What the Hell Happened to 2022? Book of the Year and plans for 2023

I knew that it had been a while since I last wrote and posted a blog, but I was somewhat startled (and a little ashamed) that it was 31st December 2021. That means that I failed to post anything in 2022, so as well as sharing what I’ve been up to I promise to upload more frequent updates. To help with this, I’ll also cover my plans for 2023 so that I can see if these targets get hit.

To begin with writing, I started and abandoned/put aside 2 new novels, both of which I may come back to. I think I was somewhere in the 20,000 words mark in each when for whatever reason I felt I needed to leave them for now. I don’t necessarily see this as a failure, as I would rather work on a project that felt like it was going in the right direction. The first one is a story regarding a modern day musician who wanted to find out the real story about the death of his father, a Grunge-era singer who died in mysterious circumstances in the 1990’s. The second is a new crime series set in East Lothian. I liked how this started but I’ve not quite worked out where it is going and I think it will need some development before continuing.

My love of writing short stories was more successful and I managed to get three stories published in 2022. Stories were published again by the fine people at Darkstroke Books as part of their charity anthologies. This time, the stories were set in New Orleans and Venice. A third story, which I am really proud of, was selected for publication in Issue Number One of ‘Tangled Web’ a new magazine which specialises in Tartan Noir (my genre) and Speculative Fiction. This magazine will be free to readers and subscribers and there is a link to my story ‘Deadly Night Shades’ in the Books section of this website. The idea started with a colleague challenging me to write a 50 word story about sunglasses (which I did), which then grew to a 2,600 word short story for publication.

I read a total of 21 books in 2022, a little less than usual, however I set my target lower in the hope of doing more writing. Following my A-Z of crime writers reading challenge of 2021, last year I read some books outwith the genre, including a couple of autobiographies. Another change for me was enjoying books through the medium of audiobooks, a format of reading that continues to grow in popularity. Part of the reason for this was the new canine member of the family and I enjoyed a number of the Rebus novels whilst walking Ludo around East Lothian. There were a few books that could have been chosen as my favourite of the year, but I’ve gone with The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. I was not sure if I would enjoy Anthony as a character in his own book, but it worked so well. I actually was given the third in the series as a birthday present, so I will definitely be continuing with this series.

So on to 2023 and my ambitions within the writing community.

1 – Continue writing short stories – I believe this is a great way to continue developing my writing and story telling. I have one being considered at present and the aim is to find new ways to get published in this format.

2 – Write and publish DI Christie book 3 – following my decision not to complete two books, I’ve decided to write the third book in the DI Christie series. Again, this will help me develop my writing skills and revisit characters that have been developed already. Feedback about the first two have been really positive, so I hope that I can continue to improve this series. It was the eighth Rebus novel that really took off for Ian Rankin, so patience is not a bad thing.

3 – Write and polish a 2nd novel – I’m not sure if this will be one of the two I’ve started or something separate. I have a couple of ideas for other stories, so I will take some time to plan this before starting. It’s important that I get the characters, story and plot correct because this will be the basis of ambition 4.

4 – Query for an Agent – I started writing properly in 2011 with my debut novel ‘Alive’ and since then have seen writing as a hobby. Having considered how best to develop further, I have decided that I need to polish a new piece of work and send it out there for consideration. Many people have encouraged me to take this step before, so now feels a good time to finally take the plunge. I am (as author Will Dean suggested in one of his excellent YouTube videos) ready for 100 rejections!

Thanks for reading my blog, I promise to be more prolific and provide updates on my 2023 Ambitions. Please do check out ‘Deadly Night Shades’ and the Dark Stroke charity books. Links to these as well as ‘Alive’ and the first two DI Joanne Christie novels are available in the ‘Books’ Tab.

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