All in all, a good year, even if I say so myself. And not only will I say so myself, but I'll also say so to you, as I write my 'end of year blog'.
2010 started with a bang, the end of the Tenth Doctor's Doctor Who series in IDW comic format. From the moment that the New Years Day episode aired, I know that the clock was ticking until the moment that Tennant was forgotten and Smith was lauded - I just hoped to finish the series before the audience got too bored and I still had six months to write. And write I did, throughout the year, while simultaneously designing what would become the 2011 'Eleventh Doctor Comic Season One'. Deadlines were interesting, and the two radically different series styles proved to be a very interesting counterpoint throughout the year.
But while I was writing the Doctor Who series, I was also writing a ton of other things, first and foremost my first novel, Dodge & Twist. Started in December, I was averaging about 4,000 words a day on this, and at the end of January I'd written about 80,000 words. In addition to this I was working on the third Dopplegangers book for Tyndale Press, as well as the four Horowitz Horror books for Franlkin Watts with Dan Boultwood and editing / proofing the first half of Excalibur: The Legend Of King Arthur at Walker Books. So as you can see, it was a little hectic.
February didn't let up, either - we'd booked the church for our January 2011 wedding, and we were only just starting down the path of wedding fun and jollity that would take us up to right now, and this ate into my work time, work time that included Doctor Who and The Wall, a project that I was writing with Stuart Eve, currently in limbo while we wait for various things to happen. In mid February I left my US Agent after they pretty much imploded, and went to Los Angeles for a week. Andy Briggs, my celebrity chum and fellow writer pulled some strings for me while I was over there and managed to get me in front of two new managers. So, while there I agreed to be represented by Stephanie Johnson of Clover Entertainment, which was a great move, as she wasn't accepting new clients.
Stephanie has been one of the best things that has happened to me in 2010 as well, constantly helping me on the US side of things.
On the side we started to work out the next Heroes and Heroines book at Walker, with Joan Of Arc being the favourite choice of several options. Meanwhile Walker found out that Outlaw: The Legend Of Robin Hood had been nominated for several awards, which started the year very well.
March was more Doctor Who, by now I was into the final story and already knew how it would end as the new show was being advertised on the television. It was most surreal.
Also in March I did final edits to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies before it went to print and final edits on the Horowitz Horror books before they too went to print. During this time Adrian Cole, our editor on the books suggested that we might want to think of something else to pitch for after these were done - Dan and I had been playing around with a Baker Street Irregulars series, and so we worked out a vague story and threw it to Franklin Watts... Adrian liked it, and asked to see more. March was also the month where Dodge & Twist went out to publishers through my agency, Blake Friedmann. To say that the response was 'less than stellar' is an understatement - every reply said how good it was (something confirmed when one of the Hachette readers, hearing I was in the building actually hunted me out to personally tell me how much he'd loved it) but nobody wanted to take a risk on a non-contemporary book by an unknown. Still, it's still doing the rounds, so we'll see. Julian Friedmann, my UK agent is quite hopeful, so we'll see.
Also in March I worked on Journal, the one book I really need to get finished, if only to stop Bevis Musson killing me. It underwent a massive alteration last month, so more pages will be on their way, with the whole thing finished by the end of January. I went through a crisis of faith on this book and spent a lot of time with my head in the sand, allowing Bevis more and more time for alterations, when I should have been writing more - but now I've worked out the gaping issues with the story and I'm ready to go on that again.
April was a start of several projects. Firstly was the Baker Street Irregulars, created into a massive pitch document, with Sherlockian extraordinaire Leslie S. Klinger agreeing to come on board with us as consulting editor. Also in April was my commissioning of the final Necrophim series for 2000ad, part one of such came out last week in all good newsagents. It was a bit of a kick in the teeth to be told that it was the last series, considering that from the start we'd been playing the long form game and as such the previous series had been purely setting the stage for a grander opera, but 2000ad editor Matt Smith knows the business way better than I did, and so I began to plot that out.
