Monday, December 21, 2015

Wishing you the very best for the festive season

2015 has been a significant year for me and for my company, Cyberium. I began by continuing to promote my two books that had been published at the end of 2014: Stormteller, the cli-fi novel for teenagers, and The One Planet Life, the big book of everything about how to lead a sustainable lifestyle. The highlight of this was two appearances at the Hay Literature Festival

During the year I completed or contributed to four more non-fiction titles: 
  • Pocket Reference books on Passive Solar Architecture and Solar Energy, to be published in 2016 by Routledge
  • Best Practices and Case Studies for Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement, An Introduction for Policymakers, with Steven Fawkes and Kit Oung, to be published soon by the United Nations, and
  • a free ebook, Green Bonds and Property – just published and which you can download here. Do you know how many billions are going into these bonds?
I also completed a new novel, Till The End of Time, which hopefully will see the light of day in 2016. 

New clients include Australian publisher The Fifth Estate and work supporting the Environmental Defense Fund's Investor Confidence Project on energy efficiency. Inspiring new partnerships include with Tina Perinotti in Sydney, Australia and Clare Taylor in Brussels. 

Cyberium spent the first half of the year working with the Sustainable Cities Collective but I was sad to have to say goodbye to them. We continued supporting the work of the One Planet Council and working as a member of the Cambria Publishing Co-operative.

On the web front, Cyberium completed several new websites for existing clients, and the big success and privelege was to help Awel Aman Tawe, a community windpower co-operative, with a public share issue that exceeded expectations, realising £721,000. Our role was the web, online and social media work. You can still buy shares with estimated 7% interest here until the end of January. What are you waiting for?

We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with you in 2016. Have a truly sustainable year, help to build on the success of the Paris Agreement, and remember: 

With imagination we can change the world!

Friday, December 11, 2015

At last! A Welsh Branch of SCBWI!

I am pleased to announce the formation of a new Welsh chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI – known affectionately as Scoobies).

For anyone who's been off-planet for a decade, SCBWI is a great international membership organisation that provides support to lots of creatives who are starting out in this field, as well as to many have been around for awhile. It's launched quite a few careers as well as some great friendships. A more supportive crowd of people you could scarcely find anywhere.

There hasn't been a Welsh branch for a while, the main problem being the huge geographical spread of the country. It's not that there is a dearth of creatives in the land of the bards, but it can take over three hours to get from one end to the other.

And many of us are salted away in the hills scribbling in secluded valleys or wandering (and wondering) pensively on deserted beaches and mountaintops. The spirit of Taliesin pervades the landscape, and myth and magic abound (even in Port Talbot!).

About seven years ago I tried to start a Scoobie branch here, when I lived in mid-Wales, and we met two or three times, but holding it together was difficult because of the travel times. Out of it grew, if memory serves, the Dragontongue blog, which merged with the Awfully Blog Adventure about four or five years ago? (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I moved to near Swansea about four years ago and since then a few new members have joined who happen to live in various parts of South Wales.

So at the moment it's mostly South Walians (Hwntws – as opposed to the Gogs of North Wales). Who knows, maybe another branch will form in North Wales?

[Using the word 'branch' brings to mind the four branches of the Mabinogion, that collection of ancient Celtic stories from the oral tradition of Wales. Kind of appropriate, no?]

As a group we've only met three times so far, and I don't pretend to speak for the group here. The Facebook group has 12 members and at the last meeting we celebrated the fact that Claire Fayers had received an advance copy of her new swashbuckling magical pirate story that unfortunately will not be published until next summer – in separate editions in America and the UK. That's a shame because we all wanted to get hold of a copy straightaway it looked so exciting.

Claire was in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2014 anthology and was snapped up by Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency. Well done, Claire. It just goes to show how effective the network is.

We, the south Welsh branch, are making links with the English SouthWest group and hope to meet up with Candy Gorlay in Swansea soon.

If there are other writers and illustrators in Wales reading this, I encourage you to join SCBWI and get in touch with the network organiser Marie Basting.