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 (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. 🙂

New project: THE HIVENING!

I’ve neglected this blog for a while now. One reason for this is that I’m rubbish. Another is that I’ve been happily inundated with enough editing work to keep me busy until at least October, with further jobs tentatively scheduled for later and in the new year. (Exciting, eh?)

But the main reason is that myself and a few others have been hatching a brand new project: THE FANTASY HIVE.

Fantasy Hive

Launching on January 1, 2018, The Fantasy Hive is a personality-driven celebration of the genre. TFH will host features, interviews, articles and lists, as well as reviews of books, games, films, comics, TV shows, etc. – basically, a nucleus for anything and everything spec-fic related.

As you can see, we have a pretty impressive list of talent holding the front lines already, with plenty of others waiting in the wings for the curtain to rise. Some of my favourite people in the world (and across the world, from the UK to the US to NZ, from Ireland to Canada, from Japan to Germany and Sweden) are currently coordinating their efforts to make this new site as awesome as it can possibly be.

A few people have joked about the ‘hive’ thing, and the implication that the rest of the team are the drones/workers to my ‘Queen Bee’. While I’m not going to be falsely modest about my own role in putting the site, and the team, together (basically, I put the site and the team together) there’s no way I’m going to take credit for what’s happened since.  My aim has always been to create something collaborative; something which harnesses and encourages the enthusiasm and imagination of its contributors; something people will come to recognise as a hub of positivity and excitement, and which generally conveys an unconditional and all-encompassing love of the genre. Something people are proud to associate themselves with.

I’m delighted to say that we’re well our way to achieving this.

Work on the main site is being completed behind the scenes, and will continue for the rest of this year. However, you can visit our landing page if you’re curious. Additionally, you can follow our social media accounts for updates, fantasy-related posts and pictures, and a bit of banter and all-round silliness. Right now we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Come and say hi, and help us spread the word!

Finally, THANK YOU to everyone who’s already supported the Hive. What an amazing fellowship we are, indeed.