#2016 – summary & playlist


(header image (c) Chris Barker)

Not exactly a New Year‘s Eve party playlist, but then again, it didn’t exactly feel like a party year, for all sorts of reason. Rather than celebrate its passing, we breathe a sigh of relief and hope that 2017 at least won’t get much worse…

gettyimages-591717242_custom-2b1934dac188b7266281132abf838e0c4c8aa8fcIt’s not going to surprise anyone reading this blog how I felt about the political developments since January, and frankly there’s little cause for optimism for the near future. But hey, at least we’re still here (well, most of us), and who knows, maybe 2017 will surprise us. At first, let’s see how long that ceasefire in Syria is going to hold…

KingFor me personally, it was a fairly mixed year. Artistically – very successful, considering I wrote and published two full novels which ended the Year of the Dragon saga, and even found the time for a collection of haiku. I hope to keep this pace up going into next year, although I’ll be starting my new novel from scratch – something I hadn’t done in over five years. AN ENTIRELY NEW BOOK! Every time I realize this, I get terrified at the very thought.

 
KamogawaIn the more mundane part of my life, very little happened. I stayed and worked in London all year, excepting the summer trip to the Hokuriku region of Japan, which was predictably awesome. I changed jobs in the summer, I started listening to comedy podcasts and… that’s about it. This is the first time in a long time that I’ll be spending two consecutive New Year’s Eves in the same place and circumstances. Feels weird!

Haiku2017, though – well, I don’t do New Year resolutions, I do New Year plans, and I have some big plans for this year. Definitely should be more interesting, but for now it’s all secret. I’ll let you know once it all comes to fruition.

wave_250Until then, here’s the playlist. As you’d probably have guessed, it’s a morbid one – a list of all those artists we said goodbye to this year (I include Lemmy, since I’ve learned of his death in the very beginning of 2016). Bowie, Prince and George Michael are the giants that loom large over the list, though as I’ve mentioned before, there are some lesser known names that have made an equally great impact on me – and some others which have been far less noticeable than they deserved in this year’s onslaught.

The passage of time is remorseless, and we are just at the beginning of the age of the dying celebrities. I expect 2017 list will be at least as full of famous names as this year, and 2018, and so on… but 2016 was definitely the first when the mortality of our childhood idols became such an integral part of reality. No matter who else will perish in the future, there will never again be a year like this – the first year of the mass idol death.

Oh well. Here’s to hope, tenacity and Keith Richard’s good health!

The Year That Passed


Well, 2015 happened.

Farewell, Orca I

It was very much the year of two halves. By the time the calendar struck June, we’ve been to Poland, Japan, Germany, Luxembourg and France. We’ve sold the van, ended the journey (for now!), moved back to London, returned to regular office work…

Oh, and I published “Withering Flame”.

The Withering Flame

The second half was very much six months of winding down, settling down and slowing down. Not much happened as we returned to a settled, “normal” life. I put this blog on more or less of a hiatus, and I hadn’t picked up on “Shattering Waves” almost until NaNoWriMo. It was the first time I voted in national elections in UK, and the first time I didn’t vote in said elections in Poland. I joined the Lib-Dems out of pity… Plus, we helped some friends move to London – and got rid of an old sofa 🙂 Oh! And, we went to the States in October, for the first time ever.

DSCF0522
Times Square! No Photoshop!

As the year comes to an end, I’m starting to pick up the pace again. “Shattering Waves” manuscript is finished – a couple of months of editing from now, it will be ready for a Spring release. What’s more, for the first time since finishing Volumes 1-4, I’m working on two books at the same time – I’ve started drafting Volume 8, albeit at the stately pace of 500 words per day.

That means that even if nothing else happens in 2016, at least this will be the year I finally end The Year of the Dragon saga. Now THAT is certainly something to look forward to!

Happy New Year 2016 everyone!

 

 

2014 blog review – 明けましておめでとう!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

France in Mali: the End of the Fairytale


Excellent summary of the internal situation in Mali.

Africa is a Country (Old Site)

Whew, Mali. French air raids against Islamist positions in Mali began Thursday night, and the dust hasn’t settled yet. The news is changing fast, but, three things emerge from the haze. First, fierce fighting in the North and the East, with French forces in the lead, will open up a whole new set of dangers. With Islamist forces on the attack, foreign intervention was necessary, and many Malians at home and abroad welcomed it enthusiastically. Still, this remains a dangerous moment all around. Second, while the latest crisis might not break the political deadlock in Bamako, it has already changed the dynamic. And third, despite the sorry state of mediation efforts to date—both within West Africa and beyond—savvy diplomacy is needed now more than ever.

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Yaldā Advent Calendar 2012 – Day 20 – summary


XX

Mithras10’twas the day before Yalda, and all through the night
there were sacred bonfires burning happy and bright
watermelons were sliced, and persimmons hung high
out of joy that lord Mithras will come to save light.

😉

 

It’s time to summarize the 20 days of the Advent Calendar before tomorrow: the last day of the long Mayan cycle.

Here’s what you have missed, or still have one last chance to take part in:

Day 1 – Dragonbone Chest novella free (expired)
Day 2 – Transmission short stories free (expired)
Day 3 – Shadow of Black Wings free on Kobo (expired)
Day 4 – Half-price Bundle (expired)
Day 5 – Lands of Orient Map and Royal Marines
Day 6 – Born in Flames GIVEAWAY
Day 7 – Islands in the Mist Paperback
(weekend break)
Day 10- Written GIVEAWAY
Day 11- Gallery: A Visit to Kiyo
Day 12- Excerpt from Volume 4: The Rising Tide
Day 13- The Hobbit GIVEAWAY
Day 14- Shadow of Black Wings Free on Amazon (expired)
(weekend break)
Day 17- The Shadows of the Apt GIVEAWAY
Day 18- Gallery: A Visit to Chinzei
Day 19- Something Nice GIVEAWAY

One day left, tomorrow. I’ll have one last something for you then, too – if there IS a tomorrow 🙂

Oh, and here’s the last chance form to take part in any of the still-ongoing giveaways: