It just so happens that my alternate Tuesday blog falls on 1st January 2019, so it’s a good time to assess 2018 and see if I can peep into the future to 2019. I’m not sure where 2018 went to. It seems to have passed in a blur!
I don’t usually post personal stuff on this blog, but family-wise things are good. Our son came home from the USA and got married in January. Our daughter and her spouse finally managed to buy a house between London and Brighton big enough for their family. No one had any major traumas. I count that as a win.
I always try to go to a few cons. The first was Eastercon in Harrogate and I took part in a Comedy panel with Jaine Fenn and Juliet McKenna discussing ‘Men in Science Fiction and Fantasy’ with the delightful Adrian Tchaikovsky as our token male.
I also attended Fantasycon in September and Bristolcon in October. Both very enjoyable. In July I also went to the Science for Fiction event at London’s Imperial College, one of the finest science universities in the world. Prof. Dave Clements, astro-physicist and also a science fiction writer, organises two days of lectures by scientists at the cutting edge of their fields. We get everything from cosmology to gene splicing. This year (amongst other items) we had a talk by the chap who decides where the Mars Rover is going on a day-to-day basis. Fascinating stuff!
Writing-wise 2018 was a good year for me. My sixth book, Rowankind, was published by DAW on 27th November, and initial reviews are good. Publishers Weekly said: “Series fans will be glad to see old friends and antagonists, and will find this a strong and satisfying wrap-up of the series.”
Between working on the various drafts of Rowankind I completed another book, provisionally called The Amber Crown, a historical fantasy set in an analogue of the Baltic States around 1650. It’s a standalone, not the start of another trilogy.
I’m the secretary of Milford SF Writers. 2018 saw our first writing retreat week in addition to our regular Milford SF Writers’ Conference. The conference (a peer group critiquing week for published SF writers) is always in September, however the retreat week, in the wilds of Snowdonia was the week in the cusp of February/March when the ‘Beast from the East’ storm socked in and we were treated to the wildest Welsh weather for thirty years–snow and howling winds. Luckily by the end of the week trees blown down across the village road had been cleared and the motorway across the Pennines was open again. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to be able to get home. September weather for the main Milford week was greyish and damp, but much more benign.
I read lots of books in 2018, and saw lots of movies, all of which are blogged here.
We’ve been having some work done in our front garden (demolishing a stone wall and re-laying paving and paths) but the horribly wet December held up work, so it wasn’t finished for Christmas. It’s now an ongoing project continuing into 2019.
Christmas has been quiet and restful. Our kids couldn’t make it home for the festive season this year because of either work commitments or distance. Thank goodness for Skype! I still cooked far too much. I want to know how a ton of food plus five hungry people results in two tons of leftovers.
We’re looking forward to family visits. Our daughter and family are coming in February and our son and his wife in May.
Convention-wise, I’m giving Eastercon a miss in 2019 because it’s at Heathrow, which is not my favourite location. Besides, I’m already signed up to the World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin in August, which is going to be very expensive. (And looking even further ahead I’m planning on going to WorldCon 2020 in New Zealand. I’ve started saving up already.) I haven’t decided whether or not to go to Fantasycon in October. It’s in Glasgow, not the city centre, which is relatively easy by train, but some 20 minutes out of town, which is more problematical by public transport (hauling a suitcase). I’ll wait until they publish venue details before I decide. I do like Fantasycon. It’s the most writerly of all the British conventions.
Writing-wise, I’m looking forward to finishing the final polish on The Amber Crown. One of the main things with finally finishing both trilogies (Psi-Tech, and Rowankind) is that I have to leave favourite characters behind and move on. I have several ideas for new stories, but I don’t know which one to go with. I like them all equally. Fantasy or science fiction? I haven’t decided yet. I also still have four books on the hard-drive, written before I got my first publishing deal, so I’ll be taking another look at them as well.
I’ll be going on the second Milford Writers’ Retreat, this time in May to avoid getting snowed in (hopefully), and I’ll also be at the main Milford week in September.
I can’t see beyond that at the moment. I’m open to whatever the world throws at me. (Note to world: preferably not hard brick-shaped objects, please.)
I hope the year ahead brings you all joy and success, health and happiness.