The second great 2013 thing was getting a deluxe-edition collection out from PS Publishing, the home of horror masters Ramsey Campbell and many other fine folk. Shades of Nothingness looks gorgeous and I'm happy with the range of fiction in there, which represents my latter-day stuff, pared down and suggestive, tricksy and, well, just plain weird.
The third great thing was finally getting a story selected for a Year's Best anthology. Best British Horror is a new annual antho of horror fiction, and the inaugural issue includes fiction from the likes of Michael Marshall Smith, Tanith Lee, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Volk, Adam Nevill, Mark Morris, and many others. The book is edited by Johnny Mains and will be out before summer 2014. Nice.
The fourth thing? Well, that would be becoming Pete Tennant's featured author in the January 2014 issue of Andy Cox's sterling magazine Black Static. Looking forward to seeing that. I've respected Pete and Andy's work for years now and was flattered to have been interviewed.
What else happened in 2013? Oh yeah, I got short-listed for an award -- the British Fantasy Society one for best novella, with The Respectable Face of Tyranny. I didn't win, but was happy to see my old pal John Probert pick up the gong. He's a much better speaker than me, anyway. ;)
I also placed a couple of stories in anthologies edited by S T Joshi, another heavyweight in the field. In Search of Horror (including 'The Reeds') will be out early next year, and Black Wings IV (including 'Sealed by the Moon') towards the end of it.
It's kind of fitting, really, that all this happened in 2013, because my first professional sale came back in 2003 ('Both And' in Gathering the Bones). And now here I am, a decade later, making what feels like another leap forwards. I still have a way to go before achieving all my literary ambitions, but I'm happy to keep plodding on, enjoying the journey. Each advance feels earned and inherently rewarding.
Indeed, in other news, I'm also a year closer to quitting full-time work, an ambition of mine for at least five years. In 2012, I devised a meticulous three-year early-retirement plan, and at the time of writing, I have just 74 weeks of this left to work. Bring it on, I say. The day I can write full-time will be the day I finally become contented in life. So here's to 2014 -- let it bring more good fortune and fun along the way.
Thanks for reading, folks. And if you ever bought -- or ever will buy -- one of my books, I salute your generosity and wish you all the very best for a similarly pleasing new year.