Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: 2016 in Review

When I first sat down to write this, I had something completely different in mind for it. It was going to be a long, drawn out thing that really had no bearing on anything, and was ultimately a rehash of things I’ve already said several times before on this blog. So I changed my mind, and decided to do something a little different.
If you want to see what all I was up to this year, just read back over this blog, or check out my posts on Facebook or my tweets on Twitter. The story’s there, if you care to look. Instead of repeating all of that, I’m going to go in a little more personal direction with this year-end wrap up.

See, for most of us, 2016 was a harsh year, a year in which icon after icon fell before our eyes. If only we’d known when Lemmy left us last year, it was Death cracking its knuckles as a warm-up for the events to come. However you voted in November, we now find ourselves in a place we can’t predict, and that’s a little terrifying, too.

But for all the bad, 2016 had some great moments, too.

See, my goal for the year was to publish a book, with the expectation that I didn’t care if anyone bought it. I met that goal, and wildly exceeded my expectations.

With Brian Keene, Starline Books, Chattanooga, TN, July 2016Over the last year, I’ve discovered some incredible authors in the horror genre, both new and old. I’ve read more good books than I can count, and find myself eagerly anticipating more from those folks. And the icing on the cake? I’ve come to know many of them through social media, and feel as though I’ve been welcomed to the cool kids’ table at school. I’ve gotten the chance to meet and talk with some of my influences, and have found them to be more welcoming, open, and kind than I’d ever imagined.

I’ve met some incredible people behind the scenes as well, from Tristan Thorne who was one of the first to help guide me along the path while I was getting CONSEQUENCES out, to publicist, editor, and friend extraordinaire Erin Al-Mehairi, who has taught me more about this business than I ever thought I’d want to know. I’ve gotten the opportunity to banter back and forth with the awesomely kooky and cool (whether she believes it or not) Somer Canon, and have laughed out loud trading insanity with Toneye Eyenot, whose propensity for swapping “I” with “eye” might put some people off, but only served to endear him to me even more. I discovered that Glenn Rolfe has just as much of an admiration for some of the obscure eighties hair metal bands I grew up with as I do. I even got to smile and chuckle a bit as Chuck Buda proclaimed how badly I was kicking everyone’s ass in NaNoWriMo, despite the fact he was right there with me on those word count updates.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk to so many people, from all around the world, people I never would have met had I not decided to walk this insane road called publishing, and I have to say my life is better for it. I’ve shed my share of tears over the course of 2016, just like we all have, but when I look back at it now, I see the joy shining through the clouds.

For me, 2016 was the year I found my calling, for good or for ill. I am going to remember it fondly as I look ahead to what 2017 and beyond will bring.

To everyone who’s reading this, or picked up one of my books, or even just encouraged me to keep going, you have my most heartfelt thanks. To all of you, and everyone else, I hope you have a very happy new year; and as it progresses, may all your dreams come true.

PS: To all those folks who have told me what a machine I am when it comes to writing, I was going to try and prove you wrong by posting my total word count for the year. Once I looked at it, and then looked at it again, then walked away and ran the numbers a third time I decided to simply agree with you instead and leave it at that....

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