Wednesday, 28 December 2016

My Creative Year 2016

Continuing a tradition (now in its fourth year), here's my annual look back at 2016 from a creative standpoint.

During the year I wrote four short stories (three were horror, one was a love story), one novella (The Factory, which almost went to its deadline), some book reviews and a host of essays/articles for this blog (more than beating my once-a-week posting schedule).

I had eight short stories published:
* The Sealed Window in The Hyde Hotel, edited by James Everington & Dan Howarth, from Black Shuck Press
* This Is The Colour Of Blood in Chromatics, edited by Dean M. Drinkel, from Lycopolis Press
* Photograph Of You in Tales From The Lake vol 2, edited by Joe Mynhardt from Crystal Lake Publishing
* The Goblin Glass in Thou Shalt Not, edited by Alex Davis, from Tickety Boo Press
* Deb Loves Robbie in Easter Eggs & Bunny Boilers, edited by Matt Shaw, from Matt Shaw Publications
* The Order Of Aries in The Thirteen Signs, edited by Dean M. Drinkel from Nocturnicorn Books
* Do You Believe In Ghosts? in Ten Tall Tales, edited by Ian Whates from NewCon Press
Dreaming Of A Black Christmas in Bah! Humbug!, edited by Matt Shaw, from Matt Shaw Publications

I also had two novellas published:
* The Exercise in Darker Battlefields, edited by Adrian Chamberlin, from theEXAGGERATEDpress
* The Factory, published by Hersham Horror Books

* * *
The King For A Year Project, which I curated through 2015 (and wrote about extensively here) was nominated for Best Non-Fiction in the 2016 British Fantasy Society Awards.  It didn't win, unfortunately but it was very nice to get the nomination.

In a similar vein I curated 2 Mixtapes, where-in people I respected (writers, editors, readers) chose their favourite short stories.  The Brit Horror Mixtape posted in May and featured 24 stories by British writers and this was followed in July by the American Horror Mixtape, featuring 30 stories by American and Canadian writers.

* * *
The Factory cracked the Top 10 of Jim Mcleod's "Top 20 Reads Of 2016" and I'm proud to be included alongside some distinguished - and heavyweight - company.

The Factory also made Paula Limbaugh's Top 10 List at Horror Novel, which was very pleasing (and, again, I'm in great company).

James Everington picked Photograph Of You for his Favourite Short Stories: 2016 round-up (and I'm thrilled to be part of such a stellar line-up).

The Factory also made Ross Warren's round-up (posted to Facebook here), coming 2nd in a strong novella field.

* * *
I attended three great Cons in year.  The first was Edge-Lit 5, held at The Quad in Derby on 16th July (see my report here), followed by FantasyCon-by-the-sea, held at The Grand Hotel, Scarborough from 23rd September to 25th September 2015 (see my report here) and I rounded out the year with Sledge-Lit, held at The Quad in Derby on 26th November (see my report here).
At Edge-Lit - Lisa Childs, Ross Warren, Steve Harris, Phil Sloman, me
At FantasyCon-by-the-sea
from left - John Gilbert, Sue Moorcroft, Neil Williams, James Everington, Priya Sharma, Phil Sloman, me, Lisa Childs, Ross Warren, Wayne Parkin, Cate Gardner
At Sledge-Lit, with Gary McMahon and Stephen Bacon

My writing buddy Sue Moorcroft introduced me to blogger/writer meet-ups and I had great fun at the Brum ones and another, later, in London.  I also went to the NewCon Press 10th birthday bash in London and had a great time at Sue's book launch in Nottingham for The Christmas Promise.
Linda Hill, me, Shelley Wilson, Elaina James, in Birmingham, April 2016
* * *
Following a bit of a fallow period, I posted some interviews during the year and enjoyed the process thoroughly (clearly I picked good subjects).  In January I chatted with the excellent Nicola Valentine and also found time in January to chat with the gregarious Dean M Drinkel.  In February, I spoke to Alex Davis whilst in March, Stuart Young & I interviewed each other and then in May I had a chat with my friend James Everington.  Finally, to help celebrate the launch of her new novel, I interviewed Sue Moorcroft in October.

* * *
In July, I did a Talk/Q&A Session at Kettering Library with Sue for the 2nd KettFest (which I wrote about here)
Sue Moorcroft & I at Kettering Library, picture by Mick Arnold
* * *
Creatively speaking, 2016 has been a pretty good year.  The four short stories (and one novella) I wrote were all asked for and, of them all, I'm most proud of Dance The Blues (a contemporary - and nostalgic - drama about lost teenaged love), as I probably wouldn't have written it unless prompted.  Last years story that was looking for a home, Do You Believe In Ghosts?, was published this year by NewCon Press, in the terrific anthology Ten Tall Tales which I'm thoroughly chuffed to have been part of.
With my fellow Hersham Horror Books Novella writers - Phil Sloman, Steve Bacon , me and James Everington - FantasyCon Scarborough, September 2016 
Signing the hardback of Ten Tall Tales - Andrew Hook, Lynda E. Rucker, Paul Kane, Simon Clark, Ian Whates (editor) and me, FantasyCon Scarborough, September 2016
I'm feeling confident for 2017 too, as I plan to concentrate on writing a new novel which won't be in the horror field.  I'll keep you updated as to how that goes.

As always, thank you so much, dear readers of this blog, for all your support in 2016, especially those who bought, read and liked my work - I really do appreciate it.


  1. So good to read of your fantastic year Mark. It was so lovely to meet you. Here's to continued success in 2017 x

    1. Thanks Linda, a pleasure to meet you too (and for opening my eyes about a book-bloggers load!). Hopefully we'll meet again soon!

  2. What a fantastic year! I hope to equal it next year!

    1. Thank you, Imelda and I hope you do, I'll be looking out for you! :)

  3. Great post, Mark! I love to reflect on the highlights of a year as it's far too easy to remember the negatives. You had a great year and I hope 2017 is as busy and fun for you, and full of amazing opportunities. Happy New Year to you and your lovely family x

    1. Thank you Shelley - I hope 2017 is great for you and the family too! Hope to see you again soon in the New Year!

  4. Happy New Year, Mark!
    All the best to you and everybody who visits your excellent site. I really enjoy reading about your writing adventures. Also look forward to learning more about that new novel of yours.

    Sarah Crabtree :)
    P.S. Sorry if this comes up as anonymous. I'm not a robot either - at least I wasn't the last time I looked ;)

    1. Thank you, Sarah - same to you and great to hear from you again! How are you, how's the writing going?

  5. Yeah, not too bad, thanks Mark. Been spending way too much time reading writers' blogs and not enough on my own writing. Still, that will change :)
    All the best,

    1. Glad to hear you're well and I hope you get back to your writing very soon!