It’s that time again. Do you take stock at
the end of the year? Try to assess whether it’s
been a good or bad year? This one is leaving me a
The pleurisy at the beginning of the year threw
everything out of kilter, and seriously delayed work
on number fourteen, so that wasn’t good, especially
when it turned out to be particularly tricky, and
has been further delayed. This in turn has meant
a lack of funding, as you can imagine. But along
came the satellite channel Nation 217, offering cash
prizes for solving puzzles, and my income has been
and continues to be healthily supplemented as a result.
So that was good. And if I had been working on number
fourteen instead of under orders to do nothing, I
might never have become a Nation 217 player.
Incidentally – since discovering Nation 217,
I have found that there are other channels offering
prizes for solving puzzles, and I’ve had a
look at them. If you have seen any of them, don’t
imagine that 217 is like them. It isn’t.
But back to my assessment. Unlucky for Some was
published here to what seems to have been a resounding
silence – I haven’t seen any reviews
at all. (If you have – good or bad – let
me know.) That didn’t seem so good, but despite
the lack of reviews, I was told that Macmillan were
very pleased with the sales, which is good. And my
US editor rang me up on the eve of Thanksgiving specially
to let me know that the pre-publication feedback
from over there was particularly encouraging, so
that was good, too.
And those of you who read this newsletter regularly
will of course know that we lost Frankie, our cat,
who died at sixteen. But a quirk of fate produced
George the tabby kitten almost immediately, and he
continues to be delightful (except for his DIY exploits – see
his page for details).
So each bit of bad seems to have been counteracted
by a bit of good, and I suppose the verdict has to
be that I have had better years, but it could have
been a great deal worse. Lots of nice things have
happened too. Most years are like that, I suppose – it’s
just that this one seemed to have the contrast turned
up to maximum.
Resolutions? To get more exercise and fresh air,
eat more (most people have to resolve to eat less,
but I like to be different), smoke less (not at all
would be sensible, but might be too ambitious) and
finish number fourteen while 2005 is still young.
And, of course, update the web site every month,
at the beginning of the month, just I’ve done
Lots of you went in for the competition last month, and the winners have been
notified. And I notice on the message board that a few people have been trying
in vain to find the video of Lloyd and Hill for sale – I’m afraid
there isn’t a commercial video of it. But you can win a copy of mine,
so have a go at the competition if you’d like one. It will be in the
PAL format, but even if you are NTSC, modern VCRs can cope with PAL. Of course, ‘modern
VCRs’ is beginning to be a contradiction in terms, but I’m sure
that by the time we all have to play DVDs instead, I will have whatever gizmo
is required to transfer Lloyd and Hill to disc. And modern DVD players – still,
as far as I know, a non-oxymoron – don’t seem to care what region
you are, so hopefully they’ll work wherever you are.
Or maybe by then Lloyd and Hill will have been serialised
on TV and sold world-wide, with all the merchandising
that goes with that sort of success, and you’ll
be able to buy the entire oeuvre on disc, not to
mention all the spin-off feature films complete with
director’s commentary and interviews with the
You see? Fiction writers can imagine anything.
I hope you have a happy, peaceful Christmas, and
I’ll see you in January.