March/April ’18: BFS Open Night, Edinburgh International Science Festival, FGTS 40 Launch and more!

Readings, a workshop and more – here are my official plans for March and April.

March 15th – BFS Open Night (Waterstones Argyle Street, 6:30pm)

My next reading will be part of the British Fantasy Society’s Glasgow Open Night on 15th March. Joining host Shona Kinsella (Ashael Rising, Mirnya’s Oath), Neil Williamson (The Moon King, Secret Language), and I (other stuff) will be R. J. Barker, author of Age of Assassins, and we’ll all be reading and chatting about fantastic things for your entertainment. The night kicks off at 6:30pm on 15th March at Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow. For more details, see the Waterstones event page or Facebook event page.

If you can’t make this, I’ll also be doing a warm-up reading as part of the MLitt in Fantasy Reading Party on 7th March at DRAM! If you’re interested in attending this, please let me know and I’ll pass on the details.

March 30th – April 1st – Eastercon: Follycon (Harrogate)

More on this soon! Click here for details of my full schedule!

April 5th – From Glasgow to Saturn: Issue 40 Launch (The Raven, 6pm)

From Glasgow to Saturn will be holding a launch party for issue 40 at The Raven in Glasgow on 5th April. We’ll be hosting readings from some of this issue’s authors and poets, plus music, an open mic, and the infamous FGTS raffle. This is the first issue for which I’ve been an editor, so I’d love to see you there.

Update: Click here for the facebook event page!

April 7th – Workshop at Edinburgh International Science Festival (Summerhall, 2pm)

Edinburgh area writers, I’ll be joining Oliver Langmead (Dark Star, Metronome) for ‘Discovering New Worlds Through Writing: A Creative Writing Workshop’ as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival on 7th April. We’ll be taking you through exercises on exploring the galaxy, new worlds, and what it takes to get there – and this will be the first workshop I’ve given! Be warned this event will be limited availability, so best pick your ticket up sooner rather than later. The workshop runs from 2pm – 4pm on 7th April at the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Summerhall. Click here to buy tickets.

April 26th – 27th – GIFCon 2018 (University of Glasgow)

Finally, GIFCon 2018 takes place over 26th – 27th April at the University of Glasgow. If you’ve submitted an abstract to the event, you should be hearing from us soon, but in the meantime, please keep an eye on our twitter, facebook, and instagram accounts, and on our website for announcements of details of how to register.

Hope to see you at one of these!

In the meantime, Shoreline of Infinity have uploaded video footage from February’s Event Horizon — where Hal Duncan, Neil Williamson and I staged a GSFWC invasion — to their facebook page. You’ll find us starting at about 1 hour 13 minutes in.

Event Horizon February 2018 and The Anniversary Reviewed

2018 already has a bunch of events in the works, and the first is in Edinburgh on Thursday 8th February.

Event Horizon will feature a showcase of writers from the GSFWC, including magnificent speculative and slipstream author Hal Duncan, the masterful “Laureate of Loss” Neil Williamson and, well, me. It’ll be another splendid night from the folks at Shoreline of Infinity, and you can find the full line-up in the image below – or by clicking here. The night kicks off at 7:30pm on Thursday 8th February at Frankenstein Edinburgh.

In the meantime, my Horror flash piece ‘The Anniversary’ has had some very kind comments as part of reviews of Black Static 61. So, if you need a little incentive to come out to Edinburgh next month, here are a few of them so far:

TANGENT ONLINE
“Beautifully written, it is elegant, timeless, and deeply painful in all its tragedy… It is the high note within this issue.”
https://www.tangentonline.com/print–bi-monthly-reviewsmenu-260/219-black-static/3703-black-static-61-novemberdecember-2017

GRIM READER REVIEWS
“A work of poetic yet ugly storytelling and one that will stay with you for some time after.”
https://beavisthebookhead.com/2017/12/10/magazine-review-black-static-61/

And possibly the most poetic review I’ve ever had:

DES LEWIS’ GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS
“A tantalising pearl of fiction as love’s requital – a pearl to scry, to smile or to gurn?”
https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/black-static-61/#comments

Thank you to Seraph, Adrian, and Des for your kind comments.

So, see you in Edinburgh next month, then?

2017 in Review

There’s only hours left until the end of the year, so since it’s the season here’s a look back on my year in genre.

This year’s been rather quiet in terms of new stories. THE ANNIVERSARY was my first sale to Black Static, and appeared swiftly afterwards in Issue 61, which was a delightful surprise for the end of the year. Also, turns out flash fiction is eligible for all the awards, as far as I can work out, so if you read it and think it’s worth a nomination, please do so.

In reprints, GOOD BOY also made its first appearance in audio format on Pseudopod‘s Flash on the Borderlands XXXVIII: Letting Go episode. THE HONEY TRAP was also reprinted for the first time in the Edinburgh International Book Festival Special Issue of Shoreline of Infinity 8 1/2. I also made my first translation sale in Chinese of this story, which should be appearing in the new year. More on that soon, I hope.

I’m still writing the Noise and Sparks column for SF journal Shoreline of Infinity, which is also eligible for Non-fiction awards, if you reckon it’s worth a nomination. ‘The Legend of the Kick-Arse Wise Women’ (Issue 8), about the relationship between age, experience, and imposter syndrome, seemed to resonate with a lot of folks, so thank you for your kind responses. My favourite is still ‘The Company of Bears’, from the current issue (10), but party because this year I fell in love with the fact that there are real cosplay Faerie Markets over in the US, a discovery I made with the paper given by Georgia Natishan at this year’s GIFCon – and, in a way, isn’t that what all cons kind of are?

Most of my New Things this year have been in non-fiction. I helped organize my first symposium, in 2017’s inaugural GIFCon event, with keynote speakers Julie Bertagna, Phil Harris, Stefan Ekman, Robert Maslen, and Maureen Farrell. I also presented my first paper there, on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and superhero modes of adaptation and revision, and I gave my first academic poster at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, on Taoist Landscape and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea sequence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worldcon was my only con of 2017, but it was grand to get another chance to attend one of these in Europe. Once again, I appeared on panels, this time on Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’, and ‘From Literature to Movies and Television – Adaptation of Scifi and Fantasy’ – a pair of great discussions that not only gave us the chance for a bit of role-play, but a chance to catch up with old friends and new (and nerd out in front of Margaret Dunlap, who is currently working on the new Dark Crystal TV series – eeee!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around that time, I was also sitting on the jury for the British Fantasy Society’s Non-fiction Award, my second year out – and a tricky job this time, as anyone else in on the final decision will attest, but thrilling to find these conversations around genre criticism to be so difficult, indicating as they did the high standard of the shortlisted works. I also squeezed in a couple of interviews with authors at various things – Oliver Langmead‘s Glasgow launch for Metronome at Waterstones Argyle Street, and a chat with Laura Lam about Shattered Minds at October’s Event Horizon.

 

 

 

 

The last quarter of the year also bought some firsts: I was the lead for the Creative Writing Station at Night at the Museum: Fantasy Scotland event at the Hunterian Museum in Scotland, in partnership with the MLitt in Fantasy at the University of Glasgow. As the rest of the team will agree, this was an amazing night, and we were thrilled to see people at the event and online responding to our challenges so imaginatively. Huge thanks to my fellow station folks Oliver Langmead, Sarah Tytler, Angie Spoto, Mary-Kate Wagamon and Luc Bateman for their brilliant work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also became an editor for From Glasgow to Saturn, the arts and creative writing journal at the University of Glasgow. We recently sent out the acceptances for our 40th issue of the journal and, come the new year, we start working on readying these submissions for publication in early Spring. I can’t wait to share these wonderful tales with you!

