It’s been a pretty good year in the word-mines with my second book, Crossways released in August to some decent reviews – though not many of them, which I understand is pretty normal for a second book in a series. I was absolutely delighted with the cover artwork by Stephan Martiniere.
I had a rash of short stories accepted and published in the first three months of the year, mainly because from October to December of 2014 I had a spurt of submitting hitherto unsold stories to magazines and anthologies, and also some previously sold stories to reprint and foreign language markets. I’ve been translated into Estonian, Polish and Galician. How cool is that?
One thing I’ve noticed is that the more stories you send out the more you sell. I’ve totally proved that this year. I had fifteen short story sales in the first quarter, but after that I got really busy writing the novels and stopped sending out short story subs. Surprise, surprise, the story sales tailed of dramatically. Altogether I’ve sold about seventeen or eighteen short stories this year. I say about because some have sold but have not yet been published, and some that have been published this year were actually sold in 2014, so it depends how you count it.
I’ve also been invited to submit a couple of short stories to anthologies for publication in 2016.
In the first half of 2015 I was working on the final edits, polish and proofs of Crossways, and then on finishing all that I went straight into the edits for Winterwood which is due out in February 2016. Winterwood was already written and, in fact, was the first book I sold to DAW, i.e. it was the book that earned me my first three-book deal. In a publishing industry quirk it’s actually the last of those three to come out. Empire of Dust and Crossways got moved up the publishing schedule because DAW had an earlier gap for science fiction.
In the middle of the year I was delighted to get a two-book deal for a third Psi-Tech novel (Nimbus to follow on from Crossways) and a second Rowankind novel (Silverwolf to follow on from Winterwood). So as soon as I finished the final edits and polish on Winterwood in August I went straight into writing the openings for both new books. After consultation with my editor at DAW, the lovely Sheila Gilbert, we decided that Silverwolf would come first. So since the beginning of September I’ve been writing the first draft. As I pen this, I’m about 90,000 words into it and on schedule to deliver it in February 2016 as planned.
In September I attended the annual Milford SF Writers’ Conference, usually just referred to as Milford, in North Wales with a bunch of other published SF authors. I’ve been on the Milford Committee for a few years, but this time I came back as the official secretary.
In November I received a box of ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of Winterwood. These are trade-paperback-sized copies sent out to reviewers, but they are printed up early, before the final galley-proof stage, so they have a few small typos in them, i.e. they are not for sale. Even so, it’s lovely to see them because at last I can see what the final trade paperback will look like. The cover for Winterwood is by Larry Rostant and he’s nailed my main character, Ross Tremayne, perfectly.
So as the year turns it’s nose-to-the-grindstone time with two books to write in 2016. I don’t have publication dates for either Silverwolf or Nimbus, yet. I’m hoping late 2016 for Silverwolf (I think I’m on schedule for that) and early 2017 for Nimbus. Following on, but still at the long-term planning stage, it looks like a third Rowankind book is on the cards. I have to take that into consideration when writing the ending of Silverwolf, but don’t worry there won’t be a cliffhanger, just a loose end to sort out.
As 2015 draws to a close the first advance reviews are starting to come in for Winterwood and I’m delighted to say they’ve all been good so far. Publishers Weekly said: “Swashbuckling adventure collides with mystical mayhem on land and at sea in this rousing historical fantasy series launch set in a magic-infused England in 1800…. Bedford (Crossways) adeptly weaves together romance, action, and fantastical elements, all set against a richly realized series of far-flung locations. Conflict both nautical and emotional keeps things exciting.”
It was a Top Pick in RT Magazine. Their review said: “The first book in Bedford’s new historical fantasy series, Rowankind, seamlessly blends history, magical lore, high seas adventure and romance into one fantastic story. Bedford crafts emotionally complex relationships and interesting secondary characters while carefully building an innocative yet familiar world. Skilled, brave and smart, the heroine, Ross, must untangle a web of competing loyalties, hidden agendas and self delusion in order to decide how to act. The ending satisfies while enticing readers to return to explore the world further.”
So there you have it. My 2015 writing year. I’ve loved it and in 2016 I’m looking forward to hacking out more words from the typeface in the Bedford word-mines.