Kickboxing. Sport of the future.


I don’t think we reference Say Anything enough. You know, as a species. In general.

Anyway. It’s almost the end of the year, and I’m thinking about the year to come. I was never a big resolutions person, really, as all the resolutions I seemed to hear about involved giving things up, or cutting things down, or some nebulous form of improvement through suppression.

Six years ago, I decided to start spending more ┬átime trying to write things. It was fun, but I still kind of dicked around with it. I finished one novel that was really one third of a novel stretched out over seventy thousand words, a bunch of short stories that were aimless in both form, intent, and delivery, and…that was about it.

Two years ago – or close to it – I wrote myself a letter. It was inspired by Bruce Lee’s letter to himself, but tempered by a British sense of self-confidence and an echoing memory of the SMART acronym. I would write two novels, I told myself. The success of these novels was not discussed. I would write them, and edit them, and put at least one out on sub. Those were my criteria for success. I would write a dozen short stories, and I would write them with the aim of submission somewhere. I did not expect them to find homes, but I expected that writing them might teach me something, even if only about getting things done. I gave myself eighteen months as a deadline, and got to work.

By the time my daughter was born, eighteen months later, I had met my deadline. It was a lot of fun, and I learned tons about how I write and how I manage my time. I got more out of that letter – that decision – than I had out of half a lifetime’s wishful thinking.

So now it’s time for me to sit down and write a new letter. I want to write more (and better, besides), of course, but there are other things to consider, too. I want to bake more, and learn more, and run more, and climb. I want to see my friends more. I want to aim higher than just getting the words out, and see how far that will take me.

Have a great Hogmanay, all. See you in the New Year.


If the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists!


So, Christmas has come and gone. I am still recovering from the two (TWO) Christmas dinners and drinking far too much coffee for it to be strictly healthy.


It’s been an okay year. Financially a very hard one, but we’ve struggled through it with some help from our families and a canny eye on buying veg from the markets. There have been ups and downs, as there always are, but on balance I think the ups count for more.

I’ve made more friends online and in real life, meeting more and more awesome people through primarily Twitter and – when I could afford it – conventions. I feel ridiculously lucky in that respect as I’ve had enough online friendships go sour over the years (damn you, World of Warcraft) and while I can attribute it partially to a shift in how I present myself online, it’s also largely due to the very open, forgiving, and good-humoured people I meet.

I haven’t read nearly as many books as I want to, but that never changes. I could read all day every day and never catch up, it seems.

Health-wise, things are pretty good. Last year was awful for hospital trips and constant vigilance over my blood results, so it’s been nice to get that onto an even keel. I am so unfit, though, and I need to get on that in the New Year.

Writing is going well. I got my first short story in print, with three more coming in 2013 – the last of which is possibly the most personal and difficult thing I’ve written. I wrote the first novel in a epic fantasy series which is currently out on submission because I think any more edits will just be second-guessing myself at this point. I wrote the first draft of an alt-history adventure that started humble and got progressively more insane.

Next year I will be editing a collection of recipes (all desserts) and short stories for Fox Spirit books, which I am both dreading and looking forward to. It’s a lot of responsibility so I’m pretty desperate to get it right. I’m sure Adele will keep me on the straight and narrow.

I’m also planning to write another two novels in 2013. I was tempted to start a whole new Fantasy world, but I can’t leave the other one unfinished. I’ll crack on with the second volume and see how it goes. The other novel is kind of linked to Gunslinger Symphony but isn’t. It’s another alt-history novel, set in roughly the same time period, but with a different fantastical twist driving the narrative: this time about pocket watches, and a fashionable obsession with the dead. The idea is to create a trio of stories that link thematically but are not set in the same versions of the world.

And that’s my plan. Not quite a resolution, but better than nothing.

What have you got planned for next year?

At the movies.

So I was all charged up and ready to get back online with a massive rant about Avatar, but it seems the internet has already moved on, many of my usual haunts already having delivered up a panning over the lacklustre writing that was paired with such an impressive visual spectacle.

Still I couldn’t not mention it, especially as I sat and watched Last of the Mohicans the other night while reinstalling Windows, and even though that’s only half a movie (it is – it gets to the climax and you go was that it?) it’s still miles better from a writing perspective than Avatar is. Michael Mann’s obsession with synth soundtracks doesn’t really help him out, though – I sat watching the Huron war party to see if I could spot the guy carrying a Casio keyboard set to Demonstration mode.

So. A New Year, and all that. My last words of 2009 were, rather sadly, “I think I can fill the hot water bottles before the bells”. We’re not big into New Year parties as a couple, ever since our first New Year when we spent the night freezing our butts off in the middle of Edinburgh after they cancelled the celebrations. I should really make a resolution, but honestly I can’t think of anything other than sort my shit out. It’s a blanket statement really, but reflects quite accurately all the stuff I need to do. Better get on that.

In other news, I get biopsied on the 6th. What fun! Hopefully it’ll be of some diagnostic value because if this doesn’t tell them what’s wrong, God only knows what will. Maybe I should watch some episodes of House, see if he comes up with anything renal on his travels.