What a year!
The beginning of 2013 started with an interesting and rapidly filling schedule for event attendances.
January was reasonably quiet: it gave me time to think, plan, write. And work wise I had lots on. I had story commissions, a six-parter novel to shape, and an original audio for AudioGo to write. My career was moving in the right direction again after what had felt like something of a false start the previous year.
In March we attended Sci-Fi Weekender at Hafan Y Mor. A great event! Packed to the doors with approx 6 thousand people. David and I had a great presence at the event and were involved in many panels, onstage interviews and we judged the masquerade with the lovely Chase Masterson. We met some new people, and caught up with the unique Brian Blessed. We also took part in BIG FINISH DAY in Barking. Here we met some of the cast of 'Allo, 'Allo and I had a brief chat with the lovely Tom Baker for the first time. I signed the contract with AudioGo for my novella The Darkness Within and my short story Urban Wolf was published in an interesting anthology called The Demonologia Biblica. I also took on the role of Commissioning Editor for Telos Publishing's new digital imprint Telos Moonrise.
April brought us back to Wales Comic Con. This event has been rapidly gathering momentum over the last few years, and this year the event topped it's previous attendance with around five thousand people I think. I also met Nicholas Brendan (Xander - Buffy The Vampire Slayer).
This month I was approached by German publishers Verlag Bucheinband Ines Neumann and the rights for my first Vampire Gene novel, Killing Kiss, were sold for translation.
Life change events also happened: David became a grandfather for the first time! And his grandson, Benjamin, is a constant source of delight.
I also commissioned my first piece for Telos Moonrise - Absinthe And Arsenic a Victorian Horror Collection by Raven Dane.
May was a quiet month for events but I was working really hard reading submissions for Moonrise. We commissioned the intriguing YA steam/diesel punk novella DOCTOR TRIPPS: KAIJU COCKTAIL by Kit Cox, two crime novels by Andrew Hook, The Immortalists and Church of Wire, and the erotic novel, BYTE ME! by new writer Roberta Steele. All of which made varied reading.
As well as working on these I was continuing to write a Victorian Supernatural Thriller called The Soul Thief.
In June we went to David's grandson's baptism in Cambridge. A lovely day and Benjamin is absolutely gorgeous!
My short story Imogen, originally published in Hersham Horror's PentAnth Siblings had been chosen for Salt Publishing's Best British Fantasy 2013 Anthology. It came out this month. Telos Publishing commissioned me to write the second steampunk short novel, Kat On A Hot Tin Airship, which was the sequel to Zombies At Tiffany's.
July saw me frantically writing Kat On A Hot Tin Airship as well as prepping Kit's and Raven's books for publication. We also went along as guests to Who@Hoylake, and I met Terrance Dicks for the first time. A totally adorable man.
In August we attended our first Lammas Party hosted by the lovely writers and editors, Jan and Peter Coleborn. And we went for a barbeque at crime writer Debbie Bennett's home. In fact it was a truly wonderful summer.
Events-wise we revisted the historical library at Leeds for Steampunk At Central Library. Here I read extracts from Kat On A Hot Tin Airship, and Doctor Tripps: Kaiju Cocktail and Absinthe and Arsenic got their first outing.
We also had a lovely visit from David's family and we were able to take them sightseeing. The weather held out and was glorious for most of the time. It was a relaxed visit that ended with a large party on 24th August at our local Chinese to celebrate David's birthday.
On the 31st we launched Kat On A Hot Tin Airship at Browsers Bookshop in Porthmadog. Copies literally just arrived the day before - so it was a tense week!
At the beginning of September we had a visit from my German translator, Gunter Olchowsky and his lovely wife, Ines and son, Max. it was really great to get to know them and to start building a relationship that I hoped would grow with future books. We had a signing at Waterstones, Bolton and a visit from David's son James and his wife Rachel, with their lovely son, Ben. On the 13th we drove up to Lincoln and put on our best Steampunk clothing as we joined in the fun at Asylum Steampunk Weekend. Here David announced the forthcoming publication of Robert Rankin's new book, The Abominable Showman, we launched Absinthe and Arsenic, Doctor Tripps, and Kat On A Hot Tin Airship and they were all received extremely well. As always David and I were on the naughty table at the ball! Brilliant event as always. Can't wait until the next one!
On the 22nd we had a Telos Publishing signing at Forbidden Planet attended by myself, Raven Dane, David Howe and Stephen James Walker. And at the end of the month we went to Harlech Festival and I hopped on a train to London to attend the recording of Zombies At Tiffany's, which had been bought by Spokenworld Audio and to take part in a reading/signing to launch Best British Fantasy 2013, with Salt publishing, in which I read some shocking content from my story Imogen.
At the start of October, David and I hosted the screening of Hellraiser 2 and did a Q and A with Barbie Wilde and Nick Vince at Grimm Up North Film Festival. We also appeared as guests at Tenth Planet's brilliant Doctor Who convention, DIMENSIONS.
Then on 28th we flew to Florida to begin another fantastic two weeks in the USA. We arrived in Florida to be met at the airport by Stephen Sigal who took us to Jen and Ed Comstock's lovely home to stay for a few days.
