By all rational measures, 2023 was a good year of writing for me. Five stories published, another novel completed, and nine new short stories written. I also updated my Bibliography page to have links to many of my stories that are behind paywalls but where the rights have reverted to me.

Gratuitous Aela photo
Gratuitous Aela photo. She enjoyed helping herd cows back into their field.

The published stories included Self from Self (Nature Futures), Dave the Terrible (Flash Fiction Online), and Three Matches and the Unlit Fuse (The Librarian Card Catalogue), which were all originally published in 2023 and eligible for the major SFF awards in the short story category. I also had reprints of Retirement Options for (Too) Successful Space Entrepreneurs in best of British SF and First Sergeant Xelos Nestory’s Christmas List, care of Admiral Almay, Seventh Fleet, Interstellar Navy in Dread Space: Volume 2.

The novel is finished, but no novel is ever really finished until it’s published. One of the agents I sent it to provided some feedback that I think makes good sense, so I have some revision to do to the ending, and that will hopefully be done when I have some time off over the holidays.

The nine short stories included Dave the Terrible and Three Matches and the Unlit Fuse, plus two more that are revised and making the rounds at short story markets. That does mean there are five others that I haven’t completely revised and are basically dead. It’s been a tough year for maintaining focus, so I’m trying hard to see the positives in writing some stories, selling some stories, and getting the novel polished so I could query it.

Looking ahead to next year, my goals are relatively small. Draft another 9-10 short stories, edit 3-5 of them to a level that I feel good about submitting them, start a new novel, and start serious work on two non-fiction projects. I’ve no shortage of ideas for the new novel, but I’m still trying to find one that I won’t mind dedicating another year (or more) of my life to working on. The non-fiction projects include a football (soccer) book about my time in London and a cookbook for the eldest child to take to college with her. I don’t know if I’ll accomplish all those, but at least they give me a direction.

Here’s to 2024, everyone.