My Writing Year – 2021

Most of my time over the past couple of years has been spent in fictional worlds, which might sound peculiar but has for me, been a blessing. As an author I’ve found it easier than many people to accept national and international travel restrictions. Late in the year I fitted in trips up to Scotland and across to Amsterdam. In both cases I witnessed a different real world from before Covid 19.

I started my writing year as usual, with targets. Four new titles was always going to be ambitious, but without ambition, there’s little point in setting goals. Next Steps: and other stories, Sylvia: Beyond the Apocalypse, Codename: Foxglove, and Crusader were all in the line-up. Of those, only Crusader remains a Work in Progress.

What else filled my time?

A challenge I’d set myself was to produce my mainstream titles in paperback, which created a lot of work. The task was accomplished. A secondary job was to publish my short stories in paperback but not include tales from my anthologies which had been submitted by guest authors.

To cut a long story short, if you’ll pardon the pun, I had eighty tales which I mixed to produce four volumes of twenty short stories. My aim here was multi-faceted:

– produce books which were value for money for readers.

– an approximately equal word count.

– a mix of genre but without erotica.

– all my own work.

Did I maintain any other author interests?

As always, I filled in many hours reading, reviewing, beta-reading for fellow members of the IASD, and mentoring a couple of aspiring authors.

Apart from those things, I offered my services to my pseudonym. For her part, she produced five new titles. Her books are slightly shorter than mine but have plenty of action, albeit for a different taste. Five may sound like a lot, but they are written over a longer time period because most are based on notes and short story ideas from over the years.

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Do I believe I’ve had a productive writing year?

Yes, I do, and as we all look forward to 2022, I’m content with the titles I have planned. One of next year’s stories is Selena: Sea Nymph, my first attempt at sci-fi paranormal fantasy. The first five chapters are available for reading and comments in my Work in Progress menu.

I already know how most of my author’s year will be spent in 2022, and 2023, so I’ll drop a hint with my New Writing Year blog in January 2022.

Comments and suggestions are welcome as always, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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In Their Footsteps

Pitlochry, Scotland

In mid-September I spent a week up in Scotland—in the picturesque Highland village of Pitlochry. It was an appropriate place to finish off the first full editing session of Codename: Foxglove. Dominique (Foxglove), went there to visit her mentor, Rachel (Codename: Nightshade).

The Foxglove story will rest until mid-October, and from then it will undergo at least three further sessions with two-week breaks between. If it feels ready, I aim to send it out to beta readers in late November. When published, this tale will bring the Beyond The Law stories to a close, so, as might be expected, it will be done with a heavy heart, but by the same token, some series’ run their course. I’d like the final story to be a worthy conclusion to the tales which started life as a single experimental poem about a man who was compelled to end his military career.

Pitlochry saw several scenes from Codename: Nightshade which involved the Mental Riders Motor Cycle Club among others. Characters from both sides of the line came unstuck in a big way in the village. Locations like the filling station, a (renamed) bar on the main road, a large hotel, a car park, and the railway station all held a special significance for me. I travelled along the road which was used in a car and motorbike chase and felt justified in having used the route in the scenes.

While in Scotland, I visited Braemar which featured in Beyond the Law: Retribution. As the author of action scenes, death and mayhem, it creates a peculiar feeling to be on site and imagine what took place in my imaginary world.

Apart from those places I also spent a day at Aviemore and on several of the countryside routes in the area. Here, of course, I was reminded of the characters from my Light at The End trilogy, and in particular my heroine from the spinoff, Sylvia.

In visits to Glasgow, my home town, I’ve enjoyed the ‘sense of place’ when thinking back to the Beyond The Law trilogy, and in recent visits to Edinburgh I sensed the presence of Bryce, and several other characters from Czech Mate.

A knowledge of the locations used in stories complements the imagery and to a certain extent, the action. Returning to ‘real’ places after the job is done is a surreal experience and provides a healthy dose of satisfaction—I’d recommend it to fellow authors.

Thank you for indulging me with your time and comments.

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