There were also a few personal writing highlights: getting to see Nalo Hopkinson, Malika Booker, Alasdair Gray, and Christopher Priest read in person – and sharing a TOC with Nalo as part of Shoreline of Infinity 8 1/2. I also got to meet Samuel R. Delany, which was not only a delight because of how utterly charming and insightful he is, but because his biographical documentary ‘The Polymath’ helped me work through some personal issues earlier in the year. I also gave cosplay a try for the first time this year, going to Worldcon as The Corinthian from Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman comics, and Night at the Musem as Lottie from Neil Williamson‘s The Moon King. And I had the joy of watching my coursemates graduate from the University of Glasgow, and another friend win her first Hugo Award. So that’s a good year, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 will not only see my first issue of From Glasgow to Saturn as Editor, but also the second outing of GIFCon, for which I’m handling the social media presence (give me a wave sometime on twitter, facebook or instagram). I’ll be giving at least one workshop in the first half of the year in Edinburgh, as well as a brand new reading in Glasgow. Right now, I should be working on my column for the next issue of Shoreline of Infinity, a special issue for International Women’s Day. I’ll be entering the final stretch of my Masters degree in Fantasy next year.

As for what I’ll be doing after that, well I can’t officially say right now, but I hope you’ll stick around to find out.

Thirty Years of Rain

During the near two years I tried and failed to move to Glasgow, two things anchored me to my goal: firstly, my good friends who live and work in the city. Secondly, the thought of the passionate, creative community I would be joining when I moved here. At the point I’d begun to wonder if I’d ever make it up, the folks of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle invited me to make good on the handful of meetings I’d made as a visitor, and join as a full member. It was the foothold I needed in the city. From that moment, I didn’t look back.

Thirty Years of Rain

A year on from that day, I’m proud to say a poem of mine has found its way into Thirty Years of Rain, the new anthology celebrating the 30th anniversary of the celebrated crit group. It’s fitting that while this book features many of the Circle’s most famous alumni, it also showcases some startlingly original work from up-and-coming writers too: Louise Welsh, Hal Duncan, Gary Gibson, Neil Williamson, Amal El-Mohtar, TW Moses, Heather Valentine, Eliza Chan, Peter Morrison, and many more besides. Thirty Years of Rain is not just a taste of the myriad fall from the group, but hopefully a foreshadowing of bigger things to come.

Edited by Neil Williamson, Elaine Gallagher and Cameron Johnston, and with layout by Hal Duncan and photography by Andrea Heins, Thirty Years of Rain is available now in paperback (Amazon/Lulu) and ebook (Kindle/Other Formats).

Alternatively, if you’re in the Glasgow area, why not join us this Friday 30th September (anyone would think we’d planned it that way, eh?) at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street? We’ll be launching the book at 7pm, with readings, chat and more, plus the biggest gathering of contributors we can muster.

Here’s the official facebook page (ignore the bit about reservations – you can just turn up). Hope to see you there!

Fantasycon By T’ Sea and the British Fantasy Awards

Fantasycon By The Sea

This weekend sees the latest installment of the British Fantasy Society’s Fantasycon, Fantasycon By The Sea (or Fantasycon-by-t’-Sea, in Yorkshire fashion), in sunny Scarborough. And I’ll be there too! When I’m not slurping ice cream, or trying to find a seaside donkey who understands my inner Eeyore, here’s where you can find me.

SATURDAY

3pm – 4pm: NewCon Press and Glasgow SF Writers Circle Launch
Main Ballroom, The Grand Hotel
The GSFWC‘s 30th anniversary anthology, Thirty Years of Rain, is having a preview launch in Scarborough ahead of next week’s official party in Glasgow. With stories from Louise Welsh, Hal Duncan, Amal El-Mohtar, William King, as well as stunning up-and-comers like Eliza Chan and Peter Morrison, it’s an astoundingly good collection, and II can scarcely believe the company I’m keeping here. NewCon Press have kindly cleared us a space at the table for their launch, so here’s a chance to not only get a copy ahead of release, but get it signed too! You lucky ducks!

SUNDAY

12pm – 1pm: GSFWC Reading
Cocktail Bar, The Grand Hotel
If you’re still not persuaded to pick it up, hear me, Neil Williamson and Ian Hunter (and Cam Johnston, if we can persuade him) reading from Thirty Years of Rain in the Cocktail Bar. Extravagant booze and brilliant stories – what better way is there to spend a lunchtime?

Thirty Years of Rain

2pm – 3pm: A Little’s Enough
(Palm Court Ballroom, The Grand Hotel)
With moderation from George Sandison of Unsung Stories, Storyological‘s E.G. Cosh joins myself, Lynda Clark, Stormblade‘s Neil Buchanan and David Guymer for a natter about what makes a great story. If you missed mine and Emma’s stint on the Short Story panel at Mancunicon, here’s your chance to see it again – but with rebooted cast and an intriguing new direction…

3:30pm – 5pm: The British Fantasy Awards Ceremony
Royal Ballroom, Royal Hotel
Finally, not strictly an appearance, but an announcement I’ve been looking forward to. Over the summer, I joined Martin Petto and Kevin McVeigh on the Non-Fiction Jury for this year’s British Fantasy Awards. It’s been a really interesting experience — not least because of the quality of the shortlist — but also because of the conversations we’ve had around the nominated works. I can’t wait for you all to find out which entry won.

Because you’ll be there too, right? I mean, it’s Fantasycon-by-t’-Sea! You know what “t'” means, don’t you?

September Shenanigans: Event Horizon, Fantasycon, Thirty Years of Rain and more.

I’ve got a bit of news. Well, quite a lot of news, actually. Earlier this year, I put in an application to the University of Glasgow’s MLitt programme in Fantasy — and to my immense delight, they accepted me. So I’m currently condensing my life into a dozen boxes, as I’ll be moving myself and them up to Glasgow this weekend. It’s both terrifying and utterly exciting (and I’m not just talking about the ability to buy a tonne of books and call it work), but I can’t wait to be living in such a vibrant, creative community of writers and artists. The hard work begins here.

September is looking to be a busy month already, with book launches, events, and two new things coming out. While I’m taking a breather from boxing up, I thought you might like to know what’s coming up in the next few weeks…

Event Horizon 11

5th September: Event Horizon XI (Edinburgh)
Next Monday, join me, Bram E. Gieben, Harry Giles, Elaine Gallagher, The Spiders, and Russell Jones for stories, slam poetry and some stonking performances that’ll knock your SFing socks off. We’ll be at the Blind Poet in Edinburgh from 7pm. For more details, check out the facebook event page here, or last week’s blog.

23rd September: Shoreline of Infinity 5 is out! (Everywhere!)
The next issue, featuring my latest Noise and Sparks column, hits the shelves! Pick it up from Transreal Fiction or Deadhead Comics in Edinburgh, or order direct from www.shorelineofinfinity.com.

Additionally…

Thirty Years of Rain

23rd – 25th September: Fantasycon-by-the-Sea (Scarborough)
This year’s Fantasycon ships up in sunny Scarborough for a weekend of fun, frolics and the world famous Fantasycon Disco Karaoke, the Karaoke is the best. Kev McVeigh, Martin Petto and I have just finished judging for the Non-Fiction Award of the British Fantasy Awards, which will be announced that weekend. I’ve also been booked for a panel, so more on that when it’s been officially announced. For now, I can say I’ll be at the NewCon Press & Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle Book Launch on Saturday (24th) at 3pm, where we’ll be signing copies of the GSFWC‘s 30th anniversary anthology, Thirty Years of Rain. If you’re about, why not join us?

