Thursday 27 December 2018

My Creative Year 2018

Continuing a tradition (now in its sixth year), here's my annual look back at 2018 from a creative standpoint.
During the year, I wrote one short story (Brooks Pond), which Tracy Fahey was kind enough to ask me for (see below for more details), as well as a load of essays for this blog (which is always enjoyable).  On the novel front, I began sending my submission package out in April and, although I had two requests for full ms (which is good), I didn't garner any agency interest (which, obviously, is not good).  I'd already started working on Novel2 by then but, after the agency feedback and responses, I shifted to a new idea, a more high concept one and once again plotted it while walking with David Roberts and Pippa.  Novel3 (as we came to call it) has been a very enjoyable process (I finished the first draft - 138k words in 104 days - just before Christmas) and hopefully I'll have whipped it into shape by early next year so I can start approaching the agencies again.  Wish me luck!

* * *
I had three short stories published.

The first, Chihuahua, appeared in In Dog We Trust, a charity anthology edited by Anthony Cowin from Black Shuck Books.  It was launched at Edge-Lit 7.

The second, The Taste Of Her, appeared in Best British Horror 2018, a NewCon Press anthology edited by Johnny Mains.  Launched at FantasyCon, it featured Johnny's pick of the year and took in my story, which originally appeared in my second collection, Things We Leave Behind.

The third, Brooks Pond, appeared in The Black Room Manuscripts Vol. 4, published by The Sinister Horror Company and edited by Tracy Fahey & J. R. Park.  A charity anthology, in aid of Refuge, it was also launched at FantasyCon.
The NewCon Press Best British Horror signing - Ian is asking us to point out which writers are in it, for signing purposes, not who ordered the fish finger sarnies.
from left - Ian, me, Hal Duncan, Laura Mauro, Ian Watson (he's not in the anthology but wanted to put his hand up), Andy West and James Everington.
The Sinister Horror Press Black Room Manuscripts 4 signing
from left - Phil Sloman, Ben Jones, Terry Grimwood, Marie O'Regan, Jim Mcleod, James Everington, Steve Bacon, me

* * *
My novella, Drive, was re-published by Near To The Knuckle (an imprint of Gritfiction Ltd) on February 5th (following the closure of Pendragon Press), with spanking new cover art.

* * *
Drive was reviewed by Unlawful Acts who called it "a taut pulpy horror novella filled with suburban fears of aimless violence [which] would pair well with a weekend filled with watching ’70s B-movies." (full review can be found here)

Drive was also reviewed by Mixxit Reviews who wrote "There were twists and shocks.  There were lots of things that happened that I was not expecting, that actually made me shout in my head OMG PLOT TWIST!" (full review can be found here)

Kendall Reviews liked The Taste Of Her calling it "a vicious tale of revenge.  Expertly plotted in only a few pages.  Again, not Horror per se, but certainly has the power to shock." (review here)

* * *
In February, Sue Moorcoft & I were guests on Brookes' Brew, on Harborough FM, talking books, writing and music.  I wrote about it here and if you want to listen to it again, you can do so on this link via mixcloud.
me, DJ Phil Brookes and Sue

The Crusty Exterior managed to meet up again, in Leicester this time, in April.  Along with the regulars - James Everington, Phil Sloman, Steve Harris, me, Steve Bacon and John Travis - we welcomed new members Timothy Jarvis, Jay Eales & Linda Nagle.  We had a great day, lovely weather, great conversation, two cracking bookshops and a lovely curry to finish up with.  Even better, plans were made for more meets!  My report on the day is here.
In Victoria Park with, from left, Steve Bacon, Phil Sloman, Jay Eales, John Travis, me, Linda Nagle, Steve Harris, Tim Jarvis and James Everington

In September, along with Sue Moorcroft, Louise Jensen and Darren O'Sullivan (all great people and writers), I was part of the first Meet The Authors Q&A event held at The Core at Corby Cube.  It was a fantastic evening, which I thoroughly enjoyed and our sold-out (sixty plus people) audience seemed to like it a lot too.  I wrote about it here.
from left - Darren O'Sullivan (this writers/audience selfie was his great idea), Louise Jensen, me, Sue and Joe Flavin, our moderator and director of The Core

* * *
I attended 3 great Cons in year.  The first, Edge-Lit 7, was held at The Quad in Derby on 14th July (see my report here), followed by FantasyCon, held at The Queen Hotel, Chester from 19th to 21st October (see my report here) and then Sledge-Lit 4, held at The Quad in Derby on 24th November (see my report here).
At Edge-Lit 7 with, from left, Ross Warren, Steve Harris, John Travis, me, Blaize Harris (seated), Peter Mark May, Lisa Childs, Terry Grimwood, Dion Winton-Polak
At FantasyCon in the Jubilee Room with, from left, Tracy Fahey, Duncan Bradshaw, Peter, Steve Bacon, Penny Jones, me, Neil Williams, Michelle Williams, James Everington
A FantasyCon triple bill - big picture (by Dion Winton-Polak shows Dion, Jim Mcleod & me), 
top right (pic by Ian Whates) is me, Peter Mark May, Kathy Boulton with her back to the camera and Francesca Tristan Barbini
bottom right (pic by Phil Sloman) shows Dion, me, Ross Warren, Steve Harris & James Everington
At Sledge-Lit, with Donna Bond, Peter and Sue Moorcroft
* * *
I'm feeling confident for 2019 too, as I plan to crack on with the novel and have ideas bubbling away for more.  There are no short story appearances planned for the year but if anyone wants to ask me for one, I might be tempted!  Whatever happens, I'll keep you updated as how things go.

As always, thank you so much, dear readers of this blog, for all your support in 2018, especially those who bought, read and liked my work - I really do appreciate it.

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