2018: A Year of Unexpected Changes

In many ways, 2018 has been a fantastic year.

Seeing Artifice published has been truly magical, plus having the opportunity to write for both the Black Library and for Rebellion/Judge Anderson has been a huge amount of fun. After a very long, fallow stretch, it’s been SO GOOD to be creative again.

I’ve gone away twice, caught up with long-unseen family, and taken my Mother back home. 2018 was the year I finally reached the Top of the Mountain, the End of the Quest, and was able to put the very last steps of the journey behind me….

For the first time in many years, I’m happy. I have no worries. I have a secure roof over my head. I have growing teen of whom I’m very proud. I have a good job, and we’ve had some fantastic events at the store. My writing is gathering pace, and going really well. And I’ve made a point, this year, of overcoming the inevitable (and slightly foolish) social reluctance and of going out – getting to the events, and the Cons. I’ve even started playing D&D again, after fifteen years.

But the year ended on a sour note, and one I’m still trying to understand.

I came down with a significant anxiety relapse in May, and it took me while to pick myself back up again – it was just so unexpected. (And seemed so utterly unfair). And as a part of trying to understand what had caused it, I took all sorts of tests – an MOT, more than anything else.

As we reach 50, we’re all getting to the point where we have to pay the piper, when those youthful excesses come back and catch us up. And I guess I was trying to brace myself for the worst. 

But the results were not what I expected – at the last, the year has thrown me a curveball. I don’t know where it’s come from – it may even be genetic – but I have an underactive (yes, underactive, that surprised me too) thyroid. I guess it explains why I’m so fucking TIRED all the time, why I get days of brain-fog so think that I can barely remember my name, and why – just sometimes – I find it almost impossible to get everything done. And it’s come with a couple of other complications, too, but I’m still working the kinks out of those.

It’s been a good year, and there will be many more. But the necessary sacrifices have been – and will be – very tough. ‘Fight Like A Girl’ is all very well on a battlefield.

This, though, may be a battle of a slightly different nature.

Judge Anderson: Bigger Than Biggs

“Six foot six and 100 tons, the undisputed King of the Slums…”

Getting the chance to play with the Big Toys has been one hell of an opportunity, and not a little intimidating.

This is the first time I’ve ever written for a character I didn’t create (the Battle Sisters are my characters, though the background is not), made all the more challenging by the fact that she’s omniscient, which is a right pain in the butt. How do you add mystery and tension to your plot, when your protag already knows everything?

But, I found my answer, and Bigger Than Biggs is out on December 4th. It’s my homage to the iconic CyberPunk of our youth, to its imagery and characters, to all the love and work that went into it, and to the bright threads of 2000AD, that, even so long ago, crept into our gaming…

It’s also based on one of my all-time favourite tracks – by Carter USM, the song that was Biggs’s theme tune, and that, to this day, ionises those youthful dice-rollings.

Judge Anderson Year Two: Bigger Than Biggs can be downloaded from the Rebellion site, and is available from Amazon. Or, if you don’t fancy giving that buttwipe Bezos any more money, there’s also a signed limited edition print novella. All with cover art by the fabulous Neil Roberts!

Sing it with me: –

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…”