New Year status report 2021

This is my eighth year of writing up the status of my writing – see 2014, 20152016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

In February, two of my science fiction short stories, “Scattered Across the Stars” and “Always Carry a Spare”, which I had submitted in late 2019 to new Leicester publisher Space Cat Press, were accepted for publication, and in September they appeared in the Uncharted Constellations anthology. This is available as an ebook, but disappointingly the global pandemic resulted in the printed edition being (permanently?) postponed.

At the start of June, I took a week off work, but with actual holidays being impossible, I was so bored that I dusted off the manuscript of my Roman Scotland children’s book, Pax Caledonia, and attempted to fix some of its structural problems. It’s a lot better, now, I think – but it’s back in a (virtual) drawer again for the foreseeable future.

In September, I took another editing pass at my supernatural lighthouse story, “Keeper of the Light”, and in November it was accepted for inclusion in the Dark Scotland anthology from Darkstroke Books. Available to pre-order now – release date 25th January 2021 (Burns Night).

At the start of December I received my royalty statements for The Wreck of the Argyll and The Beast on the Broch, and both were affected by the pandemic. The Beast was affected to a lesser extent; before the pandemic started, it had already bottomed out (9 copies sold in six months) so the 6 copies sold for this period makes two statements in a row with single-figure sales. The poor old Beast is ready to be put down, I think. Argyll was hit harder, with sales dropping over 80% to just 14 copies in six months. Publishing is really suffering with the COVID situation. As a reader, I just hope things improve as we edge our way back closer to normality over the next year; the big publishers who are financially placed to survive these trying times aren’t the ones who are putting out the most interesting books.

New writing? I didn’t find myself in the headspace for new writing this year, so I didn’t manage to produce any new stories or novels in 2020. I did take another stab at the notes and structure for my sci-fi novel (I’ve got the chapters laid out for four interweaving narratives across two time periods, which is possibly the dictionary definition of “a rod for your own back”), but I haven’t made much progress there at all.