So 2012 was a hell of a year for me, personally.
I started the year two stone overweight, in financial freefall and actually pretty much depressed. I had no writing gigs lined up, was struggling to find any joy in my day job and generally felt like things were Not Going My Way.
But did I wallow and fester in misery?
Yes. Yes, I did. A bit.
But not for long!*
The start of 2013 finds me two stone lighter, black dog free, with a new day job, a new accountant and much smaller debts. I’m also a teetotal gym-bunny, which my younger self is finding deeply upsetting, but my 41 year old self is finding oddly satisfying.
I would like to stress that this IN NO WAY constitutes any kind of mid-life crisis. Anybody suggesting such a thing will get a slap (from my now finely toned, oh so youthful arm, which, now I think about it, would probably look great draped around the shoulders of, say, a smouldering young secretary in the front seat of a red ferrari, y’know, the kind that goes VROOOOM!)
So aside from sorting myself out personally, what have I achieved on the writing front this year?
Stuff I started AND finished
I needed to get myself back into the routine of writing after taking 2011 off (except for a short story and some work on a computer game). Happily, in January Abaddon asked me to write a novella for them, and I used it to ease myself gently back into the swing of things.
When it comes to completed projects I can chalk up:
- one short story – Grit in A Town Called Pandemonium
- one novella: Sniper Elite V2: Target Hitler
- one audiobook: completed and delivered but not announced yet (and, surprise, it’s not for Big Finish)
September also saw the publication of the omnibus edition of my Afterblight trilogy, School’s Out Forever. Reviews have been very good, and I gather it’s selling especially well in the US, which is gratifying.
The awesome cover by Luke Preece has helped it sell well outside its initial target audience, which has led to some negative reactions on Amazon and Goodreads as people unfamiliar with Abaddon’s pulp mission statement perhaps picked it up expecting something more literary or kid-friendly. But for the most part the response has been very positive – and I can’t really lose sleep because some guy in Tucson hates the book for not fetishising guns enough (true!).
Stuff I started but haven’t finished (yet)
As for unfinished projects, well this was tricky.
Come June I had finished the novella and was ready to dive into a new novel. I had three books ready to go – all at about 10,000 words written, with synopses. It was a tough choice, but I eventually chose one and decided to write it on spec, finish it by Christmas and then shop it around to try and get an agent.
But no sooner had I dived in and hit my rhythm than I found that one of the other two books was causing ripples of interest from a publisher. Actually, quite big ripples.
So, never one to pass up a gift horse, I put the book I was working on in my drawer (for later, it WILL get written), switched focus and got to work on the other book. I’ve just hit the 30,000 word mark, which is about the first third, and it’s with my readthru crew as I type.
The interest in the book helped me secure representation in the form of the marvelous Oliver Munson at A. M. Heath.
Of course it is entirely possible that the book I am now writing will not be picked up after all – an expression of interest, no matter how enthusiastic, is very different from a done deal, and there’s many a slip etc. So I’m neither counting chickens nor reclining upon laurels. But having got this far I’m almost certainly going to finish, so it will see the light of day someday, somehow. And if my luck holds, I’ll have a proper announcement sooner rather than later.
- The fine folks at Multistory Films are still beavering away on the script and finance for the film of School’s Out.
- I’m recording my first telly interview, on Loaded Lads Lit, later this month. I am IN NO WAY panicking about the shiny wasteland that is my receding hairline, or obsessively trying on outfits in search of the perfect interface of Chap and Cool.
- My Highlander play, All the King’s Horses was nominated for a Scribe Award. It didn’t win, but it was nice to get some recognition for a play I was very proud of but which, sadly, never seemed to find much of an audience.
- The Farscape rewatch blog over at tor.com is nearing the halfway mark. I must say it’s been a joy to do, and the comments are always huge fun – please do join the fun.
So all in all 2012 has been a kick ass year. I began it in a bad place but I took definite steps to address all my shitty situations and one by one I got them all sorted out – with truly epic amounts of help and support from generous family and dear friends.
It’s starting to look like 2013 could be pretty great. I’ll be sure to let you know when it all goes pear shaped 😉
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*Can you tell I’ve been watching a lot of Horrible Histories?