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Omicron I can’t believe it, I’ve never been so done with 2021

Hello, my creeps and killers,

Well, look at that. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.

I don’t need to tell you that 2021 has not been the year anybody wanted or expected. The global whatever-the-hell aside, it’s been another transitional year for me. Last year was about finishing my Masters degree. This year, it was moving house. We finally made it into our new place just a week before the holidays began. Selling and buying through four lockdowns, in a ridiculous housing market, was not something I’d care to repeat… and with the amount of new debt I now have, is not something I’m going to be able to afford to do ever again. (Don’t worry, I will continue to check my PO box in case that huge cheque from Hollywood shows up.)

I published only one story this year: Heart of Iron, in The Only One in the World anthology. The book was gratifyingly well received, but it feels like a pretty small output. I have a couple of comics projects just about ready, but without a convention circuit I figured it was better to hold onto them for the time being.

It has been a fallow few years with my studies, so no surprise that there wasn’t much to harvest this year. But I have been increasingly productive and next year will be different. I addition to those comics, I have a handful of commissioned short stories that should be coming out and also my fourth novel, X-Dimensional Assassin Zai through the Unfolded Earth.

I finished a new novel this year: Blackened Skies, the sequel to Bloody Waters. I started the year intending to complete a different project, but when I sat down at the keyboard this was the one that demanded my attention. The other book… my attempt to write a commercial fantasy trilogy… is something I still want to do and will probably return to next year. But this year I needed to navigate a genuine biblical rock’n’roll apocalypse with Clarice and Johnny and I think, if you enjoyed the first book, you’ll enjoy this one just as much. Expect to see it in 2023.

The rock’n’roll apocalypse isn’t until 2023 but you can start celebrating now if you want.

I did other stuff. I was a judge for two comic-based awards. I taught two more Mechanics of Visual Storytelling workshops for Comics Mastermind, and will be teaching a new unit on writing horror comics next year. While I didn’t go to any conventions, I did really enjoy doing a panel on Jewish Australian speculative fiction with Jack Dann, Gillian Polack and Rivqa Rafael for Heinrich Heine University. The talk was recorded and I will post a link once it’s publicly available. In the meantime, please do take a good look at their Speculative Australia project on twitter and Youtube.

There’s also some stuff that I can’t announce yet which I hope will be game-changing for me. Despite the fact I began the year in a creative slump, my friends and colleagues brought work to me and at one point I found myself in the situation where I had to turn down an opportunity that I had applied for, and really wanted, because something better had come my way. 2022 is going to be a big one.

Huge thanks to my compadres Jason Fischer, Christopher Sequeira, Narrelle Harris, Gillian Polack and Emmet O’Cuana for all of their support through this year.

Even huger thanks to my parents David and Rhoda Franks for their unending kindness and generosity through the endless house moving process and beyond.And of course biggest thanks of

And as always, the biggest thanks goes to my ever-patient wife, who had to deal with home schooling our spawn, work and a series of terrible house moves on top of my stupid nonsense.

Happy new year, my friends. See you in 2022!

— Jason

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