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It’s never been entirely clear to me why those with wicks should be tormented by eternal flames. Just seems so vindictive. But it isn’t like those of us without wicks get a chance to take a breather either. The holiday period just gone saw visits to the family that were far too short, and since then I’ve been back on the mountain alongside Sisyphus, pushing my particular bolus of dung around like a good ‘un. The first week and a half of January have seen leaden hours of writing, editing, researching, with nary a chance to look away from whatever screen demands my attention, so I’m late in bringing my new year’s resolutions to the internet table. The irony is that one of the mini-promises I’d made to myself for the year was to get out more, get some exercise, meet and greet people face to face, escape the depression that living online brings. However, one shitty maitre d’ in a local restaurant put paid to any illusions I had about offline politeness, resulting in a vengeful pile-on on Trip Advisor that  saw me not only vent my spleen about my mistreatment at his hands but also, as a corollary, visit the pages of all the restaurant’s rivals to give them glowing reviews in the hope that they would overtake the aforementioned miscreant in the rankings. In retrospect, I probably went a bit Trump on his ass (i.e., petty and vindictive), and my good wife’s calm and placating nature was sufficient to make me feel ashamed of myself (all she needed to have said, of course, was “Leave him, Jay! He’s not worth it!” but we don’t watch Eastenders, so she didn’t know). The irony of my situation was thus compounded; one malefactor met in the flesh hurled me back to the virtual world in retribution.

All of which is by way of an excuse and an apology for my failure to give shout-outs to the classy literary folk who’ve sustained me in the past year and who form the foundation of my main resolution for 2017. I’ve encountered some remarkable talents – and some lovely people – in the indie writing world over the past couple of years, especially via Goodreads, but I’ve been unable, for one reason or another, to immerse myself in their writing. So the plan for the coming 12 months is to read as much as I can by the amazing Leo X. Robertson, Rebecca Gransden, Rupert Dreyfus, M.T. Bass, Mike Robbins, Jack Binding, Mary Papastavrou, Harry Whitewolf, and Arthur Graham, to name but a few.  I also have debts to pay to the wonderful Elyse, Alison, and Jason, stalwarts of the Goodreads community and readers of immense taste and patience, and to Booktubers Dan Martin and Acacia Ives, whose videos I never miss. I recommend that you never miss them too. It looks like I’ve a busy year ahead.

And so it goes.