January Update – and 2018 Highlights!

Happy (belated) new year! The dearth of updates from me over the last twelve months is evidence of how terrible I am at posting on here, but I’ll try to do better this year. Promise.

An exciting nomination

First of all, I’m thrilled to announce that The Fantasy Hive – the website I launched back in January 2018 – has been nominated for a Stabby Award for Best Fantasy Site over on r/Fantasy! You can check out the list, and vote for your favourites (until the end of January 7th), here.

Art of War, an anthology for charity (in which I have a story titled ‘Dear Menalaus’), is also nominated for a Stabby. Exciting times!

Stories, stories everywhere

Having finally finished the first draft of my first novel (more on that below), I’ll be spending most of my spare time this month researching/outlining not one, but TWO new short stories. Both are for anthology projects; I’ll be announcing more details in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled on here and on social media for updates!

 Farewell, 2018

After a rather turbulent 2017, 2018 turned out to be pretty great for me on both a personal and professional level.  Here are some of the (chronological) highlights!


I launched The Fantasy Hive!

Launched on January 1st 2018, The Fantasy Hive is a collaborative site, and a hub for all things SFF. I may be the one running things over there, but the Hive would be nothing without its brilliant team of content-providing contributors, and you can read all about them here.

The Fantasy Hive (Header)

I appeared in multiple anthologies!

Three, to be exact! And I’m delighted with the positive response they’ve received from readers and fellow writers alike. My stories are:

  • ‘I, Kane’ (Lost Lore anthology, available here)
  • ‘Dear Menelaus’ (Art of War anthology, available here)
  • ‘The Girl and the Gharial’ (Double Take anthology, available here)

I found myself a Colin!

In February 2018, I met my boyfriend, Colin. This wonderful creature accompanied me to conventions and events throughout the year, provided some much-needed support and advice, and even alpha-read my novel as I was writing it. We’re now living together, and will both be heading to Reykjavik in Iceland next month to celebrate our anniversary!

Colin Bradley and Laura Hughes

I (we) discovered DnD!

One of the most fun things Colin and I did last year was to enter the world of Dungeons and Dragons! Both of us were complete noobs when it came to tabletop games, and DnD took some getting used to, but we’re now several games into our second campaign and I think we might finally have the hang of things. (I’m currently role-playing a dwarven cleric named Grumlin Greyhammer, while Colin is Thom Truthblower, a lecherous old human bard.)

I signed with Portal Books

Remember that short story I mentioned above? ‘I, Kane’, in the Lost Lore anthology? Well, the guys at Portal Books liked it so much they asked me to write a novel for them! GOD OF GNOMES is unlike anything I’ve ever written before, being a LitRPG novel (specifically, Dungeon Core with RTS elements). It’s now complete, and will likely hit the shelves sometime this summer.

Here’s some pictures from when I journeyed to London to hang out with the Portal guys! (Clockwise from left: me, Brook Aspden, Michael Miller and Taran Matharu.)

I attended Edge Lit

Way back in July 2017, I attended my first ever convention: Edge Lit (in Derby). In July 2018, I was lucky enough to go again! It was brilliant to be able to introduce Colin to some of the finest people in our little fantasy community: T.O. Munro (aka. ‘Theo’), Steve McHugh, Dan Sutcliffe, Anna Stephens (and her wonderful husband Mark), Anna Smith Spark, James Latimer – not to mention my very close friends Mike Everest (and his lovely wife Jen), Kareem Mahfouz and Sadir Samir.

Edge Lit 2018

Clockwise from left: Laura Hughes (me), Colin Bradley, James Latimer, Anna Stephens, Mike Everest, Jen Evans, T.O. Munro (Theo), Sadir Samir, Mark Smith, Dan Sutcliffe, Kareem Mahfouz

Many meetings

A month later, in August, I had the pleasure of attending yet another gathering of awesome people, prompted by the (sadly temporary) arrival in London of US author Taya Latham (aka. T L Greylock). Taya is one of my best friends, and to finally be able to meet her in person was exciting to say the least!

Here we are, hanging out with Anna Stephens and Timandra Whitecastle:

While in London, we also attended SRFC (Super Relaxed Fantasy Club), and mingled with a bunch of other awesome folk, including Kareem Mahfouz, Mike Everest, Anna Smith Spark, John Jarrold, Graeme Williams, James Latimer, and RJ Barker!

Clockwise from left: Laura Hughes (me), RJ Barker, Kareem Mahfouz, John Jarrold, Taya Latham (T L Greylock) and Timandra Whitecastle

I attended BristolCon (again)

In October, I found myself heading down south yet again. I’m pleased to say my second BristolCon was even more fun than my first!

