Season’s Wotsits!

Happy Christmas Eve, y’all! Santa and his posse are out in force very soon and I sincerely hope you all get everything you desire.

This is what it's really like. Really.

I’m off work now until the New Year which comes as something of a relief. This year has been utterly manic, both in terms of the Day Job, the Other Job and just life in general. And because this is the last post I’ll write until after Christmas, thought I’d just do something of a look back over what’s gone on in my life in 2011.

January saw me listing off some personal goals for the year – all of which were pretty much met. I was also contemplating whether or not there would be a return to LRP after the – frankly – hellish previous couple of years. After years of nagging, Dearly Beloved finally got me to sit down and start watching Babylon 5. At some point, I will finish that. Things took a surprising turn for the hectic this year and many things I started didn’t get finished! I was 85k up on The Gildar Rift in January too. Wish I was that far with Project: Loophole…

February brought with it my comp copies of Victories of the Space Marines, which contained my first short story to see physical print, Primary Instinct. That was one heck of a feeling. The spectacular cover art for The Gildar Rift went public and I was finally able to share Jon Sullivan’s awesome artwork with everyone. I finished the first draft of The Gildar Rift. In non-writing news, we visited Kentfordshire and stayed in the hottest hotel room known to man, my son turned 12 years old (which made me feel a bit creaky) and we had Door Drama. We still haven’t replaced that door.

March brought Black Library Live! 2011, which was brilliant fun. It included highlights such as Katie and myself entirely failing to find the railway station to pick up Emma, Rachel’s amazing cupcakes, playing games in Bugmans and the opportunity to finally meet so many of the Bolthole gang. There was the Gildar Rift Cake which to this day is one of the most amazing things anybody has ever done for me. I started work on Accursed Eternity. Outside the world of Black Library, I attended the funeral of my dad’s cousin – who was always more like an aunt to me – and we had to get a water pipe replaced as it was attempting gamely to flood our house.

April was a comparatively quiet month that saw me still writing Accursed Eternity, but I had also made a start on both Bloodraven and Valkia the Bloody. At the end of the month, we had a few days over in Ireland with Aaron and Katie, where we variously confused them to death with our bizarre conversations, visited the Ulster American Folk Park (which was spectacular) and had a generally Very Good Time Indeed. Cripes, was it really that long ago?

May – finished first draft of Accursed Eternity. Carried on with Bloodraven, Valkia the Bloody and a little thing called Reaper. Which I will mention again at some point in the upcoming days. Realised that The Gildar Rift would be going on pre-release at Games Day 2011, which was kind of nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. Had a falling out with Sky TV over their attitude towards existing customers versus new customers… and won. Huzzah!

June – trip down to see the Nottingham Folks included a visit to the pictures to see X-Men: First Class… which I thoroughly enjoyed. I particularly liked the whole Erik-Charles relationship and still can’t believe how much sympathy I had for Erik by the end of the film. Plus, Michael Fassbender. YUMMY. ‘Fessed up that would not be coming back to LRP in 2011. At this moment in time, 2012 is looking pretty unlikely, too. I attended Alt.Fiction in Derby, which was a very informative and highly alcohol-centric event. I spent ages chatting to Chris Wooding, at around 3am or something… it was great. The workshops were also brilliant fun and Dan’s title, ‘Shooty Death Kill in Space 101’ was very grin-worthy. And I mused on the problems I faced due to people saying ‘Oh‘, in response to asking me what I was writing.

July – started with the trip to Ireland for Aaron and Katie’s wedding… and whilst the wedding itself was utterly gorgeous, the disaster that struck beforehand still makes me giggle inanely when I think of it. I first got put in touch with the podcast guys at the Overlords and have since become a show regular. These guys are brilliant and their podcasts are full of information, fun and Swanee whistles at inappropriate moments. I was busy writing Valkia the Bloody and also provided answers to the frequently-asked question ‘Why Aren’t You Missing LRP?’

August – I had two weeks off work. A very much needed two weeks off work. We wandered around places and spent a few days down in Kentfordshire admiring the changes to Casa Abnett. We visited Rochester Castle, which was stunning and we played a game of Who’s in the Bag which was possibly one of the funniest nights of my life to date. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Dan Abnett trying to give clues to ‘Chuck Berry’ by frantically shouting ‘a man throwing a Frenchman’s hat really hard!’ At the end of this break, we called in at BL Towers and I received the first Actual Copy of The Gildar Rift. I have no shame at all in saying that it brought tears to my eyes. It was genuinely one of the most emotional moments of my life. In an entirely good way.

September – didn’t slow up. Was writing, writing, writing, and also getting a chance to Speak Out With My Geek Out. And then there was Games Day 2011, which passed in a blur of hugs, signing books and meeting some incredible people. It feels like a lifetime ago now, though!

October – got to take a trip down to the GW Plaza store in Oxford Street to do another book signing alongside m’colleague Nick Kyme. It was on Dreadfleet release day and was an ENORMOUS amount of fun (apart from the Incredible Complaining Woman on the train back). Valkia the Bloody reached first draft and I got one of the best feedback comments ever from my editor. Small Son went to France for a week with the school and I THINK he had fun. It’s hard to tell with him at times. And I got this new PC which has been ultra-mega brilliant.

November – back to Nottingham for another book signing, and the chance to nab a copy of Deliverance Lost by Gav Thorpe. I loved it! I may have developed a crush on the Alpha Legion, though. Did another book signing in Durham (my local GW store) which was an absolutely brilliant day and I couldn’t believe the number of friends who turned up to support me. I know the best people. ❤ But mostly… I wrote stuff. Although November was almost blessedly quiet after a year of never having a break!

December – so here we are in the last month of 2011. Project: Loophole has been given the go-ahead and is on today’s ‘to-do’ list. Right after I get the vacuum cleaner out. I will get the vacuum cleaner out. I’ve already procrastinated for long enough writing this year’s round-up. I don’t have Not So Small Anymore Son for Christmas Day as he is with his dad and this leaves me feeling very sad. But I get him back on Boxing Day and I have my week off work to share with him.

In summary, this year has been one of the busiest, most surreal and all-round wonderful years of my life. I’ve visited lovely places, met up with friends old and new, have been ‘properly published’ for the first time in my life… I am incredibly lucky and I appreciate it massively.

All that’s left is to wish all of you out there a very happy holiday season and I hope that 2012 brings you everything you want.

Happy Christmas!

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