Goodbye, 2020. You were a year of horror and hope!

When I reflect on the year that was, what’s in my mind is the coronavirus doom scrolling, and all the negativity. Sure, that was part of it, but when I looked a little further, well, there was plenty of great stuff, too. Part of the experience was the Melbourne lockdowns, during which my mum died, and I also broke my leg. What a list! It was full of tragedy and drama. But, aside from all the crisis and consternation, it’s been my most productive writing year to date, with some wonderful successes. It’s not award-winning stuff, but in overviewing what I’ve done, I feel pretty good about what’s been achieved.

This year has also made me realise that everything is indeed a journey, and that the pains in our lives give us more to work with. Without the awful experiences I would not have grown as much, so lemons and cream cakes, and onward we go!

Here’s my 2020 list of writerly endeavours, which is not too shabby.

Anthology Editing 
Co-edited two charity anthologies:  Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts with Chris Mason, and Trickster’s Treats 4: Coming Buried or Not with Geneve Flynn, both published by Steve Dillon over at Things in the Well. What a great privilege and experience it was to work with all those wonderful authors, my co-editors and Steve Dillon, and to raise funds for bushfire relief and literacy to donate to the Australian Red Cross and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Writing

I was busier than I thought:

  • Wrote 14 new stories ranging from 6–5000 words.  Of these 14 stories, 5 have been accepted for publication and some are already published. You can find the details and links here. Below is the 6-word ‘Footpath Fiction’  I wrote on the theme of ‘Community’ as a member of the Peninsula Writers’ Club as part of their collaboration with Mornington Peninsula Arts and Culture.
  • Wrote an additional 33 30-word stories for the Writers Victoria #WVFlashFiction20, of which one was the winning daily story. It’s a zombie story  written using the prompt ‘Measure’ .
  • Longlisted in the March Furious Fiction competition for my story ‘Fragments’. A longlisting in this competition is a badge of honour as there are at least 1200 entries each month. It’s tough competition. You should read some of the winning stories – there are some real gems . Check out the Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Blog. 
  • Completed a writing mentorship with Kaaron Warren. Kaaron Warren is both a lovely person and such a brilliant writer. And a great mentor! You should really read her work if you’re not familiar with it.  I can’t thank her enough for her guidance. The story we worked on, ‘The Dreams that Shape Us’, is a spec fic story about family, separation and isolation, and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out and can’t wait for you to read it. It’s currently in for submission, so waiting, waiting…!
  • Interviewed the majority of authors in Trickster’s Treats 4 on my blog.
  • Held monthly writers group meets online.
  • Received a special mention from Rue Morgue  magazine for my story ‘Confinement’ in Infected 2:tales to read at home. Thanks to Deidre Crimmins for the lovely write-up:  ‘The stronger tales in Infected 2, such as ‘Confinement’ by Louise Zedda-Sampson and ‘Welfare Check’ by Patrick J. Gallagher,  use the short  stature of the medium to their advantage. These bits of the anthology are far greater than their low word count suggests and feel like gems hidden within the bulk of the otherwise serviceable stories.’
  • The December 2019 edition of The Yorker, a Melbourne Cricket Club publication, which featured articles on women’s cricket and included my article ‘Bowl the Maidens Over’, a look at the first female cricket games in Australia in the 1800s, had to have an additional print run because it proved to be so popular. This may have been something to do with the fact the MCC hosted the Women’s T-20 World Cup in March. My article filled half the magazine, so I’m guessing the readers loved it!

In summation, it’s been a heck of a busy year. Not all doom scrolling at all! I’ve co-edited two anthologies, completed a mentorship, conducted about 25 author interviews, written 46 flash pieces, submitted 80+ times and had five acceptances, and formed and facilitated an online writing group that meets monthly and sometimes in-between.  It’s been a good year! ​I still have a few things carrying over from 2020, but they can wait until the next post. 

My latest acceptance and publication – mainly detailed here so I can show off the cover! – was for my flash piece ‘Droplets’ and is featured in the Macabre Ladies’ publication Extreme Drabbles of Dread. Gruesome cover, isn’t it?

It’s certainly been a mixed bag of achievements and experiences this last 12 months. There’s been good, bad and some pretty ugly. Maybe that’s why I’m starting this year with Hope. Interestingly enough, ‘Hope’ was the name of this month’s Furious Fiction submission. I’m literally starting 2021 with ‘Hope’. ​
I hope you have a good year, too.


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