Another month, another rather longer absence than I expected. Hey now, I’m shambolic but at least I’m consistent. As Mr Eliot once said, April really can be the cruellest month sometimes.
I was genuinely hoping that March and April would have a few more posts than my habitual one-a-month, but as is depressingly usual, sudden outbreaks of Real Life™ have rather put a dampener on things. In the last few weeks our family was hit by a rather unexpected bereavement, which as anyone who’s ever suffered one knows, can both emotionally and practically swell up to eclipse quite a bit of your life for a prolonged period of time. We’re more or less through the tunnel now, and we’re largely in one piece, but it’s definitely a loss we’re going to feel for a while to come yet.
In slightly lighter news, I’m back, having had a surprisingly pleasant bank holiday (having enjoyed the fittingly gorgeous weather, and finding my chronic pain to be a lot less potent in the heat than I’d feared), with a couple of little announcements to make.
Ode to an Odyssey, that short story I released temporarily for free on Amazon, actually did quite well in the competition I wrote it for. While not qualifying for one of the gold/silver/bronze cash prizes – or the lofty honour of being narrated as an audio file by Stephen Fry – it did well enough to earn a certificate of commendation, which I have tastefully framed and hung up in my bedroom. My very first external award for my writing, and hopefully not my last.
And yes, you can clearly see the title is completely different, because when I filled in the entry form 10 minutes before the deadline, I misread the box and thought I had to title it ‘Troy’ instead of merely having it as the theme. Go figure.
The win has also been immortalised on the Lytham St Anne Classical Association’s website here, and I urge you to visit the page, to read some of the winning entries (which are, frankly, amazing).
And you can see the big man himself talking a bit about the competition, and his own Classical experiences, with none other than Professor Michael Scott, the Association’s honorary president and my old tutor at Warwick. Small world indeed.
In other news, the last couple of months also see me hit – and completely breeze by – a couple of noteworthy milestones. The first was this one…
… Which is now sadly a couple of months and nearly 200 hits out of date, and something I’d said multiple times I’d have to mark in some way…
… And this one, which arguably isn’t quite as late, but is probably more important. So at least I’ll have to think about something I can do or release to mark both of these events.
In other news, writing is going kind of okay. I’ve got the Prologue and Chapter One of Prince of Knaves behind me, though a break of funeral prep, research and work put things briefly on hiatus. The Prologue is one Kingesque exercise in building suspense, which sets off the whole plot cascade of the novel, while Chapter One is a fairly humorous yet spirited reintroduction to the main cast that picks up the threads from where they were last time. I should have done enough reading to press on with the seminal scene of Chapter Two – funnily enough, a family burial – which sees two very important characters from Book I reunite after a few years of estrangement…
I have a couple more posts planned for the next few weeks – some more in-depth than others – and a little bit of news to share on the public engagement front, though you might not see the results of it for a couple of months at least.
But in the meantime, there indeed be things going on behind the scenes.