It’s that time of year when the vast majority of us take a moment to reflect on the past year. 2019 has been an odd one that, in many respects, has whooshed past me without my even realising its passing. We missed Fantasycon this year – the first I have missed since 1990 and the first Peter had forgone since 1973! I suspect it was the absence of this landmark in our year that made it seem a little strange – because when I actually sit down and think about it there were things going on quite steadily throughout the year.
April 2019 saw the launch of In Her Defence : Bunch Courtney Investigation #2. (follow up to Winter Downs: Bunch Courtney Investigation #1 – both are available in paper and digi formats from most reputable sources! *hint* – *hint*). I held the launch at City Central Library in Hanley with tea and cakes and a lot of fun.
I had optimistically planned to have Listed Dead : Bunch Courtney Investigation #3 (mock-up cover right) out by October 2019, but life got in the way, as it does. To those have asked me when the next book is due they should be pleased to hear that this has been scheduled for early spring 2020.
Several short stories were accepted but for various reasons they all will be appearing in 2020. To my chagrin I missed several deadlines so that my short fiction year as whole could be summed up by that age old stock phrase of many a school report of my day ‘Capable but could do better’.
In my defence (see what I did there?) my extended family created a variety of distractions, which I shan’t bore you all by listing – it would only sound like me making excuses, which may well be the case but seeing the gap in my bibliography has made me more determined to finish the things I hoped to finish and to get my damned arse into gear! (which roughly translates as ignoring the lure of social media!)
Moving rapidly on…
March, June, September and December all contained 6X6, the quarterly reading café for authors of the region to display their talents to an appreciative audience. Misha Herwin and I have organised and compered this event for four years now and it goes from strength to strength – but a note here that we are always looking to spread the word to writers and reader who may not have heard about us as yet.
In May I took part in the reading event called Lymelight – which was one day literature fair at Newcastle Under Lyme Library. This was a part of the annual Lymelight Arts Festival. Authors strutting their stuff!
June saw me, as the previous years’ winner, presenting Arnold Bennett Book Prize for 2019.
For July I was occupied at Edgelit at The Quad, Derby. I was a panelist for ‘Does a Background in Short Fiction Help You Build a Career As A Novelist?’ and chaired ‘How To Employ The Supernatural In Your Fiction’. I also read a short piece of work in the ‘readings’ thread. And sold books between times. Always a busy event and always good to catch up with friends.
October was even busier! I performed a piece at pARTyLines – an evening of readings at the Birmingham Literary Festival. This was held at the ‘The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre’, and was a full house – standing room only! Huge fun, if a little nerve wracking.
Later that month Misha and I drew the straws in organising the annual Ghost at the Gladstone event; aided and abetted by Peter Coleborn and Jem Shaw. It was one of our most successful to date and gathering positive online reviews from the public really made our day. We have the writers donating their time and fiction to thank for a great event!
The above doesn’t include the editing for various Alchemy Press and Penkhull Press projects, nor the work at new allotment and the many other little events that fill up my time! So a busier year than I had first thought when I sat down to gather my thoughts on the year just gone.
Who knows what the next twelve months have in store. I approach it with a mix of anticipation for the novels and short stories that will see light of day, and as always a hint of apprehension at how they will be received.
I hope that it will be a year of love and happiness, prosperity and health to those people closest to me – the friends and relations who make my life and the world a more pleasant place to inhabit.
And of course love and peace for 2020 to all of your out there in the world at large. xxx