I Resolve Not to Make A New Year’s Resolution… just to look forward


What kind of year has 2014 been for you?  I hope it has been a good one.  Did you make any New Year Resolutions this time last year – and if you did, did you keep them, or flounder before the New Year had barely arrived?  I don’t make resolutions on New Year’s Eve anymore. I used to, but I tended to choose ones I had no real hope of sticking to and probably no desire to, if I’m honest.  So instead I just resolve to make the best of whatever comes my way, but keep it non-specific; that way I don’t feel like a failure!

2014 was a good year for me – I self-published my very first book in August (a collection of short stories which, if it hasn’t got anywhere near any best-seller lists, has at least sold a few copies and got some very nice -five-star!- reviews on Amazon) and am well on the way to finishing my second, a full length novel. I have another novel in note form, ideas for two more, and am on the home stretch with a romantic novella, which I will self-publish in the first quarter of the new year (how about that for a vague prediction?).

I’d love to hear what you hope to achieve in 2015 – let’s not call them resolutions, let’s call them ‘Hopes for 2015 ‘. Here, then, are mine:

  • to publish my novella before the end of March
  • to complete my first full length novel and publish it by late summer (sooner, if possible)
  • to start on my second novel
  • to find a publisher who is interested in a non-fiction proposal I’ve also been working on
  • to help a good friend or two with their own writing and publishing projects and see them published in 2015

Over to you!  And then, this time next year, we can come back to this post and see how we got on!

Happy New Year, Everyone – here’s to 2015, and may it bring you health, happiness and success in everything you do!

xxx Elaine Jackson

THEY MADE IT! ‘KOSMOS’ IS GO!


You might recall this post I made almost two weeks ago, about an exciting new sci-fi drama project from ‘Third Contact’ creator Simon Horrocks – ‘KOSMOS’, a six-part web series. I’m very happy to say that with just a few days to go before the deadline, the target of £30,000 was met and ‘KOSMOS’ will go into production early in 2015, with delivery in June 2015. Terrific news and well done to Simon and his team – like all the other backers, I can’t wait to see the end result!

And here’s Simon’s unique response to the good news (WARNING – don’t be holding any spillable liquids as you read it – you might just end up drowning your keyboard!):  http://enterkosmos.com/

And here is Simon to tell us about KOSMOS:  http://goo.gl/RtZzWM

Merry Christmas!

from Elaine Jackson

Looking Backwards to Christmas – writing Xmas cards needn’t be a chore!


Christmas can be a difficult time of year – I don’t think anyone would argue with that, would they? For wives and mothers and home organisers in general, the month (in plural if you are really organised, which I never am) leading up to December 25th can be hectic and stressful, as the Christmas Machine gets into gear and batters us relentlessly, exhorting us to buy this, don’t forget that, oh and this year why don’t you try the other…  in our household, the annual task of writing out christmas cards has always fallen to me (when my parents were alive, it was always my father who took it on because his writing was neater and besides, mum was always too busy shopping and cooking) because I am (at least nominally) organised – if it was left to my husband, no-one would get a card at all!

It is a job that I tend to approach with mixed feelings. 

Mixed, because on the one hand, when you have children, it’s an opportunity to sing their praises to relatives, old friends and acquaintances you might not have actually seen in person for several years (at my age, usually the last time will have been a funeral – wind back a decade or several and it might have been a wedding, or a christening) – and what parent doesn’t enjoy doing that?  The other side of the coin is that, as I open the battered address book (the one my sister and I gave our parents in 1972) and see the crossed out names of people who are no longer with us, it brings sadness. But it also encourages memories – and those memories bring people back to life, at least for a time.

I see an entry for a cousin, and remember a family visit to his home as a child – the ‘laughing policeman’ toy and the whoopee cushion that he drove the adults mad with; his mother, a formidable woman who would brook no nonsense -and who I was a little bit scared of – sent us kids upstairs so that the grownups could talk in peace. She is no longer with us. I remember taking my son aged three (he’s now twenty-one) to see her in hospital not long before she passed away – she was still a big presence, but not quite as formidable as she had seemed to my childhood self, diminished by her illness.  Or perhaps it was because I was by then an adult myself.