May was a nightmare month, as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies came out to immediately top the New York Times Bestseller lists for paperback Graphic Novels, and a swathe of interview requests from people like WIRED and USA Today. I felt like a rock star, but each of these interviews ate up a ton of time and, with the school talks I was giving and the comic cons I was attending, work time was a lot tighter. And of course this was the time that I was hitting the end of the Tenth Doctor stories and starting to block out the first of the Eleventh Doctor stories, I was blocking out Necrophim and waiting to hear back about The Baker Street Irregulars.
At the Bristol Comic Expo, I heard that the first round of pitching at Hachette had been unsuccessful, and that some of the suits wanted some data on whether the book could sell - it was suggested that Dan and I should think of an alternative, just in case Baker Street was a no-go. The book we came up with that weekend was Danger Academy, a book about the school where the children of famous spies and secret agents go. More on that later. I did a signing at the Birmingham Forbidden Planet for Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, where I think I actually signed as many Doctor Who books as I did anything else. I wrote a swimsuit Lady Action story for the summer special that then became a winter issue, so I then wrote another Lady Action story that involved snow. And less bikinis.
Edmund Shern offered me a massive gig writing a Big Book of Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies type thing for StormLion. Lots of short tales linked around a core storyline and a great opportunity to have some serious fun with the genre. At the same time Tricia at Random House offered me a chance to pitch for an ongoing adaptation of one of my favourite books ever, and I spent a ton of the month fleshing that out. And at the MCM Expo in London, I met up with Stargate Universe star Alaina Huffman who was interested in doing a comic with me based on a creation of hers, Agent Mom. Over all, May was a good month.
June, however was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. At the start we discovered that The Baker Street Irregulars had indeed been taken by Hachette and, in turn Franklin Watts, which led to several tone meetings where we could work out where the series was going. Of course this meant that Danger Academy wasn't needed, and it was filed away. With Daniele Serra we started working on a new idea called Lockbox, with an eye for someone like Image. Modern day bank heist goes wrong, with a supernatural twist. I carried on with both Doctor Who and Necrophim, and spend a larger than required amount of time chasing up a new wedding venue after Ye Old Kings Head, the 16th Century Coaching Inn that we had booked our reception in was bought and subsequently closed by Sir Alan Sugar. I was creating a bible for Agent Mom with Alaina and hunting for an artist.
And then the month ended with the news that I hadn't got the Random House gig - I'd gotten down to the last couple of people, but lost out at the last hurdle. To say it was a bit of a blow was a teeny bit of an understatement.
July started on a down note, with my schedule thrown out of whack. I was writing scripts for Baker Street Irregulars, Necrophim and the final Tenth Doctor Who script simultaneously, and the end of the Doctor Who run affected me greatly, even though I knew that I'd be starting with Smith the following month, and everything seemed to be ending, a fact made clearer when StormLion, who I was doing the Vampires, Zombies and Werewolves book for, folded. All in all, it wasn't looking peachy.
At this point I went to my old High School - when I had topped the New York Times Best-Seller List in May my old English Teacher, Miss Polatajko had called to congratulate me - she still taught at the school and, after talking with the school and the local press, I agreed to come in to surprise her, presenting her with a certificate and at the same time doing a talk for the kids on how anyone could make their dreams come true. Coming to this from such a downer was a tough one, but as I was getting out of the car I had an email from an Audio play company that I can't mention yet but it's pretty much an easy one to guess, offering me a chance to pitch an audio play for a big license. With this spurring me on, I went and saw my old teacher, spoke to the kids in the class and came out of the school invigorated and ready to take on the world once more.
And then San Diego happened, and everything picked up again. Agent Mom and The Gloom were both picked up by MTV Comics, and during a meeting with Kickstart about Lockbox, a story that they felt was too 'mature' for their range, I showed them Danger Academy to pretty much get an immediate 'yes please' from them. With these books in new homes, I was walking on air, added to by hearing that From The Pages Of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula': Harker had been optioned by an independent company for a five figure fee. I had some great meetings and then came home to an absolute ton of new work, including a 14 page story for the UK comic Marvel Heroes, scheduled for January 2011 that starred She Hulk, The Thing, Daredevil, Human Torch, The Kingpin, Klaw, Stilt Man and The Red Ghost and his Super Apes..
