Thiis is the time when traditionally we look back over the year just passed and ahead to the year to come.

I nearly didn’t bother this year. It has, most people would agree, been a terrible year. What is there to look back on with any pleasure?

Well, at a personal level, it did have its moments. Like many of us, I enjoyed the clean air and the stunning weather of Spring and Summer.

London from Richmond Park

 

The View from from Richmond Hill

 


Home Park, Hampton Court

 

 

The local wildlife seemed to be more relaxed with fewer cars around – or maybe we just got out more often to see them.

It was still frustrating, unable to see our friends or take a holiday abroad. We were even prohibited from visiting Wales for most of the year.

On the work front, though, it was busier than I realised at the time. I finally managed to get back the North American rights to my James Burke books. I decided that I would re-launch them, this time publishing them myself, so the three existing Burke books came out with beautiful new covers by Dave Slaney.

 

June

July

August

In September, they were joined by a new book, Burke in the Peninsula, bringing Burke into Richard Sharpe territory with adventures in Spain.

 

Self-publishing turns out to be quite a lot of work, but the rewards are considerable. The books are finding new readers and, though you won’t find any of them in the charts, they now make solid, if unspectacular, sales. And getting royalty cheques that are worth cashing makes a nice change.

So it has been an exciting year that has laid the ground for more excitement in 2021.

I celebrated New Year by pressing the button to send my audiobook of Dark Magic off for publication. It should be available to buy later this month. I’ll certainly keep you up to date with that.

Dark Magic for any of you who don’t already know, is a dramatic break with my historical writing. It’s what I think they call a contemporary urban fantasy: a story of Black Magic and murder on the London stage. I’m following this up with another book in the same genre, this time featuring vampires and tango dancers, to be called Something Wicked. Somebody said it reminded them of Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London, which I’ve never read. I had a very quick look at the opening pages and I can see the resemblance. It’s strong enough to make me glad I haven’t read it so I can honestly say it’s not a rip-off, but if you like Ben Aaronovitch, it’s likely you’ll enjoy Something Wicked.

There is another Burke on the way, originally intended to come out in February but now likely to be put off until March, what with the audiobook and Something Wicked. It’s worth waiting for, though, as it is Burke’s first adventure as a spy and sees him infiltrating the Nationalist movement in late 18th century Ireland. It’s darker than the other books in the series, but a gripping read.

Setting up as my own publisher has absorbed most of my energy, but the plot for the sixth (!) James Burke book has been growing somewhere in the dark recesses of what passes for my mind and I may finally get to put fingers to keyboard soon.

Speaking of which, I need to get on. I hope that, on reflection, you can remember good things from 2020 and that 2021 will bring better days.

Happy New Year!