2015: A Writer’s Life

It’s been a somewhat schizoid year on the writing front, as I’ve made relatively little progress in terms of producing new material or finishing works-in-progress, but enjoyed plenty of success on the publishing side of things.

My limited productivity was almost entirely due to a protracted property sale/purchase/move scenario. Nothing terrible happened, but I had a huge amount of tasks to keep me busy–and still do post-move.

I did manage to finalise one previously drafted story during 2015 and wrote four new ones, all very short and mostly targeted at contests, which I found a useful source of motivation. None of this year’s crop has sold yet, but I did place four older stories at good markets: Invisible Touch sold to Daily Science Fiction and was published earlier this month; Collapsing into Life will appear in Cracked Eye; Insider Art is in Abyss and Apex’s inventory; and Brown Cat Blues will appear in the New Year Day’s issue of the revived Plasma Frequency Magazine. That’s a very pleasing haul.  PMF’s recovery after a successful Kickstarter campaign was one of the year’s more pleasing pieces of publishing news (IMO).

One highlight for me this year was seeing A Walk in the Woods (a reprint) and its sequel A Walk in the Rain published as a diptych in Breakout (aka Postscripts 34/35, from PS Publishing). Those stories are keeping very good company, judging by the anthology’s table of contents.

On the subject of reprints: I saw my Nature Futures story Bee Futures appear in Szortal (Polish) and Reaktor (Estonian), while Szortal also reprinted Dark They Were, and Strange Inside, likewise originally in Nature. Bee Futures will also appear in new British SF magazine The Singularity in due course. Another new magazine, The New Accelerator, reprinted Survival Strategies. This year also saw a story of mine podcast for the first time, with Beam Me Up producing The English Dead in five highly atmospheric segments. Another of my stories, First and Third, is set to be podcast by the award-winning StarShipSofa in the near future. Other previously published stories appeared on pay-per-read sites such as QuarterReads, AnthologyBuilder and The40p. I only released one new ebook this year, which contains my novelette Family Tree. I have tentative plans to release another ebook collection of my published stories at some point, possibly next year.

Also in 2015, I prepared and submitted a novel sample to Hodderscape’s call for unagented submissions. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m told that doesn’t signify anything. I also edited a reprint anthology of stories written by my friends in the One Step Beyond writers’ group. Our aim is to raise money for the English PEN charity. This ebook is complete except for some final checking and tweaking, so hopefully it will be released fairly early in the New Year.
As for 2016 projects, it’s really too early to say. But when I get some time, I’m sure my thoughts will turn in the appropriate direction!

Several of my writer-friends had great news to share this year, most notably Aliette de Bodard, whose Paris-set post-apocalypse fantasy The House of Shattered Wings was published to great acclaim, as was Al Robertson’s Crashing Heaven SF novel. Congratulations to both–and to everyone I know who had a successful year.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.