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The Best Things About 2018 - a list

Friends of mine have been reminding me of the magic in the world this year. Through the year they have taken time to remind me that the world is almost as exciting as it was while we still had white areas on our maps and didn’t know if the Kraken existed.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year and instead of spending time telling you all about the crap this year has poured over me I will tell you about the good parts.

I like lists. So we’ll make a list of TOP TEN BEST THINGS OF 2018 in no particular order:

- In January me and my daughter drove for two hours to meet our new dog. We drove through snow just to meet her and then a week later we made a second trip to bring her home. She is a wonderful little companion, the best, happiest little creature we could have hoped for. Seeing my daughter cradle her in the back seat as the two of them got to know each other was a treasure. And through getting to know this little girl I have solved one of life’s biggest mysteries. Do you know where that sock vanishes to when you lose it in the laundry or in the dryer? Well, I do - it goes to doggy haven, where they need a lot of socks to entertain all the dogs. She loves socks and her name is Lycka (Happiness, Luck).

- In August I took a trip to the states. I flew to San Fransisco. I rented a car and I drove places. I saw people. I got to know a little of this country I’ve heard so much about. And you know what? I loved it there, every single minute of it. I could list ten things, easily, from that trip alone as the highlights of the year, my time in the Big Sur (How I loved it there!), the people I met in San Jose and Santa Cruz, the sun, the road. If that trip was the ONLY good thing to happen in 2018 I would still love the year just for that.

- THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF HALLOWEEN STORIES - I'd be lying if I didn’t say that having a short story in that anthology hadn’t been THE highlight of my year. It is still surreal to see the book in my shelf, leaf through it and see my name amongst all the other fantastic names in it. I never thought I’d see that happen but now thanks to Stephen Jones it’s there as a reminder that I can do this.

- Which brings me to another point - People’s kindness. It seems odd but never before have I been so promptly reminded of the fact that people are generally kind and go out of their way to help you out, even when it does NOTHING for them other than seeing you feel better or fare well. I’d name more names, but the list is long this year, just know that if you showed me kindness this year odds are that I actually noticed and am at this moment in time trying to remind the world that good karma should come your way. People are generally incredible creatures, not as awesome as my dog, but almost.

- Friends - new and old. This is a part of the point above but this has been a year where I am reminded of my friends. Not just those I knew about before but new friends and odd friends that have shown themselves throughout the year with good conversation and discussions that are worth so much.

- London was a gem too. I have never been much for travel, though I've seen a bit of Europe, this year completely changed that for me. I loved everything about London. The short flight. The people. The bookstores! The people. The city. I met friends. I was a part of a book signing regarding THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF HALLOWEEN STORIES. I met a lot of new people. I made new friends. I got to see the Royal Opera house! AND a friend took me to see the HIGHGATE CEMETERY which was just fantastic.

- Books -Of course it wouldn’t be a proper list if I didn’t mention books that captivated me this year. I delved into Grady Hendrix for the first time and actually sent him an email after finishing WE SOLD OUR SOULS, an email he graciously answered. I now have HORRORSTÖR on my to-read pile and am looking forward to that. I also loved discovering WHITE by Tim Lebbon and THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM by Victor LaValle. And THE ANOMALY by this guy, Michael Richter, was just phenomenal, not to mention

CROSS HER HEART by Sarah Pinborough.

- Another aspect of this year has been TWITCH which in periods just saved my sanity. I don’t know what it is about watching people play video games but it soothes me and lurking on people’s streams while I’m writing or doing other things has been a treat. So a short list of people I think everyone should check out: DrGluon, Smokaloke (my fav), RoryPlays, Deligracy, Meteornotes, KryticZeuz, JamesTurnerYT are all streams I can warmly recommend for those who like gaming. The best gaming experience I’ve had myself this year has been UNRAVEL TWO which I played with my daughter. We are having a LOT of fun with that. GOD OF WAR was a blast and I’m a big fan of building houses in THE SIMS 4 - that game is just right amount of reality and oddness.

- One of the things that has been fantastic about this year is that I’ve been able to write quite a lot. I spend up to 8 hours every workday writing and I’m going to be grateful for every day I will be able to do that in the future. I have a first draft of a novel finished. It’s not great but the second draft is much better and I’m halfway through that. And I have a few short stories up my sleeve that haven’t seen the light of day yet, but have potential. I love doing this and I will feel happy for as long as I will be able to continue to do this.

- A good aspect about getting a dog is all the walking you suddenly find yourself doing. She loves it in the forest which is close to where we live. She loves nosing around and we can walk together in silence - she doesn’t mind that I have podcasts in my ears as long as we don’t always (just sometimes) take the same paths. I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts, (Mainly THE HORROR SHOW with Brian Keene, THEOTHERPPL podcast and THREE GUYS WITH BEARDS,) been wrapped up in other people’s conversations while feeling as if I’m far away from everyone. Walking in the forest is like running - it does something for the soul, recharges the batteries in a way that I am not sure I could do differently.

And there we have ten good things about my year. All in all it’s been a year of change and change is never easy, but with it comes development and adventures you never thought you’d have.

Happy New Year to you wherever you are!

There will be a new CHESTNUT soon and I am hoping 2019 will be a great year for the world, for you and for me. 2019 is still a white blip on our map and may it turn out to be full of great adventure and happiness.


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