We’re in that peculiar period between the gluttony of xmas and the inevitable excess of New Year. It’s a non-week for most, though I’m trying to drive through the lethargy and keep work up on a couple of things. I’ve never been a fan of new year resolutions. Making an early start on my intentions somehow takes the pressure off when the bells chime. That’s the theory, anyway.
One thing the dead week is good for is examining the dying year, and projecting into the next. There’s a lot I’m not happy with about from the past twelve months, but they’re almost entirely cancelled out by my engagement in the summer. If that were all the good to come out of 2008, then it would be more than enough. Add to that a little travel (never enough) and watching my daughter grow into herself a little as she bounced through her first term of primary school, and it’s been a superb year on all sorts of levels. I also discovered a real pleasure in running. Between injury and illness, it’s been a bit stop / start over the months, but while I fell short of my goal of running a half marathon in September, I’m hanging in there. Basically, running makes me feel good about myself, and fingers crossed it’s here to stay for 2009 (and if I lose a few pounds before I get hitched, so much the better!).
On the writing front, it’s been a slow and introspective year, fine for getting my head where it should be, but slow on productivity. Two short stories were published, and I got to work with some great people and companies along the way. The first of these was ‘Secrets (Never Told)’ in Shroud Publishing’s Beneath the Surface anthology. I was pleased with both story and book. In fact, I recently stumbled across a stunning review at Choate Road, which says of my story…
“So powerful I immediately told several writers I knew to find it. It’s about a woman plucked by fate to save the world by an old witch. I don’t want to say much more but when I hit the last paragraphs, I had to put the book down and walk away. It is probably the most accurate story of human horror I have ever read.”
If that isn’t how a writer wants to affect a reader, I don’t know what is, and it’s a timely reminder of why I write in the first place. Not for fame and fortune (thankfully), but to tell stories to individual people on the other end of a page. The second story published was my Doctor Who tale ‘Lonely’, in the anthology Short Trips: Transmissions. Simply by being in a Doctor Who book, this story has probably been read by more people than any other single piece I’ve had published, and I was pleased by the reaction to it, both from fans of the show, and more general readers. I’m proud of it, and it’s a little ambition sort of fulfilled (though I’d do more, in a heartbeat!). Needless to say, both books are still available.
Behind the scenes, there are things in motion for 2009. I’ll be working with Shroud Publishing on the release of the Hiram Grange novella series, one of which has my name on it, and I’ll have a sample of this in issue five of Shroud magazine in the next month or two. Later in the year, I’ll also have a short in a second magazine, which I’ll tell you about nearer the time. That’s it, so far. Not a massive amount, but I’m proud of each piece.
As for the future, the long lead-in time between writing and publication in most cases (not all – Beneath the Surface went from story sale to publication in just a couple of months) means that what I’m writing now is not likely to see publication until 2010, if I’m fortunate to find the right publishers in these tough, competitive times. A long term goal, but patience is ever the name of the game. I’d like to use 2009 to make sure I have a great 2010, the better to lay the foundation for a fantastic 2011. Can’t say fairer than that.
And along the way, I’ll be getting married in September, which means that 2009 has built-in goodness in it. I call that being ahead of the game.
So how was your 2008? What are your hoping to find in the next twelve months. You can tell uncle Richard.