30th September: Thirty Years of Rain – Glasgow launch (Glasgow, funnily enough)
Naturally, it wouldn’t be right to have a Glaswegian book without a Glasgow launch. Come join me and even more GSFWC authors at Waterstones (Sauchiehall Street) for free booze, readings — and, of course, we’ll be on hand to sign any 30th anniversary anthologies you may have just bought that evening. The event kicks off at 7pm, so do join us then.

If you’re not able to make either of the two launch dates for Thirty Years of Rain, you’ll be able to order it online nearer the time, and I’ll post details of that when I have them. In the meantime, if you’re wanting your new story fix, don’t forget Fox Pockets: The Evil Genius Guide (feat. ‘Dame Ammonia Dastardly-Truste’s Evil Genius College for Ladies Class of 2014: Graduation Speech [Transcript]’) is out now in paperback, with e-book to follow soon.

I think that’s it — until Glasgow!

The Evil Genius Guide, Thirty Years of Rain, and Shoreline of Infinity

Ever wondered what it takes to be an Evil Genius? Now’s your chance to find out.

FS9-Evil-Genius-Guide-ebook-72ppi

The Evil Genius Guide is the latest in Fox Spirit‘s Fox Pockets series, and I’m delighted to return to it with a story almost as mad as the ‘The Real Deal’, which appeared back in Fox Pocket 1: Piracy.

‘Dame Ammonia Dastardly-Truste’s Evil Genius College for Ladies Class of 2014: Graduation Speech [Transcript]’ (deep breath) is a story about love, revenge, and machine gun bikinis, set in private school with a rather unusual graduation ceremony. It’s an older tale — I first submitted this story two years ago — so it’s interesting both to see how my writing’s changed in the years since, but heartening also to see how Past Me could still pull a surprise out of the hat when she needed to.  Of course, if that doesn’t take your fancy, Chloe Yates, Andrew Reid, Steven Poore and the rest of this dastardly ensemble will gladly indulge your lust for evildoings. Paperback copies are available to order now, with an ebook due very soon.

The release of The Evil Genius Guide is also a bit of a landmark for Fox Spirit Books — this and the soon to be released Reflections are the last in the current Fox Pockets series. So Fox Spirit are having a very special celebration to mark this on 25th August at the Secular Hall, Leicester. Don’t forget to pick up your tickets, ’cause there ain’t no party like a Fox Spirit Party!

In the meantime, I’m taking a break from the world’s least fun game of Katamari Damacy to go through proofs for Thirty Years of Rain, the anthology celebrating 30 years of the celebrated Glasgow SF Writers Circle. As you might expect, the TOC’s a blinder, with Louise Welsh, Amal El-Mohtar, Garry Gibson, Hal Duncan, Eliza Chan, Neil Williamson and more. I’ve also just finished my latest Noise and Sparks column, which will be in the next issue of Shoreline of Infinity.

Both of these should be out around the 23rd September — just in time for Fantasycon-By-The-Sea, where I’ll also be hanging around for the Thirty Years of Rain launch. So, if you’re going, I hope to see you then!

Eastercon 2016: Mancunicon Schedule and the James White Award

Mancunicon

Going to Mancunicon (the 2016 BSFA Eastercon)? The full programme (and app) is now online – and it’s a cracker. With panels on SF Music, coping with Anxiety, Short Stories, Place and Identity — and my first ever moderating stint — it looks like I’ll be a busy bee this year.

In the meantime, I’ve been invited to judge this year’s James White Award, alongside Ian Sales and Neil Williamson. There really have been some imaginative entries amongst this year’s stories, so thank you to the entrants for making my first judging panel so much fun! The winner will be announced on Saturday 26th March during the BSFA Awards ceremony (also at Mancunicon), where I’ll be presenting the BSFA’s own Short Fiction Award. Hope to see you there!

So, if you don’t fancy barcon, here’s where I’ll be spending the weekend:

FRIDAY

14:30 – 15:30: Dealing with Anxiety in Fandom (Room 7)
Esther MacCallum-Stewart (M), Ruth EJ Booth, Meg Frank, Russell A Smith, Crystal Huff

Out of all my panels this weekend, this is the most important one to me. We’ll be talking about coping with Anxiety in relation to both going to cons and online interaction, but with the timing of the panel, expect that this will be focussed more on the former than the latter. Especially if Mancunicon is your first con, I’d encourage you to pop along if you can.

SATURDAY

A gentle day, but at the BSFA Awards (17:30, Deansgate 2&3) I’ll be presenting the Award for Best Short Fiction to either Aliette de Bodard, Paul Cornell, Jeff Noon, Nnedi Okorafor, or Gareth L Powell. Which is a marvellously surreal turn of events for my inner fan-girl.

SUNDAY – busy day!

13:00 – 14:00: Supporting the Short Stuff (Room 7)
Val Nolan (M), Ruth EJ Booth, Matthew Hughes, Juliet Kemp, JY Yang

This panel has sprung out of Neil Clarke’s recent comments in Clarkesworld on the future of Short Story outlets, sustainability, and what the future might look like for SF markets. Following his guest slot on the Coode Street Podcast just recently, I hope there’s going to be some good chat on this one.

20:30 – 21:30: Third Rock and Roll from the Sun (Room 7)
Michael Cobley (M), Gary Couzens, Ruth EJ Booth, Phil Nanson, Dave Tamlyn

SF music in all its forms. Join us for my forty minute lecture on the genius of Devin Townsend presents: Ziltoid the Omniscient. \m/

MONDAY

13:00 – 14:00: Place, Identity, Story (Room 6)
Ruth EJ Booth (M), Tiffani Angus, Ian McDonald, Taj Hayer, Russell A Smith

Guaranteed to be The Best Panel on Monday – not because I’m moderating it, but because we’re going to have Taj Hayer, whose latest play North Country is on Sunday evening (20:30 in Deansgate 2&3), Tiffani Angus (historical fantasist and academic, and an expert on the role of gardens in SFF), Urban fantasist Russell Smith, and Guest of Honour Ian McDonald. With a line-up like that, there’ll be plenty of proper chat, I’m hoping. So if you’re about, why not join us?

The Week of All The Stuff

I mentioned last week that 2016 was going to be somewhat busier on the story front than last year. What I didn’t mention was how early all of this would be starting. Like… now! This week I’ve got a story and a brand new poem in two quite different anthologies. I’ll also be making a last minute appearance at A Thing In Scotland. So I should probably tell you all about those.

First up, Digital Dreams is the new anthology from NewCon Press, collecting ten years of great SF writing from one of Britain’s most celebrated independent presses into one e-book. As I understand it, a number of these stories are appearing for the first time in this format here – and a book with Lauren Beukes, Pat Cadigan, Justina Robson, Kim Lakin-Smith, Nina Allan, and more definitely deserves your time and attention. In short, it’s an unmissable retrospective from some of the genre’s top writers of the last decade. I’m proud to say my tale ‘The Honey Trap’ (which first appeared in NewCon Press anthology La Femme, and won me a BSFA award last year) can be found in here too. Digital Dreams is out now.

Secondly, The Speculative Book will be launching this Friday. This is the first anthology from the Glaswegian collective The Speculative Bookshop, and features tales and art from the likes of Peter Sutton, Neil Williamson, Brian Milton, Elaine Gallagher, and, well, me, all curated by Chris Kelso and folks from the Speculative Bookshop team. This should be a splendid anthology for those looking for brand new up-and-comers in SFF, and raw storytelling talent. My poem ‘Coronal Mass Ejection (Solar Minima)’, inspired by the experiences of Joan Feynman, can be found inside that. My first published poem. Which is nice.

