Out With the Old, In With the New

So, end of year and all that.

A lot of people on various social media are bemoaning that 2013 was the – and this is a direct quote from several people – ‘the worst year ever’. I can’t personally agree with that statement because although 2013 wasn’t the most amazing year for me, it certainly beat 2012 in places. Like Christmas, for example. Last year, the festive spirit was tainted by the dual effect of Himself breaking his leg at the end of October and me coming down with the ‘flu three days before Christmas. This year, the only thing that would have improved Christmas would have resulted from it being my year for having the Son. It was a nice break though: been off since Christmas Eve and am back at work on Thursday. Feel better for it and even more importantly, have finished the first draft of Project: Carpark. (I think I may forever call it that, despite the title now being announced).

2013 saw a couple of smaller projects see the light of day, including a fantasy novella for Fox Spirit (‘Blood Bound’, with its awesome cover by the delectable Jeff Preston – still on Amazon here). A couple of short stories for Black Library appeared variously in The Best of Hammer & Bolter v2, a 1,000 word flash-fic for the ‘Angels of Death‘ anthology edited by the wonderful Mr. Graeme Lyon and ‘Bitter End’, my Huron Blackheart short story also saw the light of day again in There is Only War. 2014 has more lined up, but the writing’s been less busy this year. Which quite frankly has come as something of a relief. When I look back at it with objective eyes, I wrote three 110,000 word novels pretty much back-to-back throughout 2011 and 2012. Combining that with the full-time job, I was pretty much burned out by the end of last year. This year has been a bit of a recuperation.

What’s coming in 2014? Well, ‘Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising’ for Abaddon Books should surface in June, I believe it is. There is also a Silver Skulls novel planned for Black Library at some point this year – details as and when! Fox Spirit have the second Gilrain story on ice ready to come out with the ‘Mouse and Minotaur’ anthology and Adele has asked me for More Of The Same Please. Oh – there’s also another short story that Fox Spirit have which should probably show up next year sometime. I have a meeting with one of my editors planned for January, to which I’ve been asked to ‘bring ideas’. This may be something he regrets…

On a personal life level, 2013 saw me finally join the gym. I did this in part for myself and my own fitness (which has increased exponentially) but also because the Son quite liked the idea as well. It’s proven to be a lovely bonding thing: he’s a great little go-getter and he encourages me to go even when I really don’t feel like it. I only purchased a three month membership at the time because that was all I felt I could commit to. Now I need to renew it and this is a good sign. Whenever I’ve joined a gym before, I’ve given up after six weeks because of the impersonal nature of it all. The guys at Active Life Coxhoe are friendly, fun and full of energy. It was a real find, that place.

I completed the first year in my new job and a lot of the stress of work has been removed as a result. The new job has a different kind of stress, but it’s nowhere near as soul destroying as my previous role.

The Son has begun his GCSE years and is already achieving planned targets, including in French which was always going to be his least successful subject – he’s ahead with a ‘B’ at his recent assessment instead of the expected ‘C’. Everything else is planned ‘A’ or ‘A*’. To say I’m proud is an understatement. He works hard (although hates revising) and plays hard and remains, at the age of Almost 15, a nice, pleasant young man. He’s going in the right direction and I am happy to share the credit for that with Himself, the Boy’s Dad and the Boy’s Stepmother. We’ve raised a nice human being amongst us. It’s only a little scary to think that in the summer of 2015 he will actually be taking those exams. And even more scary to think that in February of 2016 he will be able to start driving.

Himself has been enjoying his job and has very thoughtfully managed not to break any more limbs this year. There have been a couple of hospital visits connected with ongoing problems, but nothing that couldn’t be managed. 2014 will probably see him go back into hospital for removal of the bionics, but hopefully not at Christmas…

So all in all, 2013 has been a fairly good year. It’s had its moments, including one moment which resulted in a series of epiphanies and a slightly revamped attitude to life. Positive outcome from a negative situation. There have been one or two things that continue to perplex and baffle me and there have definitely been one or two people whose behaviour and actions have led to me feeling crushingly disappointing. But wheat/chaff, be separated. There. All done.

All is well.

To round off 2013, we will be visiting… the supermarket. I know, rock ‘n’ roll, eh?

Have a good one and I hope 2014 brings you all much happiness. Especially you.

chickennewyear2

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