August was spent with Necrophim, Baker Street Irregulars and Agent Mom, Dan Boultwood was brought on as artist - adding to his already massive Baker Street and Danger Academy workload, and I started working on the Audio script. I gained an accountant. I started speaking to Suleiman Bakhit of Aranim Entertainment in Jordan, and with him and fellow writer Anthony Jones started to sketch out one of the first western comics for the Middle East, Saladin 2100.
The short film, The Shoot that I wrote a couple of years earlier and which had been filmed in 2009 was finally uploaded onto the internet so that people could see it. The first screenplay I ever wrote, there are parts that make me cringe and other parts that I am incredibly proud of. And finally, at the end of August I started the first issue of the new Doctor Who series, starring the Eleventh Doctor. Fun and enjoyable, this was as far from the old series as I could get.
September was Baker Street book four, Necrophim's end, Doctor Who's beginning and a further episode especially written for Mark Buckingham to draw entitled 'They Think It's All Over', a lot of back and forth on Agent Mom, meetings with Suleiman and Ant Jones while in London on Saladin 2100, Element Zero and Balloon Girl. And of course, the three month to go point on my upcoming wedding. Audio wise I finished the first draft of the big project, and received a gig writing a second, smaller one for a good friend.
Back to comics, contract negotiations on Danger Academy continued and I fleshed out the synopsis, and I came on board The Troop, a new series by award winning actor / director / writer / everything Noel Clark. That's right, Mickey Smith from Doctor Who. More on this in 2011. And finally, I discovered that Messenger: The Legend Of Joan Of Arc was greenlit by Walker Books.
October, and the New York Comic Con was busy as hell, attending this while also writing Doctor Who, sorting the synopsis of Audio play number two, scripting Saladin 2011 issue one and fleshing out the Danger Academy synopsis according to requested changes. With Baker Street Irregulars now finished script wise, I started lettering the books. Lockbox found a home with 1821 Comics, where we're currently working out the specifics and I started to work out Yet Still I Live, a crime / revenge story. I did a massive interview for the SFX Doctor Who Special.
Agent Mom went through some changes following meetings at New York, and the first 'issue' of the series was written. The Gloom was re drawn, scripted and lettered for it's November launch. (This has since become late January.) I was nominated for but didn't win a ton of Eagle Awards at the MCM Expo and The Manor Club Productions gained a new member in the form of Ciaran Lucas.
November and I was on Audio re-writes for one and first draft for the other. Doctor Who and Saladin 2100 were the work of choice, and I did a lot of running around on other projects. It might not seem as busy as the others, but I wrote close to three issues of Doctor Who this month.
And then December. Danger Academy was agreed after final alterations, and I started to script. Currently I'm on page 44 of 80 pages. I wrote another Doctor Who story, finished the Audio play and did a second draft of the other one. Suleiman became very ill and this has delayed Saladin 2100, but hopefully we'll be back on track in 2011. Joan Of Arc was blocked out and scripting started, and the Marvel Heroes comic was proofed and altered.
So. That was 2010 and I know for a fact that I've missed things. Jack The Ripper And His Flying Horse, the book that Dan and I want to self publish, or our steampunk book The Daringly Ocular Excitables of Captain Albion Faraday (Ret.) - but these will both become 2011 projects. Or the licenses that I've pitched for that I can't speak about.
What does 2011 hold for me? Well first, a marriage. Tracy is currently the most important thing to me, and because of that, I'm looking to start slow in 2011 to ensure I'm ready for the wedding. That said, I'm currently starting 2011 writing Danger Academy, Joan Of Arc, Doctor Who, Lockbox, Journal, lettering The Baker Street Irregulars and planning out Agent Mom while re-writing parts of The Gloom. So no change there, then!
Have a great New Year and I'll see you in 2011!
So That Was 2010...
All in all, a good year, even if I say so myself. And not only will I say so myself, but I'll also say so to you, as I write my 'end of year blog'.