This year’s lesson – no writing is ever wasted…

As I’m signing off social media until the New Year, it’s a time to take stock. It’s certainly been a year of ups and downs. Highlights were the Worldcon in Dublin, and readers’ enthusiastic reception for The Green Man’s Foe; a book drawing on work I started well over a decade ago, which found a new and much better purpose. Working with Cheryl, Toby and Ben continues to be tremendously rewarding, and you may rest assured that Dan’s adventures will continue in a third story.

In shorter fiction, The Echoes of a Shot, my alternate take on the early 20th Century, appeared in the Alternate Peace anthology from ZNB, while The Hand that Rocks the Cradle appeared in the Newcon Press anthology Soot and Steel. That’s a story I never expected to see in print after the project it was originally written for never came to pass, but editor Ian Whates had liked it and he remembered it. Finally, as highlighted recently, my ‘Charles Dickens meets Doctor Who’ story finally saw the light of day, through the good offices of Paul Cornell. So I’m not only bearing in mind that no writing is ever wasted, I’m thankful for such good friends, and for the support of the wider writing community.

Much less good was the lack of publisher support, for various reasons that had nothing to do with the books, for my new venture into writing historical crime fiction as J M Alvey – Shadows of Athens and Scorpions in Corinth are murder mysteries set in classical Greece, published in March and September respectively. This year has definitely shown me how much has changed in twenty years, when looking at what a writer can expect from small and large publishers. That’s a longer blogpost for 2020, but my other experiences this past year make me determined to stick with that project, to see what can be done to bring Philocles’ adventures to a wider audience, in this new and ever-changing world for authors.

I’ve also finally finished writing a new epic fantasy novel, as yet untitled, and set in the River Kingdom. That’s another project that’s been picked up and put down so often, that I wondered if it was ever going to be completed. Over the last couple of months though, particularly after Fantasycon, it suddenly came into focus. I had a polished draft to hand over to my agent on Friday 13th December. It’ll be very interesting to see where that book goes in 2020, but I’m not making any predictions, because 2019 has also been a year showing the folly of doing that, on so many levels.

Now it’s time for rest and relaxation with family and friends, and for wishing everyone the best of the season, however and whenever you celebrate at this time of year.

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