Thursday, 20 December 2012

The year in review

So, I was going to blog exclusively about depression again for my last blog post of the year, but really, as interesting as that may be to some people, it also isn't the most joyous of topics for this lovely season. Instead, then, a roundup of the good and bad and the things in between.

The beginning of 2012 found me in a bit of a difficult place in that my depression had got bad enough that I decided to seek out counselling. Fortunately that turned out to be the right decision. Also fairly useful was the online Beating the Blues course my GP set me on, which shows you how common depression is and helps with identifying and managing the symptoms. I must admit that I didn't finish the course as it gives you homework, and I'm not very good at fitting such things in around a full time job, parenthood and my writing. It became obvious that the main problem was self-confidence and the counselling really helped in letting me see through the shadows and becoming a bit happier living in my own head. Ali, my wife, was just amazing throughout this process and has shown so much love and patience that it's astonishing. Of course, I still have the odd dark moment, but I'm much much better at handling them than I was this time last year. Thank you so much to all my friends and family who helped me through. Particular thanks must go to Lou Morgan who gave me invaluable advice and support.

Of course, the best part of the year has been watching our daughter, Maia, grow and develop. She's now 22 months old, walks, talks, has opinions and is the light of our lives. Parenting is naturally not easy, but we've very much been blessed with Maia. We loved taking her to France with my folks, which she absolutely loved and she's adored spending time with friends and family this year.

Ali changed jobs recently, moving to work at Wiley in a role she loves and which fulfills her creatively. Very very proud of her. Before this move Ali went through a very difficult time at her old job, over which she had very little control and which, really, wasn't so much to do with her than another person she had to work with. Obviously I can't go into details, but Ali conducted herself brilliantly and professionally. With support from the National Union of Journalists and friends and work colleagues, she came through the whole process and landed a much better job at the end of it. Ali clearly enjoyed much of her time in her previous role, so it was sad that it ended the way it did, but she must take strength from the fact that she conducted herself brilliantly and moved onto a genuinely exciting and challenging role. Again, I couldn't be more proud.

Writing-wise, I haven't been the most amazingly productive of writers, but then I've always been pretty slow and steady. Beyond the release of my last novel for the Twilight of Kerberos series, The Wrath of Kerberos, I've written a handful of short stories. Very pleased to have placed a story with the Town Called Pandemonium anthology, along with a story appearing in the British Fantasy Society Journal. I've also got a couple more things on the way. I was also thrilled, and quite touched, that Ellen Datlow (an editor whose anthologies I've been devouring for a long time) mentioned my story 'Don't You Like the Bird Man?' as a notable horror story published this year, on a panel at World Fantasy Con. At some point I will start Novel 3 in earnest and hope to have a much more productive year next year.

Solaris and Abaddon have been as busy as ever and I'm very proud of our output this year.  I was again, delighted, to be able to produce another anthology of strange fiction for our list and I couldn't be more pleased with how Magic turned out. Short stories really are the lifeblood of genre and I shall go on continuing to celebrate them in this way for as long as I can. I'm already gathering folk together for the next one, The End of The Road, to be released next Autumn/Winter.

Other highlights of the year have included Ali's confirmation at St Helen's Church, which we have been part of for a while now. Anna, my sister, announcing her pregnancy, Dad buying a kiln (that's how serious his pottery hobby has become), the birth of Alban, our friends Sam and Elaine's first child, spending time with Maia and both sets of grandparents, Lavie Tidhar winning the World Fantasy Award for Osama (go buy the Solaris paperback now!) and continuing to work with people who inspire me and many of whom I count as friends.

So, have a good Christmas. Hope that 2013 turns out great for you all.

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