2015: The year in review

I think it’s probably time for a bit of a recap, what with it being Christmas NEXT WEEK AAARGH *panic*. Seems like I’ve squashed an awful lot into my first full year back in Edinburgh, and there’s exciting stuff on the horizon for 2016…

I wore a lot of hats in 2015. I have a day job working for Raspberry Pi, and in between that I do all manner of writing, from NaNoWriMo through to short fiction for the 26 collective and trying to get my novel’s existence validated. 2015 was when my worlds finally collided, when I accidentally outed myself as a writer to the higher echelons of Pi Towers. (Regular readers will, of course, remember my short fiction month and the ill-fated Pi edition. And, er, the rap as well. Ahem.) Turns out they’re just as supportive as the amazing network of artsy folk round here. Because I seem to have a knack for getting people to tell me everything about them, one of the magazine editors confessed they write YA, so I don’t feel quite so Forever Alone. Which is a bit of a problem with writing being a solitary activity, and taking all the knocks with rejections and cynical (now ex-)friends this year has felt a bit like the lady in this music video. You have to have a big heart. And a lot of gin.



I’ve had the odd ‘argh, I’m a rotten writer’ crisis this year, and the surefire way to fix that is going to the monthly Literary Salon. Where else can you go that offers free wine, fabulous guest speakers promoting your exhibition and organisers who hug you when you look a bit sad and remind you that actually, you’re in the Book Week Scotland programme so you’re probably a legit writer by this point. And this year I discovered the weekly #ukyachat on Twitter, meeting a whole new bunch of writers, agents and all-round good eggs. It’s like I’ve finally found my people.





I only went to one convention this year, NineWorlds, but it was good fun and I collaborated on a novella, The Phantom of the Space Opera, which you can download free from the sidebar. Me, writing sci-fi? Imagine that. Generic space-guns a-plenty. It was good fun, anyway.


'And then he took off in his Sci-Fi Car'. Am I an SF writer yet?

‘And then he took off in his Sci-Fi Car’. Am I an SF writer yet?


September was the big holiday in Bolivia and Peru, half-disguised as visiting a friend and novel ‘research’. I still haven’t finished going through the copious notes and photos I took, but I’ve already drafted one short story, written this year’s NaNoWriMo as a Bolivian Western, and figured out how the novel’s sequels will pan out. Mostly, though, I cried at all the beautiful, towering scenery, practised my Spanish, ate guinea pig and had too many early morning pisco sours. I’d really like to go back, just as soon as that elusive book deal shows up or something. I think I want to ditch the ‘retire to bothy with broadband’ in favour of ‘knit house out of reeds, live on Lake Titicaca with llama called Carl’.


And I was ferried over Titicaca on a dragon boat by adorable children. Life goal: complete.

And I was ferried over Titicaca on a dragon boat by adorable children. Life goal: complete.


This year I also made a tiny contribution to launching Raspberry Pis into space and the first ever $5 computer to be given away on the cover of a magazine, in my position as a MagPi subeditor and making sure the copy on the Astro Pi site is all sparkly. I went viral modelling the gorgeous Pi Zero that all cool geek girls are wearing this season, got all excited at Tim Peake blasting into space to use our computers and code written by schoolchildren, and covered Glasgow Raspberry Pi Day. I reckon 2016 will still be busy at Pi Towers North- I’m champing at the bit to see more Scottish Pi action, although I hope it’s less frantic than all the launches this year. After one particularly frazzly day running around magazine stockists, attending a press launch for 26 Children’s Winters, having a certain local SF author lend their printer for a hard copy manuscript submission, and dashing back to Skype my editor, I was only held together by Berocca, mulled wine and mince pies. But I cope, somehow.


Me with most crises.

Me with most crises.


Oh yes, that press launch thing. This year I joined the 26 collective, got my work into a Museum of Childhood exhibition (and the book which you can buy there for £5, proceeds to charity), featured in the Book of Because, appeared on local TV promoting 26 Children’s Winters, the online advent calendar and companion blog, and met a whole new group of amazing writers from all walks of life. Not bad, 2015, not bad.

So, what’s coming in 2016? More 26 projects, poking agents with big sticks and more Raspberry Pi goodness that I’m utterly embargoed to the gills on, sorry about that. But what I can tell you all is that I’m planning to release a short story collection, Hooves above the Waves: tales of kelpies and other Scottish curiosities. The cover art is being worked on as I type, the editing will be squeezed into Christmas in between writing another short story, and it’ll pop up on Kindle in the New Year. It’s win-win: I don’t need to point people at different publications with my work in, you get a nice taster of the beasties in my head, and I get a tiny bit of money which I promise will go wholly on gin and disreputable prog albums. Hurray!


Murderous water horses are my spirit animals.

Murderous water horses are my spirit animals.


There’ll be one more post from me before Christmas Day itself, and it may well be the silly festive paranormal romance, set in my novel’s universe, which I wrote for the lolz. Until then, may your last-minute shopping involve minimal murders, and your sherry glass always be full ❤🐎🌊


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