A successful year of writing!

This blog is self-congratulatory. I beg your forbearance.

Our local creative writing group has now completed its Heritage Lottery Fund project on the impact of the First World War on the district. The results of our research comprise (1) a booklet about the lives and tribulations of our town’s 1916-1918 conscientious objectors, now printed and distributed, and (2) a Trail around the district’s War Memorials, extant and extinct, with photographs of each site. The latter work will soon appear as an online resource, which I hope we can make free to download. We invested a lot of effort in this project and I think we’re all pleased with the outcome.

Three of my short stories have been published during 2016, all in The Australia Times fiction section. As one of my friends pointed out, this makes me an international writer (not least because my first anthology of stories was published in Canada and my first novel in the USA). I’m starting to rediscover the pleasure of writing and honing short fiction, and publication is a reasonable indicator of success with the short story format.

As I informed everyone in the e-mail I circulated earlier today, my collection of hideous puns in prose and verse is now e-published by FBP. I’m told the print version will be made available in January (2017) but I’m still claiming it as a 2016 publication. A reminder of the link to the publisher’s store, in case you didn’t see it earlier: https://www.fantasticbooksstore.com/cruel-and-unusual-punnishments-all-formats.html Also, if you search online, you’ll shortly find Cruel and Unusual Punnishments available from Amazon. (If nothing else, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy David Moss’s cartoon illustrations!) When the publisher’s CEO told me the news that the book is now in the public domain, I forgot my venerable age and danced a jig. Not a pretty sight.

The one-act play I wrote, Forget it, it’s History, which was performed in July and was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Festival Adjudicator, is now in effect published by Stagescripts. We still have to exchange contracts, but this is only a formality; agreement’s been reached. I’m rather proud of this because Stagescripts are pretty selective about publication and will only include in their catalogue plays they deem worthy of being performed by anyone who wants to take them on, and since this was my first serious attempt at play-writing it’s more than I dared expect.

So my New Year Resolution will be to make 2017 as successful a writing year as 2016. But since we’re now launching a new project via the writing group, and I’m being booked for more and more storytelling and meet-the-author gigs, I’m likely to be quite hard pressed for time. That’s the trouble with being retired. Life is so busy.

I must also resolve to be less self-congratulatory next year. But I’m not sure whether I’ll keep that one.

A very good Christmas and New Year to all my readers. I shall blog about something else in January. Maybe I’ll write something political again, just to control my blood pressure by transmuting my annoyances and concerns into words.


  • Wonderful! I’m so happy to read some good news. And I love that you and your local writers are devoted to preserving the history of your town. Wishing you much happiness and success in 2017.

  • Mark, Congrats on the book! I am very impressed regarding the play – it must be
    the most amazing feeling to see it performed. Your thoughts coming alive. Wishing you a wonderful new year ahead filled with happiness and creativity! (I also imagine the jig you danced was a fine one!

  • Congratulations on a stellar writing year, Mark! And best of luck topping it in 2017!!

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