In addition, it’s probably time I told you that I’ll be at The Speculative Book Launch this Friday 8th January at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, along with a good deal of the rest of the authors. So if you’re wanting something signed, that’d seem like a good night to get along to. Also, the marvellous Creative Martyrs will be performing, which is always… an interesting night out. So if you’re at a loose end in Glasgow this Friday, why not pop along?

A story, a poem and a live thing. That’s a busy week right there. I’d best be getting on with it.

2015 in Fiction (and other things…)

It’s almost over. The turkey’s been stuffed, and stuffed again. The three wise men are still treadmilling their way across the mantlepiece, in the hopes of reaching the Advent Candle by New Year’s Eve. In short, it’s really time I’d done one of these end of year round up posts already and bunged it up online. You know how it gets. The presents. The relatives. The discovery of new species of hybrid plastic animals in your crackers. So here’s the summary of a year that’s been deceptively busy under it all.

This year was quiet in terms of new stories. Just the one, in fact – ‘Good Boy’, which appeared in the January issue of Far Horizons magazine. This was my first foray into horror, of sorts, and I’m actually pretty proud of the way it turned If you’d like to read it, click here to do that for free

That’s not all that’s happened. In 2015, I’ve also been able to indulge what’s becoming one of my favourite things about writing fiction – doing public readings. I read at Eastercon, and Fantasycon, and the Speculative Bookshop‘s July event. Here’s hoping here’s more on the way. On a writing-related note, music has taken a back seat since the mighty Thrash Hits decided to go out on their own terms, although I wrote a piece for The Independent on the sad passing of Lemmy from Motörhead (here). And though it’s not writing-related at all, really, I ran a half-marathon (the Great Scottish Run) and raised over £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of my friend Carol, who passed away last year (if you’d like to make a donation, here’s my Just-Giving page).

The BSFA Award for Best Short Fiction

Of course, I can’t talk about 2015 without mentioning the BSFA awards. I mean, you smarten yourself up a bit and prepare a bunch of words, because it’s only sensible, right? But winning the award for Best Short Fiction wasn’t something I’d actually expected to happen. I doubt I’ve even realised it has yet – every so often I’ll remember it, and then I have to get it down and poke it a bit, so I can reassure myself it’s real. And then point it at Millie-cat and mke pew-pew noises, much to her utter disgust. Once again, thank so, so much to all the lovely folks who nominated and voted for ‘The Honey Trap’ in the BSFAs. It made my lifetime.

A lot of what’s happened this year went on under the surface. Writing fiction has been difficult this year, and it’s led me in directions I wouldn’t normally have gone in. Interesting ones, I hope, and ones likewise I hope you’ll see in print at some point. Tricky as it’s been, I’m hoping it’s all part of the process of becoming a better writer.

Talking of becoming a better writer, being invited to join the Glasgow SF Writers Circle was one of the highlights of 2015 for me. Come the new year, there’ll be 30 years of critique workshops behind the group (Amal El-Mohtar, Gary Gibson, Hal Duncan, Michael Cobley and Neil Williamson rank amongst its alumni), and I’m honoured to be part of it. Talking of which, there’ll be an anthology coming out in late 2016 to celebrate. Stay tuned to the website for more information.

2016, by contrast, is shaping up to be quite noisy. By my reckoning, there’s maybe half a dozen things in the pipeline due at some point next year. Of the ones I can talk about now, NewCon Press will be releasing a new ebook Best of called Digital Dreams, as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations – you’ll find a reprint of ‘The Honey Trap’ in that (click here to pre-order). And I’ll finally be able to call myself a published poet too. Both Winter Tales (Fox Spirit Books) and The Speculative Book (Speculative Bookshop) will be include a pair of my poems between them – my first to appear in print. Exciting stuff!

In the meantime, I’d better get back to it. 2015 was a year of the unexpected, and often giddying highs. 2016? Well… Let’s see what you’ve got, eh?

Cheers!