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photograph title; sun bathing in the land of the North Coast 500

At last after waiting for months we have summer again. Our fourth day this year. Hot with a lazy warm breeze drifting along. Finally the flowers that have been threatening to bloom are creeping open, determined to get some sun on their faces before the frost that lurks around the corner crushes them.

“Aye the nights are fair drawing in.” So says our very own equivalent to Old Tam’s dour character in Blàs of the Highlands. No, not yet it’s just here, don’t let us start thinking of dark evenings and cold wet windy weather. Well, truthfully that is exactly what we did have only last week, but we had the lovely long light evening to compensate for the grotty conditions during the day. It’s our expectations that summer will be long, hot and dazzling that has not been met; yet even in August I am full of optimism that a late hot summer will eventually appear.

Speaking of expectations this must be the first year that the bairns are actually looking forward to returning to school. Normally I think it is quite cruel when shops advertise school wear so early into their time off. Many children don’t want this visual reminder that holidays do in fact end. But will 2020 be the year that children yearn to return to education? The excitement and hope of seeing their friends combined with a perceived return to normality overriding their normal reluctance. But it will not be as they expect with lunchtimes held in classrooms and playtimes carefully managed. Their teachers will have no break to speak off. It may turn out to be a huge disappointment for some. But we will send them off full of anticipation, encouragement and for those who seem to sprout in height each day enough food to sustain their growth. Although I doubt sometimes if it is actually possible to fill out all these growing spaces.

What is this return to school going to mean for me as a writer? Will it free up more time? No, I don’t think so as no doubt other things will steal in to take the place of any time gained. Will there be a sudden return to all the commitments and work that normally takes place during term time? No, unfortunately, some libraries are still not open, so no Gaelic Bookbug sessions will take place. No school visits are scheduled and definitely no pre-school visits either. So all freelance work is still sadly lacking. I do miss interacting with the children. Without all this work available, now will be the time to focus, focus and focus on my writing. Grumpa agus na Nàbaidhean Ùra due out later this year (hopefully) is as far as it can go until close to publication. Blàs of the Highlands (2) is going through it’s many redrafts until it arrives at the editor’s desk in November. So what am I going to focus on? Unfortunately not as much writing as I had hoped. I still need to find a way of getting Grumpa on audio. I have the voice and reader waiting. I’m so excited about this, well I could be more so if I could find a way of getting it recorded. I also need to find a better title for the next Blàs book. Blàs of the Highlands mark two doesn’t really hit the right spot as a title. I will work on that this week and may have something for next week’s blog. Perhaps I could ask your opinions on my suggestion.

Speaking of opinions; reviews. Quite a scary thing for a writer. So I would just like to thank those that have taken the time to give me such lovely ones. There is nothing like getting a completely unexpected 5 star review from a reader to brighten my day even if the sun fails to shine. Anyway, back to the probability of more writing time. Well there is Blàs three to think off, I could start on that, where would that take me and the characters. The possibilities are exciting and what about Grumpa 4, oh yes, I had an idea for that as well. First though the not unimportant job of the title for my current book. I have an idea ticking away, hopefully, both the story and the title will more than fulfil my readers expectations.

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