Wednesday, 6 January 2016

2015: Lukewarm Catastrophe, Moderate Triumph

Well, I've left this rather late, haven't I?  But part of the reason for that, I think, is that I hate being vague and there's a disproportionate amount of news this year that I can't, for one reason and another, share here.

So, for example, all I can say about the beginning of the year is that something very bad indeed happened, something that threw all of my plans into chaos and had (has) the potential to end my writing career for good.  Many of those reading this, I imagine, will already know what I'm talking about, but my instinct is to not discuss a problem of such magnitude until I've managed to solve it once and for all - as, frustratingly, I still haven't almost a year later.

It seems like the rest of 2015 has been a struggle to crawl out from the shadow of that one event - if only due to the vast amount of extra work it's generated.  Nor did it help that the two projects I'd hoped to have out this year, my debut collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories and C21st Gods, both ran into problems outside of my control that left them drastically delayed.   Things even dried up on the short fiction sales front for a long spell in the first half of the year, and by the summer the situation was looking bleak indeed.

Which is about all of the bad news, because since then things have picked up dramatically.  Certainly those short story sales finally materialized, and in a veritable flood; 2015 turned out to be my most profitable year for short fiction yet, and by quite a margin.  There were return sales to Nightmare and Beneath Ceaseless Skies (A Killer of Dead Men, out now!), a couple of Digital Science Fiction anthologies, and that gorgeous collection from Flame Tree Publishing, amongst numerous other highlights.

As for work done, I'm about on schedule, and although it doesn't feel like it somehow, I've definitely produced more than in 2014 by quite some margin.  My medieval detective fantasy White Thorne is finished in first draft, and post-apocalyptic superhero noir The Uplifted is a couple of weeks off being at the same stage.  Between those two I managed to wedge in another sci-fi novella, Graveyard of Titans, and a handful of short stories, to a total count of somewhere around 300'000 words.  I also did considerably more editing, with the final draft of To End All Wars completed way back in January, and Degenerates and my first attempt at a crime novel The Bad Neighbour both going through their second and third drafts.

Now here we are and it's a whole new year.  Looking back, I enjoyed 2015 rather a lot; it may have seen only mixed success on the writing front, but in general my life got substantively better, as I settled into my new existence back in the north of England and starting putting down some roots.  Which, ugh, sounds kind of weird now that I read over it ... but what I mean to say is, I made new friends and got back in touch with old ones, whilst also finally finishing off my house and finding time to expand my hobbies and social life a little.  None of which probably sounds like a big deal, but when you've spent more than half a decade of your life knowing you'd likely be moving to yet another part of the country within a few months, a little stability goes a long way.

And at least a few definitely positive things are going to happen in 2016.  I'm already thrilled for the release of my debut novella Patchwerk from in a little under two weeks from now - especially since the early reception has been strong.  The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories should be out from Spectral at around the same time, and if it isn't then I have plans in place that will hopefully ensure that it still sees the light of day sooner rather than later.  C21st Gods has a new artist tenuously attached, and there's a good chance there'll be at least an issue or two of that out before year's end.  And then there's my biggest bit of news - and the other major thing I can't talk about.  I suppose I can safely so that I've sold a new novel on pitch, that I'm going to be writing it between now and May, and that there's a solid likelihood it will be out before the end of the year.  Needless to say, this is hugely exciting for any number of reasons, but the one that I keep coming back to is that it's relaxed some of the financial strain I'm under; I now have actual income, at least for a while, and that fact alone is enough to make 2016 a much more hopeful place than 2015 ever was.


  1. So glad to hear things are finally working out for you, David - couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke. Best o' luck, and no doubt will catch you at some point later in the year... ;-)

    1. Thank you! And yes, I'm sure we'll be catching up in the not too distant future.