011 – Are There Any Good News Stories?

What was your 2011 like?


Happiness and Revisions

I’m still unpacking boxes but am gloriously happy in my new home. Living without a kitchen is interesting, but since I was the one who sold the concept to my family as a big adventure, I’m not allowed to complain. Let’s just say that once the cooking on camping plates and the washing up in the bath comes to an end, I’ll be even happier than I am now. Fit to burst happy. Disgustingly, floating on air happy.

I had more happy news about Balthasar’s Gift. My agent M works with a fabulous London literary agency who sell her books in the British market, and she sells theirs in the German market. A couple of agents read BG over Christmas and reportedly ‘loved it.’ They have asked for some revisions and after a call with them next week, I will be getting to it.

This is the third set of agent revisions I will have done since August last year. The road to publication is not easy! And ’tis filled with revisions!

However, I can see BG getting stronger and stronger and that makes me – you guessed it – happy.


One Goal Down

I am eyebrow-deep in packing boxes, so not much time for blogging, but I thought I’d let you know that I have already achieved one goal for 2011.

My business website is up and running again. I’ve got a post up about the perils of Denglish, and I’ve added a new page detailing the services I offer. Here’s a link.

Meanwhile, if you see me anywhere on the Internet, slap me and send back to packing. I’ve got seven days until the removal van comes and eight years of stuff to junk, donate or pack.



10 Things for 2011

So I’ve reviewed my goals for 2010 and found them to be good. As I listened to last night’s midnight hour of gunshots crackling, bombs exploding and small weapons fire that the Germans believe is the appropriate way to welcome in the New Year, I planned my goals for 2011.  Here they are,  in stark black and white:

1. Sign at least one publishing contract for the first in the Maggie Cloete mystery series, Balthasar’s Gift, and see it in print before the end of the year.

2. Write book #2,  Karkloof Blue, and outline book #3, Sangoma’s Wish.

3. Source five new freelance clients for my writing business and starting blogging again on my professional blog.

4. Buy my novel-writing name domain (Charlotte James) and set up my novelist’s website, possibly amalgamating it with this blog and the professional writing one.

5. Plan the creative writing workshop I’m to give at Heidelberg University later in the year, with the aim of giving more of the same.

6. Travel widely.

7. Love my family and my friends.

8. Blog and tweet joyously.

9. Eat healthily and exercise more.

10. Keep a reading record on this blog, with the aim of reading 100 books this year.

Wishing you a year full of riotous success, happiness and fun, not to mention excellent books.

Yours, in anticipation of a fabulous 2011,