Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 and 2015

Another new year already. Traditionally (by which I mean for the last two years, which seems to qualify as a tradition these days) I start the year by reviewing my writing achievements over the year that's finished and looking ahead to the year to come.

During 2014, my writing has been somewhat disrupted by… well, by writing. Since March, my official day-job has been as a freelance copywriter, and the work I've needed to put into building that up — which seems to be paying off — has severely cut into my creative writing time. Still, among all that, I seem to have got through a fair amount.

I'm not as far as I'd hoped through my current novel (working title The Empire of Nandesh) but I'm more than 50,000 words into it. I'd been hoping to be nearly finished by now, but both the copywriting and other projects have cut into it. I revised the novella The Dweller in the Crack, and wrote three shorter pieces, Finder's Fee, Turning the Tables and Gerda and the Darkness, but the biggest distraction was my very unexpected diversion into children's fantasy.

A few years ago, I wrote a very short piece called The Biggest Dragon in the World, which featured a sorceress called Cariana. I really wrote it for my own amusement, but it turned out as a children's story. During the summer, I attended a workshop of mainly children's authors and took the story along as my one qualifying piece. They loved it and encouraged me to expand it into a series.

I've now written half a dozen other connected stories, but the series took an unexpected turn when, in the second story, I introduced Cariana's nearly-eleven-year-old apprentice Flea, who's taken over as the central character. I'm having huge fun writing about her — in the most recent, she has an encounter with pirates — and the aim is to add perhaps three or four further stories and then, after revision, try to pitch it as a book.

I've begun self-publishing some of my out-of-print work, which has been an interesting process. I have mixed feelings about self-publishing, but it's a valuable option for an author with the experience and willingness to put in the work it needs. So far, I've republished At An Uncertain Hour, the novel previously issued by StoneGarden, and Steal Away, the first story about Karaghr and Failiu, which first appeared in the late, lamented Golden Visions. I'm also hoping to bring out the sequel, Rainy Season, also a Golden Visions story, and perhaps others.

As far as professional publication is concerned, December saw the publication of my second ebook from Musa Publishing, The Lone and Level Sands. A contemporary (or nearly contemporary) fantasy but set in a secondary world, this is archaeological fantasy somewhat in the Indiana Jones tradition. It came out just before Christmas, so I'm gearing up again to restart promotion.

Besides these, I've had stories in The Colored Lens (Damned) and Plasma Frequency (The Lady of the House and The PetrologicEngine, the latter my "flintpunk" story) as well as in three anthologies, two of which I was involved in producing. Light of the Last Day was the somewhat overdue anthology from, which I co-edited and contributed Lari's People and Dayglow, while the equally long-in-making The Tale Trove is the first production from my live writers' group, the East Herts Fantasy Writers. My contributions are Return Switch, Hanuut's Stand, I See a Voice and three poems. I've also appeared in Unburied Treasure, a follow-up to last year's Trespass, with the custom-written Finder's Fee.

So what of 2015? I'll probably continue to have less time to devote to writing than I did before last year, but I have The Lone and Level Sands to promote, and I hope to reissue Rainy Season this year. On a slightly longer-term basis, I've been considering self-publishing a collection of stories about Eltava. All but two have been published in various markets, and all rights have now reverted to me, so it might be a practical option. But a lot more work than putting out single stories.

I'll continue with both The Empire of Nandesh and the Flea stories, and hopefully I'll finish the draft of the former and have the latter ready for submission during the year. That's assuming I don't get diverted again. We'll see.

I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

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