It’s the end of the year. In fact, it’s the end of the decade. And there’s a lot of ‘what have I achieved’ blogs doing the rounds. So we thought we’d do a little recap of what we’ve done in the last twelves months.
The fourth book in our “Clovenhoof’s Diary” series was published. We had started this project as a month-by-month account of what we thought would be a momentous year in the UK’s history. Of course, it was never going to be sensible account of a year in near-Brexit Britain with our favourite devil, Jeremy Clovenhoof, at the centre of things. Custard-based explosions, violent lollipop ladies and stupidity with remote controlled drones abound.
We ran a workshop on self-publishing in Birmingham for Writing West Midlands. We saw some familiar faces and some new friends turn up to this. We covered many marketing basics and helped people on their individual journeys as well.
We also ran a (very) cut-down version of this for the Solihull Writers Group, who are a great bunch of people and very welcoming to visitors.
We began a new writing project, initially called Horror Road Trip. In 2018, we’d written a novel called A Heart in the Right Place in which a father and son go on a road trip with a corpse in the boot of their car. This inspired us to think of places in the UK which have featured in horror stories. A bit of brainstorming and a shout out to horror writers we knew and, later in 2019, www.frightseers.com was born. Check it out.
Our fantasy novella, Exit the Dragon, was published. This was very much inspired by the final series of Game of Thrones which definitely left fans divided over how the series chose to treat the dragon queen, Daenerys Targaryen. Exit the Dragon was a story about how a fantasy city might react after a flying fiery visit by a dragon and its queen.
The audiobook for Oddjobs 2 was released, once again brought to life by award-winning narrator, Matthew Lloyd Davies.
We went to EdgeLit in Derby. Remembering the last time that we had a table in the dealers’ room on a hot day, we headed out to Poundland and got some cheap fans. A new deal was born (buy a book and get a free fan).
We made a research trip to Skegness. You won’t see the books resulting from this until 2020, but we made some astonishing discoveries, including the North Sea Observatory. Luckily for the short-sighted amongst us, there is now a purpose-built building with a window, so that you can see the North Sea. It’s easily missed otherwise.
Heide went to Edinburgh to attend a conference run by 20BooksTo50K. It’s a group of independent publishers who share marketing and writing advice in a Facebook group. It was exhilarating to meet so many of them in real life, and to hear some of the amazing advice that was shared.
The Only Wizard in Town, the full-length novel sequel to Exit the Dragon was published. Newport Pagnell, wizard and dentist, is forced to accompany a band of adventurers as they raid a trap-filled dungeon. It was definitely an opportunity to channel all those D&D dungeon-crawl experiences, including improbable death-traps and impossible riddles and other nonsense.
We attended the Dublin 2019 WorldCon event. We blogged about it here. Key memories include excellent panels, games in the gaming room, LOTS of queuing and, of course, Guinness.
September was a monster month of publication.
Two books based on dreams we’ve had…
Jaffle Inc (based on a dream Heide had) was our science fiction comedy about brain technology, a sort of cheerful dystopia about what happens when you tick social media terms and conditions without reading the small print. It got a far warmer reception than either of us expected.
Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood (based on a dream Iain had) was a very silly and very violent horror comedy about Santa’s elves taking bloody revenge on the humans at a rural Christmas market. A perfect Christmas read (possibly).
Dolled Up was a novella length prequel to our 2017 comedy, Snowflake. In it, disaster-prone millennial Lori Belkin goes on a Greek holiday and channels her inner goddess.
A Bridge Too Few is a very silly novella that sits between Candy Canes and Disenchanted in the Sprite Brigade series of books. The trolls of Sheffield are made homeless and it’s up to mystical academic Epiphany Alexander to find them somewhere new to live.
The much anticipated audiobook adaptation of our 2012 novel, Clovenhoof, is released. Finally, our favourite devil can be enjoyed by audio fans.
We ran a comedy writing workshop as part of the Everybody’s Reading festival in Leicester. We did this in conjunction with Leicester University, who house the Sue Townsend archive in the library. We used some of Sue Townsend’s manuscripts, corrected as she sharpened up the humour to illustrate some comedy techniques.
We launched a Facebook group, the Comedy Kitchen. We used it as an excuse to take way too many stupid pictures of us messing about in a kitchen.
A month after Clovenhoof, the second book in the series, Pigeonwings, was released in audiobook format. One of the chores / joys of this process is proof-listening through the audio files. Matthew Lloyd Davies’s characterisation of certain characters definitely had us in giggles.
Fantasycon was in Glasgow this year. Heide went along and was blown away to spend several hours sitting outside in the sunshine in October. It was a fun weekend of seeing friends and being on panels. Heide ran a workshop about combining craft and book marketing, which was a lot of fun as the class made tiny choc-filled coffins as Heide shared her thoughts and found out that she is not alone in thinking that this is an intriguing and fun idea.
A month of audio publications.
Snowflake, narrated by the delightful Di Croft, came out on Audible / Amazon. A week later, the third Clovenhoof book, Godsquad, was released.
The monthly Clovenhoof’s Diary series ended in August and, this month, the collected diaries —all 740 pages of them! — became available as a single volume. Our attempts to encapsulate a year with two failed Brexit dates, two general elections and more chaos than the British can cope with, fell short of matching the insane reality of modern Britain but we gave it our best shot!
Finally, not an actual publication date, but Oddjobs 3 finally went up for pre-order this month. Both Oddjobs 3 and 4 will be available to read in the early months of 2020.
What a year! We might need a bit of sit down for the next twelve months!