So 2014 was a fairly eventful year -- especially in October -- but I don't want a single event to overshadow all the other things that have occupied my time for the last 12 months.
I'm happy to say that, after a quiet 2013 as a writer, my 2014 was, well, a little less quiet. I had two stories published and wrote three more (and co-wrote one with my wife) and have two fairly well-developed ideas for two more. I also undertook re-writes of 2 older stories. Not a lot compared to earlier years but an increase over the previous two. Moreover, I made progress (roughly 10,000 words) on a new novel and started the research and note-making process for two more.
I intend to make sure that 2015 is even better -- so I am targeting at least three sales (not really in my control -- all I can do is send them out) and at least 5 new stories written. I will also write a minimum of 20000 words on my new mystery novel plus 10000 on a new SF novel. I know, I know, everyone else is determined to write 50K every November but I don't have that much typing in my fingers anymore. I also intend to focus on finding an agent and putting together a proposal for a non-fiction book I've been thinking about.
Of course, my major writing related work has been as an editor and publisher at Bundoran Press. In addition to editing an anthology of stories from around the world, called Strange Bedfellows, I worked on five novels -- two published in 2014 and 3 that will appear in 2015. Right now, I'm in the middle of reading stories for another anthology, Second Contacts, which I am editing with Michael Rimar.
And, as I mentioned I am blogging as the editor of Bundoran Press here (and you can read my most popular posts here: first second third). In July I started a new blog called Ten Minutes of Words. The premise is that I write for ten minutes, do a little editing and publish every single day. I haven't missed a day yet and as a result have written nearly 70,000 words of opinion, fact, stories and trifles. You can read the five most popular here: one two three four, five.
I also read a few books -- I finished 30 and started another 7 or 8 but gave up on them. The best was The Peoples' Platform by Astra Taylor, followed closely by The Swerve by Greenblat. The best fiction I read was a tie between Anne Leckie's Ancillary Justice and Harbach's The Art of Fielding. I watched fewer movies than usual (and caught up on a lot of old TV on Netflix instead), the best of which were Now You See Me, Beginners and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Travel occupied a certain amount of my time in 2014 as well. I went to four SF conventions: Ad Astra in Toronto, When Words Collide (WWC) in Calgary, World Con in London and CanCon in Ottawa. I was also a featured writer at the NorthWords Literary Festival in Yellowknife. I also spent a day in Toronto selling books at Word on the Street.
While out west for WWC, I got to visit family and friends in Calgary, Sundre and on Vancouver Island. When in London, I got to spend time with my wife's daughter, Susan and Liz and I also took side trips to Dublin and Paris. While in Paris, I was thrilled to find the French translation of my book Circle of Birds (Circle d'Oiseaux) in a bookstore in the neighbourhood where Hemingway lived.
Of course, throughout all this I was also working at my regular job as Policy Advisor to the Senator for the Northwest Territories. I assisted him with several major studies and especially with legislation impacting the Northwest Territories. I was able to travel to Yellowknife several times and meet with key stakeholders there. I also wrote a lot of letters, a few speeches and several research papers. It's hard to believe but I've been in that job over 13 years now. Readers of this blog know that this work drove most of the (few) posts I made here.
Of course, I can't finish without talking briefly about the shooting at the War Memorial which I had the misfortune to witness. You can read my account here. But, of course, events like that do not simply occur and go away. The events on the Hill are still having repercussions for my work -- with heightened security and an over-reaction in terms of legislative proposals by the Conservative government. I trust the good sense of Canadians not to be taken in by Harper's security hysteria.
My own life was also seriously disrupted. Although I returned to work the day after the attack and worked steadily through to late November, I was plagued with poor sleep, flashbacks, depression and a profound sense of fatigue. Eventually, my doctor sent me home for three weeks to work on these issues using cognitive therapy. I'm pleased to say it worked well and I feel much like my normal self. I remain a generally happy person and am optimistic about the future. I'll never get over what happened but it no longer dominates my thoughts or feelings. And, on a positive note, I have greater understanding and empathy for those who struggle with emotional issues.
I can't promise to blog here more often -- but you never know what the future will hold.