Tag Archives: Hic Dragones

My writing year 2017

It’s been an intense year. My family and I moved house twice (from Oxford to a rental house in York in January, then to a house we bought in York in June), the first move being when my youngest son was only six months old. Sleep has been hard to come by and work has been sporadic – not that it’s been hard to get, just difficult to schedule given that my wife and I now share childcare duties right down the middle.

On the plus side, my day job has been hewing closer and closer to my ‘hobby’: much of my freelance work this year has involved fiction editing. In October I became co-editor of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction journal, Horizons (along with Shona Kinsella), and I’m looking forward to putting together the first issue early next year.

Finding time to write has been a challenge. I’ve written fewer new words this year than in any of the previous five years – around 80,000 as opposed to the usual 120,000ish. I finished up an SF novel, which is now out on submission. Other than that, I’ve completed a handful of short stories and a novelette, but I’ve spent most time writing non-fiction and doing revisions on earlier projects.

Speaking of which, 2017 has been mostly enlivened by Things Happening With My Writing, which is a great relief given that I’ve been doing so little actual writing. I had four new short stories published, including appearances in Shoreline of Infinity and Not One of Us, as well as the first of two inclusions in Hic Dragones anthologies – all of these publications had been on my wishlist. Perhaps more significantly, having signed contracts this year, 2018 will see various projects reach fruition:

  • My first novel for young adults will be published by ChiZine, likely in October 2018. It’s about a prison for young offenders situated within a virtual world and modelled as a sleepy English village. The original Westworld film from 1973 was a big influence, as were the London riots a few years back. The first task in the new year is to decide upon a title.
  • My first non-fiction book will be published by Electric Dreamhouse Press in summer 2018 as part of the Midnight Movie Monographs series. The book is dedicated to Feuillade’s 1915 silent crime serial, Les Vampires. Along with an analysis of the film I’ve written ten pieces of weird fiction, each inspired by an episode of the serial.
  • There’ll be another fiction publication in either late 2018 or early 2019 too! I’ll have more information before too long.

There will also be more short stories published in 2018, including my first audio reading and my first sale of a mystery story – see here for a list of upcoming publications.

So, I’m not at all glum about having had a static year. In fact, I can’t wait to get started on my writing in 2018. I have a few commissioned pieces to complete at the start of the year, a novel planned out and more ideas bubbling up. But as much as all that, I’m looking forward to getting a bit more sleep, too.

Oh, one other thing. I did reach the writing milestone of passing 75% of my first million (new) words.

New Year writing roundup

Phew, a fresh start. Actually, the arrival of 2017 is the first of a couple of fresh starts in quick succession for me – I’ll be moving house (and town) in mid-January, when I and my family will be packing up in Oxford and moving to York.

Still, this seems a good time to round up all the loose threads from the tail-end of last year…

You Don’t Belong Here

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 22.42.03Firstly, another positive and thoughtful review for YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, this time from Rising Shadow. The reviewer summarises the novel as ‘delightfully different from the time travel novels that have been published recently’.

Also on Rising Shadow, you can read an interview with me, in which I discuss SF influences, failed novels, the Infinite Monkey Cage and gratefulness.

If you haven’t read YOU DON’T BELONG HERE yet, it’s currently available on Amazon for only £6.88 for the paperback or £6.54 for the ebook. Bargain!

Short stories

Jonathan Green is currently prepping the Kickstarter for the followup to his popular Sharkpunk anthology, sensibly titled Sharkpunk 2. Alongside stories by James Lovegrove, Jon Oliver, Guy Haley and more, it’ll feature my weird horror story about the Greenland Shark, ‘Eqalussuaq’. You can join the Facebook group to receive updates.

Tunnel Vision

I also have new stories forthcoming in Hic Dragones’ Into the Woods anthology and the British SF magazine, Shoreline of Infinity. More info as and when.

You can read a reprint of my creepy primary-school story, ‘Tunnel Vision’, for free on the Pantheon website, which features the excellent illustration by Carrion House shown on the right.

See my list of published fiction for a full list of the stories and reprints I sold in 2016.

Writing progress

I’d been prepared for 2016 to be lacking in new writing, given the birth of my second son in June and a whole three months away from writing fiction. Somehow, however, I ended up writing slightly more than in each of the previous three years – around 126,000 words. My being freelance (and therefore more flexible) must have been responsible, despite the fact that it’s felt like more of a struggle finding writing hours.

Anyway, these 126k all-new words were plugged into just two projects. The first was BLIGHTERS, now available from Abaddon. The second project is a new SF novel, about a group of people who spontaneously produce clones. I’m nearing the end of a second draft and I’m hoping that a third will clinch it.

Other than that, I have two other writing projects coming up in 2017. They’re secret for now. It’s immensely exciting to be looking forward to what’s next.