Happy Endings, New Beginnings and Good Intentions!

The timing is perfect! 

The first of the four new
 Adventure Island books
 coming out in 2013
Just as 2012 was drawing to a close we were putting the final touches to the latest books in the Adventure Island series. 
The four new titles will bring the series up to fourteen, and this will probably be the last batch of mysteries for Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift to solve - at least for now - you never know what the future will bring, of course.

Coming to the end of such a long series is bittersweet - it has been so much fun to write and the Adventure Island team - both the fictional characters and the real ones - have been brilliant to work with. But it is exciting to embark on something new. 

And that is where the New Beginnings come in. I have some wonderful new projects to get started on (as soon as I have cleared my desk and caught up with emails and blogs and school visit plans). In the best secret agent tradition, I can't tell you about them now - not just because I like being mysterious -  but I don't want to jinx anything by spilling the beans too soon.

In the mean time, I will tell you about my New Year's Resolution.

It's not very original. Get fit. (yawn!) I've discovered that the only downside of writing all day is that it's mainly a sitting-down kind of thing. The only body parts getting a workout are my fingers - which are, of course, essential for both key components of writing; typing and opening the biscuit tin.

Luckily the dogs guilt-trip me into taking them out for walks, by lying under my desk sighing  more loudly with each passing hour. But a quick march round the muddy fields is not enough to counteract all those bum-in-chair hours, especially when combined with the alarmingly high seasonal increase in mince pie consumption.

The pogo stick and skipping rope
ready for playtime

I've made all kinds of plans in the past to go to the swimming pool or the gym or start running again. But I've not stuck to it.
When I'm writing I just want to keep writing - all day, with no interruptions.
So, my new scheme is to take very short exercise breaks. Several times a day, I'll just run out on to the drive and PLAY.
I've dug out the kids' pogo stick and bought a skipping rope and found my old hula-hoop. I used to love doing all these things. I still do. Only now I get out of breath after a few seconds. Playtime is hard work! A hundred skips, a hundred jumps, a hundred hulas (if that is the right word for hula-hooping) and I'm done in. But the great part is it's only taken a few minutes and I'm back at my desk. 

There are a few negatives, of course. 

First, there's the issue of passing neighbours/postmen/dogwalkers/recycling-clothes-bag-delivery-guys witnessing this deranged behaviour. I may have to invest in a disguise. 

Second there's the dogs. Burglars could break into our house and cart out all the furniture and they would simply wag their tails and lick their knees encouragingly. But any hint of bouncing or skipping activity and they immediately morph into a barking, howling, door-scrabbling pack of rabid hyenas. What possible evolutionary pressure could have wired their canine brains in this way? Did prehistoric dog-eating predators attack the wolfpack on pogo-sticks? 

These problems aside, my new exercise regime is working - or at least, it's three days in and I've not given up yet, which is a result in my book. Perhaps I could patent it and market it with a series of books and DVDs?

Wishing you all a very happy new year!

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off for a skip and a jump!