A selection of images including the cover to Titanic Terastructures, A Quiet Afternoon 2, Thirty Years of Rain, New Maps, Shoreline of Infinity, K-Zine, Flotation Device and Magical Crime Scene Investigation.
In the centre are two painted images, one of a frazzled ginger haired woman drinking tea and one of a Sikh gentleman holding a bucket and sword and facing pink tentacles

2020: The year of the pestilence

 Hello all. I hope this strangest of years has been not too bad for you and that this finds you well. It’s been weird, tragic and befuddling for all so well done on getting through it best you can and fingers crossed for an improvement next year.

It’s been odd for us all but for me one of the oddest things is that it’s mostly been good for me. Being stuck in meant I had to find alternative exercise and have taken up running. Not seeing people in pubs meant I have drunk less. I am probably healthier due to the pandemic than I would have been on a normal year. 

Not that I’d wish this again, ever, of course.

I do say mostly as I fear I’ve become too used to not talking to real people in the flesh and, come the glorious day when we’re vaccinated and can meet up again, I’ll have some sort of Lovecraft-style screaming fit about too many eyes watching me. Hopefully I’ll keep it internalised. 😉 

As for my writing, I’ve managed to keep up a basic level of it. Working in fits and starts I’ve finished off a couple of new things  and have been diligently working in the background to push them out to markets and not let them languish too long after a rejection. This has led to a significantly higher number of submissions this year, over 70, and an acceptance to come out next year, which is lovely.

As for publishings, it was a good year, if slightly odd.

Firstly I had a story out in Shoreline of Infinity, Issue 17, in January. A tale of space-faring starfish and rubbish collection, I’m very happy to have seen it in a local (well, Edinburgh) magazine and alongside some top notch other stuff.

Secondly was my contribution to the Glasgow Science Fiction Writer’s Circle anthology, Flotation Device. This is a charity anthology produced by the circle and donates its funds to several charities helping out those struggling during this strangest of years. If you’ve not, please consider buying, it’s for a good cause and the stories are well worth reading too. Even if mine is deeply silly and has to come with a translation.

I did have a third story come out this year, in August. A tale of science gone wrong and less than careful bee husbandry that I really like. I was deeply happy about it until the editor, just before publication, made some political comments that I couldn’t support. As such, the story came out, I didn’t promote it and, sadly, I’ll just leave it there. A salutary lesson in being careful who you submit too.

And so we come to the standard Christmas ‘present’ of an old story posted up. This year it is Maukit

This one was published in 2013 and was my first anthology publication. It appeared in Caledonia Dreamin’, a set of stories based on Scots words and is the darkest thing I’ve had published. The anthology is still available here and is well worth it. 

Anyhoo, thanks for reading and fingers crossed for a better year to come. It’s going to be a roller-coaster in its own right, what with the politics ongoing. but I hope it finds you better.

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