Colin and I got to catch up with a bunch of the Edge Lit crowd, as well as great friends from across the globe, including Marielle Ooms, Julia Sarene and her husband Andreas, and of course our BFF J.P. Ashman.  It was also lovely to see other familiar faces such as Jude Hunter, Mark Lawrence, Rosa Watkinson, Tom Clews, Rita Sloan, G.R. Matthews, Adrian Selby, James Tivendale, and Rob Hayes. There (naturally) ensued the usual inebriated hijinks with Kareem, Dan Sutcliffe and Dominick Murray, and I also got to meet even more people for the first time, including Beth Hindmarch, Tom Gaskin, Timy Takacs, and Luke Scull.

Colin Bradley, Laura Hughes, Sadir Samir

Road trip to BristolCon with Colin and Sadir!

To sum up…

All in all, 2018 was an excellent year for me. I finished writing my first novel, I found love, I was reunited with friends from across the world, and I worked with some incredible editing clients. Despite being so busy, I also managed to read 50 books! (And  tweeted about every single one of them here.)

Fingers crossed 2019 is just as good. 🙂

Best Books (and Things) of 2017

Ah, 2017. I think most people will agree you’ve been a bit of a bastard all round.

(Scroll down for fun stuff.)

As far as I’m concerned, it’s been a bit of a tempestuous year for personal and professional reasons. As well as moving house – twice – I struggled through a heavy bout of depression throughout the spring and early summer after the death of my grandmother. In early autumn, my husband and I began divorce proceedings; consequently, I’m back home living with my parents again.

Told you it’d been a bit tempestuous…

BUT! It’s far from being all doom and gloom. Very far indeed. Here are ten awesome things that happened to me in 2017.

Ten awesome things that happened to me in 2017

  1. I had three more articles published over on Tor.com (reviews of Skullsworn by Brian Staveley and Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, as well as a Beginner’s Guide to Deadhouse Gates!).
  2. I was made Assistant Editor on Fantasy-Faction (where I’ve been contributing since July 2016) underneath Marc Aplin and alongside Jennie Ivins.Fantasy-Faction
  3. I attended my first event – Edge-Lit in Derby, where I finally met some of my best mates (Kareem Mahfouz, Mike Evans, Sadir Samir and J. P. Ashman) for reals, as well as being introduced to the madness that is RJ Barker (and Mrs. RJ, of course), we well as Anna Stephens and Clan Gwynne, Ann and Stan Nicholls, Peter and Emma Newman, Lucy Hounsom, Zen Cho, and more.Edge Lit (Derby, July 2017) - J.P Ashman, Kareem Mahfouz, Michael Everest, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Laura M Hughes, Sadir Samir
  4. I wrote short stories for no less than THREE anthologies, all of which will be published in 2018.
  5. I left my day job to start my own freelance editing business.Laura M Hughes Editing Services
  6. I went to more than a few smaller events in London for the first time, including Fantasy in the Court and SRFC, and was introduced to the likes of Jo Fletcher, Anna Smith Spark, Michael Miller, Harry Illingworth, Alex (A.Z.) Anthony, Ed McDonald, Kristen Ciccarelli, Genevieve Cogman, G. R. Matthews,  Magnus Anderson, Phil Exon, Laura Jayne Dodds, Kitty G, and more.Julia Hartley Goble, Michael R. Miller, Dyrk Ashton, Ed McDonald, Kareem Mahfouz, Laura M. Hughes, Jeramy Goble (London, October 2017)
  7. Danse Macabre as an audiobook! It’s narrated by Nigel Peever, who does a stellar job of bringing Blue, Crow, Snail and the others to life – and accompanied by interludes from the composition ‘Danse Macabre’ by Camille Saint-Saens!Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes - THE AUDIOBOOK!
  8. I experienced BristolCon for the first time, where I met even more amazing people in person, including T. O. Munro (aka. Theo), Rita Sloan, Thomas Clews, Dominick Murray, Dan Sutcliffe, Mark Lawrence, Marc Aplin, A.F.E. Smith, Steve McHugh, Petros Triantafyllou, and even the erudite Dyrk Ashton! (And, a few days later, the equally erudite Jeramy Goble!)

    Dyrk Ashton, Laura M. Hughes (BristolCon, October 2017)

    Me and Dyrk Ashton (I’m the one on the right)

  9. Re-released Danse Macabre with a brand new cover, designed by the fabulous Rachel Lawston!
  10. Founded The Fantasy Hive! (It launches on January 1st, 2018).The Fantasy Hive

I’ll stick a few more cringeworthy pictures of myself and the rest of the fantasy community in at the end of this post, but first, here are some of my best reads of 2017 (also in the form of a gallery, because I am apparently super lazy today).

Best Books Read in 2017

Aaand as promised, more randomness from BristolCon, Edge-Lit, Fantasy in the Court, SRFC and various other fantastical gatherings (including a trip to visit RJ Barker):

All in all, much fun was had. The good balanced the bad, lessons were learned, and I look forward to making 2018 the best year yet. 🙂