Advanced warning: this is a very much me-me-me post, although I will be taking the time to thank a few people who've helped make this year what it was.
Obviously, the main event in terms of my own writing was the publication of Falling Over - a move away from self-publishing, Falling Over was released by the stupendous Infinity Plus. The reasons I wanted to try and get this book published by someone else were as much psychological as practical or monetary: for a long period of my adult life, although I was writing I did very little in regards to trying to get published, and the reason was simply I was scared to. I was afraid to find out what reaction my stories would get. And I don't think it can be good for you, psychologically, to have not done something in your life that you want to because of fear. So in 2013 I did it. (Thanks to Iain Rowan who gave me a valuable shove when I was dithering.) And I'm exceptionally pleased with how it turned out: the artwork by Keith Brooke is great (lots of people have told me how much they like it) and the reviews from readers and sites such as Amazing Stories, Dark Musings, and Horrifically Horrifying Horror have been uniformly positive. And just being published by a publisher like Infinity Plus seems to have got me some attention and invites to write stories for people, which is all to the good. So I was stupid to be scared after all (mind you, that fear wasn't 100% misplaced: I'm very glad some of my earliest stories have never seen the light of day!)
Falling Over has got a bit of love in people's 2013 round ups as well, garnering an 'honourable mention' in the short story collection of the year category on Dark Musings, and being picked as one of Martin Cosby's favourite books of the year on Stranger Designs. And The Shelter has also got a mention in Mark West's Fifth Annual Westies Awards, at No. 11 in his fiction reads of the year. What a star.
I met a lot of great people in 2013, both online and out in the wild at Edge-Lit 2 and Andromeda One. I'm not naturally the most outgoing of chaps when I'm with people I don't know, so going to these things alone is always slightly daunting, and I'd like to thank each and every person who was so friendly. In particular it was a real laugh hanging around with Phil Ambler, Mark West and Steve Harris/Byrne at Andromeda One, and with the Fox Spirit gang plus assorted hangers on (i.e. me) at Edge-Lit. It's a sign of how quickly friendships can develop between people with the same, slightly warped, interests that I'm already looking forward to hopefully catching up with people again next year, and meeting some new faces.
I had a fair few stories published in 2013; the two I'm most proud of probably being The Second Wish which featured in Supernatural Tales #23 (a magazine I've always really admired) and Calligraphy in the recently released anthology Little Visible Delight, where I'm alongside such cracking writers as Lynda E. Rucker and SP Miskowski. I also wrote a number of stories that have been accepted for publication that are due out next year; they're some of my best work, I think, and I can't wait to be allowed to tell you all about them...
As to 2014, well I'm currently pausing between drafts of a novella called Other People's Ghosts - this one is proving a sod to get the structure right for, but I'm sure I'll get there in the end. Between drafts on that I'm working on a story called Retro Night. It's about going out when you're young and invincible and think you can live forever... and going out when you're older and wiser and know that you won't.
And, tentatively, I'm starting to think about a third collection of short stories as well - working out which ones I have available would fit together thematically and trying out some hypothetical running orders...
But enough navel-gazing - I hope everyone who reads this has a great festive period and a brilliant 2014. Have a drink on me.