I hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful and restful holiday at the moment, and looking forward to a better year ahead. With this being the time of year for reflection, here’s a rundown of what I’ve been up to in terms of Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry.
This year saw my first published poetry, including ‘The Love of a Season’ in Winter Tales (Fox Spirit), and ‘Coronal Mass Ejection (Solar Minima)’ in The Speculative Book (Speculative Bookshop). Particularly special to me was the last of these, ‘Picture, of a Winter Afternoon,‘ which appeared in Thirty Years of Rain, celebrating 30 years of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle. I wrote this poem around the time I first decided to move to Glasgow, so it was lovely to see this published in the group’s anthology shortly after I arrived here in the Autumn.
I started writing the Noise and Sparks column for Shoreline of Infinity, which was one of the more unexpected joys to have come out of this year for me. Ostensibly about my experiences as a new writer (though generally it covers whatever’s been occupying my brain, from the weight of expectation, to making decisions that may be better for you than your writing), it’s allowed me to return to a style I haven’t worked in since the days of Thrash Hits, and I’ve greatly missed that. So I’m very grateful to Noel Chidwick and the rest of the team for allowing me the space to explore and discuss ideas about creativity in this way – because, after all, art is a discussion. The third of these columns, ‘Interlude,’ is in Shoreline of Infinity #6, the latest issue, and can be picked up at the official website.
In fiction, ‘Dame Ammonia Dastardly-Truste’s Evil Genius College for Ladies Class of 2014: Graduation Speech [Transcript],’ my tale of love, betrayal and porpoises, came out in Fox Pockets: The Evil Genius Guide (Fox Spirit Press). And there were a couple of reprints: I was proud to be part of NewCon Press’s 10th anniversary celebrations, when ‘The Honey Trap’ appeared in Digital Dreams, the e-book only anthology celebrating their best SF by women stories. Meanwhile, Far Horizons were kind enough to put ‘Good Boy’ into their April 2016 Staff Picks issue, which has a rather lovely cover by Stephen Briggs.
There were a few other firsts. I did my first stint as panel moderator to a packed crowd at Mancunicon (this year’s Eastercon) on a panel containing Ian McDonald, Kari Sperring, Tiffani Angus and Russell Smith – and I did not die. I also did my first book launch interview with Becky Chambers, as she promoted A Closed and Common Orbit to a very enthusiastic audience at Waterstones in Glasgow. The latter was particularly fun, as I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of books in the Wayfarer series, so getting the chance to ask her about sensory analogues was a joy.
Outside of SFF, I photographed Emma Pollock for Drowned In Sound. I also ran another half-marathon after only seven weeks of training*, raising more than £300 for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. Thank you once again to everyone who took the time to sponsor me and support the vital work of the lovely folks at SAMH, helping sufferers of mental illness and their carers.
And, finally, I quit my job and moved to a new country to start a Masters degree in Fantasy. Which kind of explains why, despite all this, it’s actually been a relatively quiet year for me, creatively. Underneath my fiercest wishes for the coming year – for a restored belief in the rights of all humans to love and respect, and that considered, heartfelt words can still lead to the best of all consequences – my quiet, most selfish hope is that I can find that space to be creative again.
So a busy, and in many ways, tough year. Let’s see what 2017 has to offer.
*In just 12 seconds over last year’s time – but never again!