Hello again everyone, and Happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year's break, and are raring to go for what will hopefully be a fantastic 2024. For my part, I ate too much, drank far too much, and probably spent too much time in front of the TV, but I also got to spend a large chunk of it with my closest family and friends, had a lot of laughs, a few tears of joy (our daughter became a fiancee on Christmas day), and danced the night away on New Year's Eve to our son's band. All in all, it was a really special week. The photo above of my wife and I was taken just before the madness commenced. Photos beyond this point were banned :)
On the writing front, I've been making some good progress on my next book, and now plan to knuckle down and get the first draft completed by the end of February. As always with the writing process, there's never a guarantee - it very much depends on the quality of writing that eventually makes it down onto the page; an outcome that can be variable day to day - but that's my target and I'm sticking to it. This one's a little different to The Faraway People, with some science fiction elements and a more international feel to it, but I'm glad to say it's still very much my style. More to come on that.
The audiobook version of The Faraway People is progressing well, and I hope to have that released by early February, if not before. It will be really great to see people's reactions when they 'hear' the book for the very first time. I think it's a very different experience to reading it alone, where your own internal voices do such a great job of building the world for you, so it will be interesting for me to hear the final outcome.
I'm really pleased to announce that during December, the eBook version of The Faraway People hit number one in the US in the Kindle Occult Suspense, Occult Horror and Dark Fantasy Horror categories, and in the UK it hit number one in the Kindle Horror Suspense and Occult Horror categories. So far, the reviews have been excellent, which is really pleasing. It's always a bit of a journey of discovery when you finish a book, because you really don't know whether this thing that you've spent countless hours fretting over, sculpting into something that you think is really great, will actually land with the general public. So far, so good.
I'm hitting the road next week, and will be spending three days at the Horror On Sea festival in Southend on Sea (link Horror-on-Sea Film Festival 2024 | Horror-on-Sea | Southend-on-Sea, UK ). For those that don't know, this festival is a really cool indie horror film festival, which is held over two weekends in January in the lovely seaside town of Southend in Essex. I'll be there for the first weekend, along with a few other exhibitors, and I'm also looking forward to seeing a few films while I'm there. Hopefully I'll see some of you wandering around. It'll be great to catch up. For the full list of my confirmed appearances this year, please see the schedule below:
12-14 Jan - Horror on Sea, Southend on Sea.
28 Jan - Comic Con and Toy Fair, Guildford
2 Mar - Comic and Gaming Fair, Oxford
29-30 Mar - Comic and Gaming Fair, Weymouth
5 May - Comic and Gaming Fair, Bournemouth
27 July - Comic and Gaming Fair, Bristol
28 Sept - Comic and Gaming Fair, Bath
2-3 Nov - Comic and Gaming Fair, Plymouth
I'm currently halfway through William Peter Blatty's 'The Exorcist', which I have never read before. I'm absolutely loving it. It's one of those books that really draws you in, sits you down, makes you a coffee, and then proceeds to deliver blow after terrifying blow. Blatty has such an interesting style when writing the diverse and quite intriguing dialogue, and he also inserts sections of backstory into the narrative in quite a jarring and unsettling way. Although I've seen the film many times, I can't wait to see how the story unfolds.
When I look back on 2023, I can barely believe how far I've come in such a short space of time. Becoming a full time writer just one year ago, I entered January 2023 filled with so much anxiety and self doubt. I would wake up every day and think 'how do I organise myself? What will I do today? How will I make any money?' It was an interesting, if a little worrying, time. What a difference a year makes. Of course, you have to keep on keeping on, and hoping that the bubble doesn't burst, but I'm just pleased to be doing something I love, and not doing those things that I really don't.
All that's left for me to do is to wish you a happy, healthy January (even though it is the gloomiest of months), and that you manage to read some good books. Maybe pick up one of mine. That is, of course, if you don't have them already ;) You know where to find them.
Take care, and have fun,