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I’d like to say that this first post of the new year is late because I have only just finished partying. That would, however, be a lie. It is late because I have just been so busy doing other things.

No, that is also a lie.

I have simply not been sure what to write.

Which is odd for me because I am not usually that bad at thinking of things to write about. The main reason this blog gets neglected is usually because of one of the other two things mentioned above. OK, I admit, mostly the second one – I get too busy with other things, my days of constant partying are I feel in the past :). However, the nature of 2016 has been such that I am overall not sure what to think about it and I do not feel I am alone in this.

It was the year of celebrity deaths. A year in which when we thought George Michael might be the last of the shocks*, it hits us with the sad passing of Carrie Fisher and then William Christopher (of M.A.S.H fame). Though, it is worth pointing out that the Wikipedia page on celebrity deaths does have Robert Taussat (French historian and author) listed last for December 2016. However, I am not sure if this means he was the last one to go or if the list is in no real order.

D.A Lascelles, Alex Campbell, NinfaHayes and Dianna Hardy

The Urban settings panel at Sandbach

On the subject of Carrie Fisher, I did spend a lot of time browsing through this site of tributes by artists. I was first of all amused by the fact it is actually a hell of a lot more than 10 tributes (last I looked it was over 100) and also by the many different views artists have of her. There are ones here that play on her famous quote (“No matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”  which was her response to George Lucas’s quite sexist remark about there being no underwear in space because of some nonsense about pressure), ones that show her love for her dog and ones that show her as she was before she died – i.e. not just focussing on her as she was in her best known role. I am not linking or showing any of the art here as I wish to respect the copyright of the artists but I do encourage you to go check out that page and wallow in all the bittersweet.

This was also the year of politics gone wrong with Brexit and Trump throwing the UK, US and a chunk of the rest of the world in to shock. We are now facing a year in which we have to deal with the consequences of those decisions, good or bad. There are naturally concerns about the rise of the right in both cases and I am not sure that those who voted for either will actually get what they were expecting to get.

On a more personal note, this was a mixed year for me. In terms of my real world job I lost one not very secure position that I was hoping to make more permanent by December but very quickly gained one that is, while technically less secure, still seems to have more promise of permanence in the near future. So, overall not too bad, if a little uncertain on the career front.D A Lascelles Gods of the Deep Kindle Fantasy Swashbuckling

In terms of creative stuff, I have been really ramping up the photography in the past year and feel I am improving massively in both taking photos and editing them. This has been partly down to some epic mentorship from Ste Manns of Quattrofoto on the ins and outs of photoshop and partly down to the efforts of the JW Creative network – a group of photographers, models and make up artists who collaborate on some crazy projects. They have given me the chance to practise shooting with experienced models and photographers in an open and friendly environment where I can get helpful advice and support. I have posted one of my favourite shots from these gatherings here and you can see the rest on my Flickr account…

Finally, in terms of writing this has been a good year. I completed Gods of the Deep (finally… its only taken 6 years from conception to birth…) and attended a number of events including EasterCon, the Manchester Author signing and the Sandbach author signing. All of these I considered successful events in terms of my personal goals and I am looking forward to more of the same next year. Not only that, but I have had at least two people tell me how much they enjoyed reading Gods of the Deep which was a real boost to my ego.

I guess the one downside to my creative year was not doing what I promised to do and revamp this website… I’ll get round to that soon, I promise…

So, I am not usually one for resolutions but I am going to make myself a promise for the coming year. That is to do more creative things – try to advance at least one creative project, even if only by a little, each day. Whether it is take a photo, edit a photo, write more of a story or edit more of a story. At the moment, in terms of writing projects, I am currently skating on the edge of the void that is about to become ‘The Silver Tower’ – a SF tale set in Manchester which is looking like it may well be aimed at a YA audience. I’ll keep you all posted on that and hopefully this one won’t take six years to write…

*In what is possibly the most ironic timing of all time – the artist famous for ‘Last Christmas’ dies on Christmas day… even in death the man had a talent.