I'm absolutely appalled to discover that it's been nearly a year since I posted anything here - although hopefully part of that may be excused by the fact that I mislaid the password and only found it again after an extensive search. (The perils of getting older include the infamous Over Fifties Treasure Hunt ... you walk into a room carrying your glasses in one hand and you car keys in the other, and then spend the next twenty minutes looking for your car keys ... )
On the other hand (where the glasses are!), I'm a great believer in not saying anything if you don't have anything to say; a childhood surrounded by people who could talk to Olympic standard left me firmly convinced that it was better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open my mouth and remove all doubt!
Plus, it's been a difficult year. I've started - and laid aside - two or three book projects and worked sporadically on another. Fortunately an idea has actually taken proper hold at last, and I'm currently working towards 1 August publication with a story called IN DEEP - which is basically about a former police officer trying to decipher the mystery of his stepson's untimely death on a small Scottish island. I won't say too much about it at this stage, being a bit superstitious, but it's probably as close as I'll ever get to writing 'Nordic Noir'.
However the big news at the moment is that a paperback edition of DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT is currently on its way through the inexorable mills of CreateSpace and Amazon and will very soon be available to buy. This is partly timed to coincide with Manifold Press's fifth anniversary, since it was actually the first title they took on. I'm hoping to get the rest of my titles out in paperback during the rest of this year, too, which is really something to look forward to; no matter how many e-books one may end up selling, there is something unusually satisfying about seeing a row of physical book spines upon a physical shelf - and the Manifold Press books always look spectacular in print!
A couple of people have kindly asked if I'm going to be at the Press's event in Oxford, QUEER COMPANY, but I'm afraid that isn't going to be possible this time. I would urge anyone within travelling distance to take the plunge and attend, though - it sounds as if it's going to be a lovely, low-stress occasion with a bit of gentle networking wrapped around some particularly good food. (In fact, mouth-watering reports of The Jam Factory's marvellous home-made biscuits have reached me and I'm insanely jealous; I'm hoping one of my good buddies on the organising team will endeavour to smuggle some out for me!)
I'll close with a quick plug for A PRIDE OF POPPIES, to which I'm extremely proud to have contributed. A wide and wonderful selection of authors from all around the globe have taken part in this excellent project, all the proceeds of which are to be donated to the Royal British Legion. We contributors have had the privilege of seeing the (almost) finished product already, and it's an extremely impressive body of work with a wide variety of settings and scenarios. I'm not going to say too much as the formal announcement of the contents is due in a few days' time, but it's really been an endeavour to shout about - and I'm sure I speak for the other authors as well in saying that we hope our readers will get behind it and support us in raising funds for a highly respected and very worthwhile cause.
And I promise ... I'll try not to leave it another year before posting here again!