continued unabated. But, at least in the strictly personal sphere, there've been a few positive developments.
I'm delighted to announce I've had two short stories accepted for publication in Horrified Magazine. 'In The City In The Smog' and 'In The Service Of The Queen' will appear in the near future. Further details will follow when I have them.
In addition, as a few final 'Best of 2020' lists surfaced in the first week of the New Year, I was delighted to find myself name-checked in a few of them.
Over on Twitter, I made Pen of Horror's list of writers who'd made 2020 their 'best year's reading in a long while', alongside Josh Malerman, Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay, my own awesome Cate Gardner and many others, while Ian Duff's '10 Books I Really Enjoyed In 2020' listed Wolf's Hill alongside Ramsey Campbell's The Wise Friend, C.J. Tudor's The Other People and Nick Cutter's The Troop, to name but three.On Facebook, meanwhile, Ross Warren listed his highlights of the year,
which included Roth-Steyr.
And last but far from least, Jay Whittle published his Four Star Plus Club 2020 - all the books he read last year that he rated as four or more stars out of five. Only one title gets five stars: my Dark Minds Press collection A Love Like Blood.
"Both stories are typically bold in subject matter, with relentlessly ramped up foreboding which pays off in cathartic, climactic closing scenes. The first sets such an impossibly high bar that the next seems certain to be a disappointment, only for the second to match or even surpass it. Either would have been worth five stars on their own."
That last one means a great deal. A Love Like Blood was a title that really seemed to have sunk without trace, but I'm incredibly proud of both the stories in it.
None of these are big awards shortlists, or 'Best Of' lists published by major genre magazines or websites. They're just the opinions of people who read. Some of them write, or edit, or publish as well. But most of all, people who read.
And it means one hell of a lot.
It means there are people out there who like what I do, and would be happy to see more of it.
I've spent a lot of time in the past year focusing on the big goals: getting a new agent, breaking into a wider readership and all the rest of it. And I'll still be striving for that. But I'm also going to remember how precious it is to be published at all, to have any readers at all. To know I've made a connection with somebody, and that I'm not just screaming into the void.
Anyway, have a good weekend.
As for me, I've writing to do.
Apparently there are actually people out there who like what I do, and would like more.
It would be rude not to oblige them.