darkmelodiesI was asked elsewhere what I thought my career high point was – and the question floored me for a bit, as it’s not something I’ve sat and thought about.

But in this week when I’m feeling a bit low about the closure of Dark Renaissance and struggling to find a new home for some orphan works, I decided to think about it.

But I can’t choose just one.

So I’ve made a little list of what are purely personal highlights.

– my first professional anthology sale came in 2005 after 13 years of lurking in the small press. I sold TOTAL QUALITY REPRODUCTION to NOVA SCOTIA, a Scottish science fiction anthology. I got to go to a mass signing at Blackwells in Edinburgh and stand alongside the likes of Charlie Stross, Ken MacLeod and Hal Duncan. That’s when I first thought, I can do this. I’ve since sold many short stories to high profile and pro rate paying markets, for the likes of Chaosium, Dark Regions, EDGE publishing and many more – all because that first one made me believe in myself.

– my first real venture into the ebook market came with THE INVASION in 2010 for Generation Next Publishing, and it took off like a bomb, quickly selling over 20000 copies on Kindle and reaching #2 in the Amazon science fiction charts for all book formats for a short time. That was a bit of an eye opener. I’ve had other good sellers in ebooks since, but never quite hit the sweet spot like that first one again.

– When I started out, all I really wanted was a collection of my supernatural short stories in hardcover at a decent publisher. Short spooky fiction was, and still is, the form I think I prefer best for my writing, and although most of my success, such as it is, has come elsewhere, it is to the shorts I keep returning, and it’s there I want more than anything else to leave some kind of mark. So I was very, very happy to sell DARK MELODIES to Dark Regions Press back in 2011. I’ve since sold other collections, and had the Carnacki, Holmes and Challenger work also in hardcover – but that first one, containing stories in worlds of my own creation, is the one I think I’ll always be proudest of.

sherlockholmesabroad– and speaking of short stories…

I’ve surprised myself by having a fair deal of success outside what I think of as the main, supernatural genre, and I’m very proud of having a story in NATURE FUTURES for each of the past five years, and of selling three recent stories to the MAMMOTH BOOK OF…series and another to Titan.

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– and lastly, onto long form. I think I’m proudest of the fact that I’ve managed to get not just one, but two book deals out of DarkFuse, and they’ve been doing great things for my career with the longer horror works. I’m just finishing off my 7th novel for them, and those, along with 4 novellas, have given me a higher profile than I’ve ever had before. Even if this is the last book for them, I’m proud to have worked with them, and will always be grateful. And this happened…

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I know there are people out there who only know of me from my pastiches in the CARNACKI, HOLMES and CHALLENGER books and their stories in anthologies. I loved doing them too, but with the passing of Dark Renaissance, I think that stage of my writing is also passing – but I’ll never say never…

That’s enough looking back.

Onward and Upward.

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