2018 in Review and Goals for 2019

2018 was my second full year since I stopped calling myself an ‘aspiring’ writer and just got down to writing. At the beginning of last year, I set myself the target of matching my 2017 publishing credits and selling my first piece of long-form fiction, a novella which I wrote in the late summer of 2017. Finally, I wanted to complete another piece of long-form fiction.

I actually missed the first of those targets but, when I look back at what I got published and where over the last year, I can’t help but feel positive.

Being a part of the amazing anthology that was Lost Films, put together by the incredibly talented duo of Max Booth III and Lori Michelle was a highlight and a huge boost for my confidence that the best of my work is good enough to stand alongside people who I admire in the field.

I’m also immensely proud of the first not-exactly-horror piece, ‘Muscle Memory’ which found its way into print at the very end of the year, with Renaissance Press’ We Shall Be Monsters anthology, edited by Derek Newman-Stille. This book looks so beautiful and takes such a broad and progressive approach to reflecting on The Modern Prometheus, two centuries after its first release. I cannot wait to get my contributor copy into my hands.

Finally, I am simply delighted with the work which the team at The Other Stories have translated to audio fiction. The work of the narrators, the sound effects team, the curators of the music to accompany each tale and of Luke Kondor and the others in editing the stories, and making it all happen, is amazing. Being published there has opened up my writing to a host of new readers and listeners and I thank them for that opportunity.

So I look at my failure to hit my publishing target in 2018 and realise that there is much to be pleased with and I find myself in a great position to push on in 2019.

As for my other target, I have successfully sold my first book, a supernatural horror novella, which riffs on the legend of Baba Yaga. I cannot reveal more at this stage, but the contract is with the publishers and the editing process will begin shortly.

My final target, to complete a second long-form piece, came very close to completion but, alas, I remain a few thousand words or so from the end of the first draft. A very busy November, some pressing short stories and a holiday in Spain at the end of the year meant that my current novel WIP will not now be done until into the first week or two of January 2019.

What does 2019 have in store?

In short fiction, I am looking to build on my 2018, by targeting high-calibre publications, where my work can be measured alongside the writers whose standards I aspire to emulate in the future. Several stories are out for submission at the moment with excellent publications and I will endeavour to ensure that is a permanent state for me. Finally, I am also looking to self-publish a Kindle-single of one of my stories, the rights to which have recently come back to me. This is both to give more instant access to my work for new readers and to experiment with the self-publishing format in a low-risk way.

In long form, I aim to complete the novel I am working on quickly, before burying it for a couple of months prior to editing. I also aim to complete one or possibly two novellas which I have sketched out. I am also considering a re-write of a black comedy I started some years ago.

On a personal level, I want to attend at least one convention in 2019, likely in the UK, in order to put faces to names and, if the stars align in terms of dates, to try to promote my book.

Finally, I want to keep reading, keep learning from sources like This is Horror and Writing Excuses and keep challenging myself to be better in my writing and in life more generally.

Whatever it is that you are doing in 2019, I wish you luck with it. Thanks for reading.

Christmas Horror, Frankenstein Comes to Life and my First Novella

Yesterday saw the release of my Christmas story, ‘A Christmas Eve Visitor’ on The Other Stories podcast. It’s a delightfully unpleasant tale for those who like their Christmas with a dose of dark humbug.

Listen Here

In other news, We Shall Be Monsters: Frankenstein Two Hundred Years On has been given the go ahead for release at the end of this month. I can’t confirm the exact date yet, but this anthology of fiction, essays, poetry and more besides, inspired by Mary Shelley’s timeless classic is so beautifully stitched together (pun intended) and my story in it, ‘Muscle Memory,’ is one of the pieces I’m most proud of in my short time writing. Keep up with it here.

Finally and perhaps most exciting of all, this week I put a contract in the post for my first novella. I can’t talk much about it now, as details are still being finalised, but it contains folklore and supernatural elements. I’m hoping it will be launched in early 2019. More news as I have it.

