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 — Katya Cumming. 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.

Not to be outdone, Katya also has more titles lined up.

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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Beyond the Comfort Zone

***** Sylvia: Beyond the Apocalypse is now available *****

As many writers do, I push myself in my craft. There’s little point in creating characters who are compelled to operate outside of their comfort zone if the author is taking the soft option.

I profess to be a multi-genre, multi-discipline author. In other words, I write stories across a wide variety of topics and I work on novels, novellas, short stories, and poetry.

For this reason, I dipped my toe in the waters of the post-apocalyptic genre, uncertain if it would result in the completion of a story. As things turned out, Light at The End: Surviving the Apocalypse became the first tale in a trilogy. I’m pleased to report that the three books are among my most popular titles. 

Sylvia: Beyond the Apocalypse, is a spin-off from Light at The End – The Trilogy. Like most spinoffs, Sylvia’s backstory relies heavily on the trilogy that spawned the idea, and will appeal to anyone who has read the original tales. Unsurprisingly, the main character of this book is Sylvia, however I’ve used the story as a vehicle to elaborate on the world inhabited by the characters who peopled the original trilogy. Time (and reviews), will tell if I’ve done the job well.

Codename: Nightshade was the first spinoff story from the Beyond the Law trilogy, and apart from featuring Nightshade, the tale introduced Foxglove, a new heroine.

Codename: Foxglove is now my priority Work in Progress, and yes, it’s another crime thriller. Foxglove provides continuity and will see the end of the BTL series. I enjoy the creation of a trilogy but if there is a downside it is that the author becomes a hostage to the story.

My other main project this year is Crusader, which will be developed as a standalone crime thriller. The main work with Jason, his friends, and foes, will be later in the year but it’s always good to create characters as they come to mind, placing them in scenarios to see what happens.

For those of you who like an insight, the first chapter of each of my WIP is available at:

https://tombensoncreative.com/work-in-progress/

 As always, comments are welcome.

Tom