This post is mostly just to provide evidence I survived 2020. What a horrible year. The less said about it, the better. Hopefully 2021 will be better to all of us, but 10 days in it seems like we’re still shaking off some serious 2020-style bad juju.
I did sell 2 short stories in 2020. The first, Bruises black and blue can be found in the new CSFG anthology, Unnatural Order, which was published in the final death throes of 2020, on 31 December. It’s – appropriately – an anthology of the monstrous, and you can order it here. Bruises black and blue is a mashup of a couple of different fairy tales (see if you can guess which), and features another take on my favourite monster of all, Jenny Greenteeth. The second short story is (yet!) another fairy tale, The Aunties, and should be available in March 2021 in the Australian Fairy Tale Society’s first anthology of Australian-inspired fairy tales, South of the Sun. This anthology will be illustrated by a bunch of my favourite fairy tale artists, including Kathleen Jennings, Lorena Carrington, Erin-Claire Barrow and Spike Deane, so I already know the physical book itself will be a thing of beauty even before you get to the treasure trove of stories it will contain.
I am still working away on a couple of novel projects, and one of them is so close to having a finished draft ready to shove under the noses of some generous critiquing partners. It’s probably worth acknowledging that 2020 was a terrible year for many creatives – both because it is unsurprisingly hard to be creative when the world is a raging trashfire, but also because a lot of paying work across most creative industries simply evaporated as the world ground to a halt due to the pandemic. So I’m trying set a good example and not beat myself up too much for not being as productive as I would have liked. Hey, I’m still here, I’m still writing and things are moving, just slowly, that’s all.
Looking back on my 2019 wrap up, I’m glad now that I totally overdosed on conventions that year, because that was another thing that just didn’t happen in 2020. I did a lot of staying in touch over online platforms like zoom & Discord (and honestly, I am so grateful for the sanity that connection offered!) but I did step back somewhat from public-facing social media.
My 2020 coping mechanism was mostly reading copious amounts of fanfiction, and specifically fic for the C-drama The Untamed. If you haven’t fallen down that particular rabbit hole yet, I can recommend it as a good place to go for pure escapism.
Some fave reads from this year were:
(Boyfriend material by Alexis Hall; Loveless by Alice Oseman; Harrow the Ninth by Tamsin Muir; Godblind by Anna Stephens; Slippery Creatures by K J Charles; Fence: Striking Distance by Sarah Rees Brennan; The Murderbot Diaries; by Martha Wells; The Perfect Assassin by K A Doore.)
So far 2021 has been been a bewildering mix of hopeful and terrifying. I’m still repairing various kinds of damage from the last year myself (even if it’s just the damage of disrupted routines and abandoned healthy habits, for example). At a minimum, though, this time last year I was lucky if I could see 300 metres for all the bushfire smoke, and so far this year we’ve had clear blue skies happily interspersed by an actual reasonable amount of rain.
So… I hope 2021 will be a year when we can all pick up the threads of our lives that have been unravelled and trampled on by the last 12 months, and that the coming 12 months will be better to you & yours than the last 12. Here’s to keeping on keeping on.