Friday 30 December 2016

2016 - A True Annus Horribilis

I hesitated about writing this blog as 2016 has not been a good year for me or for the world. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many positive things, but the negative has been overwhelming. In politics, it started with Brexit and then Trump, and I’m still wondering if the world is going mad as it seems to be moving apart when it needs to pull together.

Secondly, so many people died. The year started with the loss of Terry Wogan and David Bowie, through to Prince, Muhammed Ali, Victoria Wood, ending with George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but including so many others. I should point out when I wrote this a week ago, I ended with Greg Lake.

Personally, 2016 has been a bit of a non-starter. At the beginning of the year, I was recovering from injuring my knee – I have arthritis in both knees which limits my mobility – but this had been worse and stopped me driving. Gradually, it got better, and I got more confident until I could drive more than locally, then, out of nowhere, and I’ve still no idea why it happened, I got an ache in the back of my left thigh, got up one morning in late July, took a few steps and something pinged. The pain was extraordinary. Somehow, I got back to my bedroom and ended up staying upstairs for over three weeks. I managed to get downstairs and cope on my own for a few weeks and then in September I pulled it again – not as bad – but ended up stuck downstairs. Every time I think it’s going away, it comes back. I’ve been stuck inside, not able to drive and I’m thoroughly pissed off and scared I’ll do it again. It’s been easy to feel sorry for myself.

Plan for next year – find a bungalow. I’m told it’ll be better when it’s better, which isn’t much comfort. Also, my only sibling has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. We all have our fingers crossed as well as everything else.

On the writing front, I’ve had four books and a short story published. Comfort Zone came first. I love this book. It was my payback to Aron to give him a happy ending after I’d split him from rugby player, Dan Morgan in Sporting Chance. Aron and Joe get their HEA, via a bit of angst, with the help of their friends and families and one special little girl called Ellie. It’s now cheaper on Amazon as well.

Next came A Bell Rings – the sequel to Not Every Time, my Christmas short story – a bit of paranormal inspired by It’s a Wonderful Life, my favourite Christmas film.

Finally, came the Call of Home series set in Scotland, on the Moray coast, a place I love. In Choosing Home, Zac, an ex-footballer, who retired rather than be outed, meets troubled Seth Pritchard and helps him overcome events in his past. In Returning Home, Darach, a policeman, arrives home after breaking up with his cheating boyfriend and meets a beautiful cat and her mysterious owner, Bryce. Darach is immediately intrigued by the man in the wheelchair and gradually uncovers his past, leading to danger for them both. In the third story, Staying Home, Sam Carmichael, a minister in the Church of Scotland, finds himself falling for Tosh, but Sam has more secrets than being gay. Will there be a fourth? I’m not sure, but Hamish and Cameron may get their story, eventually.
 You can find links to all the books at the side of this blog.

Writing has been slow this year as I’ve found it hard to keep focused, and I’ve done a lot of rewriting and editing. Starting the year, I rewrote a fanfiction which was mostly original anyway, and featured a character from one of my favourite shows. A Matter of Timing gave him a whole back story set in late 1960s America. Maybe someone will publish it, or I’ll put it on Wattpad for free – I’m not sure. I also rewrote my older men story. This has gone through four revisions and finally been accepted for publication. I am so thrilled to get a romance between two sixty year olds published, and there’s a subplot as well. While You See a Chance will be out sometime next year with Manifold Press.

I’ve also written a story based in Norfolk currently called Half Full. It’s currently around 60K. I was thinking of writing a sequel, but now I’m planning to extend it next year. My Christmas story didn’t happen. I had nearly 10K of a cat shifter story started and I may try again next year, or maybe do a car sharing story. Editing here to add the other story completed which I'm now editing - see concentration nil. This is the meeting of two opposites, Duncan who owns what could be called a dude ranch in the highlands of Scotland and Connor, a designer who lives in London. At the moment, I’m 8000 words into a story about two men who meet at a bus stop. I’m not calling it a gay for you story, more of a finding out more about yourself story, and opening yourself to possibilities you’d never considered before.
When I read this, I realise I've done more than I thought so that's good. Writing has been slow and concentration has been an issue for me, worrying about my leg and practical issues of dealing with even more mobility. Well, that and my other obsession of watching great programmes and reading great books. Maybe I’ll write a blog about my watching and reading recommendations for 2016. (The book blog is complete)

So, that’s it. Not much being published so far next year, but you never know, if I get things finished…

If you’ve had a great 2016, and I know people did and may be thinking I'm being over dramatic with the headline,  I hope next year is just as good. For everyone else, let’s hope 2017 is better.

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