Then there’s an entry for another cousin, and I remember sitting at the dinner table and listening to my mother, who was very upset, telling me that there had been a train crash, and my cousin’s husband had died.  I see another entry for a second cousin (my mother was one of six, my father one of four, so there are rather a lot of cousins) whose father jumped ship and ended up making a life in Australasia. His remarkable daughter is sadly no longer with us, but she spent decades researching my mother’s side of the family tree and sent me stacks of material so that I could add it to my own project. I never met her, but we corresponded for years by letter and email, and spoke on the phone a few times; I occasionally hear from her husband. I remember all this as I write his card.

Here’s my Godmother, who gave me money towards my driving lessons and was always encouraging, interested to know what I was up to. She lived next door to my grandparents and uncles and I still think of her as ‘Aunty Peggy’.

And here is an entry for the parents of a friend I made in my early teens, a penpal from the south coast. We’d take a trip in the car down to see them, or they would come to us, and we girls would chat about the usual things teenage girls would talk about -in our case geeky stuff because, well, we were (are) a bit geeky- while the parents did their thing with tea, cake and conversation. Later on, we’d go to sci-fi conventions together, get married and in my case, have children. Not so many years ago, my friend’s mother passed away two weeks before mine, close to Christmas: I remember a very emotional phone conversation that year. We’re still in touch, at birthdays and xmas.

Taking time out for memories  

It takes, as you can imagine, longer than it might do if I were to simply transfer all the living relatives to a new book (one that isn’t falling apart at the seams!) but I find myself treasuring the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane – it’s part of the Christmas ritual, now.

This extends to my husband’s family too – when I’m writing those cards, it’s always nice if he is in the room, then perhaps I’ll tell him which card I’m doing and it will spark off a memory for him. I hope that my son will do the same when I pass the book on… (or perhaps his future partner will do it, bringing their own memories to the mix).

So yes, Christmas can be a difficult time of year – over-commercialised, costly, insanely busy as you try to get everything done in time… but it can also be an opportunity to remember people – not just by raising a glass to them at the table, or in church, or however you normally do so, but when you sit down to write a card to wish distant family members and friends another ‘Happy Christmas’, and remember how and when you first met, and what they mean to you.  So here we go, another Christmas and another trip down memory lane…

by Elaine Jackson, December 2014

LAST TRAIN TO BUDAPEST


Just wanted to share this…

msthomason

Last Train to Budapest (2010 dir. Lee Deaville) was a short film documenting the life of one Hungarian trying to escape the oppressive regime during the Hungarian revolution in 1956. When composing this score I tried to use traditional Hungarian folk music as inspiration, for example in the piece “Variation on a Weeping Willow”, I took the theme from “Weeping Willow” which is a well known traditional song composed by Bartok. Bartok is considered as one of Hungary’s greatest composers, so I immersed myself in his work whilst I was composing this soundtrack. The violin/fiddle parts he often used were supposed to represent the sound of birds singing sporadically and often atonally, which I tried to replicate on pieces such as “For Bem”. For the short piano pieces I used repetitive themes in 3/4 waltz timing which would lend themselves to archive footage, acting to add atmosphere rather than dominate or…

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Create a Science – Fiction show


It’s often difficult to ask people for money – but when the reward is something this special – to be part of a science-fiction show from the very beginning- then it feels less like begging and more ‘hey, how would you like to be a part of something really special?’  So, with that in mind, and because there are only 13 days to go to be a part of this exciting project:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thirdcontact/kosmos-create-a-scifi-show/widget/video.html

Why we should never give up on our dreams… why crowdfunding works


from here to infinity and beyond

If someone had told my fifteen-year-old self that I would one day create an appreciation society for a favourite science-fiction show (a club which is still going strong thirty-four years later) or that I would be invited to visit the set, go to sci-fi conventions and meet authors, directors and actors, write a novel, and have the opportunity to help create a new science fiction web series, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. I probably didn’t even know that I wanted to do all those things then. But I’ve always loved science-fiction; looking to the future has always been my thing (although I’ve enjoyed looking back into my family’s past – the Family Tree has been an ongoing project for the past twelve years, and now my son has taken up the mantle).

I created an appreciation society for ‘The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’  in 1980 because I wanted to join one…

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