Tuesday, December 31, 2019

That was the year that was - 2019

I won’t be particularly sorry to see the back of 2019.

From a personal perspective, it hasn’t been a pleasant one. It has had its highlights – a lovely trip to Dublin in which I finally got to thank Michael Carroll of Judge Dredd fame in person for his lovely blurb for “Forever and Ever, Armageddon” and some lovely holidays (a stag do in Latvia that saw me firing AK-47’s in a terrifying underground bunker, and a considerably less weapon-based break in Budapest) – but my heart hasn’t been entirely in it.

Not the writer you want at your side in a Zombie Apocalypse - Here
author David Court struggles to hit a Latvian barn door at 10 paces
My mental health has taken a bit of a blow again this year, with depression rearing its ugly head as well as a health scare with my blood pressure. I’m lucky enough to know the cause of both issues – my day job – but it’s felt at times like I’ve been about to snap. Work have been very understanding – even tolerating me handing in and rescinding handing in my notice - and my work has gotten considerably easier to cope with, but it’s been far from easy.

To this end, the last thing I’ve wanted to do after a day of sitting in front of a screen is coming home and sitting in front of another. My writing has suffered considerably, and it’s been one of the least productive years I’ve had since I started back in 2013.

The formatting of my last book – Scenes of Mild Peril – finally got sorted out by the publisher, but it was all a case of too little, too late. Despite a lovely Scream review last year, there’s been very little take-up of it - although the few reviews it received have been lovely and very favourable. The rights revert to me very imminently, so I’m possibly planning a relaunch if there is enough interest.

On a more positive note, March saw the release of “The Theory”, TPub’s sci-fi take on their successful “Twisted Dark” brand. It features two of my stories – the opening tale “Obsession”, and a giant mech story “Battlesuit”. I got to promote this in person at MCM Birmingham and MCM London, attending a panel at each.

MCM London - Look!  There's a big picture of my face behind me, and
(Almost didn’t get into MCM London as they’d screwed up my speakers pass, but you’ll be glad to know that at no stage did I scream out “Do you know who I am?”)

There’s also been some good spin-off news from this, as Battlesuit is currently been filmed as an animated short by Hasraf Dulull, giving me my second IMDB credit(!). More news on this as I get it in the new year.

April saw the release of “A Town called Hell”; Burdizzo book’s ambitious shared universe horror anthology. I was a late invite to this, but contributed “And Heeeere’s your Host”, my story of a suicidal washed-out American Gameshow host. Burdizzo also released the first volume of their Burdizzo Bards books, and this included my poem “The Lantern”.

Also in April, Local Hero Press released the fifth volume of their “The Good Fight” superhero series, and this included my story “Blare the Bright Fanfares”. This is about a World War 2 Nazi supervillain who has a crisis of conscience, and features the return of the British super-hero “Sovereign” from my story “Sovereign’s Last Hurrah”

An amazing selection of short
stories, each inspired by
a particular song.
“Maps”, a story I wrote whilst holidaying in Croatia in 2018, featured in the first volume of “Burdizzo Mix Tape”. It’s inspired by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song of the same name, and personally I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. It’s a bit of a diversion for me, being a tale of romance and loss set against the backdrop of a failed multidimensional experiment.

The middle of the year saw the release of my second collection "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" as an audio-book. Kristina Fitzgerald did an amazing job of making my stuff sound good, with her wonderful lilting Irish tones, and I'm incredibly proud of how well this works. 

But, despite not writing much in 2019, I’ve turned my hand to a few articles which the esteemed Horror website Ginger Nuts of Horror have politely published. These have included a triptych of articles about horror in comics (concerning Swamp Thing, Zenith and Judge Death, respectively) as well as articles about Tales of the Unexpected, the new Creepshow reboot and horror-themed board games.  These seem to have gone down quite well, so I'll continue to write for GNoH for as long as Jim lets me.

I plan to be way more productive in 2020. My coming-of-age story set in Coventry in the eighties is currently out in the wild with a few publishers in the hope they'll bite, and I'm hoping to leap back into the industry all guns blazing. I'm not renewing my membership to the Horror Writers Association - it hasn't really been of any use to me, but I know that's a personal thing - but I'm not planning on giving up quite yet.

Here's to a wonderful 2020 for us all. Let the best of this year be the worst of the next, and I hope you'll continue to keep an interest in my writings. Thanks to those of you who've been there in some way for me this year - my fantastic wife, my partners in crime Lance Fling and MF Wahl, and my buddies at Burdizzo books - and a few select other people (you know who you are!).

So, fuck off, 2019.  Roll on 2020.

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