Looking back at 2020

Books 2020

It’s that time of year again when I look back on the previous twelve months and take re-visit the good times and the bad, the successes and failures. I might even learn a lesson or two, or at least reflect on how I’ve coped, or not.

2020 of course has been a year like no other. “Unprecedented” is the word that everyone used, which never failed to annoy me, because what exactly did it mean? If we’re talking about a pandemic, we’d had one in 1918 with a second wave in 1921. If we’re talking of an unknown virus, there was HIV in the 1980s, plus Sars and Mers.

What there has been is an unprecedented amount of governmental incompetence which has led us to yet another lockdown situation, when the hope of a soon to be available vaccine has been muted by the rise of a more infection variant.

All of which adds to the gloom of the darkest time of the year. As a family we have lost my mum and Mike’s sister and I know of friends who have lost partners or parents. These are losses that will always be with us, but in spite of this sadness, there have been some good things about 2020.

I’m not going to talk about the way people have come together to help each other, or the closer contact I’ve had with friends. Although it’s worth noting that because we can’t be together physically, we’ve spent more time on the phone, Skype, WhatsAp or FaceTime. We’ve had longer and more meaningful conversations and helped each other through the dark times as well as having a good laugh.

Perhaps more of that on another blog.

Today I’m thinking about what I wrote and published in 2020 and I have to admit that I’ve surprised myself.

First there was a story in “Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse” an anthology that came out before the beginning of the pandemic. Then came “Belvedere Crescent” another time slip novel set in Bristol and inspired by a gloomy terrace of Georgian houses that I used to walk past on my way to school.

In September there was “Island of Fear”, the third book in the series of The Adventures of Letty Parker. Set in Jamaica it brought back memories of our two years there at the end of the 1990s.

And then−as my co-author used to say when she was telling stories when she was very little−there came “The Awesome Adventures of Poppy and Amelia”. Written as most of you know, during the first lockdown, this was a joy to work on. We’ve had great feedback from our readers and tomorrow I’ll be sending a donation to Blood Cancer UK. This money has come from the books I’ve sold from home, more will be coming once the royalties are paid out. So thank you everyone for that.

One more achievement that I’m very proud of – I finally, after many, many years of trying, got published in Mslexia!

Oh and there was a piece on Corvid in an anthology for Bridge Street Publishers and a story in their on-line Café Lit.

All this happened in spite of times when I felt as if my brain had turned to porridge. There were also periods when I couldn’t think why anyone would want 1) to publish 2) to read anything I’d ever written.

If there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s the obvious lesson to keep going and that’s what I’ll be doing in 2021. I’m not going to set any goals, that makes me tense and anxious, but I’ll go with the flow and see what happens.

Whatever does, I won’t stop writing. 

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