Listen now – Free new audio story on The Other Stories podcast

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When I started writing seriously in 2016, I never imagined I’d be introducing a story I could legitimately describe as a dystopian sci-fi horror battlefield ghost story, yet here we are. That is exactly how I would describe my newest published story: ‘All In Your Heads?’ featured today on Hawk & Cleaver’s excellent, The Other Stories podcast, as part of their war season.

So, what are you waiting for? Listen now.

A Bit of News – At Last

Lately, things have been immensely quiet on this site. Since the launch of the amazing Lost Films, all of my other projects have been ‘in-progress,’ with no real end product to share with you all. But, with halloween just around the corner, things are about to get busy again.

Releasing any time now is Terror Politico, from Scary Dairy Press. There are so many great stories here and mine, ‘No Such Thing As A Free Lunch’ is perhaps one of the most disturbing I’ve written. I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy it. It’s a political horror release (the clue is in the title) and it’s hoped that the stories there are ones that will make readers think every bit as much as they shock and scare.

After this, I’m happy to say my first ever YA release is coming in the November issue of Frostfire Worlds, the YA speculative fiction magazine from Alban Lake Publishing. More news on that at launch. My story is ‘Your Blue Friend,’ a supernatural tale involving Egyptian ‘ushabtis’ and cosmic horror.

This week, I also sent back the final, approved version of my story, ‘Muscle Memory,’ a story set in a hospital that I don’t want to reveal more about, for Renaissance Press’ We Shall Be Monsters anthology of work inspired by the two-hundred year-old classic, Frankenstein. I can tell you that the proof I have seen of this book looks so gorgeous, you are not going to want to miss it.

A new release has also hit the shelves this week, in the form of The Horror Tree’s Trembling with Fear: Year One anthology, which features hundreds of short stories and drabbles by a wide variety of authors. My story, ‘The Long Road to Immortality’ is a chilling reference to the world of instant celebrity through technology and how it, sometimes, can bite back.

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These releases are very exciting but, perhaps most exciting of all is the supernatural horror novel which I am currently working on, set in a long-abandoned mining community, where a man is looking to rehabilitate his family’s past with dark, unforeseen consequences. I’m aiming to finish the manuscript this year and to start shopping it to agents and publishing houses in 2019.

Finally, I have just sold two more stories this week. One, a dark sci-fi short will be featured on a well known podcast, while the other, a classic horror tale, will be featured in an anthology in 2019. More news on both, as and when possible.

Today is Book Day! (Lost Films, Slow Summer and more)

Happy bookday to myself and a host of fantastic authors, some of whom I can also call friends, such as Bob Pastorella, Brian Asman and Thomas Joyce of the This is Horror community. Lost Films is out today! I know I’ve been blathering on about it for months, but this anthology means a lot to me and I feel it is a big step in my writing journey, not to mention an honour, to share a platform with people I’ve looked up to from the moment I first read their work, such as Gemma Files, Brian Evenson, John C Foster, Kristi DeMeester, Jessica McHugh and all the other writers who made the cut. Everlasting thanks to Max and Lori at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing for believing in my story, ‘The Fourth Wall’. Great reviews are coming in for the whole anthology, so I think and hope you’re going to love it.

Anyway, for the final time, if you don’t have your copy, I strongly recommend taking a look at it by clicking the image below:

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Moving on, this summer has existed in two phases, from a writing perspective. On one hand, I planned an as-yet-untitled novel at the end of the school year and managed to put down about 8,000 words of it in just under two weeks. Then I came to the UK to do some university work and since then my time is at a real premium and so I’ve managed only a little more than a thousand words in a month. That said, the WIP is still vivid in my mind, I still believe strongly in the project and I will be getting back on it with a vengeance in a fortnight.

Aside from that, the We Shall Be Monsters anthology of Frankenstein themed stories will be coming from Canada’s Renaissance Press very soon and I look forward to seeing what people make of the story there which I’d struggle to categorise as horror, even with certain horrific realisations. After that there’s nothing new until October, although my Baba Yaga novella remains with a publisher and I eagerly anticipate a response for it. There are other stories out for submission and, of course, the moment I hear anything positive, I’ll post them up here.

For now… back to work…