2021: Making the best of it…again

Last year I wrote that I hoped things would improve for us all in 2021….

Yeah, about that.

I also wrote that bad times tended to galvanise my writing activities. Happily, that remained true in 2021.

This year, I’ve seen new stories published online at The Quiet Reader #2 (The Book of Love) and at Tales from the Cybersalon: The Future of the High Street (The Little Shop That Could – my reading is here, starting at 8m30s), and in print in the inestimable Ian Whates’ No More Heroes anthology from PS Publishing (A Stranger Shade; favourable review of anthology and my story here). I also saw English Language reprints published in The Other Side Book of Ghosts (Laying the Table), the Flash in a Flash newsletter (Writing on the Wall), at The Dread Machine (Touching Distance), and at Emerging Worlds (The Last Moonshot). The English Dead was translated into Catalan and published in Catarsi #29, while The Centropic Oracle produced a splendid podcast of last year’s Nature Futures story On This Day. I’ve also made three of my more recently published stories available at pay-to-view site Simily. Not a bad haul.

On the acceptances front: I received four for new or previously unsold stories. I mentioned The Little Shop That Could above. Awaiting publication in 2022 are Sky High with Janine in the Abyss anthology from Orchid Lantern; Dust Bunnies from Shoreline of Infinity; and one other that will have to remain under wraps for the time being, at the publisher’s request. I also have further reprints forthcoming from Helion SF (Romanian), Internova, Constraint 280, and an untitled Italian astronomy-themed anthology.

Turning to new writing: I completed the first draft of a new novel, A Place in Time, gave it a quick de-linting, and sent it to my first readers. Let’s hope they like it. I also started, completed, and submitted five short stories, three of which found good homes. That’s about 96000 words of new fiction in all. For me, that’s a good effort.

I have also worked on a semi-secret non-fiction project, the output from which will hopefully start to appear next year, initially in the form of a website. It’s a purely personal project and of niche interest.

My other ongoing activity this year has been serving as one of Wyldblood magazine’s first readers. I have enjoyed many of the submissions and endured relatively few bad ones. It’s been a great pleasure to see several of the stories I recommended to the editors appear in print and pixels. Editor (and good friend) Mark Bilsborough has done an excellent job with this new magazine. Please buy an issue, or better still: subscribe!

I only attended online writing-related events this year, including all four sessions of Cybersalon’s Tales from the Cybersalon, which were great fun and thought-provoking. Again, I can’t see that online-only aspect of my writing life changing much next year.

As for what 2022 holds on the writing front… it’s too early to say for sure. Unless my first readers tell me to “nuke it from orbit” (always possible), I hope to revise A Place in Time to completion. However, I am a very slow reviser. I am currently working on a rewrite of a novella I drafted several years ago – and that, too, I hope to complete next year. That’s a lot of “hope” there rather than commitment, I hear you say. It’s a fair cop, but to be frank, I’m not confident when it comes to longer works. We’ll see. I have no shorter projects on the stocks at the moment, but inspiration or an enticing anthology theme will no doubt prompt me to snap into action on that front sooner or later. There is also that non-fiction project I mentioned, so there will be plenty to keep me occupied.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and happy 2022.