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I’ve been looking through several reviews of the year from a number of people, mostly friends, and the overwhelming opinion seems to be that 2011 was a bad year for many. A lot of people seemed very happy to see it go, with a number of references to ‘staking it through the heart’ as though it were an evil vampire year that will never die.

I suppose many have good reason to dislike the past year. It seemed to be the year that the recession hit particularly hard in many industries – the public sector cuts hit hard and the retail sector is creating unemployment at a fantastic rate not to mention all the riots and protests that happened. So, there are arguments for it having been a bad year. However, I have seen people declare it a bad year when some really good things seem to have happened to them. Which leads me to wonder, has 2011 simply been the ‘glass half empty’ year? Have people been declaring it a bad year despite evidence to the contrary?

From my point of view, I prefer not to try to rate years in any generalised or specific manner. I don’t like to say it was good or bad, it just was. 2011 was no different. If I were to assess it any way, I would see it as a score draw. The number of good things that happened have been balanced by bad things.

In the past year I have:

 – Made a mark on the publishing world. OK, the mark in question is like a very small scratch on a large thing made out of very smooth stone, but the mark is there nontheless. As a result of my two publications (one out, the other pending still) I have also gained more opportunities which have served to increase my exposure. I’ve done guest blogs, interviews and have started doing reviews on another site as well as a rather juicy work for hire job which should prove interesting once it makes it out into the world. In all, I consider this past year to have been a success in terms of publishing. A small success but one which is building. In comparison with other years, this is a massive improvement.

 – Of course, I also started this blog which has been a strange experience. Previous blogs of mine have been more personal and intended for friends only whereas this one is intended for strangers. Sometimes the challenge in that is remembering that strangers are less interested in your day to day boring life than friends may be. Speaking which (and apologies for the next comments…)

 – I moved house. This was a massive undertaking which took almost half a year to achieve (and most of the stress and work fell onto my wife…). We relocated from Birmingham to the outskirts of Manchester and have gained much in social life as a result. Therefore this also counts as a success, despite…

 – Job situaiton. Moving house did not help my job situation. On the plus side, lots of time for writing. On the negative side, no money. While the start of 2011 had promise with a long term role in a college in Solihull and a chance to clear a lot of debt, the second half of the year has been less promising. Hoping for better job prospects in 2012.

So, as I say, overall a draw and a lot of promise for the future.

So, what is to come in the next year? Well, Transitions is due out as an ebook sometime in the first half of the year (each ebook in the Shades of Love series will come out once a month, starting from this month, until June when the collected anthology will be released in print). There is also the secret project I am working on at the moment which is due to be released soon after January 31st, assuming I can get everything done before the deadline. There is also a Mystery Antholgy I am contributing too which may come out sometime in 2012 (it is still being written). After these are out of the way, I really need to look into getting more writing out there in the big, wide old world. Several of my stories are currently doing the rounds of publishers and maybe one of them will be picked up soon…

In closing, I would therefore like to say Happy New Year to each and every one of you and hope for a 2012 which, if not better than 2011, at leasts seems to be in hindsight at the end of the year. Let us pledge on this day to make 2012 a glass half full year. In fact, sod it, let’s all complain to the management that the glass we want is a bigger glass and we damned well want it full or so help us we’ll protest or riot or throw a strop or something!