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New Year, New Chapter.

2015 has been a good year on the author front. Not only have I gotten more work into the marketplace for the readers, but I've formed some good relationships with fellow authors and publishers, and even picked up my first award/accolade, courtesy of the Australian Horror Writers Association; the AHWA. One item of news that hit me just before the end of the year is that the HWA (Horror Writers Association) will now have a UK chapter. For those not already in the know, the HWA is a worldwide organisation that supports and promotes horror fiction for those in the craft - primarily the authors, but also those who will work with them, e.g. the publishers. Contacts, marketing and such: this is what the HWA provides. Now I already go to Toronto every summer and hit FanExpo, but 2015 was the first time I met with members of the Ontario chapter of the HWA.

l-r: Suzanne Church, Julianne Snow, me (yes, wearing a My Little Pony t-shirt), Tonya Liburd, Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Lou Rera and Gregory Lamberson. And one Brad Middleton behind the camera.

What I'm keen to see with a local (UK) chapter is raising the profile of of our craft. Sure, it's money for us if people buy our work, but at the same time, there's a joy from impressing people enough that they buy our work.

Speaking of which, the muse continues to outrun me, for which I'm eternally grateful. I'm aware that some writers may suffer from writers block, where no new ideas are forthcoming, whether that's for creating a new story - or worse, in the middle of one. For all the work I've written to date, they're mostly short stories. The reason for that is with short stories, they're faster to write, faster to edit - and with the submission process, the turnaround may be faster. As a result, I've built up a fair back catalogue of short stories. Do I still write them? Yes. Why? Because I write - period. And while I continue to write what the muse dictates to me, I want to turn out more long fiction: novellas and novels. For me, it's the literary equivalent of sinking into a candlelit bubblebath, rather than a quick shower. The last novel I was working on was Akhtar's Veil, which is currently still at the outlining stage, so no research needed yet. Of course, the muse is never told what to do so ideas keep coming. And coming. And coming. So, here's a breakdown of what's currently on my author schedule of product to knock out:

  • a short story based on an urban legend for the follow-up Crossroads In The Dark anthology from Burning Willow Press. I had hoped to get the manuscript submitted before Dec 31st 2015, but as luck would have it, I only got the most crucial research done on New Year's Day. London Fire Brigade were very helpful: props to Tooting station for giving valuable info and insight. Why did I need input from LFB? Watch this space...

  • an apocalyptic story (and most likely a novel, rather than a short) that hinges on "seventy"

  • a novel/la focusing featuring one of my characters from the short story "Don't Run"

  • and, of course, "Akhtar's Veil" a tale of not knowing when to leave well enough alone.

There'll almost certainly be some beta work as well, which is absolutely fine by me. Both Carl Alves and Bryan Nowak have been gracious in offering assist - I'm aware that I need to put in work for you gentlemen. Y'all are certainly not forgotten: hopefully by the end of this month at the latest, I'll be up to beta. And I do love to beta. Not only does it hopefully help the authors I critique for, but also it maintains and develops my critical eye. Keeps me sharp. Regardless of whether I'm doing a critique/beta, knocking out a first draft, working through edits, etc. - I aim to work as quick and efficient as possible. It's not easy keeping up with the muse. That's enough talk from me for now. Time to put in work.

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