After hitting the malls, getting over jetlag, and drinking copious amounts of wine, we moved over to the Double-Tree Hilton, at Orlando and joined the other guests to take part in HURRICANE WHO. Guests included Colin Baker, Frazer Hines, Colin Spaull, Daphne Ashbrook, Chase Masterson, Tony Lee, Paul Bradley, Ian McNeice, terrence Dick, Bob Baker and many more ... It was a fantastic weekend full of fun, laughter and we forged some new friendships there that I hope will continue into the future. The weekend ended with a terrific meal provided by the convention organisers for the guests and helpers, and David, Frazer, Chase and I all stayed on for a few days to rest a little. So we actually did a little bit of sunbathing (I had ultimate sunblock on - as I don't do sun!!)
This month also saw the publication of two more of my stories. The Jealous Sea that appeared in Terror Tales of the Seaside, Edited by Paul Finch and published by Gray Friar Press, and The Last Resort, Published by Crystal Lake Publishing in their Fear The Reaper anthology.
Also AudioGo launched The Darkness Within on audio, in ebook and in large print hardback.
We flew onto to Long Island on 6th November to take part in LONG ISLAND WHO. The organisers took all of the guests on a winery trip. We had a truly wonderful time, and hooked up once more with Daphne Ashbrook and Ian McNeice, and we were joined by Sylvester McCoy. This event was also great fun. Extremely well attended, and was slick in it's organisation. One of the highlights of the event was the Match Game that David, Frazer, Ian, Sylvester, Daphne and I took part in. It was rude, it was funny, and people kept talking to us about it all weekend so I think they must have enjoyed it. David, Frazer and I also got to be Daphne Ashbrook's pips when she sang We Don't Need No Doctor to Sylvester. We also had an early thanksgiving dinner on the last night, which was put on by the organisers for the guests. A great weekend!
But our events calendar was far from complete. We flew home and attended Who@Avoncroft, and I was invited to guest at Memorabilia in Birmingham, while David took part in the Doctor Who Anniversary weekend over in London.
In Birmingham my sister, Adele and I met Barry Bostwick - who was definitely someone we both wanted to meet. And this man did not disappoint. He was totally adorable. A real gentleman.
But not everything was going well. We also had some very bad news mid November: AudioGo were going into liquidation ... and so The Darkness Within's future seemed bleak. No writer wants to see their works fail or fall into the ether. So I was fairly stressed about this. Not least because I didn't know where I stood with the whole thing in terms of the continued sales of Ebooks on line and the Audio which was also still being sold.
December came and David and I flew to Canada for 5 nights to appear as guests at Pop Expo, Ottawa. I also took this opportunity to meet up with an old friend I hadn't seen for 24 years! My childhood friend, Wendy Allen, spent the day with us on the Friday 6th Dec and we tried the local dish Poutine, which is chips, gravy and cheese curd/Sounds weird but it was delicious. We saw the Canada parliament buildings and had the most fun day which also included a convention commitment to go to a press release. At the event we met some wonderfully interesting people, some really nice chaps who worked for Paramount, and one of my facebook friends, Writer/Editor Neil Baker. It was an event to cosplay at - and there were some super costumes.
We flew home and three days later were back on a plane, this time flying a little nearer to home as we set off to Berlin and the launch of Todeskuss, the German edition of my novel Killing Kiss.
In Berlin we were met by Gunter Olchowsky who took us to the hotel to check in, then came back to drive us to the bookshop. There we met up with Angelika Timme, who worked with Gunter on the translations, and a queue of lovely people who had been waiting for the book to hit the shelves. It was really great!
After the launch Angie and Gunter took us to a typical German restaurant and we had some interesting and tasty dishes. Mine was a veal dish with noodles, and David had some sort of frankfurter dish.
We went to a German Christmas Market: it was superb. We ate this wonderful salmon sandwich, and drank copious amounts of Gluhwein. On our last day we visited Checkpoint Charlie and the city center of Berlin, standing on the border between east and west - a sobering experience. We also hit the local supermarkets and bought Christmas presents to bring home.
Another of my short stories was published in Chaosium Anthology, Eldritch Chrome. The story, Sonar City, was chosen by editors Brian Sammons and Glynn Owen Barass.
We also received some very good news regarding The Darkness Within: Audible had bought the masters for the audio and I had my rights for ebook returned, which meant that I could now sell them on elsewhere. Look out for the new version paperback in Febuary 2014 - This version is called The Darkness Within Final Cut and is extended with scenes that had previously been too extreme for the audio and had been cut. No they are reinstated the book is no longer a novella but a short novel.
As you can imagine with all of this travel I didn't have much writing time in the latter part of the year - something I've been making the most of since the beginning of 2014.
So 2013 overall you have been an excellent year for me! Let's do it again in 2014 ... but perhaps bigger ... what do you think?
Publications for this year:
Kat On A Hot Tin Airship, Telos Publishing, August 2013
Todeskuss, Verlag Bucheinband Ines Neumann, December 2013
The Darkness Within, AudioGo, September 2013 (Hardback)
Zombies At Tiffany's, Spokenworld Audio, October 2013
The Darkness Within, AudioGo, October 2013
Sonar City, (Eldritch Chrome), Chaosium, December 2013
The Last Resort, (Fear the Reaper), Crystal Lake Publishing, October 2013
The Jealous Sea, (Terror Tales of The Seaside) Gray Friar Press, Sept 2013
Imogen, (Best British Fantasy 2013), Salt Publishing, June 2013
Urban Wolf, (Demonologia Biblica), Western Legends, Mar 2013